Want the chance to try out some great new games BEFORE they hit the market? This year, Game Salute will feature dozens of New Games in the Gen Con Event Hall along with many other titles. Below is a list of all the Game Salute Preview Events you can attend at Gen Con 2012. To get your tickets visit GenConReg.com. Get them before they're gone!
Click on a picture to read more about each game :o)
I recently had the pleasure of playing this fantastic new children's game from Game-o-gami. Goblin's Drool, Fairies Rule! is a quick little rhyming card game that takes between 15 and 20 minutes to play. The suggested ages are 7 and up, but any child who is fluent with rhymes and can read (or has a sibling or parent to help) will pick it up rather quickly. The game is comprised of 20 super-sized cards with double side illustrations. One side features a cute little fairy and the other a mischievous goblin! Each character has their own unique name which rhymes with seven other fairies and goblins. On your turn, you play a card to the Fairy Circle and flip any cards that rhyme. You then retrieve any cards that match the symbol of the card you played and place them in front of yourself. There are 4 different symbols in the game: Suns, moons, frogs, and mushrooms. The suns and moons are opposite each other and, like wise, the frogs and mushrooms. Some Fairies and Goblins are extra special and are surrounded by stars. These cards will flip all cards in the center when played. You win the game if you get rid of all your goblins or obtain at least 6 fairies.
One of my favorite aspects of this game is the beautiful artwork which appeals to both boys and girls. The fanciful names add even more to the fun. Just listen to one of the rhyming sets. Gooble T. Goop, Dastardly Droop, Salamander Snoop, Goblin Soup, Lemon Loop, Rainbow Swoop, Hula Hoop, and Vanilla Scoop. Each illustration magnificently depicts the name in fairy or goblin form. Just take a look!
So if you are looking for that next great family or kids game, or are a teacher looking for something new and educational for rainy classroom days, look no further. Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! has just launched on Kickstarter and you can pledge your support today. Not only do you have the opportunity to get this great game, but depending on your pledge, you also can receive a book of the beautiful artwork and a double sided puzzle featuring a fairy and a goblin. I personally have secured my pledge at the educator level (aka Dusty Dour) and can't wait to use it in the classroom. Go Check it out!
Playing with the Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! prototype at our weekly game night!
This year I was lucky enough to make it to all 3 days of PAX East! Trouble is, I was pretty much glued to our hopping Game Salute booth. Amongst managing the volunteers, teaching demos, and getting photos of our team there was not much time to see the halls. I did manage to get a few nice shots of some of this year's Cosplayers, though. Enjoy!
A Very Busy Game Salute Booth!!
Also, since this year we celebrated PAX Easter, I had the unique experience of bringing my 2 year old son to the show. (no one wants to babysit on Easter!) He was an angel the entire day! Spending a large amount of time in the ergo and the rest of the time running around the wide open space of the food court next to us, he never really complained. Why would he? There's so much to see and observe. Needless to say, I got a great work out and he got to experience his first real Con! :0) He even spent some time playing his own version of BEARS! by Fireside Games. Can't wait till he is old enough to really experience the true spectacle of gaming conventions.
Lorien Green is a social media manager with a background in community management for Turbine Entertainment and a passion for documentaries, Geekumentaries, specifically, and the creative mind behind the exciting new Geekumentary: Going Cardboard. I checked in with Lorien recently to see what's been happening since the film's debut.
American Geek Mom: For those who don't know, why choose a Geekumentary about board games?
Lorien Green: I fell into the designer board gaming hobby about the same time I started passionately blogging about indie documentaries, and that combination eventually made me want to do my own film on designer board games, because the topic flat-out deserved it.
AGM: What was it that hooked you into the culture of board games?
LG: I'm a very geeky person myself. I was one of those quiet shy kids in high school that just couldn't wait to get home, grab the latest copy of Nintendo Power, and get to playing. In college, it was Magic: the Gathering. Senior year at Boston University, I became president and founder of the BU Magic: the Gathering club. After college, it was all about MMOs, starting with Asheron's Call. So I've got a history of bouncing from one geek sphere to another, gaining appreciation for those sub-cultures. My husband was responsible for bringing the designer board gaming sphere to light, but once he got into it, I certainly followed.
AGM: What was the first game he introduced you too?
LG: I think the first designer game we played was Catan, but it was Bohnanza that really won me over. Some of the really early ones we played included Balloon Cup and Lost Cities, too. Lost Cities remains probably my favorite two-player game. And the first game I ever taught to other friends was Poison.
AGM: My husband and I also enjoy Lost Cities. It's definitely a good one for 2 Players. What is your current Favorite Table Top Game?
LG: As far as current favorites, I had a lot of fun at PAX playing Spot It, I've got a copy of that on order, and I have yet to tire of Dominion, especially Dominion Prosperity, which I haven't had enough chances to play. When four of us get together, Small World is always fun.
AGM: From one geek mom to another, how were you able to balance work, family, and your passion to create this documentary?
LG: For the editing, All Nighters, and that was actually the easy part. And that was essential, because editing is a thought process; it requires focus. I did some of it during weekends, with the kids around, but that's not ideal for them or for me. An all nighter means that it's not taking away from family time or work time, it's only taking away from sleep.
For the interviewing work, I was able to do things like take a vacation day from work during the week, drop the kids off at daycare, and drive on down to Salem to do an interview. The grandparents looked after the kids one weekend so I could go to Essen and film there. It was definitely a challenge, and restrictive, it made it impossible to do a LOT of traveling and time away for this film, but fortunately the designer board gaming scene is very active in New England. There were definitely additional trips I would have taken, and interviews I would have done if I'd had the freedom to do so. I'd love to see someone from another part of the country do their interpretation of a board game documentary. Because just one isn't enough anyway, not for a hobby this size.
Bottom line, the family was very supportive, but it IS a sacrifice for them, and they had to do without me sometimes. Working moms are busy these days, and the idea of, "I've got too much going on as a Mom, I can't do this" is a very common and understandable fear. But it shouldn't stop you, because if you've got a dream, you can't just bury your dreams and take care of everyone else. It's not healthy for you, and it's not ultimately good for them either. And Americans watch, what, 6 hours of TV a day or something? If you want to make the time, you can make the time.
AGM: What was the most exciting/terrifying part of meeting and interviewing board game designers and other insiders?
LG: One of the most terrifying moments was at the Gathering of Friends. I couldn't find a good location to interview, and I had an interview scheduled very soon after arriving. I was in a panic, looking at different conference room options that just weren't working. In the end, I did the interviews in my hotel room. I had to do the same thing interviewing Reiner Knizia at Essen, and once again that was an interview scheduled to take place just a few hours after my flight landed. I was pretty sure I looked like a nervous amateur during that interview, and I really wanted to give him a favorable impression of my skills, to put him at ease that he was working with someone who was going to do something serious and of good quality, and I felt like I wasn't oozing confidence during that. Until the end of the interview, where he said I asked very good interesting questions. I think a lot of the time we're more nervous inside than out.
One of the most exciting parts was of course being able to interview Klaus Teuber. That was another under the gun moment, because I had to meet up with Klaus and his son Guido, do the interview, then sprint back to the hotel and get out of there because my flight was leaving that morning, and I once again had a serious time crunch. It all went off smoothly, thank goodness!
AGM: Those do sound like some stressful moments. On the flip side,what was your favorite moment during the film?
LG: For the finished film, it's the final update card for Bryan Johnson, and the way the audiences at two screenings have burst into applause at that spot. I also have to say, one of my favorite lines in the whole film is Phil Alberg describing Reef Encounter, and saying, "You take ownership by putting a shrimp on it." It might just be my marine biology background, but something about that line just makes me grin every time.
AGM: Did you have a favorite convention or location you visited?
