So often we get together to play some table games with our friends. The night usually starts with some socialization, and of course snacking on some of our favorite guilty pleasures.
This interaction with friends is so great, and should be a key reason why you get together with your friends. With the crazy work schedules that we all seem to follow these days, it’s nice to get together and release some of that stress with our friends.
That said, we know one great way to relieve some stress – Beating your friend in a game of ping pong or foosball, obviously!
In our nights, the socializing at the start of the night is great, but there is something about playing a quick game of something is an amazing way to take your mind off the stresses of the work week. We usually get into a few games of pool, ping pong, etc. (depends on the mood of the night, or whose house we are at typically).
There are a lot of one on one games that go on to start the night. Those lead into team games, or even a mini tournament. Don’t worry we have the basics covered here. Some nights we switch between a couple different table games to keep the energy going. Occasionally, however, we like to slow things down a bit and have a seat at the table.
So... How do we keep the energy (and competitiveness) of the night going?
We like to turn to a different type of table top game, and that’s board games. Our friends, the Hexagamers, have created an Ultimate Guide to Board Games, which helped to point us in the right direction of which board games we should be looking at.
You may or may not realize that board games have come a LONG way from the days of Monopoly and The Game of Life. Now, there are tens of thousands of different types of games, spanning across a number of different genres.
We have learned that there are games that range from less than $10 to over $100. They can last anywhere from 5 minutes to over 5 hours in length!
There is a whole culture surrounding these games, and we have found that it is a pretty interesting area once you dig into it a bit… And… We find it an amazing way to keep the night going if people are done with the other table games.
If you are new to board games, it can seem somewhat overwhelming to get into, but we will provide you a bit of info about some of the genres to get you going in the right direction depending on your crowd and the energy of the group.
If your group has a lot of energy, or you have a large group, a great genre to get into would be the party games. These usually keep the energy of the night flowing, and can be a great way to keep those previously formed teams going. Double or nothing perhaps?! A good example here would be Catch Phrase, which you give clues about a secret word to your team in hopes they can guess it before the timer runs out.
Party games are great, but what if your crowd like to give each other a hard time, maybe even fib to one another to get a rise out of them? Well, you’ll want to check out some Social Deduction board games.
In these games each person is assigned a secret role and/or objective. Other players must try to decipher who is who before the game is over, all while trying to keep your own identity secret via some good ol’ fashioned lies and deceit. Coup is a favorite here.
If your group doesn’t like to lie to one another, then there is another direction you can go. In fact, you can go to the polar opposite genre. That is Cooperative games. These games are just what they sound like, cooperative. Players must work together to accomplish some goal, usually these are a played as a team vs the board. It’s a great way to work together, and is especially good for those groups that aren’t that good at games, since you can help the out along the way. You can’t go wrong with Pandemic here.
If your group is competitive, coop games might not be their thing. There are a bunch of different games you can get into with competitive strategy games. Worker Placement games can be a good choice. These usually involve taking turns placing workers on the board trying to complete some ultimate goal in the game. These games can take a LOT of thinking depending on how heavy/involved they are. These games are good if you have a group of planners and thinkers. Agricola is an example of a good game here.
Another option for your thinker/competitive crowd is to pull out a Deck Building game. These games involve slowly building a deck of cards that will help you buy things or fight things or get points later in the game. These games usually involve a lot of forethought, execution of strategy, and of course some luck. These games can be quick, but more often than not they take up a lot of time, so plan for that. The biggest name in this genre is Dominion.
If you are looking for something a little slower, and maybe with the option to keep the socialization going, then we would recommend the Tile Flipping genre. In these, players will take turns flipping tiles and placing them strategically on the board, in an attempt to help themselves towards some end goal. Players can casually take their time with this game, so it allows for more chit chat time. We like Carcassonne.
A couple other genres that allows for some mingling and talking time are Card games and Dice games. These games again are turn based and can be played at a pace the works for the whole group. Some might like it faster to keep the action level high, while others might like a slow pace, allowing the game to take hours while they spend their time talking with the people they are playing with. You may think of the games you used to play with your parents while you were out camping, but trust us when we say that there is MUCH more depth these type of games nowadays.
There are some people in the board game world that will further breakdown the areas of games into sub genres and overlapping ones, creating different names for games in those areas, but we don’t think you need to get into that depth at this time. There are some other genres and types of games, like Card Drafting, that might be of interest to you, but we can’t cover them all or it would take hours of reading.
What we will tell you is there are some many games out there, that you can surely find one to fit your group. A good tip to remember when checking these out is to make sure to check out the number of players and time it takes to play the games.
A last pro-tip here is to study the rules and understand the gameplay before asking people to play. Some of these games can get pretty complicated, and the last thing you need to do is take half an hour to read the rules before trying to explain them to your friends. Not being prepared is a great way to ruin the flow of the night. If you are pressed for time, there are simplified versions of the rules out there, or you could read them while your guests are playing pool… but that might not be enjoyable for you.
Having people over to play some games is an awesome way to spend any night. We love all the aspects of it. Seeing our friends, eating food, beating them at pool, etc. … but now we have another option to keep the party going! Be sure to check out our friends over at Hexagamers.com to get even more ideas on which board games might be right for your group. They are constantly trying out new games and doing reviews, much like how we are always trying out different foosball tables to help you to figure out which one is the best for you. Let us know if you have tried any of these games, or if you have a favorite you would recommend to us!