I changed jobs late last year and was pleasantly surprised to discover that a number of the find computer geeks I work with are also card and board game nerds too. In a given week we seem to get through three to four games of varying pedigree over the lunch hour. Naturally we play a common games like Carcassonne and occasionally Magic, but also a bunch of games I’ve not been exposed to before.
A group favourite from Adam’s collection is Race for the Galaxy, which as the title suggests is a race to build the highest scoring galactic civilisation. Also like a typical race, there’s no interaction between the competitors. It does however have an interesting mechanic where players decide which phases of a turn occur in any given turn, so a canny player can sort of parasitically benefit from the other player’s choices. This is a card game you can finish in under an hour, even with four to five players and each game is varied enough that we’ve gone weeks just playing Race.
Andrew has dragged out Clans once, which I found to be an enjoyable game of diminishing resources and escalating scoring with a single core mechanic that sort of feels like crystals forming in a solution. Possibly it’s a little too simple though as we haven’t replayed in the three months I’ve worked so far, although I’d happily try it again. It plays quickly too so you can get a couple of games in over an hour.
Zombie Fluxx is a card game that Adam bought in for comparison after I purchased a copy of Munchkin from Board-Games.co.nz. Having played Zombie Fluxx over a lunchtime this week I have to say I wish I’d purchased it instead of Munchkin! It has the same kind of ‘beer and pretzels’ feel of Munchkin, plays in a similar fast and furious fashion, and has the same large element of luck but the Fluxx mechanic of playing cards to change the game rules (including the victory conditions) is just a little deeper and more interesting than Munchkin. Plus you know, it’s got a Zombie theme, which actually works quite well with the rather abstract game.
In closing I’m also surprised to find how relaxing a midday board game is. I work in IT as a software enginner, which while not a physically draining job, certainly can be a mentally tiring one. Board and card games are an intellectual exercise too of course, but they’re also social affairs. Something about a game over lunch keeps my mind sharp enough to head back into the code in the afternoon, but is sufficiently different to refresh me as well. Possibly it’s the invigorating smack talk that goes on during the games. If you have the means I’d seriously recommend getting a gaming group together at your office.
I’m also interested to hear any recommendations for interesting board or card games that can be played with three to five people in around an hour. Any suggestions dear visitors?