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Stephen Duetzmann

The 2019 Golden Geek Awards from BoardGameGeek.com have been announced! Over 10,000 people voted across sixteen categories. This is the 14th year that these awards have been given and this has been their largest turnout for voters so far! Below is a list of the winners (and runners-up)! Take a look to see if your favorites won!

The clear winner this year was Wingspan. It took home 9 of the 14 available awards!

The Nominees

Board Game of the Year
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Paladins of the West Kingdom
Runner Up – Tapestry

2-Player Game
Winner – Watergate
Runner Up – Undaunted: Normandy
Runner Up – Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes

Artwork Presentation
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – PARKS
Runner Up – Tapestry

Card Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Cooperative Game
Winner – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Runner Up – The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

Expansion
Winner – Wingspan: European Expansion
Runner Up – The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches
Runner Up – Terraforming Mars: Turmoil

Family Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Azul: Summer Pavilion
Runner Up – Tiny Towns

Innovative
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Wavelength

Party Game
Winner – Wavelength
Runner Up – Letter Jam
Runner Up – Men at Work

Print Play
Winner – TINYforming Mars
Runner Up – Under Falling Skies: A 9-Card Print-and-Play Game
Runner Up – Roll Estate

Solo Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Runner Up – Twice As Clever

Strategy Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Maracaibo
Runner Up – Paladins of the West Kingdom

Thematic Game
Winner – Dune
Runner Up – Star Wars: Outer Rim
Runner Up – The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

Wargame
Winner – Undaunted: Normandy
Runner Up – UBOOT: The Board Game
Runner Up – Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes

Best Podcast
Winner – Heavy Cardboard
Runner Up – So Very Wrong About Games
Runner Up – The No Pun Included Podcast

Best Board Game App
Winner – Through the Ages – New Leaders & Wonders
Runner Up – Raiders of the North Sea
Runner Up – Twice As Clever – Doppelt So Clever


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

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This week Stephen and Amanda are joined by a VERY special guest: Rebekah Valentine from GamesIndustry.biz! They’re all here to talk about MMOs and why we play them!

This podcast is sponsored by:

ReadyPlayerMom – mixer.com/readyplayermom

The Virtual Economy Podcast

Around the Horn

Stephen – Sentinels of Freedom – Review

Amanda – Animal Crossing, Final Fantasy XIV

Reb – Animal Crossing

Animal Talking

Topics

MMOs

Free to Play MMO list on EngagedFamilyGaming.com

World of Warcraft

Final Fantasy XIV

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Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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Kickstarter is a great place to find interesting ideas. It is full of brilliant creators looking for a market for their projects. The team at Move38 is among them now. They launched their campaign for the Blinks Game system today and I think it is definitely worth checking out!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/move38/blinks-game-system-20-new-smart-tabletop-games?ref=discovery&term=blinks
Blinks Game System: 20 New Games
Games with living pieces that think for themselves.

I have to admit. When Move38 reached out to me a few weeks ago. I was perplexed. I hadn’t seen anything like Blinks before. But, as I dug into their YouTube channel, and their posts on Instagram is all became clear. Blinks is a gadget that bridges the gap between video games and board games (and a pretty cool one at that).

“Blinks are intelligent game pieces that respond to touch, communicate with each other, and think for themselves. … Blinks were designed with the hand in mind and with modular board arrangements for endless possibilities.”

Move38

In a nutshell, each Blinks hex-piece is both a game piece, a portion of a potential game board, AND a virtual “cartridge” with a game on it. Connecting multiple Blinks hex-pieces together will allow them to “learn” to play games on the different hexes. This is a fascinating concept that have a lot of cool options. As of right now there are 20 different games available on the system.

The Blinks pieces are also programs using the Arduino platform. This is a simple coding language that is used in some of the most popular STEM kits. This means that budding game designers can pick these things up and use them to build their own games! In fact, four of the twelve games launching with the system were made during short term game jams.

The price to back the campaign and receive a 6-pack of the blinks pieces (and six games) is $79 US. That includes a super cool “Sushi-Roll” carrying case. That is relatively expensive compared to most video games or board games, but this is an innovative product that is definitely worth a look for tech enthusiasts.


