As I looked out at the summer rain today, I pondered what to do with my young grade school boys. Looks like it’s time to break out the bow and arrow and do a bit of indoor archery practice! No, I’m not crazy, but I recently got a hold of some of the kid-friendly bow and arrow toys made by Zing Toys.
Summertime is upon us, and that means lots of chances for the younger ones to drive their parent’s crazy with so-called “boredom” and other funny business. “Go play outside” is the best play in a parent’s playbook, but what happens when it’s raining outside? This summer, GamerDad Unplugged will try to help fill in those gaps with a few handy ideas. First up – Dominoes!
June 6th, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, better known to many as D-Day. It remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, mounting up huge numbers of casualties on both sides. In honor of those who participated in the event, and to honor all veterans during Memorial day, I felt it appropriate to mention here two of the best and most accessible boardgames focused on World War 2.
It may seem strange to some to honor veterans by reviewing games based around the battles of World War 2, perhaps belittling or lessening the importance and impact of those battles. However, for most wargamers, playing scenarios about famous battles helps one to understand the history of the events. Some might find it to be particularly appropriate, as wargames are a way to preserve in memory the heroic actions and personal sacrifices of the men and women involved.
It’s time once again for me to preach to the masses to encourage more face-to-face time together. Last year’s run-down of recommended boardgames was a great success. Here again are some great examples of boardgames to get you and your family gaming. You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store. Those new to the world of boardgaming may find a bit of a sticker shock as some games are pricier than new release video games, but good boardgames will provide many more hours of entertainment than most video games. Boardgames are also relatively timeless so they can be pulled out years from now and provide the same level of enjoyment. In that vein, feel free to delve into some past year’s guides for 2010 , 2009, and 2008. For each game I’ve provided the number of players, retail price, and expected time for one game. Note that often these games can be found for 20-30% less than the MSRP.
Last time I talked about role playing games, it was a discussion of Dungeons and Dragons, including the rereleases of many old retro versions of the game and adventures as well as the upcoming revision of the game entitled “D&D Next”. When it comes to Fantasy RPGs, there are many more fishes in the sea. Today we’ll look at two of them. First, we’ll examine Hero Kids, an extremely kid-friendly title for ages as young as four. Next, we’ll look at the “other” top-tier fantasy RPG: Pathfinder, produced by Paizo Publishing – past publisher of the D&D magazines Dragon and Dungeon. While it is moderately complex in its player options, actual player combat and skill resolutions aren’t too bad. What makes the Pathfinder RPG system stand out is the large level of support materials produced by Paizo. The Game Master (the person who runs the bad guys and helps manage the story) has many available options they can use to make things easier and help create a more immersive game (eg. maps, cards, tools to manage fights, etc…).
A year and a half ago, the folks at Wizards of the Coast announced a move to create (yet another) new version of the popular role playing game (RPG) system, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). This is the seminal role playing game that spawned many others, and inspired the use of its theme in other mediums such as computer games (ex. Skyrim, World of Warcraft) and board games (ex. Warhammer Quest, Descent, Castle Ravenloft). This new version, “D&D Next” for now, is freely available in prototype form for anyone interested in playtesting. It is an effort to ‘get back to the roots’ of D&D in some fashion, simplifying the base rules while simultaneously providing many optional bits for gamers who wish to emphasize specific styles of play. Along with moving forward towards a new, retro D&D game, Wizards of the Coast has spent the past year re-releasing many old, out of print titles in both electronic and premium hardback editions.
I recently had the chance to sample a somewhat new puzzle toy. I had such a good time I thought I’d chime in here at GamerDad because it’s exactly the sort of thing a parent might want to foist off on their children (if they can convince themselves to put it down.) Patch Products recently shipped me two of their Perplexus line of puzzle games. They are all a 3D rolling marble puzzle contained in a clear plastic ball. Tilt the ball around to get the marble through the maze without it falling off. It makes for a nice little pastime that takes both some dexterity and a bit of thought.
Each year I try to put together a little something to help gamers spend more face-to-face time together. We missed last year but we’re roaring back in 2012 to provide you with some great examples of boardgames to get you and your family gaming. You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store. Boardgames are relatively timeless so feel free to delve into previous guides for additional advice.