Forget Monopoly: These Board Games Put You on the Front Lines of History

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Forget Monopoly: These Board Games Put You on the Front Lines of History

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Forget Monopoly: These Board Games Put You on the Front Lines of History



Photo:

F. Martin Ramin/ The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Jill Telesnicki

For years, many thinking adults associated board games with mind-numbing drudgery that made them want to flip the table. Then, in the 1990s, games like “Settlers of Catan” paved the way out of Candy Land. For some, “Settlers” still wasn’t sophisticated enough, prompting a new strain of challenging games, centered on historic events but sufficiently inviting for non-academics. Five we recommend:

For Strategists on the Go

“13 Minutes” is both the time it takes for ballistic missiles to reach the U.S. from Cuba and the time required to play this game (give or take). Here, opponents push their cards and cubes into different spheres of influence as they jockey for political advantage and avoid moves that might trigger nuclear war. $10, miniaturemarket.com

In the award-winning ‘Freedom’ players work together as they sneak slaves north.

In the award-winning ‘Freedom’ players work together as they sneak slaves north.


Photo:

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

For Team Players

“Freedom: The Underground Railroad” takes an unflinching look at the struggle against slavery, as players assume the roles of abolitionists trying to assist escaped slaves in their journey north. It’s cooperative, meaning players collectively face a series of escalating challenges, not each other, and everyone wins or loses together. $70, academygames.com

For Armchair Generals

Plastic tanks and army men give “Memoir ‘44” the appearance of a child’s game, but those friendly trappings belie complex dice- and card-based combat. Choose from a generous selection of real battle scenarios to engage in, including D-Day and the Liberation of Paris. $60, funagain.com

For Aspiring Politicians

“1960: The Making of the President” plays out on a large electoral map as candidates take sides on key issues and navigate current events of the day. As

Richard Nixon

or John Kennedy, players (literally) lay their cards on the table in an intense debate phase that leads to an election-day showdown. $85, coolstuffinc.com

For Hardcore Historians

Can board games communicate the messy political realities that shape world conflicts? In the unapologetically complex “Fire in the Lake,” up to four players line up as competing factions in the Vietnam War. They must work together in negotiating pivotal events, but since only one player will triumph, each round becomes an exercise in trust, risk, and suspicion. $85, gmtgames.com

By | 2018-02-01T21:45:42+00:00 February 1st, 2018|0 Comments

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