Luck

"A real man makes his own luck." Listen, no disrespect to that guy in Titanic or other 1920s titans of industry, but luck is definitely A THING. Some people have more raw luck than others, and the presence or absence of luck can really affect the play of some board games and card games.

How do I know? Sadly, I don’t have a lot of luck (at least when it comes to games and contests), and it’s especially obvious when you compare me to some of my very lucky family members. My sister beat out hundreds of kids to win the Easter basket at Boston’s Easter parade. My aunt won a Vespa, along with prizes in probably 30% of the contests she enters. My cousin won a Corvette.

After growing up knowing that my sister was luckier than me (and not liking it much!), it is with some schadenfreude that I learned she married a husband even luckier than her. Paging Matrim Cauthon. If there’s a random chance to be assigned a leading role in a board game or card game (like the Mayor in Werewords, the Commander in card game The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, or the Ghost in Mysterium), he gets that role. In fact he was elected as the Mayor of Werewords so many times in a row that we stopped dealing him the card.

Not being lucky myself, but being possessed of other game-winning talents, I avoid games that hinge purely or almost purely on luck. Strategy is my favorite category at Board's Edge Games. That's not to say I don't think luck is important. When I think about what makes a great game, there’s no doubt that luck always plays a role. An element of luck also helps when the experience level of the players is mixed, working as a balancing element to make sure less experienced players have a shot. But I favor games where skill can overcome a lack of luck.

Some of my favorite games that have a good mix of skill and luck:

 Some of my favorite games where luck doesn’t matter much at all:

Are you one of the lucky few? Then check out Quacks of Quedlinburg. It’s a fun game that hinges mostly on luck. You might also love King of Tokyo Dark Edition, where victory may only be a dice roll (or 10) away. (Even I like that one.)

May the best player win.

About the Author

Annie is one of the founders of Board's Edge Games, and she loves writing about board games. You can learn more about Annie and co-founder Lisa here, follow us on Instagram, check us out on BoardGameGeek (BGG), or see what we’re backing on Kickstarter.

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