Hey, Wanna Play?

Let’s face it, board games don’t have the best rep. Many folks think back to childhood, only to remember awkwardness or – even worse – frustration, anger, and flipped tables. Monopoly seems to be a regular complaint. But modern board games are different! How do you convince your friends to come and enjoy a terrific night out?

Theme

One excellent way to bring in a new gamer is to tie in a current interest. Does your friend like sewing or quilting? How about Patchwork – a two-player game where players pay for Tetris-like quilt pieces with buttons, then use them to create the best 7×7 square.  

Forbidden Island

Maybe your friend is an adventure seeker; try Forbidden Island – a cooperative game where players race to collect four archeological treasures before the cursed island sinks beneath them. This board game can be pulse pounding as you turn the cards that determine which parts of the island sink each turn.

And who doesn’t like Sushi? Sushi Go Party is a card passing game where each player tries to create the best menu. The rules are so simple, they’re printed on each card. It has an added benefit of some of the most adorable Japanese style artwork we’ve ever seen on a game.

These days, there is a board game for just about anything. Stock market? Check. Zombies? Check. Gem traders? Amusement ParksVirus Outbreaks? Mystery? The Wizard of Oz? Trivia? Space Aliens? Making fun of gaming nerds? Check and double-check. In addition, many popular games offer ‘themed’ versions – Cthulhu Fluxx, Star Wars Catan, or Alien Clue. Somewhere there’s a board game that will interest your friend.

Simple Rules, with Humor

New gamers are often confused and overwhelmed by the sheer number of pieces and complexity of modern games. So keep it as simple as possible.

5 Minute Dungeon

For example, 5 Minute Dungeon has five decks of cards (one for each player) and five monsters to defeat. Defeat the monsters by matching up symbols on your cards with the symbols on the monster card. The hardest part about this cooperative game is that it’s on a five minute timer. But at least you can assure your friend that each round only takes five minutes!

Apples to Apples, the racier Love 2 Hate, and the extremely racy Cards Against Humanity all work on the same simple premise – one person lays down a card and everyone else picks a card that matches (or doesn’t, which can be even more fun). I say potato, you say vodka. Everybody laughs and we move to the next round.

Codenames is a set of 25 words, of which your team’s spymaster is trying to get you to guess nine. But the spymaster can only give a single word as a clue. There used to be an old game show called Password that worked similarly. Simple rules, but this game is challenging, engrossing, and rewarding.

Let Them Play

So you managed to get your friend to come out and play. Now what? Let them play. It’s very easy for an experienced board gamer to see possible outcomes of any given decision. Remember the fun you had figuring out a game for the first time? Bottle that and let your friend figure it out for themselves. There is no greater buzzkill than having someone else play your moves for you. No matter how silly the decision, let your friend make it!

Don’t Play to Win

I used to think there were two kinds of gamers out there – those who play to win and those who play to enjoy. Now I know that the same person can play both ways. So play to enjoy. Your friend is just learning. Chat about their choices, poke some gentle fun at game-changing moves, but don’t decimate them. You can even play open-handed (with cards visible on the table) to help the learning experience. Be cool and play for fun the first time; the next game will be the one that “counts.”

Keep Them Coming

Finally, listen to your friend. Every game is not for every player. If they don’t like a particular game, find out why and suggest something else. Be willing to play the games that they like, rather than your favorite all the time. Who knows? Eventually they may appreciate more complexity and realism in a game and ask for something more complex. You’ll never know if you don’t start small.

Bring a friend to the next Decks, Dice, and Meeples event; we’ll help you pick out a game or two that might suit.

