I’ve been curious about LEGO board games for a while. They’ve been on the market for more than a year now, yet there really hadn’t been one that looked enticing enough for me to finally bite the bullet and make a purchase. But this past fall, LEGO unveiled their Heroica line of dungeon crawl games. “Great!,” I thought. One of my favorite genres mixed with everyone’s favorite building blocks – what could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out, plenty.
This past weekend, my wife and I celebrated our seventh anniversary. Like any good geek couple shackled with the responsibilities of jobs, school, and parenthood, we didn’t have our hopes set too high for a night on the town or a weekend away. Instead, we celebrated the only way we knew how – by cracking open a brand new game. Lucky for us, it made our anniversary a memorable one. Why? Because Eminent Domain might just be our favorite game so far.
I was never much for charades, Pictionary makes my skin crawl, and the last game of Twister I played resulted in two separate ambulances and a bevy of court orders. Needless to say, party games aren’t usually my thing. And yet despite my general distaste for the genre, I found myself slapping on an engineer’s cap and playing conductor for a few rounds of Train of Thought. As it turns out, there’s a little party fun tucked away somewhere inside me after all.
Train of Thought is a party game that’s all about word association. Stacks of cards are scattered around the table, and on each card are six different words. Players will take turns being the conductor, and it’s the conductor’s job to roll a die to determine a starting word, draw a new card kept in secret, and attempt to get the other players to say the word on the secret card using a three word clue that contains the word on the first card. So if I roll a 6, and on the first card the sixth word is car and the second card the sixth word is engine, I might give a clue like “Under car hood.” Somebody might guess engine, and if they do, both the guesser and the conductor get a point.
As someone fairly new to the world of board games, I’m afraid that I have to admit that I’ve never played Dominion. In fact, I’ve never played a deck building game at all. Puzzle Strike has served as my entry into this particular sub-genre of gaming, and for the most part, it’s been a welcoming experience. With simple rules, quick gameplay, plenty of variety, and the fun of playing with chips instead of cards, it almost seems like the perfect entry point for those looking to delve into the world of deck building – almost.
Loosely inspired by the video game Puzzle Fighter, players will receive gems on each turn that they can try to combine and “crash” into their opponent’s playing field. The object of the game is to destroy your opponent by filling their field with 10 or more gems, thus ending the game. In case you’re not familiar with Puzzle Fighter, think of the gems as your falling blocks in Tetris. Once you have 10 or more of them, the screen fills up and its game over.
Amongst the board gaming elite, there are few words that draw more ire and disgust than “Monopoly.” The first real board game most of us learn as a kid, it’s simple dice rolling, property-buying, four hour sessions of free market economy really seem to rub some people the wrong way. In fact, this quintessential American classic scores no higher than a 4.5 average on BoardGameGeek. Yeesh.
It would seems serious gamers have a real hate on for Rich Uncle Pennybags and his thimble full of fun. Despite all of this, I’m here to sell you on a little card game called Monopoly Deal.