Board, Not Bored

Board, Not Bored: Thematic Board Games

You may have noticed some new boxes on the AHPL shelves at the start of the year: we have many board games available to check out! To get you acquainted with the large selection of games we have to offer, every month we will highlight 5 games from the collection. This month, we take a look at the Thematic Games.

What are Thematic Games? Thematic games are typically geared toward an older audience and revolve their gameplay around a highly specific theme. Often, game mechanics are used for storytelling purposes. These games are perfect for players who love to be immersed in the board game story. Often, thematic and strategy games have a bit of overlap.

Tides of Madness box cover

In an example of this overlap, the first game we’re highlighting is Tides of Madness, the sequel to a game we have in our strategy category: Tides of Time. Tides of Madness is a 2-player game, so it’s perfect for a pair of pals or a couple looking for a nice date night game. This game is relatively straight-forward and doesn’t take very long to play, around 20 minutes for a round. It doesn’t require a complex knowledge of rules or many pieces, so there is virtually no setup time.

Per BoardGameGeek, “Each game consists of three rounds in which players draft cards from their hands to build their kingdom. Each card is one of five suits and also has a scoring objective. After all cards have been drafted for the round, players total their points based on the suits of cards they collected and the scoring objectives on each card, then they record their score. Each round, the players each select one card to leave in their kingdom as a “relic of the past” to help them in later rounds. After three rounds, the player with the the most prosperous kingdom wins.”

One Deck Dungeon box cover

The next game we’re highlighting is also perfect for a duo of players, but can also be played solo. One Deck Dungeon is a card-based game where you play a rogue who is fighting their way through a dungeon. Because the game revolves around drawing random cards, you will never face the same exact dungeon twice. This game is slightly more involved and should take you between 30-45 minutes to complete the dungeon. We only have one set of cards at the library, but if you were to purchase this game for yourself you can add in players by adding in new decks.

Per BoardGameGeek, “One Deck Dungeon is a card game “roguelike” — a dungeon delve that is different every time, difficult to survive, with a character you build up from scratch. The deck consists of various foes to combat and other perils from the dungeon. Each card, though, depicts both the obstacle to overcome and the potential rewards for doing so. When you defeat a card, you claim it as either experience, an item, or a skill, tucking it under the appropriate side of your character card to show its benefits. The longer you take exploring the dungeon, the deeper you’ll delve, and the difficulty will scale up quickly! If you make it far enough, you’ll have to fight the dungeon boss. Survive, and you’ll be a legend!”

The Grizzled box cover

The next game up is The Grizzled, a cooperative game set during World War I where you and your team must survive the horrors of war as soldiers in the trenches. This game also takes around 30 minutes to play and can be played with 2-5 players, aged 14 years and up. Hand management and luck are both integral parts of this game, which is not rules-heavy but requires a good knowledge of your fellow team members to survive. This game is not easy to beat, so you may end up playing several rounds before you feel the sweet sensation of victory.

Per BoardGameGeek, “Each round, the current team leader will choose how many cards every player draws. Then, going around the table, players must either play a card in their hand or back out of the mission. Each card represents either threats to the team (such as mortar shells and weather conditions) or negative personality traits (such as frightened or obsessive). At the end of the round, more cards are added to the draw deck. The game ends only if the players can deplete the draw deck as well as their hands without letting time run out. If one threat shows up too many times, the team fails the mission. The team must play their threats correctly in order to gain any progress. However, most of the information in a players hand remains secret throughout the game.”

Flash Point: Fire Rescue box cover

For a game that takes a bit longer, but can be played with some younger players (ages 10 and up), we turn to Flash Point: Fire Rescue. As the name implies, it revolves around your team of 2-6 players acting as fire rescue personnel. This game takes around 45 minutes to complete, although it may be longer your first time as you get used to the rules and mechanics. This game has more parts than the previous games, so make sure you double check all the pieces are there when you’re packing it up to return. Much like the game Pandemic, there are high stakes as you try to rescue victims of a burning building as the fire creeps in around you. The pressure for a success will make it taste that much sweeter when you all win.

Per BoardGameGeek, “There are two versions of game play in Flash Point, a basic game and expert game. In both variants, players are attempting to rescue 7 of 10 victims from a raging building fire. As the players attempt to rescue the victims, the fire spreads to other parts of the building, causing structural damage and possibly blocking off pathways through the building. Each turn a player may spend action points to try to extinguish fires, move through the building, move victims out of the building or perform various special actions such as moving emergency vehicles. If 4 victims perish in the blaze or the building collapses from taking too much structural damage, the players lose. Otherwise, the players win instantly when they rescue a 7th victim. The expert variant included in the game adds thematic elements such as flash over, combustible materials, random setup, and variations on game difficulty from novice to heroic. The game includes a double sided board with two different building plans and several expansion maps are available.”

If any of these games have piqued your interest, stop by the library and pick one up!

Return to Blog

What can we help you find?