Tag Archives: Room 25

Game Camp 17 Day Two: Frostgrave!


I chose FROSTGRAVE as my second game of the week for gaming camp. Frostgrave (by Osprey Publishing) is a game of Wizardly Looting of an ancient sorcerous city just beginning to emerge from a century of being frozen. Players play Wizards and their apprentices leading a small team of hired thugs and treasure takers into the city in search of gold, magic items and items of lore. The rules are pretty simple and easy to teach, the game is fast and ultra tactical. Naturally Frostgrave appeals to both youngsters and oldsters.

There was also a hue and a clamor to play Room 25 again, it’s a big hit.

We had a new camper join us today and he fit right in.  Frostgrave is a big hit as well, so much so that the kids requested we hold Frostgrave over for a second day.  I’m always flexible, that’s not a problem with me.

So tomorrow will probably be MORE Frostgrave, Cosmic Encounters and maybe half a day of Big Danged Boats!

For a slide show of today’s activities, click here.

Onward to Day Three: More Frostgrave and Cosmic Encounters!

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Board Games for Kids’ events, 11-18 years old


What’s this all about?

Playing Cosmic Encounter at the 2014 Game Camp. Still a massive hit.

I’ve been running game camps for kids for a little under a decade now, and a big portion of what success I’ve had with them is due to adding board games to a mostly miniatures-based program. Board games, especially designer board games (or Family Board Games, or Hobby Board games, take your pick..) fill up the gaps in a program where I’m setting up some big miniatures game and need to keep kids occupied for an hour or more on one side of the room.

I’m going to start recording the board games we use at Camp to keep kids engaged and having fun, and the reasons why I choose them.  I envision this piece to be an ongoing narrative that I update on a semi-regular (quarterly) basis.  There’s just too many to try to create an all encompassing list; once I’ve compiled a few, I’ll move this up to a page tab.

Let’s get started with my FALL of 2014 Recommendations if you are looking to find games that will play well with a group of kids from about 11 to 18 years in age, with a few hours to kill here and there.  I’ll try to do another one in January 2015.

COSMIC ENCOUNTER 

It’s no small secret that Cosmic Encounter is my favorite board game of all time.   I’ve mentioned it a few times here and there.   What was a surprise was just how readily younger kids take to this game.  There’s something about the Nomic quality of the changing Alien powers, the component mix from FFG, and the generally silly atmosphere.  I would recommend the FFG version over all others, for the artwork alone, but also the range of choices that add to the customization.  I think CE’s easy to perceive goal, plus ever-changing nature, makes it far more accessible to younger children than I gave it credit for before.

GET BIT

 

Get Bit was a charming little surprise I discovered through Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop web show.  It’s a simple positional race game not unlike GMT’s earlier Formula Motor Racing (which is another great candidate for a kid’s camp, but I’d play it with Matchbox cards).    Players put their cute plastic robots in a line in the water, followed by a shark with a taste for robots.   Single number cards (from a finite hand of cards) are played that move the robots around in order.   The last robot in line gets “chomped” and loses a limb.  When he loses all limbs, he’s out.  It’s no suprise WHY kids like this– it’s all about cartoon violence, of course, but there’s also some great decision making and strategy implied in the card play.  Immensely popular.

TSURO

Tsuro is another one of those great discoveries that came into my radar through the Tabletop show.  I knew it existed, and I knew that it had been out since 2006, but I had never played it.  I already had Metro by Queen Games, which reminds me of it quite a bit.  Essentially this is a path-finding puzzle style game where the players try to keep their dragons on the maze-like path built by placing tiles.   It’s simple and easy to pick up, and very visual.  The theme is a little more exciting than Metro (which is about streetcars), so I would recommend Tsuro over Metro.

