Here Comes the Boom: A Single-Take Review of Two Rooms and a Boom

Here Comes the Boom: A Single-Take Review of Two Rooms and a Boom

It's finally here. If you've been following the saga that is Two Rooms and a Boom, you know that it's been no easy task to fulfill this campaign, but it's FINALLY here. I (Jeremiah) got my hands on an early review copy. We'll include Firestone's thoughts on it when his copy arrives, but we wanted to get this review done ASAP. So here goes!

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide—Party Games

Well, here we go again with our 2013 edition of the Holiday Gift Guide. So let's get this PARTY started with Party Games! These are the games you'll grab when you've got a room full of friends over and someone says, "Let's Play Apples To Apples!" Once you kick that dork out of your house, you can pull out one of these fun games...

AvalonThe Resistance: Avalon—Yes, The Resistance was on last year's list, too. But that's because it's not just the best large-group game out there, IT'S THE BEST GAME OUT THERE, PERIOD. It's a hidden-role game, where some people are loyal knights of King Arthur, and some are secretly siding with the forces of Mordred. This one includes specific roles with special powers, and new ways to play. And this will work for as many as 10 people—I'm not sure it's good with that number, but it does go up to that number. Longtime readers are sick of us talking about how great this game is, but it's ridiculously fun.

MSRP: $20 (Find it online)

Ages: Probably 14 and up


Reverse Charades boxReverse Charades—If you like your party games a little more traditional, then Reverse Charades is the game for you! Players form teams, and instead of one player trying to get his/her team to guess the answer to what they are acting out, the entire team acts out clues while one player attempts to guess the correct answers. This one is lots of fun, and great for any social gathering! Every time we play this I end up with a headache from laughing so much! And a year later, the folks who played it still bring up the image of my friend Joe acting out Baby Powder... *shudder*

MSRP: $20 (Find it online)

Ages: Probably 10 and up. There are other editions, including a Junior one with easier clues.


ChooseOne-3DChoose One—A simple party game from the folks who brought us Fluxx, Choose One is great for both old friends, and as an icebreaker for folks who’ve just met. A new spin on the classic “Would You Rather” type games, Choose One gives two hypothetical options to a different player each round. The rest of the players then vote on which option the current player chose. The current player reveals their choice, and points are awarded depending on who answered correctly and who didn’t. Look for a review from us soon!

MSRP: $30 (Find it online)

Ages: 14 and up, according to the box.

Review: Coming Soon

Two RoomsTwo Rooms and a Boom—This one isn't out yet, but you can print-and-play the game until it does come out, so there's no excuse. (Even if you don't want to, you could pay to have Kinko's print it out for you.) The more people the better, here. The idea is that there's a President, and a Bomber, and after a certain number of rounds, the Bomber wants to be in the same room as the President, and the President doesn't want to be in the same room as the Bomber. Their respective teams are trying to manipulate things so their team's goal is in place at the end of the game. There are a TON of roles in the game, and when you get ~15 or more people playing, it's just an amazing experience.

MSRP: Not sure since it's not out yet—probably ~$20-$25.

Ages: They say 8 and up, though that seems young to us.

TimeTime's Up: Deluxe—Yeah, this was also on last year's list, but I (Firestone) played this again last night, and it is SO. MUCH. FUN! We play in teams, and everyone is given the same 40 names of famous people. You play in three rounds: In the first one you can use words and actions and sounds and pretty much whatever to get your team to guess the name. In the second round you're all playing with the same exact words, but this time you can only use one word (but still actions and sounds). And finally, in the third round, again using the same batch of words, you can only use actions and sounds.

Cost: $30 (Find it online)

Ages: Adults (I don't think this would be a good game for teenagers—too many names they've never heard of.)

PtD-coverThe Princess Bride: Prepare to Die! If you're like us, most of your friends and relatives want to play Apples to Apples… again… And we… well, don’t. Prepare to Die is the perfect solution to give your friends the experience they want, while diffusing your urges to rage quit because you once again got the oh so clever “Paris, France” card to play… (Yawn). Prepare to Die is mechanically the same: One player reads a card, “Hello my name is… [Fill in the blank]” and the rest of the players play a “You (Blanked) my (Blank), Prepare to Die!” card. The major difference being the pop/geek culture references in Prepare to Die! are much more interesting and entertaining. Again, this one is a great game for fun light-hearted social gatherings, and who doesn’t LOVE the Princess Bride!?

