Categories
family fun games

5 Favorites for Family Game Night.

We love to play board games in our family. With the kids or as a couples night or game night with friends. Our collection of games has become massive over the years. We’ve discovered a few new favorites in the last couple of years and I thought I’d take a minute to share with you 5 of our favorite games to play for family game nights.

We currently have a 12 year old and 9 year old who both love board games. My husband likes a good amount of strategy in a game and prefers when the game can run at a quick pace. I like a game where I feel like luck will play into the game enough that I stand a chance against my husband – and I love a fun movie tie-in.

Here are 5 of our current favorites that the whole family loves:

61naxwntbelHarry Potter Munchkin 

We’ve pretty much never met a Munchkin game that we didn’t enjoy and this Harry Potter themed one is no exception. It’s a Deluxe Munchkin which means it comes with a game board and little character markers for each player to move from Level 1 to Level 10. The overall game play is pretty similar to classic Munchkin but you get to pick your Hogwarts House and gather potions and fight death eaters.


91bwcejdq7l._sl1500_Bears vs. Babies 

We love to break this one out when we have extended family in town because describing the premise of the game to someone new never gets old. You are building a Bear Army to defeat an Army of Monster Babies. It’s pretty easy to learn and has just enough strategy involved to keep everyone happy. The illustrations on the cards are adorable and irreverent and sometimes a little gross which makes the kids laugh a lot.

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71eqcvslvbl._sl1000_Forbidden Island

We’ve loved this game for years and it continues to be my favorite cooperative game to play with the kids. Everyone is working together to save four ancient relics from an island which is slowly flooding. You have to gather all four relics and get off the island while you still can. As the game goes on and various areas get flooded, the stakes are raised and things get harder – but you can adjust the difficulty level depending on the ages of the people playing or their experience with the game.


81fcxwi6sil._sx679_Stranger Things Monopoly

I’ve got to be honest, Monopoly is not always my top choice for game night. My husband runs that board like it’s his job and most of the time I know I’m losing before I’ve made it around the board twice. But I really love this Stranger Things edition. The game pieces are so cute and the pricing for property (or forts) is so nostalgia. Also I won my first game of Monopoly ever playing this edition so it gets a special pass in my book. For the most part this is just your classic Monopoly game though.


510yltad3ulCentury Golem Edition

I just found out that we can rent board games from my local library and they even seem to be in good condition! I checked this one out last weekend and, I have to say, I really enjoyed it. The initial set up and explanation of the game rules took some time but the game wasn’t too hard to play once we really got going.

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I really liked how quick each turn was – this meant that the game moved along pretty smoothly without my youngest kid getting distracted between turns and needing to remind them whose turn it was. You spend the game collecting and trading various diamonds to create Golems – whoever earns enough points through Golems, diamonds and coins wins. Fairly straight forward once you get past the set up.


What are some of your favorite board games?

Categories
apps games mama kat's writers workshop techy

5 Apps To Hide in the Bathroom With.

 

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I know a lot of you are home with your kids on spring break right now and maybe you are nearing your breaking point. I mean, maybe you are off on a grand adventure and achieving pure bliss in between hair braiding and picture perfect family picnics – but just in case you are feeling the heavy weight of “when will I be able to watch my shows again and how are you still here???” I’m just saying if you are thinking about going to hide in the bathroom for seventy two hours…

How about a new game on your phone to get addicted to instead? I know we’re supposed to be patient and present and in the moment and smart phones are the worst or something, but whatever. Sometimes a mom needs five minutes with Solitaire to get the skip back in her step.

Here are 5 games on my phone* that I like to turn to when my daughter has been singing the same Moana song for eighteen hours / my son has literally not stopped talking about Minecraft since he woke up.

*I’m an Android girl so my apologies if you are living that Apple life and these games aren’t available — but usually they are on both stores, so definitely check!

We all have different game preferences and different situations call for a different fix.

If you want an artsy kind of puzzle:

Hungry Cat Picross is literally the best picross game you are going to find on your phone. I’m not trying to be Eleanore Exaggeration here. I literally downloaded all of them when I was running out of puzzles and they were all terrible. So save yourself the struggle / data usage and skip straight to this one. I’ve gotten several people hooked on this game. I’m not proud.

