SALT LAKE CITY — Classic board games are written in the annals of every family game night.
And of all the classics, "Risk" "Monopoly" "Stratego" and "Scrabble" are the quadfecta of board games that have withstood the test of time. But even these golden oldies can sometimes get, well, old.
If you're looking to add some variety to your game nights or to just play something more modern, there is no shortage of good options. We offer the following 12 board games that can replace these four classics at your table.
One of the most renowned games to ever appear on a family table, you probably best recall "Risk" as a game that takes hours to complete. It's cutthroat and tense, but it's also a game where a few lucky dice rolls can change the course of your battles.
Want to dominate everyone on a map? Try "Inis."
Like "Risk," Inis" is a game in which you play as a leader of a clan fighting for control of a map. Unlike "Risk," there are several distinct victory conditions, so you don't have to focus on simply eliminating the opposition. Instead, you focus on establishing positions of strength across the map before your opponents can do the same.
If you're the first to control six of your opponents' troops, move next to six key buildings or be present in six or more territories, and you'll win the game. This gives everyone the chance to focus their strategies on different aspects, from domination to simply spreading their influence.
Looking for deep strategy as you dominate on a map with just a little bit of war? Try "Scythe."
"Scythe," one of the more popular designer board games of the last five years, is as much about warfare as it is about farming and mining. You and your crew of workers and large robot mechs aren't fighting for control of the entire map, just certain areas where you can gather the resources you need. To succeed, you'll need to earn the most points through a variety of methods, from completing quests, to winning battles, to growing the popularity of your faction.
Want something similar to "Risk" but with a shorter timeframe and more flexibility? Try "Small World."
If you're looking for world domination where you're trying to wipe out the opposition — you know, just like "Risk" — check out "Small World." You start by selecting one race with a unique special power, which you use to spread your troops and influence across the map.
Over time, your power will wane as you run out of troops. But don't worry — when that happens, you can spend your turn to switch to another combination instead of placing your troops on the map. If you are the most dominant over the course of the game, which lasts a set number of rounds, you'll win.
Replacing a game like "Monopoly" isn't an easy, straightforward thing. Sure, it's a game about real estate, but it's also a game about tricking your siblings into believing your made-up rules as you crush their spirits. As a result, it's rarely enjoyed by more than one player in any given game. Here are some options that might fare better during game night.
Want to play a game where you trick your family and friends? Try "Sheriff of Nottingham."
If you like "Monopoly" because it gives you a chance to sit around for a few hours with your friends and family, your options are wide and varied. "Sheriff of Nottingham" is one fun, engaging option.
Each player is a merchant bringing goods into town, with a sheriff getting a chance to interrogate you and potentially inspect your bag of goods. If you lied about what's in your bag and they inspect it, you'll have to pay up. If you didn't lie, the sheriff pays up instead.
It's all about you trying to pull a fast one on the other players. Can you sneak contraband past the sheriff and can you catch everyone else trying to do the same to you? Or will you fall for other players' bluffs?
Want to play a game of more strategic manipulation and negotiation? "Cosmic Encounter" is a good fit.
If you like "Monopoly" because you want to crush the opposition through negotiation and manipulation, "Cosmic Encounter" might be the game for you. Through battle and negotiation, you'll try to be the first player to land on five planets outside your own system.
The big twist: Each player around the table plays as an alien race with a special power, and each of those powers radically changes the game, breaking a fundamental rule in some interesting way. With 50 alien races in the base game and many more added in expansions, no two games will be the same.
Want to establish yourself as a mogul of industry? "Power Grid" is the game for you.
If you like "Monopoly" because you have a chance to build up an economic empire, try "Power Grid." As you try to build your power company into the strongest in the nation, you'll bid on new power plants, buy the resources you need to fuel them and grow beyond your starting city.
If you're the first player to power 21 cities, you'll win. But if you expand your reach too quickly and don't establish the proper financial footing first, you might find that difficult.
A classic two-player game, "Stratego" requires some deep thought and planning. It remains a classic for many reasons, and unlike some others on the list, the design really seems to hold up well.
Want to play an updated "Stratego?" Try "Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation."
"Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation" pits two sides — the Fellowship and the evil opposition — against each other. It's actually very similar to "Stratego" in some ways, so if you're a big fan of the classic, this could fill in similarly.
Looking more for trying to figure out what your opponent is thinking? Try "Letters from Whitechapel" or "Hunt for the Ring."
If you're looking for a game where you don't know exactly what your opponent is doing, look toward hidden movement games, where a team of players hunts down one hidden player. "Letters From Whitechapel" is arguably the most widely known hidden movement game. One player is Jack the Ripper trying to escape from the other players, who are the police force.
You might also look at "Hunt for the Ring" if the idea of a Middle Earth-themed affair appeals to you. One person plays as Frodo trying to escape The Shire with the ring, while one to three other people play as the Nazgul trying to sniff out the hobbit as he turns invisible.
If the classic word-spelling game "Scrabble" is getting a little old — or if you can't quite figure out how knowing a slew of two-letter words you never use in real life is a game-winning strategy — try out one of these games.
Want to build words without other people getting in your way? Check out "Paperback," "Hardback" and "Bananagrams"8 comments on this story
"Paperback" and its sequel "Hardback," from Utah game designers Tim Fowers and Jeff Beck, respectively, both take a fresh approach to the word-building genre. You start with just a few letter cards in your deck, which you can use to buy more useful and higher-scoring letters. Spell a sufficiently long word to end the game, score points from your deck and you might find yourself the winner — but if somebody else has a higher-value deck than you, spelling that long word won't do you any good.
"Bananagrams" takes word-building to a new level: Each player plays in their own area, with everyone drawing tiles from a central pool. When one player has placed all their letters in a crossword-like grid, everyone has to take another letter. If you're the first to complete your grid after all the letters are gone from the middle, you win.