Total Nerd How To Win At Every Board Game (And Likely Alienate All Your Friends)  

Zack Howe
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List Rules Vote up the strategies you most look forward to using in your next game night.

There's nothing better than getting together with a group of friends you love and utterly ruining them in a game. Conversely, losing sucks, so it'd be great if there were some easy board game cheats, or at least tricks for playing games that would ensure victory every time. Fret not. Many classic board games have just that.

Stop buying hotels in Monopoly, stop trying to play big words that are well beyond your vocabulary in Scrabble, and keep careful tabs on your Clue rivals. Every game leaves something to be exploited and it's time to start taking advantage.

Here are tips and tricks to win a bunch of classic games, and they're all (pretty much) legal. You won't lose ever again... unless your friends have read this, too.

Monopoly is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list How To Win At Every Board Game (And Likely Alienate All Your Friends)
Photo:  Hasbro/Amazon

Though it sounds counterintuitive, you don't ever want to build a hotel in Monopoly; just houses. For that matter, you actually only want three houses on each property you own, and only one color group on each side of the board (unless you're trying to block someone else from completing a color group). Also, you shouldn't buy utilities (unless you can get them for cheap).

Just focus on railroads and completing color groups with three houses on each property, which turns out to be the most efficient use of your money. Staying in jail isn't always a bad thing either, as you can avoid opponents's monopolies and actually save money. Make sure you've done some purchasing already, though, so you can build up your bank. Monopoly enthusiast Tim Darling can give you all the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of it certain victory.

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#1 on The Best Classic Board Games

#17 on The Best Board Games for Kids 7-12

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Go First In Connect Four

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Video: YouTube

Going first in Connect Four is half the battle to ensuring victory. As long as you drop your first disc in the center column, allowing you to subsequently take at least three of the five center spots, you cannot be beaten.

Assuming your opponent also plays perfectly, the game at this point will end in 41 turns, and you will win with four across. If your opponent doesn't play perfectly, they'll probably lose much sooner. It's as simple as that! Although, it's not simple at all. It's quite complex mathematics. Numberphile can tell you all about that in the video.

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Jenga is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list How To Win At Every Board Game (And Likely Alienate All Your Friends)
Photo:  Guma89/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

There's no way to guarantee victory in Jenga since the biggest factor is the steadiness of each player's hands, but there are approaches that can give you an extreme advantage.

  1. Push blocks, do not pull.
  2. Take the center blocks whenever possible.
  3. Once you're out of center blocks, pinch side blocks towards the middle.
  4. If you take a block from the right side, place it on the left on top, and vice versa.
  5. Pay attention to the thickness of blocks as they vary, and remove the thinner ones when possible.

Plentifun has a few more tricks for you, but those should get the job done. 

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#2 on The Best Family Board Games

#42 on The Best Board Games For 6-8 Players

#8 on The Best Board Games For Kids

#6 on The Best Board Games for Kids 7-12

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Scrabble is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list How To Win At Every Board Game (And Likely Alienate All Your Friends)
Photo:  thebarrowboy/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Rule #1: Don't exchange letters. It's a wasted turn and it's virtually never necessary as there are countless two or three-letter words available to you – including the spelling of letters themselves. What's more, with this strategy, the board quickly becomes bunched up with small words that make it incredibly difficult to build long words off of without running into other words.

And don't think you're stuck if you have a 'Q' but no 'U' – there are a bevy of options in such a scenario as Scrabble master Justin Meyers will tell you. This isn't to say you shouldn't do long words if you have them available to you. The best strategy is to try to use all seven letters on your rack for the bonus points, though that is difficult, of course. Ultimately, you want to dictate the flow of the game.

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#9 on The Best Classic Board Games

#15 on The Best Board Games for 4 People

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