Game Night: Week 111

Pandemic- Photograph courtesy of The Board Game Family

Barret smirked, “She likes to win.”

I wasn’t quite sure what Barret was hinting at- of course I enjoy winning, but I also realize it’s not the most important part of a good game night. What keeps friends friendly and coming over for more game nights is a big wheel of camembert cheese, a couple of glasses of wine, and good-natured rivalry.

And of course the games.

Pandemic:

Despite the name, this game inspires friendly camaraderie and is good choice when playing with sore losers (note to Barret- that does not include me). Pandemic is one of those few games where either everyone wins or they all lose.

Each player has a different role with a special skill they can use as they travel around the globe curing disease, building research centers, and preventing further outbreaks. It is a fun strategy game, but because of its all-or-nothing approach to winning I wouldn’t describe this game as addictive. I mean, there are only so many times you can save the world without trash-talking other players.

Dominion

Dominion:

The first thing that struck me about this game was the amount of cards in the box- it looked a library card catalog. Thankfully you don’t have to put all five billion cards in play; they are just there for different options and variations. Because of this, the game play is significantly longer than Pandemic.

To start, the player begins by purchasing services like a blacksmith, village, or market before upgrading money and then eventually buying titled land. Although the design and illustration choices leave much to be desired (why would a gold coin card and silver coin card use the same image?), the most important part of a fun game is its playability.

In this regard I think it really depends on the group- Dominion could either be an overly lengthy exercise in card shuffling or it could be a strategic game of kingdom building. I don’t want to call myself a shark, but let’s just say I won because I was counting cards.

Monopoly Deal

Monopoly Deal:

 Seriously? Growing up I had played more than enough Monopoly to last a lifetime. In fact, Monopoly had a monopoly at my house: Texopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, Disney Monopoly, and of course Monopoly Monopoly.

I was so completely over that game.

With a top up of red wine and a handful of olives, if I hadn’t been dealt a hand I would have sat this one out.

All of the properties traditionally represented in the board game were still there, however the simple and clean graphic design reminded me a little more of Uno than of its namesake. After a few rounds I came to the conclusion that Hasbro had realized what was missing from the board version (fun, speed, deception and portability) and had finally included it in the card game.

I was really surprised at how much I was enjoying the game and I’m not just saying that because I won. Really.

About: Pandemic, Dominion, Monopoly Deal

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Cat Cafes & Game Cafes: Week 11

Cat Cafes

A consequence of dense urban living is the infrequency of pet ownership. In response to this, numerous cat cafes have sprung up to satisfy the cat-cuddling urges of men, women and children alike. Coffee and refreshments are served while many people also purchase catnip to lure the wayward cat. Loud noises and flashes are prohibited, however one frequently hears a whole room exclaim in excitement as they whip out their cameras whenever a cat does something cute- like chasing a feather. The place we visited even shoots webcam footage so remote patrons can watch the cafe in real-time and post comments.

Game Rooms

In addition to space, privacy is a precious component for any young couple’s developing relationship. This is hard to come by though, as most unmarried individuals live at home even if they are in their 30’s and professionally employed. This dilemma has been solved in a number of ways, from the more tawdry love hotels with their privacy curtains shielding the parking garage to the innocuous private coffee shops. These businesses, found all over Seoul, have created a new era in youth culture.

After squeezing a few kitten bodies, Barret and I headed to a game cafe. Instead of a table, these private rooms offer throw pillows upon a cushioned floor. Although the room is secluded, the labyrinth of numbered curtains is not sound proof. The dull chatter of companions, punctuated by periodic exclamations from the video gamers, is always present. The room fee, around $10 per person, entails a dessert, unlimited access to the colorfully adorned refreshment bar, and 2 hours of TV or Wii rental time. There was even a listing of restaurants which could deliver food to our booth. Olleh!

How to get there:

 Line 2 Gangnam Station

Cat cafe: Godabang Cat Cafe

Room cafe: Cafe Rumi

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