Relive The Classics And Remember The House Rules With Monopoly

If you grew up playing board games, chances are you own a copy of Monopoly. The colored money, ruthless landlords, and “Go to Jail” cards are a fixture of almost every household. But Monopoly has proven to be a lasting and wildly popular game for a reason, as it requires a great deal of strategy and negotiation to win the game and run everyone else off the board. Anyone looking to relive the classics will love the nostalgia of Monopoly, as well as the flexibility of its rules.

Rolling the Dice

During each turn of Monopoly, a player will roll two die and then move that number of spaces around the board. Each space either represents a property or forces you to draw a card. These cards can require you to do anything from pay taxes, collect income, or go straight to jail.

If you land on an unowned piece of property, you can either buy it or you can allow the bank to auction it out to the highest bidder. Buying property allows you to charge rent to anyone who lands on that space in the future, supplementing your income and helping you bankrupt the other players.

If you land on a piece of property owned by another player, you have to pay them rent. Once a player has collected all the spaces in a certain color group, they can build houses and hotels to charge players higher rent and bankrupt them even faster.

Going To Jail

Players can be sent to jail for several reasons. One reason is by landing on the “Go to Jail” space. Drawing a “Go to Jail” card is another. When rolling the dice, rolling doubles allows you to roll again immediately after. If you roll doubles three times in a row, however, you get “caught speeding” and are sent to the brig.

Landing in jail moves you to the Jail space and ends your turn. The only way to get out of jail is to pay a fine of $50, use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, or successfully roll doubles on the dice. While jail isn’t the end of the road, it can be an unwelcome wrench in the works that can derail real estate transactions and push you closer to bankruptcy.

House Rules

Monopoly has been around for so many years and has been played by so many people that players have developed their own house rules to make the game either easier or more complex. The “Free Parking jackpot rule” gives each player the opportunity to win a bundle of cash just for landing on the Free Parking space, which can make the game last even longer. Whether you’re new to Monopoly or you’ve been playing the game since childhood, house rules can keep the game feeling fresh and upend strategies left and right.

Monopoly Expansions

Monopoly has seen several expansions that can either be played as stand-alone games or combined with the base game for additional fun. The Get Out of Jail mini-game gives you an additional way to escape prison by using a spade to flick out colored prisoners. Free Parking is another fun add-on that gives you the optional Taxi Challenge, allowing you to move anywhere you want on the board if you win.

Monopoly: The Landlord’s Game

Monopoly is the ultimate family game, playable by 2-8 players. Whether you’re an only child or you’re playing with extended family, Monopoly can accommodate families of all sizes. It’s also suitable for ages 8 and up, so younger children can easily get involved and keep up with the adults.

Playing time lasts between one to three hours, although certain house rules have been known to keep the game going all night. Monopoly isn’t the kind of game that you can cram a quick round in between the appetizers and the main course. If you’re playing Monopoly, it’s going to be an experience all of its own. The best part of the game is that, with so many different house rules that you can bring to it, you will rarely ever play the same game of Monopoly twice!

Now it’s time to go out and make your fortune!

 

Agricola: Enjoy The Simple Things In Life

Do you ever wish you could go back to the 17th century, when all you had to worry about was your crops and your livestock?  Agricola brings back the simple pleasures of life on the farm, casting you in the role of farmer as you build the most beautiful and prosperous farm in the land.  It’s not all peaceful pastures, however, as you’ll have to outmaneuver your fellow farmers if you want to feed your family and earn enough victory points to win the game.  With quaint little wooden pieces and a gorgeously drawn game board, Agricola is a family-friendly game that celebrates the little things in life.

Growing Your Household

Agricola begins with each player being given a farming couple and their own little two-roomed hut.  As players take their turns throughout the 14 rounds of the game, they will move family members around to different actions space in order to acquire resources and build their household.  These actions will be any of the simple duties of running the farm, from building fences that keep out predators to collecting firewood.

The more family members you have, the more you actions you can take, so having kids can definitely help you build a more prosperous farm.  However, more kids means more mouths to feed, so you’ll have to plan your family carefully if you want to stay above water!

Only one family member is allowed to occupy an action space at a time, so you’ll need to develop a strategy to block your competitors from getting the resources they need while ensuring your own farm’s growth.  The 14 rounds of the game are divided into six harvests, during which you’ll grow more food and breed more animals.  The better fed you keep your family, the more victory points you’ll win.

