240 – Room to Grow: Roll & Write Games – The Family Gamers Podcast

A blue pencil coloring in a balloon

Episode 240
Room to Grow:
Roll & Write Games

Skip right to the topic!

240 Fact: According to The Records of the Grand Historian (a Chinese history), the first recorded observation of Halley’s Comet occurred in 240 BC.

Thanks to First Move Financial for sponsoring the podcast. If you want to talk to an expert about prioritizing your goals and saving for the future, go to firstmovefinancial.com/familygamers to set up a meeting.

What We’ve Been Playing

The Key: Sabotage at Lucky Llama Land (HABA) – a logic puzzle type of deduction game.

Sherlock (Everett Kaser Software) – Andrew has been playing it on and off since Windows 3.1, but it’s available for iPads on the Apple store: https://apps.apple.com/us/developer/everett-kaser-software/id383644089

King of 12 (Lucky Duck Games) – a bluffing/simultaneous play game in the style of Love Letter or Brave Rats. Each player has a 12-sided die they roll at the beginning of the round, then the cards they play affect the die value each turn.

Hedgehog Haberdash (HABA) – a simple game for preschoolers; mostly matching (and luck) with a tiny bit of memory.

Atheneum: Mystic Library (Renegade Games) – go check out our review!

Match 5 (Synapses Games / Luma Imports) – part Scattergories, part Blank Slate. Come up with words or concepts to connect each pair of dice, with bonus points if you match someone else at the table.

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 – beat April in April, hooray! On to May.

Fleet: The Dice Game (Eagle Gryphon Games) – Andrew loves laminated sheets with wet-erase markers. Just run them under the faucet and it’s all clean!

Merchants of Magick (Rock Manor Games) – A fairly complex roll and write coming out soon. If you like games like Fleet: The Dice Game and Roll Player, you’ll like this one. With simultaneous play, it goes really quickly regardless of player count.

Subatomic (Genius Games) – both the topic and the gameplay are best for teenagers, but we’re having a great time playing with our very game-focused 10-year-old.

For Science!

Andrew and Anitra both try Reese’s Mallow Top: a Reese’s cup with a “marshmallow flavored creme” top.

Anitra: “It’s kind of gross.”

Andrew: “Basically peanut butter and fluff with chocolate inside…. but why mess with perfection?”

Want to try it yourself? We bought it in our local grocery store, but you can find it on Amazon (affiliate link).

The Family Gamers Community

First, we welcome new members to the community. Come say hi!

Charles Ward offered up a print and play game to our community members – check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/familygamersaa/permalink/2887351998220938/

Room to Grow: Roll & Write

Our goal with Room to Grow is to help you bring your kids through a series of games that grow in complexity.

Sometimes you want to help your kids grow into the games that you really want to play.

Normally, we do three games, but for the roll and write genre, we included four. There’s such a range of complexity here that we wanted to hit both ends of the spectrum: but that left us with too much room between the very easy and the very challenging.

We also decided to avoid number-heavy games (that use arithmetic, sequencing, or more probability). This is another skill set that kids will develop over time through lots of exposure to numbers, but it’s not great to start there.

Beginners: Color It!

Roll the dice. Then match up the color and the number to color in a corresponding area on your sheet. You can slowly ramp up the difficulty with the coloring sheets available online and with minor rules changes.

We reviewed Color It! from HABA and highly recommend it for younger children (and for a chill-out game for adults).

Next Steps: Dungeon Academy

A twist on the roll and write genre, Dungeon Academy introduces a speed element and a bit more strategy.

The dice form the dungeon that all players are trying to quickly navigate. But it’s still pretty simple, because you can choose how strategic you want to be.

Can you draw a straight line through 4 squares, get out, and not die? Then you’ll finish first every round. A kid who does this won’t win the game through points, but they can stay engaged and have fun while beginning to learn a few more mechanics. It gives players room to grow within the rules of the game.

We reviewed Dungeon Academy from The OP and think it’s great for families.

Ready for More: Metro X

We are definitely getting into more complex games now. But Metro X still only uses counting rather than higher math. It’s great for kids who are still struggling with sequencing or calculating the difference between numbers in their head.

Plan out train routes and fill in as many as you can. When a card is drawn, you want to fill in that many spaces in a row on a route – preferably without getting blocked.

It’s another game where you can play without being competitive, but still feel like you’re doing something.

We reviewed Metro X from Gamewright and it has a home on our game shelves.

Advanced Players: Fleet: The Dice Game

Come on, who wasn’t expecting this? This isn’t really related to any of the rest, except it’s still not number-heavy.

However, there are a lot of things to do. There’s a lot of comboing (which you have to remember to do) plus branching strategy. There are many ways to win here: more fish or more coins? Launch as many boats as possible? All of these decisions will shape how the game flows.

You have to pick a strategy early, but still be flexible to use the dice that are given to you (through drafting). Those are hard things to do, and make Fleet: The Dice Game very meaty.

We have not reviewed Fleet: The Dice Game (from Eagle-Gryphon, by Matt Riddle & Ben Pinchback), but it’s one of our top roll and write games.

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