Visit to the Island of “Misfit” Games

Chaos here!

A LIttle Background:

The Shelf of Shame: The board games that you own but have never played (or have only played once)

Most of us have games that we purchased with the best of intentions but have never really touched.  Some of us have games that were gifted to us and now also just take up shelf space.  These games sit there, silently waiting for their turn at the table.  Sometimes, that moment never comes.  Tragedy!

A few Halloweens back, I bought Salem 1692 with the expectation of playing it at my annual holiday party.  It fit the theme perfectly and my group tends to like social deduction games.  It seemed like a wise purchase.  Well… we all had a blast at the party, but Salem never hit the table.  Then, with the moment passed, Salem found a spot on my shelf and simply stayed there.  “One day,” I told myself, but never made any efforts to make that day a reality.

Several years later, a friend of mine noticed we owned the game and asked how it was.  It turned out, she also owned the game for a while.  A family member gifted it to her but she had yet to actually play it.  It became clear that Salem 1692 needed to be played by our group.

Then, my friend approached me with an even greater idea: a game night for our group’s games that have never been played or haven’t been played for a long time.  That is how I soon found myself hosting a game night entitled: “Visit to the Island of Misfit Games.”

What To Bring?

Sadly, I must admit that the shelves of Chaos and Confetti have accumulated enough games that some never or rarely see play.  We have dreams of playing so many games, but the time can be so hard to find.

Normally, it would be easy to bring a host of games to a “Misfit Games” party.  This year proved to be an exception to the rule though.  For the past 11+ months, we’ve been having a weekly clash (gaming competition) that involves a different game from our collection.  We wanted an excuse to play games, but we also saw it as an excuse to play more games we owned.  As we scanned our collection, we came to the realization that we actually kind of succeeded.  We hit so many unused/underused games this year.  Go us!

With our choices narrowed, we looked at our options.  We had games that we enjoyed but hadn’t been able to break out expansions for Marvel Champions, Robinson Crusoe, and Villainous.  We had games that looked good but the opportunity hadn’t been made yet, Dinosaur Island, Clank! Acquisitions Incorporated, and others.  Then, there were the games we’ve just happened to acquire over time that simply haven’t happened; games such as GPS and Sequoia.  Of course, there we had newer purchases that we really wanted to hit the table (like The Shivers), but their newness felt like it disqualified them from this particular event.  Scanning through our collection, several games stood out as “hey, remember me?” games (examples: and Then, We Held Hands, Bring Your Own Book, and Hot Seat).

Okay, so may our “shelf of shame,” unplayed/underplayed game collection was still sizable.

Anyways, I decided to focus on games that called to my desires a bit more and ones that might be shorter in order to allow for more games to be played during the night.  After all, I wouldn’t be the only one offering games up.  Then, I remember we would be playing at my house, so I decided I didn’t need to be as picky, since I could grab games as needed.  Yay hosting advantages!

The Game Night

Of course, we started with Salem 1692.  The rules were pretty simple and we hopped in quickly.  We played with seven competitors and one narrator.  After an hour of witch hunting and accusation hurling, the final witch was brought down.  As a group we decided that even though there are better social deduction games out there, Salem 1692 actually stood up as a solid game in its own right.  [Chaos who was of course a witch, made it to the end of the game, only to lose]

For our second game we played The Cat Game.  Think pictionary but with cats that must be incorporated into drawings.  We broke into two teams of four and played until someone reached twenty points.  Both teams draw simultaneously, and the first to guess their answer gets two points.  Then, both teams guess on the second drawing, with that one being worth one point.  This game isn’t a must have at any game night, but it infuses pictionary with a little feline silliness.  It’s a fun party game that gets good laughs. [Team Chaos and Confetti and two others won!]

Next, we broke out the “Dictatorship Card Game,” Quao.  It’s a game of odd rules and funny answers.  Our group had a blast playing this one years ago during a lake house weekend.  We may have overplayed it that weekend due to its ridiculousness.  It has now been around eight years.  Could the game recapture that magic?  Sadly, no.  The wackiness still shined, but this game might require a certain level of buy-in and zaniness back.  We played through a single round and then decided it might be best to move on.  [Confetti won the one round we played]

One of our friends brought their copy of Anomia to the party.  Our group actually plays this game every once in a while, so it probably didn’t quite qualify as a “Misfit,” but it did create an excuse to play my recently purchased copy of Anomia: Pop Culture.  The tip-of-the-tongue, game of speed is fantastic and the new pop culture themes were fun.  Marvel and a few other topics popped up a lot, but that may say more about the state of pop culture than the game itself.  As usual, Anomia is a fantastic game that gets a lot of laughs. [Chaos proved victorious]

Our final game of the night was Oh Snap!  Here, we had to pull wooden pieces out of a board without letting the tension spring go off.  The larger the piece we pulled, the more points we earned.  There is a bit of strategy that goes into this one as players must decide whether to risk big points or to play safely.  Tension builds in players as it also looks for release in the springboard.  It’s doubtful that Oh Snap! will be regularly requested at our game nights, but it acted a a quick and entertaining close to the night [A non-Chaos and Confetti group member won this one]

The Wrap Up:

Many of us will be adding new games to our collections during the holiday season, but don’t completely forget about what you already own.  Maybe you have a hidden gem on your shelf or maybe something that can still spark a little joy.  

We highly recommend hosting your own “Island of Misfit Games” night yourself.  The gameplay may be a tad uneven and wonky, but it should create a unique and memorable experience with friends. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: