Maybe instead of gifting for a gamer, you are gifting to someone who is just getting into the board game industry. They’ve played a few of your games and are looking to start getting a few games of their own. What games should you look […]
Now, This is meant as more of a play on the new game that came out called My Little Scythe. To see if you want to continue reading this, this is not about small games, though I’ll probably do a post on that soon now that I’m writing about it, it’s going to be about the nerdy things that I’m looking forward to when the kid has been born and is able to start playing board games, etc.
The first thing that I think of is reading books to our kid and getting them into those worlds are make-believe and encouraging their creativity. For me growing up, my parents read to us kids a lot of books, and I’m excited to start doing that with a kid as well. And this is something that you can do even before they really truly understand it, but will be more fun when they do. The Swallows and Amazons series is the big one that I’m excited to read to them, it’s the one that I remember most fondly from my childhood. And there are plenty of other series, Harry Potter is one of the series that I want to read as well, something that my parents couldn’t have done for me because of how old I am. But I remember them reading Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Chronicles of Narnia as well. I have to imagine with how much Kristen and I read that it’ll rub off on the kid, but it’s something that we really want to encourage.
Then there are RPG’s. I actually think that most kids should play RPG’s. One, it’s a good form of play that they can do and really stretch imaginations. It’s also a good outlet for creativity, and is in some ways what kids are doing when they play make-believe. The other thing is that it puts yourself in a situation that you aren’t used to, it’s outside of the norms of social interaction and can be a good way to tease out those social interactions. As you can see, focusing in on that creativity is something that important in my mind for the development of a child, which I don’t think should be surprising.
I’m also really excited for teaching board games. I’m probably going to have to get a few simpler board games like My Little Scythe or My First Carcassone to start with, and actually on Board Game Breakfast from The Dice Tower, there’s a segment on games for younger kids that I’ll probably mind for information as well. But games like Ice Cool are already on my shelf that a kid is going to be able to play. Then as they get older I can introduce games like Tsuro and Splendor that are simple but have more strategy to them. This is there I’m looking to start developing the logical side of our child.
I also want to teach them Magic the Gathering or Star Wars: Destiny or whatever the newest CCG (collectible card game) is. The reason for that is that I really want to teach the deck building and the logic that goes into those things. It means that right now I can’t totally fall of the Magic bandwagon even though I don’t get to play much. But deck building in those games is very much logic and very much finding the fun combinations that you can play. Plus, if they get into Magic or any CCG, they don’t have money to spend on anything else, as the joke goes. However, these deck builders are clearly further down the line, as they are very logical, but I want to introduce them for that reason, to help build that logic and reasoning skill that you can get in both CCG’s and board games.
Now, there are a ton more things that I’m excited to introduce at the right times. The first time that they see the Lord of the Rings movies or the original Star Wars movies. Taking them to Universal Studios when they are old enough to appreciate Harry Potter world. And it’ll be interesting to see what nerdy things that they’ll get into that will be coming out for them. What will be there Harry Potter or Hunger Games?
What nerdy things are you excited to introduce a child to? Is there some particular area that you’re really excited for?
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Let’s meet the contenders: Machi Koro: Machi Koro is a city building game where you are working on building up enough infrastructure that you can then build the bigger attractions for your city, like a harbor, shopping mall, and other things. The first person to […]
I talked a tiny bit about this game in my AcadeCon review, but I wanted to mention it again and do a proper review on it.
Machi Koro is what is called a “tableau building” game. In this type of game, you are building up a group of cards/tiles/etc in front of you, almost as your own personal game board. With this board you gain resources to purchase more cards, until you either score enough points, or, like in Machi Koro, build the right combination of special buildings for your city.
Machi Koro is a game that is more focused around the mechanics than any sort of theme. It really could be almost anything, but the theme of the game is that you’re building up a city. And when dice are rolled, you get money. For example, if you have a bakery (which is one of the starting cards) and you roll a 2 or a 3 on your turn, you get a coin from the bakery. You could look at it as taxes, or, if you want to think of it in a more fun way, that you’re playing as a business mogul (I guess) and your businesses are making money. The coins can then be used to buy more cards which, if you roll the right number on your turn, get you more coins. You’re looking to build special buildings that cost various amounts, and the first person to build all of their special buildings wins the game. It would be possible to just keep your base buildings and build up your money and buy stuff that way, but that wouldn’t be any fun, and you’d probably lose horribly. So you’re looking to make the most profitable town you can so you can eventually get something special like an amusement park or a city mall or a harbor into your city; cards like these give you special abilities, such as being able to roll two dice and taking the combined total so that you can get the rewards from some of your better cards that might need an 8 or 9 to be rolled.
