If you follow our stories on Instagram (@tabletopcork_westcafewinebar) you will have seen we are enjoying more Family Games Nights recently. It has been a lot of fun! In the first Lock-in, Emer and I played a lot of mid-afternoon. Thom was still taking regular daily naps, which he is less inclined to do now, and we had time to sit down together; even getting through full games of Scythe if we timed it right.
Since this whole covid situation began, Emer’s mother has been living with us. In November, her brother joined us, and he is now staying until things calm down a bit. So we have four adults in the house – the perfect number for so many games!
Playing games in the evening has been a super way for us all to unwind and spend time together. That sounds weird, as we are literally spending ALL of our time together, but by setting up the table to play a game, and all gathering around with drinks and snacks, it feels different somehow. It is time outside of the normal. I’ve been loving it!
Below are the games we have been playing regularly. We are at the point now where we have run through most of the games we have available (that are suitable), and are starting to replay favourites.
Just a short note on newer games! Brexit has totally fecked our supplies. We use numerous large suppliers in the UK, all of whom have been unable to ship since January 1st. We have a supplier in Germany whom we have placed an order with, but this is delayed as it will travel through the UK. We hope that these issues will be resolved, and will update as soon as we know when semi-normal supply lines are reopened! We need new games as much as anyone else!
So what have we been playing and enjoying over the past couple of weeks?
This is a firm favourite of Emer’s mother. It is a quick card game which plays a little bit like Uno, but feels much more aggressive. You aim to have the fewest total points at the stage that one player hits 40 points. On your turn you play a card of the same value, or one higher, as the card on top of the discard pile. If you can’t do that you can draw a new card or simply fold. At the end of the round any unique cards left in your hand are counted up and this is the points you earn for that round. The trick is, any multiples of the same card in your hand only count once- so if I am holding four 4s, I only score 4 points not 16. Also, if you manage to discard all of your cards before the round ends you can put back a point chip. This is an interesting mechanic, as the point chips are valued at 1 or 10. If you have 9 points you only get to put back a single point, but if you are sitting on 11 points and clear your hand you instantly drop to one! It makes for some crazy swings in the game. Hopefully we will have this great little game back in stock soon!
This is a much bigger affair, but very straightforward in terms of game play and rules. You must move different resources around the board using your ‘caravan’ of camels. Each turn you have four action points to use, and a mix of possible actions. You can place camels on the board, or move them around; pick up a resource; move a resource along your line of orthogonally adjacent camels; or steal a resource if you have a thief marker in your hand which you give to the player whom you’ve stolen from. Some interesting points are that to place a camel where there is already one, actually costs two action points. This means players can block (accidentally or very much on purpose!) your route. Having to pass a thief marker to the person that you are stealing from also means that you can only steal if really necessary, and if you haven’t done it too much already. After playing Caravan once, we were still speaking and thinking about it the next day! This will definitely be back on the table soon.
The classic biker bluffing game. If I ever had to teach Skull in the cafe, I would simply sit in for the first hand, and then check back to make sure everyone had ‘got’ it. I am not going to try to explain now; it is enough to say this is a super simple game, which relies heavily on bluffing and forcing your opponents hands. I am terrible at it. But I LOVE it.
Another classic. Maybe it was because we played this last, after playing a number of oher short games the same evening, but this was a little more tricky for everyone to pick up than I had expected. Emer and I usually play Love Letter with just the two of us, so I was a little thrown at first teaching it for four. It is actually a very straight forward game. Each player has a card. You draw a card and then play one of the two cards in your hand face up, doing the action that is written on the card. Knock out the other players, or finish the round with the highest value card and you win. Win a set number of rounds to win the game. It is so much fun, and once we got going we really enjoyed this one as well.
Terry Pratchet Ankh-Morpork
This is one of the first games we ever played together with Emer’s mom and brother. It has recently been re-released, although with a different theme as the publishers no longer have access to the Discworld IP. I am really interested to see the new version, Nanty Narking!
This is a hidden goal/identity board game, where you move pieces around the city of Ankh-Morpork in order to earn a set amount of cash, OR control a set number of areas, OR cause trouble in 8 locations, OR simply burn through the deck. Because you don’t know what everyone else is doing, you can easily accidentally help an opponent towards victory. The game is card driven, making the rules very easy to explain as really the core of the game is directed by reading cards as you play them in an order set by the symbols on top of each card you play. I am interested to see the reskin of this game, as it really is a lovely playing experience. If you have even a passing interest in the world Terry Pratchett created then there is so much to explore on every card! But if you don’t I think the game plays really well without any prior knowledge.
Pedzace Zolwie / Ribbit
This little kids game was a top performer at the cafe, despite us only ever having the Polish edition, Pedzace Zolwie. That did not matter at all. As in the Terry Pratchett game above, you have a hidden goal; this time to move your secret colour turtle to the end of the garden. You play cards which move a turtle each turn, attempting to move them all equally so that your opponents never guess which one you want to win, as there are negative cards which allow you to move turtles backwards! This is a highly addictive game, and can become increasingly competitive as you play again and again (and again!).
If you are staying home, and lucky enough to be in a house with enough players to try some bigger games, what are you playing? If you are home with just two, we will have a blog full of two player favourites up soon!
Thank you for reading. Stay Safe. Stay Home. Play More Games