Occupations and Minor Improvements

Agricola comes with optional Occupations and Minor Improvements cards for a more advanced play.  While younger kids will usually forego these cards entirely, more advanced players can use three different levels of these cards to make each game much more varied.  Playing these cards will win you extra resources and special bonuses, while giving you a more fixed strategy to follow in order to win the game.

There are a great number of strategies you can use to win the game, which will depend on what cards you hold in your hand.  You may find that focusing on building your farm is all you need to succeed, while sometimes sabotaging your opponent is necessary to keep them from having too plentiful a harvest.

Agricola Later Editions

The Revised edition of Agricola features an updated rulebook and gameplay that bring the game into the 21st century.  It also uses differently shaped wooden pieces to represent the resources that you’ll grow, as well as a more balanced deck for streamlined gameplay.

The All Creatures Big And Small edition of Agricola brings the game down to only two players while emphasizing the animal aspect of the game.  This edition casts you as an animal breeder in charge of growing your livestock into a happy and bustling pasture.  There’s also an Agricola expansion that makes the game playable by up to 6 players.  This expansion features additional room tiles, occupations, and major improvements that revitalize Agricola and make it perfect for family gatherings.

Live Long And Prosper With Agricola

Agricola is playable by anywhere from 1-5 players, so it can be enjoyed by the whole family or just on your own.  Playing time depends on whether or not you choose to include the optional Occupations and Minor Improvements cards, so it can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two and a half hours.  Agricola is definitely the kind of game that can be the centerpiece of family game night.

Agricola is suitable for ages 12 and up, so parents and kids can easily enjoy playing the game together.  If mom and dad are looking for a more advanced game on their own, they can add on the optional cards for some extra competition.  All in all, Agricola is a fun strategy game that makes the most out of its vintage agricultural theme.

But it today!

Here is How you Play Agricola

Find the Pattern and Lay Down the Line With Qwirkle

Qwirkle is an abstract tile-playing game that takes the concept of Scrabble and turns it on its head.  Instead of forcing you to spell out difficult words with tiles that will send your friends and family scrambling to the dictionary, Qwirkle is played with tiles bearing colorful shapes that you have to arrange in a line.  No game board is required with this simple and creative game—all you need is a flat surface and a yearning for a little competition.

High Quality Wooden Game Pieces

As opposed to the bland little brown tile pieces you use in Scrabble, Qwirkle comes with 108 shiny black tiles featuring colorful patterns in various intricate shapes.  The delightful game pieces are often one of the most memorable parts of any board game, and Qwirkle delivers in spades.  From the whimsical clover to the dynamic eight-point star, Qwirkle’s quirky tiles will be sure to build a beautiful pattern by the end of the game.  

Laying The Tiles

Gameplay begins with mixing all of the tiles in the bag and having each player draw 6 tiles at random.  Every turn, each player will place one or more tiles on the table to form a row.  The rows need to each share one attribute of either color or shape, but not both.  For example, one row can consist of clover tiles in different colors, while a different row may be each of the shapes in the color red.

Unlike Scrabble, which forces you to play with the tiles you’ve got before drawing new ones, Qwirkle allows you to spend your turn exchanging the tiles in your hand for new ones.  This can end up making the game way more dynamic instead of saddling you with a dud hand for the rest of the game.

Scoring Points

Every time you place a tile in a line, you score one point for each tile within that line.  If you complete the line with the sixth and final tile, congratulations!  You win a 6-point bonus that can jettison you into the lead.  An additional 6-point bonus is given to the first person to play all of their tiles once the bag has run out, which is just enough of a boost to keep things competitive until the very last second.

Qwirkle is simple to learn, but definitely gives plenty of opportunity to employ strategy.  Blocking other people from continuing a pattern can be just as effective as plotting out your own high score combination.  However, the luck-based element of the game will throw a wrench into even the most carefully laid plans.  This combination of luck and strategy will keep you coming back to Qwirkle time and time again.

Fun For Families And Non-Gamers

Qwirkle is the perfect game for families and kids of all ages.  It’s an excellent game to use to teach younger children about concepts like shape and color matching and counting, while older kids can learn concepts like strategy and planning.  Suitable for ages 6 and up, Qwirkle is incredibly easy to learn and will having you playing like an expert within minutes.  But just because it’s so simple doesn’t mean that it’s boring—Qwirkle leaves plenty of room for more advanced players to play the long game while novices can enjoy it at the basic level.

