Our Family 10×10 Board Game Challenge

by admin on January 17, 2015

We are a board gaming family. My wife, son (age 10), daughter (age 7), and I all enjoy playing board games.

We try and include both kids in all of the games. My son always plays on his own while my daughter sometimes partners up with either my wife or I in order to play some of the tougher games. I’m glad that we have two pretty smart kids as they pick up how the games work pretty quick.

Anyway, because we game so often with our kids we made a more “family-style” list for our 2015 10×10 Board Game Challenge. What’s that? You don’t know what the 10×10 Board Game Challenge is?

It simply means that you are challenging yourself to choose 10 board games to play 10 times each during the year.

I will say that we worked together on this list as a family and once it was complete, I went and made up a 5×5 challenge in order to try and get more plays in of some heavier games. I’ll include that in another post.

In no particular order here are the 10 board games we are challenging ourselves to play 10 times each for 2015.

Survive: Escape From Atlantis Survive – Designed by Julian Courtland-Smith with the 30th Anniversary Edition published by Stronghold Games.

Survive is a cutthroat game where players seek to evacuate their pieces from an island that is breaking up, while remembering where their highest-valued pieces are located to maximize their score.

An island made up of 40 hex-tiles is slowly sinking into the ocean (as the tiles are removed from the board). Each player controls ten people (valued from 1 to 6) that they try and move towards the safety of the surrounding islands before the main island finally blows up. Players can either swim or use boats to travel but must avoid sea serpents, whales and sharks on their way to safety.

We absolutely LOVE this game! So much begging, pleading, and backstabbing in just one game.

Waggle Dance Waggle Danceis designed by Mike Nudd and published by Grublin Games. I originally bought this game because I love dice mechanics in games and it looked like a game we could all easily play as a family. I was not disappointed! It’s one of our favorites and it just might be the game that gets played the most times in 2015.

In Waggle Dance, a Euro-style worker-placement dice game for 2-4, players control worker bees to build their hive, produce more bees, collect nectar, return it to the hive and make honey! What is a “waggle dance” you ask? It’s a series of patterned movements performed by a scouting bee to tell other bees in the colony the direction and distance of a food source or hive site.

Players need to organize their bees to make as much honey as possible to see the hive through the coming winter. The winner is the first player to successfully create 7 or more honey tokens in their hive. It’s up to you how to achieve this: Do you focus on nectar collection, increasing your bee population, expanding your hive, seeking favor with the queen, or splitting your resources to accomplish all of these? Whatever you choose, the natural world is a competitive environment and you can be sure the other players will be looking to maximize their advantage.

Belle of the BallBelle of the Ball is designed by Daniel Solis with wonderful art by the lovely Jacqui Davis and is published by Dice Hate Me Games. I bought this as a stocking stuffer for my daughter based on the theme alone. The game is great, too, and it is one that she is always requesting to play so I had to make sure it was on our list :).

In the card game Belle of the Ball, players take on the roles of party hosts, seeking the best mix of guests to make their gala the greatest by the end of the night. In order to ensure that they stay one step ahead of the other hosts, players will have to carefully watch the growing line of guests at the door, inviting those in that seem to share passions with partygoers already inside, all the while handing out their precious stash of Regrets to those who should seek refuge elsewhere. Of course, other hosts may find it advantageous to invite a rejected guest inside just to collect their accumulated Regrets for later use.

Pandemic Pandemic is designed by Matt Leacock and published by Z-Man Games. I got this for my wife for Christmas because she loves cooperative games and has been wanting to get this game ever since she saw the TableTop episode. It’s been a blast to play even though we have only won it once. Quick setup and we can play a game of it pretty quickly.

In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.

Rhino Hero Rhino Herois designed by Scott Frisco and Steven Strumpf with HABA Games as publisher. I actually bought a copy from Germany (called Super Rhino over there) when I couldn’t find a copy in the states. It’s a great dexterity game that makes a nice break between longer games. I have to admit, every time I have played I have knocked over the tower of cards.

Super Rhino! presents players with an incredibly heroic – and regrettably heavy – rhinoceros who is eager to climb a tall building and leap other tall buildings in a single bound. First, though, you need to construct that building.

Players each start the game with five roof cards, and they take turns adding walls and roofs to a single building. On a turn, you first place walls on the highest floor, then you choose a roof card in your hand and place it on the wall. Each roof card bears markings that indicate where the next player must place walls on the card. In addition, some roof cards force a player to perform special actions, such as placing a second roof, changing the direction of play, or moving Super Rhino to a new location on the tower. Keep your hands steady!

