We like to play games here, though we go through seasons of more playing and less playing. Usually all it takes to get back into the habit is to have a game day for school and everyone is off again. This is good because we have a lot of games, of all varieties. We have typically American games such as Monopoly and Life and Candy Land (ugh) and that sort. We have traditional games such as Scrabble, chess, decks of cards, and Parchesi. And we have what are referred to as Eurogames. These are usually beautifully made, more complex, rely less on luck, and have some sort of overarching story which goes along with them. These are my favorite.

J.'s and my first experience with any kind of Eurostyle game was playing Siedler. That would be the original German version of what is usually referred to as Settlers of Catan. We had friends who owned a copy which they had bought in Germany and we played it together often. Though we didn't speak or read German, so had to have a translation cheat sheet for the information cards. When the English version came out, we happily snapped one up. It is still one of our favorite games.

Since then we have invested in a wide variety of Eurostyle games. On our game day last week, we played two of them. The first was called Camel Up. This we've had for a while, but had really only played once. The premise is there is a camel race in the desert and the players bet on who is going to win. I bought it because I loved how it looked and the different pieces involved. (I mean, who can pass up a pyramid which holds and releases the dice?) It took a few minutes for me to review the instructions and get everyone playing. With this style of game, it really takes playing a few games of it to get a sense of where the strategy is and how to make it work. In this case, it is the actual betting that is the interesting piece, which works for the older players, while the younger ones can still play and they seem to be more focused on moving the camels. It has been played several times since we got it out again.

And then the older boys and I got out a new game which I had bought for our Renaissance study last year and just never got to playing in the nuttiness of the year. It's called Princes of Florence and its made my Rio Grande Games. It seems pretty cool as you spend quite a bit of your time building parks and buildings in your own little palazzo. We really liked how it looked. You've probably noticed that it seems we didn't actually play the game. Well, we didn't. You see, this is one of those games which has pages and pages of instructions and some of the instructions are somewhat complicated. We spent about an hour and half reading through the instructions and sorting our pieces and trying out hand at each type of action. By the time we felt as though we had a handle on how to play the game, it was well past lunch time. We think we will enjoy playing it when we get a chance.

I could have made our lives so much easier had I remembered a great resource that had slipped my mind in the whirl of the morning. Have you ever heard of the website Board Game Geek? If you enjoy playing games you need to take a look at it. They review just every game ever heard of on the site. (And since nicer games are not cheap, I like to read reviews about the games before plunking down my money.) The other thing on the site that is super helpful is that many of the games have video reviews where the reviewer not only tells you about the game, but tells you how to play. If you have ever slogged through the massive instructions booklets, you know how wonderous and wonderful thing this is. If I had just remembered this in time, we could have spent 18 minutes listening to someone explain the game and then we could have sat down and played right away. We did watch the instructions video and D. and I were happy to realize that we had figured out the game nearly correctly. You can bet I won't be forgetting this little piece of information again.

Here's my question for you. Do you enjoy playing games? And if so, what do you enjoy? Despite my cupboards being full, I am still always on the lookout for new games to try. Extra points for games I have never heard of.


Rusulica said…
I love Scrabble, Pictionary and Yamb. Sometimes I like to play ludo (we call it "Don't get angry, man") though it is game most enjoyed by younger kids. Ludo is a classic here in Croatia, as well as Monopoly and Risk. Growing up, I made Monopoly for my sister and me because we didn't have the real board :). I also had opportunity to play Carcassone and I really liked it - check it if you haven't, your crew might like it :)
thecurryseven said…
Rusulica --

I had to look up Ludo because I hadn't heard of it. It turns out we call it Parchesi here in the US. I think I like your name, "Don't get angry, man!" better, though, because inevitably someone does get angry when it's played. We also have a version we bought in Vietnam where it is also popular, but the markers are horses.

I also had to look up Yamb, which it turns out is called Yahtzee here. It just never occurred to me to think about the different names different countries have for the same games.

And personally, I love Carcassone, but for some reason I usually have to beg to get people to chose it as they have other favorites.

Thanks for sharing.
Carla said…
I grew up with a huge, well-used, game closet, but sadly, my husband never did and just isn't into gaming. My son is just getting old enough that we can start playing.

Whenever I would go home to my parents' house for a holiday, all the nieces, nephews and most of my siblings would play various games for hours. My husband even asked after the first such weekend, "Is that all you do up there? Play games all day?" Yup. Pretty much.

We always enjoy Boggle and Speed Scrabble and have to limit a couple of people when they play with us. (My mother and one niece are not allowed to make 2 letter words. Otherwise, they smoke the rest of us every single time.) The latest favorites include Quidler, Dutch Blitz, Set, and Spot It.
Cinda said…
We have been enjoying Bohnanza. I have not found it in a store but you can order it online. There is a good description of the game on Wikipedia. Enjoy!
thecurryseven said…
Cinda --

Bohnanza was new to me. I found a listing for it on Board Game Geek for anyone who is interested.
sandwichinwi said…
My kids love games, and I do too. I also love to watch a whole pack of teens play games. Various board games have been one of the best ice breakers every time we welcome a new exchange student. There are enough games that don't rely on much English that they can play and it really helps to warm everyone up. Fun = Friendship.

Favorites here are Bananagrams (good for exchange students practicing English, but not a best first choice!), Dutch Blitz (no English), Uno (little English), jigsaw puzzles (no English) and Patchwork (no English). Non-exchange student favorites here are 10 Days in..., PayDay, Clue, Apples to Apples, Blockus, Life, Parchisi, and various card games including Golf and Zign Check (similar to Phase 10) I love Quirkle and Sequence, but usually have to beg people to play.

Good post!

Amy said…
This year's favorite games have been Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, Kanoodle, Racko, Quiddler, Skipbo, Five Crowns, and Professor Noggins Trivia Games.
Snake Oil, Uno and Blokus are popular in our house.
shambeda said…
Obviously way behind on your blog, but Castles of Burgundy, Trajan and Splendor are current favorites. I am terrible at Splendor, though. There is something in the play that my brain does not "get" but it is a quick 30 minute game. Transamerica (and Transeurope) are good for younger kids. And I'm up for Carcasonne any time ;-)

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