This game is a lot like Splendor in many ways. Splendor has a tableau building mechanic as well, and that’s how you build up your system to get better cards that are worth more points. I think I like this game better, because it is more thematic (though it’s not very thematic). Also, with the rolling of dice, it allows you to have luck go your way sometimes. Maybe you don’t diversify your numbers, so you really need to have a five rolled, but when you do roll it, it’s amazing. Splendor is a little bit too static for me, and I think Machi Koro, while using a similar gaming style, makes it feel like more of a game where you’re waiting to see what you’ve rolled. It’s a bit of excitement that can be missing at times in Splendor.
Overall, I like the concept of this game, I like the mechanics of this game, and I like the weight of this game. After having playing RPGs all weekend at AcadeCon, this one was a nice digestif to wrap up with. Only one person I played it with knew the game, and they got it up and running fast for the rest of us. Turns go quickly, and you can collect coins sometimes on other peoples turns, so everyone was involved throughout. I think it would be a good game to wrap up a board game night with, or even to start off a board game night before going to something heavier. This is an aperitif or digestif of a game, which is something that is hard to come by.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: C+
Casual Grade: A
Have you played Machi Koro Bright Lights Big City or the original Machi Koro? If so, what did you think of it? Is it better than Splendor?
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March was a crazy, crazy month for this nerd — I had a very large, in-depth, time-sensitive project to finish by the end of the month that, while extremely enjoyable, ate up most of my free time. As a good-job-on-the-hard-work present, Peder bought me Splendor, a great board game that I got a chance to play at a friend’s place a few weeks ago and have had my eye on ever since. It’s a gemstone trading-themed game, and I’m pretty sure I was more excited about it than if Peder had bought me actual jewelry. You may be a nerd when…
Splendor is one of those wonderful games that falls in the sweet spot of having just enough strategy involved to keep it engaging, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. It’s for a small group of players (2-4); if you’re looking for something in-depth and challenging, this isn’t the game for you, but it’s a great one for a little friendly competition on a laid-back evening.
Players of Splendor play as Renaissance-era jewel merchants who are trying to purchase the most possible jewels, in order to gain the most recognition — and even attract some noble patrons. To set up the game, three rows of four cards are laid out. Each subsequent row features gems of higher value and more potential victory points (or prestige points, as they’re called in this game). During each turn, a player may collect gem chips (either three different ones or two of the same kind), spend chips to purchase a gem card, or reserve a card that they plan to save up for and purchase later.
The goal, of course, is to buy as many gem cards as possible — once bought, cards give you permanent purchasing power, meaning that you’ll need to collect fewer and fewer chips as you go in order to purchase more cards. Many cards also have prestige points, which are crucial to collect — the first player to reach 15 prestige points is the winner.
The strategy comes into play in each of these stages. For example, there are only so many chips to collect, so you’ll need to collect a good amount before others do — but on the other hand, cards give you permanent buying power, so sometimes it’s better to purchase a lot of low-value cards at first, which will enable you to purchase higher-value ones later. And then there’s the matter of prestige points; the cards that have them typically cost more, so you’ll need to purchase lower-level ones to be able to afford them, or choose cards to reserve for later — but take too long saving up, and other players might get to the 15-point goal faster than you do. Finally, there’s the noble patrons to consider — to get them to pay you a visit (and thereby receive prestige points from them), you’ll need to accumulate certain amounts and combinations of the different gems. But again, focus too much on them, and other players might use a quicker strategy to rack up prestige points. See what I mean? While it’s not a complex game, there’s still a lot to consider as you play, and it’s fast-paced enough that you have to decide on your strategy quickly, and may have to be prepared to switch gears partway through.
And beyond the enjoyment factor of the game, the sheer aesthetics of it are fantastic. The card illustrations are gorgeous, the setup of the game is visually appealing, and the jewel chips have a wonderful weight and sheen to them. This ain’t no Pretty, Pretty Princess — this is a game about jewels that not only manages to not be cheesy but is a success in beautiful, elegant game design.
While not necessarily a great choice for the hardcore gamer, Splendor is easy to pick up, fast to play, and just plain delightful.
Overall Grade: A+
Casual Grade: A
Gamer Grade: B