Relic ExpeditionRelic Expedition is designed by Randy Hoyt and published by his company, Foxtrot Games. We first heard about Relic Expedition when we saw the Watch it Played video by Rodney Smith. We watched all the episodes where they played Relic Expedition and I ordered it that night. Loved playing it ever since.

Relic Expedition is a jungle exploration game with a variable board, hand management, collectible treasures, and dangerous wild animals!

The game board starts small, with only a few of the tiles revealed. As players explore the jungle, new tiles are revealed and the board grows in unpredictable ways, making for a completely different game each time. Hidden in the jungle, you’ll find six different types of treasures made of six different materials. To win, you must collect four matching treasures — either four of the same type or four of the same material — and fly away from the jungle to victory.

If you hope to travel through the terrain and survive the dangers of the jungle to get that treasure, though, you’ll also need supplies like machetes, mountain climbing gear, panther traps, tranquilizer darts, vines, and more. You carry treasures and supplies in your backpack, but your backpack space is limited! As the game progresses, you’ll have to choose carefully. As you find more treasure, you’ll have to make tough decisions about which supplies you have to leave behind.

QwirkleQwirkle is designed by Susan McKinley Ross and published by Mindware. This is another gem of a game we were inspired to purchase after watching an episode of TableTop. It’s an extremely accessible game for all ages and it has enough strategy to be fun for adults as well. I have never won a game of Qwirkle, but my wife and daughter are pretty doggone good at it.

The abstract game of Qwirkle consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six different colors. There is no board, players simply use an available flat surface.

Players begin the game with six blocks. The start player places blocks of a single matching attribute (color or shape but not both) on the table. Thereafter, a player adds blocks adjacent to at least one previously played block. The blocks must all be played in a line and match, without duplicates, either the color or shape of the previous block.

Players score one point for each block played plus all blocks adjacent. It is possible for a block to score in more than one direction. If a player completes a line containing all six shapes or colors, an additional six points are scored. The player then refills his hand to six blocks.

BelfortBelfort Game is designed by Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim. It is published by Tasty Minstrel Games. Belfort is a tight worker placement game that has yet to play the same way twice. It is by far one of our family’s favorite games to play. Absolute gem of a game!

Belfort is a worker placement game with area majority scoring in each district as well as for each type of worker. Buildings give you influence in the districts as well as income, but taxes increase based on your score so the winning players will have to pay more than those behind! Manage your resources and gold well, choose your buildings wisely, and help build the city of Belfort!

Tsuro Tsurois designed by Tom McMurchie and published by Calliope Games. Yet another game purchase I owe to Rodney Smith’s Watch It Played video series. My daughter had wanted this game ever since we saw the Watch it Played video. She loves puzzles and really loves Tsuro. We all enjoy it and it is so quick to play that we usually play it at least twice in a row.

A beautiful and beautifully simple game of laying a tile before your own token to continue its path on each turn. The goal is to keep your token on the board longer than anyone else’s, but as the board fills up this becomes harder because there are fewer empty spaces left… and another player’s tile may also extend your own path in a direction you’d rather not go. Easy to introduce to new players, Tsuro lasts a mere 15 minutes and actually does work for any number from 2 to 8.

Spurs: A Tale in the Old West Spurs board game is designed by Sean Brown and Ole Steiness. It’s published by Mr. B Games. I backed this game on Kickstarter last year based on the theme and the “sandbox” premise of the game. When you play the game you are basically living out every western you ever watched. It’s so good and I am super glad this is on our 10×10 list this year!

In Spurs: A Tale in the Old West, players take on the role of adventurers in the Old West, competing to handle various challenges to become a true Legend of the West.

Players take turns moving around the main board, carrying out classic activities of the Old West, like taking on cattle-herding jobs or engaging in horse-breaking; if you are good at riding, you might end up with a nice stallion to sell! Gunslingers can go searching for wanted outlaws in the badlands or take on jobs to escort stagecoaches or deal with a gang of Desperados. Hunters will seek out wildlife in the forests (be careful as some animals might hunt you instead), while others might seek fortune by searching for gold in the mountains or gambling in the town saloons. Be careful, though, as you never know when other players will challenge you to a duel and try to rob you.

Well, there you have it. These are our 10 board games we are looking forward to playing 10 times each this year. We keep a board game journal and I plan on posting the results for our 10×10 challenge on a monthly basis.

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