Tabletop Game Haul

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I was going to call this a board game haul but it’s all card games, and I’m also not sure if you can class three games as a haul but I’ll go with it.

Until recently we’ve had about six or seven board games we play regularly and, as we’ve recently started to play games most nights rather than go and watch TV, I decided to try and introduce some more basic and easy to play tabletop games. It started with Ticket to Ride and Mystery at the Abbey but as they’re both longer games I saw a few card games and decided to take the plunge and get them after seeing two of them played by YouTubers I like so I know what to expect.

They arrived yesterday and we’ve had a few goes at them, they’re all very quick games even with the three rounds on two of them, so I thought I’d include mini reviews on each, I could do a more detailed one on any of them if you’re interested though. The games I got were Exoloding Kittens, Love Letter and Sushi Go! None of them are the most recent but they’re simple and I’m a sucker for nice art on games.

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Exploding Kittens (£20) is from the Oatmeal, which immediately puts it on my radar as I do like their style, and it’s a short game where the aim is to not pick up an exploding kitten card. There are ways to avoid this with other cards like the diffusers, seeing cards in the draw pile and shuffling them around if it turns out you’ll be next to pick up the exploding kitten and you play as many, or as few, cards as you want in a go. All of the cards are easy to understand and they say exactly what you should do so no need to keep checking back to a rule book. It’s easy to pick up and, depending on where the kittens end up in the draw pile, can last from between three or four minutes or up to fifteen with two players. I’m not sure how much the number of players will effect game length as it depends where the cats are, it could be the last one in the pile with two players or near the top with the maximum of five. It’s aimed at an age range of seven and up and the ideas would work for that age group but I can see it being more appealing to teenagers and above, maybe that’s just me.

If you want a more adult version they do a NSFW one which is definitely not for younger players but is the same game with different pictures and text. It is a mix of luck of the draw and skill as well as whether you want to mess around with other players or simply focus on avoiding exploding felines. The only thing with this game is the size of the box, it looks nice but could be a lot smaller so I’ll be looking for a good travel box for when we go away with it.

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Love Letter has the fewest cards of the three games and comes in a handy pouch. It is available in a boxed version but this is cheaper and I don’t need the box. This is the classic version which costs between £4 and £8 when I was looking for it, but there are a lot of themed ones around so if you have a particular theme, like LotR or Adventure Time, and want a quick game with that theme then it might be worth adding that into the search.

The idea for this game is to get a love letter to the princess who has locked herself into the castle. There are sixteen cards with eight different characters on them worth different points. You have a card at the beginning of the game and draw one and play one each turn. These characters are the people trying to get your letter to the princess and have different abilities. You could be able to see another players hand or try to identify who they have as well as other ways to make them discard their cards. This could be confusing but there are cheat sheet style cards for each player that explain the rules and has an overview of  a what each character can do which is always helpful.

It’s aimed at two to four players from ages 8 and up and it does depend on the players as to how deep into the whole princess in a castle theme you go. I can see it being a good game for younger players, especially with some of the themed packs out there, and it does last under the twenty minutes they say. It will depend on the number of players and how much strategy you use but is also limited by the number of cards so it can’t take too long even with the three rounds.

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Sushi Go! was the game I bought not really knowing what to expect but liking the sound of it and the look of the cards, the sushi all have cute faces on them. Basically this is a game where you have to collection points by picking certain cards, some need combinations to score at all, others build up and have different points depending how many you have and others you get no points unless you have the most. It may sound confusing but there’s a handy guide on the back of the rule book for the scores which helps a lot for the first few tries while you try to figure it out, though the cards themselves say how to score with them so after that we didn’t have to check with the scoring.

You get ten cards to start with and pick one, put it down and pass your hand to the player on your left so you get one less each time. The round ends when the cards run out and each game has three rounds. The winner has the most points after three rounds rather than winning for each round. It is designed for two to five players, I guess the number of cards limits this but I can see it working for more if you have more than one set.

It recommends age 8+ and I can see it being good for all ages, it’s a bit like Uno in that when you know what the cards do it’s a quick game and easy to play. I do really like the cute design of the sushi but I’d you don’t like that style it’s still a fun game to pick up. Price wise it seems to range between £10 and £15 but the cards are good quality and I really like the tin, which seems odd to say but still as nice touch.

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These did end up being longer than I meant them to but I do really like all three games. I did buy the two knowing what they are and seeing people play them, I probably should have looked up Sushi Go! now I think about it, so I knew I’d like them but they are great games for people who aren’t that into tabletop games as well as being fun for a good age range, quick to play and great for travel. I do recommend searching for gameplay in YouTube to see exactly how they play, I know I’m not the best at explaining things and wanted to keep it short, plus it’s just entertaining anyway hearing people talk about diffusing an exploding cat or roleplaying rescuing a princess. Or maybe that’s just me.

Basically; three great games that are worth picking up if you’re a fan of short card games. There is quite a bit of luck in all of them, as with most card games, but you can  learn strategies and I don’t see them getting boring after being played multiple times.

Do any of you guys have any recommendations for good board or card games to get people interested in playing them? Preferably not too expensive and still in print. There are so many out there I don’t really know where to start!

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