Of Family Games

IMG_0293Today I discuss games. Not the political or dramatic sort, but the practice of spending time with loved ones. We play a lot of games in my home, so I thought I’d review some new additions we got for Christmas.

As a household that plays games regularly, I sought to find the perfect addition to our collection for Christmas. I researched, I toiled, I visited the nearest game store. One title that waIMG_0685s often (& highly) recommended was Ticket to Ride. On further inspection, this was just a less complex version of Empire Builder. The premise of both is that you are a railroad tycoon building your wealth. While very enjoyable for most, the thought of replacing my existing game with a stripped-down version seemed pointless.

IMG_0688I wanted something to build teamwork and not be so competitive, so I settled on a cooperative (co-op) game called Shadows Over Camelot. The goal is to defend Camelot from an onslaught of different threats. Much like Pandemic, the group races against the clock to defeat the game. This is a rich game with illustrated cards, boards, & figurines.

This game is hard. If you want a challenge, you’ve come to the right place. It takes teamwork and strategy to beat this game. It took us 4 tries, and some modified mechanics to make it happen. (Sometimes kids care more about winning a quest than losing the game.) If you have trouble, you might try the following tips:IMG_0689

  • Play without a traitor
  • Sacrifice life points in the beginning, to delay the start of bad stuff
  • Focus on quests as a group (start with grail/Excalibur)
  • Don’t try to win every quest
  • Dedicate 1 or more people to siege engines
  • Bonus rule: Knights return home for free

IMG_0692Another new game we tried (thanks to ‘The Tribe’) was Suspend. It’s like Jenga in the air. Each person tries to balance color-coded wires, without making the stack fall. We found that reversing direction allowed ‘payback’ when players tried to sabotage one another. It’s also good to establish a pre-determined waiting period between turns, in case something falls.IMG_0736

The last new game we played was Firefly: Out to the Black. This too is a co-op game, where the group is manning Serenity through a series of jobs. We didn’t get to play it much, but it was fun and much simpler than the other we had been battling.

Over the course of winter break, we played some of our other favorites: Othello, Munchkin, Bazaar, to name a few. It really doesn’t matter which game it is, so long as we’re doing it together. Have you played a game lately?

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