Archive for the 'Games' Category


Grab a cow and keep your tentacle on the Space Modulator – Looney Labs scores another hit with Martian Fluxx!

Martian Fluxx from Looney Labs
2-6 players
ages 8 to adult (content suitable for the whole family)
5-30 minutes playing time
MSRP $16.00

The BSF Lowdown: Looney Labs scores another hit with their newest version of Fluxx, Martian Fluxx. You must own it – and unless you’re wearing a Tin Foil Hat, our Mind Control Transmitter will compel you to buy a copy. So there.

Martian Fluxx from Looney LabsIn Martian Fluxx, Looney Labs bounces their classic Fluxx playing system off Mars and then sends it back to Earth again by casting players as invading Martians bent on inflicting their will upon a world filled primarily with pathetic humans and cows. The game plays up the sci-fi Martian theme brilliantly. It keeps you completely engaged and leaves you laughing your head off (or whichever body part a Martian laughs off, that is).

Continue reading ‘Grab a cow and keep your tentacle on the Space Modulator – Looney Labs scores another hit with Martian Fluxx!’


Origins 2009 photos!

Watch my progress through this year’s Origins Game Fair in my Origins 2009 photo gallery on Facebook! I’ll post new images of the coolest happenings throughout the show.


Friday at the Origins Game Fair

Friday at this year’s Origins game fair started a little rocky, but the customer service team quickly resolved our badge snafus. (Thank goodness for the Senior Volunteers!)

We took a quick spin around the convention center to see the layout of this year’s show. The exhibit hall moved from hall d to the smaller hall C, trading places with the miniatures games. Tabletops and collectible card games took their traditional spot in hall E/F. The popular TerrorWerks live-action adventure moved into one of the Hyatt ballrooms, and the fabulous Origins Art Show took TerrorWerks old location across from main registration.

The famous BattleTech Pods made their debut at Origins this year. The pods were created many years ago as high-end, immersive video game systems for installations in Chicago, Seattle, and other major cities. After the locations closed, the pods went into limbo for a while until the current owner started collecting and rebuilding them. He updated the computing and networking systems, then took them to some regional conventions for shake-down tests. Here at Origins, they’re running well and pulling in the crowds!

Things seemed smooth at this year’s show. It’s hard to judge the attendance because of the show’s physical size, but it seemed lighter than last year. Many exhibit hall vendors reported good sales on Thursday, followed by a dip on Friday, but people were definitely spending money. Peeks into the various event halls showed energetic activity everywhere, but plenty of open tables. Saturday remains the “big day” for measuring the show, so we’ll see what happens!


Origins 2009 Coverage and Interviews

It’s (finally) time for Origins — and that means the Chief Elf is on the move!

Armed only with a camera, digital recorder, paper, pens, pen refills, a freaking huge stack of business cards, a big refillable cup, and some games that I never get to play because I can’t find opponents anywhere except at this show, I’ll prowl the convention, looking for the coolest games, the best fun, and the most entertaining images. It’s all for you!! (And because it’s just so darned much fun to do stuff like this!)

Show coverage from your favorite Chief Elf

Provided the Internet connections work, I’ll post photos and updates here from Friday through Sunday, with a wrap-up post coming Monday or Tuesday. If you can’t attend, at least you can see what you’re missing!

For Exhibitors — looking for games to review

As always, I’m looking for new board games to review, particularly games that work well for families, as well as fast games — anything that plays in 30 minutes or less.

This year, I’m also looking for games to include in my new parenting book, “Dad Tonight: How to laugh, love, and live with your kids – starting tonight!”

For Media — interview schedule

I’m available for interviews about my new book, family and European board games, retailing tips, and other random topics any time during the show. To arrange an interview, you can catch me as I wander the halls, find me in the Board Room, or just do it the easy way and call me at 260-312-0562.

I hope to see you at the show!!!


2009 Origins Game Fair coverage

It’s that time of year again! Next Friday, I’m headed to Columbus, Ohio, for this year’s Origins Game Fair. I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday, plus most of Sunday.

Watch this space for updates from the show floor, including new products (particularly board games, card games, party games, family games, and such), interviews with industry luminaries, photos, and whatever else catches my eye.

If you’re curious for my insights about a particular game, then post a comment and let me know. I’ll do my best to find info about it for you at the show!

(Disclosure: From 2000 to 2009, I served as a staff member, senior volunteer, and board member with GAMA, the organization that runs Origins. I’m no longer associated with either GAMA or Origins.)


Chess adds up for Idaho schools

The first time that my teaching-degreed, homeschooling wife explained how games related to education, I felt amazed.

The conversation started when she mentioned the educational value of two board games that the kids enjoyed playing. I recognized broad educational value in them (critical thinking, strategy, and planning). She agreed that they built those values, but then she put on her “teacher” hat and started rattling off over twenty other specifics — things like sequencing, pattern matching, counting, following instructions, taking turns, and goodness only knows what else. Who knew games could do so much? And why didn’t I know about this?

Continue reading ‘Chess adds up for Idaho schools’


But will the kids get the Clue?

This story really makes me sad. I’ll tell you why in just a moment…

Hasbro recently announced that, as part of its on-going campaign of rebranding and redesigning classic games in hopes of making them more relevant to today’s kids and families, the company is releasing a new, culture-current version of Clue.

They added a spa, theater, and guest house to Mr. Boddy’s mansion, ditched the lead pipe, revolver, and wrench as weapons, and updated the characters with more relevant lives (like football player Jack Mustard and billionaire video game designer Victor Plum).

In addition to being generally out of style, the game also apparently took too long to play (or required too much critical thinking), so the characters in the new Clue all have special powers to help players find clues easier faster.

So, why does Hasbro’s update leave me glum? No, it’s not because I’m some kind of “Clue purist” (okay, mabye just a little bit), but what really gets me down is how these changes reflect the state of American families and kids.

The basic Clue game takes 45 minutes to play. Even if you add five minutes of setup, that’s still less time than it takes to watch a single prime time TV episode. But Hasbro thinks that 45 minutes is too long for families or kids to focus on an activity?

Are families so busy that they can’t carve out one hour each week to focus on each other across a board game or in some other activity? Have parents forgotten how to make family time happen?

As you can tell, this story touched on passion of mine — creating and enjoying family time between parents and kids (or even just among friends). I’m a book on that topic right now,, and I’m getting ready to launch a blog to accompany it. I’ll post an update here when the blog and book site launch.

But for now, please promise me something: For one night in the next seven days, pick an an hour to spend with your family. Turn off the TV, unplug the video games, put down the magazines, and do something with the ones you love. For our family, that often means playing a board game or taking a walk. For you, it might mean something completely different.

Precisely what you do isn’t the point — taking the time to do something is what matters.

Go forth and conquer. Aroo! Aroooo!

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April 2018
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