This is my first year as a teacher, and one of my many responsibilities is moderating the school's games club. Most of the kids just bring their Magic the Gathering decks, but for the minority that do not play that game, I bring a board game each week and teach them how to play after school. Yes, being a hero can be a lot of work. Oh did I say hero? I probably meant to say teacher.
The board games that we play obviously have to be family friendly and have to be pretty quick because we only meet for about an hour, so do not expect me to talk about Cards Against Humanity or Diplomacy, despite how awesome those games are. So here are some quick outlines and reviews of some of the games we have played so far:
Last Word: I went into the games club meeting last week with an unopened copy of this game and an understanding of its rules derived entirely from the back of the box synopsis. The game functions like head-head-head-head Scattergories. A letter is placed face up and then a subject card is added to the mix. So you could have a card like "H" and "Things associated with Police." When both of these cards are revealed, a timer is started that will last for a random length of time before buzzing. In order to win the round, you need to be the last person to say an answer that fits a category before the buzzer sounds while everybody else is trying to do the same. As you might imagine, it was more than a little chaotic and victories had little basis in your ability to Scattegorize. The randomness factor weakens the goal of the game, so I would not be likely to recommend it to people that take board games seriously. However, it did enable the players to say funny things and create hijinx, which is really the goal for this type of party game. In that way, the game was successful--I did have a moderate amount of fun. That is when everybody was not getting screwed over by a bad Letter card. What words start with "A" anyway?!? As a casual party game you could do a lot worse, but also a lot better.
Dixit: Journey: Dixit is a pretty well known board game, having won the Spiel des Jahres and all that, but it was one I had never played previously. I bought it about a year ago and played it for the first time at games club. The game is so very wonderful. Each card is so lovingly crafted with great art and a pretty good sense of humor about themselves. One of the first cards I saw was a duel between two knights made of clocks, which was extremely bizarre, yet appealing at the same time. The cards definitely make the game as fun as it is.
The game is basically Apples to Apples with pictures instead of words. The judge of a round chooses a card from his hand and describes it with a word that gives a hint to the other players which card is his without telling them outright. For example, if I put down the card on the right, I could say something like "Circus." The other players put down their own cards that fit the hint, e.g. someone could put down a card with a clown on it for the "Circus" clue. Then the players attempt to figure out which card was the judge's. The judge gets points if some, but not all of the players pick his card. The rest of the group gets points depending if they picked the judge's card and whether their own card they put down gets picked by anybody. It contains just the right amount player psychology, strategy, and pure fun to be enjoyed by casual audiences as well as the hardcore board game enthusiasts. I highly recommend this game to anyone who has not played it.
Well I think that that is it for this time, blogrodytes. If you have any board game suggestions for my games club, let me know as I am running out of games that fit the above description in my closet.