Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

22 October, 2012

A Lack of Board Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I feel like I don’t have enough board games.

I don’t know if I’m properly qualified to be a board game geek (though I do have an account on BoardGameGeek), since I haven’t really played a wide variety of games. I do however feel like one, like someone who will go out of their way to get in a fun board game. But I feel like I don’t own enough of them. I’m actually less than impressed by some of the mainstays. Carcassonne, for instance, I’ve never seen the appeal of. There are a few I do like enough to have standing on the shelves however.

For a good long while, the only game I had was the Game of Thrones board game, which I’ve written a bit about before,  and which I used to play with friends pretty regularly. I still play it, but much less regularly now. It’s probably my favourite game, but it takes a while and needs many players, so we have to make an Event of it.

I’ve got a couple of card games. Monty Python Fluxx and Chrononauts are both good fun, but rarely see play. Bohnanza is a fairly recent acquisition, and has also not seen much use. Citadels I’ve had on the shelf for a little while, but never played – the opportunity has yet to present itself.

Kill Doctor Lucky I have gotten to play since obtaining it, and it was as much fun as I remembered. I quite like that style of humour – the family board game of murder in the dark. Earlier today I purchased a copy of Pandemic, which I have enjoyed playing in the past. I even played a little solitaire round to refresh my memory of the rules. I won.

And that’s it, really. That’s all that’s on my shelves. Like I say, I feel it’s not enough, but I don’t know where to go next.

I have been watching and enjoying Wil Wheaton’s TableTop show, but it hasn’t really inspired me to go get the ones I hadn’t heard of before yet. Maybe one will show up eventually?

Or maybe you, gentle reader, have some suggestions?



  1. “Citadels” is my favourite smaller game of all time, so do please bring your copy next time we have a game night of any kind. We’ll make time for a round of it after. Or, if you want, we could make the whole night Citadels night. It’s good enough for it.

    “Carcasonne” … I haven’t played it in, hm, probably seven or eight years at least. But it’s actually quite good, in my opinion, and it has more non-gamer appeal than most. Unless you use more than one or two of its umpteen expansions, it’s easy to play, very light on rules, and yet challenging. The luck-of-the-draw-element is rather largeish for my tastes, but skill does matter, and there are no dice, so that’s a huge plus too. I actually grew tired of it precisely because it was the one with the most non-gamer appeal; it was the one we most easily found players for. So we played it a lot, and I tired of it, and now we don’t anymore.

    Oh, and as a related note, “Settlers of Catan” is our other go-to mainstay as far as “approachable for non-gamers” games go. If you haven’t played it, the Tabletop video with Wheaton is fairly representative of gameplay. I still hate the dice, though, and without one or both major expansions, I find it gets much too repetitive in the long run.

    The third such mainstay would be “Risk”. I’m sick to death of it, and cannot for the life of me figure out why it’s easier to sell to non-gamers than other, shorter games, but on the Lord of the Rings-edition’s board it is at least a bit less drearily repetitive than the “go for Australia!” main version. “Axis and Allies”, the so-called big brother of Risk, is actually quite good, even though the set alliances and the reliance of dice don’t thrill me. It’s also ridiculously time-consuming to set up. But it can definitely be a lot of fun.

    So. Suggestions.

    On the “silly little card-games” category, I’m not much of a fan, so I cannot help you out with too many suggestions there. I have a weakness for “Castle”, though I must admit I like it more when there are only two players and it is 100% tactical than when there are many players and luck and chance gets exponentially higher with each.

    So, then, what else do we (most of my board games were acquired in my teens, while I still lived more or less at my parents’, so my brother co-owns the lot of them) own. As you tried out, what was it, five weeks ago, we have “Drakon”. That one has staying power. It has never been a huge favourite of mine, but I’ve never tired of it either, and I’ve owned it for, wow, a long, long time. “Cave Troll” is a (slightly inferior in my opinion) variant on the same theme, though with very different gameplay. For a small post-main event game, it’s quite worth trying out too.

    “Kingdoms” has also proven to be a staying power in the smaller games section, and has turned out to be one of the easiest ones to bring non-gamers in on, probably due to its very simplistic rules (basically a super-simple variation of the gist in the already simple “Carcasonne”).

    Of other smaller games, we own “King’s Gate” (quite like it, but haven’t played it in too long to remember much beyond that I suspect it might feel repetitive in the long run), “Colossal Arena” (this one’s great! Probably a (distant) second to “Citadels” of what we have in this category, in my opinion), “Condottiere” (a quite decent battle-centred card game), “Ruse and Bruise” (an okay but inferior variation on the medieval influence-buying theme), “Once Upon A Time” (which I’ve unfortunately never had the chance to try out), “Queen’s Ransom” (a decent mystery game which unfortunately is slightly too limited in its possible solutions to keep its long-term replay viability), “Loot” (a super-easy-to-learn card game of piracy) and no doubt many others not springing to mind at the moment. Oh, “Overthrone”, which we only ever played once and I really would like to play again because I cannot for the life of me recall what I thought of it.

    We also own a number of two player (primarily card) games. I can recommend “Scarab Lords”, “Zeus and Hera”, and particularly “Cæsar and Cleopatra” which is really quite demanding. We also have some dice-based vampire card game which I cannot recall the name of. For a dice game it was fun. Very flavourful I think.

    Finally, on the Big Heavy Game front, outside of my beloved “Game of Thrones”, we have “Battlemist” (a bit of a let-down, supposedly the smaller fantasy cousin to the big hit “Twilight Imperium” which I’ve never tried), “Warcraft” (quite decent board game recreation of the PC strategy game), “Diplomacy” (superfun and superlong, and have only played it twice as a result. Neither game finished), “Amun-Ra” (all the other players really liked it for some reason, but I found it boring), “Euphrates & Tigris” (I wasn’t impressed back when we bought it ten years ago, but considering its stellar reputation I should probably give it more chances), “Scotland Yard” (a really great team-up game, and I hate those), the team-up Lord of the Rings-game whose name escapes me (quite good for team-up gameplay, but I’m unconvinced nonetheless), a game whose name escapes me about building railroads (quite decent, but not great), aaand … I’m out of memory. Probably another couple.

    Anyway, if any of these titles seem interesting (look them up on boardgamegeek), feel free to ask me to elaborate, and I will.

    Comment by Loki Aesir — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:25

  2. I also, being me, of course have a list of games I’m considering checking out. So if nothing in my current game library leaps out at you, ask me and maybe you’ll find something on my list?

    Comment by Loki Aesir — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:27

  3. Why the hate for team-up games?

    Comment by Obdormio — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:37

  4. If I’m playing to beat the game, rather than opponents, that puts an insane pressure on the game itself to be as captivating and interesting (and satisfying to beat) as real life people. Most computer games don’t manage that with me, and board/card games have nowhere near their ability to be complex and layered. One of the redeeming qualities of Scotland Yard is precisely that one of the players is the opponent (admittedly, an expansion allows a player of the LotR-game to similarly be Sauron), rather than the game itself. But that does mean still mean that the person playing the antagonist is miles more fun to play (and typically therefore has more fun) than the rest of the players.

    Comment by Loki Aesir — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:46

  5. Well, I think Pandemic is the only players-vs-game I’ve played, and I find that to be loads of fun, so maybe I just haven’t seen the bad stuff?

    Comment by Obdormio — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:52

  6. No, it’s just my feeble brain that needs the threat of being humiliated by other individuals in defeat to keep me invested in the game.

    Comment by Loki Aesir — 22 October, 2012 @ 20:54

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