Tag: Century: Golem Edition

Holiday List: Games for the Casual Gamer

Holiday List: Games for the Casual Gamer

When buying gifts, sometimes I do that to try and improve someone’s collection of games, and by that, I mean to move beyond the likes of the Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland that most househoulds have had, and take those people who 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

We’re onto the top half of my Top 100 games. We’ve seen a number of games drop out of the top 50 so far, that means we’re either going to have new games or games that have rise, you’ll have to find out. You can 

Building a Board Game Collection

Building a Board Game Collection

I will say that if you’re looking for a board game to buy, you can check out my articles (Part 1 and Part 2) because there will be some overlap, but in this case, I’m talking about building that collection when you want to play a lot of games with a lot of different people. For me there are three different groups of games to consider when building your collection, games that you love, games that you can introduce people to, and games that are good for a big group. I’ll go through all three of these and why I think they are important in most any collection.

But before that, let’s talk a little bit about why you build up a collection of board games. For me, clearly I love board games and having a variety of board games brings me joy. I like being able to pull out so many really different games and play them, but also to just look at them on my shelf, mess around with the pieces and learning the rules. It also gives me joy because I get to introduce other people to the board game hobby as well because I have so many games. I can pull out a game for any occasion, whether it was the board game club that I started just before Covid-19 hit so it’s been on hiatus, or if it’s playing with family, or introducing someone to gaming. Now, that’s why I have a diverse collection of games, but that also is something that won’t work for some people, some people simply do not want to play complex games or they don’t want to play party games, and therefore you might not have as much in your collection. So when building up your collection target games that you’ll love and games that you’ll enjoy that work for your group. If you only play with casual gamers, you’ll probably want to focus your collection more on games that’ll fit their play style. If everyone hates party games, no need to have one in your collection.

Let’s talk about the three different types of games that I think make a strong collection.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

1 – Games You Love

This part is pretty obvious. Your collection should have a lot, probably the majority, of games that you like to play. This is whatever type of game you love, maybe you love heavy war games, or euro games, or ameritrash games, campaign games, dungeons crawls, sci-fi, deduction, trick taking, whatever it might be, most of the games in your collection should be games that you love. Most likely, if you love these games, you’re going to have a few people to play them with, as part of your gaming group. These are the games that I’m using, thus far, in the board game club, so not my campaign games that I love, though I do have a group for that, but stuff like Blood Rage, Lords of Hellas, Dead of Winter, Clank! In! Space!, bigger and a bit meatier games that we can sit down and just spend an evening playing those games. These won’t be the games that you play the most, most likely, but that’s fine, these are the games that you always want to play.

Image Source: Catan

2 – Gateway Games

This is a pretty small part of your collection, these are games that you use to introduce people to hobby gaming. Best known are the Ticket to Rides, Dominion, Carcassone, Small World, and Catan. But find what works for you and the ones that you enjoy. Having a few of these slightly more complicated games than your typical mass market games will allow you to get more people into hobby gaming. You wouldn’t want to start someone off with Blood Rage if they don’t understand area control and card drafting strategies, but Small World and Sushi Go Party! and now they have a basis for potentially playing Blood Rage. Make sure that you do enjoy the ones that you have, you might be sitting for a while in this part of your collection with some gamers as they get to explore and discover new games and strategies as compared to the mass market games, and consider outside the normal games. Something like King of Tokyo is great that isn’t mentioned as often as the big five I mentioned above, but works well and is familiar in some ways to Yahtzee, or something like Century: Golem Edition is easy to teach and play and newer.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

3 – Big Group Games

Now, with board game nights, there’s kind of a tipping point of around eight people to ten people where you can start to split into multiple groups. But even then, sometimes you want to play in a big group. I also like these bigger group games for kicking off or winding down a board game night as people start to leave and you go from a couple of groups into a single group. This category of games has stuff like Criss Cross, Welcome To…, Just One, Scattergories, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Sushi Go Party!, and more that can handle a pretty good size number, and they don’t take that long. They are almost filler games, but for a bigger group, and I could have probably put a fourth category of filler games, but I also like just using the higher player count games with lower player counts if I need a filler. These games are meant to get played quickly to start off a game night, played by people who don’t want to play a heavier game, or just played for the whole game night if that’s what everyone is feeling or you don’t have enough people to split into two groups easily.

