“Junior” Game Versions

Greetings All,

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about “junior” versions of games or more kid friendly versions of games. I grew up with a lot of Hasbro games and their Junior versions. I have a 20 month old and obviously a good amount of time before he is old enough to really get into gaming, but I started thinking about Euro games and their “junior” versions. Please keep in mind that my list(s) are not complete and when I locate more example games I will be adding them.

Before I go into “junior” games, I just want to mention a company called Haba. Obviously there are tons of companies out there making games for you kids and toddlers, but Haba has a collection called “My Very First Games“. They are so cute and I am looking forward to picking a few out for my son. My biggest thing about them is that their games are rather expensive for little kid games. Regardless, please go take a peek because they are adorable… or maybe I’m just a sucker for the whole “My first” thing. 🙂

We’ll start with your basic Hasbro Junior Games listed by youngest age first!

Boggle Junior, ages 3+, 1+ players.

Yahtzee Jr, ages 4+, 2-4 players.

Monopoly Junior, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Junior Scrabble, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Clue Junior, ages 5+, 2-6 players.

The Game of Life Junior, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Cranium Junior, ages 7+, 2 players.

Trivial Pursuit: Junior, ages 8+, 2-4 players.

Taboo Junior, ages 8+, 4 players.

Non-Hasbro Games.

Sequence for kids, Jax Games, ages 3-6, 2-4 players.

My First Carcassonne, Z-Man Games, ages 4+, 2-4 players, 20 min playtime.

My First Stone Age – The card game, Z-Man Games, ages 4+, 2-4 players, 10 min playtime.

My First Stone Age, Z-Man Games, ages 5+, 2-4 players, 15 min playtime.

Junior Labyrinth, Ravensburger, ages 5+, 1-4 players, 15 min playtime.

Catan Junior, Mayfair Games, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 30-40 min playtime.

Ticket to Ride First Journey, Days of Wonder, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 15-30 min playtime.

Ticket to Ride First Journey Europe, Days of Wonder, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 15-30 min playtime.

Krosmaster Junior, Ghenos Games, ages 7+, 2-4 players, 5-15 min playtime.

I hope you’ve found some new additions to your game library on this list and hopefully you can find that perfect gateway junior game version of your favorite games! Know of anymore? Let me know! Until next time… Live by the board.

-livingbytheboard

TMG Micro Games.

Greetings All,

Today I want to talk about two Micro Games from Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG). These games were both $5, which is a deal I couldn’t pass up. The two games we will be talking about are: Coin Age & This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us. For this post I asked my husband for help as he likes Coin Age much more than I do. I will put my husband’s words in bold writing for ease and identification purposes.


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-Coin Age by TMG-
2 players, up to 15 mins
For this TMG centric post, my Wife has asked me to highlight a micro game (that I’m most fond of), Coin Age! 
 
Let’s begin by explaining the basic rules, components, game play, et cetera.  Alright, so the game is a 2 player, area control/management game that lasts roughly 10 minutes per play through.  It may not sound like it, but this game has a very good amount of depth for both it’s size AND price ($5!).  So, the game is played on roughly credit card sized maps with several zones that are separated by topographic marks and those zones are then grouped by color.  The maps themselves are nothing special, beyond rather nice presentation and funny puns found throughout (on one map, a particular zone is a body of water named the “Sea O’ Aye Enn”…GET IT!?!?! XD)…if not readily apparent, I LOVE puns, especially the “so bad it’s good” variety. 
Okay, those are your game boards, now the actual game pieces you’ll be playing with are actual coins (shocking, I know), or if you purchased the game from TMG, double-sided cardboard coins.  Each coin has a set amount of coins with different amounts of corresponding points.  For instance, each player starts with 1 quarter (4 points), 2 nickels (3 points), 3 pennies (2 points), and 4 dimes (1 point).  With each coin being double-sided (heads/tails) one player would choose one suit and the remaining suit goes to the second player. 
Now, the whole point of this game is to control different areas for the maximum amount points, but it’s not as simple as all of that, this game has a great luck/strategy ratio.  Gameplay goes like this: You pick up 1 coin of each type you have left, you shake them up and smack them on the table you’re playing on, and depending upon what suits all of the coins you smacked down are facing (your’s, or your opponents), you get to take certain actions that all center around you placing coins on the map.  Sounds simple, no?  Ask my Wife (don’t actually, she’s flies into a bitter rage whenever you do), it isn’t.  For every coin you place, your opponent can potentially move it (altering points/bonuses at the end of the game), cover it (thus making it’s placement moot), or take it altogether (y’know…’cause people are jerks.)  After either one person uses all of their coins, or all areas of the map are covered, the game ends and points are tallied.  See, simple, rules light, friendship destroying game.
 
