This will probably not be a regular Tuesday thing but if I post about boardgames, it’ll probably be on Tuesdays just so I can use the cutesie moniker of Tabletop Tuesday.
Eight years ago, my husband introduced me to his circle of friends. I was invited to one of their weekly game nights to meet the gang.
As we were heading over, I recall asking, “so… uh…is this like Monopoly?”
My husband (then boyfriend) shook his head and said, “No. Not at all like Monopoly.”
Which I probably then replied to with something like, “Good, I hate Monopoly.”
And thus, over a game called Carcassone, my life was irrevocably changed…and life long friendships were forged.
Carcassone was my introduction to the world of the boardgaming genre dubbed “Eurogames” and, once I got a taste, I was hooked.
Forget every preconceived notion you have because of Monopoly and Scrabble.
Forget every awful thing you ever heard about Risk.
These strategy games generally have easy to grasp rules and can handle as much strategy (and hardcore rule following ‘cuz we all have those friends) as you and your friends are willing to put into it.
Carcassone is a fantastic intro to the world of strategy board games for the uninitiated, the scared, or the skeptical. It has very simple mechanics making it very “Eurogame 101: Tabletop Games for the Timid.”
The basics: Place tiles so that no side of the tile conflicts with anything else on the board, place a meeple on the tile either on a road, city, or “farm” to start earning points. Finish the road or city to collect on points and get your guy back to place again. The person with the most points wins.
The strategy: For the n00b, I like this game because, with blind tile draws, it can still be anyone’s game. There’s no guarantee you will grab a tile that will help you so even experienced players might get screwed. However, foresight shouldn’t be totally thrown away. You can use tiles to force opponents to continue building a road in a direction guaranteed to get them stuck. Since, you only get so many meeples to place, you have to consider how you place your tiles and how long you’re willing to let that road get or how big you’re willing to risk building out that city. In the case of farms, you never get that piece back so you have to consider if the risk is worth it.
Why I lurve it: No Carcassone games ever look quite the same. There are all kinds of expansions to keep the game fresh for people who have been playing for a long time or to help make the game more challenging as you get better at it but, honestly, I enjoy the original.
A Few Quick Tips for Tabletop n00bs
Support your local game stores! Plenty of them have nights where you can go, try out a new game, and meet people who are just as excited as you.
Don’t be afraid to be the only girl. Tabletop gamers love to share their love. If they know they have a captive audience, you’re in. Just show a desire to play and learn and you’ll make someone’s day, guaranteed.
Check out BoardGameGeek.com. BoardGameGeek can be overwhelming the first time you go there. I’ve technically been a member for 5 years and I still feel overwhelmed by the layout. Use the left hand navigation panel called “The Hotness” to see what games everyone is really loving right now and if you get super into board gaming get yourself an account later on after you’ve explored the site some.
Have a favorite local shop? Share it in the comments so others can find it, too. 🙂