March 2022 Family Game Night – Deadbolt Mystery Society Box

One of my favorite things, something that actually helped me stay slightly sane during quarantine, is subscription boxes. Getting surprises in the mail is the best! So, I had a wish list on Crate Joy (a subscription box website) for Christmas 2020, and we were very lucky to be gifted a subscription to The Deadbolt Mystery Society. Keith and I have been doing the boxes for a little over a year at this point, and we really enjoy them. We even have a system of solving them so that we can pass the box on to someone else – minus the collectible sticker that comes in each one. (I LOVE stickers – that is my other subscription box obsession….)

This month, we did not get a family game night. It felt like we were just really busy, but I really don’t recall what we were doing… Anyway, Keith and I did do the Blackout box from Deadbolt Mystery Society. I am not going to give away any of the clues or anything, but I will show you a little about the boxes. We always use a separate notebook or my reusable Rocketbook Notecards to keep all of our notes and ideas in one place. This is what we see when we first open the box:

The Start Here page has all sorts of helpful information, including a link to make sure that you have everything you are supposed to have in your box. We have never been missing anything, but you never know. When we spread everything out, it usually looks like this:

There is always a Beginning Brief, at least 1 large envelope to be opened at a specified time in the mystery, and then there are usually suspect cards of some sort. The rest varies wildly. We look through everything to try to figure out what we should be doing. There are always QR codes, so we like to use an iPad because we are older and so are our eyes. You could also use a phone or anything else that you can use to read QR codes. Sometimes there are audio clues, there was a virtual room once, and there are often pictures and cyphers when you scan QR codes. We have been pretty happy with the different types of clues – there is truly something new in each box. There are also hints available, but I think we have only used that one time.

Overall, we would definitely recommend The Deadbolt Mystery Society. We would not recommend all boxes for all ages – some can be pretty dark, so be aware of that if you are wanting to do these with kids. Have you ever done any mystery boxes? Do you have any that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

February 2022 Family Game Time – Jackbox Games

It is the last day of February today, and I am coming in just under the wire with this post friends. We had a bit of a crazy February with weather and car shopping and dinner theatre at our high school and auditions and classes and two birthdays and a wedding. I wasn’t sure this was going to be a month where we hit this goal. It wasn’t looking good. And then, yesterday we found a pocket of time in the afternoon to play a few Jackbox Games together. It wasn’t a long pocket of time, but it was enough. I think we all walked away feeling a little more connected to each other. And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

We started our time playing Drawful 2. We have usually been big fans of this one, and it did not disappoint this time. Keith and I actually tied for this round – something that has not happened before, but I think we all had some pretty funny/interesting drawings. To get into the game, you have to go to Jackbox.tv on your phone or tablet and enter the code shown on your computer. Once everyone has done that, you can start playing. When the game starts, every player is given a prompt to draw. Then everyone is shown the drawings and writes what they think the prompt could have been. In the end, everyone tries to guess which is the true prompt for each drawing. It really is a lot of fun! Here are a few highlights:

The next game we tried is Quiplash. For this one, you are given prompts and you write funny quip – like a witty description or summary. The game pairs up two players for each prompt, and you blind vote for the quip you like best. This one is harder for Charlotte because of the writing and her dyslexia, but I think she ended up in second and I lost big time. Maddie was the big winner of this one. Here are a few highlights:

The final game we played this time was Guesspionage. For this game, each player gets a turn each round. You are given a question that involves a percentage of people – like “What percentage of people like Jackbox Games?” You set the percentage to your best guess, and then everyone else gets to guess if the real answer is higher or lower. Some of the questions are pretty obviously high or low, but some are really difficult to guess. The answers come from polling people online, so that is always at least in the back of my mind because I think it does narrow down which people would be answering. The big winner for this game was Charlotte, mostly because she was just really good at guessing the percentages on her turn. Here are some of the questions we had:

I know that we will definitely play some Jackbox games again – either as a family or with our friends. It is enjoyable for larger groups and can be done completely online, so it was our go-to for a while during quarantine.

Have you ever played any Jackbox games? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Love Letters and Seven Dragons – January 2022 Family Game Night

It finally happened. We were meant to have family game night the weekend of New Years, but everyone had horrible headaches because of the weather. So we postponed it. And then got our COVID booster shots the following week, causing another weekend of not feeling so great. It was not looking good for our family game night this month, but we pivoted and had family game day instead because we were all off of school and work for MLK Day. I made fondue, we snacked and played, and a good time was had by all.

We started out by eating fondue and playing Love Letters. Keith and I had played this at a game cafe several years ago now. We remember liking the game, so we chose it as this year’s “pickle gift” (the gift received by the person that finds the pickle on the Christmas tree first). Charlotte was the quickest pickle-finder this year, so it is technically her game. We will see how that plays out in a few years.