MSRP: $25 (Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up. But younger players may not get all the references


Well there you have it! Are there any we left off? Any that shouldn't be there? Have a great Thanksgiving, and we'll see you after the holiday. Play some games with people you love!


Come Play with Us... Or Me, I guess...

extralifeHey gang, we shared a few weeks ago that I (Jeremiah) will be hosting a 24-hour game marathon to support the Children's Miracle Network of Hospitals. I'd like to invite you once more, if you are local to the Northeast Ohio area (or feel like making a road trip) I'll be playing games from 8:00 AM this Saturday (Nov. 2) until 8:00 AM Sunday (Nov. 3)! I'm working on a few surprises and maybe a give away or two for the day as well! I'll keep filtering info to you as the week goes on so be sure to check back!

Come play games with us at the Root!

I'll be playing games at the illustrious Root Cafe, at 852 W. Bath Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. A great coffee shop, run by even greater folks who love and serve the community. They've graciously cleared the calendar to make a way for us to be there the whole 24-hours and host this great event for a great cause!

Here are some more details if you'd like to be involved!


1 - You can join the team by clicking this link. Please know that by joining the team it doesn't mean you're signing up to do the whole 24-hours, you can come out for as little or as long as you like!

2 - If you can't make it but would like to contribute, you can make a donation of ANY amount by following this link. All of the proceeds go to the Akron Children's Hospital, an amazing medical facility that has cared for my children, and my extended family's and friends' children for years. The staff there are second to none!

3 - If you unable to do either 1 or 2, would you please consider sharing the event on your Facebook wall, or giving us some Twitter love? Or even sharing this post through the social media outlet of your liking (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.)?

4 - Lastly, and most importantly - If you are the praying type. Would you say a prayer for the folks who's children are being treated by the wonderful people at Akron Children's Hospital? As a parent there is nothing scarier than having a hospitalized child. I hope that our prayer support can bring them comfort in their situations.

Thanks for reading our blog, and thank you in advance for any and all support, I sincerely hope I get to meet you, our readers (at least some of you!) this weekend as we play games for a greater cause!

If you have any further questions please leave them in the comments and I'll answer them right away!


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2012 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide—Party Games

Today's category for the Gift Guide is Party Games! These are the ones you bring out when everyone's crashed your pad for Christmas. Or when your adult small group gets together for New Year's and someone wants to play Catch Phrase for the millionth time... Or when you have a group of restless teenagers wanting to burn off some energy. The Resistance—This is hands down one of our favorite games of the year. It's also a great game for larger groups and supports play with up to 10 people! Take all of the elements you like about Mafia, or Werewolf, and leave out the bad, and you have The Resistance. Players are members of the Resistance trying to topple the evil oppressive government, but there are spies among them trying to sabotage them at every turn! The Resistance is a quick playing highly interactive game, that will have players wanting to play again as soon as the first game ends! We seriously can't get enough of this game! You can read our review here. There's also a new version called The Resistance: Avalon that has some special powers, and is a good next-step after the original.)

Cost: $20

Available From: Amazon, your local game store, and soon big box department stores.

Ages: Probably 14 and up for this one.

Fluxx—This signature game from Looney Labs has become a staple game for larger groups. It's easy to learn, but hard to win—in fact when the game begins there is literally no way to win! Players take turns drawing and playing cards. As cards are played new rules, goals, and items are added to the game; once a goal is met, then the game is over. The game is always changing, and planning a turn in advance is nearly impossible; it's high on luck, and low on strategy, which makes the game both fun and frustrating at times. Fluxx comes in many different flavors, including Pirate, Wizard of Oz, Zombie, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Check out our review of Fluxx right here!

Cost: $15

Ages: 8 & up

Available From: Amazon, most department stores and your local game shop.

Time's Up: Deluxe—I've (Firestone) played this charades variant a RIDICULOUS number of times, and I love it. We play in teams, and everyone is given the same 40 names of famous people. You play in three rounds: In the first one you can use words and actions and sounds and pretty much whatever to get your team to guess the name. In the second round you're all playing with the same exact words, but this time you can only use one word (but still actions and sounds). And finally, in the third round, again using the same batch of words, you can only use actions and sounds. So much fun.

