I need your help for my girlfriends dad...
Gareth G
South Africa
Cape Town
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Good Day Everyone.

My father in law was recently (about 6 months ago) diagnosed with colon cancer. As anyone who has dealt with either their own or their family members' battle with cancer, you will know it goes through many ups and downs.

What my girlfriend and I have recently discovered is that playing board games helps create a sense of quality family time (getting him away from watching TV) but, more importantly, keeps his mind on other things, as being left alone with nothing but morbid thoughts certainly isn't helping his emotional state of mind.

So far we have played 2 games with him, Ticket to Ride and Alhambra. The reason I chose these is they are fairly simple, non-combative and not heavily dependent on language (as English isn't his or her first language).

Any suggestions of other games that may potentially tick the same boxes would really help!

Thanks in advance.

Gareth
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Gareth G
South Africa
Cape Town
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He really enjoyed this one. Nice, light and a bit of good clean, family friendly, non-gamer fun!
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2. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Gareth G
South Africa
Cape Town
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This one also went down well. He is extremely intelligent and I think he enjoyed the "puzzle" aspect of it as well, although afterwards he did say he preferred TTR.
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3. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
J Weintraub
United States
Commack
New York
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Can be played combatively, but doesn't have to be. Also, Catan.
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4. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Stephen McHale
United States
Winchester
Virginia
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I find that co-op's work really well with "non-gamers" and since everyone is on the same team there really is no down time.

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5. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:451]
Karl
Austria
Salzburg
Salzburg
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6. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:563]
Clinton Sattler
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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A family favorite of ours. Very high fun to rules overhead.
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7. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:690]
Clinton Sattler
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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A filler with a little bit of surprising depth. Very simple rules.
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8. Board Game: Divinare [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1473]
Clinton Sattler
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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An overlooked deduction/read your opponents style game.
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9. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:571] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Clinton Sattler
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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A speed puzzle solving game that can be played in a group or solo. Beware, some people may be/get eerily adept at this one.

In the same vein, at a cheaper price point, consider SET
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10. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1178]
Clinton Sattler
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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If you are looking for any kind of economic/share holding game, this may be a nice small step up from Ticket to Ride.
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11. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Less combative than Ticket to Ride (unless you're playing 2P). Although good luck explaining the Cartwright to him if English or German isn't his first language (it's hard enough to explain to an English speaker).

Combative, but completely language independent, easy to teach to ESL people, and good for 3: Blokus Trigon.

You can also play Cribbage as a 3P game. You either play 2 on 1 (the single only needs 61 to win, the team needs 121) or cutthroat (random card in the crib, deal five, everyone puts one card in the crib; first to 121 wins).

Rummikub is another lighter one that older folks seem to like.

Finally, Stone Age always seems to do well with non-gamers, in my experience.

Hopefully one of these can bring him some good cheer with you and your gf.

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12. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:584]
Dave Millar
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
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Great, simple, family style co-op.
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13. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:275]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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A cooperative cardgame that plays rather quickly. Can be played with 2-5.
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14. Board Game: Prosperity [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1479]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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This is a fun little language-independent development game for 2-4. It has Alhambra-like elements (buying and placing tiles), but it's not an Alhambra-clone. Players invest in R&D, and manage cashflow and pollution production as they progress toward more profitable and cleaner development across 6 decades (rounds).





No auctions. No player conflict. And it plays very quickly.
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15. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:327]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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A very clever abstract game which supports 2-4 players. No text, just symbols. I introduced this to my in-laws and my father-in-law really loved it.
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16. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:659]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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Another great simple abstract. Essentially, this is Scrabble without the need to spell: the word are sets of tiles with the same color or the same symbol.
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17. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:439]
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Very noncombative. "Space denial" is the only ploy that a player can use to disrupt an opponent. By occupying the space that he/she anticipates that the opponent wants to move to, it leaves the opponent no alternative but to pass over that space.

The artwork is beautiful -- many fans praise the zen-like quality of the game. I haven't ever eaten a zen(at least not knowingly), so I can't vouch for that description. If I ever find myself in a sushi bar, I'll be sure to sample some.

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18. Board Game: Timeline: Inventions [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:855] [Average Rating:6.72 Unranked]
Jay Volk
United States
Richfield
Ohio
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When my dad was suffering from esophageal cancer, we enjoyed playing all the Timeline games. It's fun, it's cheap, it plays 2 or more. Check it out. My prayers go out to him.
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19. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Christine Miller
United States
Winter Park
Florida
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Light and easy to learn, Dominion never overstays it's welcome.

Best wishes for your girlfriend's dad. It is great that you are all pulling together to help him stay encouraged.
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20. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:211]
Zigi Hogan
United States
The Ozarks
Missouri
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Good Game with light rules and is totally language independent, (aside from the rulebook).

There is a good amount of strategy with this game and can be played quickly with varying group sizes. It also plays well with two.
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21. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:205]
Tom Beach
United Kingdom
Chippenham
Wiltshire
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Cheap to buy and very easy to teach and play, with enough depth to keep him interested. Also plays very quickly!
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22. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:368]
chris leko
United States
Brooksville
Florida
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This has gone over well with my gaming and non gaming friends. The trading is fun, the rules are light, and it play very well with a crowd. I'm not sure it'd be as good with 3 as it is with more, but I've never played with under 4,so I could be wrong. I always have fun with this one though, and the table talk can be very fun!
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23. Board Game: Scattergories [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2110]
John Kaelin
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
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Easy to find cheap and, with 12 lists that could start with any one of the 22 letters o the alphabet, good bang for the buck. More people play the more creative you have to get with your answers.
 
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24. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:213]
Paddy Bourbon

New Boston
New Hampshire
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I recently went through the same thing with my father-in-law. He passed two weeks ago from pancreatic cancer after an 11 month struggle. I started bringing games around after he was diagnosed and he took to them like a duck to water. Games are a great family activity and he loved the bonds that they fostered. He loved them so much that he made sure his obituary mentioned boardgaming as a hobby, when prior to the diagnosis he barely played any!

One thing that we experienced was his "chemo-brain" when he was getting treatment. He had a hard time focusing and remembering what had been done in the game. As a result we would play either simple games, like Love Letter, or games that he was very experienced with, like TTR. I wish your father-in-law luck with his battle.
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25. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
Da van
United States
Naperville
Illinois
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A bit harder to track down, this has been a favorite of the gamers and non gamers I have introduced it to. It definitely has depth to it, and I would stress that the Blue and Brown cards (Monks and Inks I think) have different occurrences than the other categories.

No text on the card, very simple iconography (+1 or numbers).
 
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