Chocolate fondue remains and Love Letters game

Although both Keith and I remember Love Letters as a quick game, it definitely took a while to get a winner. We all enjoyed it a lot, though, and some new inside jokes were definitely created. I was the biggest loser and Charlotte came out as our glorious winner in the end, although it was a tight race amongst everyone but me…

To finish off the afternoon, we played one quick round of Seven Dragons. This is a perennial favorite of ours and is definitely a go-to if we want something quick with not much set up. I was very, very close to prevailing with my black dragon goal, but Keith managed to swoop in and win at the last second. It was a tough loss, but a very fun afternoon.

Seven Dragons with background folded laundry to add to your viewing enjoyment…

We know that family game night is going to be changing as we continue this year. It might be only 2 or 3 of us at times, but we will definitely shoot for all 4 as much as possible. We are definitely on the look out for more 2 player games – do you have any favorites we should try? Please let me know in the comments!

June and July Family Game Night Recap

Our family has had a fantastic summer filled with musicals, new experiences, festivals, friends, and lots of fun. The one thing we did not do this summer was have family game night. When we had a night free, our kids wanted to spend time with friends or just relax, so FGN fell to the wayside during this busy, active season. Now that we have a little more free time heading into the school year, I fully expect FGN to resume. The closest we got was giving away some games we no longer use in June and giving Micah the Monty Python Fluxx game as a show gift in July. Both are pictured below for your enjoyment. πŸ˜‰

May Family Game Night Recap

As I mentioned in my other May posts, this was a busy, hectic, crazy month. When we were home for a rare evening, someone was always grumpy or sleepy or had to study or needed a mental break. So, we only had one Family Game Night (FGN) in May. Which is still better than nothing, but I am disappointed that we couldn’t make it work. Most likely we will do better in June – we will have less rehearsals after Charlotte’s Web closes on the 16th, so I am hopeful.

On May 25th, we decided it was now or never. The plan was that Charlotte would study for her test and then join Keith, Micah and me, but it went a little differently. When Charlotte joined us, Micah must have felt his obligation was fulfilled and he ditched us to play online with friends. Keith and I still had a wonderful night playing with both our children, just not at the same time.

The first game we played was 5 Minute Dungeon. Keith and Micah had played this game with friends, and they enjoyed it so much that Micah gifted it to Keith for his birthday. It was not a 5 minute game as the name implies, but it was fun once I got the hang of it. We beat the first dungeon, but we ended up losing the game in the second dungeon. I chose to be a ninja character (because NINJA!!), but had I understood how the game play worked and how the characters’ powers would be used, I may have chosen a character with a more useful power. Knowing the Micah is a fan of this game, I am sure it will be in rotation for future FGNs in our household. I do have to say that just shoving all the cards to the side gave me anxiety about having to sort them out later…

The second game we tried was a Christmas gift to our family from my brother’s family. Phone Phever is a game that uses your smart phone for a lot of the the questions; sometimes it is optional, other times not. You are racing the other players to get the latest, greatest, new smart phone by answering questions. We finished the game, but I doubt that the three of us will play it again. It seems like a game that young teens will like, so we will have Charlotte and her friends try it out.

The next game Keith, Micah and I played was The Oregon Trail Hunt for Food card game. This game was pretty simple once we got through the rules. Unfortunately, we all ended up dying before we could deliver enough food back to our camp. I believe one of us died from dehydration, one died from getting lost, and one died from a snake bite. No dysentery, so I guess we had that going for us. πŸ˜‰ I feel like we will most likely try this game out again.

After Oregon Trail, Charlotte joined us and we lost Micah. Keith and Charlotte found a Friends Trivia Game at a thrift store last month, so we decided to give it a go. It ended up being pretty fun, and I was pleasantly surprised how many of the questions we knew – thanks Netflix! Keith managed to beat us out at the last minute, but it was definitely neck and neck for the win. I have a feeling that Charlotte will want to play this again, but it will have to once again be without Micah because he is not a big Friends fan.

Have you ever played any of these games? Do you have any games you think we should try? Let us know in the comments!

April Family Game Night Recap

March may have been rough for Family Game Night (FGN), but we are back on track in April! Even losing internet the evening we were planning to play an online family game didn’t phase us! It was a good month for games.

Our first FGN was April 12th. We were going to play Jackbox games using our television and cell phones, but our internet went out. So, we decided to take it on the road to the FGN event at two.fifty.four, the new youth center in Gahanna. We took Seven Dragons and Quarriors with us. We also enjoyed using their ping-pong, pool, and foosball tables. We really enjoyed that evening and will most likely be going back to two.fifty.four soon!

Our next FGN was actually on Easter with Keith’s parents. We went to Marion for dinner and then sat down for a couple of games. We played Tsuro – Keith’s Dad took everyone out the first round and I think Micah won the second. It was our second time playing this game with them, so I think they enjoyed revisiting it. Then it was time for some smack talk in Uno. It was a really long game with lots of me remembering that I alter the rules some when I play with my clients… It was a really fun evening and I think everyone is looking forward to doing it again.

May is looking to be a little crazy, so we will have to see how everything works out. I am sure we will at least fit in a couple nights with our kids. πŸ™‚

March Family Game Night Recap

Well, as expected, March was a super busy month. Our family involved in two different shows with two different tech weeks made for a very tight schedule. When we had time to have family game night, one or more of us was just not feeling up to it. So, we only have one game event to recap here. It’s a good thing we had extra game nights earlier this year! We also have not had any game nights involving my in laws this quarter, so we will need to figure that out for April.

On March 26th, we took Micah and 4 of his friends to Tabletop Game Cafe to celebrate his birthday – finally. The high schoolers had their own table and, as far as I know, only played two games. Betrayal in the House in the Hill and Kids Against Maturity (a more PG version of Cards Against Humanity). They seemed to have a great time with both of them.

Their game of Betrayal was the longest I have ever witnessed! The haunt started early and lasted forever!
They had a great time!

At our table, Keith, Charlotte and I played Love Letters a couple of times. This is a quick game that we really liked. Not complex and pretty fun.

Next we played Catacomb. Catacomb ended up being a lot of set up and learning, so we only played one encounter. We really liked the game play, though. Flicking disks at your enemies is strangely satisfying. We plan to watch a little gameplay on YouTube and then give it another try with all 4 of us.

No photo of the board set up – I was definitely not β€œon my game” that day!

The last game we played was Apples to Apples. It turned out to be a little rough for Charlotte because Keith and I have so many more years of inside jokes, but we all enjoyed this one, too.

Another easy to learn and play game – definitely less frustrating to Charlotte.

We also found a game we want to try next time we are at Tabletop – Sagrada. It is a dice game with only a couple pages of directions, so I think it could be a hit with our whole family. Charlotte is especially excited to try it.

Have you tried Sagrada or any other game you think we should check out? Let us know in the comments!

February Family Game Night Recap

As expected, our Family Game Nights (FGNs) have slowed down a bit for February. We were, however, able to fit in two and thus meet our goal. It is really thanks to Micah deciding that he would love to spend his birthday evening playing games with us. Whew!

Our first FGN was Super Bowl Sunday. We aren’t huge football fans, and we definitely didn’t have any team we were favoring. So, we got set up to play a few games and have a few yummy snacks. First up was Dos Rios: Valley of Two Rivers. Keith and I had played this one before, but it was the first time for both kids. First up, they enjoyed stacking their meeples, casas, and haciendas.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the game play once we got going. In the end, Charlotte prevailed with an excellent use of strategy, but everyone had a good time. We enjoyed some chocolates from Christmas, some Hello Panda green tea treats, and some Bhuja Snacks Cracker Mix. (We also had Little Debbie Valentine Cakes, but did not end up eating them that evening.)

To finish the evening out, we decided on Fluxx because it can be a quick game. Unfortunately, that was not the case on February 3rd. It was a long game with many rule changes and a couple times shuffling the deck. We were all quite relieved when Keith won, which is generally not the case.

Our second FGN for February was on the 24th for Micah’s birthday. We had to order a couple of cords on Amazon Prime Now and noticed that Betrayal at the House on the Hill was on sale for almost half off. We couldn’t pass that up and naturally decided to give it a whirl right away. Since it was Micah’s special day, and because Charlotte and I were right by The Cheesecake Factory on Polaris, we decided to get cheesecake to celebrate.

Keith and Micah had played Betrayal at the House on the Hill before, and our whole family played Betrayal at Baulder’s Gate in January, but this was the first time Charlotte and I played this version. We liked building the house better than building the Baulder’s Gate with all the different colored doors. We had unfortunate luck with our haunt this game, however, so Micah’s Zombie Lord ended up killing all of us. Keith and Charlotte were cornered in the basement and I was a 9 year old girl, so we didn’t stand a chance. We will definitely be adding this game into our rotation and are very excited to have gotten it on sale. We did not end up playing Fluxx, Micah’s other choice, because Charlotte was done and wanted to FaceTime and text with her friends. Since Betrayal took about 90 minutes, we let her go. Overall, a great evening. Can’t wait to see what games we will play in March – maybe we’ll have a Family Game Night at Tabletop over Spring Break.

January Family Game Night Recap

As I stated in my first post, we have a goal of having at least 2 Family Game Nights (FGN) a month this year. We also plan to include our extended families, but that did not happen this month since we just saw everyone over the holidays. πŸ™‚ We were total overachievers, though, and managed to have 5 nights of games and snacks this month!

