Top 10 Crowd-Pleasing Tabletop Party Games [GuideLive]

Read the full list at GuideLive

A good party game has to fulfill certain criteria. It must very easy to teach and play, and support a large number of players. Party games don’t need to be limited to thinly-veiled icebreakers, however. And they should definitely be (mostly) playable while drinking.

The modern board gaming scene is full of a diverse collection of games. Many of them are specifically suited for casual groups and parties, and most you can grab for less than $20.

If you’ve graduated from the days of beer pong into the wonderful world of tabletop gaming, here are some suggestions for your next favorite party game.

READ THE FULL LIST AT GUIDELIVE

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 36 Recap

Back into the sprawling elemental dungeons we go, this time going deeper beneath the Air temple.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

There’s a lot I really enjoy about “Princes of the Apocalypse.” But if it has one glaring weakness, it’s that it quickly becomes a nightmare to run as a DM due to the interconnected mega-dungeons.

A clear theme in the adventure are the elemental cults and how they work with and against each other. This is reflected in their physical proximity to each other, with dungeons often leading into another cult’s territory, or deeper and deeper into a sprawling mega-complex.

My players have expressed concerns that it makes layouts confusing going from one dungeon to the next. For my part as DM it often becomes a stressful chore trying to figure out where my players will go and what all I need to prepare.

In this week’s session, the party decided to head back beneath the Sumber Hills to explore the one spot they left untouched in the Air Temple – the giant underground pyramid. They hoped to find Miri’s mother. It wasn’t going to be that easy. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 36 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 35 Recap

We battle the Ironsmith and his creations, then return to find Red Larch ablaze by fire cultists and a devastation orb ready to explode.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

“Princes of the Apocalypse” is a very lengthy campaign. We get together online to play for 2-3 hours once a week. A single large dungeon could easily last 10 hours – and the main story is essentially a series of dungeon crawls.

There are some nifty built-in side quests, but I ended up eliminating about half of them. With the main story already being beefy enough, I need side treks to really be worth our time.

I inserted a few dungeons and scenarios from other sources. I could tailor these experiences into our story and world – but more importantly, into the player characters and their own backstories.

This week we finished up at the ancient temple of Tyr, battling a renegade Tyr worshiper with a golem fetish – right up Kalinaar’s alley! Then we returned to Red Larch to find the fire cult ready to detonate a devastation orb, and Kethra’s former mentor Fengell ready to throw down once and for all. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 35 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 34 Recap

The heroes discover the bloody source of the swamp reeds, then travel to a forest and stumble into a trap at an ancient temple of Tyr.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

I love writing, but I’m not an artist. I find building a map to be more of a chore than enjoyable. Using official campaigns and scenarios help immensely with my creative process – most of the maps are already created!

But as I mentioned in the last few weeks, I’m going a bit off-book with these current side treks.

In this session we finished up “The House of Reeds and Whispers” from Kobold Press’ Book of Lairs. Then we ventured to an old Temple of Tyr, which has recently become occupied. This mini-dungeon is from Nerzugal’s Dungeon Master Toolkit, and I had to build the map from scratch. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 34 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 33 Recap

We follow the trail of blood-draining reeds to a mysterious house in the swamp. Just outside we fight off an ambush of eel hounds.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We’ve finally reached the point in our lengthy campaign where I decided to add material from outside sources. “Princes of the Apoclaypse” certainly has plenty of content to keep us going for another six months – but I just couldn’t help myself.

Plus, I received the Tomb of Beasts and Book of Lairs from Kobold Press’ Kickstarter and just had to try at least one of their spiffy dungeons. With the extra side treks I can also tie them into what’s going on in the Dessarin Valley, the elemental cults, and my PC’s themselves.

In the case of the “House of Reeds and Whispers,” I knew Talus wouldn’t be able to pass up a mysterious, magical investigation growing from the Black Maw Bog. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 33 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap

The party gains several new side quests in Red Larch. They journey to Westbridge and discover the ruined town being bullied by the Cult of the Black Earth.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

It’s entirely possible to over prepare for a D&D session. This produces the opposite effect of the phrase, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” Instead you’re so consumed by the entire forest, you skip over trying to plant and nurture individual trees.

This past week I think I spent more time on D&D than anything else. My party had recently returned to Red Larch after a very lengthy stay within the temples of elemental evil. The sojourn encompassed three dungeons, at least two Long Rests, and over two months of real time.

So I had a bit of a backlog with side treks and extra events that were happening around the Dessarin Valley.

d&dI also wanted to include even more extra content. I recently received the Book of Lairs book from Kobold Press’ Tomb of Beasts Kickstarter (the ToB is also fantastic) and found a dungeon that I could easily include in our current campaign as a Side Trek.

