I love a good Board Game! I feel like a gladiator placed in the ring fighting not only for the glory, but for my life. The strategy, build and sudden turn of fortune all come together for a truly spectacular experience. However, when winning a game relies on the off-chance that you opponent will get hit by a meteorite...well, it is a bit of a buzz kill. A game that does not rely on luck is a truly great thing to find and astonishingly enough, they are hard to come by. So here it is, 5 games that luck will not win you, a guide for the true gamer, not the ones that cross their fingers.
Most likely one of my favorite games. Sometimes games move through your life in phases, but I have always been in the mood for Scattergories. This is quite possibly the game that relies on luck the least. All players, placed on equal ground are pitted against one another to find the most unusual word starting with a certain letter, and fitting into a specific category. Allow me to explain. Each player has a paper with 12 blank spaces. There are a series of numbered lists each with 12 different categories on them. The list is decided on, the die (containing letters from the alphabet) is rolled, and the fun begins. For example, if the category is famous people and the letter for the round is B I could put Brandon Flowers...or I could put Betty Boop and receive two points. But if someone else in the round writes the same thing as you then neither of you get the points. Can you see the dilemma? You have a limited amount of time to come up with a word that fits in a category and that nobody else would think of. This game is nothing but a test of your lexicon, pure and simple, and must be added to your list of favorite board games.
Now, I know it looks like one of those Dungeons and Dragons games but give it a chance. This game was introduced to me years ago and though I don't have a copy of my own, I dream about playing this game nearly every weekend. I'm not sure I have ever encountered a more unique method of game play. Explaining it here would take too long, but one thing that I love about this game is how it is played. The game typically goes very fast and before you know it your turn has come around and you have no idea what you are going to do. Everyone in the game has their own set of cards called their deck that they play from each round. As the game goes on you use money to buy either more action cards, more money, or land. Too much land and you cripple yourself for the rest of the game but land is essentially what will when you the game. Too many low money cards and you will never get enough to buy the big guns. This game is strategy from beginning to end but there is little time to think over what that strategy is. Quick thinking and a steady hand will win you this game. Truly a masterpiece. And with several different game sets and expansions, this game never gets boring.
Back to the words with one of my favorite games: Taboo. I first played taboo in 7th grade. My class would challenge the neighboring class every Friday and I guarantee you have never seen seventh graders so heated. Taboo is simple: you try to get your team to guess a word given to you while avoiding the 5 or so words that are listed at the bottom of the card. Charades and gestures are not allowed, nor are statements such as "it rhymes with frog". How good are you are explaining things in an obscure way? There is an easy way to find out.
A funny name for a funny game. Each round of the game begins with a new puzzle...like tetris. On your individual board you are provided the task of fitting several brightly colored pieces into a small grid. The first to finish then moves his piece to the desired area on the board and collects two gems from that area. Watch out though, if your neighbor's hands are faster then they can steal your gems even if they finished after you. The game moves quickly and and your heart is guaranteed to get a workout. I wouldn't even mention it, but as an artist I have to put in props for the primitive African theme. Every game is like going on a safari...while playing Tetris.
Settlers of Catan
I know you were all waiting for this one. Chances are you either hate the game or love it. Regardless of your feelings toward it, this game cannot be won on luck alone. I leave it for last because there is an element of luck but luck alone will not win you the game. It pains me to say though that you cannot win on skill alone. This game is a fair blend of good fortune and skilled strategy. Players expand across the board attempting to build settlements and cities on fertile pieces of land that will get them resources for trade, expansion, and overall victory. Wonderful game that never gets old. CAUTION: Best played with those that know how to play. Expect the game to be a little bit rough your first time.