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Around the Table: Genres

For those of you new to the board game world, this week I want to talk about game genres. RPG, deckbuilding, horror, co-op, tactical, strategy, worker placement. These are all game types that our friends like to play. Join me around the table and dig into these different genres to find out what they offer to the players.

I am going to start with RPG, role-playing game. Carlie and I enjoy this genre the most and play RPG’s more than any other genre. The reason: creativity. In an RPG, you can use the same rules, the same storyline while playing a different character and have a completely unique experience for each character. Are you the charming and swashbuckling rogue or the shadowy ranger from afar? RPG’s allow us to create new experiences every time we play the game. Some popular RPG’s include Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.

The second game type I want to touch on briefly is deckbuilding games. In this genre, you typically start with a small number of cards available to you; but, as you play, you acquire new cards and add them to your deck. These new cards usually have some special mechanic for the game or allow you to acquire even more powerful cards. The objective of each game tends to be different so which cards you acquire will be tailored to the game you are playing. Some games have multiple win conditions allowing for different winning card combinations. A well-known deck-builder is a game called Dominion and the number of expansions this game has is a testament to its popularity (the expansions add new cards to the mix). Carlie and I have fallen in love with Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle as it is a co-op deck-builder set in Carlie’s favorite fantasy world.

I want to combine two genres here though they are separate. Horror and co-operative games. Recently (last 2-3 years) there has been a surge of games into the market that has some amount of fear built into the game. A few examples that immediately come to mind are Betrayal at House on the Hill, Apocrypha, and the ever-popular Pandemic. All of these games have some horror elements to them: monsters taking over your hometown, your best friend turns out to be the evil werewolf and tries to eat you, or a disease you thought was under control happens to wipe you out. Horror based games are often co-operatively played as well. This allows for the players to team up and faceoff against the evil that is the board game. Win or lose, everyone at the table has a good time; oh except for Betrayal, (spoilers) someone in your friends will end up trying to murder you before the night is over.

The last three genres of games tend to overlap each other. I am a big fan of strategy and tactical games as it allows my brain to solve a problem: in one turn, what is the maximum amount of victory points I can achieve using the dice or workers I have available to me. A lot of strategy games add different variables and levels of complexity to the equation allowing different avenues to victory. A few examples that come to mind are Settlers of CatanTzolk’in: the Mayan Calendar, Castles of Burgundy, and Agricola. Each of these games has a slightly different feel and level of complexity. If you are new to the world of strategy/tactical games, I recommend starting with something like Settlers of Catan or Agricola. These games are not as complex as the other two and still offer large amounts of replayability and strategy. Currently, Carlie and I love Agricola as it offers a refreshing take on worker placement/strategy games.

I know there are quite a few more genres out there and I missed left out a few amazing board games because they don’t fall into the above categories. So here are a couple of honorable mentions: Carcassone (tile placement) and King of Tokyo (a refreshed version of the Yahtzee). These make it to our table more often than some of the others we own. Thank you for joining me this week, I hope you learned about a new type of game you want to try. Let us know what your favorite genre of game is or suggest a game for us to try!

Now pick up a new game or an old favorite, invite your friends over, and enjoy an evening around the table.


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*Post originally posted on my other site,, but I am now separating my business site from the blog site, therefore I am moving the posts here. Sep 27, 2017*