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The Exorcism at the House of Monkton Falls is a worker movement game that is launching on Kickstarter April 13th.   It was designed by David Tepfer and is being published by The Screaming Brain They took the time to answer some questions for us about their campaign. Take a look below and check out the campaign!

Can you give us a “Tale of the Tape” for your game? The title, genre, playtime, age ranges, etc.

The Exorcism at the House of Monkton Falls is a cartoonish horror worker movement game for 2-4 players age 10+, and takes 60-90 minutes to play.

What is the elevator pitch?

Something is terribly wrong with the rural town of Monkton, Vermont. A deep colorless fog has swept across the hillside, members of the community have gone missing, and once lush farmland is dying. Locals believe that an ancient spirit haunting the old manor house of the hill is to blame. And they’ve asked you and your team of paranormal investigators to check it out, and save the town! The Exorcism at the House of Monkton Falls is a cooperative board game for 2-4 players. Takes on the role of paranormal investigators an exorcise a powerful spirit from an ancient home in Monkton, VT. Explore the haunted manor, search for tools, complete tasks, and most importantly of all avoid the spirit and exorcise the house before dawn!

When is your Kickstarter going live?

April 13th 2018, which is Friday the 13th!

Where are you in production/development? How close are you to complete?

The game is currently in extended blind testing to complete the rule book but has already been through production samples with our manufacturer.

Are there any other games that you think are comparable to your game?

The Exorcism at the House of Monkton Falls is comparable to Flash Point, a Coop version of Lords of Waterdeep, or Euro Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

You’re a game designer. You could have made any game you wanted. Why did you make THIS game?

I love the horror genre. Horror movies scare me, but I love the unique way the horror genre tells stories. It was that style of storytelling I wanted to emulate on the tabletop. I found that many horror themed games are just that, Horror Themed” with no effort made to tell the story using mechanics. So, I wanted to make a horror game that did things differently.

What was your design process like?

I started with a premise. Which was to make a cooperative horror game that could give players real feelings of dread and suspense. Once I knew what the emotional reaction I wanted for people playing Monkton Falls, I started to craft mechanics that would fit that goal. Monkton Falls is an incredibly thematic game, so each mechanic and design choice was to tailor a very specific thematic feel. And through development I worked through a “check system”. Each time I would make advancements in the design I would look back and make sure whatever change met the essential intent of the design.

What is the number one reason why a family MUST purchase this game?

Cooperation! Monkton Falls is designed to be a game that can only be won through intensive communication and cooperation. We spent countless hours in testing to balance out the puzzle like nature of the game to the amount of in-game time players have to win. Consequently, wasted or misused actions could seal the groups fate. The decisions players make have to be made together otherwise players are sure to fail.

How long has this game been in development?

18 Months

What obstacles did you encounter making this game?

Our biggest obstacle was balancing the difficulty level of The Exorcism at the House of Monkton Falls. Since cooperative games rely on a randomizer to determine what the game “does” it can be very tricky to balance for every given scenario while also creating the level of challenge I wanted for the players.

What did your first prototype look like?

Hand written slips of paper sleeved with old Magic the Gathering cards. Monkton Falls was originally fully card driven with no board. Ghosts were drawn from a deck and would attack players on each of their turns.  Meanwhile, players tried to fend them off and complete tasks with tool cards from their backpack (hand). It was fun and a step in the right direction, but it was very one dimensional and random.

Why did you get into making games?

I got into making games because I want more people playing games. Playing tabletop games has been a hobby for over 13 years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was actually open about it. I was often called a “closet gamer” by my gaming friends because I was so afraid of the stereotypes of being a gamer. I want to make games that are easy to learn and have themes that resonate in our larger pop culture. To bring people, who have shunned this hobby in the past, to table and ready to play.

What other information do you want us to know about you, your company, and/or your game?

My company, The Screaming Brain, also produces a weekly blog and monthly podcast all about getting the most out of the board game hobby. We don’t do reviews or news. We focus on whatever we can do to get you into the hobby, or how to enrich your experience with tabletop games.

