LTD fancies himself many things and one of those things is a mad scientist. He couldn’t wait to don his white lab coat and goggles to play Dr. Beaker. BB couldn’t wait to knock everything over and annoy LTD after being told he had to play on my team. To play the game you must imagine yourself in the laboratory of Dr. Beaker (Not to be confused with 70’s Saturday morning TV icon Dr. Shinker). You take a challenge card and it becomes a race against time as LTD and I pretend we are making toxic gas. Using the stirring rod you have to shift and arrange the molecules into the design depicted on the challenge card. However, the beaker is made in such a way to only allow one molecule to be moved a time. While the game play is pretty quick it can be a little challenging especially if you have inpatient children playing. I try to stress the art of planning ahead since the game requires strategy instead of speed.
LTD has always had a hard time with accents. Upon learning that Arnold Schwarzenegger using his real Austrian accent says, Get to the Chopper (in Predator which he has NOT seen) LTD repeats the line in what can best be described as a Jamaican accent. So it was time for a trial by fire. We recently played Utter Nonsense: Family Edition. The game features 50 accent cards and over 400 phrase cards. First you pick one player to be the accent judge. Then, as you can imagine, you pick cards and then have to say one of your phrases in the required accent. Of course some make sense and work with the accent but most do not. Here is where it gets a little tricky, the accent judge has to pick the person who did the funniest accent. Once chosen they win the round. This party game also has a naughty edition so make sure you play the family one lest you get a call from the school the next day. BB has to play on my team since all his accents sound the same. Also when we play at home we really don’t keep score since the judging is difficult with so few people. The good news is that now LTD is slightly better at his Arnold accent, slightly.
Thankfully, LTD has really gotten into playing board games, however the challenge is that BB also wants to play but their age difference makes this problematic (and sometimes destructive). This is a long way of saying that any game that is easy to place and easy to destroy is a welcome addition to our fun supply. Kaboom is a fast paced building game involving wooden blocks and shapes versus catapults. LTD likes that when it is your turn you get to be called Master Builder. BB likes to smash stuff. You have to build a tower as quickly as possible from the designs on the game board at the same time your opponent acts as saboteur firing a small catapult from a foot away. A word of caution as if you don’t keep a tight lid on things feels can get hurt as well as my body parts. Luckily, game play is quick enough that my boys thirst for revenge is easily granted. And if you play on the kitchen table the pieces will clatter to the ground so my suggestion would be the coffee table.
LTD has an amazing memory and the jury is still out on BB, but he is getting better. In that regard, Gigamons is keeping the boys on their toes. The game is memory with a twist. The cards feature Elemons and when you turn them over and find a pair they reveal their special power. The power boost you as the game continues. Not to get to technical but after you find three Elemons leads to a Gigamon and when you get three Gigamons you have won. Don’t let the levels fool you the games are fast especially when BB walks away with the Gigamons. LTD is obsessed with the special powers announcing his favorite as Pyromons where you get remove another player’s Elemon. I will admit I have been slowing down my natural abilities when playing with the boys as I do not always want to win, but usually spend the game trying to get BB to bring the pieces back.
One of the things that warms my heart is that LTD really enjoys playing board games. Of course we are still working on conflict resolution and breathing exercises when he loses. Some of the board games he chooses are insipid and I simply can not play them. He isn’t quite old enough for Risk and doesn’t really understand the goal of Monopoly as noted during a recent game in which he didn’t want to buy Boardwalk as it meant he would have to cash in his $500 bill and he liked the way it looked. Blue Orange Games consistently has creative games but the main attraction from my point of view is that the game play is incredibly fast and therefore when LTD loses we can quickly play again to avoid any drama. Top That! appeals to his love of magic and helps with his passion for hiding things (like my car keys). The stacking game features a challenge with three rules. “objects printed in color must be visible on the stack, objects printed in grey must be hidden INSIDE objects on the stack, and objects surrounded by stars must be kept empty.” At first he had a little confusion around the concept (and flying the stacking hats across the table) but now he is beating me (only when I’m holding BB as he is always on my team). And yes he has named the rabbits.
As previously mentioned, the boys have recently begun enjoying board games (don’t worry folks they are still glued to the iPad). One new game they have been experimenting with is Dr. Eureka. BB has to play on my team for now and mostly runs away with the pieces. The game is basically a brain teaser and even allows solitary play. You choose a challenge card ant then using test tubes and balls complete the scientific formula or as LTD puts it the, mad scientist formula. You can’t use your hands to touch the balls so it is good practice for when one of the boys becomes a nuclear arms dealer, but I suggest you play on the carpet as the balls hit the wood floor pretty hard. Also be prepared for one of your kids to make Dr. Frankenstein laughter and the other kid to copy him.
LTD has long been into games and recently BB has joined him in theory if not in practice. Now that both kids enjoy Spot It. We have moved on to Fast Flip. The game is a little over BB’s pay grade but he plays in my lap and it is only slightly distracting. As with Spot It, Fast Flip wins me over for one simple reason, the games on last about 15 minutes (or less if BB dumps all the cards on the floor). Fundamentally a matching game Fast Flip features fruit and for obvious reasons fast flipping. For added difficulty you can also play with the included tiles. The compact nature of the game makes it super easy to travel with and store unlike Candy Land which is currently under my couch. The game is a bit of brain teaser so if you play with against a youngster you need to slow it down a bit and give yourself a handicap in order to not win every time.
This one will be short and sweet, just like the game Candy Land. I picked it up figuring that LTD is almost three and would like it. Let me just say that the little guy demonstrated an immediate relationship with the rules of the game and by relationship let me add the word casual. I will admit I got more frustrated than I should have as he continually moved my piece all over the board and threw all the cards on the floor. Needless to say Candy Land now lives in the closet for days when I really want to torture myself.
During the last few weeks LTD has decided it would be fun for him to treat me like a jerk, which I guess I am since I play along. Whenever we are at the table, either at home or out, anything in his hands sails to the ground quickly resulting in my bending over to pick it up and him laughing. I always new that babies play these games, but I was not prepared for just how brutal it can become. I think the real frustration comes from the fact that both he and I know I will pick it up whatever he drops like some sort of daddy version of Sisyphus. The only ray of hope I have is that I put a limit on how many times I will be his helper monkey and it is never more than 10. Thankfully, when I eventually stop playing his torturous game, he doesn’t get upset. Tune in soon for LTD’s adventures as he moves past dropping into throwing.