I was living on a budget, restricting my purchases and making reasonable decisions. Then the desire to play board games hit me, and I went on a spree, devouring niche stores in my wake. Here’s what I’ve got and what I have to say and if you don’t like it you can shut up:

Carcassonne. One of the classics, I hear. I hear this among geeks, and they don’t really get to define ‘classic’ in any meaningful definition of the word, but still. Some people like it. It’s a tile placement game where you try to get points by strategic placement of units and get in the way of your opponent getting points. It’s an extremely simple game to learn and play, and it’s really pretty fun even with only two people.

Catan. Another classic. It’s a game about trading resources and building up an empire. Slightly harder to learn than Carcassonne, but not really. This one almost requires four people to be appealing, but with the right group it’s fantastic.

Zombies!!!. I’d never heard of this, but it had three exclamations in the title, so my hand was forced. It’s another tile placement game, where the goal is to either escape a zombie hoard or murder a ton of zombies. A little more complicated to learn than Carcassonne but perhaps not as deep strategically? It’s fast and fun. I’m not sure. It can be played well with two but I think will scale up well.

Escalation. I haven’t tried it yet, but from reading over the rules this one actually seems disappointing. Just a superficially simple card game. Place some cards of a certain value and when you can’t hit a value, take some cards while trying to be the person that ends up with the fewest. Honestly, I’d rather play Uno.

Grave Robbers II: Skippy’s Revenge. This is part of the B-Movie Card Game series, which is a ton of fun. The premise is to build a movie by placing cast, locations, props, effects, etc. It’s more fun if players narrate the movie while playing the cards. Gameplay wise, the mechanics seem a bit lopsided, but the game is more about the social experience than dominating opponents.

Dominion. One of my favorite card games. It’s more of a deck-building game - you purchase more cards as you play and try to be the one who’s purchased the most points by the end. That description doesn’t really do it justice; the game has a breadth of strategy and is extremely fast paced.

That’s all, and it’s all I’m going to be purchasing for a while even though I’d like to add Race for the Galaxy to my collection. All the games are relatively fast, taking less than an hour (sometimes a little more depending on conversations and number of players and such). I don’t have much of a stomach for the longer Arkham style games. Still need more people to play these games with, but I’m hoping that will come with time.

You stole my city!