Spice up game night with these easy-to-play board games
Break from the classics with some favorites found locally.
There’s nothing better than spending a night in with your family around a board game. Most of the time, everyone wants to play a classic, but you’ve undoubtedly been playing those for months.
Madison is home to board game shops offering fun alternatives. If you’re looking to expand your game-playing horizons, we asked for some recommendations from local shop owners and found some Wisconsin-made games. Play on, friends!
Azul, created in Portugal and reminiscent of the Azuelo tile mosaics of the country, is great for a art or history lover. Players play against each other as artisans, tasked with decorating the walls of the Palace of Evora. Score points for your royal masterpiece by limiting overall waste and maximizing the beauty of your end result with the perfect combination and number of mosaic tiles. Find Azul at Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg. 2385 Commerce Park Drive, 758-9901, nobleknight.com
Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
In this fantastical game, you play as a cartographer for the Kingdom of Nalos. Queen Ginmax ordered the kingdom to stake claim in the northern land, and it’s your job to map it out. Increase your reputation by meeting the queen’s demands and eluding the Dragul along the journey. Cartographers requires some serious brainpower — every step you take has to be calculated. Find Cartographers at I’m Board! Games and Family Fun. 6971 University Ave., 831-6631; 2816 Prairie Lakes Drive, 318-2642, imboardgames.com
If you know a bunch of random facts and numbers — like how much money the largest lottery win was, the percentage of British people with tattoos or how many slices of bread are in a medium loaf — you’ll probably be pretty good at Confident? Players can gain points by guessing the range with the correct answer. Find Confident? at I’m Board! Games and & Family Fun. 6971 University Ave., 831-6631; 2816 Prairie Lakes Drive, 318-2642, imboardgames.com
For Disney movie lovers, Disney Villainous is a great to add to a game closet. In Disney Villainous, you play as the villain trying to overcome the hero. As you go through the game, you discover more about your villain and their abilities through that character’s specific fate and villain deck to beat the forces of good once and for all. Find Disney Villainous at Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg. 2385 Commerce Park Drive, 758-9901, nobleknight.com
Kingdomino is a lot like dominoes, but with a fantastical twist. In this game, you’re playing as a King or Queen trying to stake claim to land and expand your royal reach. Both the tiles and the board are painted with a different terrain. To expand your land, you have to pair one of your 12 dominoes with the corresponding terrain on the board. The game is won after the first player completes a 5×5 square. Whether you’re eight or 58, you can enjoy Kingdomino with the family — just try not to let your power go to your head. Find Kingdomino at Misty Mountain Games, located in the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center. 4672 Cottage Grove Road, 441-0312, mistymountaingames.com
Aye aye, Captain! In ShipShape, you’re playing as the head of a ship embarking on three voyages. Bid on the gold, cannons and contraband you’d like to take and cover the ones you don’t want. Points are scored when you and the rest of the captains (or other players) compare the supplies left uncovered. Find ShipShape at Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg. 2385 Commerce Park Drive, 758-9901, nobleknight.com
Uh, oh! It looks like Bucky’s in trouble. Someone’s going to have to save him, and it looks like it might have to be you! SuperBadgers is a game designed by University of Wisconsin–Madison students and based around the campus and surrounding areas. Complete missions at the Capitol or Monona Terrace and become the hero! Find SuperBadgers at the University Bookstore. 711 State St., 257-3784, uwbookstore.com
Ticket to Ride
All aboard the game train! Ticket to Ride is a cross-country locomotive adventure fun for train lovers or anyone who enjoys a good board game. In this game, players are competing to make the longest railway route across the country. Each card represents a different part of the track, and players gain points for each finished track. The game itself is fairly easy to learn with different versions of the game that take place through different countries and American cities, including Europe, Netherlands and New York City. Find Ticket to Ride at Misty Mountain Games, located in the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center. 4672 Cottage Grove Road, 441-0312, mistymountaingames.com
Unlock! and Exit
If you like to spend time going through escape rooms, you’ll probably like the games, Unlock! and Exit — which are basically escape rooms in a box. You and your family work through the “room” by solving clues in order to reach the end of the game. Both games are only one-time use, but with the holidays coming up, they make the perfect re-gifting item. Unlock! and Exit have different scenarios with varying difficulty levels, so there’s something for even the most experienced escape room goer. Find Unlock! and Exit at Misty Mountain Games, located in the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center. 4672 Cottage Grove Road, 441-0312, mistymountaingames.com
Wiscongo! is reminiscent of the classic Bingo game every knows and loves, with a little twist. The point of the game is to match the images on cards pull randomly from a pile to the images on your board game and get a Bingo. Images you’ll be matching include some all-time Wisconsin favorites — from the Friday Night Fish Fry to a plate full of fried cheese curds. The game is divided into 12 different rounds, and the player with the most wins after the last round wins the entire game! Find Wiscongo! online at wiscongo.com.