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  • Writer's picturemisha

Tabletop Games

Tabletop games have become a serious thing at our house over the last few years. Tabletop games are important staples in #Unschooling homes. We have started to acquire many new games left and right.

When E was younger, it was hard for us to have games because he just wanted to take them apart and use the pieces to make his own games. Which on the surface is not really an issue, except that if and when we wanted to play the original games, often times the pieces were broken or lost and then the game was not really playable in the way it was intended to be played. So, for many years, I would just look for games at the thrift store that were cheap and had interesting parts with which E could use to make his own games.

We have a pretty good collection now of game boards (including two different Clue boards); all kind of dice with numbers, letters, words, colours, and other things on them; all kind of different games pieces and pawns; and a growing collection of letter tiles from games like Scrabble and Bananagrams. We also have a nice stash of sand timers, spinners, chess and checker pieces, and other game-related stuff.

Couple all of those things with pens, markers, legal-sized paper, note cards, and an imaginative kid and every day you can find yourself playing a new game. In full disclosure, you might find yourself with lots of home-grown versions of popular games that do not play quite as well and you might find yourself with some games that make absolutely no sense and seem to change every time you ask for the instructions to be clarified!

Occasionally, a good, solid game arises from the brainstorming session and creative mess-making. I think on of our favourite creations is Antique Hunters. This game makes use of an old Clue game board, Parcheesi game pawns, Pokeno chips, and dice. The goal of the game is to be the first player to find all of the antiques.

Part of our more recent love of tabletop games has been E’s desire to sit down and actually play games as they were designed to be played, his ability to better accept losing a game, and all of us watching many, many YouTube videos about tabletop games.

We specifically like to watch the web series Geek & Sundry’s Table Top that features Will Weaton and we also watch the web series Table Flip. Both series feature a group of people (some famous, some not) playing various tabletop games. These videos have allowed us to make wiser game purchases by getting to see how the games play before buying them.

Some of our favourite games that we have learned about and then purchased have been:

Carcassonne – a tile-based strategy game full of farmers, knights, castles, cloisters, and adorable game pieces called ‘meeples’. Game play can be quick at around thirty minutes or a game can go on for over an hour depending on the number of player. Winner has the highest points. Great for non-readers.

Formula D – a car racing themed board game where the goal is to be the first one over the finish line. However, players have to consider timing, utilise some strategy, and are ultimately dealing with the luck of their dice roll!

Fluxx – is a super fun and fast paced card game. How to play and how to win changes as new cards are drawn and put into play. There are several spin-off versions; we have: Family Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, and Cartoon Network Fluxx.

Dixit – is a beautiful card-based, story-telling game. The storyteller makes up a sentence or clue from one of the cards in their hand. Everyone else finds a card in their hand that fits the sentence/clue the best. All the cards are handed to the storyteller face-down, shuffled, then laid out in a row face-up. Players vote on which one they think is the storyteller’s card. Scores are added up and whomever has the most points, wins. Great game for non-readers and really young players.

Pandemic – is a family, strategy, cooperative board game. The goal is to save the word by treating, curing, and eradicate diseases while avoiding epidemics! Players take turns planning their moves to help themselves and other players to cure and treat as many cities as possible. Everyone wins if all of the diseases are eradicated.

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