What I Think Wednesday – Board Games!

The Wayback Machine is in the shop this week so I thought I would take a look back at some of the games I’ve played as of late. Believe it or not, I’ve not played a lot of board games lately. Not sure exactly why that is except that life remains very hectic and it’s hard to focus on a game when a nine month old is screaming at the top of his lungs.

That said, a few weeks ago we did bust out Ticket to Ride. This was the first time that we played the game “as written” with Joe and he did pretty well. Jules smoked both of us (and felt compelled to write about the game on her blog). I remain impressed with Ticket to Ride as a fantastic game design and I’m pleased they’re releasing the Nordic Countries Edition again. My only gripe about this game is not about game play but about the marketing. I much prefer the way they did Switzerland as opposed to the way they did Marklin or Europe. I hate having so many additional components for the same game. I understand marketing, but I much prefer the way Power Grid does it with new maps.

A few days later, we played Disney SceneIt?. This one remains a favorite of Joe and it’s a trivia game I can tolerate. I honestly don’t remember who won this game but it almost always comes down to Jules or I and usually we have back to back “All Play to Win!” rounds.  This is another one that insisted on having multiple game editions and I only have both because I got it on clearance in order to get free shipping from an online retailer (Thoughthammer, I think, but it might have been another one).

Last Saturday, we made a family day as Joe was headed off to camp on Sunday. After an afternoon of WiiSports, we broke out Pandemic. Now, Joe always likes to play with a rule he invented. It’s sort of a “Jack of all trades” occupation card where you draw two more but can only use one occupation per turn. It sounds more powerful than it really is and actually plays pretty well. Although we didn’t use it this time, we did manage to save the world. We thought we had the game won early on, but things conspired against us and made the game much more challenging. This one remains in my top five games of all time as it’s easy to play, unique and downright fun.

The other game we played was Agricola. Now, we had never played Agricola and in fact several tiles still needed punched out. After far too long deciphering the rules, I finally got things set up and I think we played the game right. We enjoyed the game, although I don’t think the family game is anything to write home about. Jules and I want to give it a whirl on the next level, so to speak, but for a game that was about to go up on the auction block, I think we’ll keep it for awhile. It reminds me a little bit of Puerto Rico, but in a way that even Joe can understand. And despite one really bad round where he had to beg for food, he finished his first game with a respectable three points so I think that a nine year old can handle the game.

Sunday night we had some friends over and we played some Wits & Wagers. I continue to enjoy this game quite a bit, especially when I win like I did in the first game. I have a secret strategy that worked to perfection in the first game, but I won’t share – I still want to win! But overall, the only two trivia games I’ll play with any regularity are Wits & Wagers and SceneIt?.

Most of all, it really reminded me how much I enjoy board games and the need to slow down and play more games. Less web surfing, more playing games are in order for the future. What about you? Have you rediscovered a hobby that you had gotten away from? Leave me a comment and discus!

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