My Top 3
Jenny from @board.game.family.uk
When Jim posed the question “what is my top 3 board games?” I realized that there is no answer to this question. You might as well be asking me about the meaning of life (spoiler alert the answer to that question is 42). My top 3 board games depend on my mood, on what I have just played, on who I am playing with, how much time I have and a whole host of other variables. Three games I love playing right now are Honey Buzz, Parks and Mandala but if you had asked me 2 weeks ago the list would have been different, and I had never even played Honey Buzz!
So I have decided not to answer his impossible question and instead share with you the top three games that have impacted our lives for one reason or another and will as a result always have a place on our shelf, whether we still play them regularly or not.
Number 3 – Zombicide
We don’t play this game as much now because it takes so long to set up and play and with small kids there simply isn’t enough hours in the day for such epic game nights. The reason this game makes our list is a sentimental one. When I was just dipping my toe into modern board games back in the first year of our marriage, Mark was not interested at all. In fact, he was adamant he would not like board games. But he did play zombie fighting computer games. When I discovered Zombicide, it was the perfect transition to coax him into my newfound hobby. In this game you each play as a hero character, working together, to either complete a mission or escape a zombie ridden city. You search for weapons and supplies and with every zombie kill that you make, your character is levelled up and at certain levels you gain new skills, like you might in a computer game. There is a book of different scenarios you can play. The board is made up of different tiles that you can mix and match. Throw in different weapons and different zombies drawn randomly from card decks and every game ends up feeling slightly different. As with many CMON games there is tons of quality models, which he loves painting. Once Mark and I had played this over many months he was more open minded about trying other board games, which meant I had my main gaming partner and someone to explore the hobby with, and so began our board game collection.
Number 2 – Sagrada
Having spent the early years of our marriage playing complex, narrative driven games that were played over many hours with our gaming group, I wrongly believed after becoming a mum that my board gaming hobby was a thing of the past because I simply would not have that amount of free time anymore. I physically packed up my small board game collection into boxes and stored them in the attic to make way for kid’s toys. Then in 2018 one evening I spotted a post about the game Sagrada on Facebook and it was so visually stunning that on a whim I bought it that same night. This beautiful abstract game was so different to the games we played before babies came along, not being heavy on theme or narrative, but that was what appealed to me about it. With Sagrada we could again enjoy time together, phones down, chatting over a board game and we only needed 45-60 minutes free. The thinky, puzzly nature of it makes it feel like enough of a stretch to get my teeth into but not too much complexity after a long day juggling work and parenting. This is the game that reignited my passion for board games and opened my eyes to different styles of games. It is one game I will always be happy to pull off the shelf to play, whoever I am playing with (even solo which I don’t do much of) and whatever my mood.
Number 1 – Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Mark and I are both competitive and so cooperative games are a great way for us to work together as a team when playing a board game, which is ultimately better for our marriage ha ha! We enjoyed the basic Pandemic game and had the expansions too, but we had got to the stage where we would win most games and it has lost the challenge. Pandemic Legacy was the natural progression, but I was hesitant to buy something you would ultimately throw out after 12-24 games. But then I saw it on sale at UKGE and I can’t resist a bargain, so we gave it a go. It was worth every penny. This game has the core mechanics of the original game, which I believe is a solid game in its own right, but the legacy version throws in a narrative and surprising curve balls, as you achieve certain missions and get to open new packages and envelopes. We both agree that playing and eventually succeeding together in this game, especially amid an actual global pandemic, is the best gaming experience we have had together as a couple. If you have ever had doubts about a legacy game, put them aside and try this one.
So there you go, three very different games and I have talked an awful lot without actually answering Jim’s question!