defective yeti's good gift games guides
December 4, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Matthew Baldwin (MeFi's Own* Defective Yeti*): " ...That’s why I come armed to every social engagement with board games, to help facilitate that whole human interaction thing that people thought was important before smartphones gave us an excuse to avoid eye contact with others. It’s also why I give games as gifts—and why, for more than a decade, I have been helping others do likewise. And so, my annual Good Gift Game guide, showcasing those board and card games from the last year or so that are easy to learn and teach, fun and engrossing to play, and that can be completed in 90 minutes or less." (additional notes & more games for the 2012 guide)

previous years:
*2011 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2010 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2009 Good Gift Games guide (no additional notes for this year)
*2008 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2007 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2006 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2005 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2004 Good Gift Games guide (additional notes and more games at Defective Yeti)
*2003 Good Gift Games guide
*2002 Good Gift Games guide
*2001 Good Gift Games guide
*2000 Good Gift Games guide


Baldwin's Good Gift Games Greatest Hits round-up (from 2011): "What they lack in newness (actual word! looked it up!) they more than make up for with their proven longevity and track record of appealing to those for whom modern board games are unknown territory." This round-up also includes focused lists of games such as Ten Great “Two-Minute” Card Games, Games for Kids, Large-Group Games, Games for Two, and Friendship-Enders!

All of Defective Yeti's posts tagged with "games" (game reviews & so on).

Defective Yeti previously on MeFi here and here, highlights:
*gaming loopholes (dead link goes here)
*tricks of the trades and act like a drunk acting sober
*I like my Yetis defective
posted by flex (55 comments total) 149 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah! Defective Yeti! I'm always excited to see a member of the boardgaming community who is funny, nice, informed, and can write!
posted by mecran01 at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


My stomach muscles tighten whenever I simply read the name "Defective Yeti," thanks to remembered workouts from convulsive laughter.

Example the first, "My Humps."
posted by wenestvedt at 9:41 AM on December 4, 2012


Thanks for the reminder! I had somehow forgotten that Defective Yeti existed, and my parents have been asking me for Christmas present suggestions... this post has solved both problems. Also, I've been struggling to find people to play boardgames with since moving cities, and having a nice "gift game" to ease people in with could be handy.


While barely relevant to the post (sorry), anyone who's new to Defective Yeti should check out the Bad Review Revue. Looks like he hasn't done one for ages, but they're golden.
posted by metaBugs at 9:42 AM on December 4, 2012


Cards Against Humanity was restocked at Amazon yesterday. My two copies (one for giving, one for keeping) are already on their way.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2012


From what I can tell, Cards Against Humanity is just Apples to Apples, filthy mouth edition?

Because with the right intonation, you can make Apples to Apples pretty blue.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


A guide from last Sunday's SF Chronicle as well.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2012


Not just filthy, but deliberately offensive. See, that's the point! The game is making me say all these offensive things!! SO FUNNY!!!

But despite that, Matthew's generally pretty right on with his GGGs.
posted by Windopaene at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christmas shopping: Done. Thank you!
posted by No Robots at 9:55 AM on December 4, 2012


From what I can tell, Cards Against Humanity is just Apples to Apples, filthy mouth edition?

It's structurally a better game (in my opinion, naturally): where Apples to Apples has the judge pairing adjectives to nouns, Cards Against Humanity has you pairing nouns to sentences. You're not playing a game of comparisons: you're literally piecing jokes together, all starting from the same premise and introducing your own variations.
posted by cjelli at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2012


Whoa, um... Thanks for this awesome list of lists and so on.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2012


I don't have time to read all these right now but, for the guides, the concept of giving games as gifts and for the reasons why to give them, well, bless his not defective heart.
posted by y2karl at 10:04 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what I can tell, Cards Against Humanity is just Apples to Apples, filthy mouth edition?

