Resources For Every GM: Card & Board Games Part 4
Good evening everyone! Today’s Resources entry is another list of games that you can play with your game group whenever you need a break from your campaign. The ones that I am including are especially helpful in working some of those role-playing and thinking muscles. These games are not all about the individual or competition. Instead they are cooperative and focus on the group working together to figure things out, survive, and win.
This is a newer game to me, having just played it for the first time this year. In fact, it was the first time I had even heard of Mysterium at all. The game is made by Asmodee and can be played with 2-7 people. One of the more interesting aspects of this game is that the whole table is working together to try to solve a murder mystery, but you aren’t all doing the same thing. One person acts a ghost and cannot communicate about the game to the other players. The ghost knows who the murderer is, what the weapon is, and where it happened. What they cannot do is tell the others. They must reveal the answers through symbolic picture cards. There is a set for each other player that they must discover by linking the images to the choices available. Once everyone knows their groupings, the group must then figure out which of those is the right answer. The better they did in getting here the more clues they can take from the ghost before voting. It is a fun, asymmetric, cooperative game. Beyond that, it is a practice in understanding the way each other think. One of the toughest things when first playing this game is figuring out what to expect another player to pick up on. The cards have a lot of possibility and it is likely they see something that you didn’t mean. It is incredibly insightful to play this game and discuss what happened afterward. Definitely worth a night of playing for any RPG party.
My sister got this card game for me last Christmas. Made by Pressman it is a game that is made for 2-6 people. Despite a bit of a curve in understanding how the game works and how many cards you need to lay down to win (50 if I remember correctly), it is a really fast paced game. Essentially, this was designed to be both a challenging cooperative game and a trip down memory lane. Anyone around my age who played on Apple II’s or similar PCs as kids in the 90s, will remember the old side scrolling Oregon Trail. The key phrases from the game that you will never forget can be found here. What I like about this game is that it is difficult. It requires the group to make choices and sacrifices. There is no “doing better” in any given turn. Instead there is only surviving another around and laying down another trail card. This game will help you take death and hardship of your character in stride. Chances are you won’t survive, the goal is only to make sure someone survives. If one person makes it to the end of the trail the who team wins. If you have trouble sharing loot, taking hits, and playing it risky for the good of the group, then this game will definitely help you out!
If you have been reading this blog for a long time, you know I have a love for Pandemic. Z-Man Games did extremely well and took it to the next step with Pandemic Legacy. If you haven’t heard, this is Pandemic but with added layers. Instead of playing it over and over, this game changes EVERY TIME you play it. Cards are ripped up, stickers are added to the board, and things are never the same again. Much in the way that poor choices make winning harder in Pandemic, the Legacy version gets harder every time you play. The worse you do the harder it gets. It is meant to be played a limited number of times between 12-24, once for each month of the year. If you are unlucky and lose, you can attempt the month a second time. However, a loss means the game gets that much more difficult. This is a board game that plays like a campaign and the best thing is that your GM can join you. Beyond that there are two versions! Personally I haven’t finished a year yet (insert sad face), but I cannot imagine playing it twice wouldn’t be amazing even if they were the same version. There is even better news though! Recently they released a Season 2, which picks up in the second year and is also a Legacy game. For me all it means is that I NEED to play through the first one soon!