I’ve done a competitive person games list for that person who might be just a bit too competitive. Yesterday I did a stocking stuffer list. Today I’m looking at games for that person who loves to work together and like cooperative games. Dead of Winter …
Tag: Say Bye to the Villains
We’re getting down to it, getting close to the Top 10 games, only a few more of these lists. It’s been a blast as always putting these out and I’m glad that people are enjoying them. I’d be very curious to know what your top …
So Monday was a Holiday, so my top 10 list has been delayed a day. Today we’re going with Top 10 card games. Now, these games are going to be card driven games, if there’s a big part of the game, set-up, pieces, whatever it might be, that isn’t cards, it won’t be on the list. So Gloomhaven, while the core mechanics are card driven as of what you play for your actions and the modifiers for your attacks, it still has a large table presence.
Here’s the list:
10 – Onirim
You are in a world of dreams in this solo game. You are trying to find some dream doors and avoid nightmares before your deck runs out. This is a solo abstract game, but one that plays pretty quickly and is a lot of fun. The biggest challenge of the game is figuring out how to deal with the nightmares. You have four different ways, you could use a key, but those are valuable resources because of what they can do and how unique they are, you could trash your hand, you could discard five cards from the deck, or you could get rid of a door. All of them are bad for you though, because they will cost you more cards. The game has a lot of shuffling, but it’s a lot of fun. A good solo game that can technically be played with two, but it’s mainly meant to be played solo.
9 – Not Alone
You are part of a crew who has crash landed on a planet. It would be fine, but one person is a monster on the island and that monster is out there trying to pick off the crew. So you have to plan out your turns in such a way that you don’t end up getting killed off and lose too much crew before the rescue ship can arrive. It’s a fun game of cat and mouse and one versus all as the crew can discuss strategy, but they have to do that so the monster and hear and understand. But the players could try and mislead, but if they go to a few spots to get the ship there faster, that could end up with them not using their turns that effectively, since those can only be done once per round. A lot of fun, and a good high tension game.
8 – Say Bye to the Villains
This is one of the hardest cooperative games that I’ve played. We’ve gotten close to winning several times, but we’ve never won. In this game, you and the other players are a group of samurai who are trying to take down a group of villains. You have ten days to play your attacks, increase your speed, and get more health. Because you need to defeat the villain that you’re facing off against. But with that, you also need to figure out what the villains are doing. it might be that they are going to be very fast and hit hard, but might not have much health, so if you can go faster than them, you don’t need to worry too much about damage or health because you’ll first. Or do you try and take the blow, but you can never find out everything you want, so you hope that you’ve planned it out well enough. It’s a slower game for being so small, but it’s a really fun challenge.
7 – The Lost Expedition
This cooperative game intentionally tries to take on the idea of alpha gaming by limiting your communication, but still has a lot of depth to the game play as compared to some that limit your communication. You’re trying to get to the lost city of Z, but to do that, you are playing down cards for a walk both in the morning and evening so that you can progress. But most cards have something bad on them. The trick is playing down these cards, you can’t discuss what you’re playing down or what would be best from the cards in your hand. You have to do that yourself and how you do that changes from morning to evening. And with the things that you have on the cards, most of them are not going to be good things, so can you balance your resources dwindling as well. A fun and fast cooperative game.
6 – Sushi Go Party!
First of back to back food related games, in this game, you’re drafting your best meal. This might be getting sashimi or nigiri or maybe you’re going after green tea ice cream. The game is played over three rounds, and whomever has the most points at the end of three rounds wins. What makes this game a ton of fun is that you change it up, so that might mean that you can create a lower scoring meaner version of the game where you’re worried about not getting that 3rd tofu and making your tofu worthless. Or maybe you’ll do on that gives everyone a ton of points, so there are lots of options to change it up. And once you’ve played one round, the game moves extremely fast and is a lot of fun.
5 – Point Salad
A quick little card game, a point salad game is one where you get points for basically everything that you do. Point Salad, the game, takes that concept and makes it about salad. So now you’re not just getting points, you are making a salad. To do this, you are either drafting two cards of vegetables, or picking up a scoring card. The game is very simple and limited number of cards so that it plays fast at most player counts. But it has a surprising amount of depth and variability because you have to know when to grab a scoring card or if you take a veggie it’ll change up the scoring cards, so you can block an opponent from getting what they might want for scoring? And do you diversify your veggies to scoring in a lot of ways across the board, or are you going to really target scoring for a couple of vegetables?