 

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Engaged Family Gaming podcast image

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 126. This week we are talking board games.

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Rob Kalajian, Pawn’s Perspective 

Special Guests:

Andrew and Anitra Smith, The Family Gamers

 

Around the Horn

Fireball Island on Kickstarter

Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart

Heads Will Roll

Sumer

Topic

Big ticket Kickstarter Campaigns


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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Check out this episode!

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Fire in the Library is a press your luck board game that is currently live on Kickstarter. It was designed and is being published by Weird Giraffe Games. They took the time to answer some questions for us about their campaign. Take a look below and check out the campaign! It is currently funded and a copy of the game is only $24 shipped.

Can you give us a “Tale of the Tape” for your game? The title, genre, playtime, age ranges, etc.

Fire in the Library is a Press Your Luck game that takes about 30 minutes to play.  Players age 8 and up can enjoy this game making it great for the whole

What is the elevator pitch?

Players are heroic librarians rescuing books to accumulate knowledge and earn bravery all while avoiding the flames before the library collapses! Fire in the Library is easy to learn, simple enough for kids to play and enjoy.  It has a depth and strategy that will keep serious gamers coming back. The game progresses with increasing Intensity. The books increase in value all the way until the end but no one knows who will take the last turn. Players must decide if they should save tools for an epic late game point swing or grab points now to take an early lead. Additionally there are alternate variants which include the ability to experience the excitement of Fire in the Library on your own with the solo game or spice up a multiplayer match by adding new challengers. History is burning—take chances, be brave, SAVE BOOKS!

When did your Kickstarter go live?

Monday, March 19th

 

Are there any other games that you think are comparable to your game?

Fire in the Library is like Incan Gold or Can’t Stop, in that those are also press your luck games.

You’re a game designer. You could have made any game you wanted. Why did you make THIS game?

I actually worked the development on this game, and I signed it because I really love the theme.  The game is very thematic. I wouldn’t normally design a press your luck game, but this one is strategic and you can mitigate your luck, unlike the typical press your luck game. It has a depth to it that has kept me coming back for more! I have played this game repeatedly and I love it every time I play.

 

What was your design process like?

I have a lot of ideas and there’s only so many that you can actually test out, so I have to go with the one I think will work the best and playtest. Initial design is usually writing down all my ideas for the game. From there, I try to go right to spreadsheets to determine what will be on the cards and other components. Having a spreadsheet and using nandeck means that once I start playtesting, I can figure out what works and what doesn’t and easily generate a new set of cards. Most of my design time is spent playtesting, as that’s when I ultimately find out what works, what doesn’t, and usually when I think of all my ideas.

 

What is the number one reason why a family MUST purchase this game?

It’s easy to learn and kids can play and have fun with it.  It also has a depth that adults and seasoned gamers will also love with a unique theme and a small price tag!

 

How long has this game been in development?

Two years

 

What obstacles did you encounter making this game?

The biggest obstacle was making sure that everything was really understandable, since games have to be able to be learned just from the rules and cards. The process of blind play-testing is always longer and more involved than I think it will be, but it’s all for the best, as I get to learn so much from each blind play-testing session.

 

 

Why did you get into making games?

Initially I was told it was really easy, and it seemed like it’d be fun. Making games did turn out to be really fun, but definitely not as easy as I was told it would be!

What other information do you want us to know about you, your company, and/or your game?

Fire in the Library will be on Kickstarter from March 19th until April 12th. If you want any other information, send me an email at contact@weirdgiraffegames.com.


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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Taco vs Burrito

Taco vs Burrito by Hot Taco Enterprises is our Kickstarter Campaign of the week! No joke… this is a card game designed by a seven year old boy named Alex Butler. It is the ULTIMATE food fight on game night!

Game play is straight forward. Players draw cards and add wacky foods to their taco or their burrito to earn points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. There are gotcha cards that can mess with your opponents strategy so it isn’t THAT simple. I think the theme is funny enough and the cards are cute enough to keep me interested regardless.

