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Family Game Fridays – Pulling in the Youth

Introducing Family Game Fridays

Several of the members of our WiscoDice staff have families and enjoy spending time with their spouse, children, or extended family and playing games. In this new series we’re calling Family Game Fridays, we want to explore this aspect of gaming and talk about some of the challenges of getting the young people in your life interested in gaming, how to keep things civil at the gaming table and possible games you and your family might enjoy getting started with.

When I was younger, my parents frankly weren’t very interested in games. We had your stock standard games such as Life, Sorry, Monopoly, and several more games. I played those quite frequently with my brother. However, it wasn’t until I was older that I was introduced to the world of Eurogames, deck-building games, strategy games, and so many more genres that I’ve grown to love. As an adult, I’ve sought to introduce my kids to games and allow them to grow and learn them, if they chose. 

It has not been all sunshine and roses in my household when approaching gaming. There are the inevitable fights, disagreements, boredom, and of course, gloating when one of them crushes everyone else at the table. It has been a great learning opportunity for me to see how my children approach gaming and grew to love it. As we grow this series, we want you to come along for the journey and share your experiences as well.

Start ’em young and keep them engaged!

Recently my nephews stayed with me for a solid week. My wife wanted to take the opportunity to share our love of gaming with my nephews. It had been years since my kids were 5 and 7. There are so many more options these days for games customized to that age group. My wife and I always enjoy a game of Carcassonne, published by Z-Man Games. It is a great starter game for getting your family or friends involved. It has simple tile-laying mechanics and is quick to teach without being overwhelming, like a Eurogame mechanics, for a first-time player. With all of that said, it might be a little overwhelming for a young player of 5-7 years.

There is not anything wrong with your stock, standard games released by Hasbro or other companies, but most gamers lose interest pretty quickly. While looking over the local game store’s selection, we stumbled across a youth version of Carcassonne. There is a version called, My First Carcassonne (published by Z-Man Games). This version has simpler mechanics and can be played fairly quickly. It was a super quick game to play. Most games were done in 15-20 minutes. 

What makes this a great choice for a young player?

One thing you always need to consider when pulling out a game is your audience. How old are they? What are their interests? How long can they pay attention to what you’re putting in front of them? Here are some of the highlights we found when playing this particular game and some key things you can look for when finding other games you might enjoy playing with them.

  • It was fun all around. My daughter, who was 14 at the time, had a great time playing, as did both of my nephews.
  • Players were always doing something. The physical element of the game kept them engaged.
  • It was easy to grasp for the 5-year-old and he had a great time laying down the colorful tiles.
  • When the 5-year-old got bored, he could just wander away and it didn’t impact the game.
  • With the quick playtime, it was easy to play multiple games in a row or quickly pull this out when my nephews wanted to do something.
  • The 7-year-old got excited with a few wins, but was able to be challenged by the 14-year-old. 

This was not the only game we played, but it was a great example of a game that was fun for our nephews and everyone got an opportunity to have fun playing. What types of games did you find were the most fun for your family to play when your kids were young?

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Kickstart Monday: Abstract Strategy Meets Cthulhu

Welcome to Kickstart Monday!!! It’s 2022 and I am excited for all that this new year will bring. On Kickstart Monday I scour crowdfunding platforms for two or more projects that I feel are worth looking at. This includes platforms like Kickstarter, Gamefound, and Indigogo. Everything that is recommended on Kickstart Monday is oriented around tabletop gaming in some fashion.

This week I take a look at a really cool abstract game and plush creature that surely will rise from the depths. Let’s dive into it!


Canosa from One Day West Games is an abstract game for two players that should take you around 20 minutes to play. In the game, you play as a siren who is trying to capture shipwrecked sailors. The box art is beautiful and actually is part of the gameplay experience.

Once the game is set up you will perform one of four actions on your turn. First, you may move your siren token. Next, you can move a ring from your siren to a sailor. This must be a sailor that is adjacent to your siren. Once you have a sailor under your control you then unlock the move a sailor action. Of course, the number of rings you have is limited so during the game you may need to remove a ring from a sailor and move it back to your siren.

To win the game you need to be the first to successfully move 4 sailors off the board or to trap your opponent. Moving sailors off the board is the most common way to win and involves moving a sailor to your starting spot. When this happens, remove the sailor from the board. Do this before your opponent and you win!

If you like quick, abstract strategy games then you should check out this one from One Day West Games.

Cthulhu’s D20 Plush

Cthulhu’s D20 Plush from NekoRaveWolf is a cute stuffed Cthulhu plushy with a removable D20. While not a traditional gaming-related item, this plushy would be great to help decorate a tabletop gaming space. Of course, if you just want more cute plushy critters then you can’t go wrong with this one either.

There are a number of unlocks and add ons that you look at adding to your pledge, from cute pins to funding goals that will unlock upgrades to the plushy.

If your gaming space needs a little decoration then you should check out this plushy project.

Did we miss your favorite project?

Thank you for checking out this week’s Kickstart Monday! If you find these interesting or want some attention on a Kickstarter or other crowdfunded projects that you would like to read more about please share your thoughts with us via our social media or at our email.

TOCN Episode 3: Something A Foot

In this episode of Tales of the Cold North, our adventurers start off after defeating Sephek. It’s late at night, the aurora is lighting the sky, and the party is heading back to the inn. It’s then that Ricka notices footprints appearing in the snow. There is no sight of what’s creating those footprints.

Checkout the latest podcast episode to see what adventures these footprints lead them on.

Download the Episode Here

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Kickstart Monday: Ancient Blood Rises with Carrara

Welcome to Kickstart Monday!!!! Happy holidays everyone. As the year winds down, I am still taking the time to scrub Gamefound, Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms for tabletop gaming projects that I think you might be interested in. This week we have two board game projects that really have me intrigued. Let’s dive into them!

As an FYI, I will be taking next week off on Kickstart Monday. We’ll be back in the first week in January with new projects to recommend for you!

Ancient Blood – The Order of Vampire Hunters

Ancient Blood – The Order of Vampire Hunters is from Dark Gate Games. This is the third game by Dark Gate Games. All of their games feature darker tones. While this is their first venture on Gamefound, their other projects have been previously on Kickstarter.

In the game, you will play as a vampire hunter cooperatively with the other players against the game. Like many of these games, you can play it stand-alone, solo, or even as a campaign. Each session you will choose a story that dictates the scenario. There will be local people for you to interact with. These people may provide aid, narrative direction, or other things to you. You will encounter various creatures and villains that you will have to overcome. Ultimately leading to the completion (or failure) of the story’s goal.

If you like campaign-driven narrative games where you and your friends take on the world then you may want to check out Ancient Blood. This game certainly features a different feel to the adventure board game than the traditional Sci-Fi or Fantasy dungeon crawl games that often dominate this space.

The Palaces of Carrara 2nd Edition

The Palaces of Carrara 2nd Edition from Game Brewer is bringing back this Euro-style game for updated printing. For those of you who have not heard of this game before the theme is that you build buildings during the Renaissance in Italy. You will do this by manipulating the price of marble so that you can purchase materials inexpensively. You can then use that marble to construct buildings. Of course, reducing the price of marble helps the other players as well. You need to carefully balance the market to produce what you need while keeping it expensive enough to slow your opponents.

In this second printing, they are providing a completely revised and updated ruleset. On top of that, the game will feature new advanced play options. Finally, they are offering a deluxe version as a Gamefound exclusive. Plenty to offer if you are interested, but already own Carrara.

If you like a crunchy, economic, euro game that will make your brain work then you should definitely check out The Palaces of Carrara.

Did we miss your favorite project?

Thank you for checking out this week’s Kickstart Monday! If you find these interesting or want some attention on a Kickstarter or other crowdfunded projects that you would like to read more about please share your thoughts with us via our social media or at our email.

Kickstart Monday: Going Medieval on Your Games

Welcome to Kickstart Monday!!! This is our typically weekly series featuring two or more crowdfunded projects for tabletop gaming. Every week I take a dive into what looks interesting on sites like Gamefound and Kickstarter. Hopefully, you will find these projects of interest too!

This week’s featured projects include an amazing 3D board game and a Dungeons and Dragons 5E supplement that is sure to spice up your city encounters. Hopefully, you are as interested as I am. Let’s check them out!

Hortven: King of Fortress

Hortven: King of Fortress from MasterGames features one of the more unique board games we have brought to Kickstart Monday to date. This game features an interactive, three-dimensional castle that you play the board game on. You will play as one of six playable characters interacting with the other players, game-controlled characters, and exploring the castle itself.

Since the big attraction to this game is the castle itself it definitely needs a number of cool components. You can open gates, doors, and other components of the castle itself as you play the game. On top of that, you will find crates and boxes scattered through the castle. Plundering those, also tangible objects, you will find treasures such as relics that you can use to help achieve victory.

If you are like me then just looking at this game has to bring out your inner child. I can see myself spending hours just playing with some miniatures around this, perhaps inserting the castle into a role-playing game. Of course, I would play the game too!

The City Attractions Package

The City Attractions Package from Evil Pidgeon Games will help you Dungeon Masters out there add new elements to your fantasy cities. Cities are more than just places to shop. People live there. They need activities. Town Criers, taverns, eateries, and more are the standard fare at most game tables.

This supplement will add NPCs, attractions, maps, random tables, and features that you can add into your fantasy cities to make them feel more real. It’s one thing to have players enter a city. It’s quite another for them to get a true feeling that the city is lived in, massive, and full of life.

If you are a Dungeon Master that is like me and wants to prep and create the best game experience for your players then this project is something you will likely want to look into.

Did we miss your favorite project?

Thank you for checking out this week’s Kickstart Monday! If you find these interesting or want some attention on a Kickstarter or other crowdfunded projects that you would like to read more about please share your thoughts with us via our social media or at our email.

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