Tag: Sushi Go!

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 […]

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 a schedule at this point, so it will be easier to get back to posting.

Christmas is almost upon us, so we’re starting with games that would make great stocking stuffers. A lot of games come in big boxes, but what are some games that can fit in smaller boxes that are popular or that I enjoy.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Love Letter

There are a ton of flavors of this game as they have slapped all sort of different things onto it from the original medieval setting to Batman. Pick the one that is best for the person you are giving it to. In the game you are trying to get your love letter to the princess, in the base game, by playing cards to try and stop the other suitors from getting their letter to the princess. This is a very fast game for two to four players and would easily fit into a stocking.

Zombie Dice

Zombie Dice is another game that I’ve talked about a fair amount, it’s a simple die rolling game where you are a zombie trying to catch humans and eat their brains, but they might be trying to shoot you back, so you push your luck while rolling the dice to see how many brains you want to bank in a race to 13 brains. It’s basically Farkle, but simpler. The zombie theme might not work for some people, but it’s a good stocking stuffer as it’s an easy game to teach.

Parade

A tricky little game with an Alice in Wonderland theme on top of it. It’s really an abstract game, but the artwork makes it better to look at. You are trying to have the fewest points when someone has collected cards of all the colors. The cards have different point totals on them, so you can kind of judge the score. But if you have the most of a color, all of those cards are worth one point. There are different ways you collect cards based on the number and color of the cards. It’s a bit more of a thinky game and one that offers some interesting decisions in a small package.

Image Source: Z-Man

Onirim

This one is for someone who likes games and wants to play them all of the time. it’s a small card game for up to two players, but really is a game for one player. It’s a tricky little card game where you are trying to play cards in order by color but not repeating symbols. With that, you are stuck in a dream trying to find dream doors before you run out of cards because the nightmares have gotten you. The game is a bit spendier than some of them, but it comes with several expansions that gives the game nice variety.

We Didn’t Playtest This Legacy

Yes, this is a legacy game, but it’s a tiny legacy game. Give this game as a stocking stuffer to the person who runs board game night. We Didn’t Playtest This is a silly game where you are playing cards that can either protect you, or people select one of a couple of options, and people are eliminated. You can play lots of rounds of this game fast. It’s a good filler game to start a board game night or between longer board games. The regular game is a bit boring, but Legacy version has some fun bits where when someone wins with some of the cards, they can put their name on the card that might give them in the instant win. Or the card might ask them to add a word that people can’t say or a letter they can’t use. It allows a group to really set-up in jokes for their own play groups.

Sushi Go!

Not Sushi Go! Party, which is too big to fit in a stocking, unless it’s a Hobbit stocking (woo big feet joke). Sushi Go! is still a fun game, there is just less variety in the game. But because of it being less variety, it means that it might be easier to get repeat plays out of it with a group that isn’t as game playing heavy. They don’t have to relearn the scoring ever. Sushi Go! is a drafting game where you selecting cards from a hand and building sets that give you points. There are three rounds of drafting cards, and the person with the most points at the end of three rounds wins the game. It’s a very cute game as well which makes it easier to sell.

Image Source: Asmodee

Unlock Games

Finally, if you have an escape room enthusiast, these are the games for them. They are escape rooms in a box. You are looking for clues, trying to combine cards to get more clues to escape the scenario that they are in. It’s a one time play through of the game, but these games are about experiences. It could even be, if you don’t want to give a one time use game as a stocking stuffer, a game you could play with family and friends over the holidays that everyone will be able to understand. These games also have nice pressure as you are racing against the clock. Definitely the most challenging of the games on the list.

What are some other small games that would make a good stocking stuffer? I know there are games like the Tiny Epic Galaxies and the rest of the Tiny Epic series or Mintworks which are popular now.


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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 […]

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 […]

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 games and look at some higher player count games. While those are two of the most common categories, I think there are other games ranging from very simple to a bit more complex that can work.

Tsuro
Image Credit: Amazon

Part 1

Part 2

Zombie Dice is one of the simplest games on the list, but it works well because you can be gaming while you are talking. There’s every little involvement by people in the game when it’s not your turn and that works out just fine. Even when it is your turn you don’t have to pay that much attention as you are just grabbing dice, rolling them, and then deciding when to stop and cash your brains in. It’s a simple die rolling game of push your luck where you are trying to be the first player to 13 or 15 or whatever number people pick, by collecting brains, because that’s what zombies do. But you got to be careful, because if you get shot three times,  you don’t cash any brains for the round. Once someone has passed the end game total, then everyone has one turn to try and beat them. It’s very much Farkle like, but simpler and less math.

