New Favorite?

I might just have a new favorite game to play! Don’t get me wrong-I enjoy playing almost all games (war games aren’t something I can get into), but this new game…there’s something about it that just hooks you.

One thing about going to a game convention, you get to learn about other publishers of games, ones that you don’t see at Target or Walmart, ones you need to go online to purchase or go to your local game store. One that I learned about was Smirk & Laughter. They have several beautiful games, and one that they just released, Shobu, is quite possibly my new favorite.

The main object of the game is to knock 4 of your opponent’s stones off of one of the playing boards. Sounds simple. How you go about that, however, is a little tricky, and I really think that’s why I enjoy the game so much. On each turn, you do two things. You first make a passive move on either of your colored boards on your side of the rope and then you aggressively make the exact same move on either of the opposite color boards (yours or theirs.) I learned to think in reverse, look at how I could knock T’s stones off of the board, and then look to see if that move was available on my side. T took to the game easily, as usual. I thought maybe it would stump him some, but he understood what was going on. He often forgot to look to see what moves he needed to make and would just make moves to make them. That often hurt him.

The game reminds me of checkers and chess. It’s not like them, aside from removing opponent’s pieces and having a strategy. The boards and stones are absolutely stunning. They are simple but asthetically pleasing. If we had a coffee table and didn’t have a child that likes to throw things, we would totally leave the game out all the time.

As mentioned before, had I not gone to Origins, I would not have known about this game, or any of the others from them or their darker side, Smirk & Dagger. I have one other game from them to try out, called Before There Were Stars. It’s a story telling game, something that I really enjoy and like to use to get T’s creative juices flowing. (Not that they aren’t, but this redirects them from Minecraft or random battles.) I will be sure to let you know how it is when we get it to the table!

Balancing act

In the past 5 years, I’ve learned how to balance many things on my proverbial plate. Doctors, specialists, therapies, play time, nap time, life. It really is amazing how you learn to do so many things when you have a child that is considered medically fragile. You look at him and wouldn’t realize it, but he definitely keeps us on our toes.

I’ve tried to keep a balance with T too. It’s hard to be the older sibling and not get the attention or time the younger one gets. That’s one of my motivations for homeschooling. We get to spend time together learning new things in a way that works for him. I started this site to help share what we like and don’t like in our homeschool/gameschool life. It helps me feel “connected” to others that are spending time playing and learning with their kids. (It also helps me keep my writing skills working. There are some things from my working past that I miss!)

This past week or so, we’ve been playing several games of Animal Upon Animal-Crest Climbers and Animal Upon Animal: Small and yet Great from HABA. It looks like an easy game-you stack the animals on each other, you don’t want to knock them down, and you want to be first out. Looks can be deceiving! You can only use one hand, and

the animals cannot be perpendicular. T is pro at this game. (He did play solo games, maybe that helped him.) He can get the animals to seemingly balance on the smallest portion of the stack. I, on the other hand, knock them down. I don’t have the steady hand that he does, and I’m just not coordinated.

It doesn’t stop me from playing though! It’s good fine motor practice, something I’ve learned a lot about when taking the boys to therapies.

Yesterday we took the Small and yet Great version with us to an outing. I knew there would be some down time, and I wanted to not have to listen about Minecraft the entire time. I love that the box is small and fits easily into N’s wheelchair bag. (I could probably take up less space by putting it in a drawstring bag, but I’m afraid it would get lost in the abyss that is the bag.) T played a few games with his cousin that was in town. It was fun watching him explain the game to her and then trying to balance the super tiny animals upon each other. I won’t lie. My favorite animal is the frog. I need to get more of those frog pieces into my life.

I was looking at the HABA website and noticed they have another version of the game Animal Upon Animal-Here We Turn! It looks to be the same concept, building animals up, but upon a rotating disk. I think that looks really cool, and yet, scary! I wonder if that would be a challenge for T…

I’m hoping the next few weeks will be full of game posts for everyone to read. I picked up several fun games at Origins and we’ve been slowly playing our way through the pile. I also have some future Kickstarters lined up to play and share. This is the time of year when the game companies are releasing their new games. It coincides with Gen Con, a huge convention held in Indianapolis. I am on the wait list for media tickets for that one. I have a feeling I will be watching everything from Ohio, but we’ll see. Just looking at the floorplan of the vendors/exhibitors can be overwhelming! Luckily, if I do go, I have a plan for the boys so they won’t have to be overwhelmed themselves. (Yay for family near Indy!)

