Favourite games of 2018

According to my BGStats game app, I played 78 different games last year. That’s a game and a half for every week of the year! While many were repeats, I did manage to get in many new-to-me games.

Here are my top new-to-me games of 2018, in no particular order.

One Night Ultimate Alien

Okay, I lied. Of all the games we played last year, the One Night Ultimate series of games definitely topped the list, with Alien taking the cake between the different version of this game (Werewolf, Vampire, and Daybreak). This is a fun, social deduction game that can be played in under 10 minutes. Each player is given a role (which is secret), and the group tries to figure out who the aliens are, while the aliens try to keep their role a secret. It’s easy to teach and learn, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how everyone gets into the game. Alien offers a randomness factor that the other versions don’t, which makes it my favourite, but this version also requires the phone app when the others don’t need it (I do recommend using it regardless so that everyone can play).

Box of the Charterstone board game, with some of the game pieces in front.


The hubby gifted this to me for Christmas in 2017, and I will admit I was skeptical at first. But he gets to say “I told you so.” Charterstone is a resource management legacy game, where players are building a town in the hopes of it becoming the new capital city. We enjoyed our first play-through of this game that we bought both a recharge pack (which allows you to replay the game at a fraction of the cost of buying a new version) and we bought a new copy of the game. We’re also playing another copy that our friend bought.

Box for Pandemic Legacy Season 2 (Black), with some game pieces which are blurred out to prevent spoilers!

Pandemic Legacy Season 2

Pandemic is one of my all-time favourite games. So it’s no surprise that we had to play the Legacy versions. Our Thursday night game group loved Season 1, so we snapped up Season 2 as soon as it was released. Gotta say, Season 2 definitely kicked it out of the park, and was even better than its predecessor. Having said that, I am tempted to pick up a new copy of Season 1 and go again.

Century: Spice Road

Century: Spice Road set up on a table.

This was recommended to me by my FLGS. It’s another resource building/deck building hybrid where you buy action cards that help you get resources which ultimately allows you to take goal cards (and victory points). It’s a fairly fast-paced game that satisfies the strategy part of the brain, while also being less than an hour to play.

Okanagan: Valley of Lakes

The hubby and I saw this game at Terminal City Tabletop Convention 2018 and were both interested in playing it, so we borrowed a copy from TCTC’s library. Within the first round of play we knew this game was meant for us, so Blair went and bought it. It’s a tile laying game somewhat reminiscent of Carcasonne, but with a totally different scoring mechanism. Also, I was totally charmed by the Okanagan theme (since the Okanagan Valley is here in BC).

Railroad Ink

This one was a Christmas gift for 2018, and we immediately loved the simplicity of this game. You have to try to create circuits using railroads and roads; the more exits you connect, and the longer certain route types you have, the more points you get. But the pieces are random dice rolls, so you could end up in a disaster in city planning. It’s a quick, portable game… another easy to teach, easy to learn.

Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars board game in play.

I was introduced to this one by my brother-in-law. It’s a resource management style game with a space theme. There are different ways that you can win. It’s a much longer, crunchier game, but once you’ve played a few rounds it’s easy to pick up. The only thing I don’t like about this game is that the rulebook is really badly written, so I’d recommend using one of the many how-to-play videos on Youtube.

Were there any games you tried for the first time in 2018 and loved? Tell me about them in the comments!

The healing power of games

Hey interwebs! It’s been awhile!

The healing power of gaming
My last chemo treatment!

Life threw me a major curveball in 2017. I’ve shared bits of it over on twitter, but if you don’t follow me there: I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and spent the last year and a half going through treatment. I’m officially considered a cancer survivor, but as any survivor will tell you, it’s something that will echo through the rest of my life.

And thus for my first post back I’m going to talk about… the healing power of gaming!

There are a lot of benefits to tabletop gaming, even if you aren’t suffering a major illness. But reflecting back, gaming really was a positive factor that got me through the bad times. My husband and I wouldn’t have made it through this past couple of years if it hadn’t been for our family, and for our awesome friends who kept our spirits up through gaming.

TCTC 2018 with my hair just barely starting to grow back.