If you want to redecorate every day but like for free:

Design Home is the game I never knew I wanted to play. It’s literally designing rooms and then voting your favorite designs, buying virtual couches and potted plants and competing in design challenges. I am way too addicted.

If you are feeling nostaligic for middle school:

MASH is seriously an Android Game now and I won’t like, I made my 7 year old play with me – multiple times. I do wish there were less ads and more varied games but you know – nostalgia for the win. Break this one out when your little girls are getting antsy and need a distraction. Maybe your boys would like it, too, but I’m pretty sure my 11 year old would just roll his eyes at me like my husband did.

If you like hidden picture games:

Fantastic Beasts: Cases has two things going for it – the nerdgasm of Harry Potter universe references and a fun and unique game in its own right that is kind of somewhere between a hidden picture game and a mystery detective game. It may even help to tide you over until the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

 

If you want to take Solitaire to the next level:

Fairway Solitaire is probably the game I open the most frequently right now. It seriously takes Solitaire to new places and has just enough little goals and tasks to keep you checking back in throughout the day. Cute graphics, relatively speedy load times and not too many ads. Plus there is a sneaky gopher causing trouble, so.

What phone apps have you been hooked on lately?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again. Let me know if you are playing along, too!

 

 

Categories
doctor who games harry potter links star wars

Weekly Geekly: 01.22.16

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I think we geeks have had a rough go of it, losing a few too many legends lately. I’m trying to get my hands on a copy of Dogma to watch with my husband this weekend but it’s proving more complicated than I anticipated. While I figure that out…

I think this would be my kids’ favorite subject in school. And mine, too. Can I take this class?

This would be a very different television show. Related: now you can knit the damn scarf yourself. Properly.

When worlds collide adorably. One of the better Star Wars inspired things on the internet right now.

GeekMom says 2016 is going to be the year that Harry Potter returns. I’m not hating this. Speaking of Potter and the image above: Apparently ‘always’ was a weighty word for Professor Snape.

And now I think I’ll be a dear and leave you guys with something a little lighter:

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Have a great weekend guys!

Categories
doctor who games toys

Breaking News from the Gallifrey Shopping Network

We tune in to the Gallifrey Shopping Network to find out what’s inside the LEGO® Doctor Who set!

Posted by Doctor Who on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Categories
books game of thrones games tv

5 Things of Note.

I’m too lazy to write a legitimate blog post and I pretty much just did my weekly geekly round up of awesome nerdy links to thinks you should read or look at. So I’m going to try just sort of micro-blogging or mind dumping and hope that something brilliant comes out of it.

  • winteriscomingWe spent Labor Day binge watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones hard (as you do) and we now have only 3 episodes left before we have to track down Season 3. When we first started watching the show a couple months ago I was somewhat ambivalent. The first episode was basically soft core porn with lots of death, incest and direwolves thrown in for good measure. I pretty much just liked the direwolves. But I stuck it out because I figured it had to have gained it’s mega popularity for more than just boobies. Luckily this theory was not unfounded and now we’re basically obsessed and walk around going “It is known” and “Winter is coming” and muttering about Joffrey.
  • I just used up some Amazon Points for two board games that we’ve had our eye on for awhile now. I bought Forbidden Island which is on sale for $14.99 right now and Game of Thrones: The Board Game because of course I did. If money were no object, I would have gotten Pandemic, too. Maybe Santa will get me that one. What board game / card game / etc. would you like to unwrap this year? 
  • 16131058I just finished reading The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer which is first in his Land of Stories series about twins Alex and Conner Bailey who find themselves in the magical world of fairy tales with no certain way of getting out and home to mother. Colfer turns fairy tales on their head, giving the stories a deeper, more honest fleshing out and it was super fun to see the characters we all know and love (or hate) reimagined. I have to admit, I was skeptical about this one as it’s yet another in a line of books written by celebrities – but I was impressed and handed it over promptly to my nine year old who is already half finished. I’ll write more on this when he’s finished so I can give you a review from both of our perspectives.
  • I just discovered Calmityware.com via The Bloggess (check out her post on whether or not blogging is dead) and I’m kind of obsessed. I really want the UFO plates or maybe the sea monster ones. Can’t decide really because they all look awesome. Add this one to my Christmas list, too.
  • Stephen Colbert is coming back to television tonight with the premier of his Late Show and I’m more than a little excited. His guests this week include George Clooney, Jeb Bush, Elon Musk and Scarlett Johansson which is a pretty awesome starting line up. I’m also really looking forward to Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris. Who is your favorite tv host?