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

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The Details

Paper Magic Release Date: Friday May 15th, 2020

Magic: The Gathering Arena Release Date: April 16th, 2020

Available Paper Magic Products:

  • Booster Box – a box of 36 15-card booster packs.
  • Collector Booster – Contents: 6 foil commons/uncommons, 1 foil basic land, 1 Commander-focused card, 1 non-foil extended art rare/mythic rare, 1 foil rare/mythic rare, 2 non-foil showcase commons/uncommons, 1 non-foil showcase rare/mythic rare or borderless planeswalker, 1 non-foil alt-art Godzilla Series Monster card, 1 foil showcase or borderless planeswalker, 1 premium token.
  • Theme Booster – These larger booster packs are full of cards all based on a single theme, like a color or color pair.
  • Bundle – 10 15-card booster packs, 20 foil lands, 1 alternate art card

The Mechanics

Every expansion comes with interesting new mechanics. Some of them will be brand new, but Wizards always brings something back from the past. The mechanics from Ikoria are listed below.

Cycling

Cycling is a returning mechanic. The cycling mechanic allows players to pay a cost (often a mana cost) to allow them to discard the card with the cycling ability and draw another card.

Wizards uses this ability on cards to add additional flexibility. You have the option to pay the cycling cost and simply pitch the card for a replacement if the card isn’t useful. Some of the cards will even had additional effects tied to cycling the card.

Keyword Counters

Longtime MtG players will be very familiar with +1/+1 and loyalty counters. These appear in almost every set in one form or another. Ikoria introduces Keyword Counters. Certain cards and abilities will allow you to place counters that include abilities like Flying and Trample to creatures in play. This is interesting because, unlike enchantments are artifacts that grant these keyword abilities, the counters stay active until the creature dies.

Mutate

Mutate is an ability that has an alternate casting cost for a creature. When you use it you may choose to place it either ON or Under an existing creature. The result is a creature with the name, converted mana cost, power, and toughness of the creature on top, with the abilities of the creatures underneath it.


Companion

The companion mechanic is more about rewarding careful deck construction than anything else. These are creatures that begin play in exile as long as your deck was build under certain restraints. You can then play from from exile. This is an interesting and very powerful mechanic. I can’t wait to see if anything comes of it.


The “Biggest” Crossover in Magic: The Gathering History

Ikoria is a plane filled with colossal monsters so it only makes sense that Wizards would find a way to incorporate the most famous giant monster of them all: Godzilla.

There are alternate art cards for several cards in the set that feature Godzilla and other monsters in that universe. These are bound to be big ticket collector’s items so definitely handle them with care if you or your kids open one!

The Cinematic Trailer


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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This week Stephen, Amanda, and Linda are here to talk about Board Games!

This podcast is sponsored by:

ReadyPlayerMom – mixer.com/readyplayermom

The Virtual Economy Podcast

Around the Horn

Stephen – Game of Phones by Breaking Games

Linda – Fire Tower by Runaway Parade Games

Amanda – Everdell by Starling Games

Kickstarter Corner

Brancalonia

Topics

Games that make you Laugh!

Follow us on Facebook!

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Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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We’re huge fans of the Sentinels of the Multiverse card game and its universe so when I was asked if I wanted to give Sentinels of Freedom a shot on Steam I jumped at the chance. I was rewarded with a deep strategy game that gave me another chance to control some of my favorite Sentinels characters as well as create my own hero persona.

The first step in the game after a quick tutorial mission is to create your own hero. This was my favorite part of the game by far. The creation system gives you a wide range of fun cosmetic options to choose from; all of which fit into the same aesthetic as the rest of the world. The system really shines when you get to choose your character’s powers. There are more than ten different power themes to choose from from gadgets and support to power and blaster. Each of them allows you to effect the battlefield differently. My personal favorite theme Minions. I felt like it gave me a lot of awesome options in battles and almost let me take additional turns compared to my opponents.

The narrative in Sentinels isn’t going to set anyone’s world on fire, but it was a fun paint-by-numbers super hero story that let me play along with some of my favorite characters from the card game. One of the highlights was the way all of the story was delivered. Each scene was revealed using animation within comic book frames. When you combine that with the bright colors and dark outlines for the character models, this really felt like a comic book leaping off the page.

My only real complaint with the game is based on difficulty. I found that there were occasional difficulty spikes (especially in the opening missions) that were disheartening for someone who didn’t know the ins and outs of the game yet. This obviously wasn’t a deal breaker. I still enjoyed myself. But, I would have liked a more even experience out of the gate.

Can a kid play this game?

