I’m board! Suggestions for a night in playing board games

Going out can be a hassle. From dealing with cover charges, overpriced drinks, blaring music that you have to yell over just to have a conversation, and people in general, sometimes staying in is the favorable choice. Why not bring your friends over to your place and do things differently? Certainly, you’ll have to clean up the stacks of old pizza boxes, pick up your scattered dirty clothes and blast your bathroom with a power washer, but, hey, it’ll be cheaper than a night out and less taxing on your anxiety.

So what do you do with your friends in such intimate settings? Well, you revert back to your younger adolescent self and bust out a board or card game. I know, I know, only geeks, dweebs and nerds stay at home and play tabletop RPGs. But in today’s pop culture, geekiness is in. Why not embrace your inner dork and get lost in a game?

Here are a few suggestions to get “board” with your friends.

Card Games

Have you ever wanted to live the third act of The Deer Hunter and play a rousing game of Russian roulette, but without the guns, drugs and guilt of participating in the Vietnam War? You do! Well, then “Exploding Kittens” is up your alley. Created by some people from The Oatmeal, Marvel and Xbox, 2–5 players try to avoid drawing an exploding kitten while collecting cards to screw over opponents and cause them to draw the dastardly feline that’ll ruin their night.

Not wanting to gamble with your life? Then how about gambling with your money? Play the card game that is the favorite of statisticians and people with liver cirrhosis, “Texas Hold’em Poker.” Every player gets two cards and hopes that the cards laid down in the center of the table will work to their benefit. Oh, and there’s bluffing too! Get to know how well your friends lie and later doubt the reasons on why they can’t hang out.

Speaking of lying. How well do you trust that your friends are who they say they are? Are you even sure if you are really you? With the semi-cooperative card game “Total Rickall,” based off the “Rick and Morty” episode of the same name, you and four of your friends will play a 30-minute game doubting if they’re a real person or a parasite playing a real person. Eliminate all of the parasites and don’t kill any real people. Looking at you, Beth!


Would you rather build and foster trust with your buds instead of screwing them over? How about saving the world from unfathomable Lovecraftian horrors? Do you and your friends have five-plus hours to kill? Then get lost in the nightmare world of “Eldritch Horror.” Play with up to eight people and travel around the world solving mysteries and stopping the Great Old Ones from destroying the Earth. This game is a beast to learn, hard to beat, and once you do feel the joys of victory, another Old One is waiting in the wings to cause havoc.

Do you and your friends enjoy terrible horror movies? Especially ones with a twist? Check out “Betrayal at House on the Hill,” a game where you and 2–5 friends explore a creepy house and solve its mystery. With every new game, the house changes and there are over 50 different scenarios to beat, so replayability is high. But what’s the twist? Well, let’s just say that one of your friends might not be on the up and up. So keep a close eye on them.

I hope these suggestions have fostered the idea that it’s OK to stay in and play a game with some friends. The games featured here are only a drop in the bucket of possibilities. Portland has numerous stores (*cough, cough* Guardian Games *cough, cough*) that sell a multitude of board games in all types of genres and styles. If you’re unsure about investing in a game, there’s a whole assortment of YouTube channels, like Geek and Sundry, that provide reviews and playthroughs. So, go forth my friends, invite people over and nerd out!