Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Season Gaming

I had a couple of Christmas parties in December and took the opportunity to introduce the guests to some games. Most of my guests were non-gamers so I figured the typical Eurogames were probably not appropriate for the occasion. In the end, I settled on Liar's Dice, Monopoly Deal and a new acquisition, Time's Up: Title Recall.

Liar's Dice

This went over well, and my ex-students enjoyed the game very much. Somehow, the combination of rolling the dice coupled with the bluffing and guessing going on adds a degree of charm to this filler. I can see how this serves as an excellent party game though I will be hesitant to go with this with more than 6-7 players to avoid increased downtime. The weakness of Liar's Dice as a party game lies in its player elimination as it is much less interesting when you get eliminated early and have to watch from the sidelines.

Monopoly Deal Card Game

This seemed to go down well with my guests in general although we did have a game with 5 which seemed to drag on unnecessarily. I suspect the sweet spot for the game is probably 3-4. Nonetheless the simplicity of the rules coupled with the general fast pace and accessible theme makes this one of the revelations of 2009 for me with respect to fillers.

Time's Up: Title Recall

I was surprised I actually bought a party game but I figured it would come in useful during the multiple parties with larger groups. Tom Vasel has nothing but praise for this game and I hoped that it would not disappoint. Verdict? I really enjoyed the game mechanics in that it goes beyond merely charades, to incorporate a memory element. Unfortunately, my groups were largely unfamiliar with the titles on the cards, perhaps due to its largely American context. I suppose experienced players could get round the unfamiliarity but I found myself having to select titles familiar for the group in order not to make it overly frustrating for them in the first round. Nonetheless, this version was probably the correct choice as I can only imagine the greater difficulty posed by the original version with its celebrity names. One final point I noted was that the game is best played in pairs and thus the ideal group size shouldn't exceed 10. Unfortunately, my groups totaled 15-20 mostly and so we had to play in teams of 3 or 4 which was less than ideal. It excels as a party game for medium groups but it makes me wonder whether there are better games out there for larger groups.

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