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The “8 and up” game category opens up a whole new realm of gaming options. Game become less “kid games” and more “kid-friendly”.  At this age, reading cards is no longer a concern and the kids can handle more strategy and steps per turn.  The number of games at this age level absolutely explodes and there is no way to include everything.  This list includes some of our favorites, but there is so much more to play! 

Skyjo

It is a perpetual challenge to find a game that can be played with a small or large player count. Skyjo fits the niche of being played with up to eight players without being a party game. It is the first game from Magilano.

Skyjo is a set collection card game for two to eight players were your goal is to get the least amount of points per around.   The recommended age is for eight and up. The game does scale down especially once children can understand the negative cards by relating them to take away. Unknown cards in front of each player and fifteen different cards to reveal, gives Skyjo just enough suspense to provide just a bit of tension in the game.

See our review here.

Last Defense

The city is under attach from various threats ranging from Spider Robots to Space Aliens. Players take on the roll of citizens work together in this cooperative game to try and save the city, and they only have 20 minutes. The game has a companion app that is required for game play. Players clear ruble and free the scientists so they can defeat the monsters attacking. One of the unique features is that one of the playable characters is Good Dog. It is so cool to be able to play a hero that is not a human.

Drop It!

Some of the best family games are easy to learn, but hard to master. Drop It has very simple rules and can be taught in minutes, yet has enough strategy within the simple rules to keep it engaging for all members of the family. Do not be deceived by the bright primary colors of the game, Drop It is more than a kids game!

In Drop It, each player has a collection of shapes in one color, and players drop them down the vertical game board to try and score points. The challenge come in meeting the criteria to score points. Along the side and the bottom there are colors (or shapes depending on the set up you select) and if your piece touches the side of the same color it does not score any points. Pieces also may not land touching another piece of a matching shape or color. The player with the most points when they run out of shapes wins.

Dungeon Drop

Dungeon Drop achieves this simplicity in an elegant and clever way: it skips the entire concept of a game board.

The titular “Dungeon” in Dungeon Drop is created by dropping an assortment of colored cubes onto the play surface. Each colored cube represents a different object ranging from grey pillars (which help form the rooms) to orange keys, and green Boblins. On their turn, each player sprinkles a few more cubes into the playing field to mix the dungeon up a bit, uses a player power based on their race or class, and “loots a room” by choosing three grey pillars in the play area and collecting all of the cubes inside the triangle that creates. This simple gameplay loop can be taught in a few minutes and gameplay is fast.

See our Kickstarter Preview here.

What Do Meme Family Edition

What Do You Meme is a hilarious game that invites players to create funny memes using a stack of funny pictures straight from the deepest corners of the internet and a huge deck of caption cards. The problem is that the original version of the game is a bit… grown-up for our tastes. The good news for all of us is that there is a bespoke Family edition of the game that replaces the sex and drugs with fart jokes (which just makes it all around better in my opinion). Just look at the box. It’ll all make sense. This is the definitive edition of the game!

Starlink

Try and seal your victory in Starlink by creating constellation. This party style drawing game is engaging and can play three to six players. Players draw a secret word and on their turn they need to try and draw the secret object by connecting stars. Players earn bonus points for fitting their constellation inside the telescope circle.

This Game Goes to Eleven

This Game Goes to Eleven is a perfect light family game. While recommended for ages eight and up, the game scales down for younger children that can do simple computation up to eleven. The game is extremely easy to teach at has very few rules. Players on their turn merely have to select one of the three cards in their hand to play and try to strategize with those limited choices. This is a good fit for young gamers or non gamers with simple and streamline rules.

See our review here.

Timeline 

Timeline is a competitive game for two to eight players that takes about 15 minutes to play. Players begin with at least four cards to start, and reveal a single card. 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.

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 continue until only one player finishes a round with no cards.

See our review here.

Dixit 

Dixit, a storytelling game for three to six players.  It requires that you come up with a description of your own surreal card that also leaves your opponents guessing. First, each player is dealt six incredibly beautiful cards. The storyteller (active player) chooses a card and describes it with a word or phrase. Your opponents then select one of their cards that matches your description, trying to trick the other players into voting for their card. The Storytellers and the other player cards are shuffled and displayed face up.

Players secretly vote for the card they think is the Storytellers using color-coded chips. If everyone guesses your card, all your opponents gain 2 points and you gain none. However, if no one chooses yours, your opponents all gain 2 points and you still get 0!  Should one or more person guesses my image I get 3 points and they get 3 points, plus a bonus for anyone choosing their card.

See our review here.

Kingdomino

Kingdomino , the 2017 winner of The Spiel Des Jahres (The Game of the Year), combines the universal simplicity of dominoes with kingdom building. It is a tile drafting and placement game for two to four players.  The game plays in short rounds. First, tiles are laid out in a field and players take turns drafting tiles based on the order of the previous round.

Players draw domino shaped tiles and lay them out in their 5×5 block kingdom. only one side of their domino needs to match the land the connect to, but it can gain them more points if both sides match. The goal is to sort their kingdom so that they have large contiguous terrain (lakes, forests, etc) to earn points. Points are calculated by taking the number of continuous terrain times the number of crown icons found on any domino in that terrain. The gameplay is quick, easy to teach, and the game ages down very nicely.

See our Spiel Des Jahres 2017 article here.

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a beautiful science-themed game that features the tree life cycle and a rotating sun to collect light points. The game plays two to four players and takes 45 minutes to an hour to play. In Photosynthesis the sun moves around the board three times and players plant and progress trees through their life cycle to collect points.  The trees are three dimensional and provide a beautiful visual as the forest “grows”.

Photosynthesis plays in rounds. Standard play is three rounds. Each round consists of two phases: the Photosynthesis Phase and the Life Cycle Phase.   Each tree that is not in the shadow of another tree earns Light Point  You then earn a scoring token based upon their location on the board, which represents the richness of the soil.

The game ends after the sun makes three complete revolutions around the board.  Points are then calculated based on scoring tokens and unused light points.

See our review here.

Tsuro

Tsuro is a tile laying game for two to eight players with a beautiful Asian aesthetic. In this game you are a flying dragon. Your dragon is represented by a colored carved token. Tsuro consists of tiles with twisting lines on them, a 6×6 grid on which to lay these tiles and a token for each player.

Each player has a hand of tiles. On your turn you do two things: place a tile from your hand onto the board next to your token and move your token as far as it can go along the line it is currently on. You continue to move it until it is stopped by an empty space with no tile in (yet), the edge of the board, or if you collide with player’s token. If your dragon reaches the edge of the board or collides with another player’s token, you are out of the game.

The last player left with a dragon on the board is the winner. The strategy, therefore, consists of trying to drive your opponents either into each other or off of the board while trying to extend your own route in directions that will make it difficult for your opponents to hinder your path.

See our review here.

Evolution the Beginning

The Evolution Series by North Star Games has multiple games in this line. In the Evolution games you are evolving your creatures with various traits to help their survival. Each animal needs to have enough food or they die out and can go extinct. There is something for everyone in this series. For elementary age students you can start with Evolution: The Beginning. This is a simplified and streamlined version of the game good for ages eight and up. For older children: Evolution, Flight (which is an expansion), Climate, and Oceans.

The Evolution: The Beginnings the perfect lighter family game. It has streamlined the game elements of the Evolution series. For players new to engine building board games this gives a framework for that genre of game that is easy to understand. An engine building game is where the players are building something that will ultimately produce points for them in the game. The theme of Evolution is also very engaging to a wide range of players, and can be played with a wird range of players.

Roll For It!

Roll for It! is a simple and quick dice and card game. The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 40 points by managing dice and matching the appropriate dice to the cards in play. The game players two to four, however by purchasing both the red and purple sets, you can increase the number of players to eight.

Game play is quite easy and takes mere minutes to explain to new players. On their turn the player completes three actions.

  1. Roll for it! The player rolls dice once per turn
  2. Match it! The player then matches the results of their roll with the dice images shown on the three face-up Roll For It! cards, ignoring results that don’t match any images.
  3. Score it! Players score a Roll For It! card as soon as they’ve matched all of its die images with dice of their own color. A card is worth points equal to the number printed at the bottom.

See our review here.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket To Ride is a two to five player game with a nicely designed heavy cardboard map of North American train routes. During gameplay, players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout the United States. Each player is working on completing their own secret routes. If another player claims a path they need, the player needs to try and find another path to complete their route, if possible. This also adds a potential “take that” element to the game.

On each turn you can only take one of 3 actions: draw Train Car Cards, claim a Route between two cities on the board, draw additional Destination Tickets. The object of the game is to score the highest number of total points. Points are earned from completing routes, and lost for incomplete route cards. Each round allows for players to plan, think strategically, and make tactical decisions.

See our review here.

Dragonwood

In Dragonwood players take on the roll of adventures traveling and defeating creatures, collecting items to help on your adventure.  This all occurs while players deal with events cards as they come up and ultimately earning the most victory points.  Dragonwood incorporates set collection and hand management and is for two to four players.

At the beginning of the game five cards from the Dragonwood deck are laid out in a landscape.  These cards include the magical creatures, enhancements, and events.  On their turn players may draw an adventurer card or  try to capture a card from the landscape by striking, stomping, or screaming.  Players collect sets of adventurer cards and can play them to earn the number of dice equal to the number of adventurer cards they use. Players then roll to see if they can roll a total number equal or greater to the number on the card for the attack they selected. The game ends once the adventure deck has been played through twice or the two dragons in the deck are captured.  The player with the most victory points wins.

Go Nuts For Donuts 

Go Nuts For Donuts is a card drafting and set collection game for two to six players where players are trying to collect the best donuts to eat.  Since there is no sharing in this game, player are bidding on the different donuts available in the donut row. Players bid in secret and at the end of the bidding only can collect those donuts with a single bidder.  This brings in an element of  strategy with bidding. 

Each kind of the 21 kinds donut ( and two beverages) has either points it gains you, an action you can take immediately upon retrieving the card, or both. The kinds of donut cards available to players increases with the player count. The game ends when there are not enough cards to complete another round of bidding and the player with the most points wins.

Sushi Go

 Sushi-Go takes place in the fast-paced world of a sushi chef, you must be the most creative and the fastest of all to be the best! The game comes in a cute tin and plays two to five players.

Players start with cards in their hand based on the number of players, and select one card to play before passing the rest of their cards to the next player to choose from!  The game plays in 3 hands, where all but dessert cards are cleared from the table and scored at the end.  The strategy of the game lies in making the most of the cards passed to you, while trying to stop opponents from making the combinations they need to maximize points.

The most interesting dynamic of this game is the chopsticks.  They are played in one round, and used on a subsequent turn to play two cards at once from the current hand.  The chopsticks pass to be used by someone else.

As is, Sushi Go! is a fun game to play with your children or even with your adult friends, even if you don’t like sushi!

See our review here.

Sushi Go Party

Sushi Go Party takes the best of  Sushi Go and adds more. It plays two to eight players,and comes in a bigger tin that shows off more cute sushi rolls. The main gameplay difference is that players spend the first bit of the game choosing which cards to include in the deck that everyone drafts. There is no established rule in the book for determining which cards are selected either. The rule book includes eight deck suggestions, and players can come up with their own interesting combinations.

Sushi Roll

Sushi and dice are a winning combination you will not find on any menu, and Sushi Roll takes the popular game Sushi Go and instead of card drafting players draft dice. The game is for ages eight and up and can play two to five players. Like it predecessor it is easy to learn and quick to play.

Sushi Roll is a great game to learn the mechanic of drafting. The game has a very simple drafting mechanic using dice. In card drafting players need to remember what cards they saw as the hands were passed. With the dice, the information about available dice is open to all. This open information allowed for more coaching to new or younger players while learning the game.

