This was a topic that was brought up on the Dice Tower in one of their videos. Sam Healy made a statement that if a game looked better, he would enjoy it more and it was a better game. That got me thinking about games […]
Tag: Board Games
We’re up high enough in numbers now that I think that we should just go beyond five and wrap up the list with games that work best with five or more players. I wanted to do just a five player list, because there are a lot of good games that go up to five players, but I can’t say that they are best at that count, so something like Smallworld, which is good at any player count.
Tsuro would have actually just made it on a five player list. Five or six players is where I think it works best as with more players the board can end up being a little bit tight and the action is forced immediately, and you run out of tiles immediately. With that five or six player count, you can play keep away, or you can push the conflict, the choice is yours. But Tsuro is a very strong large group game and what I would call an ice breaker game where everyone can understand it and play it easily.
4. Not Alone
I really enjoy this game, though I know it’s not for everyone, or at least my wife. In it, one person is a monster and everyone else is the crew of a crash landed spaceship. They are trying to survive and signal for help to get a rescue ship to show up, while the monster is trying to prevent that. I think with more players it adds in more strategy, at a lower player count, the crew of the space ship don’t have to plan out their moves, but if there are a lot of players doing a few actions, the monster and hone in on where they are going to be, and the action might not be as effective. It also has a fun mechanic, where the crew can discuss what they are going to do as much as they want, but they have to do so that the player playing the monster can here them.
3. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Now, I like this one with more than five as I think having a larger pool of investigators and getting the accomplice and the witness into the game really make it shine. Deception is a very good social deduction game where you have one person who is the forensic scientist who is handing out clues as to what the murder weapon and a clue at the scene of the crime were, but they can’t speak, so they are just giving it out as a report. Everyone else is trying to use the clues to figure out who the murder was, and what the forensic scientist is trying to point them towards. It’s a fun game, and having more players doesn’t make the game take longer.
2. Sushi Go Party!
This one is good at the higher player counts. I would say that I prefer it with five or above simply because you get to see more cards, not just rotate hands of cards around. Though I do think that can be interesting. But with a higher player count you are more often racing to try and find that last card that you need to complete your set, and you’re hoping that the person sitting next to you isn’t going to draft what you need. That tighter economy works very well in the game.
1. Ice Cool/Ice Cool 2
Now, you need to have the “expansion” for Ice Cool in order to be able to play it at the higher player counts, otherwise it’s just four, but this game is a blast with even the full eight players. You are having a silly time flicking penguins around, either as the hall monitor trying to catch the truant penguins or as the truants who are just trying to get a fish snack. The giant set-up for the game also gives you a ton of room so that you don’t feel like you’re trapped in by the hall monitor. The game goes fast, it works well with kids and adults, and it’s an active game. This one I’d highly recommend with the full eight players because turns go so fast, and you really get that party atmosphere with the high player count.
What are some of your favorite games with 5+ player counts? I know there are some not on my list that might surprise people, like Seven Wonders, but I prefer Sushi Go! Party to that. I also wanted to put Say Bye to the Villains on the list, but I actually think, while it isn’t bad at higher player counts, it is better with lower player counts as the down time can be a bit long. Still really enjoy the game though.
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Auction: Pretty straight forward concept in gaming, there’s some part of the game that you have to bid on to get. It could be something like turn order, which is my choice, or it could be the majority of the game where you are trying to bid on certain items to collect sets so you have points at the end of the game.
This game is a lot of fun because it has a mancala aspect to it and a full salad’s worth of points (point salad is a term meaning that you can score victory points in a ton of different ways). However, Five Tribes uses auctioning to determine turn order. It’s interesting, because sometimes you’ll want to bid high because there is a very good move, but other times there isn’t, but you end up having to spend a little money just because of how the previous turn order went.
