Gaming with Kids


#161

The first Unmatched set officially releases at retail on Wednesday. I intend to go to my FLGS on Wednesday.

Restoration Games seems to me to be a pretty delightful company. I dig the ethos, and what I’ve played of theirs has been very successful at its intended goals. Fireball Island, for example, still gets more play in my house as a toy than a game, but it’s much improved over the original while still being faithful to the memories of those who loved it as a child.

They put out a call for playtesters for some later sets on Twitter recently. So far, the sets revealed are the base (King Arthur, Sindbad, Alice in Wonderland, Medusa), Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot, Cobble & Fog (characters from Victorian fiction: Sherlock, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, and the Invisible Man), a Jurassic Park set, a stand-alone Bruce Lee, and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer set.

I’m told it’s based on the Star Wars: Epic Duels system, but with line-of-sight from Tannhäuser. I’ve watched some videos, and think it looks very promising. I have particularly high hopes, as the series progresses, for options ranging from very straightforward to quite subtle heroes. That might make it easier to keep the game accessible to those who aren’t super into strategy but still engaging for those who seek a crunchier leisure activity. I do have the impression that it’s intended to be accessible to kids, so your 9-year-old sounds like a good fit.


#162

That’s funny. I had no idea Unmatched was’t out yet since it’s listed on their store and the effusive reviews on BGG. I will admit that accessible, tactical card-battler is a niche that’s like catnip for me at this busy stage of life. I just need to make sure there’s a chance the kids can understand it well enough to win.

I would be looking at the base game as a Christmas gift for my eldest, so I would love your thoughts once you’ve tried it out. Cobble & Fog sounds fascinating, but I’m sure the kids would be more excited about a Jurassic Park set.


#163

Villainous is in the same vein, depending on what your kids like. It doesn’t have the tactical movement element, but it does feature asymmetrical decks of cards based on Disney Villains. I think there are 6 in the base set, then there are two expansions with 4 more villains each. There are individual player boards with a little bit of board play, but this one is mainly a card game. It isn’t complicated, but a kid needs to be able to read and understand card game basics.


#164

Villainous has been quite a hit with my kids, and the games strike me as of comparable complexity. Prince John is pretty easy to grasp, and progress is clear, for example, while other villains can be a bit subtler and you have to be more aware of things like cycling cards for deck management, not because of anything in front of you.

I think I can say this, since I’m seeing other reports: I’m in the playtest, and early results suggest you’re exactly right, @Apex. Cobble & Fog involves subtler fighters, while T Rex is just a beast with tons of health and massive damage potential, so is perfect for a younger player. I’m quite impressed with how differently they play. I’ve heard that Bruce Lee chains lots of actions, which sounds like a blast to me (as well as thematically appropriate)—he’s probably the fighter I’m most looking forward to playing, while my kids are pretty keen on the Jackalope ally from Bigfoot.

You’re also right that, though it hasn’t hit retail, there are already lots of copies in the wild and both Restoration and Mondo are selling them directly already.


#165

We could go down the whole mage vs. mage rabbit hole, here, but I do have one more suggestion in the same vein - Dice Throne. It’s battle Yahtzee with asymmetric characters with the small twist that each character has their own unique player board that can be upgraded o er the course of the game.


#166

I had not heard about Villainous. what age range? 7yo ok?It’s her birthday next week, this could be good.


#167

I think it is rated 10+ but if your daughter can read I think she’d be fine. Some characters are more complicated than others, so I might recommend Prince John to start.


#168

It’s an interesting game—introduces a lot of concepts from boutique games, but in a fairly accessible way. There’s a base set with six villains and two standalone expansions with three each. The presentation is outstanding, and contributes so much that I’d just get whatever set seems to have her favorite villain.

The base has Prince John, Jafar, Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts, Ursula, and Maleficent. Wicked to the Core has the Evil Queen (of Snow White), Dr. Facilier (of The Princess and the Frog), and Hades. Evil Comes Prepared has Scar, Ratigan (of The Great Mouse Detective), and Yzma (of The Emperor’s New Groove). They all have some good characters with enjoyable mechanics, and tend to do a great job of reflecting their movies.


#169

MInecraft: Builders & Biomes is coming soon from Ravensberger. I believe the release date is October for Europe, November for America. I have no confirmation on this at all, but this sounds like it could be the type of game that sells at most major retailers.

I’ve added a link to the rulebook. At its core, this is a very basic resource management game, which is perfect for my young children. There is a big block of minecraft bricks in the game, but players won’t really be building physical structures; instead, you collect (mine?) individual cubes from the main cube and then spend them to build structures, which are just printed on chits. I wouldn’t be interested in this game on my own, but my son in particular may love it.

