Great Group Games

                It’s been kind of a heavy week on the site, what with SP wrapping up and all, so I thought for this blog we’d do something simple and fun. Many of you presumably have gift cards to burn since the Christmas season has come to a close, and from the comments during the game night sections of the story I know lots of readers were interested in the fictional board games that the Melbrook crew played. While those were all made up, I have been playing a lot of board games with friends lately, and this seems like a good time to do a rundown of a few really fun ones, for those into that sort of thing.

 

Red Flags

                This is one of the more interesting takes on a judge-system, the method used by Joking Hazard and Cards Against Humanity where everyone has to impress a single player. Rather than just tossing cards into a pile, though, this is a game that demands a little theatre. The premise is that you have good traits (white flags) and bad traits (red flags), and the judge player is choosing which one they would take on a date. You have to sell your good traits (is a billionaire, can travel through dimensions, celebrity) while making your bad traits (has 100 teeth, sounds just like your mother) seem inconsequential. It demands a lot of thinking on your feet and reading the judge, plus the rounds go quick.

Drinking Game: If you ain’t first, you’re last. (All players but each round’s winner take a drink)

Rage Potential: Minimal. If you get mad playing this one, it’s on you.

 

Sheriff of Nottingham

                You get to lie to your friends. Okay, okay, its technically “bluffing” if you want to be pedantic about it. Basically this is a game where each round one person is the sheriff, and the others are trying to smuggle goods/contraband through in pouches. Whether or not you’ll be busted comes down to an array of lying, bribing, trickery, and general deception. It’s a ton of fun, especially as you learn your friend’s tells and tactics. It’s also a very easy game to pick up as you play, since almost all of the mechanics are interpersonal.

Drinking Game: Liar liar, cup on fire. (If you get caught lying, you drink. If you’re the sheriff and you wrongly accuse someone of lying, you drink)

Rage Potential: Some. Slip a really good hand of contraband past a sheriff and they may briefly lose their cool, but since everyone is a liar it never lasts long.

 

Elder Sign

                This one is a classic for a reason, and it’s also way more complex than the previous games mentioned so I won’t try to delve much into the details. What you need to know, and why I like this game so much, is that it’s Players vs. The Game, meaning everyone who plays is on the same side. You’re working together to stop an abomination from rising, so it’s the kind of game where you all win together or lose together. Cooperative games hit a good spot with me, it makes the table more communal and means that good or bad, the tide turns for all of us evenly. That’s also the same reason that I like playing craps more than any other casino game.

Drinking Game: DOOOOOOM! (Drink everytime a Doom or Elder Sign token is added)

Rage Potential: Minimal. While there will be bad breaks, and you might lose, the anger is always aimed toward the dice/game, since that’s the actual enemy.

 

The Voting Game

                You’ll need a decent group for this one; I’d recommend 5 at the smallest to keep things interesting. It works well with both friends and strangers, although they probably won’t be strangers for long when playing this. The game is simple, a card gives a prompt (Who is most likely to kill a case of beer in a night?) and then everyone anonymously votes for the player they think fits the bill. Some of the prompts are dirty, some are silly, some are just off the wall, but it’s usually all in good fun. This is the only game that I will say I strongly recommend adding the drinking game too, however, because it tacks on an extra layer that really adds to the experience.

Drinking Game: Who said what? (Guess who voted for you. If you get it right, they drink. Get it wrong, and you drink. No confirming or denying accusations until every player has made their guesses.)

Bonus Drinking Game: They know about you. (If every other player votes for one person on a prompt, there are no guesses and that player takes a shot.)

Rage Potential: Moderate. I mean… yeah, nature of this game. Just try to keep it all in good fun, and maybe skip over cards you think might hurt your friends’ feelings.

 

The Red Dragon Inn

                Let’s close this off with a game that’s actually about drinking. In this game, you are a party of adventurers who have just wrapped a quest, so now you’re getting shitfaced in the bar with your friends. Like Elder Sign before, there’s a lot to delve into on this one, but once you get the hang of things it’s pretty straightforward. Unlike Elder Sign, however, you are very much playing against your friends on this one. There are countless ways to screw your other players over while helping yourself, and who is in the lead changes with sudden and constant frequency as the game goes on.

Drinking Game: Duh (You drink when your character has to drink)

Rage Potential: Holy shit. This isn’t quite as high up there as Munchkin, but the constant swing of momentum means you’ll see people go from first to last in the span of a few turns. So yeah, put on some soothing music and maybe slip your more high-tension players a little tea to mellow them out.

                As an aside, I love learning new games, so if you have any you love throw them in the comments below. Especially if they have drinking games attached!