Monopoly Gamer

Monopoly Gamer is a must see for any Nintendo fan.  Nintendo elements infuse through the game, and the gameplay is vastly different.  Power-ups give players the ability to collect coins, force opponents to drop coins, and move forward. Coins replace the paper dollars, and are used for everything. Passing Go now has player activating Boss Battles, and these Boss Battles will reward the victor with additional coins for the end of the game, as well as some fun treats like a free property, or stolen goods from an opponent.

With all of these added features and a significantly faster pace, Monopoly Gamer feels like a game Nintendo and Parker Brothers can be proud to have their names on. The ability to add additional player characters is also a great way to add replayability to this one.

See our review here.

Potion Explosion

Potion Explosion is a game that will fit right into any household dominated by Harry Potter fans. Two to four players take on the role of wizards who are trying to make potions. They take turns pulling marbles out of an (ingenious) game board to collect resources. If marbles of the same color are touching when they pull out their first marble, then they get those as well. Both the look of game board and the matching color component is very reminiscent of mobile matching games.  The concept is straight forward and the puzzle-like mechanics will keep everyone engaged.

Players work to complete two potions at a time on their “work station” , and earn points for each complete token. Once players complete the potion components they have the option  to “drink” them potion.  Drinking the potion give the player a single use ability. Using up all the skill tokens or the potion cards ends the game. Points earned from completing potions determines the winner.

King of Tokyo

Attacking Aliens, Rampaging Lizards, Giant Robots, Mutant Bugs, and Ferocious Gorillas: this game has them all! King of Tokyo is a game for two to six players that combines a board game, a dice game and a card game. You play as one monster whose main goals are to destroy Tokyo and battle other monsters in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo!

At the beginning of the turn, each player rolls six specialized dice. The player with the most Attack dice goes first (the fiercest). Each turn consists of 4 steps: rolling and re-rolling the dice, resolving the dice, buying cards and using their effects, and the end of turn decision.

The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone! When you add in cards that can have a permanent or temporary effect, like growing a second head, body armor, nova death ray, etc., you get a VERY exciting game. In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.

See our review here

Food Fighters

Food Fighters is a 2 player game. This game is a player elimination style of game with some fun dice rolling mechanics as well as a bit of card drafting and component collecting opportunities. The rule booklet is fun and well laid out. The game mechanics are clear and well balanced(though the power cards initially felt uneven, further game play changed our opinion).

On their turn, each player completes three actions- a) Roll for Beans or Swap fighter tiles or Attack b) Spend Beans to buy a tool from the pantry c) Allow opponent to repair their formation. After these actions are complete, play passes to the opponent. The ultimate goal is to be the first player to knock out three matching enemy fighters. This is great strategy battle game that plays quickly and is easy to learn and explain to other players.

See our review here.

Azul

Azul is an abstract game for two to four players, and won the 2018 Speil De Jahar. Players are working to replicate the design on their board.

At the beginning of each round players select tiles from a factory display represented by  circles with four tiles on each or the center discard pile. Players each take one design and discards the rest to the center pile. The selected tiles are placed in pattern lines. There are one to five spaces for tiles in each pattern line. Extra tiles are placed on the floor line and score negative points at the end of that round.  Players score points as  they place their tiles.  Adjacent tile or completing a column or row on their “wall” earn additional points.  The game ends when one or  more players have completed a row by the scoring phase of a round.

Zombies Keep Out

Zombies Keep Out is a cooperative games for one to six players. Like all cooperative games there are MANY ways to lose and only one way to win. Players must collect parts and build 3 contraptions while facing nearly insurmountable odds as each player’s turn increases the urgency of the situation! The interesting dynamic that Zombies Keep Out has that sets it apart, is that the player who draws the aptly named “Terrible Things” card must choose between 3 options of many possible occurrences that do their title justice.  As the game progresses. “Terrible Things” become “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” Things.

The pool of zombies (it is actually a literal swimming pool full of zombies) depletes, and the option of being bitten becomes more and more probable.  Biting adds a very kid-friendly scale of terribleness. The bitten player looses the ability to speak normally and their decision making is increasingly hindered with additional bites. Any bite past the third will turn you into a full fledged Zombie, groaning continuously.

This game is immensely enjoyable and the cartoonish characters will be a quick favorite of most children. Zombies Keep Out is basically the answer to the question on all of our minds: what happens after Pandemic?

See our review here.

Hanabi

The game is simple.  Hanabi is the Japanese word for Fireworks, and you are pyrotechnicians who have accidentally mixed up all of the parts of your fireworks display and now — THE SHOW MUST GO ON!  You have to work together to create the best display you possibly can despite your myriad of mistakes! The kicker is, you can’t look at your own hand!

Your teammates can give you limited information about your hand as their turn, but if you misunderstand and play the wrong firework, it can be disastrous!

The game is immensely challenging, and really makes you consider every move!  While the recommended age is 8+, this game mechanic seems to lend itself to older players.  It requires patience, reading your team-mates and figuring out how best to convey half (or less) of the picture to your fellow “fireworkers”.  Hanabi teaches simple strategy and teamwork in a somewhat high pressure environment where you don’t have access to all of the variables at play.

See our review here

Santorini

In Santorini players take on  the roll of builders to create beautiful towers with two to four players.  On each turn, players move one of their two builders to an adjacent space. Players are then required to build on a neighboring space. Players are trying to complete a three level building and have a worker standing on top of it.  The first player to accomplish this wins the game.  Buildings may be complete it with a dome, and that blocks players from placing their worker on it.  

Santorini also incorporates god and hero powers into the game in the form of Greek gods and heros.  These god card allow for special actions or a change in win conditions. The god cards add a unique variability to the game.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a medieval France themed tile laying and area control game for two to five players. Players are trying to build features and have their followers (meeples) on features to score points.

