Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Top 4 Party Games

So I've been thinking of writing a series of 'top 10' posts, with the only catch being that I don't own or play enough games to be able to come up with a list of 10 for any particular category. Until I can remedy that minor detail, I'm thinking some lists of four might just do the trick (perhaps this means I'm currently operating at 40% of board game capacity?)

For My First List...Party Games!

I would classify most of the games I play and enjoy into two distinct categories: strategy games and party games. Some examples of popular games that would fit this mold: Strategy--Monopoly, Risk; Party--Cranium, Balderdash. Though I've felt in recent years that I lean heavily in favor of the strategy end of the gaming spectrum, recently I've been engaged by a handful of stand out party games. In no particular order:

  • Wits & Wagers The trivia game with a twist--you don't actually need to know any trivia to either win or have a great time! In Wits & Wagers you don't receive points by giving the correct answer, but rather by wagering poker chips on the answer you think is closest to the correct one. The game is quick, light, and a lot of fun. It can handle up to 7 individual players but also works well with teams so pretty much any number can join in the fun.
  • Ca$h'n Gun$ Right out of the box this game seems like it must be a blast to play--it comes loaded with six orange foam pistols. Each player takes on the role of a gangster and takes turns pointing their weapons at each other attempting to be one of the last one standing and thus earning a share of the loot. Everyone who survives eight rounds of mayhem counts up their total haul and the richest player wins! I was lukewarm on this one at first, but now that we've started playing with the more advanced rules (each gangster gets a super power: a secret special ability that will influence who they shoot and how they act) that add a much needed layer of intrigue to the game.
  • Say Anything If you've ever played Apples to Apples, this is somewhat similar but far more interesting. Players take turns drawing a card and reading one of the six questions listed, such as "In my opinion...If I could have a "BIG" anything, what would it be?" Each other player quickly writes an answer to that question, aiming to appeal to the active player's personality in such a way that their answer will be chosen. Players receive points if their answer is the one picked as the best, but there is also a betting mechanism that rewards players for being able to judge which of the given answers will be chosen. Like Ca$h'n Gun$, Say Anything is a game that needs to be played in a very lighthearted manner--it's important not to agonize too much over your answers, just write down the first thing that pops into your head and go with it, no matter how crazy (or the case usually is!)
  • Time's Up: Title Recall My favorite game of the bunch, this one is an amazing experience. Somewhat of a combination of Taboo and Charades, Time's Up forces players to communicate with their partners as the rules for what you are allowed to say and do change each round, moving from being able to say anything except the words on your card as hints, to the final round where no verbal clues are allowed at all. As the rules get more restrictive, players have to find more creative ways to hint at the answers on their cards. An amusing misleading clue in an early round can morph into a very useful hint in later rounds--and hilarity almost always ensues! Time's Up is one of the most interactive and creative game experiences I've ever had, and it is always fun to play. The only downside to this game is that younger players who don't have a large knowledge pool may have a tough time playing, as will anyone who is very reserved and isn't willing to get a little crazy or creative to get their message across.

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