Game day for June 23

Another week of gaming has come and gone. This week we started summer session of D&D Club and had a group of six people play The Reckoners.

In this massive game (we had to push two tables together), you play as humans who have to assassinate the “Epics” who’ve taken over Chicago, now called “Newcago.” There’s a lot of planning, plotting and assassinating. Here are a few photos from today’s epic (see what I did there?) battle.

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Tsuro is a perfect family board game

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Many families with school-age children are enjoying spring break this week. With the kids at home it’s a perfect time to break out a board game. There are, of course, thousands of terrific games you can choose from, and today we’re recommending Tsuro from Calliope Games.

Dragons that look like decorative soap! Curving, unpredictable roads! Sending your friends and family to their doom! Did I mention the soap? Tsuro: The Game of the Path from Calliope Games (about $30; a little cheaper on Amazon) has all the ingredients of a perfect family game. It’s easy to learn, appeals to all ages and  offers great replay-ability. Calliope suggests it’s for 2–8 players, aged 8 years and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. In my experience, it’s more fun with a larger group, as the twists and turns get really crazy, though three players will still have fun.

Game Overview

Tsuro has a fun Asian theme. You must guide a dragon along the unpredictable path of knowledge, which you create step-by-step as you play. Meanwhile, other dragons are forging their own path, and if two should collide, both are destroyed. The path itself can be confusing, and a mislead dragon will fall off completely, never to be seen again. There’s room for strategy and luck in a game of Tsuro, which makes it a good choice for a variety of players. For example, kids and casual gamers will enjoy the simplicity, while it serves as a good transition game for hard core gamers who are between sessions or waiting for something more complex to be set up.

Components

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The theme is set as soon as you open the box. A thin sheet of what looks like rice paper covers the instructions and features the game’s title, a thin “painting” of bamboo and the phrase:

“Build your path through discovery and chance. Quiet your mind. Your journey begins here.”

The rules are printed on a nice trifold document of dark burgundy with silhouetted bamboo and Asian characters. Inside, game play is clearly explained, though the print is really tiny. A smaller, separate pamphlet explains the rules in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German and French. The board features a bold phoenix with looping feathers, and clearly indicates where the cards are to be placed. There are 35 tile cards and one dragon card. The tile cards feature a bit of the path on one side and art that resembles the rice paper on the back. The dragon card is bright orange, as opposed to the white tile cards, and features “Tsuro” on the back and a snarling dragon on the front. Finally, there are eight dragon tokens which, as I said, resemble decorative soaps. Each is a unique color with a dragon stamped on one side. But honestly, they’ll always remind me of a box labeled “Avon” in my grandmother’s bathroom. My kids and I will always call them “the soaps.” Everything is well made and the soaps are quite scratch resistant. My kids are hard on game pieces, and Tsuro still looks good after many family game nights.

Playing Tsuro: The Game of the Path

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Setup 

To get started, the board is laid out and each player chooses a soap – sorry, “dragon” – and the dragon tile is set aside. Next, everyone is delt three tile cards, face down. The remaining tile cards become the draw pile. Finally, the oldest player goes first. At home, that’s yours truly. Lucky me. 

Turn sequence 

The first player places his dragon on a marker on the outer edge of the board, then the other players do, moving clockwise from the start player. Then everyone starts taking turns. A turn has three parts:

  1. Play a path tile

  2. Move your dragon

  3. Draw a tile

Each tile features two parallel roads, moving from one edge to the other. These line up with indicators that are all around the perimeter of the board. On her turn, a player places a tile, chooses one of the roads and moves her dragon along it until the end of the tile is reached. She then draws a card. Then the next player goes and the steps are repeated. When the game comes back to the start player, she places a tile that lines up with the first tile she put down. Her dragon then moves along the now-extended road. The object is to keep your dragon moving along the road for as long as possible. If its road leads into another dragon or off the board, that player is out. The challenge is to extend your road as long as possible, while trying to direct your dragon away from the others and the edge of the board. Now you see why a larger group makes game play even crazier.

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Now a word about the dragon tile. If you play long enough, the draw pile will get low and each player will have fewer than three cards in his hand. At this point, everyone draws a new tile on each turn. When you reach a point there are no tiles for a player to draw, that player receives the dragon tile. He holds on to the dragon tile until more cards become available to the draw pile (your hand returns to the draw pile once you’ve been eliminated). Then, the person with the dragon tile is the first to draw a new card, regardless of whose turn it is. The dragon tile then moves to the next person.

