Friday, December 9, 2016

Escapade Games Announces Release of Riftwalker!

by Randy

Hello, readers!

You may have noticed that the Growing Up Gamers blog has been on hiatus. Sorry! The primary reason is that Angie and Julian have been busy designing games. The exciting news we have is that their newest game, Riftwalker: A Storm Hollow Card Game, has been delivered to Kickstarter backers and is now available at retail! Isn't that exciting?!?

Riftwalker is a strategic card game for 2-4 players. The players take on the role of a Riftwalker, one of the iconic heroes of Storm Hollow, as they explore the fantastic locations of the world. Manipulating the element grid to draw on the magic of Storm Hollow is necessary to explore and activate the magic of the land.

Here are some examples of the beautifully illustrated rift cards, representing the lands you explore:

Here is the element grid, which you interact with to explore, shift, and score:

For a pretty good overview of the gameplay, take a look at this video from Bonding With Boardgames.

Find Riftwalker: A Storm Hollow Card Game at these retailers & more!

Miniature Market
Games Worth Playing

Has anyone had the opportunity to play it yet? If so, let us know! Additionally, feel free to post reviews!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Winners of the Riftwalker Giveaway!

by Randy

Hello, everyone!

It's time to announce the winners of the Riftwalker Giveaway! We'd like to thank everyone who took the time to enter & help us spread the word about Riftwalker: A Storm Hollow Card Game. With your help, we were able to help get this game funded. And we are very grateful. Look for a retail release of Riftwalker later this year!

Well... here they are: the winners!

#1. Andrew K.
#2: Brian C
#3: Ernie L
#4: Duarte
#5: Melissa N
#6: Malcolm E
#7: Nuno S

The winners have all been contacted, in order of drawing, and have each chosen one of the excellent games that Game Salute so generously offered for the giveaway. We'd like to give a big shout-out to Game Salute for doing this.

Again, we would like to extend our gratitude to everyone involved.Thank you!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dear Hearthstone Players: Please Learn Some Dang Manners!

By Julian 

One of the greatest features of Hearthstone (an incredible online collectible card game you should check out if you haven't) is that it limits the online talk of its players to six straightforward emotes: Thanks, Well Played, Greetings, Sorry, Oops, and Threaten. It’s simple but effective communication that makes it easy to display good game etiquette. Of course, you still have to have some idea of what good game etiquette actually IS. After playing this game for quite some time, it’s clear that many of you missed the day (or the entire childhood) where they were teaching this stuff. Never fear, my friends. I am here to help you with a breakdown of each emote and how to PROPERLY use it. Pay attention, whipper-snapper! I’m about to teach you some manners!

This is the polite and proper response when someone says or does something nice for you. In Hearthstone, this should follow any time your opponent uses the “Good Game” emote to compliment you on your play. Also, appropriate (but not necessary) if an opponent plays a mutually beneficial card that does something fun or cool for you, too. Do NOT use this emote sarcastically to whine at your opponent when they destroy your favorite creature or wipe your board. That’s petty.

Well Played 
Unless your opponent is a sociopathic monster, you must press this emote at least once per game. If your opponent does something clever or cool, “Well Played” is a fine compliment to pay them. However, regardless of how they played, regardless of whether you won or lost, at the end of every game you tell your opponent “Well Played.” That’s not a bot your playing. That’s a person on the other side of the table. It’s a person that just spent time doing something that helped you enjoy yourself. Yes, they did it because they were having fun, too. So what. At the end of ANY game, you thank your fellow players for taking the time to play with you. In Hearthstone, the emote to say this is “Well Played.”

This emote is mostly pointless. You can say a generic greeting at your opponent at the start of the game to say hello, but after several games this starts to get old. It doesn’t really show appreciation in any meaningful way.  However, if your opponent is taking a long time on their turn and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, you can give a single “Greetings” to check that they know it’s still their turn. Also, pointless though it may be, if someone greets you at the start of the game, you GREET THEM BACK. That’s just common decency.

