Home » Archives for Stephen Duetzmann » Page 2
Author

Stephen Duetzmann

Dungeons and Dragons has never been more popular! And I know that so many of you dream of running a wonderful campaign for your family, but are intimidated by the perceived cost. I’m here to tell you that you and yours could be roaming the countryside and venturing into dangerous dungeons without spending a dime.

The internet and a little ingenuity go pretty far nowadays, and, frankly, if the internet can teach me how to fix my furnace, then it can help you play D&D with your kids.


We wrote an article with tips for playing D&D with your kids. You can check it out here.


Imagination

At its core, Dungeons and Dragons is a shared storytelling game. There are tactical combat rules, but you can eschew or improvise away so many of them that they aren’t all that important. What *IS* important though is a sense of imagination. You’ve been telling your kids stories since they were born. This is an opportunity for them to tell the story with you.

I know some folks might think that’s cheesy, but it’s not. More than half of the fun of running a D&D game is watching what the players do and seeing how they react to your characters and actions. That is even more interesting when you are watching your kids. You’ll be amazed at the wild things they do and the stories they come up with!

Dice Rolling Apps

The internet and meme culture will tell you that you absolutely MUST have 15-20 sets of multicolored dice made from different materials. I’ll admit that they are fun, but they aren’t necessary to play. You have a bunch of different options such as:

  • SIRI (Go ahead. Right now. Ask SIRI to roll a D20.)
  • Free iOS Apps like Dice Ex Machina, Dungeon Dice, or Tabletop RPG Dice.
  • Free Android Apps like RPG Simple Dice, Dice Roller, and Dice – A free dice roller.
  • When in doubt Google it.

Rules

You do have the option to purchase the Players Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual from Amazon or your local book store.

However, both the basic rules for Dungeons and Dragons and the SRD or “System Reference Document” are both available on the Dungeons and Dragons Website.

The Basic Rules

https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/DnD_BasicRules_2018.pdf

The System Reference Document

https://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/DND/SRD-OGL_V5.1.pdf

Note: A System Reference Document(SRD) is a reference for a role-playing game’s mechanics licensed under the Open Game License (OGL). This document is published to allow third party publishers to create content using those rules.

Character Sheets

Another barrier that some people see to being able to play D&D are character sheets. They are important to the game, but they aren’t costly. Firstly, you could just make your own character sheets, but there are plenty of character sheets that you can print (or fill out digitally). Two examples from DMSguild.com are listed below. They are both great free resources that you can use.

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/266389/Sleepys-Simpler-5e-Character-Sheet

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/252711/DD-5E-Character-Sheet-editable-fillable-printer-friendly-auto-calculates-bonuses

Adventures

All of the tools don’t help much if you need an adventure to run! The first option would be to make up your own. Draw up some maps, write up some NPCs and make the adventure yourself. But, not everyone likes that (or has the time). Fortunately, there are plenty of free adventures you can download from websites like DMSguild.com. I’ve listed four well-rated adventures below, but there are TONS more available.

Follow The Lights

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/283932/Follow-the-Lights?filters=0_0_45381_0_0_0_0_0

On Her Majesty’s Pest Control Service

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/288956/On-Her-Majestys-Pest-Control-Service?filters=0_0_45381_0_0_0_0_0

A Trilogy of Shorter Adventures

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/208100/A-Chance-Encounter

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/208634/The-Mystic-Circle?src=by_author_of_product

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/209172/An-Urgent-Rescue?sorttest=true&filters=45469_0_0_0_0_0_0_

Miniatures

When you see pictures of people playing D&D on Instagram or Facebook they also ways involved gorgeously painted miniatures on beautifully detailed maps. This is NOT a requirement. I played for YEARS using miniatures that I pulled from old board games and chess sets. Bottle caps, Shopkins, and coins are all reasonable.

Maps can be a little tricky, but I guarantee that anyone reason this has a checkerboard or two lying around. You can form your dungeon rooms by placing index cards or construction paper over different parts of the board.

Another alternative is to eschew the tactical part of combat entirely and stick to descriptions.

No More Excuses

So. There we go. I just eliminated all of the objections. You don’t need to spend a dime to play Dungeons and Dragons with your kids. Now get out there and tell some stories (and make wonderful memories while you’re at it)!


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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
1 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to both video games and board games: Polyomino.

A Polyomino is a geometric shape made up of a group of equal squares touching on their edges.

These shapes are very important to the game design world because of all the different ways that they can be pieced together into a bigger puzzle.

