Long Games for Chilly Days
Keep Warm With These Immersive Tabletop Games
Though the excitement of the holidays has begun to wear off, the brisk chill of winter has unfortunately not. Though brr-worthy weather is a joy at times, there are days we'd prefer to spend snuggled up next to the fire, keeping a warm distance from the falling snowflakes. With the cozy evenings indoors getting longer and the list of shows to binge-watch getting shorter, you may be seeking something new to do. Our trick for distracting from the frigid tundra outside? Lose yourself in lengthy, immersive games with rich narrative, deep strategy, and high replay value. Below, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite games for just these circumstances—even if one of the upcoming expansions takes place in the Antarctic.
When we say long games, the first that comes to mind may very well be a campaign-based game, and we couldn't agree more! That's why we're so thrilled to have the pulse-pounding Conan in our collection. Though the setting of the game contains intense and enthralling narrative, the game itself is a bit more in-line with the traditional one-versus-many board game. Each player assumes the role of either a hero or the Overlord, taking into their hands one piece of the epic tale of Conan, his fellow fighters, and the powerful foes they take on. Using a variety of innovative mechanics, the heroes and the Overlord face off in a vicious battle of physical strength, magical skill, and strategic planning.
While the Conan game box alone contains a wealth of content, we've also made available a number of expansion materials since its release. The Crossbowmen and Yogah of Yag expansions, both available this week, offer new options and abilities to both sides of the board. Crossbowmen makes available new units for the Overlord to throw into the onslaught, while one of the heroes can take the role of Yogah of Yag. On top of these are the Kushite Witch Hunters expansion, also adding to the Overlord's collection of warriors, and the dice pack, simply expanding the game's existing component pool. Both of these will be available to expand your Hyborian adventures even further in the coming months!
If you're looking for a narrative experience, there are few games more immersive than Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. The cooperative game has stood the test of time, with its first iteration having been released over three decades ago. Each core game and expansion is full of cases for your team—the Baker Street Irregulars—to solve, using the detailed notes of Doctor Watson. The cases can range in topic, from mysteriously missing people to valuable stolen items, from deciphering ancient curses to heinous murders, all taking place on the streets of London. The premise of the game has provided a solid foundation for countless engaging and confounding stories, and with so much deep and comprehensive source material to pull from, it doesn't show signs of stopping.
We announced last year that Space Cowboys was releasing yet another standalone expansion for the beloved game, entitled Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures. This collection will feature the same mechanics as the original but with fully revamped artwork, six revised cases from older editions, and four brand-new cases fusing the fictional investigations of Sherlock Holmes with the very real history of Jack the Ripper. The new cases form a campaign, so while each one is likely to take only an hour or two, tackling the entire adventure could fill an entire snowy Saturday with intrigue. The new collection is set to hit stores before winter's end, so be sure to keep your eyes open.
T.I.M.E Stories is another deeply narrative game, though its time units add a unique challenge. With restrictive time limits and so many paths to explore, each adventure you embark upon as a T.I.M.E agent will require very careful and strategic decisions. You'll have decide which actions are worth using valuable time for and try to gauge how much you have left to discover before you can resolve the story. A crucial element of the gameplay ends up being the number of tries it will take you to progress through without failure and how intuitive you are at knowing which paths will move you forward and which are likely to result in a dead end. Every attempt informs you further and brings you ever closer to the sweet and deeply anticipated victory.
The core elements of the T.I.M.E Stories system, included in the core set, are common between most of your games. Thus, once you have the base game in your collection, you've opened up a new world of adventures to explore, each of which will take careful thinking and likely replays to figure out. The core adventure and the three expansions that have been released so far explore very different periods in time and follow significantly different plotlines. In The Asylum, you inhabit the body of an inmate during the year 1921 as you try to understand the asylum's secrets. The expansions that followed take place in 1992 Wisconsin, the magical Middle Ages, and even into ancient Egypt! The next expansion, set to release in the coming weeks, will bring you again to the early 1900s, but this time to icy Antarctica, so though you've no place to go, you can still let it snow!
Of course there are dozens of games you can pull out for your weather-induced game day. For those with a solid collection of favorites, a weeklong coldsnap will barely be an inconvenience. If you're ever looking to throw something a bit new into the mix, however, we hope these ideas have inspired you to plan ahead for the next snow day!