“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

Meet the author… again!

Greetings All,

As requested here’s a bit more about me. Don’t forget to check out the Meet The Husband and Meet The Bartender posts!

For starters, as far as board games goes I really only played Monopoly, Scrabble, and Boggle. I played the occasional party or trivia game, but it was very rare. And with card and dice games I played Yahtzee and Poker. I was particularly gifted at Poker, which I think paved the way for some of strategy in games these days. So yeah… that’s really it. Games were not a large part of my childhood.

My husband and I met in 2011 and we got married the following year. I married into three lovely children and we were all very big on family time. It wasn’t long before we started branching off into games thanks to my husband. Among the first games purchased were Dixit, Catan, and Castle Panic. Two of these have become personal favorites. My husband loved the idea behind Castle Panic, it was something the five of us could do together… a game we could play fighting against a common enemy. Boy did that start one heck of loyal patronage to Fireside Games. Dixit was something that I got for me, it was one of my first selfish purchases. It’s art is so amazing and beautiful and I am quite a bit artsy myself.

I remember going to our now shutdown FLGS (friendly local game shop) and being super nervous. I was that way with everything really, my first visit to the comic shop was the same. I went through quite a large overhaul of personality when I met my husband. It was less a change and more of a discovery. I was very timid and sheltered. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in anything but a not so family friendly lifestyle. The journey of discovering that there was more to the world, more to me… was exhausting and fun all at the same time. It was fantastic realizing that I am a geek. 🙂

From there, I just kind of rolled with it. I keep in great contact with board game companies and comic writers/artists. I started this blog, started volunteering for Extra Life, and started hosting International Tabletop Day. I maybe have gone a bit overboard with geek culture, but it shouldn’t be so fun to dive into. Haha.

My husband and I had been trying for a baby for a while despite being in a rough custody battle (It was awful, the other party sucks. Don’t ask.) during which we got 50/50 custody of our older three. We got news from the doctor that my chances of having a baby were low. My husband bought me my first cat Saint to cheer me up. Four months later a friend of ours knew of some kittens and my husband got my our second cat T’Challa thinking that it’d help cheer me up even more. I had finally accepted not having a baby when I started feeling rough. I went to the ER early one morning after taking my husband to work. I was told that I had a stomach bug and (at the same time Harry Potter was playing in the back, when Harry is told “You’re a wizard, Harry.”) that I was pregnant. Also note that this was right before my birthday, haha. I had to sit on that news all freaking day. I picked my husband up from work and let him complain about his day all the way home. I finally let the beans spill when we got home and here we are now. My baby is almost 16 months old. We procured a pug named Ganthet to grow up with the baby knowing that for half the week he’d be an only sibling. There are now six of us and three pets and it is tiring, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve started introducing the youngest to giant polyhedral sets and water proof cards. We’ll make a sixth gamer yet.

I now fill up my free time with several volunteer positions, a personal assistant job, Etsy shop, and this blog. You must be wondering where I get this free time. I don’t, things get done when they get done. My husband has made a lovely life for me and our children and I am grateful to him for it. We have a good lot of friends that game as well and it makes life that much more worth it. This year will be my first year attending Gen Con, why did I pick the 50th anniversary?? 🙂

Thank you for reading, I hope it wasn’t too long and boring. Please take a chance to like us on Facebook and follow of on WordPress and Twitter. Take a peek a the Etsy page while you’re at it. And until next time… Live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Meet “The Husband”!

Hello Readers,

Well, every other contributor wrote a profile article, suppose I should crank out one. I am “The Husband,” here’s hoping you find the aimless prattling about my the more hobby-centric portions of my life interesting. Either way, let’s kick thing’s off, shall we?

