Traditional RPGs are games of the mind, but it doesn’t hurt to have spiffy little plastic figures on hand to help set the tone and sort through the complexities of battle. Figures can be bought unpainted or, for a bit more cash, they come prepainted. As a busy parent, I easily fall into the latter category. While any figurines aren’t cheap, they can add a bit of fun as players can see the unruly monsters gather around their poor characters, eager for a kill.
(Review samples provided by Wizkids)
Boardgames like Runebound pack the positive feedback loop gaining power in MMORPGs into a few short hours of a boardgame. This new (3rd) edition of Runebound provides a new-player friendly boardgame where everyone can choose their own character’s path to power. Players can gain in power by questing to explore locations, interact with the denizens of the land, or simply fight monsters. The first player to become powerful enough to defeat the final villain wins the game. With its open-ended options, playing a game of Runebound gives the enjoyment of adventuring in a MMORPG packed into a single evening of face-to-face game play.
Runebound, 3rd Edtion
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Time: 2-3 hrs
(Review copy provided by Fantasy Flight Games)
It’s nice when the art of boardgame design meets more traditional art. In Musée, players place art-covered cards into their three-tiered museum, attempting to place similar cards adjacent to each other in order to score points. Simple and fast to play, Musée features more than 60 pieces of wonderful licensed art from the fifteenth to early twentieth century. It is an attractive game appropriate for gamers and non-gamers alike.
Give the gift of face to face time with a boardgame. It’s time once again for me to preach to the masses on the greatness of boardgaming. Nothing beats the social aspect of in-person gaming with friends. Last year’s run-down remains a great list of recommended games. Here again are some great examples of boardgames to get you and your family gaming. You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store. Some may argue $50+ boardgames are expensive, but compare that to videogaming (and where multiple copies are required for multiplayer play) and the economics of boardgaming shows their true value. Good boardgames are timeless, just as good today as they will be years in the future. They will provide many more hours of entertainment than most video games. In that vein, feel free to delve into some past year’s guides for 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2009.
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), protagonist of the third most translated book in the world, is back in the form of another boardgame. This time, it’s a young aviator who is leaving her grandfather’s house to fly to meet the little prince on his home planet. Players use cards to move their personal aviator across the map while collecting stars. The twist is in the turn order. The last place plane always takes the next move. The Little Prince is a quick little game that makes a good filler (a quick short game), but despite its art and straightforward rules it does have some aggressive play that may not fit well with younger players.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to appear a month from now. Aside from repeatedly watching the film’s trailers, how will a Star Wars fan manage to occupy their time? Enter the Star Wars Role Playing Game from Fantasy Flight Games. A story-oriented game, it features streamlined rules so that player actions aren’t bogged down with complicated rules. Many aspects of combat, such as range, are abstracted and most actions are quickly resolved with a simple roll of custom dice. The core rules have been released in three different settings, with the newest one, Force and Destiny, focusing on force sensitive characters under the Empire’s rule (Episodes IV through VI.)
Splendor is a gem-themed game of economic growth. Players use consumable gem chips to purchase point cards, which serve as permanent gems. As players accumulate cards, they are able to purchase more expensive cards worth more points. In this way, the game steamrolls into a finale of large point card purchases. While it sounds rather dry, the game has an attraction as a simple “snowball” game where one’s resources accumulate and become more powerful over time.
A good kid’s game will involve a bit of actual thinking (looking at you Candyland) and a bit of physical interaction (to help those squirrelly ones.) Fish Fish Squish! has a bit of both, matching cards and smashing play-doh fish as a reward for success. This makes it fun for kids and agreeable to parents playing along.
Fish Fish Squish!
Publisher: Winning Moves
Time: 20 mins
(Review copy provided by Winning Moves)
I like a nice, deep boardgame: something fun to play that would last 60-90 minutes. However, with two young boys and a toddler girl I am always on the lookout for games and toys appropriate for my younger crowd. Patch Products have none of the former, but specializes in games and toys for the younger (or family with younger) crowd. Scoping out things for the holiday season, here are three newer items of note from the company. They aren’t going to collect awards as grown-up games, but all three were a big hit with my kids.
Cinelinx is a card party game for 2-6 players. It says on the box that this game is for people who love movies. And that’s definitely true. The object of the game is to connect cards together that have something in common, and all the cards are film genres, titles, and movie stars. Whoever can connect all their cards and get rid of their hand first, wins!