Games To Play This Summer

In summer, there is plenty to do. Walking, hiking, camping — the weather is better than any other time of the year. You can go swimming, you can do sports, but going out is not the only way to spend your time. Sometimes what you really want is to stay at home and watch a movie or have a nice evening with your friends. Or you can do what I like most — play games.

Credit: Nik Korba (@goodfindsvolusia) via Unsplash

I’ve been in love with games ever since I can remember. It didn’t matter what I was playing, really — so long as it was called a game, it was fun. Today I’d like to tell you about my two favorite kinds of games — board games and video games, and to recommend some of the best ones I know.

Board games

Let’s begin with board games, since that’s what you can invite your friends to play. There’s a vast variety of genres to choose from, and hundreds of great games in each one. That being said, not every game is well-suited for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience in other board games. I will only mention examples that I think are great for all levels of experience and are simply fun to play, and the first one is SIXeS.

Sixes. Photo courtesy of the author.
Sixes. Photo courtesy of the author.

SIXeS (known in Russia as СовПадение) is a game about word association. It is best played in groups of three to seven people, but unlike with some games, this recommendation is in no way strict — the game is still great if there’s two of you or ten of you. The gist of it is that every round you will get a word and you will need to come up with words that are somehow connected to the main one. For example, if the main word is "summer", someone might think of "sea" and "sun" while another person will write down "holidays" and "ice cream". The goal of the game changes every round — most of the time you will need your words to match those written by another person, and so you will write whatever comes to mind first. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly what you’ll want to avoid — you will only get points if nobody else has written the same words as you. So you will have to come up with more and more obscure word associations.

What makes this game so fun is that it lets you get to know each other through playing. When you come up with a lot of the same words as someone else you immediately know that you two are alike in some way that can’t easily be put into words — you just know it. I’ve played this game dozens of times with all sorts of different people, and every single time we laughed, we had fun and everybody enjoyed themselves. SIXeS is one of those games that is not at all about winning — it’s about playing and having a blast together.

Another game I absolutely have to mention is King of 12 (Дюжина короля in Russia). This is certainly an unusual game, but that’s part of what makes it fun — and boy is it fun. I can only remember a few other board games that are an emotional rollercoaster on the same level that this one is. It’s not for everyone, but I would highly recommend everybody to at least try it out.

Kings of 12. Photo courtesy of the author.
Kings of 12. Photo courtesy of the author.

On the surface, the game is very simple. Every round you roll a die with twelve sides. Then everyone plays one of their cards, which are the same for everybody (though they are different every game), and whoever has the biggest number on their die gets two points (the second biggest number gets one point). Then you play another card and so on, until you run out of cards to play, after which the person with the most points wins.

The cards are what this game is all about. Each one affects the dice in some way — some turn them upside down, some add to the value and some let you reroll. Many of the cards also let you affect the dice of other players — and that’s where the fun comes in, because the cards interact in all sorts of ways, and just when you think you have the highest number, another card suddenly halves it, or you get forced to exchange dice, or something else happens and the victory gets snatched from you. There are also additional rules that take this game from fun to insanity, but I won’t get into that here. Just know that very few games can let you experience crushing despair and the sudden feeling of triumph multiple times in the same fifteen seconds.

Video games

Now, let’s talk about video games. There are so many that it’s nearly impossible to choose something specific to recommend, but when I think of a single game that I’m sure anybody will enjoy, I think of A Short Hike. It’s especially good to play now, since it’s set on an island in summer and it’s about hiking — nothing could be more appropriate.

Screenshot taken from the game A Short Hike on November 28, 2020. Credit: Adam Robinson-Yu / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Screenshot taken from the game A Short Hike on November 28, 2020. Credit: Adam Robinson-Yu / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

In this game, you play as Claire — a little bird who went to their aunt’s for the summer. You end up on a gorgeous island full of other animals to talk to and nice scenery. The best thing about this game is that there is no rush to do anything — you are not really given an objective, you can just go and explore the island at your own pace. On your journey you will get to know other hikers, discover lots of little secrets and stories and simply have a good time. It’s a rather short game, but you will enjoy every second of it. Oh, and did I mention you can fly?

If you want to relax, clear your mind and feel good for a while — this game is perfect for that. But it can also be exciting, depending on what you choose to do! It’s a mix of exploration, story, and adventure that I, personally, love, and I hope you will, too.

That’s it! Thank you for reading. If you will choose to try one of the games I talked about, I hope you’ll have as much fun as I do playing them!

Bachelor's student