Play and pass (Topic Discussion)

Many of us have taken to playing online when the pandemic started to take hold and moved regular games nights into the digital world. I have written about different online board game platforms and their pros and cons in previous articles and you can find out which games I personally play online, but this time I want to focus on so-called play-and-pass games, where you don’t play a game with others at the same time, but everyone takes their turn when they have time and log off again. It’s a bit like old-school postal games, but with a digital twist.

We all know how to play games with someone in real-time. That’s what we do when we meet up and play a board game face-to-face and it’s what many of us have also done online, when we were no longer able to get together in person. When you play real-time, you take your turn and then pass to the next player, who takes their turn and then passes to the next and so on. As I say, it’s what we’re used to. That way you usually play a game in one night or in a day.

Some longer games you may split over several days, leaving everything set up or using some sort of save procedure where you pack everything away in a certain way, so that it’s easy to set everything up again the next time you all get together to continue the game. It’s also what you might be used to from campaign games, for example.

Real-Time vs Play-and-Pass

The important part of real-time gaming is that you’re all there together – either physically or virtually – or maybe even a combination of both, I suppose.

Play-and-pass is different. Yes, you still take your turn and then pass to the next player, but that player is probably not there with you and isn’t even there at the end of a voice, video or other chat. The other player may be in bed and they will take their turn when they have time again to do so.

The benefit of this mode of playing is that you don’t have to arrange a day and time for everyone to be available. Everyone plays when they have the time and inclination to do so. Chances are that you will have agreed on a maximum time between turns, at least roughly, say for example one turn a day. That way you will roughly know how long the game is going to take and if players take their turns more frequently, then that’s great.

That’s how postal games used to be played. Chess is famous for this. Players would make their move, write it on a postcard or in a letter and send it to the other player. As soon as they received the post, they would execute the move of the first player on their board and then take their turn, again posting their move to their opponent. It would go backwards and forwards until the end of the game. Players would usually agree that every move would be sent within a week, for example, so that there was a reasonable limit to how long the game would take overall.

Online Platforms

Taking this into the digital age, there are many online gaming platforms that allow for play-and-pass games. These platforms either leave it up to players to decide what the timeframe for turns is or they will enforce a certain timeout, say one turn every 24 hours, and anyone who takes longer will forfeit the game. That’s not always possible, of course, but it’s an option for some games.

Some digital games will replace players with AI opponents, if their time has run out. That can be quite confusing at first, but is useful as the other players can continue to play and don’t just happen to win by default, simply because the other player took too long. It’s a more satisfying way of ending a game, because you get to play to the end and don’t stop it early.

Other platforms implement a sort of very long chess clock, where every player has a certain amount of time for the whole of the game. As soon as a player has taken and confirmed their turn, their clock would stop and the next player’s clock start. For play-and-pass games, these clocks are usually set to a number of days, depending on how frequently players believe they will be able to take their turns, because if someone isn’t around for a while, their clock will continue to tick down mercilessly.


Using a chess clock is also useful in real-time online games, but is less popular there. However, for longer games, it can be useful to set a number of hours for every player to complete the game in, so that everyone can be assured that the game will finish by a reasonable time in the evening and not drag on into the early hours of the next morning.

I do love play-and-pass games, but I do always make it clear that I will take a few turns a week. I will aim for one turn a day, so seven turns in a week, and I often play more quickly than that, but I don’t always have time, so I want to set the right expectations from the start.

To be able to successfully have a play-and-pass game, you need to be able to easily see what other players have been doing and generally what has happened in a game up to the point when it’s your turn again. In a card game, for example, it’s important that you can check discard piles, because it’s unlikely you will remember what you played the day before, for example. So games whose rules forbid looking at discarded cards don’t usually work well in a play-and-pass format for that reason.

Don’t Forget

However, it is important to try and remember your strategy when gaming in a play-and-pass format. It’s not always easy though and I find that I usually just play a single turn, meaning that I take an action that makes sense at that point in time, rather than considering the strategy that I might have had in my head at the beginning of the game but have since forgotten.

