Board Games

My boyfriend’s favorite things are board games.  But, of course, he can’t love the simple party games that I do.  Oh no.  While I’ve always enjoyed the traditional ones like Scrabble and Clue, the card games like Phase 10 and our family favorite Oh Hell, and the party games like Apples to Apples, he likes the games that intimidated the hell out of me and torture my fear of making a fool out of myself. 🙂

But I got brave and have let him teach me a few.  I have to admit that the ones he’s taught me so far – while they seemed incredibly complicated to start – ended up being a bunch of fun.  And a lot ended up being not nearly as complicated as they looked.  Though I’ll admit there are a few I love more than the others.

So far, he’s introduced me to Dominion, Takenoko, Lords of Waterdeep, Flash Point, Unspeakable Words, Euphoria, Legendary (a superhero game), and Galaxy Trucker.  Another two he told me about at the beginning are Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan, but I’ve only played those on my iPad.  I think that’s all of them.

Here’s a little bit more info about each.  I’ve tried to include lots of links for you to find more info if something sounds interesting. I’m sure my guy will let me know if I get anything wrong, but this isn’t meant to be a thorough description of each.  Just a bit about them, along with my experience as a newbie. 🙂

  • Dominion was the first game he taught me and is probably my favorite of all of them.  It’s a deck building game – which I thought I would hate.  Turns out, I love it.  If you’re not familiar with what a deck building game is, click here for a quick summary.  The goal of Dominion is to build up your own personal deck of cards by using the cards in your hand to purchase better cards.  Some cards act as money while other cards have actions on them (such as draw two cards or make your opponent reveal the top card of their deck, etc.). When you’ve built your deck up enough, then you’re able to purchase victory points.  The person with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.  With all of the expansion packs that are available, there is pretty much an infinite combination of available card sets you can play with.  Luckily, you only play with about 10 different cards at a time (other than the money).  Learning how the cards play off of each other can be tricky, but can also be a fun challenge, and every game is a new experience so it never gets old.
    • Here is a great review with a lot more detailed information.
    • There’s also a site where you can play Dominion online for free – either against computer bots or other players. You can find it here.  He and I have even played each other online a few nights when we’ve both been at our own homes.  We played online last night and I beat him on the first hand.  He won on the last two, I believe, securely kicking my ass by 50 points on the last game.  In my defense, it was a much more complicated hand and I was way out of my league. 🙂
    • I apparently didn’t take any pics while playing this game (though I thought I had), so here is one I found online that shows a representative sample of cards.

  • Takenoko is a cute little game that I call Hungry Panda.  Mostly because it’s an accurate description of the game and partially because I’m just silly like that.  I really enjoyed this one. Even though he kicked my butt on it. Now that I think about it, I think Dominion is the only game I’ve ever beaten him in.  Anyway, in Hungry Panda, you have been given the task of caring for the panda as well as growing a beautiful garden.  So you must irrigate land, grow bamboo, and feed the panda all by performing missions on cards that will give you points.  At the end of the game, the person with the most points wins.
    • Here is Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop episode on Takenoko.  It’s pretty entertaining as are most of his game episodes.  It’s also just fun hearing three guys talking about a cute little panda.
    • A couple of photos I took while playing (click on any image for larger versions):

takenoko  takenoko 2

  • Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy worker placement game in which you play one of the Lords of Waterdeep.  If you aren’t familiar with what a worker placement game is, here is more information.  Over the course of the game, you will recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf to grow the city and collect points.  It has a Dungeons and Dragons connection that I don’t really understand since I know next to nothing about Dungeons and Dragons.  I really liked this one and look forward to giving it another try.
    • Here is the Tabletop episode about Lords of Waterdeep.
    • And here is a really crappy-angled, blurry photo that I took while playing. 🙂 Please forgive me. I wasn’t planning on doing this post when he started teaching me these games. 🙂

lords of waterdeep

  • In Flash Point: Fire Rescue, you have to work together to put out fires in various building floor plans.  You have to both save the victims who are trapped inside and also try and keep the building from falling down as the fires and explosions spread.  It’s a cooperative game, so you win together or lose together.  That was a new experience for me. I don’t think this will be one of my favorite games – just personal preference – but it was fun.  I would like to give it another try.
    • No Tabletop episode for this one, but here’s a photo I took while playing:

flash point

  • If you like Scrabble and playing with cards and dice, you’ll probably like Unspeakable Words.  It has a Cthulhu theme, which I again know absolutely nothing about, so it isn’t remotely important in enjoying the game.  In the game, you want to try to get the most points and also try to remain sane. For those of us who start off slightly insane, we’re kind of in trouble.  Just kidding. 🙂  You will draw a hand of cards and try and make a word out of the letters on them.  A card’s value is equal to the number of angles the letter has (for example, an E is worth 4 points).  Once you make a word, you count up the total value of the word and roll your dice.  If the amount on the dice is more than the value of your word, you don’t lose any sanity (which is represented by the little Cthulhu-shaped creatures). As I love Scrabble and also love super-easy-to-get games, I really liked this one.
    • Here is the Tabletop episode.
    • And here is a picture I didn’t take. 🙂

 

  • Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia is a fun worker placement game where you have to keep your workers happy but stupid.  If they get too smart, then they know what crappy working conditions they have and will run away. 🙂 Your workers are dice that you roll and place on the board to gain commodities and resources, build markets, and take control of different areas.
    • A pic I took while we were playing:

euphoria

 

  • Legendary is another deck building game, but you work together in order to beat the villains by buying and using superhero cards (everything from the Avengers to the X-Men and beyond).  I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Dominion, but it was fun.  I’ve learned that cooperative games aren’t my favorite.  While it’s fun to not be fighting against each other and to be working together, I hate having others depend on the choices I make or judge the choices I make.  I want people to be happy when I make stupid mistakes, not upset when I do. 🙂  Of course, playing only with my boyfriend so far, I haven’t run into this…but it’s bound to happen.

legendary

  • The one he taught me on New Year’s Day is called Galaxy Trucker.  This was both a fun and frustrating game.  It also has a timed component which I do not handle well – too much stress/pressure.  Timed games usually make my brain freeze.  Luckily, it’s only the first portion of each round that is timed.  In the game, you spend the first part of each round (there are usually three) building a spaceship out of tiles.  You have to make sure that they are connected correctly (a two-pronged connection must attach to a two-pronged connection, etc.).  Your ship gets a bit bigger each round and you want to get yours done before your opponents get theirs done.  Then you spend the rest of the round going on missions and earning credits and getting the crap beat out of your spaceship.  Pretty much, according to the rules, if you have even a tiny bit of your ship left and at least one credit at the end of the third round, then you’ve won. In essence, everyone can win (just one person a little more than the others).  Overall, it was fun. 
    • Rounds 1, 2, and 3 below:

gt1

gt2

gt3

I’ll skip over Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan since I haven’t actually played the board game versions yet, but you can catch the Tabletop episode of Carcassonne here and the episode for Settlers of Catan here.  I prefer Carcassonne of the two, and look forward to giving it a try in the tabletop version.

I definitely need to get better pictures for some of these games and my boyfriend says he has quite a few more games for me to try.  I see many happy gaming hours in my future.

Do you have a favorite board game?  Please share!

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