On top of that I found another mini-dungeon that would work wonderful for my campaign with a few tweaks, from Nerzugal’s DM Toolkit. That’s on top of a Side Trek included in the campaign that I was adding.

So that’s three Side Treks I built this week. Then I noticed my party would be traveling to Westbridge, and realized that “Princes of the Apocalypse” includes a neat little mini-scenario that occurs when they travel there in the latter half of the adventure. Four – four new things!

It was overwhelming but I got it all done. I could’ve easily just picked one and dove deeper into it. But I enjoyed giving my players the option of picking where to go and what to do. I wish I hadn’t done the Westbridge event at the last second on Sunday – as that’s what we ended up tackling this week. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap

We sneak past trolls and ogres with stealth and deception before battling reavers and bugbears. Curious water weird tanks are found while we escape the elemental temples.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

When exploring a large dungeon, I prefer not to leave it as a series of static rooms filled with monsters and traps. Depending on how much prep time I have, I try to include unique scenarios, dialogue, and role-playing situations whenever I can to break up the blood bath. Particularly after the super long combat encounter that lasted all last session.

This week our heroes squeezed in a Short Rest before having to think on their feet and employ some stealth and deception to make it through a series of trolls, ogres, and an opportunity-seizing sea hag named Thuluna. They discovered magical experiments involving mobile Water Weird battle tanks, and a whole host of baddies to take down as they made their way out of Crushing Wave territory. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap

An explosive trap sets off an epic battle in the heart of the water temple with cultists, lizardfolk, and a dragon turtle.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Some sessions are filled with intrigue, role-playing, puzzles, and exploration. Others are just one big battle royale. Our thirtieth session was the latter, as our heroes charge forth into the waiting arms of the water cultists.

My players’ progress within the water temple has been haphazard at best. They narrowly avoided being slaughtered by the dragon turtle, and at one point looked to be separating to different corners via the underground river.

But they regrouped and headed North and East, which lead them straight to the boss. They defeated Gar quite handily (being at nearly full strength).

But now most of the temple lay before them – and its denizens were aware of intruders lurking about. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 29 Recap

The party survives an ambush and takes on the leader of the Crushing Wave cult with help, then betrayal from their lizardfolk allies.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Holy crap my players are powerful. Like Polymorph the captured rogue into a giant ape that kills everything, powerful.

D&D’s always had a weird balance that revolves around attrition. Creatures are given a Challenge Rating and DM’s have a tool to calculate how to make encounters Easy, Medium, Hard, and Deadly depending on the type and number of enemies.

But that assumes a “well-rested party.” Much of the challenge of D&D comes from fights taking a gradual toll on the party’s resources. It was a tricky balancing act, particularly in dungeons.

5E lets the party Short Rest to recover some abilities. If the party does that right before a major boss battle, they’re sitting much prettier than an otherwise easy or medium fight that’s at the end of a long string of encounters. See for example the near deadly fire elemental encounter near the end of Scarlet Moon Hall.

For this week’s session the party tackled their biggest boss battle to date – the leader/prophet of Elemental Water Gar Shatterkeel, and suffered nary a scratch. I even threw an extra force of reinforcements at them, AND had their lizardfolk allies turn on them afterward.

frysquintThe PCs defeated them all.

Nary a scratch.

 

 

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 29 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 28 Recap

In the water temple the party stumbles on a massive dragon turtle lair and mounts a daring escape.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

In some dungeon-crawling sessions we simply go room-to-room, slaying monsters and looting. The Action-RPG approach isn’t necessarily wrong – everyone plays D&D differently. Sometimes, however, your party stumbles into an area that’s way over their head, and the ensuing chaos can be just as fun as actual combat.

The party was on their third dungeon in a row, doing most of the air temple, running through almost half of the Fane, and emerging in the Water temple. It’s been hell on my prep work, but it also lead to some of our most memorable moments in the entire campaign.

The Cult of the Crushing Wave is home to the largest monster we’ve seen so far – a dragon turtle. Of course I was super excited to unleash this monstrosity, and the campaign book had several scenarios that Bronzefume could be utilized in.

Turns out, I wouldn’t need any of them. The party decided to jump into the river, and attempt to deal with a long series of Swim checks that lead them closer to the Market Hall/Docks area in the Southeast. I added some torches to the quay on the west side to help orient them a little better, but they spotted the glowing lights in the Western part of the lake. Like moths to the flame, they decided to investigate. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 28 Recap”