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American Geek Mom
I recently had the pleasure of playing this fantastic new children's game from Game-o-gami. Goblin's Drool, Fairies Rule! is a quick little rhyming card game that takes between 15 and 20 minutes to play. The suggested ages are 7 and up, but any child who is fluent with rhymes and can read (or has a sibling or parent to help) will pick it up rather quickly. The game is comprised of 20 super-sized cards with double side illustrations. One side features a cute little fairy and the other a mischievous goblin! Each character has their own unique name which rhymes with seven other fairies and goblins. On your turn, you play a card to the Fairy Circle and flip any cards that rhyme. You then retrieve any cards that match the symbol of the card you played and place them in front of yourself. There are 4 different symbols in the game: Suns, moons, frogs, and mushrooms. The suns and moons are opposite each other and, like wise, the frogs and mushrooms. Some Fairies and Goblins are extra special and are surrounded by stars. These cards will flip all cards in the center when played. You win the game if you get rid of all your goblins or obtain at least 6 fairies.
One of my favorite aspects of this game is the beautiful artwork which appeals to both boys and girls. The fanciful names add even more to the fun. Just listen to one of the rhyming sets. Gooble T. Goop, Dastardly Droop, Salamander Snoop, Goblin Soup, Lemon Loop, Rainbow Swoop, Hula Hoop, and Vanilla Scoop. Each illustration magnificently depicts the name in fairy or goblin form.
So if you are looking for that next great family or kids game, or are a teacher looking for something new and educational for rainy classroom days, look no further. Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! has just launched on Kickstarter and you can pledge your support today. Not only do you have the opportunity to get this great game, but depending on your pledge, you also can receive a book of the beautiful artwork and a double sided puzzle featuring a fairy and a goblin. I personally have secured my pledge at the educator level (aka Dusty Dour) and can't wait to use it in the classroom. Go Check it out!
Tue May 15, 2012 11:36 pm
American Geek Mom
Lorien Green is a social media manager with a background in community management for Turbine Entertainment and a passion for documentaries, Geekumentaries, specifically, and the creative mind behind the exciting new Geekumentary: Going Cardboard. I checked in with Lorien recently to see what's been happening since the film's debut.
American Geek Mom: For those who don't know, why choose a Geekumentary about board games?
Lorien Green: I fell into the designer board gaming hobby about the same time I started passionately blogging about indie documentaries, and that combination eventually made me want to do my own film on designer board games, because the topic flat-out deserved it.
AGM: What was it that hooked you into the culture of board games?
LG: I'm a very geeky person myself. I was one of those quiet shy kids in high school that just couldn't wait to get home, grab the latest copy of Nintendo Power, and get to playing. In college, it was Magic: the Gathering. Senior year at Boston University, I became president and founder of the BU Magic: the Gathering club. After college, it was all about MMOs, starting with Asheron's Call. So I've got a history of bouncing from one geek sphere to another, gaining appreciation for those sub-cultures. My husband was responsible for bringing the designer board gaming sphere to light, but once he got into it, I certainly followed.
AGM: What was the first game he introduced you too?
LG: I think the first designer game we played was Catan, but it was Bohnanza that really won me over. Some of the really early ones we played included Balloon Cup and Lost Cities, too. Lost Cities remains probably my favorite two-player game. And the first game I ever taught to other friends was Poison.
AGM: My husband and I also enjoy Lost Cities. It's definitely a good one for 2 Players. What is your current Favorite Table Top Game?
LG: As far as current favorites, I had a lot of fun at PAX playing Spot It, I've got a copy of that on order, and I have yet to tire of Dominion, especially Dominion Prosperity, which I haven't had enough chances to play. When four of us get together, Small World is always fun.
AGM: From one geek mom to another, how were you able to balance work, family, and your passion to create this documentary?
LG: For the editing, All Nighters, and that was actually the easy part. And that was essential, because editing is a thought process; it requires focus. I did some of it during weekends, with the kids around, but that's not ideal for them or for me. An all nighter means that it's not taking away from family time or work time, it's only taking away from sleep.
For the interviewing work, I was able to do things like take a vacation day from work during the week, drop the kids off at daycare, and drive on down to Salem to do an interview. The grandparents looked after the kids one weekend so I could go to Essen and film there. It was definitely a challenge, and restrictive, it made it impossible to do a LOT of traveling and time away for this film, but fortunately the designer board gaming scene is very active in New England. There were definitely additional trips I would have taken, and interviews I would have done if I'd had the freedom to do so. I'd love to see someone from another part of the country do their interpretation of a board game documentary. Because just one isn't enough anyway, not for a hobby this size.