Press Your Luck: Basic idea for these games is that you are seeing how far you can get into the game, trying for more and better points, or to be able to do more damage or something like that. I had a couple of options where it was about combat, King of Tokyo almost made the list this time. Clank! In! Space! is more of a deck building game, but there is an aspect of press your luck as you want to get the treasures that are worth the most. Press your luck is a great way to add tension into a game.
Dead of Winter
That’s my choice, there are a couple press your luck elements to this game, and while it’s a beast of a game to get to the table, it’s one that I like quite well. The first press your luck is one that you absolutely must do, and that’s move. You’re pressing your luck determining how many of your characters you move though, and once you’re out, if you move them the next turn, because you’re rolling a die that just might kill them or at least injure them. There is also press your luck in looking for items. You can make noise, and then at the end of the round, you have to roll dice to see if the noise attracted zombies. Normally you’ll have left, but maybe you just pressed your luck a little bit, and now you’re hoping that the roll isn’t the exact wrong one.
Pick Up And Deliver: Not a genre that I love in games, because they can be a bit straight forward, pick up and deliver is basically what it sounds like. You are looking or going and getting something and taking it to another spot. You’re trying to do that in the most efficient way possible. I prefer the ones where at least part of, if not more of the game is finding the items that need to be delivered.
My choice here is one that is much more about the searching. You’re trying to stay hydrated long enough that you can clear out piles of sand and put back together a crazy ancient flying machine after your own plane crashed in the desert. The game is a strong cooperative game that everyone can think through and that you never have quite enough options to complete everything you want to do. You have to first find the row and column for the item, go get the item, and then once all of them have been collected, bring them all to a central location so that you can build the ship and take off. It’s probably one of the easier pick up and deliver games, but a fun one, and not too easy.
Memory: And now I’m not just going to put down the game memory is used in a lot of games as you try and remember which portal is the active one, what cards were in a hand that is now being looked at by someone else. It is also used in who-done-it games. I don’t know that it’s always used to be the best effect, but I do have an interesting choice for it that I really like.
In Hanabi, you have a hand of cards, but the twist is that you can’t see your hand of cards. Everyone else can see their hand of cards though and you are trying to place cards down in piles of color going from one to five. The trick is that there are more cards with a one on them but only one card with a five on it, so you certainly don’t want to discard those. So you have to give people clues, such as, these cards are blue or these cards are twos, but you have to do that with every blue card or every two that they have in their hand. Then they have to remember which card is which, which they can do by sorting, but you still need to remember what you have. You’re trying to get five of those stacks completed, or as close as possible without making too many mistakes and before you run out of cards.
Time Tracks: Now, you are probably wondering what a time track game is, some of the games that board game geek has on their list I’d call victory point tracks, but basically it’s where you are playing the game for a specific amount of in game time either to a victory point level or until time runs out.
This game is one of the most straight forward time track games out there, because you are sent into the scenario for a specific amount of time. Every time you move, you use up more of the time. Every time you want to interact with something, you spend more of the time. It would work better if Bob actually told you what you were going to be doing in the past, but he really sucks at his job (Bob is basically your handler for sends you out on missions). But the game is a ton of fun, and you feel the pressure from the time track, because you don’t know how many of the places you need to visit and how many might just be useful to visit, and you can’t do everything because you’re up against the clock.
I’ll do some more actual list, action points and cooperative are the big two that are left for me to make lists off of that I’ve played a lot of those games. Do any of these mechanics really interest you? Do you have a preferred game for one of there mechanics?
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I’ve talked a lot about theme in board game before and how I like board games with a good theme on them. Instead of talking so much about why I like themes in board games, I think I’ve covered that decently well, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite themes in board games and why I like them.
Now, that could be less exciting, because there are a lot of generic themes out there, and a lot of games that are using themes over and over again. Especially now with copyrights not being extended to kingdom come, there are more works that are now public domain. A few years ago Sherlock Holmes became public domain and HP Lovecrafts work some time before that.
So what are some of my favorite themes on board games?