Players take turns taking a tile and placing it against a matching feature, such as city, road, and fields. There are also monasteries, which sit in the middle of fields. Players score points for: completed roads, completed cities, surrounded monasteries, and completed fields.  When players run out of tiles the game ends and players get partial points for incomplete features.

Carcassonne is well know for its many expansions and versions.  The current base game now include two mini expansions: the River and the Abbott. At the time of this writing the Z-Man Games website had 8 expansions for sale.  There also is a big box versions which contains the base game and 11 expansions. Additionally, there are three stand alone games with different settings and themes.

Pandemic

In Pandemic, two to four players take on one of several roles, such as Medic, Dispatcher, or Researcher, in their quest to cure 4 diseases before time runs out and humanity is wiped out.

Game play follows a standard turn-based approach. Each player starts their turn by drawing from an event deck to determine where the newest infections are.  Then, they use location cards to move around the globe, treating diseases to prevent outbreaks.  Finally, they draw more location cards to restock their hand.  If a player can get three location cards of a single color and can get to a lab, they can create a cure.  The cure that won’t immediately eradicate the disease. Rather, it will make the disease easier to treat.

There is one way to win (working together to cure all 4 diseases), and multiple ways to lose (running out of time, being overwhelmed by diseases, etc.)  Players can change the difficult by increasing the starting number of infections.

See our review 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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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between November 29th through December 5th.

Sunday, November 29th

  • Ponpu- Switch

Tuesday, December 1st

  • Chronos: Before the Ashes- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Spirit of the North: Enhanced Edition- PS5
  • Worms Rumble- PS4, PS5

Wednesday, December 2nd

  • Sam and Max Save the World Remastered- Switch
  • Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and Dice of Fate- Switch

Thursday, December 3rd

  • Absolute Drift- Switch
  • Baila Latino- Switch
  • Biz Builder Delux- Switch
  • Cybxus Hearts- Switch
  • Death Tales- Switch
  • Dog Gone Golfing- Switch
  • Fault Milestone Two Sides: Above- Switch
  • Gunpig: Firepower For Hire- Switch
  • Immortals: Fenyx Rising- PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
  • Oniria Crimes- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • PHOGS!- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Pretty Princess Party- Switch
  • Quiplash 2 InterLASHional: The Say Anything Party Game- Switch
  • Taiko no Tatsujin- Rhythmic Adventure Pack- Switch
  • Wildfire- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Friday, December 4th

  • Commandos 2: HD Remaster- Switch
  • Darq: Complete Edition- PS4, Xbox One
  • Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition- PS4, Xbox One
  • Duck Life Adventure- Xbox One
  • Fifa 21- PS5, Series X
  • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light- Switch
  • Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm and Exercise- Switch
  • Futoshiki Match- Switch
  • Guntastic- Xbox One
  • Madden NFL 21- PS5, Series X
  • Nine Witches: Family Disruption- Xbox One, Switch
  • Paw Paw Paw- Switch
  • Ruinverse- Xbox One
  • Shoot 1Up DX- Xbox One
  • Steampunk Tower 2- Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week: Immortals: Fenyx Rising

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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by: Jonathan Goosetree of InkedGaming.com

Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm.  Gamers of all types are joining the craze as it is playable on PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. With often 300,00 viewers or more on Twitch, Fortnite is currently the most popular title in gaming. If you’re looking to jump into the action, our beginner’s guide to Fortnite will make sure you hit the ground running.

There are a few aspects of Fortnite which set it apart from any other game. In almost all other Battle Royale, FPS, and Third Person shooter games, players only need to work on their skills with weapons. In Fortnite however, building and gathering resources are just as important as weapon skills. You may be thinking this sounds intimidating and that Fortnite might be too complex for your family. Fortunately, we are here to help.

Our Fortnite Beginner’s Guide will be broken down into two main sections: The first focuses on farming materials and building beginner level structures, with the second part focusing on the early, mid, and late stages of the game.

Use that Pick Axe!

Fortnite

 

Fortnite has three types of materials: wood, stone, and metal. Each has a different purpose and different in-game statistics. Wood has a five-second build time per panel, with 200 health, stone has a 12-second build time, with 300 health, and metal has a 20-second build time, with 400 health. Wood is the most commonly used resource, as it is used for exploring and fast cover. Stone is better used for when you have time to build a fortification in the mid-game, and metal should be used exclusively in the late game, as it is the only material that can withstand a blow from an RPG (Rocket Powered Grenade).

Materials are gained by swinging your pickaxe at various targets. One thing many new players miss, in spite of its importance, is the blue circle that appears on screen when you are attacking a resource. Swinging your pickaxe where this circle appears acts as a critical spot and striking near it will yield more materials per swing. The easiest way to strike the circle is to start in the middle of the tree or structure, then moving straight down with your mouse or thumbstick. Using this tactic, you will hit the blue circle almost every time.

It is always important to have enough materials to build when the situation calls for it, whether exploring or when being fired on by an enemy and protection is needed. Being caught out in the open without enough materials to build cover is often a deadly mistake. This is why farming materials efficiently is a crucial skill for any new Fortnite player. When moving from one area to another, always be aware of your surroundings and plan your route accordingly. You should not stray too far out of your way to farm a single tree or area. Instead, try to choose the path with as many trees along the way as possible. Knowing what to farm is also important, as larger trees and wood pallets provide the most materials per swing for wood, and vehicles are most efficient for farming metal. One important tip is that you should never finish chopping a tree completely, as a disappearing tree is a dead give away of your position to potential enemies!

You, the Builder

Now that we know the different types of materials and how to farm efficiently, let’s go over what those materials are used for. Materials are used to build four different shapes or panels: walls, floors, ramps, and roofs. Knowing when and where to use each shape and for what purpose is key to becoming a skilled builder in Fortnite. Your first few games of Fortnite should be focused on farming materials in a remote part of the map and practicing building. With three different types of materials and four panels, you will need enough practice to where you can switch between all 12 options in a split second.

