Is there a board game for you?

This is for #Blogmas 2020.

Another gaming article I originally wrote for Board Game Crate.

So, someone in your household has ordered themselves a box of board games with some weird-looking games and you’re not sure what to make of them.
Up until now, board games have been for other people. You have not the fondest of memories of playing Monopoly in a caravan on a rainy day, or trying Mousetrap with missing components and you’ve decided that board games are not for you.

Of course, you may be right – but are you aware of the variety of games on offer?

They’re not all card-shuffling or dice-chucking, unless that’s what you like, in which case, there are hundreds of different card games. There are deck-builders such as Dominion where you use Medieval-themed cards to get more cards or Card Drafters like Sushi Go! where you swap cards to collect sets of food. Dice games like Liar’s Dice where you bluff about what you’ve rolled or Quarriors! in which you use your dice to combat your opponents.

If you don’t like components and ‘fiddley bits’ try Escape From The Aliens in Outer Space which comes with paper, pencils and cards with which you plot out your secret route on a map while finding the other players’ locations – or keeping away from them (a real thriller). For a more party-game scene try Telestrations which is Pictionary meets Chinese Whispers (hilarious). Both games are good for six or more players.

For stories and story-telling there are so many Role-Playing games where you become a character and go on an adventure. If you’re not a fan of dragons or elves look up your favourite fandom and you may be surprised to see that there’s a Role-Playing game based on that (or something similar).
For more structured story-telling, try Rory’s Story Cubes or Once Upon a Time which provide cues in the form of dice or cards to help construct the stories, which can be as elaborate or as short as you want.

If you like working as a team, try Pandemic, Castle Panic or Battlestar Galactica where you work together (mostly) to beat the game by eliminating globe-spanning diseases, hordes of incoming orcs or Cylons working with a treacherous player.

Beasts Of Balance incorporates your phone or tablet as well as being a delightful game of dexterity and balance, one of a new generation of games incorporating contemporary technology.

Don’t know where to start? Seek out gaming groups in your area or download games from the Apple Store or Steam (for a fraction of the price of the physical copy – some are even free) to try out and experience different games and gaming styles. Alternatively try Board Game Arena to sample some games for free (or for a price) against your friends and family online. There are also gaming conventions where you can try out all sorts of games with help.

I can almost guarantee that there is a game out there for you, whether it’s the gameplay, theme, player-base, complexity or length that hooks you.

My Top Games By Type

Yesterday for #Blogmas I did a post on My Best Genre Books listing my favourite book or series from each genre. I thought I’d do something similar for today’s Blogmas by listing my favourite games by type. This can include games that utilise a particular gaming mechanic, or a particular type of game style.
Here goes.

Break Point (Compete to score the most points toward a given target):

A visually impressive game where dice rolls determine all actions as players strive to get the most pips on a card. What makes this one even better is that bad rolls are also rewarded.

Cooperative (Playing as a team to beat the game):

I’ve not been a huge fan of most of the cooperative games I’ve played, but I do enjoy the Legendary games (possibly being deck building games have helped). Even when we inevitably lose horribly, they’re tremendous fun.

Deck Builder (Start with a standard deck and use cards to acquire better ones, increasing the size of the deck):

I’m a sucker for most deck builders to be honest, but this is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the gaming type.

Dexterity (Steady hands and some assembly required):

Stacking small plastic pieces according to a particular design is hard enough. Having to then slide the finished construct into the centre of the table is plain evil. Looks so good as the city is built up.

Dice Builder (Like a deck builder but, with dice):

Combines a deck-builder with dice, this is a very clever game that sees some powerful dice being reduced to not much due to a bad roll. Still fun though.

Drafting (Keeping a card from a hand and passing the rest to the next player):

Where some games use drafting as just a small part of the gaming experience, 7 Wonders is pure, unadulterated drafting.

Engine-Builder/Tableau (Players placing cards in front of them to build up points and better actions):

Also my favourite game at the moment, this extraordinarily well-themed game has so much to do in it, particularly with all the expansions. So many different engines to try out too.

Miniatures/Combat (Moving pieces about a battleground and getting them to fight each other):

A solid tabletop reinterpretation to the excellent computer game. Manage resources, control areas and battle it out across the planets of the Kropulu Sector.

