5 board games to try this long weekend

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No need to go out this Halloween if you can do away with good company and a little bit of imagination. Spruce up your long weekend house parties with these five handy board games. Illustration by GEORGE ROUPELL, ARTIST [PUBLIC DOMAIN]/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Board games are seeing a revival as we enter a new age of gaming. Hyper realistic graphics, augmented and virtual reality experiences, and motion sensing controls have all changed the way how people play, but like the last geek to arrive in the biggest nerd party so far, board games are catching up to video games in terms of interest.

What was once a niche market has grown tremendously, as seen in the number of local board game cafes rolling out recently. These games are no longer limited to family nights playing Monopoly or Life: Today’s board games are more intricate and more engaging, while still bound to the basic ingredients of cardboard and plastic mixed with a little bit of imagination. It really is gameplay over graphics.

Here are five board games to try out in the coming long weekend. Settle in, ready the dice and pieces of paper — along with that certain inevitability of (temporarily) losing your friends over rule disputes and arguments.


Players: 2 – 7

Playing Time: 40 – 60 minutes

One player takes on the role of the Ghost. Unable to speak, he communicates with the rest of players — who serve as the Mediums — through dreams, represented by illustrated cards. The Mediums must decipher these dreams and discover how the Ghost was murdered — by identifying the weapon, the culprit, and the location of the crime. The Mediums have seven hours (an hour represents a turn) to discover the truth before the Ghost disappears forever.

Highlight of the game: Dream interpretation is tricky so the Ghost has to read the Medium well before handing out a card because, really, there are so many ways to interpret a mouse on a chessboard.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Players: 3 – 10

Playing Time: 10 minutes

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast paced version based on its predecessor Ultimate Werewolf. Each player is assigned a role in the village, including the werewolf, and it is up to everyone to find out who it is. Unlike the original, players aren’t eliminated each night, and have only 10 minutes to discuss with each other who they should lynch at the end of the day.

Highlight of the game: Lying to your friends and pretending you’re only a villager and not the werewolf while watching them implode on each other.

Dead of Winter: The Long Night

Players: 2 – 5

Playing Time: 60 – 120 minutes

It’s the zombie apocalypse and the players are survivors trying to make it in a new colony. Dead of Winter: The Long Night is a standalone expansion of Dead of Winter: A Crossroad Game. Like the first one, everyone will be helping each other out look for supplies, fend off zombies and raids, and work together towards a common victory condition — with the addition of new horrible experiments knocking at the door.

Highlight of the game: Backstabbing. At the start of the game, players are randomly assigned secret objectives, some of which require them to betray the rest of survivors.

The Resistance: Avalon

Players: 5 – 10

Playing Time: 30 minutes

An offshoot of The Resistance, Avalon puts the players in the shoes of King Arthur’s Knights. Hidden in the group however are Mordred’s minions. The game then revolves around quests and it is up to the minions to derail the knights from achieving their mission without giving away their allegiance.

Highlight of the game: The difference of Avalon from Resistance is the inclusion of Merlin and the Assassin. These two characters add another level of guessing games. Merlin can know who the minions are but if he reveals himself by giving them away, he can be identified by the Assassin, and then the bad guys win.

Star Wars: Rebellion

Players: 2 – 4

Playing Time: 180 – 240 minutes

Right in time for "Rogue One," Rebellion lets players take part in the Galactic Civil War. Players can either play for the Empire or the Rebellion, with straightforward objectives. Imperials need to find the Rebel Base and destroy it while the Rebels need to convince the rest of the galaxy to join their cause. The board game is insanely detailed, with more than 150 miniatures and two game boards.

Highlight of the game: Players can relive memorable Star Wars moments or create their own. Luke trained by Yoda. Check. Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Check.