Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stuff I like (Updated) - Part 4 - Board Games

Hi all,

I talked about how I think we're in a golden age of television, but I think we're also experiencing a board game renaissance as well. What an awesome time we live in!

I was introduced to board games by an old work colleague, whose blogs are works of art. I went to an event at his house where there was going to be board games played all day, and fell in love. One title in particular stand out in my mind as the moment where I understood that there could be greatness in games - Shadow Hunters. Now I know, that this game wasn't the best, but I didn't know at the time, and I didn't care. I have a special place for it in my heart.  Games (well, games that I like) can tell a story, have people interact with each other, and can be fun AND complicated!

I now have a small, but sturdy, collection of games,  and I have the privilege to get to play weekly (at least), and attend 3-4 gaming events yearly. I recently made the decision that instead of acquiring more games, that I would play my favourites a lot. I dub the following games, my desert island games:

Battlestar Galactica - This is my first purchased game, and I did so after hearing amazing things about it, but never having played it.  A trend, that would sadly continue.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.  This time I did, and I have since bought an expansion for it, and it's awesome.  The game is based on the recent TV remount (which was awesome, but not required viewing to play the game) where humanity is facing robots they created in a battle for survival. The game is mostly co-operative (players all work together), but there's an awesome traitor mechanic, where one of the players MIGHT be an enemy, and no one except the enemies know.  My beef with this one is length, but it's meant to be a long game, so they've done nothing wrong.

Star Trek - Fleet Captains - My love of all things Star Trek knows no bounds, and this game is no exception.  A player either plays the Federation, or the Klingons (I bought the Romulan Expansion, but it isn't my cup of tea, and the Dominion expansion exists), and each faction has missions to carry out - Scientific, Military, and Influence (Espionage missions get added in the expansion) on a randomly built board. Each playthrough could easily be an episode of the show, as stories drip from the whole game.  It has its flaws, but overall, a fantastic game.

Pandemic - The co-operative game that began it all for others, and reigns supreme, as players work together to cure 4 (or 5) deadly diseases before losing in a myriad of different ways.  With a sliding scale from difficult to nearly impossible, this game constantly changes, and is different and awesome every time.  I have 3 expansions to this one - each one changing it and making it more awesome! There are also two standalones, a dice game, and a version where you play the disease that I have yet to play, but am excited to. Coming soon, a version where you play it, and the game changes as a result of YOU! YAY!
Paperback - Two amazing board game genres (deck building and word games) combined into one awesome package, and you get Paperback.  There are multiple ways to play this game.  Competitively against each other, co-operatively against the game, and many others.

Quantum - My only perfectly rated game on boardgamegeek - nothing is wrong with this one.  Dice spaceships that change abilities just by rolling them, amazing quality of components, space exploration (kinda), and quick combat.  The "board" changes whenever you'd like, you can rely on luck, or strategy, whatever you like. Brilliant.

Splendor - Although this game is way more than its amazing components, it's hard to start any conversation about this game without gushing about how cool the chips are.  They're made out of some mystical material (just plastic, but wow), and they beg the player to just sit there and play with them.  Then you play the game, and there's so much more.  Enticing nobles, collecting gems, building an engine... blah blah blah, it's awesome.

Ticket to Ride - The perfect gateway game, not too many choices, but enough to make it interesting. I love this game, and the kids love it too. There's some score bookkeeping at the end, that can be a drag for me (an explosion for others), but the overall gameplay is super fast.  My kids don't play it in the same way the rules state, but their way is great!

Although there are tons of games that are amazing, there's an equal number of stinkers.  There are games about everything - even quilting!

There are a ton of resources about gaming - websites (pretty and informative), shows, youtube channelspodcasts, awesome player aid developers, and many others!  Locally in Halifax, we have an amazing Board Game Cafe that is the epitome of awesome. 

Those are my favourites - do you have yours?

Play more games!


  1. Great post, Mike! Keep 'em comin'!

    1. Thank you Dave! Your part in this awesomeness can't be overstated!

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