That's what I thought until I played it. Apples to Apples is fun and will make you chuckle a few times. Cards Against Humanity will have you laughing so hard it hurts while at the same time feeling like the horrible person you are.
posted by aspo at 10:04 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cards Against Humanity is awesome; I was literal laughing to the point of tears during one round when some co-workers brought it in for a lunchtime game session. You learn a lot about the people around the table when you play it.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:16 AM on December 4, 2012


I just bought Lords of Waterdeep today, so I was glad to see him echo the surprisingly awesome buzz. It's hard to imagine a D&D themed board game property being anything other than awful, but seems like they got it right!
posted by absalom at 10:19 AM on December 4, 2012


Am I the only one who's read that name forever as "Detective Yeti"?
posted by jquinby at 10:20 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


CAH is far, FAR more than just 'Dirty Apples to Dirtier Apples'. The structure of it is based on not only knowing who is judging round by round and how to best cater to what you imagine THEIR sense of humor is, but also by exploring the best of absurdist lateral thinking through scatology to make the most satisfying left-field joke out of the current statement. It's absolutely filthy, to be sure, but simply sublime with some of the arrangements that tend to organically grow from a game session.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:22 AM on December 4, 2012


Cards Against Humanity was restocked at Amazon yesterday. My two copies (one for giving, one for keeping) are already on their way.

Man, my homemade deck is getting worn.
I just wish they'd sell it somewhere other than Amazon.
posted by madajb at 10:25 AM on December 4, 2012


Haha, the 2004 list calls Puerto Rico "the Lance Armstrong of modern board games." It caught me off guard for a moment trying to figure out in what way Puerto Rico was so flawed.
posted by oulipian at 10:25 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I'm just browsing some of the past years guides...thrilled to see that Survive! was reprinted. I loved that game as a kid (as did defective yeti, apparently). So many games here I want, so few people around to play them with...
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2012


From what I can tell, Cards Against Humanity is just Apples to Apples, filthy mouth edition?

In the abstract, CaH is more flexible- by virtue of the multiple-blanks-on-the-judge's-card, it is simply better designed than AtA. Concretely, it is also a much funnier game. I would call it a strictly superior game, but unlike CaH I'm comfortable playing AtA in a family context.

There just aren't that many opportunities for humor in AtA. The number of plays you have to do in order to get something really funny or memorable is way too high. It gets old pretty fast. I haven't played CaH enough to see it whether it holds up better, but if it decays at the same rate, it will remain above the enjoyability threshold simply for being funnier at first.
posted by Jpfed at 10:36 AM on December 4, 2012


Just ordered a set of CAH decks (base plus the expansions). Glad they were able to get it back in stock before the holidays; lot of lost sales if they hadn't been able to do it.

Does anyone know whether the commercially-printed CAH cards are the same size as the DIY ones you get by downloading and printing the PDF file on their site? I.e., are the homemade and commercial cards interchangeable in play?
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:37 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just ordered Morels on his recommendation and have now put a few others (all out of stock, alas/luckily) on my wish list. I buy a lot of games based on his reviews and wow, finding his blog so many years ago has cost me a lot of money.
posted by jeather at 10:43 AM on December 4, 2012


If you miss the days when Defective Yeti would update regularly, Matthew Baldwin seems to be posting most of his funny material on his Twitter feed.

"Did anyone wake all those people who told us to wake them when the election was over?"

"MORMON ELECTION GAME: Every time Romney becomes president, drink."

"If FOX just said Romney won the election and spent 4 years pretending he were President, I bet most of its viewers would never be the wiser."

"To give my son's Spider-Man costume an added touch of authenticity I shot my brother."

"When you say "women aren't funny", I hear "I'm not on twitter"."
posted by straight at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Love Cards Against Humanity. Love Apples to Apples. And, in the same style, I also love Dixit.

My own list of games I've been enjoying this year (not necessarily released this year) in the three categories of people I play them with:

Games with Mrs. eyeballkid, who digs the casual stuff. We tried Smash Up this weekend. I dug it, but I need a few more plays to see if that opinion stands up.

With the immediate family, including eyeballkid jr. With the drinking buddies
posted by eyeballkid at 11:11 AM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


And now I found all the other games in stock. Glad I don't normally buy much so I can spend $200 on games in 4 seconds.
posted by jeather at 11:14 AM on December 4, 2012


Escape: The Curse of the Temple sounds utterly fantastic. Can anyone confirm its awesomeness?
posted by IjonTichy at 11:21 AM on December 4, 2012


Metafilter: will have you laughing so hard it hurts while at the same time feeling like the horrible person you are
posted by hanov3r at 11:31 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bought Friday but couldn't get into it; little too hard and random for me. My favorite solitaire game is still Onirim, and if the guy's damned next game ever comes out (again) I will be a happy, happy man.
posted by curious nu at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2012


Not sure how I never knew about these game reviews, thanks! I bought Cards Against Humanity for myself and gifts for the cousins.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:03 PM on December 4, 2012



Am I the only one who's read that name forever as "Detective Yeti"?