Of course, some games lend themselves more easily to play-and-pass, while others are really only possible in a real-time setting. Yet, I do think there is a lot to be said for play-and-pass. It has allowed me to play a lot of games with a lot of different people and learn new things with each game. It also allows me to play some games more often before I review them, which is useful to me.

So, if you haven’t tried play-and-pass yourself, then give it a try. You may find it another way of playing your favourite games or learning new ones.

Useful Links

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

How to play together (Topic Discussion)

Co-operative games come in all shapes in sizes, just like any game. So there should be something there for anyone, irrespective of what you’re looking for, as long as you want an experience where everyone works together to win the game as a team. In this article, I look at a handful of different types of co-operative games, giving examples of games that fit into the category, so that, hopefully, you can find something that suits you.

I know you can group games in all sorts of different ways, but I think there is one important element in co-operative games specifically that is useful for classifying them: the amount of information everyone knows. In some games, all players share all the available information and even though those games usually can’t be considered “perfect information games”, because there will always be some information that is yet to be revealed and that is not known by anyone until later in the game, I think distinguishing between co-operative games where all players share the information and games where some information is shared and other information is only known to individual players is a good option.

Shared Knowledge

Sub Terra II by Tim Pinder and Rose Atkinson from Inside the Box is a game where all players have access to the same information, even though nobody knows everything there is to know. After all, your goal is to explore the underground tunnel system of a volcano, so as the game goes on, you will map out the caverns and passageways and reveal more information. However, as you do so, you can work together and decide who should do what, choosing the most suitable character to help the team win the game.

There are quite a few games where all players have access to the same information, such as the very well-known Pandemic, where you work together to try and find cures for a number of different diseases while you travel around the world, stemming outbreaks and building research stations, there is Library Labyrinth, a beautiful game that puts the spotlight on women, where you work together to put horror book monsters that have come to live in your library back into their books by calling on heroines from literature, as well as CoraQuest, a dungeon crawler for the whole family, where you fight monsters as you live through adventures together – and there are many more.

Games where you all know the same information are a good introduction to co-operative games, because you truly work together. However, there is a risk of one player dominating the game, telling everyone what to do. The so-called alpha player problem is well known and something that’s not uncommon for many co-operative games. You just have to make sure you tell the dominant player to pipe down or instead play it with people who you know will happily work together, without trying to control everything.

No Sharing

There is also another option though. Some co-operative games suppress the potential for an alpha player to come to the fore. These are games where not everyone knows everything and individual players have some information only they know. Some of these games also forbid discussion, making it impossible for one person to boss everyone else around.

The best example in this group is Assembly, a two-player only game where you aren’t allowed to talk. Both of you have a hand of cards that represent certain commands and your aim is to re-arrange the layout of your space station so that modules line up correctly, before the deck runs out. The idea is that the AI of the space station has run amok and thinks both of you have been infected by a deadly virus, so it locks the space station down, making an escape impossible. You can’t openly communicate, because the AI is listening in and would interfere with your plans. It’s a really fun game that will take a little while to master, but is really addictive.

There are also games where virtually no information is shared between players. The Crew, the only co-operative trick-taking game I know of that can be played with two or more players, is wonderful and the only information you have is how to win the round, but apart from that, every player has their own hand of cards, that they need to keep secret and nobody is allowed to talk. You can give one clue each during a round, but even that is only very limited.

In The Mind, a card game that sounds like it will never work and doesn’t even sound like a game, everyone has their own hand of cards that you keep secret and nobody is allowed to talk. There isn’t even a turn order. You just have to make sure that the cards that are dealt out and that come from a deck of cards numbered 1 to 100 are played in sequence. You really have to get into the other players’ heads and try and synchronize your minds. A great game that is definitely worth having in your collection.

Of course, many co-operative games can also be played solo, so that’s another option of making an alpha player situation impossible.

Semi Co-Operative

Then there are semi co-operative games, where you’re not all working together. I haven’t played any games where one of you is a traitor, pretending to work together with the team, but secretly trying to ensure everything goes wrong in the end, so that you, and only you, win.

