Breaking up the Doldrums

Spring Break has been treating us to some wonderful sunshine and warmth so far. We’ve taken full advantage of it. From washing cars to yard work- our kids have been doing chores without complaints! I know, crazy talk but it’s true.

Here’s the thing, they do the work so they can have the freedom later. Our kids get to play some video games in the morning before we start on the chores for the day. If we get the chores done in a timely manner- the kids then get to play some tabletops games before dinner. Win-win for all of us! Plus a clean yard and car.

I love the fact that they also want to play their games outdoors. They put on some music in the background and proceed to play nicely together. They’re even getting some D&D characters made and shall depart on a journey that will likely last a few days. Seeing our children do their part around the house without a battle and getting along with one another makes me super proud.

What motivates your kids? How have you been spending Spring Break?

Game On!

Monday was a stat holiday which also meant “Game Day” at our home. Ok, not because it was a holiday- our kids are off for summer as it is, but we had a “Game Day” just because.

My wife and I often start our day by playing an old N64 game- Pokémon Puzzle League on the Wii in our bedroom. She loses pretty regularly at it. I’m not sure why she keeps wanting to play, but it’s kind of our thing. So I keep playing.

Since the weather is nice, I’m trying to get the kids not to play so many video games or be on their iPhones and iPads. A difficult task when they see mom and dad lazing in bed playing video games…

So I offered to hang with the kids throughout the day. We have a large collection of board games and tabletop games hidden away in an ottoman. Yesterday we decided to play a couple of these games outside.

First choice was Monopoly. Our oldest prides herself in kicking butt every time. This was no exception. I think she only won because we use the center of the board for the taxes incurred throughout the game and “Free Parking” as the winning spot to get those dolla bills- yo! (As the hip kids say…)

Just before dinner we played Settlers of Catan. I am viciously good at this game. I have an almost Rain Man ability to watch the cards being issued and played by each opponent. I’m also good at figuring out people’s strategies on the board. Needless to say- I killed it last night!

We ended our evening by watching “Ready Player One” as a family. Recently, a few people I know online have been mentioning the novel, so it was fresh in my mind. (Check out Cole Campfire Blog sometime for some outdoor inspiration.) Since four of the five of us in the family had read the novel, and my two youngest had already seen the film- it was an easy choice for family movie night. Clearly, the movie is not like the novel- a bit disappointing- but fun to watch nonetheless.

Our impromptu game day was a ton of fun and a good way to connect as a family.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Such a classic start to almost all stories written by children.  I didn’t want to title today’s post that way, but it really did fit.  Tonight is a crazy evening with high winds and tons of rain.  We’ve already lost power a few times over the past couple of days.  We are expecting to lose it again some time this evening.  But that won’t stop us from having a nice quiet Saturday night as a family.


We already have a fire burning- warming up our family room.  Dinner was made, enjoyed, and the dishes cleared away.  We’ve gotten into our pajamas, house coats, & slippers early this evening in order to lounge and relax.  


We are deciding upon a few family games to play.  NO MONOPOLY.  That game always ends in a fight.  But we do have many other games that will allow a variety of shorter gameplay so everyone is happy.

On the table tonight is Tsuro, Yardmaster, Timeline:Inventions, Timeline:Diversity, Timeline:Science&Discoveries, Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee, Nightmare Before Christmas Trival Pursuit, & Poop.

Timeline seems like a good educational style game as you try and play all your cards based on history in a timeline.

Tsuro is a path game where you place tiles and try to remain the last stone on the board.  Quick and strategic.

Poop is a card game all about flushing a toilet without overflowing.  Humorous and silly.

Yardmaster is about moving trains (I should be great at that one, since it is my regular job).

We love gaming as a family, and even though we still have electricity, not every moment we spend together as a family should be infront of a screen.  That being said, I’m going to publish tonight’s blog and check out until tomorrow.

Having fun

I like fun.  Who doesn’t?  There’s entire industries devoted to make products to help in the enjoyment of fun.  My favorite form of fun is gaming.  Mostly playing board games aka tabletop games.

I’ve always enjoyed board games.  As a child, my friends and I had week long battles of Monopoly fueled on candy and cola.  As a teen, a few of us played Risk in a Tim Hortons until 4am, again fueled on caffeine and sugar.  A few years ago, my wife and I began attending Comic Cons.  

In 2013, we attended Emerald City Comic Con where I spent the majority of the weekend at their tabletop gaming area.  It was in a secluded area of the Con where not a lot of people went to.  I learned, and played, numerous different games.  Somehow, I ended up winning at a game I’d never played before (Zombie Dice) and won the opportunity to play a game the next day with the Queen of the Geeks: Felicia Day.  I went back to my hotel that night and binge watched TableTop season 1 in order to try and learn Felicia Day’s gaming style.  The next day, I played Munchkin against her and a couple of other people.  We all lost to her.  But, it was here that I fell in love with gaming again and knew I would have to bring it home to my family.  

 

She tells it like it is.

 
Geek and Sundry hosted the gaming area at Emerald City in Seattle.  Wil Wheaton and his cohort, Felicia Day were there at this event, and they promoted the first ever International Table Top Day.  It was a way for people everywhere to share their favorite board games with each other.  To celebrate the first year, we held games at our home and invited friends over and made trophies for some ridiculous categories.  It was a lot of fun.  We had such great weather that we moved some of our games outdoors.

 

The Doctor teaching me Wasabi.

 
Since then, our gaming collection has grown.  Our kids have mastered all of our games to a point that they teach others at the numerous conventions we attend.  We play games at home and often get into arguments over which game to play.  Today, the power is out and we are all at home for the day.  Now to decide if we will play Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Zombie Dice, King of Tokyo, Exploding Kittens or one of the other obscure games we own.

This year’s date is set!

I’m happy that my family likes to play TableTop games.  We are looking forward to this year’s International TableTop Day on April 30th. If you need to brush up on how to play some games, or just want to have fun watching celebraties play, head over to TableTop on YouTube for some good laughs.

Since I’m not at work on the railroad today, it’s time for me to get off my iPhone and kick my family’s butt at Ticket to Ride.