LG: Definitely Essen. The only drawback was, it was such a high investment trip for the film (not just financially; it was really important to get amazing footage of that and I had a TON of very important interviews scheduled), and so I was just filming, filming, filming the entire time. I didn't PLAY anything, and I didn't even BUY anything (well, I got Savannah Tails, autographed :). That was torture. I hope someday I can go back there and experience that event as a gamer, and grab some of the really unique games that show there. I had a ton of filming gear with me, so my travel luggage just wouldn't accommodate purchases. Alas.
AGM: Do you hope to go back to any of them and bring the whole family?
LG: Oh yes, Essen, since it is SO family-friendly. I think when the kids are maybe in their early teens (they are 5 and 6 right now), they will have a blast there. But people definitely were bringing kids their current age to the show, so who knows, it might be sooner. I wouldn't be opposed.
More locally, we're getting very close to being able to bring them to things like Unity Games and PAX East, we almost did that this year. I really can't wait. Very young kids sort of force a cryogenic period into a gamer's life, but once they get a little older, you have a built-in gaming group at home, and that makes it well worth the wait. :)
AGM: We are definitely counting the days until our son can play games with us. He is currently a fan of organizing all the pieces in our games and rolling dice. He actually made it to PAX East with us this year purely due to the fact that Sunday was Easter and it's near impossible to find a sitter for that day ;0) So, what's next for T-cat productions?
LG: I've got plans, oh yes, I've got some plans. There are a couple things I want to put in place before I look at filming another feature, but there are also tons of cool local things that I'd like to put to film that might not become documentaries. Right now things are still really busy with promoting and supporting the marketing for the film (I thought time would free up once it was completed, but no, there is a LOT more work to do now than when I was making it).
AGM: Finally, were there any "AH HA!" moments that you will take with you for future projects or advice you would give to others who want to put on their own director's hat?
LG: My advice, without hesitation, is just DO IT. Try to find a mentor who can help guide you past some of the pitfalls and newbie mistakes, but don't be afraid of newbie mistakes. I made many. It doesn't have to be perfect, and nothing ever is anyway. If you have a topic that you feel passionate about, and are willing to see it through (this took 3 years for me) then the final product will reflect that passion, and people will pick up on it, and no matter WHAT your topic is, other people out there are going to be interested, and are going to appreciate your effort. That's one thing the internet has done; niche sub-culture communities can connect in a way that they could not before.
My own learning moment, and there were many, but one of the big take-a ways was, be fearless. I spent most of my life shy and quiet, so this whole thing has been outside my comfort zone. I got butterflies and anxiety at almost every step, I wish I could say that went away with repeated exposure, but it doesn't. And if you truly feel an idea has merit, pursue it and don't listen to anyone saying it can't be done. And honestly, even if this project failed or wasn't well-received, that would be a bummer, but I would still have the experience, and have met all these great people, and have learned so much. That alone would have made it worthwhile and nobody can take that away from you.
I would like to thank Lorien for sharing her passion for board games with all of us and for giving us a little insight into what makes her such a great geek mom. You can purchase Going Cardboard through many friendly local game stores, the Going Cardboard website, and Amazon. For Local readers, Going Cardboard will be a screening at Myriad Games in Manchester, NH this Saturday April 21st at 6:00 PM. Come join us and meet the woman behind this amazing look at table top gaming. You can also keep up with Lorien on Twitter @LorienGreen.
After finally getting the book into my hands about two weeks ago I found that I could not put it down. Despite having a toddler who gets up at 6 AM and a gaming group that on average plays until 11:30 PM - 12 AM, I could not help myself but to keep reading long into the night. Most nights ended with me battling to keep my eyes open before giving up around the 2:30 AM mark! I am nearing the finish of the trilogy now and can't wait to see how it has been adapted for screen. The Hunger Games finally hits theaters this Friday, March 23rd (My Son's Birthday!) Sorry Logan, your party is on Sunday, Momma's got a date with Daddy and The Hunger Games ;0) To be fair, my birthday is on Monday.
Aside from the Movie release, two new games have hit your friendly local game store. Wizkids recently released a new board game where players can try their luck in District 12. The Hunger Games: District 12 brings players into the daily lives of its citizens. Can you acquire food, clothing, medicine, and fuel to avoid taking Tesserae? The Reaping is approaching: Who will be selected as Tribute for the Hunger Games?
-Fast easy game play (10 page rule Book!)
-Stripped down mechanics make it approachable but might not have enough meat for some
-Apparently everyone is Katniss in this game despite the rules reading like you are any citizen of District 12. Each player gets a token that is the same picture of Katniss, only its a different color. This seems a bit odd and out of place.
-The game has an elimination mechanic that some might find unpleasant. The Glass Ball, while very thematic, could very well take out the player who is winning the game. At the end of the game one of the names is drawn to symbolize the Reaping and unfortunately anyone could lose even without adding any Tesserae.
-It's a solid game with decent components, but didn't make me feel as desperate as I imagine the citizens of district 12 to be.
Jabberjay has also recently been released by wizkids and is a traitor game much like Werewolf or The Resistance. It plays between 5-12 players (though there is a coop mode for 4 or less) and has the same split into two teams mechanic as The Resistace. One is a smaller group of
District citizens who know each other’s identity, and the second is a larger one of
Capitol citizens who don’t. Our group has yet to get this to the table, but I will be sure to point you to our podcast review as soon as we do.
Back in 2012, Wizkids released The Hunger Games: Training Days making three titles in all. The question now becomes will these two titles have the same fate as Training Days, or will they prove to be solid game closet contenders?
And one final thing...The one thing our group immediately noticed with all of these games is that none of them capture the struggle in the arena. Instead they focus on the training (Training Days), surviving daily life in district 12 (District 12) and the rebellion (Jabberjay). Is there an Arena game in the future? We hope so!
Since the birth of our son, my husband and I have longed for the day when we could take him to see his first movie at the theater. Sure he went with us when he was very young, but the period between when he began to crawl and the time he was able to sit interested in a TV program seemed like years for a couple who consider themselves movie geeks. I was one of those pregnant moms crazy enough to go see avatar in the imax when I was 8 months pregnant! We naturally positioned ourselves in the center in order to get the best view, making frequent bathroom breaks a major no no. Not only did I make it through the movie with only one bathroom break, but I also had a large drink with me that I finished by about half way through, talk about will power! Anyways, now that Logan is turning 2, we decided it was time to try the movies again with toddler in tow. The new adaptation of The Lorax provided the perfect opportunity for this.
The Lorax has been one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories since I was a child and one that I watched over and over as a kid. I was very interested to see what this new version added or detracted from my fond childhood memories of the original story.
Luckily I was please with the result as was my son who made it through the movie with flying colors, laughing at jokes and point things out that he recognized throughout the film. How was his first movie such a success? Here are the steps my husband and I took to ensure that we left the theater happy rather than embarrassed and ashamed at our attempt.
First things first, make sure you choose the right time of the day. For Logan, the time between 3 PM and 7 PM is his most relaxed. He has had his nap and he is energized for the rest of the afternoon, expecting dinner around 5:30 to 6:00 PM. This brings me to my second piece of advice; choose a non traditional movie theater. Chunky's is a convenient little chain here in New Hampshire where the theater meets the drive-in meets a restaurant. This is perfect for Logan because he can eat while watching the film which helps to keep him occupied and avoid boredom. It is also packed with families making it a little more forgiving when your child decides to talk or gets upset in the middle of a show. Most of the people understand and will not glare at you for the rest of the evening.
You could also look for theaters that host “Mommy-and-me”
movies just for parents and their young children, (Chunky's also does this) so the rest of the audience
will be extra understanding of your movie-goer trainee.
