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Avalon Hill has announced the newest Betrayal at House on the Hill game and this time its going to be one for the family. to play together!

I know. I know. I had to look at it twice, too.

Scooby Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is a kid friendly board game based on the award-winning Betrayal at House on the Hill board game. It includes twenty five all new haunts based on fan favorite episodes and movies.

Players each play as a member of the Mystery, Inc team as they explore a spooky mansion looking for clues and searching for a monster. The real action stats once you find enough clues to understand what’s going on. Once that happens one of the players switches sides and plays the roll of the “Monster” during the Haunt Phase.

I love that adaptation. Hidden traitor mechanics are problematic for kids because they aren’t very good at bluffing very often and it isn’t a great idea to teach them how to get better at it. The Scooby Doo version of Betrayal side steps all that by telegraphing the start of the haunt and having someone switch roles midway through the game as opposed to hiding it the whole time.

It will be available on May 15th in North America and we can’t wait to play it.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to it? 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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CMON and Spin Master Games are currently are currently using Kickstarter to fund and generate hype for an adorable cooperative card game set in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel United is a 2-4 player fully cooperative game designed by Eric M. Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio where players each choose a marvel superhero and work together to thwart a villains master plan. The base game was set to include five heroes (Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow), but the stretch goals that have been met through crowdfunding have added thirty one additional heroes and seven new villains to the base game.

The stretch goals have also unlocked six additional expansions that can be purchases add-ons. Each of them includes thematically appropriate heroes and villains as well as new gameplay scenarios. They are:

  • Tales of Asgard
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Remix
  • Rise of the Black Panther
  • Enter the Spider-Verse
  • The Infinity Gauntlet

How Do You Play?

This is a great how to play video that explains provides an overview of gameplay.

Our Thoughts

We haven’t seen this game in action yet outside of some videos and previews around the web, but Eric Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio are talented game designers. Eric in particular has never let us down before.

It is also hard to argue with the aesthetic for families. The Chibi art style looks great when applied to Marvel heroes and villains.

The giant stack of heroes that have been added to the original five is also a great boon. A base purchase of $60 plus shipping gives you more than 30 heroes to choose from. If you elect to go “all in” at $190, then the number almost doubles.

Another advantage to backing this campaign is that there is, quit literally, no risk. CMON has a great track record of delivering Kickstarter projects on time and with gusto. You can back this without hesitation if it sounds interesting to you!

What do you think? Are you backing this one? 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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The OP has announced another family friendly board game set in the Harry Potter Universe – Harry Potter: House Cup Competition.

It will be the first worker placement game set in the Wizarding World. Players will “act as iconic members of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin to earn the most points and win the coveted House Cup.” This is a theme that I never saw coming, but really is perfect for a worker placement game.

Each player will have three students to use as their “workers.” They will have their students attend classes like Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts and complete in thematic challenges that can earn points for their house!

People have grown VERY attached to the different houses in the Harry Potter universe in the years since the series started. I think giving people a game where they can choose to represent “their” house is a great tactic. I have a feeling that Gryffindor will be HOTLY contested in my house. I’m curious how the designers implemented the houses. I think it would be interesting to see the theme of each house represented by a unique player power.

Harry Potter: House Cup Competition Box Art
Harry Potter: House Cup Competition Box Art

Harry Potter: House Cup Competition is going to be available this summer for a retail price of $49.99.

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

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Poison brewing? Stubborn donkey pushing? Table flipping? Let the Orclympics begin!

Brain Games

Get ready for a menagerie of different creatures battling head to head to win Orc-lympics events. Orc-lympics is a card game were you are drafting your team of Orclympians to compete in various events. You then need to manage the roster as your Orclympians compete. The game is for two to five players ages eight and up and plays in 10 to 20 minutes.

Components

  • 12 event cards
  • 42 Orc-lympics cards: Humans, Goblins, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Halflings, and Djinns
  • Gold and silver trophies

Gameplay

Orc-lympics plays in three phases: Reveal Competitions, Build Team, Compete.

Reveal Competitions

At the beginning of the game, to reveal the competitions, player set up the deck by shuffling the 12 event cards. There are three main event cards as well, which are set aside initially. Players deal the 12 event cards face up and six face down into two parallel rows. The face up cards have different scores and an illustration of the competition. Players sort cards least to greatest. The Main Event cards is randomly selected at the end, and is worth 7 points. The remaining 6 event cards which are face down are worth two points each. A main event card is placed at the end face down and is worth four points.

Build Team

To build teams, shuffle the 42 Orc-lympians cards and eight cards, and deal to each player. Players then draft their cards. To do this each player selects one card from their hand simultaneously and places it face down on the table in front of them. Players then take the remaining cards and pass them to the player on their left. Players continue to pick and pass cards until all eight cards have been selected. Next, players edit their team. They must limit their team of players to any three races, discarding any cards exceeded that criteria.

On each Orclympian card there are scores for three attributes; Speed, Cunning, and Strength. These scores are essential for competing in the competitions.

Compete

To Compete, players go around and can play any number of cards. However, the attribute listed on their Orclympian myst be one or greater in the skill of the competition. When a player becomes the highest scoring player they take the gold trophy,and second place player takes silver. Play may continue to go around with players adding cards if they wish, though one a player passes they can not add more players to the competition. Once all players have passed for that competition, it ends.
The player in first place takes the face up competition card and earns the points listed. The second place player takes the face down competition card under it and earns two points for regular competitions and four points for the main event. For the first and second place they also discard a cards used in the competition. The remaining players may take one card back and must discard the rest. Play continues until all seven competitions conculde. Each player is not required to compete in each competition.