However, I have played Jaws, where one of you is the great white shark and the others are the people trying to kill it. The game is basically both: a co-operative game and a competitive one. The shark plays competitively against the people, while the people play co-operatively together as a team. So, if you do have a dominant player in your group, who can’t help themselves telling everyone what to do, then maybe they’re the perfect candidate to play the shark and prove how good they are at winning.

If you want to find out more about the games mentioned in this article, then follow the links to my reviews. I know there are many more co-operative games you can try, but the above is probably a good starting point.

How About You?

Now I’d like to know which co-operative games you have played. What are your favourites and why? Have you got an alpha player in your group and if so, how do you deal with them? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

Child’s Play (Topic Discussion) – Tabletop Games Blog

It’s so very easy to dismiss the old adage that we learn through play. Many of us take our shared hobby very seriously. We’re highly competitive and want to win. We need to play by the rules. It’s an unwritten law – but it’s a law nevertheless. It’s “the law”. Yet, when we see how young children interact with games, it’s often very different to what we do as adults. In this article, I want to explore what we can learn from children and how it might help us rediscover the joy of board games.

Give a six-year-old a board game and they will start playing with it – not using the rules of the game, but in their own way. They will start using the components in a way that their imagination dictates. Children explore a game’s components in their own way, lead by how they interpret the world and how that world relates to the pieces they find in the box. A game board suddenly is just a map to be explored and the wooden meeples, resources or other bits and pieces that the game comes with take on a life of their own. Sheep start forming flocks and graze the plains, while in the mountains coloured cubes collect and are arranged into different configurations.

My Own Childhood

I dimly recall doing this myself. I’m not sure if I was six years old or what, but I do recall taking the components of one of the games we had and moving them around the board in my own way. It was chess to start with, where white pieces were only allowed to be on the white squares and, of course, conversely, black pieces had to stay on black squares. Their movement was not related to the rules that the game of chess dictates, but it was dictated by how much room there was on the board. Pieces might leapfrog each other to get from one side to the other or they might only be allowed to jump over a black piece, as long as the white square on the other side was free.

There were no rules for me or if there were any, they constantly changed. It was sort of a way of inventing a new game by playing with the components, trying out different ideas and seeing how it felt to me. I guess the game was a bit like draughts, but not quite. I do recall that some of the larger chess pieces, so basically anything other than a pawn, could jump over smaller pieces, but not the other way around. So there was a sort of blocking mechanism in there.

Being allowed to play with a chess set like that let me get used to handling the pieces and also taught me to be careful with them. It also made me want to learn the actual rules of chess, watching my brother and dad play with great interest, even though nothing they did made much sense to me. Yet, as I grew older, I learned more and I slowly absorbed the game by osmosis.

Board Game Smash-Ups

Later in life, my brother and I would make board game smash-ups, combining components from different board games to create a new game. We might use the game board of one game, plus some of its mechanisms and combine it with some components from another game and then tie them together into the same theme or setting, using mechanisms from yet another game. It was so much fun to come up with something new, based on what we already knew.


So when I was reintroduced to the hobby of modern board games, I let our daughter play with some of the games we had and she, like I had done before her, came up with her own way of using the components and combining them with her imagination to create a new, constantly changing set of rules for the game that her mind wanted her to explore.

Board Game Design

As she grew older, she was not only very interested in playing games with my wife and I, but she also loved playing games with my games group, probably because it made her feel older, more grown-up and more responsible. That first contact with the games allowed her to learn a lot of things and other than wanting to play the games and learn their actual rules, it also made her want to design her own game.

We printed out a map from one of the games I had played, adapted it slightly to fit her ideas, we bought wooden components and even made our own. She came up with the setting and the rules, taken from other games she had played with us and we playtested it a few times as a family and even showed it to the games group – and all that was after she had already made her own Snakes & Ladders clone years earlier, which we had played over and over with the family.

Playing With Components

Even as grown-ups, many of us happily play with the components from a game. I’ve seen many tweets where people would stack their meeples into the highest tower or try and arrange their components into certain shapes. I mean, just look at some of the board game component mosaics that are available as calendar photos. We all love playing with board game pieces in a way that’s not defined by the rules of the game.

Meeples in the Garden

I think that’s great and healthy. It shows that we can have fun with the game, without actually playing it – or while playing it. If we’re happy to do that and if we’re happy to let our children invent new games, then I don’t think there is any problem with us doing the same. Even though a game’s rules are what the designer put together to try and give us a certain experience, challenge or puzzle, I don’t think it’s ever wrong to change those rules to make the experience, challenge or puzzle more suitable to you and the people you play with.

House Rules

And that’s where we come full circle. For many people, house rules are wrong. There is no point in introducing your own rules or changing the game in any way, because there are too many other games out there that give you exactly what you want. Yet, not everyone can afford to buy a new game to replace one that’s not quite right for them, even though our hobby seems to be all about owning “all the games”. So I think, tweaking a game to your needs is absolutely fine and it’s possibly the first step to creating a completely different experience.

I think what I’m trying to say is: play with your games, not just in the way they were intended, but in a way that a child might play with them. Relax a little and just have fun with it. Maybe you’ll be the next designer and come up with something really exciting – at least, something that’s exciting to you and the people you play with. I think that’s really good and should not be prevented.

Now then, how do you feel about playing with games? Do you remember doing this as a child? Have you seen it in your own children? Have you ever toyed with designing your own game or at least putting together a game smash-up? Please let me know and share your experiences in the comments below.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

We Can Play (Saturday Review)

Release Date: 2022Players: 1-8
Designer: Julia Johansson, Albert PinillaLength: 15-30 minutes
Artist: Albert PinillaAge: 10+
Publisher: JulibertComplexity: 1.0 / 5
Plastic to Non-Plastic: 0% (by weight)Air to Components: <5% (by volume)

From ancient times to the present day, women have never been recognised for their contributions to the world. Yet, throughout history, there have always been women who were strong leaders, who fought for better conditions and equal rights, and not just for themselves, who made significant scientific breakthroughs, were trendsetting artists and did everything their male contemporaries did. So it is time for all women around the world to say: We Can Play by Julia Johansson and Albert Pinilla by Julibert.

It’s no small task to try and create a game that inspires future generations and not only remembers these amazing women, but also keeps their examples alive. Yet, that’s exactly what We Can Play is aiming to do. It features 101 women “who changed the world”, as the game says itself, covering a time range starting with Hatxepsut in 1507 BC and going all the way to Kamala Harris in 2021. That’s a lot of women and a time span of over 3,000 years, from ancient history to the present day.

Timeline with a Twist

We Can Play is a card game and follows the same sort of rules as the ever popular Timeline game that has been released so many times over the years. So your aim is to play cards in front of you in chronological order. The first to have 7 cards in the correct order in front of them wins.

All of the cards are double-sided, where both sides are basically exactly the same, except that one side shows a year, while the other doesn’t. Everyone starts with a card from the deck in front of them and with the year side up. On your turn, you look at the top card from the deck, which doesn’t show the year and read its text. It tells you who the woman is, who is depicted on the card and one of her achievements. You now need to decide where this card fits into the timeline currently in front of you. Once you’ve made your choice, flip the card over to reveal the year. If you were right, you keep the card and if you were wrong, you discard the card and it’s the next player’s turn.

There are a few more rules and small twists, like a small push-your-luck element and a kind of wildcard, that make We Can Play a bit different from your usual Timeline game, but it’s all really easy to learn and teach.

Few Rules for a Big Message

It is the fact that there are so very few rules that is so important, in my view. Without the rules overhead, you can really focus on the women and their achievements. You will recognize a lot of the names and you will probably have a rough idea as to when these women lived, but it’s not always as easy as you might think.

Placing Hatxesput before Sappho isn’t difficult. There are nearly 1,000 years separating them. However, working out that Yusra, Palestinian excavator working for archaeologist Dorothy Garrod, found Tabun 1, a 120,000-year-old Neanderthal skull at Tabun cave, Israel a year after Clara Campoamor was elected deputy of the city of Madrid is a lot harder.

