Busting Out the Board Games

Mason again. Though the weather doesn’t show it, ’tis the season for snow, ice, and cold weather in general. Unfortunately, power outages go hand in hand with winter weather. Unless you’ve got a good book to pass the time, being snowed in isn’t much fun. Board games are a great way to entertain the family in this kind of situation, so without further ado I present 3 great board games you probably don’t know about.

Game #1 – Quirkle

Quirkle doesn’t look very challenging at first sight; I actually thought it was something for toddlers to mess around with. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s really an in-depth strategy game. You play by placing rows of tiles down that have a certain pattern or color in common. In all, there are 36 different kinds of tiles, each with 3 copies. The goal is to get as many points as possible by making long lines of tiles. A line of 6 is called a Quirkle, and gets you bonus points. Whoever’s got the most points when somebody runs out of tiles is the winner.

I recommend this game for anybody who likes a games that makes you think, but isn’t too intense. It’s for 2 to 4 players.

Game #2 – Bananagrams

I, personally, am a guy who likes words. This is why I’m usually up for a game of Scrabble or Boggle. However, when my mom walked in with a banana-shaped bag of something, I was rather suspicious of it. It turns out that my first impression was wrong yet again. Bananagrams is a kind of speed Scrabble, in which you connect words and generally vomit up a dictionary or two. When you’ve used all your letters, you say “Peel,” and everybody will take one tile out of the pile in the middle. When you run out of tiles, but there aren’t enough for everybody to peel again, you say “Banana” and you win. Other than the odd tile exchange, it’s mostly just you, your wits, and your nimble fingers.

I recommend this game for anybody who likes word games like Scrabble, Boggle, or Slam. It’s pretty intense and fast-paced, but it doesn’t require strategy like Scrabble does.

Game #3 – Jishaku

If you thought the other two games weren’t weird enough to warrant interest, then you’ll like this one. I used to play this a lot with my younger brother, but I kind of lost all of the pieces (you’ll see why in a minute). It is a strategy game, in which one places little magnetic rocks on the kind of bumpy foam you use for packaging. You try to place all your little pieces on the field, without them attracting another. If this happens and they click together, then you pick the whole cluster back up. And let me tell you, some of them qualify as “supermagnets” and will do Olympics-worthy tumbles and flips to reach the nearest piece.

I recommend this game for anybody who likes magnets, strategy games, and/or annoying your buddies. It’s slow paced and fun to play, though butterfingers are frowned upon unless you want to see all the magnets on the field do a dogpile.

Thanks for reading, and sorry for the delay! If you know any other under-appreciated games, do tell in the comments.

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