Tag: Sushi Go! Party

Grooming Techniques for Board Games

Grooming Techniques for Board Games

Let’s start with the obvious question, yes that is a tongue in cheek title, but it was a post on the Dice Tower Facebook group that got me thinking about this question. Someone asked the question, how do you take care of your board games […]

Top 5: Drafting Games

Top 5: Drafting Games

On to another list for my top 5 drafting games. Now, Board Game Geek only has card drafting for me to sort through, but I will be including a dice drafting game in my list as well (or two). So without any more clarification: 5. Roll […]

2018 Top 5: Board Games

2018 Top 5: Board Games

Yes, it is going to be an annual tradition doing the top five lists of my favorites in the categories of board games, video games, movies, TV shows, books, and anime. Possibly other things as well, but I can’t remember right now if there were other things that we did lists on.

Image Source: Cephalofair Games

1. Gloomhaven
We have a change up from what I remember as being my #1 last year, but Gloomhaven has gotten to the table so much, and I’m really loving it. The story is a lot of fun in the game, and I really like the combat in the game. Playing two cards and then using the top half of one card and the bottom half of the other card makes for some interesting strategy and changing characters keeps the game feeling nice and fresh. It is a beast of a game to get set-up, move around, and use, but we have it down now so we can get scenarios set-up fast and it doesn’t seem to suffer because of that.

Image Source: Z-Man Games

2. Pandemic Legacy
Was a pretty easy choice for the top two. Pandemic Legacy Seasons 1 and 2 just hold up so well. These are big experience games that are a ton of fun. Because they are legacy games they can’t be replayed, but it is fine, after playing through the stress and ups and downs of the games you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth from the game. How the story unfolds and the game mechanics progress just makes the games and systems tie together and work really well.

Image Source: Evil Hat

3. Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
This game just tells stories of the Dresden Files well, and there is so much tension in the game play and when you win it feels good. The limited resources and card management works really well. The game also works really well as a solo game and they keep the tension with every number of players. They also keep on releasing expansions for further books in the series that keeps the game even more playable.

Betrayal At House On The Hill
Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

4. Betrayal At House on the Hill
I still love this game for how unbalanced it can be. The stories and moments that you have in the game are great as you try and escape this house. I’m a big horror film buff, though I haven’t seen as many as I’d like. The exploration part of the game is a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to play Betrayal Legacy as I think a more directed story in that system will be amazing. There’s also some good campiness to the game that allows it to channel the movie Cabin in the Woods.

5. Smallworld
There are so many game options I want to put down here. For right now Smallworld holds the spot as it’s a game that is always one I’ll play. The expansions for it are a lot of fun and keep the game feeling fresh, but even without an expansion, it still feels unique with the different combinations of races and powers. The high conflict and area control of the game could be mean, but because of the artwork and style of game that it is, you can’t be annoyed and someone when they try and take you off the map, because you can do that again in a turn or two.

Honorable Mentions:
Xenoshyft: Onslaught – A great deck building game that actually has a point for the deck building.
Sushi Go! Party – Fast card drafting game with really cute artwork.
Sagrada – A fun dice drafting game that looks great on the table.
T.I.M.E. Stories – Only played on scenario in it, but it’s a lot of fun and gives you a fun feeling of role playing and puzzle solving as you go along.
Arkham Horror LCG – A good story based Lovecraft game with very puzzle like mechanics.

It’s been a good year for gaming and trying new games. What are your current top 5 favorite games? Have you gotten a chance to try any new games this past year that would have broken into your top 5?

Holiday Gift Guide: Intro Games

Holiday Gift Guide: Intro Games

Maybe instead of gifting for a gamer, you are gifting to someone who is just getting into the board game industry. They’ve played a few of your games and are looking to start getting a few games of their own. What games should you look […]

Holiday Game Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Holiday Game Guide: Stocking Stuffers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I didn’t post last week because the baby Nerdologist is now here, so was busy getting settled into the life of being a dad. I’m still figuring that out, but also back at work and into […]

It’s Time to Party Game

It’s Time to Party Game

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and you can have an awkward meal with your in-laws, but the whole time doesn’t have to be awkward because there are party games that everyone from the crazy uncle to the clingy aunt can enjoy. Now, might be a little bit late to order them today or you might not want to run out to a store as they might be a bit busy as well, but Christmas is coming up and New Years, and you probably will have to spend extended time with family again, or even with friends, and you might want something to do with them.

Tsuro
Image Credit: Amazon

So, what makes the best party games?

Replayability is one of the biggest things for me. Having a game that I can go to multiple times without it feeling like all the jokes and moments are done is key.

Large group number so that you can get everyone playing is also important. You don’t want someone to feel like they have to sit out because there aren’t enough parts of the game to go around.

Simplicity so that even Grandma and Grandpa can pick it up is key. They might not want to play, but your parents might not be that much better at picking up either.

Limited or contained down time is also important in these games. You can have moments of people sitting around and thinking or writing something, but you don’t want to have people having too much down time while on person does something. That either leads to distracting conversation and people just checking out of the game.

Can you play the game with your parents? Seems like a lot of these other ones cover that suggestion, but there are games that have more of a dirty or adult twist on things, and you have to know if your parents are going to be fine with that, or even your grandparents, depending on who you might be playing with.

Image Source: Amazon

The game can end while everyone is still having fun. This can be because you can just end the game whenever, but it could also be because the game is a shorter game. If the game can’t end in 30 minutes, it’s probably too much for a party game.

So what are some games that fit the bill?

Balderdash

Balderdash is a game where people write down definitions to words, what acronyms mean, complete weird laws, and then get to vote on which one they think is real. This game is easy to teach and while the replayability is slightly more limited than some, simply because you might actually remember a categories answer from before, you can always go with another one of the options on the card. Like most good party games, this game is about the laughs. It can have a run away leader problem, but really, scoring is optional, being silly is more important.

Wits and Wagers

Very similar to the game above, except everyone is putting down a number instead of some other written answer and then people bid on which is the closest without going over. There is technically an ending to the game, but you can always just pick how many questions you want to do, or when people are winding down do a single final round where people can go crazy with their bidding for a chance to win.

Image Source: Gamewright

Scattergories

Another trivia sort of game where people are looking to fill in answers for various categories but it all has to start with a single letter. What makes this game work more often than not is that someone who might be able to come up with more answers is probably still going to have a number of common answers with other people so can end up with fewer points. Trying to come up with something that is unique, but not unique that someone else might come up with as well is the balance, plus the limited amount of time for doing so.

Stipulations

A bit more abstract, but a similar basis for the ones above, in this one person picks from four things, occupation, life time supply, super power, and dream job that they’d want. That’s all great, but then everyone else gets to write a stipulation and the person who picked gets to pick their favorite because it’s the least bad one or because it’s the funniest one, their criteria is there own. This game works really well because depending on who you’re playing with, you can make the game dirtier or more family friendly, the choice is yours. This game is good for laughs, it comes with white boards for writing on, but you could easily expand it to a larger number by just taking post-it notes or some other smaller piece of paper and giving one to each person.

Tsuro

First game to actually have a board in the classic sense. Tsuro is a simple game of staying alive the longest as your dragon follows it’s path. The game plays very fast, so you’ll likely play a couple of times. For a game that seems like it could have some decent strategy, it really works well because you can only plan on your turn, and you have a limited number of choices, especially at higher player counts. It’s always fun to see how people take different strategies in the game as well, as some people might try and avoid everyone, while others might try and instigate conflict.

Image Source: Brain Games

Sushi Go! Party

By far the most complex game, this is one that you won’t be able to pull out with everyone, but if your family is a gaming family, Sushi Go! Party offers interesting decision making as you are drafting cards. The game plays quickly, though the first hand might take a bit longer as people figure out their strategies. This game also offers the most variety in the play as you can swap out the meal that you are creating. The others all have a similar feel and rhythm every time you play it, but this one could have wildly different strategies each combination that you play.

ice Cool/Ice Cool 2

Now, this is a new one and probably the silliest out of all of them. All you are doing is either flicking delinquent penguins around a school as they try and avoid the hall monitor and collect snacks of fish, or you’re racing around the board to see who can circumnavigate the fastest. It is also different because you’re up and moving about as you cannot sit around a table to play this game, in fact you have to pull the chairs away from the table. This is limited to eight players, but it’s also the best on the list for kids, because what kid wouldn’t want to send a penguin flying around a board. And while the game is made for kids, it’s a lot of fun for adults as well as you try crazy shots to see if you can bank through a couple of doors or are you going to get stuck in a corner.

There are a lot of other options as well, but as you are looking at the store thinking about something about you might buy, remember the suggestions laid out at top of the article. Keeping it simple, replayable, and good for a large group are going to mean you’ve probably found a winner of a party game.

What are some of your favorite party games? Are there some that you actively avoid with your family?


Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

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Mechanically Minded Board Games

Mechanically Minded Board Games

I mentioned the topic in the Kickstarter FOMO post, but I wanted to talk more about different game mechanics that you might here people talk about when it comes to describing a board game, this will be a bit more focused definitions than the Jargon […]

Gaming Baby

Gaming Baby

Now, as I normally do, a disclaimer/clarifying my title since I just write catchy titles, or something like that. This isn’t only going to be about gaming with a baby around, it’s going to cover a number of nerdy things. So, for those of you […]

The Jargon – Board Game Edition

The Jargon – Board Game Edition

I’m doing something that’s a bit different style, I realize that there can be a lot of terms for various nerdy hobbies that might be a bit confusing. So I wanted to, for board games, run through what some of these terms are, if they describe games, give an example of what sort of games are in that genre. It might give you a unique vocabulary to better talk about games, it might help you realize what the exact genre of game is that you like the best and what you want to get more of, and it might just be a long list of words, which isn’t all that exciting, but anyways. Here’s the jargon of board gaming, or at least some of it.

