Meet PlayTable, the world's first board game console - EXCLUSIVE to the Beer & Board Games Cruise

smart-pieces.194ed092288b2d72e331dd5b09b3ac7d

SmartPieces:

PlayTable has a big touchscreen and it’s not only for fingers. SmartPieces are special NFC objects that PlayTable can sense anywhere on its touchscreen. In fact any toy, figure, or miniature can become a SmartPiece with one of our inexpensive NFC stickers!

SmartPieces can also be used in a variety of apps beyond gaming like educational, art, and music. Imagine learning about gravity by moving SmartPiece planets, experimenting with ecosystems by dropping in SmartPiece animals, or discovering harmonies with SmartPiece instruments. That’s the kind of physical and creative play we dream of with PlayTable!

multiscreen.3da64ebef404b889882d1fae3354bd28

MultiScreen:

Many board games require players to have cards or other kinds of private information in their hand. MultiScreen allows games to put those secrets on your smartphone or tablet. Games with MultiScreen extend the PlayTable into our personal devices so you can have authentic social play in a digital environment, but where screens are not the center of attention.

remote-play.5879b595cc1b6d7b2712942c80de4399

RemotePlay:

Playing around the same table, with all our friends and family, is priceless. But so often we can’t all be there to play. RemotePlay allows you play with your group wherever you are. Games with RemotePlay join two or more PlayTables and their players into the same game session. Add in a video chat app with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and it’s like your remote friend or loved one is right there playing across from you.

Games with RemotePlay also let you connect to a game session from a laptop alone. So anyone in your play group can join a game from anywhere in the world, even without a PlayTable!

gamecraft.b0c9e067be634de6e6cd6d8ca29f4997

GameCraft:

When you love a board game, you want to expand it, tweak the rules, even mix pieces and characters from other games. With GameCraft, you can customize your board games like never before! Upgrade your meeples with toy-to-life figures, add SmartPiece cards to cause special effects with each play, and download the best home-brew house rules from the community to keep your games fresh forever.

Some of our best new board games of 2016

2016 has been an outstanding one for board games, with all manner of new table-top games arriving on the scene. Some are quick and easy to pick up, others come with rule books that resemble lengthy literary offerings.

Avid gamers will naturally stumble upon the latter, so here we've collected a round-up of the former.  So give the digital world the heave-ho and try one of these contemporary family board games on the Beer & Board Game Cruise

SCYTHE
SCYTHE
Scythe is the best game of 2016. In this gorgeously illustrated steampunk re-imagining of 1920s Eastern Europe, five players complete for regional prestige, resources, and territorial control of a hexagonal game board.
Although battling your friends with coal-powered mechs is a significant part of the game, Scythe is by no means a combat-centric slog. The game actively penalizes direct warfare, which might sound frustrating but makes the game all the more strategic and balanced. You'll find yourself immersed in Scythe's strategy and aesthetics as you plan each turn's single action.
For example: First you might complete a quest to steal food and money from local farmers, next you'll build a mine to connect territories across the board, and lastly you'll sweep into a nearby Soviet territory to do battle and steal all their iron.Price: $80.00 Funagain Games
FALLING SKY
The year is 54 BC. Rome, rising to the height of its glory, has conquered modern-day France. But rebellion is rising up on all sides, and as the countryside descends into chaos, only one faction will come out on top. Will it be Caesar's Romans?
Or will historic glory be gripped by a Gallic, Belgian, Celtic, or Germanic tribe? In Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar, up to five players delve into antiquity, role-playing this historic European conquest.
The strategic war game uses a play system that revolves around pulling from a semi-random card deck of historical events. Each card gives players various options to compete via war, politics, or diplomacy on the game board. Falling Sky also has an ingenious set of rules that automate play for factions (think computer player) if you have fewer than 5 friends interested in diving headfirst into Roman History. Price: $94.99 Amazon
gallery-1477597648-71apbs0d-pl-sl1000
gallery-1477597422-91obfxswe4l-sl1500
Mombasa
Mombasa will keep you guessing who's going to win until the final turn. In this cutthroat strategy game, up to four players scramble for Africa as colonial business investors, trading goods like coffee and bananas, buying stock in four competing companies, and leading resource-hunting expeditions into the continent.
What makes Mombasa so tricky is that everyone can buy stock in any of the four competing companies. Players also raise and lower the stock value of each company as they play.
Together, this can make winning early a pretty substantial disadvantage, because losing players can work together to even the scales by tanking your investments.
Our favorite quirk of Mombasa is that the game has an entire game mechanic revolved around bookkeeping. Who says detailed accounting isn't exhilarating? Price: $41 Amazon
GRAND HOTEL AUSTRIA
If what draws you to board games is a chance to stress-test your strategic mettle, Grand Austria Hotel is your jam. You and up to three other players (although we recommend just one) take charge of turn-of-the-century Viennese cafes and hotels.
You'll lure in customers, fulfill their food and drink requests, and shuffle them into rooms. You're basically gunning to gather the most victory points by balancing 6 goals at once, like splurging for food tokens or hiring staff cards for their bonuses.
At the beginning of each round, you'll learn which options are limited by a random toss of dice. Analytical paralysis is almost assured each game, but that's half the fun. Our only criticism? The "staff" you can hire (cards that give you bonuses) sometimes seem wildly over- or under-powered. Price: $60 Amazon
gallery-1477596434-91c5rcsclil-sl1500
gallery-1477585650-91irjtxgcml-sl1500
THUNDER AND LIGHTENING
This two-player card game pits the Norse gods Thor and Loki against each other in a single epic battle. Compared to Magic the Gathering or any number of other custom card games, Thunder and Lightning is downright simple.
Players summon monsters and warriors face-down in three rows, and only the first monster in each row can attack. If any of your three rows are devoid of cards, you draw fewer cards on your next turn.
Each fighting card has just one stat, which delineates how powerful it is. There are two particularly well-designed aspects of Thunder and Lightning. First, although the Thor and Loki decks are composed of unique cards, the game is balanced for each side.
Second, even though the game is easy to learn, the tactics you'll need are delightfully complex. Because you play cards face-down, clever bluffing was an absolute must.Price: $27.79 Amazon
STAR WARS REBELLION
Have a friend and an infinite amount of free time? Then you're almost ready to play Star Wars: Rebellion. You're just going to need more time. Just learning the rules can take up to two hours, and play can easily spill into the five hour territory.
With two massive game boards, hundreds of plastic figurines, and more dice and game tokens than you can keep track of, Rebellion plays like a monstrous mashup of Risk and Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition. In this asymmetric slog, you either take command of the Rebels, sending heroes like Luke and Leia across the galaxy to foment rebellion, or helm the Galactic Empire, fielding massive armadas of spaceships to scour for the rebel base, destroying planets with Death Stars, and capturing the rebel heroes in the process.
Like an abandoned star system, you will finish this huge game utterly depleted.Price: $72.99 Amazon
gallery-1477583942-starwars
gallery-1477584923-71udbbplbkl-sl1054
QUADROPOLIS
Fours. Fours everywhere. In Quadropolis, up to four players play as city planners building a custom metropolis from scratch. During the game, you'll take turns sending out a team of four architects, gathering plans for various buildings from a central play area in four rounds, and then constructing them in your personal four-by-four city map grid. Each building type—harbors, skyscrapers, or city parks, for example—net you different amounts of victory points depending on how and where you construct them. For example, the more skyscrapers stand next to your city parks, the more points your city parks are worth. With extraordinarily few player interactions—heck, you could play the entire game in silence—Quadropolis often feels a lot like Solitaire. But hey, after a few rounds of Spaceteam or Secret Hitler, this can be quite refreshing. Price: $35.99 Amazon
STRONGHOLD
Erect deadly siege engines, shuffle your armies and heroes across crumbling ramparts, or send ravenous hordes of orcs and goblins to assault a castle.
In Stronghold you play out an epic six-day siege, and we think Stronghold deserves a spot alongside Star Wars: Rebellion and the vaulted classic Twilight Struggle in terms of top-tier asymmetric two player games.
What's especially brilliant here is how winning tactics diverge for the opposing sides. A brilliant assault demands a cohesive, long-term strategy, while the game heavily rewards a defensive player with a snappy handle on short-term reactionary tactics. Be warned, your first game will be a wash, fraught with moments where you finally realize what you should have been doing about four turns ago. Price: $43.99 Cool Stuff Inc.
gallery-1477584425-stronghold-2nd-edition-box-top-proof-not-final-1021x1024
1477584198-screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-120252-pm
SECRET HITLER
Secret Hitler is a deduction-focused party game like Mafia or The Resistance, but with significantly more jackboots and accusations of fascist behavior.
The game begins as five to ten players are each given a secret dossier containing a party affiliation card and a character card. The majority of players start as generic 1930's German Liberals, but a few are card-carrying Fascists—and one of the Fascists is Hitler himself.
Only the fascists know who each other are. Each round, players elect a president and chancellor. Together, that duo secretly enacts one of three arbitrary government policies. The Liberals win by enacting 6 Liberal policies.
The hidden Fascists try either to discreetly enact 5 Fascist policies together or (later in the game) to elect Hitler as chancellor. Every game will descend into dark spiral of collusion, lies, and impassioned accusations. You've never had so much fun accusing your friends of being Hitler. Price: Coming to Amazon soon (Print and Play is Free)
SPACETEAM
Yelling strange words, tossing cards, losing all hope… the loud and exhilarating Spaceteam is a game only your neighbors could hate. During play, up to six players (or nine with the highly recommended Not Safe For Space expansion) chaotically attempt to assemble a spaceship within five minutes.
Each player flips through a deck of interstellar "malfunction" cards while hunting for all 6 of the spaceship cards hidden among them. You solve each malfunction card by laying down specific "tool" cards, of which everyone has a hand.
The problem? The tool cards are dispersed through all the players, requiring you to call aloud for them by physical description, or by their absurd names. You'll find yourself repeatedly yelling "The Quasipaddle! I need the Quasipaddle!" or "For the love of god, I still need the circle-y vacuum looking thing with handles! Who has it?!" Price: 24.99 Amazon
gallery-1477583536-spaceteam
1-codenames
CODENAMES
Codenames is a riveting party game for people who love intrigue and spycraft. Four or more players on two teams battle to interpret clever but exceedingly bare-bones clues.
In each round of the game, players set up a 5 x 5 grid of plain ID cards with codenames like "Octopus" or "Undertaker." Teams designate a single player to be the spymaster, who knows which 8 or 9 randomly-selected codenames of the 25 belong to his or her team.
The spymasters take turns cluing in their team by saying just a single word followed by a number of cards associated with the clue. For example, you might say "Suit, two," if your only remaining codenames in the field of cards are "Chauffeur" and "Card." (Cards have suits, while chauffeurs wear suits.) Then you get to watch silently as your fumbling team decides your clue must be referencing the codenames "Chauffeur" and... "Watch." We never promised it would be easy. Price: $19.95, amazon.com
PANDEMIC LEGACY
The most talked-about game of 2015, Pandemic Legacy is arguably the best cooperative game ever designed. Each hour-plus game forms but a fraction of the 12-to-24-game saga that will probably take your gaming group months to complete.
The core of Pandemic Legacy is a stylistic and mechanical duplicate of its 2007 precursor, Pandemic, in which the players are disease control specialists working together to stymie outbreaks across the globe. What's radically new here is just how much Legacy physically changes from game to game as the saga progresses.
From incorporating new packages of game pieces and cards to introducing new board icons and new rules (which you literally stick into a blank page in the rulebook), choices in each game deeply affect the next. Ten games in, you'll be playing a totally different game than your neighbors are. Price: $59.99, amazon.com
2-p-legacy
3-blood-rage
BLOOD RAGE
On the surface, Blood Rage feels a lot like the classic Small World. In both games, you take control of a bloodthirsty faction (here it's a ragtag Viking army) and wage war against your opponents across a small, dense gameboard.
Instead of outright military conquest, you're competing for points. But the similarities end there, because Blood Rage throws in boatload of fun new game mechanics.
For example, your faction evolves dramatically throughout the game as you complete quests and acquire an assortment of upgrade cards. These cards give you new powers and even god-like monsters to battle. And while winning battles is important to gather "glory" points, those points are also doled out in secret quests and when characters die epically and reach Valhalla, meaning you'll find many different strategic paths to victory. Price: $88.30, amazon.com
