War. Conflict. This is a driving force in many board games, and it makes sense. Combat pits players directly against each other, testing strategy, skill, and luck. There can be no clearer victor than one who vanquishes their opponent.
Fortunately, board games have come a long way from the abstracted maneuvering of Chess and the luck-laden dice rolls of classic Risk. Ingenious designers have come up with ways to represent combat around the table in cardboard and plastic that are innovative and exciting. These mechanisms create tension, allowing either side the opportunity for victory while keeping players in overall control of their forces and strategies.
For the purposes of this article, combat mechanisms may include the way attacks are resolved directly, or the way strategy and tactics are implemented. Also, I readily admit that I have not played every board game with combat that exists. There may be objectively better combat mechanisms out there. But you know what? I don’t care. These are MY five favorites. Feel free to share your own in the comments.
So without further ado, here are my top 6 favorite combat mechanisms. Hey look! It’s a slideshow!