Have you been playing any games lately? Old games, new games, new to you? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to-so be sure to let me know. Here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…whatever works best for you!

It’s been one week…

It’s been a week of rain, reading instructions, rain, letting the dust settle, more rain and learning a new AR game.

Learning to play at Origins.

So far T has played Haba‘s Animal Upon Animal: Crest Climbers a few times alone. It’s a great solo game, offering spacial skills as well as fine motor skills for balancing.  He didn’t necessarily follow the rules, but I’m ok with him trying to build the biggest mountain he can. (Until our insurance and hospital are able to come to an agreement, this is as close to OT as he is going to get!) We also have the Animal Upon Animal: Small and yet Great version waiting. I got that one for when we were out and about. We haven’t gone anywhere other than the hospital for therapies! Such a total change from our usual routine. Now that it’s the weekend, I’m hoping that maybe we will get to play at least one of the games that I’ve read the instructions for. We have another Haba game on board, The Hearmees, to be played this weekend too. Maybe the listening skills required for that game will translate over to life. Ha! I will be posting a review on that game soon.

Also this week, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was released by Niantic. We’ve been waiting for this game for awhile. We (mostly Halo42, but we join in on occasions) are still playing Pokemon Go, but we have added this to our mix. It definitely has a learning curve! The good thing is that from our house we can usually find a few “Confoundables” fairly regularly. The problem is having the energy to be able to cast the spell to get the back! Definitely a little different than the other game, but it is still fun. It was a lot of fun deterining what my wizard name was going to be (Iris Grace). I found a fun name generator online and was able to combine two names that I liked. With all of this HP excitement, it gets me into the mood to listen to the books and to play some of the games from The Op as well. They have released and will be releasing severeral HP themed games. I think T’s reading is finally up to being able to play the first book of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle-a Cooperative Deck Building Game. I think he’s ready for Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Defence Against the Dark Arts too, we just need to find it out in the “wild”!

 

So many games!!

I knew there would be lots of games to see and play at Origins, but once we were there and saw everything, it was mind blowing! We went down on Friday and again on Sunday so that I could meet with some of publishers. We were able to try out a few games on Friday: Songbirds by Daily Magic Games and Everybody Loves a Parade by Calliope games. We also brought home a bunch of games to try out and review. Those will be coming in the future.

The artwork on the box was beautiful!

Songbirds was a lot of fun. The job is to end up with the card of the color of bird that is making the most noise. Clear as mud, right? Once we started playing the game, it totally made sense. The game is played in a 5 x 5 grid, with the “loudest” bird in each row or column winning points. (Adding points on cards of the same color in same row/column determine the “loudest” bird.) At the end of the game, each player is left with one card in their hand. If that card matches the loudest bird, they win.

The loudest/winning bird was the one with the highest amount of points.

The game was pretty fast and does require some strategy, but T had no problems with it at all. He caught on almost right away. We ended up having the losing bird colors, it it was still a lot of fun. I liked that there was strategic thinking and math involved. He wasn’t thinking that he had to add too numbers together and get a total. He was just trying to get the points. I love games that can get math involved without him knowing. He learns the concepts of math easier and I don’t listen to him complain.

I have many other games to talk about, my mind is just spinning! I am still trying to wrap my head around all of the amazing things we saw over the weekend. I’m pretty sure anyone could find a game topic there that they’d enjoy. I will be posting more in the days to come, stay tuned!

Surprise!

I will be at Origins! I won’t officially be there as a press person, but I will be there, as a press person. I’m hoping to meet up with publishers of games that I enjoy and preview what new games will be out that will be amazing for gameschooling. T is most excited about the painting that he can do. N has no idea. It will be interesting to see how the boys react to such a large and busy venue.

I managed to create business cards to have on hand. I made them for both myself and T. It makes us seem more “official”. Or something. Eventually I’ll have better cards, but for now they work. I wanted something that tied the site to us. In the process I learned new iPad apps, so I’ll take that as a win.

Columbus bound…in a day or so!

It’s convention time!

The beginning of June brings my birthday and Origins Game Fair in Columbus. I had really hoped to make it down there this year, using either a media badge or a teacher badge. Instead, I will be attending virtually from home. I suppose our bank account will thank me…Anyway. I’ll manage and hopefully be able to still bring you news of new and upcoming games.

