Monday, December 26, 2011

The Art of Games

"Tiki Topple" art by Utah artist Will Terry

I love board games.  This time of year, we schedule as many game days as possible.  Nothing is better than a good group of people, snacks, and some fantastic games.  I never get enough of this wonderful interaction.  Several years ago we expanded our game cabinet to a game closet, and acquired a multitude of "European-style" games that went beyond the world of Monopoly.  Through games, we have explored train rides across America, toured Africa, visited volcanoes in the Pacific Rim, colonized new worlds, and more.  

One of the things that appeals to me is the look of a game.  An interesting looking game board or three dimensional pieces can be as persuasive to me as the game itself.

Part of the game board for "Shadows Over Camelot"

Besides the ever-popular games like Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Cataan, we've acquired several other adventures for our game days.  I'll spotlight the artwork of a few of them today, and introduce you to some other favorites in later posts.

Tiki Topple game play

The first thing that caught my eye about Tiki Topple was, well, the tikis.  Wonderfully illustrated by Will Terry, I had to pick up this game and check it out.  It plays very simply.  A row of tikis are stacked on the game board.  You draw a card that indicates the three tikis you are trying to move into the top three positions on the board.  You have a series of cards that allow you to move tikis up, and sometimes out of the game completely.  Meanwhile, other players are trying to position their three-tiki combination on the top and their moves will often thwart your goals.  This is a fun, fast-moving strategy game.

"Bridge Troll" by Utah game designer, Alf Seegert

We attended the game launch for Bridge Troll, a locally designed game that got picked up by Z-Man Games for production and distribution.  Remember the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the trolls that lived under the bridge?  Well, in this game, you are a troll and you earn points by collecting travelers over your bridge.  Hope for good weather, as more travelers cross your bridge on a sunny day!

One of the troll characters in "Bridge Troll"

Who wouldn't love a game where you can have Surf and Turf (or in this game, "Serf and Turf")?

Traveler who crosses the bridge in Bridge Troll

One of our more recent acquisitions is Shadows Over Camelot.  This is a group game where you work together to try and complete quests. The more cooperative your group is, the better your odds of winning.  However, someone may be a traitor in your midst, and can always throw a wrench in the best laid plans.  Each player is a character from the Knights of the Round table.  This is a wonderful fantasy game involving quests for the Holy Grail, Excalibur, and more.

Character card for Shadows Over Camelot

The gaming world is alive and well in Salt Lake City.  We have a fantastic store, Game Night Games, that not only carries a great selection of games, but has knowledgeable staff who can walk you through the basic play of games that they offer and help you choose games you will enjoy.  Game Night Games also offers different in-store events, and if you are struggling to learn your new game, you can take it in to a game night and they will help you learn to play it.  There is also a game guild in Salt Lake, where aspiring designers brainstorm ideas, get advice, test their prototypes, and connect with other designers.

Next time you want to interact with your friends or family, consider a board game night instead of a movie or electronic game.  Games range from the simple to the complex, so rest assured that a game exists that will appeal to your group. 

So many games, and so few hours in the day...happy gaming!

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