Wednesday Inspiration: Large Group Games

Wednesday Inspiration: Large Group Games

I thought I would do something a little different today.  Maybe it’s not craft related, but it’s definitely holiday and hosting related.  You see, the holidays are coming up and I always bring a game home to play with my family.  I also have a weekly game night, and I like to play lots of different types of games.  Generally, I don’t play typical games like Monopoly, Sorry, Risk, or any other game you’ve probably heard of.  I like to play games that are a bit different, and right now I’ve been really into Euro games, particularly ones that have a decent mix of luck and strategy involved.  Technically a Euro game is just a game from Europe, since there has been a resurgence of board game makers there recently.  I don’t really know how to categorize the game play, because it’s definitely different than traditional board games, but that’s what they are called.

The problem I always run into around the holidays is finding a game that can handle a larger number of people.  Most games are good for 2-4 players, and quite a few are starting to handle 2-6.  But 6+?  Those are harder to find.  I have three brothers, one is married, and all told we usually play with 8 people (give or take).  So, for today’s inspiration, I pulled together 7 of my favorite board games for 6+ players.  The one caveat that comes with almost all games is that the more players you add, the longer the game takes.  This includes time between each individual’s play (unless all players play their hand at the same time).  This can make playing with larger groups difficult even if the game can technically handle that many, so be aware of that.

For each game below I’ve added a snippet about the premise of the game, the parts it comes with, and a simplified version of the game play.  I’ve also listed the manufacturers website and the board game geek posting, where you can read different people’s reactions and thoughts about the game.  Most (if not all) of these games are available on Amazon, but I recommend heading over to your friendly local gaming store first if you have one available.  Don’t know if you have a flgs?  Check out Board Game Geek’s list here.  It’s not all inclusive, but it’s worth a check!

If you’re looking for something new to try this holiday season, give one of the following a try!

Red Dragon Inn (2-14 players, soon to be 18)

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Premise: Each person is part of an adventuring band.  The day of adventuring is over, and so you all head over to your favorite inn, the Red Dragon Inn, for merriment.
Parts and Players: There are currently 3 separate box sets (RDI, RDI 2, &  RDI 3) with a fourth one which should be out in time for the holiday season.  Each set contains 4 characters and enough gold, markers, and boards for each character.  They are all self contained games, but can be combined for larger groups.  There are also 2 individual characters that can be purchased as add-ons (soon to be 4), but they require that you have one of the base games to play.
Game Play: Players start with 0 alcohol content and 20 fortitude.  Once their fortitude and alcohol content meet or pass or they run out of gold, they are out of the game.  Each player has their own deck and draws until their hand contains 5 cards.  They can then play an action, which usually affects their own or another’s fortitude or alcohol content or starts a round of gambling (where you can essentially try to bankrupt other players by taking their gold).  After the action, they give a drink to any other player (who will drink it later) and then drink a card from their own drink deck.
Red Dragon Inn Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

Dominion (2-4 players, we’ve played with 8 but there is more downtime between) 

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Premise: This game is a deck building game, where players increase the number of cards in their personal deck each time and attempt to have the largest number of victory cards at the end of the game.
Parts and Players: This one is a hack at 8 players.  You need to have both Dominion and either the Intrigue or base cards expansion and use all of the money and province cards from both.  There are a total of 9 expansions in addition to the base game.  Each box comes with a number of kingdom cards, each of which affects how you build your deck, and occasionally one or two other types of cards.  Really though, it’s just a lot of cards (of which you only use a small portion each game).
Game Play: Each player starts with a set deck of 10 cards.  10 kingdom cards are set out (each card has 10 copies) which players can buy during their turn if they have enough money in their hands.  For each turn, a player draws up to 5 cards in their hand, plays a single action card (these are the kingdom cards), purchases one card from the center cards (kingdom cards, money, and victory cards), and then puts the cards they played plus the remaining cards in their hand into their own personal discard pile.  Eventually, they will be re-shuffled into the players draw deck.  The game ends when 3 piles of cards are gone or all the provinces are gone.  For 8 players, we usually play until 4 or 5 piles are gone.
Dominion Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

Timeline: Inventions (2-8 players)

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Premise: This game is a bit of knowledge plus a bit of guessing.  Basically, you have a timeline of events in front of you and you try to fit where your invention fits in the timeline.   So, you will find yourself asking if the invention of the pencil happened before or after the invention of the steam engine.
Parts and Players: The game is packaged in a nice little metal box and contains 109 cards.  There are at least another 3 versions of the game (Historical events, discovery, and diversity), which could potentially be combined for a more difficult game.  The game is meant for 2-8 players.
Game Play: The game begins with each player having 3-6 cards in front of them.  Each card has an invention, a picture, and a date on one side.  The other side is the same, except has no date.  All cards start of date side down.  One card is pulled from the deck and placed date side up in the center of the table.  The first player tries to correctly place one of their cards in the proper order in the center timeline.  As more players correctly place their cards, the more difficult it becomes to correctly place a new cards.  If you incorrectly place a card, you receive a new card to replace that one.  The goal of the game is to correctly place all the cards in front of you.
Timeline Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

Chrononauts (2-6 players, but you can push it to 11)

