Day 6: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat

     Do you have your coffee? I have mine so let’s go! So far we have discussed Party and Gateway Games. Over the next couple of weeks we will discuss Strategy Games. Before we get down to the nitty gritty I would like to give you some resources to check out. There are several websites, webshows, and podcasts that demonstrate or discuss games in detail. I will give the names of some sites that we like. Of course, you can search any game or game topic and find an endless lists of sites and resources.

     If you would like to watch a game as it is played then Will Wheaton’s Tabletop is a great webshow to watch. He has guest and they discuss the game components, rules, and then play through a game together. The show is edited to 30 minutes even though playing time may be longer. The banter between guests is fun and there is a lot of competition! Sometimes the language can be rated PG13 so watch with headphones or when you have time without children.

     If you don’t have time to sit and watch a webisode maybe a podcast is for you. There are numerous podcasts which discuss games. The Dice Tower has thousands of video reviews, podcasts and an entire network of other gaming podcasts (including my husband’s, Rolling Dice & Taking Names). Sometimes Rolling Dice & Taking Names allows me talk! I just finished a segment with a friend which will air October 22nd.

     Sometimes a website to scan through quickly is the best option. BoardGameGeeks.com is a great go-to site. You can search any game and they will give a detailed description of the mechanics and a synopsis of the game.

     These are great resources for you to use as you find a style or theme of game that you may be interested in (because I know you are going to like these games!).  As you read through the posts involve your children or friends and ask if any of the games interest them. And then check out the game on one of the resources. Tomorrow we will start will collectible card gaming.  If you have a Pokemon fan tell them we are Gonna Catch Em All!
   

Day 5: Strategic Gaming

So you have probably guessed that if party games are quick and easy and gateway games are a little longer playtime and more involved set-up and rules…then strategic games involve more rules, more components and set-up, and even longer playing time. Some games have rule books! Some games take 30 minutes to just set-up, you really need to be careful with gaming addiction when it comes to these! And some games may need to be stretched over a couple of days to finish! Does that sound like more work than fun? There is no doubt that strategic games take up more of your time but there is a reason why online games have become so popular.

 

Even though it is exciting to open a game and see the board and pieces, creating a more elaborate plan with others for a certain mission on games such as LoL can be even more exciting! Check out these League of Legends accounts for sale and give this re-known strategic game a try.  And oh the anticipation when you have to stop a game and come back later to finish!

People game for many reasons. Party games are fun and quick.

Gateway and strategy games can become hobbies. There are gaming clubs and conventions. People game for several reasons but mostly because they enjoy it and it is a hobby, I mean playing with Dream Jackpot NO is one of the best things ever. As I was thinking about why my family specifically enjoys gaming as hobby I realized there were three major reasons, the mechanics of games, the diversity of games, and most of all the time spent together.

     Mechanics means the way the game is played. Exactly what you will be doing in the game. This is the genre.

As I mentioned yesterday, my family played gateway games for a few years not really knowing a lot about strategy games. We played Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic on a regular basis. One day my husband told us that he heard of a gaming convention where new games are introduced and you could try out just about any game in publication. It was GenCon and held in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are always up for a roadtrip adventure so we said sure! Well, that 2010 trip was a life changing experience for us. We realized there was so much more to gaming than what we were doing!   Our boys began playing fewer video games and wanted to play tabletop games. Details of our GenCon trip will be a future post. Today I want you to know that there are so many different genres of games! In fact there are so many  I will need to discuss one type a day for the next several days. You can look forward to learning about Card Collecting, Role Playing, Worker Placement, and many more!

Another reason we like gaming is because of the diversity of themes. Whatever you are interested in there is a game for it. Do you like Science Fiction? There are Sci-Fi games. Are you a history buff? Numerous historical games! Do you like fantasy movies such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Well, guess what? Fantasy games galore! These are just a few of the themes we will discuss in the upcoming days.

     And who doesn’t want to spend time with family and friends?

In the past our family holidays were cooking, eating, and then sitting there. Now everyone expects a game! As you play a game you find yourself connecting with the people you are playing with. Memories are made as you are playing. We have friends we have been gaming with for over 10 years. Our children invite their friends over to play games. Over the next couple of weeks I will talk the different genres and themes and the specific games we have played. Hopefully you will think about trying one or two! On Sunday’s we will have Sunday morning coffee and chit chat! So bring your PSL (pumpkin spice latte)!

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, www.catan.com. 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!