Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Joy of Gaming - The Magic Labyrinth

We're always on the lookout for new and interesting games for our daughter. She's growing up so fast that it's hard to waste out money on games that are ONLY for little kids and have no interest for adults. For example, we bought Animal Upon Animal, which is great for our young daughter, but we seriously love it as adults as well. When my husband bought this for my daughter, I laughed, because I had it on a list of interesting games to buy for our family.

The Magic Labyrinth (2009)
Essentially, you are moving your pawn (Magician) around the board, trying to make it to a certain symbol that you randomly selected from the bag. But the pawn is a magnet and on the other side of the board is a metal ball. Under the board is a maze and when you hit a wall, the ball drops and you start over. It's a race to see who will make it to the symbol first and earn the token. Players have to remember where the walls were and try to work around them. In order to know how many spaces you can move a turn, you roll a die. Again, if you hit a wall and your ball falls, you have to start over.

Everyone we have shared the game with has loved it and, to be fair, it has magnets... kids LOVE magnets. A definite addition to any family collection and a great game for any event you might attend where kids are playing games. I brought this to my school's Family Night Frenzy in the game room and it was the hit of the room. Several people told me they were going home to buy it right away!

If you're into the art and playful visuals of the game, the artist, Rolf Vogt, is also responsible for a similarly enjoyable game, The Enchanted Tower (2012). I recommend checking it out.

A great addition and one my daughter loves playing!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Am I Back? We'll See

Now that things have found a more level ground again, I think I might be able to return to my blog. Life was too much, too overwhelming, and too unpredictable. A summer off has allowed me to reset some of my systems and help my batteries charge a bit more. Heading into the school year is always going to be hectic, but it's nothing I haven't handled before under more duress. Even though, with this new perception and frame of mind, it would always completely backfire on me.

Over the last year I have played next to zero games. I have, though, played an excessive amount of RPG. I've written about that before, where my husband, our friend, and I are taking turns running our preferred RPGs. It's been going really great! I, though, am apparently really caught up in writing stories for my Marvel character and it's very involved!

But now that the craziness of life has taken a little vacation, I thought it might be time to get back into my groove of sharing some games with my The Joy of Gaming entries. Might even invest myself in some other things if I can get my mind heading in that direction.

So as the school year gets underway for myself and my daughter, I am hoping to turn Thursday nights into game night with my husband. It might even help us get out to our local game group's game nights. Trying to building that routine, because routine is what keeps things consistent and going. Well, with some sporadic moments of unstructured insanity.

Essentially, lets see if I'm back for good! Stick around for more!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Impressions Made of Tabletop Gamers

I always laugh when I see the memes about how other people view Tabletop gamers.

Sadly, I get to deal with this kind of stuff in my real life. It's hard for me, because, as with most of life, it's other people judging you. I feel like I need to set the record straight. I'm not a gaming elitist, but I am on a mission to expose people to games outside of the basic Milton-Bradley games of my childhood. I also want to help young people see beyond the basic games that they play at home or games that, seriously... are far below their age level. I want to help them aspire to greater things and expand their minds. I mean, hello. . . I'm a teacher. . . it's in my job description.

I have all of the classic games in my home. I'm raising a child and I intend to bestow on her my love of gaming whether from my childhood or from my adulthood. I have Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Scrabble, Monopoly, Scattegories, Pictionary, Sorry, etc. I am not above these games. Did I play them through most of my youth. . . yes. These were the only options I had available to me. Do I still play them today? Not so much, because I've discovered the world of Tabletop games!

Now, everyone knows the games above. When I mention playing games, most people just think they're the games they have at home for their family. There is nothing wrong with these games at home for family. Granted, if you have 12+ years of age, you might want to move beyond the basic "draw a color, move your piece" kind of game. There's no real strategy to it. No real engagement. It's a learning game. It helps you learn colors and the basic mechanics of game play. Additionally, it teachers young gamers how to play properly; taking turns and the pitfalls of losing.

Never have I disputed the benefits of these games for young and emerging gamers, but that's not my goal for my Tabletop Game Club. I like to share new games with people. I like to expand the knowledge of what games can provide. Within my club, I have had great success. Sadly, thinking outside the box scares people. They only want what they know. And that's a greater problem than just within Tabletop Gaming, but it's something that causes my heart to break.

I get that some people are kidding, but it always feels like a tiny dagger stab at my heart when it's brought up that "you should include normal games." Especially from people who don't even deign to think outside the box or are scared to learn something new. Everyone knows the basic games that are available at every store, everywhere. But my mission is to expand the minds of people. Don't take little jabs at people just because they have a different world view.

Assumptions, as I've learned throughout my life, merely make an ass out of you. I'm not an elitist. I just feel there's more to this world than what's on the shelf at your local Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, etc. Nostalgia is at work for so many of these games when we think of them as adults. As children of the 80's, it's hard not to be nostalgic when everything from our childhood is coming back into modern pop-culture. I get it.

I don't write this because I "can't let it go." I write this to impress upon my readers and others how important it is to keep an open mind to our modern world. I have enough of myself to defend in the circles that I move in, I shouldn't have to defend a passion for advancing the understanding of games outside of the "normal" games every family cupboard possesses.