The Tsuro Experience

This game is just plain fun. I enjoy pushing my luck in trying to extend my road, avoiding the competitors while trying to force themselves either off the board or into each other. There’s lots of “Wait, hold on, ummmm..” while people mentally twist and turn tiles, trying to predict the best path. You’ll have a few laughs along the way, too. Since the tiles are shuffled, you’ll create a different path every time.

Conclusion

A couple of caveats. There is a good amount of luck involved. If you draw three tiles that don’t help, well, that’s just tough. A lot of people dislike games with luck as a core mechanic, so keep that in mind. Also, its simplicity might turn some people off. Your turn consists of placing a tile and moving your token a few inches. Those who typically play something more involved will be left wanting. Finally, there is player elimination. If you go out early, you’re sitting there, watching everyone else have fun. Still, Tsuro is a great choice. Break it out with the kids, your family or group of casual gamers.

Pros

  • Super simple to learn

  • Attractive components support the theme

  • Appealing to many ages

  • High replay-ability

Cons

  • The emphasis on luck will turn some players off

  • Can feel a little too simple to more advanced gamers

Now get to it. The soaps are depending on you.

Unboxing: Stranger Things Dungeons and Dragons set

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The D&D “red box” has gotten stranger.

Long-time Dungeons and Dragons fans remember the starter set released by TSR in 1983, which shipped in the now iconic “red box,” featuring cover art by Larry Elmore. Today, Wizards of the Coast has teamed up with the gang behind Netflix’s mega hit Stranger Things to release the Stranger Things D&D Starter Set which ships in, you guessed it, a glorious red box.

The set features everything you need to play Dungeons and Dragons:

  1. Rule book.

  2. An adventure “written” by Mike himself, featuring a monster of Mike’s own creation (don’t worry, we won’t spoil it).

  3. A set of dice.

  4. Two Demogorgon minis, one painted and one not.

You also get five character sheets featuring third-level characters that are ready to play, including a half-elf wizard, a hill dwarf bard and a human paladin. What I really like about the character sheets is they tell you what each character can expect to receive at 4th and 5th level. So you can keep playing them as long as you like.

It’s a solid kit and fans of the show will really enjoy playing Mike’s adventure. It’s really meant for players new to the game, but veterans will get a kick out of it too, provided that they enjoy the show. You can pick it up at a game store near you, or online. Check out our unboxing gallery below.

Eager to play? We have D&D Clubs for kids that meet weekly: one co-ed and a D&D Club for Girls. Additionally, if you’re looking for a place to meetup with your adults and play — or you want us to expertly run a terrifically fun one-night adventure for you and your friends or coworkers at your home our business (D&D is a FANTASTIC team-building activity) let us know. We can being the Demogorgon — or the upside-down — to you.

New board game arrivals

We’re always looking for new and interesting games to add to our collection. Here are a few we’ve added recently, with a little something for everyone.

Monopoly Cheater’s Edition

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Oh, Monopoly. The game designed to be more of a lesson than a game. Did you know that Monopoly was created by an American anti-monopolist called Lizzie Magie, who hoped her invention would explain the single tax theory of Henry George?

Are you excited to play yet?

Here’s what I remember of playing Monopoly as a kid: cheating. It was the only way to make it fun. The folks at Hasbro have now embraced the practice with Monopoly Cheater’s Edition. It plays much like typical Monopoly, with the addition of cheat cards. Several are placed on the board at the start, each listing a way to cheat, like taking money from the bank, stealing someone else’s property, lying about what that Community Chest card said, and so on. Anyone can cheat at any time, if they get away with it, the get the reward on the back of the cheat card. Get caught, and it’s off to jail with you…complete with handcuff! It takes what is typically a slog of a game and makes it fun. Plus, additional rules change things so that the game lasts about 60 minutes.

Root

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Root is an adventure and war game in which two to four players battle for control of a sprawling wilderness. Each faction of cute animals has its own agenda and game play style, which creates lots of opportunity for fun interaction between players.

The Marquise de Cat, for example, starts off controlling pretty much everything, and they aim to develop the forest with industry and buildings. Meanwhile the birds (deposed rulers of the forest) are on the march to take back what they believe is theirs while The Woodland Alliance work to rally the people against the mustering armies, biding their time in secret until a full-blown rebellion is incited.

If that’s not enough, the artwork is SO CUTE YOU MIGHT DIE. It so fun to get lost in your faction’s M.O. that the game becomes a much deeper experience than you’re expecting.

