Game On!

Grab some snacks, clear off the kitchen table and invite your friends over – WPL now has board games! There are over 40 different games available for you to borrow. The games range from simple card games to more creative role-playing games. WPL bloggers Ashley T., Jenna H. and Lesley L. tried out a few of them.

Ashley’s Picks

Hanabi
Number of Players: 2 to 5
Age range: 8+
Complexity: Easy
Objective: To work together to create full suits of fireworks in numerical order, and have a successful fireworks show!

Review: Hanabi (which is Japanese for fireworks), is a unique card game in that you only know everyone else’s cards and not your own. It is a co-operative game, where players have to communicate with each other in order to make sure the right cards are played in the right order to create the fireworks display. You can play with different rule variations to change things up as well. It’s a nice and quick little game.

Dixit
Number of Players: 3 to 6
Age range: 8+
Complexity: Medium
Objective: To choose cards that best describe the clues, and be the first player to reach 30 points.

Review: Dixit is one of my favourite board games. The game has a deck of beautifully drawn cards with abstract scenes. When it is your turn, you get to be as creative as you want when you think of a clue for a card in your hand. It can be a word, a scenario, or anything you can think of. Other players then need to pick a card from their hand that best fits your clue, then the cards are displayed anonymously and everyone votes on which card they think was the original. It is so much fun to see how everyone thinks, and how the different images can describe the same clue. You also have to be very creative with your clues, because if everybody or nobody guesses your card then you don’t get any points. It’s a creatively challenging game that is so much fun to play.

Pandemic
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Age range: 8+
Complexity: Medium
Objective: To work together to eradicate the diseases that are ravaging the world.

Review: This is a co-operative game where players work together to cure 4 diseases that broke out in various countries and are spreading around the world. Each player takes on a different role, like medic or researcher. Each role has a different special ability that can help stop the crisis. The deck options make for a different game experience every time. You can increase or limit the difficulty level by adjusting the number of epidemic cards in the deck. It feels very satisfying to win, and even more satisfying if you can eradicate all the diseases instead of just curing them. Players have to strategize together and try to use each turn to its full advantage in order to succeed. Pandemic is a really enjoyable game – who knew rampantly spreading diseases could be so much fun!

Jenna’s Picks

NMBR 9 : take it to the next level
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Age range: 8+
Complexity: Easy
Objective: Each round a card is flipped over, showing which number tile you have to add to your individual board. The goal is to fit the tiles together so that you can stack additional tiles on top to create new levels. The higher the level, the higher the score. The game goes until all the cards are flipped.

Review: This is a great puzzle game that will be fun for the whole family! We played it with only two people and still had a great time. The instructions were simple to understand, making for a quick setup when playing for the first time. The different shapes of the number pieces make the game satisfyingly challenging, without being too difficult. At first I was concerned that we would create the same boards, since everyone draws the same number tile, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem, since everybody thinks so differently and there are so many ways to build the board. For that same reason, the game didn’t get repetitive when we played it a few times, which was a huge bonus. Another bonus (depending on who you ask!) is that it exercises your multiplication skills when it comes time to score the levels, so this would be a great game to play with kids who are learning basic math skills. I definitely recommend borrowing NMBR 9 this summer.

Biblios
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Age range: 10+
Complexity: Instructions make it seem harder than it is. Once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively easy.
Objective: Win the most Victory Points by having the biggest collection of Scribes, Illuminators, Manuscripts, Scrolls, and Supplies. Resources can be collected during the donation round or purchased during the auction round. Victory Points are determined by values on a die that can be raised or lowered throughout the game.

Review: This game was fun once we got through the instructions. The instruction booklet is quite lengthy, which is nice because it’s thorough, but a little overwhelming when you just want to get to the game. We played this game with two people, and we both agreed that it would have been a little more enjoyable with more people. We did appreciate that the game offers some alterations that you can make based on the number of players. The Medieval trappings were visually impressive, including the manuscript-like box that the game comes in, but they don’t really affect the game-play. We found that once we made up a few “House Rules,” such as forcing the first player to make a bid during the auction round, the game was much more enjoyable. I think this is definitely a fun game, but I wouldn’t count on it for all your entertainment when you’re off to the cottage this summer.

Lesley’s Picks 

Animal Upon Animal
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Age range: 4+
Complexity: Very Easy
Objective: Players take turns stacking wooden animals on top of the alligator base. The first player to safely stack all their animals wins the game.

Review: Animal Upon Animal is a bit like playing Jenga in reverse. Players roll the dice to see how many animals they must stack. It is easy enough for small children to play but it’s interesting enough to keep older kids and adults entertained as well. As the game progressed, I had to get fairly creative at how to stack my animals so they wouldn’t fall. Certain animals are a lot harder to stack than others. I highly recommend this to play on family game night!

Exploding Kittens
Age Range: 7+
Number of Players: 2 to 5
Complexity: Easy
Objective: Players draw cards from a deck. If a player draws an Exploding Kitten card, they lose. All the other cards in the deck are used to strategically avoid drawing an Exploding Kitten card.

Review: The first time I played Exploding Kittens I found it a bit confusing but by the second round, I had caught on completely. There are a lot of little rules that take a bit of getting used to, but once you understand, it’s so much fun. It is a highly tactical game. You must avoid that Exploding Kitten card at all costs! Keep a close eye on where it moves in the deck. Exploding Kittens can be played by older children, but I would recommend it more for teenagers and adults.

Bananagrams
Age Range: 7+
Number of Players: 2 to 8
Complexity: Easy
Objective: Players individually arrange their letter tiles into a crossword format. The first player to correctly use all their letters wins the game.

Review: Bananagrams is similar to scrabble but played at warp-speed. If you enjoy word puzzles, you will love this game. It’s really easy to play and to transport. There is no board, just a small bag filled with letter tiles. I found it rather addictive; the rounds go by so fast that I just wanted to keep playing over and over.

Fun Employed
Age Range: 18+
Number of Players: 3 to 7
Complexity: Medium
Objective: This is a role playing game where players are given four random ‘qualifications’ they must use to apply to a real life job. Players improvise a job interview scenario and the most convincing player gets the job.

Review: This game is hilarious and is definitely not for children. The more creative you get with your qualifications the better your chances of winning. For example, in one round I had to interview for a job as a gynecologist using the qualifications that I am emotionally hollow, I have jazz hands, and I own a jet pack and a jack hammer. It’s a great party game. The more players you have, the better the game works.

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