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Tabletop Time

Published on 5th September 2017. Written by Dan

When you’ve got a board game, you can never be bored. That’s something literally nobody at Moov2 has ever said out loud, but it’s something we’ve all thought on our many board game nights.

It’s also why we’re really pleased to be working with Asmodee on a project. The company is a board game publisher and distributor operating around the world. They’ve released loads of board games – such as Spot It, Formula D and Mysterium – and we’re chuffed to be working with them on some new spangly websites.

So to celebrate, we decided to smack the heads of the Moov2 team together to provide you a list of some of the board games that we absolutely love.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Settlers of Catan

According to some people, your board game collection is not complete until you have Monopoly in it. However, in our opinion, no true board game collection is done until Settlers of Catan (or Catan as it is now called) is perched on a shelf, under a table or tucked away beneath a sofa.

Just in case you’ve not played Catan – and if you haven’t, come on now – your objective is to score ten victory points by settling the randomly generated hexagonal board better than your opponents.

You score points in a number of different ways. Every time you build a town or upgrade a city, you score. You can get victory points randomly by drawing development cards. And you can get extra points by amassing an enormous army or by building the longest road (a favourite activity for anyone who compulsively loves putting stuff on a board).

But there are all sorts of wrinkles that can affect you along the way. Resources are drawn randomly on the basis of a dice roll, meaning that lady luck can help make (or break) your game. A nefarious robber has the potential to swipe cards off you, but can also be used to pilfer from other players. And if you can build a town at a port, you can rapidly trade in your gains for other resources to power your building efforts.

Catan is great because it provides a lovely balance between luck, tactics and strategy. It’s easy enough for anyone to pick it up but deep enough to keep you coming back for more.

Moov2 director Andrea is a big fan of Catan - "An excellent game & while it will consume your entire evening and often well into the night you won't notice the hours pass you by. I like that it lets you play the game using a few different strategies in an attempt to win, although when it comes down to the bartering and road placement it can sometimes test the strength of your relationship..."

Settlers of Catan Box
Settlers of Catan -  Klaus Teuber.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Speaking of infighting, Betrayal at House on the Hill provides the perfect opportunity for a bit of light double crossing in a Scooby Doo setting.

The concept of the game is straightforward. Three to six players take on the roles of a group of teenagers who try to explore a haunted horror house. They travel through the monstrous mansion encountering horrifying traps together (including the odd homicidal puppet). And then one of them double-crosses everyone.

Once the Haunt occurs, it turns out that one of the party isn’t actually an innocent soul on the look out for cheap thrills. They’re a hidden monster, who suddenly turns the tables on the rest of the players and forces them to do something to defeat them (or else be doomed).

It might sound like we’re being deliberately vague here, but there’s a good reason for it. The best bit about Betrayal at House on the Hill is that there are literally dozens of permutations of Haunt. This means different monsters, different victory conditions and, most importantly, entirely different games every time you sit down to play.

As a result, it’s consistently entertaining. Once in a while, it might deliver a dud scenario where the traitor gets a massive upper hand. But overall, every trip to the house on the hill delivers a different thrill – making it well worth diving into.

This was the pick of Joe, one our esteemed developers, "I find it to be a very enjoyable experience. It's a game where you and some friends are working together to explore a mansion, which quickly becomes a game of intrigue and backstabbing when one unsuspecting person becomes the villain, leading to some tense moments; And with over 70 different objectives, the game is different every time."

Betrayal at House on the Hill Box
Betrayal at House on the Hill - Avalon Hill.

Dead of Winter

Getting a group of people to work together in a board game can be tough. Just ask anyone who has ever played Diplomacy and you’ll know how much of a misnomer that game name is.

Still, there are some games that only work out well for the players if you all work as a team and make sure everyone feels valued. That’s true for Dead of Winter, which makes working together the name of the game.

At its heart, Dead of Winter is essentially The Walking Dead the board game. Each player’s survivors need to work together to achieve an overall victory goal on behalf of the colony. They have to risk their lives gathering resources for the greater good and pool together gains to help the colony stave off the threat from the living dead.

But at the same time, each player has a secret objective to achieve. One of them, inevitably, involves a player betraying the rest of the group. The rest vary pretty significantly, meaning that everyone has a pretty different agenda to keep to. The challenge is working out who is betraying everyone and exiling them from the colony, without accidentally throwing a good guy onto the bus.

This leads to tension as you all work together for – and potentially against – everyone else. So while The Dead of Winter may sound a touch chilly to start with, it certainly heats up once the accusations start flying.

Head of Client Services, Ben J, really enjoyed this one at one of our game nights - "DoW was really fun to play, you have the combination of trying to achieve your own personal goal while (possibly) helping everyone else out as part of a team. It leads to both some really tense and funny moments, and making you trust almost nobody but yourself! But be sure to read your card properly, or you might just end up celebrating victory, before quickly finding out you're actually the only one who lost - which I totally didn't do..."

Dead of Winter Box
Dead of Winter - Plaid Hat Games.

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