So what’s on your mind? Feel free to do a mind dump of your own in the comments section!

Categories
books game of thrones games harry potter links star wars technology videos

Weekly Geekly: 9.04.15

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How is it September already? Though it still definitely feels like summer outside (hot and muggy? check) – the kids are back in school, pumpkin spiced everything is starting to roll out in cafes and my grocery store just put out Halloween candy. It’s official – Winter Fall is coming. Whether this is exciting or disappointing, let’s distract ourselves with these geeky links:

Nerds Rejoice – Pottery Barn has joined the dork side with a pretty amazing Star Wars themed toddler bed.

Polaroid is finally releasing the update on their classic that we can all get behind, a kind of Polaroid 2.0.

Who wants to go on a vacation to Westeros with me?

Loved this video of the Top 10 Games for Couples – what do you and your significant other like to play?

Have you purchased from Better World Books before? I ordered three books from them after reading this post at Stay Bookish and the books just arrived in great condition, shipped for free for a good cause – it doesn’t get better than that!

What do you think about the latest Harry Potter fan theory regarding Draco?

This geeky birth announcement was kind of amazing.

Have a great weekend guys!

Categories
games

Game Night: Our Favorites

20150818_130527 I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time watching Table Top videos at Geek & Sundry lately, amassing a fairly massive wishlist of games that I want someone to buy me for Christmas (or for Tuesday, I’m an equal opportunity gift receiver). My game cabinet situation would suggest that we already have tons of games to play; but as the kids get older and all of our interests evolve over time, our collection could use an update in my humble opinion.

Here’s what Game Night looks like in our home right now:

With the Kids

We’ve come a long way since Candy Land! Up until a couple years ago, I honestly didn’t like playing games with the kids because Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, Memory Games, etc. kind of make me want to gouge my eyes out with a stick. Luckily, we’ve since found:

Apples to Apples Kids EditionI’m pretty much always game for a round of Apples to Apples in any format and the kids edition aimed for kids 7+ is a good fit for our kids right now. I finally have two strong readers in the house which means needing to be able to read cards to play is no longer a deal breaker. The downside: For some reason the Apples to Apples franchise does nothing for dh and he usually won’t play with us.

1908111_10100707199354036_2147324323191607054_nAquarius: This is a gorgeous tile card game, made by the folks who make Fluxx, that is kind of similar to dominoes. Each round players connect element cards to complete a secret goal. The game play is fast so it’s good for short attention spans and reading isn’t required, so even younger kids can play this one. Not enough strategy for dh, who again will not play.

Disney Princess Cupcake Game: This is my six year old daughter’s favorite game and of all the Disney games and games geared for little kids, it’s the least tedious. It’s easy enough that anyone can play, a small amount of skill and strategy is involved, it has a decent mechanic to keep the game moving forward and interesting and the gameplay i pretty quick.

MM The Classics: LIFE (Twists & Turns or the Classic Edition) has always been a big favorite of mine. I tend to prefer playing the electronic version with the kids because waiting for the 6 year old to count out the money is tedious but overall I think both games are fun. My husband prefers games like Monopoly or Risk which he is kind of cruelly good at playing. We have a pretty great Doctor Who Risk game that the whole family likes.

With Grown Up Friends

We’re pretty much game for anything (see what I did there?), but lately these are the games in constant rotation at our place:

FluxxThis is a current favorite in our home – you have to be up for a challenge as the rules in Fluxx are constantly in, well, flux. The way to win the game is constantly changing and it can get pretty crazy. I imagine we’ll be playing this one with the kids in a couple of years but right now it’s a bit over their head.

Munchkin: My nine year old son loves to play Munchkin with us when we have our friends over for a game night and after a few times playing, he’s gotten the hang of it. I sometimes get impatient waiting for him to look through all of his cards and decide what to do – and the game is pretty beyond my six year old – so this one isn’t really a perfect fit as a “family game” right now but as the kids get older, it’s only going to get better.