Sentinels of Freedom is a turned based strategy game. There are a LOT of tactical decisions that need to be made on each turn. You aren’t timed, so there is plenty of time to think each step through, but it can be hard to see everything coming unless you have the patience to really look at it. (This is something I find a lot of kids lack.)

There is a lot of time spent reading menus and ability descriptions so this definitely requires pretty strong reading skills. Heck, I even missed a key component to an ability and was wondering what I did wrong until after a few times using the it.

Should a kid play this game?

The ESRb has rated Sentinels of Freedom E 10+ and lists Fantasy Violence as the only content descriptor. The ESRB website doesn’t have a summary listed.
I didn’t see anything during my time with the game that leads me to believe the ESRB has it wrong here. From a content perspective this is a comic-book style superhero story. The villains do villainous things and the heroes battle them. This will be ok for kids who are familiar with comic book tropes and Marvel movies.

Conclusion

I loved Sentinels of Freedom and I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone that enjoys strategy games. There is plenty of depth and challenge for even the most battle hardened tactics veterans here and the super hero theme helps to make it approachable for newer players as well. (And when you’re done with the video game… go give the card game a shot too. Its divine!)

Sentinels of Freedom is available on Steam right now, but will be coming to other platforms in the near future.

FCC Disclosure: A code was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.

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April 23rd is a big day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. A series of free updates is going to bring a number of new events and characters to everyone’s islands!

The following is a list of the events/characters Nintendo is adding via the free updates!

Leif’s Garden Shop – Nature-loving Leif will regularly visit players’ islands to sell his flourishing assortment of foliage, including shrubs and flower seeds. These decorative items will help make any island paradise a little greener.

Jolly Redd’s Treasure Trawler – After downloading the free update, Jolly Redd will occasionally show up in his boat to sell in-game art, as well as furniture with unique colors. Like in previous Animal Crossing games, players will have to figure out which art pieces are real and which are fake. After purchasing genuine art, players can donate it to the island museum to open an art gallery, which will display all types of donated pieces, from paintings to sculptures.

Nature Day (April 23-May 4) – During the Nature Day period, special Nook Miles challenges will be available that focus on nature-inspired goals, such as planting trees and watering flowers.

May Day Tour (May 1-7) – In the first week of May, players can use a one-time May Day Ticket at the island airport to head out on a limited-time tour to an island that looks different than the usual mystery island tours. A special visitor who looks familiar might also be there…

International Museum Day (May 18-31) – To celebrate International Museum Day, players can take part in a Stamp Rally. After receiving a special stamp card, players can enjoy viewing fish, insects and fossils while collecting stamps at the various museum exhibits to earn an in-game reward.

Wedding Season (June 1-30) – During a nuptial-themed June, players can visit Harvey’s island to meet the married couple Reese and Cyrus, as well as help arrange and take anniversary photos with them in the wedding-picture studio. Players will get wedding-themed items as a token of their gratitude.

Source: Nintendo

More updates will be coming as time goes on! I’m sure the summer updates will be exciting. What do you think we’ll see?Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Looking for information about how multiplayer works in Animal Crossing? Check out our guide here!

Our new player tips for Animal Crossing are 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!

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We talk a lot about flashy video games and freshly released board games on EFG, but today I want to take a moment to share the instructions for one of my family’s absolute favorite card games.

We spend a lot of time playing Frustration as a family, especially on family vacations. We laugh. We yell. We talk a lot of trash. (Of course we do. I’m there.)

The best part? You and your family can share in a little bit of our fun without needing more than a couple decks of dollar store playing cards.

Cards Required

  • 4 players – 2 standard playing card decks with 4 jokers
  • 5-6 players – 3 standard playing card decks with 6 jokers
  • Wild Cards – Jokers and Dueces

Rules

  • Deal 11 cards to each person for each hand.
  • A players turn begins by drawing the top card from the deck or the discard pile.
  • The player may then “meld” if they have the appropriate cards for the step they are on
  • Then they discard a card from their hand. Note: A player MUST have a discard at the end of their turn. There are no exceptions.
  • If a player “melds” and completes a step they will then be playing to “Go Out.” This ends the hand.
  • Each Step must be made by a player during a hand to advance to the next step. For example, if a player completes a step and then goes out and you did not, then you will remain on the same step and they will move forward.
  • All 11 steps must be completed to win – if more than one player completes the 11 steps during the hand, the lowest scoring hand wins.