I still can’t get over the fact that this game was designed by a 7 yr old. This kid is less than two years older than my daughter and he has already designed a successfully Kickstarted card game? That’s just crazy! I’m looking forward to playing this game just to see where this kid’s head was during design.

Taco vs Burrito launched on Kickstarter with a modest goal and reached it in three hours! This is a cool looking filler game at a low price.

 

 

Take a look at the campaign video below! If for nothing else… do it for the Taco costume!

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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Subatomic Genius Games

Subatomic by Genius Games is our Kickstarter campaign of the week! Genius Games focuses on designing and publishing strategy games based on hard science concepts. They create learning tools that are genuinely fun. Subatomic is a deck building game themed around the intersection between particle physics and chemistry.

Players start with a basic hand of Up Quarks, Down Quarks, and Particle/Wave Duality cards. Players will spend their turns combining those cards to form protons, neutrons, and electrons. They can then use THOSE resources to create elements or buy more powerful cards for their deck to help later in the game.

The feature about this game that attracts me to it the most is the art. The Neutrons, Protons, and Electrons are all bursting with personality and all of the different cards use bright colors that help keep players engaged.

Genius Games has been at this for a while. We interviewed John Coveyou (the lead designer and founder Genius Games on our podcast during the campaign for their last game Cytosis.

It was awesome listening to the passion in John’s voice as he talked about the intersection between game design, hard science, and fun.

 

The campaign video is below:

The game will have an MSRP of $40, but backing the Kickstarter will net you an $11 discount. The campaign has already funded (at the time of this writing the campaign has $170,000 in funding on a $12,500 goal) so this amounts to a pre-order, but if it looks like a game you might be interested in, then be sure to back it. The campaign is coming to a close soon!

 

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

GameWright Games was at New York Toy Fair  this year, just like normal, and it was my pleasure to take a look at their 2018 games. Their full 2018 slate was there, with the sole exception of the cooperative game Forbidden Sky.

I was treated to brief demos of most of their games this year. All of them are cute and many of them will do very well, but my attention was drawn to two specific games that I think you need to hear about.

Trash Pandas

Trash Pandas - Gamewright Games

Trash Pandas is a push your luck card game where players take on the role of raccoons digging through a neighborhood’s trash.

The first part of the game involves rolling dice in order to collect tokens that determine what actions are available. There are six tokens representing possible actions that you can take on an turn. You roll a die and claim the token that matches the symbol that comes up. At that point you can either move to the next phase and spend your tokens to take those actions or roll again to try to earn more tokens. If you roll a symbol that has already come up, then you bust and your turn is over. Taking actions will allow you to draw cards, bank them for points, or mess with your opponents. The game ends when the deck runs out of cards.

This is a game that is firmly nestled in Internet meme culture. Trash pandas is a term for raccoons that showed up on Reddit. It has just been almost universally adopted by users across the Internet. Its funny, its vaguely descriptive, but most importantly, it gives you an idea of the sense of humor that this game is built around. It is juvenile, but not crass. This lighthearted fun is involved in every part of the game from the artwork all the way to the terminology used on them. It even influences the box art. Trash Pandas will be releasing sometime in early 2018 and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

 

Squirmish

Squirmish - Gamewright Games

Squirmish is a a card combat game that we reviewed before it was launched on Kickstarter several years ago. The highlights of the game at that point was its square cards, the quirky art design, and interesting combat. This is a new track for GameWright to take because normally they don’t focus on games that involve combat. Instead, they favor games that focus on either cooperation or gentle competition.With that said, this game fits perfectly with GameWright’s other offerings by being lighthearted, silly, and fun.

Combat in Squirmish involves playing square-shaped cards onto the table creating a spiraling battlefield that is referred to as a Squirmish (shocker. I know.).We had our issues with the game initially before the game went to Kickstarter, but most of them were about game balance. GameWright has come through and smoothed out the design. They redesigned the game to make it faster and more aggressive.

Squirmish will be released sometime in 2018 and we cannot wait to get our hands on this new and improved game. Keep your eye on EFG for more information.