This Game Goes to Eleven

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This simple, press-your-luck card game is inspired Nigel’s amp which was, of course, one louder. It’s a race to have cards that total exactly eleven, so you can hand them off. Go over eleven and be forced to take the entire pile. Be the first to get rid of all of your cards.

You can play any or all of these games with us as we pop up across Cape Cod:

Stay on top of where we’ll be next by joining our Meetup group. See you soon.

Gaming benefit for Calmer Choice

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Calmer Choice is a pioneer in secular mindfulness across eight school districts on Cape Cod, bringing positive change to nearly 21,000 students since its inception in 2010. Now, we’re thrilled to offer a family fund raiser to help them reach their goal of serving more than 26,000 students by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Join us on Wednesday, February 27th at The Daily Brew Coffee House (map) , starting at 6:30 PM. There will be games (of course), snacks and delicious coffee (naturally) and because no RGL fund raiser would be complete without it, our third…

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Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament! Assemble your team of two to compete to have your name inscribed on the Reboot Game Lab Hippo Trophy! Here’s how this works:

  • Assemble your team of two

  • Compete in bracket-style elimination against other teams

  • When it comes down to two, we have a head-to-head playoff and crown the Hippo Champions!

  • The winners get their names added to the trophy via permanent engraving, and may take selfies to share. Hippo bragging rights are on the line!

It’s a five-dollar buy-in to participate and of course all proceeds go to Calmer Choice and the Cape Cod students who benefit from their fantastic services.

Of course, Will and Dave will be on hand with piles of games for all ages to enjoy. Register for this free event below, and join us in a night of fun, laughter and a great cause.

What is a "breadstick game?"

Anyone who’s ever eaten at an Olive Garden has had those warm, lovely bread sticks. No, they aren’t what you came for (Ok well they probably aren’t what you came for), despite their garlicky goodness. The breadsticks are meant to give you something to nibble on while you wait for your entree to arrive, and to get you in the mood to enjoy dinner.

Breadstick games work the same way. When sitting down to an afternoon or evening of board games, be it at your local board game cafe or at home, a few quick, simple games can get you in the mood to hunker down with a more substantial title. In this post, we’ll describe a few or our favorite breadstick games.

Kulami

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Kulami is an abstract strategy game for two players, who must arrange marbles on a randomly-generated board of wooden tiles. A player may claim a tile — and its points — by having the majority of his or her marbles on it. Ah, but there’s a bit of a catch: your opponent’s move dictates where you can place your marble.

Word A Round

This super-simple game takes seconds to learn, is fast-paced and light enough that you’ll want to play a couple of times. In it, players must flip over a card and be the first to read a word inside one of the card’s three concentric circles. It sounds simple enough, but each word is presented as one continuous string of letters, with no clear beginning or ending. It’s quick and funny.

Spot It

If you’ve ever played I Spy while enduring a long road trip, this one will be familiar. Spot It features circular cards bearing eight symbols each: snowman, whistle, lightning bolt and more. There is exactly one matching pair of symbols across any two cards. Your job, as you may have guessed, is to spot the pair before your opponents. There are five ways to play Spot It, though that core mechanic remains the same.

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Sushi Go

Imagine you’re at your favorite Japanese restaurant, trying to piece together a meal from all of the delicious offerings. That’s the idea behind Sushi Go, a set-collection card game that has you gathering sashimi, tempura, wasabi into sets to score points. Played in three rounds, this quick game features cute art and fun gameplay.

Animal Upon Animal

This cute dexterity game from Germany has you stacking wooden animals on top of each other, without knocking the whole thing down. A roll of the die determines which animal you must place next, or lets your opponents decide. Each player starts with the same pool of oddly-shaped animals and it’s a wobbly race to see who can get rid of their menagerie first.

Bananagrams

This son-of-Scrabble has more in common with a crossword puzzle. Players each have a collection of lettered tiles and must build off of each other’s words. But hold on, opponents may steal letters and more in their effort to become “top banana.”

There you have it. There are more, of course, but these are some of our favorites. These titles and more are available to play every week with us at Cape Cod Coffee in Mashpee Commons (map) from 12:00 - 4:00. If you have a breadstick game that you love, bring it! We’d love to give it a try.

