In Eight Games different board gamers share the eight games they’d select in eight different situations. The games are not explained, but the links are given to Board Game Geek listings for you to find out more. 


This month Behrooz (Bez) Shahriarigame designer, artist, self-publisher, and freelance developer chooses her Eight Games.

Bez Shahriari

1: A game to take to granny’s house
A family friendly afternoon.

BGG Listing

I’ll assume that your family – like mine – doesn’t play a lot of games. Growing a map and claiming territories is such a resonant theme with instant appeal. Combining territories to share (or take over) the points is the only weird rule to learn. For a first game with non-gaming family members, maybe ignore the farmers. By the time a few things have been scored, everyone will have a handle on the game. Since there is no hidden information in this game, you can guide anyone needing the help. Also, if you have a big family you could easily add a couple of new colours and play with 7 players. (If you do, maybe reduce everyone’s number of workers by 1 to keep the decision of whether to place or not a meaningful one.)

2: A game to take to a restaurant: 
Play around the drinks and cutlery.

Kitty Cataclysm
BGG Listing

I designed this game to be chaotic, slightly strategic, and FAST. Games are usually under 10 minutes, so it’s perfect for a couple of games whilst waiting for your food. It doesn’t use much table space (the deck, a communal ‘litter tray’, and a personal ‘kitty’ for each player) so you could easily finish the game when the game arrives. I’m biased, but this is by far my most-played game since I published it at the start of the year.

3: A game to take to a reunion
Some people you want to chat to, others… not so much.

Say Anything
BGG Listing

People get the chance to express themselves, as they try to give the best answer to a judge’s question. You can enjoy the jokes of the class clown, and learn more about how your old peers have changed. You learn a lot about the people when they can literally ‘say anything’. At the same time, you don’t have the commitment of a conversation. Most of the questions are fairly benign. And if you ever want, you can drop out of the game without it affecting the game for anyone else.

4: A game to take to a primary school:
Arm yourself with multiple copies and take over a whole classroom.

BGG Listing

This is a game for my game system, all about inventing amusing little phrases. One judge picks a topic and everyone else uses 4 revealed letters as the initials of a 4-word phrase. It sounds tricky, but I’m always impressed by how creative younger folk can be. You don’t need to know how to spell the words – just know the first letter – so it is a bit more accessible for early readers. There’s a teachable moment in the freeform shouting of answers –  don’t shout until you have thought of the entire phrase. This helps promote good practices for general conversation. Phrasell lets everybody practise using language in unusual ways and I’ve played it with as many as 18 players! So to take over a classroom, you may not even need that many copies.

5: A game to take to a youth club:
Hook in the next generation of board gamers.

BGG Listing

The numerous options for initial set-up and the combinations of cards you can acquire to build your deck as you progress through the game, makes Dominion irresistible. The joy that accompanies a well-executed slick combo unlocking multiple actions, multiple card draws and more money, will have players punching the air or stupidly grinning to the rest of the table. Turns are quick and the thinking and preparation is done as others play – this fast pace is brilliantly suited to bunch of teenagers.

6: A game to take to a job interview
Demonstrate your best qualities and answer questions while you play? (This really should be a thing).

This is my last nomination that I designed – a game of physical constraints. Take turns to draw cards. Cards have simple instructions (e.g. “elbow above shoulder” or “this card on left shoulder”). Each turn, you get another instruction to follow and Yogi becomes exponentially more difficult. I wanted to choose a game that wouldn’t impede my ability to answer questions. Happily, Yogi is all about physical contortion rather than mental challenges. I might be distracted by the silly poses my interviewer is holding and giggle, but it’d also be a way to set us at ease. It’s harder to be intimidated by someone when they’re twisted like a pretzel.

7: A game to take to a hospital: 
No brain-power needed.

BGG Listing

Does an anteater live longer than a fly? Does an anteater live longer than a pig? How about a lemur? This is the extent of the brain power you’ll be using. The pictures give you some guidance and you can always guess if you’re stumped. Each time you place a card, there’s a delicious tension, anticipation, and then release, whether you were right or wrong. When you’re right, you celebrate. When you’re wrong, you inevitably learn something and are sometimes astonished to find that your assumption was completely off-base!

8: A game to take to a cabin in the woods
You have lots of time and lots of space.

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
BGG Listing

Beautiful components. Lots to consider and think about. A whole bunch of unique cards to provide new problems and opportunities each game. Thematically, you’re trying to develop civilisation without polluting too much. That’s quite a nice motif. Mechanically, you’re using energy – gained from your power stations – to access different abilities. If you want to do the same thing as someone else, you have to use more energy than them. This (and the unique cards you can grab) makes it fairly interactive, but not overly mean. I’ve not played this game nearly as much as I’d like to, so we could all explore it together.

If you’re interested in Bez’s games you can connect with her in these ways:

Mailing list       Twitter       Instagram       Facebook

If you’d like to submit your own Eight Games blog we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch.