Frugal Fun: Game Nights

Thanks to friends of ours, we have become board game connoisseurs, and even have a whole room devoted to the activity. A good board game can be pricey, but if it is played over and over, it makes for cheap date nights for years to come! During certain parts of the year, when we need allergy relief to step outside, other cheap date night ideas aren't possible. Games are a year-round activity!

While Scrabble is my old favorite, we play newer games more often. Most of these are somewhat complex and not for little kids, but they provide a good challenge and lots of replayability. Yes, that's a word.
  • Settlers of Catan - This game and the next couple are "entry level" eurogames- fairly easy to learn and play. This one involves managing and trading resources to build cities and roads.
  • Carcassone - Like Settlers, players build cities, roads, and farms, this time by laying down tiles and claiming the cities or farms.
  • Ticket To Ride - This "train game" involves building rail lines to different cities across the US or Germany by collecting cards to buy rail segments. As a bonus, it helps with geography knowledge.
  • Power Grid - This reminds me of Ticket to Ride in that players are buying segments between cities on a map, but in this game the segments are power lines, and money must be managed to buy both the power plants and install line in new cities.
  • Puerto Rico - Like Settlers and Carcassone, this is a farming game where resources are grown and shipped off for points.
  • Agricola - This is the ultimate in farming games, released in the US with much anticipation a couple years ago. More aspects of farming are simulated in this game than any other- building a house, fences, and stables; making room for animals, pasture, and plowed fields; planting and harvesting; growing your family; baking bread. And that's just in the easy "family version! As the complexity of the game grows, the amount of room needed for set up and the amount of time to play grows.
  • Fluxx - This has been a favorite since college. This is a card game where the rules and goal of the game continually changes, such that anyone could win on any turn, with the right combination of cards. We love this one so much, we have 2 copies of the original, plus EcoFluxx and Zombie Fluxx.
  • Bohnanza - Another card game, another farming-themed game. In tis one, the players trade cards, trying to collect as many of one type of bean for their bean field as they can before they decide to harvest and plant another type of bean. Sounds silly, but it's really a lot of fun. This is another that's easy to teach people new to games.
Classic card games like Skip Bo, Uno, and Phase 10 make an appearance when we want something a little more mindless and quick. Simple two-player games like Othello and Mancala get dusted off if we want something different.

So, now who wants to come over for a game night?

* I've been asked a few times in the last few weeks about a list of favorite games- here it is! Links to Amazon are affiliate links, but the post isn't written to sell you stuff- if you want to borrow any of these to try out, let me know!


Matt Moberly said...

Why are so many new board games about farming? It's a mystery. But they're really good!

I'll throw in my two cents... you can find Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and quite a few other good "designer games" at Barnes & Noble. So you don't have to go searching for hole-in-the-wall game stores to find them.

There are also a few mass-market games that have hit the shelves at Target and Wal-mart recently that are well received among the online board game community:

Wits and Wagers (party game)
Say Anything (similar party game)
Sorry Sliders (fun family dexterity game, good for both adults and kids)

Andrea Moberly said...

Those games all look familiar :) You'll have to get Matt to bring in 10 days in Asia or 10 days in Europe to play sometime. I have really enjoyed them :)

Stacy said...

We love Settlers of Catan.

Apples to Apples!!!! It's honestly fun with all ages.

Anonymous said...

I can't get Grant to play any of those "strategery" games with me (as he calls them), but thanks for the list. I think you just wrote up my birthday wishlist!

Joanna said...

Sara- I'm thinking we have a game night, and Grant has to succumb to peer pressure or watch Jas & the dog while we play ;-)

Matt Moberly said...

Strategery aside, no one can resist getting hooked on Ticket to Ride! It's a scientific fact. It's so quick to learn! No one I've taught it to has ever been sorry they tried it. :-)

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

We have very similar taste in games. You might want to try Acquire. It's another strategery game, though it's American.


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