Tag: Harry Potter

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Last list post, I considered doing a couple more for things like Sci-Fi and Anime, but there are so many specific things, like with Fantasy in both of those, that I thought, let’s wrap it up with a nerdy grab bag of ideas. This list…

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

This is towards the end of Christmas ideas, because I know if you’re using of them, you need to plan for the shipping time. And I’m running out of different things to do these lists on. Today’s is like yesterdays where it’s more of a…

Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Sometimes going to visit family can be a lot around the holidays. If you want to find something you can do together, board games are often a fun option, though not for every family. If you think your family would like board games, here are some options that you can give as a gift to hopefully add even more good times to your holidays.

Most of these games are going to be pretty simple and easy to play with a range of ages and are often called introductory games. While, if you are a seasoned gamer, these might be a little bit lighter than you’d want to play all the time, but it’s a good compromise with family who might only want to play very light games or “classic” games like Uno and Monopoly.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Carcassonne – This game can actually be a bit more challenging for new players when it comes to placing out their meeples. When do they do it, where should they do it, how do farmers even work? But the tile playing piece is something that is very easy for people to pick up on and fun for people to do. It’s a fun game for that tile laying aspect, and once they have down the basics of the scoring, and scoring at least towns and monasteries are easy to understand, Carcassonne is a good game for the whole family.

Castle Panic – This game skews a little bit younger, but maybe you have a younger sibling or niece of nephew who you want to get into gaming or a grand child. Whatever the relationship might be, Castle Panic is a fun game. It’s simple as to how it works, it’s cooperative, so you can all plan out things together and that makes it easier to teach as well. Definitely, once they start to get the idea of the game hang back and let them take the lead, but this tower defense card game is a lot of fun, and easy for younger kids to pick up. There is also My First Castle Panic for even younger kids.

Century: Golem Edition – I picked this one over the normal version, Century: Spice Road, because the gems in this game are cooler than cubes in Spice Road. It’s a pretty simple game of collecting gems, getting cards, using those cards to get other types of gems, and turning in gems for golems. This game has a bit more going on to it, but the turns are very fast, and since you can only do one action per turn, it makes it easier for people to figure it out as they go along. The table appeal is great for this game as well.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger – Now, this one is completely different and might be too silly for some people in your family. But in Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, you are going through chapters of this story, making choices and rolling dice once in a while to see if you can complete a challenge. This is really a story telling game, and it would be an easy one to play just sitting around a living room without needing a table. This game is light, easy and cooperative.

Dice Throne Season 1 – This game is just silly in a very different way than Choose Your Own Adventure. This one is also about the opposite of a cooperative game as you’re having different contestants fight against each other in a dice chucking game. But it is also familiar because it’s yahtzee style rolling, just with more added onto it. It would be a fun one to face off different characters against each other and see who can do the best. The games also play fast, so you could do a small tournament if you wanted and had the right group. The art in the game is also fun, and the dice are great. I’d recommend the first season of the game though, as the second season has more complicated characters.

Draftosaurous – Draftosaurous is a game that I’ve only played once, but it was a ton of fun when I did. In it, you are drafting dinosaur and scoring them in different ways. The ways are simple and you can easily explain them as often as you want in your game without slowing down the game. Plus, the dinosaurs are meeples, which look amazing. So it has a cute factor going for it as well. The game also plays very quickly, so you might end up playing a few in a row. But the game isn’t so simple that people will get board with it fast.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – People will be drawn to games with an intellectual property (IP) that they recognize. And Harry Potter is a very popular IP that most people are at least familiar with, even if they haven’t seen all the movies or read all the books. This is a deck building game, so it has a little bit to teach with deck building if people aren’t familiar with it, but the first few games, which have bad guys from the first few books, keep the game simple so that people can understand it. Eventually you get more complex things, but by then, people should be familiar with deck building enough that more won’t complicate it for them. It’s a good fun game, and has a little bit more than some other games.

Image Source: Brain Games

ICECOOL – This one, if you’ve followed my top 100 and my thoughts on the game, shouldn’t be a surprise to you. Icecool is a great family game that anyone can play. Even younger kids can play with only possibly needing to make the rules simpler just for scoring, and go with more of a tournament rule style. This game is just about flicking penguins around and having a silly good time. If you want to play it on a table, you can, if you want to play it on the floor you can. Adults might find it a bit too simple, but it is meant to be silly fun more than a strategic match.

Just One – Yes, it showed up on the stocking stuffer list, but it works well here also. It’s a cooperative party game, and instead of just pulling out the old ones at your parents or grandparents place, Just One offers something new. The game play is easy and the components are nice. The concept of the game is also easy to teach. This game should work well in most settings and with a wide age range, from Grandma and Grandpa to your 10 year old cousin.

Lost Expedition – Another cooperative game, but I really think that for family weight games, cooperative games are great. They are good introductory level and for people who might not like conflict in games, they work well. Lost Expedition is all about going and trying to find the lost city of Z. However, there are plenty of challenges you have to get through each morning and evening as you hike. If you don’t ration out your resources, you might die before they get there, but with some clever path construction, you can rush to the end before you run out of resources. The game is quite easy to explain and the artwork is nice. This game also helps keep alpha players from running the table.

Machi Koro – I’m not going to suggest any Machi Koro in particular, but if you think people will like the game, I recommend the legacy version. For me, that game seemed to play faster than the base game and being able to make the game unique to the person who is getting it, that’s something that is cool and most games don’t do. This is a tableau building game, but you can more easily explain it that you are trying to build up the best town by getting buildings and building monuments. Turns are pretty fast in Machi Koro, especially when people start to become familiar with the cards. And the cards are pretty simple, so it shouldn’t take too long. While not my favorite game, it’s a good one that is easy to teach to a lot of different levels of players.

Image Source: The Dork Den

Pandemic – I’m sure you expected this one to be on the list, but it’s a good and straightforward cooperative game. It’s also one that even if people aren’t gamers, they might have seen before. It’s also challenging enough that the person you give it to won’t get bored with it or beat it too often right away. And when they start to, there are expansions that can be added to change up the game to make it more challenging. This game of player powers and curing diseases also has a theme that people will be able to understand quickly, even if the game is fairly abstract.

Potion Explosion – The toy factor to this game is high with all the marbles in it, but the game itself is pretty simple. You are collecting marbles to complete potions to help you get more marbles. The game play is simple just pulling out a marble, if like colored marbles hit, you get those marbles, and it can cascade onward. These marbles you then use to complete potions, and the potions give you more things that you can do to get more marbles. But the game is really about pulling out those marbles and letting them hit and getting a whole bunch of marbles when they keep on doing that. Turns are pretty fast, and the concept is easy to grasp, especially with so many app games doing something similar.

Sagrada – A game about making stained glass windows, this looks great on the table with translucent dice that actually help make it look like stained glass. Another drafting game, this one you are taking dice that match specific colors or numbers to try and fill in your stained glass windows. The scoring for the game is pretty simple, and while there are some powers that are a bit tricky, there are plenty of simple ones you can start with, and I often choose those for the first game. The concepts are simple, like numbers and colors can’t go next to each other orthogonally (in rows and columns), and you have to place the die you drafted next to another one, diagonally or orthogonally. Definitely one that most people will pick up on fast.

Second Chance – Another one from the stocking stuffer list, but this is my roll and write (or flip and write as the case might be) for the list. Second Chance just works well because of the Tetris like shapes and people understand trying to fill in an area as much as possible. It is pretty solitaire as what other people are doing won’t affect you, but the game is pretty when it’s completed and a fast game to play. Generally I don’t see people only playing a single game of it, you at least play two, one for each side of your sheet before being done.

