BOARD GAMES – 17 Great Family Board Games, Worth Owning, You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
Not all board games are for kids. Nor are they all for adults or for families. The problem is, if you know anything about board games, you’d know there’s hundreds of thousands to choose from. More than you see in major chain stores.
This make finding the right kind of game for the right group of players, difficult.
I’m assuming she also thought I’d give suggestions beyond the kind of games you’d find at Target or Toys R Us. To this end, I made a list of the funnest, neatest games you can play as a family and include a six year old.
Except, perhaps, for the first three games on this list, you’d probably never heard of these games before. They’re all worth playing and owning.
Below each name I’ve included a board game review, by some board game nerds, so you can see what the games are like. I’ve also included the type of game category this might fall under in brackets. Also, the name and picture of each game is an affiliate link to amazon if you’re interested in getting it and would like to support me as well. Thanks.
This list is not in any particular order. I wrote them down, mostly as they came to me.
These games run the gamut of categories, from “dexterity games,” “dice games.” “worker placement,” to even “storytelling games.”
If you’re family isn’t into competing against each other Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are cooperative games and so is Mice and Mystics. This means everyone versus the game.
This is a cooperative, fixed-deck card game with a comic book flavor. Each player plays as one of ten heroes, against one of four villains, and the battle takes place in one of four different dynamic environments.
Each player, after selecting one of the heroes, plays a deck of 40 cards against the villain and environment decks, which “play themselves”, requiring the players to put the top card of the appropriate deck into play on the villain and environment turns.
On each player’s turn, they may play a card from their hand, use a power printed on one of their cards in play, and draw a card from their deck. Each round starts with the villain turn, continues clockwise around the table, then concludes with the environment turn.
Each villain has various advantages, such as starting with certain cards in play, as specified by the villain character card.
Play continues until the heroes reduce the villain to 0 or fewer Hit Points (HP), or until the villain defeats the heroes, either via a win condition or by reducing all the heroes to 0 or fewer HP.
Why it’s fun:
This game makes you feel like you’re in a battle with an evil super powered mastermind. You and you’re friends desperately work together to get the cards you need to draw to defeat the bad guy.
It can get tough depending on the mastermind you’re fighting, the heroes you’re playing, and the number of players.
Each hero plays different and brings something unique to the game. There’s a hero archetype for everyone, especially if you get the expansions.
Each villain feels different and they all have their own unique winning conditions you have to avoid. This combined with how the environments effect the game turn by turn gives this game plenty of replay value and bang for your buck.
Lot’s of theme here. Very fun.
There’s even a paid App for iOS and Android, where you can play it solo. It does a great job of simulating the tabletop experience minus the friends.
The game can get a bit long. You need to set aside some time to play this.
Sometimes the random draw of the cards don’t let you do much.
Also, the game can be fiddly. By which I mean, some turns, have many conditions to keep track of. Bad guys do stuff, environments do stuff, there are modifiers and health tokens to take into account.
Lot’s of upkeep.
Fortunately, there a paid App, called Sentinels of the Muliverse: Sidekick for iOS and Android, that helps out with all of this. But the fact that they had to make it at all, says something.
This game is set in the Marvel Comics universe. To set up the game, players choose a number of hero decks – Spider-Man, Hulk, Cyclops, Wolverine, etc. – and shuffle them together; since players use only a handful of hero decks out of the fifteen included, the hero deck can vary widely in terms of what’s available.
Players then choose a mastermind villain (Magneto, Loki, Dr. Doom, etc.), stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it, then modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme.
Over the course of the game, players will recruit powerful hero cards to add to their deck in order to build a stronger and more resourceful deck.
Players need to build both their recruitment powers (to enlist more heroes) and their fighting ability (to combat the villains who keep popping up to cause trouble). Players recruit heroes from an array of six cards, with empty slots refilled as needed.
At the start of a player’s turn, he reveals a villain and adds it to the row of villains. This row has a limited number of spaces, and if it fills up, the earliest villain to arrive escapes, possibly punishing the heroes in some way. Some villains also take an action when showing up for the first time, such as kidnapping an innocent bystander. The villain deck also contains “master strike” cards, and whenever one of these shows up, the mastermind villain (controlled by the game) takes a bonus action.
As players fight and defeat villains, they collect those cards, which will be worth points at game’s end. Players can also fight the mastermind; if a player has enough fighting power, he claims one of the attack cards beneath the mastermind, which has a particular effect on the game.
If all of these cards are claimed, the game ends and players tally their points to see who wins. If the mastermind completes his scheme, however – having a certain number of villains escape, for example, or imposing a certain number of wounds on the heroes – then the players all lose.
Why it’s fun:
Similar to Sentinels, this game is full of theme. But it plays very different than Sentinels.
If you love the Marvel universe, this it he game for you. This really makes you feel like a team of Marvel heroes fighting the bad guys.
Once you’re done playing, it really feels like you’ve been through an adventure.
