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The Joys of Social Games

We had the opportunity in January to attend SaltCON Bryce and I learned something new… Well I guess it is not really something new, it is something that I was aware of before, but it simply rang true at SaltCON Bryce. Social games can be a ton of fun. During this extended weekend I play a wide spectrum of games. I love dungeon crawlers like Gloomhaven, deck builders like Clank!: A Deck Building Adventure, pick-up and delivery games like Firefly: The Game, and even the more strategic games like Spirit Island. But there is a time and a place for fun simple games and even social games. When I game, I game to be with people. I do not play to win, I do not play for glory, I do not buy games to have them simply look good on the shelf. Each game I buy is a hope of creating new and exciting positive memories, and having shared experiences with great friends. I have had a weekly game night for nearly 30 years. Now, this fact not only makes me old, but it means I have had the joy and opportunity of trying and playing a wide variety of games. Some of those games have fallen off my radar, some games have even been culled, but there are a large number of games that I own that I will never get rid of and several of those games are social games. I will continue to keep these games because they provide much humour and some amazing memories. One great game is Time’s Up: Title Recall. I know this game is not at the top of many people’s list. However, during our summer barbecues, Time’s Up: Title Recall, has hit the summer barbecue table more than any social game I own. Followed closely by Werewolf.

Time’s Up: Title Recall, is a game that is played over three rounds and is based off of the classic game Charades. Each of the three rounds gets progressively more difficult. At the start of the game, players will individually select cards with titles of books, movies, songs, etc. When the game begins each player will only know the titles they submitted, then play begins and these same words will be used all three rounds. Round one, you can say or act out anything you want. In round two you can only say one word, but you can still use any actions or sound effects you would like. In round three you cannot use any words, but any actions and sound effects are still permitted. Simple game, but the memories I have of this game are treasures for sure.

Since social games allow for higher player count, and usually provide simple rules, and shorter play time. These games are great for groups and for more casual gaming. Back to SaltCON Bryce; we had several of our spouses there, who tend to not enjoy heavier games as some of us, but they were kind enough to come and support us in our joy of gaming at this very casual convention. As such, our group played several more simple games and also several social games. An extra bonus was that we also played several games that were new to me, and I was so excited that these new games turned out to be a blast.

Our friend William from Seattle brought a game called Medium where players try to harness the power of insight to shout out a common word using the two one-word clues. Doug introduced us to So Clover! which is a word linking game. Players are given four cards with words on each of the four edges of those cards. In secret, players lay the cards out in a 2x2 grid and come up with a one word clue that will connect the two words that are along the four outside edges of the grid. That player will then add in a new unrelated card, shuffle the five cards and present the five cards and the four clues to the rest of the table. The group then does their best to pair up the cards and dismiss the incorrect card. In addition to these two games, we played some of my favourites, such as Skull, Cockroach Poker, and Cross Clues.

All of these games caused our tables at SaltCON Bryce to get a wee bit loud and boisterous. It was a good thing that we played most of these games later into the evening when most folks had already called it a night. Hopefully we were not too disruptful to the remaining few groups that were playing as late as we were. In the end there are a lot more of the heavier, bigger, and longer board games on my shelves, but there is always room for some fun social games and there always will be a spot for them.

What are some social games that you have loved and will never get rid of?

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Douglas Stewart
Douglas Stewart
Feb 14, 2022

I think conventions are my favorite setting for social games. I don't think many of us have laughed that hard in a long while.

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