In a digital world, sometimes it’s fun to go analogue
By Katrina Caruso
Not that they ever really went away—you probably still have Monopoly or Risk sitting a shelf—but board games are back in a big way. New, more intriguing and more challenging games are being released all the time, and across the country, cafés, pubs, and bars offering hundreds of board games for their patrons to play have people lining up to get in.
If you’re looking for a new tabletop game to play with friends at your next dinner party, here are five of the best of the new breed.
This strategy game named after a French medieval town has players trying to build the most castles, roads, and farms, while blocking their opponents. The game is expandable, so it never gets old. Warning: may cause fights among your friends and family, as it’s very competitive.
Mysterium is played in silence, the game proceeding with players sharing cards among themselves. One player plays as the ghost of a mansion and leads the rest of the players (up to five) through the game, using cards representing dreams to prompt the others to select certain cards that identify (rather as in Clue) murder locations, weapons, and other characters.
Pandemic is a co-operative game in which players work together to try to stop four diseases from plaguing the world. Pandemic Legacy is a new version of the game that changes as you play it, with what happens in the game today affecting the game the next time you play it.
Up to four players compete to design stained glass windows, but the game can also be played solo. It is elegant yet very simple. Players roll several multi-coloured die on each turn and then place the cubes in a grid to create a window; the game becomes more challenging as it goes on because you can’t place a cube next to one of the same colour or showing the same number. Popular Mechanics called Sagrada “the best puzzle game of 2017.”
Secret Hitler is a game based on deductions and accusations and can be played with five to 10 players. Each player receives a character card and a party affiliation (the majority being German Liberals and the rest, Fascists), with one player being given the character of Hitler. The other Fascists know who they are and try to enact certain policies while the Liberals try to figure out who’s who and stop them.
Not sure if you want to commit to buying a new board game? Here’s a sample list of the many board game cafés and bars across Canada, where you can take them for a test drive.
- John’s: Mochanopoly Board Game Café
- Halifax: The Board Room Game Café
- Charlottetown: Small Print Board Game Café
- Fredericton: Unplugged: A Board Games Café
- Montreal: Randolph Pub
- Ottawa: The Loft Board Game Lounge
- Toronto: Snakes & Lattes
- Winnipeg: Across the Board Game Café
- Saskatoon: King Me Boardgamery and Café
- Calgary: The Hexagon Board Game Café
- Vancouver: Storm Crow Tavern