Written by Sara Giampa Kease
As we prepare to bunker down for the colder months, reluctantly saying goodbye to Summer; we still relish in what the change in season has to bring. Looking forward to cosy nights on the couch, sitting around open fires, wintery weekend aways, and a favourite indoor pastime…. board games.
The card and table top games industry has had a huge resurgence over the past few years. There is a whole new world out there, and it is so much more than Monopoly or Scrabble. The categories have grown, the themes are vast, the artwork is amazing, the boxes are beautiful and the game pieces are more unique than ever.
YouTube channels like “Watch it played“, give viewers simple reviews and rundowns of game plays, making it easier for a very broad audience to research and discover new games.
We have reviewed a few of our favourite games, which span over a few different categories, there really is something for everyone!
Trails is a 2-4 player game where you can explore iconic lands marks and national parks in the US.
Players/hikers move along trails, take pictures and encounter wildlife to gain bonuses. At the beginning and end of a trail, you can turn in resources to earn badges, after which you start back in the other direction.
Night falls over the trail as the players visit the end and this is when trail sites grant more powerful actions, but they won’t last forever. When the sun leaves the trail, the last round of play takes place, then the player with the most points from collected badges, photos taken, and bird sightings wins.
“Trails invites you to take a leisurely stroll in the beautiful outdoors. Enjoy a relaxing hike collecting acorns, spotting wildlife, and earning wilderness badges… It’s time to hit the trails!” – description from the publisher Keymaster Games.
Our rating: 7/10. Beautiful artwork and production of pieces/board, 20-40 minute playing time and retails for around $40, which is a great price point. Only negative is that after a few plays it can be a little repetitive.
Set in the lights of a 1950’s US fairground, this 2-6 player cooperative murder mystery deduction game is a real treat. The players play as psychics, (except for 1 play, who plays as a ghost) and they are armed with the task of investigating the disappearance of the park’s former director. The ghost sends visions with illustrated cards and it is the psychic’s job to try to interpret them in order to rule out certain suspects and locations. The ghost can’t talk, so they need to find vision cards that can help each investigator determine who their assigned innocent person/location is.
Welcome to Mysterium Park! Its cotton candies, its circus, its dark secrets… You have only six nights before the carnival leaves town… Open your minds and find the truth! – description from the publisher Libellud.
Our rating: 9/10. Amazing detail in the vision cards, 30-45 minute playing time, easy to teach and quick set up.
A “spot the imposter” social deduction party game that is a lot of fun for 4-8 players.
In Snakesss, you deal out the cards and try to answer a multiple-choice question in 2 minutes, with the rest of the players. The more people who get it right, the more points you get — unless, of course, you get one of the snake cards. All the snakes already know the answer, so their job is a bit simpler. To score points, they have to sabotage the discussion and mislead the other players.
“Never trust a player with all of the answers, the snake’s mission is charm other players into picking the wrong option.” – description from the publisher Big Potato Games.
Our rating: 9/10. Lot of laughs, 30 minute playing time, easy to teach, easy to play and quick set up. A great introduction to social deduction elements.
The Fugitive is a tense two player deduction card game, that you can play in 10 minutes! A quick and intense chase between the Fugitive, who is trying to escape town, and the Marshal, who is trying to catch him before he does.
If you’re the Fugitive, you draw cards and play them as Hideouts in order to escape. If you’re the Marshal, you draw cards to get more information to uncover the Fugitive’s hideouts. A game that definitely keeps both players minds working, after one game, you will want to get back in there and play the next.
Our rating: 7/10. Fast paced, easy to play and a good mind workout. A challenge regardless of which role you play.
The Mind is a fun and addictive game for 2-4 players. It falls under the banner of cooperative limited communication.
You need to play cards in ascending order without sharing any information about your hand.
The game is played over a number of levels based on how many players are participating. In the first level each player will have one card each and as a team you will try to play those cards in ascending order (there are 100 number cards in the game). You’ll have two cards each in the second level, three each in the third level, and so on.
The challenge is that you are not allowed to say what is in your hand, so you need to get a feel for how others are playing.
“The Mind is the ingenious, addictive and ridiculously fun game that everyone is buzzing about. How do you know what is in someone’s hands without speaking? How do you make the right decision when the game is on the line? The answers lie in this little box. But beware, once you enter The Mind, you will not be able to think about anything else. And while the rules are simple, surviving every level is anything but…” – description from the publisher Pandasaurus Games.
Our rating: 8/10. Easy to play and teach, a great teamwork game, and you don’t need to worry about those competitive friends/family. Best with 4 players.
Image courtesy of Keymaster Games, shared for the purpose of reviewing TRAILS.
Written by Sara Giampa Kease
Published 20 April 2023.
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