Now that selecting the desired materials and panels is second nature, it’s time to learn what to do with them. Building is used for three main purposes: exploring, fast cover, and building forts in the mid to late game. Exploring in Fortnite means building ramps or floors to reach places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Common examples of these would be building a ramp to reach a loot chest in an attic or building a bridge to move between two buildings. Wood should always be used for exploring because it does not need to withstand enemy fire.

Building fast cover, which is one of the most important skills in Fortnite, can be used defensively and offensively. If you are out in the open and an enemy begins firing at you, quickly build walls and ramps for cover (Wood should also always be used for this). Something important to note is that although wood panels have a 5 second build time, during the build time there is a blue indicator for the panel that will immediately obstruct your enemy’s vision. This obstruction of vision is often more important than the finished panel itself, as you will have moved to a new location before the five second build time is over.

Ramps can be used either offensively or defensively. Building a ramp to run into the second floor of a building can often save your life as well as preserve precious materials because you will not have to build more panels to use for cover. Ramps are often used as an offensive tool as well. If you are moving out in the open and encounter an enemy, quickly build a ramp. Moving to the top of the ramp allows you to peek over with your medium to long range weapons and take cover when needed.

A slightly more advanced form of building is combining multiple panels to form structures. There are many different sizes of structures players use. The most basic structure is known as a 1×1 structure. This is made by building 4 walls with a roof or ramp panel in the center. Most often used when out in the open, this structure provides 360-degree protection, with the roof or ramp panel allowing the player to peek over the sides. The 1×1 structure is the most basic of examples and there are many more advanced patterns that can be found online. These more advanced structures are primarily used in the mid and late game, where players build extremely high towers in the ever-important battle for high ground.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Early Game

Fortnite glider

Fortnite has three different phases, early, mid, and late game. The early game is generally viewed as the time from when you first drop into the map until after the first storm circle closes. Knowing where to drop is the most important part of the early game. The named areas of the map have better loot and thus attract more players. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to avoid these areas and drop on a hilltop somewhere in a remote area that is away from the path of the bus. This way you can avoid firefights and practice building until you have a few games under your belt.

When you are ready to land in the more populated areas and go for better loot, it is important to start memorizing where the loot chests are. Chests are often in the attics of buildings, which can be found by listening for their shimmering sound effect. If you drop into an area with buildings at the start of the game, you should always land on the roof and break through with your pickaxe in hopes of finding a chest. If you are lucky, you may get a good weapon at the start and get an easy kill on another player who has not yet had a chance to loot anything. You can also reach attics in other houses by destroying ceilings and building a ramp. However, you must be careful to not destroy the ceiling the crate is resting on, or the crate will be destroyed as well. If you loot a chest with a shield potion right after landing and hear another player, consume the shield potion as fast as possible before engaging. The extra health will give you a considerable advantage. Most important in the early game, but important throughout all stages, is to always be active. You should always be looking for loot, planning your most efficient path, and checking around for enemies, never move around without purpose or using materials when unnecessary.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Mid Game

 

After the first circle closes, we head into the mid-game. In the mid-game any remaining players will probably have a decent inventory of weapons and shields, so be ready for a fight. It’s important to have a balanced inventory at this point. A balanced inventory consists of a shotgun for short range, an assault rifle for medium range, and a sniper rifle or assault rifle with a scope for long range, as well as some consumables.

It is also important for the mid and late game to play around the enclosing storm properly. If you are in between the safe zone (The safe zone being the center circle) and the enclosing storm, you can use the storm as protection from behind. Try to move towards the safe zone as the storm closes in. However, it is possible that some players in the storm will fire upon you, so don’t treat the storm as complete protection. If you are already in the safe zone as the circle starts to close, take or build some cover and try to pick off any players moving in. These players will be caught between having to stop and return fire, risking damage from the storm, or continuing to run and being unable to fight back. This advantage should most often net you an easy kill. Also, be sure to farm some stone and metal when the coast is clear, as you will need these materials for your fort in the late game.

The Fortnite Beginner’s Guide to The Late Game

Fortnite female character

If you have made it to this point, then congratulations! Late game is the most adrenaline pumping phase of the game and begins when there are roughly 10-15 players remaining. If you are outside the safe zone, you should focus on getting as close to the center as possible. This is important because in the late game you will need to build your final fort, and you do not want to construct it somewhere that will end up in the storm before the game ends. Constructed with stone or better yet, metal, your fort should be three to five stories high. Three stories are the minimum and should be made if you are low on materials (Be sure to keep some materials in reserve so that you can rebuild destroyed panels). If you have a healthy amount of materials, then a five-story fort is ideal. A five-story fort will usually give you the high ground advantage while allowing you to hear the footsteps of enemy players on the ground. Since every player should have a sniper rifle or long-range weapon at this point, whoever controls the high ground has the advantage.

Once you have your final fort constructed, try to get a feel for where the remaining players are. As a new player going for the win, it’s best to let other players fight it out and eliminate each other. If you see two other players in a firefight, wait for one to take out the other before engaging. The winning player will most likely be low on health and an easier target. Keep moving and avoid peeking from the same spot or moving in patterns, keep your movements random to avoid becoming predictable. The late game is especially nerve-racking so keep your cool, focus, and wait for your opponent to make a mistake and you will be in a good position to take home the win.

Fortnite Victory Royale!

On the surface, Fortnite looks like a simple game but as you can see, there is more than meets the eye. Fortnite has many other features and advanced strategies not mentioned in this guide. Gaining confidence as you progress and learning more about the game is half the fun. As you play, try to remember in each game what worked and what didn’t. Learn from your mistakes, follow our guide, and with some beginner’s luck, you will surely be on your way to your first Fortnite Victory Royale.

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

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Board games are going through a renaissance right now. It may appear to the casual observer that hobbyist games are a new phenomenon, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Talented designers have been designing and publishing games that can stand up to some of the best the modern board gaming world has to offer for decades.

