74 – The Family Gamers Podcast – Super PAX U Super Show

We have a jam-packed podcast for you this week! Tons of information about PAX Unplugged, plus a few extra games from before and after the convention.

We mostly followed our own advice from episode 70, especially about following up with our kids about what worked and what didn’t at the end of Friday. This allowed us to back off on Saturday and everyone had a better time.

Because this is such a long podcast, we’ve added timestamps, to make it easier to skip to the content you are most interested in.

What We’ve Been Playing:

(starting around 3:22) Biblios

Seikatsu (review coming soon)

Stop Thief!


Go Away Monster

Codenames: Disney Family Edition (with a special surprise for our children… here’s the video we took) We love the choice of pictures, words, or both, and the family-friendly 4×4 (no “assassin” or instant failure) as well as standard 5×5 layout cards.


new expansion to Gruff: Rage of the Trolls – introduces solo and co-operative play!

Crosstalk (more below)

Forza Horizon 3

Super Mario Odyssey

PAX Unplugged


(17:10) Steve Jackson Games – there will be a new version of Illuminati, one of our favorite “grown up” games. Kids loved Super Kitty Bug Slap (speed matching) and Simon’s Cat – a suit-matching game like crazy 8’s (or UNO), but with a 36-card deck and uneven number distribution. Each time a player cannot play, they take the discard pile as a “mess”. When all cards are gone, the player with the most messes loses.

(20:24) NauvooCrosstalk: a party game in a similar vein to Taboo or Pictionary. Two teams of players are both trying to guess the same word or phrase. Each team starts with a private clue (one word), and then the clue-givers alternate giving public clues. There is a hint board that allows the clue-giver to give more information about the prior guesses and clues (good, ignore, A connected to B, etc.) Best for adults, but playable with older kids.
The Reckoners (Brandon Sanderson themed game) – coming soon to Kickstarter!

(22:40) IDW was showing Seikatsu, with the designer Isaac Shalev. They were pushing their new “Atari” series. Centipede is out now. Missile Command is slated to be out in January, Asteroids in March, and Joust was teased for later in 2018.

(24:07) Studio WoeGruff and Pirate Tanks of Skull Rock (dexterity game, flick coins onto “skull rock” or knock over opponent’s ships)

(26:51) Kids highly enjoyed some dexterity games from MaydayCoconuts and Click Clack Lumberjack.

(30:00) We finally got a chance to meet James Hudson in person and actually play a (shortened) game of The Grimm Forest! Can’t wait to get our copy.

(31:15) Studio Wumpus showed us Sumer – a digital board game. It’s a worker-placement game played in real-time. 1-4 players, currently available on Steam and coming soon to the Nintendo Switch! (www.sumergame.com)

(34:00) Devir showed us Checkpoint Charlie (deduction, everyone is a dog detective possessing ONE clue to the identity of the cat spy), Fast Food Fear (cooperative speed matching/set collection game), and Dragons & Chickens (combines pattern recognition a la Spot It! with a hierarchy of several different actions)

(41:19) USAopoly showed us Codenames: Disney Family Edition, but also Super Mario: Level Up! Each player has a (secret) card of 6 characters. Take turns moving any character up the staircase of “levels” and revealing powerups. When a character reaches the top, all players vote whether they stay (and end the round), or get kicked off.

(43:54) Yanaguana – makers of Re-Chord, a guitar-themed game which we missed at Boston FIG.

(46:52) Dr. Finn’s Games – Stephen Finn showed us The Little Flower Shop, a great intro to card drafting. (Also designer of Biblios, which we mentioned earlier.)

CORRECTION: Beth Sobel did not do the art for Stephen Finn’s game The Little Flower Shop. The illustrations were provided by Sarah Wry, a botanical artist.

(48:36) Creativity Hub – We’ve previously interviewed Rory O’Connor, but now we met him in person. The girls played blank – it’s a very easy way to dip a toe into game design. Play is similar to UNO – but with additional rules. Play uses rule cards & effects on the number cards as they are played. Winner gets to customize a card. Don’t forget to tweet @creativity_hub #blankrules! There are also plans to release booster packs in the future from well-known game designers.

