6 Fun Tabletop Games
I’m gonna be straight with you for a moment. I was one of those people, unaware of my own geekiness, who made fun of other people who played Dungeons & Dragons. Seemed like the cool thing to do. I had no real scrutiny against the game, just that I always pictured skinny/overweight, awkward teenagers with skin problems playing someone’s basement with the lights dimmed. Some of them may or may not be dressed in a cape holding a foam sword. I more or less held on to that stereotype until about three years ago when my would-be friends Shaun and Laura approached me and asked if I wanted play. Hesitant at first, I said, “Why the heck not?”
I willingly ate crow, and it was delicious.
Playing Dungeons & Dragons opened up a whole new door of nerdom I had yet to explore, specifically more tabletop games. Here are six favorites to spice up your gaming life.
1. Lords of Waterdeep
Wizards of the Coast has been expanding past D&D cash cow and offering up more options for those who don’t want to be tied down with a long-term commitment. Rules are simple, expand your influence across the land by recruiting other adventurers and taking quests, and then reaping the rewards afterwards. It’s a game that emphasizes on strategy, and the pace wholly depends on how well each player screws over the other.
2. Warhammer 40k
There are different forms of play with this particular game. I played Deathwatch. You’re a genetically altered human, aka Space Marine. That big-arse armor? It’s literally your second skin. What Dungeons & Dragons is to high-fantasy from the past, Warhammer 40k is to a futuristic science fiction set in a dystopian world. Like picking which race and what role to play in D&D, you get to pick what kind of soldier you want to be. In Deathwatch, there’s an Apothecary (combat medic), a Combat Marine (close quarters fighter), a Librarian (Space Marine psyker, so a wizard equivalent?), a Tactical Marine (leaders), a Techmarine (your IT guy), and a Devastator (heavy). After choosing your role, there are a number of Chapters to choose from, which will give you more traits unique to whatever group to pick.
This quirky card game is a great one for gathering your friends on a Friday or Saturday night and just play for hours. The goal of Munchkin is to reach level 10 before anyone else does. To do that, you must defeat any monster than is pulled from the deck or other means. There’s also a risk of losing a level, so be careful. Since you want to the winner, you have to do whatever is necessary to trip up the other players. What’s that saying in a zombie situation? “I don’t have to outrun them, I just have to outrun you,” to which you blow out the other guy’s knee with an iron pipe and continue fleeing while the zombies feast on your fallen comrade. Same concept. Sort of. There are tons different versions of Munchkin out there now, including their respective expansions. The favorite seems to be anything involving Cthulhu. C’mon, it’s Cthulhu. Of course that’s the favorite.
4. Arkham Horror
Speaking of Cthulhu, Arkham Horror is tile-based board game centered around the mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. Set in Arkham, Massachusetts, gates are suddenly opening all over town. You are a regular citizen trying to survive while more gates open, loosing even more monsters upon your city. The players must fight or avoid the monsters while working to close the gates before the big boss comes to destroy all that you hold dear. While it is possible to beat the game, don’t feel bad when you lose miserably almost every time.
5. Mekton Zeta
Another tabletop war game RPG, but with a savory anime twist. Mekton combines the conventions of mecha anime and science fiction and mashes it all up in one tasty, high-fantasy drama. Mekton Zeta is the latest version of the game (1994), which my group is currently using. So funny story, I’m in a D&D group who decided to take a break from the game and play Mekton Zeta for a bit. I don’t know how other people play the game, but we decided to add story aspects of Pacific Rim into the mix. And Cthulhu. Because why not? You get stats for not only your character, but you mech as well. Get to know each sheet very well. There are a lot of stats to keep track of. You play the game just like what you would see in a mecha anime, complete with whatever character archetype that you happen to roll during character creation. You can roll who or what you want to be, but it’s hilarious and fun to see what fate the d10s have in store for you.
Here’s where my zombie metaphor a while back would have made more sense. Zombies!!! is another tile-based game where you have to get from one spot on the board to another. Players must decide whether to fight the zombies or just avoid them all together, leaving them for other players to fight (how considerate). You can pick up valuable items like health and bullets in any designated building, either to reload or just so others won’t get them. You are trying to win and all. There are cards from which you pull from a deck. Some are event cards and some are zombie movement cards. Depending on your situation, this can either benefit you or just add to the problem. You can totally screw over the other survivors, or help them prevent another survivor from making it to the helipad first. Either way, more zombies make it onto the board.