A few months ago I got an email from my friend Bill asking if I’d like to join him and a few of his friends for a board game night. I said yes. So now once a month I get together with a pretty awesome group of people to play board games (that I’ve mostly never heard of). We’ve been rotating whose house we play at each month (next month is my turn!), we all split the cost of dinner, and we play board games for 3-4 hours. It’s turned out to be an awesome addition to my months and I’ve gotten the chance to play a lot of new board games.
I’m not going to try to pretend to be an expert on these games (usually somebody has to explain to me the rules multiple times throughout the course of the evening), so I’m telling y’all right now that I’m copying the descriptions off BoardGameGeek.com. I will, however, provide you with a one line summary of what I thought of the game. Hopefully you find some new games that you’d like to try too!
In RoboRally players each control a different robot in a race through a dangerous factory floor. Several goals will be placed on the board and you must navigate your robot to them in a specific order.
In general, players will first fill all of their robot’s “registers” with facedown movement cards. This happens simultaneously and there is a time element involved. Then, starting with the first register, everyone reveals their card. The card with the highest number moves first. After everyone resolves their movement they reveal the next card and so on. You can plan a perfect route, but if another robot runs into you it can push you off course!
Robots fire lasers and factory elements resolve after each movement and robots may become damaged. If they take enough damage certain movement cards become fixed and can no longer be changed. If they take more they may be destroyed entirely. The first robot to claim all the goals in the correct order wins, though some may award points and play tournament style.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: I actually really enjoyed this game. It took a lot of thought ahead of time and trying to figure out which direction was right and left (something I’m still not good at), but it’s great for an engineer who likes to come up with a logical sequence of events to accomplish a mission.
Ticket to Ride
[In Ticket to Ride] players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: I loved this game. It was easy to explain and get the hang of, and it’s a good combination of strategy and luck. I bought this game a few weeks ago, make sure to get the 1910 expansion pack with it.
You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder which will transcend future times.
7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: This was not a super easy game to understand the first (or second time), and we ended up typing all of our stats into an app at the end of the game to calculate the winner (aka it’s pretty complicated). That said, with a few more rounds I think I would grow to like this game.
A clever repackaging of the parlor game Dictionary, Balderdash contains several cards with real words nobody has heard of. After one of those words has been read aloud, players try to come up with definitions that at least sound plausible, because points are later awarded for every opposing player who guessed that your definition was the correct one.
This game is ranked #1276 on BoardGameGeek.com.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: I absolutely stink at words (says the girl with the blog), so this isn’t a game for me. If you’re good with words, maybe this will be your thing.
King of Tokyo
In King of Tokyo, you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens – all of whom are destroying Tokyo and whacking each other in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo.
At the start of each turn, you roll six dice. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players into understanding that Tokyo is YOUR territory. The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone!
In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: Definitely a good game, not my favorite, but we did only play it one evening. There’s definitely some hard decision making balancing whether you want victory points or to heal, and it’s interesting that everybody’s not playing with the same rules (whether you’re in or out of Tokyo).
The card game BANG! recreates an old-fashioned spaghetti western shoot-out, with each player randomly receiving a Character card to determine special abilities, and a secret Role card to determine their goal.
Four different Roles are available, each with a unique victory condition: Sheriff – Kill all Outlaws and the Renegade, Deputy – Protect the Sheriff and kill any Outlaws, Outlaw – Kill the Sheriff, and Renegade – Be the last person standing.
A player’s Role is kept secret, except for the Sheriff. Character cards are placed face up on table, and also track strength (hand limit) in addition to special ability.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: I’m not good at games where I’m supposed to be the bad guy or keeping secrets. I’m also not sure how I feel about having to team up with people without knowing which character they’re playing. That said, you do get to say “Bang!” a lot of times throughout the game and that part’s pretty fun.
In Citadels, players take on new roles each round to represent characters they hire in order to help them acquire gold and erect buildings. The game ends at the close of a round in which a player erects his/her eighth building. Players then tally their points, and the player with the highest score wins.
Players start with a number of building cards in their hand; buildings come in five colors. At the start of each round, the player who was king the previous round discards one of the eight character cards at random, chooses one, then passes the cards to the next player, etc. until each player has secretly chosen a character. Each character has a special ability, and the usefulness of any character depends upon your situation, and that of your opponents. The characters then carry out their actions in numerical order [for example] the assassin eliminating another character for the round [or] the thief stealing all gold from another character.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: This was an interesting game. I liked that everybody was a different character every turn, it kept things interesting. This is one of the next games on my list to buy.
Fluxx is a card game in which the cards themselves determine the current rules of the game. By playing cards, you change numerous aspects of the game: how to draw cards, how to play cards, and even how to win.
At the start of the game, each player holds three cards and on a turn a player draws one card, then plays one card. By playing cards, you can put new rules into play that change numerous aspects of the game: how many cards to draw or play, how many cards you can hold in hand or keep on the table in front of you, and (most importantly) how to win the game. There are many editions, themed siblings, and promo cards available.
Chrystina’s Thoughts: This is a weird game. There is a rule change almost every turn, so you can’t really strategize to win. Then when somebody does win it’s almost unexpected because you couldn’t prepare for it so it ends super suddenly. I’d need to try playing this game a few more times before I could come up with a solid opinion.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill quickly builds suspense and excitement as players explore a haunted mansion of their own design, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a tile game that allows players to build their own haunted house room by room, tile by tile, creating a new thrilling game board every time. Secretly, one of the characters betrays the rest of the party, and the innocent members of the party must defeat the traitor in their midst before it’s too late!
Chrystina’s Thoughts: In general, the idea of Haunted Mansions kind of scare me; however, this was a pretty good game nonetheless. I like that you get to build the board as you go, and it’s pretty cool that one person becomes the bad guy, I’d never played a game where you were all on the same team before, so that took some getting used to.
Also on my list to buy right now is Carcassone. We’ll see when I finally get around to buying all the games I want, at least there will always be something on my wishlist, right?
Oh. And if you want to make your board game nights even more awesome you need to send out a recap of who won each game and how – and don’t forget to have fun with it. I always love getting the recap emails.
What are some of your favorite board games? Are there any I should consider buying before I host the next game night? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.