Offbeat Internet
Treasures

Tabletop Gaming

Tabletop games are games played in a parlor setting, such as those played on a board or map, card games or card systems, miniatures played in a confined area, and paper-and-pencil role playing games. These games often require strategy, but they can also be games of luck, skill, or knowledge. Electricity is either minimal or absent.

Social Board Game Club (*.pdf)
Family Game Table Rules (*.rtf)

Fun with various Playing Card Systems (Chinese Mah-Jongg deck, French Standard deck, Italian Tarock deck, etc.)

Official Rules of Card Games (*.pdf book)
Games with Tarot Playing Cards - [see page 12] (*.pdf book)
Rook Rules (*.pdf) Tarot Minor Arcana plus one Major Arcana card
Abridged Mah Jongg Playing Card Rules (*.pdf)
Bid Grid for Contract Bridge Novices (*.pdf)
Whist Rules (*.pdf)
- Cartomancy
Useful Cartomancy Decks = [suggested public decks]
Tarot Card Divinatory Meanings = [a fully illustrated guide]

Paper & Pencil Roleplay Gaming Tools

Event Resolution Guide (*.doc)
Attack Table Sliderule (*.xls)
Saving-Throw Tables (*.xls)
Subordination Tables (*.xls)
Character Attribute Tables (*.xls)
Movement Guide (*.doc)
A Monster Description Template (*.xls)

Rulebooks from several superior Board-style Games - (portable document files)

For successful game play, it is highly recommended that all players familiarize themselves with a games rules before their first play.
Bear in mind though that the host always has final authority on how their game is to be played (but the host is obligated to reveal any rule variations before the game commences).

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Suitable for Two Players

Games that could be successfully played by a lesser focused player, have been flagged with a greenish bar beside their icon (e.g., weight 1.69 or lower).
If we state that a game might be attractive to players of a more well known game, we are not claiming that this game is a re-skinned clone; but rather that either the games theme, mechanics, or objectives, are broadly comparable.


