Ryan Huckla
From the Mind of a Board Gamer

Founding Mothers of Board Games


Like most things in life board games are not free from controversy. Whether we are talking about the 1971 game by the name of Sexism where winning as a female character has the game declare you a human and should be treated accordingly. Or if you open up the rule book of your favourite board game, chances are that players will only be referred to as he/his and no mention of any other type of player. However, I am here to enlighten you on how much of an impact women have had in the board game community.

Eleanor Abbott: The creator of the game Candy Land, developed while she was recovering from polio is 1948. After making the game and playing it with the children in the same ward, Abbott later submitted the idea to Milton Bradley Company. Once Candy Land was published in 1949 it became one of the best-selling board game.

Leslie Scott: The creator of the game Jenga, the release was in 1983. Scott was born in Tanzania, Africa and had lived in East Africa where she grew up learning English, and Swahili from the name Jenga derived from, as it means “build.”

Elizabeth Magie: The creator of a game called The Landlord’s Game, however some very shady and underhanded business you may know the game as Monopoly. After selling the patent rights to The Landlord’s Game the Parker Brothers they changed the name to Monopoly and took full credit for the idea. For a more in-depth look at the events, you can read here.

Board Game Reviews

Betrayal at House on the Hill, It’s a TRAP!

Dim the lights, put on some spooky music, and keep an eye on the other players. This tile exploring game created by Avalon Hill keeps players on their toes with random events and one very scary Haunt. If you’re playing with someone who has played before the game is easy to pick up, for a quick rundown of the rules I found TeamHypercube does a great job.

When you are putting together your group of people to play really aim for 4-6 players, the more people the more interesting game-play will be. Choosing a character  really depends on one’s play style, with four different traits who you play can make all the difference.  I personally am a fan of Ox Bellows, with his high might stat I find post haunt game-play to favour his stat distribution.

Another tip that I have is when preparing for the Haunt is that any chance you have to increase your stats, you take immediately. With such diversity in what could happen when the Haunt is revealed, having a few items and high stats will give you a fighting chance against whatever the game throws at you.

This is a great game to break out with a group of friends, as mentioned above the game is easy to pick up for new players and the game scenario’s are different every time and you’ll never have the exact same experience twice. Depending on how long game night is planned for it is not uncommon to have a few rounds of Betrayal in a sitting, this game will leave you coming back. The game can be bought at BoardGameBliss.

Board Game Reviews

Exploding Kittens, The Cat’s Meow

Let’s begin by saying that no cats are harmed during the playing of this game. Now that we have that cleared up, this record breaking Kickstarter funded game may be the cutest way of playing Russian Roulette. What makes this game such a blast to play is that the gameplay is fast-paced, and to learn only takes a few minutes (learn how here).

Since this game is heavily a game about odds, players need to be keeping an eye on your hand, the other players’ hand, and the deck. As fun as it is to be picking up the fun colourful cards, forget about the exploding kittens for too long and it’s likely to blow up in your face. At the same time, if you play your cards too early you’ll find yourself relying on your belief in the heart of the cards. The best plan of action is to lay low, and not target or become the target of the other players. Once players know where the exploding kittens are, the game dynamics are all about controlling the flow of the game.

A game that claims to be a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats, this game delivers all that and more. I highly recommend this game for a fun way to pass the time and have a good time with people. Additional copies can be added on to increase the game from 5 players and can be purchased currently only at Amazon.

Board Game Reviews

Sushi Go Party! For a Few Rolls More

Right when you thought getting sushi with your friends could not get any better, Gamewright delivers a fun pick and pass card game. A game that looks fun and silly on the outside, delivers all that and a rich core game play that if underestimated will leave you hungry.

What is fun about this game, and keeps the sushi fresh is that menu can be changed every game. The game’s instructions include a couple themes to play along with, however the level of creativity with the menu has many options. Personally one of my favourite menus is the Cut Throat menu, not only do the cards help you, but collecting the cards can really damage the opponents. With so many different options though it is hard to have a strategy that can be used every game, a good player will keep flexible and able to quickly adjust. With up to a possible eight players, there is a lot of sushi that one has to keep an eye on.

My business tip  is to look at the sets of cards, and determine how much each card is really worth. If collecting two of the same rolls will reward you with 5 points, when collecting three rolls of another sushi will earn you 9 points sometimes it is worth the risk.

Sushi Go Party! is great to pull out during an intense night of board games, or a night where a group of people are just sitting around wondering what to do. This helps the game be very diverse, and great for a wide range of situations. Everyone will be down for some sushi.

Board Game Reviews

Smash Up, the Perfect Merger

Ninjas, aliens, and dinosaurs oh my! The player doesn’t just take control of one of these factions in Smash Up, but combining two of a possible eight factions sparks fly in the heated battle of base capturing fun. This game holds a special place in my heart for it was this game that opened my eyes to the world of board games, outside of Hasbro Gaming.

Smash Up runs with 2-4 players, but really plays best with the full four players. Players then select two factions, shuffle their decks, and draw 5 cards. Each player takes a turn placing minions and actions with the goal to conquer a base and collect Victory Points. For a quick tutorial on how to play watch this video by clicking here.

Each faction has a different play style, finding your preferred way to play will come after multiple playthroughs. However finding the two factions that work well together, that is half the challenge. Recommendations when selecting factions are that you want are ones that play on each other’s strengths, in my personal experience the two factions that I believe work best together are Robots and Zombies. However be careful as other players will quickly realize the potential threat of this combination, remember to only make the big flashy moves when you need to as any unnecessary moves may trigger other players to target you. For beginners, I recommend Dinosaurs into the mix as well. Though for players looking to get tricky I recommend looking for the Alien faction and find the Invader minion.

Overall Smash Up is a fun, easy to learn, and strategic game. Pick up your copy today, and have yourself a smashing good time.

From the Mind of a Board Gamer

It’s Not Personal, It’s Business.

I have heard that board games are for those rainy days sitting together with your family having a cheerful, loving time. However, for anyone who has played Risk before, you know the experience ends a little differently. Board games today are far more than child’s play; they are a test of one’s skill, and not to be taken lightly. Having a group of people sit down at a table together and battle it out for the title of ultimate winner, that is what board games are all about for me. Though it is not just what is going on with the board that sparks my interest, my favourite part of every game is the social game that is being played around the board.

Strategically turning players against each other, convincing the other player what is best of them, removing the target off of yourself, or just trying to be the most deceitful person you can be is what boardgames for me are all about. Bring on your Risk, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, or Munchkin as I look forward to the victories and the gloating that follows.

By visiting the Boardroom I will be keeping you updated each week about what game I am playing, and providing my personal opinion on it. I will talk about aspects of the game I enjoyed, and parts that I thought were missing, but of course I will look into what I found were useful and helpful strategies that can make a winner out of you. You’ll find all types of board games reviewed here, however, you will not be finding any cooperative game reviewed…it’s just bad business.