It can be tempting to say sorry when you destroy your opponent’s board or otherwise swing the game strongly in your favor. Don’t. It’s a competitive game. Everyone gets that. Apologizing for playing effectively is just condescending. That said, Hearthstone has a lot of cards with random effects that sometimes swing the game in unfair ways. When a random effect unbalances the game in your favor, a sympathetic “Sorry” is a good way to indicate that you know you’re not about to win due to any particular skill or strategy on your part. Also, “Sorry” is a fine way to express sympathy if your opponent makes an obvious misplay and calls it out by pressing the “oops” emote.

This emote is a little self-serving. It’s only exists for you to press when you screw up and only so you can prove to your opponent that you’re not dumb because you know you screwed up. Then, you can imagine they’re laughing along with you at your ridiculous mistake. Press it if you’re really that worried about an anonymous stranger judging your intellect. Do NOT press it to point out an opponent’s mistake. When an opponent misplays, emoting “Sorry” says “I sympathize. Obviously, that didn’t work out how you’d hoped.” Emoting “Oops” say “I’m a snarky jerk who thinks I’m sooooo superior to your incredibly feeble play skills.”

What are you 12? Obviously you shouldn’t threaten people you’re playing a game with. True, the threat emote is too ridiculous to be threatening. However, it’s not ridiculous ENOUGH to be ironic or funny. It’s just juvenile and pointless. And when you press “Threaten” after losing a game, what is that about? Do you think you’re the villain in my hero’s story and that’s your dramatic finish? Well it’s not. It’s dumb. Grow up.

Remember folks, even when communication is limited, its important to show respect to those we play against. Without those players, there would be no meaningful game to play. Let’s all play well together and have fun! (And seriously, just press "Well Played" at the end of a game. It's right there on the left. Just. Press. It.)

Get Free Games!

Speaking of fun things to play, Growing Up Gamers is running a contest where you, yes YOU, can win free games! It’s all to promote our Kickstarter for Riftwalker: A StormHollow Card Game going on through Sunday, March 20th.  You can check out the contest here! The Kickstarter is also promoting the last few weeks of Storm Hollow pre-orders. This awesome storytelling adventure game represents four years of development by the Growing Up Gamers crew (and other amazing people who helped out). There are no immediate plans for a retail version so preordering may be the only way to ever get this fantastic game of which we are incredibly proud. It will only be available for purchase in its current format until March 20th. You can check out the pre-order here!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Escapade Games Launches Riftwalker on Kickstarter! Plus a Giveaway!

by Randy

Hello, everyone!

Great news! Escapade Games, the game design studio consisting of Angela Hickman Newnham and Julian Leiberan-Titus of Growing Up Gamers, have a new game on Kickstarter! Riftwalker: A Storm Hollow Card Game is a small strategy card game where players take on the role of one of the hero types of Storm Hollow, a riftwalker.

Riftwalkers explore the world, discovering rifts, pieces of other worlds that have been transported to and make up the world of Storm Hollow. These heroes are in tune with the world and can draw upon the magic of the world to do amazing and heroic things. Here's a video showing how the game works. And here's a review by Jonathan Liu of GeekDad!

Speaking of Storm Hollow, the game will be shipping to backers later this year. Storm Hollow: A Storyboard Game is a storytelling game with simple mechanics that the whole family can enjoy together. While the retail strategy has yet to be determined, the Storm Hollow Limited Edition Treasury is available for preorder. It's an amazing amount of content, and the only way to guarantee getting a copy is through this limited-time preorder. The world guide is available as a free PDF download, if you want to get a preview of what's in store!

So... the Giveaway!