13 Days ~ [ History | Errata ] cold war
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Afrika Korps ~ [ Basics | Chart | Units | Log ] + (Bonus: 1) ww2
Agility ~ [ Aid ]
Air Show ~ [ Aid | Sequence ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3) *attractive to players of: Masterpiece
Air Wars: MiG Alley ~ [ Basics ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) korean war
Airfix Battles ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: Memoir '44
Airlines Europe + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Acquire
Ancient Wars: Hawaii 1795 ~ [ Errata ] revolutionary war
Animal Upon Animal *attractive to players of: Rhino Hero
Art of Chill Game + (Bonus: 1)
Attack Sub + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) cold war
Avalanche
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Barbarossa + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Dominion
Battle for Souls ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2)
Battle Line + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: cardgame Poker
Battle Sheep *attractive to players of: Hey, That's My Fish!
Battleship retro edition
Black Box ~ [ Patterncard ] *attractive to players of: Hangman
Blitzkrieg ~ [ Basics | Chart | Units | Log ] + (Bonus: 1)
Blokus *attractive to players of: Cathedral
Breakthrough- Cambrai ~ [ Aid | Playbook | Errata ] + (Bonus: 1) great war
Breakthru *attractive to players of: Hnefatafl
Brezhnev's War ~ [ Aid | Errata ] cold war
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Civil War Game 1863 civil war
Cold War + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: cardgame Blackjack
Concordia ~ [ Aid | Setup | History ] + (Bonus: 1) roman ages
Connect Four *attractive to players of: Tic-Tac-Toe
Conquest of Paradise deluxe second edition ~ [ Aid | History ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3) byzantine ages
Crows + (Bonus: 1)
Cuba- The Splendid Little War ~ [ Aid ] war with spain
Cubist ~ [ Aid | Expansion ]
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Dale of Merchants ~ [ Expansion ] + (Bonus: 1)
Dingo's Dreams *attractive to players of: Bingo
Displacement Chess: Peripheral Bishops ~ [ Basics ]
Double Double Dominoes
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Equate *attractive to players of: Scrabble
Evolution ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: Dominant Species
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Feng Shui Game Pack
Feudal
Final Act + (Bonus: 1)
Fire & Movement: Shanghai Incident ~ [ Basics ] + (Bonus: 1) ww2
Freight Train + (Bonus: 1 \ 2)
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Gaslands *attractive to players of: Car Wars
Gipf
Great War at Sea: Cone of Fire ~ [ Basics | Charts | Weather | Fleet | Log | Data | Carriers | Errata | Improvements ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3) war with spain
Great War at Sea: Remember the Maine ~ [ Basics | Weather | Fleet | Log | Data | Errata | Improvements ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3 \ 4) war with spain
Great War at Sea: Russo-Japanese War ~ [ Basics | Weather | Fleet | Log | Data | Errata | Improvements ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3) war with spain
Great War at Sea: Zeppelins ~ [ Basics | Group | Log | Data | Improvements ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) great war
Guess Who?
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Haleakala
Hanamikoji
Hand of Destiny: Lettow-Vorbeck ~ [ Basics ] great war
Herd Your Horses
Hive ~ [ Expansion ]
Home Before Dinner
Homestretch ~ [ Improvements ] *attractive to players of: Can't Stop
Hong
Hoot Owl Hoot! *attractive to players of: Candy Land
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Imhotep + (Bonus: 1)
Impact City Roller Derby ~ [ Aid | Log ]
Indycar Unplugged ~ [ Improvements ] *attractive to players of: Chutes and Ladders
Iron and Oak ~ [ Aid | Playbook ] + (Bonus: 1) civil war
Istanbul ~ [ Aid | Expansion ] + (Bonus: 1)
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Jaipur ~ [ Errata ] + (Bonus: 1)
Jump Drive ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: 7 Wonders
Jumpin *attractive to players of: Chinese Checkers
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Kahuna + (Bonus: 1)
Ker Plunk *attractive to players of: Jenga
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Labyrinth
Latice deluxe edition
Landlord + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Trailer Park Wars
Lightning: Poland ww2
Ligretto Dice *attractive to players of: Dutch Blitz
Lost Cities + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) *attractive to players of: cardgame Cribbage
Luchador! second edition *attractive to players of: Yahtzee
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Management ~ [ Blurb | Log ]
Manoeuvre ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2)
Master Mind *attractive to players of: Clue
Memory spidersense spider-man edition *attractive to players of: Husker Du?
Mercury / Market Garden ~ [ Aid | Errata ] ww2
Mille Bornes classic edition ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2)
Mini Orchard *attractive to players of: Hi Ho! Cherry-O
Mob Town ~ [ Aid | VariantAid ] *attractive to players of: Small World
Multiplayer Pentago
Musket & Pike: Sweden Fights On ~ [ Basics | Aid ] + (Bonus: 1) renaissance
Musket & Saber (quick play): Molino Del Rey ~ [ Basics ] war with mexico
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Navegador ~ [ Summary | History | Improvements ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) *attractive to players of: Puerto Rico
Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 ~ [ borgo | hegemony | moloch | the outpost ] + [ iron gang | new york | uranopolis ]
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Odin's Ravens second edition *attractive to players of: Backgammon
Onitama
Oshi
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Pandemic: Iberia ~ [ Aid ] war with mexico
Pente *attractive to players of: Go
Planes ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: Mancala
Planetarium
Ploy
Police Precinct second edition ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: 221B Baker Street
Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time
Protect the Penguin *attractive to players of: Don't Break the Ice
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Qin *attractive to players of: Carcassonne
Quarto!
Quinto ~ [ Scorecard ]
Quoridor
Qwirkle + (Bonus: 1)
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Rack-O
Ranglin' Rabbits
Raptor ~ [ Aid ]
Reds! ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) great war
Robotory
Rubik's Race
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Santorini *attractive to players of: The Climbers
Sekigahara ~ [ Aid ] renaissance
Sequence for Kids
Shields & Swords II: Battles on the Ice ~ [ Basics ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) middle ages
Shields & Swords II: The Grunwald Swords ~ [ Basics ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) middle ages
Skip-Bo *attractive to players of: cardgame Spite and Malice
Snow Tails
Sorry! Star Wars edition *attractive to players of: Pachisi
Spot it! ~ [ History ]
Square Off
Star Trek Panic ~ [ Aid ]
Stay Alive *attractive to players of: cardgame Old Maid
Stellar Conflict
Stone Age ~ [ Aid ] *attractive to players of: Agricola
Stronghold second edition ~ [ Aid | Blurb ] + (Bonus: 1)
Survive 30th anniversary edition ~ [ Expansion ]
Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge *attractive to players of: Mystery Date
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Take Off! *attractive to players of: Trouble
The Great Heartland Hauling Co. ~ [ Aid | Expansion ] + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Game of the States
The Guns of Gettysburg 150th anniversary edition + (Bonus: 1) civil war
The Rose King
Thunder & Lightning *attractive to players of: Stratego
Tiny Epic Galaxies ~ [ Clarification ] + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Caylus
Topple *attractive to players of: Tip-It
Traverse
Tsuro *attractive to players of: Metro
Twilight Struggle deluxe edition ~ [ Aid ] cold war
Twixt
Tzaar *attractive to players of: Checkers
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Uno classic edition *attractive to players of: cardgame Crazy Eights
Upwords
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Victory or Death ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Axis & Allies peloponnesian war
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Warp 6
Waterworks + (Bonus: 1)
Welcome to the Dungeon ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1)
Why First? *attractive to players of: Uncle Wiggily
Wilderness War ~ [ Charts | Playbook ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) revolutionary war
Word on the Street *attractive to players of: Boggle
Word Power ~ [ words ]
World's Fair 1893 ~ [ Start | Actions | Scoring ] + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: El Grande
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Yinsh *attractive to players of: Othello
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Zombies!!! directors cut edition ~ [ Expansion ] *attractive to players of: Mouse Trap


