Spotlight on Games > Ludographies
My Favorite Things
September 24, 2011
A growing list of favorite games for all sorts of reasons and occasions.

Top Ten Gateways
Top Ten for Seven or More Beginners
Top Ten Party Games
Top ten games for two on a plane
Top ten games for three on a plane
Top ten trick-taking games
Top ten games to try on the lovely person you've just started dating

Top Ten Gateways
These are the games to bring out when meeting friends who haven't played anything in ages. All they remember are interminable sessions of
Monopoly, nasty Chess encounters and boring roll-and-move race games. We want to show them the new world of games and this set never fails to get them thinking, smiling and having fun. The reward at the end is hearing them say, "Wow, I had no idea such games existed, but I really enjoyed them." This list is meant to provide starting points, but other games of this nature can be substituted, especially if players have particular interests for which there are good games.
Top Ten for Seven or More Beginners
Normally when one has seven or eight players the thing to do is split into two games. But if there is only one experienced game player and the rest are truly new, there's no one to teach the second game. What to do? Are there any non-party games that are easy to teach and learn, don't take too long, provide challenging fun and still support this number? A few, fortunately.
Card Games

Most of us grew up playing cards so players tend to feel quite comfortable with them: "it's just a card game". Yet this gives them the possibility of moving quickly and offering plenty of decisionmaking.

Doubling Up:

Some games which don't support more than four nevertheless feature a system which is easily extensible to more players. The solution in this case is just to buy a second copy. Or maybe two different players could buy sets. The good thing about this is that you don't have to stop at eight. Buy another set and you can support twelve, a fourth gets you sixteen, and on and on until you need a bigger house.

Pushing the limits:

Some games that are rated for only five or six players are extendable in another way, just add a player or two. These systems work so well that the addition doesn't really hurt them.


Sometimes it can be fun to stray into the party game neighborhood, especially if most of the players don't know each other well. A few such games also have at least some strategy component, however. One such is ...

Bonus Pick: Mexican Train

Top Ten Party Games:

  1. Balderdash/Beyond Balderdash []
  2. Barbarossa []
  3. Ostrakon []
  4. Buzzword []
  5. Attribute []
  6. Wits and Wagers []
  7. Boggle/Big Boggle/Boggle Deluxe []
  8. Hart an der Grenze [Shop]
  9. Wise and Otherwise []
  10. Pictionary []
Top ten games for two on a plane:
  1. Travel Ingenious
  2. Canal Grande
  3. Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
  4. Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde
  5. Schotten-totten
    or Battle Line if you prefer
  6. Liar's Dice
  7. Travel Blokus
  8. Lost Cities
    the board is really not necessary; scrunch up the piles
  9. Cribbage
    scoring track optional
  10. En Garde
Top ten games for three on a plane:
  1. Tightrope
    or Relationship Tightrope if you prefer
  2. Travel Settlers of Catan
  3. Schnäppchen Jagd
  4. The Bottle Imp
  5. Travel Ingenious
  6. Can't Stop
    also works for two
  7. Guillotine
    Make the 12 x 1 list into a 4 x 3 rectangle. The top part of each card is pretty much flavor, so you can save space there. All you really need are the points, special instructions and the color, all of which are on the bottom. The one exception is Marie Antoinette (who moves to the front of the line with "Let them eat cake" card, but players should be able to remember that she's in the line).
  8. Shit!
    This leads to a second game: watch the flight attendant's reaction when he/she finds out the name of the game!
  9. Liar's Dice
  10. Travel Blokus
  11. Cribbage
Thanks for the suggestions of Shay Gal-on, Philip Apps, Gordon Hua and Andrew Martin. Bon voyage!

Top ten trick-taking games:

Thanks to Jonathan Franklin for the inspiration and suggestions for this list, even if I may not have followed all of the latter.

Top ten games to try on the lovely person you've just started dating:

Which games do you like in this regard? If you have any suggestions, let me know and I'll add them here.

Spotlight on Games > Ludographies