Game Night [NOT 9/10/21]

In today’s Brain Drain @lochaber was kind enough to give me a quick review on a game that I have been hesitant to buy. It has been on my wish list for awhile but I never got around to it.

Pre-pandemic, I would get together with some friends to play Risk and drink some beer; I also got together with a different set of friends to play cards and drink beer.

What games do you play?



  1. It’s been forever since I’ve done group parlour games, but I did so love Cranium back in the day. Balderdash is also fun with the right assemblage of players. During stay-at-home times last year I was roped into a Zoom trivia night and found that, not only was I decently good at it in that format, but also that I’m a hair’s breadth shy of Monica Geller levels of competitiveness. So that’s an occasional activity, for my own well-being and that of others.

  2. I am a huge fan of games of chance but I’m not going to respond to this because I need fodder for my occasional Notes From A Traveler. This is an excellent topic.

    As a preview, and where I’ll begin, I’ll mention that I learned numbers by playing simple card games with my grandmother. It was only a matter of time that, many years later, I found myself in the Monte Carlo Casino. (The one in Monaco, not the one in Las Vegas, if they have one.)

  3. We used to play Cards Against Humanity  – without paying attention to how offensive some of the cards were – until one of the fam started questioning them – so we stopped. We usually play Apples to Apples, National Parks Monopoly(it’s the only one we have for some reason) and some non descript trivia game someone got one Xmas. Weirdly, we haven’t played any games in a while – so maybe now is the time to start again.

  4. I love boardgames! I have so many recommendations. Here’s a short list:


    Settlers of Catan, Quadropolis, The Castles of the Mad King Ludvig, One Deck Dungeon, Pandemic, Arkham Horror.

  5. My oldest step-daughter and her husband are major gamers–video, role playing, and board.  They have so many board games they needed an entire room to store them all.  When they come here, they will always bring a few to choose from.  I can’t remember the names of most of them, but one game that I really like is called The Captain Is Dead.  It’s a game where everyone has to work together, not compete against each other, which I like much better.  Plus, the game is fun as hell.

  6. I play poker, but not often.  Prefer 5 card stud over Texas Hold’em mostly because it doesn’t take a single hand to lose all your money.

    Used to have a group of friends to play bar Trivia.  We were the disgusting team of know it alls who thumped our league regularly.  Won the league championship 7 seasons in a row and 9 out of 11 seasons.  I pretty much owned current events, science, math and baseball.  Music… I was pretty shit.  One friend would have made a fortune at “Name That Tune”.  He was amazing at it.  Other folks had their specialties like Art and Literature or 80s or sports.  We had enough covered that we were very tough to beat.  Won a lot of free nachos and drinks in 5 years.  We stopped because life happened and it wasn’t fun any more.

    I used to play Avalon Hill war games, but now I just collect them.  The one thing I hated was the hours of setup to get to a minor battle and then it would take even longer to settle.  Squad Leader was fun, but it took hours to solve a firefight.  Still less infuriating than Risk can be.  The last time I played with adults, one guy  (not me) threw a temper tantrum (he felt we ganged up on him) and flipped the board so we haven’t played since.

    I did play/enjoy role playing games as a nerdy teen.  It was also the scene of one of my most embarrassing moments when I threw a temper tantrum after my favorite DnD character (a righteous Paladin) got killed.


  7. I like table top RPGs, and one of my old groups that just sorta dissolved is struggling to get back together and run some sessions remotely.  It’s a pretty cool group, so I’m glad at the reassembly.  Finding a good group for RPGs can be difficult, on top of just normal personality conflicts, there are differences in player goals, and I feel like there are a lot of problematic people in the RPG community.


    I like some of the geekier board games, but don’t have a lot of experience, so not much specific comes to mind.


    I sometimes play some computer games, but I’m already bad at time management, and lacking free time, so that can cause some problems…  Plus, I tend to hate buying new games, both because they can be rather expensive when first released, and also it seems like a lot of them are released before they are ready, and are letting the public pay to be the beta testers.  🙁

    I’ve been playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker on the computer, and feel it’s a really great adaptation of a tabletop RPG to the computer.  I’ve been pretty happy with it so far, although I haven’t felt like playing it as much since my table-top group started up again.

