Review of different board games we have played

Larceny (the card game)

One of the members of our gaming group recently picked up a copy of the card game Larceny. He got lucky and found it in a bargain bin at a local gaming store and now it is part of our groups ever growing collection of board games. We have played it several times since then and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one definitely gets a gold star from me.

So what is it about? Well it is a card game of the roving judge variety (think Apples to Apples). The Chief (judge) supplies the crew (players) with The Score as well as two obstacles to get it (The Catches). The players then use cards from their hands (The fixes) to alleviate the challenges of The Catches. The Chief then determines the best fixes and awards points to the players that provided them. First to a predetermined value wins. Sounds more confusing then it really is, I suspect an example might help.

The Score: Hope Diamond
The Catch #1: Arena Lighting
The Catch #2: World Weary Private Investigator

Player 1:
Plays their Fix card of Fire Extinguisher on the Arena Lighting (face down so the judge doesn’t see who played what) hoping that maybe The Chief will understand how the cloud from the extinguisher would block them from the Arena Lighting
Plays their Fix card of Friendly Smile on the World Weary Private Investigator (again face down), while not as good as a Tazer Gun would be it is the best they have for this in their hand.

Once all the players have placed cards, The Chief determines (while the players defend the cards) which one overcame each Catch. If the same person takes both Catch cards they also get the Score card as well boosting their points that round. The the judge passes to the left. Rinse and repeat until someone gets enough points to win.

We found this was a good game for both gamers and non-gamers alike, putting it in the category we like to call transition games.

Here are the official like game stats:
Larceny
Players: 3+
Length of Play: 15 Minutes
Ages: 13+

Board Game Anniversary

A Better Anniversary Gift List

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a Geek Version of the Traditional Wedding Anniversary list. The list is from Geek Dad on Wired and here is the link to the Geek Anniversary List so you can enjoy it too. Since then my husband and I have been using this list to determine our gifts for the year. We shake it up some since they don’t always fit. Like last year (5th Anniversary) was smart phones, but we both had good working phones, so we swapped for an earlier year we had missed out on, geeky t-shirts. I will share the shirts we got in another post later.

Board Game Gifts

Zombie Cinema - Story GameSo with this year being our 6th anniversary and us both really enjoying playing board games we went with the scheduled theme for this year. Last month we went to GameStorm (our local Gaming Convection) it made the shopping that much easier. While my husband is generally good at choosing gifts, he also tells me that he prefers me to be direct and not hint about. So when I found that Guardian Games was selling a game I had really enjoyed playing a few years ago at GameStorm I told him that is what I wanted. I also got his game from the dealer’s room as well.

I asked him to get me Zombie Cinema. It is a true Indie game in both feel and content. The game play is virtually all storytelling with a roaming narrator along with some basic dice-offs and a board to make sure the story progresses in true zombie horror style. When I played it at GameStorm we set the patient zero on an airplane at PDX and the trigger as airline food. It was a crazy story that I still have fond memories of several years later, which is the point in any story-telling game after all. And amazingly I made it out of the scenario alive, though barely. Sadly my current gaming group isn’t big into Indie-style storytelling board games so it may be a while before I get to use it. I do have a couple in Wisconsin that it would be fun to play the game with, perhaps life will let me travel to them soon.


For my husband I got him an expansion for one of our new family favorites, Sentinels of The Multiverse (2nd Edition). This game is a great family game as you are all playing together to defeat the bad guy. There is a lot of replay value as their are multiple villains and settings to choose from as well as super hero characters to play. Really it includes something for everyone. Since we have the base set and a friend picked up some expansions for it, I went with a different expansion and am really looking forward to playing it soon. I got him Sentinels of The Multiverse: Shattered Timelines. Which has several new villains, heroes, and settings. I am really looking forward to trying to beat The Dreamer, but I am not sure we will be able to manage that one. Guess I will update you if we ever manage it.

We love embracing our geek when it comes to gift giving. What is the geekiest gift you have ever exchanged with someone else?

Sometime you just need Meeples

Robot Meeple
Meeple Source – Robot Mega Meeples

There comes a time in every gamers life when you simply don’t have enough tokens, figures, widgets, poker chips, what have you to represent all of the bad guys, or all of your good guys. It may be during an epic RPG battle where you really need to show that you have amassed an army of evil robots to do your bidding. You could either buy a large number of mini-figs or resort to baubles to show them all, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you actually had a small army of Robot Meeples to put on the map? I discovered today, via Board Game Geek, an online store specializing in Meeples, Tokens, and other various side bits to the gaming frenzy. The store is called Meeple Source and they carry a wealth of tokens, Meeples and other products to assist the gamer. They also make products for the Board Game designer as well, so if you or your kids need supplies for their personally crafted, work-of-art board game this is the place to shop!! Plus, if you are in need, they even do custom designs. I will say that I haven’t shopped with them, and they don’t even know I am endorsing them, but their products look so great I couldn’t help but share this resource with you.

Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Overview

This adorable little game is perfect for family or friends to play together. This game takes no reading skills to play and doesn’t even take much in the way of counting either so any child that can keep the dice out of their mouths is old enough to play. The whole idea is of the game is that there is an invisible cat whose food bowl sees a small group of mice in and out of it through the actions of the dice. The game is pure chance, which means that like the classic game Candy Land you can’t through the game in your child’s favor if they aren’t able to lose well yet.

Game Play

The game play of Feed the Kitty is pretty basic. The components of the game are small wooden mice tokens, 1 plastic food bowl, and two 6-sided dice. Youngest player goes first and play proceeds clockwise around the table. The mice are divided evenly between the players with any left over mice placed into the food bowl. The player rolls the two dice and follows the actions shown. The various actions for the dice are:

  • Sleeping Cat: The cat is sleeping – nothing happens
  • Food Bowl: The cat captures a mouse – place one of your mice in the food bowl
  • Mouse: A mouse escapes the food bowl – take a mouse from the food bowl (if there is one) and place it in your mouse pile
  • Arrow: A mouse moves to a new pile – pass a mouse to the player on your left

Play continues in this manner until only one person has mice left in their pile. The nice thing is that if a player runs out of mice they are not totally out of the game. They could get passed a mouse from the player on their right.

Pros

  • Requires no reading so perfect for those that can’t read
  • Game play is fast so games don’t take very long
  • The rules are simple so it is easy to learn
  • My kids still enjoy it even at 12 and 10

Cons

  • Game is pure chance no skill involved
  • Because it is pure chance you can’t throw the game to make it easier for your kids to win

How to get the game

The game is still in print and should be available at your local game store. Or you can order Feed the Kitty online via Amazon.

 

Falling: Goblin Edition

A month ago or so we tried out a new card game, Falling: Goblin Edition and while crazy it was a lot of fun. The premise of the card game is that you are a group of Goblins who, for whatever reason, are falling and are sure to die when you hit the ground. So you take on the goal of trying to be the last one to hit the ground.

The game is very fast paced and lacks a true turn based system as you just fling cards as fast as they are dealt out. While it took us a couple of games before both the dealer and the players had figured out what we were doing, once we did it worked nicely. With such a fast paced game it did an excellent job of simulating the story line. While you were busy pushing other goblins (players) or grabbing onto thing to try to slow your decent the ground appeared with an unexpected “Thud!” often without you seeing it coming.

I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids younger than perhaps late Middle School, the pace would be a real challenge and the lack of true turns was a challenge for even the table of seasoned gamers I was playing with. It did make for an entertaining passing of time though while we waited for the last member of our gaming group to arrive for the evening’s table top session.

Anti-Matter Matters Boardgame – A Kickstarter Project

Anti-Matter Matters

Support your local Game Designer

Just like shopping locally helps the economy where you live, the same can be said for supporting your local Game Designer. By finding out the game designers in your community you are helping to drive innovation and creativity in your region. Many, if not most, major metropolitan centers have at least a few game designers. Just last night I found out that we have a new set of game designers in Portland; at least they are new to me. They are called Elbowfish Gaming and are located right here in Portland. Thanks to GameStorm for letting me know about them and their Kickstarter Project for a new game called Anti-Matter Matters. Right now they have a Kickstarter Project that is nearing the end of it’s funding time. It is so close to being funded and I really want to see their game in person and for sale. I went and helped with their kickstarter campaign and urge you to as well, but hurry as it closes this Saturday July 13th!!

So what is the game?

Good question. It is a board game about particle physics. Honestly I don’t know a lot about particle physics myself, but this group does and they have created a board game that promises to be fun while demystifying the rather complex subject of quantum physics. They have been test playing at Guardian Games, a local gaming shop, and they say while being fun it also stays true to the science. The game is rated as age 13+ and plays with 2-6 players. They are hoping to eventually do the extra testing and stuff that will allow them to mark the game 11+. But that means I can play this with my son now and my daughter too in the not too distant future.

I urge you to give what you can and help make science fun, and bring this game to life

Here is a quote from Elbowfish Gaming’s website that I just love:
“Play is a universal, social activity. Games can be more than diversions. They are a medium of expression that, like film, books, television and theater, can provide thought-provoking, emotional, transformative and entertaining experiences.”

