A-Z of games I really like (and I think you might too)

September 10, 2007

Plus a few extras I couldn’t put in the talk at Barcamp

Apples to Apples – Fun easy social card game of matching adjectives to nouns.

(new) Ave Caesar – Simple quick racing game with good strategy, fast to play, makes a great ‘closer’ game for an evening.

Bohnanza – Plant your beans as best you can to make the most money. Stack-based card game where you can’t re-order your hand, nicely encourages cooperative friendly play… to a point.

Citadels – Role-based city building card game, nicely rewards screwing over your neighbor, and loads of trying to figure out what other people are going to do.

(new) Carcassonne – Tile-based land game. You’ll need a sizeable table and a bit of time, but it’s a fun strategy game and has about a billion expansions out for it.

Dark Tower – Retro electronically assisted fantasy board game, race up to three other people to the tower and try to defeat the baddies. Such a damned cool game, it’s been out of print for I think about 2 decades now. However there is a link on that page where you can play it online. Schweet.

Electronic Battleship – Exactly what it says on the tin. Again, super retro, and it actually made the otherwise tediously boring game of battleship fun because there were big juicy buttons to press all the time.

Formula De – An excellent, fast racing game that keeps some very good racing game mechanics, loads of tracks available.

Give Me The Brain! – Zombie fast food card game from James Ernest, loads of fun, great illustrations.

Hero Clix – Collectable miniatures game of super-hero combat. fast game play (especially for a miniatures game) because of special base design. Quite fun for a while but like all collectable games, 12 year olds spending their parents’ money will eventually kick your ass at it and it’ll stop being fun. But worth looking at for the design.

Icehouse – Beautiful abstract gaming system from Looney Labs. There are hundreds of games you can play with these, many of them very good. Homeworlds is a particular favorite, but don’t stay up till 4am playing it (I’m looking at you Jim and Glynn.)

Jericho – Card game of building and toppling walls. Some nice strategy, mostly an abstract game, no real religious overtones to it.

Kill Doctor Lucky – Unlike the last game, a good example of a story that adds to the fun. Basically it’s the story of how you got to the Clue (Cluedo for the UK folks) game in the first place. You’ve got to kill the fellow, but no-one can see you do it!

Lost Worlds – Think of it as a kind of dueling version of choose-your-own adventure. Many different creatures to choose from and all of them can battle the others one on one. Another game worth playing just for the design alone.

Magic the Gathering – The original Collectable Card Game, fantasy battles with resource management, spells and big gnarsty creatures. Cards vary in rarity and strength. Fantastic design, incredible game play, expansions have been coming out for almost 15 years now. Also known as gamercrack for it’s addictive ability to suck all the money out of your wallet, becomes un-fun in exactly the same way as Heroclix.

Niagara – Try to collect gems by moving up and down river but be careful not to go over the falls. Inventive board design, not too difficult to play, good family game!

Othello – That game with the black and white flippy pieces. Hey! It’s over 100 years old! and it starts with an O, what? Leave me alone, they can’t all be gems.

Puerto Rico – Ignore the fact that the little brown tokens represent slaves and don’t try to learn it from the instructions, get a friend to teach you. Help develop the new world and win favor at home in the old world. It is an amazingly good game, currently the #1 game at Boardgamegeek.com

Quarto – Pretty pieces, only about 15 years old, starts with a Q, otherwise see Othello.

Robo Rally – Battling Robots, without that annoying guy from Red Dwarf! Such a damned good game, very fun, but playing with newbies can be painful. To save yourself pain, break in as many newbies at the same time as possible so that you can at least multi-task their infernal faffing. (and no it’s not based on robot wars, it *pre-dates* that show.)

Starbase Jeff – Possibly the best Cheapass Game ever made. Compete with other players to build your part of the starbase. Simple game with deep strategy, I wish they’d republish it! I’d buy a new copy and laminate the cards.

(new) The Settlers of Catan – A really fun game with an ever-changing board, you and your friends compete to settle the new island, building roads, towns and cities. Many expansions make the game even more changeable, but frankly, I got burned out on playing it a while ago. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s still an *excellent* game.

Ticket To Ride – It’s a train game that doesn’t suck! Seriously! It’s fun, and quick and inventive and there’s a bunch of versions of it in case you don’t want to be US-centric! Compete with your friends to connect cities with your rail lines.

Unexploded Cow – Another Cheapass game, but this time it starts with a ‘U’! Actually a funny game, good story, “You and your friends have discovered two problems with a common solution: Mad Cows in England and Unexploded Bombs in France.” Hilarity ensues. Probably not a game to play with your Vegan friends.

Vegas – (as in James Ernest Writes Off Another Trip To…). I like this game not just because it begins with a V but because I’ve actually been to Vegas with James Ernest twice.

Werewolf – A remake of the classic Mafia game, you and your fellow villagers must suss out the werewolves that are killing you off one by one at night. They’re hiding amongst you, and the only clue you have is that Ian is always the werewolf.

XXXenophile – A very fun card game that’s not for kids based upon the Phil Foglio adult comic series. The illustrations are often hilarious.

Yahtzee – I’m not even going to link this one.

Zombie Fluxx – The latest (I think) Fluxx variant, all the fun of the game that changes rules with every play, but now with %1000 more ZOMBIES! What’s not to like?!

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