Christmas is coming, and that means getting together with friends and family around a good board game. But board games can be expensive, and many of you will only play them once or twice at most. Instead of buying something new this Yuletide, how about printing your own instead? Here’s my pick of 5 awesome printable games to suit all tastes, mostly drawn from personal experience, and BoardGameGeek’s extensive list of Print and Play games.
Be sure to check out Angela’s picks from February too, as none of these are repeated there.
Cards Against Humanity
A warped and decidedly adult version of the classic Apple to Apples, Cards Against Humanity is about as non-politically correct as they come. Religious types, children, the elderly, and anyone easily offended by anything should probably stay away. Players take it in turns to act as the Card Czar and choose one topic card – a kind of fill in the blanks – while others choose responses. The Card Czar shuffles and reads through all the cards, chooses their favorite, and the player is awarded a point.
Here’s an idea of the gameplay from Beer and Board Games. And yes, it is NSFW.
You can even have a go online, though it’s not quite as hilarious without someone reading them out each time. I still wasted a good 30 minutes of time I was supposed to be using to write this article round-up though. And I won :)
Zombie in my Pocket
A solitaire game for those moments when grandma has way too much sherry, the kids are off playing with their new toys and your significant other has dozed off, Zombie in my Pocket - winner of the 2010 Golden Geek award – has you exploring a house and garden in an attempt to find and then bury the Zombie totem in the graveyard. Clever mechanics mean quite a varied experience with just a few cards, as time progresses the events on the cards change and are reshuffled.
Here’s a picture of it just as I lost (the figurine is mine, not printable obviously). I reached the graveyard, began to bury the totem, just as 6 zombies pounced on me. Despite having a board with nails to defend myself, I only killed 2 zombies, resulting in the loss of my remaining 4 health points, and complete Zombie takeover. A tense moment, indeed.
Grab the complete package here (login required) and print on just 4 sheets.
If you enjoy this kind of Zombie apocalypse – either solo or in groups – but find yourself wanting something more in-depth, I strongly suggest you check out the Zombicide miniatures board game, which I funded on Kickstarter last year. You can even design and print your own board layouts and scenarios with a free the level designer app.
Winner of 2011 Golden Geek Print and Play Award, The Thing is an unofficial narrative card game which closely resembles the 1982 horror movie. Some cards are gory and explicit, and is best played with 4 players. It’s an immense print job though, in full color, so strictly for fans and hardcore card gamers.
A 41 card deck that’s not so much a game as an open game system; there are in fact many different games you can play with the basic set, just as there are for regular playing cards. The Deckset is structurally quite different though, one defining aspect being that some cards have multiple suits. A full deck, and various rules can be downloaded here.
Here’s a good video overview of the system.
Pirates and Plunder
Described as Carcassonne for those who can’t afford the actual game, Pirates and Plunder is basically a clone of the famous tile-laying game. Pick a tile, place it in a valid location, and score points by claiming trade routes, ports and islands. However, it also adds some battle mechanics, so it’s not a complete rip-off. Definitely give it a go if you don’t already own Carcassonne – there are only about 5 sheets of tiles, plus a few more for tokens; though your blue and green ink might run out quickly. Download here.
That’s all from me today; I do hope you have (or have already had) a fantastic Christmas and get a chance to play some of these great games (with or without family, as you see fit). My personal pick would be cards against humanity, though you would certainly need the right audience for that, so best wait until granny has gone home. Also, apologies to my editors for having basically spent the entire day playing games.
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