Due in no small part to my (almost 6 years older than me) brother, I’ve had an interest in “geek culture” since even the most early of my memories. I grew up playing on an Nintendo Entertainment System, reading comics, and playing parlor games with my family. During every family gathering (of which there were A LOT), I was forced onto a folding chair to be slid into whichever side of a card table needed a warm body in order to “fill out numbers.” Odd evenings spent being inundated with long diatribes about how my generation were a mouth breathing herd of degenerates…and being viciously obliterated at games of Skip-Bo (Mattel) or Phase 10 (Mattel). My initial impression of table top gaming was being voraciously descended on by 30-70 year olds whom wanted to impart on me some manner of comeuppance.

…I assure you, it gets better.

When I was much younger, my brother would take me on excursions to our friendly local comic shop, upon occasion…whenever my Mother would proclaim that she was weary of looking at her “little mistakes.” I swear, that joke gets funnier with time…no? O-okay… Regardless, this particular shop was my initial gateway to multiple things that would heavily influence my life. My first comic, first manga, first anime, and my first table top game that was all my own!

See, this shop generally kept primarily to selling trading cards and (the gorgeous and all too confusing for my young brain) Magic the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast) as its gaming contingent. However, one day I stumbled into the corner of the store furthest away from my precious “DC Dollar Bin…” and there it was… a wall of composed entirely of baggie games! That’s to say, games that were packed into moderately sized baggies, in lieu of boxes. As I scanned the wall, one game in particular caught my eye: Ogre – Pocket Edition! (Steve Jackson Games) Featured on its cover was a large, futuristic, hovering tank volleying bombs every which way but loose! My young brain was enthralled with the prospect of bombing the ever lovin’ ass out of everything! What’s more…it only cost $2.95! My brother, seeing an opportunity to circumvent possible begging, purchased the game for me…under the agreement that I shut up. It only took 3 bucks to buy me off as a child…oh how little has changed.

As I went through my preteen and early adolescent years I found myself drifting towards athletics, video games…and girls. Sure, I tried the occasional game here and there, sampled Settlers of Catan (Mayfair Games), played the occassional nondescript RPG, and the occassional collectible card game. But, primarily my hobbies were left in the electronic realm. Fast forward to age 18…when I suddenly became a Father of three. Now, it’s a safe assumption that children like video games, but there’s some connection that’s simply lacking on a digital medium. And that’s when I decided to give parlor games a try…I never knew Skip-Bo wasn’t terrible! It also helps when I’m the person verbally assailing the other players: “I haven’t seen such a crappy move since the last time I had to change your diaper! HA!”

My return to the hobby didn’t occur in earnest until I met my Wife, the blog author with whom you readers are so well acquainted. See, she encouraged me to seek out my interests and enjoy all of the things in life there weren’t previously available to me, for any number of reasons. I got back into comics, anime, and table top gaming. Less than a year after we initially became a coupling, I was already sonically berating her during games of Skip-Bo! Loyal readers, it was true love. Due to lovely programs like Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and Tom Vasel’s Dice Tower channel, I had an amazing insight into the hobby that once intrigued me so much as a kid…and now financially cripples me as an adult.

Now my days consist of violently pacing around my table during a game of Disc Duelers (Level 99 Games), accusingly pointing at the horrible person who totally obstructs Las Vegas (anarchistic jerkfaces!) during a game of Ticket to Ride (Days of Wonder), or weepily staring bullet holes through the person who purchased the only large building that would allow me one final sliver of hope for victory in Puerto Rico (Rio Grande Games). Needless to say, I love it!

This hobby is a phenomenal one, filled with the highs of ravenously gathering up victory points one game, to the monumental lows of hearing the thunderous roar of your large Nordic friend (KYLE!) bellowing “Wu-Tang” as another player (SAM!) manages to Kill Doctor Lucky (Cheapass Games) with an overly tight hat. But, you know what’s even more phenomenal than this hobby? Having family and friends to share it with…and to verbally berate.

Thanks for reading.

