Category Archives: 31Days

Day 4: Gateway Games

Yesterday we talked about party games and how they are games with little set-up, easy rules, and a quick playing time. So when you have played party games and are starting think maybe you want to try something a little different, it is time to move to a gateway game. Gateway games are a bridge between party games and strategic games.

Gateway games have more components than party games. There is often a board with cards, tokens, or markers and there is some set-up involved. There is also a longer playing time. Games can last 2-3 hours. Rules are a little more complicated than party games. Someone will need to read and be familiar with the rules before playing. Their are numerous gateway games. Today I will discuss four that our family has played. Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, and Flashpoint.

     Settlers of Catan is a HUGE game! It has a large fan base. It even has it’s own website, Settlers of Catan was first published in 1995 but we did not discover it until 2005. My husband heard it was popular and we thought we would give it a try. We immediately liked it! The game is for 3-4 people (or 5-6 with the expansion). Ages are 10 and up. The game takes place on the island of Catan. Players build settlements, cities, and roads using their resources. Resources are gained by the placement of your settlements and dice rolls. Of course it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Resources need to be traded and a robber pops up to steal them! Resources are wood, grain, brick, sheep, and stone (these resources are so popular plushies have been made of them). The first person to reach 10 points is the winner. This game is very popular. We go to gaming conventions and this game has local, national, and international tournaments!  If you have not played it please give it a try! There are also numerous expansions to change up the game play. You can purchase it on Amazon or some Target stores carry it.

     Pandemic is a popular cooperative game. Cooperative means players work together to “beat the game”. However, Pandemic can be a hard game to beat!  Players become disease fighting specialists and must cure diseases that have spread around the world. The diseases must be contained and cured before a pandemic occurs! Players can choose a character card with specific roles and skills. Roles include an operations specialist, scientist, medic, dispatcher, and researcher. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. Play time is 60-90 minutes. There are also new expansions and character cards.  A fun party would be to watch World War Z and then play Pandemic!

     Flash Point: Fire Rescue is another cooperative game. It was published in 2011 for 1-6 players ages 8 and up.  Players become firefighters and work together to rescue victims of a house fire. Players assume different roles such as the Fire Captain, Paramedic, Rescue Specialist, and others.  Each role has different skills to contribute to the game. But you need to hurry because there are hot spots and fires are continually breaking out! How about having friends over and eating some spicy buffalo wings then playing Flashpoint?

     Ticket to Ride is a great game! It was published in 2004. It is recommended for 2-5 players ages 8 and up. Playing time is listed as 45 minutes, but it usually takes us a little longer than that. Players build a train from one US city to another determined by their destination cards. The tracks on the gameboard are colored and players must match their color cards to the track in order to build it. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. The tracks overlap and intertwine so chances are someone is going to take the track you need. Then you will have to re-route! This game is especially fun because as tracks are being built you talk about cities you have been to or want to visit. It is a mini US geography lesson as you play! There are also expansions for Ticket to Ride. When you have ridden the rails through North America the expansion packs will take you through Europe, Africa, or Asia.

We have discussed the different types of games,  dice, deck building, worker placement, etc. There are some games which don’t fit neatly in a category but I think we have talked about all the major types of games. Now it is time to move on to the different themes of games. Themes are the stories and settings of the game. Tomorrow we will start with fantasy! Have a great Monday!

Again, there are many gateway games. Games which are a step up from party games. I chose these games because all four of them have been a hit with our family. We have played them with all ages! Everyone enjoys these games! It is so much fun to sit around the table and see your children laughing along with your parents and connecting with other! Think about pulling out a game at your next family dinner during the holiday season! Or better yet, don’t wait for the holidays…play a game this weekend!

