Games I’m great at.

Greetings All,

Let me start off by saying that I did get the request for an author profile for myself since “The Husband” and “The Bartendar” did theirs. I will get to it, I promise.

For today, however, I’d like to discuss some games that I excel at. Three in particular. Five Tribes, Splendor, and Concept. Five Tribes and Splendor especially. I’ve actually had people turn down these games as suggestions for game nights because I seldom lose. Talk about frustrating. I love all three games and obviously the fact that I am what my husband call “supernaturally gifted” at these games makes me want to play, but in all honesty each game is fantastic and deserves more game play.

Please keep reading to find out more about these games and a bit of my strategy. Please keep in mind that this post isn’t going to be full-blown reviews, I will do separate reviews of these games in the future. Also note that not all of my strategy will be mentioned in this blog, I mean a great deal of my game groups have access to this and I enjoy winning too much. Haha.

five tribes

Five Tribes by Days of Wonder

Five Tribes takes place in Naqala after the death of the Sultan. Your job is to manuever the five tribes (represented by different colored meeples) to gain control over the land. This game is essentially advanced Mancala with meeples and camels. It is insanely fun. The biggest part about this game is being able to plan several moves in advance. It’s important to make back up plans as well, which I am pretty good at. I’ve noticed that most people I play with will be very obvious when they count with their eyes and sometimes you can hear them counting under their breath. This is by far the biggest downfall of the game. It is very easy to block someones moves when you know what they’re doing. There are days when I will count under my breath or follow the board with my eyes and I’ll do this in several directions to keep everyone on their toes and then when they try several times to take my lead and fail they just stop. After that it’s easy to just relax and focus on the real moves I want to make. By this time everyone is so ticked off that they keep guessing wrong, they don’t even try to take the move I’m making obvious. It’s a jerky underhanded move, but it is wildly effective. I will include an instructional video and the rules, but as I said I will do a review in the future.

splendor

Splendor by Days of Wonder and Space Cowboys

In Splendor you are a gem merchant. Your procure these lovely tokens representing gems, which helps you to procure permanent gems represented on cards that you buy with said gems. This all done in hopes of accruing enough points to win. Some cards have point values on them, but you can also accrue points by attracting nobles with your permanent gems. It’s very quick to learn and is a game that newbies will be able to keep up with table veterans easily. In this game I focus less on the nobles and more on slowly working towards large valued cards. While everyone else is focusing on getting the proper cards to pull nobles, I’m taking whatever I can get and waiting the that one slip up from another player that allows me to grab a high value card. I’ve actually tried going for nobles a few times and failed miserably. Please see the attached video and read the rules. 🙂

concept

Concept by Asmodee

Concept is a party game and is probably my favorite party game ever. It involves using your specific main subject marker and cubes to mark pictures on a board in order to convey something from the card you’ve drawn. It could be anything really. My least favorite are phrases… it is incredibly frustrating trying to convey a phrase with pictures. Some always adds an extra “s” to the sentence, or an “ing”. One subject that come up multiple times is Joan of Arc, so people usually mark “woman” as their main subject, followed by a cube on “history or real”, “conflict”, “death”, and “religion”. I don’t believe it has ever been incorrectly guessed at my table. Anyhow, you get points based on how much the subject was worth on the card and there is a cut off, but at my table things can get out of hand when we are all yelling at each other for not taking the “ing” off of the phrase, or thinking that “Shark Week” is the answer for what is clearly “Jaws”…idiots. Haha. Honestly, with this game everyone is just screaming answers loudly and I’ve almost always won by just keeping my mouth shut and waiting for the cue that we are close with our guesses. Not much else to it.  I will include a video and rules with this one as well.

To sum this up, I win because I stay quiet and my “metagame” is on point. No one focuses on the person not bringing attention to themselves. People get frustrated and confused when I start talking about “what I would do if I were them” or how “I’ve all but lost the game.” I plan ahead, I mislead… I would so far as to say I play rough. These are dirty ways to win, but when you’ve got a proven technique… you stay with it. It’s always good to have a back up plan though. I can say from experience that once your group catches on you will need to readjust. Sometimes I feel bad that these games don’t get played and I think about changing my strategy entirely, but if I’m being honest with myself I’m too competitive and I like winning too much. To quote It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia here… “When I’m doing good in the game, it’s like I’m doing good in life.” I laugh when people don’t want to play certain games with me, but it also sucks. I don’t want great games to be left out just because the level of skill or in my case sneakiness is so vast.

