I've never done a blogfest before, but I saw this one today and loved the topic enough to add my post to the mix.
One of the great things about games is their variety. We sure have a lot of options! Board games, card games, video games, pen and paper games, strategy games, etc. So picking three favorites is a challenge!
But over time I get pretty bored of most games. I've come to find that the games I like the least are the ones that have either no strategy at all (like the card game War—how mind-numbing) or a strategy that is easy to figure out and doesn't change much from game to game (like Tic Tac Toe for an extreme example). Basically, the longer it takes me to get my game theory on and figure out the strategy that is most likely to win every time, the longer I enjoy the game.
So here are my three favorite categories of games and my top picks in each:
1. Computer Games
Okay, this is a really huge category, and maybe I'm cheating by counting it as a single game type. Oh well. The games that I've spent the most time playing over the years are Civilization 4 (and 5 for the first time last weekend), the Sims 3, and various MMOs (yep, I got caught in the quicksand of World of Warcraft for a while).
My top pick, though, is Portal/Portal 2. While certainly not the game I've spent the most time playing, it's the one that I found to be most fascinating. The only downside: the turrets! I do not like being shot at! No, thank you! But even that I think I got over by the end. They're very cute after all.
2. Games with Complex Strategies
For me these are really difficult to find. Sometimes I'll think I've got one, only to lose interest after just a few times playing. Ticket to Ride was one that I enjoyed for a while and then suddenly got really sick of. I tend to have a little more luck with card games like Hearts or Spades (or maybe even Bridge if I knew anyone who'd want to play). A friend introduced me to Dominion a few months ago, which I think might last for a while because each game is so different from the last, though even that will get old.
My top pick: very difficult to say since I don't really have a favorite right now, but if I had to pick I'd go with Dungeonquest. Another friend owns this game, and of the few times I've played I've only made it out of the dungeon alive once. It's fun because it's so unpredictable and so difficult to win.
3. Content Creation Games
Now these are my absolute favorites. Tabletop RPGs would fall into this category, but while I do love group story-telling, these aren't the only content creation games out there. One of my first favorites was “the Dictionary game” as we called it, but I think most people know it as Balderdash. A more recent favorite is “Telephone Pictionary.” For those who have never played it, it combines the descent into nonsense that is “Telephone” with the not-so-artistic drawings of “Pictionary,” resulting in chaotic hilarity.
My top pick: The Game of Things. This game has gotten more laughs than any other I've played. It's a “who said what” game like Balderdash but with far less serious responses.
Being that I am the kind of person who analyzes everything—after all, I do come from a family that will discuss the finer points of anything hypothetical, regardless of how ridiculous (and we've been known to debate the pros and cons of using the vomit comet to aerate wine)—I've done some thinking about the different games that I enjoy playing, and I've started designing my own game. It's a combination board game and content creation game. If I finish it by the next time I get together with all my cousins I'll test it out on them, and if they like it I may post more about it later. Of course, it's not exactly my highest priority, so whether it actually gets finished remains to be seen.