I came across a lovely fella called Ed Baraf when he was running a Kickstarter for a rather cool looking game about rescuing very cute aliens from an exploding planet (take a look here) earlier this year. Not long after the project finished, he started running a series of short video reviews for boardgames, intending them to be a little like the pitches that you might give to your friends at a games night when trying to persuade them to play something.
So this developed a little and Ed ended up inviting pretty much anyone out there who fancied a go to join in and provide a guest review for his channel. Against my better judgement, having never done this sort of thing before, I put myself forward and, a little to my surprise, Ed accepted my offer and sent me a load of really helpful advice on recording my video.
And so, as of today, I am a YouTube game reviewer of sorts. You can now go and see my review of Tsuro and hopefully see some of why I like the game so much. While you are there, I would strongly recommend looking at some of the other reviews on Ed’s review playlist, which includes some really illustrious company amongst the guests (boy do I feel out of my depth!). The reviews are mostly between two and five minutes and are a great way to get a feel for what people like about the games being covered.
On my regular rounds of blog reading is a site called iSlaytheDragon, which is largely game reviews but also a load of other gaming-related stuff. A couple of days ago they had a nice post about gaming with a 6-year-old.
I won’t try summarising the post here, but it’s a good read. The writer, Jason, is generally against simplifying “adult” games for kids on the grounds that there are a lot of games out there that are aimed specifically at kids, so why tear the heart and soul out of one of your favourite games in order to play with the young’uns? I don’t entirely agree with this, but it is a good reminder that playing some of those kiddie games is not only OK, but a good idea.
There are also some interesting thoughts about getting the offspring to learn games by effectively shadowing an adult and helping make moves rather than actually playing.
Ahh, if you’re interested, go and have a read…
Moving away from the usual content for a moment or two of your time…
You may have heard of John Kovalic, the man behind the wonderful Dork Tower and illustrator of loads of games and stuff. Well, he’s been on a charity fund raising buzz (including a big bike ride last year) and now, in that spirit, he has made a colouring (sorry, coloring!) book which you can download as a PDF for the miserly sum of a couple of USian dollars, which go to John’s favoured charities.
The book, entitled Embrace the Squee! is a bunch of exceptionally random stuff for you and your nearest and dearest to colour in, from goofy dogs to kobolds in clockwork battle armour, and princesses on my-little-somethings to Cthul-Who, which you should be able to see a coloured rendition of somewhere on this page.
So, this is heartily recommended and definitely gets the Miss B seal of approval. There should be more geeky colouring books like this. You can buy one here if I’ve managed to convince you.
As you have probably noticed, I’ve been getting a bit into Kickstarter over the last couple of years, and that has caused a few dents in the wallet, but has yielded some good games (one or two disappointments) and a load of waiting for stuff. Anyway, the latest thing I have stumbled across is an exceptionally cute card and dice game called Bedtime Heroes, which has the added advantage (for me) of being a UK-based project, though they will also be shipping from the USA if it all goes through.
Basically the game is about using heroic toys to protect a dreaming child from monsters that appear from the cupboard or under the bed. You defeat monsters by rolling dice and being lucky, but can modify die die rolls by using the toys that you have acquired along the way. You get those toys by buying them in a “closed-fist” type auction, in which you spend chocolate coins. Don’t worry, the chocolate coins don’t go in your fist — they’d melt — you use cards for the secret bidding. That’s about it. I was a bit concerned when I saw the time range of 15 to 60 minutes — that seems ludicrously variable — but I think this range is because you can control the length of the game by varying the number of monsters that need defeating.
Edit: Steve, the game’s creator, has just sent me a message to say the 60 minutes would be exceptionally rare, so he’ll change the description to a more plausible 15 to 30 minutes.
The whole thing looks lightweight, quick, fun, and almost overwhelmingly cute, with artwork that has the monsters looking kinda menacing but also a little cuddly. I’m definitely happy to back this based on what I’ve seen. If you’re interested, there is a free print and play version of the game (with black & white line art rather than the full colour experience) linked from the project page (this is hosted on BoardGameGeek, so you’ll need an account there in order to download), or you could just grab the (very simple) rules to take a look (this isn’t on BGG, so anyone can get it).
