Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The List of Our Games

A friend of Ginny's on Facebook made the comment that we play a lot of "unique games," and wanted to see a list of all of them. With that said, here is the list of games we have with some quick comments about each of them. I am also working on a post detailing how we can use many of these games in teaching. Without any further delay, here is our list in no particular order.
  1. The Settlers of Catan - The game that brought the strategy games into the mainstream of America. A classic and one that everyone should play at some point. Player interaction through trading and an easily -described victory condition make this a great game to introduce to people.
  2. The Seafarers of Catan - Technically an expansion of Settlers. I really enjoy it as well, as it adds some new dimensions and scenarios to play.
  3. Ticket to Ride - One of the best "gateway games," or a game to introduce to new gamers. It takes the rummy element of set collecting and incorporates it into a cross-country game of building railroad routes between cities. Simply put: This one is fun.
  4. Carcassonne - Another game that we've enjoyed for a while. A tile-laying game all about building up the French landscape. The game board changes with every play as you place different tiles together. Definitely one to play with newbie gamers.
  5. Zooloretto - I would definitely consider this a gateway game, too. It will be on the first ones that I will teach the girls to play the correct way. A game all about putting animals in your zoo. Another set collecting game that is easy to grasp.
  6. Airlines Europe - A step above Ticket to Ride (the same designer for both games) in terms of depth and complexity, but another game that will be accessible to many. A game that each time I play I enjoy more and more. It involves the route building of Ticket to Ride with the stock element of Acquire (see below).
  7. Agricola - This one is probably my favorite game, and one that I have not reviewed yet. It's a game about farming. Yes, farming. Don't let the theme fool you though. This game has a lot of depth and complexity, so it is not one you would want to start out playing with new players. There are a lot different paths to explore and ways to win - which adds to the depth of it. Ginny and I really enjoy our 2-player battles.
  8. Puerto Rico - Another game that is a few notches above Ticket to Ride on the challenge scale, but another fun that I enjoy. Definitely not a game for everyone, though. Some may find it dry and boring. There is some player interaction as you select different roles on your turn and build up your island of Puerto Rico.
  9. Acquire - One of my favorite games, as it was one of the first "real" board games my dad and uncles taught me. Simple, elegant design with excellent gameplay. One that currently is readily available for purchase. You lay tiles to create hotel chains, invest in those hotels, and try to accumulate the most wealth through stock mergers and stock appreciation.
  10. Stocks and Bonds - An easy-to-explain game about the stock market. Invest in stocks, buy low, sell high, and hope to strike it richer than your opponents. Like I said in my review, it's not a great game, but it is good to play every once in a while.
  11. Power Grid - Of all the games I have and play regularly, this one might be the most complex, but it is right there at the top of the list as one of my favorites. Auctions, resource management, and network building all come together in this game of being the best power supply company. Again, do not start out with this right away, and when you do play it, take your time reading the rules. This game also has many expansions, of which sadly I own most.
  12. Railways of the World - Network building and pick-up-and-deliver mechanisms meet in this game all about earning the most money and victory points through building your railroad network and deliver different colored cubes to cities of the respective cube color. I like this one a lot, too. The only downside (and what I didn't necessarily know at the time I requested it as a gift) is that it really is a better game with 4-6 players. Also, the board is ginormous.
  13. Castles of Burgundy - A game that does play well with 2 players is Castles of Burgundy. A game about developing the countryside in medieval France, this game is about rolling dice and using those dice to collect tiles and add tiles to your board. It sounds like a lot of luck involved given dice rolls, but there are special tiles and tokens to manipulate the dice rolls. Again, a solid game that plays well with 2 players. And one you can play for free online at Boite a Jeux.
  14. Macao - Another game that plays well with 2, Macao is another game with interesting mechanisms around dice rolling and resource collecting, with the goal of earning the most victory points as you deliver goods, build city spaces, and activate cards through cubes you earn through the dice rolls. Not a game everyone will enjoy, and not a game to start newbies on, but a good game Ginny and I enjoy. Her ability to plan better than me makes her the winner most games.