Cards Against Humanity: We know we’re in good company when we find friends to play this game with. This is somewhat similar to Apples to Apples and always good for a laugh, but it really only works if you are playing with a group of friends that are not easily offended. I cannot stress that enough. But for the rest of us who can giggle at the darkest of humor, this is a fan favorite.

Phase 10: My husband and I kind of fell in love over our mutual love of Phase 10. Okay, that’s not really true at all – but it certainly didn’t hurt. We are both kind of bosses at this game and love playing with people who have somehow never played it before because we get a sick thrill out of absolutely dominating at this game which is a sort of combination between Rummy and Uno.

Pitch: My in laws taught us how to play Pitch this summer and it has quickly become a favorite. My husband and I are pretty much always game for a card game and this one is a lot of fun. Best if you have a large enough group to play in teams, but totally doable with a group as small as three players.

Games I’m Scoping Out:

Pandemic: I’m fascinated by this idea of a collaborative game in which everyone wins or loses together. Pandemic looks challenging enough to hold my husband’s interest but the collaborative nature of the game might keep people from getting too competitive (sometimes Munchkin and Risk bring out the worst in us).

Zombie Dice: This is a quick dice playing game that takes about 10 to 20 minutes to play. It looks quick to learn and easy to play – I’m pretty sure the whole family could participate which is great.

Tsuro: This game looks kind of like Aquarius all grown up. Equally, if not more, gorgeous – this is a tile laying game where you place a tile and slide your stone along the path created, but other players’ paths can lead you in the wrong direction, or off the board entirely – making it a competitive and strategic game that I think might be more up my husband’s alley than Aquarius.

Forbidden Island (or Desert): This is another cooperative game that consists of tiles rather than a board. At first glance, this game looked really complicated but once it’s all set up, it actually seems fairly straight forward (but by no means easy – which is good, because easy tends to translate to my husband losing interest).

Betrayal at House on The HillI’m told that if you like Pandemic or Forbidden Island, that you’ll love this one which starts out with you and your friends exploring a creepy old house filled with all kinds of things that bump in the night, but then eventually it’s revealed that one of the players amongst you has betrayed everyone. I haven’t gotten around to watching the Table Top video for this one yet but it sounds promising.

What is your favorite game to play (with friends or with your kids)?

What should I add to my ever growing wish list?

Categories
books games link up movies music technology tv

What I’m Into (July 2015)

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share some of the things I’ve been into this month. This is a great opportunity to fangirl all over the place about what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to – or to give said things a harsh critique when necessary. Here’s how the month shook out for me.

Reading

Right now I’m reading three different books which is actually kind of rare for me as I don’t usually like to divide myself between stories. It tends to make me feel like I’m not really reading anything – but with Kindles and Kindle smartphone apps, I’ve gotten more into the habit – especially when I’m trying to finish a book club book in a certain amount of time and find myself starting before I’ve finished my last read.

All that said, I’m currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green (on my kindle, for funsies if you can call it that), The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (which I nominated for our book club so luckily I’m enjoying it) and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (whose last name isn’t a color unfortunately because that would make this list way more magical).

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  1. LIKED Goddess Interrupted (book 2) by Aimee CarterFinished July 3, 2015 – It took me a little while to ease back into the world of this story, just as it took the main character awhile to ease back into being in the Underworld with all the gods. This story quickly becomes action packed though and will have you on the seat of your pants waiting to see how it all turns out – and then ends on a major cliff hanger!
  2. REALLY LIKED The Geography of You and Me By Jennifer E. SmithFinished July 6, 2015 – This book was giving me a serious case of wanderlust in addition to being a really sweet, YA love story. I loved the main characters of this book, they were very easy for me to relate to and to root for and I loved all the descriptions of the places each character traveled to and their thoughts and musings throughout.
  3. LIKED The Goddess Inheritance (book 3) by Aimee CarterFinished July 10, 2015 – Everything has finally come to a head as we start book 3 and the book continues at a suspenseful pace. I was truly on the edge of my seat to see how everything would work out for the various characters. I thought it was all pulled together brilliantly.
  4. REALLY LIKED Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle FishelFinished July 23, 2015 – I was a major Boy Meets World fan growing up and I loved getting to know the girl behind Topanga. Danielle is very funny and had a lot of good stories to tell, but I also loved that she seems to have remained pretty down to earth all told. I like to imagine that we’d be total BFFs if we ever met.

