Terrible Monster Review

Terrible MonsterGames that want to advertise themselves as being like Magic seem to be quite common. There is a high interest in games that have the same strategy or feel, but at half the time and/or money investment. Whether the game also brings a somewhat interesting theme is also to be considered. The micro-game format, energized […]

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146 – Top 5 Family Food Games – The Family Gamers Podcast

Who doesn’t like food? There are tons of great food games, and we can’t play them all. We rank our top 5, from preschooler-friendly to adults-only.

Play along as we try a food-themed round of Order of Invention. You’ll be surprised which food innovation came first!

The post 146 – Top 5 Family Food Games – The Family Gamers Podcast appeared first on The Family Gamers.

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ROLL for Your Life, Candyman! Review

Quick Look: ROLL for Your Life, Candyman!

Smirk and Dagger board game ROLL for Your Life, Candyman! game review; Image by Benjamin KocherDesigner: Andy Geremia

Artist: Curt Covert
Publisher: Smirk & Dagger Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 10-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Dice, candy components, and, speech bubbles—that’s what you get inside the box of Roll for Your Life, Candyman!. At first impression, there’s not much to this game, other than rolling dice as quickly as possible and grabbing a fairly realistic (albeit not real) candy cane, à la the card game lovingly known as Spoons (you know, where you get a four of a kind and lunge for one of the spoons in the middle of the table, and if you don’t get one, you’re out). As it turns out, you wouldn’t be wrong. However, in its simplicity, Roll for Your Life, Candyman! provides a hectic frenzy of dice rolling that’s perfect for kids who can identify matches (four of a kind, preferably), adults who need a quick game before/between/after longer games, or some other combination of necessity. While there’s not much to it, I found it to be a fast and fun frenzy that is long enough to accomplish its designs, without being so long that it drags on.

My Experience
When I opened the box sent to me by Smirk & Dagger for a game I was to review, I was surprised to find a second game alongside with it. That surprise game was this one, Roll for Your Life, Candyman!. I had never heard of it before, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. The more I learned about it—through the rule book, mostly—the more excited I was to play it. Now, if you know me, I love games with deep, strategic choices and minimal luck. However, Roll for Your Life, Candyman! captured my interest like a snow globe captures a child’s imagination (I still love snow globes to this day, actually).

Roll for Your Life, Candyman! game review. Image by Benjamin Kocher
When I punched out the pieces and put everything together, I was more than pleased by the look of the game. The angry gingerbread men wielding candied weapons of (cavity-forming) mass destruction made me smirk with childish delight, and I couldn’t wait for my wife to get home so we could give it a spin.
At first impression, I was intrigued, to say the least. After learning more, my excitement grew. While actually playing, I found myself so tense and focused while rolling that nothing else seemed to matter but rolling four of the same symbols and grabbing the candy cane so I can devour my opposition! If you couldn’t tell, I get really into games. When I eat gingerbread men around Christmas time, I tend to start with the head. Here, I leave the head for last. That way, my opponent must witness their degradation in real-time, cursed to float as a lonely, disembodied noggin, singing for all the world to hear, “I-i-i-i-i-i ain’t got no body!”

And that, folks, is just one of the horribly sweet jokes you will find yourself spouting off during the game.

Everyone gets dice and the corresponding pieces for their Candyman (i.e. button colors match with dice colors). To the middle of the table, deal out one Special Treat token per player, plus one, face down (i.e. a 4-player game would have 5 Special Treat tokens on the table). Place the candy cane (which doesn’t taste anything like a real candy cane…trust me, I tried) in the middle of the table within easy reach of all players. Ready?



Smirk & Dagger Games Roll for Your Life, Candyman! board game review; Image by Benjamin Kocher
Gameplay is pretty straightforward: everyone rolls their dice at the same time, setting aside any results they’d like to keep, and continues rolling until all four dice results match (i.e. four of a kind). Then, they lunge for the candy cane in the middle. Whoever gets the candy cane yells, “CUT IT OUT!” “ENOUGH, FIENDS OF THE INFERNAL PIT!” or simply, “STOP!” at which point everyone stops rolling dice and focuses their attention on the player with the candy cane.

The candy cane-wielding player then chooses an opponent and steals either an arm (if four arm symbols are present on the dice) or a leg (if four leg symbols are present) and places it in their personal Trophy pile (kind of macabre, if you think about it…). If four candy swirls are the four of a kind, then that player may do one of three things:
  1. Take a face-down Special Treat token from the middle and place it on their own Candyman, thus making their Candyman immune from future attacks,
  2. Remove a face-down Special Treat token from another player’s Candyman (thus rendering it vulnerable to attack), and follow the directions on the token, or
  3. Remove a Candyman’s torso or head; however, torsos and heads may not be removed from a Foe’s gingerbread fighter if there are still other appendages waiting to be plucked off.
There is a SWEET!! (that’s the name of it in the rule book, exclamation points and all) condition where if you roll four matching symbols on your first roll, you may grab the candy cane (don’t forget to shout, “SWEET!!”), and those dice symbols are treated as wild, meaning you may perform any action your greedy little heart desires.

Failure to follow through with your dice results after violently grabbing the candy cane (i.e. you rolled four arms, but no Candyman has any arms left to…disarm) results in your Candyman losing an appendage—or other piece of cookie—to the box.

Once only one player is left standing (or hovering ominously with nary a head to its name), the round ends, points are tallied (one point per cookie piece, plus any points shown on previously-used Special Treat tokens), and another round begins. The game plays for three rounds, all the points are tallied from all three rounds, and the most barbaric gingerbread warrior (i.e. the player with the most points) is declared the Candy King and receives the illustrious Candy Crown! If there is a tie…well, all tied players take part in a fight to the death. Meaning, they all roll for peppermint swirls and the first to do so—and grab the candy cane—is the winner.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is pretty much a battle royale with 2-4 gingerbread men going at it. Also Christmas (because candy canes and gingerbread men). The mechanics? Dice chucking to the extreme.

Artwork and Components:

Alright, these Candymen (and women, I’m sure) look like they’ve had one too many gumdrops—and I mean that in the best way possible. Their angry faces make me feel just as fierce, and as I roll dice, I can’t help but do so with the intent to avenge my edible berserker. It’s wonderful.

As for components, I mentioned above that I did taste the plastic candy cane. Let it be known that I did so when no one else was present to avoid any awkward comments and/or glances. The candy cane felt good in my hands, but had a rather tasteless…taste to it when licked. The verdict: don’t bother eating it. That said, it’s a great little component. The speech bubbles that come with the game help put words in the mouths of the players, and really don’t serve much of a purpose other than that, except for the Feast of Words variant, where players may force an opponent to eat their words (i.e. speech bubble) when the attacking player rolls a SWEET!!. The speech bubble is placed in the defender’s Trophy pile, and counts as a negative two (-2) points at the end of the round. I actually really approve of this variant.

The Good:
  • Fast, frantic, and fun
  • Easy to learn and great for all ages
  • That candy cane looks SWEET!!
  • The cookie warriors are just wonderful to look at and make jokes with throughout the game

The Bad:

I can’t begin to describe my disappointment when I discovered the candy cane was not, in fact, candy.

The candy cane isn’t real, and it doesn’t taste like anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d chip my teeth on it if I tried to eat it. (Guys. Don’t eat components. It’s bad form.)

Final Thoughts:

Roll for Your Life, Candyman! game by Smirk and Dagger Games; board game review and image by Benjamin Kocher
Let’s be real here. I love a lot of heavy games with loads of thinking (even if they can—and do—hurt my head). But Roll for Your Life, Candyman! is one of those games that is nothing but fast, frantic fun for everyone involved. Obviously, you know what you’re getting into when you pick it upit’s a wonderfully silly and fun game, exactly what it was designed to be. I really had no idea what to think the first time I saw the box, but looking at the box art and reading through the rule book kept getting me more and more excited to play. The game does play better with more rather than less players, but my two-player game was still quite enjoyable.

Players Who Like:
If you like frantic dice chuckers, you’ll no doubt find yourself enjoying this one. It’s a good, light game for kids and adults alike, and if you’re looking for that ever-illusive Christmas-themed game (candy canes, gingerbread men…), Roll for Your Life, Candyman! needs to make an appearance in your life. There’s also player elimination involved, but due to the short nature of the rounds, this isn’t a big deal if it’s not your thing.

Check out ROLL for Your Life, Candyman! on:


Benjamin Kocher – Editor and Reviewer

Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He’s a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego’s Copyediting Extension program. He’s a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Kocherb, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

See Benjamin’s reviews HERE.

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New Game Giveaways – May 20, 2019

Stay At Home Gamers Extraordinary Adventure Themed Family Game Night Box Giveaway! Ends May 22, 2019

Bicycle Shuffle Grand Prix Giveaway! Ends May 23, 2019

Stay At Home Gamers Fairy Tile Giveaway! Ends May 26, 2019

Stronghold Games Egizia: Shifting Sands Giveaway! Ends May 26, 2019

Stay At Home Gamers Gnomes at Night Giveaway! Ends May 30, 2019

Board Game Revolution Rise of the Elder Gods Giveaway! Ends June 3, 2019

See all the Giveaways we have found HERE!