    No gaming system, just my linux laptop, so that kinda limits what’s available to me.  And then I can have some pretty specific/unusual requirements.  I don’t like first-person or real-time, I like the top-down, turn-based type games better.  And I like a certain amount of random encounters, respawning monsters, or other option to ‘grind’ if I’m feeling underpowered.  It’s annoying when a game forces you to ‘grind’ as part of game play, but I often make suboptimal characters, and sometimes would rather just spend an hour killing rats in the tavern basement or similar…  Really loved the old Fallout and Fallout 2.  As mentioned to @KeitelBlacksmith, I feel that Wasteland 2 is very similar to Fallout 2 in general game play, and I really liked it.  (I hope he does too, and that I didn’t just give him really bad advice…), and I’m looking forward to the price dropping on Wasteland 3  There are a few small studio games I really liked – the Exile and Avernum series by Spiderweb software (back in the 90s-00s) I used to absolutely love, but then the developer specifically went out of their way to disable single character parties, which was how I really liked playing it.  I know it wasn’t aimed at ME personally, but it did feel like it was targeted at the group of players who favored that play style, and did feel almost personal…  Anyways, I don’t think they make their stuff for linux anyways, so…  Eschalon was another series I really liked, Basilisk games, I think?  the first game (Eschalon Book I ) is available for free, both on, and I think from the developer’s website.  maybe steam as well, I don’t really use steam at all.  Exiled Kingdoms is another neat one I encountered recently, and I think the developer is still working on it/expanding it.  I think it’s using an open-source RPG game engine, but it’s still a pretty decent game for just a one(two?) person team.  pretty decent worldbuilding and story as well.  I liked the Shadowrun games – both Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun Dragonfall were pretty cool.  But I just couldn’t get through the opening chapter on Shadowrun HongKong, and even trying again today, on easy mode, with a previous problem solved (couldn’t get a drone for my decker/rigger), I’m still getting cut down three rounds in.  Maybe some other day…  Also giving ATOM RPG a re-try, I forget why I stopped playing it, hopefully it was just a mistake, and not a game/player incompatibility…


    • I loved playing Civilization and various other 4X games.  Various strategy games.  I even enjoyed Command and Conquer type Real Time “strategy” stuff.  For reflex stuff, combat flight sims.

      The problem is that they don’t make those kind of games anymore so I stopped playing.  Also, I don’t have much time for that (oh how I wish I did.)

      It’s like Star Wars has become for me, meant for a younger audience.

  8. We used to have game night with the kids & it was usually Mexican Train Dominoes, Catan, Exploding Kittens or Farkle.  I used to be good at Balderdash back when we would do it while drinking with friends & when I was even more full of shit!

  9. The games I play most are Pokémon Go and for a few more days** Dr. Mario World–a tetris-style game, where you match the colors of your “pill” to various little virus guys and obstacles (to destroy the obstacle)…


    I like it, and am bummed it’s going away, buuuuut I also get that it’s just not popular enough to keep going.

    I’ll probably try to find some other tetris-style app to replace it… but this one was also nice, because it didn’t request a bunch of permissions on your phone, or burn a ton of battery.


    Because I’m such a news & random-information geek, I also tend to love trivia–i used to play trivia with friends at a suburban bar *every week* twice a week (Music Trivia & Movie Trivia), but eventually the DJ that ran it quit working at that bar (this was a few years before “Trivia Mafia” became huge as a bar-trivia company here), and the bar closed a couple years later, too.


    Like a bunch of y’all, we had a good mix of folks who were “the regulars” on our team, so we often placed in the winning groups, and got part of the tab comped/free appetizers/ *something*.


    And the non-trivia games I used to play most often with the previous roommates were Apples to Apples and CAH.


    One board game i love, but haven’t seen mentioned yet, is Stratego.


    Gameplay-wise, i’d say it’s a bit like if Battleship, Checkers, and Chess all had a baby together. Because you have two colors of pieces, playing on a 10×10 board (like checkers), like chess the various pieces have different possible movements and designations, and like battleship you’re trying to capture the enemy’s weaponry/people and prized possession (the Flag).


    It’s a strategy game to an extent, and a bunch of my classmates and I LOVED playing it around 2nd grade. It was much more fun & interesting than the classic kids games like chutes & ladders, candy land, checkers, connect 4, etc. that most teachers have in their classrooms, and I even got it for Chris from my dad again, a few years back😉… Buuuut it’s a 2-player game, so I still haven’t played it again in a decade or more (since shortly after I got it from him).




    (**Nintendo is “discontinuing service on the game, so presumably there weren’t enough of us playing it and spending money there?)

    • I think I remember Stratego, I think we found a version of it in Elementary/Middle School.  And then later on, i think I found a shareware/pirated/whatever version for Apple when I was in school.  That was kinda cool, cause I could play solo against the computer, but the AI was pretty basic, and there were one or two setups/strategies that would work a good 2/3 of the time, so it kinda became less fun after a bit…

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