Ashland Fun and Games is the hub of the gaming community of Northern Wisconsin. We also proudly carry the largest selection of family games, party games, educational games, role-playing games, and collectible games in the Northland.

Please come by and use our large gameroom and try out a board game, play in a Magic tournament, or just meet other game enthusiasts in the area!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Salmon Slappin' Good Time

Secret Game Night recap - 7/5
We play board games every Tuesday night at Ashland Fun and Games at 7:30pm. We call it Secret Game Night because it’s outside of the store’s regular hours, but anyone is welcome to come down and play some games with us.
We had 19 people at various parts of the night, and it was truly one of the sillier game nights we've had in awhile, and we had a nice group of younger players joining us for the first hour or so tonight, ranging from ages 5 to 10.  

The kids started off with Coconuts, a dexterity game from Mayday Games.  In the gaming hobby, there is always talk of good "gateway games".  These are the games that you want to introduce your non-gamer friends to that typically have fast play, easy to learn rules, and of course are fun and addictive.  I think Coconuts is my go-to gateway game for kids 8 and younger. You get to fling little rubber coconuts across the table using an adorable plastic monkey.  That's pretty much it and that's pretty much all it needs to be.  

Next the kids and grown-ups got together to play a couple of crazy, run around the table type games in Happy Salmon and Dancing Eggs.  We introduced Happy Salmon to our game night last week to rave reviews, and the kids seemed to have just as fun as the adults this week.  Dancing Eggs is a game where players end up holding rubber eggs in awkward places (under the chin, between the knees, in the armpit, etc) and then trying to do things like race around the table.  You typically look ridiculous trying to do so, which makes for some great laughs.  So if you had to decide between the two, which would I recommend?  Happy Salmon is cheaper, faster, and requires less rules explanation while generating about as many laughs.  Both are good, but I think Happy Salmon gets the nod for now.

While the kids were working up a sweat running around one table, the next table over had some adults playing the copy of Girl Talk: One Direction Edition I found at Goodwill. The game tries to encapsulate the fun of a sleepover and does a pretty knock up job.  Maybe some of the other attendees have some Snapchat pics of the players having to do sit-ups as a dare, or having to bark like a dog for 10 seconds.  Now, whether they were just being funny in an ironic way or if they were secretly glad they could finally show off some One Direction trivia they secretly knew is undetermined.  

After the younguns went home and I was able to tear away a fourth player from Girl Talk, we began the featured game of Quadropolis.  This is a new game by Days of Wonder, which is a publisher known for releasing very few games but they all tend to be excellent.  Quadropolis is a city building game, using building tiles that score points in a variety of ways, like the apartment buildings that score more points the higher you stack them or factories that score points if you manage to put them next to harbors.  The best part of the game is the manner in which players acquire and place these tiles, which is also happens to be the most terrible part of the game as well.  All tiles are placed on a 5x5 grid.  Everyone has "architect" tiles labeled 1-4.  Players then take turns placing their architect either next to a left/right row or next to a up/down column of tiles.  If you use your #3 architect and place it by a row, you take the third tile in that row.  Then you place it on your personal city tile in either the #3 column or the #3 row.  It's very simple and unique - but maddening!  It's often dizzying when you see the exact tile on the 5x5 grid that you need to score points, and then forget that the number on your architect that you used to get said tile doesn't match an area on your city space where you want it.  The game pretty much held my hand throughout this first game, and I definitely had a few "ah ha!" moments when the game started to make sense.  Unfortunately those moments also made me realize I was losing.  Still, it's a very slick design and I'm sure I'll be talking about it more in the future.  

While our group was building up cities, the next table over was destroying them while playing "Terror in Meeple City".  This game has been a favorite of several game night regulars, and if your collection is missing some sort of dexterity game, definitely give it a look.  

Telestrations made an appearance too!  Talk about a game that never disappoints.  I still think Pictomania is my favorite drawing game, but Telestrations has the advantage of being a filler game and perhaps one of the best icebreaker/party games out there.

Finally we closed out the night with another few tries at Escape from the Aliens in Outerspace.  This may turn out to be the most requested game of 2016.  Hidden roles, hidden movements, eating your buddies, waving to your buddies as you blast off in an escape pod...what's not to like?
Next week the store will not be available on Tuesday night so we'll have our first official "Away Games" week.  The location is still being determined but I think this might be a fun thing to do periodically.  In the mean time, happy gaming!

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