As the primary voice behind Little Big Thumbs, I initially put a bit of pressure on myself to pick three games that fit that focus - tabletop games that can be played with children, but also are appealing to bring to the table after the children are asleep in bed. I asked my girls what three games they might like me to choose, to which they started telling me stories about unicorns and flying donkeys!
So … I took that as permission to take off the crusader mask, and just write about the three games that are my absolute personal favourites. Thanks for taking a peek!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue … for whatever reason, when I was invited to pick my top three games for Jim’s website, this old rhyme about bridal attire popped into my head. It’s been looping over and over, despite the fact that it includes FOUR items.
Since I can’t seem to shake the rhyme, we’re just going to have to roll with it.
Whenever I talk about my favourite board games, this one has been in the conversation for over a decade. Not only is The Queen’s Gambit amazing to look at and fun to experience, it is the brass ring that I cling to when justifying my love for the Star Wars Prequel films.
Yes, meesa even loves Jar Jar. Sorry not sorry.
Twenty years before the current trend of multi-tiered boards arrived, Queen’s Gambit was delivering this magical experience. The setting is the final act of Episode I, The Phantom Menace, with the central board being the palace where Queen Amidala and her Palace Guards are trying to fight past a droid army to reach the throne room. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi are battling Darth Maul elsewhere in the palace. The kicker is that whichever side wins the lightsaber battle gets to enter the fight with the droids and palace guard, carving through their opposing minions like butter!
“Wipe them out. All of them.”
Two other mini games are taking place as well - a larger droid detachment is aiming to eliminate the Gungan army on a hex heavy battlefield, with combat feeling somewhat similar to Memoir ‘44. And we can’t forget about wee Anakin Skywalker, who has accidentally found himself in a position to destroy the droid control ship. If he succeeds, every single droid is removed from every board in the game!
It’s a card-driven, dice duelling masterpiece of ameritrash gaming, co-designed by Craig Van Ness and Rob Daviau. The game is near impossible to find now, but if you can track it down as well as a prequel apologist, you’ll be in for a most memorable gaming experience.
Something old - Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit!
Three years have passed since its initial release, but in the grand scheme of the tabletop gaming landscape, Root is plenty recent to count as my “something new” for this list.
Prior to this game, if someone had asked me to offer the best examples of asymmetry in board games, I might have referenced the player powers in Small World. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a system in which everyone was playing their own unique game, while still interacting with each other on a shared map.