The best, and most popular, example is Tetris. In Tetris, five different polyominoes that each contain four equal squares (called tetrominoes) fall from the top of the screen. Players are tasked with interlocking them at the bottom of the screen with as few holes as possible. Any complete rows that the player creates are cleared from the board as a reward.

The shapes in Tetris even have names. There was a meme that flew around in the last year or so that came just short of personifying them, but their names are straightforward.

  • Square
  • L
  • Skew
  • T
  • Straight

Polyominoes are also quite popular in the board game space. Part of this is because their shapes make great plastic and cardboard components. Their flat surfaces are also a great place to showcase interesting artwork or bright colors. The design reason is simple. The number of different available shapes is relatively small (especially if they are all made of a smaller number of equal squares), and the number of ways that they can be interlocked is vast. This leads to wide variety in game play situations.

Suggested Activities

Polyominoes are a great learning tool and there are all sorts of activities on the web that you can do with your kids.

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

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Avalon Hill has announced the newest Betrayal at House on the Hill game and this time its going to be one for the family. to play together!

I know. I know. I had to look at it twice, too.

Scooby Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is a kid friendly board game based on the award-winning Betrayal at House on the Hill board game. It includes twenty five all new haunts based on fan favorite episodes and movies.

Players each play as a member of the Mystery, Inc team as they explore a spooky mansion looking for clues and searching for a monster. The real action stats once you find enough clues to understand what’s going on. Once that happens one of the players switches sides and plays the roll of the “Monster” during the Haunt Phase.

I love that adaptation. Hidden traitor mechanics are problematic for kids because they aren’t very good at bluffing very often and it isn’t a great idea to teach them how to get better at it. The Scooby Doo version of Betrayal side steps all that by telegraphing the start of the haunt and having someone switch roles midway through the game as opposed to hiding it the whole time.

It will be available on May 15th in North America and we can’t wait to play it.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to it? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Shovel Knight was already one of our favorite games of the last decade.

The Shovel Knight Treasure Trove is one of the best values in games today.

Shovel Knight Dig is coming in the next year or so to provide even MORE Shovel Knight platforming excitement.

Yacht Club announced even MORE Shovel Knight today during their Yacht Club Games presents presentation ahead of PAX East 2020. Their announcement? The adorable block dropping puzzle adventure Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon.

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon follows the adventures of Shovel Knight as he is led on a quest by the mysterious new character Puzzle Knight!

Pocket Dungeon is a block dropping puzzle game so objects like keys, treasure chests, potions, and other objects fall from the top of the screen. While this is happening players slide Shovel Knight around the playing field picking up items and attacking monsters.

The puzzle element really shines in the combat. When Shovel Knight bumps into an enemy they each lose a life point, but if like types of enemies are adjacent to each other, then all of the enemies in that clump take a point of damage. Every step on the playing field ends up being a careful dance as you have to take out groups of enemies in between pickup potions to restore health using potions.

The is a bold new direction for Shovel Knight, but I’m pretty excited about the little bit we’ve seen so far.

What about you? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Wizards of the Coast has announced that they are, once again, crossing the streams and releasing a Magic: The Gathering themed sourcebook for Dungeons and Dragons.

The Mythic Odysseys of Theros is a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition supplement that will be available on June 2, 2020.

Theros is a world in the MtG universe that is heavily influenced by Greek Mythology. It is a world where the gods literally walk among mortals and their stories become intertwined. It’s a perfect place for heroes to find adventure!

“Legends walk the lands of Theros, a realm shaped by deities and the deeds of heroes. From the temples of omen-speaking oracles to the five realms of the Underworld, the champions of the gods vie for immortal favor and a place among the world’s living myths.

Choose a supernatural gift that sets you on the path of destiny, align yourself with one of Theros’s fifteen gods, then carve a tale of odysseys and ordeals across the domains of mortals, gods, and the dead.”

Wizards of the Coast

Sourcebooks are a great source for new character-building options and Theros doesn’t look like it will disappoint. It will include:

  • Supernatural gifts are mechanically similar to character races. They give your character a set of unique traits. (It seems like these will also be
  • They will add new playable races like the Leonin and Satyr.
  • New subclasses include the Bard’s College of Eloquence and the Paladin’s Oath of Heroism.
  • The Theros campaign setting will feature mythic monsters like Palukranos the hydra that will provide a challenge for even the most brave adventurers.
  • Wizards will also introduce “God Weapons” that will have awesome powers. I can’t imagine that these weapons will be easy to balance, but they will make for great stories!

It wasn’t detailed in the press release, but these sourcebooks (The Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica for example) also typically include detailed information about the lands, nations, and history of the world. Many of them even include an adventure set in the new world to help get players and dungeon masters alike interested and invested in the new setting.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. What about you? Are you going to pick this one up to play with your family?

