In this post I will be reflecting on some of my favourite games we have played this month and the fun games we played with the kids! I will also mention a couple of kickstarters that caught our eye. But before all of that I am pleased to say that I managed to write two more reviews this month one for an old favourite Dino Race and one for a new release we picked up at Essen, The Mysterious Forest. So please have a look at those if you’re interested in children’s games!
My favourite game of January was Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. I know I am a bit late to the party on this one but I love this cooperative investigative game as it makes me feel like I am solving a real crime! I highly recommend it to anyone who has a passion for crime drama or books. In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective you are racing to solve a crime before Sherlock Holmes. You do this by following clues, the clues can be found within newspapers or at different locations on the map. When you believe you have the solution you turn to the back of the casebook and answer the questions. You can then check your answers to see how well you did. You lose points for incorrect answers and for visiting more locations than Sherlock Holmes does. There are ten cases in the box to solve!
The second game that I want to mention is Fuse. I have really loved playing this cooperative real time game where your mission is to diffuse all the bombs within ten minutes. It’s fast paced, frantic and an awful lot of fun! You have to defuse the bombs by placing dice on the bomb cards according to their specifications. All the cards are unique and are rated according to difficultly. The dice are drawn randomly from the bag, rolled and then must be used equally between all players. The game has a companion app which is really only a timer but it does add a great atmosphere to gameplay!
Another game which has been hitting the table a lot is Arkham Horror the card game. I am really enjoying working our way through the story. We are playing two different campaigns at the moment one as a couple and another with friends. The game works really well in both cases. In this game you use a customisable deck of cards to explore the story, the cards reflect your different abilities but also contain two weaknesses which might overcome you. As you complete the different stories you will earn experience points which you can spend to buy better cards for your deck. I am really enjoying playing through the different storylines in this game but I do wonder whether this game will have much replay value once you have played the stories a few times. I suspect it might if you change the characters you play each time but as I have only played each Act a few times it is hard for me to tell yet!
Last month I also played Imperial Settlers a game if I am honest I thought I might not enjoy. I was wrong however! We played the game using the variant which means that you don’t attack (Raze) each others buildings as I am not a big fan of that kind of mechanic.
In Imperial Settlers you play as one of a number of factions which have discovered new lands and are racing to claim it for their own. At the beginning of the game you start with a selection of cards which are taken from two different decks of cards, one is a deck that is specific to the faction you chose and the other is a common shared deck. To play the game you use the cards in your hand one of three ways, play it to construct a building, discard it to gain resources (called Razing) or lastly use it to make a deal for future production. Over the course of the game you gain resources that can be used to construct various buildings. These buildings have a number of different abilities for example some increase your production of resources, others enable you to convert resources or to trade them for victory points. Ultimately however it is the player with the most victory points at the end of the last round who wins the game.
This is one of those games that when you’ve finished playing you can look at the cards on the table and say I built that. I really enjoy that!
Overall January was a good month for family games we spent two afternoons with friends just playing games and we also played quite a bit together.
Some old favourites we played this month include Dino Race, Bugs in the Kitchen and Jungle Brunch. In Dino Race you are racing to be the first to save your dinosaurs from the erupting volcano, you can read more about it in my review here.
Bugs in the Kitchen is a very simple game where you are trying to steer the bug into your trap. The bug is a hexbug which for those of you who don’t know is a small robotic creature. You try and steer this bug by turning various utensils (Knife, Spoon etc.) to open pathways. You roll the dice to determine which utensil you are allowed to turn. Each time you trap the bug you get a token and the first person who gets 5 tokens wins. This game is very popular with the kids they love watching the bug scuttling around and scrabbling to get him into their trap!
Lastly Jungle Brunch is a card game where you are trying to get your animals to eat the most food! Each player has a deck of animal cards and they compete with each other for food such as Grass, Nuts, Bananas and sometimes each other! There is a great variety of animals on the cards and each one works in different ways. The food cards (Bananas, Grass & Nuts) are all worth different points so your aim is to eat the best food whilst not getting eaten yourself! I really enjoy this game and I love watching my children thinking about what animals to play. There are definitely some tactics needed if you want to avoid being eaten all the time!
Some games that are still fairly new to us are Fabled Fruit a game which we bought in Essen last year and Beasts of Balance a Kickstarter game which arrived just before Christmas.