Party (Plays with a large group of people with simple rules):

Chinese Whispers meets Pictionary, played with the right crowd, this is hilarious.

Point Salad (Do anything to score points):

Do something, get points. Do something else, get points. Do it all in this gorgeous space setting and it’s pure joy.

Programming (Preset the actions to perform, then see how they play out):

Who knew you could rob a train using a programme of cards? Playing the cards seems simple enough, it’s the playback of what’s been played that hurts as all your plans go awry.

Push Your Luck (Gain more, or lose everything):

Never before have I been on such tenterhooks as each gem is pulled from the bag. Heaped in tension and also looking mighty fine.

Resource Management (Using stuff to get more stuff at the loss of other stuff):

Yup, this one again. Each action and decision made centres around what resources are available.

Stacking (Putting stuff on top of other stuff until the thing falls over:

This brilliantly combines app technology with the straightforward stacking game to create a thing of beauty.

Tile Placement (Dominos):

You’d think by now that tile placement must feel a bit old and tired. Carpe Diem has reinvigorated the mechanically wonderfully.

Worker Placement (Placing a ‘worker’ piece to do a thing, stopping others from doing the same thing):

Not only does this game look stunning, it’s very playable and supports a surprisingly effective engine-building game as well.

So there you go. Not an exhaustive list, but a pretty solid one nonetheless. Needless to say, if there’s a glaring game type omission here, let me know and I’ll add it along with my preferred game. If there’s a game you think should be here, either I’ve yet to play it, or I just prefer the one on my list.
Check out these posts for my My favourite 10 Games and My 10 Least Favourite Games for a better idea of what I’m in to, and what I’m not.
If you want to give this a go, by all means help yourself. Don’t be afraid to put the same game forward more than once, if it applies.

Games Night 18th January 2018

Three of us this week.
First up was HG’s latest acquisition:

By Fantasy Flight Games?
Once the rules were read and understood – actually the rules were pretty well explained in the rulebook, which was nice..
HG won the first round with 3 banners with MC and SC with two banners apiece.
To make it a little easier to play we made up the grid using thread.

MC won that round.
Next up we played 2 games of

By Wizkids
MC dominated the first game with the final scores being:

MC: 23
HG: 7
SC: 4
The second game used the same cards to keep things straightforward for HG.

HG and SC were able to quickly amass a good number of Glory with MC stuck on 1 Glory for much of the game. MC did manage a comeback and stopped SC from achieving victory, however it was HG who managed to secure first place this time.

Final scores:
HG:21
MC & SC: 15

Games Night 13th July 2017

Three players this week.
DA arrived first so we had a game of White Wizard Games’

KV soon turned up to watch MC (starting player) decimate DA.
KV provided us with Fantasy Flight Games’

MC (Team Skaven) quickly gained a goodly number of fans while DA managed a few and KV (Team Orc) garnered no following at all.

DA (Team Chaos) managed to close the gap a fair bit and KV even managed double figures.
At game’s end the scores were:
DA: 38
KV: 22
MC: 47
To finish off the night we had a game of Wizkids’

An expensive creature line-up this time with a 9 cost Dragon and Minotaur and a cost 8 Blob.
MC (Black) went first and was the last to move of the stating block.
DA (Red) went last and gained a good lead and bought the only Dragon with the only 9 Quiddity roll in the entire game.

KV managed to steal into first place and capture a creature, depleting the fourth creature card and ended the game.
DA: 14
KV: 17
MC: 10
Well done KV!

This evening was of particular note as it is the eve of Denis’s anniversary. As of tomorrow, we have had this table for one whole year!
Many happy re-rolls Denis!

Games Night 1st June 2017

This week we kicked of with a lot of dice with

Despite putting in a good early lead of 1 point, PH (Green) soon fell behind leaving KV (Black) to take the win the MC (Blue) just behind.

Next up we faced off against some Xenomorphs in

Playing through the origional movie, we battled through the first round with no trouble at all. Easy.
Round two also proved to be of little consequence. Also easy.
Round three had one of those difficulty curves that was more like a solid wall. KV was the first to fall, then PH leaving MC to struggle on diligently but extreme death proved to be terminal. Even Jones that cat didn’t make it.

To finish off we tried our hands at
Agricola
The usual Agricola-based stuff happened with some results.

The results were:
KV 34
MC 26
PH 34
Particular praise to KV who had never played this one before.