Family Day is Over, Long Live Family Night!

The Box for Wingspan

I’m too late for a Valentine’s Day post and too early for a Leap Year post. Daniela covered Freedom to Read Week, and Family Day already happened. I’m left to my own devices for a post, and when that happens, you know you’re in for something nerdy. However, I still feel like I want to get in on the holiday posting, so I’m extending Family Day a bit because it doesn’t have to be a provincial holiday to be a family day.

And, of course, family day for me means gaming! My bio mentions no space for my board games, and even though that’s been true for a while, I continue to buy new ones. I may have a problem. VPL is here to help, though! We have a robust board game collection available to our customers. It’s well-used, too! So, some of you already know the value of not having a game take up permanent space on your shelves, or maybe just the value of trying before buying. I’m absolutely guilty of that.

So, for those of you reading who don’t already know, board games these days are much more than getting the family around the table for Monopoly or Risk. Now you can have the same fallouts1 with family and friends2 without sitting around pulling your hair out for three hours and begging for the sweet release of going bankrupt.

The Box for the board game Everdell

Some games will devour an afternoon, evening, or a night’s sleep. Still, those don’t tend to be determined by a roll of the dice and have some strategic elements to keep players engaged until the end. In the evening-devourer category, I present EverdellYou’re one of a few factions of forest critters building a city and competing for victory points. The game mixes worker-placement and set collection and features adorable/cozy artwork on both cards and board. Despite its cuteness, Everdell has some meat on its bones, and building up the perfect city from the huge amount of cards available while balancing your various resources so you can actually build what you want and keeping track of who wants to take which actions on the board so you aren’t blocked, means that even between turns you’ll be planning for the next one. At least until someone does something that changes your whole strategy.

The cover for A City on Mars by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

Before moving on to my next game, I want to link Everdell to a book, and after a quick search for “how to plan a city” in our catalogue, I discovered we have A City on Mars in our collection, and now I have a new hold. Written and researched by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith, the book has been on my watch list. Zach is the cartoonist behind the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cerealwhich is often darkly hilarious, frequently weird as heck, and always brilliant. Admittedly a book about settling a city in space might be better tied to the game Apiary, which is about post-humanity space-faring bees. Still, there are parallels to be drawn even if the animals of Everdell don’t need to consider how to poop in space, careful resource management is crucial to both settling Mars and building a new forest city.

The box art for Sheriff of Notingham taken from Published by Arcane Wonders

Maybe you don’t have an entire evening to devote to gaming, or perhaps you want more interaction with other players beyond them potentially blocking your actions. Or maybe you don’t want to wait for a hold to come in. If any of those are true, check out Sheriff of NottinghamYou’re a merchant trying to make money by bringing goods into Nottingham, which sometimes means smuggling in contraband. This one falls into the betting and bluffing category of games as you try to bluff, bribe or negotiate your way past the sheriff each turn, with each player getting a chance at being sheriff over the course of the game. The ties to Robin Hood are primarily in the name and theme, but there has been a reskin that’s Disneyfied it and made the Robin Hood theme clearer. It shares some similarities with the card game Cheatexcept here, you want to keep your cards instead of dumping them, and only one person can officially call you on your lies on a given turn.

Instead of a book, have a pair of movies: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves for a serious take on the story, and Robin Hood Men in Tights for a Mel Brooks comedy take on the same. Anyone who’s read more than one of my posts can probably guess which version of the movie I’d prefer.

The Box for Clank!

One more game and this one can be played quickly or take forever, depending on your group. It’s a push-your-luck game crossed with a deck builder with a pretty fun theme: players are thieves sneaking into a dragon’s lair to steal from its hoard, and the player who comes out with the most treasure without dying in the depths is the winner. Clank! A Deckbuilding Adventure is a solid choice for a medium-weight game that moves fairly quickly with the potential for some incredibly fun combos if you build your deck right and a little bit of luck is on your side. Oh, and don’t make too much noise, or the dragon will get you, which then kicks off an end-game phase so nobody sits out for too long.

The Cover of Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Stealing from a dragon? The Hobbit is an easy choice here. Too easy, though. Since Clank is very much tongue in cheek with its humour, let’s hit YA with our last book and talk about Fire & Heist. A shapeshifting were-dragon must put together a team to steal a MacGuffin from the vault of a rival were-dragon family. Heist is right there in the title, you know what you’re getting into. Oh, and unlike a lot of fantasy these days, this one is a one-off, so it’s perfect if you’re between series or just need a break from your ongoing obsession. Or are waiting for the next book…

That’s it for me this month. If you try any of these games, please let me know in the comments if you enjoyed them!

1 Just ensure that what happens at the table stays at the table.

2 Former friends if you ignore the rule above.

About Adam

Adam is a Digital Creation Specialist - Children who never has enough shelf space for his board game collection, wall space for his photographs, or stomach space for his baking. Once he’s got a book in his clutches (preferably a fantasy, or humorous non-fiction one) absolutely nothing else is getting done that day. Working in a library is a blessing and a curse to his free time.  |  Meet the team

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