4 – Hanamikoji
In Hanamikoji you’re trying to win the favor of Geisha by giving them gifts. You do this by playing cards in a very interesting and clever way. Each round, each player has four different actions that they can take. But they can only take each action once. Some of them are simple, such as playing a gift face down that you’ll use to win favor at the end of the round, or discarding two face down. But some are much tougher to figure out, and add in so much depth to the game. Playing two groups of two cards and your opponent selects one of them, or playing three and your opponent gets one of them. It makes a lot of very difficult decisions in the game and what you’re trying to do so often is let your opponent make the tough decisions in place of you. The game also plays very fast, so it’s a great challenge to play a few times in a sitting.
3 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
First of two living card game, Arkham Horror allows you to investigate strange goings on around Arkham and other locations. It’s based off of the Lovecraftian mythos, but while there are horror elements and monsters, it’s more about how good an investigator that you can be, can you fight off these monsters and investigate and solve the case. I really like that they can use the cards to create such different scenarios. Out of the base box, one of them has you fighting more monsters while you investigate in a house, the other has you out in the town looking for cultists, and they can do even more with it. The only things in this that aren’t cards are a few tokens that you use, which can be used to adjust how difficult the game is, so you can play it for the story, or you can make it nightmarishly hard depending on how you want to play.
2 – Aeon’s End: War Eternal
Another deckbuilding game, this one has a limited number of things that aren’t cards, and it’s basically just player boards and a few counters as you take your team of mages who fight against a monster that is coming through and attacking the city of Gravehold where you are from. It’s a good deck building game that does one very clever thing there you don’t ever shuffle your deck, so you can try and set-up how cards go into your discard pile and set-up future hands of cards to get the most optimal damage or buying power to build up your deck further. And with the number of different mages it works well and gives you a lot of variety as you take different mages up against different nemesis.
1 – Marvel Champions
This living card game allows you to play as your favorite superheroes, though that might be eventually. You build your deck of cards to create your hero and then take them up against some villain. You could fight as Spider-man against Rhino or Captain Marvel versus Ultron out of the base game. What I really love about the game is the way that you can flip back and forth between your alter-ego and super hero side of things. It feels like the comics in that while Spider-Man isn’t around the villains are out there scheming away, but when he’s there, they are going to be fighting him. It feels thematic and there are more and more villains and heroes out there that Fantasy Flight can add to the game, which means that the game will never feel tired.
There are a lot of great card games out there. Especially if you want to go down the deckbuilding route. There are games like Clank! In! Space! is another one that could have made the list, but has too much else going on. But games like Ascension or Dominion, for some that would make a lot of sense for checking out card games as well.
What is your favorite card game? Any from off my list you want to checkout?
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Alright, this whole week and probably for a little bit longer, but let’s talk about those things you can get for the nerdy people you have in your life. Or things that you can suggest that people get for you, since you’re the nerdy person in their lives.
Stocking Stuffers are going to be small games, though a few of them might be slightly too large for a small stocking, but they are going to be smaller games and hopefully slightly cheaper options for you as well. These games are not going to be big and grandiose, but hopefully you’ll find a good range of games for the people in your lives. This list isn’t in a best to worst or vice-a-versa order, just alphabetical
Age of War – This game will easily fit into a stocking. It is a simple little dice game where you are trying to collect fortresses by rolling combinations on the dice. If you get a set, you can lock them in, but if not, someone can try and steal it from you, though it’s a little bit trickier. This game is very simple and small. It’s a good game for people who like a bit of dice rolling, but don’t want anything too thinky.
Boss Monster – A game that’s a bit bigger than Age of War, but it’s still easy to play. Each person is a monster in a 8-bit video game and you are trying to set-up your dungeon and lair so that you can defeat all the heroes who are coming from the town. But you also have to be able to attract them. But if they don’t die in your dungeon, you don’t want to take too much damage. This is for someone who likes a lot of nerdy things and retro video games being one of them. There are good nods to other nerdy things on the cards.
Cat Cafe – Your crazy cat lady aunt will love you for this game, though you’ll probably have to teach it to her. It’s a bit more complex than some roll and writes, but in the game, you are creating your own cat towers to attract cats to you. You score in various ways by placing mice toys together or by getting food dishes or other things your cats would love. This is a good game for the whole family.
Criss Cross – Another roll and write, you might see a third on the list, but Criss Cross is a little game, but a good one for people who like to puzzle out the best score. In Criss Cross you are rolling dice and everyone is placing the symbols rolled onto their own board, but you have to remember that you are scoring both columns and rows, so you don’t want to have too many of them that score zero. It’s a very small game and easy to play multiple times.
