Board, Not Bored

Board, Not Bored: Strategy 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 Strategy Games.

What classifies a game as a “strategy game”? Strategy games are not for board game beginners. These games usually take a longer time to play, have intense rules, and rely on being able to strategize several moves ahead in the gameplay. These are perfect for a small group of board game enthusiasts.

Our first game may look familiar to you if you’ve read our previous posts. Tides of Time is the base game that the thematic game Tides of Madness was built upon. There are less thematic elements in this version, relying more on the skill of strategizing which relics to take with you into the next round. Gameplay moves quickly, so you can easily play several rounds with a friend in a short period of time. Per BoardGameGeek, “Tides of Time is a drafting game for two players. 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.”

Pandemic is many people’s first foray into the world of strategy games. It’s heart-pounding, nonstop action that is easy to lose even if you feel like you’ve done everything right. The idea of having the fate of the world in your hands is a lot of pressure, so be sure to practice some meditation before a game of Pandemic. Per BoardGameGeek, “The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!”

If you’re intimidated by the intensity of Pandemic, Pandemic: The Cure might be more your speed. The randomness of it is the same, with dice being rolled instead of random cards being pulled, but the games are much quicker so your agony isn’t as drawn-out. Per BoardGameGeek, “Pandemic: The Cure, a dice-based version of the popular Pandemic board game, sets up in less than a minute and plays in 30 minutes. As in the board game, four diseases threaten the world and it’s up to your team to save humanity. Players roll dice each turn to determine the actions available to them. They can move between the six population centers of the world, treat disease, collect samples, and exchange knowledge to help them in their goal of discovering cures. If too many outbreaks take place, too many people get infected, or the rate of infection gets too high, all the players lose. If, however, the players can discover the cures to the four diseases, they all win and humanity is saved!”

Another game perfect for two people is Battle Line. If you love the strategy behind ancient Roman and Greek battles, you can fully immerse yourself in this game. The play is similar to poker, but you’ll need more than a straight face to win this game. Per BoardGameGeek, “Two opponents face off across a ‘battle line’ and attempt to win the battle by taking 5 of 9 flags or 3 adjacent flags. Flags are decided by placing cards into 3 card poker-type hands on either side of the flag (similar to straight flush, 3 of a kind, straight, flush, etc). The side with the highest ‘formation’ of cards wins the flag.”

If Samurai Spirit didn’t involve so many tough and thought-out choices, it might end up in the thematic game category. You’ll need all your wits about you as you navigate the samurai playing field to defend a village while not over-exerting yourself. It sounds simple, but making the right choice can be harder than it seems. Per BoardGameGeek, “Samurai Spirit is a co-operative game in which each player is a fierce samurai defending a village surrounded by a horde of bandits. The game plays out over three turns during which each player takes turns drawing bandit cards, then choosing whether they want to fight the bandit, defend the village, or let the bandit pass in order to help the other samurai.”

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