147 – Isaac Villa, Gaming with Sidekicks – The Family Gamers Podcast

Eric Lang and Isaac Villa

Episode 147:

Isaac Villa

Gaming with Sidekicks

This week we’re happy to welcome Isaac Villa. He runs a site similar to ours, called Gaming with Sidekicks. We first met at PAX Unplugged, and we’re always happy to talk with other family-focused gamers.

Gaming with Sidekicks branched off from a different website; the founders met while playing Dice Masters competitively. At one point, they had four different podcasts! While going to Origins to play competitively, Isaac realized he was making a circle of boardgaming friends.

“Origins is kind of our big summer camp.”

Isaac Villa, on making friends in the board gaming world

Isaac got together with friends JT, Randy, and Stuart to start a new site that would still be in the boardgaming world but with a wider focus. They’re all dads with kids of various ages, from babies to teenagers.

When Isaac is playing with his 15 year old daughter, games are an excellent social lubricant. Put down the phone and spend time together as a family! Gaming can also bring different kinds of people together, as with his wife who loves many games but doesn’t like conventions.

Games we like with the people we love.

Gaming with Sidekicks motto

“Sidekicks” are our families, and our kids – people that we bring alongside to game with. But the “Sidekicks” idea also came from Dice Masters‘ “sidekick dice” with the pawn logo.

Isaac tells us what he enjoyed about Dice Masters, although now he gets a similar feel from Dice Throne, but with less head-to-head combat.

We talk a bit about dice and cooperative games, including Pandemic, Legendary, and Rescue Polar Bears. Cooperative games are our favorite way to teach logical deduction or looking ahead in games.

Talking with Isaac also reveals to us how a person’s career and/or aptitude effect the way you play games. Playing with your kids reveals their strengths and weaknesses.

Isaac’s son was a top-level player in Dice Masters at a young age, but still had a hugely hard time with losing. And that’s a teachable moment (as we’ve discussed in the past), whether on the soccer field or in a boardgame.

Know your audience! Isaac played with a group of teenage boys that made every game incredibly agressive. He loved playing Kung Fu Zoo with them (a dexterity dice-flicking game).

What was your favorite game from 2018?

His most played, and probably favorite: Drop It. (Ours too! – check our review) Much like Ingenious, we think it will be a modern classic.

Another of our favorites was Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters (as listeners will probably remember).

Isaac recommends a few from Grandpa Beck’s Games, including Cover Your Assets and SkullKing (trick-taking).

How about 2019? We’re almost halfway through the year.

Our favorite so far this year is Tiny Towns, again to no one’s surprise (especially if you’ve read our review). One of the best parts is that it’s relatively independent, so the tendency of our youngest to be an agent of chaos doesn’t hurt others’ strategy.

Isaac’s favorite for this year is a little heavier: Tidal Blades – he played it at PAX Unplugged and cannot wait for it to come out. The theme is great and it fits together really well.

Another one Isaac really wants to try this year is Smash City – a kaiju (giant monster) game with giant dice that you’re using to knock down buildings and also gain cards to give you advantage as you battle the other monsters.

Find Gaming with Sidekicks Online:


Instagram: @GamingWithSideKicks
Facebook: @GamingWithSidekicks
Twitter: @GamingWSidekick
Youtube: Gaming With Sidekicks

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This week’s opening and closing music is Orchid by You Bred Raptors?.