THE RESISTANCE

 

It’s a little too easy to call  The Resistance “a Werewolf/Mafia variant” but people often do.   Certain elements are very similar to Werewolf, to be sure– such as the day/night turn and turn-based mechanics. However, the addition of the cards and the “going on a mission” theme really gives this humble little game a great framework that (I think) forces the players into using deductive logic much more than Werewolf ever will.  Werewolf games can devolve into silliness rather quickly– which is why I don’t recommend them that highly for younger kids, they might take accusations too seriously and have their feelings hurt.   The Resistance takes a similar riff and adds the cards and mission element on top of it, which tends to distance the younger players from the J’accuse! flavor of Werewolf.  Notes to adults: don’t even attempt to run this if you don’t have at least six committed players, and do NOT take the sixth spot yourself.  You’ll need to be in charge for the first game, anyway.

CODE 777

Code 777 is a modern reworking of Mastermind (in some respects).  It is a good design for 2-5 players, and I suspect 4 is optimal.  Each player has a Scrabble style rack with three tiles on it– tiles are a certain color and number, or have a certain symbol behind them.  The players have a grasp of certain facts– there are only so many of this tile, or so many of that tile, or so many blue tiles, etc. etc.  Cards are played with questions on them that help the players deduce their own sequences.  That’s right, their own– the tiles face outward; so the other players know only what every player except themselves are displaying.  The players can glean a lot of knowledge to make deductions with from what they see in every tile rack except their own.  Code 777 is a much older design (from 1985 at least, and maybe older) but has recently been reprinted by Stronghold Games.  This is a great game for problem solving and deductive logic; it never fails to keep kids engaged.

ROOM 25

 

Room 25 is a great maze style game where the maze starts built and flipped over and gradually is revealed by the player’s tokens exploring the map through trial and (often) deadly error;  the players assume a set series of roles (six, maximum) which are quite colorful but functionally identical (sadly; I think this could be improved upon in an expansion).  The game can be played cooperatively (boo!) or semi-treacherously (yay!) where some of the players have hidden traitor roles.  The theme of the game is very similar to a series of Canadian Horror/SF films called Cube/Hypercube etc.   Players have a limited series of actions, two per turn, which either affect their own player token or the token of whomever is on the current tile with them.  Room 25’s goofy imagery and characters, the changeable map, added to a soupçon of treachery makes this game a perennial favorite with younger teenagers.

ROLL THROUGH THE AGES

 

Roll through the Ages is the game that got me started on the notion of adding board games to the miniature-heavy events I was running for camp.  For some reason, over the years, I have  had my share of children who suffer from Asperger syndrome and even high functioning Austism.  These are special cases– they want to be engaged but they sometimes can’t engage at the same level as other children.  Sometimes they quickly grow bored of the main activity.  I was in such a bind several years ago and on a whim, I pulled a copy of Roll Through The Ages, which I had bought that week on an enthusiastic recommendation from Tom Vasel.  RTTA is a great game– you are really playing yourself more than an opponent, so there isn’t a lot of social interaction to stress a kid out, and lots of challenges and decisions to make as you try to score high by rolling for civilization advantages and building great works.  It’s an elegant little dice game with great chunky components.  Anyway, to get back to my story, I had an Asperegers’ kid.  He was bored and being disruptive.  I handed him Roll Through The Ages and explained very quickly how to play it.  It took him all of 5 minutes to figure it out (all of my kids are smart!).  He was entranced.  He played RTTA non-stop, for the rest of the week.  I had half a pad of score pads after he was done.  I didn’t care, he was happy as a clam and said it was his best camp that Summer.  Go figure!  It was the success of this desperate experiment in board gaming (totally unplanned, I just happened to have it with me that day) that led me to include board games as a regular part of the curriculum.

ZOMBIE DICE/MARTIAN DICE/NINJA DICE/LUCHADOR DICE/CTHULHU DICE…

This is a catchall for games that are all somewhat thematically similar, play fast and easy, and feature a series of specialized, thematic highly colorful dice that interact with each other in a specific way.