Clara Campoamor and Yusra cards

So when you get it right, you’re really pleased and proud of yourself – and you should be. Reversely, every time you make a mistake, you will remember the year of the event listed on the card. Slowly, you will absorb these women’s names and their achievements.

We Can Play‘s goal of keeping these women’s examples alive is clearly being achieved and done in such a fun and entertaining way.

A Game for Every Age

The other goal, encouraging new generations to dream big, is also being achieved in my view. We Can Play is a game that can be played by people of all ages. You don’t have to have a history degree to place these women in the correct chronological order. In fact, there are many women from modern history featured in the game and it’s likely that it’s younger players who will know much better when these women did what is described on their cards.

For example, I didn’t know when Megan Rapinoe was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player, even though I was vaguely aware that she is an advocate for a number of LGBT organizations. However, I’m sure that my daughter would have known that and would have been able to place the card correctly. I think there is a nice balance between women from ancient history and the present day that allows people of different ages to play together and be on an equal footing.

Green Credentials

I have to mention the game’s green credentials as well. It is fully FSC certified, as should be the minimum for everything that uses wood pulp these days, as well as certified as a climate-neutral production. We Can Play was made with 100% renewable energy. On top of that, there is basically no plastic in this game. The card decks come wrapped in a paper bellyband, rather than shrink-wrapped in plastic.

We Can Play is FSC certified, 100% renewable energy and paper bellyband

I think that’s amazing and should be an example to publishers everywhere. I appreciate not everything needs to be plastic-free, but there are times when alternatives exist, even if they’re more expensive. It’s great that We Can Play has gone the extra mile here, without skimping on quality.

I mean, the illustrations are wonderful. Albert Pinilla‘s style works perfectly. It’s slightly cartoony, without feeling childish. It’s really appealing and the colour palette adds to this really well. The card stock is also really nice and the cards have a linen finish, which means they don’t slide about. The box is also good quality and even though you might prefer to put the game into a tuck box, so it’s easy to take with you, the box the game comes in is still pretty small – basically two decks of cards side by side.

Play and Learn

I’m really pleased with We Can Play. It’s really easy to learn, very quick to play and will appeal to people from all age groups. It’s the sort of game you probably want to play several times in a row, maybe in the form of a “best of” contest, where you play a set number of rounds and whoever won the most games at the end wins.

So, if you want a game where you have fun while learning about amazing women from the past and the present, then We Can Play is definitely for you.

Transparency Facts

I feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.

  • I backed this game on Kickstarter and paid for it myself.
  • At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (
Incidental Music: Fortress by AShamaluevMusic (

Everyone can play – games that (should) suit most people (Topic Discussion)

I always say that not everyone will like every board game, but there is a board game for everyone. I suppose, I should concede that some people don’t like board games at all. Our hobby isn’t for everyone and that’s fine, of course. However, in this article, I want to look at the sort of games that should suit most people.

Now, let me say straight away that I can’t offer a magic solution. It’s highly likely that some of the games I talk about in this article don’t hit the spot for you. That’s especially true if you’ve been in the hobby for some time. My article is really more aimed at people who are relatively new to board games.

Board Games for Everyone

So let’s start by thinking about what games that should suit most people might look like. There needs to be a low barrier to entry, which usually means the game needs to be easy to learn. Ideally, it also doesn’t take too long to play, because people are more likely to try something new if they know it’s going to be over relatively soon and they don’t have to sit through hours of playing a game they don’t enjoy.

I also think games that draw you in and absorb you in their gameplay or setting are usually great. If you’re engrossed in something, time seems to pass more quickly, because you’re having fun. However, finding a type of game or setting that will appeal to a wide range of people can be tricky.

Gauging the weight of a game correctly is also not easy. Some family games can be boring for players who want something more beefy, while a really thinky game can feel overwhelming to people who just want something light and entertaining. Yet, I do think there are games that allow different types of players to do what they enjoy, without being underwhelming for some and too much for others.

