Board & Video Games: Suggestions & Info

Board Games

I’m not a huge board game fan, but to some extent they can be used to bond with others when not taken to an extreme. Sad and rebellious is the life of the man who endlessly plays cards. Insomuch as they do have a use, here are some suggestions from a friend of mine who enjoys better types of board games:


You can always watch videos online reviewing games, or of people playing them.  Depending on the video maker, though, they can be pretty boring.

There are also “board game cafes” all over, where you can play/buy games. The playing tends to be free.

I’ve not done any of those things, though.  We’ve been lucky enough to have friends/family that play, and we generally lean on them.


Here are just a few of the many we own, trying to mention a representative game from each of several genres.  (I’ll not talk about the Milton Bradley/Parker Bros stuff that everyone has been playing for 60 years, since most folks know them (and nothing else)):

  • Settlers of Catan — the “gateway drug” of serious board games.  I imagine you’ve played this?  You can’t go wrong.
  • Dominion — a “deck building” game where each player creates their own deck of cards, trying to get a deck strategy that lets them better purchase future cards.
    • Clarifying note: “purchase” is with in-game money, buying cards already in the box.  This isn’t the pokemon game everyone was into in elementary school where you buy cards one-at-a-time using real money.
  • Forbidden Desert — a cooperative board game.  You try to uncover airplane parts before running out of water/overheating/getting buried in sand.
  • Guillotine — a funny card game.  You are executioners in the french revolution taking turns beheading, competing to get the most valuable nobles by manipulating the line leading up to the guillotine to line them up to your advantage.  A simple game, and relatively cheap even new.
  • Ticket to Ride — another relatively well known one.  You build trains to connect cities.
  • Blokus — you take turns placing tiles down on a board, trying to block others from doing the same.  A simple game.
  • Coloretto — you create and later grab piles of cards, trying to get cards of various colors suitable to you and preventing others from doing the same.  A simple game, and relatively cheap.
  • Lords of Waterdeep — a rather involved “agent placement” game.  You take turns claiming spots you need before others take them, using them to gather resources to complete quests for points.
  • Puerto Rico — a very involved “phase selection” game.  You take turns choosing actions for everyone to take, trying to pick actions that work to your advantage but not others’.  Resources are all pretty scarce, so there are lots of opportunities to harm one another.



Video Games

To be frank I’m not very into video games, but there can be some uses for them, so here are some potentially positive games you can use for fun and learning.

gameboy (advance SP is the one with backlight; DS better graphic and just a bit costlier, DS plays advanced and has tons of games):

Mario, mariocart, crash bandicoot, spyro, zelda, donkey kong, pacman, minecraft?, sonic, Kirby?, Metroid?, various math games


better graphics for sports, tony hawk newer, daxter?, ratchet and clank?, Lumines Puzzle Fusion, crash bandicoot,

games that should be found on either GB or PSP:

skateboard, basketball, soccer, puzzle games, tetris, sudoku, minesweeper, other little games that take up too much space on a cell phone like chess checkers can do with kids taking turns 2 player, airplane simulator

smart phone / tablet apps:

gospel library, Hebrew interlinear bible, calculator, voice recorder, camera, video camera, minesweeper, chess, checkers, tetris, astronomy identifier, astronomy exploration (Solar System Scope is a good one), google earth, connect 4, dots and boxes, tic tac toe, Chinese checkers, hangman, uno, monopoly, dominos, yousician (learn piano or guitar), sudoku, word search, match cards, ISS HD Live (shace craft live footage of earth), compass, ridudo, Irish tin whistle tabs, learn Irish tunes (also tin whistle), guitar chords chart , pac man, Mario, kids PBS science, retro snake, air hockey,

Nintendo Wii (some of these also on Gamecube and 3DS and Switch):

Zelda, Mario, Mariokart, Rayman, Kirby, Sonic, Metroid?, Namco museum, classic games, Hasbro Family Game Night, Endless Ocean, Minecraft, Create, World of Zoo, Disney Princess?, Duck Tales, Skate It, Super Smash Bros?, Disney Epic Mickey, Sesame Street Cookie Counting, Reader Rabbit Preschool, Jumpstart Escape Adventure Island, Science Papa, Think Smart Family, Smarty Pants: Trivia for Everyone, Sesame Street: Elmo’s A-to-Zoo Adventure & a counting one and likely others, Margot’s Word Brain, Star Fox, Rayman, Ratchet & Clank, Disney Epic Mickey, Reader Rabbit Preschool,

Gamecube: CTR Crash Team Racing, Duck Tales, Wild Earth: African Safari, Margot’s Word Brain, Star Fox?,


crash bandicoot


Kingdom Hearts

PC for kids: (see “Steam” to buy computer games)

Headstart Adventure, Pajama Sam, Freddi Fish, pajama Sam, Freddie fish, Jumpstart Adventure, 3D Pac Man

YouTube channels and other websites for kids:

scripture stories, discovery channel, national geographic, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, Myth Busters, sesame street, counting and colors, khan academy




Info on gaming systems from a friend of mine:



Portable Systems technical facts and generalities:

– I know nothing of the PSP.  I don’t think they make games for it NOW, but it doesn’t matter; there’s a library full of old stuff; the same goes for almost all handhelds at this point in time.  Graphically, this is between a PS and a PS2, on the PS2 side.

