Back to School is here! (A little late!)

I seriously thought this posted in August. I was wrong. I apologize. Please read this and pretend it’s August.

So last week school started. For N, T has some kind of schoolwork pretty much daily all year. (Ask him how he feels about it. I dare you!) N was able to ride on a big yellow bus to the same school that I attended when I was his age. So far he has seemed to enjoy it, he’s always excited to see the bus and will happily wave and blow kisses when it leaves at the end of the day.

T decided that he wants to study biomes. I had already planned on using the Moving Beyond the Page curriculum for his language arts, science, and some of the social studies. (He wants to learn the states and their capitols, so I have to figure out how to add this in, and his math is Beast Academy.) I realize a lot of this is gibberish if you aren’t in the homeschooling world-I will talk about a game in a second or two. So I decided to add in biomes when and where I could. We went to the local zoo one day and were able to see some different types of habitats. Our local zoo, the Akron Zoo, has a new Africa area for their lions to live in. It just opened in June and was amazing! I really liked how close we were to the female lion.

One of the games we brought home from Gen Con was Echidna Shuffle. I had played a quick version of it in Indy and thought that he would really enjoy it. Thanks to the generousity of Wattsalpoag Games, we were able to have a game to help kick off “Back to School”. I thought perhaps there would be a bit of confusion when playing for the first time. I was wrong. There are cute little echidnas (which we learned are Australian ant eaters) and they follow the arrows on the board, going from leaf to leaf, trying to be the first to deliver their critters to their tree stumps.

The game starts with the echidnas randomly placed all over the board, the players marking where they will pick up their critter cargo and the stumps are placed on the board by another player (in our case, the opponent.) Once this has happened, the players take turns rolling the die and moving any of the echidnas to the next empty leaf, following the arrows along the path. After a player picks up his cargo, he then moves along the path and drops it off at one of his tree stumps. The first player to get his critters delivered to his stumps is the winner.

This game has quickly become a favorite of T. He has asked to play several times daily! I can’t blame him, it’s fairly a quick play, the echidnas are super cute and the critters and the stumps are so colorful and fun! We also like that there are two different playing board scenes on each side of the board: a snow scene and the leaf scene. The snow scene is a bit harder, but that hasn’t stopped T. He still tries to win. 🙂

Our school curriculum currently is working on communities. I’m hoping the next game we play can somehow be tied in. Stay tuned!

Kitties can be Magical

There are only 4 days left to back this Kickstarter, but I have been wanting to share about it. Magical Kitties Save the Day is a fun RPG that has you creating adorable (if you want them to be) kitties to help solve situations.

I will be honest, we haven’t done much of the role playing in the game part. T has been very interested in developing his characters, so we’ve been focusing on how they are created and what the different attributes mean. So far his favorite kitten is named Scar and Scar is empathetic. That led to a discussion about what empathy is and why it’s important to have it. Scar also has super speed, so we talked about what that would be like in real life too. He keeps changing what Scar looks like and I’m ok with that. I love that he’s using his imagination. A game like this is perfect for him as he has a hard time getting things from his brain  to being written down on the page. (It’s something that we are working with his occupational therapist on.) There is a character creation page that comes with the game and you can create until your little heart desires. We also talked about the kittens as we were driving to Gen Con-it’s a great way to pass the time in the car!

The Kickstarter includes the games and also a solo mode if you’d like to play that right away. I loved that-I’ve never played a RPG, so I was hesitant. I read through the story and was able to see how it would work if you followed that story. The kitties are magical and their powers cannot be seen by humans. Tricky! The story is made to either follow what is provided, or make your own adventures.

So far, T has only wanted to make our own adventures and not worry about rolling dice to see if he’s successful. Yes, I know that’s part of a RPG, but again, this is sometimes hard for him to think of on his own, so I haven’t been interrupting his train of thought. As he gets better we will add in those features. That’s something that I really like about this game-it’s very open ended!

As I said, there are only a few days left on this Kickstarter, and it has been funded so you will definitely receive something, whether a physical copy or a digital copy, depending on your pledge. Hopefully you can have as much fun as T and I have had!

A special thank you to Atlas Games for letting us try this game out! It was a little out of our comfort zone, but we are slowly making that zone more comfortable!

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”!

 

Sometimes crazier IS better!

A week or so ago, the boys and I were shopping at one of the local thrift stores, looking for games to use with our curriculum this year. In one of the bins I found a deck of Crazy Eights, straight outta my childhood! I remember inventing games with them as a kid. (That’s what happens when you’re an only child. You invent new versions.) I picked the deck up for a mere quarter and brought them home to play with Truck. He was hooked on the game after the first round! Yay-something other than Uno!

After playing that for awhile, we decided to kick it up a notch with a new game that is currently available as a Kickstarter, Crazier Eights: One Thousand and One Nights. The cards feature the characters from Shahrzad’s Arabian Nights. Through playing different assets and events during the game, you get to lead them on different adventures.

Obviously, the original game doesn’t have events or assets, but they add a great twist!Truck had a great time looking at the artwork and asking questions about the story. He picked up on using the cards to his advantage quickly. He still isn’t reading fluently, so he did have some help reading what the cards said. This is quickly becoming his go to game when we are out and about. I love that there is sneaky reading practice in this game!

If you’re looking for a fun game that can be a gateway into other fantasy games, or a segue for what will be studied, I highly recommend Crazier Eights: One Thousand Nights. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page-the game has been funded, so you’ll be sure to receive it if you support it!

I received a copy of this game in exchange for my review.

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