It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
Whether it’s unique rules, edge-case situations, or game-defining elements – some games just bring something special to your table.
Here are eight of our favorite game elements that make a massive difference to your play.
Described as an “easy party game” the truth is that Codenames is anything but. Splitting your group into two teams, players give clues that allow their teammates to guess the identities of spies in a list in front of them. Success means filling out the unique hidden grid before your opponent. Though the most observant among you can see a black square in the middle of your options. If any of your team guesses this square, you all instantly fail. This simple choice adds an element of fear and panic to the game as you avoid triggering or providing clues that activate the space. And as we all know, when you’re told not to think about pink elephants-
Our favorite treacherous bastard said it best, never ever underestimate your opponent. Few games do this better than the long-lived card game from Fantasy Flight. Letting you create your own house and take it to battle, play involves clever tactics, the acquisition of influence, and plotting…so much plotting that they dedicate an entire card set to it. In addition to the game’s three types of challenge (power, military, intrigue), plot cards add caveats to each round of combat – representing the show’s famous twists of fate and the character’s ability to turn these to their advantage. Incredibly thematic, these add just enough complexity to punch the game to the next level…or want to punch your opponent when they play a handy “winter is coming” from the top of their deck.
If you know anything about gaming, hearing the words “Fantasy Flight” and “Card Game” can send a chill up your spine. It’s easy to image rules complexity, edge cases, and game-breaking powers. But the true strength of Android: Netrunner doesn’t come from it’s customisation and depth. It’s the commitment to one of the oldest games of all time. Each turn sees the hacker decide whether they want to hack their opponents servers to attack their agendas. This means bypassing security, threats, and traps – all with the goal of pilfering their opponent’s valuables. Except, sometimes – there’s just nothing there. This creates an immense sense of threat and psychology to play as you read your opponent as much as the table, supplying a raw energy that few games outside of poker manage to provide.
There’s nothing worse than a smart-arse. Offering a perfect murder-mystery in a box, Consulting Detective sends you across London to interrogate suspects, cross examine witnesses, and gather valuable insight and clues to draw your conclusions about the perpetrator of each crime. But the truly Holmesian element? The fact that the game includes a recap from the great detective at the end of each tale, highlighting how he joined the dots and unpicked the crime faster than you can blink – comparing your ‘score’ for solving the crime with his. This ties the experience up in a perfect bow and, in hobby that allows for spaceships, dragons, and sci-fi wonderment – there is truly nothing more immersive and impactful than being taken to school by the big H himself.