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!