Board Games and Appendix

It’s not often you see a family board game blog with “Appendix” in the title. But our board game family of 6 is now short 1 appendix.

Let’s just say it was quite the memorable 4th of July this year.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Fun family reunion
A couple of posts ago, we wrote about our upcoming family reunion and the tough choices of which family board games to take along. I’m happy to report that the choices were a success.

Pandemic board game

Pandemic hits the table again.

As expected, with 32 game in tow it wasn’t likely that every game would be played. But as long as we had options for whatever mood people were in, then it would work out well. And it definitely did that.

With a big family gathering, it was pretty clear that our first night together, Telestrations was going to kick off the fun. And it didn’t disappoint. In fact, Telestrations never disappoints.

Rather than run down a play-by-play of the rest of the week of activities and games played, we’ll jump right to the list of which family board games made it to the game table and which one was the big hit.

Total number of different games played = 21!
(a number of them were also played multiple times)

Games Played

Code 777 Thinking

You can figure it out Jake…

While I didn’t get in on all these games, I still made sure to get my fair share in.

Games Not Played

Martian Dice

Dice rolling, push your luck fun!

Would have been nice to play…

Everyone had a great time hanging out with family and relaxing at night playing some family board games.

…until the 4th of July when Jaden woke up that morning feeling terrible and nauseous…

Appendix be gone!
Now comes the appendix part of the story.

It was a beautiful day at the lake and everyone was excited for the afternoon since we’d reserved a number of fun toys to play with: wave runners, kayak, paddle board, and a water trampoline. We took our time getting going in the morning and a few enjoyed some time on the mini-golf course as well.

By the time the afternoon rolled around, Jaden was still feeling terrible. With our rooms being so close to the lake, we didn’t feel like total loser parents and family by leaving him alone while we went to enjoy the lake without him.

We had a blast.
And perhaps Caleb had the most fun once he had a turn at driving a wave runner. Good thing he’s learned how to take turns, otherwise he would have monopolized one the whole time. (He repeatedly said he couldn’t wait for 5 more years when he’d be able to go out on his own on one.)

Of course, we also kept tabs on Jaden in the room – so bummed he couldn’t be in the mix.

Jaden in hospital

Nothing like a surprise surgery to celebrate the 4th of July.

But it wasn’t until during dinner that night that Jaden mentioned all the pain had centralized to one location. The symptoms then sounded a lot like appendicitis, so we called the clinic in town who suggested the best route was to get to the hospital for test.

So Michelle and Jaden headed down the canyon to Logan around 9 pm Friday night to the E.R.

(so much for fireworks) :)

It was pretty clear soon after arriving that his appendix was definitely “unhappy”. Around midnight, he was admitted to the hospital and awaited his early morning surgery.

By the time I got to the hospital Saturday morning, Jaden was already in surgery. So I missed wishing him well. But I was there when he was wheeled back into the room for recovery and sharing smiles.

The surgery went very well, the recovery was smooth, and he was released in the afternoon.

Scotland Yard family board game

Caleb figuring out how to escape our clutches.

Wow – what a surprise 4th of July celebration!

And now, after a week of recuperation, Jaden is still doing well and is looking forward to getting back to full strength again soon.

The big hit board game
Let’s finish with another board game note…

The biggest board game hit of the week was found playing a game that none of us had every played before – Scotland Yard.

It’s a great board game!

And it plays up to 6 players – so our whole family can play! Bingo!

We played it a number of times and loved it every time.

It’s an older game that we’ve heard about many times. But it wasn’t until earlier this year that we got a copy in a board game trade. And we’re so glad we did.

Scotland Yard family board game

Mr. X’s secret movement pad.

We’ll definitely have to do a full review of Scotland Yard soon, but here’s the quick summary:

One player takes on the role of the criminal Mr. X, who moves around London unseen except for a few turns when he “surfaces”. The rest of the players are detectives working together to catch him/her by moving onto the same location where he is.

Every round begins with Mr. X moving to a new location. Mr. X writes his new location on a secret pad and then covers that location number with a mode of transportation token (taxi, bus, underground, or unknown). Each detective then gets to move to a new location – also using a mode of transportation.

Scotland Yard family board game

We’re closing in!

The catch is that each detective only has a limited number of taxi, bus, or underground tokens. Their playing pieces are also always on the board so Mr. X can keep tabs on them and figure how to keep from getting caught.

Overall, Scotland Yard is a fantastic hidden movement game as well as a semi-cooperative board game. As detectives, coordinating movements is key to fencing Mr. X in and ultimately catching him. And as Mr. X, finding a way through the net is a fun mental effort with a good amount of tension.

At least that’s what I’ve been told from that side – because I have yet to get a chance to be Mr. X. But I’m definitely looking forward to my chance. Maybe later today…

Yep – we’ll definitely recommend Scotland Yard as a great family board game.

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Best Games of 2013 – The Dice Tower Awards!

The Dice Tower Awards 2013The best board games, card games, dice games, family games, and party games of 2013 have now been awarded!

With more than 3,000+ new games published in 2013, there were a ton to choose from.

But the 40+ top board game reviewers around the world were up to the challenge.

And once again, we were happy to be a part of the selection and judging group.

