Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Board games that won't result in divorce

Every so often I take a look at boardgamegeek to see what new board games are worth getting hold of. Board games in our house are sometimes a bit of a sore point. There was a particularly unpleasant game of Monopoly once, when we had guests round, which ended up in people shouting at each other in the street... So I'm always on the lookout for games which won't cause too many arguments...

Recently I've bought Last Night on Earth, and Pandemic, both which are pretty fun to play, and are described as being "co-operative"... Interesting...

Last Night on Earth is a zombie game - one player is the zombies, the other player(s) take the role of townspeople (high school jock, vicar, nurse, sherrif etc). There are various scenarios to play, but most of them involve trying not to get turned into a zombie. The game has tried to use lots of conventions from zombie films (there's even a cd of atmospheric zombie film music to listen to as you're playing). So, for example, one card makes your character rush into a house to retrieve a useless object, another makes two characters miss a turn while they have sex, and another makes someone heroically try to save someone, even though they don't stand a chance of winning. It's pretty difficult to win (as the humans) - the best I managed was to fend off the zombies as they gradually closed in. When I played the zombies, I kept going after the high school jock, who proved to be the slowest and most inept jock in history.

Pandemic is also a co-operative game - which, considering the arguments and sulks that board games tend to bring out in my house, is probably a good idea. The players make up a team of people who have to cure four diseases which are threatening to take over the world. You move around the board, trying to clean up the worst outbreaks, while trying to collect cards that let you find cures. If the outbreaks get too bad, they spiral out of control and result in all adjacent cities getting infected too. Then you lose. We played two games of this tonight, and in both cases it was Diseases 1, Humans 0. At least we both lost - so there was no unpleasant gloating!

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