To have fun while playing a board game in today’s world is rare I think. Often there are many distractions (with one form of media or another) and then to top that off we also live in a world of non-verbal communication (email, texting, and social networking websites.)
The last board game I remember playing and profusely enjoying was Cranium at a “game party.” I only knew a few people there including the hosts. The game essentially divides the players into two to four groups . There are four skills or area groups that are focused on in the game (each had a color associated with it that was picked based on where you landed on the board): Artistic, Language, Trivia, and Performance. Each of these knowledge areas had subsets of questions within them
For example the creative cat questions for artistic ability included the following types of questions when that card was picked:
○ Cloodle - A player must sketch a clue for their teammates to guess, just like Pictionary. (No gestures)
○ Sensosketch - Just like Cloodle, but the artist’s eyes must be closed while sketching.
○ Sculptorades - A player must sculpt a clue with clay for their teammates to guess. (The game includes “Cranium Clay” for this activity; no gestures or acting of any kind is permitted)
(Artist Groups From : Cranium Wiki )
The goal of the game is to go through each four of the “cranium central” pieces before they can get to the center which is called “cranium central.” As I’ve only played this game once or twice I did have to look up some of the details. What I do remember is enjoying it with people I hadn’t met before.
The reasons I think this game worked are as follows:
○ Easy: Easy to setup and start playing. It didn’t take long to learn the rules of the games or the details.
○ Fun: The game was a lot of fun in that the teams were engaged with each other, in activities and in the competition. Time went by very quickly while playing
○ Knowledge: If we didn’t know something this game was a great way to learn it, but momentum didn’t slow down due to the multitude of types of knowledge that were being addressed and the way they were being questioned. Each activity was different.
○ Ice breaker: This game was a great ice breaker for a group of people that have just met. It forces you to get to know each other very quickly and bond over competing with the other teams. This is not essential to a board game but was a nice add on.
There are many factors that may have changed my opinion of this game. For instance if I had played with people I knew well would we have finished the game? But given the circumstances I did play it under, I really enjoyed playing Cranium.