TINY EPIC GALAXIES
Few games can pack as much strategy, excitement, and abject fun into a half hour. Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice-rolling game in which players toss a handful of 6-sided die (with the option to spend points to re-roll a bad throw) and then take the actions the symbols on the dice dictate.
With your dice you can conquer card-printed planets for game points and new powers, slowly increase the number of dice you roll or the number of times you can reroll them, or harvest points for future turns.
The best part of this game is that (for a cost) you can copy some of the actions your opponents' take during their turns, leaving zero downtime and no room for even a twinge of boredom. Price: $39.99, amazon.com
5-tinyepic
6-504
504
Even in a year that brought us games full of time travel and games requiring epic, month-long sagas, 504 is easily the most ambitious of them all.
This is not one just game, but 504 games in a single box. How? The game's rulebook outlines 9 types of games that are all split into three sections—a main rules section, a section on the game's economic system, and a section for additional rules.
To play with any combination of those three sections from the 9 games, you just adjust the rulebook and start. For example, you might be playing a war game (section one, game-type four), in which you earn money via racing (section two, game-type two) with extra rules concerning building roads (section three, game-type six).
Do the math and you've got 504 unique games. Games can be played with up to four players and largely revolve around hexagonal tiles; they require anywhere from 30 minutes to more two hours to play. Some games are more thrilling than others, but you cannot beat 504's massive replayability. Price: $99.95, amazon.com
7 WONDERS DUEL
Like Pandemic Legacy, 7 Wonders Duel is a reincarnation of a much-loved and absurdly popular European-style board game. But rather than expanding a classic into an epic saga as Pandemic did, this game takes the opposite path: It's a crunched-down, two-player variant of its parent that somehow is even more fun.
You and your opponent take turns drafting cards, then using those cards' abilities to take actions, gain game points, or move closer to the end game scenario.
You can win through total military or technological dominance (drafting more science or military cards) or by having more points at the end of the game. Easily the best part of Duel is in the drafting strategies. All the cards—some face-down—are laid out in an overlapping pattern before both players. You'll spend the entire game not just threading your own delicate strategy in your card choice, but stymieing your opponent by keeping them from the cards they need. Price: $29.99
8-sevenwonders
9-mysterium
MYSTERIUM
Mysterium is an odd mix of Clue and Dixit, the 2010 game of the year award winner. As with Dixit, the main mechanic of this game is silent communication mediated through nothing more than sharing the game's deck of beautifully drawn (and rather abstract) cards.
In the game, one player is a ghost in a haunted mansion, and uses these cards (in the game they represent dreams) to guide up to five other players through identifying trios of nasty characters, murder locations, and weapons.
For example, the ghost might give you a dream card with a gnarled branch on it, in an attempt to guide you to pick a card with a wooden outhouse on it. Wonderfully abstract and refreshingly original, Mysterium punishes over-thinking almost as much as it does careless play. Price: $85.00, amazon.com
THE GALLERIST
We're convinced that soon there will be board game for every activity, no matter how bland. Selling wine? Already done. Funeral planning? Yep, that exists too.
Airport bathroom maintenance? Well, someone's probably working on it. The Gallerist is a game rooted in buying, selling, and curating art. But don't let the less-than-riveting theme turn you away; this is one of the most complex economic and worker placement games you can buy.
During the game you and three opponents take turns sending a veritable army of assistants to accomplish tasks like helping attract visitors to your gallery or ordering new pieces of art and picking them up. Your aim is to out-think your opponents by timing those moves in ways that nab you the maximum number of points. This is no easy task given the sheer number of ways to garner points: with visitors, art sales, secret end game goals, and more. Who knew snobbery could be so competitive? Price: $79.99, amazon.com
10-gallerist
1436822662-polo
MARCO POLO
The board game of the year (so far). In this intense, European-style strategy affair, you and three friends take turns rolling dice, and then use those dice to trade for mercantile resources, secure trade contracts, and travel about a 13th century map of the silk road and coastal Asia—all while jockeying for points.
Because so much of the game consists of adapting various strategies while finding clever ways to salvage unfortunate rolls, The Voyages of Marco Polo lays down a delightful and absurdly captivating mix of luck and strategy that will leave you wanting to replay the game over and over again. Price: $69.99, amazon.com
SAPIENS
Think of Sapiens as a caveman-themed offshoot of dominoes—just far more complex, slightly more aggressive, and, you know, actually fun to play. Up to four players take turns laying domino-style tiles onto a modular board—gaining food points with connections and shelter points when you reach a cave.
There are two challenges here: First, only the resource of which you have the fewest points (food or shelter) actually counts toward the game's final score.
The other challenge? Resisting the urge to flip the game board, grunt, and savagely club your opponents as they block your path with yet another damn bear. Price: $49.99, amazon.com
gallery-1436821860-sapiens