I have never actually counted the number of board games I have played, but I am pretty sure it is somewhere in the hundreds. For a long time I would hear people talk about “board game night” and wonder what it meant, but now that is all I do. It’s my favorite thing to do on Friday nights with friends. Everyone has their own preferences; some like card games, others like dice games, and some are big into role playing games. There are a lot of different types of board games out there, which makes things even more fun!
In general though, my favorite type of game is one where you create your own character and go on an adventure. You should unplug from your devices and put down your phone/tablet, and just talk to the people around you. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends and make new ones! I do have a favorite game that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention. It is called Gloomhaven, from Cephalofair Games.
Gloomhaven is an incredible board game that has been around for about two years now. Designed by Isaac Childres, it is his first board game release after being a professional graphic designer for over eight years. He cites his inspirations as Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer Quest, and Heroquest – all of which are excellent tabletop games in their own right! Gloomhaven has been described as the “best board game ever” by several people (it’s on BoardGameGeek’s Top 100 list) who have played it; most notably Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower Network fame. He calls it the greatest cooperative adventure board game he has ever played or seen! That should be enough incentive right there to check it out!
In Gloomhaven you play solo or with up to four other players at a time. The game takes place in the world of Gloomhaven where you and your fellow adventurers must brave the wilderness in order to complete a quest. The goal is to become the most successful adventurer by completing quests, exploring dungeons, and defeating enemies. Your party will be composed of characters with customizable abilities and equipment, as well as character classes such as rogues or wizards. You choose everyone’s class in advance – but you can change their abilities on any turn!
A typical scenario will have players battling monsters, collecting loot (treasure), triggering special events that occur when certain areas are entered or exited, using items they acquire along the way, gaining experience points through combat or discovery of treasure/event cards, leveling up each character by accruing experience points from combat/discovery events and healing wounds from resting at an inn between scenarios.
The board itself is enormous – it’s about two feet long! It includes lots of different environments that players can explore: grasslands to forests to mountains; desert ruins; caves; sewers; abandoned buildings…basically all sorts of terrain types. The game setups are different every time, which is really exciting. The monsters and loot/treasure that you will encounter will also be different depending on which scenario you play.
To give you a better idea of what the game looks like, I made a video of me playing it:
Like I said earlier, this board game has been out for about two years now and has won some awards (Game of the Year at the Dice Tower Awards in 2017). There have been twelve expansions released so far (including two holiday themed ones), with more planned for future release. You can buy all of these expansions separately or get them as part of “The Gloomhaven Campaign Book” – which includes all twelve expansions plus any future ones that come out! It’s an excellent deal if you like this type of game; otherwise it is just as easy to buy each expansion separately if you prefer to do so instead.
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Tabletop Simulator by Berserk Games – one part sandbox simulator and one part recreation tool; Tabletop Simulator lets players create tabletop games then play them with people online! They can even purchase pre-made tabletop games from Steam Workshop or directly from other players! This is great if your friends don’t want to commit to a long campaign but still want something more interesting than Monopoly. With Tabletop Simulator they can download whatever assets they want: characters, maps/board tilesets.
As I said earlier, board game nights are my favorite activity to do with friends on Friday nights. It’s a really great way to catch up with each other and share in something we all love. There are so many different types of games out there that everyone is sure to find a game they enjoy. Some of my favorites include: Boss Monster, Eldritch Horror, Gloomhaven (obviously), Fuse, Galaxy Trucker…I could go on! There are also some excellent tabletop RPGs out there now as well if you want to get into those. All you need is a group of friends and an open mind!