The gameplay is simple and turns go by quick.
There’s a ton of expansions. There’s a ton of game here. You can play with characters from just about every corner of the Marvel Universe. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy (there’s an expansion with them).
The characters you play with are thematic and fun. And the villains you “fight” are as well.
It’s really fun. A must have for Marvel fans.
This game takes a while to set up and clean up. Lot’s of card sorting.
It’s also a very long game, so you will need to set aside plenty of time to play it.
I have a hard time getting this game to the table for those two reasons. I think if I got this game to table more often, it might be higher on the list.
To start the game, each player chooses one of the seven over-sized hero cards, each of which has a special power, and starts with a deck of ten cards.
Each turn, a player starts with a hand of five cards and can acquire or conquer the five types of cards in the game: heroes, villains and super-villains, equipment, super powers, and locations.
To defeat villains, you’ll need to have power – but when a super-villain is defeated, a new one comes into play, attacking all the heroes while doing so. Make sure you’ve acquired defenses – like superspeed or bulletproof powers, or The Batsuit equipment – to protect yourself from harm.
Craft your hero deck into a well-oiled machine to take on the most vile villains in the DC Universe in your quest for Victory (Points)!
Why it’s fun
Personally, I like this game more the Marvel game above. I tend to like the DC universe a bit more anyway, but the truth is, this game gets much more play time than the Marvel game. Why?
It’s simple to learn, simple to set up and the game is done in about 45 minutes. Each superhero you play gives you a special advantage that feels like the hero.
The cards are thematic. It’s cool to see the DC universe villains, locations, equipment and Heroes pop up as the game plays.
The game is a lot of fun, full of tactics and strategy. There’s a lot of expansions, including one where everyone plays cooperatively to beat a bunch of bad guys.
In other words, there now two way to play this game, not just one.
I really like this game. If you’re a fan of DC, get this game.
Biggest drawback this game has is it’s not nearly as thematic as the Marvel game. It’s a deck building game with the DC license on it.
When you play the game, you’re competing with the players around the table for victory points. This seems odd since you’re all playing as superheroes. When you defeat bad guys, they become part of your deck which means you use them and sometimes they attack players around the table. This also doesn’t seem to make sense.
Also, all the equipment and power cards are accessible to everyone, including the Batmobiles and super strength. If you’re playing as Flash, this wouldn’t make sense.
You end up having to invent the reasons this would make sense. Like maybe it just means that Batman or Superman made an appearance that turn and used those things. And when you attack others with a villain, it’s just the villain showing up and causing havoc in their lives.
See, you may need to do that to justify the way the game works. I personally don’t mind and don’t really think about it that hard.
However, as I said above, there is an expansion that makes the game fully cooperative and makes it very thematic. Problem is that it doubles the playtime to two hours rather than just 45 minutes and it can sometimes get tedious.
This is a collectible dice-building tabletop game.
In this game, each player fields one of their own custom made superhero teams, with each hero being represented by custom-tooled dice; each team must be composed of 15 dice, and a player can “purchase” dice only from his team.
Each hero also has one or more character reference cards, which show the special abilities for the characters based on the die rolls.
Different versions of these cards will be available in booster packs, allowing for more customization of your team. Players use these dice to collect energy, recruit new heroes, and battle head-to-head.
In addition, each player brings two basic action cards to the game, which are placed in the center of the table; both players can purchase dice from these cards.
A player wins once the opposing player has been reduced to zero life.
Why it’s fun
Oh boy, is this game fun! You get to build a team of superheroes, villains or both, and then you go head to head with an opponent. It’s a lot like a game of Magic the Gathering. Or if you’re not familiar with that, a game of Hearthstone. Only that, instead of cards you’re using and rolling dice.
Each die has a different powers, and faces. They do different things and it just feels right. The powers are thematic and they feel like the characters they represent.
There’s a ton of variety in the game and the way it’s played.
As of the time of this writing, only Marvel characters are playable, but DC is on the way, so are Yu-Gi-Oh! and Dungeons and Dragons.
Did I mention that it’s an inexpensive game? The starter set is $15.00 and the booster packs are only ONE DOLLAR each! There’s something exciting about opening each pack.
The games are short too. It’s so fun. I highly recommend this.
The game is collectible and it’s tough to find the first starter sets. Although the second one is easier to find.
The fact that it’s collectible means you’ll be spending your dollars only to end up getting stuff you already have. Although it’s not a total loss if you needed more copies of the die that comes with it.
Also, if you’ve never played a game like this before, you might have a hard time understanding how to play the game.
Based on the popular Mage Knights system, but utilizing super hero characters from the Marvel and DC Comics Universe.
The game plays much like a miniatures game, but without the measure-and-move system or the constant consultation of hit charts. Rather, most of the vital statistical information is directly on the base of the characters, which can be rotated as characters take damage from hits.
