Swapping Video Games for Card and Board Games

Recently I’ve been trying to swap some of my down time from playing video games to playing board and card games.  Throughout 2017 I played some fantastic video games.  Many of those that I found myself going back to again and again were Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, Duelyst and Civilisation 6.  Those of you familiar with these will know the strong similarities between these titles and both card and board games.  This has then led me to try out several different card and board games.

It has been a very positive experiment.  The card and board games below have all been incredibly fun to play.  I now intend to expand this website to include more card and board game content, but I could do with your help.

Following my experiments of the card and board games mentioned below I am keen to expand my collection.  If you have any recommendations then please do let me know either in the comments below, @DaddyDaydream on Twitter or email at daddydaydream@hotmail.com

What card games have we been playing?

Magic The Gathering

My first purchase to move towards physical games was Magic The Gathering, arguably the most popular card game on the planet.  I went for the Goblin vs Merfolk Duel deck.  These are designed for new players who are looking to learn the basic mechanics of Magic The Gathering.

The cards look amazing and the game didn’t appear too hard to get to grips with.  I have to admit that I found the lack of instructions somewhat frustrating.  I had to search online several times to find out how various elements of some of the cards should work.

The two decks feel fairly well balanced and I’m keen to keep playing to really get to grips with some of the intricacies that clearly exist with the decks.


Pokemon The Trading Card Game

Pokemon The Trading Card Game (Pokemon TCG) is designed to be almost a lite version of Magic The Gathering.  I found it particularly easy to pick up and play because of the incredible merging of the physical card game and the free to play online version.

Each deck that you buy has a code with it to copy your physical collection across to your online collection.  The online component is fantastic and a perfect way of learning the ropes.  I bought a Trainer Kit which contains two small decks to try at home.  These include very thorough instructions that actually talk you through, turn by turn how to play.  The decks arrive in a set order that allows you to play following the instructions to learn the game quickly.

I’ve had a great deal of fun with Pokemon TCG both online and with the physical cards.


Dobble is incredibly simple to play.  My 3 year old picked it up instantly and we now all play almost daily.  Dobble cards are circular and each contains a selection of images on.  If you pick any two cards from the deck you will always find one common image between them.  Dobble then is all about being the first person to spot the common image between two cards.

Dobble is great fun.  It is the quickest game to teach anyone and games do not last more than a few minutes.  I’ve played with a group of 7 adults just as successfully as one on one with one of my girls.  Dobble is a must own!


Dominion is a beast of a card game.  The base game of Dominion includes hundreds of cards, though each game actually only uses a fraction of them.  Players start with small decks and hands.  The starting cards are the same for all players and represent their small kingdom, or dominion.  As you play you use special buildings and individuals from your dominion to earn more money, this in turn allows you to expand your dominion.

The cards look wonderful and thoughtfully building up your dominion is a great pleasure.  One of the best things about Dominion is the options it gives you.  It is incredibly fun to play (I try to play weekly at the moment).  As you set up each game you select 10 “Kingdom” cards.  There is a huge selection of Kingdom cards meaning you can set up dramatically different games each time you play.

Dominion is fast moving and very satisfying card game that has quickly become a favourite of my wife and I.

What board games have we been playing?


Catan has proven to be a huge hit with the family.  This currently THE evening entertainment whenever we get together with my parents.  We’ve played half a dozen times.  Each time we play we learn more of the game’s rules and have more and more fun as we all come to appreciate Catan’s charms.

Catan sees players try to claim control of an island built of hexs.  Building villages and roads along various important resources allows players to expand their control over the island.  One of the best elements of Catan is the importance of trade.  The particularly fun aspect of this is the lack of rules around trade.  Negotiations are entertaining and allow for creative exchanges of goods.

I look forward to my next game of Catan as soon as I’ve finished my latest one.


Pandemic is a board game with twist, all players are working together, not in competition.  Cooperative board games are not something that I have experienced before but it works incredibly well.  It makes sharing the rules easy as you can help each other out with decisions on your turns throughout the entire game.

The game revolves around you working to rid the world of 4 deadly diseases.  To do so players must travel the world and remove diseases from infected cities.  Things can quickly spiral out of control when players do not effectively work together with diseases spreading from city to city at an alarming rate.

When you lose there is a strong desire to instantly setup again and get started again.  From the times I’ve played it so far it feels incredibly well balanced with final turns feeling tense and satisfying when you are successful.


Carcassone is a board game with a twist as it starts without a board!  Players build the board as they play, building up a beautiful map with players claiming cities, roads and churches to earn points.  Carcassone is wonderfully simple to pick up and play but hides an impressive amount of depth.  My daughters regularly ask to play it, they need some help with the scoring but enjoy building up the map.  Each game looks very different upon completion making it feel surprisingly creative to play.

Carcassone has proven so popular I would definitely consider picking up an expansion or two for it in the future.  It is wonderfully simple to teach to someone, games do not last too long and it contains an impressive amount of depth.


Onitama is a chess-like game with a beautiful ancient Japanese art style.  Players have 5 pieces and a small board to move them upon.  Unlike chess pieces do not have set moves.  Instead cards show potential moves that players can use.  Once used a move is passed to your opponent.  Only 5 cards are used in any game.  This means that if you lose you have physically given your opponent the cards/moves that they need to defeat you.

Onitama takes a bit of thinking about, but this is no bad thing!  Matches do not last long (much shorted than chess) but they feel very strategic.  The theme and art style of Onitama is absolutely stunning and adds to the overall sense of pleasure from playing.


What other card and board games should I try out?  These are all far more enjoyable to play than most video games I’ve played recently.  The social aspect as well as all of their physical, tactile pieces adds a lot to their enjoyment.  I’m keen to play more!  Recommendations are warmly welcomed.


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