Cost: ~20

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: Adults (I don't think this would be a good game for teenagers—too many names they've never heard of.)

Wits & Wagers—The great thing about this "trivia" game is that you don't have to know a lot of trivia to do well. The game asks a question—such as "How tall is the Statue of Liberty?" Everyone answers, and then you bet on whose answer you think is actually closest. You do get points for having the answer closest to the actual answer, but you can still do well by betting well.

Cost: ~$20

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 10 and up (There's also Wits & Wagers Family, which removes the "gambling" element and has questions that are appropriate for kids and the whole family.)

Dixit—Bring your creativity for this game. There are lots and lots of wild and interesting pictures. Everyone is dealt a hand of the cards. On your turn, you pick a card from your hand, place it facedown, and say a word or phrase that describes that picture in some way. Then everyone picks a card from their hand that could also describe the word or phrase you said and adds it to the facedown pile. You shuffle the cards, place them faceup, and guess which card you think was the original card. You don't want to be too obvious in your descriptive word(s), because if everyone guesses correctly, you get no points. And anyone who played a card that was guessed (incorrectly) gets points, too. I really like how this stretches me creatively.

Cost: ~$25

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 8 & up

Spot It!—This might be a little short for a party game, but if your group likes short games, this is perfect for large groups. Everyone is trying to be the first to spot the symbol on the middle card that matches one in front of them. It's harder than it sounds. This game is cheap, portable, and easily explained—perfect for a party! Check out our full review here!

Cost: ~$14

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 5 and up. This would work great with any group.

Jungle Speed—Everyone has a pile of cards. Each person in turn flips the top card of their pile. If the pattern matches someone else's, there's a duel where you both try to grab the stick in the middle. Bandage everyone up, and continue! We reviewed the whole game a few weeks ago.

Cost: ~$15

Available From: Amazon, department stores, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 7 and up

Say Anything—You're asked a question, such as "What is the most overrated band of all time?" People write down what they think your answer would be. You secretly pick one of the given answers as the "correct" answer. Then everyone bets on which of those answers they think you picked. (BTW, the correct answer is The Dave Matthews Band.)

Cost: ~$20

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 8 & up (Like Wits & Wagers, this one has a Family version with more family friendly questions.)

Bang!—The Spaghetti Western card game, another fun "role" based game in which players are dealt a role card that determines how they play and win the game. Lots of finger pointing, dueling, and just plain taking pot shots at your friends! Check out our full review here.

Cost: $20

Available From: Amazon and your local game store

Ages: 8 & up

We Didn't Playtest This at All—A game that not only rivals the quirkiness of Fluxx, it surpasses it! WDPTAA is a very fast-playing game for larger groups. The goal is simple: win. There are a few ways to win, but the best way is to not lose. And there are a TON of ways to lose. Players can lose one at a time, or in large fell swoops, depending on the card played. It's totally random, but totally fun! Every time we play it there are a ton of laughs! And you can read the full review on the game right here!

Cost: $15 (On Amazon, although my copy was $8 at my local game store)

Available from: Amazon, and local game stores

Ages: 8 & up

So what did we miss? Leave a comment and let us know. And thanks for reading!

We Review Spot It!

By Firestone When it comes to board games, if there’s one question I’m asked more than any other, it’s “Where do you get these games?” Usually I have to tell people that they can get it on Amazon (if they’re lucky), and on online retailer or game store if they’re not lucky. That’s why it’s great when I can tell people that a fun game is available at their local Target store.

Spot It! comes in a round tin, and it’s just 55 cards with symbols on them. Each card has 8 different symbols on them—from a larger pool of more than 50 symbols. In the basic game, you’ll flip over two cards, and whoever can first spot the lone symbol they each share has to call it out, and then that person gets the card. What’s hard is that the symbols aren’t just different from card to card, but they vary in size, too. A ladybug might be gigantic on this card, and tiny on that one.

The game comes with many ways to play—but they’re all versions of be-the-first-to-spot-the-matching-symbols. Our favorite is called The Tower. Each player gets one facedown card; the rest of the deck is placed in a faceup pile in the middle of the table. At the same time, each person turns his or her card over, and then everyone has to find and call out the symbol their card and the center card has in common. Each person will have a different symbol that matches the middle one. If you win, you get the card and add it to the top of your pile. That will reveal a new card from The Tower, and you look for a new matching symbol. When The Tower is gone, you count up cards, and whoever has the most cards wins.