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Square Enix dropped the demo for the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 1 with no warning on Monday. Several members of the EFG staff dove in right away (because we couldn’t help ourselves).

Our impressions are below:

Stephen Duetzmann

Michael Melkonian – CardboardConsole.com

“It keeps everything that worked in Final Fantasy XV, and dumps everything that didn’t. This may be the best hybrid of action and menu-based combat I’ve seen in an RPG.”

Jeffrey Walker – Community Manager

The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo pulled right at my nostalgia heartstrings as the title screen plays the Final Fantasy Theme.

The opening cinematic is beautiful. I have not played Final Fantasy VII all the way through, but I have played the opening of the game. The combat is nice and fluid. Going from battle to exploration took no time away and everything you need to know about character upgrades, items, and gil are posted on the side of the screen without a pause in playing. Switching from attacks to spells freezes the combat so that you can think about your selection.

One thing I really enjoyed is that you have to watch your surroundings. For example, I used a fire spell, but there was a pillar between the enemy and me. The fire ended up hitting the pillar instead of the enemy. The game is a bit difficult. It took all of my resources (phoenix downs, potions, and cure) to defeat the first boss and I only beat him with a lucky limit break at the right time. Overall, this game looks like it will be amazing and I cannot wait until it is released on April 10th.

Michael Duetzmann – Contributor

Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, The Album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac…

Final Fantasy 7

There are some things that just resonate when the opening beats play or the opening lines are spoken.

Final Fantasy 7 was a hand me down experience for me, I played a copy with the green [Playstation Hits] stripe along the cover. Somehow Square Enix has taken that experience I first felt in 1998 and made it better.

The demo expands the story of Final Fantasy 7’s opening scene: The bombing of Mako Reactor One. In both perspective, as the game is presented in real time and a full 3-d environment, and narratively as it features new dialogue, events, and a dynamic score.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 1’s nostalgic power comes from filling in the gaps from the original game. The PS1 featured beautiful backgrounds locked in place and loading times between battle and exploration that reset the pace at every switch. The remake is full of gorgeous 3d backgrounds and smoothly animated characters.

The best way I could describe the game flow was they replaced the start and stop flow of turn based game play with a tidal flow: real time action builds up a gauge that can be spent for powerful actions.

The game offers a “Classic Mode” that features a more turn based feel, and it puts the real time action under AI control. This is intended to cater to players could turn out to be a very powerful accessibility tool

The music shifts in and out of combat and creates a single continuous score instead of separate tracks. Every expected track is accounted for a supporting character Barret hums the tune of Fanfare after a well fought battle. Do yourself a favor and Listen to the opening theme before starting the demo before starting it up.

I could talk about this game for hours, but the best thing YOU can do is play it yourself. It was a 45 minute experience after a quick 15 minute download. What are you waiting for? GO!


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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

CMON and Spin Master Games are currently are currently using Kickstarter to fund and generate hype for an adorable cooperative card game set in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel United is a 2-4 player fully cooperative game designed by Eric M. Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio where players each choose a marvel superhero and work together to thwart a villains master plan. The base game was set to include five heroes (Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow), but the stretch goals that have been met through crowdfunding have added thirty one additional heroes and seven new villains to the base game.

The stretch goals have also unlocked six additional expansions that can be purchases add-ons. Each of them includes thematically appropriate heroes and villains as well as new gameplay scenarios. They are:

  • Tales of Asgard
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Remix
  • Rise of the Black Panther
  • Enter the Spider-Verse
  • The Infinity Gauntlet

How Do You Play?

This is a great how to play video that explains provides an overview of gameplay.

Our Thoughts

We haven’t seen this game in action yet outside of some videos and previews around the web, but Eric Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio are talented game designers. Eric in particular has never let us down before.

It is also hard to argue with the aesthetic for families. The Chibi art style looks great when applied to Marvel heroes and villains.

The giant stack of heroes that have been added to the original five is also a great boon. A base purchase of $60 plus shipping gives you more than 30 heroes to choose from. If you elect to go “all in” at $190, then the number almost doubles.

Another advantage to backing this campaign is that there is, quit literally, no risk. CMON has a great track record of delivering Kickstarter projects on time and with gusto. You can back this without hesitation if it sounds interesting to you!

What do you think? Are you backing this one? 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

There is one universal truth regarding video games. It’s true whether you play on Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, or even old school consoles. You need a place to sit while you are playing.

