King of Toyko

Halloween, just a day away, doesn’t have to be all about creepy or scary stuff. No. Sometimes Halloween is just a good excuse to dress up in a costume and have fun… with maybe a little bit of chaos and destruction (watch where your tail swings! It ain’t easy dressing up as Godzilla).

King of Tokyo features giant creatures invading Tokyo. You can win by either gaining enough victory points or by defeating all your other fellow kaijus. There isn’t enough room for all of you to rule Tokyo. This fun and family-friendly game is like Yahtzee on steroids. Similar to Yahtzee, on each turn you roll 6 dice with 2 re-rolls available if you are unhappy with the outcomes. How it differs is these are special icons included in the dice: the energy bolt gains you energy cubes (currency), the monster fist attacks, lowering the health of foe(s), and the heart icon is for self-healing. The cubes are used to buy cards which can give you one-time use advantages, or game-changing one. A single use card could be dropping a bomb that injures all, and a persisting ability card could be if the player successfully attacks another player, they become poisoned and slowly deplete health until they can heal themselves.

When you’re in Tokyo, rolling a fist means you punch everybody else, however their fists means they all hit only you (unless there’s a card modifier in play). Hearts are only usable when outside of Tokyo as well. That’s the sacrifice: stay in Tokyo for the victory points but no chance to heal until you leave. Monsters rotate in when the current monster in the city has had enough, voluntarily leaving and forcing a swap between themselves and the player that gave the current monster a beating.

There a couple more rules but all of it is just as easy to pick up. It’s a fast paced game that anybody can learn. Throw the dice and your fists to claim victory over Tokyo.

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Lock your doors. Board up your windows. Prep your weapon of choice and gather your loved ones. Halloween’s coming and it’s time to enter the fray in Zombicide.

Zombicide was a crowdfunded kickstarter game, and boy we’re glad a horde of people contributed (get it?? Okay no more bad puns). This thematic, miniature adventure-action game comes with several scenarios and is now thriving with expansions, with standalones being called “seasons”.

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This games brings a lot of variety for the players. Feeling friendly tonight? Pick a cooperative scenario. Feeling feisty? There are competitive options for you too. Select your character out of a stack of options, each with their own unique abilities that they gain as they level up. Not only are there a variety of characters to choose from, there are different breeds of zombies to fight: walkers, runners, fatties, abominations, oh my! Even then, these zombie types can come in different forms: toxic zombies are best killed with a ranged attack to prevent collateral injury, and beserkers can only be damaged by melee weapons. There is a lot of layers for strategizing.

One of the things I like about the game is the leveling system. Every time you kill a zombie, or complete an objective, the player gains experience. The game adapts to the highest leveled player, making the last push even sweeter when you defeat the zombie horde (or frustrated when you can’t). Also like mentioned earlier, each player has different bonus abilities gained once they reach certain experience thresholds. Usually when you hit the third level tier, you now have multiple choices. Choose wisely as it’ll be with you the rest of the game. These abilities can be gaining an extra move action, or being able to heal wounds of injured players. These are key to your success.

If you feel like a challenging but satisfying zombie game for this Halloween, give this one a shot. The artwork for the miniatures and boards itself are awesome, there’s an interesting leveling system, and the variety of zombies to defeat are sure to get your blood pumping.

 

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The long awaited game from the designers of Pandemic and Risk Legacy is here! The classic co-op game Pandemic gets even more challenging as the game’s mechanics and rules change each time you play. Unlock new rules, watch as entire cities go dark, and level up your characters to make them more useful in the epidemic that threatens to eradicate humanity.

Looking to terrify your weekly board game nights this Halloween, or maybe just a convenient excuse to dress up? Let Games on the Drive be your ghoulish guide to all things bloody and board games this all hallow’s eve.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

First we have a classic spooky story. You play as one of several different horror character archetypes: the cheerleader, the old priest, the precocious kid, all exploring a mysterious cabin in the middle of nowhere. Gradually the players will build a house full of trap doors, weird curios, and odd weapons which culminates in a “haunt” where one of the players suddenly betrays the others. Perhaps you will fight a werewolf, a host of vampires, or even the devil himself. With over 50 of these haunts, you will be able to have several anxiety filled adventures with your friends.

Gloom

This card game allows you to tell the unfortunate story of one of 5 Victorian families and their gradual demise. The goal is to add unfortunate event cards to your family members, adding up points until you are able to make them meet their inevitable end. You can even play cards that make your opponents’ family members experience momentary joy, making them worthless.

