There are many board games out there for people with all interests to enjoy. From detailed, engine-building games to simpler options, there’s more than likely something to satisfy everyone’s board game preferences. With spring break approaching, what’s a better time to find new games to enjoy with friends and family? Here are my top five favorite board games.

Terraforming Mars, Catan, Sagrada, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride are some of my favorite board games. They involve simple to complex strategies and offer many fun ways to pass the time. With spring break speedily approaching and more free time, I’m anticipating spending time playing these games perhaps with a group of close friends or some family members. Photos by Emma Tihen


Hooray for more time during spring break to spend time with family and friends, relax and find new games to play. With board games continually rising in popularity, it’s always prime time to try out some new ones. You may come inside from a long day of adventures, grab some delectable, savory snack and comfy up to play some board games. Here are my top five favorite board games to play with my clan.

Terraforming Mars

Greenery, ocean and city tiles begin to fill Mars as various corporations race to populate the planet.

Your genius corporation is racing against other corporations which have set their sights on terraforming Mars. By playing project cards, completing standard projects, raising heat and oxygen levels and filling oceans on Mars, you must terraform the red planet to create a livable environment in order to be the master corporation. Build cities, plant greenery, fill oceans, complete projects and win milestones and awards to raise your terraform rating and build a leading corporation. After Mars is terraformed, the corporation with the highest score takes over Mars.

Two corporations, Ecoline and Credicor, battle to see who will terraform Mars first.

Terraforming Mars is a great way to spend time with those you’re close to while engaging in highly strategic gameplay. With the many different corporations and strategies you can employ, Terraforming Mars feels like a different game each time you play.

The Settlers of Catan/Catan/Settlers

The land of Catan flourishes as settlers arrive and build their towns in the water-locked land.

As a fearless seafarer, it is your job to settle and tame the newly discovered island of Catan before your contenders do. As settlers of the new island, it is each player’s job to be the first to 10 victory points. A game of bartering, buying and building, players collect and trade cards to construct settlements, cities and roads to expand their village into the pastures, mountains, hills, forests and fields of the land of Catan. You can also buy Development Cards to gain special achievements and victory points. The Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer board game that can be played with two to four players (the expansion pack allows up to six players).

White begins to out-build blue and red as a city is founded. Cities gather two of every resource they’re on when that number is rolled rather than the one resource that settlements collect.

The Settlers of Catan is a relaxing strategy game to enjoy. I’ve savored playing The Settlers of Catan for several years with my family and enjoy finding new strategies to employ each time I play. Win or lose, The Settlers of Catan can be a fun way to unwind and spend time with friends and family.


The colorful box of Sagrada reflects the colorful masterpieces you will build as a talented artisan.

As a skilled artisan, your goal is to create your own masterful stained-glass window. Players begin the game with their own window board. Using the die’s color and value, carefully construct your art, but strategy is important because you cannot place dies of the same color or value next to each other. It’s also your goal to complete objectives to gain extra points. Whoever has the highest score at the end of the game is the master artisan and wins the game.

This colorful playing board shows several objectives and tactics for the players to employ.

This game has quickly become one of my favorites because of its ease of learning, the appealing design of the game and the personal strategies each player may employ. Striving to construct the highest-scoring stained glass window, it’s a race against your competing master artisans. You must be careful, though, or your detailed work of art could become shattered.


Different players battle to see who will gain the city, and their meeple act as placeholders for the time being.

Set in the highlands of France, Carcassonne is a strategic tile-laying game in which you construct your ever-growing fortified city made up of roads, monasteries, fields and water. Your followers – monks, knights, farmers and thieves – work for your city, bringing in profit. It’s your job to build your city, but don’t take too long, or your contenders may steal your city before you’ve fortified it. Through strategic placements, whichever ruler has the most points at the end of the game is crowned king in your own kingdom of Carcassonne.

The red meeple have the advantage over the black and green meeple, but the conquest isn’t over yet. Someone could still claim their city.

New to this game, I’ve enjoyed learning the strategies behind Carcassonne. It’s a race between strategy, good draws and time to build your kingdom. While no one can take away what you’ve already built, your contenders can steal a city by completing it first, so plan your turns, and don’t wait too long.

Ticket to Ride

Trains wind across the country in a race to see who will become the railroad tycoon.

As railroad engineers, it is your duty to create the most prestigious cross-country railway system, but you must not lose your reputation and let imposters steal your fame. Race across the country to build railroad systems, complete bonus Destination cards and manufacture the longest railroad system. The player with the highest score at the end of the game is the tycoon of the railroad system.

A two-player game of Ticket to Ride. Railways spread across the country in a contest to become America’s chief railroad system.

Ticket to Ride is a simple and fun game to play with two to four players. Players complete their own goals, but there is strategy involved because other players can block your route and make you go the long way around to your destination. Ticket to Ride can be a short game to play and is easy to learn, so I’ve always enjoyed it when I want to play a game where I don’t have to be too serious.

Where to buy:

Click on the image to see where you may purchase Terraforming Mars. Graphics created by Emma Tihen
Click on the image to see where you may purchase the Settlers of Catan.
Click on the image to see where you may purchase Sagrada.
Click on the image to see where you may purchase Carcassonne.
Click on the image to see where you may purchase Ticket to Ride.

Board games are an entertaining way to spend quality time with those to whom you are close. It’s worth a thought to invest in board games that can provide a lot of fun over the years. These five board games provide a fun way to spend time, strategize, relax and involve yourself in creative pastimes. Photo by Emma Tihen

By Emma Tihen

Emma Tihen is a university ambassador for MBU and staff journalist for MBU Timeline from Washington, Missouri. Tihen is majoring in journalism and is a vocalist and bassist for Spirit Wing Red Team, an acoustic worship group at MBU. She is co-leader of the worship team for her home church. Tihen enjoys growing her relationship with God, spending time with family and friends, adventuring outdoors, disc golfing and composing worship music.