Thursday, June 27, 2013


Game Night at Cold Antler is an institution now. What started as the occasional game of BYOB Catan is now a league of dedicated friends. The core group is Tara and Tyler (of fame) and Tom (of magnificent beard fame) have gotten into our groove. Last night we played Munchkin which is a card game spoof of Role Playing Games like Dungeons and Dragons. Instead of making a dramatic character and sitting through elaborate stories you just fight monsters, trade cards, yell, threaten each other, bribe, slam your hand on the table, stab your friends in the back, make promises, steal treasures, and try to ask forgiveness instead of permission. It is a riot, and a modern classic for us game nerds. Below I posted the TableTop episode with Wil Wheaton, the game's creator Steve Jackson, Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh. If you just watch the first few minutes it explains the rules and how ridiculous last night's Game Night was.

I don't know if any of you other farmers, homesteaders, parents, or fancy single people out there have Game Nights, but I can't encourage you to start one up enough. Avoid the games people are used to, set aside Scrabble and Monopoly and try something brand new. Not because there is anything wrong with Scrabble but if you are trying to get new non-gaming friends excited about coming over for a night around one table, things might need to get a little sexier. Fight Zombies in your very own action movie with Last Night On Earth. Bone up on your creative skills killing your horrible family in Gloom. Become a Settler of Catan, trading sheep for wood (Hey, my real life does this?!). Build a rail empire in the early 1900's with Ticket to Ride. These are award winning, super clever, inexpensive games. As someone who HATED board games until I discovered these gems I can assure you it is a whole different ball game. And If none of these games I mentioned mean anything to you right now, you can preview them all on Wil's show on Youtube (free show, of course) and get a feel for them. A good game may cost up to fifty dollars (Munchkin costs 18 bucks, which is less than delivered pizza with toppings) but once you buy it you have so much more ahead of you than cold pizza in tomorrow's fridge. You have endless fun hours with friends, laughing face-to-face, interacting the way movies and dinner parties rarely let us interact.

Games bring out a different and sadly lacking kind of social interaction for us modern folks. We're so used to getting together to have dinner or watch something on a screen, sometimes engaging in playful argument or debate but it's nothing like saving the world from a Pandemic. Hanging out on the porch with a drink is fun, but trying to airluft a Medic to London because Germany is about to infect all Eastern Europe has a lot fore flair. Pandemic is a Co-op game, meaning you play against the game as a team and not against each other. If that isn't your style you can try to steal someone's Laughing and Dancing Sword in Munchkin. Regardless, when you play games you are a group of problem solvers, competitors, and comedians. You are working the brain hard, but doing so between swigs of microbrew and long laugh attacks. Us kids at Cold Antler adored Munchkin, and we'll play it again. It'll become a GN favorite like Catan, Pandemic, Gloom, Ticket to Ride and Zombie Dice have become. Maybe someday we'll even actually beat Pandemic. But probably not. We are all convinced that the only way people beat that game is by accident or because they missed a rule. But SOMEDAY! SOMEDAY, we will save the world. And that's a lot to look forward to on a Wednesday night.

Now go play games. It will be better than you think it'll be. Promise all over.