Seriously, without board games I wouldn’t be able to talk to members of the opposite sex
Game: Cards Against Humanity – UK edition (rrp £20.00)
Duration: as long as you want really – it’s the journey, not the destination
Number of Players: minimum 4
Age: box says 17+ but I wouldn’t recommend playing with ones parents unless they’re very open-minded. If that’s the case, you’ll hear things that will scar your brain forever. So yeah, peers only.
Premise: Not for the faint-hearted – I’m hardly a wall-flower but I’ve blushed a few times playing this. Players start with a number of white cards. The dealer (chosen by the most recent person to have defecated, I kid you not), picks a black card and reads it out loud. It’s a blankety-blank style scenario, and the other players choose their card that best suits the scenario and hand the card face-down to the dealer. The dealer shuffles them and re-reads the black card followed by each option. The dealer chooses the “best” one and that player is awarded an Awesome point. You can choose to end the game at a certain number of Awesome points or just when your sides hurt too much.
Re-play-ability: I love this game. Love it. Even bought Younger Sister it for Christmas. Just be sure to judge the mood of your crowd before you play, although you may be surprised – it’s always the quiet ones….
You call it an ice-breaker, I call it the only way I can enjoy an evening in the company of others… yes, it’s another board game review!
Game: Dixit (rrp £29.99)
[Source: Wikipedia Commons]
45 mins or so
Number of Players: 3-6 (better with larger numbers; can be adapted for more with use of additional counters + paper for the number choices)
Premise: Dixit has a series of beautifully illustrated surreal cards. The player in charge chooses one of their cards and describes it using a word or phrase (or an action, noise, or dance if you are so inclined). All other players choose a card of theirs most likely to fit that description and hand them face down to the dealer, who shuffles and places each card on the table. Players each choose the card they believe was the dealer’s card. Scoring is based on whether nobody guesses the original card correctly (dealer gets 0, everyone else gets 2), 1 or more players guess the correct card (3 points for them and the dealer) with bonus point available if another player chose your bluff card. The game gets more complex as the cards are used up.
I’m not too sure on the replayability of this game – I’d guess that recent plays would make it more difficult to think up a novel description. This is an excellent game for families as it doesn’t require any literacy skills so I feel even younger children could play. I thought that married couples would have an advantage – I reckoned they’d be on a similar wavelength so would easily guess the correct card when one of them was dealer but this didn’t bear out in the gameplay.
A potentially frequent review bit
As a socially-awkward individual, I have come to love tabletop and board games as a medium by which I can talk to people I haven’t known for at least a decade without wanting to run home and drink tea with the cat. If the only time you play board games is during a power cut or the annual family Christmas Monopoly resulting in not talking to the family for the following 8 months, I assure you there is a third way.
Game: Pandemic (rrp £29.99)
about an hour
Number of Players: 2-4 (but better with 4)
Age: says 10+, but I reckon more for grown ups.
The Premise: The unique part of this game is that it is collaborative rather than competitive; all the players work as a team trying to control a global pandemic. The science behind this seems pretty well researched (NB my highest level of biology is 1st yr uni) and it’s really easy to get into the mindset. Each player chooses to be a different specialist, each of which has certain moves available, which breaks down barriers for joint decision-making, if you’re a bit of a control freak.
Play-again-ability: Quite high – once the pandemic has beaten you (which I pretty much guarantee it will on first play), it’s so tempting to go in for a second game.