For those of you who are paying attention on Twitter and / or Facebook this will be a bit of a repeat with expanded information on the 12 Days to Table Top Day countdown we were doing. Now for Table Top Day we are posting our 12 recommendations with information about what we love about playing these games and who / why others would enjoy playing them as well.
Later today we will be participating in the festivities ourselves, but here are 12 recommendations for Table Top Day (in no particular order).
First, we have Munchkin Quest for lovers of Munchkin who want to add a bit of a twist to the regular game mechanic. If it was not already obvious David and I love RPG’s of almost any shape and size. Munchkin created a great card game that imitates a dungeon crawler, kick in the door, find a trap or monster, get treasure, move on to the next door.
In Munchkin Quest you actually get to go through a dungeon that gets built randomly as you go along. Each room has possible bonuses or negatives depending on race and / or class, as well as potential extra things that can be accomplished in said room. The idea is still to get to level 10, but then you have to get out of the dungeon by fighting a level 20 monster. It does not matter what monster you draw when trying to leave the dungeon it is always level 20, which makes for a great moment when you get to fight a level 20 Goldfish.
Miskatonic School for Girls
Miskatonic School for Girls is an amazing game that was created through a Kickstarter (one of the few times I have considered investing in a project). It combines two things that we love, deck building games and Lovecraft. There is an interesting element to the game where not only are you building up your own deck with helpful cards, you are trying to stack the other players decks with bad cards.
If it is not obvious in the game you are a student at an all girls school. You are trying to collect students to help defend your sanity against the Lovecraftian Faculty, including Headmaster N.R. LaHotep. Then you try and send the faculty to harass the other students. The premise is basically be to be the last to go insane.
Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is such a great party game and the randomness of the cards make each play through just a little bit different. It can either be a great way to get to know someone, or a way to see how well you actually know someone versus how much you think you know. Is someone looking for funny, or are they looking for accurate? If there is a negative adjective, do you have a card that you know they hate, or do you make a play off their political leanings?
One of the best things that we have seen is when you have nothing that seems to fit and so you pick a card at random from your hand or play a throw-away card. Then that card is the one that gets picked. It is amazing to watch people’s thought processes on why they think one card fits and another one doesn’t. Be warned though this game is very subjective so if you like set rules and structure this is not for you.
Penny Arcade the Card Game
Penny Arcade the Card Game is a perfect game that just requires two players, there are even a couple of variations on the same game that you can choose to play. The other part that is great about this game is that with its size it is great for travel. We have taken this on many an airplane ride and spent almost the entire flight just playing this over and over again.
There are two different decks that a player can choose from. One is Gabe, with a lot more straight up attack – after all, he is the cardboard samurai. The other is Tycho, which plays a lot into cards playing into each other. Each deck has a very unique strategy and play style that you can employ to beat your opponent. Both decks are pretty evenly matched, but some of it might depend on your personal play style. I personally prefer Gabe and David loves the complexity of Tycho.
Small World, or as I like to call it a more light-hearted game of Risk. We were introduced to this game by some of our friends and fell in love with it. We have gotten the original with 3 expansions and a desire to get both Underground and Realms. Small World is a basic conquer and multiply type of game.
You control a race and the basic idea is you want to spread out and conquer as much space as you can with those races. Then when you cannot expand any further you put your race into decline and choose another one. Part of what is great about this game is that there are races and abilities, which get randomly paired at the start of the game. This means that every game you have to have a different strategy because you do not know what combinations will come up for you to choose.
Guillotine is such a fun and easy game for a variety of ages. The premise of the game when you really think about it is a little bit morbid, but the idea is simple; try to collect the most heads. You are an executioner during the French Revolution and you are competing to see who can gets to collect the heads of the highest nobles.
For example Marie Antoinette’s head is worth 5 points, but the Piss Boy is only worth 1 point. Then you also want to avoid taking the head of an Innocent or Hero of the People because they are worth negative points. Now you get a hand of action cards that you can play to either mess with other players, give yourself extra points, or mess with the order of nobles who are lining up to have their heads removed. The person with the most points from beheading nobles at the end of three days wins.
