Get into board gaming. You know you want to.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

So if you know me in real life at all, you'll know we have a board game collection in our house.

It looks like this:

Some people have a fireplace ... ;)

Board games are our main hobby now. We have one for every occasion (and, sometimes, we make up new occasions just to be able to play them). If we have friends round nowadays, it's almost unthinkable that we won't actually play a board game.

From little ten-minute card games to epic three hour marathon games with fifty-page rule booklets, we have ... a lot. Different genres, different gameplay styles, different themes. We're pretty sure we can match anyone we see to a board game they will like at this point.

To give you a quick run down in case you haven't heard about it, board games are absolutely booming in popularity right now. The website Board Game Geek holds a database of over 84,000 games with in-depth reviews, and a thriving community of over a million users, discussing tactics, arranging meet-ups, and swapping games. There are some big YouTube channels and podcasts dedicated to board games (The Dice Tower, Shut up and Sit Down, and Watch it Played are good places to start). Meanwhile, there are board game cafes popping up all over the place.

(In fact if you're in Bristol I highly recommend visiting Chance & Counters if you can. The staff are really friendly and knowledgeable, they have great food and drink and an absolutely huge selection of board games to choose from - and if you're not sure about the rules, the staff will explain everything to you. We've been a few times now and really enjoyed every visit).

What I like about board games is the sense of community - they are by their nature a social activity, and the online community seems particularly friendly to me (in comparison to other online communities!). But what I love about sitting down to play them is the excuse to have a get together that doesn't involve screens or technology in any way (unless you count my husband taking pictures for his Instagram). Just a table and a game and some snacks. Total time out with people you love, in a life of non-stop buzz and activity. Tempers sometimes flare, and competitive personalities come out, and sometimes you end up surprised at how easily one person can lie to everybody else round the table if needs be ... but it's always a fun experience.

There's just ... something about it. I can quite happily play games with my closest friends on a girly catch up night, and we can have dinner-followed-by-games wind-down evenings with our fellow friends with little kids (after we've finally wrestled all our stubborn kids into bed). We play games with my mother in law after a Sunday roast. We play complex, ongoing games over weeks and weeks with groups of our most dedicated gaming friends. We play games with the kids in our family, we play games with our three year old (alright: she plays with all the pieces and makes towers from dice).

Plus, nearly everyone we have played games with have gone on to buy and play games in their own time, too. It's sort of infectious. Like a lovely disease. Maybe it's a combination: of the power of an activity that draws people together and allows you to interact with people you love in new ways, and the high quality, love and care that game creators pour into their work in order to create the best possible experience for people.

I get a lot of blank stares followed by 'what, do you mean Monopoly?' when I tell people about our board gaming obsession hobby. Which is fair enough. If you are the person that only ever dusts off the Scrabble box once in a blue moon, but you're looking for some new ideas for get togethers, here are a few games that are way more fun than the ones you played as a kid:

1. Pandemic

Wanna save the world?

Pandemic is a co-operative game, so you will be working together to journey across the world, curing diseases before they outbreak and the world collapses into chaos. It can be really flipping hard and frustrating at times, but you will keep trying until you beat it just to get that sweet taste of accomplishment. And then you will play it again. And again.

2. King of Tokyo

In the total opposite to the last game, King of Tokyo sees you taking on the role of a monster invading Japan. Except you'll have to fight the other giant apes, robots and aliens to gain control ... a fun game that our niece and nephew really enjoy and pretty competitive too.

3. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a modern classic of a board game: a lot of people I know who are into board games started with this one. Your goal is to collect cards of a certain type, which allow you to build train routes across North America. You get extra points for having the longest track, and for connecting certain cities - it's super easy to learn (and teach others) but there's quite a lot of strategy involved. Plus it feels like a calm game you can chat over, but occasionally you get the opportunity to really screw over another player, which is fun.

4.  Loony Quest

If you've got a kid interested in platforming videogames whom you're trying to tear away from the screens this Christmas, this might be the game for you ... each player is given a sheet of clear acetate and an erasable pen. You look at the stage in front of you, and then you attempt to draw a line on your acetate, collecting treasure, and avoiding bad guys. When the time is up, you take it in turns to lay your acetate down and see if your spacial awareness/fine motor skills are as good as you think they are!

This game is surprisingly tricky at times but has loads of replayability because of the multiple levels - and again, a brilliant game for families.

5. Mysterium

If you like Cluedo this one might be for you ...

You are called to investigate a murder, with one opportunity to communicate with the ghost, desperate to tell the true story of his death. One player is the ghost, only allowed to communicate via handing out clues and occasionally knocking on the table. The others have to work together to figure out the clues the ghost is giving them, trying to figure out the suspect, the murder weapon, and the location.

Mysterium has the added bonus of looking beautiful - the artwork is lovely. We play this a lot with different groups of friends and it always goes down well.

And a few more ...

Throwing in a few more recommendations: for a party game that always ends in laughter, try One Night Ultimate Werewolf. For a quiet, calm, game-over-a-coffee-and-a-chat, try Splendor. For some more modern classics, try Carcassonne or The Settlers of Catan. Takenoko is an adorable game that's great for families involving a little tiny panda (what more can you ask for?). And for a quick 15-minute fix, try Bang! The Dice Game or Biblios or Love Letter.

So there we have it! Buy one of these for Christmas to play after you've opened the presents and eaten your weight in food. An afternoon of fun awaits you. You won't regret it. I promise!

Linking up with:

Pink Pear Bear

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Diary of an imperfect mum


  1. Totally with you on this, I love a board game!!! I'm rather safe with my choices though so love your suggestions. I feel a Christmas board game session coming on :-) #twinklytuesday

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Christmas board games are the best! x

  2. We love Ticket to Ride and Apples to Apples in our house! Disney Monopoly is still the fave though!! A really interesting post Megan- Will be looking into the Mysterium and Loony Quest this year for sure!
    :) x

    1. I've never played Apples to Apples, what's it like? Glad you enjoyed it. Both of those choices are really good! x

  3. Oooh haven't played a board game for ages. Love that they're booming Meg! As you say a great way to come together and think of all those neurons that are getting a work out too (and of course social skills too). This is a fab post x

  4. I love your photos. They really add to this post. I like board games too even though I never play them anymore. Mainly because I can never find anyone to play with. I thought it was a dead hobby. I'm happy to hear that board games are making a comeback. #bigpinklink

  5. I absolutely love your enthusiasm for this, it's so clearly something that you adore, that it's bouncing off the page!! As a child, my parents had no interest in board games, even though I did, but we never played them because my parents just refused. But lots of my friends had parents really into them, and I always joined in if I was there for dinner/sleepovers! Before we had children, me and my husband played scrabble a LOT, and vowed that when we had children, we would avoid screen time, and play board games. The children are still too young (toddlers) to play or understand, but every time we go to toys r us, my husband looks at the board games for ages, deciding which ones we can play first, when the children are old enough! It'll hopefully be the start of something great! I'm in Bristol too, and that cafe looks awesome! Off to google whereabouts it is...!!

  6. Board games are the way forward! We have a very similar looking cupboard only full of kids games, we love a good board game and played monopoly on sunday. I think my kids might like Looney Quest. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉


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