We need to spread the word about Riftwalker, and we need your help. And we'd love to give some games away! The publisher, Game Salute, is offering several games from their catalog. Here they are:

Princess Bride: As You Wish
Princess Bride: Miracle Pill
BoardGameGeek: The Card Game
Top Promoter
Impact City Roller Derby
Monsters & Maidens

Seven games and seven winners! To enter, do one or more of the things below. And you can get extra entries daily! Please spread the word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Katie's Amazing World: A Minecraft Birthday Party

By Angie

Note: Here's our first special THROWBACK THURSDAY!
(In which I finish and post a draft of an article I started a couple years ago! This party was thrown in 2012, but my kids STILL love and play Minecraft daily so I felt it would be worth sharing. Enjoy!)

I previously wrote an article about bringing your favorite games and video game characters to life in party form: "How to Throw a Great Character Game Party", and this time we took on the kids' favorite open-world creative game Minecraft! Here's the basics of how we did it broken down into the 4 essential steps:


The first step to any party or event is to set the mood, and in this case we wanted a fun Minecraft feel, with the block-y pixel charm, and since it was a party for 7 year olds (some of whom might not be familiar with the game) we wanted it to feel fun and accessible as well. Katie was all in on making decorations, and had some help from a friend before the party. This was great to have the girls set on this task while we were busy with other preparations..

Steve-heads and Creepers were an easy choice as they were easily recognizable as Minecraft, and relatively easy to make.

We used the Steve-heads and Creepers to decorate our favorite Happy Birthday banner (with some lights to draw attention to their handiwork!)

While the girls were lining the house with Steve's, creepers, and other blocks, we set to work on making another Minecraft staple: the Crafting Table. We wanted something that served as a decoration and also was part of the activities part of the party, so we printed out some patterns which were used in some of the crafts and had them stewn about the table.


Building is such a core part of the Minecraft experience, we knew we had to come up with ways for the kids to build stuff at the party if we wanted to capture that Minecraft feel. Because of their age, "melty" beads (also called Pearler Beads) seemed like a great fit for a craft project. They were bright, colorful, presented lots of options for following patterns, and are just really fun!

Some of the kids made their creations without help, but we had adults standing by for crafting assistance. We also had keychain loops to turn the finished product into something that could be hung off of a backpack zipper of otherwise displayed. 

We also had paper available for collaging, as Pearler beads require a lot of manual dexterity (and patience) and we had some younger kids at the party, so we wanted to make sure there was something they could craft with the patterns as well. 

Even the older kids got into the crafting, and we saw some really elaborate creations made throughout the course of the party. Of course there was a Diamond Sword, the pinnacle of Minecraft weaponry. 


Immersion into a world is one of the best parts of gaming, so we also wanted to make sure there was a way for the kids to jump into the Minecraft world and play the role of the survivor, striving to build a life and drive back the bad guys. Our first goal was to make some bad guys, and of course some weapons with which to fight them!

"Do you like my sword-sword-sword? My diamond sword-sword! You cannot afford-afford, afford my diamond sword-sword"! You've all seen that video, right? My kids sang that for months. Anyhow, back to the party!

We made a Ghast pinata, and a Diamond Sword and a Diamond Pickaxe with which to break it open, and the kids were beyond excited to take their turns attacks the "mob" and of course hoping for candy! (They all used the sword though, who wants to fight a mob with a pickaxe? What were we thinking?)

To simulate the survival and build aspect, we filled our house with cardboard boxes for the kids to use as building blocks. They created houses, castles, forts, walls, and many other things (to inevitably knock down and rebuild!). If the party hadn't been in November in Oregon (both cold AND raining) this part would DEFINITELY have been outside! 

We also had a few computers and the Xbox set up where you could actually PLAY Minecraft, but the kids were so busy with the party activities they only got used by the cousins before and affter the actual party. But you can see that lure...


Of course, all heroes need to eat. Much like decorates, food can help set the feel for a party. We decided to go all in on the blocks and do all cube foods, then let the kids have the fun of playing with their food AND building some more! One of the challenges was finding foods that could be cubed and could at least sort of be eaten together. Our menu consisted of fruits, veggies, cheeses, crackers, and breads, all of which are favorite snack foods for busy kids. We also did our best to replicate the Minecraft cake that you can craft in the game, which scored bonus points with the birthday girl! 

