Play these 5 innovative Euro board games and try not to get addicted

The world's biggest board game trade fair takes place in Essen, Germany, every October

The world's biggest board game trade fair takes place in Essen, Germany, every October - Credit: Archant

Already firm favourites with board game geeks across Europe, we pick 5 of the best board games guaranteed to make you obsessed with table-top-gaming


(Klaus Teuber, 1995)

Arguably the Citizen Kane of board-games, The Settlers Of Catan proved that the table-top experience could be enjoyable and positive for all players, regardless of whether they win or lose. Since publication, it's sold more than 23 million copies (including numerous expansion sets), been translated into 35 languages and driven a revolution in game design. An ideal starting point for anyone curious to try out the new wave of designer-led table-top titles.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan - Credit: Archant


(Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, 2000)

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Winner of Essen's Deutscher Spiele Preis in 2001, this simple and deeply appealing tile-laying game involves two-to-five players taking turns to build a medieval French map and score points for the roads, cities, farms and cloisters which are formed during play. Like most successful Euro-games, there are numerous expansions, adding inns, cathedrals and even towers which allow a vertical-building element, but there's no beating the elegant purity of the original set.


Carcasson - Credit: Archant


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(Uwe Rosenberg, 2007)

Released at Spiel 2007, Rosenberg's game of 17th century subsistence farming in Central Europe offers a more complex and deeply strategic experience than Catan or Carcassonne. A worker-placement and resource-management game, it requires players to carefully consider which tasks to assign their farming 'family', with the range of point-earning options increasing during each of the game's 14 rounds. A compelling and immersive experience.


Acricola. - Credit: Archant


(Oleksandr Nevskiy & Oleg Sidorenko, 2015)

Created by Ukrainians Nevskiy and Sidorenko, Mysterium is a great, recent example of the increasingly popular genre of co-operative games, where players work together to 'beat the board', and either win or lose as a team. Here that team is a group of 1920s psychics who have eight hours to solve a murder-mystery. Plus, in a neat twist, one player as the ghost of the victim, who cannot speak and must feed clues to the others via gorgeously designed, surreal 'vision' cards.


Mysterium - Credit: Archant


(Vlaada Chvátil, 2015)

The year's biggest table-top success, this Czech party game bagged the gaming equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar, The Spiel Des Jahres, last July. Two teams of any size must race against each other to contact all their secret agents by choosing a 'Spymaster' who gives them one-word clues that relate to words randomly placed on the board. It's simple, easy to teach to non-gamers, and cracks along at a frantically entertaining pace.

Spiel 2016 takes place at Messe Essen from 13-16 October. Advance tickets can be booked at


Codenames - Credit: Archant

Dan Jolin is a freelance writer specialising in film, TV and table-top gaming. He is a contributing editor to Empire magazine and a compulsive board-gamer

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