Hey guys, so it’s still September and there still really isn’t much to see down at ye olde cinemaplex. So what is one to do with one’s self on those cold September nights??? Get close to your family? Sit down and have meaningful conversations about what’s going on with your life?? Yeah… let’s not do that. Instead let’s sit down, break out a board game and gradually realize how much we legitimately hate each other. Cause most board games are designed to make you realize that at least one of the people playing them is a complete and total jerk. Here is a completely random and arbitrary list wherein’ I rank said games of the board based on complexity, funexity, and the jerkwad factor.
Monopoly (and about 50,000 nonsensical monopoly spin offs)
The game: The game itself is pretty basic… at first. You and four or five people who you’re prepared never to talk to again take turns rolling dice and traveling around a board. On the way around you can by property, go to jail, visit jail, get stuck in jail for fifty turns, get out of jail free, immediately get sent back to jail, or probably do some other things I don’t remember that don’t have to do with jail.
Complexity: Monopoly starts off pretty simple but it gets incredibly complicated if played correctly. Land deals, hotels, something about a train station. I think some public parking? And jail. Eventually the whole game devolves into everyone desperately clinging to their lands hoping beyond hope that the dice will guide them safely around the board so they can put another 200 dollars towards the 50,000 dollars it will cost them to get a hotel that no one will land on.
Fun-exity: Medium at best. I mean even early on when everyone is care free and happy you’re still just touring a board buying land. I mean I have a Doctor Who monopoly board that makes monopoly WAY more fun and even then it’s a fairly cut and dry experience. And that’s before the Jerkwad factor comes into play.
Jerkwad factor: Just… through the roof. Cause the whole point of the game is to steal money from other people. By the end (assuming you get to the end which will take you the lifespan of most small rodents) the person with the most power HAS to squeeze every last piece of property and scrap of money you have. It’s the only way to win. And it takes a long time, you’ll have literally HOURS to sit there and develop huge amounts of hatred towards Bobby Bankroll and his stacks on stacks on stacks.
Fun Scale: 5 out of ten (6-7 out of ten if you’re playing Doctor Who monopoly or a variant thereof that you enjoy)
Friendship ruiner scale: 8 out of 10. Once again the only way to win this game is to basically become Donald Trump. Think about that for a second.
The game: Ah that grand old game of life. You and your family gather around for a wonderful time in which you will get a job, get married, try desperately to have children so they will give you money when you retire… somehow. And various other ‘real life’ based activites. Such as going to night school and somehow immediately become a Lawyer making 120,000 dollars a year. Life is 90% responsible for me thinking I would get a job that had anything at all to do with my degree… tee-hee Life. Tee. Hee.
Complexity: As board games go Life is pretty simple. You just spin a wheel land on spaces and hope you get lucky. There’s not a ton of deep strategy going on because frankly Life gives you very few options… which I suppose is fairly accurate really.
Fun-exity: Pretty high honestly. Life is a nice simple game wherein even if you lose, you still at least live to retirement and probably at some point become a homeowner and get married. I mean, if you’re a loser at the end of monopoly all you have are crushed dreams and the knowledge that you just spent three hours or so failing at a board game and learning how much you hate all your friends. So yeah, well done Life.
Jerkwad Factor: Pretty low. I mean I guess technically if you really had a vendetta against someone you could always choose to sue that one person, but even then you have to land on the right spot and at max that happens maybe 3 times in a game??
Fun scale: 8 out of 10. Not the most complex game ever and largely luck based, but it’s still a good old time for the whole family where you can pretend for a bit that you have some disposable income.
Friendship ruiner scale: 3 out of 10. Just not a lot of vitriol to be had here. Unless you really already hate someone in which case they probably don’t really count as your friend anyway.
Risk/Axis and Allies
The Game: After several hours of setting up, players attempt to build armies and conquer the world one tiny dice based battle at a time.
Complexity: These games are both incredibly complex and disastrously simple. Building armies, and choosing where exactly to set up your troops is pretty complex but once things get rolling the game all comes down to the dice. It’s very possible to 100 percent out think your opponent…. And still entirely lose the game. It’s infuriating.
Fun-exity: Here’s the thing. In spite of everything above… I really like Risk. The strategy Is fun, the feeling of competitive generalship. It’s a fun game. Most of the time.
Jerkwad factor: Insanely high. There comes a time in Risk where it is VERY clear who is going to win the game. The problem is that this time arrives about 45 minutes before the game ends. It then becomes the unfortunate task of the person who will inevitably win the game to crush his opponents one by one. There is no way around this. There is no way to do it kindly. If you make jokes about it you come off as gloating, if you do it in silence you come off as taking things way to seriously. You will be a jerk. And you will be a wad.
Fun Scale: 7 out of 10. Probably a little bias on my part but I think these games are fun. Just… ya know, until the end.
Freindship ruiner scale: 10 out of 10. If you really want to test your friendhship or your marriage: play 1 game of Risk.
The Game: Players wander around a Victorian house/Hogwarts/Serenity/Whatever other location your spinoff of the game occurs in. As they wander they attempt to guess who murdered… somebody. Or some Body. Or Mr. Body if you want to refer to a hilariously camp 90’s Clue movie that features Tim Curry delivering one of the great cinematic lines of all time: “I’m a Butler. I buttle.”
Complexity: Clue is very complex. Unless it isn’t. More on this later.
Fun-exity: It’s a fun game, you wander around making wild accusations about people. Like Sherlock Holmes, if Sherlock Holmes was the worst detective in the world.
Jerk-wad factor: Fairly low here. The reason this game is ‘complex until it isn’t’ is because there’s a huge amount of strategy and theory involved in this game right up until some lucky jerkwad guesses the answer completely by accident. It’s not that lucky persons fault, but it definitely makes them a jerkwad who you’re pretty bitter at.
Fun Scale: Solid 7 out of 10. It’s a fun game, you guess things, you find murderers. I have a Serenity version of this game and that boosts this score up to about a 9 out of 10. If you like clue I STRONGLY recommend getting a special edition, makes it much easier to get people to play with you.
Friendship ruiner scale: 2 out of 10. I mean sure you can get crazy lucky, but there’s nothing necessarily aggressively hateful about that. Certainly passively hateful, but nothing necessarily jerkwad worthy. Ya jerkwad.
So there you go guys, go find some games, play some games, get to know your friends and family better. And then get to hate them just a little bit more. Or possibly a lot more, depending on what game you’re playing.