Spending Time Unplugged   8 comments

When my hands were at the pinnacle of having issues and very painful (mini update: seeing yet ANOTHER doctor at the end of January, and being started on Prednisone in the interim), Brade and I picked up a few board games so that we’d continue to have an interactive activity to do together. From there, we have spent many nights enjoying “game night” unplugged. And I love it!

We have spent many an evening playing games with just the two of us. We’ve also been working to set up a semi-regular game night with several different groups of friends, and have met some new and fun people in the process. I often fretted and worried about what I would do when I decided it was time to send Beru to Nagrand and log out of WoW permanently – would I have any social connections, would I be bored out of my skull, would I become a cranky old lady who reads books and watches my “shows”. However, I am happy to say that many of the experiences that I’ve had since re-introducing myself to the tabletop game genre have not only been overwhelmingly positive, but have also reminded me that a lot of people who don’t play wow continue to have a lot of fun and don’t all become cranky old ladies who whistle through their dentures while shaking their cane at those crazy kids these days (/gasp!).

We are also very fortunate in that we have an amazing game store locally where we can window shop, and even try out games before we buy them. While games tend to be slightly more expensive here, there is something to be said for the environment found in a game store. It’s hard to really describe, but there is just something…energetic and intriguing about it. One of the things that the shop closest to us does is have a “free play” night on Friday nights where the store is open until midnight and you can go in and just enjoy the games – and even ask one of the store personnel to teach you how to play (one of the other stores has a Munchkin Saturday Night – and has someone from the Munchkin team that comes and teaches people how to play). While we’ve not taken advantage of this as much as I’d like, it’s definitely on our list of “Friday Evening Activites”.

Anyhow! I do have a few other big things I want to talk about and share (blog posts for other days!), I first wanted to take some time to share a few of the games that Brade and I have been enjoying recently and give some of my thoughts on them.

The first game, which of the ones we’ve played to date is by far our favorite I think, is Arkham Horror. It takes a fair bit of time to learn the ins and outs of the game, and the rule book isn’t always clear (I had to find a flowchart online to navigate through our first few games), the game is simply amazing and fun. It’s a cooperative game, where your team is racing to prevent a “horror” from entering town and devouring everyone. The games are lengthy, at roughly 3-4 hours a game, but they are so much fun that you often don’t notice the time that has passed. In fact we spent an entire Saturday sitting by the fireplace and playing several games (only our sore backs were testament to how long we had sat there!). I would highly recommend this game for everyone, and feel that it plays well for two players, and many players. If you are looking for a taste of the game, you might want to check out Elder Sign – which is downloadable for iPad – and is sort of like Arkham Horror Lite.

I think the next game that we’ve grown quite fond of is more of a party game: Cards Against Humanity. We were introduced to this game at a game night with some friends, and fell in love with it instantly. It’s hilarious, rash, tactless and just really fun. That being said, if you are easily offended or have some moral high ground that you never find humor in, I do not recommend this game for you. You sort of get caught up in this very simple game, and don’t realize how long you’ve been playing. Every time we’ve played it, we’ve simply played the deck down to the last card before “finishing” the game. If you are looking to obtain a copy, register for an email notification of when it is in print, and then immediately stop what you are doing to go and order it once you receive the notice – because they sell out that quickly! The only downside to the game is that it’s not really one that can be played with two people and is more fun the more people you have playing.

I, personally, have really been enjoying a simple, yet fun, game called Carcassonne. It’s a tile laying game, with the premise is trying to build cities and connect roads for points. It only takes about 30 minutes to play from start to finish and is a lot of fun. I think Brade’s beaten me every time we’ve played – but he seems to have a better grasp on farmer placement than I do. It’s quite a bit of fun and very easy to pick up and learn. The rules and the game are simple and fast paced.

One of Brade’s favorites is Dominion. We only have the base game, and none of the expansions, but have been playing with a few of the different recommended decks that the game manual suggests and the games are generally lots of fun. There is an app out there called “Dominionizer” that will suggest decks for you, but we found that unless you have the expansions sometimes the suggestions with just the base deck don’t lead to very compelling game play. Anyhow, it’s also a fairly fast paced game that is easy to learn and always changing. Also, I will toss out a tip! We played with the bureaucrat for the first time last night…and he is amazing! If given the opportunity don’t let that card go to waste!

We have also been playing a version of Small World. When we bought it, we had already played the original Small World with some friends, so bought the “underground” version, which has different maps and creatures – and is just as fun! I’ve been enjoying it – unless my opponent gets the Baleroc or Flying Carpet! It’s fun enough two player, but is more fun with a group, simply because in two player you are only ever screwing the other person with your actions, where as with more players you have more variety. There are apparently “tunnels” that you can buy that connect the original and this version – and I’m hoping to acquire them at some point because I think that a GIANT Small World map would be tons of fun. You can also find an iPad version of this game – and while I bought it, I haven’t played it as yet, so can’t speak to how it compares.

Before last night’s game session, I stopped by and picked up a copy of Ticket to Ride. We’d heard a lot about it, had purchased it as a gift for some children of one of our friends, and I wanted to play it and be able to explain the game to them on Christmas Day so they knew how to play it and could easily play together later. It is a very easy game to learn and is also fairly fast paced. While we definitely had fun with it, we also think that it would probably be more interesting with more than two players – and have heard that the Europe version is more “in depth”. That being said, I thought it was fun and it will certainly be added to our rotation. I also think it’s going to be a perfect game for the two kids for whom we made the original purchase. There is an iPad version of this game for those who are interested, and it’s very close to the actual game itself (and much cheaper!) if you want to check it out.