Now that we got the more technical (see: “boring”) part of this assessment out of the way, let’s move onto my impression/review.  Put simply, this game is friggin’ awesome.  It’s charming as all h*ll, people.  Remarkably simple design, coupled with a nice n’ clear rulebook and being riddled with puns…it’s great.  It’s also very mobile.  This is a fantastic game to play on the go, I openly admit to having a copy in backpack everyday at work (along with a couple of other games I’d like to write about later *cough cough*) that gets a lot of mileage on it.  And, it’s REALLY CHEAP.  Guys, with shipping, this game cost me around 7-8 bucks.  I am quite frugal (see: “cheap”) and love when I can get such bang for my buck.  This game kick started an obsession with micro games that has yet to relent, and I couldn’t be happier about it!  It’s great for all walks of life, or gamers or even non-gamers (the poor lost souls that they are) alike.  And it’s one of those games you can “trick” people into playing with you.  You could present it as a “press your luck” style dice variant game, or a light strategy/area control style game, just gotta know your audience.  Needless to say, I’m rather fond of this title.  So, go out and buy it already!
I swear his reviews are better than mine! 🙂 Anyhow, there is a print and play available in case you’d like to try it for free before buying the hard copy, which is available on the TMG website. The hard copy comes with a wallet card for on the go play. The wallet card and an additional pocket mod is also available for print and play. There’s also a free tuck box available.

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-This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us, by TMG-
2-4 players, 10-15 mins

This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of us is a really fun tile placement game, that we shall now refer to as “This Town” due to the long name. This Town is like a micro Carcassonne.

It all starts with placing the Claim Office, which is going to be the games starting tile and can never be rotated or moved. Each player then takes turns drawing a random tile and placing it in order to acquire points. The way that you acquire points is by matching symbols in closed corrals. There are four symbols or brands as the rule book calls them. Every two symbols equals one point once you finish a corral. When you complete corrals, if other player symbols are in it, the other players also get points which means you have to be crafty to ensure you don’t let your competition get too far ahead of you.

If you finish a tile that contains a silver bar, you con move another tile that IS NOT part of a completed corral, the silver bars are a huge game changer and can make or break a score.
There is a score board included. If someone ties for first place, the tie breaker becomes whomever has the most symbols in a single corral.
I adore this game, I find it to be adorable and fast. I completely recommend this game as a starter for board game nights. As I mentioned earlier, this is like a micro Carcassonne. Regretfully I have not played the physical game Carcassonne (I will eventually), but I have played the digital version and found it quite fun!
There is a print and play available in case you’d like to try it for free before buying the hard copy, which is available on the TMG website. There are also score boards available for free to print.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I sincerely hope you go check out these games, they are very much so worth it. If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.

 

-livingbytheboard

Recruiting New Gamers

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Greetings All,

This is one I still struggle with. My husband, however, is much better at than I am, which is why I asked him to co-write this one with me. I’m fairly certain that half of the ability to convince people to try board games has to do with charming them. My husband is by the far the most charming person I know so he has a very easy time getting people on his side. Please read more below to get his take on recruiting new gamers. Enjoy. 🙂


-Husband-

To recruit new gamers, you need to at least have a vague idea who you’re playing with. This makes it way easier to potentially draw anyone from the hardened gamer to the total neophyte.

Know someone who’s never played board games, but loves video games? Too easy! Suggest an analogue of a favorite game of their’s! “You like Starcraft? How about showing me your strategic prowess in a quick game of OGRE?” Know someone who likes casual cell phone games? Too easy! “Something quick, easy and fun? How about you lend me 10 minutes of your time and play some Coin Age or Brave Rats with me?” How about a non-competitive type who just wants to have fun? “How’s about a co-operative game then? We can save OUR castle together!” I’ve found that far and away the easiest way to get people to game (in any situation) is to tailor your approach, almost like you’re trying to sell gaming as a product. “Man, have you ever heard of a game called Disc Duelers? It’s like a super open game of RPG battle pogs!!!” “Dude, Zombie Dice is like zombie Yahtzee…y’know, except without being schooled by old people.” I jest, of course! Or my general use line: “Can I borrow five minutes of your life? I’ll repay it 100 fold in entertainment!”

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If you do manage to secure someone for game night, its almost equitable to catching a fish on a hook… now you just have to reel them in! And how do you do that? You whip out the AAA titles from your game shelf! I am a thorough believer in “palate cleaner” or “feeler” games. By which, I mean shorter games that will better help you understand the temperature of the table. Did your table of new invites enjoy the rule light, rapid play game? Or the slower, more complicated/methodical game? These are important things to know about your guests to insure the success of your evening as well as potentially insuring the return of your guests.