One of the new releases being previewed is Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky by Renegade Game Studios. I’ve been a fan of the original Lanterns game, I have the physical edition as well as the app on my iPad and phone. I’ve taught T how to play the app, he hasn’t played the physical game yet. I think it’s a little easier to see how to score points and obtain favor in the app. The new version being released is a dice version. I am really looking forward to seeing how they switch the game up from tiles to dice. I’ll admit, I’m a pushover for dice and tile games. It happens.

As the week goes by I will try to add more previews as games are released. I’m really interested in seeing everything that comes from this show, and I can’t wait to share it with you and the boys!

It’s Spring!

It’s been awhile. I apologize. Time has a habit of marching on, even if we aren’t ready for it to! For Christmas, we finally gave in and bought Minecraft for Truck. He now has it on the Nintendo Switch, iPad, and Kindle. It is also on my laptop, but I haven’t let him play on there yet. Our world has become a daily conversation of what is being built, creepers, zombies, weapons, etc.. We both have accounts so we are able to play together when we can. I don’t play nearly as much as he does (practically all day, every day if I’d let him.)

We have played some traditional games as well, but Minecraft seems to be where it’s at. He’s learned to play rummy and he could play war. A deck of cards is always a plus, especially when we’re hanging out at the hospital for Ninja’s appointments. I’m hoping we can teach him Hand and Foot soon.

A 2-player version of No Thanks!

Over the weekend we played No Thanks! by Amigo. The age says 8+, but T managed to grasp the concept quickly. It’s also for 3+ players, but sometimes we just have to make do and play with 2. I enjoyed the game and can’t wait to play again soon. T, on the other hand, realized that I was having him practice double digit addition and hasn’t been as keen on the idea.

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to start playing more games outside now that the weather is decent. Until then, I’m off to research how to make Minecraft teach him things without him realizing it.

Crazier Eights: Shahrzad

Remember when I told you about playing Crazier Eights: 1001 Nights? Well, it got better and crazier!

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A new addition has been added-Crazier Eights: Shahrzad. It can be played as a smaller, stand alone, 3-player game or as an extension to Crazier Eights: 1001 Nights. The card backs are the same, so if you combine them, you won’t know which deck your cards are from. (You also won’t really be able to tell from the majority of the fronts of the cards either, so once they’re combined, they’re combined.)

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Just like its predecessor, the game is played like Crazy 8’s, with the addition of Assets and Events that help make the game more interesting. The biggest difference is the addition of split cards, allowing you to pick one or the other on the card.(These are in place of the 8s) The change allows you to use the card as a wild for either of the suits that is shown. The activity is different from each other. For example, the Peace/Quiet card is for sun/ankh suites. If you play the event for sun (Peace), it will allow you to discard an additional card on the turn. If you chose the event for ankh (Quiet), your opponents cannot play any event cards until your next turn.

img_1045Truck still isn’t fluent in reading, so we often play this game just as regular Crazy 8’s. He’s had a lot of fun looking at all of the artwork and deciding what it is about if it isn’t obvious to him. It’s been a great way to discuss the different tales from Arabian nights, and sometimes we act them out as well.

Crazier Eights: Shahrzad is set to be released soon (like today!) and can be ordered here.

Special thanks to James Gray for providing the copy of the game for play and review.

Storytelling fun

img_3870So lately we’ve been in a creative, story creating mood. I was given the opportunity to try a new game that is currently being offered on Kickstarter called Carrot and Stick. This game has created quite a few new tales and adventures. There are set instructions for playing the game with three or more people, but I’ll be honest: we made up our own.

 

We started with two character cards, a location card, and then three word cards. Truck still isn’t reading well (he’s making progress, but not quite to this level yet,) so we played with our hands showing. Not that it mattered-we were just making up fun stories anyway. Our stories were quite silly, but the sillier they got, the better! I absolutely love that we can play a game and have fun and learn at the same time. (Creative writing and story creation, anyone?)

 

img_1040I absolutely adore the art on the cards. We were fortunate to receive some custom artwork of our family. It adds a bit more to the game when “Terminator T” is on the adventure! If you back the game on Kickstarter, one of the levels includes receiving custom cards. Truck really wanted me to change our pledge to that level to get more custom characters.
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One of the stretch goals is a 2 player set of rules-I’m really looking forward to receiving them and playing yet another way!  The Kickstarter campaign will be ending really soon, so be sure to check it out!

 


A special thank you to Matthew and Petya from Mindpipe games for the game and the opportunity to review!

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