I couldn’t have done this list a year ago but now I’ve played over 10 of them, and I have even more on my shelf that I need to play. Roll and Write games (or flip and write or flick and write) are a very …
Not shockingly, I don’t have that many board games that start with the letter I, in fact, this will be a shorter one overall as I get through I, J, and K, but I do have some that start with each letter, so I haven’t missed any thus far.
I, J and K’s
ICECOOL (and ICECOOL 2)
Yes, that is how the name is listed on Board Game Geek, so I’m going with that. ICECOOL was a flicking game, that I forget where I stumbled across it, probably the Dice Tower, and what was interesting about the game is that not only were you flicking the penguins, not something that I had done before, but the box formed the penguin high school that you were flicking the penguins around. Just how the different parts of the box formed the board and stuck to together was cool. Add in ICECOOL 2, now you can play with up to 8 people, you can either do the normal way with hall monitors trying to catch the students ducking out of class or race around the board if you want another mode to play. The game is a ton of fun, and has always been a smashing success at game nights.
Another game that I know I learned about on the Dice Tower, this is a two player only game that has a theme that reminded me of Stranger Things when Sam Healey would talk about it. This game has one person playing the InBetween or basically the upside-down nd the other person playing the real world. There are a group of people, and you are trying to put your influence on them and make it so that the people go to your side and not your opponents, So it’s an interesting tug of war sort of game as you try and figure out through card play how to influence that. That concept really drew me to the game, and the them, because playing a Stranger Things game, basically, sounded like a lot of fun.
Status: To Be Played
The Isle of Cats
This game has cats, that’s a selling point, but it also has your drafting cards and playing down polyominoes, think Tetris sort of pieces, which are the cats onto your ship, all the while trying to create “families” of like colored cats to score points. Plus you have objective cards, and there are sections on the boat that you need to fill up. But you have to be able to pay for this call, so you get baskets to pick up the cats you have to pay for, you have to pay for the cats with fish, because fish lure cats into baskets, and you have to pay fish for the cards that you draft that you decide to keep. There’s a lot going on in the game but all of it seems to flow together quite well.
Status: To Be Played
Party games can be hit or miss for me, but Just One is a really good game. Firstly, it’s cooperative, which I think can be an issue with other party games. I get that something like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples are supposed to have the in jokes created, but it eventually just becomes people playing those in jokes because they are funny versus because they are trying that hard to win, even games like Stipulations, which I also like, eventually has people starting to put down the same jokes. Just One, however, since it is cooperative, has people focused on helping the group by coming up with a good one word clue that hopefully no one else will have. I also like how those clues work so well, one word, if it’s duplicated by someone else, you can’t see either clue. That really ups the ante for people putting out unique clues which makes guessing the right thing harder, but maybe with all the clues together a more obscure clue will make more sense.
King of Tokyo
My only K game as well, King of Tokyo was one of the earlier games I got. You’ll find that a lot of the earlier games are one’s that I saw on Wil Wheaton’s TableTop show. This was one that looked like a lot of fun, and still gets played probably a couple of times per year. The game works well because it is a nice simple step up from other games. You are rolling dice Yahtzee style and either getting numbers for points Farkle style, getting punches, getting energy (think currency), or healing up. Now there are more rules, but for the most part the punches and the points are what you really care about because you can either win by knocking everyone else out or by getting enough points. That’s one thing that I really enjoyed about the game is that you have two options to win as well, that wasn’t super common or possibly even a thing, in the games that I’d played before.
We’re back with the next ten, a bullet point of what I said in the first part (which you can find 100 through 91). If you aren’t caught up, you can find yesterdays 90 through 81 to see as well. But we’re back for the next …
It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing and when I’m going to try and consistently do it from here on out. We’re doing my Top 100 Board Games of ALL TIME! Now, this is …
This is a mechanic that more people are going to be familiar with because we have a game that has been in this mechanic for a long time, and that is the game Yahtzee. But Yahtzee only really covers the roll part, so how are roll and write or flip and write games evolving, or if you aren’t familiar with Yahtzee, how do these games work?
So in a roll and write, you, on your turn, or on the collective round of the whole group, are rolling some dice and filling in a spot on your own personal scoring sheet. In Yahtzee, this could be the total of the number of sixes rolled in a round, or 40 points for a large straight. In Railroad Ink, it’s adding in railroad track, or in Criss Cross it’s adding in shapes or symbols to your board. You do this either until everything is filled in, like Yahtzee or Criss Cross or for a prescribed number of rounds. At that point you either add up your numeric scoring values, Yahtzee, or you take the shapes and symbols and compute their scoring.
