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We spent some time talking about why co-op games are a great idea for your game collection and pointed out a whole host of learning opportunities that they present. Below is a list of some of our favorite Co-op games as a team. Take a look and make sure to let us know if you have any other games you think we missed in the comments.

 

Flash Point Fire Rescue

Sound the alarm and ready the hoses. In Flash Point Fire Rescue, players take the roles of firefighters entering a burning building. Random die rolls determine where smoke appears, and where there’s smoke, fire (and explosions!) quickly follow. Gameplay is tense and well balanced, and gives players the true feeling of fighting an organic and ever-growing fire. Easy to follow family rules coupled with more advanced and complicated add ons that can be incorporated ala-carte or all together give this game plenty of life for all ages of gamers.

Note: You can read our review here!

Forbidden Island/Desert

 

Our love for Gamewright games is well documented so there really wasn’t any way we could create this list without including The Forbidden games. Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are both amazing cooperative experiences that are quick to play and easy to teach. Both of these games present their players with dangerous worlds to explore that each seem to have a mind of their own.

Where each of them succeed the most is in the delivery of their themes. Forbidden Island is about the exploration of an island that is slowly sinking into the ocean. Each turn is filled with tension as players flip over cards that indicate which tile will sink (and thus shrink the board). As the game progresses it really feels like the world is sinking.

Note: Our Forbidden Island review is here. Our Forbidden Desert review is here.

Mice and Mystics

Adventure awaits as you and three other players control brave Prince Colin and his loyal court in a battle against the treacherous sorceress-queen Vanestra in this magical tale. The catch? The court magician Maginos has turned your band of heroes into mice! Mice and Mystics blends Role Playing Game elements with an engaging story in this highly thematic dungeon crawler. Each game builds on the last as players play through chapters in the ongoing story. Battle against rats and roaches, collect mice-sized equipment, like a button shield or needle rapier, and try to save the kingdom from the evil queen.

 

Pandemic

Diseases of epic proportions run rampant through the world, and only a team of CDC specialists can eradicate them before they eradicate us. Pandemic is a 2-4 player game that pits players against rapidly spreading diseases with more chances at failing the world, than of saving it.  Each player can perform the same actions, as one unique action based on their randomly selected role at the CDC. This plus the ability to control difficulty makes each game of Pandemic a unique challenge.  Expansions (In the Lab, On the Brink and State of Emergency) add players and new situations to overcome, so it never gets old!

Note: You can read our review here!

Sentinels of The Multiverse

The Earth is in peril an evil genius is attempting to pull the moon into our home planet, and only a team of superheroes can stop him from completing his diabolical plan! Sentinels of The Multiverse is a 2-5 player card game that lets you choose from pre-constructed hero decks to face an array of villains with a variety of evil plans in a slew of comic-inspired settings. In case the original set of heroes, villains and environment decks aren’t enough to keep you busy, Sentinels has quite a few expansions that change mechanics and elements of the game to keep it interesting. The sheer number of combinations makes this game incredibly unique each time you play — Even if you only ever play your favorite character.

Note: You can read our review here!

Hanabi

To a pyrotechnician, there is nothing more important than a beautiful show of fireworks for their audience, but what do you do when there is a mix-up and you’re too honorable to admit the problem? Well, the show must go on! Hanabi is a small deck card game consisting of 60 cards, in the game players work together to put on the most impressive show they can muster, without insulting the honor of their fellow experts. Hanabi is unique in that you can’t see your own hand and other players must give you limited clues for you to identify what to play! It’s a challenging and small game that keeps you wondering and guessing and hoping that you aren’t booed off the field! The game comes with a 6th suit and a few additional variations for advanced play!

Note: You can read our review here!

Castle Panic

 

Goblins and Orcs and Trolls, oh my!!! Castle Panic is a game where 1-6 players must defend a central castle from an onslaught of monsters. Each turn new monsters appear in the forests around the edges of the board and existing monsters advance towards the castle. Different cards allow players to attack monsters at varying distances from the castle, and players can trade cards, slay monsters, and defend the castle walls. If all the walls fall, the monsters win! Players work together to keep the castle secure, but the player with the most victory points gets declared the Master Slayer!

 

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So. You have a Nintendo Switch. You’ve got all the important games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart Deluxe, etc. Here are some suggestions for more games to play that won’t break the bank!

Fortnite

(FYI Fortnite is a free to play game which is why I’m including it for  under $20. The above bundle is actually $30 and includes a bunch of different stuff.)