Image Source: BoardGameGeek

Small World – Another classic modern game, Small World is an area control game where you get points for all the areas that you have and other scoring, such as what type of area you are in. It’s a silly game that can be a bit mean, but the nice thing about how this game can be mean is that if you are almost kicked off the board, you can go into decline, get a new race next turn and go onto the board. That’s the only tricky part about the game, in my opinion, knowing when to go into decline and understanding that it is your whole turn. The combinations of races and powers are what then make the game stand out, because who doesn’t want flying halflings or maybe seafaring dwarves. You never know what combination you might get or want.

Sushi Go Party! – Now, this is a bit more complex than just normal Sushi Go, but because of that complexity, if offers variability which will keep it coming to the table longer. In the game you are drafting different types of foods to create the best meal and scoring points over three rounds. Depending on what type of food it is, it’ll score you points in various ways. Maybe you want three sashimi to get 10 points, but will get three of them, whereas tofu scores you points for two of them, but if you get a third, you don’t get any points, because you don’t want to fill up on tofu. The game can take a little bit to get into, but if you play a pretty basic set-up to start, people will catch on fast.

Ticket to Ride – The Train Game, as a lot of people call it, is a classic family weight game where you’re trying to complete various routes. This game has a little bit of strategy in it, mainly in picking your routes to help create the longest route, but beyond that, it’s collecting sets of cards and building your train routes. What works well in this game is that the rules are simple and you only do one thing on your turn. This helps people not be bogged down by all the options available. While this game doesn’t have a ton of variety in the base box, there are other maps you can get for it that’ll change up how the game works once you’ve played through the base game enough. But this one is a good one to add to parents or grand parents collection and play once or twice a year around the holidays.

Image Source: Days Of Wonder

Wits & Wagers – Final game on the list, and other party game. This one is my favorite trivia style party game, because you don’t need to be great at trivia. You just have to know, who in the group, might know the answer or be closest to the answer, without going over. All the questions have answers that are numbers, so you put down your answer and then bet on what answer you think is right. If you are correct, you get your money back plus some, depending on how close to the middle it was, so you can bet on your answer, if you think you are right, or you can go with the person who you think might know more about it than you do. It’s a fun and sometimes funny game that is good for a whole family and because of how it works, can play with younger kids.

Now, there are so many more family games out there. I left some off the list that I like, simply because I had something similar on the list. Dice Throne could have easily been left off the list for King of Tokyo that has a similar mechanic, but I also wanted to provide some different options as well. Hopefully you can play some of these with family or friends over the holidays, and maybe give them to them as a gift so that they can introduce them to their friends and grow the board gaming hobby.

What are some of your favorites from my list? Is there a game that you’ve found works well as a gift?

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My Top 100 Board Games: 60 to 51

My Top 100 Board Games: 60 to 51

We’re done with the bottom half of my top 100 after today’s post. That’s awesome, there are some games that I really enjoy on this section of the list, I feel like some of them should be higher, then I see what is coming up,…

Table Top Takes: Dominion

Table Top Takes: Dominion

Normally I do these reviews on games that I really enjoy. However, I thought it would be interesting to do a TableTopTakes on Dominion, a game that I have enjoyed but now that I don’t enjoy as much, and it’s still a very popular game.…

TableTopTakes: Bring Your Own Book

TableTopTakes: Bring Your Own Book

This is a different complexity of game than I normally review. Even when I talk about party style games, I normally don’t bring up the games that kind of play themselves. I’m talking about games like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples. Bring Your Own Book falls into that category, but just barely into that category, because in Bring Your Own Book, you have more variety.

Like your standard party game, Bring Your Own Book runs off of the prompt and reply system. This is why I brought up games like Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples. Now, I actually like some prompt and reply style of games. I think that games like Stipulations and Beyond Balderdash (which I believe I can just call Balderdash now) are enjoyable because in these games you are coming up with your response, so it relies on your creativity, not just a hand of cards you’ve been given. Bring Your Own Book doesn’t do that, because, instead of using a card or writing something down, you are finding a line in a book to use, and that can be whatever book you brought to the table.