Now, a flip and write is extremely similar in how it works. The main difference is that you are flipping cards that people are using to fill in their area. This can be filling in a shape like in Second Chance or Cartographers or it can be numbers or some sort of other action like filling in bubble like on a test, such as in Welcome Too… These games do have, for the most part, a similar end scoring mechanic where you are then converting what you’ve done into points and adding up that total to see who won.
The core mechanic, though, of filling in a number, symbols, bubbles, whatever it might be on a sheet that is then used for scoring is consistent across both if you are rolling dice or flipping cards. The main reason that you’d use cards over dice is for additional consistency that you can get from the cards. It makes it less random than rolling a die, where, if you are unlucky, you could end up rolling a six every single time, which would be amazing for Yahtzee but pretty poor for most other games. So some of the games will use the cards to help with that consistency, especially in the case of Welcome Too… where the numbers go into the teens, so even with a twelve sided die, you’d have much wider variability. Also in that game, you can choose from one of three different options in terms of cards that are available and those three different options are pairs of cards, so it would be considerably more confusing with dice.
So, what are some roll and write or flip and write games that I’d recommend:
Second Chance – This is a flip and write game that is very simple, it’s just about filling in shapes on your board to see how full you can get it. So every player has a shape, eight square shape (kind of like Tetris style) that they put on their board. Then two cards are flipped and players put down one of those two shapes touching a previous one on their player board. That continues until a person can’t fill one in, and than that player gets a “second chance” which is a card that only they can use. If they can use it, they are in the game, if not they are out of the game and count up their open spaces. At the end, once all the cards have been flipped or everyone is out, whomever has the fewest open spaces left is the winner of the game. Very simple and very fast, it’s a fun game you can sit down and play multiple times. And the game encourages, but doesn’t require, that you doodle in the shapes that you are putting down on the board.
Cartographers – You are a map maker who is filling in various terrains on your map. But mainly, you’re doing it in a way that will make the scoring work. This again uses Tetris like shapes but there is more going on, it’s not just how much you can fill in. Instead, you’ll be looking to see four different scoring objectives that rotate throughout the game. You go out map making in spring, and you score objective A & B, summer – B & C, Fall – C & D, and Winter – D & A. So you’re thinking about what objectives will be scored coming up, but also knowing that while you might not score much for A in the spring, you don’t want to ignore it through the rest of the game because you’ll score objective A again in the winter. Plus, there are monsters, and while you putting everything else on your own board, the monsters tell you which way to pass your scoring sheet and your opponent puts it on. Any open spot next to a monster at the end of a round is a negative point. So if you aren’t careful, it is possible to get negative points in a round.
Welcome Too… – Now, I know the sequel to this game is heavier, Welcome To New Las Vegas, but I haven’t gotten a chance to play that one yet. This one is all about building your perfect 1950’s neighborhood with the white picket fences and everything being great. To do that, you are using one of three sets of cards, in those sets one is always going to be a number which will have to be a house number on your streets, and those house numbers have to go up numerically. And the other is some special power or spot you can fill in, maybe you numbered a house with a pool so you build that pool or maybe it’s a park or you improve property values or most importantly, you build those white picket fences. This game has a lot of good decision making points because the house numbers need to be always increasing, so while you can put in a 15 at the top of the row and a 12 three spots earlier, you now need a 13 and 14 to be able to connect those houses, which you might need to complete one of the building permits. So there are a lot of challenges and interesting decisions in this game, even with that said, it isn’t that heavy and goes very fast.
Are you a fan of roll/flip and write games? They are certainly having a moment now with a new one coming out seemingly every week. Do you prefer the thinkier roll and write games or the ones that you can just play really relaxed?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
This is a fairly big topic right now in the board game community as people around the world are physically distancing itself from other people out of necessity or mandate. There are plenty of people who are turning to solo board gaming now, but that isn’t quite the same thing for a lot of people, including myself. And while not being face to face is still tough, online gaming can help soften the blow. So let’s talk first about how you can do online gaming, various resources or set-ups out there, and then some good game options.
There are three main spots that I can think of when it comes to table top gaming. Assuming that you don’t just decide to play something like Ascension on an app because you want more of that real time interaction. Obviously, for conversation purposes you’re going to want to have a webcam ready to chat with.
This software works on all platforms and you can hook your Steam account up to it. Boasting more than 800 games to play, it certainly will give you a lot of options as to what you can grab.
Another digital platform, also available with Steam, that you can play a lot of games through.
Zoom/Other Meeting Software
This is the one that I’ve done thus far, but also going to be the hardest to pull off, because I have the streaming set-up for Malts and Meeples, I can go ahead and do a two camera set-up. That means that in a meeting, I’m able to have a camera on myself as well as then one of the table for the game. It’s also trickier because while Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator have all the pieces for the game, if multiple people don’t own the game, you need something with open information. However, because I played Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game with a friend and we both have it, that meant that the hidden information, what was in our hands, could be hidden because we each had a hand of cards.
