You’re invited to join us at Ottawa’s longest-running parent and kids show on April 13-14, 2013.
Don’t miss this year’s BIGGER and BETTER show now at a stroller- and kid-friendly venue, the new $40-million Ernst & Young Centre. Quality family-fun entertainment including stage shows, popular children’s characters, interactive exhibits, educational demonstrations and play zones!
Access to fun and valuable information and resources that matter to your family.
Explore over 100 exhibitor booths providing unique platform for you to purchase & save on the latest and greatest products & services for your family that span categories such as; expectant parents/baby zone, health & safety, education, schools, summer camps, sports & leisure, museums, entertainment, family travel, fashion and more!
Games For All will be hosting the Family Games Pavilion featuring giant games and popular family board games.
For more information visit: kidsfestottawa.ca
Funatorium Explorium believes that parents and children can and should play together and have loads of fun doing it. There are lots of fun places in town for kids to let loose but they give Mom and Dad a headache. And there are many places for Mom and Dad to enjoy but they bore kids to tears. But at Funatorium Explorium EVERYONE will have a BLAST! The entire event is planned so that parents and kids play TOGETHER.
Come and join our Games For All Team to learn new games or play old favourites. Our Family Games Pavilion is a great place for you and your family to hang out. It is loaded with the newest, best and coolest games of all sorts for families with kids of all ages.
When: Family Day Weekend, February 17-18, 2013
Where: Ernst & Young Centre (formerly named the CE Centre)
For more details: funatoriumexplorium.com
Some board games try to be totally unique. Instead, a game like Belfort merges all the best aspects of your favourite tabletop experiences, blending them together, to create the perfect board game marriage. Belfort manages to use a variety of game mechanics like worker placement, area control, and card/resource management. Mix in the exceptional art of Josh Cappel, and you have created one of my favourite games.
In Belfort, you are responsible to put your elves, dwarves, and gnomes to work in the village and guilds of Belfort, with the purpose of collecting resources to build up the city. As you construct the walled city, in your quest to be the best architect of Belfort, you gain special abilities, more workers, an increase of income, and more influence in the different districts. However, resources are tight, your taxes increase, and your opponents compete with you for space on the ever shrinking map. Do you have what it takes to be the best fantastical civil engineer?
“My absolute favourite part of the game play in Belfort is watching players realize, for the first time, that play order changes mid-round. Some very sneaky plays can be made with a tactical change in play order!” – Sen Foong Lim, co-designer of Belfort.
Both Sen and his co-design partner Jay Cormier, are members of the Game Artisans of Canada (GAC), a network of game designers from across the country. Sen & Jay met at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Even with both designers now living on opposite sides of the Canadian map, they keep inventing incredible games.
With the help of GAC and thorough play testing, with the developing help of Tasty Ministry Games, Belfort has evolved into a very polished and successful game. Listen to some of the changes the game has experienced, “Belfort originally had warrior units, an attacking Orc horde, and a Dragon that would destroy unguarded buildings.”
However, all the changes have been worth it. The first print run of the game sold out in a flash. They managed to sneak on the second edition box cover a 2011 Dice Hate Me Game of the Year badge. And the accolades for the game don’t stop there. Many reviewers are raving about this game. At the 2011 BGGcon Belfort was named the top game. Recently the game received a 2012 Golden Geek Nomination. Aditionally, Belfort was picked up by Pegasus Spiel (a popular board game publisher in Germany), as they plan to release a German language version of the game (stay tuned for more news about a release in Japan & Poland).
Some of you may not worry about a Yeti attack; however, the elves, dwarves, and gnomes that live in the board game world of Belfort, are worried. As Sen Foong Lim tells me, “My 8-year old son is holding me to the promise of Yetis attacking Belfort, so stock up on fire wood and rocks for the catapults because, as they say in the North, winter is coming…”
Recently a mini guild expansion for Belfort was released on BoardGameGeek.com You can find an image of the mini guild: HERE. I’m proud to say I got to help contribute to the mini expansion. And because of my ongoing friendship with the designers, and being a big fan of the game (its actually one of my favourite games), Im happy to say that is not the only expansion for the game.