Oh god, I thought it was detective! It's not, though. =( This yeti is most definitely defective. I would like a proper detective yeti, please.

* starts working on a game where you play a detective yeti *

Morels looks pretty cool; probably going to look at Flash Point and Takenoko also.
posted by curious nu at 12:06 PM on December 4, 2012


Also, not out yet but successfully kickstarted, and I'm eager to try: Pint Craft.
posted by curious nu at 12:09 PM on December 4, 2012


Another recent successful boardgame Kickstarter worth a look is Guts Of Glory, by Zach Gage of SpellTower fame. The successful fundraising campaign means that the game should launch in March, but they're also putting together a downloadable print-and-play version that should be available any day now (they were aiming for "end of November").
posted by oulipian at 12:17 PM on December 4, 2012


Cards Against Humanity isn't high on my personal interest listing, but Lords of Waterdeep is quite good. Lots of eurogames end up taking up your whole evening, but LoW is generally over with in an hour. 7 Wonders is also quite good and is even shorter.

The designer of Flash Point: Fire Rescue was at DragonCon this year, and on the very last day, like three hours before leaving the convention, I got to play the "easy" game with several other gamers in their (INCREDIBLY AWESOME) board gaming room. We lost (the building collapsed), but we had a great time in losing.
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2012


Also an aside: if Pandemic is too long/expensive/dry for you, the game Forbidden Island is from the same designer, is much cheaper and shorter, and plays a whole lot like Pandemic Lite on a changeable board. Most of the mechanics are the same or very similar.
posted by JHarris at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you so much, you guys!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:40 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Risk: Legacy was written up here a little over a year ago.
posted by JHarris at 12:44 PM on December 4, 2012


I would like to tell this Apples to Apples story that happened just this weekend:

My girlfriend and I spent the weekend with eight other people in a rented house in the woods. The house had an outdoor hot tub, which was pretty damn awesome, especially as it was about 30 degrees out. Saturday evening, we finished the enormous dinner we spent the afternoon preparing and sat down to play Apples to Apples. Everyone enjoys that game but we really just needed something to do while digesting and getting comfortable enough to get into the tub without feeling like a bunch of sous-vide bags.

If you haven't played Apples to Apples, the central concept of the game is that a rotating judge player reveals an adjective card and the rest of the players anonymously drop a matching noun card from a hand of five. The judge then picks the "best" one, and that player claims their card and gets a point. The judge has no way of telling who dropped the noun card until the very end of the turn.

Now, a game of Apples to Apples with ten people biding their time to do something else can get sort of tedious. We were playing to 5, I had 4, and everyone else was between 0 and 2 and restless. So it is someone's turn and they reveal the APPROPRIATE adjective card.

I could not have come up with a better opportunity to drop the HOT TUB PARTY card I had drawn last turn. Although I suspect from how quickly people got up when that card was declared the winner, the game was over regardless of whose it was.
posted by griphus at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


What I'd really like is a non-filthy version of Cards Against Humanity. Maybe they'll come out with CAH Junior?
posted by vespabelle at 1:44 PM on December 4, 2012


Wow, that post made me realize how beautiful a font Minion Pro so. Also, that I need to somehow get back into playing board games.
posted by ignignokt at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2012


Now I am highly suspicious that this post is in some way meant to advance awareness of National Dice Day.

More seriously, with lists like this one, Board Game Geek, and Wil Wheaton's TableTop, I'm starting to feel like board games are really in a renaissance.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:05 PM on December 4, 2012


Maybe they'll come out with CAH Junior?