Maybe some grownups played with their food too....

The cake is a lie! Wait, wrong video game reference. This cake was amazing. 

So that's how we pulled off an amazingly fun, memorable Minecraft themed party for our little adventurer. I feel that a game makes a pefrect theme for a birthday party (or other type of celebration) because it is already structured around doing something fun, usually has a rich world to draw from, and gives the party-goers a great way to socialize and engage in something more memorable than some of the typical party fare.

Hit us up with any questions, comments, or let us know what your favorite game-inspired party ideas are in the comments! Have fun playing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

That's How I Role: Baela the Immovable!

by Randy

Hello there! I would like to start off with an apology for not updating recently. It's been pretty hectic for us, and we've been focusing on a lot of other things. Thanks for coming back!

What I have today is a Pathfinder character that I believe would be very fun to play. She's one tough dwarf. A single-class monk, this character shows the fun stuff you can do with archetypes. Archetypes for the Pathfinder system were introduced in the Advanced Player's Guide. Archetypes swap out features of the base class with a set of themed abilities. Some are minor, and some make it feel like you're playing a whole new class.

Baela is themed on the immovable power of stone, befitting her Dwarf heritage. The archetypes used are Monk of the Sacred Mountain, Monk of the Four Winds and a splash of Qinggong Monk. The Monk of the Sacred Mountain trades some of the movement-based monk class features for ones themed on immobility & toughness. The Monk of the Four Winds is for monks more connected to the natural world, and the elements. Quinggong monks are disciplined users of Ki magic.

Baela Duerstan is a dwarf ascetic from Highhelm. Her mother, a caravan guard, died when she was in her teens, and she was taken in by the temple of Torag. Upon coming of age, she chose to leave the area and see the world. She now wanders from town to town, sometimes a caravan guard herself.

Baela Duerstan Dwarf Monk (Monk of the Sacred Mountain/Monk of the Four Winds/Qinggong Monk) Lawful Neutral  Level 10

Str 14, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 6

AC: 28 (+2 Dex +5 Wis +6 Natural Armor +3 Monk +1 Dodge +1 Deflection) 30 (+2 Shield if she does not move)
HP: 113 (10d8 + 50 Con + 10 Toughness +9 favored class)  DR: 1/-
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +12
Move: 50

Unarmed strike +11/+5 2d6+3
Flurry of Blows +12/+12/+7/+7 2d6+3
+1 Shuriken +10/+5
+1 Shuiriken (flurry) +11/+11/+6/+6 1d2+3  10ft

Skills: Acrobatics +15, Stealth +15, Knowledge: Religion +13, Perception +18

Feats: Ironhide, Toughness, Dodge, Scorpion Style, Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike), Shaitan Style, Gorgon Strike, Improved Natural Armor x2, Medusa's Wrath, Improved Unarmed Strike, Elemental Fist

Magic Items: 
Belt of Physical Perfection +2, Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4, Monk's Robe, Amulet of Natural Armor +2, 50 +1 Shuriken, Ring of Protection +1

Baela is, simply put, tough. Though she is highly mobile, she shines most when she can stand still and hit things; she is not subtle in the least. Her Scorpion Style feat will allow her to stop opponents in their tracks (and open the possibility of using Gorgon's Fist & Medusa's Wrath). The Elemental Fist feat is her go-to move for dealing unarmed strike damage. It will allow her to use any element, but it is best employed for acid damage, which is boosted by the Shaitan Style feat (which she should activate in every battle at the beginning). When she needs to withstand a barrage of attacks, standing still and using a Ki point for her monk dodge bonus will get her to Armor Class 34. And don't forget that her Damage Reduction (DR 1/-) is always active (she can double this with a Ki point).

