Monday, January 12, 2015

Board Games: Four Recent Acquisitions

I'm glad we played a lot of boardgames at our house when I was growing up.  They teach a lot of life skills:
gracious winning
gracious losing
planning ahead and general strategizing

I don't recall ever playing games based entirely on luck as a child.  Maybe Candyland.  But as soon as we were old enough, we were playing thinking games like Scrabble, Clue, and cribbage.  (In fact, my parents also did not allow any video-game style computer games at all.  If it wasn't strategic or creative, it wasn't loaded on the computer.  This is something else I'm grateful for.)

My husband and I have continued this tradition.  In fact, my husband has amassed a huge cache of games, some of which we haven't even played.  We are also blessed with game-loving friends and have spent many a fun evening laughing and talking over a gameboard.

Here are some of our recent purchases.

Castle Panic+ The Wizard's Tower expansion – This is a cooperative game, meaning all of the players win or lose together.  You are basically competing against the board.  The premise of the game is that you and the other players are in a castle in the center of the game board and your castle is being besieged by orcs, goblins, and other nasties who come out of the forest moving closer, and closer, and closer to your castle.  To win the game, you need to finish off all the monsters and still have at least one tower standing.  Players work together, planning ahead and swapping cards, to defeat the monsters.

This is a good game for mixed ages.  If you are reasonably clever, you have a good chance of winning, and adults can help the younger children.  The game is for the ages eight and up, although my seven-year-old nephew played and enjoyed it.  If you want more of a challenge, the expansion has more monsters and makes it more likely that you will lose.  The expansion, however, is pretty complicated, so I would start with the basic game before moving on to trying it out.  This game is one of our favorites.

Forbidden Desert – Like its predecessor Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game wherein a group of players tried to collect four items and then escape from a constantly changing gameboard made of tiles. In Forbidden Desert, tiles move as the playing area is subjected to continual sandstorms which change the layout, bury tiles and players, and move the pieces that you need to retrieve in order to escape.  There's lots of cooperative strategy in both games.  Forbidden Island is easier to win, so it is a better game for an adult/child mix.  I doubt most kids would be able to play it on their own unless they were at least 12 or so.

Power Grid– This is an adult game, and when I mean adult I mean "people who like or at least tolerate math."  The premise is that you are the owner of a network of power plants and you want to power as many cities as you can.  You need to balance your resources between buying new power plants and paying for the fuel you need to run your existing power plants.  It is unabashedly nerdy and takes about two hours.  It's a lot more fun than it sounds, but it isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea.

Star Trek Attack Wing– My husband and his brother played this quite a bit in Germany.  I have only played it once.  The game mechanics are quite ingenious, and it does a surprisingly good job of mimicking what a futuristic dogfight would be like.  You have to make some decisions simultaneously, meaning you have to react by guessing what your opponent will do rather that responding after you know what he or she opted to do.  You have models of ships which actually maneuver around on the playing area.  It is pretty complicated, though, so you have to have some patience to learn it.

I hope this list gives you some ideas if you are in the market for some board games.  If nothing else, I'll bet you have a pack of cards at home that you could break out for some family fun.

What is your favorite board game?  Have you played any of these?  Are there any you think we should try?  Your comments are welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Remember when Mom & Dad bought us Junior Scrabble? :D We were like... "Huh? We can't spell our usual words? Why do they have words printed on the board? That's not the proper use of an 'S'...."