In Eight Games different board gamers share the eight games they’d select in eight different situations. The links are given to Board Game Geek listings for you to find out more.
This month Drew Murray, chooses his eight games.
Drew is a British professional Games Master of many systems with over 20 years of experience in the role. A student of many academic pursuits, each gaming session is made richly detailed and nuanced allowing for complete immersion and memorable experiences. Drew also spent over a decade with the City Varieties Youth Theatre. He occasionally dabbles in YouTube videos and has an abiding love for apple pie.
1: A game to take to granny’s house:
A family friendly afternoon.
Davae Breon Jaxon’s One-Line RPG
This simple roleplaying game can be downloaded from the Google Drive it’s stored on. It is possible to read and understand the game in minutes. You simply create a character by taking an “adjective-noun that verbs”, like a “Skateboarding Astronaut that Hunts Vampires”, or a “Smooth-talking Treasure Hunter that Vlogs”. You then create a story together as a group using those characters. It uses only 6-sided dice.. and it will while away an afternoon with granny as you get her hooked on the hobby.
2: A game to take to a restaurant:
Play around the drinks and cutlery.
Dungeons & Dragons
D&D is probably the best known and most mainstream tabletop role-playing game. It’s now easier to access, due to the existence of free dice-rolling apps on phones and online character sheets. Terms like “wizard”, “elf”, and “evil necromancer” have become ubiquitous these days. The structure of Dungeons and Dragons is simple enough to enjoy over a meal in a nice restaurant.
3: A game to take to a reunion:
Some people you want to chat to, others… not so much.
Getting together should feel good. So what game would give a perfect feel-good nostalgia hit? That’s right, STAR WARS!
The narrative dice mechanics of this amazing game system allows dynamic and exciting things to happen at every moment. A blaster shot could cascade into an exploded piece of wall, taking out all the guards. A barrel roll could grant you the precious extra few seconds you need to fix the hyperdrive engine. A swing of your lightsaber could either end your long struggle with darkness or interlock with your opponent’s leading to a delightful exchange.
It’s high action and drama at its richest; exactly what you want for a reunion.
4: A game to take to a primary school:
Arm yourself with multiple copies and take over a whole classroom.
Fate Accelerated has just 40 pages and is completely free to download. It’s simple game system that uses small numbers, basic addition, a universal dice mechanic (6-sided dice that allows you to either add one, subtract one, or do nothing) and the scope to do anything you desire!
You can stick to traditional fantasy characters and adventures, but if you’d rather have a wacky sci-fi adventure, you easily become talking alien-animals with mega-arms and Minecraft diamond swords.
5: A game to take to a youth club:
Hook in the next generation of board gamers.
CJ Carella’s Witchcraft
It’s an older system, Sir, but it still checks out. Wait, I should have used that for the Star Wars one!
So this game has a modern, supernatural setting with a decently crunchy system. It has that counter-culture “not-D&D” thing going for it, and deals with Buffy the Vampire Slayer-level youth-appropriate conspiracies, monsters, romance, violence, and magic.
There’s freedom without overwhelming choice and there’s a healthy amount mathematics involved (including multiplication and division to work out damage reduction). Witchcraft allows for a diverse group to solve mysteries.
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)
Puppetland is a game that lasts an hour, no more and no less.
The subject matter is a little dark: it’s a twisted version of Punch & Judy. In Puppetland, you take on the role of puppets of your own creation in a dystopian world run by Punch and his iron fist! Your aim is to stop Punch and restore peace in the land.
The world of the game alone is a good enough of a reason to play. After your 1-hour game there are always loads of things to dissect and unpack: from the diceless gameplay to theories about what happens to the puppets when they go to sleep…
7: A game to take to a hospital:
No brain-power needed.
Monster of the Week
When you’re in the hospital, whether visiting someone or staying there yourself, you want something fast, light, and fun. It’s also useful if the game is episodic: playing it tomorrow, you might have a different person in the bed next to yours. Monster of the Week lets you simply think of a monster and work together with the players to uncover the mystery.
As players and storytellers you create the world and the events within it. Everyone has set moves they can make which help to flesh out the world. There’s a simple mechanic of using two 6-sided dice for everything, which really helps to keep rolling to a minimum.
8: A game to take to a cabin in the woods:
You have lots of time and lots of space.
Call of Cthulhu
You’re alone in the dark woods, far from civilisation… You hear a scraping noise outside… The lights flicker, then suddenly go out… You light the candles you keep on hand, watching warily as shadows dance against the ruddy, rattling panes in the windows…
Then one of you gets the bright idea to play Call of Cthulhu! The horror game where you go insane the more you discover, and yet discovery is the only way to survive. Combat is ill-advised, caution is a fairytale, and in a dark cabin in the woods, the stars are always right.