A day for puzzles and games galore!

Aloha, friends and fellow puzzle fiends! Just a quick reminder that tomorrow (March 30th) is International TableTop Day!

For the uninitiated, International TableTop Day is the brainchild of Internet superstars and gaming devotees Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, a day devoted to board games, card games, dice games, roleplaying games (RPGs), and any other communal game-playing activity played on a table or any convenient flat surface.

(And with so many puzzle-based games out there, from Boggle and Scrabble to Jenga and Hex, I think it definitely merits mention here on the PuzzleNation blog.)

While the term “TableTop” was originally coined to differentiate one style of gaming or roleplaying from another. TableToppers were your Magic card-carrying, dice-rolling, character sheet-wielding gamers, as opposed to those who played video games or engaged in Live-Acting Roleplaying (LARPing).

Obviously, the definition has since expanded to include many other types of games, so long as you play with others around a table.

As not only a self-confessed puzzlin’ fool, but a devoted player of Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs, I’m happy to tell you that some of my all-time favorite puzzles have come from my experiences as a roleplayer.

I remember being trapped in a dungeon in my friend’s game, and there was this elaborate machine that would open the door with flowing water if you could direct the water properly. You did so by way of numerous levers located in various rooms around the dungeon. And as a bare-bones adventuring party, we didn’t have anything with which to draw a map of the labyrinthine corridors, so I basically had to memorize the route in my head, figure out what each of the levers did, then run around the dungeon pulling them in the precise order necessary to unlock the door.

It was mindbending and frustrating and a terrific time. That’s the kind of puzzle-gaming experience I’d love to share with others.

Since Easter is this Sunday and I’ll already be spending time with my nephews this weekend, I’m hoping to introduce them to some of my favorite board games and puzzle games. I’ll definitely be bringing my two-player version of Brick by Brick with me.

A variation on the classic Tangram-style of piece-moving puzzle solving, Brick By Brick puzzles offer a shadowed shape you need to form with irregularly shaped bricks. You can play by yourself or go head-to-head with an opponent, or even team up and use both sets of bricks to solve even tougher shadow puzzles. It’s great fun and a terrific brain-teaser.

I’m hoping it’ll be the gateway drug to other puzzle games as they get older, since they’re a little too young for some of my favorites. (Like U.S. Patent Number 1, the game where you’ve built a time machine, and so have your opponents, and you race to soup them up and travel back in time to register for the very first patent. It’s a blast.)

Oh, and Older Sister? Beware, I’m also bringing Upwords, a marvelous variation on Scrabble where you can place letters on top of other letters in order to form new words. You’re going down, sis!

Of course, in the midst of all this TableToppy goodness, I’ll be bending the rules a bit, since I also plan on sharing the spirit of International TableTop Day by playing some two-player PuzzleNation games with friends abroad. Hey, it’s much harder to gather around the table with an ocean between you.

In any case, I hope you indulge your puzzle fancy tomorrow with some communal puzzle-game goodness. Have a fantastic holiday!

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