Open Channel: What Are Your Favorite Board Games?

A version of Monopoly called Empire, taken back in 2013.
A version of Monopoly called Empire, taken back in 2013.
Photo: Matthew Lloyd (Getty Images)

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. Sometimes, when I need an idea for an article, I just look around my apartment. I have so many posters, DVDs, toys, books, and more laying around that if we’re looking for something to talk about, usually I can find it.


And right now, Fireball Island is sitting on my floor.

Fireball Island was a board game released by Milton Bradley in 1986. It was a turn-based adventure game with this massive board which, at certain points, you would roll a “fireball” (it was a marble) across to try and knock off your opponents’ pieces. It was super fun and one of my favorite board games. Of course, I then forgot about it for a few years and stuffed it in my basement, only to later see mint condition ones selling for hundreds of dollars online.

No matter. Restoration Games came to the rescue earlier this year by Kickstarting a brand new version of the game, and it finally arrived this week. I haven’t played it yet, but the awesome box is sitting on my floor, and that got me thinking...

What are your favorite, most memorable, or most formative board games?

It’s just such a huge question. Sure, we all played Monopoly or Battleship growing up. Maybe Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land when we were really young. And those games are all still popular today. But the whole industry exploded in the past few decades, with games of all shapes, sizes, and difficulty levels becoming available. Basically anything you can imagine, and mostly stuff you can’t, is now a board game. Do you stick with the classics mentioned above, or something like Life or Risk? Are you a big Dominion person? Settlers of Catan? Star Wars X-Wing? Maybe you just like chess. I mean, the list could probably go on forever.

So, let’s start one. What are your all-time board games?

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Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



The greatest tabletop game in history is Nuclear War. It’s a card game in which you wage, well, nuclear war.

I once got to play with a veteran of the Rand Corporation who was one of the original architects of Mutual Assured Destruction: “We had to convince the [Eisenhower] administration that we had to put the survival of our own nation at risk to stop the USSR from taking over the world.”