Tsuro is another game that falls into the simple and fast games. You can plan out your turn in advance, but normally that’s a pretty simple process. Tsuro, the game of the path, is about staying on the board the longest and can play up to eight people. You play a tile in front of your pawn and move it each round and you can only use the tiles you have in your hand. It’s not a highly interactive game between players until later in the game when you have to put your pawns fate into someone else hands. A nice thing about this game too is that you have a limited number of tiles, so if you have two people or if you have eight people, the game is going to take basically the same length. Just with more people the game is more interactive earlier on in the game. It’s also a game where when you get knocked out, you know you aren’t going to be sitting there long. This can be an issue with some of the social deduction games that eliminate players.

Image Source: Gamewright

We Didn’t Playtest This At All! Legacy also falls into the category of very simple games. It’s a draw a card play a card game and be the last one standing. There are several versions of this game, but I prefer the legacy version. It adds to fun of the game which is extremely simple otherwise. We just got rid of our non-legacy version, so just We Didn’t Playtest This At All!, because it’s a little too simple.  However, I do think for some groups there is a good spot for this on their shelves. It’s a good game for when people are showing up, because a single game lasts only a few minutes before everyone is eliminated. It’s also a goofy game, so it’s a good ice breaking game as well for people to interact a little bit.

Sushi Go! Party falls into a different category of game with the card drafting mechanic and is a bit more complex. It also lasts longer than most of the others that I’ve mentioned in social deduction and in this post (the party games can last a long time if you want). As players you are drafting a card in three rounds, each round is a full hand of cards, and then passing the cards to the next person. It’s a fun game with a lot of variability in it if you have the party edition. I highly recommend that. It’s also a game that is a bit thinkier, and people can form strategies, but because the artwork is very cute, people who haven’t gotten all the strategy with a particular set of scoring food items will still enjoy it because of the artwork. It’s a game that is quite aesthetically pleasing, and for all the cards and options you get for the game, it’s quite cheap as well. This is the first game where I’d say there’s less luck involved with it than a lot of others.

Say Bye to the Villains is one of my favorite resent purchase games that I think works well on this list. It has a maximum of eight players and is a cooperative game. You play a group of samurai who all have their own powers trying to defeat a bunch of villains. You have ten days per character to get your samurai ready to fight. You can do this by increasing your stats, speed, health, and power, or by finding out information on the villains. It’s a very tricky game to win, I think in three games I haven’t won, though it’s been close a couple of times. But it’s cooperative, so even if one person finishes up their days sooner, they can still be part of the strategizing. This game plays as a puzzle but you never know if you’ve cracked it, because you don’t know if you have all the information that you need, which inevitably you won’t.

Magic Maze and Captain Sonar are two games that fall into the same category in some ways. They are both real time games that can handle a large number of players. I’m not sure what the max is for Magic Maze, but Captain Sonar can play eight, and I think Magic Maze is similar. In Magic Maze you, as a group, are trying to get an adventuring party through a mall and out after they have stolen the adventuring goods that they need. Yes, it’s actually that and actually that silly. Each player has a specific action or two that they can do which is moving the adventurer meeples (small wooden pieces representing the characters) on the board. So someone can only move them north, someone can only move them east, and so on. There is some overlap on things, but not that much. It’s a timed game and everyone is in there, trying to work together to get them on the gear and  then get them out.

Captain Sonar is also real time, though can be done turn by turn, where there are two teams out trying to sink the others submarine. The captains are barking out orders, the first mate is trying to keep the systems prepped and ready to go, the engineer is trying to keep systems in working order, and the radar operator is listening to the opposing teams captain trying to figure out where they are on the board. This game is stressful and hectic, as is Magic Maze, but a ton of fun. There’s some strategy that can be employed and there’s some luck that goes into it as well. There’s also an expansion for this game, but I don’t know what it adds.

Both of these games are a lot of fun as they get the blood pumping for people, however, because they are stressful for some people, you have to know your group. In the case of Captain Sonar, there is also fairly high lower bound limit as while the Captain and First Mates jobs can be combined, you are going to want to have at least six people to really get the full experience of the game without it becoming too confusing. There’s also the issue with these two games that they are a bit more complex than some of the others on the list. They have good themes for the games so good ways to explain what is going on without it seeming like too much, but be careful not to over explain it.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the games that you could play with larger groups and each group is going to have their own sweet spot for games. Try and branch out and try a number of these games and see what works the best for your group. With these games it also helps keep you from getting stale. And if you want to play something heavier, like I said before, split into smaller groups, but a lot of these games are great for kicking off a game night before jumping into heavier games, or closing down a game night as people slowly leave.

One game or type of game you’ll see that I left off of the list is Escape Room Games. While these games can technically have an infinite number of players, they say that six is the max. I would say that is a pretty good maximum otherwise people won’t be able to see the cards being played. Id’ recommend splitting into groups if you have more than six for games like Unlock and Exit.

