Monday, July 6, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things, Board Game Edition

by Barbara Early

Yes, I like the Julie Andrews’ song, but that isn’t where I’m going here.

One thing I really enjoy about holidays and weekends is the chance to get together with friends and family. After we eat our fill of yummy foods, we tend to watch movies and play games. I think I enjoy the games more because of the interaction. Yes, sometimes we’re trying to beat each other senseless, but it’s all in fun. Most of the time.

 Over the years, I’ve assembled quite a collection of board games. These are a few of my favorites, that we tend to reach for time and again.

Liebrary. This might be the perfect game for writers. There’s a board you move around, but the gist of the game is that one player reads the title and description of a book, then players write a first line for it. Someone reads all the first lines—and the actual first line of the book—and players need to guess which is the genuine article. It’s a nice blend of creativity and logic, and can inspire an occasional laugh.

Pandemic. The objective of Pandemic is to work together to save
the world from a pandemic. Yes, work together. The players against the board. This cooperative game play can pull players together into a team. Occasionally disputes can break out if players disagree about strategies, but that pales to the rewards of teamwork if everyone emerges as a winner at the end. This is a complicated game, with lots of pieces. And there are multiple variations and expansions. But it’s also engaging and challenging and well worth the effort to learn.

Settlers of Cataan. I was so confused the first time I played Settlers. If you’re going to play this game, I’d really recommend a trial run or two on a Settlers App--available for Apple and Android. (I can even play it on my Kindle Fire.) There are a lot of pieces and variations, and the board is different every time you play. The goal is to acquire five different types of resources, which you can use in various combinations to expand your roads and settlements. It takes a while to learn the rules and then develop strategies, but it’s a nice game once that initial learning curve is over.

Apples to Apples. This is a great party game, and a great one to pull
out when you want to play something and still carry on a conversation, or if not everyone playing is a games-person. One player picks a category card, and the others choose from the cards in their hands for items that would fit in that category. They can be serious, funny, or ironic. The goal is to get the player to pick your card. And the results are often hilarious.

Word on the Street. The game board resembles a multilane highway. “Driving” on this highway are tiles with letters on them. Using those letters in words moves those tiles across those lanes toward your side of the board. But your opponent will be tugging them in the opposite direction with every move they make!

Question: Do you have a favorite board game?

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and Scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy and sometimes a splash of romance. Her holiday novella, Gold, Frankincense, and Murder was released in e-book and audio format from White Rose Publishing. Barbara also writes the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries as Beverly Allen, including Bloom and Doom, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls, and Floral Depravity from Berkley Prime Crime. You can learn more about her writing at


  1. Oh, we are board game junkies! We love Liebrary! It's hilarious. Of the others you listed, we have Catan and Apples, which seems to be the one we play most with friends and family. Right now the kids and I are really into an Italian card game, Scopa, and the Downton Abbey Board game, which I wish with all my heart I could fit into a suitcase and bring to ACFW and play with Downton-loving Inkies, LOL! It's a hoot to play.

    1. Liebrary would be fun with a group of writers,too, I'm sure! Conferences are so busy though. Maybe a retreat?

  2. I have never heard of liebrarian before. Must get a copy.

    I love to play games as well as does the rest of my family. Unfortunately, I don't get to play nearly as often as I would like.

    1. Library can be hard to find now, but it's a lot of fun.

  3. Replies
    1. Most of the time it's fun. But a couple of times, it felt a little like work. First lines are hard enough, let alone coming up with them one after another.

  4. Hmm. I don't see the board games popular at my house anywhere on your list. Where's Candyland? Trouble? Sorry? Ninja Turtles?

  5. Love table top games! Settlers of Catan may be my favorite, although Dominion is right up there. Oh, and Agricola. There are so many great ones!

    1. Never played Agricola. Now, we have Dominion, but haven't gotten into it. Do you just play it until you decide to stop? It seems like there's no stopping point, unless we're doing it wrong.

  6. I love games, but I've never played any of these. The sound fun. Liebrary. It sounds great! :-)

  7. Oh, Liebrary sounds really fun. I need to look for that one!


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