Another good choice would be the drive-in. This set up works particularly well because parents can usually find a children's film and an adult film bundled together. Do make sure the movie you are taking them to see is one that they will be interested in. This allows your toddler to watch the first one and with any luck fall asleep while mommy and daddy watch the second. This worked great the first time we went. Logan sat and watched The Smurfs contently in his car seat, ate some snacks from the concession stand and fell asleep at the beginning of the second movie. This cannot be guaranteed through, as my husband I will attest. Because of the success on our first outing, we decided to go again one night and no matter what we did, Logan refused to fall asleep and was not happy playing with any of the toys we brought to distract him. I remember finally giving up and letting my husband watch Captain America alone, while I strolled around with Logan trying to get him to sleep. You win some you loose some, right! On a positive note, because you are outside, your toddler can be louder and have toys to occupy himself during the show when they actually occupy him. Even better, the one near us has a playground and food concession stand which makes it even more convenient for a restless toddler who needs an energy release. I think the next time we go we will use the personal DvD player or even my phone as a distraction now that he is so fluent with technology. Two years old and he can already work my Android without much trouble and he loves his Alphabet App!
This leads me to my 3rd and final piece of advice for taking your toddler along to a movie. Be sure to arrive at a time that will ensure decent seats but not leave your toddler sitting and waiting for a long stretch. If you know that there will be some down time, make sure you have items that will keep him engaged packed away in your purse. My purse is always equipped with a sucker, his mini magnadoodle, some other small snack (usually goldfish or cheerios), and of course my phone complete with toddler apps and you tube! (This is also a great secret weapon for waiting in restaurants)
And finally...If you do opt for the traditional movie theater, be sure to pick a week day afternoon, when your chances of disturbing other movie goers will be at a minimum and choose aisle seats so you can scoot to the bathroom or make a quick exit if necessary.
And if at first you don't succeed, wait a couple months and try it again :0)
Deep in the desert lies a newly discovered pyramid. You are one of eight skilled adventurers daring enough to explore its secrets within. The question is, will you make it out alive???
Filled with mummies, snakes, scorpions, and Egyptian Gods, The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus takes you on a new adventure into perilous conditions. This is the second in the Adventrurers series with eight new characters and a new set of dangers to avoid.
If you recall, The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac presented players with a rushing river, lava pit, and a Giant Boulder! So naturally, I was excited to try this new standalone version. Like The Temple of Chac, you control an adventurer attempting to gather valuable treasure before becoming trapped within. In this scenario, the Pyramid is crumbling and the ceiling is caving in. You never know which ceiling block will fall, and if you are not careful, you may become trapped inside forever. The further you explore, the more valuable the treasure becomes. As you gather more and more artifacts, your backpack gets heavier and heavier, making it harder to move. Also, with dangers lurk around every corner, the sting from a nasty scorpion or the strike of a venomous snake could slow you down even more! Gather what you can and get out alive!!
*The game feels very much like the first Adventurers and makes learning the rules a cinch. We read the rules, set the game up, and were playing within 10 minutes. (There were a few times we needed to check the rule book during play, but not many)
*The components are a nice quality and the board draws you in visually. I especially like the feeling the blocks give to the game as they begin to fill up the space and you realize that time is running out!
*The game plays in about 45 minutes making it a great choice for family game nights or gatherings. And bonus! You can talk to your kids about the Egyptian Gods, pyramids, etc and get a history lesson in as well ;0)
The Not So Good
*The game doesn't draw you in the same as The Temple of Chac. There is a distinct path in the first game. In this one, you go out the way you came in. Something about that made the game feel less exciting.
*All of the cards do not fit on the board. I understand that a board can only be so big, but when all the gods cards have nice spots accept one, that seems a little odd and sloppy to me. It doesn't really affect anything though.
*Once you've played the game, you know the strategy and where to go. There seems to be less mystery in this version. There are no puzzles to solve and I think if I was given a choice to play on or the other, the Temple of Chac would win every time simply because it has more replay value.
All in all it is a good game that was worth a try, but perhaps not worth a permanent spot on my game shelf.