This is a strength and issue of the game. It’s a strength because it lends itself to variety. When we’ve played it, we’ve had books ranging from technical or non-fiction books to YA books. So you actually get more variety and you don’t see cards repeat like you do in something like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples. But, at the same time you’re limited to whatever book you brought to the table or that was at the table when you got there. So if the book I have at the table is an epic fantasy novel, everything I read is going to sound like an epic fantasy, and if it’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, it’s going to sound like that. So as a player, you are still being limited in variety of what you can do, unless you have a book of short stories.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

But also with that, there’s another issue. You have a time limit to find your passage in the book, and this is very much needed, but that also cuts down on how much you can really search for a good sentence. If you had unlimited time, there would be people who would just start reading the book every time. I think that the title is very accurate of this game, though, to get around the problem of the time limit. You need to bring your own book, and you need to know it well. If I got the first Harry Potter book, I’m going to be able to comb that for certain passages and scenes better than I would The Expanse, for example. Because I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone several times and I haven’t read The Expanse. That’s going to be different for everyone, and while my wife and I have a good collection of books, we might not have books that someone else has read, so the game is going to be trickier for them. So, you might want to bring your own book, which means that this party game now needs to be planned to work at it’s best.

And I will say, that it’s definitely at it’s best, I think you can do it with random books. However, if you play with random books, I would suggest rotating books as you rotate the person giving the prompt. That way, everyone one gets the chance with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and everyone gets a chance with How to Win Friends and Influence People. This will make the game more fair, because, while How to Win Friends and Influence People might not be a dry book, it’s not as exciting as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and there is probably less familiarity with it around the table. Or, if you are doing random books, keep them all in the same family. Fantasy fiction would be a great one, you don’t even need to pick a type of fantasy, but that is going to keep everyone on even footing.

The actual game components, I think that the kickstarter version looks amazing, and that’s what I have. I, however, don’t really like the retail version all that well. As compared to the kickstarter, it looks cheaper and it loses the charm of looking so much like a book itself. Now the game doesn’t play different, it’s just an aesthetic thing. I think had I not gotten the kickstarter version of the game, I don’t know that the retail version would have even caught my eye.

Overall, this is another party game. If you like games like Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples, but you want a party game with unlimited variety, but still restricting, Bring Your Own Book works well, because where ever you play it, it will feel different. I’d pull it out again off my shelf, but probably not in a lot of situations. If I themed a board game night around books, it would probably be the warm up game before we split off into other smaller games.

Overall Grade: C
Gamer Grade: D
Casual Grade: B-

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GenCon Recap – The Con Games

GenCon Recap – The Con Games

Besides being a spot where a lot of new games are released, therea re also ticketed events that you can go to as well. In these, you can play board games, demo out new games, or play RPG’s. There’s never a shortage of things to…

GenCon Recap

GenCon Recap

There’s so much that I could talk about at GenCon, that I’m probably going to just be writing about it for the next week. But I wanted to start with a bit of recap, talk about some highlights, some things I’d do differently, and some…

GenCon Vol 2 – Events

GenCon Vol 2 – Events

Woo… we’ve reached the point where event registration is open for GenCon. Let’s talk a little about how the process went with getting registered for events.

There are two big things to note that we did, since there were two of us, when when we went through and picked events, we always selected, a ticket for yourself and one other person, and only process it if you can get both tickets. This meant that we would get into events with the other person always, and since it was our first year, it’s a good way to get a feel for what is going on and both of us will be able to keep track of it better. In future years, I could see us branching off and doing our own thing, or if we get more people to join us, then we might also see more splitting up on events.