It’s really impossible to talk about inexpensive games on the Nintendo Switch without addressing the fortress sized elephant in the room. Fortnite is free. And it is everywhere. Chances are very good that your kid has been bugging you to play Fortnite for a while if they aren’t playing it already. The Switch is a great place to play it.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a farming simulator with a LOT of extras.  There is a dungeon with randomly generated floors full of loot and an abandoned community center that you rebuild through offerings to tiny beings that live there. Fishing is just about the best part of the game with a simple yet challenging minigame. Like many other games in the genre, you can court citizens in town and spend whole seasons looking for a specific item. This is a great game to get lost in and is a steal at $19.99 on the Switch.

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a side-scrolling action platformer, with many items to find and powers to unlock. This game easily can take 40-50 hours to complete with the expansive map and numerous bosses. You take on the role of a mask-wearing beetle (I’m not entirely sure what he is) wielding a nail to take out the foes that are encroaching your town.

This is a very difficult game, but there is a lot of content here to keep you coming back. Completing challenges is a big part of the draw here and there is a LOT of content to explore.

The Messenger

Simply put… The Messenger is a modern response to the Ninja Gaiden series from the NES era. Sabotage Studio is a team full of people who love that game and have gone out of their way to show their reverence in game form.

It isn’t an easy game, but the experience is well worth the effort. The soundtrack alone is worth spending time with the game. But, exploring the different levels AND playing with the time travel mechanics are rewarding.

This is definitely a game that needs to be on your radar.

Wizard of Legend

Wizard of Legend is an amazing cooperative combat game. It is also the best Avatar: The Last Airbender game ever made. You play as a wizard who use various elemental spells to travel through mazes and battle monsters. This is a challenging game for sure, but dying is part of the fun!

Might Gunvolt Burst

Mighty Gunvolt Burst

Mighty Number 9 was a pretty big disappointment. I know our house had high expectations that it would help fill in the gaps that Mega Man’s absence left behind. All was not lost though. Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a crossover game that includes Both Beck from Mighty Number 9, but also the hero from Azure Striker Gunvolt. This is a simple,  inexpensive game that delivers on all of the promises that Mighty Number 9 made.

Picross S / Picross S2

Picross S Link

Picross S2 Link

Picross is a great puzzle game for people who are on the go. It is easy to pick up and learn, but hard to master. Picross S1 is a steal for the price and you can get both S1 and S2 for under $20. If you are a fan of puzzle games I would recommend that you get this game!

Yoku’s Island Express

Link

In Yoku’s Island Express, you play Yoku, a dung beetle and the new postmaster to the island Mokumana. During your platforming journey, you will meet many colorful settings and characters. But there is a catch, unlike most platformers, your main character can’t jump. Instead, you traverse the world using pinball-like paddles to get around. Yoku has a fairly short campaign, clocking in around 6 hours.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The Nintendo Switch is wildly popular, and Nintendo is pairing it with an online subscription service similar to both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. Their service, called Nintendo Switch Online, launched in the fall of 2018 and is a great value for families looking to get more out of their Switch experience. 

The Pitch

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

How Does it Work? 

Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription based service that can be purchased annually, or in smaller increments. The service needs to be maintained in order to continue the benefits and maintain access to the features. 

The service includes: 

Online Play – Online multiplayer gaming using the Nintendo Switch Online platform

NES and SNES – Nintendo Switch Online – Nintendo Switch Online members have access to curated library of more than 60 NES and Super NES classic games. The collection initially only includes NES games, but was updated a year later to include SNES titles. The curated library of games will grow over time. These games also include online competitive/cooperative play with friends. Certain games (like Super Mario Bros.) even include the ability to virtually pass the controller back and forth.

Save Data Cloud – Subscribers can back up their save game data to the cloud. This makes it easier to retrieve their save data if they lose their Switch or start to use a new one. It is worth mentioning that some games aren’t compatible with cloud saving. The most noteworthy examples are Pokemon Sword and Shield and the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

Smartphone App – Nintendo has released a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). It syncs with the subscriber’s Nintendo account and includes some minor enhancements for different Switch games. You can also use it to use voice chat with your Nintendo friends as you play. (Certain games, like Fortnite, circumvent Nintendo’s app and allow voice chat through the game software itself. This isn’t universal though.)

Special Offers – Subscribers will have access to exclusive sales and product offerings. They have included controllers, discount game vouchers, and even an exclusive game (Tetris 99). 

How Much Does it Cost?

Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased annually, quarterly, or monthly. The service also has a 7 day free trial. 

Annual Subscription: $19.99

3 Month Subscription: $7.99

1 Month Subscription: $3.99

Nintendo Switch Online also has a Family Membership option where up to 8 Nintendo Accounts can share an online subscription for $34.99 annually. 

