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 Ann Jones shares her Eight Games. Ann runs Cards or Die Board Gaming. Cards or Die brings people together with board games at all sorts of events – parties, weddings, festivals and corporate events and training. They also design bespoke board games for training. Before setting up Cards or Die, Ann was an English Teacher for 17 years.

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

Kan-U-Go
BGG Listing

When I was growing up, playing cards were a staple game in our house. We played Pontoon, Gin Rummy, Newmarket, Beggar My Neighbour and various other games – nearly all of which I have sadly forgotten how to play. Another favourite was Kan-U-Go, a word game that took up the whole table – it’s one of those games that comes in a small box so you are deceived into thinking it is portable only to find you need a table of WarHammer proportions to play it on! It’s a Scrabble-like game but using cards instead of tiles. I never knew what happened to our copy, but years ago I bought it again with the hope of playing it with my Mum. Unfortunately her dementia was too advanced by the time it arrived. But if I could go back and visit my Grandma’s with my Mum I would definitely take Kan-U-Go, a couple of packs of cards and some pennies for the inevitable gambling! 

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

As a family of five, we are sometimes limited as so many games seem to stop at 4 players. The other barrier of course is that we are 5 very different people. One thing we all agree on though is that we love Coup by Indie Boards and Cards. In Coup you lie, cheat and steal to get enough money to assassinate other players or launch an unstoppable Coup. The challenge is to stop people before they get too much money and become too powerful. Be careful though if you accuse someone of lying and they are not it is you who loses a life. With only two lives (or influences) each, the game can be played quickly between courses or while you are waiting to order. The bluff element is loads of fun – although our first play of it had to be cut short as each child earnestly declared that they didn’t have any ‘good’ cards. They soon got the hang of it – everyone loves being given permission to lie!

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

Escape from Atlantis
BGG Listing

If I was going to attend a reunion, I’m imagining we would all be ‘of a certain age’. My generation has fond recollections of Waddingtons and MB games. Whenever I run an event, these are the games people like to talk and reminisce about. My absolute, all time favourite is Escape from Atlantis. To win, you must get the most Atlanteans to the safety of the outlying islands, as Atlantis crashes into the sea and sinks beneath them. As it sinks, hideous sea monsters, octopuses and sharks are unleashed which you can use to terrorise and eat your opponents. Whirlpools are triggered but more boats are also discovered. At the time it was a trail blazer and even now when there are so many games to choose from it still has something to offer. It’s not an obvious party choice but if you’re going to be telling tales of derring do from days of yore, what better setting than over a classic retro board game.

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

Slide Quest
BGG Listing

Slide Quest came to me in a big box of games from Longpack Games. It’s a brilliant, tactile, strategic co-operative game where you work together to move the knight around the board using levers which hook over the game box. The game board has holes that the knight must avoid and as the difficulty gradually increases monsters are introduced, which must be pushed into specific holes, challenging both your dexterity and your team work. It is a work of engineering genius. It comes with a cute little round tracker so you can pause part way through a game or remember where you are up to as you work through each board. I love co-operative games that really demand co-operation. It is not enough that one of you has a plan – you all have to agree because one wrong move and your knight is sunk!

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

As a two player game this may not be an obvious choice, but having attended a Klask tournament hosted by Games Crusade and Big Potato games, I can guarantee it would be perfect. To win at Klask you have to use your magnetic klask (metal stick which you operate using a magnet under the table) to knock the ball into the opponent’s goal or get two of three small white magnets to attach to their klask. First to six wins. It’s a simple game that has the whole family cheering and animated. If you want to shop local and support your FLGS check out: https://www.gamescrusade.co.uk/product/klask/

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)

Magic Maze
BGG Listing

This is another game that demands co-operation and escalates in difficulty. In Magic Maze your characters work together to steal items from a shopping mall and then escape. Each player is assigned a direction or two that they will move any or all of the characters in. It is timed but you can gain extra time if you move the characters onto the right space at the right time. The catch is – the game is played in silence. You communicate by placing the ‘do something’ pawn (a large, bright red wooden piece) in front of the person who you wish would ‘DO SOMETHING’!  This means that unlike some cooperative games where one person can take charge and tell you what to do, in this game you have to adapt your plans if it becomes clear someone else is doing something very different from you. Sticking rigidly to your plan because you think it is better despite it being clear no-one else agrees will lose you the game. So why this one for a job interview? I want to work with people who can adapt, respect others’ opinions and work as part of a team and this game really forces you to do just that. And don’t they always say that when you go for a job should interview them too?!

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

Assembly
BGG Listing

Since I first played it (and lost horribly), Assembly by Wren Games has been one of my favourites. You can play solo or with another player. I have the expansion for it too so there are endless puzzles for me to solve and because there are elements of luck in the draw of the cards and the roll of the die no two games are ever identical. You are working on a space platform manufacturing luxury spacecraft when a meteor hits wiping out all the crew apart from you (if you play solo) and another crew member (if you are playing with 2) you need to lock all the pieces of the spacecraft into place in the correct bays so that you can escape but you have limited time and limited commands at your disposal because the ship’s computer is programmed to stop anyone from leaving. I could play it with my visitor and play it to pass the time when I was alone. 

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

Tales of Evil
BGG Listing

Tales of Evil by Antonio Ferrara has just arrived and we are so excited to play it. It’s a storytelling possibly role playing game that involves a gang of kids from the 80s called the Pizza and Investigation gang who set out to solve various spooky mysteries. I’m thinking Scooby Doo meets Stranger Things. The first tale that we will encounter is the mystery of the Demon Puppet-mistress. It plays 6 but there are 7 characters to choose from which means that all the girls in our house can be girls in the game which is a bonus that I definitely appreciate. All we need now is time to play it and a weekend at a spooky cabin in the woods would be the perfect setting – I’m hoping there’s no phone signal there!