Image Source: How Stuff Works

Starting with the most popular

Roll and Write: This is a genre of board game where you are rolling dice and then filling in numbers, lines, areas, of a game board that is probably just your game board to try and get a higher score than other players. The original example of this game is Yahtzee. Yes, roll and write is that simple of a genre, but it’s having a huge moment now with the biggest game being a German game, Ganz Schong Clever. They’ve evolved past Yahtzee in their scoring, and while it’s a genre I haven’t gotten into, they tend to be a bit more clever in their game play versus Yahtzee which is just telling you the numbers.

Then moving to the classic

Euro Gaming: The next is also a genre of games, they can also often be called worker placement games, though that is a slightly separate genre. These games are the ones where the result of the game all comes down to math. You can figure out an optimal strategy and there isn’t going to be all that much that can be done to stop that strategy. They started to change that, as of late, with making the boards tighter so that you had to plan out things a bit more or taking it away from everyone having to do everything to score enough points to win.

Point Salad: I wanted to put this one next to Euro gaming as a lot of them can be point salads. What this means, is like a salad, you can have a ton of different things in there. So in a game, that means you are scoring points at the end of the game in six or seven different categories that make up your total score. Games like Five Tribes and Seven Wonders are two prime examples of those games. It allows you to customize your winning strategy based on another a things.

And now to one that’s more a favorite

Image Source: Days of Wonder

Card Drafting: Card drafting can be a mechanic in a game or the basis of some games. The idea is that you have a hand of cards, you are selecting one card from that hand to play and then passing it on to the next player who is selecting a card from that hand either until all the cards have been played, or there is one left in the hand. This can be done several hands during a game, or it can be a lesser part of the game, maybe just at the start of the game. Two games that use it as the basis of the game are Sushi Go! Party and Seven Wonders. In those games, drafting is the whole game as you’re trying to make sets and score points based off of different criteria. A game like Blood Rage uses it at the beginning of each age to help you strategize and then you play with those cards, it’s similar in Near and Far where you draft cards at the start of the game.

Hate Drafting: So, clearly tied into the one above. Normally when you are drafting, you want to draft cards that are best for you. But in games like Sushi Go! Party and Seven Wonders, you will have an idea of what the other players want or need, so you might draft a card that doesn’t really help you, but it stops other players. Generally, this isn’t a great strategy for the person doing it, unless all the cards are equally as bad for them, but sometimes you do it to stop a large number of points just to keep yourself in the game.

The another genre that was popular and still is going strong

Image Source: Wikipedia

Deck Building: It’s a genre that has cooled off a little bit, probably more so because there are fewer games coming out in the genre that are new, and more expansions instead for older games. In these games, you have a base deck, or some resources to start buying cards, that builds up your hand and your deck. So by the end of each game, the players deck is personalized to them. The biggest game in this genre is Dominion. It has a pasted on theme of medieval times and is really about quickly drawing cards, getting money, and buying victory points. There have been a lot of games since Dominion got the genre to take off that have come out like Marvel Legendary, Xenoshyft, Hogwarts Battle, Clank!, and many more. This also can include games like Arkham Horror LCG and Magic the Gathering. They take it a slightly different way in that you are building your deck before the game is played, but the deck can still be customized to what you want.

Abstract Game: These tend to be the logic based and puzzle based games. A game like Quoridor or Blokus fall into the abstract game. It’s about thinking through and figuring out the puzzle for your given game situation. They also tend to have little theme on them, or if there is theme, it’s pasted on and there is disconnect between the theme of the game and the mechanics of the game. Dominion is a solid example of a game that could be an abstract game without any theme and it would still function just as well, but the theme makes it a more visually appealing game.

That takes us to one of the last overarching genres

Ameri-trash/thrash: It’s really Ameri-trash, but Ameri-thrash is more fun to say. These games are all about theme, whereas a lot of Euro games, their big genre counterpart, focus in on a lot of minute details and figuring out logically how to win, Ameri-trash have more luck involved. They also tend to be a lot more steeped in theme and have theme tying into the mechanics of the board game. Games like Gloomhaven or Near and Far are two prime examples. Ameri-trash games also have more randomness in their games. While Gloomhaven doesn’t have too much randomness, for Near and Far, you are rolling a die quite often to find out if you can complete a skill challenge or win a fight. You see the randomness more so in dungeon crawl sorts of games, such as Star Wars: Imperial Assault.

