121 – Holiday Gifts with Stephen Duetzmann – The Family Gamers Podcast

Engaged Family Gaming holiday

We’re joined again this week by Stephen Duetzmann from Engaged Family Gaming!

We are really looking forward to seeing Blume at the Yanaguana Games booth at PAX Unplugged. (Stephen formerly told us about Blume on episode 103.)

Stephen is our go-to man for all things video game. “I’m weaponized.”

What We’ve Been Playing

Spider-Man (both Andrew and Anitra) – Andrew is very close to the end and looking forward to trying some of the additional content. It’s very well put together, even down to what people say on the street as “you” walk by. Stephen is sure there will be sequels. Sounds great to us!

Megaman 11 has been a big hit for Stephen. It’s a love letter to the old Megaman games, and it has a casual mode that makes it a little easier (you don’t die if you fall into a pit).

Pokémon! Andrew’s sister can’t decide whether to get Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Evee, so she asked our kids. We ask Stephen for recommendations. Stephen is convinced that Andrew is “allergic to fun” – and Andrew proves him right!

But apparently Pokémon is surprisingly deep. Many of the handheld games are structured as RPGs with 40+ hours of content: but Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Evee are streamlined, removing the random encounters (so you can avoid them when you don’t want to fight them). Combat has also been simplified, looking a lot more like Pokémon GO. However, if you like the depth of strategy common to other Pokémon games, there are master trainer fights that require custom teams of powered-up Pokémon.

According to Stephen, this is a great time to introduce your kids to Pokémon because there is so much coming out in the next year!


Introducing a way to support The Family Gamers directly. Check out our PodPledge page, and don’t miss the hilarious video edited together by Joseph Comings (Art of Boardgaming).

EFG Recommendations

We released our holiday gift guide recently, but did you know that Engaged Family Gaming releases a separate guide for each video game console?

Highlights for PS4: Spider-Man, Megaman 11, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Valkyria Chronicles 4 (strategy game for all consoles)

Highlights for Xbox ONE: Megaman 11, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Valkyria Chronicles 4, and Forza Horizon 4. Xbox GamePass makes a FANTASTIC gift, allowing you to play tons of older games and brand-new games at no additional cost.

Highlights for Nintendo Switch: Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee, Super Smash Bros Ultimate (coming December 6), Megaman, Valkyria, etc. If you haven’t already, take another look at the Nintendo LABO kits – Stephen highly recommend the variety kit and vehicle kit, which contain many small projects instead of one or two big ones.

The subscription services for any console make a great gift, especially for a kid you don’t know terribly well. It’s a gift that always fits!

Board game highlights from Engaged Family Gaming: Azul, Photosynthesis, Funky Chicken, and Monster Match.

Our Own Recommendations

And now a lightning round from Andrew and Anitra! We take turns picking ONE game from each category of our gift guide.

Young children: Andrew picks Mmm! – we love the multi-level play and pressing our luck playing with young kids.

Elementary-aged children: Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters – if you’ve been listening to the podcast lately, you know how quickly this game won us over.

Older children: We think Stephen and other video game fans would love Megaland. For everyone else, Century: Spice Road or Century: Golem Edition.

Games that are more interesting for adults: Ancestree – the Pringles of tile-laying / drafting games: can’t play just once!

Two players: Onitama is the favorite here. There are at least two expansions available if you can’t get enough of this elegant chess-like game.

Party games: Go Nuts for Donuts – a party game that even our four-year-old can play… sort of. He’s finally beginning to understand what secret voting means.

Stocking stuffer / gift exchange: Monster Crunch – love the nostalgia factor on this one, but kids will enjoy the cute monsters too.

Find us online:

Facebook: @familygamersaa
Twitter: @familygamersaa
Instagram: @familygamersaa

Community: thefamilygamers.com/community

Find Stephen and Engaged Family Gaming:


Weekly podcast: Engage! A Family Gaming Podcast (Apple, Stitcher)

Daily podcast: The EFG Daily Commute (Apple Podcast, Google)