Sometimes, adding a little bit of spice to your sessions can make the most tired game in your collection spring to life. Whether it’s forfeits, wagers, or anything between – adding a price to losing pieces or messing up can create an electric atmosphere in seconds. And, so long as it’s carried out responsibly, taking some time to customize your play can bring some old favorites out of rotation to start your night right.
Here are seven of our favorite games that can be made a little more interesting, starting with-
7. Go Cuckoo!
A fantastic game for all ages
A fantastic game for all ages, Cuckoo asks players to build their own nest…something that’s a lot harder than you would think. Each turn players can place up to three sticks with coloured ends onto the playing area, which also elegantly doubles as the box. If the stick you place has two ends that are the same colour, you can place an egg. The first to get rid of all their eggs is the winner!
What’s the forfeit?: If your knock a stick out of the nest, the active player must accept a penalty. And if the player drops an egg – they are forced to take a penalty, double if it’s their own!
6. Rhino Hero
(2011) Another accessible masterpiece from the designers at Haba
Another accessible masterpiece from the designers at Haba, Super Rhino sees players stacking cards to create an increasingly unstable house. Starting with a set number of ‘roof’ cards, players steadily build the teetering tower – watching it climb higher and higher with each turn and following the game’s unique card prompts. These range from changing the course of play, adding specific actions to placements, or moving the infamous Super Rhino token throughout the build.
What’s the forfeit?: If a player moves the rhino, take a forfeit. And the first person to knock the tower down takes a double forfeit, with the winner able to nominate a player to suffer in their place!
5. Sheriff of Nottingham
Or border patrol, the game
Or border patrol, the game. Sheriff asks players to bag up their contraband and move it round the table, all under the watchful eye of the rotating Nottingham player. A game of pure bluffing skill, bargaining and manipulation is a must. And once the round counter has hit its limit, the merchant sitting on the biggest pile of gold takes the win. While there may be some issues with balance, picking up the much loved Merry Men expansion for previous iterations of the game can help make play a little more even.
What’s the forfeit?: Before play, take some time to review the full list of contraband and determine unique forfeits for each. If a player is caught, they must enact the forfeit. But, if they succeed, they get to nominate another player to take their place!
4. Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition
(2012) Deliver packages through the depth of space
Tasking with players to deliver packages through the depth of space, Galaxy Trucker is one of our favorite games at Rathskellers. Combining ease of play with side splitting laughter, the ability to host up to five with the ‘Anniversary Edition’ makes it a solid pick for any group – though you may need a bigger table to get the most out of it. Quick and easy to play, the game is highly customisable and perfect for some house ruling.
What’s the forfeit?: Depending on how vindictive you want to be, you can punish players for every incorrect part attached to their ship during the ‘build’ step. Or, if you want to be a little fairer, any time a segment is broken from their ship during play – the individual in question must undertake a forfeit.
3. Colt Express
(2014) Light-tough opener for any evening
Another light-tough opener for any evening, Colt sees players competing to gather the most loot and prevent others from achieving the same goal. Built around a simple programming mechanic, even the most inexperienced of players can pick up the rules with ease. And once a round is complete, all your choices play out like your own private stop-motion film.
What’s the forfeit?: One of the most adaptable games on this list, the fact that the game is controlled through cards makes it easy to apply penalties to specific actions. Being punched or arrested by the in-game marshal can easily see players endure a penalty. Or introducing a penalty for players that are knocked off the train can quickly add an extra element of threat.
(2011) Commonly played in pubs for a reason
Commonly played in pubs for a reason, Skull strips back all the elements of Poker and produces a game of pure bluff. Each turn players are asked to secretly place one of their four coasters onto the table in front of them, with each player being given three roses and one skull. Eventually a player is confident enough to gamble and start flipping cards – hoping to not reveal a skull. Fluid and quick, the game is close to party perfection.
What’s the forfeit?: A simple game that carries simple forfeits, if someone hits a skull during their turn, that’s a penalty. Quick, clean and no fuss.
1. Junk Art (2016)
(2016) Something for everyone
Where other games may offer simple party play, Junk has a monopoly on providing something for everyone. Framing the game as a world tour, players are asked to carry out several dexterity tasks from constructing the biggest tower, collaborating on a rotating build, or coming up with a mode with your own rules. Available in plastic, the premium wooden version is now a sought-after collector’s piece that brings a tactile joy to every session…and makes sure that cheaters feel it when you throw pieces at them.
What’s the forfeit?: While each session of the game involves playing different modes, dropping or dislodging an item can result in a penalty. Or – if you’re feeling particularly cocky – challenging other players to complete a placement with a forfeit can result in an extra bit of drama for your session.
NB: Remember that forfeits can be fun, but it’s always important to check that your group is comfortable with using them. Being singled out can be intimidated for a lot of people and continuously failing can be stressful. If you are in doubt that members of your group will enjoy it, be a great playing companion and save it for another time.
Do you have any other hilarious game to recommend?! Share it in the comments below 🙂