(54:52) The boys looked at Untold – a structured story-telling game that utilizes Story Cubes. More next week on our PAXU interview show.


(56:15) Calliope Games showed us Dicey Peaks. Press your luck; roll the dice to either climb towards the summit or to rest and refill your “oxygen tank”. Depending on whether you are resting or climbing, there are different conditions to make you bust on your roll. It can be very competitive, but we played it friendly style with the kids and we were all within reach of the summit at the end.

(59:40) We also played Ancestree: build a family tree through card drafting. Cards have leaves (children/parents) and hearts (marriages) allowing them to connect to others. Each round, players gain money, plus prestige for having more of a certain “lineage” than their neighbors. Lastly, Shutterbug: a set-collecting game; you play as a freelance photographer racing to snap the best photos of mythological creatures.

(1:03:20) Greater Than GamesSentinels of the Multiverse RPG starter pack – a co-operative super hero battling game.

(1:04:40) Lazer Ryderz – ride your “laser” across the play area and collect crystal tokens. Best for a large round table or on the floor.

(1:06:48) Spirit Island – a worker-placement game; prevent evil spirits from taking over your island.

(1:07:30) Arcane Wonders – best known for Sheriff of Nottingham, but we played Viral – an area-control game where you play as a virus. There is “research” that will eventually wipe out your virus, so strategy includes trying to maximize victory points before your virus is wiped out and you start again with a new virus.

(1:10:30) Onitama – chess-like 2-player game, limited movement via cards. Very approachable.

(1:12:42) Gigamic (makers of Quoridor), showed us Katamino – a puzzle game with variable difficulty levels! Also Yogi – a card game that twists your body into strange and unusual poses. Lastly, Pow! – a game about making a comic book, which we have in for review at a later time.

(1:16:28) Genius GamesCytosis – a worker placement game that simulates cell biology. More on this and other Genius Games next week.

(1:17:13) Renegade showed us Sundae Split – an “I split, you choose” game, and Castles of Caladale – a very forgiving tile-laying game in which you build a castle out of “rubble” left after an explosion. Match up the edges of the tiles to create a complete building, but you are allowed to re-arrange your tiles at any time.

(1:21:06) iello – Claire interviewed Alison Haislip and talked about some of their new games, notably Mountains of Madness. Listen for this segment next week!

(1:22:54) Tasty Minstrel Games – Asher was in love with the worker-placement game Chimera Station. Heavier than TMG’s usual fare, you can physically upgrade your workers, giving them additional powers.

(1:25:08) Bezier – Andrew and Claire played New York Slice – another “I pick, you choose” game. With each piece you add, you can decide to build your pizza, or eat the piece for an immediate point boost. Theme and art are excellent.

(1:27:50) Whistlestop – a tile laying train game. Collect resources, upgrade your trains, move across the US and also acquire stock.


(1:30:07) Sunday was family day and a lot less busy for us. We presented our panel – watch it on Facebook.

(1:32:42) Fireside Games – showed us four different games! So much more than just Castle Panic. (Dead Panic, Hotshots, Kaiju Crush, Here Kitty Kitty)

(1:38:22) North Star GamesEvolution: The Beginning – a simpler version of their hit game Evolution. Play cards to modify or grow your animal species. Animals need to eat (herbivores eat from a general supply, carnivores attack other species). Very approachable and we will be releasing a full review in the future.

(1:40:45) Big Potato Games showed us OK Play – a freeform five-in-a-row game. Play one tile at a time, but if players run out of new tiles, they start moving tiles already placed without breaking the placement rules. Super portable (it comes on a carabiner clip) and durable. Their game The Chameleon is also highly rated.

(1:42:30) Anitra got to see Ice Cool,  a very cute but very challenging dexterity game from Brain Games.


We had a great time at PAXU and it was a growth experience for our family.