KiwiCo is a company that ships out monthly crates to children which feature STEM or Arts and Crafts activities. They have different crates for different age groups starting at newborn and going up to later teens. My own children are 10 and 12. So they are trying out the Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate subscriptions. My daughter loves art. So the Doodle Crate, which features arts and crafts activities goes to her. Then the Tinker Crate, which has STEM activities, goes to my son. The crate subscriptions currently cost $19.95 a month, although we started for a lower cost due to a Christmas sale. So what do we think? Read On!
Blitz Bowl is one of Games Workshop’s three new family oriented games that are being sold exclusively for the time being in Barnes and Nobles. These games are part of GW’s push to expand their customer base into the family market. The other two games are Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons and The Lord of the Rings: Quest for Mount Doom. Each of these games can be seen as a gateway game for younger players to be exposed to the worlds of GW’s standard line of games for older customers. In each case, the miniatures are the same style and size of the miniatures used in their main games and are completely interchangeable with those games. These new games for families are accompanied by a line of fiction books, written for pre-teen children, set in the 40K and Age of Sigmar universes of GW’s two most popular games. As a parent of pre-teen children and a teacher who runs a school gaming club, I’m very happy to see GW pushing in this direction. So how do they do with their new family friendly initiative and Blitz Bowl? Do I recommend it to other teachers running school gaming clubs and parents looking for beginning miniatures games to play with their children? How do my own children like it? Let’s take a look!
The kids and I got to attend Central Florida Comic Con in Lakeland this weekend. This is the con’s first year. It was a very small con compared to the others we have gone to. It was probably only about 200 to 300 attendees. It was centered around geek culture. It had a small exhibit hall with local artists and comic venders.
Bob Layton, who was a cocreator of Iron Man and a founder of Valiant Comics, was there. Marina Sirtis, the actor who played Deanna Troy on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was there as well. There was also one of the Power Ranger Actors and a pro wrestler. Not much in the way of guests all told.
A woman, who has the largest Pikachu collection in the world (including a Pikachu car) was there, and we attended her Pokemon trivia panel. The children answered a few of her trivia questions. My son later got one of her hand made stuffed animal pokemon characters for his con souvenir.
We also got to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons at the con. We converted our characters that we are going to use in the Pathfinder Version 2 playtest into D & D characters and brought our miniatures we had just started painting and dice to the con on the second day. Our DM was very good, and we had a great time. We ended up playing with a gentleman at our table that we had played Starfinder with at MegaCon, which was a nice surprise.
All in all, it was a very relaxed con that was a fun experience. We’ll be back next year more than likely if they continue it. It will be interesting to see if it grows in the following years.
Here's an interesting video by one of the stars of the Big Bang Theory TV show talking about how she started playing Dungeons and Dragons with her children. She sees it as a way to connect with her children. Her experience certainly mirrors mine with playing with my children. I'm not sure if she's joking about Playing At The World being a game or not, though...
Here's a news article about Dungeons and Dragons being used to help people with autism develop social skills. Very cool!Link: CBC News in Nova Scotia
Here's an interesting article about the potential benefits of using Dungeons and Dragons with Gifted children.APA PsycNET Link: International Journal of Play Therapy
Here's a very cool archeological finding in Azerbaijan. It's a copy of the ancient game called 58 Holes or Hounds and Jackals today. This instance of the game appears to be about 4000 years old. An example of the game was found earlier in the tomb Egyptian Pharaoh Amenemhat IV from 1800 BCE. So the game was apparently a popular one, as it obviously spread around the ancient world throughout the Middle East.
No one is exactly sure what the rules were, but it appears to have been some sort of racing game with markers moving around a track. It looks somewhat like backgammon, although it has no real relationship to that game. Backgammon comes from a Roman game much later on.
I like what Walter Crist has to say about the role of games in society:
"People are using the games to interact with one another," he said. Games were "kind of a uniquely human thing, kind of an abstraction — moving stones in blank spaces on the ground has no real effect on your daily life, except for the fact that it helps you interact with another person.
"So, a game is a tool for interaction, kind of like language — a shared way of being able to interact with people," Crist said.
Check out the article here.
War Chest is a new chess-influenced abstract game by Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson, distributed by AEG. I happened to find it on a ding and dent table in my local store and picked it up. I'm very glad I did. It has added in a modern deck-building mechanic to classic gameplay, among other things. It sports high component production values and easy to understand rules with strategic depth. I'm always interested in modern variants of classic abstract games for my after school gaming club. It has some similarities with two earlier chess-like abstract games which are favorites of my children and I, The Duke and Onitama. So how does it compare with its closest modern cousins? Which one do I and my children like the best? Read on to find out!
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