British Columbia

We Connect 4 board games to give you a Clue to holiday fun

Picking a board game that everyone will like during the holidays can feel like an Operation. To make sure your festive gatherings don't go Kerplunk, we asked a board game expert for his recommendations.

Recommendations for diehards, newbies and kids

Settlers of Catan has been a popular board game for decades. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

As British Columbians Go see friends family during the holidays, many will Risk opening up a board game as they spend time with loved ones.

But with so many choices out there, selecting a game is no Trivial Pursuit. The options have proliferated to Pandemic proportions and no one game has a Monopoly on fun.

Shannon Lentz — founder of the Terminal City Tabletop Convention, a manager with game-maker Panda Games and a longtime board gamer — knows picking the right game can require a little Diplomacy but offered some suggestions that might be your Ticket to Ride.

"Pushing little pieces around on a board with your friends in real life is a nice change from your everyday life, working in front of computers like most people do nowadays," Lentz told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

"Sometimes, you just want to go home and disconnect and sit in front of a board game on a table with your friends right in front of you."

We asked Lentz for a Clue to which games are popular and fun for the holidays this year.

An easy-to-understand game: Azul

"It's more of an abstract game with beautiful tile pieces. I think it's fairly easy to pick up. Visually, it's a really nice game. It has a nice feel to it and good table presence as well, so it's easy to get people enticed. You're drafting tiles so each person takes a turn picking certain tiles and you want to fill your mosaic with a horizontal line of tiles."

A game for diehards: Key Forge

"It's a card game where every single deck is unique. There is not one deck that's the same. That's something that's a new concept and something that's been quite hot this past couple of months. So that's ... really a new innovative process that's never been done before."

A game for kids: Dragon's Breath

"It is really, really fun and every kid I play this with, they love it so much. It is visually awesome. There's a column of ice which is represented with rings, almost like shower curtain rings. They have to sort of ... have speculative choices of which gems are gonna fall off the most when they pick their ring off and then they get to get those gems. Just everything about the game is great, from the components to the look."

What he plays now: Pandemic Legacy

Note: this video explains the original version of Pandemic, which provides the basis for Pandemic Legacy

"It's a great story narrative game. A legacy game is a game that changes every time you play it. ... Rules and little elements are changed and added. It makes for a really unique experience."

Listen to the full interview:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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