Steps

Book – Groups of cards of the same number. Suit does not matter.

Run – Groups of cards where the numbers are in descending or ascending order. They must be the same suit.

Note – You must have more natural cards in a book or run than Wild cards. You cannot even have the same number.

  • Step 1 – 2 Books of 3 cards
  • Step 2 – 2 Runs of 3 cards
  • Step 3 – 1 Run of 4 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards
  • Step 4 – 2 Books of 4 cards
  • Step 5 – 1 Run of 5 cards and 1 Book of 3
  • Step 6 – 3 Books of 3 cards
  • Step 7 – 1 Run of 7 cards
  • Step 8 – 1 Run of 6 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards
  • Step 9 – 2 Runs of 4 cards
  • Step 10 – 2 Books of 5 cards
  • Step 11 – 1 Run of 9 Cards

Notes

  • A wild card may be replaced in any run (but not books) with the card it represents, but only if the wild card can be used to meld in that turn.
  • Additional melds of 3 cards can be player and more cards can be played on other melds after a player has completed their step meld.

What do you think? Are you going to play our family favorite? 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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One thing that a LOT of homebound families have been doing these last few weeks is puzzles. I’ve seen so many pictures of happy families smiling over completed jigsaw puzzles I could burst! But, I know a lot of families out there might be getting frustrated! Some of those puzzles are tough.

Puzzles are a big deal in our family. My mom would ALWAYS have a puzzle on the dining room table if she didn’t need the surface for other things. She loves to build puzzles with her kids and grandkids so I thought to myself, “Who better to consult with than the master?”

So, without further delay, here are some tips from the puzzle master herself!

  • Place all pieces on the table face up
  • Sort for outside edges.
  • Figure out the main color themes of the puzzle
  • Sort the pieces by color (this is a great job for younger puzzlers!)
  • Fit all outside edges together to make a frame if you can
  • Work on large swaths of color or obvious shapes
  • Keep completing shapes until you feel like you have most of the obvious ones put together
  • Sort those shapes by size
  • Consult the picture on the box when you get stuck
  • Look for clues – letters, straight edges, faces
  • When you get stuck? Move on and try another area.
  • Share the experience and work as a team!
  • Don’t give up! All puzzles have a solution!

Did these tips make you want to grab a puzzle for yourself? Head to this Amazon link and grab one (or ten)!


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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When Will Minecraft Dungeons Be released?

Minecraft Dungeons is going to be released on May 26, 2020.

It will have a simultaneous launch on Xbox One, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.

How much will it cost?

Minecraft Dungeons – Standard Edition will be available for $19.99 USD. 

Minecraft Dungeons – Hero Edition will also be available for $29.99 USD. This is a deluxe bundle that will come with a number of cosmetic items that include a Hero Cape, two player skins, and a chicken pet (The chicken pet is probably worth the price increase on its own). The hero edition will also include two DLC packs at no additional charge once they are released. WILL MINECRAFT DUNGEONS BE INCLUDED IN XBOX GAME PASS? 

Minecraft Dungeons – Standard Edition will also be available as part of your families Xbox Game Pass membership. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will have access on both console and Windows PC.

Xbox Game Pass members will also receive a 10% on related Minecraft Dungeons DLC.

So… What is it?

First off: No it isn’t a Minecraft expansion. This is an entirely separate game set in the Minecraft universe that features a different camera perspective and a different combat style.

Minecraft Dungeons is an action-adventure game set in the Minecraft universe inspired by classic dungeon crawlers like Gauntlet and Diablo. Players will battle new-and-nasty mobs across varied levels in either single player or up to four-player co-op in a quest to defeat the evil Arch-Illager.

What about Multiplayer?

Minecraft Dungeons will feature online and local multiplayer for up to four players. The number of players will help influence the difficulty, the loot, and the enemy count to make sure every will be having a fun and rewarding gameplay experience. 

Will it have Crossplay?

You´ll be able to play online multiplayer with players on the same platform at launch. They’ll be adding cross platform multiplayer at a later date with a free update.

How do you play it?

Minecraft Dungeons features a real time battle system that is very reminiscent of games like Gauntlet and Diablo. Gameplay is designed around encouraging players to experiment with different fighting styles, weapons, and enchantments.

There are no character classes in Minecraft Dungeons. Instead, you build your character around the powerful items, artifacts, and weapons that you equip.

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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