Edit: The rulebook link didn’t work but I linked to the BGG page, from where the rulebook can be accessed.


#170

I’ve never owned a Funkoverse POP figure in my life. When I heard there was a tabletop Funkoverse game being made, I thought it was a joke/gimmick and I assumed it would be terrible.

I was wrong.

The Funkoverse strategy game is the perfect game for the young board gamers. It’s also perfect for the veterans.

I haven’t played Unmatched, but this is in the same vein where you take your character (or a team of characters) and duke it out against another team. I played the Harry Potter set and they all seemed balanced. Characters have their own abilities and feel unique. Abilities work on a cool down mechanic that is great. Games have scenarios and are victory point-based, so not every game is about beating up on the other team.

This is truly good stuff for me and my kids.


#171

Yeah, I looked at that. It sounds pretty solid! I have long hated the Funko aesthetic, whereas Unmatched is superb (except the boards, which are, at least, unusually functional), but one of the Funko team commented in a post about the differences here:

If people would like a review of Unmatched, I could probably get back on the horse. The short version is that I am delighted with it, plan to get every expansion announced, and have found my kids more interested in it than any other game we’ve had. My only real complaint is that it seems a little too easy to run away, which can lead to a player who’s had a rough start spending the rest of the game in flight, which turns into a very delicate hand management game as each player boosts maneuvers to try and manipulate distance. There are a few ways to mitigate this tendency built into the game, via cards that provide less predictable movement options and sidekicks to cut off avenues of retreat, but I’ve played a couple games where a sidekick was defeated early and we weren’t drawing anything to help close distance, and those were rough. You can generally play around that possibility, but it has just a touch of the boring-gameplay-as-incentive you get with mana-crunching in Magic. Unlike Magic, it happens only at the end, rarely lasts more than a few turns, is always the product of your choices, and is still more interesting than crunching because you can still choose whether to pursue all-out or plan for (or bluff having planned for) a big turn later.

It’s not a terrifically balanced game (at least as played by us), but I don’t mind that at all, since I’m playing with my kids. Indeed, if we play both of them on one team and me playing two characters on the other, I have to spot them some life even if I take the characters I’m worst with. So I kind of wish there were a bigger spread for handicapping purposes, but simply awarding extra life points or starting with some damage does that job pretty well.

Overall, it’s beautiful, quick, and, though easy to learn, seems to be teaching my kids more about strategy, planning, and yomi than anything else we’ve played. I credit Restoration Games for their deck design, especially- I was initially really disappointed that the characters in the base set share something like half their cards, many of which have multiple copies. But that choice makes it much easier for younger players to conceptualize the possibilities and play around them. Feint, especially, is really drawing that out for my son—he has to guess how likely it is that I’m holding one of my three Feints when he’s making a big attack with King Arthur, and gets deeply invested in outguessing me.

So I think, for my family, Unmatched was a great choice and I don’t feel much desire for Funko. But it does sound like a much better game than I expected.


#172

One of the things I am excited about re: Funkoverse is that I can home brew some characters for my kids, I think. The figures themselves are more toys than traditional board game figures, so things like my daughter’s My Little Ponies and my son’s Star Wars toys would fit right in. Character cards are as simple at 3 activated skills and one passive skill; no stats, no build points, no teams, etc. Sure, my efforts may not be super balanced, but until a MLP expansion comes around, my kids can make do.

Also, this is the only game in existence where you have have Blanche from the Golden Girls fight Voldemort…


#173

Your recommendation was the nail in the coffin for me purchasing base 4-player Unmatched. I dig the fact that it has 3-player mode so I can involve the almost 5-yo. It doesn’t seem unbalanced, but there is differing degrees of complexity with the base set. I.e.: My kids understand the general strategy with Medusa and Sinbad better than King Arthur and especially Alice.

My eldest does seem to have started understanding positioning and planning a few moves ahead, which isn’t as explicit for games like Ticket to Ride: First Journey.

It’s highly likely, some of the 2-character packs could find their way under the Christmas tree this year.


#174

I’m not going to be able to wait for Christmas. Bigfoot’s ally is a jackalope.


#175

My youngest is going as a raptor for halloween, so Ingen vs. the Raptors is a no-brainer.

Also, @Mirefox it looks like both the funkoverse and unmatched should be enjoyable. There’s already a home-brew website for custom Unmatched decks:
https://jonathanguberman.github.io/unmatched_maker/