Players construct teams of comic book heroes, villains, and engage in a turn-by-turn battle on grid maps based on various storyline locations.
Since we’re talking super heroes here, each character has special abilities and powers, which give the game its ‘comic’ book feel.
Why it’s fun
For years I’ve been seeing Heroclix sold in comic book stores. I’ve ignored the game. Mostly because the figures looked kinda ugly.
The technology has changed. Figures now look great.
I decided, after playing all the games above and feeling like, there ought to be a game out there that really feels like you’re fighting with superheroes, that I’d give Heroclix a try.
The other games above come close but, there was something missing. I’m happy to say that what was missing, Heroclix has.
THIS is the ultimate superhero game. You want to play a game that really makes you feel like your playing with super powered characters from your favorite comics, this is the game to play.
Want to see who would win, Superman or the Hulk, Flash vs. Quicksilver, Batman vs. Captain America? Play the battle out with a friend.
Want to recreate a battle from you’re favorite comic story? You can do it with these.
Want to have the Legion of Superheroes go up against the Justice League? You can.
This game gives you rules you can use to play with neat little superhero toys and it’s awesome. I mean, why have a bunch of superhero toys that just sit there on the desk when you can actually play with them. Now you have an excuse.
You put out a big map on the table that looks cool, and you play with figures of you’re favorite superheroes. All of them have powers and abilities that make them feel like who they are. It’s so fun.
You can even go online, find and purchase the characters you want. The game has been around so long, you can buy figures in bulk for cheap.
But opening packs to see what you get randomly might lead you to discovering new comic characters and story lines you didn’t know about.
I’ve bought a few comics because of my Heroclix.
If you like superheroes, THIS is the ultimate superhero game. A must have.
The game is very difficult to get into. There’s a LOT to this game. It can be overwhelming at first. I took baby steps getting into the game. I watched a lot of how to play videos too.
It took a while before I felt comfortable with the game.
Although once you do, it’s so worth it.
The game is collectible. And most of the characters can only be bought in blind packs. This means that some of the characters you really want, you might not get.
However, they may be available online, but they might be really expensive to buy because of their rarity.
This is a big pain.
Also, finding a place to put your figures can become an issue. Especially if you end up buying a ton.
So that’s it, what do you think? Have you played any of these games? Which one is your favorite.
If you haven’t and tried them out because of my list, let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
BOARD GAMES – Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review
Terror in Meeple City is a board game where you play a monster who destroys a city, fights other monsters, and eats people. Very much like the old Midway video game Rampage.
In fact it was called Rampage until it was sued by Midway for causing brand confusion. People actually thought the board game was based on the video game.
That said, if the theme sounds like fun to you, you’re definitely going to like this game.
I bought this for my five year old son as a reward for behaving himself in school. Since then, I’ve played it with him, my seven year old daughter, and my three year old son. Besides the fact that the game is really fun to play, today I’ll be giving you three reasons to play Terror in Meeple City.
Let’s get started.
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Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com
If you happened to be walking by a group of people playing Terror in Meeple City, you’d probably stop and stare wondering what game was being played. The game looks like no other game. Not only that but they’ll stop to wonder why you’re destroying the game.
You basically build a little city out “Meeples” (the pawns in the game) and some really chunky board tiles. Once you’re done doing that, you then destroy it with your monster.
The artwork on the board is great and every other component that isn’t a board or a card, from the bystanders to the monsters are made out of wood. This is great considering how much abuse these components take throughout the game.
Simple to Learn
Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com
Terror in Meeple City is very easy to learn. On your turn you can do two of four things. Move, destroy a building, throw a car, or use “super Breath.”
This is a dexterity game so that means you’re actually doing physical things to the board. When you want to try to destroy a building, you literally drop, a monster onto the building to knock it down.
If you want to move, you flick a disk that represents your feet. Where that disk lands is where you’re monster moves.
To throw a car you put the car piece on your monster and flick it off to where you want it to go.
And to use your “super breath,” you put your chin on your monster’s head and blow on what you want to blow on.
You earn points on how much you destroy, how many people you “eat,” how many other monsters you beat up and if you accomplish some of the goals in the special cards you get at the beginning of the game.
The game is very simple to understand.
So simple in fact that, as I’ve said above, I’ve played it with my three year old. That said, we don’t play with the secret cards when I play with him because he can’t read thereby making his “secret card” not so secret if I had to tell him what it did.
But the game plays just as good without it. It’s still fun and we have a good time.
Great Replay Value
Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com
At first when you start playing the game, it seems pretty straight forward. There doesn’t seem to be much to it. I’ve found as I’ve played it more and more that this isn’t exactly the case.
The more you play it the more little nuances you begin to find. Different way to use your actions. Little strategies you start picking up. And the Secret power and objective cards really make a difference in how you play as well.
There’s more to this game than you might originally think. That and the fact that it’s fun and simple gives this game a lot of value.
I highly recommend it.
