Strategy Games

Regardless of your opinion of university uprisings and Haight-Ashbury, the 1960s were revolutionary. Not least because a game called Stratego was first published in the United States, and while it was based on much older Chinese and European games, it introduced Americans to a concept they hadn't yet embraced—that play needn't be mindless.

Since then, strategy games have evolved into far more complex and sophisticated creatures than their Stratego ancestor, though they've retained the basic elements. They're generally built around a theme (Stratego centered around defusing bombs with engineers; modern games let players pretend to be world conquerors, space truckers, or cavemen), logic and planning are central elements, and play is moderately paced.

Agricola is a favorite around here. Players are Roman farmers with a little land and a little lady. The goal is to move from mere subsistence to prosperity through building fences, raising livestock, growing crops, and producing progeny. The Ticket to Ride family of games lets you build your own railroad empire by buying routes and lines and generally glorying in capitalist exploitation.

For more bloodthirsty gamers, Merchants and Marauders lets you choose between privateering and peaceful merchant shipping in the Europe-dominated 17th-century South Seas. (Making all players speak Piratese during gameplay is an interesting variant.) Rattus puts you in the middle of the Black Death as rats spread through your territories and those of your enemies. To win, be the player with the most people still alive by the end of the game.

There's usually some element of chance even in the most complex strategy game, though play always centers around choices players make and doesn't hinge on drawing cards, rolling the bones, etc. Strategy games might not be the best choice for kiddos, but if playing Sorry sounds about as fun as walking barefoot over a floor strewn with Monopoly pieces, give one or two of these titles a shot.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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86 Items found Print
7 Wonders: Leaders Expansion
from Asmodee Games
Fast-paced strategy game for 10 and up
Acquire
from Avalon Hill
Strategy game for 6th grade-adult
Agricola - Family Edition
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Mayfair Games Inc.
Agricola - Revised Edition
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Mayfair Games Inc.
Alhambra
from Asmodee Games
Axis & Allies 1941
from Wizards of the Coast
An "educational game" for guys 10-adult
Axis & Allies 1942 2nd Edition
2nd edition from Avalon Hill
An "educational game" for guys 10-adult
Battle Cry
from Wizards of the Coast
for 7th-Adult
Battleship
from Hasbro
Abstract Game for ages 8 and up
Black Fleet
The Ultimate Pirate Game for 12 and Up
Blue Max
by Richard Borg
from Fantasy Flight Games
WWII Tactical Game for Ages 10 and up
Carcassonne
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Z-Man Games
Family/Strategy game for ages 8 and up
Carcassonne - Inns & Cathedrals
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Rio Grande Games
for 4th-Adult
Carcassonne - The Princess & the Dragon
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Rio Grande Games
for 4th-Adult
Carcassonne - Traders & Builders
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Z-Man Games
for 4th-Adult
Carcassonne - Winter Edition
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Z-Man Games
Family/Strategy game for ages 8 and up
Carcassonne: Gold Rush
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Z-Man Games
Family/Strategy game for ages 8 and up
Catan - Compact Edition Traveler
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan Histories: Merchants of Europe
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan Histories: Settlers of America
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan: Cities & Knights - 5-6 Player Extension
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan: Rivals for Catan
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan: Seafarers - 5-6 Player Extension
by Klaus Teuber
from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Catan: Settlers of Catan
by Klaus Teuber
5th edition from Mayfair Games Inc.
for 7th-Adult
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Z-Man Games
Colt Express
by Christophe Raimbult
for 3rd-Adult
Colt Express: Horses & Stagecoach Expansion
by Christophe Raimbult
from Ludonaute
for 3rd-Adult
Coup
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Indie Boards and Cards
Family game for ages 8 and up
Coup: Reformation
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Indie Boards and Cards
Family game for ages 8 and up
Cube Quest
from Gamewright Games
for 3rd-Adult
Diplomacy
from Avalon Hill
Classic Negotiation Game for Ages 12 and Up
Fields of Arle
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Z-Man Games
Five Tribes
from Days of Wonder
for 5th-10th grade
Galaxy Trucker
from Z-Man Games
A Space Ship Construction Game for Ages 10 and Up
Iota
from Gamewright Games
for 3rd-Adult
Kingdom Builder
from Asmodee Games
Le Havre
by Uwe Rosenberg
from Z-Man Games
for 7th-Adult
Lewis & Clark: The Expedition (Game)
from Asmodee Games
Strategy Game for Ages 10 and Up
Machi Koro
Memoir '44
by Richard Borg
from Days of Wonder
WWII Tactical Game for Ages 10 and up
Merchants & Marauders
from Z-Man Games
The Ultimate Pirate Game for 12 and Up
Merchants & Marauders - Seas of Glory Expansion
from Z-Man Games
The Ultimate Pirate Game for 12 and Up
My First Carcassonne
by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede
from Z-Man Games
Family/Strategy game for Preschool-3rd grade
Mystery of the Abbey
from Days of Wonder
for 5th-10th grade
Othello (or Reversi)
by Mattel
from Mattel
Abstract Game, Two Player for Ages 8 to Adult
Pente
from Hasbro
Abstract Game for ages 8 and up
Pirate's Cove
from Days of Wonder
Strategy/Family game for ages 11 and up
Pocket Battles: Celts vs. Romans
from Z-Man Games
Power Grid
from Rio Grande Games
Family/Strategy game for ages 9 and up
Highly Rated Family Game on boardgamegeek.com
Puerto Rico
by Andreas Seyfarth
from Rio Grande Games
for 6th grade-adult
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