In Above the Table we will cover discussions of all things gaming related. This column also gives the Meeple bloggers a thinly veiled excuse to occasionally wax philosophical and indulge in some hopefully entertaining navel gazing.
Today’s column is written by guest blogger, former Assistant Innkeeper at Ravenwood Castle, and occasional Malted Meeple Game Master Abigail Kutscher.
As summer approaches, family get-togethers become more and more frequent. My fiancé and I are notorious for always bringing at least one board game to these functions; we love to introduce our family members to new games! The two of us are pretty avid board gamers – he enjoys heavy American and I love the intense Euro-style game. These are not the games that we bring to the table when it comes to family get-togethers though. Not all of our family members are gamers, so a heavier game may not appeal to them; they may find it too difficult, too long, etc. Perhaps you have found yourself in a similar situation. Well, have no fear, because I present to you my top five “lighter games” to bring to your summer family function!
The first game on the list is one that never fails to bring laughter to those who play it. I discovered this game rather recently and showed it to my family soon thereafter. They loved it! We ended up playing it several times and it even received the stamp of approval from one family member – who shall remain anonymous – who declares frequently that she hates board games. What game is it? Codenames! Codenames is a fast (15 minutes on average) game where teams compete to be the first to discover and make contact with all of their secret agents. To do this, you must guess the correct word or words at which your teammates are hinting. At the same time, you want to avoid guessing the other team’s codenames and avoid the assassin, one word on the board that leads to instant failure. Codenames is easy to learn and plays quickly! It should definitely make the cut of games you bring to your summer parties this year!
Another great game for beginner gamers is Sushi Go. Sushi Go is a drafting card game. The premise is that you are at a sushi restaurant and you are trying to sample a combination of dishes. The object of the game is to collect the most points and you do so by collecting different cards such as pudding, sashimi, or wasabi. The trick is to know which card to keep and which card to pass on. The one you let go may be just the one your opponent needs to win the game! Another fast game, at about 20 minutes, Sushi Go is another great choice for families who are just dipping their toes into the world of board games. The rules are simple and the gameplay is quick and fun. Plus, the artwork is adorable!
Fast games are great for family get-togethers but longer games don’t have to be ruled out. I don’t recommend 90 minute plus games but games in the 40 minute range, like these next two, are still an appropriate length for beginners. The first of these is Mysterium. Mysterium is great for beginners because it is cooperative, allowing you to work together. In this game, one player is a ghost, trying to make contact with the other players. The ghost is trying to communicate where and how they died and – of course – who did it! However, as a spirit, they cannot communicate with words, only images. This game is really fun; I like to describe it as Dixit meets Clue. The artwork is strange and beautiful and it is really cool to see how your fellow players interpret the images you give them.
Another great 40 minute game for families is Tokaido. In this game, you are traveling through Japan and your goal is to have the most fulfilling experience. To do this you must try new foods, meet new people, collect souvenirs, and visit temples. While the overall goal is of course to win, this game does not feel competitive, which is a nice change of pace. It is a very simple game and, in my opinion, very relaxing. I think it would be a great game to play poolside!
So there you have it – several ideas for games to take with you to the multitude of family gatherings this summer. And if the same old gathering-at-grandma’s is getting stale, why not bring your family to The Malted Meeple? We have all of the games described above and more! Not to mention knowledgeable staff members to teach them so you can sit back, relax, cool off with a milkshake, and enjoy introducing your family to the world of hobby gaming!