I do want to check out the fully online options, but I have to say that I like the Zoom and using the streaming set-up that I did. Mainly because I still go to play with a physical game. And I think that’s a piece that’s always going to be missing from something like Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator. Now, I don’t think that those are bad systems to use and for a lot of people they are going to be the only thing that they can use because of limitations for their set-ups. Though, a webcam pointed at the game on the table would work, so even if you aren’t able to be “face to face” because of only using a camera, you’d still be able to play with a physical copy of a game.
So besides the library that they have on the digital gaming set-ups, what are some games that would be pretty easy to play even if everyone doesn’t have a copy of a game? Some of these will be easier than others because they have a smaller footprint, but all should work online.
Sounds like a joke, but it isn’t, because all the cards are face up, you need a single person moving pieces and flipping cards, but the decisions are still going to be able to be made by the person whose turn it is, just maybe with asking a few questions. Pandemic can have an Alpha gamer problem that might be a little bit worse if the alpha gamer is the person who has the game, but that’s not so much a problem with the game as an issue that the alpha gamer has to deal with. And if you use Zoom, the leader can mute the person if they are talking over others.
A simple enough abstract game where you’re racing from one side of the board to another while placing obstacles in the way of your opponent(s). You have a limited number of walls that you can place up, so as long as you can see how many you have left, it would work well online. Again, no hidden information so you don’t need to hide what you have or face a challenge of passing information to someone in secret or acting like you don’t know that information.
Cooperative games tend to work well, and this is a good cooperative party style game. In it one person has to not see the card being held up to the camera and then picks a number, everyone else writes down a one word clue, any repeated clues aren’t displayed and then the person has to guess. This should work exactly how it does in the real world simply by people closing their eyes at the right point in time. It’s also an easy game for people who might not be gamers to join in on because of how simple the concept is.
Second Chance/Welcome To…/Criss Cross/Cat Cafe/Yahtzee
Roll and writes or flip and writes are simple where you don’t need to be passing around the dice. Even the ones where you do, if they use normal six sided dice, like Yahtzee, most people can find the right number of dice. The trickiest thing is that as a roll or flip and write, you need something to write on. So it would require people to have a printer, but on Board Game Geek you can find a lot of these sheets that you can print off. Or if you have a scanner, you can scan them in and e-mail them so that people can then print them off. While Cat Cafe and Yahtzee might require a little more work, the other three would be simple to play and give you a lot of hours of entertainment. And all of them can play good sized groups.
This one can also play a large group and works as a party style game for more casual gamers. It works because you just need someone to display the list and you can play on a blank sheet of paper coming up with answers. Probably the simplest one to do because someone could just literally type the list into a chat window for everyone to see.
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game
This is one that I saw people suggesting or talking about on Facebook, I believe in the Dice Tower group. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game is what it says, a game about figuring out who done it. And it’s an involved and complex game. There’s an online database that you use, you can google things are appropriate times, and you can easily discuss a case and actions over a meeting. You just need one person reading off the case cards and presenting the options, which I think a lot of groups do in terms of dividing up the demands of the game. Plus, you need someone to take notes as to what has been discovered.
Legacy of Dragonholt/Choose Your Own Adventure House of Danger
Story driven choose your own adventure style games work. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game almost falls into that category, but these are really just reading through things, and House of Danger has a few dice rolls with it but it’s a six sided die so that is going to work for most people because even if people don’t have many games, they probably have a die somewhere in their house.
Last one on the list, but I’m kind of surprised as I thought about it, that it actually works. The game is simple with just putting down pieces of cardboard to take over areas. So you just need to see how many characters you have left and how many are on each spot on the board. Plus, at times, what combos are available. Yes, you would need to have a single person moving everything around on the board, but that is pretty simple, there just might be a need for some clarifying questions as to what spot to place down your characters.
Now, I’m sure there are a lot more games that could work, and certainly classic games like Chess and Checkers where there is no hidden information would work really well. But those are some that I have sitting on my shelf that jumped out to me as good options for being able to play online. And while for me this will never replace playing games with people in person, during these times, there is certainly opportunity for groups to come together and play games online through one of the ways that I mentioned.
What are some games that you think would work well to play with a web cam? Have you tried out any thus far that have been a big success or a miss?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
Ladiiiesss and Gentlemen… boys and girls, the following contest is a first to three pinfalls of submissions. Introducing our first in the team from Dice Throne, with a combined total of sixteen different characters. In the other corner, the monstrous team from Tokyo, the King …