During these long, grey days of winter there are only a few things both consoling and warming to the spirit. These include tea, alcoholic beverages, a good book, and a board game. Not in that order or any particular combination – rather, they are singularly and on their own a balm for the frigid temperatures outside.
There are a whole range of board games that can be played indoors during the winter months. At the moment, I have the following options: the Go board game, ultimate cribbage, Ticket to Ride, Alhambra, and Carcassonne. Although the Go and cribbage games are fairly complicated and time consuming, they are easier to enjoy with just two players. Carcassonne involves building a map by connecting specific game pieces and is thus extremely simple and fun. Alhambra and Ticket to Ride both require more people to be enjoyable – and unfortunately, it’s tough to get groups of people together to play board games on a winter’s night.
What I love most about these games is their sense of fancy and lightheartedness. Although not a board game, per se, the card set Dixit is a perfect example of how players can get drawn into the world of imagination through games. Cards with peculiar and thought-provoking images comprise the Dixit deck, and players must make up stories about the cards when they are lined up together. (This game is best paired with wine or beer, as having a few drinks enhances each story’s innate creativity).
I’ve also had the pleasure of experiencing Dungeons and Dragons on occasion with a group of players – perhaps the pinnacle of imaginative and social storytelling, though again not really a board game. Players build characters and a Dungeon Master guides the plot lines, but it is otherwise an entirely organic exercise.
If you’re looking a fun, social, and alternative activity for long winter evenings, board and card games are definitely a good avenue to pursue. Unlike television, these games allow you to directly interact with friends and family over drinks and snacks. J &J’s Superstore in Waterloo, Ontario, is my personal choice for games of all shapes and sizes – worth checking out!