Since October, Andre and I have been playing My City, a legacy board game created by one of our favorite game designers, Reiner Knizie. If you're not familiar with legacy games, they're a style of game that evolves over the course of multiple plays. For example, new rules and new components will be introduced from one game to the next, and the board will be transformed by applying stickers. You generally play them with the same group of people from game-to-game, so that you can experience the evolution of the game together. Eventually you "complete" the game, much like you would complete a video game. In My City, over the course of 18 episodes, players are each building a city that transforms as technology and socity advances.
Neither of us expected to like the game a ton, but in the name of product research, we broke open a copy. I'm so glad we did! Somehow, it proved to be just the right game to get us through this season of cold weather, covid, and politics. The rules were easy, we enjoyed the evolving nature of the game, and it gave us a perfect excuse to put down our phones and enjoy an unplugged date night.
We just finished the last episode of My City, and so now my thoughts are turning to what other game we'll reach for over and over again, until the winter fades away. Below are some of my top picks for games that are great for the long haul!
A Mystery Game with Multiple Cases: Chronicles of Crime
I was a HUGE fan of mystery TV shows when I was a kid, and I love the opportunity to pretend I'm Columbo and interrogate suspicious characters. Chronicles of Crime is an elegant app-enhanced board game that does a fantastic job of presenting some tidbits of a crime and then leaving the rest up to you to figure out. Two expansions to the base game have been published and you can get more cases through the app, but last year they came out with a new version that changes the setting to Paris in the year 1400. Immersing ourselves in another place and time while cracking cases would be a lovely way to spend winter nights!
If solving cases sounds fun, also consider the (no app needed) Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective series of games.
A Game with Adventure: Forgotten Waters
Ah, there's nothing like diving into a campaign game that creates a world for you to explore with friends! Andre is already playing a big adventure game with our son Cyrus, so I'm not sure he would want to dive into another one with me. But if he did, I would pick Forgotten Waters, set in a fantastical world of pirate adventure. For an overview of the game, here's our lovely friend Beth talking with the publisher. Other games that are similarly adventurous: Gloomhaven, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Island, Mice and Mystics, and Mansions of Madness
A Game with Huge Replayability: Dominion
I've played more Dominion than any other game, and I will never tire of it. Groundbreaking when it was published over a decade ago, every game is different depending on what decks you play with and who you're playing against. With so many expansions available, the possibilities for mixing and matching decks is endless. This year the new Menagerie set introduced animals into the mix, and along with Prosperity, has become one of my favorite expansions. At a breezy 30 minutes per game, it's easy to get to the table for a little relaxation after work or school. Truly a game that can be enjoyed for a lifetime! [Pro tip: If you want to jump into Dominion, just go ahead and start with the Big Box edition, you won't regret it.]
Dominion is good for ages 8 or 9 through adult, and plays 2-4 players equally well.