Get a Clue (or Qwirkle): A Guide to Games

With the holidays approaching Wired has released 5 Gaming Tips for the Holidays, and game recommendations to fit each tip. I wanted to address these tips and add some personal recommendations

1. Start ShortPick something speedy that gets people into the game with little downtime. If possible, get them laughing. 

After a long meal and a long day, most people will want to have a short, light game. So that pretty much rules out playing Risk, where just setting up the game and strategically placing armies can take up to an hour. Risk combines luck, strategy, diplomacy, and endurance, and io9 has a great article on The Origins and Evolution of Risk.

Recommendation for short games: The Big TabooCarcassonne, Cards Against Humanity

2. Start Big – Plan on a couple games that can accommodate large groups of players. 

No one wants to be left out of the fun during a game night, forcing them to turn to a single player game, possibly Tetris, which could lead to a serious addiction like that seen in James Clewett,

Recommendation for multiple players: Jungle Speed (3 to as many players as you can fit around a totem), Cranium (at least 2 teams, of as many people as needed)

3. Be Prepared – Learn how to teach a game — part of that means learning it yourself beforehand so you don’t have to keep flipping back and forth in the rulebook.

The last thing anyone wants to do is take away from valuable game playing time with rule reading time — don’t get me wrong, rules are important, so make sure at least one person is well versed in the rules of the game. If the game is new, and you want a primer on the rules, there is a chance that it has been played on TableTop with Wil Wheaton.

Recommendation for easy rules: Qwirkle (matching shapes and colors), Things


4. Know Your Audience – Pick a game that piques their interest.

One option would be to pick a game based on an movie, or upcoming movie. Be it these actual games – turned (turning) movies, Clue (the rare case where the movie is as fun as he game!) Battleship, (or a Wes Anderson-esque Battleship), Ouija, Hungry, Hungry, Hippos, or a wish list of future games turned movies, like these from Entertainment Weekly, or this Guess Who adaptation,

Recommendation for a general audience: Clue, Scattergories

5. Have Fun – Games should be about bringing people together, not driving them apart, so be conscious of that.

Has anybody ever actually had a game of Monopoly end without a fight? As it turns out, even the history of Monopoly is rife with fights and is based on theft. So it might be best to aim for a co-operative game.

Recommendation for a co-operative game: Hoopla

Collection of board games from our local thrift store…

Having a good collection of games on hand can ensure that any get together will be a really fun time. But having a collection of games can be expensive, but by keeping your eye open at local thrift stores is a great way to save some money and discover some great, and sometimes suggestive, finds.

Happy gaming!


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