It plays from 2 – 8 players, the rules are super simple, and it’s really portable, so this would be a great game to play with a group of teenagers. Or your family.

So the next time you’re at Target, consider Spot It! It’s fast, fun, and cheap, and portable. What more could you want?! Thanks for reading!

Of Dice and Cars - A review of Dicey Curves

-by JeremiahMatt Worden of Matt Worden Games was kind enough to send me a review copy of his racin' and rollin' dice game Dicey Curves. I finally had the chance to pull it out and give it a test drive. Want to know what I thought? Good, keep reading... The Basics - The player’s turn breaks down pretty simply for this party game of up to 8 players: Roll Dice, Move Cars, and Gain Control Chips (if possible). Each player rolls at least 5 d6 (Six sided dice) on their turn, and for every 6 you roll, you get to add an extra d6 and re-roll both the 6 and the extra die. You then group them up in pairs, triples, doubles, etc. (pairs consist of either of matching numbers or sequential numbers). Having a triple allows you to move a race car along the track 3 "spots", a quad 4 spots, etc. You can play a single, but it will mark the end of the movement of that car for that turn (players can -and should- control multiple cars in a game, if there are less than 8 players).

Control chips - allow you to do some nifty maneuvers depending on the phase of your turn. If you're rolling dice you can add a d6 set to any number 1-5, or re-roll any amount of dice already in play. If you're moving cars already they give you the ability to continue playing dice after you've played a single; juke, which switches spots with a car next to yours; or take control of another player’s car. I mostly found that using them to continue playing dice after a single allowed for optimal use of your dice in a turn and didn't use them for much else while moving cars. You gain control chips by turning in unused dice at the end of your turn.

The Race Track - is made of cards revealed at random from a shuffled deck. There is no set length to the race, you simply tuck the finish line somewhere in the deck and fire up your engines. The track consists of three elements, Spots, Paths, and Gates. Spots determine how far you can go depending on the dice groups you roll, Paths determine how you move between spots, and Gates are essentially roadblocks that require a specific group to be played before allowing the racer to pass. The Gates simulate the degree of difficulty for certain turns or areas of the track, requiring racers to throttle down to navigate. There is also a suggested variant for setting up the track first in a circle around the table, but I found the uncertainty of not knowing what was coming around the next bend more exciting!

My Final Thoughts -I definitely recommend playing the game with as many cars on the table as possible. We found that with only 4 cars in the race it was very easy for a player to pull out to a lead and never look back. It's also important that the deck gets shuffled well!! I can't stress that enough, as a section of our first walk through yielded a Straight Away or Wide Open card 7 out of 8 pulls which added no challenge to the game. I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork either, but the components were overall what you'd expect from an indie publisher and the game itself holds up well.

What I took away from Dicey Curves was a quick moving, fun party game, the control chips were well thought out, and remove a good chunk of randomness from the game and inject a healthy shot of strategy into a game that would otherwise be completely left to the luck of a roll. The Dicey Curves expansion Danger! Was just released, I'll be reviewing that soon, so stay tuned! You can grab a copy of Dicey Curves right here!

Looney Labs Launches a Kickstarter!

A few days ago the folks over at Looney Labs, headed up by Andy Looney, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the deluxe edition of "Are You a Werewolf?" If you haven't played the original game, it's essentially a werewolf version of the classic party game "Mafia," but uses cards to assign roles instead of an Moderator-type person. The deluxe edition, is actually pretty clever. It uses those little picture viewers they try to sell you at every theme park in the world. So instead of being handed a card, that could be marked/nicked up, you grab a picture viewer, take a peek and see who you are. I imagine these picture viewers could get nicked up too, but I would think they would be more durable, and it's pretty much impossible for someone to "accidentally" look at another players role.

Personally, I'm a fan of the old school Mafia game, but this could be a cool way to facilitate a Mafia game, instead of the old "if I tap you on the head you're the Mafia..." routine.

You can check out the Kickstarter page RIGHT HERE.

And as always, thanks so much for reading our little blog, we truly appreciate your support!

What's It to Ya... The Winner is Announced!