Advice

This service is a great value for families. The cost is relatively low at $20 a year and it includes a wide array of free games to play.

If your kids aren’t interested in the NES/SNES games and only play Fortnite, then this is a service you can likely avoid. Fortnite doesn’t require an active subscription to play.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origins Access

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to the Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming Holiday

So many great board games releases in 2019! It was a challenge to limit the list into a comprehensive collection of games for all types of games. To help your family find the best game we have broken the games into categories so you can see what may best suit your gift giving.

For the Youngest Gamers

Topper Takes a Trip

Topper Takes a Trip is a cooperative game for players ages two and up by Peaceable Kingdom. For the youngest players this is a great game to encourage discussion and vocabulary development. Players select a destination card and match the packing list for each destination as well. Players then gather the items on the packing list, and place them in the suitcase. Once all pieces are gathered players can pretend they are enjoying the activities of that destination. Topper travels to three places to complete the game. There are also suggestions for extending the play and enriching the experience to develop early skills. The skills include: gross motor, problem solving, color matching, spatial reasoning, and visual discrimination.

Guess It Get It Gumballs

Guess It Get It Gumballs is a cooperative memory game for two to four players ages four and up from Peaceable Kingdom. Players take turns picking up gumballs of the matching color from a spinner. They then guess the face on the reverse side by making that face into the mirror. The gumball is grabbed by using the suction cup on the reverse of the mirror. Players are trying to get a rainbow of gumballs before getting the stinkface. With the current awareness of Emotional Intelligence this game is great for helping young children recognize and identify feelings.

Small Games

Punto

Punto is a tiny tin box card laying game for two to four players ages eight and up from Gamewright. Players each have a pile of dot cards in one color. The cards are randomly shuffled within their pile. Cards are placed once player at a time either diagonally or orthogonally. The objective is to get five cards in a row at two player game or four cards in a three or four player game. Players need to keep the cards within a six by six grid. The game ends when one player has won two rounds. While the game is recommended for age eight and up, since there is no reading and the rules are not complicated this can scale down in age.

Tic Tac Surprise

Tic Tac Surprise is a two player game for ages five and up. This game by Peaceable Kingdom takes the classic game of Tic Tac Toe and adds a twist. The cards instead of X’s and O’s have two pictures. There are multiple versions of the game, so you can have dogs/cats, chocolate/vanilla donuts/ or fairies/unicorns. Within each picture type there are some special cards with an additional feature. For example on the donuts some of the donuts have sprinkles. These special cards allow players to place that card on top of an opponent’s card. Now a space is never truly unavailable.

Snowman Dice

Snowman Dice is a fun fast rolling, stacking, flicking, and pushing dice game for two to four players ages six and up from Brain Games. The photo above is of a prototype we previewed at New York Toyfair, and the finalize version in a snowball shaped bag. Additionally, the playtime and age recommendations have been changed since we saw the prototype. In Snowman Dice players are trying to roll the three pieces of their snowman and push the stack to the center marker, which is the North Pole. The dice also have an arrow, snowflake, which is a wild, and a snowball icon. The arrow is needed to push your snowman. With the snowball the player can flick the dice at an opponent’s snowman to try and knock it down and thwart their progress. Then winner is the first player to the North Pole.

Dirty Pig


Dirty Pig is a simple light card game from Happy Planet, a subdivision of North Star Games. In this game players are trying to be the first to make all of their pigs dirty. The game is for two to six players and is recommend for ages six and up. To play, all players begin with clean pigs. The number of pigs varies depending on the number of players. Each player draws three cards and can play one per turn, drawing a new card at their end of their turn. Cards include: Dirty Your Pig, Rain, Barn, Locked Barn Door, Lightning, Lightning Rod, and Clean That Pig. This is a light silly game good for multi-ages and can even scale younger since there is no reading involved.

Games for the Whole Family

Pyramid of Pengqueen

Pyramid of Pengqueen is a spin off theme from the Ice Cool games from Brain Games. The penguins have ventured in search of the mummy’s magical treasure. One playing takes on the roll of the mummy and the rests of the players are the adventures searching for the treasures. In the game there is a two sided vertical board with magnets. The players know were the mummy is but the mummy do not know where the penguins are. If the mummy finds a penguin it is sent to the mummy’s tomb. Players are trying to collect enough treasures before the mummy catches them too many times.

This Game Goes to Eleven

Gamewright has taken this simple counting game for two to five players, which given it a light heavy metal theme. This Game Goes to Eleven is for players ages eight and up. Players discard cards in their hand and add the numbers as they go. If the pile of cards is exactly eleven after you play your card, you give the whole pile to another player. On your turn, if your card bring the total over eleven you get the pile too. The player with the least cards at the end wins. There are two special cards. The eleven card instantly brings the pile to eleven regardless of the cards below.

