Orcs, Wizards, vowel-heavy beasts from alternate dimensions

The modern board game movement is heavy with fantasy-themed stuff, so we should probably explain why very little of it makes it into Games Night Guru.

Firstly, GNG is tailored for people coming from a background of playing Monopoly, Risk, or maybe just cards. We’re hoping to attract more people – families and others – to boardgames and therefore the site skews slightly toward the simpler games – for whatever reason, fantasy-themed games are often long and involved. There are some hefty, complex games on our database (and many of the ***complexity games take time to learn) but in the main these games aren’t really what GNG is about; we’re very much the 5mins-to-2hours playtime, rather than the 3 hours and upwards.

The other reason is neither Joe nor I are particularly interested in fantasy-themed games, especially if they are long and involving (some are) and especially if the dominant element of the game is fighting (most are). If that sounds like your bag you should check out titles we’ve not covered here: like Mage Knight, BattleLore, War of the Ring, Heroscape and campaign games like Descent or Arcadia Quest.

If you love fantasy adventure though, we’re not entirely bereft: you can play co-operatively to defeat Sauron in Lord of the Rings, flee from a cheesed-off dragon in Dragon Run, explore a ghostly apocalypse in Hyperborea, have a geographic bunfight in Small World or compete to be the best quest-fulfilling lord in Lords of Waterdeep.

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Lords of Waterdeep

And if you’re after a straight-up battle, then many games on GNG can satisfy you – big and brutal with Star Wars: Imperial Assault, historically themed in Memoir 44, or just very silly with Cube Quest – and there’s a lot of others in-between: try putting terms like fight, combat or battle in our Search engine and see what it throws up.

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Shogun

Finally, many games that aren’t supposedly about combat contain an enormous amount of… combat. Neue Heimat is a game where you’re property developers, but it’s utterly brutal. HMS Dolores can bite you very hard on the behind, as it encourages dishonesty. Games by their very nature are competitive (search for co-operative games if that makes you sad) and you may find that a game about jostling for political position in medieval Spain can contain as much pain as the harshest of war games…

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Spain. Not as peaceful as it looks…

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