– The Husband

Gateway Games

Greeting all,

Today I thought I’d bring some great gateway games to light. There are several larger games that I would also consider to be gateway games, but for today we’ll focus on the smaller ones.

zombie-dice-contents

-Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games.-

2 or more players, 10-20 mins

Zombie dice is a really fun fast paced game in which you (a zombie) try to accumulate brains. This is accomplished by rolling dice, the dice have three symbols: Brain, Shotgun, & Feet. You need to collect 13 brains to win, however, sometimes it’s not that easy. The shotgun damages you, if you get three during your turn you die and lose the brains you collected during that turn. The feet represent Walkers, walkers are fast and if you roll a walker you have to reroll it. You roll three die at a time and there are three different colors that essentially represent difficulty. During your turn you may also choose to stop at any time and keep the brains you’ve collected. Zombie Dice also has two expansions: Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature includes three new characters: The Hunk, The Hottie, & Santa. Zombie Dice 3 – School Bus includes… you guessed it, a school bus. The school bus has lots of extras on it. There is also a Zombie Dice App that is free, with an optional 99c upgrade. The best price I’ve found for the game is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=zombie+dice *** Check out the Steve Jackson Games website for more information, including merchandise and multiple review videos: http://www.sjgames.com/dice/zombiedice/

cthulhu

-Cthulhu Dice by Steve Jackson Games-

2 – 6 players, 5 – 10 mins

Cthulhu Dice is quick game in which Cthulhu is trying to steal your sanity. Each player is given three sanity tokens to start off, during the game you can lose and gain sanity tokens. Players target other players before rolling the die. The die has multiple symbols: The Yellow Sign – The target loses one sanity to Cthulhu (goes in the middle), Tentacle – The active player takes a sanity token from the target, Cthulhu – everyone loses one sanity to Cthulhu, Elder Sign – Active player gets one sanity token from Cthulhu, only if he has any, Eye – Wild, Choose any other option. After the active player rolls, the target player has a defense roll. The game ends when only one player has sanity or no players have sanity. If no players have sanity then Cthulhu wins the game. As long as there are at least two players with sanity points the game continues and players with no sanity can still play, they can actually regain sanity by getting it back from Cthulhu, but can not get sanity from other players. Only players with sanity can be targeted. There are many different Dice Designs to choose from. The cheapest I’ve found it for is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=cthulhu+dice *** For more information including reviews and accessories, check out the Steve Jackson Games Website: http://www.sjgames.com/dice/cthulhudice/

dino

-Dino Hunt Dice by Steve Jackson Games-

3 – 8 players, 10 – 20 mins

Dino Hunt Dice is very similar to Zombie Dice. In this game you are a Dino Hunter trying to collect 20 Dino to win. There are three symbols: Dino – you caught it!, Leaf – The Dino is hiding and you get to reroll it, Footprint – You get stomped! Accumulate 3 stomps and your turn ends and you collect no Dinos for that turn. There is also a Dino Hunt Dice App for free. You can see a review of the game here: http://www.dicetower.com/game_reviews/d/dino_hunt.html *** The cheapest I’ve found the game for is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/34472/s/sjg131302/ *** For more information check out the Steve Jackson Games Website: http://www.sjgames.com/dice/dinohunt/

fluxx

-Fluxx by Looney Labs –

2 – 6 players, 30 mins

Fluxx is a really fun game that involves constantly changing rules. Honestly Fluxx is one of those games that you must have in front of you for instructional purposes, simply because the rules are always changing. There are MANY versions of Fluxx, you will see these versions in the links to follow. There is a Fluxx for everyone, we started with Family Fluxx for simplicity’s sake. We now have Regular Show Fluxx and Cthulhu Fluxx. For reviews, I would suggest using Google to locate a review of the specific Fluxx you are interested in. The cheapest I’ve found it for is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=Fluxx *** For more information including the ability for request lost or missing cards, check out the Looney Labs website: http://store.looneylabs.com/Web-Store/Fluxx-Products

