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My Favorite Table Top Games

Updated on July 11, 2017

Board games and card games have been popular for a long time. As a source of family fun or for a group of friends, gathering around a table to play a game can be the source of good memories as well as good laughs. Tabetop gaming has enjoyed a renaissance of late, with fantasy, science fiction and horror elements being included. There’s never been a better time to enjoy a good game with friends. Here are some of my current favorites.

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Small World

This is a fantasy based game of conquest and plunder. Races are randomly matched with abilities, and you choose your race and begin conquering territory. You get wealth according to how much territory you have, and special considerations like mines, racial abilities, etc. Once you have stretched your hordes to the point where new conquest is impossible, put them in decline and choose a new race to begin the process again. Whoever has the most loot at the end of the designated number of turns is the champion. A fun strategy game that plays much more quickly than, for instance, Risk.

There is strategy involved, and the fact that the races mix randomly with the abilities gives it a good replay value. The fantasy theme appeals to the geek in me. If I have an issue it’s that with the limited number of turns before the game’s end I feel lke there is not enough time to fully get into my strategy. But as with anything else in life, it’s always good to leave them wanting more.

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Elder Sign

Based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos, this is a cooperative game. You and the other players are working together to resolve tasks comprised of dice rolls, in order to gather enough Elder Signs to prevent the return of whichever Ancient One you randomly pick at the beginning of the game. You play one of a handful of interesting characters, each of whom has their own special abilities. You get spells and weapons to use along the way, and have run ins with cultists and monsters. You can even travel to worlds in other dimensions. This game is a lot of fun as you and your teammates consider different courses of action to decide how best to try to stop the return of the Ancient One.

There is a little bit of strategy involved, but this is mostly a game of luck. The cooperative nature of the game sets it apart from other games. The fact that you can take on a different Elder god each time helps to increase its replay value. Fans of gothic horror should enjoy this for the ambience alone. You can either die by losing all your health points or go insane by losing all your sanity points. If you are not able to get all the Elder Signs in time, you hae to face off against one of the Ancient Ones like the King in Yellow, Ithaqua, or Cthulu. Since it is a cooperative game everyone either wins together or loses together.

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Cards Against Humanity

This game is basically an adult version of the Apples To Apples card game. Players take turns being the judge. The judge reads the statement card, which will be a sentence that you have to complete using the words on the cards in your hand. The judge then decides which answer he or she likes best, and the person who gave that answer wins the round and acts as judge for the next turn. With cards that say things like "Jerking off into a pool filled with children's tears", this game can get very raunchy. But if you are not easily offended it will have you and your friends rolling with laughter.

While this is a fun game, once you get to know all the cards it can become a little predictable. You’ll want to get expansions to increase the variety and keep it fresh. This helps it to boost its replay value. It’s also q very subjective game, so if you like strict guidelines on how to win or lose, this is maybe not the game for you.

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Munchkin

A fantasy role playing game condensed into a card game without all the bothersome role playing. You level up by beating monsters, you try to gain treasure, and you screw over your friends at every opportunity. That is the core of the game. There are fantastic weapons, character classes which give you special abilities, and spells to help you on your way. The expansions stand alone on their own right, but can be blended in to make for an even crazier experience. I have the Cthulu and Zombies expansions, as well as the original, and they are a blast. Go forth, and don't forget to loot the room!

You can mix up the different versions or play them separately. It is very replayable, especially for a card game which are all too often susceptible to falling into patterns. The cards are funny and put a fun twist on the different genres the game uses for its basis. This is a super competitive game, and will have players turning on each other at the drop of a dime. This all just adds to the fun.

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Tsuro

Probably the hardest game on the list, and the fastest to play. You play tiles with different paths on it. Your token then has to travel down the path that connects to where it ended. You try not to send your token off the edge of the board. The goal is to be the last one on the board. This is more difficult than it sounds, and requires careful planning that can still be sent awry by someone else playing a tile that ruins your plan you have been working on for seven turns now. Games don't last long, but can get pretty intense.

With a blend of strategy and luck, this game makes you think and plan more than any of the others. The art and presentation of the game are beautiful. This is a highly replayable game, and we usually play several games of it any time we bring it out. This is definitely a game you need to be paying attention to if you want to win.

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Smash Up

Have you ever wanted to control an army of zombie pirates, or robot ninjas? Then this is the game for you. You combine two factions into a deck and use their abilities to score points on one of four bases. When you get the allotted number of points, you break the base and score it. The first player to get to 15 Victory Points wins the game. There is always a twist and strategy and luck both play an important part.

There are several expansions for the game, which help to increase its replayability. The combinations are fun and can be weird. Some of the abilities are really funny and play with the tropes from the genres the game uses for its basis. We also make the faction selection random by rolling a die to see which ones we get. This helps mix things up and keep it fresh by preventing someone from playing the same hands over and over and falling into patterns. This game will delight the inner geek in everyone who always wanted to see werewolf superspies taking on aliens and dinosaurs.

It was hard to keep this down to six, as there are so many great games out there. I had to leave off games I love like Castle Panic and Pandemic. I guess the point of all this is, you should get a game and enjoy a night of fun and competition, or cooperation depending on the game. Table top games are a great way to bring people together to share some good times.

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