Gloom – This is completely different than the other games, because Gloom is a story telling game. In it you are taking turns playing down cards to either make your opponents characters lives go better, or to make yours go worst until you can kill off your whole family. You are telling the horrible things that are happening to them as you play card. This has a nice dark humor to the game, and it just ends up being silly fun for a potentially dark theme. Plus, the cards are clear plastic, so that they stack on top of previous cards and you can see through.
Hanabi – A card driven game, Hanabi is unique because the cards aren’t facing you. Your hand of cards is facing your opponents and they are giving clues to help you play down your cards. You are all trying to work together to get stacks of fireworks from 1 to 5 of their colors, but if you play down the wrong number or the wrong color, you lose a fuse, and you don’t want it to blow up in your face. It’s a unique idea and it works well for a small box game.
Hanamikoji – This is a great game to get for your significant other, if they enjoy gaming. It’s a two player only abstract game where you are trying to win favors of various Geisha. But to do so, you must give them gifts using four actions that you can take. And your opponent has the same four actions. When you use them and the choices you make are what work well in this thinky game. It plays fast, though, and generally I’ve found that people want to play again after the first game.
Just One – Okay, you’ll need a large stocking for this one. The game isn’t that huge, but it’s larger than most. A cooperative word based party game, this one is great for your family if you are sick and tired of playing the same party games over and over again from the 90’s or you’ve read every single Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity card. In Just One, one person is it, and you are all trying to get them to guess a word, but you can only write down a one word clue. If you match with someone, though, both clues are hidden. It’s a super fun game that takes the place of a lot of other party games.
Onirim – Maybe you have a family member who likes to play solitaire games, probably including solitaire, but they haven’t jumped into modern board games. Onirim is a great game for a solitaire player with simple rules in the base game, and a lot of challenge as you are playing cards, it’s one of the best purely solo games out there. The artwork is unique, but I like it, and the game is small, just a bunch of cards, so it won’t feel like too much.
Parade – This game can be a bit hard to find, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s an interesting card collection game where you are trying to get as few cards and as few points as possible. But, in a twist, if you get the most of a certain color/suit, those cards only count as a single point. It’s an abstract little game, but the Alice in Wonderland artwork will draw people in.
Say Bye to the Villains – If the person likes hard games, this will be a good option. Say Bye to the Villains is a very hard game, I haven’t beaten it, but a ton of fun. You are all Samurai who have 10 days to prepare to fight a group of villains at the end of that time each of you will face off against one. You can prepare by improving your stats or scouting out the villains. This game works well, because it’s cooperative and you feel like you can’t get everything done that you need to. Extremely tough, good variety in the game, and if you are looking for a challenge it’ll be a good choice.
Second Chance – We’re back to roll and writes, but Second Chance is a great one for it, and a simpler one. In this game, two cards are flipped and you have to draw in the shape shown of one of them on your board. The person who has the fewest spaces left at the end of the game wins. However, to keep it from being the same, each person has a unique starting shape, and if you use larger shapes, you might run out of room faster, but you get a bonus spot. If you can’t fill in one of the shapes, you get a second chance, and if you can use that new shape, that is just for you, you can keep playing. The game has a nice art feel to it and works well in large groups. Another game that you will play multiple times in a single sitting.
Stipulations – Another party game is making the list, and this one will easily fit in a stocking. Too many party games either need to have a ton of cards, Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity, because you go through them quickly, or they have large pieces like Catch Phrase, but Stipulations is a fun game in a small package. In the game the person who is it picks a dream job, super power, life time supply or fulfilled dream that then other players write a stipulation for. It’s a good creative game, and one that you can make as dirty or as clean as you want, so you can always play with anyone.
Unlock! – Any of the Unlock games, or the Exit games, would work in this spot, but if you have someone who loves escape rooms, give them an escape room in a box. Unlock puts you into a situation that you have to combine cards, solve riddles and other puzzles and figure out the solution before time runs out. And then when it does, you can still finish, you just get fewer points, but you can watch the clock count down and get stressed out. If you are looking for that escape room experience but on a budget, it works well with groups too, probably up to 6 players maximum, though I think 4 is the ideal number.
Alright, I don’t know how many that was, but it’s a good variety of games that you can stick in people stockings. If you want, you can probably find one for everyone in your family. Board games are fun to give and get over the holidays because you can then turn them into a family activity if you want.
Which game would you want to get in your stocking? Which one would you be most apt to give?
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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.
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.
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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