We started the evening with a game of Tsuro while we waited for dinner to arrive. I thought I was doing a good job winding and twisting my way through the board.
Everything was coming together.
And then Ken crashed me into the side of the board. One loss for me. Abbey almost beat out Ken, but she also met with a sharp abrupt end.
Then the Indian food arrived, so we had to clear the table. Butter Chicken and Lamb Korma. Very western options. And my all-time favourite; Peshwari Naan.
We played a game of Kingdom Builder next. I like that the game board and rules are different each time you play this game. Basically we draw 4 game board segments randomly from the available 12, and then we draw 3 scoring goals randomly from the available… 15 I think? Every combination requires slightly different strategies, so it keeps us all on our toes.
I thought I had picked a pretty good open starting position allowing for a nice large settlement in the middle of the board.
In retrospect, Ken picked the more strategic location surrounded by small mountains, which allowed him to score massively on the Mining goal, blowing my attempt out of the water.
Technically I shouldn’t be blogging about this till around midnight.
But I’m going to anyway, because I can tell the future.
There is a long-standing ritual for Wednesdays (I wish I could capitalise the “W” even further, to pronounce it with a certain level of emphasis and gravitas that is hard to convey in writing).
Friends come over; who exactly depends. Over time some leave, others join.
We coördinate beforehand.
We have our own lingo.
Someone hosts the Wednesday; they cater for dinner, sometimes drinks as well.
The other guests between them cater for “befores” and “afters”, which broadly constitutes snacks (typically cheese, fruit, chocolate) for the former, and dessert (typically ice cream, cake, chocolate) for the latter.
Sometimes we have way too much food.
Then we eat it anyway.
Then we feel joy and regret.
But somewhere among all the food, we also play board games.
If the first thought that conjures to you is Monopoly and Risk, then you really haven’t lived yet. There are so many more options available across the gamut of strategy, collaboration and back-stabbing.
Especially the back-stabbing.
We all play to win, but we try not to play too aggressively or be sore losers. We usually succeed. And it is a lot of fun.
And every year our collection of board games grows a little larger.
Every year in Germany, a jury of board game critics convenes and awards the Spiel des Jahres prize for the best new board game of the year. The competition is fierce, because where an average new game might sell maybe a 1000 copies. Nomination alone will raise that tenfold. And winning boosts sales over another order of magnitude.
And rightfully so.
Our all-time favourite recurring play is “Ticket to Ride”, which is incredibly easy to learn and so well-balanced that rounds go really quickly. This means that unlike Monopoly, you never get stuck in a turn where you have to wait 5-10 minutes for someone to make up their mind on exactly what their move is going to be, or how many properties they need to sell to stay afloat, or who they are trying to…ZZZZZzzzzzz.
If you have an interest in trying some board games, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to make recommendations.
But a good place to start is the past winners of Spiel des Jahres on Wikipedia. Be careful not to end up with one of the “Kennerspiel” though, because these are more complicated games for frequent players that like a bigger challenge.