Games to play this summer

I love to play games. I enjoy playing games on my PC or video game consoles, I love almost every sport that includes a playful aspect (such as football, basketball or poker), and used riddles and mind games to survive a particularly boring phase at work. I also adore a very underrated way of gaming: the art of board games and tabletop gaming.

As I finished my first exam yesterday, I rewarded myself by buying a new game for my collection: “Resistance“. The game is set in the not so distant future, when an evil mega-corporation controls the world. Some players are members of the resistance, a group trying to bring down the corporate drones through successfully completing missions. However, the corporation has not been idle and has managed to smuggle spies into the rows of the resistance. These spies are impersonated by some of other player depending on the size of group (5 to 10). The goal of the game is to successfully complete three missions with teams consisting of the players. One spy is enough to make the mission fail, so wisely choosing the members to go on a mission is of utmost importance. But if it’s still not clear how the game exactly works, you can watch nerd icon Wil Wheaton of Star Trek and Big Bang Theory fame explain and play it here:

The show the game is played on, is called “Tabletop” and it consists of 3 to 4 players joining Mr Wheaton to play board games. It airs every second Thursday on the premium youtube channel “Geek & Sundry”, which is the of some great shows on topic from the geek culture. I watched the entire first season a few months back and it has successfully reignited my passion for tabletop and card games. The show highlights a few stunning and inventive pieces I’d love to try out. The one point I appreciate most about the show is the diversity of guests and games they play. Some of the games are collaborative story telling efforts, while some are competitive fights for glory and honor. Episodes I’d recommend in this regard are the storytelling game “Fiasco” and the fantasy game “A Small World” that not only feature interesting games, but also funny insightful guests. If you’re not happy with the games that are popular among my friends, you can always head over to Geek & Sundry to get some additional inspiration.

One of the favorites in my circle of friends is the classic world-domination game “Risk”. The goal of the game is to conquer the world or at least parts of it (which are specified on mission cards). To fulfil this destiny, players can place their armies all over the world and then try to take over other regions from other players with hopefully smaller armies. To conquer a region, you need to win a dice roll against your opponent. The game is similar to poker as you can’t show your hand to early and the dice can make your carefully planned out strategy useless. Winning a dice roll against a friend three times in a row while seeing his face turn from overconfident to angry is exhilarating. The emotions and drive that gets a hold of players during tight games is one of the aspects I enjoy competitive board games so much.

Last, but not least, another game which is perfect for evenings spent at the lake or on the terrace is any version of “Activity”. There are also many games similar to the original or that only feature one of its aspects. The package Activity offers is a lot of fun for open-minded groups who aren’t scared to make fun of themselves. It involves either drawing, describing or pantomiming a word and gaining points for successful guesses. I’m a terrible artist, so when I step up to the drawing board, hilarity (and defeat) follows.  When you’re able to establish a connection with your teammates trying to find out what you want to describe, the game shifts into another gear. Using inside jokes or other crazy chains of thoughts to succeed is a very rewarding experience. Additionally, it also offers infinite replay value and you can add another layer of fun to it. If you’ve played all the cards in the deck already, you can always come up with new words catered directly to your group of friends.

One aspect of gaming I haven’t tried out yet are collaborative tabletop games. I’d love to get into them however. Among the games high on my list are “Pandemic” and “Forbidden Island”, which both were featured on Tabletop. Playing with your friends against a ticking clock seems very enjoyable. I don’t know if story telling games would work that well if you don’t have a writing or acting background. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know!
I also used to enjoy trading card games such as “Pokémon”, “Yu-Gi-Oh” and “Magic: The Gathering”, which add the pleasure of deck-building to the actual act of playing. However, I haven’t wanted to make a further commitment of time and money as we stopped playing during our teenage years. But seeing some of the old cards stashed away still makes me fond of the memories.

Games in general and tabletop games in particular are fantastic entertainment choices because they allow everyone to let their imagination roam free while adding a competitive or collaborative aspect to it. You engage your mind, get to battle for bragging rights are active throughout the experience. If you don’t like a particular game, you’re in luck as the world of tabletop gaming is diverse and deep. There are so many options for players old and young to enjoy. I can only recommend getting your friends together an easy-going, laid back evening of gaming. What are your favorite games to play amongst friends? Let me know on Twitter @AlbertGubler or in the comment section!

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I’m back on Friday with Chapter 6 of my growing story, “An elusive hero”!

Sincerely yours,

Albert

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