Qwirkle is also much more accessible to non-gamers than hardcore games like Catan.  Because the rules are so simple, even people who don’t normally enjoy board games can find themselves drawn in for a 30-40 minute game.  This dynamic game can join together serious and casual gamers, serving as a gateway game towards more advanced board games.

Walk The Line With Qwirkle

Qwirkle is a simple game with an abstract concept that can appeal to a wide variety of gamers.  Its accessibility is where it truly shines, even if that removes a little bit of the complexity of the game for people who are looking for something with a greater challenge.  Still, if you’re a visual gamer who likes building intricate patterns and playing with beautiful wooden game pieces, you’ll love the quality that Qwirkle has to offer.

A Whole New World: The Settlers of Catan

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be Christopher Columbus and discover a new land full of untapped potential?  While there may not be much of the Earth we have yet to discover, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the experience of the early settlers.  If you’re an explorer at heart, you’ll love the exciting setup of Catan, a board game that pits players against each other in the race to build a lasting society.  

Formerly known as The Settlers of Catan, this board game uses dice, cards, and strategy to provide you with up to two hours of fun.  The game begins with your ship washing ashore a brand new land, brimming with unspoiled possibility.  But not so fast—you’re not the only one to land on Catan’s shores!  Several other seafarers have arrived at the same time with the exact same desire to colonize.  You’ll have to battle the other players in order to gain dominance and win the game.

 

Building Settlements

Catan uses a game board that is set up with hexagonal terrain tiles.  Each player begins their settlement with two small houses on the spaces where three of these terrain hexes meet.  Then, by rolling the dice, players accumulate different resources and barter with each other in order to turn their settlement into a prosperous city.  The more settlements and cities you build, the more victory points you accumulate.  Once you reach 10 victory points, you are officially the winner of Catan.

But how do you go about bartering resources and building settlements?  This is where Catan gets interesting.  Strategy is a huge part of the game as you trade your resources at ports and with other players to give away what you have too much of in order to collect what you need.  But be sure to trade smartly, as you don’t want to give away something that will give the other player the upper hand.  Sometimes theft is necessary, as rolling a 7 on the dice can allow you to steal the resource card you need from other players.

Catan Expansion Packs

Catan has been around for decades, as it was originally released in 1995.  Catan is suitable for ages 10 and up, and gameplay usually lasts between one and two hours.  While the base game serves 3-4 players, the extension allows you to incorporate 5-6 players.  With so many people vying to win, you can fill an entire evening with a game of Catan!

Catan also comes with several expansion packs, which allows you to enjoy a whole new chapter.  The Seafarers expansion adds ships that serve as roads over the water, allowing you to explore the sea and settle on an uninhabited archipelago of islands.  In addition to ships, the Seafarers expansion also includes pirates, which will steal resources from ships and even prevent them from being built in the first place.

Catan: Cities and Knights adds new Knights that can be used to attack other players as well as defend Catan from barbarian invaders.  These barbarian invaders will occasionally attack Catan, forcing the warring settlements to work together to fend them off and continue the game.  This expansion also includes additional resources to be produced and traded, which include paper, cloth, and coin.  Catan: Cities and Knights can be combined with the Seafarers expansion for an even more complex game.

Build A New World With Catan

Catan is arguably one of the most popular board games ever invented, with countless spin-offs, film/television adaptations, and even tournaments.  Its popularity is likely due to the fact that this game appeals to almost everyone.  Whether you’re a family looking for a casual game to add into the mix or you’re a hard-core gamer looking to relive the nostalgia of a classic, Catan has something for everyone.

While the base game is simple enough for children to enjoy, it’s the expansions that really make Catan a versatile game.  You won’t ever get bored of Catan, and no collection of board games will ever be complete without this classic multiplayer board game.  Indulge your imagination and get in touch with your inner settler with Catan!

 

How to Play Catan

Pandemic: The Perfect Board Game For 2020

With the current COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s minds, what better time is there to step into the shoes of our front line heroes and battle your very own fictional pandemic?  The board game Pandemic has been a favorite of countless players since it was first released in 2008.  A delightful mix of strategy, cunning, and luck, Pandemic offers countless hours of fun for both families and friend groups.

