Board games are great for friends who prefer to spend their days indoors, with the air conditioner on full blast, than to brave the scorching heat outside. Now that you know where you can play board games around Metro Manila, what games should you and your barkada play on your next get-together?
With all of the different board games available, it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed and end up sticking to the obvious choices: Avalon/Resistance, Exploding Kittens, Dixit, and the infamous Cards Against Humanity. While these games are fun, there is a whole world of board games that you and your friends can explore.
Want a quick, easy game that has few rules and perfect for those sabaw moments with your friends? Try these gems:
Tapple is a fun, panic-inducing word game ideal for quick thinkers. You sit around the circular Tapple keyboard with a buzzer in the middle, and one player draws a card with a category on it. Everyone has to say a word that fits the category, but it should start with one of the letters on the board. Once the letter has been used up, you can’t use it again until the round ends. The winner is the last man left standing with the most points.
2. Happy Salmon
Happy Salmon is a fast, silly card game where everyone calls out their card and tries to find a match. Once two players find each other, they have to perform the action on the card, which may include high fives, exchanging places, and slapping each other’s arms like “Happy Salmons”. The first one to perform all actions on their cards wins. Just don’t knock over any chairs while playing!
3-8 players for the standard version, up to 12 players for the party version
If you want sidesplitting fun, you can try out several rounds of Telestrations. This is a variant of the classic schoolyard game, the Telephone Game. You choose a word, write it down on a pad, then pass it to the player beside you, who has to draw a picture of your word. The next player then tries to guess the word by writing it down, and so on until you get your original pad back. This game works especially well with players who don’t know how to draw, as you can get some pretty interesting results after several rounds.
Bluffing and Intrigue
Bluffing and intrigue games are perfect for barkadas who want to practice their poker faces and scheme against each other:
4. Mafia de Cuba
In Mafia de Cuba, one player gets to be the Godfather, entrusting his precious diamonds to his faithful henchmen. Unfortunately, some of the henchmen are thieves, stealing from their Mafia boss. Others are undercover CIA agents. As the Godfather, it’s his job is to weed out the thieves and traitors, and get your stolen diamonds back. This is the perfect opportunity to roleplay an actual Mafioso, lying through your teeth and not get caught in the act.
Lifeboat is a hilarious game of love and hate. You are all survivors of a shipwreck, stuck on a lifeboat in the middle of the sea. Each one of you secretly loves one other player, and secretly hate another. Some of you may try to throw each other off the boat, steal treasure, or bully each other for the best spot on the lifeboat. Your goal is to survive the sea — and each other, until you make landfall.
6. Cash ‘n Guns
In Cash ‘n Guns, you are gangsters splitting your loot in a warehouse. Some of you want a larger share of the loot and are willing to do anything you can to get it. In this game, you form alliances, negotiate tough deals, and threaten each other with (foam) guns. Should you give up your share to avoid getting shot, or hope that the one threatening you is out of bullets? The one with the largest share of the loot wins.
Cooperation games pit the players against the board game, rather than with each other. Deeply immersive with impressive game mechanics, co-op games teach you to use your individual strengths and work together:
7. Forbidden Desert
2- 5 players
From the creator of Pandemic, which is perhaps the most famous of the co-op games, comes Forbidden Desert. In this game, players are trapped in a scorching desert at the mercy of a relentless sand storm. Beneath the sand lies the pieces of a mythical airship, which you have to assemble in order to escape. You have to find water, survive the beating sun, and fly away before the storm buries you all in the sands.
8. Elder Sign
Inspired by the Cthulhu mythos, Elder Sign is a dice game where you have to kill Eldritch monsters and seal the portals to the other world before the dreaded Elder Gods awaken. This is a beautifully designed, high-stakes game of both luck and strategy. It works perfectly whether you have eight players or playing alone (just in case your friends suddenly cancel on you at the last minute 🙁 ).
Zombicide is pretty much “Left 4 Dead, the board game”. With modular boards and cool characters, you fight your way through hordes of bloodthirsty zombies to reach your goals. The objective is different in every game, and the zombies practically play themselves — they spawn at the end of each round and move in a pre-ordained manner, slowly shambling towards your characters. Though easy to learn, winning is challenge as you easily get overwhelmed by zombies.
Bonus: Friendship Destroying Game
Forget Monopoly and Uno — if you want a game that truly tests the strength of your friendship, try this game:
3-4 players for the regular version, up to 6 players with the expansion
Spartacus is based on the cable show of the same name. It pits one player against the other, vying for power and glory while you collect riches and host gladiators in the arena. This clever game is full of intrigue and backstabbing, set in Ancient Rome during an intense struggle for power among all of the noble houses.
Spartacus is so incredibly competitive that even the rule book reminds players that it is just a game that should be played for fun. It is the complete opposite of a cooperative game, but is sure to have you talking about it for days after. Truly recommended.
So get your barkada together and set off to your nearest board game café. Try something new!
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Kallie is just a little weird and doesn't like sunlight very much. She subsists on tea and fancy lip balms.