17th November 2022
USTUDIO’s top board games for stressless festive fun...
Well, it’s Christmas time and the chances are there will be board games. But you don’t have to stick to the classics (yawn), and you don’t have to fall out with your family (I am speaking as someone who once cried and stormed out of the room over a game of Risk). USTUDIO can help you find the game you are looking for!
We asked our resident board game expert and all-round lovely guy Freddie to help with some common board game dilemmas and point you towards the right game for everyone, from the obsessive through to the most reluctant player.
Read on for everything you need to know to find the perfect game to buy this Christmas.
Freddie in store running through the rules of the 'visually stunning' Everdell.
First question for you, Freddie - what is the best game for 2 players?
I’d recommend Radlands - a highly competitive “mad max” post-apocalyptic style 2 player game where you place cards to defend your base and launch powerful attacks against your opponent. A really nicely themed game that is designed for two players, with a small enough box to take for trips or holidays.
What would be top of your list for a big group to play?
Bristol 1350 - a game for up to 9 players, where they must escape Bristol during the plague, without letting the illness also escape the city. Players hide their cards which tell them if they’ve caught the plague and have to share cards not knowing who to trust. This dice rolling hidden role game plays best with more players, bringing betrayal and distrust!
What game would you say is ideal for true board game geeks?
That would be Everdell -a highly acclaimed tableau building and worker placement game with beautiful artwork, building up your anthromomorphised animals forest city around the evertree. The artwork and 3D tree board are really stunning, and it’s been celebrated on geeky sites since release. They’ve got expansions available, so will be something enthusiasts want to have and keep playing.
I know some rule books are pages and pages long- can you recommend a game where the rules won’t drive everyone (yes, I mean me!) bananas before they’ve even started?
MicroMacro: Crime City is a cooperative game where you spread out a large map of a city where many (cutely drawn) crimes are happening, and you work as a team following victims and suspects to solve them. A clever concept that is all about searching and locating characters on the map and then discussing what the clues tell you is happening.
What is the best board game for creative types?
Canvas - in this creative game players layer transparent cards with images on to build up 3 abstract artworks which then get scored at the end of the game. The imagery on the cards is beautifully designed and the number of potential combinations is huge, players will spend as much time admiring their works as playing the game.
Sometimes we are looking for really good laugh - what would you recommend for general hilarity?
Wavelength - a team game good for parties or family gatherings. Each team chooses a member to spin the wheel on a randomly selected scale (hot to cold, overrated actor to underrated actor etc), then give a single clue to their team to work out where on the scale they were indicating. Simple to set up and easy to split into teams for, the wheel is a sturdy piece that pops up from the box. Players will think their clue is perfect and then be amused and shocked as their team come up with a different conclusion (or potentially get it spot on).
What’s the best game to put in your pocket and take to the pub?
Love Letter is ace - a small portable card game that comes in a sturdy pouch to throw in a bag or put in your pocket. The rules are simple to grasp, you have to keep one card in the your hand, on your go you pick up another, and choose one to play to activate abilities such looking at your opponent’s card. At the end of the game the player with the highest number card (ideally the princess) wins. Such a classic game, easy to learn, always fun to play with any player count from 2-5 and very portable, without the need for a big board.
Not everyone loves (or even likes) playing board games. What do USTUDIO stock for the truly reluctant player?
Junk Art would be just perfect. Using 60 wooden shapes to build precarious towers, this game is like a more interesting Jenga. The shapes are all brightly coloured and interesting and the rules encourage different win conditions (fastest to use their pieces, last tower standing etc). It is less ‘board gamey’ but very social and fun to play.
So, out of all the ace games that USTUDIO stock, which do you think is the top all-rounder?
That would be 7 Wonders. An absolute classic game, one of my favourites of all time. Each player builds up their civilization around their wonder of the ancient world, playing cards to build new additions, getting more complex over three eras. The game is perfectly balanced, with a player count from 3-7 players. There are light social elements as you trade with your neighbour, and each card played feels like you are making progress. It’s a truly brilliant game.
Freddie with our best all-rounder, the 'absolute classic', 7 Wonders.
THESE GAMES AND MANY MORE ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AND INSTORE!
We made Freddie stick with one game per category for this Q & A session, but if you want advice from someone in the know, he will gladly talk about all of the games we stock. I don’t think USTUDIO have any games in store that Freddie doesn’t like, so he’s always happy to have a chat and help you find exactly what you are looking for! Pop into our shop on Gloucester Road, Bristol or mail us at email@example.com