Brief Review of We Didn’t Playtest This at All


Last week, we started our regular Friday gaming night session out by playing a few games of We Didn’t Playtest This at All while we waited for everyone to arrive. It is a neat little card game, rather humorous and a very quick play. I think we played four or five games in about 30 minutes. The rules are super simple; basically take once card, play one card.
I think my favorite thing about the game is how cut-throat the game itself is to the players. Sure there is some player to player smack down that goes on, but mostly the game itself is rather ruthless. The only way to win is to be the last player not to lose, and the cards make losing a very easy thing to do.
One of our games even included a player being saved by a dragon showing up in game, just in time. How often can a person be happy to see a dragon, or have it save your butt rather than eating it?
If you ever get a chance to play We Didn’t Playtest This at All I would really recommend you take 10 minutes out of your life and do it. I promise you won’t regret it!

Crappy Birthday – The Game

Crappy Birthday


Here is a new game we played last week at our weekly gaming session, Crappy Birthday. It is a card game which is similar in play style to Apples to Apples. As the name of the game implies you are trying to give someone the worst present you can for their birthday.

Each player has a hand of 5 cards, each of which is a different gift. A person is selected to have the first “birthday” and everyone else at the table pulls the worst gift they can from their hand and places it face down in front of the “birthday” person. Then the birthday person flips over the cards and determines which of the presents given they think is the worst. So, when giving gifts you really need to consider the person you are giving them to and what their tastes are like.  Who knows they may actually think a family room wallpapered in old newspaper (yes that really is from the game) is a neat historical thing. Once a crappy gift has been selected the gift-giver gets the card back to place in front of them on the table as a token of having won that round. Then the “birthday” person rotates to the next in the table and the gift giving starts all over again. [See how it has that Apples to Apples feel]. The first person to have given three crappy gifts wins the game.

We did find the game to be fun and a fairly quick play with very simple rules. The only challenge we had was that there are a number of gifts that our gaming group does not consider crappy at all, such as a tank in your front yard for decoration. This meant you could end up with a hand of cards that you simply couldn’t win with due to their being too cool to be crappy.

I would like to see them come up with some expansion card sets, I am sure they could do at least one or two to really round out the cards. But even without that it is a fun little game and being low cost it is worth it. Additionally, this would work as a good cross-over game, you just have to remember who you are playing with.

Crossover Board Games

We have found that while we really love our truly gamer geared board games, we are always on the lookout for those games that have great general appeal. In our house this are referred to as cross-over games and they can bring both gamers and non-gamers to the table for some good fun.


One of the easiest types of games to introduce to non-gamers are card games. Here I would recommend introducing the crowd you are playing with to Fluxx 4.0. This great little game has simple rules, that change over time but don’t generally lose a person. Since Flux starts with the simple rule of draw a card, play a card it is easy to teach. If you haven’t played before, it is really fairly simple, and even my kids can mange it quite nicely.


Another easy to play game, that has already hit mainstream in many areas is Apples to Apples Party Box – The Game of Hilarious Comparisons. This game is a card based game that has players placing cards into play based on their belonging to a particular category. The challenge comes from that each player takes turns determining the winning card of each hand. So to win a hand you must be able to judge how the other person will judge the cards. Not everyone has the same definition of gross after all.


If you are looking for a board game to pass away some time at the latest family gathering, I would suggest Gift TRAP Game. There is no gamer knowledge required for this game, of giving and taking of gifts. Each hand of play there are a number of cards representing various gifts that can be given. Each player marks gifts with hidden tokens to represent the level of like or dislike they have towards the gift. As an example I would love to get a trip to Disney World, but would hate to get a skydiving lesson. Then each player gives another a gift, no doubling up, and then points are scored. To win you have to manage to receive enough gifts that you like, as well as give enough gifts that other people like. It is a great way to learn a little more about the family or friends that you are playing with.

Thunderstone – The Boardgame

So last weekend I played a new game with the kids called Thunderstone. The game is a card based game that recreates an adventuring group. While the game is plenty of fun it is also easy enough for younger kids to play. I suspect that we may not have been playing with the full on set of rules, but we were close enough to them to get a good feel for the game.

In the game each person starts out with basic supplies for an adventuring party represented in cards. Using the cards you have collected you can either head to the village to purchase supplies or recruit and level up; or you can delve into the dungeon and battle creatures for experience points. The game play is pretty simple once you get it figured out, though I will admit that the setup is a bit on the complicated side to determine from the book. Just be sure to read through the instruction book and it will all come together pretty easily.