Epic Fantasy –
Super generic, but I really do enjoy a good fantasy game. Especially since a lot of them have a better developed story than most. Now it helps that I’m a big fantasy fan, so I can quickly understand what is going on with the various fantasy tropes and it allows me to get quickly into the story being told. Games like Gloomhaven and Legends of Andor do a good job of baking story into the actual game play themselves. I think what I like about the fantasy theme on board games is that it gives me a bit of that feeling of playing an RPG in a lot of the games and I can make my decisions like I am that hero. In a lot of ways it scratches my itch to play an RPG when I can’t be in a game as a player or as the GM.
I did a big board game battle post about all of the Fantasy Flight games that I’ve played with the HP Lovecraft world theme on them. I’m a bit surprised with how main stream Lovecraft is in board games, but it works in most of the cases. I will say that it gets slapped onto a lot of games that don’t need it. Like in Unspeakable Words, you’re just doing a pretty standard word game, but it has the Lovecraftian theme and cute Lovecraftian artwork on it. Now, that’s fine because it takes a game that wouldn’t have artistic direction and gives it some, but it’s kind of silly. Then there are games like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Arkham Horror LCG that are just steeped in theme. Those games seek to make you feel like an investigator of some background who is really going through this world, dealing with the monsters, progressing the story, looking for clues, and sometimes dealing with the events of the normal world. It also does a good job of setting an aesthetic that is generally pleasing to play in but also being a horror focused game. It really doesn’t rely on blood and guts like some horror games would.
Another super generic option, like epic fantasy, but I figured I should say more than just Star Wars. While the Star Wars games are great that I’ve played, Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Rebellion, there are other sci-fi games out there that I’ve liked as well. It’s interesting because you have a wide variety of scope with games in the Sci-Fi genre. Games like Star Wars: Rebellion, Battlestar Galactica, and Cosmic Encounters are planet level Sci-Fi games. And while Cosmic Encounters doesn’t feel like quire as grand a scope as Rebellion, it’s still a bigger game in some ways. Compare that to Imperial Assault and Clank! In! Space!, those games have a focus that is much more on a smaller part of the world. You’re on a planet or in a space ship dealing with things, but you aren’t as worried about the whole cosmos. Having that variety is what makes Sci-Fi such a strong genre to me.
Now, there are so many more genres out there, but you’re not going to have that much issue finding games in these genres, and I tend to gravitate towards them. There is one that I want to see more of though.
Weird West –
I really enjoy the weird west setting. Some might say that it’s a bit Lovecraft mixed with the wild west, and that’s probably pretty accurate. But when people say a Lovecraft game, that’s generally meaning 1920’s and Arkham area. Weird west can be a lot more than just that, and I like Shadows of Brimstone for that, though I’ve only gotten it to the table once. I need to go back and fix the monsters and hopefully stream that game at some point in time so I can actually play it some more. But the game is interesting and has some cool big moments to it.
Now, some might say this is part of fantasy, but I think I would qualify it differently than “Epic Fantasy”. Theming of games like Lords of Hellas, which I haven’t played or Santorini which is really an abstract game, but has the Greek mythology added to it, that’s a theme that I can get behind. What makes it generally pretty thematic is that all the deities have their own powers which really do track with the mythology that you’re in. Even if you aren’t going the standard Greek, there are now a lot of games with Norse Mythology. Blood Rage on the cards you draft does a really good job of creating that mythological feel for each deity that you can draft cards from. In fact, those cards are where you really get the theme of Norse Mythology in Blood Rage.
I could go on talking about more themes in board games. There are games with a heavily influenced theme by Japan and/or Anime. There are games t hat have cool adventuring themes that give you the Indiana Jones feel. There are a few themes that I’ll generally avoid though. If a game has the “trading in the Mediterranean” theme, that’s a hard pass for me. I’m also kind of done with the zombie theme at this point. I do like Dead of Winter, so I’m not opposed to it, but a zombie themed game isn’t all that interesting to me most of the time.
What are some themes you like in board games. What are themes that you want to see more of in board games?
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