I love all of these games and I hope you enjoyed reading this. I’ll be doing a post about games that I absolutely suck at soon. Please follow us on WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. Give us a like and a share if you are so inclined. Please remember to click on the attached hyperlinks for more information regarding these games and their publishers. Thank you all for being so wonderful and until next time… live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Castle Panic Attack (I made a funny about my anxiety, haha)

Greetings All,

I’ve got to tell you that I wrote, rewrote, and erased this post probably about a dozen times. I’m not very good about writing about my feelings and getting my point across. I’m more of an over the phone type person. Any who, between my husband asking me to put this up and some of you asking me to elaborate of how board games have helped my anxiety, here I am.

Let me start off by saying that anxiety varies, some people have mini panic attacks or stress induced sweat caused by the tiniest of things and for others it takes a great deal of pressure to evoke a reaction. I’ve had panic attacks that last for seconds and I’ve had some that had long-lasting effects, I’m talking the entire day. These things aren’t jokes or cries for attention. People with anxiety, just like any other mental illness are actually suffering.

I happen to have panic attacks brought on by the smallest of things, sometimes even something as simple as people chewing too loud. I have a great deal of trouble in crowded areas, stores are a nightmare for me, but sometimes even game nights cause issues. I know it’s cheesy and cliché’, but my husband greatly improves my anxiety. Where as my kids make it so much worse… Going to the store with four rowdy kids is very intense.

At game nights I occasionally have an attack, it has nothing to do with who’s there. I can be around people I am 100% comfortable with and still get worked up. A couple of years ago, we just started warning new comers by saying “Hey I have a bit of anxiety please don’t take it personal and please don’t judge me.”. Now, sometimes this worked like a charm and sometimes I’d be stared at all night, like people were waiting for it to happen. So I had to develop techniques to focus on the task at hand and calm my self down before it became a show. As much as I love International Tabletop Day, it takes a great deal of effort to stay focused.

Now on to the helpful board games. I’ve found that really focusing on specific parts of game helps. Games like Five Tribes (intense Mancala) are great for this. It is a game night favorite for me. Staring at the board to calculate and count up my next move and several back up moves in case mine get taken…is hypnotic. I hate to say this, but I think anxiety actually helps me with Five Tribes. I’m certain that if I wasn’t so busy trying not to focus on relieving my attack that I wouldn’t be so engrossed in the game strategy. Then you have games like Castle Panic and Love Letter that for me are so automated that if I need a break from the room I can literally block out everything and play those games in my sleep. I’m not sure if this is because of my love for these games or because I’ve played so many times, but when I say automated… I mean it.

On to the not so helpful games… There are games that I love like Dixit, Codenames, or Concept that just increase pressure if I’m experiencing an attack. In all of these games you are giving hints and such keep the game going . Something fun like giving the table a silly hint towards your Dixit card can become something horrible like: Was my hint good enough? Did I make it too easy? Too hard? Am I going to get any points? What if no one understands my hint? What if I got my Pop Culture reference wrong? It is exhausting, which is why I try my best to never play trivia games. There are also games like Ticket to Ride (love) and Disc Duelers (like) that become so competitive that it turns into an angry situation. We have an intense group of friends, my husband and myself included… and when someone takes the six train route on TTR that you’ve just got the final card for or someone knocks you off the table in Disc Duelers, it becomes a glaring match and sometimes a screaming match. For the most part my game night attendees are close to us, that these angry moments are because we are comfortable enough to say ‘Hey you d!ck! You took my route!”.

I want to clarify that when I say helpful and not so helpful, IT DOES NOT reflect the quality of the game itself. For instance I said I love Dixit, Codenames, and Concept… well I do, and they are party games. They are games that usually mean I’m in a bigger group. That isn’t always a bad thing, in fact, if not for party games I’d probably never be around that many people… so kudos to party games for making me less of a hermit. I absolutely love Ticket to Ride, it’s probably my favorite game, but it gets intense. I do not dislike Disc Duelers, I just have NEVER had a relaxed game of that (my husband refers to it as RPG battle pogs.) It is still a great game for a group… that you are comfortable with. Do not play that with strangers.

Moral of the story is, do not let anxiety hold you back. Although some games are not helpful to my anxiety… I would not trade my gaming experiences for the world. Each time I play it brings me closer to working though my issues, each time I play I feel closer to my friends and family. I try not to avoid games with the exception of a few, and even then, I do try play and enjoy myself. Not every game is going to help you and not every game is going to make things worse, but at the end of the day, you still played games didn’t you? You didn’t let your worries stop you and that itself is worth it. I’m sorry about how long this post was, but I do hope that it helped someone. Please look at board game names as there will be links attached to them. If any of you want to ask me questions please feel free.  If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-Livingbytheboard