My Favorite Board Games
Eli and I spent this last weekend at PAX West, and it was an incredible experience. It's like Disneyland in many ways: there's bright lights and beautiful displays, everyone is trying to sell you something, and there are so many lines. While Eli loves video games I'm more of a board gamer, so I avoided the biggest crowds and spent most of my 4 days there playing tabletop. This made me reflect on what games I already play and love, and what kind of gamer I am. We tend to play fun, light-to-mid weight games that focus on interactions between players (either cooperative or competitive), and are suckers for a good party game. The games we play are accessible to anyone interested in board gaming, and while these games are easy to learn and play they're difficult to master and are highly replayable. Here are the games we keep playing again and again:
The Crowd Pleaser. The Favorite. The All-Around Champion. Codenames is a great game for game-lovers and game-skeptics alike. It's easy to learn, plays a big group, and is a good balance of fun and challenging. It's a very social game, and while Codenames veterans may have picked up a few tricks newcomers have just as much of a chance at winning. This is the game we bring to every party.
Sushi GO is also a fun and learnable game. It's a sushi-themed drafting game that's quick and easy to learn. The game theme and design are adorable, there are enough different iterations on the 'menu' (the set of cards you use) that it's replayable, and it's fun for game-veterans and new comers alike.
I have such fond memories of playing Coup with a huge group of friends while we were in Japan. We would buy dozens Strong Zeros, an alcoholic soda, and play and eat and have fun. We still laugh about games played during that month, and the game is quick to learn, social, and obviously very replayable (over and over and over again for hours).
I really enjoy word games - mostly because I'm decent at them. While they aren't popular with my current housemates, we have a few relations who love them even more than I do and can convince others to play.
One of our housemates is dating a journalist, who loves words and wordplay. Her favorite game is boggle, and she'll typically score higher than the rest of us combined. I like that boggle is easy to learn and teach, that any number of people can play it, and it's fun to hear what words people come up with. But it's not at all interactive, so you end up sitting in silence for most of it, and I would describe it as more academic than fun. There's no real strategy or social element, it's all about the words you know.
Actually, in thinking about Scrabble and Boggle, their pros and cons are pretty similar. It's a classic, easy to learn game that's a fun way to learn new words. While it's more interactive than Boggle, it's not going to crack you up or be a 'party game', but is a great low-key activity for holidays and family get-togethers. I find it's just the right amount of thinking, and lets your talk to everyone while you play.