Woah, hang on a tick – it’s Easter already? Whilst it may feel like we have only just packed away our Christmas trees and matching Team Rudolph/Team Santa PJs (well, some of us have – I am still rocking those red and green striped leggings and I’m not ashamed!), we are skipping bonnet-first into the tastiest of all the bank-holiday weekends!
And, although many of our usual ways to mark the occasion are still somewhat curtailed by the pandemic, don’t bunny, be hoppy because we definitely aren’t fresh outta cluck. For some of our Zatu bloggers have gathered together five of their most egg-cellent and egg-citing games suggestions that will hop-efully get you egg-cersising your minds and cracking plenty of smiles!
Why do we do this? Well, because dear gamers, there’s no-bunny quite like you! On with our Easter games.
With Easter just around the corner and the sunny weather on its way, now is the perfect time to bust out some Easter games. If happy-go-lucky, light, easter-egg themed games aren’t really your thing, however, I have got the game for you: Root.
In Root, players choose from four base factions and attempt to assert their dominance over the Woodland, Mouse, Fox, or (Easter) Bunny clearings. The factions are asymmetrical, meaning that each one has its own mechanics and abilities to push for victory.
While this may sound simple, the asymmetry means you have to keep a constant watch on what other players are doing in order to stop them hopping into the lead. Players may choose to play as the proud Eyrie Dynasty, omnipresent Marquise de Cat, scrappy Woodland Alliance, or the wily Vagabond. And what could be more in the spirit of Easter than a group of woodland creatures coming together…..ahem, to battle for control of a forest?
As mentioned above, each faction has its own abilities and so you’ll have to be adaptable to make the most of them. And keeping track of these capabilities is a joy thanks to the gorgeous player boards which are adorned with artwork by Kyle Ferrin (Vast). What’s more, the stunning designs run throughout the whole game, and they are just delightful to behold. Style mixed with some really rather egg-cellent gameplay makes Root a real winner in my eyes.
With this in mind, now that spring has sprung and Easter is on its way, Root is the perfect game to get into the spirit of things. Move over Easter Bunny, it’s the Easter Vagabond’s time to shine!
For me, Easter is exclusively about Easter eggs. Many will tell me they are bad value, the chocolate isn’t as nice. I say I don’t want to hear these falsehoods. I just want to crack a milk chocolate egg in half and enjoy it. So given that, in the Blacknell residence, Easter is about eggs, I picked the eggiest game I own - Wingspan. Stonemaier Games’ big hitter of 2019 is an accessible entry-level plus game that has you attracting birds to your reserve and scoring points based on the birds and how many eggs you have collected in your tableau.
The art in this game is whimsical. Yet it has an air of the old-school encyclopedia about it, giving Wingspan a tick from me. The cards all feature unique birds, their preferred habitat and food source, and their, wait for it, wingspan. The cards and artwork are based on fact and that for me is the absolute triumph of this beautiful game. Nature is so vastly varied and impressive, and with a bit of research, Elizabeth Hargrave has managed to harness this into a board game.
This game does have a little bit of downtime whilst other players take their turn. However, I am so absorbed in the artwork and high-quality components, I barely even notice the time passing. The game box says the game takes 45 minutes to play, I have no idea how long I am playing for, it feels like no more than ten mins. They do say that time flies when you are having fun and that's my Easter game!
Although I love a good chocolate hunt as much as the next woman. Ok, so maybe not quite as much as Hannah! For me the thrill of discovery comes in board game form. And not just the expectation and excitement of cracking the seal on a new box. I am talking about real tasty treasure. The blink-and-you’ll miss it, Where’s Wally style, hidden treats that designers sometimes sneak in for the eagle-eyed player to savour!
Known as “easter eggs” in the industry, they are a little like discovering tiny doors or half-hidden statues in a building you have walked past for years, and yet never really looked at properly. And in Bruno Cathala’s Spiel des Jahres award winning Kingdomino, these little chunks of chocolatey goodness are nestled sweetly amongst the trees, waves and windmills. Notice the Loch Ness Monster swimming on the double lake tile and deep diving in the swampy bog? Spy Frodo Baggins battling Shelob in the forest clearing? No? Look again and you’ll see a number of tiny illustrations which you will never be able to un-see!
Published by Coiledspring Games, Kingdomino is a fantastic territory building game. Players use chunky domino-style tiles to create the most profitable lands within their own personal realms. With five distinct terrain types to tesselate, and a turn order which forces players who go for the most valuable tiles on a round to wait for last-pickings on their next turn, Kingdomino is a really well-balanced spatial strategy puzzle. Further, it has great versatility and accessibility, working on multiple levels. Younger or newer players enjoying the validation from building out colourful, orderly 5x5 or 7x7 (in two-player mode) kingdoms, and more experienced players diving into tactical tile taking for a more crunchy experience.
Without a doubt, Kingdomino is a simple to learn, hard to master classic and it is one which will be devoured again and again, long after we finish wiping the chocolate smears from our hoppy faces!
What Easter games? Well, at first I thought of the Hen Commandments which combines eggs, religion and satire. But that might also provoke huge family arguments. And it’s not Christmas. So, better to go for something beautiful, simple, and sublime. That’s Sagrada to a tee.
Sagrada is a dice-drafting game based on the stained-glass windows that grace Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia (which translates as ‘sacred family’). Players take it in turns to roll and choose dice to place on their board, but they have to watch out that they stick to the pattern and don’t put dice of the same colour or same value next to each other. The game ends after 10 rounds and players score based on both the shared scoring cards and their own private scoring card. The player with the most points wins.
The game can be played by 1 to 4 players (or up to 6 with the expansion) and is one of those games that is simple enough to grasp but has enough twists to make it interesting for the seasoned player. “Tool” cards also allow you to do things to the dice like move them or reroll them (if you can pay for them). And “favour tokens” allow you to pay the cost of a tool, but to have more favours, you need to take a more challenging pattern. Dare you risk it? You can also really upset your opponents’ plans by drafting the dice they need. It’s just a game though -no need to force the rest of the dice up your opponent’s nose!
Sagrada is also almost as beautiful as its namesake – multi-coloured dice, illuminated, embossed player boards, cloth bag, and sparking favours… such loveliness. Plus, for the full religious connection, the Passion expansion is based on the actual Passion Façade. And so, even if we can’t see it in person at the moment, we can at least bring a slice of the sublime into our own homes this Easter.
For me, Easter is all about Spring. And what says spring more than a bunch of bunny rabbits hopping around in a meadow? That’s exactly what the scoreboard of Dixit is. A perfect choice for an Easter games day.
Dixit is a beautiful game of using your imagination to create cryptic clues. Score points and move your little rabbit meeple closer to victory by giving the cleverest clues about one of the picture cards in your hand correctly guess the picture cards chosen by your opponents.
Each round one player is the storyteller. They secretly pick a card from their hand and give a clue about it. The clue can be a word, a phrase, even a short story or song. Next, the other players look at their own cards and select one that best matches the clue. All selected cards are then shuffled together and revealed. Each other player tries to guess the storyteller’s card. The storyteller wants some, but not all (or none) of the other players to guess their card. The others want to guess the storyteller’s card while everyone else guesses theirs.
Play Dixit with your non-gaming family, play with your closest mates, play with a bunch of total strangers (when safe to do so of course!). This game works in many environments and groups, and I almost never say no. Play this game with the person who says they will be rubbish at it. And then watch as they invariably win and ask when they can play it again!