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Days of Wonder has announced Small World of Warcraft a collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment that combines their much beloved board game Small World with World of Warcraft, It will be released this summer for $59.99. 

“A new day dawns on Azeroth. A day like every one before it, and every one after. A day of merciless struggle for the control of the World of Warcraft. Not only is this Small World territory far too tight for everyone, it also hosts the never-ending conflict between the factions of the Alliance and the Horde. Dawn has broken and the time has come to take your place on the front lines.”

Small World is a game all about controlling wildly different races with fantastic powers as they establish control of regions on a game board only to eventually “decline” forcing the player to choose another one. World of Warcraft is a perfect license to pair with it because one of the highlights of WoW is the ever shifting balance between the Alliance and the Horde. 

This isn’t just intended to be a hack-job reskin either. The designer (Philippe Keyaerts) has also included elements like artifacts and legendary items to the game to help mix things up. They are even adding a team-based mode to spice things up.  I simply cannot wait for this game to hit North America this Summer. 

The Trailer

The Game Contents

  • nm6 double-sided boards
  • 16 Warcraft Race banners
  • 182 Matching Race tokens and 15 Murloc tokens
  • 20 Unique Special Power badges
  • 5 Player Summary Sheets
  • 12 Artifact and Legendary place markers
  • 10 Mountains
  • 9 Wisp Walls
  • 4 Harmony tokens
  • 12 Bombs
  • 1 Champion
  • 10 Forts
  • 2 Military Objectives
  • 5 Beasts
  • 6 Watch Towers
  • 110 Victory coins
  • 1 Custom Reinforcement die
  • 1 Game turn track
  • 1 Game turn marker
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Team Variant Rules sheet

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

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published here in 2011. Some of the facts have changed, but I (and others) still struggle with this every day.


World of Warcraft has 11 million + subscribers right now. Every day a group of people three times as large as the state of Connecticut logs onto Blizzard’s servers to wage a virtual war against monsters, raid bosses and each other. Many of those people wage a more personal battle every day with a devil more devious than any heroic raid encounter: Addiction.

This is a battle that I am all too familiar with.

I was an active World of Warcraft subscriber for about 5 years. I raided. I pvped. I leveled four different characters up to the level cap (all of them dwarves). I had become a part of a tight knit guild full of people that I still think of fondly. I don’t regret the fun that I had or the people that I met, but I am happy to finally be able to look back on it.

If you asked me if I was addicted when I was in my prime, I would have told you no. I was “playing a game instead of watching TV”. It was only “a few hours a day.” It was “No big deal.” It was all too easy to conveniently ignore all of the warning signs and forget all of my most inexcusable acts.

Confession time:

  • I used to be proud that I had never called out of work to play WoW. But, taking a “mental health day” and then spending 6 of the 8 hours I would have been at work playing WoW was perfectly ok? Right.
  • I spent time thinking about WoW incessantly, even when I wasn’t playing. I read websites. I talked on forums. My wife knew what boss my raid group was on and what loot drop I wanted from it.
  • When I started to raid I promised my wife that I would never skip a social function to do so. But, I would lose my mind if my wife tried to schedule a dinner with friends on a raid night.
  • I went home from the hospital the night my first child was born to raid. My wife will tell anyone that she wanted me to leave because she wanted sleep, but she was clearly covering for me.
  • During my most “dedicated times” I would play four to five hours a day. Some weeks would be light and I would only play six days out of the week. Do the math with me folks. That adds up to almost thirty hours a week.
  • I still go through almost overwhelming urges to play. I had to uninstall WoW from my laptop to prevent myself from “relapsing.”
  • I don’t like making phone calls. I especially don’t like making phone calls to our telephone/cable/internet provider. I vividly recall being home one day and having our internet black out. I was on the telephone with them for almost an hour. I don’t think I would have called them for any other reason.

If those don’t sound like the habits of an addict, then I don’t know what they sound like.

I know that some of you are might be getting a little critical with me at this point. I’ve heard it before when I bring this up. I am fully aware that the American Medical Association does not currently consider video game addiction to be an official DSM-IV diagnosis. This is clearly documented on the web. The AMA moves slowly on officially declaring something an official diagnosis (which is more than fair), but that does not change what I (and many others) am dealing with.

The Point:

If you are reading this column, then you likely know someone who is dealing with this right now (it might even BE you). I am writing this to encourage everyone to be aware of it. This is a sickness that often goes unnoticed and can cause irreparable harm. I spent so much time plugged in that I almost lost my wife. If it wasn’t for her and some of my closest friends I don’t know if I ever would have pulled myself away. Someone you know might need that kind of help.