Is this a Family Game?

Orc-lympics is a great gateway to more complex game mechanics. It incorporates drafting and resource management in a simple and accessible way. Players draft their “Orclympians,” edit their teams, and manage their players. It is nearly impossible to compete in every event so players need to prioritize how they will utilize their competitors to try and earn the most points.

There is quite a bit if strategy both with drafting and managing the resources of the Orc-lympians. There are several different layers of strategy, so you’ll need to coach younger players. Our youngest player was six years old and he needed a lot of support. He has learned some of the strategy needed after several games, but still benefits from coaching to keep the frustration at bay. With that said, the recommendation of age eight and up seems a good fit.

Final Thoughts

The Orc-lympic theme is light hearted and ties nicely into sports competitions and creating teams. As a stepping stone into card drafting and light resource management Orc-lympics is a good fit. At first glance the game seems complicated, but the steps are easy to understand and the game plays quickly so different strategies can be tried in rapid succession.


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 and Amanda come together to chat about all sorts of board games!

Magic: the Gathering War of the Spark

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition – Curse of Strahd

Vast: The Crystal Caverns

Beyond Nexus

This podcast was produced in partnership with SuperParent.com!


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

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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This week Stephen and Linda talk about great board games that come in small packages… for some reason… in case you wanted to put a board game somewhere small. 

For some reason. 

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 and Amanda share their thoughts on competitive play in games like Magic The Gathering, Warhammer 40K, and others.

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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Hello and Welcome to Engaged Family Gaming!

My name is Stephen Duetzmann and I am the Editor in Chief. It has been a long time coming, and I could not be happier to have a chance to present all of this great content to you.

This whole idea started with an argument on Facebook a number of years ago. I was struggling to find my own unique voice as a freelance video game journalist. It is so easy in this industry to fall into the habit of being dude # 15 million rushing to cover the new Call of Duty announcement. Instead, I decided that if I was going to make a run at this whole “video game writing thing” I was going to try and add something new to the conversation.

We live in a unique time for video games, you see. The medium is still in its infancy as an artform, and it is constantly under attack from people who don’t understand it. These attacks have led to millions of dollars being spent on research regarding the impact of violent video games on our children only to find nothing conclusive. The airwaves and the web are filled every day with vitriol focused on video games and needlessly blaming them for society’s ills. It is no wonder that parents are often conflicted on the issue. The purpose of this website is to help correct that problem.

We’re going to do three things here.

  1. We are going to work hard to dispel some of the myths being spread around the web about video games and what they are.
  2. We are going to work even harder to provide parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions in their children’s gaming.
  3. We are going to help parents who might not be “gamers” themselves learn to understand the games their children are playing. (Because we bet that they will not only be better parents because of it, but they might even have a little fun too.)

This is a pretty tall order, but the staff here at Engaged Family Gaming is up to the task.

I encourage you to bookmark us, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and come back often to see what we have in store!

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This week Stephen, Amanda, and Linda talk about New York Toy Fair 2019!

They talked about Amanda’s impressions of the show, Talisman: Kingdom Hearts, Hasbro, and all sorts of news from the show!

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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Card battling games have been a popular genre for decades (arguably as long as playing cards have existed). We have seen countless variations on similar themes. A handful of those variations succeed and others have fallen short. Alliance The Card Game is one of the few that rise above the rest.




When I first started writing reviews I was taught to frame my review as a comparison of execution vs. expectations. This way I would avoid comparing a game to others in the genre. In essence, I am looking to compare the game to an idealized version of itself. (Please forgive the navel-gazing. I promise I’m getting to the point.) Alliance the Card game succeeds because it does exactly what it promises that it should do. It is a straight forward card game that is easy to set up and tear down. It is also, most importantly, a game that is so simple to learn that young kids can take it out and teach each other to play with no outside intervention.

That last point is super critical for me. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have been pulled away from another game, or from another activity to have to walk my younger kids through games or to help them teach their friends how to play. Alliance solves for that problem by being simple enough to be taught by a kindergartener.

This ease of use doesn’t come at the expense of quality either. Players are treated to an interesting battle game with some strategic decisions to be made. The cards feature amazing art in a new, but familiar, sword and sorcery setting.

It is worth mentioning that this Kickstarter is for a Starter Kit that will only feature two armies. The intention is to design and sell more cards and card sets is expansions that will help deepen the strategy of the game.

Alliance The Card Game plays with two players ages 6+. Each player plays with a 35 card deck that includes a Leader, generals, and various warriors. Play begins by placing the leaders in their respective places on the game board. Players then take turns taking cards from the top of their deck and placing them in one of five spaces towards the center of the board.

The real action takes place once the front rows of each side of the board have been filled. Players take turns activating two of their five active creatures to attack creatures on the other side of the board. Activation is straight forward; you choose a character and then roll a metal die. If the number that comes up matches an attack number on the card, then damage is dealt to the target.

When cards are defeated they are moved to the slain pile. Each player can only replace one card per turn so the goal is to put the pressure on and get ahead. Once all five spaces have been cleared you have a chance to attack the enemy leader.

Conclusion

If you back Alliance the Card Game at $39 on Kickstarter, then you will get the base game. There is a $44 pledge level that includes the designer’s autograph.

If you and your family are looking for a straight forward card battling game set in a sword and sorcery setting, then I think this will be a great addition to your collection.


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