Sunday, September 23, 2012

Better Board Games III: BSW

Alright, once again it's time to talk about board games (this is the final entry in the Better Board Games series...promise).

Now, I know many of you are out there thinking 'gee, I wish I lived closer to those hipsters in Oregon...they are always playing such awe-mazing games'. Yes, you're absolutely correct...we are totally hipsters. But I digress. Now YOU TOO can play board games with us through something called...THE INTERNET!

As I've stated before in the first Better Board Games post (which is practically required reading around here), we have a large collection of designer board games not found in the average American household. To reiterate, a better board game has the following characteristics:
  1. Most important, it has to be FUN.
  2. It should be EYE-CATCHING. Just like with great cuisine, the gaming experience is enhanced if it's pleasing to look at.
  3. It should require players to make CHOICES. This is what draws people into games. No roll-and-move games accepted here.
  4. It should be EASY TO TEACH in less than 5 minutes. Any longer, and most people will shut off their ears. True story.
  5. It must be SOCIAL. In board games, you're meant to have fun with other people. The best games promote conversation among those playing.
I listed five examples of such games in the first post and then five more in the follow-up post. Here are five more examples of great games that can be played online through a website called BrettSpielWelt (German for BoardGameWorld), or BSW for short. We play on BSW with many friends & family members already, but we're always looking to recruit new players!!! Email or Skype us for details if you want to give any of these games a shot.

This time around, I'll be using screenshots straight off of BSW instead of actual pics of the board games...


Truth be told, the online interface for this great game is a bit garish. However, the actual gameplay is wonderful. In Bohnanza, you're a bean farmer planting and harvesting beans you want and trading away beans you don't want. The really fun part about this game is that you are forced to trade away beans for your benefit so there's a lot of interaction that goes on. I've taught this game to dozens of peeps since 2007 - not a single person has expressed disappointment in it.

Power Grid

Power Grid is probably the best designed game I own. Everything just fits together so perfectly. The theme isn't terribly exciting (build power plants across the nation - woo hoo), but no one seems to mind once they start playing. The game revolves around auctions so this is another game where there's lots of interaction around the table. Power Grid has paper money and power plant 'properties' so I've long said that this is a game for people that like Monopoly but want a shorter game with better gameplay.

Stone Age

Uga Uga! Me Tarzan, you play Stone Age! Cavemen work together to build up their tribe. Stone Age is a 'worker placement' game, a type of game where you have a group of workers (the number of which can be increased) that are placed in various work groups each turn. For those of you that like dice, this is your game. It's not my favorite worker placement game (that would be Agricola), but it's definitely the most accessible to new players.


This is a cooperative game. All players work together as a crack team from the CDC to rid the world of four deadly viruses. Should they fail, the world will be overcome by disease and humanity will cease to exist...gulp. I have a buddy that hates cooperative games. I taught him Pandemic despite his objections. He now owns Pandemic. Need I say more?

7 Wonders

This is the newest game on this list. For those of you that have heard of Dominion, this game is similar. The concept is simple: you get a hand of seven cards. Take one card and play it, then pass the remaining six cards to the player at your left. Now choose another card from the deck being pass to you, and pass the deck again...repeat, repeat, repeat. The whole game is only 18 played cards and 15 minutes long, yet you go through the history of an entire civilization, build wonders of the world, go to war, discover sciences, trade with other city-states, etc. There's a surprising amount of depth here and very little effort needed.

So there you go. I've now detailed 15 great games for you to try and there are many, many more. Call us anytime you want to try a game in person OR online. We're totally open most nights and very anxious to share a hobby that has allowed us to gain many new friends and create lots of great memories. Just don't plan on beating TLC...she bites back.

1 comment:

  1. I have played some of these games. There is a board game group at our library.