  15. Alhambra - I realize I keep repeating myself, but this is another good 2-player game. In Alhambra, you are looking to build up your Alhambra in the Spanish Middle Ages. You buy buildings from the board and add them to your Alhambra with the goal of having the most buildings of each type when the scoring cards come. The money comes in 4 different colors (currencies), giving you choices to make when buying buildings and taking money from the bank. An award-winning game, and rightly so.
  16. Pandemic - A cooperative game where you try to save the world and cure 4 diseases before they outbreak and doom the world. A topical game, too, given the events of the world right now. Ginny and I like this one a lot, even if we have a losing record at it.
  17. Formula D - This was one of those games I bought somewhat on a whim, mostly because we have not actually played this one yet. Technically, I guess the girls and I have gotten out the cars and rolled the dice, but we haven't played according to the rules. As they get older, I can see this one being played often. 
  18. History of the World - A 3+ hour game about world civilizations rising to power and being taken over by others. This is a popular game with my mom's family, and it has elicited many laughs and good times over the years. This game is NOT for everyone though, because, well, it's at least a 3-hour affair.
  19. 1856/18TN - At minimum, another 3-hour-long game about investing in railway companies, growing their reach across the map, and trying to manipulate your way to the highest net worth. It's sort of like History of the World, but with trains and not civilizations.
  20. Scotland Yard - You are either a detective hot on the trail of Mr. X, or you are Mr. X, seeking to elude the world's best detectives. This is a 1 vs. all game as Mr. X tries to move about London with being captured by the detectives. The big thing? Mr. X is hidden on the board and writes his moves down in secret; you only know what mode of transportation he took. I can't wait to try this one with the girls.
  21. 7 Wonders - A card-drafting, set collecting game in which you take the role of the leader of a certain civilization and try to earn the most points and complete your wonder of the world. I've only played this twice - once as a play through by myself and once with 2 other players. It looks like a fun game that the girls can play fairly quickly.
  22. Dixit - This one falls into the party game genre, but it's really quite clever. You have a hand of 6 cards with a picture on each one. Your job as the storyteller is to pick a card and describe it in one sentence. The other players then select one card from their hand that they think matches your story. Then everyone but the storyteller votes on which card they think you the storyteller played, and points are awarded based on the selections. 
  23. Reef Encounter - Reef Encounter is the deep-sea adventure of combating corals. Yes, you read that right. The game is about growing your coral reef and having your fish eat the reef when it is dominant to score the most points. It's fairly abstract but a lot of fun. It's not a beginners' game, however. The rule book is not well written, and the game is fairly complex. It's still a good game once you graduate up to it.
  24. Memoir '44 - There are a lot of war games out there that I find interesting but would have absolutely no time or reason to buy. For one, they take a long time to play. Second, I don't think Ginny would be interested. Memoir '44 is known here as Daddy's army men game, because the game comes with plastic army men. M44 recreates World War II battles but in a much simpler fashion. To date, I've only played solo games, but it is light and fun and a game I hope the girls will be interested in when we study WW2 in our homeschool life.
  25. Qwirkle - A review will be coming soon on this one. This one is Scrabble with shapes and colors. It's easy to teach and easy to play. In fact, Nyla has actually been playing it with us with only some help from us. She understands what she is supposed to do. You play either a row of different shapes of the same color or different colors of the same shape. A fun game that the whole family will enjoy.
  26. Small World - My latest game purchase. 
  27. Party Games - I'm going to lump all of these together, because they fill that party game genre. We have Apples to Apples, Taboo, Scattergories, and Balderdash. I will point out that Say Anything is an excellent party game from the same people who designed Wits & Wagers. All of these fill that niche of just wanting to be silly and have a good time.
  28. "Traditional Games" - Monopoly, Scrabble, Yachtzee, and Rummy Cube all fall in here. We rarely play Monopoly these days, although I'm sure we will once the girls get older. Same for the others as well. 
And with that, I believe that covers our entire list of games... at least until I get some birthday/Christmas money to spend. ;-)

-D