Since I’m a big fan of lists these days, here are my ways that gaming helped me heal:

  • Distraction. Gaming gave me the chance to think about something else. Whether it was an immersive RPG or just a quick five minute party game, it gave me something totally different to focus on than my medical issues.
  • Escape. With Dungeons & Dragons and role-playing games, I was able to become someone else for a while. For a few hours I wasn’t “Andrea the cancer patient”, I was Ocoria the Goliath Monk, Ellie the vampire, or Wren the Starfleet Security Officer. It also gave me the chance to feel their strength even when I wasn’t feeling strong in my own life.
  • Connection. My friends wanted to be supportive and present in my life, but sometimes it was difficult for them to know what to do or say. Gaming gave our friends a way to bring some extra positivity into our lives when we desperately needed it. I think this really solidified our friendships in many ways.
  • Accessibility. New technology in the gaming sphere allowed me to continue playing, even when some of the side effects of my treatment would have otherwise prevented me. I could still participate in our regularly scheduled D&D games on roll20 without having to leave our house.
  • Mental focus. Chemo brain is this fuzz that rolls into your mind and memory. Some days it feels like you’re in a heavy fog. Some days it’s like your short term memory has taken a vacation. But gaming gave me something specific to focus and concentrate on, to help me keep my mental acuity as sharp as I could.
  • Laughter. It really is the best medicine. Even on the worst days, laughter was possible. (And laughter releases endorphins, which makes you feel happier.)

Tabletop Day 2015

Happy International Tabletop Day!

We hosted another Tabletop Day event. This time we were at Pastime Sports & Games, and the store sponsored the event with prizes and event space. We had to host it on Sunday, even though the official ITTD was Saturday. But that didn’t discourage people from showing up, we had 50 attendees  throughout the day who were eager to play board games with us.

Board games for camping trips

Blair and I kicked off summertime with a camping trip in the backwoods with our friends. There was 20 of us in total, half of that being kids under the age of 12. It was a fun, relaxing week filled with sunshine, campfires, and – of course – board games!

Obviously not all board games are suited to being played in the wilderness. The elements, the players, and what you have available for a gaming surface all play a factor in what games to take (not to mention little games pieces that could easily get lost).

Our trip provided a great chance for us to test out games that work best…

Fluxx – As long as I can remember, card games have been a standard item kept in my family’s activity box. It didn’t matter if we were taking a road trip, going to the cabin, or were flying for a vacation – we always took a deck of cards. Fluxx is great because it offers the same flexibility as a deck of cards in that it’s small to pack and easy to learn, while offering you something new from regular old card games. Plus who doesn’t want to hear their friends talk in a funny accent while camping?

Cards Against Humanity – This wouldn’t be much of a camping game list if I didn’t include CAH somewhere in it. What could be more fun than playing this hilarious politically incorrect game with friends while camping? If there are kidlets around and you don’t feel like waiting until they’re asleep to crack this out, then try Apples to Apples instead.

Love Letter – This is a really easy game to learn, while still being a fun and dynamic. It changes slightly depending on the number of players you have, and hiding one card away prevents too much card counting. It packs up really small, particularly if you have the edition with the carrying bag, and there are minimal pieces to worry about (16 cards and 13 tokens). The setup is incredibly quick too, for those moments between wanting to play just one more game but also wanting to go to the beach. Love Letter also appealed to the kids, since it was easy for them to learn; the girls love the concept, the boys were a little turned off by the name.

Zombie Dice – If there were one game that’s a default for getting tossed into our travel bag, it would be Zombie Dice. So easy to learn, this is another one of those quick games you can play in a few minutes. We also have the Triple Feature expansion for this, but we usually put it aside when playing with newbies and younger players. The only downside to this is the noise level, which means it didnt’t get brought out after the kidlets went to bed.

The Resistance  – This game has not only travelled with us on a camping trip or to the cabin, but has also been schlepped across Canada and to the United States. It packs reasonably small, with no really small pieces that could easily be lost. Players take on roles of resistance members trying to figure out who is the spy among them; meaning it’s a really good way to learn your friends’ poker faces. The Resistance has the ability to get everyone playing, since it’s another easy learn game and doesn’t require much skill, other than a good bluff.

Tabletop Day 2014

Happy International Tabletop Day!

Blair, Deanna, Ethan, and I were very excited to host an event to celebrate one of our favourite hobbies. Hosted in Surrey, BC, we had 50+ attendees. Plus we had indie game developers Giant Monster Games and For Greed or Glory on hand demoing their proto games.

Thanks to everyone who game out to help us celebrate the day.