Sunday, September 30, 2012

4 Fun Games a Family Can Play For Free...and a Giveaway



The giveaway week continues as we continue to march towards the end of the Story Realms Kickstarter.  Today we are taking a break from discussing more traditional types of game to talk about some of the fun, creative games we've created with our kids and our families.

 We love playing games with our kids.  Board games, card games, storytelling games, you name it and we like to play it.  However, some of the best games you can enjoy with your family are the ones that happen spontaneously.   For while there many fantastic games out there, some of the best games just take a little imagination and willingness to play along.

Supermarket Superheroes

by Julian

This is a game I made up one day to make a particular trip to the grocery store more fun for my daughter.  She liked it so much that she insists on playing nearly every time we go now.  We, of course, are the superheroes out to capture evil villains.  We have a list of which ones are causing trouble.  For example, just today we had to capture Count Corn Chips, the Black Bean, and the evil Doctor Cheddar.  We investigate the area, capture the villains, and put them into the containment unit (grocery cart).  Once we’ve got them all rounded up, we have to take them to the facility where they will be incapacitated with a laser (the checkout stand) and then pay a small fee for the service.  Once they are good and knocked out, we drag them back to headquarters (home).  Most of the time we are shopping, you wouldn’t know we are playing.  It’s just us walking around a grocery store looking for the items and talking about it in a slightly different way.  Sometimes, however, we ham it up a bit more and get few strange looks from our fellow citizens as we stalk through grocery aisle, grab a bag of chips and the then defeat it with a (very light) super hero punch.  Originally, I was just trying to provide some entertainment for my daughter while we did a family errand.  It turns out, I ended up having more fun too.  

Red Light, Green Light...Purple Light, Blue Light? 

by Angie
Some of the best spontaneous games can come from looking at something familiar in a new way, or adding a fun twist to any activity. While on an afterschool walk last week my kids were excited to play the well-known game of "Red-Light, Green-Light" together, but after a few blocks Katie stopped and said "This game needs an expansion, lets power up!". Jack jumped right on board with "Oh, how 'bout Purple light means super boost speed?!" and they were off. We quickly added in Blue lights (walk backwards), Orange lights (rush back to Mom), and a whole host of ever-changing rainbow colored commands that had us laughing, skipping, and running all over the neighborhood. In just a week, this new and improved "rainbow" lights game has become a regular source of enjoyment for us, and something for everyone to look forward to. (I even find myself thinking up new ways to move and searching my brain for more obscure colors to use throughout the day!) Having a playful attitude with your kids, and being willing to jump right in and experience the joys of childhood can be a real rush! Children are naturally inclined to turn even mundane activities such as walking down the street into elaborate on-the-spot games, and taking the cues from them can create lasting memories and fun experiences, while letting the kids know you are paying attention and ready to "game".

The Worlds They Know

By Julian

Kids love to play pretend and sometimes it can be a lot of fun to let them fully take the helm and lead you through a crazy adventure.  Lately, Sabine has been really enjoying a show called Cyberchase.  She watches the show online and also plays the games associated with it.  She likes it so much that she wants to go on her own adventures through the world depicted in the show.  She makes her own maps, comes up with the problem that needs to be solved, and gives me a choice of which characters I want to be.  Last time I had the choice of being one of three fairies (one from the show and two she made up) or a Poddle (apparently a little creature that’s a triangle, square or circle and has a house of the same shape.  ...I’m not that familiar with the actual show so I’m going off her descriptions).   We’ve journeyed to the Northern Frontier, Penguia, and the Sensible Flats.  Our next trip is to Ecohaven, apparently.  We gather parts and have to put them together to save the day.  Playing pretend this way turns the passive experience of watching a show into something much more imaginative and active.  Kids will, of course, do this on their own or with their friends.  However, letting my kid take me along for the ride I get to see how her mind is creating stories from the things she sees and she gets the joy of feeling like she’s showing her Dad just how cool a hero she can be.  If your child doesn’t leap automatically towards exploring their imagination this way, you can prompt them by asking some questions about what they would do if they were in the world of their favorite story or show.  

Skylanders Versus Heroscape

By Angie
What do you get when you mix a whole giant tub of Heroscape figures and terrain with an army of Skylanders?? A super fun way to spend the day! My kids love playing games, and are very eager to explore game boxes and learn the rules. However, sometimes we have the most fun when we throw all the rules aside and just play with the games and each other. A current favorite is building elaborate battlefields using Heroscape terrain and figures, and then bring in the Skylanders! Each Skylander figure (my kids have collected EVERY one of them) is a different unique character in the video game Skylanders, and they all have fun personalities, signature moves, and catch phrases that make them really stand out. Instead of worrying about building point-cost armies and checking stats, my kids and I love to lay down on the floor and just let our imaginations take over. Terrafin and his baby land sharks can crush even the toughest dragon, and Ghost Roaster's spirit form helps him sneak into the castle undetected. I love seeing how my kids take the abilities and elements of the game and use those to fuel their own narratives and stories. Not all game playing has to be about following rules and structure, and even though I love the depth and strategy in a good game I find it very satisfying to engage with my kids in meaningful play using game pieces and worlds as an amazing backdrop for pretend play. I expect we'll have years to explore the complexity and detailed interactions in a game like Heroscape, but right now I think its important to meet my kids where they are at developmentally and encourage their love of gaming and game worlds through imaginative spontaneous play. Games make some of the best "toy sets" out there, and when they are ready we'll be able to build on these shared experiences and explore these games together on a whole new level. 


And if pure imagination games don't quite suite you, worry not, because the game giveaway continues!  Here are four proper family board games to consider getting with that $150 in game prizes...





The house is full of monsters and only one can stay.  The rest are getting kicked to the curb.  Rumble in the House has fun art and very simple mechanics.  Each turn you either move a monster or make them fight.  If you make them fight, you choose who gets the boot.  The goal is to keep your monsters in as long as possible.  The catch?  No one knows which monsters the others players have.  It’s cute, it’s silly, and it doesn’t take long to play.  Will you be able to push out your fellow family members while keeping your characters a secret?


Cartoona is a tile-laying, creature-building game of strategy and chance featuring the whimsical pop art creatures of Robert Burke. The game encourages creativity, strategic thinking and social interaction. Players compete by building colorful, and sometimes hilarious, cartoon creatures from different body part tiles.
 

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule
Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule is a quick-playing card game that is at the same time light and cleverly rich in strategy. The beautiful art will draw you in, but you'll find yourself carefully planning plays to thwart the other players and position yourself to win!

Castle Panic
Castle Panic is a cooperative fantasy-themed tower defense game that has the players defending their castle from being overrun by hordes of goblins, orcs and trolls. The tension stays high as the hordes literally try to knock down the walls! I have had a lot of fun with this one with my daughter!


 

3 comments:

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