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Great Games to Play for Father's Day


Great Games to Play for Father's Day

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 16, and I don’t know about you but I think games make great gifts. Getting together to play a game is a memory-making experience, and one that you can enjoy whether you’re a gaming family or you just want to try something new. Here are a few suggestions for games to play with your dad this weekend, or any weekend because who needs an excuse to play games?

Forbidden Island- GameWright Games

Cooperative games are great if you’re trying to get people into gaming. You’re all working towards a common goal so you’re helping each other rather than competing against each other. I like Forbidden Island in particular because it’s easy to learn, there are great moving visual pieces, and you can adjust the difficulty level. You play as two to four treasure hunters traversing a sinking island, and you have to locate four artifacts and get them off the island before you find yourselves in a watery grave. Leave no man behind (no seriously, if one of you gets trapped on the island you lose). If you have a group larger than four playing or you want to add additional rules and variants, try Forbidden Desert or Forbidden Sky.

How the last game we played wound up. Literally JUST made it.

How the last game we played wound up. Literally JUST made it.

 Hanabi- R&R Games

Hanabi is another cooperative game, but it has such a fascinating game mechanic that it truly is unique even amongst other cooperative games: you don’t get to see your own cards. Your goal is basically to line up 25 fireworks cards (5 different colors in order 1-5) by giving clues about what is in each other’s hands. If you play the wrong card, such as the red 3 before the red 2, your fuse gets shorter. 3 mistakes and your fireworks explode. Hanabi is a great game for communication and one of my favorites to play with new people for that very reason. You get to learn how they think. Theoretically, playing this game as a family means you’ll be in sync because you know each other, but let’s be honest, someone’s going to wind up shouting “Why didn’t you warn me I had a 5 in my hand?!” and as long as no one is super competitive, that’s part of the fun.

What do you mean you  forgot  which card was the white card?

What do you mean you forgot which card was the white card?

 Munchkin- Steve Jackson Games

Okay enough with being nice, let’s start throwing monsters at each other! Munchkin’s original concept is building characters and traversing dungeons trying to be the first to level 10, and using cards in your hand to achieve your goal and stop other players from achieving theirs. It rapidly evolved from a Dungeons and Dragons theme to over 30 different genres and expansions, from pirates, to Marvel, to Rick and Morty, to Shakespeare. It’s an easy to learn game that is guaranteed to have a theme that dad will like. 

Our community manager Anne got to sit down and discuss two of the newest editions: Unicorns and Friends, and Warhammer 40K at Essen Spiel

Coup- Indie Boards and Cards

Bluffing games! We all fudge the truth with our families, why not make a game out of it? With Coup you’re playing various influential figures in a dystopian future and you want to be the last one standing. Each card has a different ability, but nobody knows what card you have, so you have to call people out if you think they’re using the ability for a card they don’t have. Clearly, I have a running theme here, which is Short and Sweet, but if you like the idea of any of these types of games but want a longer version, they exist, and Coup is no different. If you want a longer bluffing game, try ResistanceResistance: Avalon, or Ultimate Werewolf (and if you want to really make a commitment, try Ultimate Werewolf: Legacy

I knew you weren’t the ambassador!

I knew you weren’t the ambassador!

 A Role-Playing Game. Any RPG (as long as you like it)

RPGs are great for family nights and great for all ages. You’re using your imagination, you’re communicating and thinking critically, and best of all, you’re telling a great story. If you’re an experienced player (or you’re a gaming family) you can consider a higher commitment game like Dungeons and Dragons or Starfinder. If you want something with more structure you can try an RPG in a box like Thornwatch. If you’re short on time there are plenty of one-shot options for a single game with easy-to-learn mechanics.


 Okay, not all dads are going to agree to this one (mine, for example, can’t bring himself to be creative, and doing so is NOT his idea of a good time) so use your best judgment. But if you think this is something your dad would agree to, give it a try! You might be pleasantly surprised.

What games will you be breaking out this weekend?


It's a good day to Die Hard Dice


It's a good day to Die Hard Dice

Our friends at Die Hard Dice gave us a chance to check out some of their awesome products this past weekend, and we wanted to let all our active players in on what we found. 