One of the games that I can’t wait to get more into is Mansions of Madness. It was given to me for my birthday, and I’ve been waiting to crack into it ever since! We’ve just not had the time/patience yet to sit down and figure out the rule book – but may do so this weekend. I think one of the hindrances for us is that with only two people one has to be the “bad guy” and the other the “good guy” so it’s not a cooperative effort. That isn’t bad in and of itself, but would lend itself better to a game night with more people (which we are working on!). The other thing is that after learning Arkham Horror, I’m a little intimidated by learning the super in depth rules and set up (since Brade and I had some, uh, disagreements, last time). Which is just stupid, because everything we’ve read has indicated how awesome the game is, there are some online tools to help and I’ve been super excited about it since I got it! In fact, just writing this has encouraged me to make time this weekend to play!

Do any of you have table top games that you really enjoy and want to share? We’ve got quite a list of games we want to play/buy/etc. and are slowly but surely working through it. (When did board games get so darn expensive?!). I also check Board Game Geek occasionally to see what’s hot and others are recommending, but I love hearing what others are enjoying and seeing what other possibilities are out there, unknown!

Posted December 12, 2012 by Beruthiel in Off-Topic

8 responses to “Spending Time Unplugged

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  1. I’m not all that into tabletop games, but I’ve poked my nose into the genre over the last year, all because of the excellent Geek and Sundry show, Tabletop — hosted by Wil Wheaton. Not sure if you’ve seen it or not, but I find it hilarious and a lot of fun to watch. The one downside is that Wil Wheaton does not come to your place to host your games for you, which I think would make game nights even cooler. ;)

    http://tabletop.geekandsundry.com/

    New episodes coming in January, too, so you have plenty of time to catch up on older episodes if you haven’t been watching. :)

  2. Some of my favourites:

    Betrayal at House on the Hill – I really like this game, it sounds similar to Arkham Horror. In the game you explore a haunted house (you lay tiles so the layout is always different). At some point int the game one player becomes the betrayer and you need to play out one of many different scenarios to escape the house or defeat the bad guy.

    Thunderstone – this is a deck building game similar to Dominion, but has a dungeon-crawling, monster killing theme. It’s pretty good even if you only have 2 players and there’s also an online version at yucata.de

    The Great Space Race – This one is simple but a lot of fun. You race the other players around a space track, and try to hinder them by dropping mines or giving them space amoebas.

  3. You might want to try Jaipur, a card game for two player where you make trade with your opponent!

    Here’s a review on bgg http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/861428/table-top-tango-reviews-camels-beware

    (Sorry, don’t really know how to explain it well in english! But that’s really good for some quick game in between more serious stuff, like Arkham Horror ^^)

  4. Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, and Dominion are some of my favorite table games! I’m glad you’ve discovered them :D

  5. For a more extreme experience: Agricola is a very good game, but unless you play in easy mode (“family mode”) the strategy is incredibly complex (and even is easy mode, it easily beats any other tabletop game I played).

    For Dominion, I have a somewhat love-hate relationship. The scenarios they suggest and those I found around with google more or less invariably sucked. I’ve come up with an approach to generate scenarios which (after some refiining by friends) works well. If you’re interested, I can share :)

    I always enjoy an heroic-mode Pandemic, even if at the hardest level it tends to end badly, being a PvE player I enjoy the cooperative gameplay.

    Ah and we always end the evening with Settlers of Catan, which brings out the worse in us, with games ending up with backstabbing, victimism, screaming and hate (not very long lived :) ).

  6. A good party game is The Great Dalmuti, put together by Richard Garfield before the Magic: the Gathering days. I introduced my gf’s family to it once, and was forced to leave my deck behind. (I’ve since repurchased it. :P )

    For just a couple players, though, I highly recommend checking out anything made by Cheapass Games – Give Me the Brain, Lord of the Fries, and Kill Dr. Lucky are a couple of my favorites.

    Guillotine is a fun card game for two (or more), and Munchkin is a fun one as well (though typically works best with more players, 2 people can still have a good time).

  7. Quarriers – Its like dominion but instead of a deck building game its a dice building game and because you roll them lots more chance thrown in. Nightfall is also in the same theme, instead of winning points you make your opponents bleed!

    Twilight Imperium – it’s expensive but if you have nothing to do for a weekend (or week) well worth investing in. It’s ridiculously long, and is kinda like catan and civ 2 mashed together. You get a randomly generated board with hexes, the plants supply different resources (ok 2) and you use them to advance a tech tree and beat the crap out of each other with space ships. It is also highly complex by having to pick which actions you will be good at or can even perform each round. But doesn’t move to a players turn and everyone can wander off as there is nearly always something to do. I would recommend trying before you buy as it is expensive.

    Game of Thrones board game – Pretty much an easier to play Diplomacy (in that you don’t have to write anything) or a much more complex Risk. If you like the book/tv show its worth a try, although Targs aren’t available.

    Star Wars miniatures game – Lots of people will avoid this because it screams fan boy. I am not really into star wars that much (I have seen the films ofc) but for a tactical maneuver shooting game its balls to the walls fun. Sort of like a really easy super quick Warhammer game.

    Anything with Fantasy Flight games on it is pretty awesome.

    I am glad you are leaning towards mansions of madness as I love that game. The guy with the dog is broken… turns out in HP lovecrafts world hunters are op too!

  8. Card game – Killer bunnies and the quest for the magic carrot, has many many expansions, the more expansions you play with the more people you need to play to make it fun(more is always better!), it can be fast or slow paced… such a wacky game!

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