Autumn is officially here and that means more and more time will be spent indoors. That’s a big “Yay” for all board game fans! With it getting colder and colder out there, people are finding ways to stay inside longer, so let’s take a look at games that take a bit longer to play.
When you think of a long game, what pops to mind? I’ve broken this down into what usually pops into people’s minds when they think of a long game, and I have some options for each:
- Games that change as you play
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Games with Miniatures
- Strategic games with asymmetric powers
Classic Board Games: Monopoly & Risk
For many people, Monopoly is the game that pops into their mind first when thinking of a long time. Here’s a tip that many people don’t know to speed up your 4-hour Monopoly marathon: did you know that if you choose not to buy a property in Monopoly that it then goes up for auction to the other players? That small change not only speeds up the game (as more properties are being bought faster), but it also adds a nice element of interaction between the players aside from the obligatory payments of rent when you land on their properties! If you still enjoy Monopoly, then you’re in luck because every franchise and every theme you can imagine has a Monopoly game for it. Adding a theme to a game like Monopoly adds a bit more life to a game that many would say has a stale design.
When others think of a long game, they think of a game like Risk. This is another classic that can last quite a while and is full of interesting decisions and tense moments. While lucky rolls will win you battles, you need to be strategic to win the war. There are also some Intellectual Properties (IPs) attached to Risk, so if you want to play in the world of Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, or The Walking Dead, then you can do that. If you enjoy Risk but are thinking that Risk is still too long of a game to play, then check out Risk: Legacy. This game has the same mechanics of Risk, but as you play you open up envelopes with new components and put stickers on the board and on cards, forever changing the game. The individual games are shorter, as they’re objective based instead of ‘last person standing.’ The cool aspect of Legacy games is that you can play multiple games in a row, and the game changes as you play, with new mechanics being added and the board changing for all future games based on actions you’ve made in this game. It’s very thrilling!
Games that change as you play
This leads us to other games that change as you play. Many of these games have the word Legacy in the title, but there are more and more popping up that don’t. I’ve talked about Pandemic Legacy before (check that out here), and that was one of my favourite gaming experiences I’ve ever had. It was like binge-watching your favourite TV show because the story element really drew us in. Another game that changes as you play is called Charterstone.
Charterstone is interesting because it’s a competitive game with no combat. It’s what gamers call a Euro game. In Charterstone, players control their workers and place them on available locations and pay any cost to do so, and then they gain other benefits. As you play, you’ll be gaining new assistants, which you get to name by writing it right on the card. You’ll be gaining new cards that have stickers on them that you affix either to the rules or to the board, and you’ll constantly be changing the game rules each time you play it. The awesome thing is that Charterstone holds your hand the entire way through this, so it’s never an overload of information.
One aspect I really like about this is that at the end of the game every player gains Glory points. They gain 1 Glory point for every 10 points they achieved in that game. Players individually get to assign those Glory points to various benefits that they will receive in future games. The winner also gets to shade in a trophy on their own box of contents that will count towards their score for the entire campaign.
One thing that some critics dislike about Legacy games is that once you’re done playing it a certain number of times, then the game is garbage since the story is over. This isn’t true with Charterstone. In fact, you can continue playing your own unique version of Charterstone for as long as you want—even once you’ve revealed all the secrets. If you did want to play again from the start, then you could simply buy a recharge pack and flip the board over and do it all over again!
Legacy games offer something that many other games lack, and that’s the immediate desire to play again. Everyone is super curious about what’s in the next box, or which stickers they’ll gain access to in the next game. Playing a Legacy game over and over again is a great way to spend your Autumn nights! Check out the video above for a more detailed overview of Charterstone.
Dungeons & Dragons
If you want to really get INTO your games, then look no further than an immersive role-playing game. And which game better represents this type of game than the original, Dungeons & Dragons. While some of you might think D&D isn’t for cool kids, this is becoming further and further from the truth. Celebrities on talk shows are talking about it more and more nowadays, and the 5th edition of D&D is more popular than ever before.
At their core, D&D and other role-playing games are basically you and your friends sitting around a table with some paper and pens and some funny looking dice. One player plays the role of the Dungeon Master, and they’re responsible for telling the story and offering up the decisions that the group has to make in order to accomplish their goals. The other players will create a character to be throughout the game. They can choose things like their race and class (kind of like their job), and they get assigned stats based on specific rules.
Playing a game of D&D becomes a fun and engaging time with your friends with memories that will live on long after the game ends. Players can continue to play through other adventures with the same character, and that character can grow and become better by defeating monsters and acquiring treasure.
Game with miniatures
OK, I have to admit here that I’ve never really played a game with miniatures. Some of these games have specific miniatures that come with the game, but others, like Warhammer, allow you to purchase as many various miniatures as you want. Then, through in-game rules, you choose which ones you’ll use in each game. These games will definitely last you throughout the long Autumn nights, and into the next day! They involve movement of your units, sometimes through hexes, but often through some sort of measurement.
X-Wing is a miniatures game set in the Star Wars universe that uses cardboard tokens to indicate how far your ship can move. I like that aspect of X-Wing because a lot of the bigger miniatures games involve using a ruler of some sort to measure how far you can move or shoot. While thematically accurate and strategically interesting, these kinds of games move too slow for me. If you’re a fan of games with miniatures, which game should I check out, knowing what I wrote above?
Strategic games with asymmetry
Another way to spend some of these long Autumn nights is to play games that offer asymmetry. Asymmetry means that players start with a different ability, or in a different location, or they have access to different areas or resources than other players. While asymmetric games may or may not last through a long night, what they offer is the temptation to play again because you’re curious about trying some of the other roles or characters.
One game like this is Scythe, and it has each player choosing a faction as well as a power board. These can be mixed up however you want, so the permutations of the variations you could start with is huge! Each faction board is different, as are the power boards. How they interact with each other, and how you have to learn how to adapt to take advantage of your unique abilities, makes this game and others like it a joy to replay throughout those long Autumn nights! Check out the video above for a more in-depth overview of Scythe to see if it’s right for you.
So, there are a few options for you if you’re looking to stay in and play some longer board games. What do you think? Did I miss a longer game that you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments below as I’m always up for talking about board games.