If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how much I like small box games. From wallet games to mini mint games to mint tin games to Oink-sized games to a deck of cards to any game that you can repackage into a smaller box and take with you anywhere. The other thing I like are games that are very quick to teach and learn and very quick to play, but still provide a lot of fun and excitement and many small box games provide exactly that. So in this article, I want to discuss why small and quick games are sometimes the better choice than big, heavy and long games.
As someone who has a slightly addictive character, collecting pretty much anything comes quite easy to me. “You never know when you might need it again,” is what I tend to say. The same is true for board games, of course. “We might play this again at some point,” is how I justify not letting a board game go that I haven’t played in months. So, in this article, I want to talk about how I overcome my own excuses to keep my board game collection to a manageable size.
You will never, in your life, see cats co-operate to create gravity-defying sculptures. It just doesn’t happen. Cats tolerating each other is about as far as it gets. However, that’s exactly what happens in this latest mint tin dexterity game. I can already hear you asking me: “Are you Kittin?” by Alley Cat Games.
It was getting dark, which meant it was time to light the campfire. We had already collected plenty of wood and tinder and someone had started to build the first layer of the fire. Now we were going to take turns and add more wood to it. After all, we were on a teambuilding camping trip, so we had to show we could work together. Of course, most of us were very competitive and soon people were starting to show off. The head of marketing decided that adding branches vertically, balancing them on the base, was the thing to do. IT, of course, went one further and decided to light the fire in a couple of places to add extra peril. It was quickly turning into a mad competition of Tinderblox by Alley Cat Games.
I was ready. It seemed like an impossible task, but I was mankind’s only hope. I had to do what I could and fight my way through the ever-increasing number of machine parts, which were making the machine stronger and bring it closer to sentience. It was a matter of taking it one machine part at a time until I reached the core and was finally able to put an end to the Doom Machine by Nathan Meunier.
Your 8-bit computer may seem to be collecting dust in your loft, but actually, there is still a lot of life in the old box yet. Two of the microprocessors, Mikro and Chip, are keeping themselves amused by playing little, fun games. After all, their buffers and memory stacks are still in working order. With a handful of assembly instructions, they keep each other entertained: push, pop, peek as well as some Mini Memory Mischief by Atikin Games.
If you don’t have much room for games in your house, like me, then small box games are ideal. Of course, what one person considers a small box might be a medium-sized box for someone else, but I will go with what I consider small boxes, which is really small, and list five great small box games that will cover a wide range of tastes and experiences. They’re listed in alphabetical order, so there is no favouritism here.
As many of you will know, I absolutely love small box games, and mint tin games in particular (see episode 6 of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast). They’re so easy to stash away and take with you anywhere, and Mint Works by Five24 Labs is a great example. The small mint tin is robust and can easily deal with knocks, it’s quick to set up, as it consists basically of a deck of cards, and the tin itself functions as the pool for the mint worker tokens. The gameplay is also relatively quick, so overall it’s ideal for when you’re out and about – on a train, plane or a bus, or while you’re waiting for food in a pub or restaurant.
The stage is prepared: a dusty old tome in the middle, a silver dagger encrusted with rubies across the open pages marking a specific section in the ancient text, a goblet in front of the book filled with the blood of thirteen poor souls, and five candles arranged in a pentagon around the periphery of the white marble pedestal. The whole room is gloomy and the air is thick with incense. There is absolute silence as you focus your mind on the difficult ritual you’re about to perform. The stakes are high, but if you succeed you will be able to summon a greater demon, who will bestow you the nine favor [sic] you need to become The Chosen, the highest-ranking cultist in your circle. The Blessed Dark by Nathan Meunier drags you away, kicking and screaming, into a world of deck building, rolling dice and casting spells.
Inside the brewery, the mash and lauter tuns hum away happily on one side, as the brew kettle bubbles silently on the other. Outside, the fermentation vessels slowly turn the malt’s wonderful sugars into delicious alcohol. On the other side of the yard is the bottling line, where the beer is filled into bottles, and then it’s finally ready to be sold. It is your job to create the right balance of malts to create the best beer for your micro brewery’s customers, eagerly waiting in your bar. The whole process takes time and patience, but is worth it, when the number of loyal customers grows in appreciation of your effort.