We are thrilled to open our newest flagship home on Albany Avenue in Brooklyn this week, Common Albany. In every Common home, we have tough choices to make about furnishing, decorations, and common spaces. In this one, we had one of the toughest decisions of all: What board games to choose for the game room?
We had space for about 20 games, enough to offer a decent variety without cluttering up the room. Picking the right games can set the tone for a warm, social space. Choose the wrong games (Diplomacy, perhaps?) may send the message that we want our members to get really, really angry at each other.
So we decided to pick games that have a few key characteristics:
- Social. Fostering community is a huge part of what we offer at Common. Single-player games can be fun, but they don’t help our members get to know each other. All of the games we chose – from two-player Chess to many-player Resistance – are designed for multiple players.
- Revealing. The best social games not only get people talking, but reveal something interesting about the player. Dixit is a great example of this – by playing, you better understand how your fellow players think.
- Easy to Understand. Members shouldn’t need to pore over the rules for an hour to understand how to play. Puerto Rico is one of my favorite games, but it isn’t particularly accessible.
- Old School. We designed Common with home in mind. So we wanted to find some games that felt like home – perhaps games our members last played at home with their parents or were always sitting around their dining rooms while they were growing up.
As I have a lot of game-loving friends, I sourced ideas through a Facebook post.
I got 90+ responses, an enthusiastic response given that I was only looking for twenty games. While this is explicitly not a democracy – I was looking for ideas, not votes – it is worthwhile to tally up the results to get a sense of what everyone thought. Every game that received at least two votes is included:
As you can see, the classic Catan was the runaway winner, with a very diverse set – Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, and Connect 4 – following up.
Although the aggregate results are interesting, some of the best recommendations were only made by one or two people. Dixit, Ticket to Ride, Resistance, and Jenga and all great games for the Common environment. Although each only got a couple votes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pop up in the game room.
The great part about this is that we can change the collection of games over time as we see what works and what doesn’t. And of course, members are welcome to bring their own games.
Want to join in? Apply to join one of our Brooklyn homes.
*Of course, my favorite of all was Josh Harris‘s suggestion: “broadcast TV.”