Unfortunately, many of those games fell by the wayside because of circumstances that were beyond their control. Some games were designed in such a way that they needed technology that didn’t exist yet to really help them shine. Other games had a kernel of greatness that was hidden under a pile of cliché mechanics that were considered “required” in order to be commercially viable in their day. Others were great games that served a small niche and needed the expanded reach of this internet to help them thrive.

Restoration Games was founded to help find those lost marvels and give them a new life thanks to inspired game design principles, modern technology, and advanced production techniques. Every game deserves another turn and the team at Restoration Games is dedicated to finding the best ones and giving them another go.

Restoration Games has four games under their belt right now. Three of them are available through online retailers and friendly local game stores (FLGS for short) right now. The fourth will be coming to Kickstarter later on this year.

Stop Thief!

Buy it now!

Stop Thief! Was original published in 1979 and was one of the first board games to employ the hidden movement mechanic. The game relied on a battery operated radio that played sounds to help players figure out where their targets were on the game board using audio clues.

That clunky battery operated device has been replaced by a free mobile app that not only helps clean up the original experience, but it offers an easy opportunity for the designers to expand on the game in the future should they choose to do so.

Downforce

Buy it now!

Downforce has been published before under many names like Top Race, Daytona 500, and Cleveland Grand Prix. It was originally designed nearly forty years ago by Wolfgang Kramer.

It’s a card-based racing game that has been very well received by other reviewers so far. We can’t wait to get our hands on it soon.

Indulgence

Buy it now!

Indulgence has had quite the journey since it was originally published as Coup d’Etat back in 1966. It had a brief pitstop in 1982 to be republished as Dragonmaster. It’s a trick-taking card game where players can either follow the leader’s rules of taking the risk of undermining them for a bigger reward.

This is another game that has been well received so far. It feels like the depth of strategy will be a little bit beyond our target age range, but I absolutely love the art style.

Fireball Island

The internet erupted when this was announced as part of the Dice Tower panel at GenCon 50 earlier this summer. Fireball Island is a well-loved game from the 80s that definitely could stand to be given some love.

The primary feature of the original game was its massive game board. In truth, it was less of a board than it was a vacuum molded plastic island that you could play a game on. The centerpiece was a massive volcano that would spew red marbles that would roll down paths and knock over player’s game pieces. It was an interesting gimmick, and it certainly got the attention of lots of kids back when it was first released. But, I am excited to see how the team at Restoration Games will improve upon it.

 

Restoration Games even takes suggestions! Head on over to their website and you’ll get the chance to tell them what game you’d like them to tackle next!

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Nintendo may as well have set the internet on fire overnight with the news that came out of their quarterly earnings call. They revealed a wealth of information that sowed more than a little bit of chaos onto the web this morning.

I woke up to a press release with all of the news this morning. Take a look below for snippets of the press release as well as my thoughts and feelings.

 

Miitomo

Nintendo’s first app for smartphones and tablets has already crossed 10 million unique users worldwide. The free-to-start social experience app launched in Japan on March 17 and in a variety of other countries, including the United States, on March 31. In the United States, Miitomo reached #1 free app status in its various online stores shortly after release. Along with these outstanding user numbers, Nintendo also has, to date, sparked more than 300 million conversations in Miitomo. In addition, users can insert their Mii characters into photos to create unique “Miifotos” that can be shared through various social media. As of now, more than 20 million Miifotos have been created. To celebrate Miitomo hitting 10 million users, Nintendo will run a special 10-day “Celebrating 10 Million Users!” promotion April 29-May 8.”

Miitomo has been very successful so far considering that it has already reached 10 million users with less than six weeks on the global marketplace. The fact that it has 300 million conversations started within that same period of time is equally impressive.

The question still remains, however, whether or not there will be any staying power for the app. It could fall off of a cliff completely at some point. The good news for Nintendo is that probably doesn’t matter. It has already been an amazing trojan horse that has helped get a large number of people signed up for My Nintendo accounts and to get their emails into the system so Nintendo can market their other mobile titles to them.

Speaking of which…

Nintendo’s Next Mobile Apps

“Building on the positive consumer reaction to Miitomo, Nintendo announced that its next two mobile apps would be based on the familiar and beloved Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing franchises. Nintendo plans to release both of these applications this fall. As for the former app, while making it more accessible in comparison to the Fire Emblem games for Nintendo’s dedicated gaming systems, Nintendo aims to offer the great value of a role-playing strategy game. Nintendo will design the latter game so that it will be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems. By playing both Animal Crossing games, users will find increased enjoyment. Both of these are pure game applications. Compared to Miitomo, they have more prominent game elements, and the game content will tie closely into Nintendo’s dedicated games business. Nintendo will provide more details about these applications closer to their launch period, and aims to have multiple types of apps that appeal to different audiences and different groups of players.”

The next two Nintendo mobile games will be based on Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing. These are both amazing properties that have a lot of potential as mobile games.

There are already a HUGE number of strategy RPGs on mobile devices as that style of combat is perfect on a touch screen. The press release states that it will be more accessible that previous entries in the franchise, which honestly isn’t all that tough considering the challenge level of the series. Also, there are a number of ways they could go that arent necassarily a strict turn-based strategy game. They could easily create some sort of hero focused tower defense game or a base building game of some kind. Regardless… I can’t wait.

The Animal Crossing app is interesting as well. The press release states that it will be connected in some way to Animal Crossing games on dedicated gaming devices. The question just becomes… how? They could patch some sort of connectivity into New Leaf or Happy Home Designer. But, it could be a sign that a new game might be coming later this year. That could be pretty awesome! Only time will tell.

The Nintendo NX

Nintendo previously announced that it would release more information about its next system, code-named NX, this year. As the first announcement of any NX information, Nintendo confirmed that NX is scheduled to launch in March 2017. NX will not make an appearance at the upcoming E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles in June and will be unveiled later this year.”

