Board games are a great way to spend time with family and friends. Although many of us grew up playing classic games like Monopoly or chess, there are seemingly endless options now, with board games more popular than ever. Check out some favourite games and places to play them from Rat Creek Press contributors. If you need people to play with or want to try out new games, check out GOBfest, Edmonton’s Board Gaming Convention on April 8 & 9 at Alberta Avenue Community Centre. Find out more: gobfest.ca.
My all-time favourite board game has to be Risk, although sometimes it is hard to find a good group of people to play it with. When I do find people to play with, it ends up being so much fun. Who doesn’t like taking over the world? A great place to play it or any game for that matter is at The Hexagon Boardgame Café on 101 Street and Whyte Avenue. Super friendly people there and it’s owned by a really nice couple. You can also order games directly from them. – Steven Townsend
I love Scrabble. I do home care and play some challenging games with one of my clients. She is in her late 80s and I always look forward to playing with her. Longevity is on the rise. – Shirley Zago
We have been loving the new board game café trend that’s sprung up over the past few years. Our favourite is The Gamers’ Lodge on 124 Street. We’ve been there several times this winter. It’s a wonderful environment for the whole family. Games for every age, level, and interest category. Very affordable for an evening out, especially since kids play for free. It’s a great place to meet friends because they have far more games than most people would keep in their homes, and because it means no one has to cook or clean! They also have special events set up for particular interests, and for people who want to come on their own and meet new people to play with. As a social capital nerd, I also love the opportunity it presents to spend social time in real life, building relationships and communities. – Nadine Riopel
Certain board games have special memories for me because of who I’ve played them with. I play Scrabble regularly online with my cousin. When I’m visiting my mom, we play Yahtzee. A popular game with my friends is Cards Against Humanity. I’ve grown to enjoy collaborative games, where people work together towards winning rather than compete with one another. I’ve been to all of the board game cafés in Edmonton and they’re all great, with staff ready to help answer questions. Locally, The Carrot has a board games night the last Tuesday of every month. But it’s also nice to hang out and play with friends at home. It makes for a casual and fun atmosphere. – Talea Medynski
In university, backgammon was a quick release of homework tension with a roommate. My current favourites are Dominion and Settlers of Catan, both competitive and introduced to me at GOBfest (Games on Boards Festival) held in our own neighbourhood every April. This festival has something for everyone, with teachers, a flea market to buy secondhand games, and a roomful of games to try during the festival and see what you like. The kids I see at this festival are different than kids and young adults who are deprived of the tactile and social aspects of board games.
There are also cooperative games where a family can work together. For example, one game requires players to work together to share water and to retrieve the parts of a plane in order to survive and escape the desert before you all perish. And every Sunday, Players of Games on Boards (POGOB) meet to play various games. Then there are also tabletop cafés and the Carrot’s game night. All good fun. – Rusti L Lehay
My favourite games are Settlers of Catan, Mysterium, and Dominion. Look for used games online and on Kijiji. Gamer cafés are a great place to try out a game before committing to the big price tag! – Sierra Bilton
My family and I have fallen in love with board game cafés, especially The Gamers’ Lodge on 124 Street and 104 Avenue. For a $5 library fee, you can play as many games as you like (from a selection of hundreds) and kids under 12 are free. They have a great selection of kid-friendly snacks too, like a massive bowl of assorted candies. OK. The candies are actually for us adults. We’ve discovered some fantastic games through trial and error there, our favourite being Hamsterolle. This game is a big wooden wheel with platforms that you balance different sized and weighted pieces on. Whoever balances all of their pieces without spilling them all wins. And someone always spills them all over the table, which is why we play. – Dave Von Bieker