A family playing a card game together with a cat on a man's lap

Board Games

As a CHF patient and someone who previously loved outdoor activity, it has been an adjustment to spend more time inside, especially lately during hot and humid summer days. I won't go into why this is, but as a fellow heart patient, I think others can relate to spending more time indoors when we used to be much more active and had no limitations.

The importance of relationships

How do I fill up my time and how can I continue to have bonds with the important people in my life when I can't be outside and/or don't have the energy to leave the house? This is especially important for people like me who value my relationships so strongly, as they are what has gotten me through this. The loneliness of heart failure can be one of the hardest aspects of the disease to manage.

Board games

Enter board games! And no, I am not just talking about Monopoly. I have found that there are some truly great games that are both fun and strategic enough to make the experience engaging. I have found that most people are not aware of these games, so I wanted to share in case you are also looking for (heart failure friendly) ways to genuinely enjoy spending time with the people in your life.

Some of these games can also be played very quickly, which is great when you are tired and don't have much gas left in the tank! It's amazing how a good board game can bring people together.

Designer board game

What is a designer board game? This is not the world of Monopoly or Yahtzee. In my opinion, designer board games are fun to play and visually engaging, in terms of both the board itself and the pieces involved in the play. Think 'pieces' of gold, stone, and wood, meeples, fairies, dragons, settlements made of wood instead of cheap plastic.

Think strategic play and ever-changing boards so no two playthroughs are ever the same! Think legacy games where 'rules and components change over time based on the outcome of each game and the choice(s) made by the players.' These games are played multiple times as a part of a campaign. My City is a great two-player legacy game.

Types of game genres

There are many different types of genres within games, so I will review a few. However, keep in mind that if this interests you, I am just skimming the surface!

  1. Tile placement games are terrific! The board, and thus playthrough, changes each time so no two games are alike. A few examples that I have played are Carcassonne (an actual town in France FYI), Kingdom Builder, and Patchwork. These games also offer expansion packs for more varied play, once you have mastered the basic game.
  2. Another category of game is deck building. This involves a deck of cards and some pieces, but for folks who are more visually orientated this may not be a category I would try first. A few examples include Sushi Go and 7 Wonders.
  3. In a worker placement game, a player has a limited number of “workers” (tokens/meeples) that they must strategically place on a limited number of spaces on the board, competing with the other players to get the most strategic placements of their workers. Stonage and Imhotep are two examples of this.
  4. Co-op games are a new type of board game. Instead of playing against each other, in a co-op game, players work together to advance a goal. Pandemic is a good example of this.

Do not despair

If the idea of learning a board games sounds overwhelming, do not despair! First, maybe someone in your life already knows these games and can teach you. Board games are becoming more popular these days. Also, there are multiple sources online to help. If you Google the name of the board game and tutorial lots of options will pop up.

There are also are Youtube channels as well. Shut Up and Sit Down is a good one that offers reviews and tutorials on so many board games! Some of these games, like Carcassone, Patchwork, and Stoneage, offer IoS versions that you can play online with people in a different city.

Do you have a favorite board game? Put the name in the comments below and maybe we can all find a new game to play!

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