Pick of the Week – June 29-July 5, 2015

As a kid, I played a fair amount of Monopoly.  That’s actually something of an understatement.  My brother, a good friend of mine, and I had an epic game that lasted for weeks because we kept allowing loans from the bank when one of us got into financial trouble.  I also tried modifying the game by creating cross streets with even more properties that allowed players to take different routes around the board.

Now that I’m older I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t enjoy Monopoly.  I’ll still play it when my kids want to, but there are so many other games out there to try.  And I’m not talking about the usual standards like Life, Clue, or Risk. 

If you’ve been in a games shop lately, you will have discovered that there is a bewildering number of board and card games out now with titles like Lords of Waterdeep and Tsoro.  Faced with this, the biggest question I always have is, “Will I enjoy this game?”  This is a non-trivial question, since many of these games can cost $40 or more.

Fortunately, there is help available from my Pick for this week.  Wil Wheaton, who is probably best known for his years as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and as himself on The Big Bang Theory, is in his third season of hosting Tabletop, a web series produced by Geek and Sundry.  In each episode, Wheaton and his guests play a different game.  Watching the interaction between Wheaton and guests like Karen Gillan (Amy Pond from Doctor Who), Grant Imahara (Mythbusters), and Bill Prady (Creator/Producer of The Big Bang Theory among many other shows.) is entertaining in itself, but the show does a great job of using graphics and explanatory segments with Wheaton to show how the games are played.

Thanks to Tabletop, I have seen a lot of games that I probably never would have heard about otherwise.  I’ve also spent far more money than I care to think about acquiring the ones that look interesting.  And now, when someone suggests playing Monopoly, I can suggest several far more fun alternatives.

And that’s exactly what I will be doing for the next several weeks.  I will tell you about a few of my favorite games that have been shown on Tabletop and provide a link to the associated episode.  If none of those strike your fancy, there are a couple dozen other episodes that you can watch for other options.  

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter