Somehow, it seems like the holiday season gets busier every year — and that’s no different this time around. But despite all the running around and buying of far too many items (and trying not to get so caught up in the hullabaloo that I…
Month: December 2016
Kristen and I have been going to Insight Brewing about every other week for the past couple of months to play different board games. We realized that we had a lot of board games that we didn’t play all that often, weren’t 100% comfortable with the rules on, or hadn’t even broken out before. So we decided to aim for every other week to try a new game.
Krosmaster Arena is one of these new games. I tossed 1.0 onto the end of the article title because they do have a 2.0, but this one is generally known as just Krosmaster Arena. This is a gem collecting, gem stealing, knocking your opponents out on a strategical battle map sort of game. It sounds really complicated, and when we bring it back out, we’ll play the full game as it was meant to be played. But they know it’s kind of complicated, so the rules are great and walk you through everything. In fact, they’ll teach you a core concept and then create a little scenario for you in the rule book that you can play so you get the rules down. It then builds upon the previous rules that you’ve learned and you learn how to play it by actually playing it. It’s a really good way to learn the game that more companies should work with.
What makes Krosmaster as enjoyable as it is, and I do enjoy it a lot, is the awesome little figures that you get. These figures are really detailed, and portray the different characters that you can play in the game. The base game starts with eight characters, which, when you play the full game is enough for two teams. Just look and see how great these characters look. Each character has their own special abilities, so that when you select your team, you can really tailor it to how you want to play. This is even brought more to light with the plethora of expansions that they have. Each of these expansions comes with four completely new and unique characters as well, and while they eventually get into the land of a slightly tweaked character, the minis are always amazing to see.
Each of these characters has some key things to look at. The first is their HP, this is how much damage they can take before they are knocked out. They also have AP and MP. AP is action points, and MP is movement points. They determine how much you can do and how far you can move on your turn. The characters then have different attacks, some of them, like Bill Tell, have ranged attacks where they really don’t want to be next to someone, whereas other characters have no ranged attacks and are going to try and keep you from leaving. There are then special rules that allow you to grab someone easier, break away easier, defend better, or possibly do more damage. It makes it really interesting to look at the characters and figure out what you want to do.
The goal of the game is to either be the last one standing, which is what they teach you about as you play, but the main game, you are racing to collect the most gold medallions. You can do this by knocking out an opposing player or you can collect gold pieces. In a last person standing game, you can feel like you might have some characters that are under powered, or don’t have anything useful to do that turn, but now, you have the ability to collect gold coins with them. You can even spend your gold coins, instead of getting a medallion with them, to buy upgrades for your characters.This changes up the dynamic of the game, and makes it less about conflict. However, playing the full game, you are limited to two players, or to players playing on teams with each other.
This is a game, that just for the last one standing style of play, I’ve enjoyed a lot. It’s fun to look at and has some really great pieces. It also is really simple to play if you want to play the basic version of the game, and because of how they created the rules, a little time consuming to learn, but you really learn the rules. And the minis are just so fun to look at, the amount of personality in each one is great. I’d definitely recommend this game, and I think it’s one that a non-gamer could pick up pretty easily, however, someone who is more of a strategist is probably going to have the advantage a lot of the time. It’s also a lot of fun for people to just pick a character and battle it out, so that could be done with up to 8 people if you really wanted, so it can work well for a big old battle royale and then everyone is on much more even footing.
Overall Grade: B+
Casual Grade: C-
Game Grade: B+
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As the weather gets colder and colder every day, we’ve been finding ourselves feeling more hibernate-y lately. And what better way to pass the time when that feeling comes on than to watch a new TV series? Recently, Peder and I did just that when we watched…
First off, thank you to everyone who game me suggestions! That was great to get a lot of interesting ideas.
But this one, thanks to Tom Cantwell (@BeskarTom), was the one that really stuck out to me:
@TheScando Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective with bangers and mash or some other classic British dish is the first thing I think of”
I’m not just going to stick with the board games, but also if you are watching the Benedict Cumberbatch show, the Robert Downey Jr. movies, or are reading the book aloud as part of a book club, or playing Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective or 221B Baker Street. If it is Sherlock Holmes themed, here’s an idea of what you can do to get into the mood and mindset for the greatest detective of all time.
I had a few different thoughts. What Tom suggests in his tweet, bangers and mash or something like a meat pie would create a classic English feel that you could build off of, but that’s not the direction that I wanted to go. I also thought of molecular gastronomy, but that seemed less accessible than the idea that I landed on, food that isn’t as it seems, food that is the mystery.
Beer and Pop/Soda
So this seems like it would be really normal. You can have beer or pop any night and it doesn’t seem to be Sherlock Holmes themed, but I do have a reason for both of these. For the beer, get a sampler pack and then remove the labels from every single beer. Most beer comes in a darker colored bottle now, so it stays fresher longer,so you’ll have no idea what beer you are picking out of the case. Or will you? Can you through process of elimination, studying the bottle, and anything short of opening the bottle and sniffing, figure out which beer you are getting so you’ll get the one that you want? Same thing for the pop. Get two liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, Root Beer, and Dr. Pepper, take off the label, take off the caps and the little ring that goes with the cap, can you determine which soda is which without tasting or smelling it?
