I’ve always loved playing tabletop games. We always pulled out at least one when the family got together for holidays and summer vacations when I was little. It was my preferred activity on rainy days as a kid (remember I’m OLD, so this is long before every house had a game console or cable TV). My game playing waned when I hit high school, college and young adult hood. We’d still do the occasional party game, and the family would pull out some old favorites. When I had the kid we started playing the typical kids games… but then a few years ago we were introduced to “European” style games and I was hooked. So hooked that we now carry and demo them at my shop.
I’ve found there are several catagories I put the games into- big party games, stragetgy centrinc, long play, and table chatter. Today I share three of my new(ish) favorite “table chatter” games- games that you can play and still carry on regular conversation. They are also simple enough in play that they are good intro games for the newbie.
LANTERNS is a beautifully illustrated game where you are essentialy creating a lake full of Japanese lanterns for a festival. It’s a tile laying game and each tile has four sides of different (or the same) color. As you lay the tile you try your best to match one of the colors. When you lay your tile, each play receives a card of the color facing them. The colored cards earn you “points” when you turn them in in one of several combinations. There are a few other elements, but that’s the basics. Easy to learn and teach. You are reliant on what other players laydown to give you color cards, so you can’t plan too far in advance your strategy. And while one player is thinking about where to lay their tile, there is plenty of time to chat The game can be played 2-4 players, but it really is best with four. A+
WELCOME TO THE DUNGEON is a fun one for RPG players as you will already know the tropes. This one is a little more difficult to explain, but once you play a round it’s easy-peasy and a quick play. BAsically the players are vying to be the charachter going into the dungeon while also creating the dungeon. Before you is a stereotypical hero (fighter, wizard, etc) and their magical items. Each player takes their turn drawing a monster card. They can either add the monster to the dungeon (unseen to the other players), remove the monster from play while also removing a magical item, or pass and drop out of the running to play the charachter. The drawing of monsters continues until there is one player left. That player then enters the dungeon with whatever magical items are left and attempts to “battle” the monsters added by the players. This is a multi-round game, as you play until one player wins the dungeon twice, or all other players fail twice and you are last player standing. B+
DASTARDLY DIRIGIBLES is a Steampunk themed “model” building game.Each player has a blueprint for their airship infront of them with 7 parts. The parts are in 9 suits in the deck of cards. Players get three actions a turn, which include adding parts to their ship… the tricky caveat is that when 1 player lays down a part, ALL players add that part to their ship if they have a card in their hands. So you may be real close to having a ship of all one suit (which is mega points), but then the players around you all lay down parts you have to replace. There are also specialty cards that allow you to do things like take from the discard pile, make another player remove a part from their ship etc. It’s played in 3 rounds with points being tallied (you earn points based on the number of matching suited parts on your airship) so if you have an empty ship in one round it’s not the end of the game for you. Dastardly Dirigibles canbe played 2-5 players…. 3 -5 is best as there’s more chances for other players to foil your airship building plans! This one may be my new favorite game! A++