The sub-genre of tabletop games where you stack things until they fall over goes deeper than Jenga. I’m not throwing any shade at the classic, but it’s so ubiquitous that I feel like many don’t know anything else beyond it. For example, Animal Upon Animal is a fantastic alternative, where players stack animal-shaped blocks on top of each other. Another game that’s attempting to topple the Jenga empire is Verti-Go. Does it have what it takes to carve some time out of your schedule to give it a chance?
The last thing I need to aid in my crippling addiction of buying every DropMix expansion in sight is more DropMix cards. Yet here we are. Due to the additive nature of the game, I had to make a wish list, right?
I went through the not-so-scientific process of scrolling through my Spotify for the first five songs that I thought would be great DropMix songs. Keep in mind that while I want to hear songs I genuinely like, I’m also asking for songs that I think would work within the game’s framework of breaking songs down to their individual instruments and matching those with instruments from other songs. Here’s list one of probably many to come!
During my childhood, the original Fireball Island board game made quite the impression on me. Unlike many games of its time, this one was played on a 3D board, complete with pathways, hills, rickety bridges, and an ominous fireball-shooting mountain at the top. You could steal treasure from other players by passing them on the board. Of course, there was also the fireballs. Strategically positioned on the map, you could send one crashing into your rivals, knocking them down while causing them to drop their treasure. This level of adventure and treachery was beyond cool at the time.
Though the original has been long out of print, the game returns as a modern remaster from Restoration Games. Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar certainly looks the part when you set it all up, but does it maintain the essence of the original while making the game play well for modern times?
The base game of T.I.M.E Stories is one of my all-time favourite board games. It took us on an incredible adventure that was wildly creative and unlike anything we’d ever played. We were so excited that the game already had more story expansions to play through.
Over time, our excitement in the franchise cooled. I spoke to this phenomenon in a video where I talked about the expansions. Ever since that original game, each expansion that followed has generally trended downward in terms of quality. The latest one we played, Estrella Drive, is the worst one yet.
Long after his passing, the legacy of Bob Ross continues to shine. Episodes of his show The Joy of Painting are still popular online decades after its television run ended in the 90s. Though I don’t think anyone imagined that his work would have an impact on the board game world, there are two in his name as of writing.
Bob Ross: The Art of Chill does not involve any actual drawing or painting. You’ll want to play Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents for that type of experience. Instead, it is a strategy game that loosely simulates the experience of painting alongside the legend himself. Can you keep up with Bob Ross and achieve maximum chill? Or at the very least, make the most of your happy little accidents?
The Networks by Gil Hova and Formal Ferret Games is a worker placement board game built around the novel concept of running your own television network. Over the course of five seasons, you’ll battle competing cable networks for the most viewers by adding new shows, hiring stars, and landing ad deals. On top of all that, there’s no room for complacency, as audiences grow tired of shows over time, forcing you to constantly keep your lineup fresh.
Its elevator pitch is one of the most compelling I’ve seen for a board game in quite some time, even as someone who doesn’t like watching television. But how well does its theme translate to the tabletop?
DropMix comes with 60 cards to get your adventure into card-based DJ-ing started. Part of the game’s magic is that everything seemingly mixes together perfect. That said, I definitely have a few go-to cards that I use heavily in my mixes.
This list only covers cards in the base game. I own a few expansions as well, so maybe I’ll spotlight those at some point as well!
The original Ticket to Ride is my all-time favourite board game. I really enjoy that game’s balance of accessibility and strategic depth. Over the course of play, there’s a lot of interesting decisions to make, from determining which colour cards to draw, to knowing when to place your trains on the board, to finding alternate paths to your destination when a jerk has blocked your path. In spite of my love for that first game, I haven’t really ventured much beyond it. I have the 1910 Expansion, and I’ve played Ticket to Ride: Europe a few times, but that’s it. Based on what I’ve seen of the other standalone games and expansions, there wasn’t enough new or unique there for me to venture beyond my comfort zone.
Enter Ticket to Ride: New York. The latest entry in the series is also the smallest. With a playing field that only covers the south side of Manhattan, this iteration of the game is meant to deliver the thrills of the original in a package that can be played in about 15 minutes. I love the idea of having a quick version of Ticket to Ride to play, but does anything get lost in the distillation process?
Once we got past a few technical difficulties that plagued the start of the broadcast, our first board game night live stream was a smashing success! The technical solution that I put in place to play Codenames worked smoothly for the most part, and playing with some of my favourite people around melted away whatever distance there was between our webcams. Thank you to Mat, Jon, Kris, Rachel, & Steff for making this way more special than just a streaming experiment. And thank you to everyone that tuned in to watch our shenanigans and chat with us!
We will do this again. We had too much fun to let this concept slide. Even if we didn’t publicly broadcast it, just being able to play board games remotely with a group of friends separated by hundreds of miles and still feel connected was magical. Now that we’ve proved that it works, here are some other games I would love to make work in this format!
If you are looking for serious Codenames matches, this may not be the video for you! But if you want a plethora of shocking reactions, weird stories, and non-stop laughs in only 15 minutes, you’ve come to the right place! Thank you Kris & Rachel from Double Jump, Mat from Biff Bam Pop, Jon @hotfiya, and my wife Steff @copperkeycosplay for a fantastic board game night!
If you just can’t get enough, there’s plenty more laughs and good times to be shared by watching the full episode!
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