Favorite Board Games

My Favorite Board Games

I grew up playing a lot of board games with my family.

(I have five brothers and two sisters, so there were plenty of people to play with.)

When I got older, I continued to enjoy board games.

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, and board games is one of mine. 🙂

In this post, I’ll go over some of my favorite board games, and what I like about them.

Regular Scrabble

I remember playing Junior Scrabble with my dad when I was a little kid. So apparently I started young.

I wasn’t very good at Scrabble as a kid, but eventually I got pretty good.

I remember kind of going on a Scrabble kick when you could play it against your friends on Facebook. Maybe you still can… I’m not really sure, but I know there are apps for that.

Back then, I had a whole bunch of online Scrabble games going at once, and I got really good at some of the strategies about how to position your words, how to use bonus tiles, and so on.

I also learned all of the two letter words that are acceptable in Scrabble, and a lot of the other random weird short words with high-value letters. Learning all the two letter words makes a huge difference. That allows you to do what’s called “stacking” (basically building two words right on top of each other), which maximizes your points.

While I like playing regular Scrabble, some would argue it’s a little bit slow and boring. And I don’t completely disagree.

That’s why a lot of times when I play, we all use a timer, and people will have two or three minutes to complete their turn. That forces you to be mentally engaged, and think about your move even before your turn starts.

Somewhere along the way, Scrabble became one of my favorite games. And it still is. It’s a fun board game.

I like the strategy, and I also like building my vocabulary and learning interesting new words.

Speed Scrabble

Speed Scrabble is like Scrabble…but speedier. 🙂

Okay, so there’s more to it than that.

Basically, you start with some letters and build your own little crossword puzzle, and you try to do it faster than your opponents. It’s all happening in real time. Everybody plays at once.

When somebody uses up all their letters, the round is over. Then you can up your points, just like regular Scrabble.

(By the way, Bananagrams is basically a rip off of speed Scrabble. But I think speed Scrabble is better.)

For a while, I was really good at speed Scrabble. I knew all the two letter words that were acceptable, which helps a ton. I was also quite familiar with a lot of be really useful three letter words (like ones you can make with Z, Q, X, and J, the high-value letters).

We used to play Speed Scrabble all that with my family. Lately it’s kind of fallen out of favor, maybe because some people are a lot better than others, so it’s not necessarily that competitive.

Bang!

Bang! isn’t a board game… I guess speed Scrabble isn’t either. But I’m not strictly talking about board games in this post, I suppose. 🙂

Bang is a spaghetti western themed Italian card game. You have secret roles (Sheriff, Outlaw, Deputy, etc), and you try to shoot each other with old-fashioned guns, stab each other with knives, and so on.

Like in the old west.

The law enforcement is on one team, and the outlaws are on another team. There’s also a renegade, who’s kind of on his or her own team.

It’s a rollicking good time.

There’s a fair amount of luck involved in Bang, but there’s also a decent amount of strategy. But mainly is just fine to play with friends and family, because there’s a lot of funny things to talk about.

For example, the characters tend to have funny names that are slightly different from actual old west characters or mythology. Slab the Killer, Calamity Janet, and many more.

I’m pretty much always up for a good game of Bang.

Boggle

My family also used to play a lot of Boggle, around the same time we played a lot of speed Scrabble.

I guess we were really into word games there for a while.

My older brother Matthew is ridiculously good at Boggle, and for a long time no one could really beat him. I guess we probably still can’t, for the most part…but once in awhile we get lucky.

Playing Boggle a teenager, I learned a lot of three letter words that most people don’t know. Like fen, din, rue, nee, and so on. So it helped expand my vocabulary.

We used to play times of Boggle whenever we got together for Christmas break. It was pretty fun. We even came up with a unique scoring system to make it harder for my brother Matthew to always win.

In later years, I played the app called Scramble, which is basically the same game on your phone.

Sometimes I played that against my brother as well, and he usually won, but once in a while I got him.

The app was kind of addictive, So eventually I quit.

Boggle is a pretty awesome game. It’s fast, It builds your vocabulary, and it’s fun to play against friends and family.

Ricochet Robots

Last of all, let’s talk just a little bit about Ricochet Robots. Ricochet Robots is a very polarizing board game. What I mean by that is that some people love it, some people hate it, and there’s not really any in between.

That’s how it is in our family as well. There are four or five of us that enjoy playing it, and everyone else always refuses to play.

It’s kind of an unusual game, and it’s very math oriented.

Basically, there’s a grid with a bunch of different characters, or “robots” on it. And as soon as you reveal the target for each round, you have to quickly look at the grid and figure out the smallest number of moves to get the robot to a certain position on the grid.

The ricochet part comes in because robots move in a straight line until they hit something, and sometimes they bounce off if it’s a diagonal boundary.

You count your number of moves, and when the first person declares how many moves they can solve the puzzle in, the other people have one minute to try and come up with a better solution.

So you have to be quick, and you have to count accurately.

It’s very strategic, and very spatially oriented. And very visual. So it’s probably good for brain development.

I enjoy the game, and usually I do well. But sometimes it can be frustrating.

I guess part of the reason I like it is because it has such a cool name, and because it’s pretty unique. Most people have never even heard of it.

But it definitely makes my list of favorite board games.

Board Games I’m Not So Fond Of

I’ve never been a big fan of Monopoly. Maybe I will change my mind if I tried some different Monopoly game editions….but probably not.

I guess the main issue is that it takes too long. There’s also a lot of stuff to keep track of, and potentially unfair negotiations between two or more of the people whom you’re playing against. So it’s never been my favorite.

I’ve also never really liked playing Othello that much. It just seems like no matter how well you’re doing, your opponent can always lay one more piece and kind of undo all the good that you’ve accomplished.

And there are more. But that’s enough for now.

Wanna read more? Check out my post about how to say “board games” in Spanish — it actually has some other interesting info besides just the simple answer. 🙂