For advancement, Baela should take Stunning Fist next level. As a monk, she will get one use per level (and an additional use from her Monk Robe). If she uses Stunning Fist in a Flurry of Blows attack, she can get two additional attacks at her highest base attack bonus (assuming the opponent fails his save). At 12th level, her Monk of the Four Winds archetype replaces Abundant Step with Slow Time, the ability to use a swift action to spend 6 ki points to get 3 standard actions that turn instead of one. At 13th level, either Crushing Blow or Hammer The Gap are good feat choices. You may also use the Qinggong Monk archetype to swap out Diamond Body for another power not replaced by one of the other archetypes: Restoration is a very good choice.

Alternately, a one-level dip into Fighter with the Unbreakable archetype would round out the prerequisites for the prestige class Stalwart Defender anytime after 9th level. Though a Monk is not the ideal path to get there, it offers a lot to Baela: a larger hit die, a dodge bonus to AC, damage reduction (it won't stack with hers, but will eventually surpass what she has), the defensive stance and a variety of defensive powers.

Note: All of the links above go to, an excellent fan-made resource for Pathfinder rules run by John Reyst. I use this every time I make a character or plan an adventure for Pathfinder. John is currently running a Patreon to support maintaining this excellent resource. Please consider lending your support.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Glory of Asphyxious!

Painting a Warmachine Lich Lord

by Randy

Hello there!

I wanted to show off my latest project. If you have played either Warmachine or the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game, you have heard of Cryx. For those who haven't, Cryx is an island nation of nightmares, where the dead walk and do the bidding of the world's largest dragon. The dragon, Toruk, has appointed twelve Lich Lords to carry out his bidding as governors and generals to conquer the world for him. The mini I painted is one of those Lich Lords, Asphyxious. Asphyxious just recently acquired his title by slaying his predecessor, Daemortus, whom he has made into a spear.

Pretty fearsome, eh? The model itself is pretty impressive. Not counting the plastic base, it has 12 pieces. I'm not covering assembly here, though you'll probably get a little of that incidentally. With a model like this, it makes the most sense to paint it in pieces. I painted the model with Formula P3 paints, the paint range by Privateer Press, makers of Warmachine.

This pic shows me getting the model ready for priming. I have already washed the pieces, cleared mold lines and I have put together the upper and lower body, and the base and the stand piece for the base.Then I mount the remaining pieces to be primed with a spray primer. I used my hand drill to make small holes which double as places for pins when the model finally gets assembled.

Here it is after it has been primed in black and painting is underway. 

Here's the body. For his robes, I used Rucksack Tan mixed with Armor Wash. The green in the head socket, between the ribs and underneath the body is Necrotite Green. I went over the black metal with a little thinned Cryx Bane Base, then drybrushed Cold Steel. The soul cages hanging on the belt were done with Blighted Gold, highlighted with Rhulic Gold. 

Here's the base. I had already painted the base insert, not I have added the swirling souls and have painted them. Also, if you look closely, you can see a little metal pin in the top of the central swirly pillar. This corresponds to a drilled hole in the bottom of the lower body. This was done with Necrotite Green and Morrow White. 

Here's the 'backpack': the array of exhaust pipes coming from the back. Cryxians burn necrotite instead of coal,. and that burn with a green flame. The metals are the same as the body above, with most done with black drybrushed with Cold Steel, and the flares at the end of the pipes Blighted Gold highlighted with Rhulic Gold.

Here is the right hand & spear. Metals as above, with the blade being Cold Steel washed with Armor Wash. The eye was done in Morrow White, with the pupil Coal Black, and the edges done with thinned Murderous Magenta. 

And here he is... Lich Lord Asphyxious, in all his terrible glory! His skull was basecoated with Rucksack Tan, washed with Armor Wash and then highlighted with Morrow White. 

So... that's him! I finally got him together and painted, after having the model hiding in my unpainted pile for a couple years waiting for me to become a better painter. I'm very happy with the outcome, and maybe one day I'll field him in a battle, or plague the players in my upcoming Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game campaign with him. Any miniatures that you're particularly proud of? Let me know below! And also consider visiting my Instagram profile. You'll find quite a few miniatures on there!