My love for Steve Jackson's Munchkin card games has been well documented on TRS. Our regular crew of @alexalbrecht, @dannytrs, @jerrytrainor, and @zandbro still makes it a priority to find time to argue our way through those fiendishly clever games of screw your buddy as often as we can.
But a new addiction has begun to seep its way in as well. I've recently discovered the wonderful world of German board games! Evidently, as we Americans have been spending our time playing "party games" like Pictionary, Cranium, and Apples to Apples (all of which I love, BTW), those crafty Germans have been utterly perfecting the classic board game.
If, when I say "Board Games", the first thing to pop into your mind is Monopoly, Clue, or Candyland, prepare yourself for a paradigm shift.
I give you: Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico.
Honestly, even games I considered more "adult" classics, like Risk and Stratego, can't hold a candle to the refinement, strategy, and pure freakin' fun of these games! And here's the key difference: in both cases, the brilliant game designers broke down that most fundamental element of board games. Namely, the structure wherein you take a turn, and I wait... the next person takes a turn... and I continue to wait - oh, it's someone else's turn... still nothing for me to do... thank god! My turn!
No. Here, every player is active and thinking during every moment of the game. No matter whose turn it is, I am involved. There is something for me to do, something that will effect my immediate circumstances.
I cannot recommend these experiences enough. If you know 2 or 3 other adventurous souls who are willing to give these games a try with you - who have the patience to not balk at rules which may at first seem complicated - a purchase of one or both of these games is a must.
Now I know the seasoned board gamers among you will already have a list of other games for me to try. Yes, I'll get there. Rest assured, I have spent the requisite time on boardgamegeek.com investigating the best of the best. I am only more excited that there are so many other rad experiences waiting for me. In the meantime, I must say, from personal experience: give these two a shot! Board Games are the new hotness!