Looking for Good Monster Fun
I really like this game. When my kids ask me to play, I happily agree to do so. It’s just fun and I don’t have to hold back. It’s a dexterity game. It’s very trick as it is.
Everyone is a pretty much on equal footing when you play. You just have to try to figure out the best way to destroy stuff.
This is a great game for kids or adults. I highly recommend it.
I managed to score a used copy of this game at half price a while back. I’ve been wanting to pick up the game and the others like it for a while.
I have to say, ever since that first game, the game has been on my mind ever since. I kinda want to get back to playing another session. At the same time, I kinda want to NOT play the game again and just start a regular tabletop fantasy role playing game instead.
As I said above, I played this game with my kids. The age range on the box says: AGE 12+. My kids, whom I played this game with are, from oldest to youngest: seven, five and three.
So the question is, what are the pros and cons of playing this game with kids that are so under the age range of this game?
That’s what I will write about below. I’ll explain the type of game this is below as well, but if you want a full overview of the game, there will be a video at the end that will explain it all.
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Basically you go through a randomly created castle, fight monsters to get to an objective. The objective varies depending on the scenario you choose to play from the adventure book.
The characters you play as are typical Dungeons & Dragons characters, and you can even customize them to an extent.
You move your character and fight, explore the castle, when a new part of the castle is revealed monsters appear, they fight you, rinse and repeat until you reach your objective. That’s the game in a nutshell.
My kids and I had a lot of fun playing the game. Here’s the Pros and Cons when playing this game with little kids.
The game is a cooperative game which is the biggest benefit the game has when playing with little kids. It means you’re not in competition with them and you are suppose to help out.
The game box says the game can be played by ONE to five players. The fact that it allows you to play solo, should give you a clue about the kind of help you can give your kids.
Especially if they’re really little like maybe three. You simply tell the little one what his best move is and then you can simply help him do it.
“Move to this spot. Do this thing. Roll this die. You did it! Good job,” the little kids feels like he did something great and you can move the game forward. It’s great.
The toy factor is great. The game comes with some really fantatic Miniatures. The kids LOVE moving the monsters and heroes around the board. It’s eye candy.
It really gets their imagination going.
Easy to Explain
It’s really very simple to explain to them. You just tell them what it is they need to do each turn and they just do it. The game isn’t complicated.
It’s involved. There’s things to keep track of, but I found, my kids could keep up with what was going on.
They new what they needed to roll, and if they didn’t, you just tell them and move on.
Requires Reading and Reading Comprehension
Ideally you want to play this game with kids that can read. It will save you a lot of time if the kids can read their cards themselves. Otherwise you’re going to be doing all the reading.
On other hand, this con can be a plus if your kids are decent enough at reading that they can use the cards as practice.
Similar to the reading, this game is better if you’re kids are good at adding their own die rolls.
It’s no big deal if you have to do it for them. They have just as much fun.
Just like the reading above, this con can be a pro if your kids are at an age where they can practice their addition skills as they play the game.
A Bit Burdensome
The reading, the math, keeping track of what’s going on where. Who has what monsters, who has what powers or items…it can become a bit much.
Keep in mind, this game can be played solo, that said, it really helps if don’t HAVE to keep track of everything and your kids can help out.
It helps if you set up the table so that you can give maximum help to the youngest kid.
Is it Worth Getting
My kids and I had a ton of fun playing this game. Granted, we’ve only played it once and we got some rules wrong, but it was fun none the less.
My five year old was ready to play it again right away and has been bugging me to play it again since. I must admit, I feel the same.
This game and it’s companion games are VERY expensive but having played this one, I think they’re well worth it. I’m absolutely going to be picking up the other ones.
And since they’re board games, their “operating system” doesn’t become obsolete. Although, they do run the danger of going out of print.
BOARD GAME – Three Reasons Robo Rally is a Must Own Board Game
While I can’t say that every board game I own is must purchase, I think Robo Rally designed by Richard Garfield (creator of Magic: The Gathering ) is a must. Below you’ll find the three main reasons I think this is so.
This is a surprising little game that went out of print for a while. I bought it because the idea of the game, appealed to my six year old.
Once bought and played, we were blown away at how much fun we were having.
In the game, you control a little robot. You’re objective is to be the first robot to touch all the flags on the board.
Everyone at the table preprograms their robot using cards at the beginning of a turn. Then in the second part of the turn, the robots all move at the same time and you see what happens.
As you might expect, robots crash into each other, fall in to holes, crash against walls and meet all kinds of other crazy hilarity.
It’s so fun.
So here’s the three things that make this game a must own:
1. Easy to Learn
Let’s face it, one of the reasons most people don’t like buying or playing new board games is because they don’t want to learn the rules. Fortunately, the rules for Robo Rally are very simple.