Well a few weeks ago we reviewed a nifty little game called "What's it to Ya?"—a game that, on the surface, is a fun, laugh-producing party game. But for those in ministry, it can also be used as a powerful teaching tool. Click here to check out our review. We also launched a contest for the game, and entries were taken through our Facebook Page.

Well today on we've selected our winner!

And the winner is!

Scott Cohoon!

...and there was much rejoicing.

Scott, thanks for entering, and please tell all your friends how nice the folks over at TOG are!

What's it to Ya?

No really... "What's it to ya?" Today we're looking at "What's it to Ya?" a nifty little party game about "What matters most." Shortly after the blog went live we were contacted by Mike Petty, who designed the game not only to entertain but to get families, students, and folks in ministry talking about priorities and, well...what matters most. He sent a few copies our way, and so today we're taking a look at the two distinct sides of this coin.

The Game - The game-play is simple; it truly is a party game. But because of the

simplicity, Petty was able to include 3 different variants of the rules, Individual play, Partnership play, and "What's it to..." Any way you play it, the idea is the same. Players will be ranking 5 item cards from highest to lowest in importance to them.

The Items - Think of these like Apples to Apples green cards. Only not so much in the specific or proper nouns that they deal with, but more generalized concepts. Anything from anti-drug laws, to prayer, to clothes, to leadership or numbers.

Ranking Cards - each player (or partnership depending on your preferred method of play) will be given a set of 5 ranking cards. These simply have a rank of A-E on them. One set will be used on the table.

Game-Play - We'll start with the partnership game, this is the version that seems to get off the ground quicker and creates some fun and insightful and "I can't believe you think that!" moments at the table.

So here's how it works, you'll set up by handing out ranking cards to the teams, and then put one set of ranking cards in the middle of the table. Then you deal 5 items from the deck, placing each of  them next to 1 of the 5 ranking cards.

While writing this I just drew 5 random cards, so the table would look like this:

A - Realistic Expectation B - Family C - Electricity D - Pleasure E - News

Now, the teams decide who will guess and who will be "The Boss" first. (And yes, you will probably hear "like a boss..." more than once because of this) the boss takes the ranking cards and places them in order of importance SECRETLY,  in their own personal ranking from left to right. You then take turns having the team's "guesser" try to guess the order, starting with most important. The team with the most matches scores a point for that round. If there's a tie, each team gets a point. And if you go 5 for 5 you score 2. Players switch roles and you do another round. You can play as many or as few rounds as you want, they suggest a game to 7 points though.

By nature of elimination you'll find that to score 5 of 5 is really only to score 4 of 5, because once you've scored the 4th there is only one answer left. It's still a difficult feat, but it's not a true 5 for 5...

The Individual Game - This variant operates the same way, but the scoring is different, instead of players guessing to match their partner, they instead individually rank the items, and score by having the most popular answer.  In my above example that means if there are 5 players and 3 say Electricity is the most important then they score that card for the round - and a healthy amount of quizzical looks from around the table - again having the most matching popular answers scores you a point for the round, and a 5 for 5 scores 2.

The What's it to...? Game - This version is more of a just-for-fun version with no real scoring. In this version you put someone in the "hot seat" as it were, and they are given a set of ranking cards. Each other player is trying to guess the order of the items as ranked by the person in the hot seat. Players take turns being in the hot seat and are asked to be honest about their ranking, not just to try and throw everyone off!

The Teachable Moments - As I said above, there's more to this than just the game-play, and that's the heart of what this game is about. Is it fun? YES! The group of students I played this with had a blast, and asked to borrow it from me! We had many laughs, and a few cringing moments when someone guessed wrong. But the conversations that can come out of the game are numerous; after a few rounds I had the students make their guess for their partner and also tell why they were picking that item in that rank." I could also easily see using the game with pre-determined items, and revolving a series of Sunday school lessons around those items and the priorities we place on them.

The Bottom Line - For a party game "What's it to Ya?" is exactly what I look for in party games: super light in terms of game play and mechanisms. With little to no housekeeping. It supplies good entertainment and lots of laughs, whether you want to laugh or take the conversation deeper it sets the table for both! If you're a parent, a small group leader, or a person in ministry I recommend grabbing a copy and starting some conversations with the people you love.

You can pick up a copy of "What's it to Ya?" Super cheap RIGHT HERE!