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Ludology Episode 200 – Auld Lang… Engelstein?

After 200 episodes, Geoff has decided to step back from Ludology to focus on game design and book writing. So we’ve gathered previous co-hosts Ryan Sturm and Mike Fitzgerald, as well as future co-host Emma Larkins and future contributor Professor Scott Rogers, for a big slam-bang going away party! 

You’ll continue to hear Geoff with his GameTek segment every 4 weeks. And if you’d like to stay in touch, follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gengelstein

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New Game Giveaways – May 17, 2019

Board Game Revolution Omicron Protocol Giveaway! Ends May 20, 2019

Scorpion masqué Decrypto Giveaway! Ends May 20, 2019

Gen42 Games VektoRace Giveaway! Ends May 21, 2019

Midian Design H.P.Lovecraft Echoes Giveaway! Ends May 23, 2019

Board Game Opinions Dice Hospital Giveaway! Ends May 26, 2019

Board Game Revolution Era of Tribes Giveaway! Ends May 30, 2019

The Giveaway Geek Shard Slingers Giveaway! Ends June 11, 2019

See all the Giveaways we have found HERE!

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Charley Harper’s Spot the Birds Board Game Review

This is a Partner review with The Board Game Family. 

Quick Look: Charley Harper’s Spot the Birds Board Game

Designer: Cory Mimms
Artist: Charley Harper Art Studio
Publisher: Pomegranate Communications, Inc.
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 6+
Playing Time: 30-60 min.

From the publisher:

Grab your binoculars and keep an eagle eye to the sky with Charley Harper’s Spot the Birds. It’ll be a hoot! Peregrinate through the board’s five habitats—the Backyard, the Desert, the Woodland, the Wetland, and the Shores—and track each bird you spot by collecting the tokens for each space you land on and placing the token on your birder’s journal. Roll the die to see how many spaces you move along the outer loop (the habitat loop).

Along the way, you’ll discover how to be a good bird steward. But watch out—you’ll need to dodge storms, avoid falling in a river, and beware of birds that poop on your head (it happens). All of these will negatively impact your turn, in some cases sending you backward or in other cases making you put a token back, and some will have a global impact on all players.

The game has three different levels to play at, from standard to more difficult. Once you spot the required number of birds, which is determined at the beginning of the game, then the game becomes a race to the finish. Turn up one of the four trails to the Bird Sanctuary and be the first to reach the end and you’ll rule the roost!

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

I received a copy of this game for the purposes of this review, but all opinions here are mine or those of my family and friends, and not of the publisher.

Review: Charley Harper’s Spot the Birds Board Game

Overview and Theme:

If you are a fan of Charley Harper (like my family is!), you are in for a treat with this new game… if you’re not a fan, just wait… you will be!

Charley Harper was an American modern artist who used a style he called “minimal realism” to create prints, posters, and illustrations of the natural world, mostly birds, in a brightly charming style.  He described his work this way:

“When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures.”

See the entire review over at The Board Game Family.

Check out Charley Harper’s Spot the Birds Board Game on:


Alexa Chaplin– Reviewer

My name is Alexa: I’m a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I’ve loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We’ve played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!

See Alexa’s reviews HERE.

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Coming 5/17: Dice Tower Awards Nominees

Join the fellas in the studio as they announce the Dice Tower Awards Nominees for 2018!!

Join us for the Dice Tower Retreat: http://www.dicetower.com/dicetower-la

Check out the friendliest conventions on Earth!
Dice Tower Con! – www.dicetowercon.com (July 3-7, 2019)
Dice Tower West! – www.dicetowerwest.com (Feb 26 – Mar 1, 2020)
Dice Tower Cruise! – www.dicetowercruise.com

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Zombicide: Tactics and Shotguns iOS Review

Zombicide: Tactics and ShotgunsThere is little argument to be made that Zombicide has been a cash cow for board game publisher CMON. Since the original kickstarter in 2012, Zombcide has seen numerous expansions and two different rethemes (fantasy and scifi). After playing countless hours of Heroes of Nomandie on my iPad, I always thought more tactical minis games […]

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[BONUS] Elizabeth Hargrave on How to Get More Women into Game Design

The Board Game Design Lab is a weekly podcast that interviews the best designers, publishers, and insiders in the board

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