– The new (current?) PSP is called a “PS Vita”.  I know nothing about it, either, other than that it exists.  Being a much newer console, I think/hope they’ve re-released a lot of old PS games on it that you can buy online, which is very promising.  But I’m not sure, nor do I know if their old game prices are reasonable.  Graphically, this is probably between a PS2 and a PS3.

– GBA plays GB+GBC+GBA.  You already know what it’s like. GBA SP is indeed nothing but a GBA but with a backlight (and some say a worse fit to your hand).  Probably like $30?

– DS does GBA+DS, but not GB or GBC.  Usually.  Some models don’t do GBA either (check to see if it has a GBA slot); there are a lot of different models but other than the GBA slot they’re mostly the same.  One of the most successful handhelds ever, sales-wise, and thus has an impressive library, especially for RPG, platformer, and puzzle fans.  Like $50?  Graphically, somewhere between a PS and a PS2, on the PS side.

– 3DS plays DS+3DS, but not GB or GBC or GBA (ever).  It has a somewhat smaller library of its own games (though still plenty); my collection’s like 25% 3DS games and 75% DS games.  I’ve hacked mine so that it also plays GB+GBC+GBA+NES+SNES+Genesis, so for me it’s far and away the best handheld… but it required hacking (and you’d be playing downloaded roms, not physical cartridges, which is only legal if you own the physical cartridge, and it’s hard to convince yourself to buy a cartridge you’ll never use for something you don’t own).  Anyhow, like $85 for the basic 3DS, though there are other models (2DS, 3DS XL, “New 3DS” (HORRIBLE name, nintendo), ect ).  Ask me about it if you care to.  Graphically, somewhere between a PS2 and a Gamecube/Wii (fun facts:  Despite popular belief, Gamecube hardware’s graphics are definitively better than PS2’s.  And Wii hardware is identical to Gamecube hardware except that they’ve added support for peripherals like the motion controller and the internet and such, so graphically it didn’t improve at all).

– Switch only plays Switch, and has a pretty sadly small library right now, hopefully that will change with time.  And pricey.  So not recommended unless you’re dying to play one its games.

– Smart Phone – Don’t underestimate this; maybe you don’t need a game system at all.  Most smart phone games are garbage–but that’s just because of an indiscriminate target audience.  You’d pick the non-garbage, right?  While most of the best games are not made for smartphone initially, many of the older ones have since been re-released for it.  Like, a lot of them.  Though it does suffer the same problem as computers:  Knowing whether your phone is compatible or not.  Anyhow, if you’re just playing chess/minesweeper/whatever, you’d be crazy to do so on an expensive game system–if you already have a smart phone.  The older cheaper smart phones are getting cheap now, but it’s anyone’s guess what’s compatible with them.


Bottom Line:

– My general advice is always: Buy GAMES, not Systems.  Pick the system with the games you want, not vice versa.  Of course, it’s hard if you don’t know what you want.  PSP/PS Vita mightbe better for you, based on what you’re already familiar with and the fact that it MIGHT play PS games… But I know little about it (including how much it cost); don’t take my word here

– Use Amazon to get relative prices (since amazon is well-organized and easy to compare), then do the actual buy on Ebay (which is almost always cheaper than Amazon, and IMHO just as reliable).  Or swing by a local game shop (but not GameStop; they’re more expensive and have much worse selection (focusing only on very new stuff), but have sadly driven many better companies out of business; you’d be better off buying online).  Some of these systems are REAL cheap.


Computer Gaming:

– Well, this is probably actually the best bet, selection wise–huge library PLUS you can emulate most anything (emulation is legal; piracy is not).

– Though it doesn’t solve the I’m-at-work problem. Which is probably a dealbreaker.  But I’ll ramble anyways…

– Most games will work fine on a crappy computer.  Though backwards compatibility with really old stuff is sometimes a pain, though often possible.  That’s my main beef with computer games; unlike a console, the computer changes with time, and occasionally leaves the old (but precious) stuff behind.  But even then, there’s such a big library of games.

– If you’re gonna play on PC, you’ll probably run into “Steam”.

– Steam is an electronic game portal for the PC, and for better or worse is now basically the semi-official way most people play games on the PC.  It’s like buying a video on Amazon Prime instead of buying a DVD–I hate the fact that it makes you permanently dependent on the company managing Steam, but it’s pretty much everywhere and if you game on the PC, you will probably run into it.  I’m probably the only one botherd by this

– Steam is free; you buy games, not a subscription service.  So unlike Amazon Prime, once you buy a game, it’s basically (though not technically) yours forever.  Like Amazon Prime, it supports multiple devices; if you buy it once, you own it “forever” and can put it on any device(s) you want to.

– Steam is… surprisingly fair in their pricing.  They regularly have really major discounts.  Like bundles of a lot of supposedly decent games for very, very little, surprisingly.

– Speaking of which… CHECK THIS OUT:

– They got everything this company ever made on Steam, and it works on about any computer.  Not that we aren’t way to old for this stuff, but I bought Pajama Sam and Freddi Fish for Evelyn, and she loves them… They only cost me $2.70 each (they go on sale really often). 🙂  Just rambling because this was a happy bit of nostalgia for me.

– These games suggest to me that maybe Steam does a pretty good job maintaining support for older stuff (these actually runs in a Windows 95 emulator behind-the-scenes, but Steam shields your from those nitty gritty details).  But those are the only two steam games I’ve actually bought, so that’s a poor sample size.

– Anyhow, I’m not personally much of a PC gamer, so I can’t help as much here.


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