7 Wonders

“That Through the Ages is a good game, but it’s too long, too complex, not accessible enough.  We need to make it shorter, faster.  I know!  Let’s make Through the Ages meets Hearts!”

In the hands of Hollywood, that’s how we get the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; in the hands of Antoine Bauza, it’s how we get a masterpiece.  Over three periods, you use a simple mechanic of pick a card, play a card, pass what’s left of the cards to the next person to build an empire of armies, markets, and secret societies – all of which lets you generate stones, wood, clay, money to build more, more, MORE!   That being said, 7 Wonders may offer too many options and too many strategies for someone not deeply into boardgaming or who suffers from analysis paralysis.  It’s a great game – one that you should introduce to people who like Dominion or Sushi Go.

Sushi Go Party!

While sushi itself may give you worms, Sushi Go Party is nothing but a fit of giggles suitable for ages 5 up in a short 15-20 minutes.  Based on the original Sushi Go card drafting game, the Party edition expands on it to give you more options of cards and actions.  It maintains the same easy rules that can be taught, the same cute artwork, and the same set-making joy that forces people to decisions – do I take the card I want or do I deny my six year old daughter this other card, making her cry? 1 One of the greatest improvements over 7 Wonders is that there is direct interaction cards, giving a bit more directness to being cutthroat without moving into the “take that” territory.  Go buy it!

Ticket to Ride

Note: I can’t talk about this game without starting to sing the Beatles song.  You know what’s cool about trains?  Almost nothing.  You know what’s cool about Ticket to Ride, a classic game based on making train routes across America?  Almost everything.  It’s like riding Amtrak without the breakdowns.  Ticket to Ride is about collecting sets of train cards of the same color and turning them in to collect rail segments, with the goal of connecting cities across America with your rail network.  The longer the distance, the more points.  You can play it peacefully or cutthroat, you can pick it up easily but spend a lifetime mastering.  Play time is around 30-45 minutes.

Stockpile

My family is a sucker for a good business game – which makes it painful to say that Stockpile is a good game that won’t come out to play very often. WHAT?? Well, yes.  The problem is that, although it is completely different from Acquire, that game continues to take its spot in the regular rotation.  Stockpile has a lot going for it.  Almost too much – with card drafting mechanics, auction mechanics, some crazy randomness – that it is a little less approachable than Acquire.  With Acquire, you get to that point in the game where you say, “Ah yes…I just shot myself in the foot.”  With Stockpile, you know you’re shot but you don’t know when you were shot or by who.  It’s still fun, but just not enough to replace the old champion.