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Premise: You are a time traveler trying to get back to your own timeline.  Maybe in your timeline, Lincoln was never assassinated.  Maybe WWII never happened, or maybe WWIII did.  Basically, you fiddle with the timeline at set points (lynch pins) that ripple and affect other points in time.  You also get to collect cool artifacts and gadgets along the way.
Parts and Players: This game consists of lots of cards.  There are the timeline cards (32), the play cards, and several identity and mission cards.  There are also several expansions and a second edition of Early American events.  At the moment, I have all the cards and my limit on players is that I only have 11 mission cards.
Game Play: Each player starts with 5 cards in their hand.  They draw one card and play one card.  Actions include collecting an artifact, switching a lynch pin (and thus paradoxing several ripple points), using a time warp card to do things like go through the discard deck, or patching a paradoxed ripple point.  If you paradox a ripple point, you get an extra card in your hand.  The game ends when the timeline matches a players identity, a player collects all the artifacts in their mission, any player reaches 10 cards in their hand, or their are 13 unpatched paradoxs on the board (at which point the universe explodes, and everyone except Crazy Joe looses).
Chrononats Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

7 wonders (7 players, 8 with the cities expansion)

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Premise: You run an ancient city or land mark, and your goal is to have the best city or landmark after 3 ages.  You can gain victory points through military conquest, development of religious or scientific institutions, successful trade relationships, or a number of other methods.  This game is great for replay-ability, and quite frankly I never know who’s winning until the very end.
Parts and Players:  The game contains 7 wonder boards, a number of coins, military victory points, and 4 decks of cards (one for each age and one to randomly draw the wonders).  There are currently 3 expansions: cities, wonders, and leaders.  Each adds a different aspect to the game.  The cities expansion does expand the game to 8 players.
Game Play: Each player starts with a hand of 7 cards and chooses one to play face down in front of them.  Once all players have chosen the card they want to play, they all play the card at the same time.  The player then hands their hand (now of 6 cards) to the left or right depending on the age.  Game play continues in this manner until the players have 2 cards in their hands, at which point they play one and discard one.  At any point, players can discard a card for 3 gold or use any card to build a stage of their wonder.  What they can build depends on the resources that they have in front of them or that they can purchase from their neighbors.  Play repeats for the second and third ages (with different decks).  Once the game is over, you total all your victory points to see who wins.  It sounds complicated, but after an age or two you get the game play down.  As for strategy, you can win without one and there are so many different options on how to play that it’s hard to go wrong.
7 Wonders Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

Are You a Werewolf? (7-16 players)

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Premise: Werewolf is a typical mob game.  These actually tend to work better with more people rather than less.  Generally, there is one person that’s killing other people and you’re trying to figure out who that is before they kill everyone.  In this case, it’s a pack of werewolves killing people.
Parts and Players:  This game doesn’t actually require any parts, but there is a deck you can buy.  You could also write all the parts (villager, seer, child, werewolf) on a slip of paper and have people draw from a hat.  I like the deck because it reminds me that we can play it and we always have all the parts and rules easily accessible.
Game Play: One person takes on the role of the moderator to make sure everything is working properly.  The first night, a non-player is killed and the villagers wake up to see someone has been eaten.  Then they can choose to lynch someone they suspect to be a werewolf.  If they do, that person dies, if not, it becomes night.  During the night, everyone closes their eyes.  First, the werewolf(es) agree on a single person to kill.  Then they close their eyes and the seer points to a person.  The moderator gives them a thumbs up if they are a werewolf and a thumbs down if they are not.  Day begins, and someone is dead.  The game ends when there are no werewolves or when the number of werewolves equals the number of players.
Werewolf Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

Cards Against Humanity (4-30 players)

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Premise:  This game is much like apples to apples where you are matching one card to fit another.  In the case of apples to apples, it’s verbs to nouns.  In cards against humanity you are usually filling in the blanks.  This game is not for the easily offended.  (Seriously, go to the website and watch the cards at the top to get an idea about the flavor of the cards.  Do purchase this and then be upset that it’s offensive, I’ve warned you).  It is also only available for purchase online.  You can also download your own print and play game for free.
Parts and Players:  The game consists of two decks of cards – white cards and black cards.  The black cards have questions or fill in the blank statements and the white cards have phrases or single words.  There are 3 expansions and a big black box (for storage) available.
Game Play:  Each person starts with 10 white cards.  One person starts as the decider (I’m not sure if that’s what it’s actually called, but that’s what I’m calling it).  They draw a black card and read it. The remaining players choose one (or more, depending on the card) of their cards and place it face down in front of the decider.  The decider then reads all of the cards (out loud, in context) and decides which one they feel fits best by whatever metric they want.  Each player draws so that their hand is up to 10 cards again, and the decider passes to the left.  Technically the game ends when someone ‘wins’ 10 black cards, but we’ve always just played until we feel like ending.  Be prepared to laugh and be appalled with every answer.
Cards Against Humanity Website / Board Game Geek Reviews

There you have it!  7 of my favorite party games.  If you purchase one and enjoy it, or if you already have one and enjoy it, let me know in the comments below!

Another great resource for learning about new games is Wil Wheaton’s Table Top.  If you don’t know what Table Top is, it’s a you tube show where Wil and some of his friends play the game and go over the basics of game play.  Each episode is 20 mins. long, so the game play is shortened, but it’s a really good introduction to all sorts of games if you’re interested.



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One Response to Wednesday Inspiration: Large Group Games

  1. […] I thought I’d take a little bit of a break from my cosplay posts to delve into another love of mine: gaming!  Every Wednesday night I have a bunch of friends over for gaming. We have 3 running RPG campaigns right now (An occasional Dresden campaign, Pathfinders Council of Thieves which I DM, and Pathfinders Rise of the Runelords which Earl DMs). We pick up different campaigns depending on who’s in town and who’s out in the field doing research. Occasionally though, we decide to just play a few board games. We also host board game nights outside of the regular game night as well. You can find some of my favorite games for large groups here. […]

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