Finally, components and table presence are also usually important to bear in mind. A game with lovely, tactile tokens is often very attractive. I think we all have stacked wooden cubes or custom meeples or otherwise arranged resources and other pieces into beautiful works of art. Similarly, when a game just looks gorgeous when set up on the table, it’s often a draw for people.

Some Examples

I don’t really want to provide a list of games, but I think it’s easier to illustrate what I mean if I give you some examples.

So a game that has high-quality components, some of which are very tacticle and that looks lovely on the table, while being really easy to learn and relatively quick to play is Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest. The chunky, plastic loot tiles feel nice in your hand and the cloth drawstring bag that you pull them out of just adds another level of tactility. If you want a little bit of fun, you can play this game quite happily. If you’re more of a competitive player, then you can take it really seriously and try and plan the order in which you play your cards. You might even play the game just to create a bit of havoc. The choice is really yours.

the cardboard coaches and other components from Colt Express
Colt Express

Along similar lines is Colt Express. The 3D cardboard train that takes up a large chunk of the table, along with the lovely cardboard scenery immediately draws people in. Sure, it can make it a bit hard to see what’s going on, but it’s still fun to move your meeples from carriage to carriage and on top of the roof. It really helps to visualize how the cards you play will affect the situation. However, as a programming card game, Colt Express will create plenty of havoc and best-laid plans will simply not work out, because someone else did something you didn’t expect.

In fact, a lot of programming games are a lot of fun. They’re not for everyone, I know, but they’re usually easy to learn and quick to play. They also give competitive players a feeling of control, while allowing more casual players to just play for fun.

Co-operative Games

Of course, games that you play together as a team are also often a good idea. There is no pressure that you have to fully understand every single rule, because you all play and learn together. I guess, Pandemic is often what people think of first, when they’re asked to name a popular co-operative game. I would argue that Forbidden Island is a better game to start with. It’s a great introduction to co-operative games, but pretty much any game from the Forbidden series will be just as good.

The problem is that some people just don’t get on with co-operative games, for whatever reason. That’s where semi-co-operative games are a better choice. You get the benefit of playing and learning the game together, but while some of you will be on a team, one or more other players will be playing competitively. Jaws and Betrayal at House on the Hill are two great examples of games that cater for a wide range of tastes.

In Jaws, one of you plays the shark and the rest of you play four of the main characters from the film of the same name. It’s a one-versus-many game, where you know from the beginning who is on the team and who plays alone. So if you have someone in your group who hates co-operative games, they can play the shark, while the rest of you team up.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a bit different. You all play together to start with until at some point it switches. At this point, either one of you will be cursed and play against everyone else, just like in Jaws, or you all try to fight each other. So the game is co-operative at first and then switches into either one-versus-many or fully competitive.

What About You?

So that’s the sort of games I would recommend. They seem to be suitable for pretty much anyone and everyone. However, maybe you can think of some other examples. What games do you think have a wide appeal? Why do you think these games are so good at being suitable for a lot of different tastes in games? As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Please share your examples and other thoughts in the comments below.

Useful Links

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Sincerely by Kevin MacLeod
Free download:
License (CC BY 4.0):
Artist website:

Evergreens – games I’ll always play and never sell (Topic Discussion)

As a reviewer, my collection has quite a large turnover. After all, I need to play at least 52 new-to-me games every year, one for each week, to have enough material to write about. I regularly buy new games and I also get a fair amount of review copies. Review copies usually go back to the publisher or are sent to the next reviewer. The games I buy don’t always stay in my collection though. I do regularly prune it and get rid of games that I no longer want to keep. However, some games are evergreens for me. They stay in my collection, because I know I’ll play them at least ever so often.


Many people in the hobby just keep getting new games. They have rows upon rows of Kallaxes for their games. They happily pose in front of them and proudly show off their shelfies. It’s wonderful to see people being so happy about their board game collection, but not everyone can afford to buy new games all the time, without trading or selling other games in their collection.

