Board games have become somewhat of a staple in the Benda household these past few years. We’ve pushed aside Monopoly for more “indie” board games and haven’t looked back once. In an effort to drop some amazing board game knowledge on you, I’m bringing you a series where I share what types of board games are for which type of players and styles. Up fist, collaboration games.

Castle Panic Review
Castle Panic is one of those kid friendly games where everyone is trying to protect their castle from encroaching orcs and goblins who are trying to destroy it. Everyone works together discussing strategy, sharing cards, and winning (or losing) together. It’s a great game that starts off pretty calm and ramps up quickly after every turn as more and more creatures emerge from the forest. The game dynamics are clear and well thought out. Plus they provide you with a little cheat sheet card so you cn remember the stages of every turn. It’s definitely defeatable among adults as we’ve done it a number of times, but it would still be fun to play with a younger crowd to help them develop more strategic skills.

Monikers Review
Monikers is an adult game that’s best in groups of 5-6. It’s a blend of taboo and sherades done in such a way that even the shyest of game planners won’t feel the pressure to perform. Each game consists of three rounds with a deck of cards handpicked by everyone in the group. The first round you can say and do whatever you need to in order for your team to guess what’s on the card. Next round you can only use one word. The final round you can only act. 
The best part? The deck of cards you use never changes throughout the whole game. After each round when all the cards from the group-made deck have been claimed by either team, they get shuffled back together and used for the next round. Suddenly the game dynamics shift and you can visibly see first-time players “ah-ha” moment as the second round begins. You’ve already seen and heard all of the cards in play be described in the first round so things get a whole lot easier, and funnier in the second and third ones. It’s an amazing game that leaves you talking about it for hours after it’s over. It takes off the pressure I for one always feel playing these types of games and you’re left with just a good, hilarious time had by all. 

Escape, the Curse of the Temple Review
Escape, the Curse of the Temple has to be my favorite board game we’ve played yet. I constantly find myself convincing people to play with me as it’s only a ten minute game from start to finish. You and your friends are a team of explorers uncovering the mysteries of a secret temple by revealing tiles as you explore. Your goal is to uncover gems while looking for the exit by using custom dice to help you move around. Sounds simple until you add in the element that everyone plays at the exact same time, constantly. So everyone is rolling dice, exploring all at the same time all the while listening to an included soundtrack that builds the tension. The soundtrack tells you at two different times when you have to quickly run back to the center of the map or fear losing a dice for the rest of the game. The dice can also betray you by showing black skulls that you have to roll gold skulls in order to unlock. It’s a collaboration game of course so if you’re in the same room as another player, you can share your dice to help uncover gems together or unlock a friend who has rolled all black skulls. If you don’t clear off enough gems and escape the temple through the exit before the soundtrack ends, everyone in your party loses. 
Now I know it sounds pretty complicated in a brief description, but it’s a fun, fast-paced family friendly game that people figure out after one quick round of diving into it. I’ve never felt so much adrenaline from playing a game and everyone always ends up in a panic throwing dice around trying not to get trapped when everyone is rushing back to the center of the map. It’s hilariously fun to watch as a bystander and even has expansion packs that make things more challenging once you can escape the temple like a pro.
If you want more in-depth descriptions of the games, there are actually a lot of game-plays on Youtube. I have wasted many hours watching other people play through games that it’s kind of absurd. Also, if there are any categories of games you want to see my favorites of next (games that screw your partner, strategic games, etc), leave requests in the comments.!
Yours till the board games,