A month or so ago, I was chatting with a fellow softball player about an upcoming wrestling event.
Both being fans, I asked him if he was interested in going.
He said he was, but had to check things out because he did something pretty much every Saturday night. With that he noted, “it may sound dorky, but we play board games.”
That doesn’t sound dorky to me, I said. And after more prodding, I found out more about some of the games etc. It actually sounded pretty cool.
Already knowing the others (more softball players), I got an invite to go this past weekend and I wasn’t disappointed. Talk about a cheap and entertaining way to spend a Saturday night — as well as play a bunch of different games.
Hosted by George (who, interestingly enough, is a player on our biggest rivals in the local softball league), there were five of us in total for this night.
Now, when I say board games, don’t think the normal standby classics like Monopoly, Life etc. Though I personally like those games, these are newer and more interesting ones. These take some in-depth thinking, or backstabbing actions.
In short, this isn’t Parker Brothers.
I’ve always been a fan of nights like this. But, I’ve never been much of a card guy. And that usually scratches off a Saturday night as most people I know don’t want to get together and play board games. So I feel fortunate I had the chance to play with this group and look forward to more in future weeks.
Turns out George is quite the gamer with something like 150 games, some of which he’s gotten through Kickstarter campaigns and such. It’s safe to say that I hadn’t heard of any of the ones we played and probably only a handful of the others we didn’t.
All told, we played four games that night.
The first, Wallenstein, had a Risk “feel” to it in that you controlled certain areas. But it wasn’t the full goal as you needed to have buildings, properties and be able to feed these places, too. It was pretty in-depth.
There were battles, too, but sometimes it’s not the smartest thing to do.
What I liked about this game is the thinking aspect. After a round or so, you could see things unfold a bit more and realize you needed to strategize. For example, you didn’t want to tax or get grain from the same spot twice during a round or they would revolt and fight.
That’s not a good thing.
So you had to think about where you were, who was around you, what could happen and a whole slew of other things.
The game took a few hours to play, but it wasn’t a boring few hours. In fact, when we were done and one of the others noted the time, I couldn’t believe we had been playing that long. But that’s OK. When it’s fun and continually moves, it’s all good.
The second game was my favorite of the night — Nothing Personal. It’s a mafia-based game where your goal is to “control” as many gangsters as you can, and also have the Capo ring. You use influence points and strategy to get as many points as you can.
But the best part? Deception.
Using game cards and other things, you can actually get others to pay you to do things or place influence points etc.
And if you decide, after getting their money, that you don’t want to help them? You screw them over.
That’s a whole heap of fun.
For the most part, there was honesty in this game on this night. Though there were battles (I was basically targeting one person and, in turn, he was doing the same!), the game progressed pretty well.
This game can make you think a bit because if you are a little too deceptive, you can totally get people to gang up on you.
And that’s not something you usually want to have happen in any game.
I do like that there was strategy involved and you had to think about where and when to play your cards. But being able to auction things off or give them to somebody to hurt somebody else, it’s even better. A very cool game that didn’t take too long to play.
After that, we went on to Speculation, a fast-paced stock market game.
Basically, you watch as stocks go up fast or slow and try and buy high/sell low. The amount of stock is based on where it is among the eight on the board and what part of the board they are on. There are times where you can get a stock and actually get paid to take it. Boom!
What’s nice about this one is it’s actually a bit relaxing. Because it moves fast, you basically just have to try and think about what kind of money you have to spend or what you want to sell.
Like the regular stock market, it’s chance and luck.
One player draws how many spaces a stock will move and then each player flips a card over to show what stock they choose to use. There’s also one card per player that can stop the stocks from moving.
It’s a fast-moving game, which is nice as it can be a bridge from one game to the next. And though there’s some thought and strategy, it’s not too deep, so you can rest your melon a bit before jumping back into a bigger game.
We finished the night with a game called Lord of Waterdeep.
This game was pretty interesting. You have cards that allow you to do things and you have to finish quests. That makes things interesting when it’s your turn as you have to make sure you get everything you need. When you complete the quests, you earn points and sometimes gold or other things.
It’s very interesting.
This one required thinking, strategy and paying attention. I like games like that as it makes you consider each of your moves and what ramifications can come from said move.
The best part?
When the game ended, I held on for a stunning victory. It was nice to be able to walk away by winning a game on my first night there. Though, to be fair, winning wasn’t the most important part. It was playing and having a good time.
I’ll look forward to future game nights as it’s definitely a fun way to spend a night and it doesn’t cost anything, either, which is even better!
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