defective yeti has posted his annual Good Games Gift Guide and accompanying list of other good games and recent classics.. Number one reason I am excited to have children? I will never be short a third or fourth for my favorite board games. “No, you can't go out and play until you have one more game of Settlers of Catan with me and that's final.”
You think I'm kidding.
The yeti does the best job anywhere of breaking down what sucks and what's fun on the new board game market. I've read so much good stuff about Ticket to Ride; I think that's the next one to try.
I noticed that the new Cranium game is on there.
I've dragged Cranium out once at a party and had it dragged out on me twice at parties; every time everybody gets bored. Quickly.
Is this just my experience or has anybody else noticed that Cranium is not a crowd pleaser?
The idea of Cranium sounds cool. There are lots of multi-modal activities that involve using play-doh, drawing pictures, decoding anagrams, etc. The problem lies in the sameness of the activities ("You mean we got to hum a song, again?") One group of friends I know groan whenever that game is mentioned.
Games that I've noticed are crowd favorites include: Scattergories, Balderdash, Ultimate Outburst, and Sceneit. Some of the most satisfying games require nothing more than some paper and pen like Celebrity and Pictionary.
I think Cranium is lame and was disappointed to see it on yeti's list. John, the games you mentioned are all fine, but they're kinda tired too. There is an incredible new wave of European style games that most American's pay attention to. We're so stuck on these pop-culture crap games with poor design and poor construction. I mean, for the love of God, why does Barnes & Noble carry The Soprano's game and not Settlers of Catan? It's offensive to those of us who really enjoy quality games.
I think that the games our generation are used to are the reason why it's not more acceptable to pull out games at a party. It's simple. The mainstream games marketed to us at book stores and such mostly suck.
I'd love to try some new ones, but I sense a fear of the unknown from friends.
Err, that should say:
There is an incredible new wave of European style games that most American's *don't* pay attention to.
There's a great game store in Rehoboth, Delaware where we got the Settlers of Cataan expansion pack, but that's the only shop of it's kind I've been to recently other than the one in The Mall of the Americas.
Mail order is the usually the way to go for most of these games. Settlers of Catan and Carcasonne are big enough now that you can get them in most specialty games stores, but some of the others are tough. I've ordered from a store in Seattle, but I can't remember the name of it.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ is a great resource for this stuff.
We make Reed play Settlers with us before he can go out and play.
Tori, I have had up and down experiences with Cranium. The down nights were casued mostly by weak-willed players. If you have to decide as a team who should roll, which category you should choose, and then who should spell the word, and all the players say "no, you go, I don't care" there will be big problems.
Oh, and I like Puerto Rico a little better than Settlers.
Is it hard to get people into Puerto Rico? What's the casual/hard core factor?
I don't really dig Puerto Rico at all. It's too complex. Too many "phases," too many things to keep track of and/or forget. I never feel like I know if I'm doing well or doing poorly. My only recourse is to attempt to adapt the strategies that work for me in "Tropico" which is a computer simulation of running a caribean bananna republic, but it doesn't really translate.
Settlers doesn't really have that "simulation" feel that PR does, but it has more "flow" to it. It's easier to tell who's winning and why they're winning.
But it's true that Anneke and Allen are more into the games then I am. I enjoy the social aspect, but I'm a product of the Atari generation. I lack patience. I used to like role-playing games, and I probably still would, but now I don't know of any normal people who play those.
I also like games like Trivial Pursuit, Scattegories, Pictionary, etc, but those seem to have fallen out of fashion.
Maybe the problem I've had with Cranium is that our teams have been like 6+ people. People get bored when it's not their turn to do anything for a while.