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Better with Multiple Players

A number beside the cover photo indicates a minimum multi-player count.
Games that could be successfully played by a lesser focused player, have been flagged with a greenish bar beside their icon (e.g., weight 1.69 or lower).
If we state that a game might be attractive to players of a more well known game, we are not claiming that this game is a re-skinned clone; but rather that either the games theme, mechanics, or objectives, are broadly comparable.


Animals on Board + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: cardgame Rummy
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Best Treehouse Ever
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3 Catan family edition ~ [ Basics | Aid ]
Clever Endeavor *attractive to players of: Trivial Pursuit
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3 For Sale
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Ivanhoe + (Bonus: 1)
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Jamaica + (Bonus: 1)
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Kemet ~ [ Aid | Expansion | ExpansionAid ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2) *attractive to players of: Risk
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Libertalia + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: cardgame War
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3 Mahjong
Maria ~ [ Politics | Log | Aid | Sequence ] + (Bonus: 1 \ 2 \ 3) *attractive to players of: Friedrich revolutionary war
3 Mermaid Rain ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1)
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Nuclear War ~ [ Spinner | Placemat | People ]
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Payday retro edition ~ [ Chart ]
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Ratrace *attractive to players of: The Game of Life
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The Great Dinosaur Rush ~ [ Aid | Screen ] *attractive to players of: Ticket to Ride
The Grizzled ~ [ Aid ]
The Hunger Games: Training Days ~ [ Aid | Improvements ] *attractive to players of: Monopoly
5 The Resistance *attractive to players of: Werewolf
3 Tin Goose ~ [ Aid ] + (Bonus: 1) *attractive to players of: Power Grid
TriBond diamond edition
Trumpet *attractive to players of: cardgame Bridge
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Windup War *attractive to players of: RoboRally
3 Wings for the Baron second edition ~ [ Track | Standard | Campaign | History | Solitaire ] great war
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All of the above are board-style games I own, and while all are Good, not every one is Great. This is because a couple were gifts or thrift store finds, and which although I have found some enjoyment playing, I would probably not have purchased new. I suggest you click on a cover photo to read the linked BGG rating and reviews before purchasing the game for yourself. Note that if the game listed here is an "edition" of the more commonly found title, it is because in my opinion the variant plays or looks noticeably better.

Games based on historical events have a green label suggesting their general historical era. Peloponnesian war = until 265bc, roman ages = 264bc-324, byzantine ages = 325-1065, middle ages = 1066-1454, renaissance = 1455-1659, revolutionary war = 1660-1816, war with mexico = 1817-1850, civil war = 1851-1878, war with spain = 1879-1905, great war = 1906-1929, ww2 = 1930-1947, korean war = 1948-1953, cold war = 1954 onwards.

Most mass-produced games, including those considered "family classics", are really not that good, and the manufacturer often does not even care. The maker just trades on name recognition and heavy marketing to convince parents to buy them. When you see a game listed here as "attractive to players of ___", it is because I believe most people would enjoy this game equally or better than game "___". And don't overlook that fact that if you start to master a game, you can make it fresh again by using alternative rules (including using well conceived house rules).

One thing you will note is that these games cross all skill levels and most genres. This is because I feel that gaming is a social event, and a good host should have games available for any type of player and timeframe. This is why you see 10 minute quickies and 3 hour slogs, two player brain burners and multi-player laugh fests, games that fit in your pocket and games that fill a dining room table. Bear in mind also that even hard-core strategists might just want to play short, silly (but still good) games now an then, which is why you also see what some people regrettably describe as "kids" games listed here.

Why are there no solo player games listed here? IMHO, solo play just isn't a good fit for physical board-style games (board games, card games, skill games, etc.). Most people play board-style games for the interpersonal interaction, including with those games that use personal play fields. Besides, many of the games listed here can be played solo using special rule sets, making exclusively solo games somewhat superfluous. If you want to physically play solo, I suggest a good puzzle. If you need to play solo due to lack of opponents, I urge playing a computerized version of the board-style game where your opponent is the computer. Most video games of all flavors are also an outstanding choice for solo play.