So the family and I went away for a few days during the Easter break! You know what it’s like — hard-drinkin’, partying, beer pong. None of those happened because it was a relaxed trip to a cottage for the in-laws’ 70th birthdays. What we did get to do was a bit of board/card gaming though, which is something I enjoy taking part in and also enjoy forcing on others. I’m nice really, I promise.
Due to having two children, we didn’t take a huge swathe of games with us, but we put a few in the car and had a crack at them, and here’s how they went! Keep in mind that whilst I’m a big gamer and my wife enjoys the odd game here and there, the other family members with us aren’t massively into them, so some of these went better than others!
The eternally popular modern board game was brought out (by my wife as it happens) first. Seeing as we were away, we only had the base game rather than expansions and such, but it’s such a great game it works fine without all the extras. Three of us took on the virus on the highest difficulty. If you’re not familiar with Pandemic, you and up to three allies work together to clear cubes representing different infections from major cities around the world, all the while trying to find the cure from them. Getting matching colour cards will allow you to find cures, but you’re always fighting against the ever-spreading infections.
Our team composition wasn’t perfect, but we did have the quarantine specialist which prevents cube placement, helping us out when things were looking dicey. We had a few Outbreaks early on that threatened to end our game early, but thanks to some good Event cards, we managed to pull everything together and win by the skin of our teeth. This is always a great choice as it’s easy enough to teach and play. Personally, I prefer the Reign of Cthulhu version, but I’ll take Pandemic in any iteration!
Valley of the Kings
A quieter one here, with just my wife and I playing Valey of the Kings, a rather excellent deck building game. We’re fans of the Marvel Legendary series here, having many of the expansions as well as the base game. My wife has an interest in Egypt so this game seemed like an obvious purchase. The premise is you are Egyptian nobles preparing your burial chamber for death by acquiring and entombing many valuable items. As with most deck builders, you start with a basic hand and improve it over the course of the game by purchasing more cards with higher values and powerful effects.
The twist here is that you only score points for cards you’ve ‘entombed’, and entombed cards can no longer be used in your hand. This means that if you want to score well, you often have to sacrifice your most powerful cards. It’s a great twist that requires careful balancing of your hand so you can keep enough power to buy the more expensive cards later on, but without scuppering you scoring chances. On top of this, you get extra points for collecting certain card sets, meaning you can try to screw over your opponent by buying cards from the set they want. This game took us around 45 minutes and resulted in my glorious victory (by about three points).
EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin
I like escape rooms, so an escape room game is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. Three of us had a go at one of the EXIT games one night whilst away. This one had a loose horror theme of your group breaking down and ending up trapped inside a cabin filled with riddles that must be solved before you can escape. It’s well set up and gives you a reasonably easy starting riddle that unlocks further challenges as the game goes on. There’s even a hint system should you get too stuck. We used the hints more than a couple of times…
Most of the riddles were really well set up, with only one flummoxing us, even when looking at the solution (included in the hints). We weren’t too sure how the riddle leads to the solution given but carried on all the same. We had to manipulate books, work out the layout of the whole room based on pictures, cut up some of the cards, and even study the game box to finally get out after around 90 minutes. This was a lot of fun and we’re going to pick up a few more of the games from this series (there are ten from what I can tell) to play down the line.
We had a few others with us that we didn’t get around too, including Dinogenics (think Jurassic Park the board game) and Obama Llama (a really fun group rhyming game) but they didn’t get to the table during our time away. I’m pretty happy with what we did play though! What sort of games do you like to play when you’re on holiday? I’ll gladly add some to my collection, although I’ll probably have to clear some space on the shelves first.