If there’s one consistent message in the year 2020, it’s this: People should stay inside. Families can spend their quality time bingeing Netflix series — or they can turn to “Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics” on the Nintendo Switch.
Yes, the title doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but the latest entry to the console’s library packs plenty of amusement for a family game night. Leveraging the versatility of the Joy-Con and the system’s touch screen, the developers at Agenda have programmed 51 fine-tuned games plus a rudimentary piano for players.
The roster is a mix of card games, board games, toy-based curiosities and other pastimes. “Clubhouse Games” supports up to four players and has an online mode. Through a free downloadable program on Nintendo eShop, players who have the full game can play with another Switch console. That means one full version can support multiple consoles for local play.
At its core, “Clubhouse Games” is a party title. Much like a board game, it excels in group settings. Competitors can argue over the lucky roll in Yacht Dice (aka Yahtzee) or test their skills at Darts by using the Joy-Con motion controls. Players will know games like Checkers, Dominoes and Chess. They’ll even recognize carbon copies of childhood favorites such as Sorry!, Uno and Connect 4, albeit they’re listed by their non-copyrighted names.
It also lets players cycle through the amusements at a rapid-fire pace. If your group decides Toy Boxing isn’t cutting it, you can switch over to Blackjack in a minute. If Slot Car Racing grows dull, try your hand at 6-Ball Puzzle, a “Tetris”-style diversion.
If a player wants to enjoy the distractions of “Clubhouse Games” alone, Agenda supports that as well with surprisingly good single-player mode. Players will just have to battle the computer. And titles such as Klondike and Spider solitaire are meant to be played alone.
The most surprising element of “Clubhouse Games” is the educational factor. Many of the 51 worldwide classics have their origins in different cultures and feature long histories. Agenda acknowledges that and gives players the background behind games such as Mancala, from ancient Egypt.