Board Game Night Playlist: Medieval Times
Ever since the advent of Dungeons & Dragons (and probably even before that if you look hard enough), the Medieval era of history has been mined by board games countless times. Even though I’m generally not a fan of medieval fantasy in any medium, I’ve played and enjoyed enough board games set in this era to fill out this playlist. Heck, I even included one extra because I couldn’t make it fit within the main list. If you’re in the mood for some medieval action, try these ones out!
Ages 13 and up
Dominion players are tasked with building the largest kingdom. Each player will start with the same starting hand of Treasure and Victory cards, which they’ll use build their deck with bigger treasures, larger denominations of victory points and special Kingdom cards that trigger special effects when played. Depending on the Kingdom cards you play, they can help you gain treasure faster, force players to lose cards or even lower their score by forcing players to draw curse cards. The key to success in Dominion is to find the right balance of treasure, Kingdom and victory cards to gather during your turns so that you’ll have the most victory points by the end of the game.
This was the game that got me hooked into board games. I was actually tricked into going to Steff’s coworker’s Dominion night and I fell in love with the game. With all of the different Kingdom card combinations that can be made, it’s a lot of fun to try and create the perfect deck that will reward you with the most points by the end. Though I don’t think the medieval theme comes through all that much, it’s on this list because it is set in medieval times and it’s a blast to play.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
Ages 13 and up
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game aims to give players a role-playing type of experience without the hassle that comes with someone having to play as the Dungeon Master. Players will assume the roles of classic medieval hero archetypes and fight their way through a number of scenarios. If you’re looking to test the waters, there are a few one-off missions you can play with your friends. Or, if you’re going to commit, there’s an entire campaign that your characters can play through that will strengthen your characters over time.
I’ve always been wary of Dungeons & Dragons style role-playing games due to their complexity and the nerd factor that comes with it, but Pathfinder Adventure Card Game lowers those barriers while still delivering the joy that comes from these types of games. I haven’t played as much of this game as I would have liked, but it was great from what I’ve experienced so far as Steff and I fought through opposing forces to eventually put a stop to an evil menace. Unless you’re already deep into the world of D&D, this is the way to go for your medieval role-playing fix.
Ages 14 and up
Set in the world of Westeros, players take control of rival armies as they fight for control over the land. On the surface, the game looks like Risk. Once you dive into it though, you’ll quickly realize how much more involved this is. Combat is a deep and multi-step process that will really make you think about how to approach each encounter. Meanwhile, there’s also a layer of politics that allows for players to fight for control of turn order, additional combat strength and the use of additional combat commands.
Even though I’ve never read the books and I’ve only watched the first three episodes of the show, I got fully immersed in the story that the board game creates. You’re constantly pressed to make big decisions and it’s awesome to see how those choices pan out. If you’re going to try and make this game a part of your medieval playlist, make sure you carve out enough time for it, as the average game is going to take about three hours if you know what you’re doing. Due to its steep learning curve and lengthy time commitment, this one isn’t going to be for everyone. However, if you want a game that really brings out that medieval flavour while standing on its own as an entertaining experience, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition is a shoo-in on my list.