The granddaddy is Zombie Dice, where the players are playing the roles of the Zombies in a Zombie movie, looking for brains; there is also a very similar game where the players are playing the role of the Aliens in a UFO invasion called Martian dice.   You can play a Ninja on a special mission in Ninja Dice, Re-theme Zombie Dice with Hunting Dinosaurs and you have Dino Hunt Dice, and finally play a game of re-themed Put and Take with Cthulhu Dice.   The mechanics differ from game to game, but they all are rich in theme, very colorful, very simple and resolve and play very quickly.  This kind of game handles 3-4 kids comfortably.  The up side is they are all very affordable and you can probably buy all of them if you have a large crowd of kids.  Maybe even throw a dice game tournament, who knows?

Conclusion:

I could go on and on with this post but I think I’m going to limit these to about 8-10 at a time so I don’t feel rushed.  The games in this posting have all been played at kid’s camps and although some games have failed to garner support, these have all done pretty well since I started.  I hope you find these suggestions useful

Game Camp 2014 Day Four: The End, CE, Room 25 and X-Wing!


The END! of BDB that is.

BDB

The Grand Finale of Big Danged Boats. Cedric (running O.R.C.), smashed through the front door but met up with a gigantic horde of Slithin and Mercenaries. He put up a valiant fight but in the end was overwhelmed by slashing Slithin blades. So Gordon won, more or less, but it was a great and epic game!! CLICK the PICTURE above to see a slideshow of the last hours of BDB 2014

Thursday was a fun day but very busy. BDB got voted in for a morning event to finish off the last remnants of the Day 3 battle. The morning session was basically to finish off some critical boarding actions and the final attempt at taking the Orbs. Needless to say, it did not go well for the Allies. Being young fellers with their bloodlust up, they concentrated on attacking each other while Gordon looked on in puzzlement. Cedric’s O.R.C. troopers finally got IN the tower but were overwhelmed by the Tower Guard. So Gordon “won” if it really matters. The session threw off my original schedule quite a bit, as BDB is a bear to put away– even with many little helpers. We managed, though, and it went faster with a lot of hands helping. I got things to a point where I could get the rest of it done quickly and Garrett set up and played Room 25 which was pretty much a group activity though not everyone played (It’s only for 6 players.. they need to make an expansion!).

CLICK ME!

We got BDB put and while I was grabbing a sandwich a spontaneous game of COSMIC ENCOUNTER started. I have no idea if the kids really KNOW how to play CE by the rules or not, but Gar knows it, and it seemed to be going well.

While that was going on more kids drifted away and started Painting with Mr. Chris Johnson, for which I was grateful for the visit.

We were very fortunate, as always, to have some donations from WARGAMES FACTORY to paint with. The kids loved them and EVERYTHING GOT USED! Don’t believe me? Check it out here:

Thanks, Dixie!

Our last event was running a game of X-Wing Miniatures. This was severely curtailed but played fast and furious like X-Wing does.

Perhaps unbalanced?

I tried to balance this one but I hadn’t played in a long while, and I suspect the Empire is truly doomed. No matter, we’ll run TWO simultaneous games tomorrow, but I suspect this might force me to cut out an Ice Cream party in the afternoon. Too much to get through!

Game Night Gibson


Having bumped into Steve and Jeff at the comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day (look elsewhere on here for reportage), we decided to hold a board game night at Steve’s house.  Steve purchased the last copy of ROOM 25 at Victory Comics due to the 25% off sale, so he aced me on that one.  The description reminded me strongly 0f the Canadian horror/suspense CUBE movies, and  we had to give this one a try based on the descriptive text.

“Trapped in a prison in which each room has four doors but apparently no exit, the players must try to find Room 25, the supposed exit to this nightmare. But some amongst them might be guardians of the prison, waiting for the right moment to strike. In the cooperative game Room 25, not everyone wants to escape from imprisonment – but who is the traitor? Each turn, the player moves are preprogrammed, requiring discussion, negotiation – and possibly betrayal.”
— From the Box Cover

ROOM 25:

There are three modes of play– solitaire, cooperative and semi-cooperative, where two players assume the role of mission saboteurs called “Security”.  Forget the other two, semi-cooperative is THE way to play this game.  Also, I wouldn’t suggest fewer than 5 players.

