International Tabletop Day

What comes to your mind when I say “board games?”  Maybe something like Clue, Risk, or the dreaded Monopoly.  These are the games that Americans of my generation grew up with.

But that only scratches the surface of the current state of board games.  For the past 5-10 years, a little sub-culture of gamers has been popped up, in conjunction with the rise of “Eurogames,” like Settlers of Catan, which tend to have relatively short playtimes, simple economy-style mechanics, and emphasize strategy a little more than luck or chance.

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Playing Mysterium

I am not a competitive person, and I won’t say that I enjoy all board games (I am TERRIBLE at bluffing games and intimidated by heavy strategy/wargames).  But there are such a variety of fun games out there, it is easy to find something you like to play with your spouse, grandmother, or a group of friends.

Today is International Tabletop Day, and I’d encourage you to check out some of my favorite tabletop games: Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Dominion, Mysterium, Splendor, Codenames, and 7 Wonders.  They have all different fun themes, and some are for groups, some are cooperative, some are card-drafting, etc.  Something for everyone!

If you want more info about different board games, check out Jaysen’s Now It’s Your Turn series on his blog for detailed descriptions with some humor.

If you want to find a meet-up in your area for Tabletop Day, go to Geek and Sundry’s Community Event locator.  If you’re in Northeast Ohio, the Board Gamers of Greater Akron (BOGA) meet at the Quirk Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls.  Board gamers tend to be very friendly people, so go meet some and have some fun!

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Now Playing: Board games from the BOGA retreat

B and I had a great time a few weekends ago at the annual Board Gamers of Greater Akron retreat.  In addition to learning some new games and playing old favorites, I got plenty of downtime for reading, too–crucial for an introvert like me!

Here are some highlights; check these out if you like board games!

Mysterium

I wrote about this fun social deduction game before, describing it as a co-op mix of Clue and Dixit.  I recently played the American version that came out last year; it has really nice pieces and adds some new gameplay elements that make it more of a “game.”

Codenames

The name and spy theme may remind you of The Resistance, but this large-group team game has more in common with Password or Taboo.  Each team has a spymaster, who gives one-word clues to the other team members to get them to guess certain words on the board.  The result is always hilarity.

Being the spymaster is hard but fun.  I think the key is to not be too pedantic and try to think how your teammates think!

Ticket to Ride: Team Asia

Ticket to Ride is one of my favorite Eurogames, but I’ve only played the USA and Europe maps of this fun train-building game.  So I jumped at the chance to try the Asia map, which has one side for a team version where you share some route goals with a partner.  I loved it!

The hardest part of this game is finding the cities you need to get to on the map.  You will feel incompetent at geography.

Splendor

I asked for this card drafting/set collection game for Christmas before I ever played it, and sure enough it’s awesome.  First, it’s just a pretty game: nice pieces, nice artwork.  It’s also fairly simple and quick, and has great replay value.  Plus I won the first time I played! (To be fair, I think there’s a first player advantage).

 

Jaipur

I was referring to this as the “camel game” when B informed me that there are, in fact, multiple Eurogames with camel themes.  Who knew?

Anyway, this is a quick, easy, 2-player game with a fun merchant-trader theme.  Did I mention the camels? I love the camels.

5th Annual BOGA Retreat

This is the 3rd weekend in a row I’m away from home.  It’s kinda exhausting!  Right now I’m at a scrapbooking retreat…more on that later.

For TableTop Day I’d like to talk about what I did last weekend: the 5th annual retreat of the Board Gamers of Greater Akron, which takes place at Camp Carl in Ravenna.  We got to start on Thursday evening this year, and went until 3pm on Sunday.

Here are some of the games I played:

  • 7 Wonders (Cities and Leaders expansion)–My first time playing with expansions!  I got to play the Catan board, too.  7 Wonders is a great game for 7 players that doesn’t take forever.  And it’s sometimes hard to tell who’s winning until the end, which I think is fun.
  • Star Trek Deck Building Game (Explorations scenario)–My first time playing the non-coop version, and I crashed and burned.  I played my husband to 400 points: he had 400, I had 0.  I hope there’s a learning curve!
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf–I hate social deduction games, but this is definitely an improvement on the classic Werewolf game.  It’s only one round, has lots of different character roles, and you can run it with an app that takes the place of the moderator (it also has a timer-we did 10 min).  I was a Mason 3 out of the 4 times we played, so luckily I didn’t have to lie at all!
  • The Builders: Middle Ages–A quick, simple game for a few players.  It’s quite new, just released in English in late February.  I enjoyed it, but I was also pretty tired when I played it.

One of the great things about BOGA is that it has its own subgroup of game developers, called the Design and Prototype Committee, so BOGA players are frequently trying out new games.  A big group of us enjoyed World Series of Russian Roulette, a kind of press-your-luck game whose pieces consisted of a standard card deck, 6-sided dice, and some slips of paper with special abilities written on them.

There were nearly 100 people at the retreat this year…after a while I retreated to a corner with a book and let B play Battlestar Galactica, etc.  Sometimes introverts just gotta recharge. 🙂  Gamers are such nice people in general, though, that it really is always a fun time.  We had a potluck dinner on Thursday, and everyone brought the most delicious, healthy food!