In an age where everyone’s rocking games on every device they’ve got (Candy Crush Saga, anyone?), it’s surprising that board games are still alive and well.
It wasn’t until well into dating Sarah that I’d come face to face with my inner board game geek over a game of Settlers of Catan (known simply as “Settlers” to anyone who plays). Since that day at her colleague’s place, I’ve ventured to Catan’s expansions, other strategy games like Puerto Rico and Race for the Galaxy, and even some that’re a little wackier like Anomia and Wizard. There was even a time a few years back where they paid me and some friends to shoot footage for a Cranium WOW commercial!
So when MATTEL approached me to throw a GameOn! board game party, “Yes” was the only answer they were gonna get.
Getting Our Game On!
First, though, they wanted to know what kind of gamer I was!
Using their Gameology Facebook app, Mattel asked a handful of questions to discover our “Gameology Sign”, or the best types of games suited to our personality. As a “Wittian”, they describe me as follows:
Wittians are cunning players who enjoy the psychology of gameplay. Outsmarting their opponents is just as rewarding to them as outplaying them. They are wary of luck and prefer to make their own using skill and guile. Wittians are generally trustworthy friends, but it should be remembered that at the end of the day, nothing will stop them from sacrificing you if it gets them a win.
They sent a bunch of stuff, thinking that I could throw a Gameology party with bunch of my friends.
Unfortunately, my schedule was way too hectic to do so, as I was on my way out the door for a week at the cottage almost right after receiving the package — so the party became a party for four, all well-seasoned gamers, always looking for a good challenge!
Let’s see how this batch of games measured up….
From what I could tell, the object of the game was to build Angry Birds-like structures and see whether you could knock them down with the Angry Birds included.
But… between the four of us, we had 2 iPads, 2 Samsung Galaxy S IIIs, an iPhone and an iPod Touch. Why wouldn’t we just play Angry Birds on one of those? And the game’s 5+ years old to play — I’ve seen plenty of 5-year olds playing with their parents’ phone. Kids younger than 5 play with their parents’ phones!
I’ll admit, I don’t really see the point of this one.
Phase 10 Dice Game
STATUS: Played twice, left at the cottage.
For the most part, I hate games of chance. When Sarah’s family was younger, they used to play Monopoly like it was going out of style. It looked almost exactly like this:
If I can’t figure out a strategy to defeat you, it’s probably a waste of my time — so Phase 10 definitely isn’t made for me.
If you like Yahtzee, Phase 10 will be your jam. You’re trying to get through “phases” by combining 10 dice with the numbers 1 through 10 on their faces, looking for “sets” (same numbers), “runs” (consecutive numbers) or same-coloured dice to keep advancing.
Sarah got bored in the first game, but I wouldn’t let her quit. (Mostly since she made me play because she was bored.) The second game wasn’t as lucky, but I beat Trevor in the end.
And then we moved on to other things.
Pictionary Dice Game
STATUS: Played twice, left at the cottage.
In theory, it’s a good idea. You split into two teams, choose six dice, and choose words from two of the dice to draw, while your team tried to guess what words they are. It’s a compact version of Pictionary — and everyone loves Pictionary.
But it falls shorts when you realize that it only takes a few rounds to start seeing some repetition in the words.
With there only being so many choices and people naturally gravitating to choices that’re easy to draw, the game gets simplified all too quickly.
Especially if you’re the artist of the group.
STATUS: Brought lovingly into our home to replace the copy that’s been beaten to hell over the years.
Come on — who doesn’t like Uno? If we hadn’t taken so many games with us to the cottage, it’d be very likely that we’d have played it — but we did, so we didn’t.
I’m pretty sure that DoomzToo is going to find himself educated in Uno sooner than later, though — man. That kid’s gonna be ruthless.
Apples to Apples
STATUS: Still in its wrapping, but brought home with us because it’s a solid party game.
Apples to Apples is a solid party game where you need to give the answers that the person asking’s most likely to choose. Not my genre of choice, but if you need a game without too steep a learning curve and that can keep just about anyone interested, it’s a great game to look into! Sarah and I have long since moved to Cards Against Humanity ourselves, but with kids on the way, we figured it was good to have something tamer around (because “Roofies”, “Dry heaving” and “Sexual tension” don’t really sound so kid-friendly).
Why raise kids on Snakes and Ladders when you can have them trying to figure out what answers will best please their parents? [Insert evil laugh here.]
My Phraseology for Gameology
In the end, I’ll have to admit it — we didn’t get our Game On! as much as I thought we would. I wonder if this was a campaign oriented to parents with kids? Maybe we’ll try again in a few years and see what kind of games I’m playing then.
Candyland. It’s so on.
See you then,
[Disclaimer: If you hadn’t already gotten the gist of it over the course of this post, Mattel hooked a brother up with some games! But, as is also clear from this post, my opinions are sincere. So go get your game on!]