In “where I was when I disappeared from the internet for 3 months” news, I work at a summer camp. Hidden away in the not-really-that-remote-honestly countryside, I spent my summer working with some incredible teenagers and having an incredible time. While camp isn’t tech free (we love a good instagram photo as much as anyone else!) the laptop-free time really allows for some more old school forms of group entertainment.
The camp I work at is a Jewish summer camp, and we observe Jewish holidays. Shabbat which is our Sabbath lasts from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Shabbat is supposed to be a period of relaxation. The very strictly observant don’t do work of any kind on Shabbat this includes everything from not exchanging money to not turning on lights. My camp isn’t that strict—we just spend the 24 hours doing more relaxed programming, and make sure that there is plenty of down time for people to hang out.
One of my favorite summer traditions, born from this extra down time, is Shabbat Sh’Shadow Hunters. Which is, obviously, a Shabbat round (or 12…) of the board game Shadow Hunters. Every Friday night, after the campers were in bed, a bunch of the staff members would meet at a table in the dining hall for Shadow Hunting adventures.
See, while I’m a summer camp pro (14 years, guys. 14 years. If you add up the weeks I’ve spent more time at summer camp then I have at college.) this was my first summer at THIS camp. And having something like Friday night board games really helped me break the ice and start to form some friendship based on common ground. Common ground like demon hunting, obviously, which is the best common ground there is.
I’m not gonna get too in to gameplay explanation here. It’s a fairly simple game to learn, honestly. Each player draws a character randomly and secretly. Shadows want to kill Hunters. Hunters want to kill Shadows. Neutrals have their own win conditions depending on the character. You don’t know who is on your team, but you can try to find out based on question cards and observing other’s attack patterns. There are items that can help you and items that can hurt you. The Shabbat Sh’Shadow Hunters gang was very fond of a card called “The Spear of Longinus” which honestly wasn’t very helpful… it just sounded funny and we liked to yell the name whenever anyone drew it.
The copy we played at camp was a much-loved version brought all the way down the East Coast by one of the staff members all the way from his home in Michigan. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend who literally has an entire suitcase full of board games with them, then you can find Shadow Hunters straight from the game maker’s website here or here on Amazon.
Sometimes game play is about new and inventive ways of thinking. Sometimes game play is about strategy and cunning. And sometimes gameplay is about laughing with your friends and yelling funny words. Sometimes (and these are the best times!) it’s about all of those things combined.