Our Favorite Tabletop Games For Game Night
Does anyone else host game nights? It's one of my favorite entertaining nights but I hardly hear anyone else talk about them. The Heath house is a very competitive tabletop game household. So for us it feels like a tradition to gather our friends around a table and play our favorite games. Plus, I love getting to make easy to grab bites and large batch cocktails that coordinate with game play.
One of my favorite parts of game night is introducing our friends to new games. We're not over here playing Monopoly and Life. No, we're playing indie tabletop games that normally require a mail delivery or 30 minute drive to the game shop in Houston. Lucky for us, every game we've bought has been worth the purchase. Since I want to bring game night back in style (real personal mission here guys) I thought I would share some of our favorite tabletop games to get your game night going. A few, you might be familiar with thanks to their rise in popularity over the last few years, but I hope I can introduce you to some that you're unfamiliar.
More than likely you know Cards Against Humanity. I wasn't going to do that snarky hipster thing where I say, "I played CAHs before it was cool" but that's exactly what happen. So slap me on some skinny jeans and hand me an authentic latte. I bought Cards Against Humanity in September 2011 and I've turned everyone I know into terrible people since.
Cards Against Humanity describes itself as "A party game for horrible people." The actual game play is very simple. Someone lays down a black question/fill in the blank card and everyone lays down their funniest white answer card. It's brash, it's offensive, and it shows exactly how horrible of a person you can be. The winner is the one with the most white cards at the end dubbing them the most horrible of the bunch. It's a hilarious tounge-in-cheek game that can't be taken too seriously. This can easily be the most fun you'll ever have playing a card game, I promise. This game is not for everyone and those lacking a sense of humor may want to pass.
If you like pop culture characters, if you like debating, and you like a few good laughs, SuperFight! is for you. SuperFight! dubs itself "A hilarious card game based of fights between character with superpowers and super problems." There are a few ways to play this game but this is our favorite way. You take three white character cards and three black power/problem cards. You pick your best combo of one white card and one black card to be your fighter in the battle. Later you add another black card to up your powers or completely negate them. You end up arguing whose fighter would win in said battle. It could be Child Beauty Pageant Queen in a Hamsterball VS George W. Bush who can turn invisible while singing show tunes. The battles are hilarious and your reasoning soon becomes unreasonable. You can add on expansion packs to help make picking a winner easier. Our favorite is the expansion pack that places the fighters in a scenario (Yellow Deck).
Strategy on this game is hard and involves a lot of moving parts. To the point of slamming your head on the table because one move can destroy your victory. So of course we're fans of the brutal torture but devilish fun. You're placed in the land of 1001 Night in the town of Sultanate of Naqala. The sultan of Naqala has passed and it's your mission to take control of the city. This work placement game starts with your wood people already on the board. It's your job to move them over the town and get them correctly dis-placed over the five tribes to gain points and ideally victory. Sounds complicated right? After a few minutes of play the game becomes second nature to you. What doesn't, is your strategy to win. It takes a few rounds of this game to start building your own personal winning strategy for the game but even that's not guaranteed to work every time. It's a faster and most interesting game of War in my eyes. We love that this game never feels repetitive and requires a good bit of mental power.
This is the board game version of charades but it requires no one making flailing fools of themselves. Instead you use icons to associate words/phrases for your teammate to guess by placing pieces on the board on the descriptive icons. Their example: Pieces placed on the board describe a giant green animal from the past. Your teammate might guess dinosaur and that would be correct. Water + cube + cold, would make for an ice cube. The great thing about this game, is just like physical charades it requires a lot of creativity and shouting. A whole lot of fun and a whole new way to test your relationships, we adore this game. Sometimes a man who rides animals, to you maybe a cowboy but to your husband, is Steve Irwin.
Luckily we've noticed this game showing up randomly in big box stores here and there, so keep an eye out. It's a great one everyone can play.
This is one of those games to start game night with because of the short game play involved. Most games take around 15 minutes and are easy to play. In this game you play as two teams against each other to figure out who your agents are without finding the assassin. Codenames describes the rules as such : "The spymasters gives one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin." If you guess the assassin that team loses and the other automatically wins. The fun really lies in trying to guess the SpyMaster's clues and how they associate to the agents. Easy, fun, and a good start to get into harder gamers.
If you're looking for a reasonably timed game, Splendor is perfect with it's 30 minute game play. You know because not all of us are looking to waste 2 hours playing WAR and another 3 hours watching two people play WAR because they ganged up on you and killed your army. I'm not bitter.
In Splendor you are a merchant in the Renaissance age trying to raise your prestige status by buying shops, gem minds, transportation and more. The goal is to reach 15 prestige points and impress the nobles before the other players, to win. Overall you want to be the head honcho Merchant kind of like how you want to slay the real-estate game in Monopoly. I love the Monopoly concept but it takes too long, making Splendor the perfect game of strategy.
Another hilarious card game that is a cross between SuperFight! and Cards Against Humanity. Red Flags calls "The game of terrible dates." Starting with at least three people you pick one person to be the Single. The other team members will pick two white perk cards from their hand to make the best date possible for the Single. After the perfect eligible Bachelors have been laid down and explained to the Single, the players then pick one red card, the red flag, and place it on the player's date to the left of them. Thus the seemingly perfect Bachelors/ette have a few ghosts revealed from their closets. This leaves for hilarious debates with the team players like "But he loves dogs, who cares if he wants to make out with your sister!" to convince the single to pick their bachelor/ette. The game asks you to question your moral compass and go on a few terrible dates. This has never not been a good laugh and honestly we like it the best out of all the card games!
While this is not an indie game and can be found at most stores, it's the game we start most game nights with or use transition from game to game with. It requires no planning or skill just the luck of the throw of dice. Which is nice to refresh your brain between strategy games. Plus it's easy to eat, drink, and hold conversations over when the night is first starting. LCR is a dice game that's just simple. You divide your tokens evenly amongst the team players. Then taking your three dice that have L C R and a dot on various sides, you throw all three dice to determine where your tokens will go. Each dice represents one token so the most you would give away at once is 3. If it lands on L that token goes to the left, R token to the right, C token to the center pile (the garbage pile), and dot means you get to keep your token. So if you roll LLC that would be two tokens to the person to the left of you and one to the center. The player left standing with tokens wins. After one round the game just builds a natural rhythm that we've always found transitions well into the next game. Easy, fun, and allows me to miss other people's moves to shovel food in my mouth. Perfect.
Those are a few of the games we love for game night. Now I'd love to know down below, do you host game night? What are you favorite tabletop games to play? Also let me know if you'd like to know more about how we host game nights and a list of our favorite 2 players tabletop games.