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Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 121. This week we are talking video games.

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Jenna Duetzmann

Around the Horn!

Santorini

The Monster Match Game

Stuffed Fables

Kickstarter Round-up!

Robin Hood and the Merry Men

Pocket Subs

The Swordcrafter

Topic!

Our tips on how to have a successful board game party!


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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Published by: Asmodee
2-4 Players
Competitive

Splendor is a simple and elegant set collection game for two to four players. This is a game that is easy to teach, quick to learn, and will take a long time to master. The bottom line here; Asmodee has a huge hit on their hands as this has become one of our family’s favorite games.

In Splendor, players take on the role of Renaissance jewelers who are working to build their prestige and attract the attention of wealthy noble patrons. They do this by gathering resource tokens and spending them on development cards that represent new designs, tools, mining operations, and store fronts. The game is essentially a race to fifteen prestige points.

Gameplay is straightforward. Players take turns either taking different colored tokens or using them to purchase development cards. These development cards each have a colored “bonus” that gives their owner tokens to use for future purchases. As a result, these developments build on each other as the game develops. They key is that all of these resources are limited. Players have to watch what other players are doing and adapt their plans accordingly.

Splendor game image

Splendor game components. Image from BoardGameGeek.com

With all of that said, our favorite part of the game has to be the components. The entire game revolves around collecting gemstones which are represented by wonderfully solid tokens. There aren’t many components to the game so it is easy to see where the designers wanted to spend their money. They could have used cardboard chits or cheap poker chips, but the tokens they chose have real weight to them and make a very satisfying sound when placed down on a table.

Games are quick and usually take around thirty minutes to play. Things definitely speed up with fewer players, but it is definitely worth the extra time to play with the full compliment of four players. This guarantees that there will be competition for resources since there are so many players.

Splendor has an MSRP of $39.99(although it is often a bit less costly on Amazon) and it is worth every penny. You will get a lot of play out of this game and the solid components will not be damaged over time. Buy this game with confidence!

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Board Game Review: Dixit

Asmodee Games

3-6 Players (However, 4+ is better) Ages 6+ 30+ Minutes COMPETITIVE

“Perfect nonsense goes on in the world. Sometimes there is no plausibility at all”

Nikolai Gogol, The Nose

This is the best thought I could think of to describe the game of Dixit, a game where it appears that players are making sense of nonsense! Dixit plays like Apples to Apples in the opposite direction that is far more visual. It requires that you to come up with a perfectly apt description of your own VERY surreal card that also leaves your opponents guessing.

The trick is, the description cannot be too easy or too difficult because at least one person needs to get it right for you to score. It is very likely that you are confused at that description. (I know I was the first time I played!) Let me explain the game play and then, hopefully, it will clear it all up!

First, each player is dealt six incredibly beautiful and exceedingly surreal cards. Each image is unique and makes you feel like you have drifted far into the rabbit hole, past even the furthest of Alice’s imaginings. The storyteller (active player) chooses a card and describes it. Now this is where the explanation comes in! Let’s say I chose this card:

You could say “A boy with bubbles traversing hills”, but it’s not likely anyone else would have a card that would match that description. As your opponents selections are sorted out, they secretly vote for the card they think is yours using color coded chips. If everyone guesses your card, all your opponents gain 2 points and you gain none.

Let’s say you wanted to make it harder, so you just say “Green”, as it is likely that most of your opponents would have a card fitting that description as they play a card from their hand. However; if no one chooses yours, as there is a “greener” card available, your opponents all gain 2 points (plus a bonus for anyone whose card was chosen by others) and you still get 0!

There is a third option, and this is your goal! Let’s say you said something like “The Final Frontier”, alluding to the Saturn-like shapes of the bubbles, and the fact that the child is obviously traveling. There may be better options out, or not. If one person guesses my image, I get 3 points and they get 3 points, plus a bonus for anyone choosing their card. All other players get 0.

The game is played until someone’s rabbit-shaped meeple reaches 30 points on the board!