Ladies & Gentlemen

Not a fan of the horror genre, but still want an excuse to dress up? Ladies & Gentlemen allows you and a partner to role play a couple pitted against others trying to make money and look fabulous. One player attempts to make a living in the stock exchange, while the other uses that money to put together a killer outfit for the upcoming ball. Despair as your “husband” fails once again to make enough money for you to buy that killer set of shoes, or try to find the softest way possible to explain to your “wife” that no one was that interested in buying lumber today.

Arkham Horror

Prefer a more existential kind of dread? Inspired by the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham Horror pits players against terrors from beyond the stars. Fight monsters, collect religious relics, and close portals to other universes in order to stop the ascension of otherworldly beings.

Night of the Grand Octopus

A lighter side of Lovecraft, this cute send up of the popular horror writer pits players against each other in a race to summon a tentacled god. Travel around an old school of magic and be the first to find the components and be the clutch cultist. Hopefully you’ll be one of the first to be taken by the monstrous god!

Zombie 15

Zombies might have had their day in the sun, but this fun co-op game remixes the genre in exciting ways. Play one of 15 scenarios, each lasting 15 minutes. With a modular board and dozens of plastic zombie minis, you can be escaping zombie hoards way more than 15 times over.

Dungeons & Dragons: Out of the Abyss

Looking to scare your regular D&D group? This new adventure module is chock full of devils, demons, mind altering mildew, and ghastly settings. Throw your adventurers into this adventure into the Underdark, or use new monsters and items to create your own terrifying tale.

The finale to this set of posts are game suggestions for those who want to sit down and play a nice, longer, complicated game around the Thanksgiving table. It will require more thought, but if you win you can thank your brain for outsmarting your family and friends.

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Argicola
1-5 players, 2 hours, ages 12+
Thanksgiving is all about family and food. Agricola is all about family and food. Start with a wooden shack, a spouse, and a barren field. Take actions each turn to grow your farm and family by providing food and shelter. The larger your family grows, the more actions you can take, but you will need to farm more food to feed them. The game may seem overwhelming at first, but after a few rounds, you will figure out how to ward off starvation.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game
3-6 players, 2 hours, ages 14+
For the less traditional family, battle amongst yourselves to claim the Iron Throne in A Game of Thrones. Each player assumes one of the houses of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. At the beginnng of each turn, secretly assign commands for your troops. Predict your opponents’ plan and counter them with the appropriate command. Manage your resources and quash neighbouring armies to gain power and influence.

Zombicide
1-6 players, 1 hour, ages 13+
Start a new Thanksgiving tradition with Zombicide. Form a ragtag band of survivors to fend off the never-ending horde of zombies. “Team up. Gear up. Level up. Take’em Down!” describes the game in a nutshell. The game plays like a campy zombie movie with all the typical sterotypes. A long list of character expansions means you will surely find one that matches your personality. Yearly expansions ensure new scenarios for next year’s Thanksgiving dinner as well.

Thanksgiving is about coming together and appreciating each other’s company. Spend it eating, chatting, and playing board gaming, of course! Happy early Thanksgiving!

Side note: This would be a great time to mention we will be closed on Thanksgiving, Monday October 12th. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Have small kids but still want to enjoy some board games during Thanksgiving? Give these games a try! They are relatively short and can be played with quite young gamers.

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Ticket to Ride
2-5 players, 1 hour, ages 8+
Ticket to Ride is one of the easiest games to introduce to players of any age. It is so simple, even adults will be able to learn it in a few minutes. Collect sets of train cards to claim railroad routes between cities on the board. Use these routes to connect the cities on your destination cards for points. Make sure you get the routes you need before someone else takes them, otherwise you will need to go the long way around.

Carcassonne
2-5 players, 45 mins, ages 8+
Carcassonne is a quick and simple game for all ages. Take a tile from the pile and place it next to another tile to create cities and roads. Complete a city or road for instant points or farm the land around the cities for the prospect of more points at the end of the game. There is no reading involved and you only have to deal with one tile at a time. Simple enough that your kid or grandmother can play but complex enough for you to worry about losing to them.

Qwirkle
2-4 players, 45 mins, ages 6+
Need something mentally stimulating after gorging yourself into a food coma? Qwirkle is Scrabble without words. Tiles come in six shapes and six colours. Place tiles so each line has the same shape or the same colour, but not both. It all sounds simple until you realize there isn’t enough blood to power both stomach and the brain.

