International Tabletop Day is this Saturday, March 30 so we’ve been talking games all month long and while there are literally thousands of games you could pick up and play with your friends this weekend, here are a few of my favorites that I’ll be playing. Some of them might seem a little “old fashioned” and boring but sometimes you have to go back to the basics if for no other reason than that they are just that, basic…but fun.
(In no particular order…)
An oldie but a goldie. Everyone playing Catan and the likes are rolling their eyes at this one but you have to appreciate Monopoly’s basic format and cut-throat play. There was a point in my childhood where I could play Monopoly without a board, I had every space and value memorized. My best friend and I would kill entire weekends playing, trying to outdo each other. For some reason I always lost but it was always a good time.
Settlers of Catan
Speaking of Catan…I was just introduced to this game within the past five years so I can’t say I’m a longtime fan but I am a fan nonetheless. Catan isn’t unlike Monopoly in that you’re trying to outdo everyone else but Catan throws in the inventory management and planning that you’d find in something like Simcity or Civilization. It’s nearly the best of both worlds. The only downside to Catan is that you need more than two people to play so it can be a chore to find another friend or two to play…but this weekend is a great excuse to drag them kicking and screaming.
Another childhood favorite of mine, Rummikub is the rummy card game with tiles and a lot of rearranging. Just like rummy, you want to be the first to go out but unlike the classic card game, you can totally rearrange the playing field if you need to. As long as every tile ends up having a home at the end of your turn, you’re good. I’ve rearranged dozens of tiles just to get one out of my hand, it can get pretty nuts. Of course because of this turns can often take a lot of time so be prepared.
One of my all-time favorites that no one will play with me because they always say, “but you can draw.” To this day I still say that Pictionary has little to do with drawing and more to do with being able to breakdown a word/phrase into recognizable parts almost to the point where it feels like you’re playing Mad Gab. I know they now have several flavors of Pictionary (which I haven’t played) but I’m probably still partial to the original that asked me to draw things like “Richard Nixon” and then do my best.
Quite possibly one of the best games I’ve been introduced to in recent memory, it combines the fun of Pictionary with the chaos of your friends’ twisted and disgusting minds. In short, in Paper Telephone you write a phrase and then your neighbor has to draw it. They then pass the drawing to the next person and they have to write what they think it is in words…and then that process repeats until the paper makes it all the way back to the originator. The end result is a hilarious sequence of doodles that will more often than not result in the most bizarre transformation ever put onto paper. For more details on how to play, check out my post from 2009 at Morning Toast.
Okay, so that might be a somewhat boring list but while you’re trying to be all creative, alternative and indie this weekend for International Tabletop Day, don’t forget about the games that might not be “cool” anymore but are fun all the same. Of course, any games that is able to tear you away from the television and requires you to play face-to-face with friends is a win no matter how old it is.