Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fun Modern Tabletop Games (And why I secretly hate them)


Agricola, the game of a million pieces, takes a while to learn, but once you've got it down it can be a lot of fun. Over the course of slightly over a dozen rounds, you and your fellow players place tokens on available cards in turn. The cards might say things like "take wood," "build fences," or "plow a field." If someone takes the card you were after, too bad, wait til the next round. After every few rounds it's time to "harvest." Here you must slaughter your animals (represented by tiny wooden blocks) or bake bread (a combo of yellow wooden circles and an "oven" card) to feed your family (more wooden circles.) If you can't feed your family, you go into debt. The game ends after the final round and everyone counts up their land, animals, grain pieces, etc. in a convoluted points system that determines the most successful of farmers.

Why I hate it: My brother always beats me.

Settlers of Catan

You place your wooden pieces and then let the dice decide your fate. Collect elements such as wheat, wood, and brick, and combine them to build roads, settlements, and cities. Buy Development Cards to add some extra points. Trade with others. The winner is the first person to 10 points.

Why I hate it: There are only like three ways to win, so you'd think I could manage it every now and then... but you'd be wrong.

10 Days In The USA (Or Europe. Or Asia.)

Randomly place 10 travel cards on your board, resulting in a logistical nightmare. Then, on each turn, you may exchange one of your cards for one in a series of piles. Slowly but surely, you'll build a travel itinerary that could actually be plausible. 

Why I hate it: There's only one card for each state, so if you need Texas and somebody else does too, your whole plan goes to the loo. (The European edition combats this problem; as there are fewer countries than there are US states, some countries are duplicated for our convenience.)


Online or in card form, Dominion is a game where you use Coin Cards to buy Action cards, then use both Coin and Action cards to acquire Victory cards (the green ones.)  Some Action cards are better than others, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out what strategy to use. There are also Attack cards, which you can use to strip your opponent of his money, confidence, and livelihood.

Why I hate it: They're always coming out with new cards, which I guess is good because it changes the game up a little, but the learning curve would put Lombard Street to shame. Annnd my brother usually beats me.

Ticket To Ride

Pick destination cards, then use little plastic train pieces to build your routes. You must acquire colored cards and use them to put down trains. Can you make it from San Francisco to New York? Oh hey, lots of points, there! Feeling confident? Draw MORE destination cards! Build an entire fleet, why don't you? Tycooning is fun!

Why I hate it: Need to go from Boston to Las Vegas? Whoops, all the tracks to Las Vegas are taken, too bad! The more players, the worse time you'll have making the routes you want, leading to frustration, tears, and a myriad of little plastic trains strewn across your home.

Trivial Pursuit

Answer questions! Impress your family and friends with your superior knowledge! Collect little pieces of pie! Who doesn't love pie? 

Why I hate it: It makes me feel like an ignoramus. Even when I play the 90's Edition, I'm left feeling kind of empty, because while I DO get a lot of questions right, they're either about Titanic or the Spice Girls, and frankly, that doesn't make me proud.

In conclusion...

I don't actually hate any of these games. I play them often. In fact, I wish I was playing them right now!! :D

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