International Tabletop Day 2016

I like it when ‘big dates’ fall on the weekends – means less time explaining to disinterested teachers and more time focused on another level of education for the Spawnlings.

Seriously, who can’t see the benefits of Tabletop?

30 April is now THE day for some gameplay. So bring out your tablecloth, set up some tunes, and get ready for some sneaky cheeky fun! Here’s our Top 7 planned for the day:

1. Munchkin Quest

This ALWAYS top of the list for spawnlings. It has storytelling; it has weaponry; it has the opportunity to gang up on parents and make their life really difficult. What more could you want?

2. Zeus on the Loose

We bought this almost two years ago but never came around to play it yet. However, recent school holidays gave us the opportunity and we love it! I’ll be putting up a review after the weekend, but short version: you take it in turn adding numbers to the pile to reach 100. There are Greek Gods who will help you along the way because who ever hits 100 scores the point. Mathematics and strategy in a card game = more fun than you’d think!

3. Settlers of Catan

I grew up thinking Monopoly was the game to teach you how to negotiate. I was wrong. So very very wrong.

Catan is probably the most famous geeky tabletop game, known in almost any geeky circle. It is about bartering your resources well enough so you don’t have to rely on the fate of the dice.

Needless to say, I suck at it. But I love it!

4. Pandemic
Not the ideal game for germ-a-phobes. I like this game because it is a team game; everyone works together to defeat the icky diseases breaking out across the world. There is some serious strategy building required, and a great opportunity to work on communication. 

What really makes the game work is the collection of individual roles for each player. Everyone has their own skill/profession to be in the game and EVERYONE has a skill that gives you a good chance of winning.

5. Tavern Fame

Minus the drinking in the bar, this is easily the favourite warm up game in the Lair. It is brilliant as an introduction to RPG and storytelling, giving spawnlings a chance to build some serious Tall Tale talents. Hardest part is allowing each kid to tell their story without the inevitable challengers interrupting.

6. Qwirkle 

Even the 2yo can play this one (with a little help). Great strategy and pattern recognition. It starts friendly, with the shared intent of keeping the game ‘neat’ – but there is always some mongrel who has to mess the neat pattern, and then it descends into a table full of jibes and defensive moves.

7. Too Many Monkeys

Another one 2yo Zaltu loves to play. Simple card strategy, collecting all the numbered monkeys from 1 to 6, avoiding raccoons, elephants, and giraffes. All three Spawnlings were happily playing this for 20mins at the hospital while the doc took my cast off. I keep this one on the side between Zaltu and I, while also playing one of the ‘older’ games with the others. It’s not a ‘baby game’ – I’d peg it around 3-8 years old. 

Plenty of games to fill your day! Remember: the primary objective is to have fun! Put the World Domination on hold for one day, and spend the time getting to know how your fellow gamers think. Show the spawnlings life is not just shoot’em up and count the credits. 

Well, unless your bartering those credits for a cup of tea…

PAX Aust Highlights: Tavern Fame

A few weeks back, I attended PAX Aust in Melbourne. It was my first time. And it was brilliant.

It was also my first time attending anything as an official writer (under the guise of GeekMom), so it wasn’t just a schmooze and cruise affair either. There was serious gaming to be had!

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Evil Genius Parent Award #35

The weather is crappy. Really really crappy.

It’s cold, wet, and there’s only so much you can do in the confines of the Evil Genius Lair.


EG History lesson – EG Dad and I are not known for our friendly, jovial, nature during board games. In fact, I remember quite clearly during our 1st year of ‘dating’, we had a board games at our share house with the many other friends. The game was Pictionary. We were a team. And then our competitive natures reared their ugly heads with each other.

treasure chest

And this is still a better treasure chest drawing than I ever remember doing…

I think the picture in question was a treasure chest. It may or may not have been my own artwork.

Nevertheless, we were BANNED from ever playing Pictionary again. And many friends thought twice about inviting us to Games Night again – except for the fact that I can cook, and EG Dad has excellent taste in wine and beer.

(NB: We eventually truced, and I even bought him Pictionary for a gift one year. Yes we have played, and yes we have survived. We have finally learnt to concentrate our competitive nature at other people!)

To be honest, there was one game where success has always escaped me: Monopoly.

Who MonopolyI have played it for years with my family, and recently was given Doctor Who Monopoly – which is, of course, the most popular board game in the house (closely followed by LEGO Creationary). Not only does EG Dad hand me my arse on a monopoly board quite often – even Sinister is getting in on the action. 

But now I have a secret weapon!! SUCCESS WILL BE MINE!! And I have Walter Hickey, at the Business Insider,  to thank for it.

Walter Hickey
EGP Award #35

This week’s EG Parent Award goes to Walt, and I’m sure there are EG Parents all around the world who will appreciate the genius of this advice, helping us all stay one step ahead of the evil spawnlings.

He has provided a simple process to dominate at Monopoly using mathematics. Brilliant!

Head over to Business Insider and check out his PowerPoint on the topic. Yes, PowerPoint. Doesn’t get any more evil than that.

Who Monopoly Purple

Pass the purple
Aim for the Orange

And next time Sinister and Nefarious want to play Doctor Who Monopoly, I’ll be ready for them.