 

Carcassonne (Big Box)

From the box: “Released to critical acclaim in 2000, Carcassonne has long captivated audiences with its simple yet engaging gameplay. Now you can experience the best the 2001 Spiel des Jahres winner has to offer. The 2017 version of the Carcassonne big box combines the base game along with eleven of its expansions, making it the perfect starter set for anyone who wants to play this bestselling game with as much variety as possible. Including the inns & cathedrals, traders & builders, the Abbot, the River, the flying machines, the ferries, the messengers, the gold mines, mage & witch, the robbers, and the crop circles expansions, the Carcassonne big box includes more than 150 tiles and seven different types of Meeple.”

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Forbidden Desert

From the box: “Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the flying machine and escape before you all become permanent artifacts of the forbidden desert!

In Forbidden Desert, players take on the roles of brave adventurers who must throw caution to the wind and survive both blistering heat and blustering sand in order to recover a legendary flying machine buried under an ancient desert city. While featuring cooperative gameplay similar to Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert is a fresh, new game based around an innovative set of mechanisms such as an ever-shifting board, individual resource management, and a unique method for locating the flying machine parts.” Continue reading “Forbidden Desert”

Imhotep

From the box: “Players take on the role of ancient Egyptian architects. Over six rounds, they try to transport stone blocks to end up in the most valuable positions at five construction sites, while thwarting their opponents’ efforts to do the same. To win the game and be named the greatest architect, you must get your blocks to the right place, in the right order, at the right time.”

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Sushi Go Party

From the box: “Sushi Go Party!, an expanded version of the best-selling card game Sushi Go!, is a party platter of mega maki, super sashimi, and endless edamame. You still earn points by picking winning sushi combos, but now you can customise each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of more than twenty delectable dishes. What’s more, up to eight players can join in on the sushi-feast. Let the good times roll!”

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7 Wonders

From the box: “You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World Gather resources, develop commercial routes and affirm your military supremacy 2-7 players 30+ minutes playing time”

Dan Says: “7 Wonders is a card drafting game in which, among other things, you are in charge of building your own ‘Wonder.’  There are 3 ‘stages’ of play, each having a hand where each player picks 1 card to play, then passes the hand to the next player.  Like other card drafting games, there are many ways to earn points, some of which are straight-forward, others are more complex.  Add to that the bonuses some of the cards can give you, along with the “engine building” element where certain cards require you to have to ‘build’ them with previously-played resources, and you achieve a level of complexity that’s more than, say, Sushi Go, but still not difficult to pick up.  It’s one where you’re probably best suited using your first couple of plays focusing on learning how the cards interact as opposed to chasing points.  Overall a fun game.”

Amazon: 7 Wonders

Laser Khet

This out-of-print game combines the strategy of chess with the fun of lasers. Make your move to light up the opposing player’s Pharoah while protecting your own … watch out for the mirrors as you go. We dueled for a half hour before we really got the swing of it but it’s a great thinking / strategy game once you get there.

From the box: “Khet (a.k.a. Deflexion) is a chess-like board game that has two built in lasers and movable Egyptian-themed game pieces that have embedded mirrors that can be positioned to bounce the laser light around the board and hit opponent pieces.”

Pandemic

We’d heard good things about Pandemic, so we tried it out at a game cafe and ended up buying our own copy. As scientists, each with a unique ability to bend specific rules, you race to contain a virus before epidemics take over the world. Similar to Forbidden Island as a cooperative game, and loosely following the geographic patterns of Risk, this one delves deeper into set collection and geographical problems. The virus spreads in somewhat predictable means, so you can make some plans, but occasionally outbreaks sneak up on your team. Another great cooperative game; the players work together to contain the virus.

From the box: “Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. Pandemic is a truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.”

Forbidden Island

From the box: “Dare to discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss!” Continue reading “Forbidden Island”

Stratego

Loy says: “Stratego is an oldie but a goodie. In this battle, setup is half way to winning. Place your army, including spies, flag, and bombs. Once the game begins, moves proceed similar to chess. Your goal is to capture your enemy’s flag without hitting any of those pesky bombs in the process. Every setup is different, so every game is unique for a fun and challenging game each time. How well do you know your opponent?”

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