It’s Follow-Up Friday: TableTop Day Eve edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of puzzly holidays!

Saturday, April 30, is the fourth annual International TableTop Day, a day that has been set aside for family and friends to get together and play games. Board games, card games, role-playing games, puzzles…anything that involves gathering in person and having fun around a table fits the bill!

Although the actual holiday is tomorrow — making today TableTop Day Eve — we celebrated early! The PuzzleNation Crew got together with our friends from Penny Dell Puzzles for a few hours of TableTop Day fun on Tuesday! Games were played, snacks were consumed, and fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers were introduced to some terrific games.

[The spread of games available for the event. Can you name them all?]

As usual, the event started with people picking out their favorites and introducing new players to the game. This was the case with Just Desserts (a card game all about serving desserts to hungry customers; guaranteed to make you hungry) and Timeline (a card game about history where you don’t need to know what year things happened, just if they happened before or after other important moments).

One attendee opted to tackle the challenge of Puzzometry (a diabolical jigsaw puzzle) while I played a few rounds of Geek Out! and tested the pop culture and trivia knowledge of my fellow puzzlers.

[The conference room is abuzz with TableTop Day energy and fun, players strategizing deeply.]

I started recommending some new games to the players at this point, and the hit of the day was easily Red Flags, a Cards Against Humanity-style game all about building the perfect dates for other players.

The uproarious laughter inspired by the game was constant background noise while I explained the ever-changing rules of Fluxx to some curious players.

[Forgive the lack of further photos. I was so busy explaining games that I neglected to take more pictures. As a small gesture of apology, please accept this picture of me beneath a half-collapsed puzzle fort.]

We then closed out the event with two terrific card games for smaller groups: 12 Days and Loonacy. (12 Days is a lowest-card-wins wagering game based on the 12 Days of Christmas, and it has the most beautiful cards I’ve ever seen; Loonacy is a pattern-matching card game that rewards quick reflexes.)

The day was a total success, and it was a wonderful break in the middle of the day, allowing for a fun way to interact and recharge before returning to a thoroughly puzzly workday.

But that wasn’t all! To include fellow puzzlers who couldn’t attend the event in person, we had our own in-house session of Schmovie running all day.

I gave participants five What? cards (Undercover, Magical, Teenage, Flying, The Last) and five Who? cards (Barista, Chef, Princess, Pro Wrestler, Spy) to combine as they saw fit, and then challenged them to come up with the funniest Schmovie titles for those subjects.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Undercover chef: The Tsai Who Loved Me
  • Teenage barista: Latte to Class
  • Magical barista: Starbucks: The Foam Awakens
  • Teenage princess: Medieval Times at Ridgemont High
  • Flying spy: The Airborne Identity
  • Undercover princess: Leia Confidential

Are you celebrating TableTop Day? Let us know your plans in the comments! We’d love to hear about it, see photos, and share in the fun!


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PuzzleNation Product Review: Retro Loonacy

retroloonacy-box-3d

It has been a banner year for the folks at Looney Labs. They’ve already released Just Desserts, Fluxx Dice, Batman Fluxx, and Adventure Time Fluxx, all to excellent reviews, as well as announcing the upcoming Nature Fluxx (a redesign of their environmentally conscious Eco Fluxx) and Firefly Fluxx (for all the Browncoats in the puzzle/game audience).

But, somehow, that’s not all. They’ve also launched a companion game to their pattern-matching game Loonacy, which brings us to the subject of today’s product review. Let’s take a closer look at Retro Loonacy!

retroloon1

Retro Loonacy replaces the wacky, more cartoonish illustrations of the original with a more subdued assortment of images, evoking sentimental stirrings for trappings and technology of the past (Polaroid cameras, rocketships and rayguns from Golden Age science fiction films, etc.).

It almost feels like looking through one of those old issues of Popular Mechanics that purported to predict the future. Everything is hard angles and earth tones, carefully repackaged nostalgia given form.

Now, I am focusing quite a bit on the art instead of the gameplay, and there’s a reason for that. Unlike each new version of Fluxx, which seems to bring something new to the table — whether it’s a new type of card like the creeper or simply a few clever innovations in the rules tailored to that specific brand — Retro Loonacy is played exactly the same as Loonacy. You’re still trying to empty your hand of cards as quickly as possible by matching one of the two images on your card with one on the board. There are no new wrinkles or variations. This is a repackaging, plain and simple.

retroloon2

[Retro Loonacy side-by-side with the original Loonacy.]

And, quite honestly, it’s for the better. Retro Loonacy‘s artwork is charming in the extreme, and the game feels more suitable for adults than the bright, silly, madcap images you must match in Loonacy. It presents itself as a game for adults, even if the frenetic gameplay might appeal more to younger players.

The style and execution elevate Retro Loonacy above many contemporary card games, placing it in the same aesthetic upper echelon as 12 Days (which features the most beautiful cards I’ve ever seen in a card game) and some of the more ambitious decks of Pairs offered by our friends at Cheapass Games.

retroloon3

In short, Retro Loonacy is a strong pattern-matching game with oodles of style. Another terrific offering by the game masters at Looney Labs.


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You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

TableTop Day: PuzzleNation Style!

The third annual International TableTop Day was last Saturday, and according to reports across the Internet, it was the most successful and joyous TableTop Day yet! Games were donated by some of the top companies (our friends at Looney Labs and Steve Jackson Games among them) as well as by the folks at Geek & Sundry, and the puzzle game community came together once again to prove how amazing and warm puzzlers and gamers can be.

For the second year in a row, we at PuzzleNation had our own little TableTop Day event with our friends at Penny/Dell Puzzles, and it was great fun! Games were played, an insane amount of sugary treats were prepared, snacks were consumed, and fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers were introduced to some terrific games.

I raided my personal puzzle and game collection to provide some choice offerings for my fellow puzzlers, and readers of the blog will no doubt recognize several items from previous product reviews!

Here’s the full rundown of games we had:

(Sadly, a lot of personal favorites had to be excluded because they would take more than 30 minutes to play, like some of the offerings from Cheapass Games and other great companies, and it was a work day. I promise, this is a fraction of my full puzzle and game collection.)

Timeline proved to be one of the biggest hits of the day, because it’s so simple to play and offers endless replay value. (Especially with seven different editions of the game to choose from!)

I also managed to win my first game of Jenga in what seems like a decade!

There was plenty of switching between games as well. Here, a game of Just Desserts immediately followed a round of Bananagrams Wild Tiles!

But that wasn’t all! To include fellow puzzlers who couldn’t attend the event in person, we had our own Hashtag Game running in-house all day. Inspired by both @midnight hashtag games and our friends at Schmovie, we had a contest to create “Penny/Dell Puzzle Movies.”

I’ll be posting ALL of the entries on Friday, but here are a few favorites:

  • The Scarlet Letterboxes
  • Schindler’s List-A-Crostic
  • Double Trouble Indemnity

All in all, it was an awesome time. Hope everyone enjoyed!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: TableTop Day edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of puzzly holidays!

Saturday, April 11 is the third annual International TableTop Day, a day that has been set aside for family and friends to get together and play games. Board games, card games, role-playing games, puzzles… anything that involves gathering in person and having fun around a table fits the bill!

Although the actual holiday is tomorrow, we’re celebrating early around here! The PuzzleNation Crew is getting together with our friends from Penny/Dell Puzzles for a few hours of TableTop Day fun this afternoon!

[A few of the games we’ll be partaking in today.]

I’ll be posting pics on social media throughout the day, and there will be a full recap in Tuesday’s blog post!

Not only that, but we’ve added two new collections to our library of puzzles for in-app purchase for the Penny Dell Crosswords App! The April 2015 Deluxe Set has 35 puzzles to challenge you, and Collection 5 has a whopping 150 puzzles to choose from! Just in time for TableTop Day!

 

Will you be participating in tomorrow’s festivities, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Let me know! I’d love to hear about your plans!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: TableTop Day Edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

For those new to PuzzleNation Blog, Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and update the PuzzleNation audience on how these projects are doing and what these people have been up to in the meantime.

And today, I’m following up on all the International TableTop Day goodness we got up to this week.

The PuzzleNation offices weren’t open on April 5 for the actual TableTop Day, so we celebrated a few days late with an event on Tuesday, and we invited our pals from Penny/Dell Puzzles to join us in all the puzzly game activities we had planned.

Here’s the table of available games for play that day! Everything from one-player brain teasers from ThinkFun (like Rush Hour and the Sudoku-inspired Chocolate Fix) to bigger group games like Apples to Apples and Scattergories, and everything in between! (Including previously reviewed games like Castellan, Pink Hijinks, ROFL!, Fluxx: The Board Game, and Loonacy!)

Here, fellow puzzlers partake in a spirited round of Apples to Apples, the perfect way to blow off a little steam at work after a long morning of puzzlesmithing.

Furiously contested games of Bananagrams and Qwirkle were conducted at either end of our play area, and both were big hits with attendees.

I even had the opportunity to test my mettle against Penny/Dell’s well-traveled Corin the Puzzle Bear in a few rounds of Jenga.

While he beat me handily in two straight games, the tide soon turned against him in round three.

We had a pretty decent turnout overall, and everyone who attended had fun. What more can you ask for, really? (Other than more excuses to play games during work, that is…)

I hope your International TableTop Day was just as enjoyable. As Wil Wheaton says on his YouTube show TableTop, play more games!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

A day for puzzles and games galore!

This Saturday April 5 marks the second annual International TableTop Day.

For the uninitiated, International TableTop Day was the brainchild of Internet superstars and gaming devotees Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, known for their YouTube series TableTop.

While on the surface, International TableTop Day is a day to celebrate board games, card games, roleplaying games, dice games, and any other games and activities played around a table, the true spirit of the day is the socializing and communal gameplay that comes from sitting around a table with friends and loved ones, leaving phones and distractions behind, and enjoying a game.

Like last year, this year’s TableTop Day is a truly worldwide event, with game stores, hobby shops, and many businesses opening their doors and offering space for friends and strangers alike to play games. On the TableTop Day website, a map cataloguing events across the world on April 5th has over two THOUSAND events and counting listed!

While the PuzzleNation offices aren’t open on April 5, I will definitely be celebrating the day at home with family and friends; we’ve got several terrific games lined up to play, including Qwirkle, 12 Days, Gravwell, Scattergories, and a few others to be determined.

Not only that, but the following week, in the spirit of International TableTop Day, the PuzzleNation crew will be getting together with our friends at Penny/Dell Puzzles and hosting a belated TableTop Day event for our fellow puzzlers.

Let us know what you’ll be playing for International TableTop Day! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and make sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games! (They’re perfect for sparking some communal puzzling!)

And, most of all, simply enjoy a game with friends and loved ones. Happy International TableTop Day everyone!