Every year, The Dice Tower gathers recommendations from around the globe. Those reviewers then whittle the lists down to the nominations. From there the final votes are cast and The Dice Tower Awards are announced!

Best Board Games of 2013

Caverna: The Cave Farmers board game

Caverna is awarded the Best Board Game of the Year 2013!

Of course, as is typical, we didn’t have a chance to play every game that won this year. But even so, from talking to those that have, it’s hard to go wrong with the board games on this winning list.

Forbidden Desert board game

Forbidden Desert is a great family board game.

We heartily agree with Forbidden Desert winning as Best Family Board Game of the Year. It’s a great cooperative game that family members of all ages can enjoy playing together. The game that won for Best Cooperative Game of the Year is one that we just recently reviewed – Freedom: The Underground Railroad – that’s a tough challenge with a well integrated theme.

The Dice Tower Awards for best games of the year packs in a great list of recommended board games to play with your friends and family.

Check out the top board games from years past:
2012 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures Game
2011 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Eclipse
2010 – Best Game of the Year Winner: 7 Wonders
2009 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Smallworld
2008 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Dominion
2007 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Race for the Galaxy

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Which board games to play? Tough choice

family board games

Packing for a family reunion week – games first.

This week we’re having a family reunion and I’m in charge of supplying the board games.

Of course, supplying board games to play for the occasion isn’t a big surprise. It’s really something I do anyway whenever we get together with family.

The toughest question is which family board games to take…

Diverse interests

The first thing to consider when choosing which games to take is the diverse interests of everyone that will be there.

Some love strategy board games – others prefer games with a lot of luck. Some love light, party games – others prefer two-player games. Some love short games – others games that play through the night. Some like learning new games – others prefer familiar games. Some are willing to play anything – others don’t really like board games at all.

That being the case, I need to pack an assortment of games to cover a wide spectrum of interests.

Luckily with so many family board games in our closet, selecting a wide variety  of games won’t be a problem.

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Summer vacation time! 10 Days in the Americas

10 Days board game

Ready to travel?

Summertime is the perfect time for family vacations.
Kids are out of school and ready to play.
And parents are ready to take a break from work and get away as well.

Vacations are also on our mind now because we just got back from a fantastic family trip.

It may come as a shocker but we didn’t even take or play a single game on this trip. (Also explains the almost 2 weeks without a post.)

10 Days in Europe board game

Or to Europe?

This trip was all about simply getting away from our normal routines.

It was great!

And with family trips on our mind, we’ve got a great family board game series suggestion for you – the “10 Days” series – by Out of the Box.

There are currently 5 games in the series:

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Happy Father’s Day Dads!

Father's Day Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride trains make a great Father’s Day sign.

Way to go Dads!

We commend all fathers in the world taking an active role in the lives of their children.

Huge kudos to you.

It’s not an easy task. Yet, you’ve taken on the responsibility head-on.

The positive impact you have on your children will last for generations.

Unfortunately, the flip-side is also true.
Fatherless homes also feel the impact for generations.

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Grab the chunky wooden blocks

Eternas board game

Wooden game pieces are fun to play with.

We’ve got 2 games to tell you about today – Eternas and Quadefy.

Both games are 2-player games published by Maranda Games and both have fantastic wooden components.

When you pick up one of these games boxes, you’ll feel the hefty weight of these pieces.

And the quality of the wood is perfect for table-top play. In fact, both of these are games that you could leave out on the table, or office desk for great conversations starters and quick challenges to family, friends, or coworkers.

You may remember another game we’ve reviewed from Maranda Games that we labeled as the game with the biggest dice we have – Dotzee. They produce great, chunky game components that are great to play with.

Normally we’d have a separate review of each, but these games are so simple to learn, that today you’ll get our special 2-for-1 deal (2 reviews for one read).
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Commemorating the D-Day 70th Anniversary with Memoir ’44

D-Day 70th anniversary

D-Day was the turning point in WWII.

This Friday – June 6 – is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy invasion of WWII.

To mark the anniversary of the greatest military invasion in known history, many commemorative events are happening around the world.

The commemoration is special this year because it may be the last decennial anniversary with those who were actually there. Here’s a quote from the 70th Anniversary Battle of Normandy Commemoration page.
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Freedom: The Underground Railroad

best board games 2013

Freedom is a very thematic and good cooperative board game.

Cooperative board games are a great way to enjoy time together. Everyone works as a team to beat the game – celebrating the victories or agonizing in defeat together.

Most of the cooperative board games we enjoy establish a unique, imaginative setting and struggle in which to fight the game battles.

Freedom: The Underground Railroad board game

Let’s work together to get the slaves to the free North.

Freedom: The Underground Railroad on the other hand doesn’t need to create an imaginative setting for the game tension. In Freedom, the tension is set as soon as you see the game title and box cover. Because Freedom is set in a very tense period of actual history – freeing slaves through the “Underground Railroad”.

The great news is that even though the game deals with a serious historical topic, it isn’t an oppressive experience. Yes, the theme is very well integrated. But it’s also a very well designed game.

It’s a challenge to win and it will definitely require working together well to achieve your goal. And that’s an enjoyable, shared experience.

See a quick overview of how to play Freedom: The Underground Railroad in our video review.

Can the whole family enjoy Freedom: The Underground Railroad?
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