Entertainment

These Brand-New Board Games Demand Your Time and Attention

When the classics just aren't cutting it, try out some newer options.

The Alpha board game setup
The Alpha | Courtesy of Bicycle Games
The Alpha | Courtesy of Bicycle Games
Looking for board games that have stood the test of time? Check out our guide to the best board games of the 21st century and see which classic board games still hold up today.

When you think of board games, your mind probably jumps to classics like Life and Clue and Monopoly. Where your mind doesn't jump? Modern smashers like Betrayal at House on the Hill and How to Rob a Bank. Every day, board game inventors are hard at work to create the next game night staple; it's your job as a lover of fun to consider their infant works as potential masterpieces.

Of course, keeping up with the world's best board games is a never-ending task, which is why I, Thrillist's self-proclaimed board game expert, have committed myself to regularly updating you, curious reader, on the latest and greatest games to hit the market. Check back often to see the freshest picks, and start budgeting for an updated board game collection. Here are the games that I just can't get enough of right now.

The Alpha
The Alpha | Courtesy of Bicycle Cards

The Alpha

Release date: June 2020
Number of players: 3-6
Play time: 45 minutes
Who it's for: Fans of Risk and The Grey
Why it's great: The game strategy relies on anticipating other players' moves and betting on dice rolls, making it suspenseful and unpredictable in the absolute best way. Also, it's visually pleasing, painted by a park ranger, no less.
What it's about: Don't let the rulebook fool you, The Alpha is not too complex once you've deciphered the instructions. Long story short: You want your wolf pack to dominate the Northern Forest, and to do that, you've got to hunt more food than the rival packs and stave off starvation. Each round represents a week and contains four stages: stalk, chase, resolve, and advance. During the stalk phase, wolves scatter around the board, choosing which prey they want to hunt. During the chase phase, dice are rolled to determine how much food is up for grabs. During the resolve phase, players that are gunning for the same prey must choose to fight for all of the food or distribute it evenly between the packs. During the advance phase, wolves move forward on the scoreboard to represent the amount of food they earned during the hunt. Whichever pack secures the most food in the allotted number of weeks becomes the ultimate alpha.
Buy it here

Exchange board game setup
Exchange | Courtesy of Bicycle Cards

Exchange

Release date: June 2020
Number of players: 3-6
Play time: 35 minutes
Who it's for: Fans of Monopoly and The Wolf of Wall Street
Why it's great: It's an economic game that doesn't totally suck!
What it's about: Fair warning: If you have absolutely zero interest in the stock market and/or finances and/or the wholly questionable concept of money, you may struggle to enter the proper headspace for Exchange. That said, if the NYSE tickles your fancy -- or if you ever wanted to feel like you were in an episode of Billions -- Exchange is worth your time. In this game, you're a trader trying to corner the market and earn the highest net-worth. You do this by choosing securities, buying and selling, and influencing market values (remember the ECON 101 mantra of buying low and selling high?). Beware of the market bubble, though -- if it pops, your entire strategy could get disrupted. May the best Bobby Axelrod win.
Buy it here

Half Truth

Release date: May 2020
Number of players: 2-6
Play time: 30-45 minutes
Who it's for: Fans of Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit
Why it's great: It's the brainchild of legendary Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield and 74-time Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings.
What it's about: This multifaceted party game blends trivia and poker, testing each player's ability to strategically wager on how well they know the topics at hand. To play, a trivia card is flipped, showing one prompt and six answers. For example, the card might say, "Is a state with no national parks," and list six US states to choose from. Three of the choices would be correct (i.e., they match the prompt and are states that do not contain national parks) and three of the choices would be false. Your job as a player is to decide how many of the correct answers you think you know. The higher you wager, the more victory points you earn, but you have to be careful: If you bet on knowing all three correct options and end up only knowing two, you get zero points. Will you play it safe and earn fewer points, or go all in and risk striking out?
Buy it here

Off Topic board game box
Off Topic | Courtesy of Off Topic Games

Off Topic

Release date: November 2019
Number of players: 2-8
Play time: 30-90 minutes
Who it's for: Fans of Scattergories and 5 Second Rule
Why it's great: It's a fresh take on Scattergories, one with unhinged prompts, more room for interpretation, and less restrictive rules. 
What it's about: Roll the 20-sided letter die to select a letter and grab a prompt card: Players have two minutes to respond to the prompts using only words that begin with the selected letter. Each player is geared with a whiteboard and dry erase marker to write their answers, and whoever has the most unique answers when the timer's up wins the round. Whoever wins the most rounds wins the game. Off Topic comes with 18 prompt cards, meaning you can play up to 18 rounds if you're really enjoying yourselves.
Buy it here

getCrewd
getCrewd | @ashleysmithphoto

getCrewd

Release date: September 2019
Number of players: 3-8
Play time: 35-120 minutes
Who it's for: Fans of Phase 10 and Hollywood
Why it's great: It's a labor of love -- created by a novice and independently distributed -- that's still worth playing at game nights.
What it's about: You're a film producer, you have a tight budget, and you need to find a crew to bring your vision to life. Designed by a real-life film producer, getCrewd brings all the hurdles of making a motion picture to your card table. You might think things are going smoothly, but you never know what disasters lie around the corner. Will a tornado destroy your set and eat up your budget? Will your star actor quit the project partway through? Pull the wrong card and anything could happen in this interactive game that proves you don't need a Hasbro buyout to make something fun.
Buy it here

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Kyler Alvord can't wait to update this list. Find him on Twitter and Instagram and tell him what he missed.