Great “feeler games” I personally use are:

Love Letter by AEG

2-4 players (we’ve played w/ 5), 10-20 mins

Love Letter is easily one of the biggest, quickest crowd pleasers I own. Easy to learn rules, quick gameplay, and a friendlier competitive structure. Hard to go wrong with this one.


This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us by TMG

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 10-15 mins

This game shares a lot of elements with Carcassonne. Fantastic simplicity coupled with a hidden level of complexity make this an easy way to spot the more thoughtful members attending your table.


We Didn’t Playtest This At All by Asmadi

2-15 players, 1-5 mins

This is a card game that is so absurd, it’s divisive. It’ll either be an instant favorite, or an eye roller. Great way to sift through senses of humor, or lack thereof.

Fantasy by Asmodee

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 20-30 mins

Fantasy is a slightly longer card game with (somewhat) simple rules, and a nice (you guessed it!) fantasy motif that keeps players in the game until the last card is dealt and the scores are tallied. A great game to help your table rev up for a tougher, longer game.


Now, let’s get to real meat and potatoes of all of this. The AAA crowd pleasers that turn these new acquaintances into fast friends:

Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

2-5 players, 30-60 mins

If you’re visiting this blog, odds are you’ve AT LEAST heard about this game…or I’m actively judging you and your life decisions. 🙂 Needless to say, few board games can truly pull in veterans and neophytes alike. It’s got a great, turn of the 20th century aesthetic, profoundly easy to understand rules, and utterly FANTASTIC gameplay. I can’t opine about this game enough!


Castle Panic by Fireside Games

1-6 players, 30-60 mins

I’ll be frank with you readers, this is my personal favorite game of all time. Published by Fireside Games, this is a co-operative “tower defense” style game. This game is a remarkable bonding experience for all involved! It’s you and your team struggling against a common foe, you’re all left with little more than randomly drawn cards and your wits! Fantastic for game nights!


Puerto Rico by Rio Grande Games

3-5 players (there is a 2 player variant), 90 mins

This one is quite a bit more complicated than the previous entries on this list. Puerto Rico is a “prosperity” simulator, in essence, this game tasks you with being able to expand your city and island faster (and more efficiently) than your opponents. There is a very little luck to strategy ratio for this game, so veteran gamers are likely dominate during the first play through with neophytes. This game is equipped with no “actual” game board to play on, but is managed through individual’s city boards and a PLETHORA of smaller game pieces, so this game does require a little bit of imagination. That said, this is a 90 minute game with a HIGH amount of strategy and lateral thinking…so this game isn’t for everyone. HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this for every kind of gamer…at least to try once.

Variety is the spice of life, however, most people will be more inclined to try a new dish if it looks more appetizing. Bottom line, presentation AND substance are both CRITICAL in your approach to gaining new members of your table. Just play your experience by ear, and try to cater to everyone’s tastes without compromising anyone’s. And, above all else, MAKE SURE TO HAVE FUN!


I’ll have to have him co-write more often… I’m pretty sure he blew me out of the water! 🙂 Anyhow, his description was shockingly accurate to how our “gaming interviews” go. When I say gaming interviews it is exactly what it sounds like, we’ve even told people they were essentially being interviewed to be a regular at our table.

We both hope you enjoyed this topic, as it was readers choice. Soon I will be starting another three-day segment, this time regarding solo play games. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Christmas Games!

Greetings All,

Today I wanted to post some Christmas themed games for you holiday playing pleasure. 🙂

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Many people are familiar with the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, they actually have Holidays Pack available for 2012 and 2013, they are $10 each. Please be warned that this is not a kid friendly game. Scroll to the bottom of their page for more information!

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Do you want to be part of the Lollipop Guild? Munchkin is also a very popular game and has TONS of different versions. Munchkin has a version called Reindeer Games and another called Holiday Surprise. Steve Jackson’s website also has a list of other Munchkin Christmas Products. Go check them out, it’s all pretty cool. 🙂

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Here’s a more family familiar game, Christmas-Opoly is exactly what it sounds like, a Christmas version of Monopoly. You can find it for sale on the Toys-R-Us website. Do Not Pass Go without checking this one out!

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Is Christmas shopping making you want to say Good Grief? Well, now you can… with the Charlie Brown Christmas Board Game! 🙂 Check it out on Amazon!

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12 Days is a neat little card game that you can purchase at DriveThruCards for $12 or print it for free from there as well. There is a fantastic play through you can view from Tabletop! 🙂

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This is a different 12 Days of Christmas game, not to be confused with the one above. This one is a free print and play. Check it out!

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Carcassonne is a great strategy game that just happens to have a beautiful Winter Edition… seriously thinking about adding this one to my Christmas list! 😉

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The Christmas Game is a very different, very cute twist on Christmas Traditions! I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard great things.

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Fluxx is a game that has constantly changing rules! It is very fun! They have a Holiday Edition that I am just dying to try, I hope you are too!

