When playing card or board games, be it at a trial of a new one at a gaming convention, or a well-worn favorite at your weekly gaming night, everyone wants to win, right? Are you creating a board game league, where wins and losses are tracked to see who did the best? Do you have the innate need to win every game you play? Well, here are some pretty easy tips and tricks you can use to avoid losing and impressing all your friends.
Read the room
Regardless if the game of the night is a card game like Magic: the Gathering, or a themed version of a family game like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars edition of The Game of Life or Monopoly, you should know what your friends or family like and what they don’t. Plus the skills they have or not. Now, this doesn’t require a specialization in game theory to understand. Just see what everyone is feeling and thinking, and play as cutthroat as your friends and playgroup will allow.
Know your card & board games
In the case of card games, like Magic: the Gathering, and video and party games like Super Smash Bros Melee, you can practice, know what you’re going to be doing when you play for real. At the gym, if you want to get stronger, you have to get your reps in. Here, you need to know the strategy your game requires. If the entertainment of the night turns out to be board games, you can’t usually play it to practice. But you can go over the rules. So that you know what is and isn’t possible, learning whatever the secret tricks and plays could be.
Invest some time
Try cooperative games, like Pandemic, Arkham Horror, Dead of Winter or Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War. Try role-playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons, deck-building games like Star Realms and Dominion and area-control games like Carcassone, Star Wars: Rebellion or Risk. Also, integrate into your arsenal roll ‘n’ move games: Monopoly classic, Candy Land, trivia games about movies of all time (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Trek), secret-identity games as Codenames, The Resistance, Coup. Don’t forget about the party games Cards Against Humanity, Dixit or Exploding Kittens, the combat games King of Tokio or Star Wars: Rebellion and also the legacy games Pandemic Legacy and Ultimate Werewolf Legacy.
Be sharp and stay focused
No matter where the game is being held, make sure you are completely sharp and ready to play 100%. Drinking games are for other times. Games for kids are for teaching the little ones strategy and competitiveness. Video games are for online fun or some time alone. But when it comes to family games or strategy games with your buddies you’ll want to focus on the mechanics. On the complete rules, all the game pieces, the cards. Your competitor’s state of mind, their psychology, their tells, and weaknesses. Be like a poker player at a multi-million award-winning competition.
Set a prize-pool
Establish an award scheme, but most importantly the prize for the winner. Then have your eyes always peeping at it. Knowing what you can win at the end of a board games session will set your mind into your most competitive zone. Like an Olympian wants his medal, you’ll want your trophy. A lot of online gift guides can give you an idea of what this should be. Small items, like some sweets, a bunch of video games, or different gift cards on Amazon are always a good choice. Or you can play for money. This way you can get exactly what you want.
Play into your competitive nature
Everyone wants to have fun, and that wouldn’t really happen if someone makes the board game night more about crushing their friends and seeing them driven before them than actually enjoying said friend’s company. But, if it does has to be about that, play it up. There are multiple popular board games in the one vs. all format, such as Fantasy Flight Games’ Fury of Dracula, Betrayal at House on the Hill, or the supplement to Pandemic, On the Brink. If card games are more your scene, you can pick up the supplement for Magic: the Gathering, Archenemy.