Mum Doesn't Like Games But There Are 3 She Will Play

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting a gamer who lives reasonably close but who I hadn’t met before.

We met in a pub part way between our two homes and obviously played a couple of games, Carolus Magnus (a new one for me) and Race for the Galaxy (a favourite of mine), but also had a long chat about a number of aspects of gaming - between turns and perhaps as a way of distracting the opponent, or is that just the cynic in me speaking?

One topic that came up in our conversation I thought might be of particular interest to readers of my blog.

He described how, whilst supportive of his hobby his wife really didn’t like playing games with maybe only three exceptions.
At this point I should perhaps mention that he has over 300 games so has an extensive range to choose from but that from all these only three really work for his wife and the non gaming children in his family.

Dixit Age 8+, 3-6 players (best with 5 or 6), 30+ min playing time
The Dixit Box and some cards
First up is Dixit, a game described in some detail in my Christmas post; the winner of the 2010 Spiel Des Jahres and one of the top 10 selling board games. In my view this is a simple, visually stunning game that encourages you to use creative language – HOWEVER a game that I think I could say is absolutely detested by my brother-in-law (described by him as the Marmite of games), arguably there are no tactics in it and it is difficult to control who will prevail because so much of it is down to imagination and interpretation.

Fabula Age 8+, 3-8 players, 30+ min playing time
The artwork on the Fabula box

This is a game I played at Essen. A story –telling game with very stylised but attractive cardboard components and characters, one of the players takes the role of the teller, who reads or creates the beginning of a short tale whilst the other players choose the cardboard character they wish to use as they seek to develop their part of the story. Three times during the game, the teller asks the other players how they think things happened at a given point in the story. They must choose an item depicted on one of the cards lying in the centre of the table and use it to continue the story.

Depending on how well they integrated their character and the item to the current twist, the teller awards points in the shape of "quill" markers. At the end of the three turns, the two players with the most quill markers are selected to compete in the epilogue. The teller then decides which of the two finalists wins, depending on the strength of their story telling ability in a final round.

My friend described playing this game with some of his family whilst his 15 year old son appeared to be a disinterested bystander. Suddenly his son grabbed a character and an item and narrated a really interesting take on the unfolding story and with similarly inspired contributions emerged the winner at the end of the game.

Once Upon a Time Age 8+, 2-6 players, 30+ min playing time
The Once Upon A Time box and some cards
Another story telling game again with a magical theme but this time using a series of cards depicting characters, places items etc where each player is trying to steer the story towards their happy ever after card ending.

A good game for stirring the creative juices; my friend and his 10 year old daughter frequently use this game to create their own story at her bedtime.

Unsurprisingly different games work for different people, but maybe there is a game or three out there for everyone, you just need to find someone who has a collection of 300+ games.

Games are great tools that can create engagement at the most unexpected of times and be used in a variety of ways not always in line with the rules in the box.

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