Since reopening Tabletop West, now known simply as ‘West’, I have had a few people holidaying in or around Bantry asking what games would be good to take with them in their camper van/caravan/tent or even small games to bring to a friend’s garden for drinks. There are many little games that offer great replayability in these settings, or as something light to start off with if you are settling in for a heavier game. Here are a few suggestions;
A customer actually recommended I check this out when she was in the store buying games as gifts from us on Castle Street last Christmas. When it came in I was a little dubious, but we opened a copy for the Games Library and I instantly fell in love! This game was perfect for playing at the bar, and proved a big hit with customers whom we taught it to over the following months.
In Flip Over Frog, each player (up to 5, which is a nice high count, but it does play well with just 2 also) attempts to place and flip more of their colour frogs face up in the swamp then the other players. The person with the most face up frogs wins. An interesting aspect, and the thing that makes me love this game, is that you are secretly assigned a frog color, and you do not know until the end, or until you guess, which colour other players are trying to win with. The addition of snakes, which allows you to remove frogs from the board, offers a great way to test your guesses of your opponent’s goal. It is a super fast, super easy to teach game, which you can enjoy over and over.
The Mind is an odd one, in that I am not sure if it is 100% a game, or partly a social experiment you can enjoy with friends. It is cooperative, you must work together to solve it by playing your cards in a face up stack in order from lowest to highest. On the first level each player has one card. On level 2 each player has two cards, and so on until you reach level 12 (there are different goals for different player counts, and as with Flip Over Frog, The Mind plays well at lower and higher counts). The tricky part of the Mind is that while playing you can not communicate with your teammates in any way at all. No winking, or nodding, or tapping your foot; you simply look at your cards, and then when the time is right for you to add a card to the shared stack, you do so.
I have never seen a team get past level 6 (without cheating…). How in sync with your friends/family are you?
While The Mind is played in a semi-tense/nervous silence, Anomia is loud from the get-go. This is akin to a verbal snap, with players watching what cards others flip in front of themselves and yelling out answers as quickly as possible when a match occurs.
Each card has a clue word and a symbol, for example a red + and the word ‘fish’. When players turn over matching symbols in front of them they must yell a type of the thing that is on the other person’s card. So if I have a red + with the word ‘condiment’ and Emer draws the fish card with a red +, then I must yell a type of fish faster than she names a condiment.
This is a game which gives deep insight into the things that are forefront in the minds of your friends and family, and the friends and family of anyone that is playing it within earshot of you (maybe not great for a tent!).
Think you can lie? Cockroach Poker will put that to the test. In this game there is only one loser, the person to first have four of the same type of creature face up in front of themselves. Simply deal out all of the cards in the deck, and take turns trying to pawn off cards on other players. I might give you a card and tell you “this is a spider”… If you think I am lying you can call me out, if you think I look honest you can make that call, and if you are correct either way I get the card face up in front of me. The risk is that you make the wrong call, and then you get the card face up in front of you.
But you have another option. Without making a call you can slyly examine the card, and then pass in onto a third player. You might say, “yes, this is a spider”, or you might say, “Chris is a liar, that is a stinkbug”; now it is up to that third player to call you out. This may continue until all players have seen the card, forcing the last person holding it to make a call.
This game is more fun than it probably should be. It is meaner than you expect. And the people you think least likely to excel at it are always the ones to watch out for!
Each of these games comes in a tiny little box which is easily slipped into a small bag or pocket. When you are sick of talking about the weather, the R rate, the pubs or tourists, grab one of these to have a little bit more fun!
Thanks so much, it was nice to talk about games again!