Day 3: Party Games

There are three types or categories of games that are generally accepted. They are party games like gambling games, gateway games, and strategic games. Today we will discuss party games. Party!!! Who doesn’t like a party? Parties are a time to connect with friends and family, watch a football game, celebrate birthdays and special occasions, and eat! Party games are games that can be played with a group of five or more, have minimal set-up and rules, and usually have a quick playing time. Basically, you can pull out a party game at any get together.  You can play during half-time of a football game or during the game depending on your team!

     Here are some party games you are probably already familiar with Pictionary, Scattergories, Cranium, and Charades. You can probably think of many more. For this post I would like to introduce you to a few party games that you  may not be familiar with:

     Apples to Apples: Apples to Apples was released in 1999 by Out of the Box Publishing (it is now published by Mattel). It is designed for four to ten players and play time last for 30-60 minutes. Players are dealt red apples (cards) with nouns written on them.  Each player has a turn being judge who turns over a green apple (adjective card). Players choose a noun card to best match the adjective and the judge chooses the best card. This is a subjective game that can turn very silly and very funny very fast! There have been expansions and a junior version released.

     Dixit:  Dixit is a beautifully illustrated party game. It was published in 2008 by Asmodee. It is played with 3-6 players and last about 30-45 minutes. The cards are miniature pieces of artwork. Each player has a turn being the storyteller. As storyteller you choose a card (not seen by others) and make up a word or short story describing the card. Everyone else chooses one of their cards to match the word or story. The cards are shuffled and everyone guesses if they can determine the storyteller’s card. Given the beautiful and unusual artwork, sometimes the stories are very creative! There are also Dixit expansions for even more play!

     And now for the Halloween portion of this post! It is October after all! A must play game this Halloween is Werewolf! Please play Werewolf! Everyone who has played Werewolf has enjoyed it. We have played this game with our family aged 6-74 and everyone likes it! Ultimate Werewolf was published in 2008 by Bezier Games. Werewolf is a card game for several people. The more the better. Players are either villagers or a werewolf. The game is trying to figure out who are the werewolves while the werewolves try to bluff the villagers. Every night the werewolves come out and eat a villager. There is a moderator who “controls” the game. This game would be fun to play outside around a firepit. There are additional characters to play if you have a really large crowd.

These are just a few party games to try. We have played all of these and enjoy them for a fun quick game. We have played Werewolf with our families and with large groups at conventions in Vegas right before going for the first time in group to nascar and betting on the drivers, some of us even went online to do our fantasy nascar teams here If there are some party games you enjoy please leave a comment and tell us! Tomorrow we will look at some gateway games! See you then!

Day 2: Why Tabletop Gaming

Hello everyone! Welcome back to our gaming journey! I would like to start by thanking Rolling Dice & Taking Names for allowing me to use their blog site. I am not a blogger but I have followed TheNester for several years. One thing I have learned through the 31 Days series is to write about your passion. I am passionate about my family and the opportunities gaming has brought us!  So I have a passion but no blog site! RDTN to the rescue.

First of all gaming is a hobby. It is an outlet for fun and enjoyment. There are different types of games. Video games are played on a PC or TV. Guild Wars, Minecraft, and League of Legends are popular PC games. Halo, Call of Duty, and Zelda are well known console games. Mobile gaming has exploded over the past couple of years. Farmville, Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and Fruit Ninja are examples of mobile gaming. While I admit to slashing a little fruit now and then, I do not video game. I can’t seem to get the eye/hand coordination going (perhaps that is why I couldn’t play basketball). However, my children could manipulate a  mouse or controller before they could walk, they play Fifa 19 all day, specially now that the game is available for android as well ! So with the popularity of video gaming why do we like tabletop gaming?

Tabletop games are played with a group of two or more people generally around a table. Games have different levels of components, set-up and rules. There is a theme and purpose to the game. Gaming involves interaction with others. We talk face to face and make eye contact. Social skills are learned through taking turns, following rules, accepting a loss, and winning graciously. These are some reasons we like to play games. The main reason we enjoy tabletop gaming is the story or content of the game we are playing and because we spending time together. Tomorrow we will begin talking about three types of games.