First Contact – Первый контакт (Pervyi Kontakt)
This game was possibly inspired by the movie Arrival (2016). The players, much like its characters, have to find a way to communicate with aliens by deciphering their mysterious language. It’s a linguistic game that will undoubtedly excite you and make you think outside the box, since you won’t be able to use facial expressions or gestures: cards with characteristics of objects are going to be your only tool that will help you narrow down the list of possible meanings of the word you’re looking for.
Imaginarium – Имаджинариум (Imadzhinarium)
Imaginarium is basically Dixit, but make it Russian. The players are given cards with surreal illustrations, and, without showing them to the others, they have to describe what’s on them. The goal is to make your description clear enough (so that others could later guess which card you had on your hands) while avoiding being too literal (so that only a few people would guess it right, not everyone).
I was hesitant to add this game to the list since, well, I’m really really bad at it. Why? I guess because I have a hard time improvising on the spot. But don’t let my experience put you off – it’s an extremely popular and beloved game, and even if you have the same problem as me, practicing might solve it.
Natives – Индейцы (Indeitsy)
Natives catches your eye with a minimalistic, yet colorful and distinctive design of the cards that don’t overwhelm you with their details. The goal of the game is to help your tribe excel by finding new resources, developing the community and agriculture, hunting, fishing, and performing rituals. The gameplay is pretty simple, but not overly so, which makes it immersive and exciting.
The War of the Worlds: The New Wave – Война миров: Новая угроза (Voina Mirov: Novaya Ugroza)
This is a deck-building game, which means that you’re going to have to make your deck of cards as powerful as possible, much like you aim to upgrade your character in RPGs. Like First Contact, it involves aliens, but they’re not as friendly. Instead of communicating with the human race, they aim to destroy it. Humans, on the other hand, are less violent – their goal is to damage the aliens’ equipment and make them leave.
Architectura – Зодчие (Zodchie)
If you like SimCity, you’re probably going to enjoy Zodchie, too. Your goal will be the same – to create a vibrant city with all kinds of buildings needed by the public. However, this board game is set in a whimsical fantasy world, so along with banks and pharmacies, you’re going to have to add academies of magic and tiltyards to the city’s ensemble. Another distinctive feature of this game is that it’s competitive – other players will be your rival urban planners.
By the way, ITMO has a student club for all board game enthusiasts. You can learn more about it in this article.