I have been struggling with this problem for years. I like to sit closer to my television while playing (much to my wife’s chagrin) and I have tried all sorts of ways to do that. I’ve moved furniture. I’ve bought folding chairs. I have even resorted to sitting on the edge of my coffee table for short matches (trust me when I say that I ALWAYS regretted that decision).

Up until recently, the EFG office hasn’t been anywhere near my primary gaming area so using my office chair wasn’t really feasible. I DID start to use my desk chair… but it turns out that it was old, busted, and ready to fall apart. I was sad, and at one point repaired it with duct tape. That was all until E-wins came long.

We got our chair in red, too!

Putting It Together

We received their Knight racing chair partially unassembled, and in a giant cardboard box. (My daughter told me to thank them for the cool toy. She loved her spaceship.) It included relatively clear instructions, all of the requirement components and a pair of disposable gloves. Some of the pieces are pre-greased during assembly so the gloves helped keep my hands clean.

All in all, assembly was quick and painless.My older son helped where he could (He was helpful in balancing it a few times), but I would have been able to assemble it on my own without any real trouble. Frankly, anyone with any experience putting together a shelf or two from Ikea will have no problems.

Note: The only part that you NEED to be careful with is to make sure that you assemble the seat and hardware below it in the correct orientation.

The Chair Itself

The E-Win Racing Chair we received from from their Knight Series of Ergonomic Gaming chairs. This is a budget gaming chair with an MSRP of $289. This is a great value for a quality gaming chair.

Everyone in the home office has a different opinion. I’ll skip the boring trope of just listing them all out for the sake of being concise.

The Good

All of us appreciate the level of customization the chair offers. We vary in size from a spry seven year old to a 6 foot tall man who could probably afford to lose a few pounds. All of us are able to sit in the chair and adjust it to feel like our heads, necks, and backs are well supported.

We also found that this was a great chair for families that share equipment to use. This is because there are enough controls to adjust its position for comfort, but not enough that we need to reconfigure a dozen dials for each person.

The Bad

The only real complaint comes from my wife. She prefers her seats to have more cushion and the Knight chair is more firm than she is used to.

Conclusion

We’ve had this chair for a few weeks at this point and we are very happy with it. We’ve played on folding chairs, bean bags, couches, and even coffee tables. We’ll never play without a gaming chair at this point and I can’t imagine why we would choose anything other than an E-Win chair at this point. The product has been incredible.

If you want one for yourself you should head right on over to their website and pick one 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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

FCC Disclosure: An E-wins Knight Ergonomic Gaming Chair was provided to us gratis for the purposes of review.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

The OP has announced another family friendly board game set in the Harry Potter Universe – Harry Potter: House Cup Competition.

It will be the first worker placement game set in the Wizarding World. Players will “act as iconic members of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin to earn the most points and win the coveted House Cup.” This is a theme that I never saw coming, but really is perfect for a worker placement game.

Each player will have three students to use as their “workers.” They will have their students attend classes like Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts and complete in thematic challenges that can earn points for their house!

People have grown VERY attached to the different houses in the Harry Potter universe in the years since the series started. I think giving people a game where they can choose to represent “their” house is a great tactic. I have a feeling that Gryffindor will be HOTLY contested in my house. I’m curious how the designers implemented the houses. I think it would be interesting to see the theme of each house represented by a unique player power.

Harry Potter: House Cup Competition Box Art
Harry Potter: House Cup Competition Box Art

Harry Potter: House Cup Competition is going to be available this summer for a retail price of $49.99.

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

Batterystaple Games, the developers behind the Mega Man X inspired 20XX, have a new game on the horizon. 30XX is poised to take the series to new heights on PC and consoles in 2021. It will make its first appears at PAX East 2020.

30XX builds on the foundation laid by 20XX with new features that include a new art style, new game mechanics, and new combat options for both Nina and Ace.

The “hi-bit” art style is from Glauber Kotaki who was responsible for the gorgeous art in Rogue Legacy and Chasm. These are games that evoke the look and feel of 16-bit era without the limitations on color and detail.

30XX will also include new gameplay mechanics to help keep things interesting. “Memoria” is an in game currency that you collect during your runs. You can spend it on skill boosts, to get a glimpse at the challenges coming later in the stage, or to alter the stage itself! This sounds like a great way to reward players for making multiple runs and could help players recover from a bad start to keep a run going longer.

Nina and Ace are back for more adventure, but this time they will have separate move sets to make the experience of playing as each character distinct. Nina also has a new “power fusion” system that lets her combine the different powers she gets from beating level guardians. Ace will, instead, have a set of “techniques” that he can use to build interesting combos that will help him deal more damage and explore the different stages.

2021 is pretty far away, but I think it will be worth the wait!

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More