“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

This is where it all started.

Greetings All,

I was looking through my memories on Facebook and I found a picture of the start of mine and my husbands board game collection back in 2013. Back then, we had less than 30 games and now we have over 300!

It started with some of your standard card games like Uno, Phase 10, and Skip-Bo and some not so standard ones like Fluxx and Dixit. We had your standard Yahtzee dice game and some fun dice games in Cthulhu dice and King of Tokyo. We went a little crazy with Catan and got three different Catan games.

This is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t particularly care for standard Catan, however, I really enjoy Catan dice and Rivals for Catan. I remember sitting in bed with my husband and playing Catan Dice all of the time, but if I’m being honest Rivals made a bigger impact on me. We had two player games like Chess and Mancala, but Rivals was the first big experience with two player only games.

I think that Dixit and King of Tokyo were probably the biggest inspirations to us embracing board games as a way of life. To this day both get good play. Of course, we had our games that just didn’t stick with us enough. We got rid of Apples to Apples and Story Cubes pretty quickly and with that followed quite a few others from this original collection. We try to go through our games before Christmas every year to see what we are getting rid of and the weird thing is that no matter when the last time we played… it always hurts to say goodbye to a game. We still have Catan Family Edition and I’m certain that we haven’t played it since 2013, but my husband insists on keeping it. He says it’s because it’s a classic, but I know it’s because it was from the start of our wonderous hobby.

The great thing about this collection is that most of it came from a shop called Yottaquest. It was our FLGS until they closed it down. It was wonderful being able to go and physically browse shelves of games that could and for some, would one day be ours. Having a FLGS was a great feeling because even though they were greatly overpriced, it was almost like another home. I believe I was always nervous and shy when I would go, but I knew that I didn’t have to be… I knew that those were my people. What a greatly missed feeling… I am hoping that my first trip to Gen Con brings back that neat little feeling.

I know that this post was random and all over the place, but I just felt like chatting about it a bit. Do you remember when your collection started? Tell me about it!! Thank you for stopping by and 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

Recruiting New Gamers

 IMG_20141224_014332

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!”

BATTLE POGS

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