Board games, just the name conjures up images of Christmas day with the family. Ms Scarlett getting up to mischief in the kitchen, people hastily checking the dictionary to see if grandpa’s MUZJIKS scoring 128 points is a real word (it is, Russian word for peasants and highest opening score move in Scrabble), and of course the favourite Monopoly board throw temper tantrum.
For many this is where board games start and unfortunately end. A bad experience with one of these as a child is likely to put you off for good, and with good reason.
If you have ever been on the opposite side of a Monopoly board throw you know that if something can cause so much frustration when it’s meant to be fun then maybe it’s not right for you.
Board games are not all like this; many encourage teamwork, friendly competition, competition against the game and some even change the more you play them. So if you can open your mind just a tiny bit to the wide world of games you will no doubt find a whole wealth of fun for you, your friends and family.
Over the next few weeks I will break down the different types of board game mechanics, the pros and cons of each and give a few examples of titles that I recommend you try.
Board games can, like most media, be narrowed down into many different categories therefore each week I shall focus on the following styles of game.
- Competitive games
- Cooperative games
- Table top games
- Legacy games
This week we will look at the first topic competitive games.
Competitive games are where a number of people each have an overall objective to beat the rest of the players and therefore become the winner. Examples would be Monopoly, Risk or Settlers of Catan.
The advantage of the Competitive game is that it is usually quite easy to understand the rules; stop others from winning and be the first to win. Many people love the idea of beating someone else and don’t understand the point of a game if it doesn’t have a competitive element.
Competitive games are the most abundant of games available so you are bound to find a theme that fits what your tastes. everything from farming through to dinosaurs fighting robots.
Competitive games do also have some downsides. They can cause arguments and disagreements, they are often not suitable for multiple age ranges, they can rely on luck through dice throws, and they sometimes favour one style of player over another. Anyone who has played a word game with an English student will know it’s not fun to be constantly beaten and you ultimately stop playing that game with that person.
Settlers of Catan – One of the most famous competitive games and with good reason. A classic game of tactics and action. If this is the game for you then you are in luck as it also boasts many expansions.
7 Wonders – A quick 30 minute strategy game that just gets better the more you play and develop tactics.
Munchkins – A game that encourages, teamwork, backstabbing, dishonesty all through the means of beautifully illustrated cards. One for the family that likes a good argument.