The other thing we did was we had both of us grab the events in our wishlist, so that when the moment came to process everything, we could both hit submit for processing and whomever got onto the wait list higher would make the purchase. Turns out that the other person I’m going with was able to get in about 1000 people higher on the list than I was.

Image Source: Brain Games

Even with that, there were several events that were sold out that we were interested in. Out of the fourteen or fifteen we had our our lists, by the time we were at the top of the queue, we were down to nine that we could get into. Once the wishlist is processed, we didn’t have to worry about our spots, so we decided to drop two and got down to seven events that we’re doing.

Overall, it ended up costing us $46 for those few events. GenCon charges for the events that you get into because, otherwise, you’d end up with people signing up for a ton of things and then just skipping out on them or doubling up on things and picking whatever one they felt like doing more. While I don’t love dishing out extra cash when I did already for the con itself, I get why, with 60,000 people that you’d need to do that.

So what are we doing?

Thursday: 3 PM
Role Player Adventures – Role Player is an interesting game where you are rolling up a D&D character, basically, and using abilities to manipulate your stats. The original game to me felt like half a game, but with a name like Adventures, I’m assuming we’re going to use our characters for something, such as adventuring, instead of just rolling them up. This one is also interesting because it’s a prototype of a game that they’ll be coming out with.

Friday:
9 AM
Savage Dresden – Our one RPG on the list, Savage World is the system that we’re going to be playing in, and I don’t know anything about that system. But the world we’re playing in, the the world of Dresden Files, and if you can’t tell, I really like the Dresden Files series, so I’m excited to play an RPG in that setting, though it won’t actually have Dresden in it.
6 PM
Village Attacks – Our most expensive game on the schedule. But this was the game that I really wanted to get into, and the other person I’m going with was excited with as well. And you do get something out of it more than just playing a game. You get a scenario with it, now you obviously need to own the game, which I don’t. But Village Attacks seems fun, because you’re playing the monsters dealing with the Villagers who are coming after you with pitchforks and torches while you just try and live your best life.

Image Credit: Amazon

Saturday
9 AM
Ice Cool North American Championships – This one is just a bit silly, it’s the penguin flicking game that I really like. However, one that I’m just okay at. But they have a North American Championship there with a chance to go to the World Championship in Latvia. It should be a silly time, I don’t expect to do all that well, but I’ll put some effort into training, plus I can say that I competed North American Championship.
8 PM
Hobbit Drinking with Marc Gunn – I don’t know much about Marc Gunn, but apparently he does nerdy drinking songs. That should be fairly entertaining event to just sit back and enjoy. A good laid back thing after an a morning of competing at penguin flicking.

Sunday
10 AM
Harry Potter Miniatures Game – I know nothing about this game, other than that it’s a Harry Potter game. It seemed like something interesting to checkout on Sunday when things will be slowing down as a lot of people will be leaving early. We’re actually staying around that whole day, so that should be fun. All I know is that I want to be Neville.
2 PM
Marvel Legendary – Now, you know I’m not a huge fan of this game, but it’s a play and win event. So you have a chance to come out of it with something, and the other person is a huge Marvel Legendary fan. I’ve grown to like it a bit more, but it’ll be nice to not have to learn how to play a new game again.

That’s my GenCon schedule. GenCon also does one nice thing, and that’s that you can buy generic tickets. Using the generic tickets, you can get into an event you didn’t sign up for, if there is still room. So I got $6 worth of those, they come in as $2 tickets, so if an event costs $4, I’d need to use 2 tickets. But I feel like that’s a pretty nice schedule for GenCon and I’m really excited for it.

Next article on GenCon will talk about different places or things that I’m thinking about doing around the Con, since we won’t want to be there all the time, or only eat the Con food.

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Top 5: Deck Building

Top 5: Deck Building

So I normally do a lot of top fives at the end of the year in bigger categories, but I wanted to break it down for a few specific categories within board games so you can see what I really enjoy in the various genres…