Why wontons, they don’t seem too English? They really aren’t, but what sort of fillings will you conceal within your wonton wrappers? Some ideas might be – cream cheese, cream cheese and cranberries, cream cheese and chocolate chips, cream cheese and onion/balsamic jam, pork, and you can really go crazy with this. Make it so that you have a number of different varieties and fry them up so that you as the host, you don’t even know what is what. And again, use your sleuthing skills to try and figure out which one is which. Here’s a real mean trick to play, you can get capsaicin in a bottle, it doesn’t have a ton of color, and could be an interesting surprise for someone. Now, if you control how much you put in there (and test it out yourself mixed in with cream cheese), and people like spice, it would be a fun thing to use.
Chicken Fried Steak
This is less about tricking people. It’s more about creating stuff that will look differently than you’d expect. Mashed Cauliflower can make a nice change of pace from mashed potatoes that people would expect. Chicken Fried Steak would take a food preparation that people are expecting for one sort of protein, but preparing it in another way, and if you break it up well enough, people still might be surprised when it’s beef and not chicken. Finally, you’d want to make a nice dark colored gravy. We’re not talking about a creamy gravy. Go with something that is dark and work on building it up so that it kind of matches a darker BBQ sauce color. Things won’t be exactly what people are expecting, but it’ll be a good meal still.
When I say brownies, I really mean brownies, with a little bit of a twist. When you go to make your brownies, add in a bit of habanero (with seeds) in a couple of the brownies. You probably know what size you normally cut brownies, so make it so it’s stuck in the middle of a brownie and then turn it into a game. People grab a brownie and let’s see who gets the pepper. And if you do get the pepper, maybe see if you can hide it form everyone so they don’t know you’ve gotten it. That way the rest of the brownies, people will be taking a bit of them in dread. Note that keeping the seeds in there is important, I’ve had one with habanero (pretty sure it was that an not jalapeno) and it didn’t have the seeds and it didn’t really taste hot.
What would your idea for theming a Sherlock Holmes meal be? Would you go with something more traditional? If so, what sort of English meal would you create?
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This idea came up with talking to some people from church. They were at Fantasy Flight Games when Kristen and I went there for their Black Friday sale. It’s a family that has a couple of younger boys and they were trying to figure out what games would make sense for their family. They were looking for something that wasn’t going to be too hard for the boys but also something that wasn’t going to be boring for the parents to play.
I think that is a really interesting line to walk, and I wanted to get it up on the website now, just for Christmas ideas, so I’m doing a double post today. The reason that it’s interesting is that there is kind of a gap and an idea that kids can’t really pick up on harder concepts, but allowing a kid to try more complicated games than Chutes and Ladders or Candyland will probably be helpful for them in learning as well as they have to tackle ideas and concepts in more fun ways than learning it through a text book. So, without much further ado, here are five board games that I think work great for families with younger (Elementary) kids and won’t bore the parent to death:
1. Ticket to Ride
This game has long been my go to game for family time. Ticket to Ride is a card collecting, color matching game where you try and connect routes across the country. It is a fast one to pick up, and the game can play differently every time that you play it. It’s good for kids because you are mainly trying to match the colors of cards in your hand so that you can play train routes. It’s also good, as it is a competitive game, but isn’t a cut throat game.
Catan is another good game to play with kids. The concepts are simple as you collect resources to build stuff. And while you can get competitive with it, the game generally works with everyone playing the board more so than competing against each other. Catan changes every time it is played as well, so while kids can pick it up pretty quickly. The one downside to Catan is that it is hard to predict exactly how long the game is going to take. If it starts taking too long, you can just play to a lower number of victory points. It varies a lot from game to game though.
3. Castle Panic
A tower defense game, this game has fun pieces, simple rules and strategy and is cooperative. It gives the family as a whole something that they can play together, and for a cooperative game, it isn’t nearly as tough as some. This means that while there is strategy, if you don’t play the ideal strategy because you are letting a kid take the lead, that is okay, you aren’t going to lose every time you let them take the lead. I like this game a lot as an option for kids because it really does help teach strategy, but in a fun way with fun pieces.
4. Forbidden Desert or Forbidden Island
These games are cooperative again. You are either looking for pieces of your crashed plane or trying to find missing treasure. The trick is, the pieces of the crashed plane as in the desert and keep on getting buried, and the treasure is on an island that is actively sinking. I’ve only played Forbidden Island, but Forbidden Desert seems more enjoyable. It adds in one piece of complexity that will make the game more interesting generally. They both come with other ways to up the difficulty as well which will make it feel like there is more pressure. These games are probably the fastest on the list as well, so that is to their advantage.
A cooperative game as well, this time you can play the iconic characters from the original Ghostbusters movies as they battle various ghosts completing different story arcs. The mechanics are simple, there are limited number of actions that you can do, and it comes with a ton of minis. Kids will enjoying playing a game where there are a bunch of little figures that they can move around on the board, and the main mechanic is just rolling dice. I’ve only played this one once, and I am sure that Kristen and I messed up some rules, but it plays fairly quickly, and there isn’t a ton of downtime between turns.
What are games that you think work well with kids? I have a few more that I could have added to the list, like Tsuro or Zombie Dice, but these are some bigger board games that use more strategy that would work well with younger kids.
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