We hope you had a great Christmas holiday! We wanted to discuss our favourite 6 games we played over Christmas and tell you what what we thought of them. Of course Lab Wars would be number 1 for us but that wouldn't be fair right?!
Team Lab Wars are huge cat and board game fans. Naturally, we had to buy exploding kittens! We knew that the game illustration from the Oatmeal meant the cards were going to be super duper high quality and this didn't fail. You could tell the cards were expertly crafted, loved and well thought through in this aspect. The rules were remarkably simple. I read on twitter over Christmas that someone was able to teach their drunk non board game playing uncle the game with ease. I can definitely see that not being too difficult! The box came with two packs of cards and the rule book (see picture). Once we read the rules we didn't once need to go back to them. It was that easy! We really enjoyed the game as essentially you are trying not to get the exploding kitten! We felt that despite the extreme simplicity we would definitely play it again with non board game playing friends (it only took us 5-10mins per game). We'd also play it again if we wanted a quick game amongst the two of us.
We were introduced to this game by our PhD buddies. Both of them (@cascade21 and @lutralutri) are avid board gamers. Both of us were split down the middle with code names. One of us really liked it the other disliked it, hence it being at number 5. Code names like exploding kittens is remarkably simple to pick and can be played by non gamers. It can also be played with your kids too. Simply put you have to use a secret "code name" for your partner to guess the correct card to pick up. The first team to get the right number of cards wins. We'd say this is a great game for parties and playing with your non gamer friends.
An old classic from the Dr, (not us haha) Reiner Knizia. We originally bought it as we often play games together as it is a two player game. Again this game split us down the middle like code names. Essentially both of you are trying to breakthrough enemy lines using an ancient Greek themed set of cards. In terms of rules they are quite simple although non gamers may not enjoy it as much as gamers. The beauty of the game comes from knowing when and where to place your cards and second guessing what your opponent will play. In addition, it helps to be somewhat good at understanding basic probability although once you get the hang of it this becomes fairly obvious. The added bonus is it uses the same rules as poker in terms of how to line up your armies. I had to order in Battle line from the US to the UK but was well worth it. For board gaming couples I'd definitely recommend it. It was on sale for a couple of dollars on the apple App Store too if your partner doesn't fancy playing. See a screenshot below of a crushing defeat of the hard mode AI muhahaha. Overall a great game!
We bought this game as it was recommended by some friendly people in the tabletop design forum on reddit. The mechanisms were suggested to be similar to Lab Wars. The game was also cheap at $13 and we love sci-fi so was a no brainer to give it a go. I have to say that personally no card game has enthralled me as much as this game since I played Magic The Gathering for the first time. It's essentially a game where you play as warring space factions. The beauty is that you have to balance your deck as your build it up with more and more powerful cards. The face up trading mechanism is similar to Lab Wars' however you need money to buy what you want. The fact that you automatically play what is in your hand also massively speeds up the game since your amount of choices is limited especially in the first few rounds. As the game progresses, similarly to dominion (see later), the ability to combine various cards for devastating combo attacks is the most satisfying part of the game! Picking up the rules for normal board gamers was relatively straight forward, I'd recommend downloading the free app on Apple App Store as you can play and learn quickly (see screenshot). For non board gamers it may take a little bit longer than say exploding kittens to learn but sci-fi fans would definitely enjoy the game. I'm definitely going to be buying the expansion packs given their low cost. Overall if you are a board gamer and into sci fi this is a must purchase.
This was given as a birthday present as I had asked for it based on reviews and a recommendation from our local gaming store. Since Pandemic we have loved cooperative games. To be honest this was a contender for number one but was edged out ever so slightly for various reasons. The game is basically Resident Evil as a board game. The great thing about it is the cooperative play. It's also a bit pricey (hence wanting to get it as a present haha!) The rules are quite clunky and you do need to be patient. This shouldn't be played by non gamers unless it is played alongside avid board gamers who have already played the game. In fact, we had to watch a few games on you tube before we got the hang of it. Luckily the rule book is extremely well written with great images demonstrating how to play. There's also a neat tutorial version of the game to get you into the swing of things. You're also given some colour coded miniatures which are awesome. Once we got over the rules hurdle we thoroughly enjoyed the game and was very easy to set up. The fact that you are playing against the board with zombies coming at you is real fun. If you have the money and you like to play cooperative games this is definitely a must purchase and our favourite cooperative game.
We're now at the end of our list and Dominion is our number 1 game we played over the Christmas period. Why? It's simply fantastic and a well rounded board game. I'm sure many of you reading this will already have the game and for the price, the fun and the replayability, it is spot on. The fact that you can combine multiple cards to create fantastic combos and The fact that you have multiple recommended game types means you can play dominion over and over. There are also multiple expansion packs if you (somehow) manage to get bored of the basic set. A must buy for any board gamer of any description.
So! Do you agree or disagree with us? Do let us know below!