What are some larger player count games that I haven’t mentioned that you enjoy?


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Board Game Battle: Sushi Go! Party vs 7 Wonders

Board Game Battle: Sushi Go! Party vs 7 Wonders

Ding, ding, ding! The bell has sounded, and we’re on to round two of our board game battles. The Contenders: First, why are these two battling right now? Both of them have a common mechanic between them, in that they are card-drafting games. You are […]

Hitting the Table: Tips for Finding People to Play Games with You

Hitting the Table: Tips for Finding People to Play Games with You

This topic came up recently on a forum that I’m on, football related but in the general random talk section, how to find people to play a game with you. The person has The Thing board game, and wants to get it to the table, but […]

Know Your Nerds: Kristen’s Top 5 Board Games

Know Your Nerds: Kristen’s Top 5 Board Games

We’re wrapping up this series with one last installment — to finish it up, I’ll be talking about my top 5 favorite board games. As Peder mentioned, we both did a similar list a while back, so I’ll refrain from looking at my previous list so that this one can stand on its own. In any event, I’m pretty sure that at least a couple of my choices have changed since then, so I’ll be treading some new ground no matter what. So without further ado, my new and improved list of favorite board games!

5. Marrying Mr. Darcy

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Let’s be honest — a good portion of my love for this game stems from my pre-existing love for all things Austen. But I happen to know from first-hand experience playing this game with non-Jane Austen fans that you don’t have to be into the source material to get a ton of enjoyment from it. The game allows for up to eight players, and you play as the ladies of Pride & Prejudice (or Emma, if you have the expansion). You are competing to (what else?) attract the attention of the eligible men of P&P, in hopes of securing an advantageous marriage. To do so, you collect cards with different types of points, such as charm, wit, and beauty. Different suitors value different things, naturally, so you’ll have to get the right combination to be attractive to the bachelor of your choice.

You can angle for any of the gents you like — however, true to canon, some matches are more advantageous than others. For example, Lizzy naturally receives the most points by pairing off with Mr. Darcy, but if she gets stuck with Mr. Collins, she’ll only get a few points. And if you don’t play your cards right (literally), your character could end up as an old maid, and you’ll have to roll the dice in hopes of getting the least dismal fate that comes with that result.

This game is quick to play through, the turns go around the table pretty fast, and it has that mix of strategy and luck that I find crucial to a good game-playing experience. Add to that the fact that the theme is one of my favorite worlds of fiction, and you’ve got a game fit for any sporting young lady or gentleman.

4. Splendor

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This lovely game first drew me to it for primarily aesthetic reasons — and no wonder. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game, with the painterly artwork on the playing cards and pieces, the satisfying weight and sheen of the gem chips (think poker chips, but with jewels on them), and the general historical feel. It’d be delightful to play just for tactile reasons alone, but the gameplay experience is well worth it, too.

The premise of the game is that you and your fellow players are gem collectors, doing business sometime around the Elizabethan era (judging by the costuming of the characters in the artwork). The object is to invest in smaller jewels in order to buy more and more precious ones, thereby becoming the wealthiest gem collector in the land. The first to 21 victory points is the winner — at first, the gems don’t cost much, and it’s easy to pocket several of them quickly. However, the gems in the early stages don’t have high point values, so in order to afford the higher-value gems and beat your fellow players to 21, you’ll have to do a lot of clever maneuvering.

Splendor also features the optimal (in my opinion) strategy/luck combo that Marrying Mr. Darcy has; it feels accessible and easy to pick up, while still being challenging enough to keep me thinking. It never feels beyond me in terms of strategy; I’m generally able to plan far enough ahead to be a real contender in the game, which I have to admit is pretty rare for me. This is one of those games I want to start playing again as soon as I finish a round — and if you know me, you’ll know that that’s about the highest praise I can give to a board game. It’s one I know I’ll keep coming back to again and again!

3. Sushi Go! Party

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I was introduced to this game a few months ago, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to love it. Yet again, the exterior of the game is what first drew me in — the artwork features little cartoony sushi characters that are just so cute that it hurts. Beyond the surface, though, this game has almost everything I love most about my favorite board games — that luck/strategy sweet spot, a really fun theme, great artwork, and fast-paced gameplay.

I’ve only ever played the party version of this game, so I can’t speak to the original, but I can highly recommend this amped-up version. In the party game, you have a board with slots for the different sushi tiles, which you can switch out to either create one of the combos given in the rule book, or devise one of your own. These tiles show which cards are in play, which the players will combine in hopes of amassing the most points. SG!P is a deck-building game, with a card-passing mechanic similar to the one in Seven Wonders. As the card hands go by, you’ll have to choose wisely in order to gain the most points (and avoid losing any) when the totals are tallied up.

