Games offer a chance to celebrate the emotional highs and lows associated with risk, reward, luck, and logic while being free of any consequence or real-life impact.
While there are a plethora of game categories, strategy games are a type that I have always enjoyed and continue to play with friends and family. Strategy games empower your decision making to impact the outcome of the game, while requiring a bit of luck and adaptation to the ever-changing landscape of the game.
It can also be fun to assess the different situations that arise in a given game and gain an understanding of why you made a given decision. Is it gut? Is it logic? Is it risk? Is it a delicate balance of the three?
I want to emphasize that these are board games, not computer games, Xbox games, iPad games, or phone games. Board games require us to sit down around a table with a group of people, share some snacks and drinks, and engage in each other. What a concept?!?
With that, take the chance to gather some friends, organize a game night, and try your hand at one of these games:
Players seek to build their own civilization on the island of Catan through the use of settlements, cities, and roads. Each settlement allows for players to collect resource cards based on dice rolls, which can then be used to buy new settlements, cities, and roads. You can also trade cards with other players which creates some great negotiations. The strategy of this game revolves around balancing resources, negotiation skills, and your building plan.
Players are assigned routes between two European cities and then look to build a series of route segments to create a seamless train line connecting the two cities. Train segments are color coded and are built by collecting and using corresponding cards. While this game has no trading, it does rely on card management, adaptable planning, and plenty of risk/reward decision making.
Having just learned this game a couple days ago, I am hooked. It’s similar to Catan in the sense that you build a set of resources which, in turn, can be used to buy a variety of different cards which all increase your count of Victory Points. Every player is given a different mini-board depicting one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which becomes the center of their game play. This game is intriguing in that it requires players to balance a number of different methods of acquiring Victory Points and requires a great deal of strategy adaptation depending on the Wonder that you receive and the cards that come your way. Having played a handful of times, I have yet to identify a leading strategy other than being on my toes and adjusting on the fly.
An absolute classic. I remember hours upon hours of Monopoly play with my brothers and friends on summer afternoons. Based on real estate ownership and management, players need to balance their purchasing with their bank account while hoping some luck rolls land them on the right properties. There is also room for plenty of trading, negotiations, and bargaining. My only suggestion is before starting figure out your end game — set a time limit, a bank account threshold, or some other way to end the game. Otherwise, you may find yourself playing for days or in a wrestling match.