Everyone gets a hand of nine instruction cards. From those nine cards you choose five instruction cards for your robot. Once everyone has done so, you reveal the cards one by one and move your robot according to the instruction cards you’ve chosen.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Don’t be afraid of to read the 10 pages of instructions. They basically clarify some things like what happens when robots fall in holes, get hit by lasers, go on conveyor belts, run into each other…stuff like that. It’s actually really simple.
It’s all the stuff that makes the game fun.
2. Plays Two to Eight Players
It’s rare to find a board game that is fun with two and eight. Robo Rally is one of them.
This is especially handy since I have such a big family. There’s seven of us, and even though one of my kids is still a baby, at some point, he’s going to be old enough to join in the fun.
But even if you don’t have a big family, when you have friends over, you might end up with more than five players. It’s often difficult to find a game that plays that many people and isn’t a party game.
3. Fun For Just About Any Age
The age on the box says, “12+.” I played this game with my six year old and he LOVED it. Not only did he understand what he needed to do, but he even strategized.
I was very impressed. The game is deep but you can play it superficially and still have fun.
If you have young kids as I do, say around 3 or 4, and if you’ve trained them not to ruin cards, even they can play. They simply put down instruction cards in a chaotic way and then see what happens. Although, you may not want to keep count of their lives.
For everyone else, they add another element of chaos to the game that can make all the turns even more fun.
If you’re not playing with little kids, the “expert” maps will provide some crazy challenges for any adult player involved.
Some Other Side Benefits
I found it interesting that it’s a game about programing robots. In a lot of ways, this is a gateway to real programing.
My son loved the idea that he was “commanding” a robot. I can see how I can latter explain programing, using this game as an analogy.
It’s also a really good way to teach the kids to think ahead and think logically. The challenge of telling their robot to do what they want within the limits of the cards they have on hand is great for them.
It’s a great puzzle.
I can’t say enough good things. This game is worth a purchase.
My kids are obsessed with the game and the experiences it creates.
There’s more to board games than Monopoly, Risk, and Clue. I’ve played quite a few, and I’m going to talk to about my top ten favorite ones.
Now, I haven’t nearly played enough board games and this list is only from the games I have managed to play. But it’s very likely, unless you’re a bigger board game geek than I am, that this list might introduce you to games you’ve never heard of.
And there’s plenty, believe me. I’m sure that if I played more, this list would look very different. Still, I’ve played enough to make a top ten list, so here we go:
Very simple deckbuilding game. The point of the game is to be the one with the most points at the end of the game. The end of the game happens when the main deck is exhausted or when all the Archenemies are defeated.
You start off by picking a superhero who you play as. He give you special powers unique to you. The game play is all about buying card in the middle of the table to add to your deck so you can buy more cards. Doing so makes you stronger and stronger which help you beat Archenemies.
I love the theme, and the game play is fast and easy. I can play this with my 8 year old. It’s fun.
BOARD GAMES – The Six Board Games My 5 and 7 Year Old Ask to Play Most Lately
If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years. you know that I’m a bit of a gamer. I used to play a ton of video games until I got so burned out on them that I rarely play them anymore.
Now a days, I play a lot more table top games like board games, card games and Role-Playing games.
I’ve gotten some of my kids into them too. My five year old son and my seven year old daughter in particular. I thought I’d make a list of the top five games they tend to ask me to play the most currently.
This is done in case you’re looking for games in this age group to either let your kids play together or games you would find fun to play with your kids.
So here we go:
This is new. My son Dante suddenly got curious about this game out of the blue. I showed him a few videos on Youtube explaining the game. Some of them had little boys playing the game.
This got him REALLY interested. He insisted on having his sister Elizabeth learn to play the game with him.
I taught them and they were off to the races. They had a great time playing. It was the craziest game of Chess I’ve ever seen but they had a good time. They played by the rules.
Next time they asked to play, I brought out a board and I was surprised to find out that my son new exactly how to set up the board without any help. I walked away and let them play on their own. They then had yet another crazy game of Chess and still stuck to the rules.
So Chess is a good recommended game to play with five year old and older.
This game is simple enough for my five year old to play. This one is a big draw for my son. He loves how the board ends up looking like a big map by the time the game ends.
He first became aware of it when he saw the game App on my wife’s Kindle Fire. I showed him how to play it. He got a few turns in when I informed him that I had the table top version.
To my surprise he immediately put the Kindle down and asked to play the physical game. He’s been in love with it ever since. My daughter and I like playing it with him. This is a great game to play with them and it’s fun for me to play too.
I don’t let them play this game on their own though. Not yet.
The kids got this game for Christmas and was a instant hit. It actually plays a lot like the video game it’s based on.
You pick a card from a difficulty stack and build what’s on the card. You then attempt to knock off the pigs off with the number of birds indicated on the card. If you succeed you get the points on the card. Otherwise you fail.
The kids have fun playing the game. Only complaint I have with this game is that the catapult that comes in the game is awful. It barely works. We’ve been substituting a catapult from another Angry Birds toy.
