Looking for some lighter games in these crazy times

I like medium to heavy games. I like games that make me think and make tough choices. Maybe try to figure out what my opponents are doing and how I can out maneuver them....

Then COVID hit and came with it social distancing and in home lock down. It also came with my two kids 11 and 7 being home every day and me working from home (thank goodness I still have a job). Also coming on the first day of school being cancelled and working from home and the thought of a couple months in seclusion with the family (I love my family to pieces, just want to make that clear) and our landlord decides he wants to sell the house we rent from him and have been renting from him for 4 years and he wants to do it immediately. We love the house and are thankfully in a position were we can get a loan to buy it, but it's added even more stress. Sorry for this sob story when I know it's happening for so many others, but it sets up my question.

The thought of playing some of my favorite games doesn't appeal to me much right now. Figure the entire Garphill catalog and games like #Scythe and Viticulture and you get the idea. My wife and I are worker placement superfans. Our minds are so full of stress and we want to unwind with a game and not be necessarily challenged by it. That said, I need a game with some meat on it and something that can get my kids involved. I also know that "party" games are not in our wheelhouse. Nothing against them, it's just not what we're looking for.

Any lighter, 2-4 player games that have some meat on them but don't burn brains that you fine folks can recommend?

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8 months ago

The original #Azul is a pretty simple game but has some interesting decisions!

8 months ago

I'd like to play that one again, the Summer Pavilion one really gets my attention.

Supporter8 months ago

I enjoy Summer Pavillion a bit more than the original. What you create on your board looks more interesting than filling in lines of blocks as in the original game. 

Supporter8 months ago

Having said that though I think 7 might be a bit young for Azul. 

8 months ago

Have you played that version??

8 months ago

I have not, but there's something appealing in that version that I can't out my finger on.

8 months ago

I mean for one it is absolutely gorgeous. I have heard it is a little looser as in you are not punished as much if you do not have space for specific tiles. You can punished pretty good in the others. 

8 months ago

+1 for Azul

8 months ago

It really is a smooth game!

Supporter8 months ago

That's a good choice. 

8 months ago

#Deep Sea Adventure Is REALLY fun and totally playable with 2 people. plus its widely available.

8 months ago

I was going to get this when it was on clearance for $7 at Target and then forgot about it. I'm kicking myself now.

Supporter8 months ago

I know that feeling.... 

8 months ago

I play DSA with my kids every other day. Good fun, easy to learn press the luck game 

8 months ago

Congrats on the house purchase! Glad you were able to do so.

There have been a lot of good suggestions already. I'll try and add to the list.

Certain roll-and-write games such as #Brikks and #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale are simple to learn but still lots of thinky fun (without killing your brain, of course).

I like #Cosmic Factory a lot. It's a real-time game of building galaxies. It's got some neat mechanics and scoring conditions that makes it a lot of fun.

#Dokmus is a fun little abstract game from Renegade Game Studios. Definitely look into this one.

#Fire Tower. I cannot say enough good things about this game! It's heavy on the take-that, so if you don't think a game where you burn the other player's tower up is a good idea, maybe ignore this one. But it is a ton of fun.

#Flag Dash Board Game is a super fun 2v2 game of action programming and, well, capturing flags. It is really so good. 

Since you like worker placement, give #Harbour a look. It's definitely better with more players (as opposed to 1-2), but it's a solid little game.

#Splendor is such a good game as well. Easily accessible and plays quickly enough, but provides a good amount of thought.

#Survive: Escape From Atlantis is one of my favorites. Be warned, though; it's super cutthroat. If you don't think your kids would enjoy having their boat sunk and their meeples eaten by sharks, this one you should pass on. That said, it is soooooo much fun.

Another great one is #Takenoko. I still really love this game.

And, of course, #Tiny Epic Galaxies is a fantastic game.

Looking back at all those, it would appear that all of them are the best ever. Truth be told, I really like them (obviously), and I think they fit your description of what you're looking for. Check them out and see what you think! Good luck!

8 months ago

Thank you very much for some wonderful suggestions. I've been trying to work out a roll n' write that's "for me" and Cartographers seems like a good one.

8 months ago

It is definitely a good one, and easy to play via live chat as well, if you're into that sort of thing. It's also really good solo, which for me is a big deal.

8 months ago

#Santorini 
#Kingdomino

Both games are easy to learn, can be played at 2-4 players, but still provide engaging tactical/strategic opportunities. Both are great for kids and adults alike. I think these are my 2 most played games at this point, and I'm not tired of them yet. In fact, I would call Santorini one of my favorite games.

8 months ago

Santorini is excellent! Makes you think and plan in many levels. My daughter is quickly getting hang of this game and got her first victory the other day. She was so proud. 

8 months ago

That is awesome!

8 months ago

I really enjoyed Santorini when I played it, my kids likened it to chess, so they picked it up pretty recently. I've heard King Domino a few times so that might be a good one.    

8 months ago

Nice! Yeah Kingdomino is just a great game to play with anybody, in my opinion.

8 months ago

Both of these are great choices.

Owner8 months ago

That does sound stressful, and I hope you're doing better. There's been a lot of reflecting going on in my family as well, because if my parents hadn't moved to our place last July, there would've been many things that would keep us awake at night right now. And us having moved to a bigger place has been nothing but good for our 18 month old son. Finances are still tough, but it's great that we're all together in these times.

Here are some great games that I hope works for you:

#PARKS - Lighter game with a worker placement feel. If you've played #Tokaido, it's basically a more complex version of it. Turn on some nature sounds and it feels like you're on a hike and picking up some gorgeous looking national parks cards along the way.

#Tiny Towns - Super simple turns where in each turn, a player will call out a color and everyone places that colored cube on their 4x4 grid town. The purpose of placing these cubes is for you to try and form a tetris piece-like pattern that you can combine at any moment into a single structure. These structures will score you points at the end of the game but can also provide some neat effects. It also clears up your real estate to place more cubes. There's a slight elimination feel to it though, because a person who can't manage their space well will end up needing to sit it out until everyone's done filling up their board. Still a great simple thinky game.

#Welcome to... - My favorite "roll n write". Players are architects assigned with the task of coming up with the best housing plan that comprises of three rows of housing units. Of all games I've played to date, this is the best combination of fun, tranquility, and meaningful strategy.

8 months ago

PARKS is on my list in general. It seems like a lighter worker placement and of course it's beautiful. I've never played Tokaido, but I got it free on Android now, so maybe I'll give that a shot. We've played Tiny Towns, and while we all appreciated it it never got more than a few plays and the family didn't want to really play it anymore. Welcome To is on the same list for me as Cartographers, a roll n write I think i'd like.

Owner8 months ago

I'm introducing Welcome To to my parents tonight. Hope it's a hit! I've yet to come across anyone who didn't like it. I liked Tiny Towns and (only played twice) but it's just a tad bit more stressful and mean than I'd like for a relaxing game session.

8 months ago

This is a great list Phil! I need to give Tiny Towns another look...I had a bad experience the first time through. 

Supporter8 months ago

What happened?

8 months ago

I played sooooo bad, like I was unable to make any moves very early on and the other two guys I was playing with played for another 10 minutes. I did not understand that I really should be flexible and not structured in the game but I did get frustrated with it. 

Owner8 months ago

I can see how that would've ruined the experience since it's one of the more rare modern games with player elimination. It also gets frustrating when you plan badly and the other players capitalize on it by calling out a series of the worst colors for you haha