Dice Trays


Dice trays are necessary for a lot of reasons: they save your dice from falling off the table, they protect your table from getting scratched or dinged up if you’re using a heavier material dice, and it is scientifically proven that you’ll get the most random dice results by letting your dice bounce off at least 2 surfaces after you let it leave your hand. Die Hard Dice’s dice trays lay flat for easy storage and transport, and then snap into tray form when you’re ready to use them. They come in multiple colors and three different shapes so you can get the exact style you’re looking for.

The Dire d20s


For the big important rolls, you need a big important die, and that’s where the dire d20 comes in. At 25mm instead of 20mm, it’s got a bigger size that makes it easier for the rest of the party to see what you roll. It definitely adds to the excitement when the entire party sees that natural 20 (or the natural 1!). One important thing to note is that if you’re going to use one of these dire d20’s you’re going to want to use a dice tray to protect your table-- these things pack a punch due to their bigger size and their metal material. Speaking of which…


The Metal Sets


There is something so immensely satisfying about the feel of heavy dice in your hand and the thud they make as they hit the table. It’s like that moment in Fellowship of the Ring when Bilbo drops the One Ring on the floor at it just stops. Not a lot of bouncing or rolling. Finality. If you want to feel that powerful, then these are the type of dice you want to own. They also come with a metal carrying case with foam inlay to keep them nice and protected. And with full sets ranging from $35 to $55, they’re not going to break your bank. Just your enemies. 


The Polymer Sets

Of course, not everyone can afford the fancy metal dice, and that’s okay because Die Hard Dice also offers a huge variety of affordable, lightweight polymer dice. If you’re like Critical Role’s Laura Bailey (or APN’s own Risa) you can horde dice to your heart’s content and select the ones you’ll use for each night’s session based on how they roll or what color you’re feeling. The purple moonstone ones, in particular, have a way of glowing that we haven’t seen in polymer dice before.



If you’re looking to add to (or start) your dice collection, hit up your FLGS and pick up your own! If you do, make sure to take a picture of them and use the hashtag #activeplayer so we can see! Happy rolling!


Player Character Spotlight - Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay


Player Character Spotlight - Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay


One of the best parts of being a gamer is that games and the stories they tell inspire incredible amounts of creativity. Making good on that exchange, are the many cosplayers around the world who bring characters to life at conventions and events throughout the year.

Today you’ll meet three such crafting crusaders! Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay chatted with us about how their cosplay identities intersect with their life as active players.

Do you consider gamer an integral part of your identity

Turnfolio: it’s generally just part of things I do as a nerd. 

Armaria: There’s so many definitions of gamer - no matter what you’re into. 

Caketastrophe: Video games, board games - whatever you’re into - it takes up at least half of my day every day. So I would consider myself…yes. (laughs)

Turnfolio Cosplay as Nott “The Brave” from Critical Role

Turnfolio Cosplay as Nott “The Brave” from Critical Role

Why are you a gamer?

Caketastrophe: It gives me a bit of happiness in my everyday life. It’s a constant source of fun and creativity. 

Armaria: The type of games I’m into include a lot of interactive story telling. For me it’s all about escaping reality and living in a fantasy, sci fi, or slightly altered world. I want an escape from every day monotony. 

Turnfolio: I always am here for a good story that allows me to experience the world in a way I don’t normally. You might be limited by your own circumstances, but games open up the world so you can experience something new. 

How does cosplay interact with your gamer identity? 

Turnfolio: This is a way for me to experience the game that someone else is playing and then put myself into it. 

Armaria: The best thing is to bring these characters to life for people who aren’t cosplayers.

Turnfolio: And! It reminds you that while we’re all watching these stories separately - we’re not alone. 

Caketastrophe: it’s really nice when you get to bring a character to life that means something to you and then you get to connect with someone who also enjoys that character and they get to see it close up. It’s priceless. 

Armaria Cosplay as Caleb from Critical Role

Armaria Cosplay as Caleb from Critical Role

How do you balance gaming with your real life. 