-Now switching pace to Holiday RPGs-

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I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with Fiasco, but it’s a really cool RPG and I found where someone made a holiday version called Holly Jolly. We have Fiasco and definitely will be saving the link! 🙂

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This is ADORABLE, someone made a holiday RPG dungeon! Ahh! 🙂 Check it out! It’s called The House on Christmas Hill!

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Lastly Castle Panic has an adorable Snowflake that is shaped like the Castle Towers! As seen above!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Until next time… Live by the Board!

-livingbytheboard

Thanksgiving Games!

Greetings all,

Today I wanted to give you a list of Thanksgiving games. I realize that the games may not reach you in time for Thanksgiving, but I tried to make sure I located as many Amazon Prime (free 2-day shipping) games as possible. While I was researching I found a great list from Board Game Geek and it has very extensive information, so I figured I’d link the list and then give you the most affordable links for the game I could find. Please keep in mind I tried to locate only new games, although some of them I wasn’t able to find. Please take a look at the Board Game Geek thread and come back to this post for prices for the games you are interested in.

Here is Board Game Geeks Thanksgiving games post: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/26038/ultimate-thanksgiving-themed-game

And now the price list:

1) New England: http://www.amazon.com/New-England-Game-Board/dp/B0006HCWNA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416767557&sr=8-3&keywords=new+england+board+game

2) The Voyage of the Mayflower: http://www.amazon.com/Voyage-Mayflower-board-game/dp/B0056PC692/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416767755&sr=8-1&keywords=voyage+of+the+mayflower+board+game

3) Merchants of Amsterdam – http://www.amazon.com/Rio-Grande-Games-166RGG-Merchants/dp/B00005UN1T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416767854&sr=8-1&keywords=Merchants+of+Amsterdam

4) Jamestown: The Jamestowne Survivor Game: Sadly I had no luck locating this. 😦

5) Electric Football: There are tons of versions of this, you can pick and choose: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Electric+Football&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AElectric+Football

6) The Great Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Game: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Macys-Thanksgiving-Parade-Game/dp/B002TTIIPO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416768076&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Great+Macy%27s+Thanksgiving+Day+Parade+Game

7) Turkeys Wild!: http://boardgamegeek.com/geekmarket/product/638009

8) A Fistful of Turkeys: http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-FISTFUL-OF-TURKEYS-1-A-role-playing-game-1981-brochure-/131330311256?_trksid=p2054897.l4275

9) Cold Turkey: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/281484076279?lpid=82

10) Don’t Wake Daddy: http://www.amazon.com/Parker-Brothers-0455-Dont-Daddy/dp/B00000IWD3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416768659&sr=8-1&keywords=Don%27t+Wake+Daddy

11) Monopoly: Dallas Cowboys: http://www.amazon.com/USAopoly-MN016008-Dallas-Cowboys-Monopoly/dp/B000GQ0R0G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416768745&sr=8-2&keywords=Monopoly%3A+Dallas+Cowboys

12) New World: http://www.ebay.com/itm/111520033790

13) New World: A Carcassonne Game: https://www.gamesurplus.com/product_info.php?products_id=991

14) Cornucopia: https://www.gamesurplus.com/product_info.php?products_id=1319

15) The Thanksgiving Game: http://www.amazon.com/The-Thanksgiving-GameTM-CLS777-Game/dp/B0014WFYPE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416769110&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Thanksgiving+Game

16) New Haven: https://www.gamesurplus.com/product_info.php?products_id=2859

17) Rails of New England: http://www.amazon.com/Rio-Grande-Games-RGG-433/dp/B0054EXG6C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416769272&sr=8-1&keywords=Rails+of+New+England

18) Happy Turkey Day!: http://boardgamegeek.com/geekmarket/product/641539

19) Pizza Box Football, Included this link not because it was the cheapest, but because it included expansions.: https://www.gamesurplus.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Pizza+Box+Football&x=0&y=0

20) Wild Turkey Opoly: http://www.amazon.com/Huntertainment-WTUR-Wild-Turkey-Opoly/dp/B00104F6OK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416769551&sr=8-1&keywords=Wild+Turkey+Opoly

21) Turkish Checkers, this is a print and play. I was unable to locate it, however, Kongregate offers a free online version: http://www.kongregate.com/games/vfedorov/turkish-checkers

22) Turkey Day: This was also a print and play, I was unable to locate it. 😦

23) Devil Bunny Needs a Ham: http://boardgamegeek.com/geekmarket/product/624377

24) Battleball: http://boardgamegeek.com/geekmarket/product/615767

25) Pow Wow: http://www.amazon.com/Ravensburger-26412-Pow-Wow-Game/dp/B000EWNEGG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416770263&sr=8-1&keywords=pow+wow+game

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard