• James Hewlett

Stay Home Media - Board Games

I was going to write about comics today but seeing as I rightly combined that into any sort of literature yesterday I’ve moved up one of the weekend posts instead.

There’s a lot of people out there who are staying home but aren’t alone, they may be with family be that kids, parents or other relatives or they’re with housemates, spouses or friends who they live with.

If these are your only face to face social interactions for a while it’s understandable if things get a little testy after a while. One of my favourite hobbies and one that more often than not requires more people to play is board games so I’m going to talk about a few here today.

Pandemic

This one might be too on the nose, seeing as we’re in a global pandemic at the moment and the idea of playing as a team of people desperately trying to cure diseases as they rapidly spread across the globe might be off putting for some. Personally though I think it’s important to not let the fear of the real world situation take control and a great way to do that is to play this fully cooperative game. Everyone playing will need to communicate and work together to figure out the best course of action each person should make in order to help control the spread of the viruses in the game. Each character has unique abilities and strengths that will help them achieve this goal. While it may look a little daunting to people brand new to board gaming I have personally taught this game to enough people that within one round everyone will know what they’re doing and should be enjoying themselves. It is one of the best gateway drug games that everyone should check out.

Gloomhaven

On the complete other end of the spectrum, people who have been playing games together for a while but find they often don’t have enough time to dig into something really meaty should check out this masterpiece.

Gloomhaven is another co-op game but this time players take on the roles of mercenaries in a wholly unique fictional fantasy world and work through a huge book of quests that will see them dungeon crawling, puzzle solving and monster slaying for hours.

The depth of this game is quite frankly ludicrous. If there is a mechanic you’ve ever thought would be cool to see implemented into a game, chances are it is here in a Gloomhaven. Creator Issac Childres is a big fan of RPG video games and this tabletop (the entirety of the table!) game borrows and in my opinion improves upon a lot of game play elements typically seen in digital releases. If you want something you can leave set up for a while and play for a few hours at a time, this is the best there is.

Codenames

Got a bigger group of people you’re isolating with? Looking for something lighter with a little bit of team based competition? Codenames, in any of its numerous incarnations, is for you. A series of cards with words is laid out and players split into two teams. One person on each is given a hidden cypher showing which of the cards is a friendly, enemy or neutral agent and they have to give single word clues to their team mates relating to the words in front of them. The aim is to pick words that associate to as many friendly agents as possible without having your team mates pick enemy cards. The first team to pick out all the friendliest without hitting an enemy wins.

It plays out extremely fast and the key is knowing what obscure words you can use with the people you are playing with. It’s a lot of fun for people of all aged but really requires at least four to play properly.


I haven’t played it yet so I can’t write about it but I did just receive Star Wars Outer Rim in the post, I picked it up as an early birthday present to myself as it is one of a large number of new games that has the option of playing solo (no pun intended.) This is great for someone like me who lives alone in these times. I can still sit down and enjoy a good board game session and get to know how the game is played so by the time I can play with friends again I’ll be able to teach it to them. I used to think of solo board gaming and cinema trips the same way, kinda sad, but I’ve come around to really enjoying both in the last few years!

I’ve still been at work today, not sure if that’ll be the case come Monday though. For now I’m going to enjoy the weekend and this beautiful weather we have here. Stay safe everyone, check back tomorrow for more.

©2017 by James Hewlett.