Caketastrophe: Eeeeeeerrrrrrrragh. It’s a lot of not prioritizing for me. I have a hard time balancing. I really need to start scheduling my time. With D&D, I have scheduled meetings. Whether or not I campaign prep more than two hours in advance - that’s another question. I run two games right now and participate in three others. I should probably prioritize real life a little bit more…

Armaria: For me, my work time is my work time. My home time is my home time. As soon as I’m out of work - that’s my time to work on cosplay or play a game, or D&D. It’s about all of my escapes and it’s more of a hard line. 

Turnfolio: It’s a matter of finding my creativity and using it as an outlet. I have a serious 9 to 5 job and I am dedicated to it. I use games to recharge and to get out stress and express emotion. It’s a release. 

What significance do conventions play win your life?

Caketastrophe: Conventions offer you a place to connect with people who share similar feelings about games. As a cosplayer, it’s a chance to show off your work - the hours you’ve spent in your craft room swaddled in fabric and trim. And tears. Sweat. Blood. Here, we get to emerge from all that!

Armaria: I’m so bad about finding new board games. But at cons there are all these people asking me to try new things and I find so many opportunities to explore. 

Do you like cooperative games or competitive games?

Turnfolio: I won’t lie. I really like winning. (laughs) I love channelling that into a cooperative game though. We grow up competing - it’s the easy thing. Everyone for themselves - it’s important to get cooperative play in there. 

Armaria: Sometimes it’s nice to compete, but cooperative story telling Is great because it’s about everyone working together to make things better. 

Caketastrophe: Welp, I like sabotage games. Werewolf. Resistance. Social sabotage is cooperative in a deceptive sort of way right?

Caketastrophe Cosplay as Mollymauk from Critical Role

Caketastrophe Cosplay as Mollymauk from Critical Role

What is the relationship between gaming and your mental health?

Caketastrophe: Gaming is a big part of my mental health. Cosplay is a huge creative outlet when I’ve had a bad day. If I don’t want to sew or play games, it’s actually a big sign that I might want to check up on my meds. It’s a good point of reference. Did I make as many costumes this year as last? How long has it been since I went out to play with friends? Gaming and cosplay and cons really help me with my social anxiety. 

Armaria: I work a very left brain job while cosplay exercises my right brain. After so much work and hours of sewing - gaming is my escape from both factors. It keeps me sane. I’m an extreme extrovert so when I’m sewing and crafting alone, I need and crave that social interaction that comes with gaming. 

Turnfolio: Board gaming is also nice for compartmentalizing. They’re so practical and tactical for when I don’t want to deal with stress and emotions. 

How do you find people to play with?

Turnfolio: I suppose it’s whoever looks approachable at cons. In real life, I ask a lot of questions. I find out what people are into and figure out where it matches up. We have to be compatible in a way.

Armaria: Honestly half the time I find people to play D&D with through cosplay. 

Caketastophe: I build solid friendships and then bring games into the friendships. I share a game and then they will share a game with me. Then the friendships build along with the games. 


Player Character Spotlight - Rick Baer


Player Character Spotlight - Rick Baer


At Gen Con last year, I sat down for a chat with Misfit Toys Inc. President and Creative Director, Rick Baer. I wanted to learn about how someone who has made a career out of producing narrative webseries as well as streaming RPG entertainment for Saving Throw Show and Project Alpha prioritizes play in his own life.

“On the video game front, I’ve always been a gamer for as long as I can remember - computer games and Nintendo were staples.”

When asked about whether his gaming pastime is something he shares with his family, Rick described his gaming life as being very separate. The hobby is something he developed on his own. .

“I’m the gamer in the family. There might be occasional board games - classics like Monopoly.”

I was very interested to find out more about why RPGs have really taken over his personal and professional life.

“In terms of tabletop RPGs, gaming has become important to me because the collaborative story telling and world-building is a lot of fun. Anyone becomes a storyteller and writer when they play an RPG which is awesome.”

His passion for story telling is something he describes as intoxicating.

