Everyone has their favourites, but there are certain reasons why we keep coming back to the same games again and again. For some they have a timeless feel, for others it is for the creativity or adventure they offer, for others it is because our partners keep insisting we play the game again (not that I have a game in mind or anything). Certain games offer us certain things, things that cannot be provided elsewhere. All in all though, they offer us the opportunity for an awesome journey that we are willing to take time and time again.
With that in mind, we got thinking. What are our five go-to games that keep finding themselves off our shelves and onto the table?
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is one of those games that features on everyone’s top five, so I thought I would get it out of the way as high up as possible. Settlers of Catan, or just simply Catan, is a superb entry level game that just keeps giving the more you play it. Why do we play it so much? It’s one of the most sociable games we know.
Catan is a highly unique game, as well as being considered one of the “great” board games that made the hobby what it is today. It involves a heavy trade mechanic, and has enough strategy and luck to satisfy both parties.
The goal of Catan, contrary to popular belief, is not to collect resources and build things. It is the ultimate “having fun” game without resulting in pulling out Cards Against Humanity, and so the goal is to have a good time.
The best thing about Catan though is how accessible it is (hence entry level game!). It gives the feeling of real gaming, whilst being light and enjoyable. A real game, but not intimidating. We love it.
And the puns! So many puns! Some are truly ore-ful. Some are the last straw. Some are just baaaaaad. There are those that really have us bricking it, but ultimately we always come away wanting more. We wood make them all day if we could. Gotta love ’em!
What can we say about Mysterium? Only that it is amazingly awesome and creative. Okay, that wasn’t the best review, I will do a proper one at some point; however, for now it will suffice to say it is incredible.
So what is Mysterium? Mysterium is like…if Cluedo was a great game, without the dice, and with a supernatural element. A game up to seven players, it comprises of all players playing mediums, bar one, who plays as a ghost. It is up to the ghost to use abstract “dream cards” to guide the players towards their own private murderer, weapon, and murder room.
A bit dark, but amazingly beautiful, Mysterium seems to have appealed to everyone we have played it with.
Like all great games, Mysterium offers a lot of meta-game analysis. It isn’t so much playing the game, but playing the player. There are several play styles available, but generally speaking everyone seems to help everyone and it makes for a great communal game.
My least favourite game on this list, I don’t overly rate Guillotine; however, my partner absolutely loves it. She can play it over and over again, much to my dismay, and it is gaining quite a following amongst some of those we play games with.
Guillotine is set in the era of the French Revolution. It is a card game based around beheading as many nobles as possible, whilst avoiding negative points by accidentally beheading folk heroes. The player rearranges the line to suit them by playing action cards, having to take the first card in line at the end of each turn.
It could have been an incredibly morbid game; however, the artwork make Guillotine incredibly enjoyable…for those who are good at it. I am not and don’t overly enjoy the game. That being said, many people love it. It’s all a question of taste.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a horror RPG, where the players assume the roles of B-Movie heroes needing to explore the house, tile by tile. They pick up items, events, and omens as they do so. Halfway through the game the mechanic flips, and one person discovers they are a traitor. One of a vast number of events then starts, and both sets of players (traitors and non-traitors) find themselves at odds, trying to complete their own objectives.
What makes Betrayal at House on the Hill (or just “Betrayal”) so unique is that every single game is different. It has become, in its own way, a “water cooler game”. Namely, everyone has their own experience. No two maps are the same. No two experiences are the same. In fact there are so many combinations of maps alone that I may do the math and write a post about it.
Lots. There are lots of combinations.
Betrayal has a special place in my heart. It was the first big board game I played. It was the first game where I took the advice of TableTop. It means so much to me that, when I met Wil Wheaton at Destination Star Trek in 2016, the thing I decided to talk to him about was Betrayal.
As such, we often dust our copy off and play. It is story driven, has a great narrative, and all the exploration one could want from a game. All round fun.
Did I mention I’m officially ranked 6th in the UK for being good at the game Splendor? What? I did? In almost every post on the blog so far, you say? Blimey. Okay, well just in case you missed it, I am 6th in the UK for the game Splendor.
Splendor is a gem collecting, resource management game, based around collecting point-based cards to the value of 15 points. That’s the premise in exactly one sentence, although for more of an overview I have written a post about the tactics of Splendor that you can find…by clicking on that hyperlink back there.
Why do we keep playing it? Well, that’s a good question.
Splendor is simple, effective, and an incredibly well produced game. It too can be considered entry level, although, I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a gateway game. Instead it is a well made game about set collecting and valuable stones that can be incredibly addictive to play. This means that we keep going back to it, and will probably continue to for years to come.
So this whole post has left me wondering. What are other people’s go-to games? Feel free to leave a comment, or better still write your own post about it. I’m really interested as we are always looking to grow our collection. Start your meeples and let’s play some games!