Time for an update on my move to Germany. First off, the schedule is more or less solidified: on July 3, my new book comes out (a new supernatural thriller called THE HOLLOW CITY, about a man with schizophrenia who realizes that some of the monsters he sees are real). I’ll be touring for three weeks, including a week in the middle for another Dark Days tour for PARTIALS, and then I’ll return home on (approximately) the July 23 and fly to Germany on July 25 or 26. We’ll be living in Stuttgart, or technically just north of Stuttgart in a town called Weilimdorf. I will be flying there with my wife and five kids, all of whom will go absolutely insane trapped on a plane for 14 hours, so if you’re planning to fly from the US to Germany I recommend you don’t do it on July 25 or 26.
Literally everything that we’re taking needs to fit in a carefully calculated set of luggage: 7 backpacks and 7 suitcases. Most of this space will be taken by clothes, but we’re throwing a few extras in there where we can fit them. Of special concern to me is my Boardgame collection–most of it is staying home, because it could more than fill seven suitcases all by itself, but I want to take at least a few things. I have some criteria to meet, and I’m open to suggestions:
1) It has to be something I can play with my kids. I’m leaving my game groups behind, obviously, and while it’s entirely possible that I’ll find a new one in Stuttgart (Germany has a much stronger boardgaming culture than the US), I figure anything they want to play they’ll already have. My family is who I’ll be playing most of these games with, so I need to take something they like.
2) It has to be small, or at least have a very high game-to-volume ratio. Something like Fireball Island would be awesome, because my kids love it, but it’s enormous (and kind of crushable) so it wouldn’t work. Something like Battles of Westeros, on the other hand, is pretty hefty but packs a ton of replayability into the space, so it might be worth it.
3) I don’t want to step on any cultural landmines. I’m not talking here about the difference between Eurogames and American games, but of more large scale cultural issues. Maybe this isn’t a concern at all, and I’m overthinking this, but please enlighten me: are World War II games, for example, totally tasteless in Germany? My son loves Memoir 44, which is another good “lots of game in one box” option, but it has Nazis in it. I can see how that might be a big cultural taboo, but I can also see how it might be no big deal, like playing a Civil War game in America. Please let me know in the comments.
So, in light of those requirements, and my current Boardgame collection, what do I take? My two top-rated games are Battlestar Galactica, which wouldn’t work with my kids at all, and Last Night on Earth, which would. LNoE also has that great replayability factor, making it a good match for requirement #2, so I think it makes the cut.
Of my ‘9-rated’ games, two are expansions, one is a minis game I don’t currently own minis for, and one is a big wargame I don’t think I could find the room for. 7 Wonders, on the other hand, could be a great choice: my kids like, it, my wife loves it, and it’s not enormous. That might make the cut as well. We’ll put it on the shortlist.
My 8-rated games are more problematic. My son is campaigning heavily for HeroClix, which I would LOVE to take, but it’s completely out of the question. Big Boggle‘s a great option, and not necessarily “big” so we might be okay. Agricola‘s a good choice, as is Vegas Showdown, though I’d want to repack it to reduce the size (it doesn’t come anywhere near filling the box it’s in). Battles of Westeros is one of my favorites, but fails the “my kids like it” test; I’d be better off with BattleLore, but now our list is getting pretty big, and I don’t know if I can feasibly fit this much in my luggage. It’s time to take a look at games I know my kids like, and work from there.
Let’s see, here. Going through the collection and pulling out the best candidates, I get Castle Ravenloft and it’s two twin sisters, Fill or Bust, Set, Small World, Ticket to Ride, UNO, Zombie Dice, and Zooloretto. Castle Ravenloft I should strike off the list right now, because it’s huge, but if I found a way to consolidate all three games into one box it might be worth it. Fill or Bust and Set are tiny card games, and a no-brainer; I should throw in a few other card games as well, like Guillotine and maybe Zombie Fluxx. Zombie Dice is a similarly easy inclusion, as is UNO (which is also a card game, but a biggish one). Ticket to Ride is on the iPad, so I don’t think I need a physical version; besides, it could be fun to pick up a Marklin edition in German while I’m over there. Small World could be good, as it would be the only wargame-ish thing I’d have, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the at this point extremely limited room. Zooloretto is one of my daughters’ favorites, and another one I could consolidate into a smaller box, so that might have to go as well.
My list at this point is too big:
Last Night on Earth
Vegas Showdown (repackaged)
BattleLore (size issue)
D&D Adventure Games (repackaged, and still probably a size issue)
Small World (size issue)
Fill or Bust
Those last five are about as big, put together, as the smallest other item on the list. I’m going to strike the D&D games and Big Boggle, the former for size and the latter for language inconsistency–if we play any word games, they should be something that helps the kids learn German. Small World might still be too big, so I’ll put that in a maybe pile. The others are totally doable.
Of course, we haven’t even discussed my Warmachine models. Painting models is not only a great solo hobby that I’d love to keep up with, it’s a very popular one in Germany that I could easily maintain at local shops. It’s huge, though. I don’t know. Maybe I could ship it to myself?