Bottom line, the family was very supportive, but it IS a sacrifice for them, and they had to do without me sometimes. Working moms are busy these days, and the idea of, "I've got too much going on as a Mom, I can't do this" is a very common and understandable fear. But it shouldn't stop you, because if you've got a dream, you can't just bury your dreams and take care of everyone else. It's not healthy for you, and it's not ultimately good for them either. And Americans watch, what, 6 hours of TV a day or something? If you want to make the time, you can make the time.
AGM: What was the most exciting/terrifying part of meeting and interviewing board game designers and other insiders?
LG: One of the most terrifying moments was at the Gathering of Friends. I couldn't find a good location to interview, and I had an interview scheduled very soon after arriving. I was in a panic, looking at different conference room options that just weren't working. In the end, I did the interviews in my hotel room. I had to do the same thing interviewing Reiner Knizia at Essen, and once again that was an interview scheduled to take place just a few hours after my flight landed. I was pretty sure I looked like a nervous amateur during that interview, and I really wanted to give him a favorable impression of my skills, to put him at ease that he was working with someone who was going to do something serious and of good quality, and I felt like I wasn't oozing confidence during that. Until the end of the interview, where he said I asked very good interesting questions. I think a lot of the time we're more nervous inside than out.
One of the most exciting parts was of course being able to interview Klaus Teuber. That was another under the gun moment, because I had to meet up with Klaus and his son Guido, do the interview, then sprint back to the hotel and get out of there because my flight was leaving that morning, and I once again had a serious time crunch. It all went off smoothly, thank goodness!
AGM: Those do sound like some stressful moments. On the flip side,what was your favorite moment during the film?
LG: For the finished film, it's the final update card for Bryan Johnson, and the way the audiences at two screenings have burst into applause at that spot. I also have to say, one of my favorite lines in the whole film is Phil Alberg describing Reef Encounter, and saying, "You take ownership by putting a shrimp on it." It might just be my marine biology background, but something about that line just makes me grin every time.
AGM: Did you have a favorite convention or location you visited?
LG: Definitely Essen. The only drawback was, it was such a high investment trip for the film (not just financially; it was really important to get amazing footage of that and I had a TON of very important interviews scheduled), and so I was just filming, filming, filming the entire time. I didn't PLAY anything, and I didn't even BUY anything (well, I got Savannah Tails, autographed . That was torture. I hope someday I can go back there and experience that event as a gamer, and grab some of the really unique games that show there. I had a ton of filming gear with me, so my travel luggage just wouldn't accommodate purchases. Alas.
AGM: Do you hope to go back to any of them and bring the whole family?
LG: Oh yes, Essen, since it is SO family-friendly. I think when the kids are maybe in their early teens (they are 5 and 6 right now), they will have a blast there. But people definitely were bringing kids their current age to the show, so who knows, it might be sooner. I wouldn't be opposed.
More locally, we're getting very close to being able to bring them to things like Unity Games and PAX East, we almost did that this year. I really can't wait. Very young kids sort of force a cryogenic period into a gamer's life, but once they get a little older, you have a built-in gaming group at home, and that makes it well worth the wait.
AGM: We are definitely counting the days until our son can play games with us. He is currently a fan of organizing all the pieces in our games and rolling dice. He actually made it to PAX East with us this year purely due to the fact that Sunday was Easter and it's near impossible to find a sitter for that day ;0) So, what's next for T-cat productions?
LG: I've got plans, oh yes, I've got some plans. There are a couple things I want to put in place before I look at filming another feature, but there are also tons of cool local things that I'd like to put to film that might not become documentaries. Right now things are still really busy with promoting and supporting the marketing for the film (I thought time would free up once it was completed, but no, there is a LOT more work to do now than when I was making it).
AGM: Finally, were there any "AH HA!" moments that you will take with you for future projects or advice you would give to others who want to put on their own director's hat?
LG: My advice, without hesitation, is just DO IT. Try to find a mentor who can help guide you past some of the pitfalls and newbie mistakes, but don't be afraid of newbie mistakes. I made many. It doesn't have to be perfect, and nothing ever is anyway. If you have a topic that you feel passionate about, and are willing to see it through (this took 3 years for me) then the final product will reflect that passion, and people will pick up on it, and no matter WHAT your topic is, other people out there are going to be interested, and are going to appreciate your effort. That's one thing the internet has done; niche sub-culture communities can connect in a way that they could not before.
