With May quickly approaching, Nintendo is releasing new The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom content practically daily. However, the game doesn't release until the 12th of the month and people are already itching to try out all the new features the game has to offer. But what if I told you there was a (sort of) cure? Of course, it won't distract you from the game itself, but you can at least get a taste of this fantasy world (without playing Breath of the Wild for the forth time). So, I have collected 5 of the top Zelda-like board games on the market.
#5 - Mansions of Madness
Players: 1-5 (Best 3-4)
Play Time: 120-180 Minutes
Complexity Rating: 2.67 / 5
While Mansions of Madness is not themed in the "traditional" fantasy as Zelda, it does provide several well-loved features of Zelda: puzzles, NPC interactions, item interactions, and exploration.
Set in Arkham's cursed mansion, explore rooms and solve riddles as you race against the Eldritch clock. You can interact with the NPCs or items found across the room, but don't waste too much time as doom is quickly approaching.
#4 - Gloomhaven
Players: 1-4 (Best 3)
Play Time: 60-120 Minutes
Complexity Rating: 3.89 / 5
With tactical combat and lasting over several sessions, Gloomhaven is a great companion for players who enjoyed the strategy side of Breath of the Wild. Make sure to equip special potions and finish your adventure before you run out of energy! Gloomhaven leaves many options for the cast of players to choose from, so the game ends up playing more like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" compared to other games.
#3 - Everdell
Players: 1-4 Players (Best 3)
Play Time: 40-80 Minutes
Complexity Rating: 2.80 / 5
If you enjoyed the views of Hyrule and own (or would own) a plush Korok, then you would enjoy Everdell. With the simple mission of building your critters community, Everdell is the perfect comfy game for a relaxing weekend. With only three phases, this game provides runs smoothly and is still challenging enough to force you to make some difficult decisions. So, cuddle up, make yourself some tea, and build within the beautiful city of Everdell.
#2 - Clank!
Players: 2-4 Players (Best 3)
Play Time: 30-60 Minutes
Complexity Rating: 2.22 / 5
Breath of the Wild offered many different playing techniques, but one technique that everyone had to encounter at some point was stealth. Sneaking through a camp of Bokoblins and stealing their weapons is a sure technique to gain the upper-hand in combat. However, sneaking is also useful for taming new horses, riding a sand seal, avoiding a higher-leveled boss, and more.
Well, you can practice your sneaking capabilities again as you enter a dragon's cave to steal its treasure. Compete against other adventures as you collect as much as you can before you make a sound loud enough to wake the dragon. And did I mention that there are also enemies along the way?
#1 - Mage Knight
Players: 1-4 (Best 1-2)
Play Time: 60-240 Minutes
Complexity Rating: 4.35 / 5
While I would not recommend Mage Knight to beginners, it is undeniably the best game to scratch that Tears of the Kingdom itch. In fact, in the time you learn to play it, May 12th might be closer than you imagined.
The same way Link was leveling up to fight Ganon in Breath of the Wild, your mission is to conquer the Atlantean Empire. Instead of the Devine Beasts, you build an army of your own making. Continue exploring and conquering parts of the Mage Knight universe in order to reclaim the one-great cities.
Bonus - Magic Realm
To keep things within the shipping times before Tears of the Kingdom is released, I established the rule of qualifying games to be currently on the market. However, Magic Realm gets a special exception to this rule since it is the perfect companion for Zelda games.
Set in the ruins of a once mighty kingdom, adventures have come to explore the land for riches and fame. Choose a character (from a deck of sixteen) as you set out to explore the remains of a lost and magical civilization. From monster encounters to treasure trove discoveries, the map is filled with endless adventures and many will never be discovered.
*All rating provided by related BGG pages.
**Cover image from Nitendo.