One of the main reasons I love board games is their versatility. The choice of board is so great that in the endless, continuously growing stream of good (and not so) games, there is one hundred percent something for every taste, regardless of preferences, experience, and age of the player. I sincerely believe that a properly selected game can brighten up any social event: both gatherings in a noisy company and a quiet evening alone with a loved one.

Someone will say that summer is not the right time for such a hobby. Still, in good weather, you want to spend more time in the fresh air, go to nature, relax in the forest or on a warm beach, and not sit at a table in a stuffy atmosphere. It's hard to argue with this, but there are many board games ideal for all kinds of vacation trips - even to warmer regions, even the country. They take up little space in the bag, they can be laid out almost anywhere, and it will take a couple of minutes to explain the rules. It is to these games that I dedicated today's collection.


Skull is almost the first thing I put in my backpack when I go out to a meeting with friends. I have not yet met a single company in which she categorically did not go: the essence of the game is extremely simple, so even those who have never touched board games are instantly involved in the process. All players receive four discs; three are painted with flowers (Skull calls them "roses"), and the fourth is a skull. Each turn, the participants in the game face-down put one of the discs face down in front of them, until someone decides that it's time to try their luck. This daredevil must declare how many roses he will try to find, and rivals can outbid his bid - in the end, the winner of the "auction" must turn over the named number of discs, starting with his own. Don't worry if you don't have enough of your own: after clearing your stack, you can switch to those what the opponents posted. The main thing is not to stumble upon a traitorous skull, which will screw up the attempt and take one disc from the unlucky player.

In other words, Skull is a game of pure bluffing, where the ability to read your opponent is sometimes just as important as luck. To an experienced board gamer, it may rightly seem primitive, but I think in this case it's even good: there is simply nothing superfluous in Skull. She constantly generates emotions, creates excitement, tension, rage. To win, it is enough to win only two bets, so all players are literally one step away from success: the opportunity to break into the leaders with one daring move tempts them to take a big risk. And if the risk suddenly turns out to be a mistake, then why not try again? The parties fly by so quickly that there is no time to sit and be careful.

Separately, I am glad that it is absolutely not necessary to own a physical copy of a board to play. The original components look stylish, but in extreme cases, they can be easily replaced with ordinary playing cards, and the rules can be spied on the Internet. In general, I once played Skull with cardboard cup holders (the skulls were drawn with a pen), meeting with friends at a bar - it turned out even more authentic.

Crew. Expedition to Planet Nine

In a nutshell, "Crew" can be described as a cooperative version of the good old card "Fool" (or "King") - only with a couple of small, devilishly tricky twists that make the gameplay unexpectedly brainwashing. By analogy with the "Fool", the players are dealt cards from the common deck, and then they take turns playing tricks: the one who puts the highest card of a suitable suit or trump card takes the trick for himself. It seems to be nothing complicated, but to win, the crew members will have to complete several tasks in parallel. Some of the players (or several at once) will need to win a bribe, where a card of a strictly defined suit and denomination is involved. If you already have it in your hand, then you just have to guess the moment, but ... What if the necessary card went to another player, who, perhaps, has his own goal? How to get out if, on assignment, a card with a scanty face value dropped out, which will not beat anything? It is impossible to discuss in detail the actions with your comrades and agree in advance about who is like it, you can only show your partners one of your cards and hope that they will correctly understand the meaning of the message.

A little more than two years have passed since the release of "Crew", but the game is already predicting the status of a classic of the genre. In my opinion, more than deserved. Based on the simplest card mechanics, she builds a surprisingly deep, but at the same time accessible gameplay, which consistently, from party to party, throws up new interesting situations. The small box contains a story campaign of as many as fifty missions; from history, of course, you can not expect anything outstanding, but the gameplay of the "Crew" never stands still. For example, in one mission you have to complete several tasks in order, in another, the first and last trick of the party must be won by the captain, in the third, it will not be possible to use cards of one or another denomination ... In general, there is no time to get bored on an expedition.

In addition, a sequel to the game was recently released: “Crew. Diving into the Abyss ”, where the entourage of space travel was replaced by the exploration of the depths of the sea. I am still planning to study it, but according to the reviews, the sequel turned out even better than the original - although it is unlikely to disappoint.


When talking about board games that will ideally fit into outdoor activities, one cannot ignore  "Wavelength" - perhaps one of the loudest side games of recent years. Just look at her! One glance at a large wheel, similar to the props from a TV show of the 90s era, is enough to immediately want to play - well, or at least turn it in your hands. I love to bring it to get-togethers with people who are not familiar with board games, just to watch their reactions: curiosity, a smile, a sparkle in their eyes.