For me, there are a number of reasons why I get rid of games. Some of it is about getting some money back to spend on new games. Even though I get a fair few free review copies these days and my friends also buy new games that I can play and review, I still buy quite a few myself. My 2022 review article lists how much I spent on games last year – and it’s quite scary. So it’s critical that I sell games I no longer play.

However, there is actually a bigger reason for me to cull my collection and that is space. I have intentionally limited myself to a couple of large shelves above my desk. Sure, sometimes games spill over into other places, like under our bed or in another cupboard. On the whole, though, these two large shelves are as much as I allow myself. I don’t have dozens of Kallaxes, let alone a dedicated games room.

So when I start to run out of space, I donate some games to charity or give them to friends, especially if they were review copies that the publisher didn’t want to be returned. Other games I sell on Board Game Geek Marketplace or eBay, but that still leaves a fair few games in my collection and only some of the remaining games I would consider evergreens.

Family Evergreens

I think two of the games that are clear evergreen games for me are Wingspan and Quacks of Quedlinburg.

The former we played dozens up dozens of times, even though it hasn’t actually come out in a couple of years now. Even so, I know we’ll definitely play it again at some point, possibly over the holidays. After all, we’ve got two of the expansions that create a great variety in the game. We’re clearly heavily invested in this game, which shows how much we have enjoyed it.

Quacks, on the other hand, is a game that doesn’t come out a lot, but it does get played regularly. We know it so well that setting it up, playing it and putting it away is pretty quick, meaning we can get a game in after dinner and before watching television together. Both are ideal games for people new to the hobby as well and cater for a wide age range. So both will definitely stay in my collection.

Above and Below is another family favourite. It might take a little bit longer to explain, but there aren’t actually too many rules. If people are happy to just start playing and try things out, it’ll all become clear. I think the attraction of Above and Below is the story-telling element. Sure, if you play the game a lot, you will start to remember certain events and know what to choose, but put the game away for a few months and your next game will feel fresh and exciting.

Weightier Evergreens

Tapestry is another evergreen in my collection. It scratches quite a different itch. Tapestry is actually quite a weird type of game. I mean, the illustrations on the cards are gorgeous. Andrew Bosley did an amazing job. However, it’s actually quite an abstract engine-building sort of game. There is so much to do and so much to focus on. There are plenty of different civilizations to play with and the tapestry and technology cards are also plentiful. No two games are likely to feel the same, even though every game will feel very familiar at the same time. It takes a fair amount of time to set up and play. It can also take a while to teach, unless you just stick to the basics and get people to just start playing, while you explain more rules as you go along. It’s definitely a game that will come out ever so often.

A game, that’s probably more of a classic than an evergreen as such, is Brass: Birmingham. I absolutely adore this game, after having first played it online. The physical deluxe version of this game is just gorgeous, especially the heavy clay poker chips. I accept that it’s a bit fiddly to set up and might take a little while to explain and for players to get into a rhythm, but after your first game, everything will make sense and you probably can’t wait to play Brass: Birmingham again. It’s really addictive and in that sense certainly an evergreen title. It will come out regularly and is a game that I’m always happy to play.

Nostalgic Evergreens

Clans of Caledonia is the last game on my evergreen list for today. There is a lot of nostalgia linked to this game. It was probably the first heavier game that our daughter really loved playing. It also is, in my view at least, a better version of Terra Mystica, at least because the rules are more closely linked to the theme making the game much easier to learn. I haven’t actually played this game about Scottish clans in quite a while in its physical form at least, so I have decided to play it online. It’s such a great mix between randomness and strategy, as well as player interaction. Just wonderful.

There are a couple more evergreen games in my collection, but I think what I have listed so far is probably enough for this article. I do have a fair few small box games that I know I’ll keep: Mint Tin Mini Skulduggery, Deep Sea Adventure, Town 66, Scout and many others. They all have a special place in my collection and coming in such small boxes, don’t take up a lot of room either.

What About You?

So how about you? What games do you have in your collection that are evergreens? Why will you always keep them? What makes them so special? Are there other games you think are evergreens, that you might want to add to your collection? As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below. It would be great to collect a long list of evergreens together.

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Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

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