readjuly

Watching

The-IT-Crowd-the-it-crowd-24356450-859-1024Has anyone else ever watched The IT Crowd? We just discovered it on Netflix this month and were sucked in immediately. It probably helps that I am a nerd who was raised by a nerd and then married a nerd. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a British show which is somehow a merit of huge significance for me – most of my favorite shows are British shows. But it’s also just plain hilarious. In less than a week, this show completely permeated our lives and we find ourselves quoting it constantly.

We also finally started watching Game of Thrones thanks to an awesome friend who loaned me the first two seasons on DVD so eventually I’m going to be totally in on all the jokes and references and I’ll finally be cool!! Except by then, there will be another Must Watch It Show that everyone will be watching – on that one channel that we don’t get – and I’ll have to start all over again. ::sigh::

I went to see a stage production of Pride and Prejudice at my favorite outdoor theater this month with some of my favorite friends. It was pretty hot out and the giant walk up a small hill continues to make me question my love for said theater but then the show started and I remembered – ohhhh right. The Cast. The cast is just so brilliant, the shows so well done. And being one of my all time favorite stories definitely didn’t hurt. My favorite actor in the theater, Marcus Truschinski, was cast as Darcy and we momentarily worried “Can he pull of Darcy? Isn’t he too silly?” But he was ah-mazing. Every time we leave this theater we seem to say, “This was the best play I’ve ever seen here.” And it continues to be true.

We’re going to see the Minions Movie tonight. Has anyone else seen it yet? I assume it’s going to be amazing.

Listening to

We were on a road trip for two weeks so most of the music we were listening to was the same songs that we listened to on loop last year. Lots of John Mayer, Matchbox 20, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles. My husband got me a tape deck adapter so that my car can join the 21st century music-wise and we were able to plug our phones into the stereo and listen to our playlists through the car speakers instead of the tinny little things built into the phones that are apparently totally unacceptable to my husband’s ears. One day I’ll have a blue tooth adapter in my car (probably never this car) and we can say goodbye to those cables, but for now I’m pretty thrilled with the new set up.

Playing

We learned how to play Pitch this month with my in laws and it might be my new favorite card game. The downside is we need more than just myself and my husband to play, so who’s coming over tonight?

We also played a lot of Munchkin which my husband loves and I tolerate and a tiny bit of We Didn’t Playtest This At All which I thought was terrific and my husband was meh about. Between the two of us, we love a lot of games – but finding the right balance to make both of us ecstatic fans seems to be tough. I’d like to try either Pandemic or Zombie Dice next I think. Any opinions?

What have you been into lately?

jenloves

Categories
books games grammar links movies

GEEK OUT: 5 Things You Won’t Want To Miss.

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Some things worth geeking out over:

A multi-fandom character alignment chart: Trying to understand your D&D character better? Or creating one from scratch and not sure what alignment they should fall into? Holland at Geek and Sundry has you covered.

Have you heard of #TwitterFiction? Authors all over twitter were crafting stories in the form of 140 character tweets, letting followers help them to craft a masterpiece. BuzzFeed wrote about a story Lemony Snicket wrote for #TwitterFiction Festival 2015. Two other authors whose stories you might want to read: Margaret Atwood and Maggie Stiefvater (my favorite).

These grammar grumble mugs at The Literary Gift Company might just be everything. If I didn’t already have entirely too many coffee mugs, these could be my new perfect set. See also: This website is probably worth book marking if you buy me gifts. See also: Buy me gifts.

Speaking of grammar, here are 10 grammar myths that the folks at Mental Floss think should be debunked and discarded or at least better understood. The next time you want to put a grammar snob in check, consult this list.

GeekMom just saw Tomorrowland and shared her thoughts about the movie and whether or not you should take your kids to see it. I am always on the look out for a “family movie” – i.e. a movie that is both enjoyable for kids and adults. This looks promising.