Fortunately, "Wavelength" not only looks great, but also plays great - the fancy wheel here is not a decorative decoration, but a key element of the gameplay. In fact, this is an association game: all participants (at least four) are divided into two teams, and in each turn one of the players gets the role of a telepath. He covers the magic wheel with a screen and turns it around, and then, without showing his comrades, looks where the color zone turned out to be. The matter is small - the telepath only needs to hint to his team were to turn the red arrow to get to the center of the zone. And you will have to hint with the help of cards on which two random diametrically opposite signs are written: hot-cold, hero-villain, masterpiece-failure.

The fun begins when the position of the wheel in combination with the map forces you to come up with very specific, sometimes extremely subjective clues that can be understood in completely different ways. Pizza with pineapple - is it a hint of "tasty" or not? Can Balabanov's "Cargo 200" be considered an easy youth comedy? How sexy is the tongue sticking out emoji? Did the telepath call Kojima a genius ironically, like Nolana, or in all seriousness? "Wavelength" is not a game, but a real generator of heated discussions on a variety of topics, which, however, still makes it possible to feel like a master of improvisation. It is equally interesting to make associations and decipher them, each time opening the screen with lust: the result always evokes a storm of emotions.


But let's say you don't plan to have fun in a noisy company, or just prefer more measured thoughtful leisure time. In this case, you can take a closer look at the "Hive"- a rather old, but still relevant strategy for two. It feels a lot like chess: players control swarms of insects that try to surround the enemy queen, cutting off all escape routes for her. And, of course, each type of insect has unique properties. Beetles can climb on other figures to block them or crawl further, ants move freely clockwise, grasshoppers jump from place to place, and annoying mosquitoes copy the properties of any insect adjacent to them. True, all insects have one limitation - their actions should not break the continuous chain of figures, since a single hive cannot be divided into several parts.

That, in general, is all. To be honest, I don't even know what else to add: "The Beehive" is an exemplary dueling abstract in five minutes. In a sense, this is chess for those who hate chess - or, more precisely, hates its inherent boringness. The games are fast enough, and although the basic rules allow you to master the game in two counts, the "Hive" is quite enough tactical depth to captivate serious strategists. In addition, the game has just a great road version - smaller insect tokens made of dense plastic come with a small cloth bag. The very thing is to spread it somewhere in the park and frown thoughtfully, sitting in the shade of the trees.

Tricky Move, Paper Quarters and Road Networks

Probably, this is not entirely correct, but I decided to combine three games at once into a common item since they belong to one broad category - roll-and-write. In such games, as a rule, it is required to roll dice, draw cards and mark the results in a special form; something like a regular lotto, only (alas) without the mustachioed Mikhail Borisov, who takes out wooden barrels from the sack. Interaction between players in roll-and-write, as a rule, is small, and you can safely play in them alone, without losing anything at all: it's like solving a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. In essence, all three games are close to each other, but they offer quite different experiences, so I would like to recommend each one. And you yourself choose the favorite to your taste.

In keeping with all the traditions of the German school of board games, the “tricky move” puts productivity at the forefront. It's a dry, merciless yet frighteningly addicting math puzzle with countless possible solutions. If you like tough puzzles for combinatorics and optimization, then the slightly prim design of the game will not be a problem - it will be difficult to break away from "Tricky Move". Having finished the game, I just want to pick up a handful of colored cubes again and try to break my own record.

"Paper quarters" in mood closer to meditative solitaire, where you need to slowly, methodically build up a small suburban area. Assigning numbers to houses on the streets, equipping parks and swimming pools, fencing off individual streets - in a word, engaging in contemplation. But as you take more and more free lots on the streets, the likelihood of making some ridiculous mistake becomes more and more - sooner or later gentrification inevitably turns into a comical bureaucratic hell. Holes in the once neat plan have to be patched with fractional addresses, heaps of streets from one house, a million fences, and other housing and communal tricks. I love "Paper Quarters" for the moments when you look up from your town, thinking that it couldn't get any worse, and you see that your neighbor has built some Brazilian favelas at all.

Well, the "Road Networks", as you might guess, is devoted to the construction of roads - rail and road. Throwing dice, which depict certain fragments of the road, you gradually draw on your tablet a chain of paths and highways to combine as many exits as possible. Of course, cubes can be capricious, so roads will most likely have to be paved using the "snake" method - twisting back and forth in the hope that then something articulate will be made from this plate of spaghetti.

On this, perhaps, we will stop. As usual, I could not include every board game I would like to talk about in the collection: this time I focused on the games translated into Russian, which can be found in stores without any problems. So if you are interested in learning about board games of other genres and directions, tell me in the comments what I should write about in the future!

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