Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2009 Board Game Five and Dimes!

I played a lot of games last year - 378 plays of 186 different games to be precise. So here are the games I played the most frequently. Most of the games on this list are lighter games, I do enjoy meatier games but they tend to take longer and consequently do not get so much repetition. I also introduce my gaming passion to lots of new groups and this list contains many games that are easy for people who are new to the hobby to learn and enjoy.

Dominion was played more than any other with a whopping 22 plays. The speed, tactics are variability of this game means it hits the table often. I enjoy it, and with more expansions coming out I don't see this one waning in popularity anytime soon.

Kakerlaken Poker (Cockroach Poker) (11 Plays) It's such a simple premise really. Pass a card to someone else and either lie about it or tell the truth. The opponent gets to either challenge the passer or pick the card up and see it for themselves. The card moves around the table being seen by various people until someone has to challenge it. It plays up to six people, is easy to teach and produces such delicious agony that I see this game staying as one of my 'Go to' games for new people. It is also responsible for one of my favorite gaming memories of 2009. Suffice to say my brother cannot lie and consequently this game was agony for him!

Alhambra (8 Plays) Building your own palace whilst trying to manage different currencies and corner the market on palace features. My brother and his wife loved this game when I introduced it to them years ago, so consequently we played a game every night whilst we were on vacation together. It's a great game, but I would never play it with more than 4 people as it slows down quite considerably.

Dice Town (7 Plays) Is a great game using poker dice. It is a wonderful feeling to watch your opponents face fall because you somehow managed to roll 4 Aces at one time.

Pass the Bomb (7 plays) is another game that can be taught quickly and accomodates a large crowd. A card is turned over that will have a sequence of letters on it (e.g. ent) and you have to name a word that has those letters in that exact order somewhere in the word (e.g. represent). The bomb is passed around as a variable timer and if you are holding it when it explodes then you get the card. The person with the least cards at the end of the game wins. Very simple and again creates agonising moments when the person before you in the circle names the exact word you were going to use and consequently you are stuck holding a ticking bomb wracking your brain trying to come up with an alternative.

Die Aufsteiger ~ The Climbers (6 Plays) I love this game. I went through a lot of trouble to import it from Germany. It looks wonderful and is a very interesting abstract game that involves racing to the top of a tower while stopping your opponents. It's a flashback to childhood because you get to play with blocks, but it's all very tactical :)

Chains of Fenrir (6 plays) is another game that is very easy to teach. Players build up chains of stones on the table and try to eliminate their own stones before their opponents. It plays quickly and is a good quick game (10 minutes) to teach new players.

The Hanging Gardens (6 plays) Another building game, this time constructing the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Tiles with various features are turned up and you get to try and combine them to create the longest areas of adjacent designs in your garden. It's an interesting mechanic as you are allowed to overlap cards, but the placement of the designs on the cards is such that a careful thought is required.

Snow Tails (6 plays) Every player has a dogsled that they are racing to the finish. Trees, snow falls, crevasses and other sleds all block your way and as your sled gets damaged it gets less manouverable. Fun!

Werewolf (6 plays) I love this game. It needs a Moderator and at least 8 people to play it so I don't get to play it often, and when I do I'm usually running it for others to experience. How many games do you get to lie through your teeth and try and sway a group over to your point of view? It's amazing how a skilled orator can manipulate a crowd and cause people to lay aside common sense. This game has become a staple of our church staff retreats...and it's curious how good preachers are at this!!!

Games with 5 plays

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