Santa, BBQ and board games

We celebrated early Christmas at Y’all’s Wicked Kitchen with Santa, William the elf and several happy gamers on Wednesday. BBQ was on the menu and Santa took pictures and played games with the kids. Big thanks to owners Sara and chef Jason — who was also celebrating his birthday on Wednesday — for hosting this fun holiday event! Here are a few photos.

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Why we're supporting Dream Day on Cape Cod

Dream Day on Cape Cod is the deserving focus of our first game day charity event, taking place Wednesday, December 5th (tomorrow as of this writing) at Cape Cod Coffee cafe in Barnstable Airport (map).

In this video, Executive Director Tracey Sperry shares a little history of this amazing organization. See you Wednesday (yes, tickets are still available).

Ticket prices going up this Friday at Midnight!

There is still time to save money on Dream Day Fun-Raiser tickets - just $25.00 until midnight Friday, November 30th!

Starting at 12:01 AM Saturday, December 1st, tickets go up $5.00 and turn into “Late Bird” Tickets at $30.00…so why not save your $5 for either the Hungry Hungry Hippos Tournament or Cup Stacking Tournament?

Early Bird Discounted Tickets for Adults are here: Fun-Raiser Early Bird Admission Ticket and free tickets for kids 12 and Under are here: Free Ticket for Children 12 and Under!

Feeling lucky?

Raffle prizes: Two bags of Cape Cod Coffee and tour of Cape Cod Coffee HQ, Board Games, and more!

Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament

Hungry Hungry Hippos Tournament

Our spectacular night of gaming to benefit Dream Day on Cape Cod will feature games (of course), food (natch), drinks (because beer + board games = win), raffles and an auction (very cool stuff) and best of all, a Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament, with a trophy! WHAT.

Here’s how this will work.

At the night of the event, teams of two can register to compete in this bracket-style, elimination event. Play will continue until it comes down to the final two, who will battle it out for fame, glory, and the very first Reboot Game Lab Hippo Trophy!

This will be frantic, crazy and a lot of fun. You’ll want to be a part of the mayhem.

Buy your tickets now and register your team on the night of December 5th, starting at 5:00, at Cape Cod Coffee in Barnstable Airport (Map).

Feature: Dream Day on Cape Cod

Dream Day Cape Cod

Our first charity gaming event will benefit the incredible people at Dream Day on Cape Cod, an amazing and very deserving organization.

For 25 years, Dream Day has helped hundreds of families disconnect from the daily struggles of hospital and doctors’ visits and round-the clock care to reconnect with one another and to connect with others who understand and accept what they have been going through at its Camp Nan-Ke-Rafe, a 31-acre facility located adjacent to Nickerson State Park.

Each summer Dream Day operates eight sessions of family camp – bringing families together for a week of fun, family, and respite. Those families receive the chance to create loving, lasting memories that transcend illness and struggle.

All of Dream Day’s programs are at no cost to the families they serve.

We think that’s amazing. With your support, this much-needed program can continue for some incredible kids and their families.

Join us at Cape Cod Coffee in Hyannis (map) on Wednesday, December 5th for a fun, entertaining night of charity gaming, tournaments, raffles, auctions, food and drink to benefit this wonderful organization. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season, when the spirit of giving is at its strongest. Register below!

Screen-Free Family Time over Thanksgiving Weekend? Here’s how to make it happen!

Build a Jenga Tower with family this week? Yes, please!

Build a Jenga Tower with family this week? Yes, please!

As we head into Thanksgiving Weekend, there are potential challenges for some of us:

  1. Too much Family

  2. Too much Food

  3. Too much Football

  4. Too much Shopping

  5. Not enough Gratitude

I’ll add a new challenge that infects all of the other ones: Too much Screen Time!

The good news? It’s possible to reduce Screen Time and increase family harmony and wellness over Thanksgiving Weekend.

How? Turn off the screens and turn on…a Board Game or Card Game!

Step 1: Find Them! Do you know where “Monopoly”, “Trivial Pursuit” or even that old copy of “Candyland” is located in your house? Do you see them in your mind right now? Great…now go and find them!

Step 2: Put Them in Plain Sight! Put the games in an obvious place where they can be seen as your family and friends arrive and hang out/eat/chill with you all week.

Step 3: Unplug, Play and Connect without Screens! Ask everyone to put their phones and/or tablets in a bag or on the kitchen counter, but away from the Game Table. Then, open the box and PLAY! Next comes laughter, happiness and the feeling of being present to your family and friends…while the digital world waits until after you’re done playing. In fact, you might even play another game!

Looking for more ways to add Screen-Free time to your life?