My Top 3

Kay from @kay_plays_games

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Many board gamers struggle with the question: “What are your favourite board games?” I get it – there are so many wonderful games out there, and favourites can change depending on your mood, your brain power, who you’re playing with, and how much time you have. But for me personally, the question is a simple one. It comes down to a gut feeling that is difficult to describe but impossible to ignore!

I should probably mention that I am not an overly competitive person; I play for the experience more than I play to win. I’m obsessed with co-op games as they contain all of the tension and all of the fun, without any of the competition.

3. Cartographers

I know, I know, this isn’t a co-op game! What is it doing in my top three? I knew that I would like this game before I even played it - for many reasons: I absolutely adore Roll Player from the same publisher (actually, it’s my fourth favourite game), I love the ‘roll and write’ or ‘flip and fill’ mechanism, and I love world-building as a theme, particularly with a fantasy spin. There was just one thing putting me off trying it; my spatial awareness is terrible, which doesn’t bode well for placing polyominoes! When I was invited to play a friend’s copy, I immediately fell in love (with the game - not with my friend). The fact that you are allowed to flip and rotate the shapes in any direction helps with my spatial shortcomings, and playing with coloured pens awakens my inner child. The finished maps always end up looking beautiful – whether you win or lose.

2. T.I.M.E Stories

The best board gaming experience I’ve ever had, by a long way, was playing the first scenario of T.I.M.E Stories. I had picked up a cheap second-hand copy of the game after hearing good things on Instagram and my partner and I met with two friends in a local board game café to play it. (I have to quickly mention here: the full experience definitely requires four players; I personally wouldn’t play with any less). Two fictional journeys back-in-time and three real-world hours later, the café closed and we were far too engrossed in the story to stop. We rushed around town trying to find a pub that was quiet enough, with a big enough table that we could continue playing. We were successful in our quest and, an hour later, successful in the game too. We literally jumped out of our seats cheering, high-fiving, and dodging strange looks from the other customers.

It’s impossible to say much about the gameplay without revealing spoilers, but I’ll just say this game contains stunning artwork, immersive storylines, challenging puzzles, and a healthy dose of dice rolling. None of the subsequent scenarios have quite lived up to the first, but they are still brilliant and I absolutely cannot wait to play more.

1. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (2nd edition)

I love absolutely everything about this game. Seriously, I cannot fault it. Who doesn’t secretly wish they could rival Sherlock Holmes’ powers of deduction? For a game that doesn’t have any components other than a fold-out map and several booklets, it looks beautiful. It perfectly encapsulates Victorian London, not just in looks but in the ‘feel’ too. The stories are wonderfully written, with multiple homages to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works that are fun Easter Eggs for fans of the books (like me) without bordering on spoiler-territory or giving any advantage in solving the cases. Let it be known that this game is HARD. In the best way. The feeling of satisfaction you get when you finally crack a case after hours of sleuthing is beyond compare! Beating Sherlock Holmes’ score is another matter though…..

 

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