Saturday, February 2, 2013

German Board Games make the best Christmas Gifts...

Every Christmas Gwen and I try to get a game we can play together.  We don't spend lots on each other, but would rather get something that will help us spend time together.  We were first introduced to Settlers of Catan many years ago and our games closet has had less and less room in it each year ever since.  Last year was the first year we missed out on the tradition, so we made up for it this year.

Board games make a great pastime because not only do you get to exercise your mind, you get to have fun doing it while enjoying the company of others.  We've introduced our youth group to them and so far we haven't found anyone that dislikes the games we've introduced.  There's a German board game out there for everyone, from the complex to the simple.  I love introducing people to good board games and have given them for birthday and Christmas presents.  People seem to shy away from board games these days - they don't give enough entertainment and are boring is often the claim.  Most are thinking of the golden oldie standbys like Risk, Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, and the like that have been around for years and at least one lies in every family closet.  Once introduced to the new breed of board games, people realize why there is a growing interest in board games again.

Since we missed out on last year, I decided we'd make up for it this year.  I always look for something we can enjoy together, and often look at the games that have managed to win the Spiel des Jahres award, like Village did in 2012.  Board Game Geek is a website that can help find good games based on user ratings and reviews.  This year I also stumbled on a Youtube game series by +Wil Wheaton called Tabletop.   The first episode of Tabletop showed the game Small World in play and it looked like a fun game I could play with some of the older guys from youth group.  Agricola has been another favorite of my wife and I, but the game takes a while to set up with many pieces.  I am hoping the two player version will allow us to have some quicker games together, especially with having less time to play with our daughter keeping us occupied until she goes to bed.

The first game we opened was Village.  That may have been a mistake, because little did we know that village required a bit more setup than most German board games.  Yes, you expect to have cardboard punch outs to pop out of their forms, bags of beautifully colored wooden pieces, and a big, nicely written rule book.  This one also included little stickers to be applied to the little wooden family figures much like the meeples of Carcassonne.  This was tedious and time consuming, which delayed the reading of the rules and led to our abandonment of playing the game because it had gotten too late after a rule reading.   I'm definitely excited to try this game, as it looks like there is A LOT to do, and many options each turn.  It also brings an element of time to the game, which will slowly eliminate your 'family members' in the game, leaving you with fewer people to place into areas of interest.

Be sure you'll see an in-depth review of each game as I get time to play them!  If you are interested in them and don't have a local retailer or favorite online shop, you can find them at below.

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