By: Devin Smith
Even though I graduated to video games as I got older, I started off playing board games.
I loved them because it was competition that made you think, and I loved having to out think my competition to win.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of board games, and not all are necessarily on a board, but I’ve somehow managed narrowing down all of my favorites to just five. For me the top three are in a class of their own, but all five had a big impact on my childhood.
Before I reveal my list it would be a travesty not to mention a few special games that couldn’t make the cut: Battleship, Yhatzee and Connect Four.
They were all great in their own right, but none had quite the same effect as those that made my top five.
5. Chutes and Ladders
Also well-known as Snakes and Ladders, this is the first of two world-renowned board games on my list that originated in India.
Although I haven’t played in a while, this was one of the first board games I remember owning. It was simple enough for anyone to play, which allowed my younger nieces and nephews to play with me.
The older version was related to morality, and the board was supposed to represent the virtues and vices of life.
This game is more influenced by luck than skill as all moves are decided by a roll of the dice.
Chutes and Ladders is more family oriented but it is still enjoyable for all ages. It has remained a great game over the years.
In 1949 the Milton Bradley Company, now owned by Hasbro, published a classic designed by Eleanor Abbott. It has been a favorite of children across the country for decades earning its induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005.
The four-player race to King Kandy we know today has evolved from the original board which had only locations with no characters.
Newer boards have characters like Gramma Nutt, Jolly and Gloppy the Molasses Monster. My favorite was Mr. Mint; I thought he was cool because he had three pet monkeys that lived with him in a forest of candy canes.
Those who loved this game remember its slogan “It’s fun getting into Trouble!” and it really was.
This is another game that flies under the Hasbro flag, but was originally manufactured by Irwin Toy Ltd.
Trouble is one of my all-time favorites for plenty of reasons, the most notable being the “Pop-O-Matic” die container.
There was something about popping that button that was amazing to me as a child, and for a while I was mildly addicted to it.
It was also the first game I remember being able to take out my opponent and send them back home, which was accomplished by landing on their piece. It gave the game a personal aspect that a lot of others didn’t.
No countdown of the best board games can be complete without including one of the oldest and most well-known games of all time.
It’s been around for more than a millennium, beginning with the Gupta Empire of India. However it was the Kushan Empire in ancient Afghanistan that introduced what have become the board pieces today.
The 8X8 board allows for sixteen pieces per player, each with various abilities and weaknesses.
The magic of chess is that there are a number of ways to execute each move, causing each player to think several moves in advance. This can be increasingly difficult when playing with a timer, as is the case in many of the competitions that take place around the globe.
Chess is a thinking man’s game, my dad taught me that. We used to play all the time when I was younger, and it’s something that I’ve tried to carry on from him as I’ve grown.
He more so than anything else is the reason that this game has been so important to me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t spectacular in its own right.
This wasn’t just a board game, this was war.
The Parker Brothers iconic board pitted anywhere from two to 12 people against each other in a competition to monopolize assorted properties and force your opponents into bankruptcy.
This game has the power to tear families apart, alliances and back-stabbing are strategy staples. There are no friends, and everyone has an agenda.
Bring the dice into the equation along with chance cards and the community chest then you get a one-of-a-kind experience you can only get with Monopoly.
My favorite version was the Las Vegas board because it’s my hometown. It was the first time I played on the Las Vegas board that I really got into the game; I took extra pride in winning on it.
Monopoly is so popular that it has its own McDonald’s promotion, video games and even a brief stint as a television game show.
Today’s standard editions have eight different tokens for the player to choose from including the top hat, wheelbarrow and racecar.
There are contests so competitive that they have lasted days, but there is nothing sweeter than a hard-earned victory in Monopoly.