Tag Archive: games


There are two kinds of game-playing people in the world to my reckoning:

[1] Those who were brought up on what are now old school games like Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo, Scrabble and an assortment of simple card playing games like Uno [with the ‘fast card’ rule else essentially you are taking turns to put down cards in a row, please people], and

[2] Those who have played Settlers or Catan or any game that has been created since then and influenced by that type and style of game from Seven Wonders and Dominion to Puerto Rico, Stone Age and more…

The old school games [which there is nothing wrong with] generally have one focus and mode of play and you try do that better than everyone else and you win [and most of them have a certain degree of luck to them where it comes down to dice rolls or right cards etc]

The new school games generally are multi-layered – one reason why i believe Settlers was such a hit [as well as Carcassonne and others like it] was that determining how the board looks is a part of the game and so every game is different. Then there are usually a few [or a lot once you hit Cities and Knights] different paths you can take towards securing victory. I prefer the new school games generally because there are more options and often a certain amount of space for strategy.

Then there is my dad who is in his own group and just doesn’t like games at all, although he will gladly sit in the next room shouting out [and getting them right!] Trivial Pursuit answers while the rest of us are playing…

dixit1And then there is Dixit. There are so many great games these days that it is no longer about trying to find a good game to get but more trying to find out which good game to get [kind of like Series – there is really no reason these days to force yourself to watch a bad tv series cos there is so much quality on offer] and Dixit for me feels like a great addition [or start] to the family games pile.

For this main reason – apart from my dad i think it will work for pretty much anyone who has some inclination towards games.

So what is it? Well i describe it as a cross  between Pictionary and Balderdash. Each person is dealt six cards with various scenes/pictures on them – the person  whose turn it is chooses one card and without showing people gives a word or phrase or song lyric  or sound effect that describes their card. Everyone else chooses a card that they feel best represents that [you get points for people choosing your card so you want to make people guess yours] and then they get shuffled up and put down on the table and without being allowed to vote for your own card, each person votes and tries to guess the card of the person who is on. That person also has to place a vote on one they obviously know is wrong.

What makes this tricky is that if everyone votes for yours you get no points. If no-one votes for yours you get no points. You need a combination of people voting for yours and not voting for yous – so you can’t be too obvious or too obscure. When the votes are revealed people score points and everyone gets dealt one new card and the next person takes over as the lead person. So simple and yet so much fun.

It is set up for 4 to 6 people but if you have more you can divide into teams and so i would say it would comfortably work for 12 or even 18 people.

What’s cool about it is you can play it at a simple level and everyone will feel included or you can play it with tons of strategy so doesn’t really leave people out. We took it to another level by adding the rule that each round a different player adds the rule of clue. So for one round you had to give a song lyric as your clue, for the next you could only use sound effects and the following round was facial expressions so you can just imagine how silly and fun it got.

Really worth investing some money into. Because different people play and the cards will come out in different orders i imagine this will remain fresh for years to come and there are expansions you can buy for new and exciting themed packs of cards. We are still on the basic game but looking forward to picking up an expansion some day.

Get it, play it and let me know what you think…

What game would you recommend?

dixit2

my family and friends have always played a lot of games [except for my dad, he hates games with a passion, his favourite is sitting in the lounge reading his newspaper while the rest of the family plays trivial pursuit and shouting out all the answers, but that’s about the closest he gets]

but my mom and my sisters love games, and the large majority of friends in my and now our friend ship circles are games players to a certain extent – it is a great way to relax and vibe and hopefully chill together around a table with a bunch of mates…

growing up there was monopoly [only to be pulled out at sleepovers really cos tended to be an all nighter] and risk [which i played a crazy amount – we adapted a two player game and my friend ferdi and i played best of ten matches with one or two games almost daily at one point] and cluedo [‘clue’ to the americanese] and scrabble which were all good and fine and well and all…

but then we discovered Rage which is a special card deck game for up to ten players where you bid on how many tricks you are going to get and then try and get them… and life changed forever [especially at our church student house called ‘Highbury’ where we would play through the night on occasion, because after all, what is the difference between 1.15am and 1.45am?]

and then a good mate of mine introduced me to Settlers of Catan [or more accurately, the german version, called ‘Die Siedler von Catan’] and i had to trust his translations of all the german cards and wonder why he kept beating me, but then later we discovered the english version and it became a firm favourite.