I lost myself a bet here. I guaranteed that the NX would come out this year and made two bets with writers on other sites.

… And I lost those bets.

Honestly, though, this is not a bad idea at all. Pushing the NX out until 2017 gets it out of the way of any of the other upgraded consoles being rumored for 2016 and gives Nintendo more time to tighten the launch lineup.

The Legend of Zelda

The latest installment in this classic franchise is scheduled to launch simultaneously for both Wii U and NX, and both versions of the game have been in development in tandem. Because developers need more time to polish the game, it will launch in 2017, but it will be the focus of Nintendo’s presence at E3.”

Delaying the new Legend of Zelda game definitely stung some fans. But, the delay didn’t sting as much as the fact that it will be simultaneously released on both Wii U and the NX.

E3 Plans

Nintendo changes its approach to the show every year. This June, Nintendo will focus its attentions on the upcoming game in The Legend of Zelda franchise. The Wii U version of the game will be playable for the first time on the E3 show floor, and it will be the only playable game Nintendo presents at the show, in order to provide attendees a complete immersion. Additional information about Nintendo’s E3 plans will be announced in the future.”

E3 is coming up very soon and it is easily the noisiest period of the year.  Competition to “win” the event in the eyes of the gaming press and the fans is insane based on the number of games and pieces of hardware shown. Nintendo leaving all of their console news until after the event and leaving The Legend of Zelda to fend for itself is actually a pretty savvy move. People will be so excited to get their hands on the new game that it will definitely garner a lot of attention. They might not need anything else to dominate a lot of headlines and build interest. They can then follow up with a Nintendo Direct a month or two later with a bunch more game announcements and not even have to worry about the E3 noise.

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Fireside Games
1 – 6 Players
Ages 10+
60+ Minutes
COOPERATIVE

Surrounded by a lush and dangerous forest lies your keep.  A castle like no other (since it is yours) is the envy of all.  Especially the besieging armies of Goblins, Trolls and Orcs! Can your Archers, Knights and Swordsmen defend your keep from these warmongering monsters before they destroy it or before you panic?

There was a time when I had all the time in the world to play tabletop roleplaying games.  You know the type, the epic battles between orcs and elves, goblins and raging barbarians whilst sitting around the table drinking Mountain Dew.  Since becoming a parent, those days have been shortened to momentary spurts normally filled with searching for the dice a wandering toddler absconded with.

Board games like AFF[Talisman] or AFF[Mage Knight] fit the bill, but can take hours to play, losing most kids in the process. Of course, you can also check out games like Hero Kids and AFF[Adventure Maximus] but that might be a bit much for a quick game, especially if you don’t feel like being the ever-dreaded Dungeon Master. This is where AFF[Castle Panic!]* slots in!  All the adventure, none of the hassle!

AFF[Castle Panic!]sets up to 6 players in a realm where all sorts of fantasy creatures are attempting to breach their castle. Players then work together to defend the castle from being taken by an army of orcs and trolls and goblins and their leaders.

The board is composed of concentric circles split into three colors, red, green and blue, with 2 60 degree arcs per color, numbered 1-6.  Each ring represents a different type of defender, Archers, Knights and Swordsmen, the outermost ring is the forest (the home of monsters) and the center-most is the castle towers and it’s defensive walls.

What makes AFF[Castle Panic!]a bit different than your normal dungeon crawler is that all of the players represent any and all of the defenders. Each player has a hand of cards (4-6 based on number of players) which represent the varied warriors set to fortify the castle’s defenses. Players can then attack monsters with the cards that match the space the monster occupies.

A turn begins with drawing up to your maximum hand size, optionally discarding a card to draw a new card, and optionally trading 1 or 2 cards (depending on how many players).  After these hand manipulations, you can play as many cards as your hand allows.  Which could result in many monster deaths or injuries, building or fortifying walls or staring frustratedly at a bunch of soldiers you wish you could put in a nice new color of uniform.

As with most co-op games, it’s more complicated than that. At the end of each turn the monsters move closer to the castle in the hopes of breaching the walls and overtaking it.  And each turn the defenders must try to last the next onslaught of malicious beasts they draw without losing their castle.  Add to this mix giant boulders that destroy everything in their path and vicious plagues that infect the castle’s last hopes, and you have some interesting randomizing mechanics that mess with the normally predictable strategy.

It’s easy to strategize in AFF[Castle Panic!] because the linear movement is steady and foreseeable.. that is until you draw a “Move all monsters counter-clockwise” token or have a “boss” urge his minions forward. The good news is, each monster token you draw brings you closer to exhausting the pile, which brings you closer to surviving the siege.  The bad news is, you still have to survive until they are all gone to win.

The primary goal of the game is to outlast the onslaught, but subsequently, the main game calls for declaring a “Master Slayer”.  This title is bestowed on the player with the most points for tokens collected through monster kills, however; playing without this designation allows for fully cooperative play.  The rules feature several cool variations to change the difficulty of the game, which is always welcome in more straightforward games.

AFF[Castle Panic!] is a basic strategy game with some cool mechanics and twists that make it fun to play.  Being cooperative, with very little reading (most of the major cards can be identified by pictures and colors, and there aren’t many “special” cards), makes it a very good game to add to a family library.  Encouraging children to look turns ahead in order to predict what will happen is a great skill to build reasoning and to grasp logical progression.

Also, there is some simple math and calculation involved in the strategy, each hit does 1 damage, but the triangular shaped monster tokens can take up to 3 hits.  Engaging a younger child to turn the token to reflect damage can help solidify subtraction and number recognition skills. Allowing children to count up all of the points for “Master Slayer” at the end can reinforce grouping, higher levels of addition, and multiplication, as each monster type represents a different value.

For older children, being allowed to make decisions based scarcity, can be an invaluable exercise in resource management.  As well, the game being cooperative with a clear winner, allows for the ability to make more complex and weighted strategic plays, since kills only count if you manage to live to count them.

