The Dude’s High 5s: Board Games


I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it’s time we had a serious talk.  Climb on up on ol’ Uncle Dude’s lap.  It’s time to hit you with some reality.  Everyone dies and no one will ever love you, they will just pretend because they are afraid to be alone.  Wait, no, that’s not what I wanted to say.  I know what it was, I’m quitting.  In one month’s time I will have done 1 year of High 5s.  So starting in March I will be leaving the High 5 game behind me and doing a new weekly column, and hopefully I will keep that one up for a year as well. I now return you to your regularly scheduled High 5.

One thing about the Dude you might not know is that I LOVE board games. One of my closest friends has a weekly scheduled game night where we play a variety of board games.  We’ve been doing it for years.  Because of this, I have played more board games than most of you probably thought existed. I am cocky about a lot of things, and my knowledge of board games is no exception.  So here we are, my favorite board games.

(Side Note: I’m not counting CCGs like Magic or Pokémon)


5. Risk


This is why I’m an asshole.  I wax poetic about being a board game snob, and then I list a run of the mill game like Risk as my number 5, right?  No. I’m not going to list an obscure game just to sound cool.  Risk is a fantastic board game.  It’s gotten to the point where my game group can set up and play a game in about an hour.  There are several variants of the game, but I like vanilla Risk the best.  Risk Legacy is the only alternate version that I don’t mind playing as the game actually evolves based on past games.


4. Antike


Antike is a German game that is set in the world of antiquity.  It pits the Romans, Goths, Persians, Greeks, Phoenicians and Egyptians against each other in a race to control the known world.  There are many avenues to victory.  Do you build temples and try to enforce a theocracy? Do you build an army and dominate your neighbors?  Do you build wealth and control events economically? The game ends when a player reaches the predetermined amount of victory points. This victory points are achieved via building temples, researching new technology, founding cities, controlling sea routes, and destroying other player’s temples.


3. Last Night on Earth

Last Night on Earth.

Last Night on Earth is a modular board game made by Flying Frog Productions. It is also apparently Wil Weaton approved.  For those of you that don’t know what it is, a modular board is a board (and objectives) that changes every game. In some games you may have a manor house that you are trying to protect, in others you have a truck that you are trying to gas up and ride out of town. You may be hunting the undead in one game, and then searching for townsfolk in the next. It supports 2-6 players, but I feel that 5 is the best number to play it. With 5 players, you have 4 people acting as the heroes (humans) and one player to act as the zombies (6 players would make 2 zombie players which can be confusing sometimes). The best thing about the game is also one of the drawbacks to the game.  Since no two games are ever alike, you run the risk of a boring, drawn-out fight, or a quick, crushing victory.  If you set aside a few hours to play, occasionally you’ll find that the game is over in 25 minutes, or you are half way through the game after 2 hours.


2. Dominion


Dominion isn’t your typical board game. That is because it doesn’t have a board. Dominion is a deck-building game influence by CCGs like Magic, however since all the cards come in the set, it’s not a CCG.  I’ve used that term CCG a few times, if you are confused by it, it means Collectable Card Game. The game is played by placing 10 stacks of randomly determined cards onto the table. These cards are the market. Some of these cards give you money, some attack other players, some defend from attacks, and some let you streamline your deck by drawing, trading, or banishing cards. You start with 7 coppers worth, 1 credit each, and 3 victory point cards worth 1 victory point each. You buy cards trying to improve your deck so that you can buy more victory points. Buying victory points is the goal of the game, but since they have no other purpose, they will clog up your deck.  When 5 stacks have been bought out, the game is over.


1. Ascending Empires

Ascending Empires.

Ascending Empires is a space exploration and combat game published by Z-Man Games. It’s another modular type board; however, the objective of the game never changes. Depending on the amount of players (2-4) there is a set amount of victory points. Once those VPs have been claimed, the game is over. The planets on the board are randomized, placed face down, and spread out. Each player then takes turns discovering what the planets are, landing on them, and researching. To move your ships, you actually flick them across the board. Sometimes the board itself causes problems, but that can’t be helped. If you flick your ship too far and it falls off the board, it is destroyed. What kind of technology you can research depends on the color of the planet (racist, I know). The various researches involve better space ships, more efficient troop usage and movement, the ability to move your ships farther, or better defenses.  Special victory points are given at the end of the game for settlements, planet and asteroid control, and presence in each quadrant.


So what board games do you folks enjoy?