Life is Like That
Posted on December 11, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 26 Comments
Hey, look: kids do still play board games. It’s not all Wii and lasers and zombies.
And on that note, I’m taking the rest of the day off. And by “taking the day off” you can read to mean “do things offline, like go down to the bookstore and sign over a hundred books people here ordered because you’re awesome.” I may post a picture of that pile when I get there, here or on Twitter. Otherwise, see you all here tomorrow.
Life? Really? How 70’s. ;) Try some Carcasonne or some Dominion or Ticket to Ride…
Oh, how funny. We played the same game last night. (And the same version of the game.) Did anyone get to collect $50,000 when the spinner got tilted off its axis? Nice update.
Yep, I must admit Carcassone has become the new favorite at our house with the 10 and almost 13 year olds. Check it out, great “gateway” game! ;-)
Heh. Daughter has recently gotten in to Clue at school so she’s getting it for Christmas.
“Have fun storming the bookstore!” “Do you think he’ll get all those books signed?” “It’d take a miracle.” “Good-bye!”
We have the Pirate’s Life, based on the Pirate movies from Disney, and I actually prefer it to vanilla life. No qualms about having the person with the most money win, no selling off the children for cash, and best of all, BATTLES.
I also recommend “Hey, That’s My Fish”.
Games our gaming group has enjoyed as pickup games — fast, with minimal play time and a small learning curve:
Family Business: Play 1920s mobster families, on a quest to control Chicago by rubbing out the competition.
Guillotine: This is what happens in the line during the French Revolution. Bring your own rotten cabbage heads to throw.
Cthulhu 500; Monsters with race cars; what could be better?
The perennial favorite: Nuclear War, complete with Supervirus and spies.
Okay, most of these have a dark streak to them, but they’re funny anyway.
And tomorrow, no doubt you’ll be blaming all of us for the massive case of writer’s cramp you got from signing all of those books. ;)
Love it! buying it for my son for Christmas. We just introduced my boys to Monopoly over Thanksgiving weekend and now we get bugged almost daily to play! Board games are still great and kids will still love them if we do more than just let our kids play video games…
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Lasers and Zombies Edition of Life™ for the Wii out there somewhere. ;-)
My students like nothing better than the days I throw the bananagram tiles on the floor and let them have at it. They are seniors in high school. Nuff said.
Eldest (almost 13) not only still plays, she’s giving them to her best buds, including a copy of Risk. And her youngest brother (10) will be kicking everyone’s butt at that very, very shortly. ;)
Not sure what age range it’s appropriate for, but Pandemic is a fantastic game. Co-operative game, but not aimed at young children. Several pandemics are ravaging the world and you (a group of specialists) are trying to save humanity. You lose ~4 out of 5 times you play. The fact that it’s played that much shows how good the game is, I think. :)
Happier game: Bohnanza. You plant bean fields. The cards are awesome. :) Excellent detailed review.
Settlers of Catan is fun too as is Cranium!!!
let us know what your books-signed-per-minute is later.
How many children did you get?
It is definitely better for us to at least spare our time from doing things that has nothing to do with computers or internet.
I prefer traditional activities than modern ones.
I got the wife to get me Settlers of Catan, I haven’t played it in years so now I’m planning on indoctrinating her into the cult of non-anglo game design. Next step is Carcassonne.
Eric, my thoughts on Monopoly can be summed up fairly well, here:
And that’s after really wanting to love the game as a boy. It just never worked out in practice.
I agree with the above notes about Carcassone being good for young players. Settlers of Cataan, too.
On the more complicated, Risk 2210 is good (substantially different and better rules from the original, and includes the original if you want to play that way).
But there are zombie board games too! :p
I have to say I like Pandemic and Arkham Horror a lot though. They aren’t player versus player and instead opt for players versus board.
Oh, Life. My best friend and I played this at nearly every sleepover, although as we got older, it was largely for nostalgia’s sake. But once, to enliven the game, we gave our characters names and histories and named all the kids AND then at the end of the game, we started the game with one of the kids. And every time a player was made president, we took their peg and laid it aside in the little wooded section near the hill at the top of the game, which we called Arlington National Cemetery. We played about six or seven generations worth of our personal soap opera, making it more and more twisted and weird.
In addition to the suggestions of Carcassonne and and Cataan, I also recommend Citadels and Dominion. (Citadels is more self-contained and less intimidating than Dominion, although both are equally easy. It’s just that the Citadels box lends itself to small storage indents, while Dominion seems to be a many headed hydra.)
My brother recently introduced us to Dixit which is similar to Apples to Apples, but with a surreal art twist that appeals strongly to me. (In Apples to Apples, an adjective card is played, like “crazy” and then you lay down cards that have nouns, many dealing with pop culture or historical figures. Playing Apples to Apples, I had to argue with my conservative mother that Adolph Hitler was crazier than Hillary Clinton, and you’d never have that problem with Dixit which has pictures of ghosts made out of clocks and snails escaping from prison. So for those of you wanting to bridge the political divide in your family, Dixit is probably the safer game.)
Yup. There are great games out there – I’d endorse about half those named in this thread, and haven’t tried the others – but Monopoly isn’t one. I’m sure most common games are set entirely by chance, but in Monopoly it’s entirely inescapable. There’s essentially only one strategy to play (buy every property you land on, maybe skipping those where a monopoly is impossible if you’re short of cash), so it’s just about the dice rolls – and even after the first couple dozen rolls have settled the game, dozens more must be rolled to end it. At least with other dice-based board games (Cataan, say) there’s a lot of strategy and flexibility, and the game isn’t settled a third of the way through.
But maybe it’s good for kids, because no strategy is needed?
My five-year-old will put down the Wii controller to play a game of Monopoly. He’ll also happily play checkers, Scrabble, several card games, and a dozen or more “children’s” board games. He’s trying to teach his Kindergarten class to play Monopoly – it’s pretty funny to watch.
My sons play boardgames with us often. The highlight of their year is going to a big boardgames convention in Pennsylvania. We have had a lot of fun with Stone Age recently. Tsuro, Carcassonne , Settlers of Catan, and Citadels are great too.
Okay, I’m WAY late to the party, but I highly recommend Last Night On Earth, a zombie board game. It’s a great deal of fun with all the typical zombie tropes, and hey, zombies!