The World Of Pandemic

In the world of Pandemic, you’re not just dealing with one crisis.  Multiple virulent diseases are breaking out at the same time all across the globe, causing a worldwide pandemic that’s up to your little group to solve.  You and the other players are specialists from the CDC who are tasked with treating hotspots of disease while at the same time racing to find a cure for these four viruses.

Pandemic uses a game board that portrays 48 major population centers on the globe.  Players begin the game at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, with each person being assigned a random role and several Player cards.  Each turn you take you get to choose up to four actions, some of which will require cards that you pull from the deck.  

Depending on the card you select, you can build a research station, discover a cure for one of the viruses, travel from one city to another, or treat the infected.  Be careful, however, as the deck also contains special “Epidemic!” cards that will only worsen the spread of the diseases. 

Roles In Pandemic

One of the most fun aspects of the game is the different role that each player gets assigned at the beginning of the game.  This is where luck meets strategy, as your strategy depends on the strength of your specialist.  Roles such as the Containment Specialist or Operations Expert contain powerful abilities to treat infection, while the Contingency Planner and Pilot are much weaker roles.

Whether you succeed in treating the infections and averting a worldwide meltdown depends on how well you play the role you’re given.  This is part of what makes Pandemic such an excellent game for repeat playing, as you may find yourself handicapped with a weaker role that makes gameplay much more challenging.

Unlike most board games, Pandemic requires players to work together in order for everyone to win.  Your biggest competitor is the disease itself, rather than the person sitting across from you.  Work together to keep the diseases from spreading too far by sharing cards and preventing Outbreaks.  This isn’t the kind of game where you shut people out and clinch the victory for yourself.

Pandemic Expansions And Spinoffs

Pandemic comes with several expansions that expand gameplay to include new threats and additional roles.  The first official expansion “On the Brink” was released in 2009, which came with additional roles and Special Event cards.  Since then, there have been two more expansions that allow you to do things like research cures in a laboratory.  One even adds a fifth disease, an incurable Superbug that makes the game much more difficult.

Spinoffs of Pandemic add new features such as dice to the game, which introduces an additional element of chance.  One unique spinoff called Pandemic: Contagion flips the script entirely, putting players in the role of the diseases and forcing you to work towards the eradication of the entire human race!  And if you’re into mythical monsters and H.P. Lovecraft, you’ll love Pandemic: Reign Of Cthulu, which pits you against occultists who are trying to summon the legendary monster.

Save The World From Pandemic

Pandemic is a perfect game for families, as it accommodates 2-4 players from ages 8 and up.  It’s not too difficult to get the hang of, but it’s also challenging enough that you won’t get bored of it after a few plays.  The additional expansion packs are a creative way to extend gameplay and get a few additional years out of this classic.  But above all, Pandemic stands apart from other games because of its focus on cooperation.  If you can get kids to work together to rid the world of disease, there’s nothing you can’t do!

 

How to Play Pandemic

Make The Villains The Heroes Of Their Own Story With Villainous

If you’ve ever watched a Disney film and felt that Maleficent was unfairly vilified, you’re not alone. Villainous is an enchanting card game that takes six iconic Disney Villains and turns them into playable characters. Meddle in other Villain’s objectives while pursuing your own malevolent desires. You’ll have a wicked good time with this card game that was made for the Disney lover in all of us.

How It is Played

Each player gets their own villain deck, fate deck, player board and sculpted Villain character. Take turns playing cards that either fulfill your own win condition or mess with other players on their boards. True to its name, Villainous is a game meant for the ruthless; the more you’re willing to stab your fellow players in the back, the truer you are to your character.

Villainous is meant for ages 10 and up, so it’s a great game for either families or parties. Anyone who’s grown up watching Disney films (and really, didn’t all of us?) can enjoy this fun card game. This game is particularly awesome because of the unique twist in making the Villains the playable characters of the game. We all know what it’s like to root for Ariel to get her voice back from Ursula, but what if you’re suddenly Ursula and your main objective is to rule the seas? Indulge your darker side and see how it feels to be Villainous for a change—you may never go back!

If this sounds like something to take your fancy, buy it before someone falls asleep for good…

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