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!

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Shadow Strike Melee: Ninja Card Game is a fast paced bluffing game for up to nine players! It is currently live on Kickstarter, but we were fortunate enough to be given a prototype copy for review purposes.

Gameplay

Shadow Strike Melee puts its players in the shoes of a group of overconfident ninjas in a wild battle. The goal of the game is to outlast all of your opponents as players deal “strikes” to each other using numbered attack cards.

Combat itself plays out like War. Higher valued cards defeat lower valued cards. Ninjas never let things remain that simple though. These ninjas are cocky. Players represent that by playing with their three combat cards facing away from them. This means that everyone else knows more about a players hand than they do!

This information mismatch is the driving force behind the game. You really have to look at your opponents cards and make careful decisions. It might seem safe to attack someone with a hand full of ones and threes, but you don’t necessarily know that your hand isn’t worse! Fortunately, you also have a trio of equipment cards that help manipulate fights in your favor, or rescue you if your cards aren’t helping.

Shadow Strike Melee can be played individually, but our family preferred to partner up and play in teams. This gave us the option of using our equipment cards to help rescue our friends, and take advantage when our opponents get aggressive.

The biggest highlight of the game for us so far has been how fast the games are. Players are eliminated, but no one sits idle for long. The box says that games last around ten minutes, but I think that might even be too long.

Can Kid’s Play The Game?

The short answer is “Yes.” It does involve number comparisons and the equipment cards do have a small amount of text on them. But, this is not a challenging game to play.

One problem that young players MIGHT have is with their hands. You have to hold your hand in a very specific way to make sure that your opponents can see your cards. Younger players might struggle with that and drop cards a bit more often than they normally would. I don’t think this is a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it is worth keeping an eye on.

The Campaign

The Kickstarter campaign has a little less than three weeks to go and is more than halfway to its goal. You can get yourself a Standard edition of the game with a $20 pledge.

Conclusion

Go for it. This is a great game to get things started on family game night and makes a great party game for larger groups.

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Kickstarter Preview – Cheese Quest: The Quest for Cheese

 

Cheese Quest is a game created by Phil Schadt with the art by Peter Gandia.  It is for 2-4 players and is recommended for ages 9 and up. The gameplay is anticipated to take 45-60 minutes. The premise of the game is that you are in a house trying to navigate around the cats, the other mice, and the mouse traps to bring two pieces of cheese back to your nest.

Gameplay

The game board is made from connected hex pieces referred to as room pieces, and provides a wide variation in the game board.  There is a deck of action cards called “the pantry”.  The cards can both help the player advance and act to undermine the goals of the other players.  For example you can move a cat from one cat bed to another.  The game also includes cat and trap tokens.  The artwork is a darker cartoon aesthetic.  It is reminiscent of the harder lines and more angular features in cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s. The graphics are not scary and they maintain a kid friendly look.

On each turn there are five potential actions a player can take, but they can only complete three actions a turn (and are permitted to repeat an action). The actions include: move your mouse token one space, pick up a cheese token, draw any card from the pantry, play a card from your hand, and disable an obstacle on the board. Players need to balance advancing their mouse verses thwarting the efforts of the other players.  

From the Kickstarter information, this looks like a fun and relatively light strategy game that could be played as a whole family.  The reading involved with the cards, game play option, and the strategy involved the recommendation for age nine and up seems quite appropriate.

The Campaign

 The game is on Kickstarter will end on October 11th.  To get a copy of the game requires a pledge of $29. As of the time of this write up the game has $7166 pledged of their $12,000 goal and has 128 backers.  With only a few days left of the Kickstarter campaign anyone interested needs to check it out before time runs out.

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Kickstarter Review – Scream or Die

Scream or Die is a 2 to 8 player game by Amber Palace Games designed for players ages 8 and up. The game takes between 15 to 20 minutes to play and is very simple to learn and explain. It is currently on Kickstarter with a modest funding goal. We’re happy to report that this is a pretty good game that will be a cute addition to your family’s game collection.

