TL;DR first part is a hopefully funny story, skip down to the second act if you only care about actual family/party game discoveries.
This week in Prague, I went to a game night with about 20 compatriots, most of whom are casual gamers at best, at a cool pub called Brews and Boards. True to their name, they had a library of about 500 board games and almost as many beers on their menu, and a banquet style table set up to accommodate all of us.
So, I’m thinking, I know games, this is my time to shine, I got this. I go straight to the library and carefully pick out a few that are new and fun, easy to explain and learn, and have mechanics that might entertain and delight, and can be played in a reasonably short amount of time.
I get back to the table with my thoughtful selections, and another dude is already there, saying, “who wants to play Scrabble and who wants to play Clue?” Clearly he rolled a higher initiative. I get it, we grew up playing Scrabble and Clue, they may remind us of childhood, perhaps even fondly. But there is a reason new games keep being created since then.
So, at that moment, as I walked up with other games, resplendent in their novelty, I probably should have said , “and who wants to try something new?” Instead, I blurted out to my Scrabble/Clue friend, something like, “wtf, are you from the 1930s?” As you can imagine, I lost the crowd with that comment and we played a friendly, tedious game of Clue.
Then there was a heated game of Ghost Blitz at our end of the table, which I just watched, in between smoke breaks. Seemed potentially really fun for kids, or for somewhat inebriated adults, or for people who don’t like strategy.
Then we all played, 5 Second Rule. The pace was lovely for a closing call game, we could add more people anytime as they defected to our side of the table, miffed by losing their Scrabble game that took 2 hours. It was fun, especially to be a ruthless timer, and a comedic judge of answers. We all enjoyed it and played through the whole deck and didn’t even count up the score at the end. Many laughs were had.
Happy Thanksgiving! Board games are right up there in my childhood memories of this holiday, mostly Risk. I’m thankful nobody insisted on playing that.