Kit here to say a few words about my love of board games. I have a lot of looooove for games in general.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always lived in a house with board games and at least two decks of cards, then later video games. I grew up in a family that played all the classics: Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Monopoly, Rumoli, Scrabble, Payday, Clue, Life and a lot of cards—Go Fish, Hearts, Crazy Eights, Euchre, Poker, Gin, Rummy, Damn, Bullsh#t and the list goes goes on.
Some of my fondest memories involve my father trying to teach me Chess (no thanks!) and my grandfather teaching me to play Cribbage (hell ya, any day). I’m fortunate that my grandfather is still alive and to this day whenever we got together before the Pandemic, we always played crib. It’s a tradition. Also a tradition, me catching him cheating.
My tastes in board games and card games have evolved over the years. Long gone are the days where, as an only child, I spent afternoons learning to riffle cards without bending the crap out of them or playing a crazy number of solitaire variants. (Around the Clock and Spider Solitaire are still my top two favourites.) I’m still crazy about cards. I love the feel of holding them, shuffling them, and flipping them over. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that I am a big fan of games that contain deckbuilding as a mechanic.
Currently, I have three favourites, Hogwarts Battle, Hogwarts Battle Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Legendary Encounters: X-Files.
Don’t let Hogwarts Battle intimidate you. When you unpack the game, you’ll find a core deck and then 7 game boxes, each representing Harry’s seven years at Hogwarts. Players begin with Box 1, follow the instructions and will find the game somewhat easy as you get used to the gameplay. When you’re ready to level up, unpack the second box, add the extra cards inside, and learn a new rule, then begin playing.
I won’t lie to you, as you unpack more of the boxes, the game does get more challenging, even moreso when you add the expansions, but that’s what I love about the game. I also love that you can customize the setup for each game and play solo with only one character (if you have about 1-2 hours to kill.) I tried their recommended epic version of the game but had to abandon it, because my mind shut down after the two hour mark.
If this game sounds too complicated, you can always try Hogwarts Battle Defense Against the Dark Arts. This is a 2-player game and is set up like a duel. You still get a whopping deck of cards that modify each player’s turns, but the turns are less complicated and once you familiarize yourself with the cards, your turns will speed up.
Sean and I can usually get through three games in an evening if our duels don’t get too long. Sometimes they do, probably because we play rather ruthlessly against each other now and have our trash talk honed to a fine art. 😉
And when I need a break from the Harry Potter universe, I play Upper Deck’s Legendary Encounters: X-Files. This was an expensive game and I’m not a fan of how it lacks a proper insert for protecting the cards, but I do love the game. This game is deckbuilding pure and simple, and comes with cards and a mat and nothing else.
However, don’t be fooled. The components and gameplay may be uber mainstreamed and there’s less to remember and manage for each turn than Hogwarts Battle, this game is not easy to win. I’m okay with that. Like I said earlier, I love a challenge. And like Hogwarts Battle, you can play this game solo with only one character, and I have won it playing solo. Barely.
Yes, these games all belong to licensed franchises. I’m a fan of both Harry Potter and X-Files, among other IPs. I’m a writer at heart, and I love board games that are born out of or tie into narratives. So why am I not talking about more hardcore rpg games like Dungeons & Dragons? Well, that’s a long story. If you’d like to hear it, let me know by leaving Yes, please! in the comments below.
Hope to hear from you. 🙂