As I mentioned, this game is a delight in just about every way — it’s great for smaller groups and larger ones, and can be a great warm-up or cool-down game, or just a fun one to pull out when you feel like something snappy but still low-key. It has that addictive quality I mentioned with Splendor, and so much variety and possibility that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it (or of looking at those adorable sushi faces!).

I have to say — the only real downside (though maybe it’s an upside, depending on your perspective), is that this game makes me crave sushi like nobody’s business!

2. Lord of the Rings: The Board Game

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From the title alone, I think it’s pretty obvious why I love this game. A board game modeled after my favorite fictional world of all time? Yes, please! Better yet, it’s cooperative, my favorite style of board game. I find that working together to win against the board rather than trying to beat your fellow players is a much more enjoyable gaming experience for me — it means that even if the game gets serious or tense, the players rarely take it out on each other, and that since all players are involved the whole time, nobody’s sitting around getting bored as they wait for their turn to come around again.

In the LOTR game, you play as one of five hobbits (the four from the Fellowship, with the addition of Fatty Bolger, a character from the books who didn’t make it into the movies). Your goal, naturally, is to travel through Middle Earth to Mordor, on the quest to destroy the One Ring. You’ll travel through Bag End, Rivendell, Lothlorien, and a couple of other spots to gather supplies, and you’ll move on to play through multiple scenarios staged on several separate boards — Moria, Helm’s Deep, Shelob’s Lair, and Mordor, in the base game; you may have others if you choose to pick up certain expansions. As you go, you must succeed in a series of events to keep moving, and to keep the eye of Sauron from spotting you before you get to Mount Doom.

Though I love this game dearly, it is almost punishingly difficult to win, with several ways to go down and only one narrow path to success. Many a gaming session has ended with us getting overtaken by Sauron, spelling the end for our characters (and turning Middle Earth into a land of subjugation and despair…*cries*). But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to re-set the board and try again every time that happens. I love everything about this game — the fact that it came out before the movies and is based only on the books (and features Alan Lee’s glorious artwork), its cooperative nature, the excruciatingly high stakes that manage to be serious and exciting at the same time, the mechanics of the game, and just the undeniable feeling that you’ve somehow been transported to Middle Earth and are now personally responsible for saving it. It’s a heart-pounding, exhilarating gameplay experience, and it’s one I plan to engage in many, many more times.

1. Pandemic/Pandemic Legacy

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It’s a close call between Pandemic (and its legacy spinoff, Pandemic Legacy) and the LOTR game when it comes to my top pick, but at least for now, Pandemic wins the day. It was my first foray into the world of cooperative gaming, and there was no looking back. Finally, I’d found my type of game — the type I could enjoy playing no matter what. Put simply, it’s one of the first games that showed me just how amazing board gaming could be, taking what I thought I knew about gaming from playing the tired old classics, and completely re-forming my perspective. Suddenly, board games were a world I not only could engage with, but wanted to.

Dramatics aside, Pandemic is widely recognized among gamer circles as one of the best co-op games out there. It’s been around longer than a lot of other currently popular co-op games, and it’s no wonder that it’s stood the test of time. The object of the game is simple — keep four deadly viruses from spreading across the world for long enough to totally obliterate them, thereby saving humanity. You play as a range of different medical, tactical, and scientific specialists (such as the medic, the dispatcher, or the researcher), and you must work together to keep the diseases at bay until you can cure them and clear them out.

Pandemic is a little more strategy-heavy than some of my other choices, but because of the cooperative aspect, I can bring whatever I’ve got to the table, and even if I’m not at the top of my game, I know the other players will fill in whatever gaps I can’t bridge.

Like LOTR, Pandemic is a super challenging game — there are many ways the world can be lost to disease, and only one way to save it. But due to the pacing and tight, well-laid out mechanics, it remains a ton of fun to play no matter how many times you’ve lost. This extends to the legacy version of the game, as well. In that version, you play through 12 “months” and increasingly difficult and complex scenarios, trying to beat back the diseases under narrowing odds. You’ll almost certainly make some grave mistakes and have your best plans go awry as you play through, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling and satisfying to play. I’ll definitely be returning to the base game for many more replays, and can’t wait to see what future version of the legacy game have in store.

So there you have it — my all-time (so far, at least) favorite board games. To close out, some honorable mentions: Five TribesCastle PanicTicket to RideQuirkleBetrayal at House on the HillDead of Winter, and Phase 10.

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Picking Out the Perfect Game (Part 2)

Picking Out the Perfect Game (Part 2)

So here’s the second part of Picking Out the Perfect Game — the first part was a whole lot more about finding places to try games, and finding ways to learn games. This installment is about the introspective side of picking out a board game. […]