Having watched the videos on Kickstarter, Miss B says that the game looks good and she wants to try it out, so there you go. I may get around to making the print and play set. If I do, and we play it before the campaign is over, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Time for another quick heads-up about a Kickstarter project that might be of interest. This one is called All Bunnies Eat Carrots and it is a cute card game about… well, bunnies, of course.
A couple of points to note…
- Despite what Warner Brothers would have you believe, I understand that carrots are not good food for rabbits (other than maybe as a treat). Lettuce, on the other hand…
- I am not a rabbit person, though I know a number of people who are, to say the least.
This looks like it could be quite a fun little game though. The idea is that you are trying to collect bunnies by convincing them to stay with you by pandering to their needs. And what are their needs? Well, it’s stuff like carrots and rabbit food, but also glasses and hats and bows and stuff because… well, bunny crazy is a lot like cat crazy really. I don’t know if there is a pancake to balance on a rabbit’s head.
The rules are linked from the Kickstarter page and there is a video demonstrating play, during which they get through a 2 player game, including a load of explanation, in about 10 minutes, so you can get a decent idea of what is on offer here.
To be completely honest I am a little bit torn about this game. I’m not instantly enthused about the game itself as I have been about some others, but it is extremely cute (some would say sickeningly so), looks like it should be at least a bit of light fun as a family game, and is clearly massively infused with love and enthusiasm from its creators.
This is one major reason why I am considering pledging to this project. Where so many game Kickstarters are enormous, flashy projects, produced by established companies or, at the other end of the spectrum, clueless and naive rubbish, it’s great to see a project that appears to be a genuine labour of love. All Bunnies Eat Carrots is being produced by a lovely couple of people (I have been exchanging messages with one of the creators on Board Game Geek) who really believe in what they are doing, but appear to be listening to advice and trying to make the best game they can.
Or the best game about bunnies, at least.
So, if you are obsessed with rabbits, or you want to support this sort of enterprise, you could go over to their Kickstarter page and have a look. I’ve got a funny feeling that I’m going to end up pledging after all. The cute, it hurts…!
I haven’t posted about a Kickstarter project for a while. I’ve backed a few recently (mostly small and cheap ones), but I’m trying to not get into having a “Kickstarter Corner” on the blog so I’ll just post about the ones that particularly tickle me.
And the game that has done the tickling recently is Oddball Aeronauts, which is basically a small card battle game based largely on Top Trumps and themed with anthropomorphised animals flying around in airships. The idea is that while you do the statistic matching as per the perennial kids’ game (that Miss B absolutely loves, incidentally, especially her Doctor Who deck), you have the choice of boosting the statistics of your first card by using the one or two cards behind it in the deck. Plus there are assorted special effects that switch things around a bit, all adding to what looks like some meaningful decision making.
Miss B was totally sold after watching a couple of the videos on the Kickstarter page, and I figure this looks like it should at least be a fun, portable filler game — one of the major selling points is that you don’t even need a table to play on.
So, if this looks like your sort of thing then Oddball Aeronauts’ Kickstarter is running for about another week. It’s British too, which is nice to see.
Okay, I know this is the second day in a row I have just posted a link, and that this is even to the same site as the first, but GeekDad has a sort of follow-on article to the last one, which I think is even better. This time we have 10 Tips for Teaching Younger Gamers More Complex Games, which includes a load of good stuff, some of which I already do with Miss B. I’ve heard about the idea of swapping sides on demand but have never had the guts to try it. Maybe I can offer that as an option to Miss B at some time, though I suspect she might look on it as cheating and refuse. We’ll see…
I nicked the title from the article, by the way, which you’ll see if you click through, but it’s a good one. Especially seeing as how many age recommendations are just to avoid spending lots of cash on product testing to ensure suitability for children.