I really don’t know how to fix this problem otherwise.
I love this series of games. It’s simple and creative. It’s a fun hack and slash Lego board game. We had two of the four boards games of this type.
We used to create the board according to the instructions and played by the rules. Problem is, I wasn’t able to play the game with them every time. Now a days I leave them to play and they just go at it free form. They make the board they way they want and make up the rules as they go.
Even my three year old gets in on the action.
It’s okay, the game lends itself to this kind of play. It’s more of a toy now than anything else. Still, it’s a fun game too.
UNO MOO is Uno but instead of using cards, it uses toy farm animals. It’s a bit too simple for me so I don’t play it, but the kids really like it.
If I can’t play the card game with them, they have the option of playing UNO MOO.
The thing I like most about Uno is how simple it is to get into. When we play with my three year old we usually play with the Disney version. We just have him play with cards up and ask him if he has a Mickey, a Donald, or a certain color.
It teaches the kids numbers and colors, while the older kids learn strategy. The best part is that everyone gets an opportunity to win and I don’t really have to hold back when I play.
When your kids learn to read and do simple math, this is THE game to play. It’s honorable mention because I can only play this with my seven year old daughter and only rarely. We don’t play it more often because we try to play more inclusive games that allow my five year old son to play.
Otherwise, we’d play this so much more. The kids practice reading comprehension, math, and they learn to think strategically. On top of all that, it’s just a fun game to play. I highly recommend it.
What Games do You Play?
So that’s the list. I hope this has given you ideas for game to play with you’re five year old and older kids.
What games have you found that work well with this age group? Let me know on the comments below.
Free Books and Learning to Draw
If you’re interested in a FREE art of book, sign up to my newsletter. Not only do you get a free digital book but you get some behind the scenes Simpsons anecdotes.
And if your interested in learning how to draw, especially if you think talent is necessary to learn to draw then I’ve got a something for you:
The Draw Fu Acolyte Bundle. Everything you need to learn to draw in a nice neat package and I wrote and put it all together myself. Click on the link to learn more.
Homer: Astrid said the key to my art is anger, but you know me, I’m Mr. Mellow…
[Bart and Lisa look at each other]
Homer: …so I’m giving you kids permission to get me mad. Come on, give me what you’ve got.
Lisa Simpson: Well, if it’ll help… um, mom found out her engagement ring is made of rock candy.
Homer: [hits clay mold] Good work honey, keep it comin.’
Bart Simpson: Well I’m flunking math, and the other day I was a little attracted to Milhouse.
[Homer screams hysterically]
Hi. So, I was asked a question on youtube about how I approach character design. I spoken about this a few time, but not all in one place. I thought perhaps I should say as much as I could about the subject in one post and link to the other ones.
You can either watch the video below on the read the transcript:
I’ve talked about character design a lot in my own blog, as well as The Drawing Website that I’ve got. I’m going to try to sum up all of what I’ve written so far, and include links. But I’m going to try to also just, kind of really quickly explain it all here, so that it’s not just all scattered all over the internet the way it is in multiple websites and multiple posts.
This question was from MindOfAStoner and specifically said,
“i was wondering if you could do a video about how to design your characters, i have the idea of what i want to do, i just cant seem to put my character to paper and come up with my own drawing style, thanks in advance Luis”
Alright, so there’s a few things here. Okay so, one of things if you look, I did do a series where I was designing characters for an animated cartoon that I was working on that I still haven’t completed, and I’m sorry. But if you look there, you will see that what I did was, I went and I looked at a lot of reference.
I went online and I have the specific website that I went to. But as you can see in the posts, you’ll see that there’s like a lot of photographs. If you scroll down, you’ll see all the photographs I was using to try to get something, a jumping off point- something that will trigger that thing.
You need photography. Look for reference. It doesn’t just have to be in your head. It doesn’t have to just— you don’t have to live in a vacuum and not use real world things. Use real world things. Go out, look around, go to the mall, look at other people, look online, look for photographs, look anything. Just get your ideas going.
That would be my recommendation on trying to try to get them— just something to get them in your head, out on to the paper in some kind of tangible way- something that you can use, something that you could actually have physical there. I mean, it really does help me a lot.
Finding a Style
“I can’t seem to put characters to paper and come up with my own drawing style.”
Okay, so that’s a little bit different. There’s a few things to talk about there.
Drawing style- I have a video about not worrying about style. You ought to worry about draftsmanship first. Let’s assume that you’ve got great draftsmanship. You’re just as good as Frank Frazetta. Then what kind of style are you going to use?
Alright, so once you’re confident enough to have good draftsmanship skills, then I would recommend you just start finding sketchbooks of stuff from artists that you admire, styles that you like, comic books of guys whose styles you like, and then pick and choose bits and pieces of what they’re doing that you really enjoy. Try to emulate it in some way, shape or form.
