In the wonderful world of board games, nobody beats me when it comes to losing! I am particularly bad at dice games—I just can’t get a decent roll. Yet, even with my terrible track record, I generally find that if there’s a board game to be played, I’m usually front and centre and ready to play it. I must be a glutton for punishment or something… In any event, if you also enjoy board games, then today’s blog is all for you. I’ve got several great games in my sights that I’d like to discuss, and I just can’t wait to share them with you. There’s a whole lot of info to cover in a limited amount of space, so hold on tight and lets get started!

The first game we’re going to consider is the popular Mayfair Games offering of Catan: 5th Edition. This exciting game, for 3-4 players, takes place on the infamous isle of Catan. Though remote, this isle is rich with resources like grain, wool, bricks, ore, & lumber, and it’s your job to cleverly manage these resources and outdo the competition in a quest to build roads, settlements, and cities faster and better than anyone else! A mere 15 minute investment in learning time will pay off with untold hours of fun in this rich interactive adventure. Suitable for those ages 10 and up, this game features numerous bits and pieces (i.e., components) and typically takes just one hour to play. If you’re ever feeling like branching out from the isle of Catan itself, the expansion game pictured in the header image is another fun option. Entitled Catan: Explorers & Pirates Board Game, this time the adventure takes you out to sea where you’ll encounter salty pirates, new coastal villages, and rich fishing grounds. Intended for 5-6 players of 12 years old and up, this expansion version of the Catan universe allows you to explore new realms and enjoy the same fun elements that made the original version so popular, complete with numerous parts that add a unique richness to the scene. Both games are all around great fun!

Then there’s the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Board Game, which is one of 2 games on today’s list that I have some actual experience with myself, having tested and reviewed it previously. This game doesn’t have a board per se, but it is fun & complex, and it comes with a multitude of parts and pieces. The objective in this one is to take to space and engage in ship-to-ship battles. These battles take place mostly between Rebel X-Wing Fighters & Imperial TIE fighters, unless you get one of the elaborate expansion packs that are also available and that bring many more options to the table. But, even as is, this set allows for multiple game configurations, from the relatively simple to the ever increasingly complex. In its most basic form, 2-4 players should be kept busy for a minimum of one hour, though play times can very significantly depending on your chosen method of play. The age range this time around begins at 14 and has no upper limit (as there are massive Star Wars fans in every age group). Probably the coolest aspect of this game (to me at least) are the mini ships that come included in the box (2 TIE fighters & 1 X-Wing). These little models are highly detailed and super cool. They’re very lifelike little ships that help add to the feeling of actually being involved in the goings on of that fabled galaxy far, far away. All up, this is a very exciting game, provided you’ve got the patience to learn its many intricacies.

And of course, no article about board and card games would ever be complete without some mention of the ongoing international phenomenon known as Pokémon. In this instance, we’ll consider the Pokémon BREAK Evolution Trading Card Game, which is just one of many Pokémon game sets currently available at Best Buy. If you’re already familiar with the Pokémon universe, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect with this set. But just in case you’re not, this one includes 5 Pokémon TCG Booster Packs (to help you build your collection), 3 promotional Pokémon BREAK cards (never before released!), 1 oversized Pokémon BREAK card, and the special code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. If you’re a Pokémon fan, this set, which is an all new release as of January, 2016, is sure to please! Moreover, it’s just another of the many great ways to celebrate International Tabletop Game Day on April 30th, 2016! It’s time to get your Pokémon on!
Finally, another great option is the Citadels Card Game, which I tested and reviewed myself just a few months ago. At the time I called it the “sleeper game in [my] review” because of how unexpectedly awesome it turned out to be. Your goal here is simply to construct the most impressive (as in most valuable) city amongst you and all your friends/opponents. You do this by gathering gold coins and navigating a world of backstabbing, diplomacy, political intrigue, side-deal making, and all around ruthlessness—all of which is set within the Medieval realm. There are several interesting characters to help you along the way as well, or trip you up! There’s a Magician, a King, a Bishop, a Thief, an Assassin, a Merchant, & a Warlord, along with a whole catalog of additional “bonus” characters (9 in total). Each of these characters has his or her own special abilities (and limitations), and you might draw one of these characters’ cards as the game goes along. In fact, each player’s role changes continually with every new round, and so does their abilities (depending on which character card they draw). As you build your city, you rack up points by erecting the most valuable infrastructure. For instance, some architectural accomplishments are more valuable than others. Build the most impressive ones and you’ll rack up the most points. At the end of the game, whoever has built the city with the highest point total is the winner. Of course, there’s actually a whole lot more to Citadels than that. It’s a fairly complex game that’s filled with rules and subtleties that make it impossible to explain in just a few words. Designed for those 14 and up, Citadels allows for anywhere from 2 to 8 players and can take from 20 to 60 minutes to play. The more players you have, the longer the game typically lasts.

So there you have it—a number of exciting games with which to celebrate International Tabletop Game Day. Remember, games such as those mentioned here provide an excellent way to build relationships and wile away rainy & snowy days. The fact that they’re also a whole lot of fun is just a happy coincidence! So enjoy International Tabletop Game Day on April 30th and try your best not to cheat… too much! Happy gaming!

Board Games, Cards, & Puzzles Aplenty @ Best Buy!

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