Nerds on Earth
The best place on Earth for nerds.

7 Great Games to Jump Start a Board Game Collection

Are you board game curious, yet don’t know where to begin? Well, here are 7 great hobby board games to get you going. Warning, these games will mark the start of your next obsession.

Starting a Board Game Collection

1. Pandemic

pandemic-board-game

Pandemic is what’s called a co-op game. What Monopoly was to yesteryear, Pandemic is to our time. It is a “gateway” game that has introduced most of blue state America to hobby-style board games.

Pandemic has you take on the role of CDC workers, trotting around the globe, knocking off disease cubes to prevent a global catastrophe. Pandemic popularized the cooperative board game, meaning you don’t compete with your teammates, you work together.

Pandemic is a clean, elegant game and one that is perfect to add to your collection, being that it rewards cooperation instead of competition. And if Covid-19 has you feeling uneasy, Pandemic is an excellent outlet for gallows humor.

You can get Pandemic here.

2. Zombicide

Review of Zombicide

Zombicide is nothing but big, dumb fun. Few games go better with beer than Zombicide, and there isn’t a game that has a better horde of cool miniatures. It’s consistently the best-seller through Nerds on Earth affiliate links.

In Zombicide you play survivors who are working against a legion of the undead. It’s pulpy fun. We’ve done a full review, but trust us when we say you’ll get lots of hoots and hollers from Zombicide.

A 2nd edition of the game releases in late 2021, but the later Green Horde and Black Plague editions will continue to hold up. In the days of Covid-19, I recommend the Black Plague edition obviously.

Get Zombicide: Black Plague here.

3. Dominion

Dominion-hand-580x351

Dominion is the granddaddy of what are called deck builders. You start out with a small hand of cards and limited actions. Turn by turn you add cards and your actions increase.

Dominion is chill, yet still thoughtful. It works great as a two player game, so it makes for a nice, quiet date night at home. It also has loads of expansions, and while there are flashier games that exist, you’d be hard pressed to find a game that is more universally appreciated than Dominion.

Get Dominion here. You won’t regret it.

4. Century Spice Road

I have introduced more people to hobby board gaming via Century Spice Road than any other game. It is simple to teach, good with a variety of player numbers and types, and makes for a smooth, enjoyable time.

You play as spice traders of yesteryear. You play cards to gather cubes that represent different types of spices. You then turn those cubes in to purchase cards that grant you victory points.

I realize that previous sentence sounds boring as heck, but Century Spice Road is a wonderful game, despite what many would consider a ho-hum theme. But it’s a GREAT game. It’s elegant and smooth, which makes it ideal for an evening at home or if you have another couple over.

Get Century Spice Road here.

5. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a game about laying rails. Players get cards that list train routes, then race the other players to collect the colored train cars that allow them to complete the routes.

I’ve never a met a human that didn’t enjoy the game. Everyone from grandpas to older kids enjoy playing, so it’s worth a purchase if just to have something to do after thanksgiving dinner. It’s a modern day classic for a reason.

Get Ticket to Ride here.

6. Raiders of the North Sea

No spoilers on the awesome Viking crew cards.

If you itch for something a little more exciting that spices or trains, give Raiders of the North Sea a try. Raiders of the North Sea is a Viking-themed game, something I appreciate as a Minnesotan. But what I really appreciate is how smooth and fun the game is.

The core gameplay has players place a worker, then take a worker. Those actions allow a player to build up a raiding party that can then plunder the countryside.

I’ve written more here, so suffice it to say that I give Raiders of the North Sea my highest recommendation.

Get it here.

7. Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep might be the deepest cut on this list, as it is a D&D-themed board game and slightly more difficult to learn than a straight gateway game like Ticket to Ride. But it will absolutely become a cornerstone to a growing board game collection.

Lords of Waterdeep isn’t D&D, but it is D&D inspired. Cards are placed across the top of the game board. These cards are quests that have different requirements to complete. As players complete those objectives (plus hidden ones), they score victory points.

It’s one of my wife’s absolute favorite games and she isn’t into D&D at all. She loves Lords of Waterdeep solely because the gameplay is so smooth.

Get Lords of Waterdeep here.


There you have it: 7 great games to consider when starting a board game collection. And you are starting a board game collection, aren’t you?

Which titles would you recommend to brand new board gamers who are looking to ramp up a collection?  Drop in to our Boarderlands Facebook Group, which is a dedicated space for all things tabletop, and let us know!