Bloom

Roll and write games a very popular right now, and Bloom is a great one in that genre. In Bloom by Gamewright you are trying to gather flowers of the same color and quantity as on your sheet. On your turn you roll the dice and choose which color and number best matches the flowers in your garden. To end the game, a player must have three colors of flowers where they circled all the flowers of those colors, or completed four garden beds. Bloom is for players age eight and up and supports two to five players.

Adventure book

Quirky Circuits



Price: $39.96
Was: $49.95

Quirky circuit is the next adventure book from Plaid Hat Games. This one features a automatic vacuum cleaner, similar to a Roomba, and you need to direct it to achieve certain goals. The challenge is that players please down their movement cars in secret from the other players to there are many challenges with getting the correct path to complete the objective. This game is for two to four players ages seven and up. The game contains 21 different scenarios within the adventure book.

Legacy

Zombie Kidz Evolution

Zombie Kidz Evolution is a perfect first legacy game for children. The game is for 2 to 4 players ages 7 and up and episodes take 5 to 15 minutes each approximately. The game takes place in the school and the player’s objective is to secure all the doors to keep the zombies out. As players move through the challenges they can open envelopes which adds new characters and makes changes to the board and to the rules.

If You Like. ..

Imhotep Duel


Imhotep Dual is a 2 player game that takes the strategy and gameplay of the original Imhotep and makes it a 2 player only game. The game is for ages ten and up and plays in about 30 minutes. Since it is only 2 players the premise is you are Nefertiti and Akhenaten, the famous Egyptian couple. Fans of the original will enjoy this 2 player version.

Sushi Roll

For any fans of Sushi Go,Gamewright has re-imagined it into a brand new game Sushi Roll! In Sushi Roll each player rolls a set of dice and chooses which to add to their plate. The remaining sushi pass to the next player on a conveyor belt. Then each player rolls their new dice before choosing which to add to their plate. The player board lists the point values for each kind of sushi. The game includes scoring tokens as well, so players who enjoy Sushi Go, have the option to use them there as well.

Forbidden Sky

Forbidden sky is the next adventure in the forbidden series from Gamewright. In this adventure players are now in the sky exploring a platform inside of a storm trying to launch a rocket. Game right for the very 1st time incorporates an electronic element and you need to complete the circuit and have the rocket light up and make sound to complete the game in succeed. One false move and you could be blown off the platform. The game is for ages 10 and up and plays 2 to 5 players.

Dragonrealms

Dragonrealm takes place in the same world as Dragonwood and moves it to the next adventure. This time instead of defeating creatures you are trying to look for treasure in different locations. As in Dragonwood you collect sets of cards that allow you to complete different actions. Adventure cards in a numerical row allow you to sneak. Cards all the same color allow you to search. Cards that are all the same color allow you to storm. The number of cards being played allows the player to have that many dice to roll to try to reach the required number on a location to complete the action. The total rolled by the days becomes their score and players discover if they have succeeded or failed. Once the dragon location is complete the game ends and players Pat up their coins. The player with the most coins wins

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know if you’re picking any of these games up!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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spiritfarer logo

So there I was, watching the Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefing, and my eyeballs and emotions were being bombarded by images and video clips of some of my most anticipated titles (Jedi: Fallen Order, anyone?), and then in the ID@Xbox segment, where they feature indie titles, a rather unique game came across the screen.  Spiritfarer.

Spiritfarer comes to us from Thunder Lotus Games, the makers of Sundered and Jøtun.  Their games have always been dripping with personality and style, so I was immediately intrigued.  

According to their press release:

“In Spiritfarer, you play Stella, a ferrymaster to the deceased.  Build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife.  Farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, and craft your way across mystical seas. Join the adventure as Daffodil the cat, in two-player cooperative play.  Spend relaxing quality time with your spirit passengers, create lasting memories, and ultimately, learn how to say goodbye to your cherished friends.”

So, I didn’t expect to be as hyped as I am for this.   Spiritfarer has a unique and endearing art style, and what sounds to be a ton of fun, stress free content.  The whole game seems to be focused around building, crafting and relationships. However, those relationships are made to ultimately be broken, and in a game like this I am sure I will grow to love the characters, and that will lead to powerful, emotional moments when I have to “learn how to say goodbye” to those characters, as the developer puts it.  

I truly cannot wait… and I think we’re in for something special when this comes to Xbox Game Pass for PC and Console, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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gamewright logo

Our first stop at Toy Fair was to the Gamewright booth. We got to see a bunch of games that have just released or will be out later in 2019. One thing Gamewright is doing this year is taking two of their popular games and created new games with different gameplay elements.

Sushi Roll

For any fans of Sushi Go, Gamewright has re-imagined it into a brand new game Sushi Roll! In Sushi Roll each player rolls a set of dice and chooses which to add to their plate. The remaining sushi pass to the next player on a conveyor belt. Then each player rolls their new dice before choosing which to add to their plate. The player board lists the point values for each kind of sushi. The game includes scoring tokens as well, so players who enjoy Sushi Go, have the option to use them there as well. Sushi Roll releases later in 2019.

Rat-a-Tat Roll

Rat-a-Tat Roll is the second popular game to be re-imagined. The same aesthetic and core game element remains the same, but there is a big change, namely the board and rolling dice. The original Rat-a-Tat Cat is strictly a card game. In contrast the new Rat-a-Tat Roll game included as board that players move around, and try and gather cards with the lowest score. Rat-a-Tat Roll releases later in 2019.

This Game Goes to Eleven

Gamewright has taken this simple counting game for two to five players, which given it a light heavy metal theme. This Game Goes to Eleven is a Target Exclusive, and is for players ages eight and up. Players discard cards in their hand and add the numbers as they go. If the pile of cards is exactly eleven after you play your card, you give the whole pile to another player. On your turn, if your card bring the total over eleven you get the pile too. The player with the least cards at the end wins. This Game Goes to Eleven is available now.

Bloom

Roll and write games a very popular right now, and Bloom is a great one in that genre. In Bloom you are trying to gather flowers of the same color and quantity as on your sheet. On your turn you roll the dice and choose which color and number best matches the flowers in your garden. To end the game, a player must have three colors of flowers where they circled all the flowers of those colors, or completed four garden beds. Bloom releases later in 2019.

Whozit?

Whozit? is a cooperative party game where there is a clue giver and the other players are trying to select a person or character from a pool of six. Players give clues by placing statements on a continuum from “definitely” to “definitely not”. Each correct answer moves a pawn along a small board, and players can see how well they have done at the end of the five rounds of the game. Whozits? releases later in 2019.

Port-A-Party

Everyone needs a silly party game in their collection, and Port-A-Party fits that bill. Players add or take away different attribute cards. The attributes are sorted by color and players try and name a person who meets all the criteria of the description, all while being timed. Port-A-Party releases later in 2019.

Punto

Tiny and in a portable tin Punto is a great game to take on the go. Players are trying to build a consecutive row in any direction of six of their color cards. Players may not build beyond a six by six grid, and can place their card on top of another players if they have a higher valued card. Punto will be released later in 2019.

Guju Guju

If you are looking for a silly game to play with young children check out Guju Guju. Fruit cards are placed face up in the center, and each player has a hand of additional fruit cards. Players do not know what is in their hands. Before flipping a card players must guess the fruit, if they are right a fruit frenzy occurs where they try and place as many fruits cards down as possible on the banans before all the bananas are covered.
Guju Guju is available now.

Quixx Deluxe

Quixx Deluxe takes this favorite roll and write and super sized it. There are now dry erase boards to mark your score instead of the typical consumable pad. The original game only plays up to five players, and Quixx Deluxe can support up to eight. An additional way to play is included in this edition, which is available now.

Twin It!

Speed is the name of the game. Twin It! has players quickly flipping cards trying to make matches. Keep a close eye out, there are 119 different patterns and some are very similar. The game also has three modes of play: cooperative, cooperative, or team. Twin It! is available now.

Dragon Realms

Gamewright is putting out Dragon Realm, which is the next chapter in the world of Dragonwood. Minimal details are available about the game. We know the name and there was a box for the game, but no specifics about gameplay or components. Gamewright is anticipating a launch of the game at Gencon in August.

Keep your eyes on EngagedFamilyGaming.com for more updates and reviews!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The Engaged Family Gaming team went to New York for Toy Fair 2019 and spent a day and a half looking at all kinds of new and upcoming games. We put together our top ten to highlight the best of what we saw.

Bunny Kingdom in the Sky

Bunny Kingdom in the Sky from Iello, is an expansion to the popular Bunny Kingdom game released in 2017 by Richard Garfield. The expansion adds a sky game board that connects to the base game by two rainbows. There are also additional cards, resources to collect, and the city tokens are larger covering a larger area. Iello is expecting an April or May release.

Dragon Realm

Gamewright is putting out Dragon Realm, which is the next chapter in the world of Dragonwood. Minimal details are available about the game. We know the name and there was a box for the game, but no specifics about gameplay or components. Gamewright is anticipating a launch of the game at Gencon in August.

Jedi Academy

Jedi Academy is the latest high tech light saber from Hasbro, with an corresponding app. For the first time you can select the color of the light saber, through a LED in the handle. The color also correlate to which Jedi master you select for trained. The light saber also has sensors and a gyroscopic technology which allows it to send details of your movements with the light saber to the app. The app shows the movements as you swing the light saber in different directions, and you can be “trained” in different offensive and defensive moves.

There is also a battle mode where you can duel another player. The screen shows the movements the players are making and corresponds them to hits and blocks. Each player has hit points, and ultimately one is defeated. Like previous light sabers from Hasbro, the intent is for swinging, and not actually striking.

Quirky Circuits

Asmodee and Plaid Hat Games have come together to make the next game to include an adventure book. This is a game for younger gamers, and the goal is to complete all the challenges cooperatively. There are 24 challenges, and the players use programmed motion to move the figure around the board. There is a twist however, and players lay their cards face down so it is a guess on what has come before in the programed motion. This is anticipated to be released in the third quarter of the year.

Snowman Dice

Snowman Dice by Brain Games is a fun, light, and silly dice rolling and flicking game. Each player gets five dice and play is simultaneous. Chaos ensues as player roll to try and get the three pieces they need to build their snowman: bottom, middle, and head. The snowflake represents a wild and used for any part of the snowman. Once your snowman is build, then you need to have an arrow dice to push your snowman to a center marker. The first player to reach the center with a complete snowman wins. There is one additional twist to the game. There are also snowballs on the dice, if your roll a snowball you can flick your dice at an opponent to try and knock down their snowman.

The current prototype has a box for the packaging, but Brain Games might be changing it into a snowball shaped bag to hold the game instead. Look for Snowman Dice to be released later this year.

SkyMagic

Sky Magic is a game coming soon from Peaceable Kingdom. Like most of the games made by Peaceable Kingdom, it is a cooperative game, and is for ages six and up. In Sky Magic players work together to get the magical creatures across the sky and back to their homes. This game incorporates some interesting elements players need to navigate, such as flaps on the game board. Flipped over a flap significantly change the path and options for the players. Sections also get covered by storm clouds and blocked, which adds a challenge to getting some creatures home.

Tic Tac Surprise

Peaceable Kingdom has taken a classic game and added an unexpected twist in Tic Tac Surprise. They created three different games: donuts, fairies and unicorns, and cats and dogs. In each version there are the regular pieces and the surprise pieces. The surprise pieces had a special feature on them, such as sprinkles on the donuts. The basic gameplay is the same as classic tic tac toe, but the surprise is with those special pieces! A special piece allows you to place your card on top of an opponents piece. Now a space is not truly unavailable once your opponent takes it. Tic Tac Surprise is available now on their website

Dirty Pig

We all love silly games to play with the while family, and North Star Games has a new game out in their Happy Planet series which fits those criteria. The latest game, Dirty Pig, has a June release. In Dirty Pig each player starts with three clean pigs and your objective is to be the first to have all three pigs dirty, since that is how they prefer to be. The cards give players the option to make their pig dirty, and clean an opponents pig. There are also cards to put your pig in the barn to protect it from the rain, have lightning strike the barn to remove it, and locking the barn so no one can go in and wash the pig. This silly game is lots of fun and has very quick gameplay.

Zombi Kidz Evolution


Legacy games are hot in the board game world right now. Iello in the Little Monsters game collection has created “baby’s first legacy game”. While the game is not actually for babies, it is perfect first step into the legacy genre. Zombie Kidz Evolution is for player ages seven and up and has fifteen minute play sessions. In this cooperative game you are trying to work together to protect yourselves and drive off the zombies. It is set in a school and has all the adults as the zombies.

Sushi Roll

For any fans of Sushi Go, Gamewright has re-imagined it into a brand new game Sushi Roll! In Sushi Roll each player rolls a set of dice and chooses which to add to their plate. The remaining sushi pass to the next player on a conveyor belt. Then each player rolls their new dice before choosing which to add to their plate. The player board lists the point values for each kind of sushi. Scoring tokens are included in the game as well, so players who enjoy Sushi Go, have the option to use them there as well.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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This week Stephen and Amanda have a cozy fireside chat as they talk about some of the biggest news to hit the video games this past week. They talk about their impressions of Anthem, and the surprise release of Apex Legends.

This is a cooperative venture with SuperParent.com!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Check out this episode!

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Tournament of Towers is a dexterity game from Iron Hippo Games where players try to draft the best pieces using cards to create the highest scoring tower.  Players have the role to build the greatest monument for the kingdom of Geometria. This game was originally funded on Kickstarter and is now available for retail. The game is for players age five and up and can play two to four players.

Game Components

  • 4 Foundation Pieces
  • 4 Architect Figures
  • 40 Stone Pieces
  • 20 Gold Pieces
  • 60 Building Material Cards
  • 1 Event Die

Gameplay

Tournament of Towers incorporates a drafting component into the dexterity and strategy of building your tower.  Additionally, there are multiple rule variants.

Standard Rules

The game plays in two rounds.   The game begins by distributing a foundation piece and Architect figure to each player.

In each round, you start by shuffling the building material cards and dealing seven cards to each player.  Players then draft the cards.  To do this each player chooses one card from their hand and places it face-down in front of them.  Then they pass their remaining hand to the person on their left. Again, they choose a card from their new hand and pass the remaining cards to the left.  Drafting continues until all cards have been used.  Next, each player designates their building order. This is done by placing their cards in a row, and the building order is read left to right.  Then, there is the option to roll an event.  Depending on the round different events occur such as changing the order of your Building material cards or moving a piece from the player to your right and add it to your tower.

Once all players finalize their building material cards, they gather the pieces shown on their cards and build their towers in the order of the building cards. Players have the option to add their Architect figure to the top of their tower to gain an additional point. Players call out “Done” when their tower is complete. Which ends the round for them.  If the tower falls between rounds it is considered a Mulligan and can be rebuilt.

A Mulligan is where a player is permitted to fix their tower by placing the pieces in approximately the same places they were before it falls.

Rule Variants

Simplifying

To scale down the challenge level deal out fewer cards which result in placing fewer pieces.  The recommendation is to only deal four or five cards and add an extra mulligan.

Family Style

Family Style tower building becomes a cooperative game.  Players construct until the collectively decide the tower is complete and a masterpiece worthy of the King and Queen of Geometria or until the tower falls.  Players begin by shuffling the whole deck.  On their turn, a player draws to cards and decides which one to play. The piece placed corresponds to that card.  The selected card is placed in the discard pile and the unused card is placed at the bottom of the deck.

Ultimate Tower

Using a single foundation piece the player or players are challenged to create a tower using all the pieces of the game.

Apprentice Rule

In this variant, players may use one Mulligan per round to fix their tower if a piece falls.

Competitive play

Players place each piece of their tower one at a time in turn.  For example, each player individually places their third piece, and unlike in other modes of play, the turns are not done simultaneously.

Family Gaming Assessment

The beauty of Tournament of Towers as a family game is its flexibility and how easy it is to learn. It took the family only a few minutes to learn the game and start playing. The ease of learning makes is a game that is perfect for a family party.  The rules can be scaled to the skill level of the players. The rules recommend that that novice players use fewer cards per round and add Mulligans.

Children as young as 5 can certainly access and enjoy this game, but the children I played with struggled to complete a tower after the first round when we played standard rules. Later we played by the simplified rules by playing fewer cards per round. The game became much more accessible and less frustrating for the kids.  As we were getting to know the balance features of each of the pieces there were also unlimited Mulligans.

For anyone looking for some STEM activities for their children Tournament of Towers incorporates engineering.   The Ultimate Tower challenge is a perfect example of a STEM task when there is an end goal and components and the player problem solve and work through how to balance all the pieces.

Conclusion

Tournament of Towers is a unique game with wonderful components.  The pieces of this game provide such a range of open ended opportunities. It is accessible for a huge range of players. The rules are so simple and the gamplay so quick making it a great fit to family gatherings and game nights.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming Holiday

Here at Engaged Family Gaming we want to help you with your holiday shopping.  These are some of our favorite new games for a range of ages and gaming styles.  For additional ideas of games that would best suit your family or friends you can check out recommendations by age articles, which are linked at the bottom of the gift guide.

Azul

 

Azul is an abstract game for two to four players ages eight and up, and won the 2018 Speil De Jahar. Players are working to replicate the design on their board.

Azul plays in rounds. Players score points as  they place their tiles.  Adjacent tile or completing a column or row on their “wall” earn additional points.  The game ends when one or  more players have completed a row by the scoring phase of a round. This is a beautiful game and a great addition to anyone’s game collection.

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a beautiful science-themed game that features the tree life cycle and a rotating sun to collect light points. The game plays two to four players ages eight and up. In Photosynthesis the sun moves around the board three times and players plant and progress trees through their life cycle to collect points.  The trees are three dimensional and provide a beautiful visual as the forest “grows”.

Photosynthesis plays in rounds. Each round consists of two phases: the Photosynthesis Phase and the Life Cycle Phase. The game ends after the sun makes three complete revolutions around the board.  Points are then calculated based on scoring tokens and unused light points.

See our review here.

Go Nuts For Donuts

Go Nuts For Donuts is a card drafting and set collection game for two to six players ages eight and up where players are trying to collect the best donuts to eat.  Player bid on the different donuts available in the donut row. Players bid in secret, and at the end of the bidding players may only collect those donuts where they are the sole bidder.

Each kind of the 21 kinds donut ( and two beverages) has either points it gains you, an action you can take immediately upon retrieving the card, or both. The kinds of donut cards available to players increases with the player count. While the game is recommended for ages eight and up, it can be scaled down to age five by reading the text on the cards for them and a little coaching.

Funky Chicken

Funky chicken, which is found in a chicken shaped carrying case, is more or less an expansion to Happy Salmon. It is for three to six players ages six and up, and includes four new moves:  Swing, Bump, Spin, and Funky Chicken.

Funky Chicken is a great party game where everyone is laughing and being silly.  At the encouragement of the publisher North Star Games the Engaged Family Gaming team successfully combine Happy Salmon and Funky Chicken into one massive silly game! 

Monster Match

The Monster Match Game is a matching game for two to six players ages six and up. A series of cards are laid out on the table, and players roll a pair of dice. One of the dice represents an number between zero and five. The other will show either eyes, arms, or legs. Players then race to pick an card featuring an monster that has the appropriate number of arms/legs/eyes indicated on the dice. The game is adorable, fast, and accessible for almost all ages. Each card has a stack of doughnuts on them and the winner is determined by who has the most doughnuts on their total cards at the end of the game.

Forbidden Sky

Forbidden Sky is the next installment in the Forbidden series by Gamewright.  It is a cooperative game where players work to lay tiles to create the paths on a floating platform in the sky.  As players build, large and small circles are created on the board and they lay disks.  Players also  lay circuit components. Meanwhile, players are trying to survive against the wind and lightning.

As in previous Forbidden games each player has a role with special powers, and players are all trying to get the the rocket before the circuit is complete to indicate it takes off. Completing the circuit lights up the rocket and includes sound effects.

See our reviews of the predecessors:  Forbidden Island, and Forbidden Desert

 

Queendomino

Queendomino takes the Kingdomino game that we recommended in last year’s holiday guide (click here for the 2017 guide )  and adds several interesting elements to it.  In Queendomino there is a new land tile and that tile that allows you to place buildings. These buildings can give you a range of perks including, knights, towers, and crowns.  In each round if player has the most towers or matches another player in number of towers they get to have the queen visit their lands and the player enjoys some perks from her presence. This is a great tile laying game for two to four players ages ten and up with elements beyond just basic tile laying.

Ice Cool 2

Ice Cool2 is the sequel to the original Ice Cool game.  It is a flicking game about penguins in a frozen high school. The game is for two to four players ages six and up. If you combine it with the original Ice Cool game you can play up to eight players and set up multiple layouts.  New to this game there are: Tasks on the 1-point cards, Fish-moving power on the 2-point cards, and there are optional tournament scoring.  This takes a silly flicking game and adds even sillier components to it.

Rhino Hero Super Battle

Rhino Hero- Super Battle is the sequel to Rhino Hero and is a dexterity game where you build a tower with the cards.  The game is for ages five and up and plays two to four players. This game adds three more superheros:  Giraffe Boy, Big E. and Batguin.  The walls now come in two sizes; tall and short and there is a superhero medal.  Additionally there are spider monkeys which attack.

The gameplay has additional steps they includes: 1. Build!, 2. Spider monkey attack (place a spider monkey hanging from the floor if there is a spider monkey symbol and see if it makes the tower fall), 3. Climb the skyscraper! by using a die to determine how many floors to climb, 4. Super battle if two superheros are on the same level, 5. Superhero medal goes to the players if their super hero is the furthest up at this phase in their turn, 6. Draw another floor card.  The game ends when all or part of the tower collapses or all the playable floors are used.

Roller Coaster Challenge

 

 

Roller Coaster Challenge is a single player STEM game focusing on engineering for ages six and up.  It come with 60 challenge card in a range of difficulty.  The player sets up the posts and required pieces on the challenge card.  They then need to design a roller coaster that travels to the bottom successfully using some of the additional posts, 39 tracks.  The roller coaster is successful if the roller coaster car makes it to the end.  This was a Toy of the Year Finalist in 2018.

Additional Resourced by age:

Games for 2-4 year olds
Games for 5-7 year olds
Games for kids 8 and up 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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