This isn’t plagiarism, because what’s going to end up happening is that you’re not going to be able to copy them. You’re not going to be them. No matter how hard you try, you’re still going to be you and they’re still going to be them, and they’re going to do what they do better than you could possibly ever do. That’s because you’re not them.
What you’re trying to emulate is their personality and who they are. And because you are not them, you’ll never get what makes them unique.
That is a good thing! Because it means that whatever YOU do cannot be emulated either. What comes out of you eventually, from all the hodgepodge of different influences, will be uniquely you. So, if you want a specific style, you can do that specific style but it will end up being your version of that style which will end up being unique in and of itself. So, that’s another way you can think about it.
Some Words on Advanced Character Design
Okay now, I’m going to talk really quick about the Advanced Elements of Character Design, and When It Comes to Character Design. It’s all about the interior- where the character’s coming from, who that character is, will shape everything about the character including the way he’s posed, the way he looks, the way he carries himself, what kind of clothes they wear.
This is interior stuff. This is more advanced stuff. This is what the professionals think about when they’re just doing stuff, because they’re no longer thinking about the basics of design, okay? They’re thinking about acting, history, storytelling, making the character, creating the character from the inside out- emotionally, historically, who they are, the story behind the character. Alright? So always, always think about that stuff when designing the character.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
But now let’s go back to the fundamentals. Let’s go back, all the way back to elements that you absolutely need to have before you even start designing a character. And that is the idea of contrast. And in The Drawing Website, I do break this down with stick figures.
That’s how simple these elements are. It’s all about balance and contrast. It’s all about not making everything even, and making a character visually boring by doing something super, super even. That’s just really, really bad design.
You should be able to get it for free, but you could just read the post there because it’s the same information that’s in the book. I do talk about design. I talk about basic shapes. After that, you should read that post too. It’s very important to balance and contrast to make your design more interesting.
This is too big of a topic. I’m sorry, I have to sum this up so quickly. But I hope this helps. I hope this is good information that will help you be able to design your characters better.
Alright, so if you want another free book from me, I have The Art of Luis Escobar for free if you subscribe to my newsletter on my blog. And there’s designs and drawings there too, and I talk about drawing in that book as well. So if you’re interested, go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter below and you will get that book delivered to you for free, as a free digital book.
BOARD GAMES/VIDEO – Craziest Board Game Ever.
If you like board games as much as I do, you’ll love this video of the craziest board game ever. If you’re not into them that much, it’s still very funny, but there’s a few inside jokes in there that you might not get.
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BOARD GAMES – Simpsons Studio Artists Worked on the Simpsons Monopoly Game
Monopoly Guy: There was a bank error in my favor and I’m spending it all on Oriental Avenue prostitutes.
I play a lot of board games…well, I used to. I like playing them but either I don’t have the time to play them or no one wants to play them with me.
Well, I happened to have worked on a The Simpsons Monopoly game and today I’m going to be talking about it.
You can either watch the video below or read the text under it. It’s the same information so it doesn’t really matter which you choose:
I Happen to be a Gamer
I’m really into board games, I’m a big gamer. I used to be obsessed with video games. I’m not so obsessed with them anymore. I prefer something more tactile. I prefer siting around in a group, playing a game.
Board games fit the bill. I’m not talking about mainstream games, like LIFE, Monopoly, Risk. I’m talking more about what are often called Euro games, hobby games, or designer games. They’re different kinds of board games that are becoming more and more popular.
A big dice game. It’s difficult to explain the game in sentence. Just follow the link and you can learn about it.
Or games like DreamBlade, which I wrote about a few years ago on this blog. Here’s the link:
A Board Game I Worked On
Although I don’t play mainstream board games all that much I did work on one and it’s Simpsons related. That game is, of course Simpsons Monopoly:
Now I’m not a huge Monopoly fan, in fact, I don’t like playing it at all. I think it’s flawed, but most people when they think of board games they think of Monopoly.
So what did I work on? What did I do in this games?
I worked on the board. BUT only a tiny bit of the board.
There’s these tiny little vignettes of people on the board. That’s what I drew. Things like this:
I really didn’t do anything else. The background of the board was drawn by Emmy Award winning Chuck Ragins. He does background designs on the show and he drew the background on that Monopoly board. He’s gone on to win an Emmy on one of the shows he designed backgrounds for on the Simpsons.
I’m not sure who drew the rest of the board.
The Chance and Community Chest cards, I believe where drawn by Shawn Cashman. Shawn is Simpons alumnus who has gone on to become a director in many other shows. Including King of the Hill.
It’s neat looking game. It has lot’s a very cool bits. The game pieces are Simpsons character. It’s even got Kodos as a playable piece:
The Story Behind the Game
Okay so, how did I end up working on the games?
Well, Bill Morrison from Bongo Comics called me up because he had been given the assignment to do the art on the game. He simply didn’t have the time to do it. He didn’t have the time to do the entire board.