Poo-Card-Game

-POO: The Card Game by WildFire Games-

2 – 8 players, 5 – 15 mins

POO is a fantastic game that creates too many giggles for its own good. In POO players are monkeys flinging Poo at each other. There are lots of poo cards as well as cleaning cards. After a player throws poo at a target, the target then has a chance to defend themselves. Players are out of the game when they accumulate 15 or more poo. Last person in the game wins. To see a review look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QDQbgZck0s *** The cheapest I’ve found it for is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/23364/s/psiwdf1107p-1/

nuts

-Nuts by WildFire Games-

2 – 6 players, 5 – 15 mins

Nuts is very similar to POO. In Nuts you are a squirrel stealing nuts from other players. There are multiple Nuts cards, as well as swipe cards and defense cards. Each target player gets a chance to defend themselves. First player to accumulate 20 stashed nuts wins. The cheapest I’ve found it is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/19683/s/wdf11082/ *** Although Miniature Market is cheap Amazon has some adorable reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Sandstorm-11080WDF-Nuts/dp/B0043T4C5S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416580478&sr=8-1&keywords=nuts+game

get bit

-Get Bit by Mayday Games –

3 – 6 players, 10 – 20 mins

Get Bit is a cute little game that my son (13yrs old) loves. In Get Bit players are swimmers trying to survive a shark attack. Players use numbered cards to determine their position. Higher numbers in the front, lower number in the back, and ties do not move. The swimmer in the back loses a limb, however, you’re still in the game until all your limbs are missing. The game ends when only one player is left. Check out this great review from Tabletop, it also features Zombie Dice 🙂  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMtlQxJeWvc *** The cheapest price I’ve found is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=get+bit *** For more information including expansions, extras, and replacement parts check out the Mayday Games Website: http://maydaygames.com/card-games/get-bit.html?p=1

playtest

-We Didn’t Playtest This by Asmadi Games-

2 – 15 players, 1 – 5 mins

We Didn’t Playtest This is a completely nonsensical game, which makes it fantastic. This game features cards that create rules, physical actions, and instant win/lose cards. There is no real way to explain it to you without having it in front of you. This game is hilarious and one of my personal favorites, I highly recommend it. There are several expansions as well, all just as nonsensical as the first. Check out this review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtpOpsjlLsE *** The cheapest price I’ve found is at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=we+didnt+playtest *** For more information including expansions and extra cards, check out the Asmadi Games Website: http://asmadigames.com/detail_playtest.php

catan_dice_game_deluxe-right_new

-Catan Dice by Mayfair Games-

1 – 4 players, 15 – 30 mins

Most of you are probably familiar with Catan the board game, Catan Dice is a very simplified version of Catan. Players roll dice (resources) to build on the maps provided, which have two sides. 🙂 If Catan looks intimidating, Catan Dice will definitely encourage you to play. Check out The Dice Towers review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZSy35uoKE *** The cheapest price I’ve found it at is GameSurplus: https://www.gamesurplus.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=catan+dice&x=0&y=0 *** For more information including extra pieces, check out the Catan Website: http://www.catan.com/board-games/catan-dice-game

Lastly I’d like to mention….

fantasy

-Fantasy: The Family Card Game by Asmodee Games-

2 – 4 players, 15 mins

This game I bought because it was on clearance, I had no clue what it was… I just took a chance. It is fantastic. In the game you’re in a forest fighting to become the leader of the forest. The cards have many different abilities to allow you to get the most followers. The game continues until the deck has run out and then players count their cards, whoever has the most wins. The art is beautiful, as is all art from Asmodee Games. You can see some smaller reviews here: http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/items/boardgame/3422?comment=1 *** The game is still on clearance at Miniature Market: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/14846/s/asmkg03a/

I’d also like to mention that http://www.boardgamegeek.com has a fantastic collection of used games for great prices, the previously mentioned prices were all for new games, http://www.boardgamegeek.com also has tons of reviews and in-depth information regarding game history, etc. Thank you for reading, I hope these Gateway Games urge you to go play a few. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livebytheboard