5 Fun Board Games That Don’t Have Super Confusing Rules

published Oct 22, 2022
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family plays board games together
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If you’ve been trawling through TikTok lately, you’ve likely come across one of the new trends: People just spacing out (or completely self-destructing) while someone is trying to teach them the rules of a new board game. I get it — most people have been there at some point. Allow me to introduce you to Blood on the Snow, a tabletop game about the Winter War in Finland in 1939. The rulebook for this game is massive, around 30 pages. And to learn it after a long day at work… no thanks. I was miserable.

But, you’re in luck. Not every board game has such intense rules that take an hour to learn and set up just to play a single round. Jessica Denomme, co-owner of WM Homestead, a company that makes custom tables for gaming, shared her suggestions for the easiest board games to learn and play.

Hues and Cues

“So simple. pick a color on the grid, and give a clue to get people to guess it. Bam. I just taught you Hues and Cues. I’ve played this with 60-year-olds and 5-year-olds and everyone is laughing… and everyone walks away with memories. I can distinctly remember almost every time I’ve played it just because of the wacky and passionate conversations we get into over simple colors! I will say this is not colorblind friendly, but my very colorblind father-in-law plays just the same and cracks up at the outlandish clues he gives us.” 

Sonora

“This beautifully illustrated dexterity game is fun and easy to learn. The first ‘flick and write’ brings a mix of paper football and shuffle board on a rotating game board, which is super cool.”

Kingdomino

“This easy tile laying game is a breeze to teach and learn. Simple mechanics make it quick to pick up but there’s still a level of difficulty in how to build your kingdom as you play.”

Draftosaurus

“This incredibly cute dinosaur drafting game is a fast reach and learn and puts dinos in hands within minutes of opening the box. With two board sides, one for beginners and one for more experienced players, this game will grow with your family. As you master the easier side you move to the more advanced, so it’s like two cute games in one!”

Pandemic Legacy 

“Legacy games by definition, start off with very simple, very quick rules, and then build over the course of 10 to 30 games with new rules and mechanics. My favorite for this is the Pandemic Legacy Series. It takes a game many already know and ramps it up to 11 over the course of 12 to 24 plays.”

No matter what game you choose, remember that your local game shop is an excellent resource for help learning to play. “If I know what game is to be played, I will send folks links to a video on the game,” says Timothy Blackstrom, owner of Gift of Games in Grayslake, Illinois. It’s usually a quick how-to. He suggests watching videos on your own as well, typically from Watch It Played.

He also recommends reading the rules and learning the game before you have friends come over to play. That way no one sits there while you muck through the rulebook and try to explain it in real time. “I like to set the game up once, before I bring it out to play with others,” he said. “It creates a familiarity for myself, and I can throw tidbits of knowledge out as I set up.”