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2 January Events!

Ok, the first one is open to the public.  We will bringing our game collection back to the CH Booth Library on January 22nd.  This is a Saturday and we will be there from 1-4pm.  Bring your kids and enjoy some fun games!

The second event is for families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  We are taking part in a family game night with about 300 families from the school.  Going to be bringing about 50 games along with whatever help we can find.  Should be interesting!

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So we decided to get two of our nephews different boxes of Heroscape.  If you don’t know this game and you have boys 7 and up, you may want to look it up.  Imagine Dungeons & Dragons meets Risk.  With a cooler map that you can build.  We were able to get the first master set easily.  This one is about Valkyries and other cool things like that.  Got it for $27 too.  Nice!  Then we had all sorts of trouble getting master set #2, Swarm of the Marro.  Giant evil looking buggy monsters.  Very cool, could not find the dang thing though.  This is a Milton Bradley/Hasbro game and their page told me that I could get it at all sort of toy stores.  Yeah, right.  Nobody had it, nobody knew what I was talking about at Target, Walmart, Kmart, Toys R Us.  At least my local comic shops knew about it, but don’t carry it since it is so easy to get at the above named stores.  Sigh.

I did find it at one online dealer.  Hooray!  That was before I went out in the ice storm to go to the already named and now disparaged big box stores.  So when I came home I went back online and got my credit card out only to find it had sold out.  Sigh.  Thanks to Google though, I was able to find another merchant, this one in FL who had it.  After shipping, it was $40.  And yes, the other place I had bookmarked would have shipped it for less.

Lesson of the day – if you see it and want it, stop screwing around and just buy it.

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So our daughter is now on the school newspaper.  She is in 3rd grade, so it is a full journalism curriculum and she has to submit story ideas for the first issue.  After thinking about reviewing games like Ghost Chase, she turns to me and asks if we can run another game session at the library and she can write up a preview about it so we can get more families to come.  She noted the print date of late November and said we should do one over the Christmas break when kids are home from school.

Someone is getting a little too smart for her britches, but what a great idea!

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We are very excited that so many families are coming out today.  And a little nervous!  If you have not RSVP’d and would still like to come, we ask that you come after 3pm at this point.  The early hours are going to be crowded and we want to give everyone a chance to play some fun games and ask questions.  

We will have a note sheet for you to jot down games that you like and their publisher so you can go find them if you would like to buy them for your family.    Here is a partial list of the games we are bringing:

Bamboleo, Hamster Rolle, Ghost Chase, Gulo Gulo, Chicken Cha Cha Cha, Ducklin’ Dancin’, Pick Picknick, Bzz Out, Orchard, Cap’n Clever, Loot, Dead Man’s Treasure, Chateau Roquefort, Little Raven, Coloretto, Ice Cream, Hali Gali, Galloping Pigs, Barnyard Critters, Unspeakable Words, The Great Word Race, Animal Upon Animal, Bausack, Princess Sleeping Beauty, Wicked Witches Way, and more!

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One of the best things about having all these cool kids games is sharing them with friends and with your children’s friends as well.  Our daughter’s are friends with another couple’s two children of the same age and they all came over for a spontaneous game night the other night.  We had a blast and played a number of different games way past the kids’ normal bedtime.

Putting together a game night, even a spontaneous one, takes a little careful thought and it should go off smoothly.  The first thing is to not put any extra expectations onto the children.  While getting together with other adults is nice, the point is to play some games with the children.  Keep your expectations relaxed, let the children dictate the mood of the night.  We remind our two daughters that when their friends come over to let them pick the first activity or to suggest something that they might like rather than dictating what they will be doing.  The same thing held true for our little game night.  Simone held back and Jenna had clear ideas on what she wanted to play, Ghost Chase.

Be prepared to act as a coach for new gamers.  Jenna had played Ghost Chase before, but it had been a while.  I pulled some of the more confusing rules out of the game and her dad and Simone acted as the chasers.  Jenna did a great job figuring out the strategy and only needed confirmation from me that what she was doing was a good move.  As she grew more confident in her decisions, her game play improved and she eventually won the game.  Sportsmanship is important to us and Simone was genuinely happy for Jenna that she won on the first game.

Older children’s gaming needs really depend on their experience playing these modern boardgames.  The more they play them, the easier it is for them to learn new ones and figure out strategies to be successful at them.  Simone and Jenna are great friends and have played a number of modern games before.  Jenna was quick to peruse our shelves and pick out some things that Simone loves to play.

You can have some ideas on what should hit the table and prepare the game if necessary.  I knew that the group would love to play Nacht der Magier, which is a dexterity game that you play in the dark.  Key pieces glow in the dark and I had them under the lights for a while before suggesting it and they were all charged up and ready to play.

Your children may desert you though, which really is the goal I suppose.  Simone and Jenna went off on their own.  I had thought they were done with games and were going to play with their American Girl dolls.  Nope!  They tried out two games without any help.  One that they did try was not really a two player game, but Simone went through the rules and they seemed to enjoy it.  They played two rounds of Castle Keep as well.  It was nice to see them pick out some games and stay with the idea that is was a game night.  Be prepared to allow them to change activities.  You don’t want them to be forced to play games as if it were some chore.  I think finishing a game is important and so is putting it away nicely.  Once they are done though, allow them to be done.  They will come back to you for more eventually.

Younger children need more direction though and Chris had Camille and Jake playing Froggie Boogie pretty quickly.  If you are gaming with younger ones, only give them two options to start, keep the suggestions to short games as their attention spans may not last as long as they normally do when you are playing with them alone.

There are many games out there that can play in under 10 minutes.  The two of them were able to run around a bit, come play a game with their moms and then run around some more.  Also, be ready to modify rules to make them simpler and keep the games short.  Keeping rules to a minimum will help a young gamer enjoy the essence of the game and you can slowly add rules as they become more experienced.

Snacks.  Have them handy, but keep them away from the table!  While modern games are relatively inexpensive on an hourly basis, you don’t want to have some spill damage some of these meeples and boards.  The production quality is truly amazing in games like Giro Galoppo and some games with cards, like Ghost Chase, could become ruined in an apple juice flood.  If it does happen, try to keep calm and have paper towels handy.  Not sure if I could always do that myself, but I try to remember it!

The main point is to have some fun with your children and their friends, and even their friend’s parents.  Once the kids are done playing, it becomes a great time for adult conversation over tasty beverages.

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