Recently, we've been chatting with experts like game store managers and owners to learn about their favorite game recommendations. This time, we asked David Lipowski from Fair Game in the Chicago area to tell us his choices for the best adventure board games.
Lipowski got into board games after college, playing with his brother and going to game nights at his local game store. One thing led to another, and soon he was working at that same store. He loves welcoming both experienced and new game players, and is happy to offer recommendations. These are the titles he suggests for those who love adventure board games.
Lipowski Says: “This is a go-to recommendation for me. It’s a cooperative game, and players work together to uncover artifacts as the island is sinking below the ocean. It has an Indiana Jones feel to it. It’s almost like an action movie because it feels suspenseful. It’s recommended for 10 and up, but I often recommend it for kids as young as 7 and 8. It’s good for adults and is relatively short.”
Start by arranging the gorgeously-illustrated cards to create the game board. Players move around the board to explore and find artifacts, but take care! One by one, the cards "sink" and are no longer available for play. This fast-paced adventure game takes about 30 minutes to play. (2-4 players, ages 10+)
Lipowski Says: “This is a roll-and-write game, which is a genre that has been really popular. However, it doesn’t feature dice. Instead you’re flipping over cards and have to fill in different terrain types as you go. There’s a really fun mechanism in there where a Monster attack might happen. When I was a kid, I used to read fantasy novels, and this game scratches that itch for me. Another fun component is there’s no max player count to it. It’s good for a few players or several players.”
Queen Gimnax has ordered her cartographers (that's you!) to claim the northern lands for the Kingdom of Nalos. Draw your lines carefully, though, because the Dragul contest your claims. Compete throughout four seasons (30-45 minutes total), trying to attain the highest reputation and win the game. (1+ players, ages 10+)
Lipowski Says: “It’s a true adventure game with an actual story book. It has a spiral binding and lays flat as the board. It almost has a Toy Story feel to it. The board is actually set up as a map. It can take time to play, but it’s one where you can take a break and come back to it. It’s a very inventive way to play through an adventure story."
If you've always secretly assumed that toys have adventures when you're not around, this is the game for you! One little girl's stuffed animals have journeyed into the Fall in an effort to protect their beloved owner. Make your way through the storybook, which also serves as a map, game board, and rule guide. The adorable miniatures add a touch of whimsy, making this an ideal game for families. Expect a game to take 60-90 minutes. (2-4 players, ages 7+)
Lipowski Says: “It’s a campaign game. As you play through different sessions, there’s a campaign that evolves. Some of these games can be rules-intensive, but this one has an app that goes with it and procedurally leads you through the story. It’s probably best with a slightly older audience.”
Tolkien fans will want to check out this adventure board game, set in the rich world of Middle-earth. The app takes on the role of the antagonist, leaving you and your fellow players free to work together to battle through campaigns. A game takes about an hour. (1-5 players, ages 14+)
Lipowski Says: “Can I recommend your own game to you for this list? To me these are adventure games because you’re exploring a map and learning about locations. It embodies a lot of values you’d expect in this category. Plus you’re learning about geography and strategy as well. It’s definitely on my list to recommend often.”
We're thrilled to know game stores are suggesting our adventure board games to new players! Families can learn while they play and explore, traveling to national parks and fabulous sites around the world. The rules are simple, but the adventure is different every single time. (2-5 players, ages 10+)