My own learning moment, and there were many, but one of the big take-a ways was, be fearless. I spent most of my life shy and quiet, so this whole thing has been outside my comfort zone. I got butterflies and anxiety at almost every step, I wish I could say that went away with repeated exposure, but it doesn't. And if you truly feel an idea has merit, pursue it and don't listen to anyone saying it can't be done. And honestly, even if this project failed or wasn't well-received, that would be a bummer, but I would still have the experience, and have met all these great people, and have learned so much. That alone would have made it worthwhile and nobody can take that away from you.
I would like to thank Lorien for sharing her passion for board games with all of us and for giving us a little insight into what makes her such a great geek mom. You can purchase Going Cardboard through many friendly local game stores, the Going Cardboard website, and Amazon. For Local readers, Going Cardboard will be a screening at Myriad Games in Manchester, NH this Saturday April 21st at 6:00 PM. Come join us and meet the woman behind this amazing look at table top gaming. You can also keep up with Lorien on Twitter @LorienGreen.
American Geek Mom
Deep in the desert lies a newly discovered pyramid. You are one of eight skilled adventurers daring enough to explore its secrets within. The question is, will you make it out alive???
Filled with mummies, snakes, scorpions, and Egyptian Gods, The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus takes you on a new adventure into perilous conditions. This is the second in the Adventrurer's series with eight new characters and a new set of dangers to avoid.
If you recall, The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac presented players with a rushing river, lava pit, and a Giant Boulder! So naturally, I was excited to try this new standalone version. Like The Temple of Chac, you control an adventurer attempting to gather valuable treasure before becoming trapped within. In this scenario, the Pyramid is crumbling and the ceiling is caving in. You never know which ceiling block will fall, and if you are not careful, you may become trapped inside forever. The further you explore, the more valuable the treasure becomes. As you gather more and more artifacts, your backpack gets heavier and heavier, making it harder to move. Also, with dangers lurk around every corner, the sting from a nasty scorpion or the strike of a venomous snake could slow you down even more! Gather what you can and get out alive!!
*The game feels very much like the first Adventurers and makes learning the rules a cinch. We read the rules, set the game up, and were playing within 10 minutes. (There were a few times we needed to check the rule book during play, but not many)
*The components are a nice quality and the board draws you in visually. I especially like the feeling the blocks give to the game as they begin to fill up the space and you realize that time is running out!
*The game plays in about 45 minutes making it a great choice for family game nights or gatherings. And bonus! You can talk to your kids about the Egyptian Gods, pyramids, etc and get a history lesson in as well ;0)
The Not So Good
*The game doesn't draw you in the same as The Temple of Chac. There is a distinct path in the first game. In this one, you go out the way you came in. Something about that made the game feel less exciting.
*All of the cards do not fit on the board. I understand that a board can only be so big, but when all the gods cards have nice spots accept one, that seems a little odd and sloppy to me. It doesn't really affect anything though.
*Once you've played the game, you know the strategy and where to go. There seems to be less mystery in this version. There are no puzzles to solve and I think if I was given a choice to play on or the other, the Temple of Chac would win every time simply because it has more replay value.
All in all it is a good game that was worth a try, but perhaps not worth a permanent spot on my game shelf.
Mommy by Day...Gamer Geek by Night! Welcome to my world. A world full of toys and games, webcomics and picture books, costumes and hand-me-downs, recipes and Tolkien themed parties, all tied together with love and the occasional sonic screwdriver. Read More at www.AmericanGeekMom.com
Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:31 pm
American Geek Mom
When you think of Castle Panic by Fireside Games, you probably think of a fun cooperative game for the whole family. With the addition of the new Wizard's Tower Expansion, the game transforms from a straight forward family game to a more challenging gamer game. Don't get me wrong, it still plays very much the same as the original, but the expansion adds new layers that provide more depth and excitement for the typical gamer.
The Wizard's Tower Expansion adds several New Monsters (including 6 Bosses), Powerful Wizard cards, nifty little Flame tokens (for when monsters and the tower catch fire - Totally Cool!), a nice token bag to hold all the monster tokens, and of course the Wizard's Tower.
The 6 new Boss tokens include a Chimera, Dragon, Necromancer, Baslisk, Hydra, and Warlock, all with interesting new abilities. For example, on our first play, we encountered the Necromancer who puts 2 monsters from the discard pile back into the draw, but who dies on contact with the wall. He also adds monsters back to the draw for each life he has left. We also ran into the Warlock and the Hydra.
Our first game was quite fun. We had several moments where we thought all hope was lost, but we battled back and ended up victorious (even if it was by the skin of our teeth). In the end we only had the Wizard's Tower and the wall in front of it left! Imps are so annoying, and its best not to catch the tower on fire!!!