So he decided to farm out the art to people he thought was going to be able to handle it while he managed it all. So he paid off the artist to do the bit of the work.
Unfortunately for him, I was one of the last people he asked to do the worked on the characters. It was a last minute job. Then he asked me how much I wanted for the work. When I told him, it turned out that, because of what I asked, he didn’t get paid.
He coordinated the whole thing and then at the end, there was no money left for him. I didn’t realize that, I wasn’t thinking. It was really screwed up.
He had the job, he farmed it out, he did he difficult job of coordinating the whole thing, and then paid all the artist which left no money for him.
That totally sucked. I’m sorry Bill, I didn’t know. I wasn’t thinking.
Do you have it?
That’s my little board game story. Maybe you can still find this game I’m not sure.
Do you have this version of Monopoly? Do you play it? What do you think of the art? What do you think of this version of the game?
Let me know, I’m curious. Leave a comment below.
BOOKS – My “Art of Book,” Angel Cowgirl.
Behind the scenes for some time now, I’ve been working on putting together a collection of my art and sketches.
I finally managed to finish doing this.
To celebrate, I’m giving way the digital version of the book for FREE. All you have to do is opt in to my e-mail list and you’ll be sent a link to download the book.
That’s it! It’s so simple.
Here’s a sample of the art you can expect to see:
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Show 22 is the last show of this season and it has a MAJOR rewrite. This is both good and bad. It’s bad because it leaves me with a lot of work to do. It’s good because I’ve been given as much time as I need to do it. Since I might go on hiatus once I’m done, I’m not really too much in a rush. I’m also the only revisionist on the show because my partner went on hiatus. So it’s up to me to rework the show myself.
Fortunately, some of the work has already been done by the Director and the Assistant Director, for Acts 1 and 2. I just need to complete what they didn’t get to.
I’m still doing my job and trying to be as efficient as possible, I just don’t have the crazy deadline I usually have. I hope, once I’m done, I might get to help out doing layout on a show. Otherwise, it will be hiatus time for me.
ROLE PLAYING GAMES/FAMILY
I hope you had a happy Easter. I did and my kids most definitely did. One of the reasons they had so much fun was because they got to play with their cousins at the family Easter party.
Among the many things they did and played was a game that, I think they invented there at the party. It was a story game. It went something like this: the eldest was the “Director” or “Storyteller”, and she told the story. In this case, it was many stories, mostly classic fairytales, like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc, or Fables like, The Three Little Pigs. So the “Director/Storyteller” would tell the story and the little kids, would “perform” the story and everyone would have a role to play. Or in the case of Jack and the Beanstalk, all the little kids where Jack.
Well, I was only half paying attention to what they were doing because I was having a conversation at the time, but I thought it was very creative of them all. The problem is that they went through so many stories, they soon ran out of them and the game stopped.
It wasn’t until the next day, when I started thinking about what they had done, that I suddenly realized my kids where practically Live Action Role-Playing (commonly known as LARP). Then I thought, why can’t I do exactly the same thing they were doing at the party, BUT instead of them playing out a fairytale, they played out a role playing game adventure. That way, they had choices to make and we could roll dice to see what happened during certain parts of the story.
So then I started thinking about what system to use. At first I thought I’d use SAVAGE WORLDS because I really enjoy the system and it’s fairly simple. I even thought I’d make a Character sheet with icons instead of just the name of all the stats, so the sheets would be more kid friendly. I went so far as to start roughing out these icons until I realized that there was a much easier and more kid friendly system I could use: RISUS: The Anything Rpg. It’s free, simple and kid friendly. I wrote about it on this blog a few years back.
Having decided that I was going to run a game for the kids, I had to come up with what type of game to run. Fantasy seemed like the obvious choice, since I could make their adventure very much like a fairytale.
Then it was just a matter of making characters for them. RISUS is a very simple system and it didn’t really take me too long. What took the longest was that I wanted to make their character sheets visual. For each of their stats, I wanted to have a little picture representing it. Also, it would help the kids visualize what they were suppose to be pretending to be. So this is what I came up with:
The first stat was just for the basic character cliche they were suppose to be playing as. The other stats I came up with, where meant to represent some attribute that my kids actually possess that might come in handy in the game. For example, the “Fast” Stat for my son Dante is there because I didn’t want to put “Afraid”. I thought “Fast” would be better, since I think he’ll be doing a lot of running away. I don’t think my youngest son, Ambrose (he’ll be 2 years old this Sunday) is actually going to understand what’s going on or is even going to play. BUT if he does, he’ll just copy what his big sister and brother are doing, so I’ll involve him, if he joins in with his “Copier” stat. He’s also a cute kid so his cuteness might save the day. Who knows…
I’m not exactly sure if they’ll want to do it, or if they’ll like it, but I’ll give this a try and see how it goes.
I’m thinking, perhaps, their first adventure might involve a wicked witch, and candy.
And now here’s something just as nerdy, if not nerdier:
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