So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gaming – Opening Moves

My re-acquaintance with boardgaming came about four years ago when my son received a copy of Ticket to Ride for Christmas. I had received a copy of Lord of the Rings before that, when the movies were in the theatres, but my own prejudices had kept me from playing it. With Ticket to Ride, I started down the path into the gaming hobby.
We had our share of mass-market games on our shelves: Monopoly, Balderdash, Taboo and Uno. There were also children’s games like Hi, Ho Cherry-O! After playing Ticket to Ride and then Settlers of Catan, I started looking for other games, and stumbled upon the BoardGameGeek website. This website supports an online community of gamers around the globe. With around 50,000 games in the database, it opens up the boardgaming world. After joining in January 2008, I have used this site to find games I love, received answers to questions on rules, and thoroughly enjoyed the hobby beyond just playing games.
Most of my friends and family, though, do not share this passion. Many of them play casually, socially, and it is for them (and you!) that I write this blog. The question many ask is, “What would be a good game for my family and friends to play now and then?”
The first step is to figure out what you have and start playing! Monopoly, Risk and Trivial Pursuit, amongst other commonly found games, can make for memorable evenings even if they are not everyone’s favorite game. (Did you know that stealing is not against the rules in Monopoly? I found out the hard way, and we still tell the story in our family!) As you play, you will start to see what types of games are better for you family. Are there little ones in the family? How much confrontation can the game have before tempers flare? How long can the game be and still keep everyone interested? How complex can it be?
It sounds complicated, but that’s why I am here. In fact, I am going to open up this topic with my first, all-purpose, suggestion: Forbidden Island. It is a cooperative game, which means all players are team up against the workings of the game. For most people, this is a completely new concept, but it is becoming more popular in the gaming world. Players form a team of adventurers, looking to recover ancient artifacts. A long-dead civilization placed these mystical items on the island to keep them from falling into the hands of enemies, and with safeguards in place to keep the artifacts from being taken. Once someone sets foot upon Forbidden Island, it begins to sink into the sea. The players must recover the artifacts and fly off the island before it sinks to win the game. Each player has a unique role on the team, and a corresponding ability, which will help the group in its efforts. Using these different abilities effectively is critical to win, and keeps the game fresh.
This game plays in 30 minutes with up to four players of nearly any age. Because everyone is playing as a team, children can be coached by parents within the spirit and rules of the game. Kids don’t feel like “the loser”, since everyone wins or loses together. It is certainly not a “kid’s game” though; adults will find themselves challenged to win. Forbidden Island will certainly promote a lot of group interaction without confrontation (though there might be some passionate debates!). The artwork and game pieces are wonderful, and it comes in a nice tin box. It is priced very reasonably, and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Bookstore chains were carrying it at Christmas, and online gaming stores will have it in stock.
Good Casual Gaming! Kid Friendly!
In upcoming posts I will discuss Ticket to Ride and other good games to start your play.
Roll On!

No comments:

Post a Comment