The base game box comes with:

  • 8 monster mats
  • 36 scream tokens
  • 15 dice (three of each color)
  • 8 Candy trackers (two of each color)
  • Dice bag
  • Rules booklet

You play as a tiny monster that has been transformed into a child by your boss (who happens to be an evil witch). The only way to break the spell and get returned to normal is to be the first monster to bring her thirteen Halloween candies.

Gameplay

Each round of Scream or Die consists of three phases- Before the Roll, After the Roll, and Scoring.

Before the Roll

The roller removes five random dice from the bag to make a dice pool. Starting with the player to the left of the roller, each player takes turns using their scream tokens to add dice to the pool. They do this by paying the token which forces the roller to pull another die blindly out of the bag.

After the Roll

Each player gets a chance to re-roll dice of their choice. Just as before, starting with a player to the left of the roller, all players take turns using scream tokens to make the roller re-roll dice.

Scoring

Each player gets one candy for each of the monster symbols of theirs that is showing at the end of the round. Players keep track of their candy using the score tracker on their monster mat.

Players continue to play rounds until one person gets thirteen or more pieces of candy.

The game is quick to play, and the push your luck mechanics and dice influencing strategy make it much more fun than a basic dice rolling game. We love the fact that you can play with up to eight players! Our playtesters enjoyed that they were never bored because they had an action to take on every roll.

Another thing we love about Scream or Die is how great it is as a teaching tool. This is a great game for teaching the concept of resource management. It’s very easy to go through scream tokens in the hopes of adding dice that are favorable to you. But, you have to make sure that you are aware of what other players are doing so that they don’t take the lead too quickly. Some of our players forgot to save up some scream tokens to re-roll symbols that were helpful to their opponents towards the end of the game. They were VERY aware of the mistakes they made as they watched their friends rack up the points and win.

The rules include some fun variants for team play and dice drafting to keep things interesting. There is also a simpler family variant that makes scream tokens a little more fair.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a terrific party game, filler game, or introductory game for non hardcore gamers. You can back this game with confidence. We think your family will enjoy this one!

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Kickstarter Preview – The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena

 

For Avatar fans, the Legend of Korra series was a wonderful addition to the Avatar world.  The Legend of Korra television series introduced a competition to the story, Pro-bending, and now it is a game!  IDW Games has a Kickstarter for a two player sports game of Pro-Bending with miniatures based on the first season of the show.  The game was created by Sen Foong-Lim and Jessey Wright.

 

Gameplay

Each player controls a team with three benders: earth, fire, and water elements.  The players are either the Fire Ferrets or the White Falls Wolfbats which are teams from season one of the show. The miniatures are highly detailed and add great flavor to the Avatar world.  The game play includes elements of deck crafting and building and team customization.

The objective of the game is to be on the other team’s side of the arena when the game ends or pushing all opponent’s benders off the back of the arena, which ends the end the game immediately.

Each player has a strategy deck with different actions their characters can take. The deck is divided into three groups based on the element.  Players can craft their strategy decks to customize plays during the course of the game. The strategy deck also includes two types of trick cards; very powerful moves that can be used once per game, and less powerful moves which may be used multiple times.  However, with these less powerful moves require players to roll a referee die with each use. If you roll a fan you get a yellow fan token for “cheating”.  If a bender receives 2 yellow fans they are out of the game.  

The Campaign

The Kickstarter is wrapping up and ends Friday, September 29th.  Currently, the project is 720% funded and has 2,353 backers.  There are a few Kickstarter exclusives:

  • Exclusive, Limited Deluxe Edition Packaging.
  • A limited edition championship promo-poster.
  • 7 mystery expansion teams, totaling an additional 15 miniatures.
  • 30 trick cards separated into 5 themed packs. Tricks are usable by all teams in the game.
  • 30 punch-to-plastic upgrade components
  • There is an Amon Expansion for an additional $30.

The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena looks great for any fans of the Avatar universe. Act fast and check of the Kickstarter if you want the exclusives!

 

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