You can do that yourself just by writing the word boogers on a whole stack of index cards.
posted by JHarris at 4:11 PM on December 4, 2012


a non-filthy version of Cards Against Humanity

The mind boggles. What would that even mean? Take away the filthiness and there's nothing left worth the name.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:21 PM on December 4, 2012


picked up morales, contemplating Dixit. Thanks for the link!
posted by rebent at 5:34 PM on December 4, 2012


Can't recommend Friday enough. Tough but fun.
posted by soplerfo at 6:03 PM on December 4, 2012


First of all, this post is awesome. Huge thanks, flex!

Second, because of a regular Friday lunch gaming group (not gonna lie: some weeks, it's the best part of my job), I actually have played games listed in this thread and I am super excited to play some of the ones in the article. Especially Cards against Humanity--though sadly we've agreed that we are all way way too foul-mouthed to be playing that one at work, within eye-sight and hearing range of the director. New games--this is just great.

Thirdly, is there some way I can convince defective yeti to review Once Upon a Time for me? A mini-gaming group played it the day after Thanksgiving and we all wanted to murder each other because we couldn't agree on the rules. Also, funny reviews would help.
posted by librarylis at 7:03 PM on December 4, 2012


Today (Tuesday the 4th), at least, you can Tweet to @matthewbaldwin your needs in a game (players, time, age-group, gametype (cardgame, boardgame, dice game etc.), skill level, whatever's relevant) and he will reply with some instant recommendations in a gentlemanly (and scholarly) fashion.

I've exchanged tweets and email before with him and I sincerely doubt he'll refuse the same service on days after this one, so get yer twitter on.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:26 PM on December 4, 2012


Tried Flash Point. Verdict: not worth it if you're playing with two people and only two firefighters. You need at least 3-4 firefighters (so two players have to double up on their characters) to have a chance. Also suffers from the same problems that most co-ops do: pretty hard, and there's nothing mechanically to stop one person from playing it solo with as many characters as they want, e.g. there's no reason WHY it's a co-op board game instead of a single player computer game.
posted by curious nu at 4:55 PM on December 9, 2012


Seriously? I played the easy version of expert Flash Point (explosions/hotspots/hazmat, but only 3 to start) with 2p, and it was never even close to feeling risky. Pandemic is significantly easier with 2 people than 4, and this uses the same mechanic, ish, so I would have assumed it was the same.
posted by jeather at 5:21 PM on December 9, 2012


Yep. Between flashovers and explosions it is just crazy.
posted by curious nu at 9:46 PM on December 9, 2012


Thirdly, is there some way I can convince defective yeti to review Once Upon a Time for me? A mini-gaming group played it the day after Thanksgiving and we all wanted to murder each other because we couldn't agree on the rules. Also, funny reviews would help.

Usser Hogshead here co-created that game. You could MeMail him for clarification?
posted by JHarris at 5:06 AM on December 10, 2012


Yep. Between flashovers and explosions it is just crazy.

I guess I was really lucky, or you were really unlucky (or you played it at a higher level). Time to play it again and see!
posted by jeather at 7:00 AM on December 10, 2012


Flash Point can get out of control quickly if you get a couple of bad spread rolls (we did, including a particular set of coordinates getting rolled like three times). I've only had the chance to play it once, but basic analysis seems to indicate it's best to try to get the fire under control and start rescuing only once the risk of flashes has been substantially diminished.

It might help to purposely move victims to a corner of the house where the chance of getting burned are lowest, and then purposely not rescuing them while you extinguish fires. If you rescue one you generate another POI, and it could be somewhere where it could get burnt before you can do anything about it. If you leave the victim by a door however maybe you can focus on clearing out fires, giving later POIs better chances of survival.
posted by JHarris at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2012


jeather: it's possible we were just really unlucky. We were playing the family/tutorial board!

JHarris: that was my guess (fire under control first), and I decided that playing constant catch-up seemed like the most un-fun thing to do. It's also why I don't play computer games where grinding is involved. ;)
posted by curious nu at 8:35 AM on December 10, 2012


Usser Hogshead here co-created that game. You could MeMail him for clarification?

What, really? Wow, I love Metafilter. I absolutely will MeMail Hogshead because man oh man that would be great to have some insight.
posted by librarylis at 3:11 PM on December 10, 2012


I was just as effusive when I found out. He also created The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He's pretty much great.
posted by JHarris at 5:19 PM on December 10, 2012


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