Review: Preston Monopoly and the other board games to play during confinement

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Preston Monopoly Photo: Daniel Burt

If your hobbies are being outdoors or near other people, I’m sure they’ve been curtailed somewhat over the past year. Socialization was difficult; It’s been 374 days since I’ve been to the pub… Granted, I didn’t want to go anyway, but I still wanted it to be my choice.



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However, as people learn to have fun in or very near their homes, board games have flourished.

David Kenton, game enthusiast and owner of The Cartridge Guys in Ashton-on-Ribble, said: “With a year in lockdown, families have been spending more time together and they have loved playing board games.

“They really pushed beyond the traditional games of Monopoly and Scrabble. Games like Wingspan and 7 Wonders have opened up families to new mechanics and game themes with easier end game rules, meaning the game is over and dusted off in 60-90 minutes.

So if your collection is made up of Glass Chess, Three Editions of Monopoly, and a Raspberry Tinted Sambuca, here is my list of games that are both easy to learn and engaging for the family.

Minecraft

Yes, I’m sure a lot of parents have heard a lot about the Minecraft video game. If you are unfamiliar, you mine to get better gear, which allows you to mine faster. It’s Minecraft.

However, getting kids away from their screens can sometimes require baby steps at first, and luckily the Minecraft board game is a perfectly usable way to do it. It is colorful with familiar concepts that children who have played video games can understand with a small degree of strategy.

I just wish I was still pretending to let my seven year old beat me. It’s not even a competition these days, he just beats me…

Tokyo highway

Tokyo Highway Photo: Daniel Burt
Tokyo Highway Photo: Daniel Burt

Tokyo Highway is a fantastic skill game that anyone over the age of six can enjoy.

Players take on the role of mid-level town planners (I know, an outright escape), placing elongated lollipop sticks representing roads, which overlap the other player’s roads until the map looks like a modernist vomit and spaghetti nightmare.

The simple yet striking minimalist visual style makes each game a potential Tate Gallery exhibit, and some of the absurdly complex endgame moves could be the final practical exam for cardiovascular surgery students.

Code names

A lot of people don’t have extended families they live with, so it’s good that there are several games suitable for playing on Skype. Personally, I spent a lot of evenings with my parents playing Codenames.

Players take on the role of master spy and spies. The spy master gives one word clues to the spy who then tries to guess the correct code words from a shared 15 word grid. All of this must be done without the spy accidentally guessing a word from the opposing teams’ codeword list.

The trick is to offer a hint that relates to as many words as possible per turn, which can lead to some incredibly cryptic exchanges (in one case, my father’s “legs” hint represented the words “octopus” and ” nurse ”but not“ cat ”and“ rabbit ”… Octopuses have arms, daddy, ARMS!). It’s incredibly simple, but you’ll immediately give yourself a terrible stress headache trying to guess your partner’s intentions.

Ticket to ride

Living in England, it is sometimes nice to imagine a functional rail infrastructure. To this end, in Ticket to Ride your objective is to build as many railroad tracks between towns as possible while trying to anticipate and block the tracks of your rivals. It is not strictly necessary to block other players and as I have told my wife many times, the game is as bad as we choose to be (secondary note, she will no longer play with me).

It’s another easy-to-learn game with a nice color scheme and artwork – the only problem being the Beatles song that turns my head for at least 70% of the game, making it hard to concentrate.

Personally, I prefer the Nordic Counties Edition just because when you’re down to three beers, pronouncing one of the Scandinavian towns is a game in itself. Also, there is a much smaller game board, so you are more likely to be at “cross goals” with other players… Honestly, it’s a real knife fight.

Board game winning photo: Daniel Burt
Getting Beaten By a 7 Year Old Pic: Daniel Burt

Preston monopoly

Okay, so I couldn’t realistically fail to mention the new Preston Monopoly. Try as I can, it’s just the elephant in the room, dancing the jitterbug waltz while using its trunk to awkwardly growl the word ‘Monopoly’.

So while in my opinion the omission of The Moorbrook pub is nothing short of a scandal, there are still 30 places all around Preston and I do agree that this is a pretty cool novelty gift. .

Sadly, the rules remain the same, so even though everyone basically knows how to play it, you can still expect the same malicious war of attrition that will objectively make everyone worse off from their 30s onwards.

Read more: Preston monopoly wins big as Prestonians sell it twice

Honorable mentions

Pandemic: A bit on the nose for the current situation, but still an incredibly smooth gameplay mechanic and great co-op play that really builds up the pressure as the game goes on.

Carcassonne: A nice pastoral game of tile placement to create a medieval French town. Claiming tiles and scoring points can be simple, but maintaining friendships after blocking other players’ developments is a big challenge.

Life form: It’s big, heavy, complicated and expensive. It’s also the closest thing you’ll have to recreating the Alien movie in a board game; one player takes on the role of a relentless otherworldly killing machine while the other players desperately collect resources to power the evacuation shuttle. Great.

Here’s my shortlist, but why take my word for it? I’m a guy who can’t come close to beating a seven year old at board games.

For a more complete and in-depth discussion on all things board games, I defer once again to David Kenton of The Cartridge Guys, who can be reached through the Games Ink Facebook page for advice.

Alternatively, the Preston Gamers Guild Facebook group on Facebook has weekly online sessions on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Newbies are welcome, but to join you will need Boardgame Arena, be 16 years of age and older, and have a willingness to learn.

Read more: See the latest news and headlines from Preston

What games have you played to while away the time in confinement? Let us know in the comments below.


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