Now, obviously, your group and your tastes will get different mileage out of the different types of games. You might just have it planned out that you don’t need filler games. When one game is full, the next person there just starts setting up the next game until more people show up. But that’s going to be up to you. If you know you need a more well rounded collection, those are the three categories that I would look at filling out your collection with. All this keeping in mind that your collection is to bring you joy, so with Gateway Games and Big Group Games, you can fill in a few that you like or can tolerate if you need them. If you hate all gateway games, don’t have any in your collection, that is okay, same with group/filler types of games, but think about the group that you play with, and make your decisions based off of that.

Do you have a mix of games in your collection? Is it only games that you like, do you find that you need group games or gateway games?

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Top 10 – Feel Good Games

Top 10 – Feel Good Games

So, after over a week off, though 10 Minute Marvel podcast still came out, for a little bit of a vacation and a chance to reset my brain during Covid-19 and protests, I wanted to come back with a Top 10 list that is a 

Top 10 – Gateway Games

Top 10 – Gateway Games

First, what’s a gateway game, before I get into my list? These can also be call introductory games or family weight games. Basically, these are games that you can pull out and play with mom and dad or your cousins or anyone who isn’t that 

Top 10 Small Box Games

Top 10 Small Box Games

If you’ve been keeping up with my Top 10 List, you’ll have seen a number of the same games on there over and over again, some of my favorites, and it gives you an idea of how they fall into various categories and mechanics, but I wanted to do one that’s going to hit a number of different games, and that is going to be small(er) box games. Now, I’m not going with Micro Games, so it doesn’t have to fit in a mint tin, pack of gum, or be a regular old deck of cards, but games that are in a box that’s smaller than a Carcassone box.

10 – Second Chance
The first of several roll (flip) and write games on the list. They just work really well for packing a punch in a small box. In Second Chance, you’re trying to fill in as much of a grid as you possibly can with a bunch of Tetris like shapes. The trick is that the next shape you add, from two cards flipped, must touch one of your previous shapes somewhere. Now, smaller shapes would generally be ideal because you can fill it in more solidly, but there are a limited number of one or two square cards in the deck, so you have to hope that they come up at a time that you can use it. If you eventually can’t use either of the two shapes flipped, you then get a second chance, a card that only you can use, however, if you can’t use that, you’re out of the game and you count up the empty squares and that’s your points, the person with the fewest empty squares wins. It works really well because you don’t have down time since everyone is using the same cards, just with a different starting card.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

9 – Criss Cross
Smallest game on the list, it’s barely larger than a deck of cards, but it offers a whole ton of fun. In this game, you are rolling dice and placing those dice on a 5×5 grid, trying to get like symbols next to each other to score points in both the rows and columns. The tricky bit is that you need to put those two dice faces for a round next to each other, orthogonally, or like a domino would fit into a grid. Adding to that, the fact that it’s scoring both rows and columns means that you need to think hard about getting points both ways, because while more like symbols in a row gives you more points, being able to score in more directions might be better. Plus, you can put the dice faces anywhere, so you have to worry about not giving yourself two single spaces not next to each other, because that means you can fill in the last roll. A lot of fun and plays fast with no downtime.

8 – Say Bye to the Villains
A really tough game for the list, one that you’ll lose way more often than you win. In Say Bye to the Villains, you are Samurai who are going to be taking on various villains and you have ten days to prepare. That can be done by increasing your stats or by figuring out a villains cards and how tough a villain will be or by giving someone else a card. However, all of these things cost time, and the better ones might cost multiple days, and you only have ten days to prepare. So while the game is cooperative, you always feel like you haven’t prepared your stats well enough or that you haven’t figured out enough for a villain so you just need to try at the the end and hope it works. Thus far in around ten plays, I have yet to win the game, but in the vast majority of them, we’ve been really close, so one of these days it’ll happen. The game can overstay it’s welcome just a tiny bit if someone spends their time really fast they then have to sit around, and in a higher player count, that could be a little bit.

Just One Game Box
Image Source: Board Game Geek

7 – Just One
This party game works perfectly on this list because it packs a punch for a small package. First, it’s a fully cooperative party game, which is pretty rare, but it’s also clever, borrowing some from Scattergories and Taboo and other older party games that maybe don’t hold up as well. One person is “it” and they flip over a card and show it to everyone else and pick a number from 1 to 5, that corresponds with a word, then the other players write down a one word clue for that word. However, then the players have to compare their words, and any duplicate clues aren’t shown to the person who is it. The clues are then revealed and that person needs to guess what word it was, if they get it, you get a point. If not, you lose a card, limiting how many points you can get. Now, it is a party game, so scoring is optional, in my opinion, but the game itself is a really fun time.

