MODERN BOARD GAMES ARE AWESOME! (Collaboration with Slightly Sidetracked Productions)

April 3, 2019

 

Hey! I’m Luke and I’m a board game addict. I have been for many years now, ever since I was introduced to one game back in 2013/14. Before then, I used to think that boardgames were kind of dull. You had the classic monopoly that never seemed to end, or perhaps clue or Pictionary. I hadn’t played any of those games in years and had no idea that the board game industry was actually very active and full of amazing games.

I’m writing this blog to hopefully introduce a few more people to the hobby and show why I’m never playing monopoly again! It can never compete with some of the exciting games that are out there. I’m going to talk briefly about a few of my favourites and hopefully it might interest some of you readers!

 

AVALON: THE RESISTANCE

 

  

This was the first modern board game I was introduced to, and even today, many years later, it is still my favourite. The game is for 5 players minimum, so I rarely get the chance to play it (My game nights usually involve just 3 or 4 of us). It is a game all about lies, deceit and manipulation. You are working as a team, trying to complete some quests. But two players (or more sometimes) are secretly spies! Oh no! They can sabotage these quests and if they manage to sabotage 3 out of the 4 rounds… game over! Bad guys win!

The two spies know who each other are, but none of the other players do. So, when you are playing as a spy, you must try and blend in, seem innocent and gain everyone’s trust. The innocent players meanwhile must try and act as detectives, using the clues of how people have been playing the game so far to sus out who the bad guys are. It’s an intense game, with lots of conflict between players, trying to figure out who is best to take on each quest.

It is a fantastic hidden role game that I love. I’m not very good at it, and it can get really intense as a bad guy, trying to make sure you get onto a mission, without giving yourself away. It’s even more intense when two spies are put on the same quest, and don’t know if the other spy will sabotage the mission or leave it to them. If they both do it, it’ll give the game away! The game can get a bit heated, but it’s exciting and quick to play.

Some fun alternatives: 

  • Secret Hitler. A game in which fascists are trying to secretly get Hitler to power by voting him to be chancellor. It is similar to Avalon, with hidden roles and sabotaging, but with a few distinct gameplay changes that make it a fun alternative. I prefer Avalon, but many prefer this game.

 

  • One Night ultimate werewolf. A game in which everyone has as secret role- but during a night phase (Dictated by a handy app) roles are mixed and secret powers are used. Everyone wakes up the next day to find that some people’s roles might have changed, and no one knows for certain which team they are really on. The game ends with a discussion as to who needs to be killed off, hoping to find out who the werewolves are. The game is a lot more confusing than Avalon and whilst fun, can often rely on guesswork.  

 

 

KINGDOMINO

 

 

This is a really simple game in which each player is trying to build a nice little kingdom and score the most points at the end. Similar to classic dominos, each tile in the game has to be touching one of a similar territory (Such as farm lands, water or forests). This means you have to try and plan your 5 X 5 grid to ensure you can always place a tile down. Crowns on the tiles lead to extra points, so each player is often trying to get the best tile each round, whilst also ensuring other players don’t get the tiles they need for their own kingdoms.

The game is laid back, peaceful and quite satisfying when you complete your kingdom. There isn’t much player interaction, which is a bit of a downside, but it’s a nice starter game. 

It now has an expansion (Which can be played as a stand-alone game too) called QueenDomino. This adds more tactics and ways to score points, with the addition of knights, towers and even a dragon. It is a fun expansion to get once you are growing bored of the base game, or fancy a bit of extra challenge.

 

  

 

 

 

 

Similar game:

  • Carcassonne. This is another tile laying game, but all the players are working on the same kingdom, slowly building it up and trying to get as many points as they can along the way. This game has a lot more player interaction than kingdomino as you sometimes work together to complete cities or screw each other’s plans with sneaky tile placements. Both Carcassonne and Kingdomino are amazing games. 

 

 

COUP

 

 

This is another bluffing game, in which players are trying to eliminate one another as quickly as possible. Each player has two cards which also represent how many lives they have. The game involves pretending to be different characters to use their abilities. But the risk is that anyone can call you out on your claims. If you were fibbing, you lose a life, if you were telling the truth, the accuser loses a life. 

The games are over very quickly, but it’s an addictive game that can lead to playing again and again. It involves a lot of bluffing, double bluffing or even triple bluffing. Trying to figure out what other players are scheming, keeping an eye on what they have claimed to be in the past, and also how many coins they have.

I’m not very good at it, just like with Avalon. I’m terrible at bluffing and lies, but it’s a thrilling, quick game, that is a lot of fun to play.

 

Some fun alternatives: 

  • Love letter. If you like quick elimination games, this is a very quick game for four players max. There are a certain number of cards in the pack of each character. Players start with a card in their hand, on their turn they pick up a second card and then must play one of them. Each time they play a card, they use its power, allowing them to try and eliminate the other players from the game. There’s a little bit of tactics, but the game is so short, you don’t have to think about it too much. It’s a fun game to play between bigger games.

 

  • Sheriff of Nottingham. Another fun bluffing game, in which each player is trying to smuggle in goods and sometimes contraband past the sheriff. Each player gets the chance to play the sheriff, interrogating the other players and trying to figure out who is telling the truth. The intensity of wondering if you are going to get away with your bribe or not is what makes this game so much fun.

   

 

 

I’m wary that I’m going to end up just listing all my games on here. There are so many fantastic games, with various gameplay mechanics. It’s probably clear from my list so far, that I enjoy games with a bit of deception and bluffing. But there are so many different types of boardgames that are just as exciting to play. I must urge anyone reading this to just look into the hobby and see if any games take your interest. Monopoly is a much loved game by many, but it doesn’t represent the hobby very well at all. Some games are not for everyone, I have a few games in my collection that I regret purchasing, but with playing each game, I’ve started to discover what I enjoy the most. 

 

To end, here are a few extra recommendations I’ll reel off quickly: 

  • Flash Point: Fire rescue. A team-based game in which you have to save people from a burning building! Challenging but exciting too.

 

 

  • Escape from the aliens in outer space. A game that’s like battleships meets Alien. No one knows where you are on the board. Humans need to get to the escape pods. Aliens need to track down and kill the humans. It’s brilliant. 

 

  • Codenames. Two teams compete against one another to solve clues and find out where their spies are on the board. 

  

 

  • Camel Up. A gambling game where you bet on what camel will win the race. It sounds simple, but it’s so much fun. 

  

 

I’ve been hooked on the hobby for quite some time now. I still love video games, but there is something great about getting a group of friends over to play a bunch of cool, exciting games. I’ve filled up two rows of a bookshelf with games, and I’m probably not going to stop there. Hopefully some of the games I’ve mentioned sound like fun to you, so give them a go! Maybe go to a board game café to try out some there too!

 

Well, that’s enough from me, thanks for reading! BYE!

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