Passing the time at home

I hear that this is the golden age of board games, and that kickstarter has produced a tremendous resurgence of interest in board games.

The dogs aren’t all that great at playing board games, but when I have company, we sometimes play one or another of the new ones, along with old standbys like Scrabble.

Here’s a game you might like to try, if you’re stuck at home and need something to do:

Many games strike me as too complicated or too demanding or just not interesting enough, but I had an opportunity to play this with my brother a week or so ago, when he visited for our dad’s birthday. I liked it a lot! It works just fine for as few as two players. I’m pretty sure kids would like it as well as adults. Maybe it would add to the fun to have a Firefly viewing binge first and then play the game. If you’ve got kids, they may never have seen Firefly, since it aired (this is hard to believe, I must say) eighteen years ago. Perhaps now’s a good time to introduce younger people to the show if they haven’t happened across it yet.

The game really does make one fall into the role of a small merchant ship. You really do think about fuel and distance and would this job pay for itself given you have to pay your crew and can you pick up a job you could do on the way to a different job that’s a long way away, to make the travel worthwhile. I was impressed.

Strategic tip #1: do not attempt high-value crimes or illegal jobs until you have a decent crew, guns, and transport. You will lose the game if you fail difficult illegal jobs before you can handle them.

Strategic tip #2: the game will take perhaps five hours from start to finish. To speed it up, you might consider giving every player two crewmembers from the original show to start with. That way everyone would get a jump start and be ready to handle difficult jobs much earlier.

Earnest suggestion for game designers:


Using the same mechanics to create a game based on the Chanur series. That would be soooo neat! Same small merchant type of game, but in this case the alien species would be fabulous game elements. You could include one human card with special features! You could have the knn zip through and cause random effects! Listen, if somebody does this, I’d buy the game for sure.

Another universe that would work great with the same basic mechanics would be the Liaden universe by Miller and Lee. Liadens, Yxtrang, ordinary humans for the basic characters. Clutch Turtles for random elements. Plenty of named characters to interact with — I would take Pat Rin for my team any day — and a broad, well-developed universe. Again, I’d be right there for that.

Okay! If you have a favorite newish game that maybe other people would like to know about, drop it in the comments, please.

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4 thoughts on “Passing the time at home”

  1. We have played and enjoyed Ex Libris – create a library for the village (we never bother the the shelving structure bit) working around the forbidden topic; Photosynthesis – “Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy”

    and both forms of Cogno, alien adventure and deep worlds.

  2. I’m a big fan of Ticket to Ride, and they’ve got a good computer/tablet version, which is good for virtual game nights.

    The same company has a few other tablet games I’ve been meaning to check out.

  3. Kathryn McConaughy

    I like The Captain is Dead. It’s a cooperative game. Basically, you’ve been attacked by aliens and your engines have been damaged, and you are trying to fix your ship and escape before the shields fail. Pro tip: Once you have the basic idea, if you don’t have many players each player can play 2 crew members.

  4. Kathryn, that sounds fun! Very straightforward in conception. I’ll have to look that one up.

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