A good kid’s game will involve a bit of actual thinking (looking at you Candyland) and a bit of physical interaction (to help those squirrelly ones.) Fish Fish Squish! has a bit of both, matching cards and smashing play-doh fish as a reward for success. This makes it fun for kids and agreeable to parents playing along.
Fish Fish Squish!
Publisher: Winning Moves
Time: 20 mins
(Review copy provided by Winning Moves)
I like a nice, deep boardgame: something fun to play that would last 60-90 minutes. However, with two young boys and a toddler girl I am always on the lookout for games and toys appropriate for my younger crowd. Patch Products have none of the former, but specializes in games and toys for the younger (or family with younger) crowd. Scoping out things for the holiday season, here are three newer items of note from the company. They aren’t going to collect awards as grown-up games, but all three were a big hit with my kids.
Cinelinx is a card party game for 2-6 players. It says on the box that this game is for people who love movies. And that’s definitely true. The object of the game is to connect cards together that have something in common, and all the cards are film genres, titles, and movie stars. Whoever can connect all their cards and get rid of their hand first, wins!
Which is larger, a tricerotops or an ankylosaurus? If you already know, you may be in the target audience of Cardline: Dinosaurs. The Timeline family of card games challenges players to place cards representing items and events in chronological order. In Cardline: Dinosaurs, players place their cards in order either by weight or by size. While similar to the previous games, the dinosaur theme may be more attractive to younger players.
Sit down to a boardgame with your friends and enjoy a night of fun. Next week you can play it all again, but what if each time you play the game it is subtly altered so you never play the same game twice? About 4 years ago, Hasbro went out on a limb and released Risk Legacy. It was the Risk game known to many, but this time around every game played physically changed the game. What if the green army wins one game and comes back with advantages the next time around. What if western Australia was nuked, a sticker was placed on the board, and that location will never be accessible again. Risk Legacy was a hit amongst the boardgaming crowd. The idea of a boardgame that evolves and permanently changes was out of the bag and now several new titles are coming down the pipeline.
I visited GenCon last week, one of the largest gaming conventions in the U.S. 60,000+ people mobbed downtown Indianapolis for the four days of the event. All types of games were covered including boardgames, roleplaying games, and collectible card games. I have an entire series covering many games in detail over at OpinionatedGamers. I have a rundown of dice games, more complex games, family games, children’s games, and a mix of roleplaying and “everything else.”
However, to save everyone some time, I’ve dug out some of my favorite games of the convention so you don’t necessarily have to wade through all my reports (unless you want to see some of the variety at the convention.)
The idea of a deckbuilding game has been around for quite awhile, the idea of making a game solely about building a deck of powerful cards over the course of a single game. Designers have since “riffed” on that basic idea in many ways, and Hyperborea takes as its new twist the idea of bag-building. In Hyperborea, players place and remove colored cubes from their personal bag. The colors drawn dictate a player’s options for that turn. This new(ish) mechanism is used to good effect. Combined with unique player powers and multiple paths to victory, Hyperborea is a fun game that feels something mildly akin to Risk, but Risk where each player (and country) has special powers.
There seems to be an uptick in old-school computer RPGs lately, with Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, and Torment: Tides of Numenera on the horizon. But it doesn’t get much more old-school than good old-fashioned paper and pencil role-playing. The classic Dungeons and Dragons had a recent “reset” with their 5th Edition rules, harkening back to older D&D versions with faster, looser play (less of a tactical boardgame feel.) The big launch last fall has simmered down and it’s time to take a look at the line to see how it’s matured. Both D&D and Pathfinder (the other big player on the market) continue to find ways to cater to less experienced players. We’ll start with new items from Pathfinder and D&D, and finish off with the newest D&D themed co-op boardgame, just released by Wizkids.
You can play RPGs on your computer, sitting alone in front of a screen, or you can play face to face RPGs assisted by your computer and enjoy all the fun of hanging with your friends for a casual evening of fun. Ever since computers went mainstream, gamers have tried to find ways to use their computers to make life easier for playing pencil and paper role playing games. We’ve come a long way my friend, and now there are options aplenty. While it seems there is not yet a global panacea for the problem, there are a few applications that can add to your next gaming session.
In Evolution, players shepherd their species through a progressively more competitive environment. Get your species to live long and prosper, measured by one’s food intake over the course of the game, and you win the game. Limited food, players creating carnivorous species, and subsequent adaptation to avoid them, creates a fun, fast playing game suitable for “serious” boardgamers as well as a family game night.
Designers: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin
Publisher: North Star Games
Time: 60 mins
(Review copy provided by North Star Games)