Dixit is an immensely fun game, and it is VERY family friendly. Since there is no reading involved, young children can play, however; expect them to be more of a “wild card” to your strategy. I’ve played 5 or 6 times with my 4 year old and only the last time did she start giving clues that didn’t directly describe the card! I would recommend a lot of patience with children under 7 or 8, but once they have the hang of it, it’ll be worth it!

This game helps children to learn storytelling skills, helps broaden appreciation for art and gives them a very strong ability to articulate thoughts concisely and to comprehend metaphor. If you are looking for a tool to help your child facilitate story telling, Dixit cards can be used similarly to Rory’s Story Cubes. Randomly select cards and ask your child to tell a story about what is happening!

I have recommended this game to friends who do not describe themselves as “gamers” or as liking games because it is very simple and very entertaining once you have the hang of it! Much like Apples to Apples there is a lot of replay ability in the 84 card set, though eventually, you might want to look for more options. Asmodee currently has 4 readily available expansions that each add 84 cards to the base set. They even designed the box to accommodate expansions!

All-in-all, Dixit is a must have staple for all family game shelves!

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Asmodee Games
Ages 8+
2-8 Players
15 Minutes

COMPETITIVE

 

When Sherlock Holmes drank his tea, did he use a tea bag or had it not been invented yet?  What came first, eye glasses or whiskey? These and many more are the pressing questions that you must answer in order to defeat your opponents at Timeline.

Timeline is a very fast game to learn.  Each player has at least four cards to start, adding more as they desire a higher difficulty level, and a single card is revealed. Each card is two sided, with a matching picture on each side, however; one side has a caption describing the picture like “The invention of the Electric Iron” and the other has the year “1882”.  In order to play the game players must find the correct place on the timeline for their card without seeing the year printed on the back.

As the game progresses, it gets more and more difficult to place cards as there are many possibilities of spots they could fit in if you aren’t sure when they might have occurred.  What happened first “The Domestication of Cattle” or “The Domestication of Cats” and where does “The invention of the oil lamp” fit in?

If you place your card correctly, it is revealed and becomes part of the timeline, if not, it is discarded and you draw a new card.  A round ends when a player places their final card correctly.  If any other players also place their final cards correctly that same round, a new round is played.  Rounds are continued until only one player finishes a round with no cards.

Timeline is a quick play game, and the expansions can be stand-alone or added together for more difficult play.  While the game does allow for a two player game, playing a four card hand does not play well, it is somewhat uneventful, as most games are when played with the minimum players.  To make it more interesting, I would suggest playing a minimum of 6 cards for a 2-player game and/or drawing 2 starting cards and placing them correctly for some real challenges.

Asmodee has rated this game as 8+, but it would be very easy to modify for smaller history buffs.  Not only does this game teach the history of inventions, science, music and global events, it also teaches children about chronology and number line placement.  Years prior to zero are represented as negative numbers, so that the reverse ascension of negative integers can be taught or reinforced (nearly) painlessly.  Some reading is required, however; that can be done prior to the game starting and when questions are asked.

If your child is old enough to understand 4-digit integers, you can modify the play to allow them to “peek” at a date on a card.  This takes the game from a historical trivia strategy game to a basic lesson in number theory strategy game.  This way a smaller child can participate with the older members of the family without feeling as if they are cheating.

Once a child graduates to always getting the placement correct on the line by peeking, you can start to ease back on allowing it once per round or once per game until they can play fully on their own.

Timeline is a quick and easy to learn game.  Each expansion depicts the same steampunk styled character in different settings on a sturdy metal box.  For a game that retails under $15, it is one of the better quality levels.

Outlived your copy of Timeline?  Need to add more challenges? Check out the Timeline expansions:

Now this game can be yours for FREE!  Engaged Family Gaming is proud to announce our first ever giveaway! Entries for this giveaway will run from 4/19/14 at midnight (EST) until midnight (EST) 4/27/14! U.S. Residents only please!

Click the link  to participate in a Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of this game!

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