Category Archives: Games

My Top Three Board Games

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I love board games, particularly with a small group of friends. It’s usually my activity of choice when people get together because it’s such an easy way to bond with people. Also, it takes pressure off what we can talk about as we’re all focused on the game at hand. I haven’t played a ton of different board games but here are the ones that have caught my fancy (in no particular order):

  1. Ticket to Ride: Europe
    Admittedly, half the fun of this board game is mispronouncing the names as we build track to and from various destinations (c’mon – Munchen Wien anyone?). I also love that while this game is competitive (meaning you play against other players), you’re never really taking points away from them and they’re never really taking points away from you. You’re just collecting your own points. So there’s never really a sense of hopelessness and frustration.
  2. Mice & Mystics
    Apparently this game is for children but I’ve found it quite complicated so I’m surprised that seven year olds can readily play this with all the rules given. We’ve been playing the campaign mode which is multiple chapters long. It’s been fun finding out how to story progresses, particularly if you play 1 character most of the time. You end up having a vested interest in how it all turns out. It’s a cooperative game too so you’re all working towards a common goal which I find takes the pressure off winning. Plus, the figures are super cute!
  3. 7 Wonders
    Just played this tonight but it’s really caught my attention. It’s a competitive game, again where you collect points to win. What I like about it is that it’s easy to learn and fast to play. But there’s so many different strategies you can take to win and there’s not necessarily one right way. Plus, I enjoyed that you can’t outright ignore the other players’ cards on the board and concentrate on your own game (which is easy to do in other games). You have to consider them for your own advancement.Honourable Mentions (also in no particular order)
  4. If Wishes Were Fishes! (my intro into fun board games)
  5. Betrayal at House on the Hill (my intro to cooperative board games)
  6. Apples to Apples (easy to play and generates lots of laughs, great for parties)
  7. Wooly Bully (super cute pictures and an easy game to learn)
  8. Carnival (another fun card game – also easy to learn)
  9. Ingenious (a puzzle game)
  10. ???
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How to Play Video Games With Your Non-Gamer Wife

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Yes, we had a Legend of Zelda wedding cake.

As you probably know, I’m married to an avid video-gamer. Stuart not only plays and collects various video games but also works in the industry. Our living room has far too many video games and video game consoles on display. And even more stored away,… somewhere. And yet, I barely play any video games at all.¬†However, in the last few years since we’ve been together, Stuart’s managed to get me to play a number of video games with him. The following are a few tips to Stuart which may (or may not) also help other gamers and their wives:

Easy controls
It’s hard enough for me to remember where A, B, X and Y are on the Wiimote. But then to remember where the X, circle, triangle and square are on the Playstation controllers? Forget it. And why is there a D-pad AND not one but TWO analog sticks? So forgive me if I don’t want to play anything that requires me to remember to push multiple buttons in sequence to do some sort of combo. I can handle two buttons and maybe a third later on once I’ve mastered the first two. Or maybe a racing game like Mario Kart that only requires me to go forward and turn once in a while using the D-pad (or analog stick if I’m feeling daring). Or a zombie shooting game where it’s point and shoot.

Be helpful rather than frustrated
One of Stuart’s favourite things he used to say to me when we played together was “Stop dying”. I think this is singularly one of the most aggravating phrases to say during gameplay. Because it’s not like I want to die. Most of the time, I’m barely even registering that I’m dying as I haven’t been looking at my health/life meter thing. But recently while playing Skylanders, Stuart told me to try standing back and throwing fireballs at the enemies rather than rushing up to them to kill them. It was like a lightbulb went off. It was obvious to him but to me, I couldn’t understand why I kept dying and what I was doing wrong or how else to approach the bad guys. But now I knew and I survived much longer before dying. By telling me precisely what I was doing wrong and what I could do to prevent it, my gameplay improved more than by commanding me to “stop dying”.

Low level commitment games
My attention span is low for video games. I usually can’t play video games for more than half an hour. One hour tops if I’m really into it. Stuart on the other hand will play for hours on end, well into the night. If we’re playing together, it needs to be a game with minimal commitment. Something I can join easy and drop out of easily if I get bored or frustrated with it. The dropping out part is important especially if I’m proving to be more detrimental than helpful to passing the level. Like when we were playing New Super Mario Bros on the Wii, I’d sometimes put myself into a bubble and essentially take myself out of play so Stuart could get past a particularly challenging section with me holding him back or getting in the way.

In the end, I’ve played a few video games, even finishing some all by myself. I’m not a gamer and probably won’t ever be one. But I’m learning to enjoy playing video games since it’s one way for us to spend time together.

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