new games plus

The board games tak­ing over now aren’t what your fam­ily used to play on a Satur­day night

Scout - - CONTENTS - By ROMEO MO­RAN Pho­tog­ra­phy by PA­TRICK SE­GOVIA

IF YOU HEAR the term “board games” and still think of Scrab­ble and Snakes and Lad­ders, you have no idea what you’re miss­ing out on. The board game scene is far more com­plex and, well, more fun than the child­ish pas­times you were used to. Catch up with the rest of us with th­ese six board and table­top games that’ll eas­ily re­place Monopoly as

the most com­pli­cated game you’ve ever played.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game

It is: Pretty much the board game version of what each ma­jor GoT house wants to ac­com­plish in the se­ries— con­trol of Wes­teros. You play as one of the seven ma­jor Houses as you try to be the one to park your ass on the Iron Throne by way of tac­ti­cal ma­neu­ver­ing of your armies, proper man­age­ment of your re­sources, and deft wield­ing of your in­flu­ence. Oh, and sur­viv­ing what­ever the Wildlings have in store for you.

Num­ber of play­ers: 3- 6 For: Game of Thrones fans ( duh), real- time strat­egy/ turn- based strat­egy gamers, and peo­ple who want a great way to kill at least six hours

Not for: Dothraki and Tar­garyen fans ( you can’t play as ei­ther), haters of mi­cro­man­age­ment

You win: When you con­trol seven cas­tles, or if you con­trol the most cas­tles at the end of the game. ( This is harder than it seems.)

Com­plex­ity: 4/ 5. The learn­ing curve is for­giv­ing, but doesn’t com­pro­mise depth at all. It’s just really long ( the orig­i­nal game, that is).

Dead of Win­ter

It is: A board game set in the mid­dle of a post- zom­bie apoc­a­lyp­tic town/ city in the mid­dle of an icy win­ter. ( Get it? Dead of Win­ter?) Play­ers choose a char­ac­ter from the host of sur­vivors in the city to play as, with their own unique traits and skills, as they try to make it through the win­ter and kill zom­bies while do­ing so.

Num­ber of play­ers: 2- 5 For: Any­one who’s ever wanted to sur­vive a zom­bie apoc­a­lypse and do so in a re­al­is­tic way, peo­ple who want to play a board game with a story

Not for: Peo­ple who don’t want to process too much in­for­ma­tion

You win: When the play­ers com­plete all the ob­jec­tives ex­pected of them, such as killing enough zom­bies to come up with a cure and hav­ing enough sup­plies at the end of the game.

Com­plex­ity: 4/ 5. All the pieces seem daunt­ing and there’s a lot of ex­plain­ing to be done, but the logic is easy to grasp. You’re killing zom­bies.

Be­trayal at House on the Hill

It is: The es­sen­tial board game equiv­a­lent of the old haunted house trope. You and a group of your friends are a group of fic­tional… friends ( the as­sort­ment is rather wild, but typ­i­cal of hor­ror movies) who are ex­plor­ing a haunted man­sion ( which is so not a good idea, but that’s also typ­i­cal of hor­ror movies). You’re go­ing to try to sur­vive omens and spe­cial events called Haunts, where the real fun be­gins, be­cause one of you will start play­ing against the rest of the group. ( Be­cause that per­son is pos­sessed. Hor­ror movies.) Num­ber of play­ers: 3- 6 For: Clas­sic hor­ror fans, peo­ple who are look­ing for the right game to play on Hal­loween, play­ers who like be­ing the an­tag­o­nist, de­voted Scooby- Doo fa­nat­ics

Not for: Scaredy- cats who are eas­ily kept up at night by ter­ri­fy­ing men­tal im­ages

You win: When you sur­vive the Haunt and ful­fill its par­tic­u­lar win con­di­tions ( there are so many of them) if you’re part of the good guy team, or when you man­age to kill all the good guys if you’re the pos­sessed traitor

Com­plex­ity: 3/ 5. The me­chan­ics are straight­for­ward and in­tu­itive ( you’re mov­ing through a house), but a lack of tight team­work is go­ing to lose the game for the good guys.

Coup: Re­for­ma­tion

It is: A table­top card game of straight- up shrewd ma­neu­ver­ing. You and a group of friends are play­ing as politi­cians in some sort of fu­tur­is­tic Re­nais­sance Italy, and you’re all frig­ging cor­rupt as hell, try­ing to stab each other in the back as you play and steal and lie and em­bez­zle your way to be the most in­flu­en­tial politi­cian among all of you. A more strate­gi­cally- com­plex version of the game in­volves al­le­giances.

Num­ber of play­ers: 2- 10 For: Poker play­ers, peo­ple as­pir­ing to be lo­cal politi­cians some­day ( we’re kid­ding… or are we?)

Not for: Peo­ple who can­not in­flu­ence other peo­ple to save their lives

You win: When you’re the last one stand­ing af­ter cut­ting off ev­ery­one else’s in­flu­ence, ei­ther by killing them or stag­ing a coup

Com­plex­ity: 3/ 5. The strate­gic op­tions avail­able to you at the be­gin­ning of the game can be a lit­tle over­whelm­ing, and new­bies will have a tougher time beat­ing veter­ans of the game. Once you fig­ure out what it is ex­actly you need to do, how­ever, the game will be­come very in­tu­itive.

The Re­sis­tance: Avalon

It is: A table­top card game of trust, de­cep­tion, and in­tu­ition based on the leg­end of Camelot. Play­ers are se­cretly split into two sides, King Arthur’s sub­jects and the evil forces of Mor­dred as they race to ei­ther com­plete quests or stop them from suc­ceed­ing. Var­i­ous spe­cific char­ac­ters have spe­cial abil­i­ties tied to know­ing— and fak­ing— who’s who. Best played with some al­co­hol, trust us. Num­ber of play­ers: 5- 10 For: Poker play­ers, peo­ple with trust is­sues, peo­ple who want to di­vide a group of friends, patho­log­i­cal liars, as­pir­ing ac­tors Not for: Peo­ple with trust is­sues You win: When the good guys com­plete three quests, or when the bad guys stop the good guys from com­plet­ing three quests or the as­sas­sin suc­cess­fully guesses who Mer­lin is and kills him

Com­plex­ity: 2/ 5. All you need is three min­utes of game­play to fig­ure out how the en­tire game works— the rest of it is how fast you learn to de­ci­pher your friends’ bluff­ing.

Don’t be daunted by the sprawl­ing setup of Game of Thrones. Pretty soon you’ll get the hang of in­vad­ing your op­po­nents’ ter­ri­to­ries.

Th­ese are some of the cards that mark play­ers on the good guy side in Avalon. (Of course blue means good.)

Be­trayal is kind of like a table­top RPG, hing­ing on stats each player has and cru­cial dice rolls.

Each char­ac­ter in Dead of Win­ter, rep­re­sented by th­ese to­kens, has a unique abil­ity that changes the way you play the game.

Cur­rency in Coup is marked by chips, which along with the bluff­ing me­chan­ics present make the game a lot like poker.

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