what made it better was the expansion pack known as ‘cities and knights’ which added a whole lot of new dimensions to an already great game and the record for playing that stands at something crazy like seven and a half hours [largely due to one of the players – you know who you are deane – playing reeeeeeally slowly] and once we’d played that we rarely went back [except to introduce someone new to ‘settlers’]

after that came ‘carcassonne’ which i call ‘kucky sahn’ and which my friend coe [who hates it] calls ‘shaka khan’ which was a settlerish type game [in that the game board is not constant but created differently each game which is a huge part of the attraction] but one that took 45 minutes to an hour as opposed to 2 to 3 hours…

all that to say there are a LOT of games out there and a bunch of them are REALLY a lot of good fun – we have discovered a small bunch more and i will give some reviews of the newer ones we play so that if any of you are looking for a new game to try, you might find something here… and i would love to hear what your favourite games to play with a group of friends are…

the latest we have been playing, or are just about to, include Seven Wonders, Jambo, Flash Point [played for the first time last night] and Forbidden Island [yet to play, still in packaging] – reviews to follow…

for The Settlers of Catan click here

So this last week we played Settlers (card/board game similar to but better than Risk for the uninitiated) 3 times and i didn’t win any of the games… two of them were extremely frustrating cos of the nature of the games where i was totally taken down by the dice throws or lack thereof and in fact during the one i went thru a run of 13 dice throws and only picked up once (which is just crazy)

But actually the main point is i lost… three times… unheard of for last year’s Settlers National Championships silver medal position placed person (ha, seriously though) and for someone as competitive as me (a lot!) it should have been tough and sucky and painful – and to some competitive extents it was – but actually it has been a great week… in hindsight and life lessons and character growing and so on… because i really have been trying to work on my losing, and do much better at it.

Some people are just natural…um not natural losers, that sounds bad, but natural good losers i guess – one of the guys we played with is a dude called James who stays pretty much the same whether he wins or loses, whereas we have pretty much a whole whine society who will tell you it was the dice throws and the board setup and the trading and blah blah blah (and i’ve previously been chairman of the society so the fingers are point right back at me no worries) and James just enjoys the game i think…

And that’s cool, and it’s what i’ve been wanting for a long long time. But i am very competitive. And i think there is a way to stay competitive but have the same level of enjoyment whether you win or lose. Especially if it’s my wife beating me (as she did at Scrabble and Thurn and Taxes – new game we played – today) because i seriously love her a lot and it brings me great joy when she wins. Now i just have to increase the joy when she wins against me.

So ja, working at becoming a bigger loser. And we got a game on tomorrow lunch so the opportunity is very definitely there.

[oh wow, just read previous blog and didn’t even remember that i’d written it – obviously a topical topic, Al.]

brett i-whinehouse

My name is brett and i’m a whiner.

“Hi Brett!”

And it’s not cool. And i’m really trying to change, and it usually manifests in games [Settlers of Catan largely, occasionally Scrabble or Rage, sometimes hockey…].

And it’s usually justified situationally. For example Settlers last night which is a Risk-type (but much, much better) strategy game, where i started with a vengeance and everyone including myself thort i was going to dominate and then i went (playing with 6 people) 15 turns in which i picked up only twice… and so the dice-throwing cost me the game, no doubt… BUT Emo Kev played a great game and won and, as far as i can make out, the lousy dice-throwing was not his fault at all… and so my pointing out (repeatedly, and possibly keeping a scorecard) how lousy the dice-throwing was, detracted from his win, which is swak. Sorry Emo Kev.

And it really is something i have been trying to work on and even before last nite’s game i said to myself ‘no talking brett just play the game’ but i don’t think i’ve had as unlucky a game dicethrowwise as last nite and so i just got completely sucked in and whined.

Urgh.

[i should add in addition to that, that whining has been a part of my game winning strategy when i do win because it misdirects and makes people hesitant to grab cards from me and rather pick on other people so i am fully aware of that – i have used it to good effect on a number of occasions to sneak wins… but that is not cool.]

We’re playing again Thursday. I’ll try be better.

p.s. ‘whiner’ not to be confused with ‘winner’ cos they are VERY different.

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