When introducing your non-gamer mates to modern board gaming, tile placement is a great place to start. This mechanic has arguably the smallest barrier of entry of any mechanic in the modern board game industry.
Here are some other board game mechanics to explore, too:
The best tile placement games involve placing a tile onto a personal or shared area in order to build a more advantageous layout for your own interests, including but not limited to, points, blocking opponents, and route/network building. The most notable example of tile placement is Carcassonne, which is frankly still one of the best tile placement games out there, especially with the plethora of expansions and off-shoots you can add to it.
Modern Usages of Tile Placement Mechanic:
Area/Route Building Tile Placement:
In games that revolve primarily around tile placement, you are typically building a route or a grouping of specific landscapes. This usually involves you taking an individual tile from your hand (which consists of a set of tiles) or drafting from an open market of tiles and then placing a tile onto the play area or personal board to create or extend an area or a route. The aforementioned Carcassonne fits well into this category, but here are some other games that utilize tile placement in this fashion.
Some of the best spatial puzzle games are…
Games that utilize spatial puzzles often have tile placement as a core mechanic as well. These games require you to place Tetris-like tiles to optimally fill up a personal player board. These games are very common these days and tend to provide a relaxing puzzle with enough variety and randomness to keep the replayability high.
Tile Placement as a Complementary Mechanic:
The tile placement is also frequently used as a secondary mechanic (especially in more complex games). This means that there are one or more underlying mechanics at the game’s core but you still utilize tile placement at various times throughout the game.
An example would be in Terraforming Mars; this game is a melting pot of board game mechanics but you will be placing tiles representing cities, forests, oceans, etc. strategically on the map of Mars in order to gain a geographic advantage over your opponents.
Another example of tile placement as a secondary mechanic is in A Feast for Odin which has a much more robust use of tile placement than in our previous Terraforming Mars example. In A Feast for Odin, you are primarily using worker placement to gather Tetris-like tiles which are later used to fill up the space on your personal player board in a fashion similar to those spatial puzzle games listed above.
More of the BEST tile placement games:
Here are some other great tile placement games to check out…
Have you played any of these yet, or any of the other games mentioned on this page? Let us know what you think of our recommendations, and make sure you leave a comment if we left out your favorite tile placement game!