I’ve always regarded board games as a fun indoor recess activity whenever it rained, an after school treat when homework was finished, or just something to do on the weekends during the days I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. At an early age, board games were a great way to foster the idea of teamwork, collaboration, and healthy competition among children. At a basic level, games like chess, Monopoly, and The Game of Life introduced lessons and applications about the dealings of life we would need later on in life. As an adult, game nights seem to be resurfacing among friend groups as a way to end a long week in a fun way. As I graduated away from games like Scrabble and Monopoly, I was introduced to higher level and complex board games that are enough to keep the adult mind engaged, while also serving as a callback to the simpler times of being held in during recess on rainy days.
In the story in this game, the main character is brutally murdered in his mansion. Several decades later, a group of psychics are called together to the mansion and suddenly receive premonitions from the ghost of the deceased. These premonitions contain symbols that allude to a suspect, a weapon, and a room in the house where the man could have been murdered. It is up to the psychics to decipher these visions from the ghost and figure out which clues were assigned to each psychic, serving as the first step to solve the murder once and for all. In this game, all members of the team – psychics and the ghost – must work together to solve the murder of the main character before time runs out. If the psychics are unable to solve the mystery in time, the ghost’s soul will not be at rest for another ten years, when a different group of psychics will again attempt to solve the murder.
2. Obama Llama
Much more lighthearted than Mysterium, and a hit at every game night I bring it to, Obama Llama tests each player’s knowledge of pop culture and ability to think on their feet at the same time. This rhyming game contains phrases such as “Bill Gates on water skates,” “Britney Spears has bunny ears,” and “Tom Cruise having a snooze,” and it is up to the cardholder to either describe or mime the rhyme on the card, while the members of their team try to guess the phrase listed on their game card. The team that obtains the most paired rhyming cards at the end of the game wins.
3. Bob Ross: Art of Chill
I’ve seen this game at Target many times, and after a few photos were sent to my house group chat, my roommate gave in and bought the game. While the box doesn’t make the game look like much, the game itself is incredibly fun to play, and is easily one of my current favorite board games. The overall objective of the game is to obtain as many paint swatches and brushes as you can, using these tools to complete more paintings than Bob Ross. Though the game uses the tagline, “Mastering the art of chill,” it can get pretty competitive, but is an enjoyable game to play at any game night nonetheless. This game is perfect for those who grew up watching Bob Ross’ show, dreaming of the day they would get the chance to paint alongside him.
4. Space Team
Being further on the end of the high intensity scale, Space Team is bound to get other people’s attention faster than any game of Head’s Up. All players of the game must work together to finish building a spaceship before time runs out by calling out commands to ready the necessary parts of the ship. There is no taking turns or rolling dice in this game – just a lot of energy and a lot more screaming.
5. Snake Oil
To round out this blog post, Snake Oil is a simple card game with a pretty straight-forward premise. In this game, each player takes turns being the customer of a sales pitch, while the other players of the game perform as salespeople. The player playing the customer draws a card to determine their character, and all of the other players sell a product to that character, formulated by combining two Word Cards in their hand. This is a game that requires each player to be able to think on their feet, while delivering a convincing and humorous sales pitch. The customer then chooses the best sales pitch, and the players rotate roles.