Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Top Five Favorite Board Games.

I absolutely L-O-V-E board games. They require you to take part in a fanciful game of wits and will in a purely physical setting. Sure, video games are fun... but a board game puts you right up against your competition -- mano-a-mano! Tonight, I want to share my top five favorite board games (in no particular order).

Othello - Originating from the game Reversi invented in the late 1800's, Othello is a simple game where you must attempt to flip as many discs as possible to your color (white or black) on a square grid. The game is easy to learn, but extremely difficult to master. I've played it for over twenty years and wouldn't consider myself an experienced player at all. To succeed, a certain measure of anticipation comes into play -- you must be able to predict how and when your opponent will react to your moves. Having a sensible instinct can determine the outcome even before the first move is executed. The modern version of Othello was trademarked in Japan in the early 1970's by the Tsukuda Original Company. Since then, the Japanese have dominated the Othello World Championship.

Monopoly - We all know and love this classic real estate trading game! Monopoly comes from Parker Brothers, whom first released the game in 1933. Original versions of the game board were circular and not square! The real estate pieces used in the game are based upon actual places in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I always try to lock up the Purple and Orange properties if possible. The Purples (Mediterranean Ave. and Baltic Ave.) are cheap to acquire and produce much needed income in the short game, while the Oranges (St. James Place, Tennessee Ave. and New York Ave.) are statistically-speaking the most landed on spaces in the game. My favorite classic piece? The top hat! Here's an interesting piece of trivia -- the United Kingdom version of Monopoly changes Baltic Ave. to Whitechapel Road. What's so interesting about that? Whitechapel is the area that Jack the Ripper committed his gruesome murders! Chilling!

Risk - This should require little explanation. In Risk, you attempt to conquer the world! For a Moriarty-esque would-be-tyrant such as myself, it's a pure passion play! In my experience, the secret to winning Risk is not to back yourself into a corner. Try to occupy as many territories as possible (preferably entire continents), even if you feel you're stretching yourself thin. Remember - units can always be moved and occupying more continents adds to your troop development bonus. You can approach Risk from three different perspectives -- the turtle (all defense), the snake (targeted strikes) or the octopus (tentacles everywhere). BE THE OCTOPUS!

Key to the Kingdom - Wow... what a game. Key to the Kingdom is a fantasy adventure where you must traverse a dangerous world full of monsters and villains. As a treasure-seeking knight, you hope to enter this dangerous world, retrieve one of the hidden treasures and escape. Along the way, you're forced to complete various missions with tools and weapons. Beware! The evil Demon King stalks you around the board at every turn! The great thing about Key to the Kingdom is that the board is interactive. You can jump through "whirlpools" in the board, which causes it to open up and expose a much larger playing area. I can't recommend Key to the Kingdom enough!

Chess - The perennial classic! Chess challenges you against another human in a pure game of wit. Learning how all of the pieces move is daunting enough, but predicting your opponent's game-plan is even harder. Gaining early control of the center of the board is important for success, as is maintaining a strong defense for your back row. Don't be afraid to sacrifice a pawn to achieve a greater tactical advantage (that's what they're for). Be cautious of employing your more important pieces too early - you're sure to lose them. My favorite piece? The Rook. Yet another game I've played all my life, but have not completely mastered (and I probably never will). One of my favorite versions of Chess is the video game classic Battle Chess. Any child of the '80s whom played with a computer should remember this legendary game. Watching the various pieces massacre each other is hilarious! Here's a fantastic video of all the death scenes from Battle Chess.

What are some of your favorite board games?

No comments:

Post a Comment