Some days you don’t want to play Agricola. Or Troyes. Or a game that burns your brains out. Some days you had a tough day at the office, or the babe you love so much has been screaming nonstop. Some days you need a stiff coffee, a cold piece of pie, and a relaxing game of…what? That’s today’s question: What game do you play to relax?
This has been in my thoughts lately, now that we have a new child in the house. While I often prefer the 60-90 minute games, my wife, who bears the brunt of the wee lad’s whines and screams, if she wants to play anything, prefers to keep it light. And that’s okay. So what games get played in our house when we want to relax?
Canasta is an old favorite. Canasta is a breezy game that can allow conversation or not, and since my wife and I have played this game for years, it doesn’t require the brain power of some of the newer, shinier games. (Even newer games that are easy often require more brain power than the old stand-bys.) Jaipur is another game that can be relaxing. We also play Drop Site to unwind.
More recent acquisitions are Through the Desert (though playing with pastel camels after Easter seems unseasonal), Roll through the Ages, and Crokinole. I like the first two because they have some strategy and skill, but there aren’t a lot of moving parts to monitor. I like Crokinole because all it is is moving parts. All of these games work well because they are played in rounds that usually last 10-20 minutes. They’re easy to pick up and set down. And best of all, they allow us to be together and feel like we’re doing something, even if it’s not farming in the seventeenth century.
Honestly, playing board games in general is pretty relaxing to me. Whatever hits the table, it’s a chance to step back from the frenetic pace of digital life. Even some of the more complex games throw less information per second at your eyes and brain than your average website. Still, it’s true, some games are more brain-burning than others and i’m not going to squeeze in Twilight Imperium for a quick break. Most of the “relaxing” games I play with my wife, and we most commonly play Dominion. Although Pandemic has seen quite the resurgence lately with the addition of the On the Brink expansion, and since it’s cooperative there are no hard feelings at the end (except, perhaps, disappointment at a loss).