Snakes and Ladders is obviously number one
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
I actually enjoy not resenting my friends after what is supposed to be a fun and light-hearted game.
Board games need a strong comeback now more than ever. When you can’t go out, and you can’t stay in, what is there to do? Now that gatherings of over 10 people are allowed outdoors and the sun is shining, playing board games (sitting safe distances away) is one way to make these days a little brighter and less boring.
Three personal favourites of mine—Risk, Monopoly, and The Game of Life—are going head-to-head to see which reigns as the best.
Risk is one of my all-time favourite board games. It’s likely I love it due to the sheer nostalgia of creeping past memories that resurface at any mention of the game. I used to play it every Christmas as a child with my family.
The game is extremely competitive, draining, brutal, tantalizing, and agonizingly long. If you think Monopoly has complicated and over-extended gameplay, you’re in for a shock. Risk’s general runtime is around eight hours long!
This is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can spend all day living out a vigorous campaign, and the victory will feel much sweeter. However, it is a curse for those who may get wiped out early on and, unable to join back, must hang around bored as the winners continue for a few more decades.
The calculating decisions on the board make you feel part of something bigger which helps the game come to life. Though, another downside is that the rulebook is rather exhaustive and spans 15 pages. This means it’s hard for newcomers to learn, get good at, and it’s also on the harder side for younger children (but this doesn’t mean they won’t still have fun).
Risk is a powerful game of strategic conquest, the battle feels real, the win is much more satisfying—but you need to put a lot of time and energy into it.
Monopoly is a family staple. Everyone’s played it, and if someone hasn’t, it doesn’t take long to learn. There’s more chance involved so a newcomer or younger person isn’t bound to lose. The equal opportunity on the board is seductive, as are the sheer number of versions of this game. If you’re not an avid fan of the classic board, there’s about 1144 different versions out there for purchase.
The rules are also a bit long, and they are easy to forget, yet there’s a lot of room to make up your own rules for gameplay as you go.
The downsides to Monopoly include the genuine exhaustive gameplay, the feelings involved, and the gruesome struggle for board domination. The game has a general runtime of 20 minutes to three hours, but for this allotted time, the gameplay is very tiring. It’s not tiring because of extensive brain power involved or even boredom, but rather due to the constant battles and boasting with your friends that makes even the calmest of players hostile. Good luck staying friends after playing this game because the chances are low.
The Game of Life
Life is an all-around family friendly (sometimes a little too friendly if you’ve got a car of six) game. It’s easy, simple, and fun. The rules are easy to quickly pick up and play, and the gameplay can be very short.
There are cute questions on the Action Cards that make for some interesting yet possibly childish conversation among the players. There’s a lot of opportunity to learn unique facts about the people you’re playing with, though. I don’t suppose most people know what their friends’ favourite rides, zoo animals, or dream cruise would be otherwise.
The downsides are that the gameplay can be over too quickly, the competition isn’t very fulfilling, and it is marketed more to younger children. Also, a lot of the game is up to chance, meaning less of the final score comes from personal choices.
Thus, first place goes to Risk as it is fulfilling and works your brain. It’s not for the faint of heart and it’s too bad that there is a big learning curve, but once you’ve got it, the game can be an incredibly fun and challenging competition. Second place goes to The Game of Life—it’s not the heaviest of games, but sometimes all you need is a quick game on the go to lighten up the group. Third place goes to Monopoly.
I know this is probably a very unpopular opinion, but I’ll just speak on behalf of myself that I actually enjoy not resenting my friends after what is supposed to be a fun and light-hearted game. Overall, Monopoly is a great middle ground. It is light-hearted but challenging fun for anyone, nonetheless the niche games of Risk and The Game of Life deserve their rightful rank.