And now for some breaking news…
Sen explained to me, he “was originally unhappy that we were using stickers for the elves/dwarves/gnomes, but they are so much easier to work with than the figures I had originally hoped for. They also leave us room to design different types of Elf and Dwarf (and even Gnome) “upgrades” for future expansions. That, and the counters take up a lot less space in a box that is chock full of stuff already!”
After some poking and prodding, Sen revealed that Josh Cappel, the artist of Belfort, “is currently working on the first full expansion, available sometime in 2013. This expansion will introduce new units into the game: Assistants. It will also add the element of renovating buildings to the game, giving players another pathway to victory.”
If you don’t have this game already, and want to get one great game that manages to merger the best aspects of the top strategy board games in the world, you need to buy Belfort! I wouldn’t be surprised if it became your new favourite game.
- For a game of its depth I found it very easy to learn
- The rules are some of the best I have ever read. A great mix of humour and clarity
- Phenomenal art and exceptional components
- Everything in the game is intuitive and well balanced
- Not for those prone to Analysis Paralysis (AP)
- The 2-player rules have a mixed response (personally I am a fan)
- Some guilds do not “play well” with others
- Suboptimal decisions by some players may lead to runaway scoring by another player.
- FUN FACTOR: 9.5/10
- PRODUCTION QUALITY: 9.5/10
- ARTWORK: 9.5/10
- RULEBOOK: 9.5/10
- STRATEGY ELEMENT: 9/10
- LUCK ELEMENT: 3/10
- PLAYER INTERACTION: 6/10
- REPLAY VALUE: 8/10
$ 54.00 (CAD)
Belfort is a worker placement game with area majority scoring in each district as well as for each type of worker.
- Very simple to learn and easy to get a wide variety of people to play.
- Fantastic art by Darren Calvert. Especially a big fan of the custom characters.
- So cool that Tom Vasel (Dice Tower) or should I say, Dr. Tomkenstein, is one of the Mad Scientist’ Guilds.
- Engraved Dice are another example of the very high quality components.
- Lots of laughing and fun when you play this game.
- Not a high strategy game – more of a party game.
- Rewards quick thinking and strong hand-eye coordination. A true reflex game. Need character cards or game can fall victim to a runaway leader.
- Some people think the horror theme is not family friendly.
- FUN FACTOR: 7.5/10
- PRODUCTION QUALITY: 9.5/10
- ARTWORK: 9/10
- RULEBOOK: 8/10
- STRATEGY ELEMENT: 5/10
- LUCK ELEMENT: 5/10
- PLAYER INTERACTION: 9/10
- REPLAY VALUE: 6.5/10
$ 28.50 (CAD)
FrankenDie is a fast-paced, reflex party game for the whole family! Combining the tactile nature of dice rolling, the excitement of a “first to buzz in” mechanism, and pattern recognition that is sure to [...]
- Amazing Production Quality – Wasabi cubes!
- Artwork is beautiful and colourful
- The strategy is deceptively strong, while not being intimidating
- Great rulebook that is easy to teach
- Fast gameplay with good player interaction
- Family friendly
- Sometimes sluggish as the game comes to an end and board fills
- Game doesn’t hold your hand. You need to make your own success
- Newer players can get bogged down trying to build big recipe by force instead of finesse.
- Makes me want to go out and buy sushi
- FUN FACTOR: 8/10
- PRODUCTION QUALITY: 9.5/10
- ARTWORK: 9.5/10
- RULEBOOK: 9/10
- STRATEGY ELEMENT: 7/10
- LUCK ELEMENT: 6/10
- PLAYER INTERACTION: 8/10
- REPLAY VALUE: 7/10
This game isn’t just for Halloween. FrankenDie is a great game to purchase as a Christmas gift, or a fun game to buy for family & friends any time of the year. It is so easy to learn, and gets such a positive response with gamers and non-gamers alike, this is a go-to game to bring out at any function. My recommendation: if you are going to a friend’s house for dinner, why not pick-up a copy of FrankenDie, play it during dessert, and leave it as a gift. Better then a bottle of wine, this gift will last the friendship (if you play nice).
The game is quick and simple to learn. The party starts with a roll of the dice. Players take turns rolling and looking for a set to call out (eg. “3 Brains!”). Then it’s a mad dash to the graveyard. Be the first (or second) to correctly call out a set and place your hand on the graveyard. Be the first to accumulate the seven required body parts needed to make a creature. However, once that task is completed, you’re not done yet. You need to successfully call out a set of lightning (one of six symbols on the dice) to bring your creature to life. And don’t forget to yell, “ITS ALLLLIVVVEEE!”
I had the pleasure of trying this game before it was published. Al Leduc, a member of the Game Artisans of Canada, designed the game FrankenDie. Even without the new art & quality components, this game rallied lots of laughs and fun. After seeing a copy of the published game at FanExpo Toronto 2012, I can vouch that the art and components only enhance the fun.
I am completely blown away from the quality of art. Knowing the designer, Al Leduc, and a few others who inspired the scientists & creatures featured in the game, I am impressed by Darren Calvert’s customization of the characters. When you lift the box lid, all of the creatures along the side of the box are revealed. This is brilliant. Look close and you will find Tom Vasel.
The real addition, that takes this game to another level are the scientist cards. These cards increase the replay ability and fun factor. Each scientist card adds a unique advantage and disadvantage to each player. (eg. Advantage: Each time you win a body part you do not need, you may take a body part of your choice from the supply instead. Disadvantage: Each turn, before the dice are rolled, you must start with both of your hands covering your ears, like headphones. Does not apply on your turn to roll.)
What did sushi “A” say to sushi “B”?
Even if you are not a fan of sushi, as long as you’re looking for a fun, easy to learn, and surprisingly strategic board game… then Wasabi is sure to satisfy your board game appetite. Wasabi is a beautiful game, designed by Joshua Cappel & Adam Gertzbein, built around the theme of sushi preparation.
In Wasabi, each player is competing to fulfill his or her unique sushi recipes on the shared playing board. Each player draws a variety of ingredients from the pantry, selecting the right time and space to place ingredients, completing recipes of varying difficulty. When the game board fills up, each player tabulates their victory points earned from the different recipes completed (including bonus points earned) and the winner is the player with the most victory points.
One crucial component to Wasabi is the five special action cards. Players earn the special action cards from the kitchen (Chop!, Stack!, Switch!, Spicy!, and Wasabi!) whenever they successfully complete a recipe. These special actions, when played at the right time, are crucial to a winning strategy. “Action cards are the key, so timing your two-part recipes is critical to getting the tools you need to build the longer recipes” – Josh Cappel.
Another neat mechanic in this game, beyond the hand management, is the different possible strategic rewards of tile placement. If you complete a recipe with STYLE, then you earn additional points. However, don’t get bogged down trying to make all your recipes with style. It is always important to balance speed with technique. Josh Cappel warns, “I’ve seen games where players didn’t get a single recipe completed a dozen turns into the game… you should have your first recipe finished by turn three or four at the latest…. Just to get your action card cycle rolling (unless you make a first-thing dash for your 5-part recipe).”
Additionally, Josh Cappel was quick to offer this tip, “You’ve got to ideally be building more than one recipe at once in case one direction gets screwed.” This is where the most fun comes out for me. Building off great classic games like Connect four, this game is not only about successfully building your own recipes; but also trying to block and sabotage your opponent’s plans.
I must confess, I am a huge fan of Josh Cappel’s artistic abilities. You may recognize his art featured in a variety of games including: 1960: Making of the President, Belfort, Endeavor, Gheos, Martian Dice, Norenberc, and Pandemic, to mention but a few. Josh has some stellar art & design credits to his name, in the tabletop scene. And beyond the incredible art, Wasabi features some of the best components of any game on my board game shelf. Obviously the wasabi cubes are perfect, but the real added value is the menu & wasabi dish provided for each player.
Personally, I think Wasabi is wicked, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a game that rewards efficiency. The decisions seem easy at first glance, but this game is tight and rewards strategic decisions.
“I can tell you that Adam and I have been sporadically working on an expansion for a while now. In addition to a few new Action Cards, we also bring Garnishes (such as Ginger and Soy Sauce) into play; We’ve been testing an idea lately where each player also has a personal Bento Board where they can assemble sets of completed rolls for a different way to earn points.”
– Josh Cappel
So stay tuned for some more news about a potential expansion to be announced. That’s how we roll, here at GamesForAll.ca