We had our first FGN at Tabletop Game Cafe in Clintonville on January 2nd. It was a great day of games – we tried the games Stuffed Fables, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, and Kill Doctor Lucky. Stuffed Fables ended up being a lot more involved than we wanted, so we played the first adventure and moved on. Another group was playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, so we tried the D&D version of the game and enjoyed it. We would really like to try the Haunted House version still. Our last pick, Kill Doctor Lucky, was quick to learn and and we all enjoyed it. We will definitely be back to Tabletop to eat delicious samosas and try out some more games!

Our next FGN was January 6th because we were all home without plans. We decided to eat some of our yummy snack gifts from Japan (Thank you Kamei and Sato families!!) and we played Exploding Kittens and Smallworld. It was the first time for all of us playing Exploding Kittens, but it did promise it was for people that like kittens, explosions, laser beams and sometimes goats, so we were pretty sure we would like it. It was an instant favorite with all the kitten art! Keith, Micah, and I had all played Smallworld before, but it was Charlotte’s first time. We all enjoyed the game. We also really enjoyed the Japanese snacks.

On January 20th, all activities outside our house were canceled due to weather. So, we took the chance to have a FGN! We played Pitt and Quarriors. Pitt is one of Micah’s favorites, so he was excited to play. It was not my night with the cards, so at one point I was trying to see how far negative I could go before someone won the game. Needless to say, I was not the winner. But it was a fun time for everyone. We had played Quarriors on New Year’s Eve Eve with Charlotte and it is now one of her favorite games to request. She has always like collecting things in bags, so I think this is just an extension of that passion. πŸ˜‰ We all really do like the game, though. We tried a couple more snacks from Japan (chocolate drizzled potato chips and teriyaki rice cakes – both yum!!) and had chips and Little Debbies as well. And orange slices as you can see in the photos…

This past weekend, we actually had two FGN opportunities because we were away in a treehouse cabin with no television! It was wonderful! The first night, we played an old favorite from before Keith and I had kids – Filthy Rich! It is really fun that the kids are now old enough to appreciate and enjoy games we used to play. Charlotte did not want to be Queen of the Shmoos, but it is still true that Nobody Shops at Shorty’s. The kids may have thought we were strange for the entire language we have surrounding that game, but they went along with it anyway. We also played a quick game of Tsuro. In the end, I sent Charlotte off the board, Keith sent both of us off, and Micah was victorious. We had some really great green tea (for the adults) and hot chocolate (for the kids) and some Japanese chocolate mushroom snacks, a known family favorite.

Our second night at the cabin, we had a short FGN because we had a late dinner and didn’t have a lot of time. We played Monopoly Deal, a quick version of the Monopoly game that only uses cards but still manages to break relationships and evenings. Just kidding, it is pretty fun, but you do have to be okay with hurting other people in order to win. I am not blessed with that skill, so it will probably never be my first game pick. We had jiffy pop, green tea mochi (another family favorite), and new little chocolate and green tea Japanese treats – so yummy! We have decided there is a reason we’ve never done jiffy pop as a family snack before, though. So much shaking!

We are sure that our opportunities for FGN will be much more limited as we move forward due to theater and other commitments, so who knows what February will look like. Will we pick a new country for snacks? Will we just try new things from Japan and the US? I guess you will have to wait and see like the rest of us!

2019 Family Goals

At the beginning of this year, I sat down and worked on some vision board activities to try to have some focus for our family this year. I was given a list of words and had to narrow it down to just 10 words that really spoke to me. Next I narrowed the list down to 5 words, and finally down to just 3. After carefully working through my options, I was left with Adventure, Create, and Relate. For this winter and spring, we are going to be starting a couple of different things to start to bring more of those words into our lives.

Keith and I have really been a great team and have worked hard to do lots of extracurricular activities for and with our children. Along the way, it felt like our relationship was taking a backseat. One of the things we want to do this year is have one Adventure Date and one Create Date a month. It will force us to try new things and be creative, both things we love to do. Sometimes these dates will involve our kids because we love doing things with them and want to expose them to new opportunities. Most of the dates, however, will just be the two of us and I am really excited as we start to plan out what we will be doing the next couple of months.

At the Franklin Park Conservatory’s “Conservatory Aglow”

Another thing that we love to do as a family but have not been doing lately is family game nights. So, we also made the goal to have two family game nights a month. Additionally, one game night each quarter will include Keith’s parents and at least two during the course of the year will involve mine. We are so fortunate to have our parents still around and able to enjoy activities with us, and we really wanted to focus more on those relationships. Plus, we love some friendly family competition!

Games and snacks ready for a family game night!