There is a full list of symptoms for video game addiction here. I recommend that you take a look at it. It might open your eyes to things that haven’t occurred to you yet.

Each of us bears a responsibility to our friends, our family and to ourselves. Many of us would refuse to stand idly by if our friend was suffering from alcoholism and while we may have trouble seeing the parallels on the surface they are strikingly similar problems. If you see someone that behaves like I did, or fits any of the symptoms listed on that site… you need to talk to them.

I know that I am grateful for the help I was given. I sure your friends will be grateful too.

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The Strong Museum of Play is Rochester, NY just announced the first six inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame!

Those six inductees were chosen from a field of 15 nominees that included games like Angry Birds, Oregon Trail, and FIFA Soccer.

The first class of inductees includes:

  • Pong
  • Pac-Man
  • Tetris
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • DOOM
  • World of Warcraft

When I started writing this article I was hoping to be able to choose one the definitive champion, but after a lot of hand-wringing I surrendered. Each one of these games was a game changer in their own right and did a lot to move the video game industry closer to its present greatness.

Pong helped to popularize the arcade cabinet that _pretty much_ started it all.

Pac-Man was the first true mascot. It was a game with someone to root for, even if it was a weird cheese wheel looking thing.

Tetris was the first true endless puzzle game and without it we likely would not have had Bejeweled, Candy Crush Saga, Threes, or any of the other myriad puzzle games over the years.

Super Mario Bros. needs no introduction. They took the platforming genre and put it right into our living rooms and has helped keep it there for decades.

DOOM may not be a favorite among parents of the day, but it was the first game to feature online multiplayer servers and bring them to the masses. Online infrastructure is a very big deal for so many games now that I am hard pressed to imagine a world without it.

World of Warcraft took the EverQuest model and made it accessible to the masses. At one point the collective WoW population was so large it could apply for recognition with the UN.

Did your favorite make the cut? Sound off in the comments below!

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Blizzard Entertainment

Available online and on iPad (Coming to Android in the future)

 

Overall Review

I am… was… a man of principle. I was not going to play Hearthstone. I didn’t care that everywhere I looked I heard about its deep strategy, its colorful graphics and sound, and the lure of opening packs. I refused to try it. This was a free-to-play game and I stand for Truth, Justice, and the Console way!

But as the official release grew ever closer, I could feel the desire building. When, at last, a version came to the iPad, I took my first baby steps into a world of gaming I’d not been in since dabbling in Magic: The Gathering back in college.

Hearthstone is a digital CCG (collectible card game) in which you collect cards, build decks, and battle friends and strangers alike. Cards are bought with either 100 in-game “gold” earned through daily challenges or with real money ($2.99 for two packs and up). It’s the fairness of this system that really won me over. Each day you get a challenge, usually worth 40 gold, that might require you to win three games as a certain Warcraft class themed deck, or perhaps deal 100 damage to enemies. Most of these can be done the same day and that equates to a new pack of cards every two to three days. There is also a crafting system that allows you to “disenchant” cards you don’t want into “dust” and use it to create new cards. You can easily play this game seriously and never pay a dime, or you can spend money if you want. It’s a free-to-play game that didn’t make me feel icky.

Hearthstone has a simple premise. Collect cards to build decks and battle others. The cards come in five levels of rarity: free, common, rare, epic, and legendary. As rarity increases so to does the cards power and potential to impact the game. Each card pack contains five cards and at least one of them is guaranteed to be a rare or better. Depending on your luck, you might get additional rares, epics, or legendaries, with a legendary being on par with winning the lottery (that might be a smidgen of exaggeration, but in my months of playing I’ve only found one legendary). You might also get a gold card of any rarity, which are nicely animated and can be disenchanted for a lot of dust.

The point of collecting all these cards is to build a 30-card deck based on one of the eight champions: Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mage, and Priest. Each has a Hero Power that can be used once per turn for 2 mana (we’ll get to mana later). For example, the Hunter can deal two damage to the opponent’s hero or the Warlock can take two damage and draw a card. Each hero is based off a legendary character from the World of Warcraft ethos.  If you like WoW, you’ll know immediately who these heroes are. If you’re like me and have never touched WoW, they are still very cool. While each hero has a pool of class specific cards, there is a much larger pool of Neutral cards that can be used with all classes.

The “mana” system is what you use to play cards. Each card has a cost in the upper left corner, and if you have enough mana you can play it. You start turn one with 1 mana, and each turn after that you get another until you reach the maximum 10 mana per turn. Each turn the pool is refreshed for your playing pleasure. There are also some cards that can affect the mana pool.