Battlestar Galactica is a game that combines some elements of an RPG and some elements of tactics or strategy. It is great because if you love the show you will recognize a lot of elements from the characters to even the problems they encounter. If you do not know the show it is still a great game of intrigue because just like in the show you cannot be sure who to trust.
In the game Battlestar Galactica there is guaranteed to be at least one Cylon, the question is do they know they are a Cylon from the very beginning or does it turn out they were a sleeper agent. The mechanics of the game are solid and also keeps the elements that people loved about the show alive. One of the great things is choosing which characters you want to play because they are all from the show; President Roslin, Commander Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Baltar, and more. Will you be working with the human race to find earth, or are you working to sabotage their every move.
So one of my best memories of Fluxx was playing with some friends when we were taking the train in from Gatwick to get to central London. It is a fun (sometimes quick) and easy game that anyone can play because the rules are always changing. We own a wide variety of Fluxx games and maybe someday will own them all. The simplicity of the game is what makes it so fun to play.
At the beginning there is no way to win and only two rules, Draw 1 and Play 1. As the game progresses you build the rules and create the goals for winning, all of which are changing during each person’s turn. As we have found out it is quite difficult to make yourself win, you are more likely to have to play a card that makes someone else win.
As already mentioned David and I really enjoy deck building games and what better example of a deck building game than Dominion. Another example of a game with more expansions than we actually own, but the original is still my favorite. Each expansion brings a little bit different strategies to the game, but what is great is that you can combine all the expansions together to make one game. This gives this game high replayability.
The other piece that is really nice is the ability to customize the game based on what you want to play. Are you looking for one where it is a race to see who can buy the Provinces first? Or do you want to be able to tear down the other players and be able to keep them from winning? Whatever your taste you can build it with Dominion.
I guess it is appropriate to go from one deck building game to another, but Ascension functions a bit differently. Instead of choosing the cards you want to use you have a deck of heroes, constructs, and monsters that randomly get laid out into the middle. You then are trying to buy heroes and constructs or fight the monsters.
Each hero or construct is worth victory points at the end and you use them to acquire more points to either buy more heroes or fight more monsters. The monsters are worth victory points right away and then for the most part get discarded. Your strategy changes game to game because you only see 5 cards at a time so you do not know what will be available from game to game. Do you fight monsters and try to game victory that way or are you a smart shopper and making sure you are getting a good exchange rate of hero cost to victory points?
Ascension also has an excellent app available that helps keep track of points, shows you which heroes and constructs you can afford, and which monsters you can defeat. Playing against the computer opponents is a lot of fun, and it has a Words With Friends style multiplayer where you play your turns asynchronously and wait for your next turn. We’ve played Ascension a lot more on the app than with the actual cards!
Arkham Horror is the ultimate in a cooperative game where you work together against what often feels like overwhelming odds. A game can run anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. It depends on how many expansions you want to use, what Ancient One you are fighting and what characters you all have chosen to play. Due to its cooperative nature you can play anywhere from 1 to 8 players, although I feel 5 is an ideal number.
We own many, but not all of the expansions, each one adding a new and interesting challenge or twist to the game. There are so many different combinations of characters, rules, and enemies that you can create that each time is a different story. A friend even commented it is kind of a pre-built RPG where the cards are the DM randomly creating the story as you go along. Will you defeat the Ancient One or be devoured when it awakens?
Dungeons & Dragons
The classic game that many grew up playing where imagination is more important than a specific rule and the ability to tell a story and paint a scene is your greatest asset, Dungeons and Dragons. This is a game that while it sets up the basic rules, it all depends on who is playing to say what is going to happen. The world is your imagination and if you can think of it and explain it you can probably do it.
Now there is always a Dungeon Master who tries to set up a story or plot hook for why the adventurers are together, but even the most meticulous of planning cannot anticipate every outcome. Often the times that things are not going quite as planned tend to be the most fun. If you have not played before I recommend trying and if nothing else because you end up with some of the best stories.
Which is what we are going to be playing today for International TableTop Day! So get out there yourselves and play more games!