Tsuro
2-8 players, 15 mins, ages 6+
Want something calming for your food comatose state instead? Tsuro is like the follow-the-string game you find on the back of a kid’s menu. Each player starts at the edge of the board. Place a tile and follow the path on the tile until you reach the end and there is no more path to follow. Try not to run off the board or into another player. Last player to remain on the board wins. Serenity, enlightenment… WHY ARE YOU FORCING ME TO TAKE THIS PATH?!

These set of games will be hits with your family. Easy to learn, fast to play. Gives you more time to eat! Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up our Thanksgiving edition with games that you’ll love if you’re in it for the long haul.

With (Canadian) Thanksgiving happening next weekend, we’ve decided to compile a list of games that would be great to play with family and friends. The topic will be broken down into several posts, this one focusing on Party games.

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Anomia

3 – 6 players, 30 mins, ages 10+
If your Thanksgiving dinners are often a loud and rambunctious affair, follow up with an equally boisterous game of Anomia. Players take turns flipping cards from the center pile to reveal a symbol and a category. If the symbol matches the symbol on another player’s card, face-off by naming items in the given category. Play with kids and the game eventually becomes a fanfare of random words. Fast, furious, and remarkably loud.

Concept
4-12 players, 45 mins, ages 10+
No one actually plays charades in real life but we are led to believe that it happens when the family gets together. Concept is a practical version of charades without all that silly miming. The game board is full of icons and symbols for you to “mime” the thing, action or “metaphysical construct” you are trying to describe. Place colour cubes on the icons to group your thoughts. Like hearding cats, direct the other players to say the words on the card for points. Points to you for successfully describing your concept. Points to the player for understanding your mad flailings.

Wits & Wagers
3-7 players, 25 mins, ages 10+
Prove once and for all you know more useless information than your brother-in-law. Wits & Wagers is a trivia betting game. Each round presents a question with a numeric answer. Players write down what they think is the correct answer and everybody places bets on what they think is the correct (or most correct) answer. Obscure questions make actual knowledge irrelevant.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving games topic: Young families.

Games on the Drive now carries Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rulebooks, adventure modules, and handy spellbook cards! Learn how to play and make characters with the Player’s Handbook, create new and deadly worlds with the Dungeon Master’s Guide, or get started with everything you need with the Starter Set. These books take the place of our special Blind Date with a Board Game promo, but we may bring it back in the future! Ah, the troubles of a tiny but heartwarming game store.

 

Full! Art! Lands! The Battle against the alien Eldrazi continues in this newest set for Magic the Gathering, including the return of the much desired full art land cards. Games on the Drive has all the boosters and intro packs you could want, so get them while the getting is good!

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My friends and I binge play games. We buy one, play it for several weeks in a row, then move on to the next one. Our current binge game has been in the top 5 of BoardGameGeek’s top game list for awhile now, Terra Mystica.

Base Game

For those who haven’t played or heard of it before, briefly speaking, it’s a game about creating large cities by terraforming lands to your home turf before building on it, praising 1 – 4 religious cults for favours, flexing your power to gain more resources… all for victory points. Each turn, a player has the option of doing 1 of 8 possible actions. The round continues until every player chooses to passes their turn. The winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of 6 rounds.

It’ll take awhile to explain all the rules to new players. They might feel overwhelmed at first but once you get the game going, all the pieces fall into place and runs fairly smoothly.  What I really like about this game is the use of races/factions. This game is up to 5 players, but there’s technically 14 factions to choose from (7 double sided boards) in the base pack. Each faction has unique special bonuses and starting resources which means each player will have to take a different approach to reach first place. Leveraging your faction’s ability/abilities will win you the game.

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Expansion: Fire & Ice

Overall I quite like the expansion. Three new faction boards were added, new rules and some re-balancing was done. A two-sided board is included where one side is the original board but with some of the terrain shuffled, and the other side has a new map.

Also, a new rule which I quite like is how you now determine turn order. Previously, whoever passes first becomes the first player of the next round, continuing clockwise from there. In this updated rule, turn order is determined fully on when people pass. This really changes strategies (and help players who are always screwed due to their physical seating).

Additionally, you can now change the final scoring tiles. There was a static two categories for final scoring (biggest indirect city and highest on each cult track), but now you can replace the biggest city with any of the additional tiles provided. Again, this helps makes the game a bit more dynamic and fun to play.  There are more changes implemented in Fire & Ice but I’ll let you find out on your own.

Overall

Once you get passed the initial hurdle of absorbing all the rules, it’s a really fun game. I highly recommend getting the expansion as well, specifically for some updated rules which makes the game more balanced and makes you rethink your game strategy. Go to a board game bar or buy it yourself to find out why Terra Mystica has been in the top 5 list for this long.