Beat the Covid-19 blues with these 7 awesome family board games
Walking about to do essential shopping, a colleague of mine noticed that a lot of parents buying board games at the mass market stores such as Monopoly, Risk, etc. And although there is nothing wrong with these games, I do feel that there are games that can give a better experience and can be enjoyed more by the whole family. Thus with that in mind, here are 7 games that the whole family can participate in and more than likely the adults will enjoy these games as much as the kids.
Mice and Mystics
Mice and Mystics is a great example of our goal today as it was created as a family experience in mind. It is a cooperative game that focuses on a story that the whole family goes through, working together to achieve a common goal. That being to stop an evil wizard that has turned you and your friends into mice and to help the good King before the evil wizard does him harm.
The mechanics of the game are as simple as setting up the board and then reading the story/goal, then proceed to use your cute animal miniatures to achieve goals, fight rats, centipedes, etc. Combat is a simple dice rolling system that has hits and defence dice, on which are also cheese icons that you can spend to use items or spells. That being said the experience is multiple part story and is not just a linear one with sidequests and different items to be found in each playthrough. A true story created by a family for a family.
With more kids now encouraged to stay at home, why not use a board game to both educate and have fun at the same time! In Photosynthesis, one learns how trees grow and use the sun's rays to create food for themselves to grow big and tall.
Gameplay starts with players getting their sun points by collecting points depending on which of their specific trees is not blocked by shadows of other trees and how old they are. For example, a level 3 tree will get 3 sun points but also cast a 3 spot long shadow depending on where the sun is shining from. From there, a player is allowed to spend as many points as they want to throw seeds, grow trees or kill a tree when it is old enough to gain points for feeding the earth for new life to start once again. A tool for science and biology education but also a strategic experience if your family is looking for that too.
Now, this is the 3rd article in which I am promoting this game but I truly feel it is a singularly unique experience from both a gameplay and design standpoint.
Slide Quest comes with great components that work to create a super Mario platforming experience on the tabletop. You and up to 3 others are tasked cooperatively to help the brave knight go through 20 levels with only limited lives. And the way to do it is by Physics! Tilting the board one way or another to move the weighted knight to finish specific goals on each level, be it to push enemies into holes or get to an endpoint or both.
Again a nice quick experience that you can even "save" the game back into the box to come back to together and yet is fun enough to last several levels of the game at a time. And a good look at what is possible from a design perspective from even using the box of the game to create a game.
Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
Probably for older kids due to the somewhat more in-depth rules but with more time now at home, it is probably a good time to start a Legacy game. A Legacy board game being where you change the board or story of a game by making permanent changes by decisions the players make in-game. In the end, each copy is unique to you and your family and will become a piece of history you all can look back on and the best part the finished copy can still be played as a normal board game after for Clank Legacy!
The gameplay is at its base a deck builder, buying cards to improve your deck of actions during each game. The timer being when people collect treasures that are equal to points. Each time that is done, the big bad will attack more often and thus there is only a limited time and how far you can try your luck to get items that are more expensive but are also harder to get out before the end of the game.
When it comes to family games, simple rules are key and when it comes to simple and easy rules, fast to play but full of tactics, there is no better than Azul. Which is why it was one of the best selling games of 2018.
Azul is a game in which you are building the sultan's palace and thus you need tiles to do so. You collect tiles from the round factories in the middle of the table and when you collect tiles, you have to take all of the same patterns ones from one of the factories and push the rest to the "floor" in the middle. On any turn, tiles from the floor can also be taken. When tiles are taken, they have to be placed on your personal board/warehouse and the state of your board at the end of a round and the end of the game gains you points and the person with the most points wins.
From the famed designer of cooperative games such as Pandemic comes Forbidden Desert. Your team's airship has crashed in the desert and to survive you need to collect all the parts and put them together before the sandstorm hits, which makes it impossible to do so.
This cooperative game sees players moving, clearing sand and collecting the airship's parts. Each player has a unique skill to use and when the ship is built and all players return to board the ship, the game is won! Sounds easy but the game has a mechanic that sees more and more sand covering the board as the game progresses, making it a tactical game of choice of clearing or just heading to collect parts. As neglect in one area will make future choices harder.
The best thing about Forbidden Desert is that you can make the game as hard or easy as you want and even on easy it is not a cakewalk. A challenging experience that the whole family can come back and work through together.
Lastly, a really simple party game. Something that can be learned in 2minutes and played in 15minutes and not only that but the game is designed locally and has a theme any local can relate to for a laugh. That of trying to get a table at a crowded hawker centre during peak hours.
Chope is a simple speed, push your luck and a set collection game. On your turn, you turn over cards and if a table card is opened, everyone even the person opening the cards has to use their tissue card to try to get the table, the first one to touch the table gets it. The player will then continue to open the cards and collect food, they will get all the food when they choose to stop or unless they open two of the same dish and then only collect one dish, thus a push your luck aspect to the game too. At the end of the game, tables with dishes gain points but tables without food or food without tables will lose you points!
So in conclusion, it is a hard time for all and so let us get through this together with as much joy as possible and I hope that all these games will bring a few more smiles to the world in this period and hopefully even after we get over this virus.