Board game suggestions for a 12 year old?

That's right, I'm turning 12 next month! Which board game should I buy? : D

No but seriously, I'd like a gift for a nerdy 12 year old, probably 2-4 players.

I saw the Catan game, and it looks very nice, would you recommend this? Or which one? He already plays the YuGiOh card game so maybe a card game would be good.

Quarriors. Without a doubt.

Castle Panic

Any of the recent D&D games, like Wrath of Ashardalon.

Memoir 44 if you think the WWII theme might appeal.

Small World

Survive!

Quarriors is also a great recommendation. Oh, and of course, if you can still find a set these days... Heroscape! That's probably the best answer, just not sure of the availability anymore.

My 10 year old daughter and I play Quarriors, as well as the D&D board games such as Wrath of Ashardalon - with the latter we play a few turns every night, but luckily we have an area that ( at this time ) we can leave the components set up

My 11 year absolutely loves Ticket to Ride.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

Castle Panic

Any of the recent D&D games, like Wrath of Ashardalon.

Memoir 44 if you think the WWII theme might appeal.

Small World

Survive!

Quarriors is also a great recommendation. Oh, and of course, if you can still find a set these days... Heroscape! That's probably the best answer, just not sure of the availability anymore.

This is dead on.

If the nerdy 12 year old doesn't have other nerdy people to play with and he needs slightly more accessible games because of this I would add Ticket To Ride and Hey That's My Fish to the list, but that's about it.

I recommend Forbidden Island.

Small World is a great choice. Some people find it too confrontational though, others say it's basically just upgraded Risk with not many decisions to be made by the player.

If he finds some nerdy people to play with, then I recommend Neuroshima Hex. There is some learning curve, but a 12-yr old should get it fairly quickly.
The game itself is brilliant - a bit like Hive but with mutants, snipers and bombs.

Race For The Galaxy is great as well, but it might be difficult to grasp for him. It has simultaneous action selection, cards are multi-purpose, and the scoring is sometimes quite complex. You need to judge yourself if the kid might grasp it.

MsbS wrote:

Race For The Galaxy is great as well, but it might be difficult to grasp for him. It has simultaneous action selection, cards are multi-purpose, and the scoring is sometimes quite complex. You need to judge yourself if the kid might grasp it.

7 Wonders might be a good alternative too. I find it a little more straightforward than Race, but they play a bit differently.

12-year-olds are just old enough that the nerdy ones embrace complexity, and they have a lot of time. I'd go heavy on the Ameritrash.

When I was 12, Betrayal at the House on the Hill would have been a huge favorite of mine.

You could go big: Arkham Horror, Mage Knight - big crunchy games that he can play by himself if he wants. If he has other nerd friends, Twilight Imperium can easily amuse a room of nerd kids for hours on end.

The various Fantasy Flight living card games (Lord of the Rings, etc) would be a nice transition from the collectible card games he's already playing. As would Thunderstone, Ascension, etc.

Heroscape would be great.

Boy or Girl?

I'd toss Risk Legacy out there. Low complexity and you can't beat the reward of marking up your board if you win.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

Castle Panic

Any of the recent D&D games, like Wrath of Ashardalon.

Memoir 44 if you think the WWII theme might appeal.

Small World

Survive!

Quarriors is also a great recommendation. Oh, and of course, if you can still find a set these days... Heroscape! That's probably the best answer, just not sure of the availability anymore.

Your avatar is from Munchkin, isn't it?

A card game rather than board game, but could work too. It's very silly and should be highly entertaining for a 12 year old. There are approximately 3.5 million expansions for it.

Oh, hey, there's a Munchkin board game too. Kind of D&D light.

Pirate Bob wrote:

Your avatar is from Munchkin, isn't it?

It is indeed, although I actually don't much care for Munchkin... I just like the Duck of Doom

I also forgot that Fantasy Flight just reprinted Nexus Ops. I've played that with kids and they absolutely loved it.

If he's already into the Yu-Gi-Oh card game, resist the urge to say, "Well, then, clearly he's into CCGs and I should get him a starter pack from this other one!" People used to pull that crap on me when I was in high school (OG Magic the Gathering and mothereff all the pretenders) and it drove me nuts. Great, now I have not enough cards to really get into the deck-building, in a game that's just similar enough to what I'm used to that the differences are confusing, and that none of my friends play. Thanks.

Munchkin is fine in that it's a standalone game that scratches that nerd itch. Pick the variation that's most in line with their interests: vanilla if they like fantasy, Star Munchkin if they like sci-fi, Super Munchkin for superhero nerds, etc.

Risk is nice because it's something that their friends might already be familiar with, so it might be easier for them to find people to play with. Risk Legacy is a fine choice that's already been mentioned. Risk 2210 is another excellent Risk variation that goes for roughly half the price of Legacy on Amazon right now, so that's good. If they're an LotR fan, the LotR version of Risk is pretty good, but it must be out of print right now because it's going for stupid prices on Amazon. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a copy for a reasonable price at a B&M retailer, though. Most other Risk variations are stupid because they're based on properties that lack a Risk-style map. (Halo Risk? Transformers Risk? Get that weak !@#$ out of here.)

If you're looking for something less grognardy and more social (and that might be playable with family members and, a couple years down the line, members of the opposite sex at parties instead of just nerd friends), consider Apples to Apples. Do NOT, under any circumstances, get R-rated alternative Cards Against Humanity, unless you want to pick up a copy for you, which you should definitely do as soon as it comes back into print and can be had for a reasonable price again.

I would add to the list:
Zombie (Alien, Cthulu) Dice - quick, fun, push-your-luck dice game
King of Tokyo - you are Godzilla or one of several other monsters fighting king-of-the-hill for the right to trash Tokyo.

When I was 12...

HeroQuest
Risk

20 years later...

Wrath of Ashardalon/Legend of Drizzt
Risk 2210/Legacy

Kensington, dominoes, Sorry, Yahtzee, all that stuff stayed in the closet. All I wanted to do when I was 12 was fight things with swords or tanks.

+10000 to King of Tokyo. Perfect game for 12 year olds (and everyone else too). Lots of dice rolling and trash talking.

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Dominion! If he likes card games, he might prefer that over Quarriors. If Dominion is not thematic enough, there's Thunderstone and Ascension. Summoner Wars, Magic the Gathering, and 7 Wonders are some other popular card games that may appeal to 12 year olds.

If he has 2-4 friends that we can play a campaign with, Risk Legacy would be a great choice.

Forbidden Island is a kid-friendly coop game, maybe Pandemic if he's up for more of a challenge.