Hey folks! I haven’t posted much recently. The last few months have been a wild ride as a family of 5. (Maybe some day the whole family can get together for some 5-player games! A gamer dad can dream, can’t he?) Fortunately, despite being busy with our newborn, I’ve been able to have some fun with the older kids this summer. Here are the games we love for the summer of 2018!
Games My 2yo Loves
We are not getting into “real” games yet, but we are setting the stage.
Games My 4yo Loves
DINO DUDE RANCH
Dino Dude Ranch caught me by surprise a bit. At first, I wasn’t crazy about the art, and I thought it was the type of game my kids would love while I would simply tolerate it. But alas, I backed it on Kickstarter because I like the creator and I have a soft spot for dinosaurs. Little did I know I would enjoy it as much as my daughter! She loves the baby dinos, I love feeding eggs to the oviraptor; To each their own.
At its heart, Dino Dude Ranch (2-5 players) has you rolling dice for food resources, then using those resources to attract dinos from the communal “hunting grounds” and onto your personal ranch. There are some interesting decisions to be made, but a lot of luck as well; Most importantly for families, the barrier to entry is very low. Once the kids get comfortable, the optional “hired hands” cards bump up the complexity a notch.
If DDR interests you, I strongly recommend the expansion too. While, in general, I am in favor of expansions for my favorite games, I don’t often refer to them as “must-have.” The Hatchlings expansion for Dino Dude Ranch is one of those rare “must-have” expansions. The eggs and the dino baby/parent dynamic are essential to my family’s enjoyment of the game. (BGG link)
CENTURY: GOLEM EDITION
This one is a bit of stretch in terms of difficulty – not a game intended for children by any means – but my daughter cannot get enough Century: Golem Edition! Even better, my “gamer” friends enjoy it as a fast-paced “filler” game. While the primary edition of Century is titled “Spice Road,” I consider the Golem Edition to have a superior theme, better artwork and better components. Initially intended to be a one-off special release, it has become so popular that Plan B (the publisher) has had no choice but to sell it with broader distribution.
The mechanics are simple. Start with a few gems, and do your best to acquire conversion cards, acquire more gems, and convert the gems you have into better gems. Then, appease the golems with a specific combination of gems that they desire. A wonderful gateway game that plays up to 5 (perfect for when my sons grow up)! I highly recommend it. (BGG link)
Games Dad Loves
Okay, enough about the kids. From time to time, after a long day and after the kids are tucked into bed, dad likes to play heavier fare. Periodically I play with some buddies and coworkers, or sometimes I take advantage of games that include solo rules (mom isn’t a huge fan of games, but the kids and I are working on her).
Hive is a satisfying chess-like abstract game for 2 players. But, unlike chess, Hive is fast, portable and thinky. It’s like a knife fight in a phone booth. I can routinely play 3 games during a single 1-hour lunch break.
Players start with one of their pieces touching an opponents piece. No gradual approach or build up, just instant conflict. Then the hive grows as bugs are added to it and the hive transforms organically as bugs move around. The goal is to surround the opponent’s queen bee. But, players must never break the monolithic arrangement of pieces. Compared to the original, Hive Pocket has slightly smaller – but still pleasingly tactile – pieces, a wonderful travel bag, and a couple bugs that were previously relegated to mini-expansions. (BGG link)
I owe 7 Wonders a lot of credit for getting me interested in boardgaming as a hobby, and a lot of the blame for the money I’ve spent buying board games over the years. Yet, despite its relative age in modern boardgaming – 2010 [gasp] – I’m still delighted to play it each time the opportunity arises. The play time is quick for any number of players, the decision space is not overwhelming (you only interact with your adjacent neighbors) and there’s no downtime (you’re always either drafting or activating cards).
Also, I really enjoy the Cities expansion. I wouldn’t place it in “must-have” territory, but it introduces some fun wrinkles to the mechanics without altering the nature of the game. With or without expansions, 7 Wonders is an evergreen game in my collection. (BGG link)
So, there you have it. A brief glimpse into the games we love and the ones which have been getting the most plays recently. If you liked reading Games We Love, share it, comment below and all that good stuff. Happy gaming!