I have to say that this version of the game requires a lot more discussion and team work to succeed, and it seems to run a little longer than the original. Also, due to all the new monsters, your first few games will require more visits to the rule book. It's not a bad thing, just something to be aware of when you pick it up for the first time. One thing's for sure, you definitely want to protect that Wizard's Tower. We lost it at one point and we thought we were done for. Luckily we were able to build it again and regain our ground with an epic play that took out two bosses and a climbing troll in one fell swoop!
So, if you are a fan of the base game, but were hoping for a little more substance or just a little more variety, definitely give the expansion a try. You won't regret it!
American Geek Mom - Mommy by Day. Gamer Geek by Night! "Welcome to my world. A world full of toys and games, webcomics and picture books, costumes and hand-me-downs, recipes and Tolkien themed parties, all tied together with love and the occasional sonic screwdriver." For more, visit www.AmericanGeekMom.com
American Geek Mom
If your looking for a fun and fast way to pass the time between the Turkey and Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving, then look no further. Dan, Brian and I took a look at three quick and easy dice games that are sure to make you giggle with delight. Whether you are a fan of the Wild Outdoors, Martians, or Zombies, all three of these compact dice games offer simple game play, easy set up, and great flavor. Just open one up and your ready to play!
Each of these three games offers slightly different game play. Zombies and Martian dice both offer a turn based game that is risk and reward. These games are great for engaging in conversations while playing the game.
In Zombie Dice you play as the zombie trying to eat as many brains as possible without getting shot. The game offers three colors of dice, Green, Yellow, and Red, that represent the risk involved when rolling. If on your turn you grab a yellow and two green dice, then you have a good chance of surviving the roll and getting brains. If you grabbed a yellow and two red dice then you may not be so lucky. Each die has footsteps, brains, and gun blasts. Brains are good, Blasts are bad, and footsteps mean you have to roll it again.
In Martian Dice you play as the Martians trying to collect data from Earth. You are particularly interested in the Human, Chicken, and Cow species. On your turn you roll the dice to try and collect each of the three species and avoid being destroyed by tanks. Unlike Zombie Dice, each of the dice in this game is equal and you roll all dice at the same time.
Bears! is a very different experience. Though it is packaged very much the same way as the other two, this dice game is much more a group affair. In Bears! everyone rolls simultaneously and tries to collect sets of dice from the center of the table. Each player has a set of 5 white dice, and the center of the table has 5 black dice for each player in the game. One person roles the black dice (which contain images of bears and tents), then everyone rolls their white dice and races to make sets of black and white dice. As soon as all the bears or tents have been taken from the middle of the table someone yells BEARS! and you score your sets. Its fast and fun, and it gets everyone involved!
Personally, I'm a huge fan of having everyone involved and think that Bears! has a slight edge over the others, but that's just me. Still, all three have a place in our game closet, and I would never say no if someone asked me to play. So, take your pick, toss it in your bag, and get rolling this Thanksgiving!
Hear which dice game Brian and Dan enjoyed most here...http://www.pulpgamer.com/myriadgames/135411/session-impressi...
American Geek Mom - Mommy by Day. Gamer Geek by Night! "Welcome to my world. A world full of toys and games, webcomics and picture books, costumes and hand-me-downs, recipes and Tolkien themed parties, all tied together with love and the occasional sonic screwdriver." For more, visit AmericanGeekMom.com
American Geek Mom
On a recent rainy Sunday, Dan and I had the opportunity to break out a prototype copy of Sunrise City. For those who haven't heard, Sunrise City is a new city building game from Clever Mojo Games that combines tile placement, bidding, and strategic planning. You are one of the founders of Sunrise City and it is your job to develop the best city possible.
My first impression of the game, as we began to set it up, was that "this looks a lot like Infinite City." But that view didn't last long! The 60 zone tiles are in fact the same size as the tiles in Infinite City, but there is oh so much more to this game (we'll get to that in a little bit). The game also comes with 70 Benchmark Tokens, 28 Bid Markers (7 each in 4 different colors), 20 Floor Markers, 16 Role Cards, 60 Building Tiles, 1 City Hall Start Tile, 5 Community Tiles, 1 Protester Meeple, and a Scoreboard.
