Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by Luke Turpeinen
Top 5 Board Games That Will Get You Kicked Out Of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of coming together, of setting aside differences and strengthening familial bonds. These games will destroy any hope of that happening at your Thanksgiving dinner.
As a note, all of these games are very well done. None of the games listed here are bad at being games, and none of them are offensive, rude or otherwise unpleasant in their actual content. In picking the following games, I chose games that I felt either encourage a spirit of confrontation or at least have a reputation for being contentious. Each one of the following board games can be played straight and without the associated crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth but it would take a better person than I to do so.
And so, without further ado, I give you the “Top 5 Board Games That Will Get You Kicked Out Of Thanksgiving” 2013 Edition!
5. Puzzle Strike
“It’s like Dominion for people who like to dick over other people.”
Puzzle Strike is one of my favorite games, and definitely my favorite deck builder. One of Puzzle Strike’s main distinctions from other deck builders is its innately confrontational gameplay. In other deck building games, like Dominion, the gameplay can be like multiplayer solitaire, where the players never interact with each other directly. Puzzle Strike does not have that problem. Between a wealth of attack cards and the main game mechanic of crashing negative victory points into your opponents, Puzzle Strike does a good job of forcing the players to confront each other and knock your other players down a peg during game play.
4. Twilight Imperium
“The first time I played this game it took an hour to set up and two turns for someone to literally flip the table.”
Twilight Imperium is a monster of a game. It is a grand, sprawling epic of alliances, betrayal and war that rivals the Iliad in complexity. As in any game that encourages alliances between players, there is going to be a moment when the inevitable betrayal of a partner will completely shift the balance of the game, causing one person to lose and lose hard. That moment can be difficult for some people to handle. Twilight Imperium is the best game out there for players wanting a complicated war/economy game set in a Flash Gordon space opera future, but you might lose some friends along the way.
3. Battlestar Gallactica
“If you enjoy having your friends lie to you, betray you and then prance around flaunting their inevitable victory then you might like this game.”
Battlestar Gallactica: the Board Game is one of those few franchised board games that really seems to understand the intellectual property that it’s based on. The game divides players into Humans and Cylons, though who is on which team is kept secret for the most part. I have never before seen a team-based game turn quite so accusatory or vindictive as I have while playing Battlestar Gallactica. Usually in these kinds of games the “traitor” team keeps their head down until right at the end, exposing themselves and finally making decisions that will hurt the succuss of the “loyal” team. While playing BSG, even the slightest error on the part of a human player seems to mean that the rest of the players immediately distrust them and their character goes straight into the airlock.
“The most engaging part of Caylus is the phase where we all yell obscenities at each other.”
Playing Caylus is like playing Agricola with a Sicilian when death is on the line. Caylus is a worker placement game where all players are building a city by placing buildings on a path. On the face of it all, it’s easy to wonder why such a mild looking worker placement game has such a bitter reputation, but any confusion is quickly alleviated once you set up the game and then proceed to be screwed over repeatedly by your fellow players on every single turn. Caylus is the Sorry! of the worker placement world: it encourages blocking others out of the spots they want more than any other strategy. In my experience Caylus leads to some of the loudest swearing ever heard from a board game table.
“Despite what your history books say, the real cause of World Wars One, Two and Three was and will be this game.”
Diplomacy is perhaps the most infamous board game on the market when it comes to ruining friendships. The premise of the game is that each player is a world power on the brink of war. Alliances must be promised, treaties signed and preparations made before the players perform their actions. Those actions will inevitably lead to ruining the well-laid plans of your fellow manipulators. Seasoned players will find that waiting to betray others is like airing a wine, it allows the experience to be more mature and it appeals to a more refined palette. It also makes your competitors cry like little kids. Be forewarned: this game does not mess around, and someone may leave in a huff. If you really want to never be invited back to Thanksgiving dinner, this is a great game to play.