6 – The Lost Expedition
This one has shown up on the adventure list, but it’s a small box game that’s a lot of fun. In this game you’re trying to navigate from the start of the trail all the way to the Lost City of Z. However, there are creatures, native tribes, rivers, and more that need to be traversed to be able to get there. So as a group you’re playing down cards that will allow you travel further down the trail, but they’re going to cost resources and you have a limited supply of those, so you have to balance wanting to push ahead as fast as possible with gathering more resources as well. The game does a nice thing as it’s a cooperative game, it helps alleviate a situation where there is an alpha player who wants to tell everyone what to do because when playing down cards for the morning or evening walk, you can’t discuss the cards in your hand, so the biggest decision can’t be alpha gamed.

Image Source: Gamewright

5 – Sushi Go Party!
I really like this game because of the variability to it. In regular Sushi Go, you have a fixed pool of cards, but in the Party version, you can swap out your appetizers, desserts, and specials, and more so that it is a different combo most of the times. You can make it as challenging or as easy as you want to score points. And the game is just a really good drafting game that doesn’t give you down time. You’re mainly just trying to draft sets, but some of them offer a lot more points if you get a large number of them, whereas, others you can split into smaller sets, or others will give you negative points if you have to many of them. The artwork is very cute in the game as well, which helps it hit the table with a wider variety of players.

4 – Point Salad
So there’s a joke about games where they can be a point salad, meaning that they give you a million different ways to score in the game, like you can put a million toppings onto a salad. In Point Salad, it gives you a million ways to score, but you have to decide which ones you want to take, and which veggies you take to build up your salad. The game is great because it plays fast, it offers interesting decisions and its tongue in cheek naming. Overall, it’s a pretty simple game, but offers good replayability and you can’t have the same strategy every game because the scoring cards you can draft will vary based off of what cards are actually being used and what pile those cards might be in. A fun and fast game.

Image Source: AEG

3 – Welcome To…
The highest roll (flip) and write game on the list, as it’s my favorite that I’ve played thus far. In the game you’re building your perfect Stepford neighborhood, with it’s white picket fences, parks, and pools. Will you be the best at developing your neighborhood. The great thing about this one is that you can play basically an infinite number of people because everyone is using the same three pairs of cards each round, well, picking one of them to use. It’s a challenging game as you’re trying to complete specific neighborhood layouts but also focusing more on one of the things, parks or pools, can net you more points, but you’ll also be missing out on points as well. The game plays fast and everyone is involved in the whole game, so a lot of fun, and one that if people have access to a printer to print the sheet or has the game, works really well online.

2 – Hanamikoji
A great small box card game where you are trying to win the favor of various Geisha. To do that, you need to give them gifts, one might want a comb, while another might want a flute, it depends on the Geisha. To get them those gifts, you and your opponent, it’s only a 2 player game, are going to take turns doing one of four actions. Each person can do each action once per round. It might be that you discard a card face down that won’t be a gift for any of the Geisha. Or you play two face down that you’ll use as gifts later, or there is a play three face up, your opponent picks one and you get the other two, or two groups of two face up, your opponent picks one and you get the other. It offers a lot of strategy, but there’s enough hidden information to keep the game challenging every time you play it.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

1 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
When I was thinking of this list, I kind of forgot that this would apply, but it’s probably my favorite “small box” game. I put it in quotes, because the more expansions that you get, the larger a box you’ll need, but if you just get the base game, and that’s all you’d need for a while, it comes in a small box. And it gives you a bigger gaming experience than some as you’re playing through scenarios in a greater story just using cards and a few tokens. The downside to that scenario based story is that once you’ve played it once or twice, you’ll know the story, then you’ll want to get the cheap expansion packs, and eventually it’s not that small a game anymore. Still, you can get a lot from that small box.

I have a lot more small box games that pack a lot of punch that just missed the list. Things like Hats, Letter Jam, Homebrewers, Century: Golem Edition, Not Alone, Onirim and more just missed the list, and I think when boar dame night in person starts up again, some of them will go higher up the list, because a lot of smaller box games play faster and are easier to pick up on.

What are some of your favorite games that come in a small box?

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How to Get Rid of Board Games and Not Feel Too Bad About It

How to Get Rid of Board Games and Not Feel Too Bad About It

There are so many board games in the world, and while I would like to say that I have a massive room dedicated only to board games where I can fit in lots of Kallax shelves from Ikea, I don’t. I was able to fit