AFF[Castle Panic!] is a great game to play together as a family. While it might not be the adventures of yore that you long for, it will keep your eight year old busy long enough for you to get a goblin-slaying-dice-fix.

*Gazebos not included.

Love cooperative games?  Check out our other reviews here!

 

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This year at the NY Toy Fair there will be a lot to see. Manufacturers showing off the newest innovations in toys and games… We’re excited to see what they have to show us, and one of our favorite publishers, Gamewright, has given a sneak peek!


Check out the new cover art!
Turns out in addition to the publication of Farm Fresh Games’ Super Tooth which we announced earlier, there are some other amazing things coming our way.

First off, Sleeping Queens will be getting a brand new 10th Anniversary Edition! This new edition will come in a tin (like Sushi Go!) and will be complete with never-before-seen queens and kings and exclusive stickers! So, if you are like me and your child has managed to bend every card as the Rose Queen and the Star Queen talk over an imaginary picnic lunch, this is a great way to upgrade.

Rory’s Story Cubes is getting another release of it’s popular Mix expansions which were released around Christmas. So, as you roll your story, you can search your house for clues, or take a stegosaurus on a boat, or have Batman meet his fairy godmother! I’m pretty excited to check out Enchantment, Clues and Prehistoria for myself!

To give you a background, Gamewright is known for its commitment to surprisingly fun family games. We don’t have to suffer through Candy Land and Cootie for the 10,000 time. They take concepts that are fun for children and they mix them with strategy and gameplay that even boring, old adults can be entertained by. So, needless to say, while we’re excited about the games we’ve played before getting some new life, we’re REALLY excited about the new games they have coming out!

Sneaky Cards - Play it Forward
Have you ever thought about doing something silly, like taking a picture with someone you’ve never met, or dancing where EVERYONE can see? Well, Sneaky Cards – Play it forward, is a game that lets you do just that. It’s a scavenger hunt where you pass an activity on to the next person… playing it forward. It’s a very interesting concept game where every move is a social experiment!

Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Game
So, one thing we know Gamewright excels at is cooperative games, with titles like Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Island it’s almost a given that we’d be interested in Outfoxed! Outfoxed! is a cooperative game for players ages 5+ where the players are… chickens. Chickens chasing clues to catch a fox that has absconded with a prized pot pie (let’s hope it’s vegan), what family can resist working together to solve such a heinous crime? I know mine can’t!

Go Nuts! The Completely Cracked-Up Dice Game
The only thing that can follow a game full of poultry intrigue, is one about squirrels. Go Nuts! is a dice game where you want to collect as many nuts as you can, while dodging cars, and before your opponents can send the dogs after you! It almost sounds like Zombie Dice for fans of the fluffier game protagonists.

Flashlights & Fireflies - A Game of Shine and Seek
We don’t know too much about Flashlights and Fireflies. According to Gamewright: “Get ready for a backyard dash-through-the-dark in this game of firefly-powered flashlight freeze tag! First, catch fireflies to power up your flashlight. Then shine it on other players before they sneak back to home base. All along, watch out for bats, raccoons, and other nighttime critters that are out to trip up your tracks. Be the first to reach home and you’ve outshined the competition!” I would guess that it is a board game, but I’m not sure – I guess we’ll need to find out once we see it!

Dragonwood - A Game of Dice and Daring
Now here is where I get really excited. Dragonwood is a game that promises to be reminiscent of all of my fantasy-based tabletop roleplaying games. Building a hand of adventurers while fighting goblins and orcs and dragons (Oh my!) with a constantly changing strategy? This game could be amazing! And knowing Gamewright‘s dedication to making games that encourage the whole family to play, I have to say I’m excited to play a roleplaying-like game and to NOT have to be the Dungeon Master!

So, that’s Gamewright‘s line-up for 2015! I’m looking forward to most of these titles from what I’ve learned so far, I can’t wait to get a chance to actually play!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Overall Review

Angry Birds Transformers is a great fusion of the Angry Birds franchise and the golden era of Transformers. It also makes an awesome run and gun game. The game play is very different from the other Angry Birds games in the series and that is a good thing. You control a bizarre Angry Birds themed Transformer as you run at a set pace and tap on the screen to target the standard blocks in the background. The goal is to hit the delicately balanced towers in just the right spot so they will collapse and explode under the pigs.

When I first saw my youngest son play Angry he was excited and yelling at all the action on the iPad and I scratched my head at the unique game play, there is a lot going on with this game. Your robot runs left to right with his blaster gun flashing away trying to topple the familiar block formations. All the while piggies fire back and statues fall while friendly robots drop in to help and blow everything up. Of course as it is a Transformers game you get to transform and roll out past the dangers of the stage.

Family Gaming Assessment

This game is exciting enough that parents won’t mind playing this with their kids. The cartoonish violence is turned up a few notches here as all of the Transformers  are using energy blasters all of the time. If you don’t allow your children to play with toy guns or experience gun violence in your games then you will have to pass on this game. Lasers aside the action is not graphic and nothing even really gets visibly wrecked other than the blocks.

Of all the Angry Birds games this was the only one my son and I worked out a way to play together. After I got a few levels under my belt and called my son over and at first he was cheering me on then he jumped in and then we were both tapping the screen. With no real communication other than just cheering at the excitement we worked out a pretty good team and a lot of robot pigs were brought to justice

Play-ability Assessment

The controls are easy to use and only take a few games to get the hang of. Once you have the basics together none of the levels will be too hard if you can use your powers correctly.

This game may get too difficult for the kindergarten and under crowd very quickly, so keep an eye out for frustrated children.

Conclusion

A stylish and gorgeous mash up of Angry Birds and original Transformers needs to be experienced no doubt. This game is fun and everything I need out of a mobile game short levels simple gameplay.

Angry Birds Transformers is free to download and as far as I’m concerned it deserves a spot on the family tablet. I give it a full recommendation.

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