I am notorious for my passion for board games. Over a hundred games lie in every possible available inch of space in my home. Believing in the adage that the family who plays together stays together, board game night is an essential ingredient of family bonding. What was pure recreation, over a period of time, subconsciously cultivated creative skills in my children: writing school essays, captioning, out of the box thinking and darn good Instagram and Facebook posts. A lot of credit goes to the games we have played over the years.
One is never too old to play games. On the contrary, they are back in vogue, and on a given night, there will be 8 to 10 youngsters sprawled over our dining table, having a jolly good time. Many a dull night is livened by the sound of laughter coursing through our home.
We play party, strategy, trivia and role playing games but the firm family favourites are those which challenge our creativity or test our word ability. I find these a great way to cure writer’s block too. The ideas flow and the words dance around gaily.
Here they are in no particular order.
- Dixit: Using a deck of cards illustrated with dreamlike images, players select cards that match a title suggested by the “storyteller”, and attempt to guess which card the “storyteller” selected. A surreal experience at every level.
- Balderdash: Balderdash contains several cards with real words nobody has heard of. After one of those words has been read aloud, players try to come up with definitions that at sound plausible, because points are later awarded for every opposing player who guessed that your definition was the correct one. Bluffing has never been so much fun.
- Funny Business: Players randomly select two different business cards and then try to come up with a clever name for their unlikely merger. If your name wins the most votes, you’re the man! A top dollar game indeed.
- Word on the Street: Players try to claim letter tiles from the game board, in teams or individually. It is competitive, challenging and compelling.
- Caption it: The funniest caption wins. Select one of your caption cards and match it to the picture card in play. You will be grinning and guffawing in no time.
- Pass the Bomb: Players try to come up with a word that contains a certain sequence of letters before the ticking time-bomb in their hands explodes. Feel the adrenalin of relief as you pass the bomb to the next player.
- Perpetual Notion: A word game where players add successive words and must identify something that fits the growing description. When challenged, declare the word you have in mind and if the others agree, you win. A rolling stone does gather moss, in perpetual motion, oops, notion.
- Once Upon a Time: One player is the Storyteller, and creates a story using the ingredients on her cards. She tries to guide the plot towards her own ending. The other players try to use cards to interrupt her and become the new Storyteller. All in all, everyone lives happily ever after.
- Concept: The goal is to guess words through the association of icons. The concept is simple. the execution is challenging.
- Wise and Otherwise: Board Game Geek (my life source for board games) describes this wisely as Confucius plays Balderdash. A player reads the first part of an old saying or proverb to the group and the remaining players must secretly write an ending for the proverb which is put to vote. This game wins my vote, for sure.
- Mysterium: Imagine Cluedo meets Dixit in a game of cooperation and investigation with an asymmetrical gameplay. Whether playing the ghost or a medium, you will enjoy the experience nonetheless. Trust me.
- The Storymatic: Created by a writer. Simply draw two gold-colored cards to reveal characteristics of your tale’s new hero or heroine. Then the copper cards provide the situation or motivation that puts your tale into motion. Who knows, it may kickstart your next big story.
Play. It’s your turn.
Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released later this year.