Although the copy was only a prototype, the pieces were clearly constructed to resemble their final construction. I was particularly impressed with the heft of the building tiles. If you have ever played Survive: Escape from Atlantis, the building tiles are about the thickness of the mountain tiles from Survive (about a 1/4 inch thick). These tiles are the equivalent of two of the zone tiles stuck together, or the shape of a large domino. What makes these tiles so great is that, because you use them to construct the city, the thickness really helps the city come alive as you begin stacking them up.
Now onto the game play...
Hands on Impressions: Sunrise City
American Geek Mom
Like my motto states, I'm a Mommy by Day...Gamer by Night! (Well, at least when my son goes to bed on time. We have been struggling with bedtime lately, but that's a subject for another post.)
So, what does that mean for my game closet? What it means is that I have a new view of the games we buy. When I look over a new game, I am not only looking for a fun game that's innovative and elegant, but a game that is also easy to set up, quick to play (around 30 minutes), and plays well with 2 players. As my son grows, I am also beginning to look for games that he can play along with us.
As all parents know, there is a precious amount of time for families to spend together and even less for mommy and daddy to be alone and relax. Usually it is that tiny little window between the kids' bedtime and mom and dad collapsing on the couch. I have found that this is anywhere between 2-3 hours, and it still includes tidying up after the kids are asleep. That is not a very large window to pull out a game and play. But hope is not lost!
A new company has surfaced with parents and families in mind. At Gen Con this year I had the opportunity to talk with Ray Wehrs, president of Calliope Games. Their mission is to provide games that get kids and parents together for face-to-face entertainment. To do this, their games play in under 30 minutes, support 2 or more players, are easy to learn, and work well with a wide range of ages. And here's the best part. They make games that are fun for both adults and kids to play together! It's not a case of parents needing to dumb down the rules or for kids to feel frustrated that they can't play and win. These games are designed for both kids and adult to feel challenged and motivated to improve their strategies.
A great example of this philosophy can be seen in their first game, Tsuro: The Game of the Path. Some of you may be familiar with this fun tile laying game. The rules are simple: Place a tile and follow the path. The last person left on the board wins! The challenge is to keep your stone away from danger and to send the other stones on a path to the edge. It sounds easier than it is, and for those who like puzzles and mazes, this is a great game.
Ray showed me three other games that are hitting your local game store shelves with the same great mission: Fun for Everyone!
Double Double Dominoes is a new approach to traditional dominoes. More like a combination of dominoes and scrabble. Players score points by matching their dominoes to spaces on the board. Probably the most challenging of Calliope's games, this is a great one for older kids and for mom and dad to play together over dessert. A 5-6 player expansion is in the works as well and can be expected to hit stores in 2012.
Got 'Em! turned out to be an addictively fun game for me. Again the rules are simple. You try to wall in your opponent while keeping your own pawn out of harms way. There are two modes to the game offering slightly different levels of luck vs. strategy.
In Brainy Got 'Em, players are forced to use what? Their brains of course! And corner their opponents by outsmarting them. On your turn you place a wall and move your pawn 1 plus the number of walls that surround you. Simple, right!
Your other option is to play Bright Got 'Em. In this version, cards are used to determine your movement and wall placement. Each card tells you what color square you may place a wall on and the number of spaces you may move. There are even some cards that allow you to remove walls and improve your escape. This version is slightly more luck based since you will be relying on the cards to determine where you may place walls and move. Both modes are great fun and don't be surprised if you get beat by your kids!
The final game that Ray showed me was the most animated of them all. For those of you who love Munchkin and the art of John Kovalic, this game will make you giggle with delight. Ugh! is a push your luck card game set in the Stone Age. You each play as a cavemen collecting cards that represent your jobs, pets, and homes, but be careful for the dreaded Ugh! cards (which is exactly what you will say when you draw one!) Everyone takes turns drawing up to 3 cards and scoring sets. The player with the most points when the deck runs out wins!
So as you begin thinking about family gatherings this fall, consider picking up some o these great titles from Calliope Games at your Friendly Professional Games Store. Give them a try! You won't be disappointed.
If you would like to see pictures of the games and hear our full interview with Ray visit http://americangeekmom.blogspot.com/2011/08/calliope-games-n...
American Geek Mom
One of the hot new games featured at AEG's booth this year was Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan. Set in the world of L5R, this is the first in what the company hopes to be a series of lighter L5R board games. Their hope is to create more titles, pitting different clans against one another. I was personally excited to try this as I have been interested in L5R culture, but found breaking into the card game challenging to say the least. With the lack of a good set of rules, it appears that only those who have friends already fluent in the language of L5R can really learn the ins and outs of the popular trading card game. This new set of board games is perfect for entering the samurai world of L5R....
Hands on Impressions: Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan