I’m a big fan of board games, and thankfully, so are a lot of my friends and family! Although I can sit and talk as much as the next person (probably more than the next person), it’s fun to have something do for the evening that everyone can take part in. I’m a big fan of co-op games myself, as it’s nice to work together instead of ending your evening in a fight over that fourth railroad that Rich Uncle Moneybags wouldn’t cough up. These are my 4 favourite board games to bring to your next party!
Oh, Exploding Kittens. Even for this self professed dog lover, Exploding Kittens is a fantastic game- illustrated by the people from the Oatmeal, this game is the most backed Kickstarter ever. A cat based version of Russian Roulette, you can use Catnip Sandwiches and 3am Cat Flatulence to diffuse an exploding kitten, or commandeer a bunnyraptor to skip your turn (and one of those kittens). The illustrations alone make this game a worthwhile investment to have on hand, and it’s small, portable, and quite inexpensive for a game ($24.99 CAD). If you just want something on hand in the case of a lull in conversation, I would go with EK. It would also make a great gift if you don’t know what to get someone but you actually like them… (There is also an app for the game, but you have to pay for the app, so I haven’t actually downloaded it.) Also, you will learn several new ways to say “Nope” including riding a Jacka-nope…
Want to know how to play?
Mysterium is probably one of my favourite games, at the moment. You are working as a team of mediums to figure out who murdered the ghost where and with what. The ghost (a fellow game player) helps you with knocks and pictures to guide you to the right answer. Each wrong guess eliminates an hour from the clock, so you only have seven tries as a team to get there- this forces you to work as a team, as you want everyone to progress as quickly as possible. What I love about this game is the images that the ghost shows you- they are odd and vague, like upside down umbrellas drifting down onto a field. The ghost may have picked it to give you a clue that there is an umbrella in the room, that the field is yellow like the walls in the room, or even that the umbrella is the same shape as a bowl in the room- you don’t know, and it’s up to the team to figure it out! This is definitely a game for people who are willing to discuss things, as you will need to work it out together, and someone may have a different train of thought than you!
Here is the how to play video, in case you are curious!
Pandemic is well-known for a board game I think, as there are several expansions now, and it seems to be mentioned by people who aren’t obsessed with board games. As a team, you are trying to stop several pandemics from sweeping the globe and taking us all down by using your characters’ different skills and a LOT of planning ahead. Each turn has 4 moves where you can travel between cities, treat infected populations, and build needed research stations. If you aren’t moving fast enough to stop the pandemics, well, you can guess what happens… This game only takes about half an hour to forty five minutes to play through, which is nice. You aren’t committed to an entire evening playing but you can also play a few rounds if you are really enjoying it! (When I play with my family, we will often play past stopping the disease to entirely eradicating it for an extra challenge.) Some expansions add extra diseases, some place you in a specific time and place in history, and some focus on the lab side- you can find an expansion to make the game pretty much anything you want it to be!
A how-to if you are considering it!
I was introduced to this game by good friends who are pretty much board game experts- if there is a game, they’ve probably played it, or at least heard of it, and can make the best recommendations ever. Zombie 15′ is played in 15 minute rounds, and you can play as many or as few as you would like! Everyone over the age of 18 has been turned into zombies (you are a teenager), and you all have to make it from your safe house to wherever the end of the round is. You use your skills and weapons to defeat the zombie hoards as you escape, all the while listening to a lovely, zombie-tastic soundtrack that times the round. (For anyone played Nightmare as a kid, that sweet VHS game with the guy who slowly became more haggard as the hour progresses, you may have a slight flashback.) When you hear a growl in the game, more zombies are added! Because everyone has different skills, and your weapons continually change (you only have so many “uses” out of them), each round is different from the next. I really enjoy this game with the addition of the soundtrack and the timer, it heightens the excitement and forces you to think quickly!