Game Night:  Four Unopened Games

On a recent visit to my hometown, I met up with some high school friends.  We normally play games we know and like and occasionally try something new.  On this night, we tried four new games, still in the plastic wrap!

Game Night: Four Unopened Games

One Old Game and Four New Ones

When I was home to visit my Dad, I met up with some old friends for a game night.  They had other friends and family there, so at one point there were 11 people available to play games.

The first thing that comes to mind when I have more than 8 gamers is Werewolf.  We didn’t have the cards, but everyone was familiar with the game, and someone printed up some basic cards so we could get started.

We must have played about seven times and switched narrators at least three times.  It was loud and fun.  At some point people had to go and my small group switched back to serious board-gaming.  

We opened, learned and played:

  • End of the Line
  • A Seven Wonders Expansion (not really new, but we hadn’t played the expansion)
  • Machine of Death:  The Game of Creative Assassination
  • Spirit Island

Game - End of the Line

End of the Line was relatively easy to learn and took about an hour to play.  There were some interesting tactics that you would be able to master better once you were familiar with all of the cards.  

The game put players in constant conflict with each other and there was no way to avoid being a bad guy; you had to play aggressively to win.  End of the Line also included a lot of luck and was rated only 2 of 5 on the Board Game Geek (BGG) weight rating, which tells how difficult a game is to understand.  In short, it was a fun choice.

Game - Seven Wonders (2nd expansion: Cities)

We played Seven Wonders with the second expansion; Cities.  It didn’t really change the game play and didn’t seem to make it better or worse, but that may be because we didn’t see or use that many of the new cards.  

I think that this expansion can actually make big changes in the game.  We saw the potential, with the addition of diplomacy, which can take a person right out of combat and pit different players against each other, messing up their planning!  

The cards were easy to integrate and will probably just remain in the main game, so we will see in the future how much of a difference they make.  This expansion has a good rating on BGG.

This was a fun game, like the usual Seven Wonders, but it did serve to remind us that in this game you need to try to foil your competitors as well as building the best version of your civilization.  

I was able to corner the science market and the multipliers on all of the combinations made my score unapproachable!  If the others had buried some of the science cards to make their wonders, it would have changed everything.

Comments on Cooperative Games

Two of the games were cooperative.  I have mixed feelings about cooperative games, since I am so competitive by nature.  I like to win, and in many cooperative games, you don’t get that feeling.  

One of my first cooperative games was the very complicated Arkham Horror board game.  It was difficult to win, so you actually did get a sense of victory in a cooperative game…if you won.  

After that, there were many simple games where everyone was on one side, such as Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, but these seemed too simple.  Since the board consists of tiles in those games, it is always different, which lends to replayability, but the cooperation is really just everyone talking about the best way to use each character’s abilities.  

A couple years ago, I learned Pandemic, which seemed like a good combination of strategy and co-op.  The day my friend taught us the game, we failed four times in a row, before finally succeeding!  

Mysterium is in the genre and continually makes it into our traveling game list that we introduce to friends.  It is like a French version of Clue, but the investigators (players) are clairvoyants and all working together.

Game - Machine of Death

I am always intrigued by how well cooperative types of games play, since my Mother would have loved them.  She always wanted to play games where there was no traditional winner.

She would have liked Machine of Death, since everyone worked together to create a plausible scenario for the death that incorporated all of the items drawn.

It is actually kind of complicated, but is really a social game like Pictionary, that is more about playing together and talking than winning any game.

Game - Spirit Island

The other cooperative game we played was Spirit Island, which is now my favorite in the genre!  

The game seemed extremely complicated and took a while to figure out, although watching the 7 minute YouTube video helped a lot in getting started.  If you know what you are doing, the game takes about two hours to play. 

Spirit Island was the first cooperative game I have played where I felt like each person was really working alone towards a common goal.  Players work simultaneously, so you are really focused on your own spells and skills to defeat the enemy, which is the invading humans!

My friend chose the game because it is high on the BGG ranking list and it is also over a 4 on their 1-5 weight scale.  Considering that most of the games in this genre rank from 1.7 to 2.4 on complexity, that makes this game a standout.  

It has asymmetric characters, the board changes with the number of players, and other features give the game good replayability too.  This was clearly the best game of the night!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. What is your favorite cooperative game?
  2. Which expansions for Seven Wonders have you played and did they make the game better?
  3. Would you rather play cooperative or competitive games?

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