The festive season approaches and with the prospect of family get-togethers comes the increasing likelihood that a game of Monopoly might be on the horizon for many. Well-known podcaster, designer and reviewer of board games, Tom Vasel, has recently released a short video explaining the issues he has with Monopoly, which echo the views of us here at All Good Meeple.
Tom’s beefs include the amount of luck involved, the amount of time it takes to play, and the way that players are eliminated and left as spectators, potentially from quite early on in the game.
Alternative games we stock here, that would be well worth your attention this year, for those occasions when everyone comes round to yours, are:
Catan (formerly known as Settlers of Catan) – race to settle the island and build roads and cities to earn victory points, by trading goods with your opponents. The amount of resources, such as wood and ore, are designed so there is never quite enough to go round, and someone always needs to make somebody an offer. Watch out for the random robber who can plunder your stash at any time, though! No player elimination and the winner can easily come from behind quite late in the game.
Ticket to Ride (Europe) – build rail routes across Europe and try and thwart your opponents’ routes at the same time. The routes you are building are kept secret from your opponents, so it’s not always clear how many completed routes (and thus points) someone has built up. Great for geographical education, again no player elimination, and lots of points available at the end of the game to bring someone from last to first in the final reckoning.
Dixit – a storytelling theme, describe a wacky picture using cryptic clues to try and get people to guess which is your card from a selection laid out on the table. If your clue is too obscure or too obvious though, you score no points that round! If you have more than 6 people, use Dixit Odyssey which can handle up to 12, and there are additional picture packs you can buy, to keep adding variety to the game.
Codenames – a great team game where you are giving clues to words that appear on a 5 x 5 grid. The premise is that you need to contact a group of spies who have been left out in the cold, using their code names. If you have, say, two teams of four, it’s easy enough for people to join and leave a team as the game is in progress, so ideal to be playing when somebody has to keep popping out to check the dinner or if new guests are arriving.
Forbidden Island – rather than compete against each other, why not work together to beat the game itself? Forbidden Island puts everyone on the same team of explorers trying to save precious artefacts from a sinking island. If the island sinks before you all escape, you all lose, but if you get off the island with all the artefacts you can share in the euphoria of having outwitted the game. Great if you have someone who doesn’t play board games because they don’t like coming last!
So, try your family and friends with something different to Monopoly this year, and you may discover a new favourite festive game!