When you first start up Hearthstone, after the obligatory account sign up, you are given a single hero, Jaina Proudmoore the Mage. With her you will face a series of tutorials cleverly disguised as battles. Overcome these trials and you’ll unlock the Play area, where you can play ranked games or casual ones. Win in Ranked (also called the Ladder) and you’ll move from level 25 down to 1 and finally Legend, or you can spend your time experimenting in Casual without consequence. When you grow tired of Mage, you can go into Practice mode and battle each of the other CPU-controlled classes to unlock them. Unlock them all and you’ll open a new play area, the Arena.

“The Arena” is a mode where you pick one of three presented classes. Then you get thirty 1-out-of-3 choices to build your deck and off you go to face one online player after another. Lose three matches and you’re out. Win and you get a pack of cards, and maybe some additional gold or dust. Keep winning and your prizes get bigger and bigger. Entry into the Arena costs either 150 gold, or $1.99. Since a pack of cards alone costs 100 gold, it’s often a better deal to save just a bit more for the chance at bigger gains.

A description of Hearthstone’s mechanics doesn’t give justice to the immaculate craftsmanship Blizzard has pulled off here. Each card is played to their own intro. Whether flashy or subtle, they all have a personality and a weight. The cards feel real, and when you see a large minion slam to the ground with a web of cracked earth, you know you just made something significant happen. Beyond the beauty is a deep strategy that is oh so satisfying when you pull off that amazing combo that shatters your opponent. (Literally! If you beat your opponent and their icon break into pieces). 200+ games in and I’m still learning new things every time I play.

Family Gaming Assessment

This game is built on attacks and aggression. Weapons abound, and violence is accentuated by the card portraits, the (well developed) quips of the minions as you play them, and the animations when damage is dealt. Also, the themes of many card portraits and some of the attack descriptions have a dark almost horror theme.

As with many other entries into the Fantasy genre, Hearthstone is sometimes guilty of showing excessive skin in its character portraits for both heroes and cards. Think excessive cleavage, men in loincloths, that sort of thing. However, they are certainly less guilty than many entries and I found it remarkably subdued for the genre.

Playability Assessment

The game play itself might frustrate younger players, especially considering it has frustrated me enough times. Each turn presents several complex choices that must be made with a timed turn and a thorough understanding of what each card is doing is necessary to play the game effectively.

Players will need to be able to read well and have strong reading comprehension to be able to play this game at all.

Conclusion

This is a free-to-play game so I recommend that everyone who likes the idea of a digital CCG game to give it a try. Iam loving it!

The Future

Blizzard is releasing an update to Hearthstone, Curse of Naxxramas, and it is expected as early as this month. This expansion will introduce thirty new cards into the game through single player adventures. Look for more on Naxxramas and the world of Hearthstone in future articles.

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The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to video games: MMO

MMORPG is the acronym for Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. This describes a role-playing game that requires a large online player population in order to operate. It typically features dedicated servers and a constant internet connection to play.

MMO games often feature mechanics and narratives that encourage both competition and collaboration between players, to some degree. They will often include encounters that put a fixed number of players into a situation or story meant to provide smaller and specific content to those players without interrupting the play experience of others.

These games can be free to play, available after a one time fee, or can be played through a subscription to the service. The cost and payment style varies depending on the game.

Examples

  • World of Warcraft
  • Star Wars the Old Republic
  • Final Fantasy XIV

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!

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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Minecraft mods on PC number into the thousands, especially if you’re playing the Minecraft Java Edition. The vast majority of the mods available to download from places like CurseForge – a modification repository that’s used for a number of popular games, including Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Kerbal Space Program – are, for the most part, fairly innocent.

Mods that are available through Minecraft Bedrock Edition, which is probably the version of Minecraft that your kids are playing on console, mobile, and PC, are vetted by the Mojang team at Microsoft to ensure that they are both high quality and family-friendly.

Not all mods are made equal, mind you, and CurseForge ensures that all of those mods are available to download… for good and ill. One of these not-so-great mods is the Jenny mod that’s available through CurseForge on PC and via APK (Android Application Package) for Android OS devices. In theory, you can also purchase a version of this mod through in-game currency.

The Minecraft Jenny mod is a NSFW (not safe for work) unofficial Minecraft mod that introduces an in-game “girlfriend” for Minecraft players that simulates adult interactions. Yes, those kinds of adult interactions. It’s becoming an increasingly popular mod that runs in “Creative” mode. Now, Jenny can be your “bestie,” but that’s not why parents need to be paying closer attention to children downloading this particular mod, of course.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition doesn’t allow unofficial mod installation, so the best way to ensure that kids aren’t going to download and install Jenny is to make sure that Bedrock Edition is the version of Minecraft that they’re using. Java Edition has some excellent mods, including the Redstone mods on CurseForge, but it does require extra intervention. There are no parental controls available on CurseForge, so use discretion.