Gloomhaven takes us into another genre of game as well

Image Source: Cephalofair Games

Cooperative or Coop: These games are as they sound, you are all playing together on the same team and playing against the game to see if you can beat it or not. There’s no special mechanical piece that is tied into this, beyond that you are all on the game team. The game that caused this genre to take off was Pandemic which has come out with a ton of version and variations on the base game. Gloomhaven and Star Wars: Imperial Assault are also games that fit this genre, but Imperial Assault only does because of an app, before it fit into another genre.

One versus All: This is the other genre. Classic RPG’s fall into this as well as dungeon crawl board games. In these games one player is playing the bad guys, or the antagonists, and everyone else is playing cooperatively against them. In an RPG, that is going to be the game or the dungeon master and it’s a similar situation in dungeon crawl games.  So Star Wars: Imperial Assasult, can be played as a dungeon crawl where one person plays the imperial characters and the other players play the heroes against the bad guys. The app changes that so that no one has to miss out on the story. There are also other games that don’t fit into either the RPG or dungeon crawl genres, like Not Alone where one person controls a monster that is trying to track down all the red shirts from a crashed alien ship.

I probably should define this category next

Dungeon Crawl: I’ve mentioned it a few times, so you probably have some idea what this is, so I’ll talk about it fast. This is a game where you are going through a scenario or going up against bad guys moving through a game board, exploring new areas, and trying to complete some objective(s). Games like Gloomhaven, Descent, and Star Wars: Imperial Assault fall into this genre. You might be thinking that you don’t remember any dungeons or many in Star Wars, but that’s more of a genre given name now that a specific.

Back to more coop games for a second

Semi-Cooperative Games (Hidden Traitor): This is a genre that is closely related to cooperative games and probably wouldn’t be as strong if it wasn’t for cooperative games. In these games you are basically playing a cooperative game where all the players have the same objective. That is, all of them but one (or more depending on the game). Those players are trying to sabotage the mission for the players or have their own objective. However, they are trying to not be found out. Games like Dead of Winter, Shadows over Camelot, and Battlestar Galactica are the biggest in the genre that really needs to get more games.

Social Deduction: This is the category that seems to be stealing a lot of the hidden traitor games. In these games, you have players who are in secret roles and you are trying to figure out who the werewolves, fascists, cannibals, or whatever the games theme says the bad guys are. It is similar in some ways to a hidden traitor game but there is one huge difference. These games are built around trying to draw out that information and all the mechanics are around that deduction piece. So games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, The Resistance (Avalon), Donner Dinner Party, and Secret Hitler are all examples of this, but the best one, in my opinion, is Deception: Murder in Hong Kong as there is more game to it than games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf or The Resistance.

That brings me to one final trio of definitions. There are so  many more things that I could write about, and I might do a part two, but this will be enough for now.

Light Weight: Probably an area that I could have described games sooner, but games are generally put into three different categories of weight, though the last one you never really hear the weight added to it. A light weight game is going to be a game with fewer rules and fewer options in the game. There can still be more strategy to the game, but it’s simple to sit down and play that game. weight in game can refer to strategy, complexity of the rules, and length of set-up/number of fiddly bits, but generally mainly the first two. Games like Splendor and Ticket to Ride are light weight games to me. While they are a bit more complex than the standard of Monopoly, they don’t offer that much strategy and complexity. Interestingly enough, a strategy abstract game like Quoridor also falls into this category even though it has a lot of strategy and thinking too it, because the rules and game play are very simple.

Medium Weight: Medium weight games are, shockingly, a step up from light weight games. They are going to offer more complexity in their interactions. You have to think through more of what you are going to do, and you can plan out multiple turns, but are more apt to have to adjust on the fly. They still aren’t getting into the area where they are too mathy or too much strategy where you are having to plan out a lot of turns in advance. Five Tribes is a great example of this where you have a number of decisions and options that you can do, and someone can take your move from you but also might not. Century Road: Golem Edition, is another game that is a bit on the lighter side of medium weight games, but builds up good strategy in the game and gives you quite a number of options.

Heavy: Heavy games are steeped in strategy and complexity of the game. A game like Gloomhaven falls into their category. There are a lot of rules to keep track of, there are a lot of little fiddly bits, there’s a lot of set-up, and there’s a lot of strategy. A lot of larger Euro games also fall into this category because you have to figure out what is going to be your best possible turn to get the most possible points from the game. I do want to point out that these games don’t always have to be the hardest games to play, once you know how to play t hem but they can often be more difficult to learn and have strategy that you need to know to be able to play the game well.

There are a lot of definitions, are there some terms that I’ve missed (or haven’t gotten to yet), that you are curious about?


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Gaming in a Big Group – Part 3

Gaming in a Big Group – Part 3

I won’t promise that this the last part of the post because I thought that part 2 was going to wrap everything up, but I do think this will likely wrap it up. I mainly want to go outside of the party and social deduction […]