Board Games We Play During Game Night (Part 1)

Ever since my first game night with the Cebu Board Gaming Society, I’ve been hooked on tabletop games. I now spend much of my free time playing and consuming content on board games. Who would have thought I’d even spend more on board games than books and video games combined?

I’m happy to be part of a board gaming community, whose members enjoy buying, collecting, and playing new games. I often get to play new board games during our weekly Monday and Friday game nights at Bubble Bee Tea House. It’s now easier for me to decide which board games to buy, after trying them out once or twice.

Here are my first impressions of the board games I’ve tried so far, and where you can buy them locally.

Ticket To Ride

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Designed by Alan R. Moon, Ticket to Ride is a board game for two to five players. The goal of the game is to collect resources and claim railway routes throughout North America. Longer routes will give players more points, as will completing Destination Cards.

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Playing Ticket to Ride with the Cebu Board Gaming Society at Bubble Bee Tea House. We used a special 10th Anniversary Edition version of the game, with bigger, nicer, and higher quality components.

Very simple game rules and a child-friendly theme make this a great family game. Unfortunately, Ticket to Ride’s popularity has some people calling it the next Monopoly, or the Monopoly of this generation. Haters gonna hate, and all that, but I like this game a lot.

It’s easy to learn and fun to play. It’s a perfect game for introducing newbies to the world of hobby board games. It’s one of my go-to games when people who have no idea what the big deal is with board games today dare me to teach them how to play something.

Yes, I bought a copy of the game for myself.

You can buy Ticket to Ride from Ballista Games and Gaming Library.

Seasons

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Released in 2012, Seasons is a board game designed by Régis Bonnessée. It is a two to four player card and dice game, where player who scores the most crystals wins. This is one of the most vibrant and beautiful games I have ever played. It had beautiful artwork and top quality components. The game is moderately complicated, recommended for players 14-years-old and above.

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Look at how beautiful this board game is. You can see the dice, cards, tokens, and other game components are just gorgeous.

Players gain crystals by playing cards and harvesting energy, in the form of earth, fire, wind, and water. The game is divided into four seasons, and the types of energy that can be collected and harvested changes from season to season. Wonderfully crafted dice and card mechanics add plenty of luck and strategy to the game.

I only have one problem with this game: they used red for the air element and yellow for the fire element. When I think of air, red isn’t the first color that comes to mind. When I think of fire, red is definitely the color that comes to mind. Like me, the friends I’ve played Seasons are always baffled these color combinations as well.

Nevertheless, Seasons is one of the most fun games I’ve played so far. It’s definitely on my list of board games to buy.

You can buy Seasons from Ballista Games and Gaming Library.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis

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It’s every player for himself in Survive: Escape from Atlantis, a board game designed by Julian Courtland-Smith. Here, two to four (or up to six, with the expansion) players attempt to get their meeples to safety on one of four nearby islands before Atlantis sinks and its volcano erupts.

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This photograph was taken at the start of our game, when we were still all friends. Laugh and smile…while you can.

Unfortunately, this game is filled with perils: whirlpools that drown everything around it, whales that capsize boats, sharks that eat meeples, and sea serpents that destroy boats AND eat meeples. With each turn, portions of Atlantis sink to the bottom of the ocean, and the perils of the sea increase.

Who can get the most meeples to safety? Each meeple is worth a certain number of points, and the player with the highest point total when the game ends (and who remembers to keep his most valuable meeples alive) wins.

This is one of those games where players can be super evil or super nice. It’s very confrontational and has the potential to destroy friendships. Unfortunately, I always play to win—although I usually lose, which makes me more excited when I’m winning—so some of the others ended up quite annoyed at me by the end of the game.

Sink that boat!!!

You can buy Survive: Escape from Atlantis from Ballista Games and Gaming Library.

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Tabletop Gaming with the Cebu Board Gaming Society – Night 1

Call me lazy, but the main reason I joined my first game night with the Cebu Board Gaming Society was because they started meeting up at Bubble Bee Teahouse in Escario Central, which is only walking distance from the hotel where I work.  I don’t like driving around the city at night, so the venue transfer was welcome news. I had been thinking about joining their game nights since I first found out about them seven months ago.

Meet the Cebu Board Gaming Society

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Happiness is bubble bee. Happiness is playing great table top games with great company. Photo Source: 1

Cebu’s board gaming community meets on Monday and Friday nights, from 8:00 p.m. to 12 midnight. “Everyone is welcome,” reads their Facebook page introduction, but I didn’t feel confident just walking in and saying “Hey, wanna play some games?” Introvert problems. That’s why I bought a copy of Love Letter and a set of 7 polyhedral dice from Ballista Games, a Cebu-based online store that sells tabletop games and merchandise.

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Ballista’s pick-up location is at Bubble Bee Escario, conveniently at the same time the Cebu Board Gaming Society meets. That’s how I joined my first game night on February 12. There were plenty of people hanging out at the tea house’s first floor, but no one seemed to be playing any card games or board games. I inquired with the barista, and she told me they were at the second floor.

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I climb the spiral staircase and see two guys building a deck of Magic cards. Maybe I was early? It was only 8:10 p.m. I approached the guys and asked them if they knew owner of Ballista Games. They told me he was running late.  “Can I join your game night?” I asked. They said “Sure.” They asked me what tabletop games I was familiar with. I knew enough not to mention Monopoly, Cluedo,Cranium, and the like. Unfortunately, the only other game I knew how to play was DiXit.

“I have a copy of Pandemic, and want to learn how to play.” I said. “I also have the starter set and a few expansion packs for Android Netrunner. I was learning how to play at The Appraisery, but then I moved to Cebu and forgot most of what I learned.”

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They told me that Android Netrunner was not a popular game in Cebu, and Pandemic was quite complicated to play. They did invite me to bring all my Netrunner cards on Monday. They would have probably taught me how to play Pandemic after their Magic game too, but other people started to arrive. The new group wanted to play games immediately and invited me to join them.

One Night: Four Tabletop Games Learned

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That’s me smiling with the glasses, smiling at the camera from the upper left. This photo was taken during day 2. We were playing Codenames. Photo Source: 1

That’s how I learned how to play Splendor, Sushi Go, One Night Revolution, and Bang! The Dice Game that night. These games challenged me to use a certain skill I’m weak at. Splendor required quick counting and memorization skills. I found myself missing many opportunities to cash in on big-scoring cards, especially that one card I needed a black gem to buy. I only played one round of this game, but I’m confident I can do better next time.

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Sushi Go is a really fast game that required me to think quick on my feet. I often overthink things and get lost in my own world. I usually come up with the best ideas when I have time to think, so playing this card game was difficult for me at first. But after a few rounds, I got the hang of things and actually began playing well. I need to learn how to trust my intuition more and just let things go.

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One Night Revolution involved a lot of bluffing. I’m a really quiet person: one of those guys who is so silent he must be the bad guy, if you know what I mean. I’m also a very anxious person, so it always looks like I’m lying. But I wasn’t able to put that asset to use that night. I just went on full on wallflower mode. That kept me alive for a while.

Until they remembered I was there.

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I had the most fun playing Bang! The Dice Game that night, probably because the group I was playing with absolutely loved the game. Unfortunately, I ended up being the sheriff both rounds. I’m also really bad with dice.

I kept on rolling arrows—I even rolled an all-arrow roll—which would have been instant death for me, if my deputies hadn’t revealed themselves by giving me mugs of beer. I lost the first round, and won the second. But I think the experts were taking it easy on me.

Conclusion

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Thank you to the guy who took this photo on Day 1. I’m the guy with the blue Star Wars shirt. We were playing Bang! The Dice Game.

I had so much fun during my first game night at Bubble Bee Escario, and I look forward to joining many more of them in the months to come.