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So, I had a bit of trouble crossing the border into Canada last week because immigration officials were convinced that I wanted to move there to work. Of course, it didn’t help that I had actually brought my resume along to update—since I would love to find another job that I like as much as my current one (but where I’m, you know, adequately paid and appreciated), but not in Toronto.

Officials thought it was odd that I seemed to be coming just for a few days to visit friends. If they had known that I would spend much of that time hanging out and playing games, they probably would have been even more concerned. Why visiting to go up to the top of a tower and look down is more “normal,” I have no idea, but many people don’t seem to understand the appeal of games, or what I mean when I ask “Do you like games?”

I don’t mean Monopoly. And I don’t mean video games. Mostly I mean German-style board games, or Eurogames.

Eurogames emphasize strategy over luck, while not being as intense as something like chess. They have a theme and often involve building or developing things: cities, lands, train lines, etc. Although the first time you play generally takes a lot longer as you learn how the game works, unlike something like Risk, they have built-in endpoints that prevent a game from being interminable. They aren’t always German, or even European—that’s just what they’re called because they often are. Classic examples of the genre are Carcassone and Settlers of Catan.

If you’ve never tried them, invite a couple of people over, make some fabulous cocktails, and enjoy the following suggestions!

Exploring the world of Eurogames: Carcassonne, Dominion, Notre-Dame, and Ticket to Ride

Taking it to the next level: Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, and The Settlers of Catan

Games for people who think they don’t like games: Acquire, Bohnanza, and the Mystery Rummy series, especially Murders in the Rue Morgue

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