217 – Kids Table Board Gaming! – The Family Gamers Podcast

Josh and Helaina Cappel
Josh and Helaina Cappel

On this week’s episode of the show we are so happy to invite Helaina and Josh Cappel of Kids Table Board Gaming and Burnt Island Games.

217 Fact: As far as we can find, the earliest recorded game of “association football” (ie. soccer) took place in Derby, England, in the year 217 CE. Wild!

Thanks as always to our sponsor, First Move Financial. Head over to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to see how First Move Financial can kick start your financial engine today.

Helaina and Josh use their two imprints to publish games. Helaina is also a school teacher; Josh does art and game development for their two imprints and Grand Gamers Guild.

What We’ve Been Playing

Studies in Sorcery – from Weird Giraffe Games. We’ve been playing a prototype, but the full version is on Kickstarter right now. It’s only $19, you should definitely check it out.

Order of Invention (Breaking Games) – Funny to play this with kids, who often are betting at random. Josh worries that it is a game that gets less fun as you “learn” the cards. We disagree, since there are so many disconnected facts.

DO NOT BUY “educational games”. Find good games that are tangential to the things you want to learn.

Slide Quest (Blue Orange) – fun for all ages.

“I miss doing things NOT with my children.”


We are glad that our kids can play outside (playgrounds, etc.) but there probably won’t be much to do as the weather gets colder. (Long ago, we did a podcast about games you can play outside and another about games that get you moving.)

Codenames: Harry Potter (The OP) – We were surprised! This is a completely cooperative game. Each side of the table takes turns giving clues according to their own side of the clue card. We should know by now that the OP doesn’t just slap a theme on a game, but puts time connecting the theme into the gameplay.

Connect 4 – Anitra does not let kids win. Elliot was a little exasperated, but not upset.

Caylus (remake from Space Cowboys)- Helaina is really excited for this one, and hoping to play it soon.

Samurai (by Reiner Knizia)

Magic: The Gathering has hooked Asher, and is helping work through disappointments. (Has carried through to Unmatched too!)

SNAP Review: Baby Dragon Bedtime

Baby Dragon Bedtime

Anitra and Asher review this simple card game. Baby Dragon Bedtime combines deck-building with real-time play and memory aspects. Can your baby dragon make a big enough hoard to make a comfy bed?

Read the transcript and see more pictures at the SNAP review page.


We’re giving away a copy of Food Fighters! Enter here.

About Kids Table Board Gaming

Why Kids Table Board Gaming?

Helaina started playing games with her children when her oldest was 2 years old. And most games were terrible. Josh had created a game (which became Food Fighters) and rather than find someone else to publish it, they realized they wanted to do it themselves.

That pretty much launched Kids Table Board Gaming, and Food Fighters is still a convention favorite. Partly because of emergent strategy (kids can play more or less randomly, and eventually learn how to place/swap fighters to get them in better positions).

Rather than making games FOR kids, they make games that kids can play and enjoy (but so can adults)! Kids can enjoy the games without understanding how to play well.

What about Burnt Island Games?

Josh had done some work on the game Endeavor with Z-Man Games a decade ago. When the license lapsed, they really wanted to publish an update for it. But it’s an adult strategy game, and didn’t fit the “Kids Table” idea well.

Now they’ve published several games under the Burnt Island imprint, all very enjoyable to work on.

What’s your favorite game you’ve published?

Endeavor: Age of Sail is Helaina’s favorite, which is why they created Burnt Island to begin with.

Josh’s favorite is “whatever we’re working on next” – so currently Creature Comforts (which will be coming to Kickstarter in November).

So tell us about Creature Comforts.

Animals preparing their homes for the winter. Every player interaction is friendly! Even though it’s worker placement, there is no blocking. The game is not really about winning. “Did I make cool, cozy stuff?”

“Winning is the goal, but it’s not the winning that’s the important – it’s the GOAL that’s important.”

Helaina always loved this game, but Josh had to be won over. Part of the goal in development has been to keep the game at ZERO conflict – the only ways players can interact is helpful, never harmful.

“Countering” can be really negative & problematic, especially with kids. (Helaina tries to avoid it in all their games.) You can keep players engaged without it!

Find out more about Creature Comforts from the Kids Table website.

Tell us about Fossilis.

They first saw it at a tiny convention, with a board made of LEGO. “My 6 year old played for hours.”

You’re pushing around terrain tiles to uncover dinosaur bones. Of course, you’re competing with other paleontologists for the best dinosaurs.

It has done much better than their other games (so far).

Is it hard to balance game design and publishing with parenting?

“We use [the kids] all the time.” They’re happy to have kids who have an interest in game design and development.

It can be frustrating when they ask the kids to play the same game over and over, especially when games will be stopped mid-stream to fix balance problems.

Tell us about In Too Deep.

Josh has been working on this for over a decade. Solve puzzles on the gameboard w/shared pieces.

Eventually they turned it into a theme of criminals and “Syndicate”, who uses mind control to get the criminals to do what they want. You’ll balance morality/choices with corruption. Whoever is the most corrupt will be “in too deep” and lose. (1 to 5 players)

What are your kids’ favorite games to play with you?


Food Fighters

Order of Invention

Bohnanza, possibly.

Find Kids Table & Burnt Island Games Online:


Facebook: @kidstableboardgaming
Twitter: @kidstablebg
Instagram: @kidstablebg


Facebook: @BurntIslandGames
Twitter: @burntislandgm
Instagram: @burntislandgames

Find Us Online:

Facebook: @familygamersaa and thefamilygamers.com/community
Twitter (X): @familygamersaa
Threads: @familygamersaa
Instagram: @familygamersaa
TikTok: @familygamersaa
Youtube: TheFamilyGamers

or join the Family Tabletop Community on Discord! thefamilygamers.com/discord

Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

Check out our new Family Gamers and Play Games with Your Kids merchandise – T-shirts, hoodies, and mugs – at thefamilygamers.com/merch.

PLEASE don’t forget to subscribe to the show, tell your friends about the show, and leave us a review at Apple Podcast or whatever your podcast subscription source is. We’re also on Amazon Music, TuneIn, and Spotify.

The Family Gamers is sponsored by First Move Financial. Go to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to learn how the team at First Move Financial can help you pile up the victory points.

First Move Financial - Financial planning for all stages of life. What's your first move?