Whether it’s through plastic, paper, or card – boardgames are designed to tell us stories. From crushing defeats, to last-minute victories; some games are exceptional at leaving players with tales that last a lifetime.

So, here’s a rundown of our top ten favorite games your group will be talking about for years to come.

Starting with-

10. Spartacus: Blood and Treachery

Replaying the first two seasons of the hugely underrated TV show, Spartacus: Blood and Treachery, slides your power-hungry toes into the sandals of a gladiator school owner. Players quickly find themselves forced to barter, backstab, and butcher their way to dominance and status.

Mechanically, this sees players build a stable of fighters and replay famous matchups from the show with the odds finally in their favour. However, everyone has a handful of ‘ploys’ that can hamstring their opponents, bleed gold, or worse.

Engaging, if not overly innovative, Spartacus is stuffed with potential and deserves a place in every collection.

9. Risk Legacy

Who knew that giving Risk consequences would actually make it fun? The first of the now ubiquitous ‘legacy’ line, this accessible first iteration of 9. Risk Legacy: is perfect for your less experienced, Risk-loving university friends.

Played out over 15 games, each victory or failure meaningfully impacts the next. Each result leaves permanent marks on your board, with stickers and scribbles commemorating past glories. Sold in a box filled with sealed compartments and secret containers, your map quickly becomes tattooed with mementos of famous battles.

While it can be difficult to sustain your full player count between sessions, each one brings the excitement of popping open another box and seeing what’s inside. Just don’t flip the plastic inlay tray over and unseal the thing stuck beneath it.

No, you wouldn’t want to do that at all.

8. Dog Eat Dog


Championed by as “[a game that] should be taught in schools”, Dog Eat Dog is heavier fare for players hungering for a narrative experience with teeth.

Designed as an explicit exploration of imperialism, DED assigns one player the role of the colonising force, setting the other players as individual members of the indigenous population. Each individual is assigned a number of tokens and the game begins. What follows is a gruelling, gradual imposition of rules and interjections, with the coloniser able to strip tokens from the group for the slightest infraction or for just failing to ‘asssimilate’.

So, do you resist and lose your final token, or do you capitulate? Even when it means the death of your neighbor.

Perhaps too heavy for some groups, this is the one game on our list truly guaranteed to leave you thinking about it long after it leaves the table.

7. Star Wars Rebellion


If the question is “Do you want to play Star Wars”, the answer is “YES” while standing up so fast your chair falls over then you should really try Star Wars Rebellion.

Covering the arc of the original trilogy, the game sets one player as the Rebels desperately attempting to topple their rival’s Imperial forces. This involves a session-long game of cat and mouse as the rebellion chips away at a steadily destabilising Empire, while Death Stars rupture planets and Admiral Ackbar – somehow – gets frozen in carbonite.

Teetering just on the edge of excess, the game lets you craft your own version of the classic Star Wars story. Plus, you can finally engineer that Chewie vs. Vader battle the fans have been hungering for.

6. Call of Cthulhu


The Great Old One of the roleplaying genres, Call of Cthulhu has an intimidating reputation that unfairly precedes it.

Built around a light-touch two-dice gameplay mechanic, the game’s infinite flexibility lets you tell stories that can genuinely keep you up at night. This can include infamous one-shots like
The Lightless Beacon, the sandbox horror of The Mansions of Madness or genre-defining epics like the gargantuan Masks of Nyarlathotep.

Open ended and well supported, the game can be a little challenging for novice DMs to run – especially if first-time players are unfamiliar with table etiquette. However, the elegant mechanics under the hood let you make your games as pulpy, horrific, or streamlined as you want.

5. Once Upon a Time


Light and elegant, Once Upon a Time is a fantastic way to enjoy a low-stress narrative experience and get new or younger players into the hobby.

The game asks players to weave their own fairy-tale using the cards in their hands. Other players interject, collaborate, and throw complications into the mix – with the first player to slap down their ‘Happy Ever After’ card proving the winner.

And…that’s it.

Quick, clean and simple; the game favours collaboration over cutting throats and removes obstacles to play that could slow seasoned groups or lock up newer players. Likely a little too straightforward for some, but with the right group this is a quality filler and a perfect way to encourage young minds to fall in love with traditional gaming.

4. Fog of Love


Very quietly the most stressful game on this list, Fog of Love is a relationship simulator that – depending on the people playing – lands somewhere between a romantic comedy and a dark farce.

Each of you plays one half of a couple trying to achieve their own personal and private goals. Quality play requires an understanding of power dynamics, communication, and tempered desire – before discovering that one of you is a bigamist…

While the low player count may make this game awkward for some groups, with continued expansions like the ‘Trouble with The in Laws’, and the ability
to fall in love with a ghost, there are plenty of ways to keep things spicy as the years roll on.

3. Baron Munchausen


You’d think a game that explicitly asks you to play it in the pub would be higher up our list, but here we are.

Framing you as a cadre of Munchausean hanger-ons,
Baron Munchausen begins with each player being given a stack of coins and a prompt to weave an improvised tall tale about one of their adventures. However, each token represents an ability to ‘disrupt’ the current teller, adding complications that they can accept or reject.

The winner? The one with the most coins in front of them.

And, somehow, it just works. Faltering players are buoyed by prompts and born storytellers bat away interjections like King Kong swatting airplanes. This quickly breeds incredible running jokes, hilarious flubs, and thunderous applause after someone fudges an answer to an impossible plot hole.

Lightweight perfection for the right crowd. Honest ;)

2. Arkham Horror LCG


Offering cosmic horror that fits into your grandmother’s cribbage box, Arkham Horror LCG took the industry by storm in 2016 and continues to go from strength to strength.

Built around Fantasy Flight’s Living Card model, the game asks you to build a team of characters to stand up against the unknown. Each game starts blind – creating a unique ‘first time’ playing each game you’ll never forget. Each session sees the game squamously spew new mechanics, monsters, and permanent choices at a digestible pace. And when the occasionally byzantine rules send things grinding to a halt (“Wait…kill the unique cultists!!?”), the game’s
infamous Grim Rule steps in to keep the story going.

Innovative, crunchy, and vibrant – the game perfectly captures
the crippling nihilism of a John Carpenter film. Players are left with tales of sacrifice as your teams chew up actions, turns, and your own characters to stop the horrors of the unknown.

And all handed to you in a stack of cards.

1. Fiasco


Each tale is set against the backdrop of one of the game’s many unique narrative playsets that bubble with potential. These let players butt heads on doomed flights, as a fractious theatre company on opening night, as members of the Channel 6 News Team, and more. Each high-energy game plays out in ninety minutes without any need for a DM, leaving you with stories of revenge, injustice, and – on more than one occasion – a character holding their own severed arm.

Perhaps a little too performative for some, Fiasco lets players “yes, and” their way to each wrenching finale. Offering tears of laughter, shocked gasps, and pained groans;

Fiasco perfectly toes the line between creative freedom and the safety of structure. An absolute essential for anyone curious about the stories games can help us tell.

Do you have a great Storytelling game to suggest ? Let us know in the comments!

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