To get the most out of a new board game, sometimes you have to really dive in and devote a lot of time to playing, learning and, ultimately, dominating. Longer games (2+ hours) provide an opportunity to settle into your game brain, when decisions happen more quickly and you’re best able to see strategy without distraction from the real world. There’s also a far more pronounced feeling of victory when the game is over, as you had to overcome so many obstacles.
Unfortunately longer games can be a lot to stomach. Before venturing deep into the world of a longer game, heed our guide to playing these games safely, smartly and with consistent vigor:
1) Consult the rules often
There’s no shame in asking for a refresher, especially as the gap widens between when you first learned the game and where you are in the heat of the moment. Odds are you will have passed multiple scoring rounds and shifted strategy multiple times before the first hour is up, and it’s understandable if you’ve lost track of the end game or what role a particular card plays. Maintain a leg up on the competition by keeping the rules top-of-mind and readily available, especially if you shame your opponents for relying on the rules as a crutch. In fact, go out of your way to shame them. No shame in that!
2) Play as your favorite color
Side effects of long games include: staring at your game pieces for extended amounts of time. So why not ensure those pieces are visually pleasing? It may seem petty at first, but fight your opponents for your favorite color of pieces–or if a game doesn’t provide specific colors, choose a piece you enjoy looking at, be it a Monopoly dog or a character illustration of a beautiful person. You want to ensure no distractions from your ultimate goal, but if there are any, at least your eyes won’t hurt.
3) Hydrate responsibly
It’s a cliche, yes, but there is a chance, albeit very slim, that your opponents will take a peek at your cards or move your score marker if you head to the bathroom, even for a minute. It’s true! Not everyone’s as noble or honorable as you. So keep your water intake to what’s necessary. Beware the danger of under-hydrating, though, as a headache will certainly cloud the clear head you need to dominate. This goes doubly true for beer or other adult beverages 🙂 .
4) Pretend you’re not listening
Enemies prey on naivete, meaning your opponents are probably going to underestimate your prowess if you appear disinterested, tired or flat out bored. Heck, they’ll probably walk you, step-by-step, through each move they’re making to be sure you picked up on every single way they scored points. Reverse engineer what they’re saying to learn their strategy deep into the game then wait for the right moment, possibly after they go to the bathroom, to strike. Works best when checking your phone or consulting the rules (see #1).
5) Immediately suggest playing another round
If your friends are smart, they won’t be taking you up on this, but it gives off the impression that you loved the game so much that you’re pumped for another few hours of madness. Your enthusiasm is intimidating and will likely carry over to your next gaming session–they may even let you take first crack at picking your color!
What are your tips to surviving long game nights? Let us know in the comments below!