Setup is pretty simple, start with the center room card, put your figures on it and place tiles around the outside, face down, so you have no idea what is being placed. Tile deck consistency is based on number of players, so this is tailored in advance.

Once the “cube” is built, you take turns (using an innovative sliding turn scale) to program two actions from four possible actions, per each individual character. They are Peek (into a room), Push (some hapless sap into a room), Move (into a room), and Control (move the row up or down or side to side one square). Once you place your action tokens, just like RoboRally, your character has to do them.

There are six different characters that add a lot of color to the game (Bimbo, Dude, little Girl, Scientist, etc), but really, they are just for color– each character is functionally identical to the rest of them. Which is too bad, really.

Yes, I played the Bimbo. And I did a cracker-jack job of it, to boot.

The game got started and proceeded swiftly. Young Chris Gibson went for the edge immediately by moving without looking. The results were inevitable.

HORRIBLE HOT FLAMING DEATH!!! AIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE

Wah, wah, wah WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH

Sniff.. DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!

The game continued and slowly the map revealed itself as the layout slid back and forth and up and down.. cards were peeked at, people were shoved into rooms…

YIKES!

(that’s my bimbo being shoved into the Cold Room).

More rooms reveal themselves

Each tile does something… usually nasty. There’s a fire room that instantly annihilates a player. A water room that drowns a player, a Poison Gas room, a couple of Cold Rooms, etc. etc. The idea is to run for the exit tile which is the “Room 25” of the title. Two hidden security guards are also participating that wish to keep you from achieving the goal.

The Behemoth moves to the edge and then CONTROLS the row to make it slide. The Professor is in some deadly room…

I do like hidden traitor games and that is the only way to play this one– it was greatly entertaining. We were sabotaged by Andrew and Steve, but they had to be subtle about it. Well, Andrew was subtle, anyway.. Steve has a hard time processing that concept.

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

That’s right, see? It was ME, allll along! BWA HA HA HA HA!!!! I played you all for FOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLSSSSSSS!!!!

Steve’s such a good winner.

COSMIC ENCOUNTER

Second game of the evening was the best game in the world, COSMIC ENCOUNTER. I don’t have to have my arm twisted to play that one, but some of the group were whining about wanting to play STONE AGE (I’m looking at you, Jeff and Andrew). I gladly helped Steve browbeat the crowd into playing CE. Yippee! The old guilt trip works every time!

“Perhaps you may have heard of this game.. Cosmic Encounter…”

We started with a little video instruction for the newcomers from Tom “My Favorite Game in the Universe is Cosmic Encounter” Vasel, and discovered either we (and the rulebook) did something different or Tom does his challenges with the Cosmic Cone backward! We were baffled! Then we didn’t let it bother us and proceeded.

I drew THE PYGMY and something I’ve played before, and went with the Pygmy. Each planet counts as half for conquest purposes and only four counters can ever be on a planet, which limits offensive challenges. I loved this.. they say the Pygmy has the power of Half, but it’s really “The Power of Crappy Real Estate!!” YAY!!!

Why do I have ten, you say? It’s the Pygmy’s power. 2 per planet and you use an unused set of planets with your own tokens.

I forget the rest of the powers but I think there was THE BARBARIAN (gets extra compensation), FILCH (Steals cards), SORCERE (switches cards before being revealed), and couple I’m forgetting. I was at a serious deficit throughout the game. Nobody is that eager to align with the Pygmy, as it’s hard to offer anyone anything of value as compensation. Likewise, nobody was that eager to attack me either, and I was the only player who didn’t loose his power or have his home real estate invaded. Again, crappy real estate in action.

Close to end game. Yes, my position could be better. A mighty ONE ship is sent to the offensive

At the end of the game, Steve and his daughter Nicole shared the victory while Steve and I were the runners up with 3 bases. Any day you spend playing Cosmic Encounter beats a day when you didn’t play Cosmic Encounter. Huzzah, fun was had by all.

White had it far harder than I did.