With the Covid-19 virus keeping many of us at home, it’s a terrific time to share your board game passion with those who you have safely sheltered with you. Make sure you put on some accompanying music in the background to have the perfect soundtrack while you delve in, pour some drinks and bring out the (non-greasy) snacks. 

In the first of our two-part series, here are 5 out of 10 of the best board games you can share with your non-gaming friend to convert them to gamers!


Although it may not be as common a game name as Monopoly, Catan is quickly growing to become the most-recognized contemporary board game of our time. There’s a reason many avid gamers name this as their “gateway game.” It’s straightforward to learn but there’s a knack to the perfect strategy, and no two games are alike. Catan should win over your skeptical players in no time.

Genre: Strategy
Number of players: 3 – 4
Ages: 10+
Average play time: 60 – 120 minutes
Expansions: 6 or more

Ticket to Ride

The other famous “gateway” game is Ticket to Ride, an easy-to-learn competitive game where you draw tickets, place trains and complete routes. Ticket, like Catan requires planning ahead, trying to maneuver around your competitors to make sure your trains aren’t blocked and you can accrue the highest points to win. This game is beautiful, and can be played by almost all ages.

Genre: Strategy
Number of players: 2 – 5
Ages: 8+
Average play time: 30 – 60 minutes
Expansions: 18

Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game

If you love Dungeons & Dragons but don’t have time to set up a multi-hour campaign, this is the perfect game for you. This game comes with ready-to-play characters, mobs, spells, and even has preloaded campaigns in the companion app. Sessions are quite short and there is nearly 0 learning curve for this one! A must-have for anyone who wants to show their friends the joys of playing a story together; battling foes, questing for treasure and ultimately saving the day.

Genre: Coop Fantasy Adventure
Number of players: 1 – 6
Ages: 8+
Average play time: 15 – 90 minutes
Expansions: none (yet)

Exploding Kittens

The game that took the party game (and Kickstarter) by storm, Kittens is a must-have for the serious or casual gamer alike. It takes gaming to a silly, ridiculous level but do not let the frivolous look of this one fool you, you’ll need to be patient, and ruthless to be the last one standing and win against everyone else. Play your winning cards too soon and you just may explode.


Genre: Party Card Game
Number of players: 2 – 5
Ages: 7+
Average play time:  15 minutes
Expansions: 5+


Elegant-looking and simple in design and play and yet offers a variety of ways to strategize and come out on top, Carcassonne is another classic game that board gamers have loved for years. You lay down tiles that must connect to previous ones; farm, city, road, church and (in the expansion) rivers. Carefully choose which of these areas you want to “claim” for maximum points… before your challengers do.


Genre: Family, Tile Placement
Number of players: 2 – 5
Ages: 7+
Average play time:  30 – 45 minutes
Expansions: 19

About Katie Postma

Katie has more than 17 years of experience as a Community and Social Media Manager in the entertainment industry. She began her career at Ubisoft on the Myst series of games, and has worked for many different studios including Cartoon Network, Gazillion, and Disruptor Beam. She has contributed to five books about gaming and community, edited a third, and has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg and Fanshawe College in London, Canada. Katie has a board game collection of more than 200 games and regularly plays with her husband, 2 children, extended family and friends.