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Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective

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I think we will plan on playing Crack the Case Live and Online in the DonationCoder IRC channel tonight (friday mar 4, 2011), at sometime around 11PM server time (USA Central Standard time).

Everyone is welcome.

Crack the case will start in [countdown=3,4,2011,23,0]Already Started[/countdown].  Join the chat channel to play (click chat button above or join #donationcoder on efnet using a standard irc client).

It's been too long since I posted a new board/card game mini-review, so here's a quickie.

This is my mini-review of a card game for young kids called "Spot It".

I learned about Spot It from my favorite board game review video series by Tom Vassel:

Tom's daughter Melody is a real gamer and she and tom both liked the game.

I thought it might be perfect for my niece during a family visit I took last week, and it was.  Turns out everyone in the family enjoyed it, even my parents.

It's a light game where you are trying to quickly match symbols on the cards.  There are actually several variations you can play, which adds some variety.  We invented a couple of additional variations, including one that used the cards to play go-fish which i think worked quite well.

I'd give this one a 9 out of 10 in the category of quick family games for playing with young children under 10.

Someone mentioned a similar game called "Set", which has won many awards.  Set is definitely in the same vein of identifying similar cards.. and has some more sophisticated elements to it.  I tried Set a while ago but found it completely unfun to play and too taxing on my brain.

Side note: This game can actually be fascinating for the mathematicians in the family and some of us found ourselves deep in thought about the algorithm used to create the cards.  You see the cards are such that: Each card has 8 symbols on it, from a collection of over 50 symbols.  There are 55 cards.  Each card has one and only one match with every other card.  It's not at all trivial to come up with an algorithm that achieves that, or to answer questions such as how many cards can you make given N unique symbols with M symbols on each card..

By the way, my niece's favorite game was not actually a game.

I brought a ton of pieces i keep for prototyping new board/card games (dice of all types including some blank dice, blank playing cards, miscelaneous tokens, etc.), and it turns out my niece is a budding game designer.. She could not get enough and wanted to invent 3 or 4 new board games every day.

I'm not sure that many kids would take to the challenge of inventing new games but might be something worth investigating if you have young kids in your family, since I think it's a great learning experience.

I just ordered Forbiddden Island which you mention is simpler than Pandemic, as a good travel game for semi-gaming adults going on a road trip - will see how it fares


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