Game Night

Last night I went to a board game night up in Nashville. This monthly gathering of game enthusiasts is something I’ve been enjoying for a while now. I’ve always loved board games but I’ve never really had anyone to play with so it’s a hobby that I’ve never had a chance to explore until now. Going to these public game nights has been amazing and it’s given me a chance to discover a ton of new games and meet new people. Last month, for instance, I learned how to play a game called Small World—a fun and lighthearted game of world conquest with fantasy races like ghouls and orcs and amazons—and subsequently got invited to play another new game called Bang! with a small group of people the following night.

Bang! was super fun, it’s a spaghetti western shoot out card game where one person is the sheriff, one person is the deputy, one person is a renegade and everyone else are outlaws. The sheriff and the deputy want to kill all the outlaws, the outlaws want to kill the sheriff, and the renegade wants to outlive everyone. The catch? With the exception of the sheriff, everyone’s identities are kept secret. I played the sheriff and I did pretty well—even after my deputy died and it was me against two outlaws and the renegade—I had a lot of cards helping me avoid damage from the outlaws…but there wasn’t much I could do about the stick of dynamite that blew up in my face, winning the game for the outlaws.

One of my favorite games right now is a game called Villainous where you play as a Disney villain trying to successfully complete your evil scheme before the other players—even if you have to sabotage them in order to win. Villainous comes with six different villains you can play as—Maleficent, Captain Hook, Prince John, the Queen of Hearts, Ursula, and Jafar—each with their own objective and unique gameplay, and the Wicked to the Core expansion adds Dr. Facilier, the Evil Queen, and Hades to the mix as well. I’ve had the opportunity to play as Maleficent, Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts and Dr. Facilier so far and while Maleficent’s gameplay is a little too simplistic for my tastes, I had a blast trying to defeat Peter Pan on the Jolly Roger as Captain Hook and playing a game of wonderland croquet as the Queen of Hearts. I’m not sure what I think about Dr. Facilier’s gameplay. I played him for the first time last night and he definitely has the most unique gameplay of the lot, which makes him fun to play, but he also seemed to be very easily sabotaged by his fate deck. I got close to winning twice only for another player to play a card from my fate deck that derailed my ability to win by several rounds. Yes that’s the entire point of the fate deck but then Ursula’s fate deck seemed to be completely incapable of stopping her from winning once she’s set to win on her next turn (Ursula can only win at the start of her turn). That being said my friend played as Prince John last night and immediately had three fate cards played against him that seemed to make it impossible for him to win right off the bat so maybe the problem is with Ursula’s deck not Facilier’s.

I could spend pages and pages talking about all the fun games I’ve been playing, but suffice to say, game night has quickly become the highlight of my month and I’m already counting the days till the next one. Do you guys play any board games? If so, what are some of your favorites? I’m always eager to discover new games and would love some suggestions!

Pokémon TCG: A Test of Resilience

Last week, my friend Jake taught me how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game. I know, I know, how can a self-proclaimed obsessed fan of Pokémon not know how to play the TCG? Don’t get me wrong, I do have a decent collection of Pokémon cards in a binder on my bookshelf at home but it’s exactly that, a collection–meant to look at and feel nostalgic not meant for playing purposes. Fun fact about me, never get me started on collecting anything, I will lose all impulse control and it will be a problem. Case in point, my collection of more than 100 Funko Pop figures currently packed away in a box somewhere because there simply isn’t space for all of them in my room right now. Anyway, the point is that no, I’ve never played the actual trading card game–although my friend Vicki and I used to make up our own rules for the game in elementary school because we thought the real way was too complicated…but I guess that probably doesn’t count.

Turns out the real game wasn’t nearly as complicated as I remember but then again I’m not ten anymore either. That’s not to say the game went well, however. I lost. Badly. We played three or four games and I couldn’t even come sort of close to beating Jake in any of them. He obliterated me. It was embarrassing. Now, I don’t consider myself a competitive person because while I always try my best to win, losing almost never bothers me. But this? this irked me. Maybe it’s because I see myself as something of a Pokémon expert and losing so badly felt a little like being exposed as an imposter. But it’s not like I’m all that competitive in Pokémon either, I enjoy the games for the collecting aspect and for the story I don’t take part in the online competitive battles so while I consider myself an expert I have no illusions of being–as Ash Ketchum would call it–a Pokémon Master as far as battling or strategy go. Still, losing to Jake bothered me. So I went home and downloaded the TCG app onto my iPad in order to hone my skills and prepare myself for a rematch I refused to lose. I’m proud to say that my training–combined with an entirely different deck–paid off big time. I won each of the three rematch games. As silly as it sounds, it was a win I really needed. It felt good to be reminded that sometimes you just need to get up when you fall and make sure you come back stronger than you were.