Jenny might be available for bestie status, but she certainly wasn’t coded just for those purposes. Be cautious.

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

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What is your desert island game and why?

Stephen

I thought about this one for a long time, and I have to go with World of Warcraft. Yes. My desert island has good internet. It is my favorite game of all time, and I can ALWAYS find something to do. There is just something awesome about a never ending list of tasks to complete.

If you’re a stick in the mud and don’t think WoW is an acceptable answer, then my backup answer is Tetris. It’s a perfect puzzle game that I can play to relax and I don’t have to worry about the story getting stale.

Mike

Can we talk about Chrono Trigger? We should talk about Chrono Trigger. This game is about a story that asks “What it is to be a hero?” and explores the tragedies and victories  of that question with one of the best art styles and musical scores of all time. Best overall character roster, elegant game play, an early adopter of new game plus content. And it bears repeating that one of the best video game scores of all time was produced in 1996 with a 16 bit processor.

John

Skyrim, why, because.  Seriously though it is playable for hundreds and hundreds of hours in various ways.  The free form method of leveling and crafting allow for you to entertain yourself in any way that you want.

Linda

My desert island game would have to be Seikatsu. This game is beautiful to look at, as well as a peaceful game to play.  The tokens are heavy and would be less likely to blow away in the breeze. It is one I have played multiple times and it feels fresh each time. Not one that would be dull after a few plays.

Jonathan 

Tetris any one of them but Tetris Effect if I was able to choose. They are the most solid game ever created and even while it’s simple and NOTHING has changed it finds new challenges every day.


What about you?

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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 video games: DPS: Damage Per Second

1.) DPS measures how much a particular attack reduces the health or resources of its target(s) over a fixed period of time, typically seconds. Turns provide another way to divided damage into units, when turns provide a better fit. This measurement allows players to make comparisons between two (often very different) abilities more objectively.

2.) It is a descriptor added to an in game object or character to say it is built specifically to deal damage, often linked to other descriptors (Tank, Healer, etc). DPS items and characters are often labeled that way when a choice between items and characters are possible and encouraged based on personal style of play

Examples of Games with High DPS characters:

  • World of Warcraft (WOW)
  • Final Fantasy

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!

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

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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 many video games: Farming/Grinding

Farming/Grinding: Intentionally and repeatedly performing the same game sequence in order to guarantee in game experience/levels, resources, materials, or equipment. This can be as simple as playing in the same area for long lengths of time, or as complex as repeatedly organizing and replaying entire multiplayer encounters. Farming can also be more materials and resources focused. In contrast Grinding tends to focus more ion gaining levels or XP. Grinding can also refer to an extreme case of farming where the optimal sequence to guarantee what is being sought after is not fun, or even worse, frustrating and disengaging. The line between farming and grinding is subjective and can differ wildly between players.

Examples:

  • Horizon Zero Dawn: You can search an area and collect the parts. Once you have gathered everything leave the area and reenter. This may trigger a new battle in certain areas and the resources will respawn.
  • World of Warcraft: Provides areas you can continue to reenter to battle and gain resources or experience
  • Minecraft: You can create spawn points for resources that you can repeatedly harvest and structures called mob grinders allow the structure to gather the enemy. Depending on how the structure is created, the destruction of the enemies can be automated or not.

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!

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

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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 many video games: PvE/PvP

PvE/PvP: Shorthand for Player Versus Environment and Player Versus Player. The phrases describe the type of interaction players will experience in the game and where they receive feedback and interaction from. Many games have both PvE and PvP components to their experience, each gaining benefits to the other.

PvE

Player Versus Environment (PvE) interactions are situations in which one or more players collaborate to interact/overcome a computer-controlled threat or problem.

Wii U Splatoon screenshot
Tower Control – one of the game modes in the ranked battles!

PvP

Player versus Player (PvP) puts players in competition with each other, often providing a direct threat or problem to each other. PvP often provides a short play experience for players, but since they involve other people they cannot be paused or stopped early without disrupting the experience for other players.

Entire PvE narratives have been designed as tutorials to bring players into the PvP experiences (eg. th story mode for many first-person shooters ).

Examples:

  • Splatoon is PvP: Players are shooting other players with paint and trying to send them back to start point for your team.
  • Super Mario Odyssey is PvE: Your challenges in the game come from the environment not other players.
  • World of Warcraft contains both PvE and PvP: most of the content in the game is PvE, but players can opt into a PvP experience or enter specific PvP battlegrounds.

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!

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!

The EFG Essentials

Follow us on Facebook!

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