5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year
Besides books and reading, it's safe to say the board games are an important German cultural element. Games are so important to Germans that there is a Verein (club) that reviews games every year known as the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year).
German board games are awesome and some of them are now cult games of epic proportions. You might have seen Catan spread out on the coffee table in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. (Das war echt toll zu sehen.)
Here are a few games you could get to know any day of the year, and if you're looking for some German Christmas presents, they'll serve you well!
Ravensburger Board Games are "Toll"!
Special note in 2020: Ravensburger has sold so many games this year they're frequently low on stock. Order early!
My all-time favorite board game is German and it's in this list. It's from Ravensburger, whose games I show here because they are fantastic games which teach quality strategies and the game boards and pieces themselves are of very high quality. Basically I can spot a Ravensburger game or puzzle from a mile away.
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links to various sites, which means that if you click through these links and purchase anything, you support GermanWithNicole at the same time as you support the other businesses. (You'll see the words "Affiliate link" where there is such a link.) Danke!
1. Spiel des Jahres 2016
That year's winner was a Czech game based on secret agents with code names (thus the title). The object is to make contact with your own spies!
Ages 14 & up, for 2-8 players
2. Für die Kleinen (For the Little Ones)
HABA makes toys and games for kids and their Orchard game is awesome for kids! This one is for kids 2 & up so it's geared for the even younger crowd.
Ages 2 & up, 1-4 players
I've played the regular Orchard game (3 & up) with some kids and it was delightful! (Affiliate link)
3. For the Serious Player
Carcassonne is a game named for the actual Carcassonne Citadel in France. This game is fantastic for serious players because there is a base game and then expansion packs. This one is the "Carcassonne Big Box 5," which is the base game plus 4 different expansion packs and, as the ad says, much more.
The makers of this game are so clever they've even timed out how much time each expansion adds to the base game, some being 30-45 minutes.
A game of epic proportions that I can and do recommend to board game fans!
4. ♥ Nicole's Personal Favorite ♥: Das verrückte Labyrinth
I "lay it on your heart" to buy and play this game.
I LOVE THIS GAME!
This game is an *actual labyrinth*. Each player's turn begins by moving one pathway on the board, which means the playing field changes with each turn.
Your job is to move through the ever-changing labyrinth to land on different objects, which gives you essentially your points, and then get back to your home base first to win the game.
It is possible to make this game less or more complicated depending on how you place each piece of the labyrinth. Connect more paths for an easier game, and block more paths for a more complicated game.
Ages 8 & up, for 2-4 players.
Click the photo to check it out on the Ravensburger site (Affiliate link).
Ravensburger has other 3D puzzles, which might be a nice change for you if you've been playing a lot of board games lately.
5. For Train Lovers and Geography Lovers
This is the Märklin Collector's Edition and it's incredible. This is the game I bought with my Christmas money last year and it continues to lead to hours and hours of enjoyable playing. You play against yourself as much as you do against the other players.
The trains featured on the cards of this game are historical and beautiful. You can also extract elements from this game to make it more manageable for younger players.
This is as physical as it is cerebral so give yourself a 2-3 games to get used to playing it before you really let loose.
Ages 8 & up, for 2-5 players