“I do find myself kind of craving it if I haven’t played in a while. I don’t know if you could say I do it for my mental health, but I get endorphins like crazy when I’m playing RPGs - especially if everyone is as into it as I’m trying to be. I’m totally committed and I play with a lot of committed players. “

With a busy life, it can be hard to get a group together, whether producing content or prioritizing play in his own life.

“Finding people who are just as passionate and interested and make a time for when we play is important. If you have a loose “let’s play a game together” deal, it just doesn’t work. You have to actually get out a calendar and figure out when it’s going to happen. You have a much better chance to follow through on it.””

Rick admits his situation is pretty optimal when it comes to finding players and that it may not be the case for everyone.

“I’m really lucky in that I’m part of a thriving RPG community. I know lots of different people who play in each others games. If somebody doesn’t make it into one then they’ll be in another one - theres definitely too many of us to play in one together.”

Tabletop role-playing games speak to Rick because he enjoys cooperative play and doesn’t enjoy the psychology of putting others at unease, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy collaborating with the table to create narrative tension.

“I won’t necessarily go along with everything anyone wants to do in the narrative, but I try to support what’s happening in interesting ways. I played a game of 10 Candles and I elected to be taken over by this horrible creeping darkness that was pursuing us. It created interesting tension because without having to turn against them at any particular time, there was always the chance that I could which was a lot a of fun.”

Rick Baer was also instrumental in the development of the VAST Star Trek RPG show for Project Alpha.

My favorite game that I play in is a home-brew Star Trek setting run by my friend Jackson Lanzing. It runs on a heavily modified version of White Wolf’s Storyteller. It started 6+ years ago. It was my first ever RPG. I came into the game as a star ship captain and went from that to somebody who accidentally caused the death of most of his species, to a crime lord, to the… Pope? It was crazy.

That game gave birth to VAST, the game I work on for Project Alpha. The system is essentially the same. I got to see a different aspect of creating games from that production side. I had been a player, but here I was a writer most of the time - creating modules for the campaign.

Rick has also come to enjoy the empathic side of story telling - giving him a chance to get behind the wheel of characters with totally different values.

“Playing my second character who is the polar opposite - a horrible awful racist, sexist, psychopathic smuggler and switching between those two extremes with my original Star Trek character gave me this whole range of things to explore and got me comfortable with playing lots of different kinds of characters - not just another version of myself. That’s what I really enjoy now.”

Follow Rick on Twitter as well as Misfit Toys, Inc. to get in on the action and support all the incredible stories he’s telling.


The Cosmology of Overlight - Shards, Chroma, and Folk


The Cosmology of Overlight - Shards, Chroma, and Folk

Overlight is a fantasy roleplaying game of kaleidoscopic journeys: a visceral, dangerous, and brightly-colored setting. Characters will search for personal meaning among a fantastic, sometimes violent, and overwhelming world.

With so many RPG systems to choose from, let us give you an overview of this incredible world, created by George Holland and Paul Alexander Butler, so that you can decide if this setting from Renegade Game Studios might be right for your next adventure!

Coming soon: How to Create Your Overlight Skyborn and How to Roll A Skill Challenge in Overlight.


Critical Hits - City of Kings by City of Games


Critical Hits - City of Kings by City of Games

Defend the City of Kings as one of the last leaders of a fantastic realm who are sworn to defeat the Vesh. Play in single adventure or campaign mode with randomly generated enemies and customizable stats that ensure infinite replayability for this sandbox adventure board game.


Get the Game - City of Kings by City of Games


Get the Game - City of Kings by City of Games

The City of Kings is a cooperative adventure roleplaying board game for 1-4 players in which your character is tasked with tactically exploring the hazardous world surrounding the City of Kings, trading for vital resources in nearby villages, and battling your enemies whilst uncovering a story of a world imperiled.

Get the Game helps you understand games and accessories that are taking the world by storm. Whether you're a gaming veteran, tournament champion, or you've just dipped your toes into tabletop gaming, everyone is welcome to tune in and learn how to craft the play experience that's right for them.

Head to Facebook for details on how to enter to win a copy of "City of Kings" in our Get the Game Giveaway!

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Host: Anne Richmond
Twitter: @annerichmond
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Special Thanks:
City of Games, Gen Con