Tag Archives: creativity

Great games for you to bring to the table this Christmas.

Let’s face it we love to play games. As you gather with your others to celebrate this season you all know you want to bring out some games and try and get people to play.   Sure, some will be more interested in football or catching up on the latest gossip. However,these games are sure to be inviting and perhaps help you gather people around the tabletop for your favorite pastime.

Short and Immersive.
Some people are convinced that our hobby only offers games that take hours to play.  They grew up playing Risk or Monopoly and have no idea what great games are available today.  A short game works perfectly before the family feast.  These games have a short play time but also keep people continuously engaged.

 

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival.  Playtime 25-30 minutes. On your turn you place a tile to decorate the Chinese Emperor’s Palace Lake with beautiful floating lanterns. Every time a tile is placed everyone at the table receives a lantern tile. Based on the arrangement you just made you can draft cards to ultimately score points. The game moves quickly. Players are drawn into the game by the beautiful array being created and the fact that you are watching to see how other players’ placements will impact your options when it is your turn. This game has been a big hit with families at the café.

Curios: Playtime 15-20 minutes. Let me just say for a 20-minute game you will not find anything better than Curios. Fast, immersive and a hoot-lotta fun. In Curios you are illegal treasure hunters searching the worlds famous archaeological sites for lost artifacts (curios). However, the market value for each type of curios is only partially known by each player. You know some but not all the facts about this shifting market and as each player acts to move their treasure hunters from one site to another you can gain additional information based on their actions. Curios is an immersive game of deduction, bluffing, and quick decisions like no other. This simple and intuitive game is quick to learn and even quicker to play!

Easy to Understand Game Mechanic.

Sometimes we just want a game that you can pick up and play within minutes of opening the box. Especially when introducing games to non-gamers. Here are two of our top choices.

The Mind: One of the biggest hits this year is The Mind.   In the Mind you have to mind-meld with the other players around the table to place cards in the correct order. It is more than just a game. It’s a magical experience, an experiment, a journey in which you can’t exchange information, yet will become one to defeat all the levels of the game.  The Mind was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres award and won the Origins Award for best game.

Silver: A fast and engaging traditional card game with a werewolf twist! Everyone starts the game with five face-down cards, with everyone being able to see two cards of their choice. On your turn you draw a card. Play it for its effect or use it to replace one of the cards in your village triggering that cards effect. Your goal is to rid the village of werewolves. When you think you have succeeded you call for a vote. Several expansions with additional cards are soon to be released.

Themes to draw them in.  Here are a few games where the theme helps draw in new players.

Forbidden Dessert: The is an awesome cooperative game where you have crash landed in the desert and must work together to survive and fix your airship. You’ll need to coordinate with the other players and use every available resource to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the missing parts and escape before you die of thirst. It plays up to 5 players and since it is cooperative new players can freely ask questions and seek advice from the other players.

Fuse: Fuse is a timed cooperative dice game. There are 20 bombs aboard your ship and you have ten minutes to disarm them. Dice are rolled, players select dice to resolve their part of the disarm requirement, and you succeed or fail as a team. It is a race against time that is sure to have everyone scrambling and working together.

3 Benefits of Tabletop RPGs

Lucian Huang, at your service. I am but a humble servant of Deneir on my own quest from my late master. I found refuge in the city of Orm in this treacherous land of Agasteel.  Journeying with me are two rangers, a bard, and two druids.

A farmer to the north needed our help dispatching a giant wolf that made a meal of his flock. After getting our mission, we followed the tracks to a cave. Inside, a glowing pair of red eyes greeted us and out stepped a wolf twice the size of a cow. We knew this was not a normal wolf. And while he growled at us, we had to make a decision on what to do. Do we rush in an attack? Use the druid to talk to him? Look around for anything useful? Run away? These kinds of decisions make Dungeons and Dragons an exercise in creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

dungeons and dragons player handbook

1. Learning New Things Helps Your Brain

Studies have long been pointing to the benefits of continual learning through a person’s life. From delaying cognitive decline and improving memory, life-long learning keeps your brain active. Before the game even begins, it requires learning the game, reading about your characters, and a bit of research into the possible combinations of skills, abilities, armors, and weapons.

It may seem a bit overwhelming, but a good Dungeon Master, or game host, will guide you in your comfort level. You can settle with a pre-made character (drafted by your DM), pick the recommended configurations from the book, or create a combination all your own.

For those who love Dungeons and Dragons and want to dive deeper into the game, there are innumerable styles of play, lore, and nearly two-dozen official books to widen your horizon. Or you may go so far as learning to be a DM yourself.

dungeons and dragons minifigures
We used someone’s dice case for our cart.

2. Harnessing Your Creativity & Problem Solving

Creativity alone has many benefits which is good news for a game centered on designing your own story. To start with, creating your character involves much more than numbers on a page. What do they look like? What’s their backstory? What are the mannerisms that define them?

Everyone is capable of creativity. It’s freeing, stress relieving and promotes self-awareness and self-expression. When you play, get into character if you want to. Speak like them and make choices based on what they would choose, not you. I had a Cleric character named Laucian. He was very devout and saw all beings as innocent until otherwise proven. On behalf of Laucian, I refused to fight in instances involving animals and I ran headlong (stupidly) into battles against known enemies.

Creativity also boosts problem-solving capabilities. In D&D, you build your own story. How will you face obstacles? What’s the solution to the puzzle lock on the ancient temple? How will you get information from the barkeep?

A DM friend of mine played the same campaign for two different groups. In the campaign, we had to rescue captives in a large goblin and ogre camp. My group used a combination of spells between multiple people to project a symbol of their deity in the sky and use a thunderous voice to mimic him. Basically, we incited a goblin riot against the Ogres and snuck people out during the fighting. The other group made a giant construct to scare them out of the camp. Either way, we both succeeded in our objectives.

There are no multiple-choice questions in D&D, and as long as it’s within the rules, you can approach any task in whatever way you wish. Sometimes, the most creative solutions are the most fun and make for great stories long after the game is over.

dungeons and dragons arena
2v2 player versus player

3. Working Together & Improving Communication

Forget those Escape the Room games for your company Team Building days. The time limits and pressure to be puzzle wizards don’t exist in Dungeons & Dragons. What does exist is working together to dispatch foes or navigate an abandoned mine. As I mentioned from the example above, it took all of us to put on that light and sound show to free those captives.

And it will take your whole team to figure out how to cross a rickety bridge when half of you are wearing heavy plate armor. Have an idea? Speak up. Make decisions together. Lone wolves will get themselves killed. And for heaven-sake, never split the party!

Often a bad roll or a bad decision can make situations dire. I was in a group during that rickety bridge scenario. A plate-wearing dwarf tied herself to a team-mate. Neither expected the dwarf to fall and sink to the bottom like a stone. And as physics would dictate, the teammate was ripped from the bridge thanks to her tether. It took quick thinking and a lot of rope to get them to safety.

Final Thoughts

Table-top role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons promote creativity, learning, working together, problem-solving, and communication. These elements are great for the brain and important to life. Grab a group of co-workers, friends, or meet some new people and settle down for a game. Unlike other team building and “get to know you games,” you can drink coffee and eat delicious food while you bond over how you’re going in infiltrate the enemy base.

How did the wolf story end? The druid noticed that not only was he injured, but the wolf was actually a she. As he drew close to tend her wound, he discovered that she was a mom and her pups were missing. After some prodding, the wolf told us about the humans that kidnapped her puppies. If we struck first, we would have never discovered the real enemy3