In Fabled Fruit you are competing with other players to turn fruit into juice. This game comes with a vast number of animal cards these animals help you turn your fruit into juice or help you collect fruit in lots of different ways. When an animal helps you turn your fruit into a juice that animal card is turned over and a brand new one is drawn from the stack. Your juice card never returns back into the animal deck this means that the game will change over time. The idea being that the game evolves and changes each time you time you play it as more different animal cards are drawn from the deck. They describe this as a legacy game. We’ve only played this a few times so far and therefore we haven’t delved deeply into the deck yet but I am really impressed with this game so far. My kids who are six (nearly 7) had no trouble understanding the different options available on the cards and the game has been really close each time. Plus this game comes with animal meeples which the kids (and me) adore!
Beasts of Balance is a cooperative dexterity game with a fun twist. The idea of the game is to build the most amazing world on an app (i.e. beat your high score). The game comes with many gorgeous pieces and a plinth on which to build your world. You build the world by scanning pieces on the plinth and then adding them to your world by balancing them on the plinth. The app recognises each piece and adds its effect on the world. Some pieces are animals to add to your world others allow you to cross-breed animals to make bizarre new creatures or allow you to migrate an animal between its environment (eg land to sea). This game is my daughters favourite game at the moment. Whenever we play this game there is a lot of squealing and excitement. My daughter just loves that all the new wacky creatures you create are stored in a bestiary and each one has a little bit about what they eat. I love the gorgeous pieces although I am terrible at balancing them. I would play this game without the kids if I thought I could get away with it!
Our kids were a little spoilt this Christmas with six new games, some from us and some from our gaming friends. We did however manage to play them all this month!
The first game they were given was Ice Cool a really fun game about flicking penguins. The aim of the game is to collect the most fish cards (points). The game is played over a few rounds. In each round you are either trying to flick your penguin under doorways to catch fish if you’re playing a student that round or trying to knock your penguin into the other penguins if you’re the chaser that round! This game proved to be a huge hit with my kids and the adults too! I really liked that even when you are caught by the chaser you are not eliminated and can carry on trying to catch your fish.
They were also given a game called Dr Eureka this is a logic puzzle mixed with a dexterity game. The idea is that you have to pour your molecules (coloured balls) between test tubes until it matches the formula on the card. I think this is a really fun game but I found that my children really struggled with the dexterity element of this game. I am sure when they are a little older or perhaps just more practiced they will love it. It was certainly a good family game which even my mum enjoyed!
We also played Forbidden Island another gift from friends. This is a cooperative game in which you are trying to collect treasures from a sinking island. This is a wonderful game which I can see us playing with non-gaming friends and family. We’ve only played it once and we lost horribly but the kids still loved the game which I think says it all!
We gave our kids three games for Christmas; The Mysterious Forest, Wizardry to the power of three and My First Stone Age. The Mysterious Forest is a memory based adventure card game which I have reviewed here!
Wizardry to the power of three is a cooperative memory game where you are playing students at a magic school. You have sneaked out at night to a secret market but unfortunately the groundskeeper has noticed you. You must sneak back through the dark forest before he catches you. Players are helped by glowing creatures who can guide their path but only if you can remember where they are hiding! My kids love a cooperative game and this one is lovely. I really liked that the game actually feels hard we haven’t managed to win a game yet!
My First Stone Age as the name suggests is game where you play people living in the stone age. In this game you move around the board collecting different resources (Mammoth teeth, Berries, Pots, Arrowheads & Fish) and when you have the right ones you can take a hut and place it into your village. The first one to build three huts in their village wins. You move by remembering where the different movement tiles are (there are tiles for each place and some with numbers used for counting your way round the board). We’ve only played this game once so far but we all really enjoyed it.
After Christmas we decided to treat ourselves to Karuba as we thought it might be a fun family game. It turned out to be a huge hit with us all. In this game you play explorers who are trying to reach various temples hidden in the forest. In a bingo like way one player calls out the number of a specific path tile and then each player can choose where on their individual map grid they wish to place that tile. The game ends when one player gets all of their explorers to the temples but the player with the most points wins. You can gain points by reaching a temple or collecting treasures on the way. I really like the way the game offers different ways to win because sometimes getting all your explorers to the temples doesn’t mean you’re going to win.
Two kickstarters caught our eye this month. Firstly there was Myth Dark Frontier, we are big fans of Myth it’s a game we often play with our roleplaying group if not enough people are available that week. I really liked a number of elements of this game, the idea of defending a city, the fact that it is compatible with all our Myth figures and lastly I liked the look of the components especially the city piece.
The second game was Sub Terra. This is a cooperative tile laying game where you are cavers trapped under ground trying to survive and escape. I first heard about this game from Lindsay at Shiny Happy Meeples and I really liked the sound of it. She has written an excellent review of it which I recommend you look at it if you’re curious about this game, you can find it here.
I hope you found this post interesting! I really enjoyed the chance to look back over the month and reflect on the fun games we played. If there is a particular kids game you’d like me to review then I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!