One of the biggest growing scenes for geeks in Huntsville is with board games, and with that in mind we’re super grateful to our new friends with Board & Brew for this week’s guest article. We think this should be the perfect guide to finding the game that’s just right for you.
Board & Brew is a board game rental pop-up in the Campus 805 location of Straight To Ale. Just pay them a visit and rent one of your new favorites listed below!
When we think of boardgames, images of angrily abandoned Monopoly or sweetly simplistic Candy Land may hazily come to mind, but over the past decade a revitalization has been occurring. Every year thousands of new and innovative games are coming out, and more and more people are coming to the tabletop to connect with others via this pastime. We are in the midst of what many are calling the golden age of boardgames so it’s a great time to pick up something new to enjoy with family or friends (or one of the great solo games!).
With so many choices, what’s right for you and yours? At Board & Brew – a pop-up board game rental shop located in Straight to Ale Brands at Campus No. 805 – one of our favorite things is recommending games. Here are some of our favorites to start the fun!
- Coop / Competitive
Does your family or group work best as a team or when there’s a competitive edge?
- Pandemic: You and your group are a team from the CDC attempting to prevent worldwide disease outbreaks! You move your characters, use their special abilities, and attempt to survive as the game fights against you every step of the way.
- Forbidden Desert: Stranded in an endless desert, your only chance of escape is to uncover components of a steampunk airship while a wild sandstorm attempts to bury you!
- Betrayal at House on the Hill: At first the signs are slight, a whisper in the wind, an unsettled feeling in the back of your mind. As you progress, the house awakes to throw more haunting goodness your way until… the Betrayor reveals their plan. The best part: no player knows who the Betrayor is until they are chosen! With a randomly generated House and over 50 Betrayal endings, this game is at the top of the heap for replayability.
- Strategic / Chance (Card & Dice)
Do you learn and work the rules to your advantage, or enjoy the equalizing factor of random chance?
- Ticket to Ride: Play as a railroad tycoon laying track across the USA attempting to secretly build lucrative routes while avoiding your opponents who are doing the same!
- Roll For It!: Wager your dice to build combos that gain your points! The catch: with every die you commit to a combo you have one less to roll!
Are you looking to entertain a larger group, with minimal setup and explanation time?
- Codenames – Winner of many awards, you play as competing teams using word play to string together code names using a singular clue
- Exploding Kittens: From the creator of The Oatmeal, you’re actually trying to not explode! With a card game mechanic similar to Old Maid, you’ll pick this one up quick and be entertained by the eliminations and the artwork the entire time!
- Stinker: A cross between Scrabble and Apples to Apples, each player constructs responses to a prompt using letter tiles with often hilarious outcomes. This one is great because it can range from adult to family depending on who’s playing!
- Cards Against Humanity: Players select responses to a prompt from the cards in their hand attempting to win by gaining the judge’s favor. Be sure to check out the “Rando Calrissian” rule in the book!
- Joking Hazard: By the creator of Cyanide and Happiness, this can be described as a visual version of Cards Against Humanity. Each round the judge picks a random card to start a 3-panel strip, and then selects one from their hand and places it alongside the first. The rest of the players then construct the punchline from their hand!
- Bluffing/Hidden Roles
Are you more like a Bond villain that’s out in the open, or a Sherlock-ian villain who stays out of the spotlight?
- Bond: Sheriff of Nottingham: Attempt to get your legal or not goods past the deliciously corrupt Sheriff, but don’t be too predictable, as the Sherif-dom changes hands each round! Bribery and extortion are the cornerstones of this game.
- Sherlock: Coup: Play as a member of the future’s Illuminati as you use your influence over pivotal members of your society to eliminate all other threats. This is a great game to develop your poker face as you do whatever you please, and can only be put into check if someone calls you out!
Do you watch police procedurals, heist movies, and read mysteries?
- Blokus: Attempt to fill out the board in this game of multiplayer Tetris. Compete for space and block your opponents while connecting your pieces on the diagonal!
- Patchwork: A 2 player, less directly competitive version of Blokus. Each player is attempting to build a quilt of their own from a pool of patchwork pieces of varying shapes, sizes, cost, and reward!
- Clue: The classic deduction game, collect and trade clues to figure out who-done-it! Both the original and updated versions are available.
- Dixit: Use subtle clues to inform the creative guesswork of the other players as they attempt to select your card from a pool of beautifully designed abstract storytelling cards!
- Timeline: American History: Starts off easy: was the Civil War before or after the Reagan Administration? But gets harder as more events are put down on the table: was the Pacific Railroad built before or after the Gunfight at the OK Corral? Split historical hairs to find out who paid attention in class!
Do you need something straight-forward and engaging for a group which might contain children?
- The Magic Labyrinth: Navigate your character through a hidden maze attempting to reach magic sigils! But watch out, every time you hit an invisible wall you are sent back to the beginning!
- Apples to Apples: The original game of word association. Each round a judge reveals a prompt the other players respond to using a card from their hand. The judge then picks the best!
- Splendor: Build up your treasury of jewels and gold to purchase mines and artisans to bolster your buying power! The mechanic is quick to learn and the random card setup ensures that you play a different game every time!
- New to Gaming
Looking for something that’s quick and easy to start off your collection or to introduce to your non-gaming friends?
- Tsuro: Be the last token standing as each player places tiles with curving paths. But watch out, if another player places a path in front of you, you must follow it!
- Catan: The gateway game that is arguably the source of the board game craze today! Gather resources to build roads and villages, trade with your opponents and watch out for the Robber!
- Machi Koro: Play as the Mayor of a small town with big city aspirations! With each roll of the dice you’ll get the opportunity to purchase buildings which can generate or steal money! The first player to build all 3 of the goal buildings wins!
Whether you’re an old pro or just starting out, there’s a game for you! Gaming is great for developing inter-personal communication skills, spending face-to-face time with family and friends, mental exercise, reviving creativity, improving problem-solving, storytelling, goal-setting, memory, and plenty of other skills! And they’re fun to boot!
Come on out and play all these games and more with us at Board & Brew!
In 2017, we’ll be doing monthly Board Game Bento box openings,
Kickstarter Nights (whenever they arrive),
Learn To Play nights,
and daily featured games to include selections from our personal collection,
We look forward to pairing you with the perfect game!