I would recommend the game known as "Gloom" which while only using cards uses a employs a great amount of cynicism and the game is nihilistic insofar as the goal, to put it more simply, having four players each player controls one family or group of "characters" and the goal is to make everyone else's characters as happy as possible while making yours as miserable as possible leading up to their "untimely" deaths, its a lot of snark and you do a lot of story-building but the minimalist mechanic where all you have to worry about are the numbers on the cards makes it able to be played at any pace and not have to worry about dice or mini-figures, the art on the cards is pretty awesome too and if you want to get a preview of it and other games just look up "Tabletop" by geek&sundry on youtube, its a bunch of videos of Wil Wheaton and a bunch of different people playing all sorts of games and it all being recorded on video, so you get to see the games played and see how they look in real life too. a link to the gloom video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0artLwe87I4
I've been playing boardgames for over 40 years and have a comprehensive collection that includes classics from Avalon Hill and SPI as well as newer european games re-leased with english rules under brands like Rio Grande, GMT, etc. Adult games are really based on what you are interested in and if you are looking for complex strategy games (that can take a long time to play) or rather more large group beer-and-pretzels types games that are quicker and easier on the brain (as beverage consumption goes up during the course of the evening). At some point, I will undoubtedly create an official list but if you're looking for games that adults can play, not be bored, not too complex, are fun, and allow for parallel conversation while playing, here's a good list to choose from (in my opinion, you can't go wrong with any of these): - Settlers of Catan (3-4 players best, 5-6 player expansion too slow) - Carcassonne (3-5 players best, tile game with wood pieces, medium pace) - Cartagena (3-5 players best, no dice, fast playing) - Manhattan (3 or 4 players, no dice, super fun and competitive, easy on the brain) - Abandon Ship (Up to 7 players, while it seems designed for kids excellent for large group of adults, faster paced even with 7 players) - Formula Motor Racing (3-6 players, card game, lots of interaction play, competitive) - Zombie Dice (Straight forward rules, easy on the brain (no pun intended), always a simple pleaser for horror genre groups) - Family Business (Card game, 4-5 players best, Mob vs Mob, fast play) - Nuclear War (Card Game, 4-5 players best, medium paced, not politically correct but very fun with the right crowd)
If you're looking for something more complex with some strategy: - Vinci (3-6 players, conquer Europe with civilizations, never boring but longer game) - Shadows Over Camelot (best with 4-6 players, cooperative since you're playing against the game and the game usually wins) - Speed Circuit (classic 3M/Sport Illustrated/Avalon Hill game, the more players the merrier, simple/competitive and fairly fast paced once your played one game) - Shogun (aka Samurai Swords, best 3-5 players, improved Risk type game) - Squad Leader (2 player only, probably one of the most complex but most accurate tactical/small unit WWII board games, this is the father of numerous subsequent WWI board and computer games such as the Atomic/Matrix Close Combat PC game series, years to love/learn with a fellow WWII boardgame fanatic)
I see the recommended age listed for SoC as being 10-14 in the Amazon listing. Settlers of Catan is an adult game and I think 10-14 would be the minimum recommended age for kids to be competitive w/ adults. I just played yesterday w/ a 7 yr. old and his dad who are still learning some of the nuances of the game and while it was fun, he could have done better (he did beat his dad though). So I hope because of that age listing people don't think this is a kids game. It's an adult game that can be taught to children.
Great game for adults and for adults with children as well! It is less complex and takes less time than many other games of this category, but sufficiently challenging in terms of strategy to be very entertaining. Each game requires different tactics, because of the huge number of different possible initial set ups. I can imagine that the most experienced of strategy game players might find it less challenging than they are used to, but even then it would allow them the fun of introducing strategy games to their friends and children.