For the #OreoCookieQuest with BritMums we decided to have an Escape Room Style treasure hunt. Treasure hunts are something we used to love doing when the boy was smaller. Clues on a scrap of paper and the prize was a map to the real treasure. The boy is loving the current craze for escape rooms, so I tasked him with setting up a room and clues, in escape room style.
It is easy to find some padlocks and boxes, we used Kilner jars and even a bicycle lock to hide keys. The boy used small paper notes to give clues as well as setting the story. He thought about the characters and Dad Dragon and I had to work out who had stolen the map to the hidden stash of Oreo’s! He set up the conservatory with all the clues carefully hidden. Each clue once found gave us a number. This opened a safe revealing another clue to the thief.
The boy did an escape room with scouts, and they had hidden keys in tomato soup! While we didn’t go this far the boy instead hid a key in a jar of water! . There were coins and money in locked boxes when added up they gave another numeric clue. Finally we had to narrow down the culprits. we decided that It was JimBob who had stolen the map! Luckily we were right and were rewarded with Our Oreo Prize.
The boy loved the #OreoCookieQuest challenge and we will be setting up escape room activities again as it was a fun way to spend a cold afternoon indoors. Why not set up your own Oreo Cookie Escape room and enjoy your own OreoQuest?
This post is an entry for BritMums #OreoCookieQuest, sponsored by Oreo.
Pandemonio from Drumond Park is a game for 2-8 players aged 8+ RRP £19.99. Pandemonio is a fast family party game with easy to learn rules. Contents include a board, 8 playing pieces with rings, 64 cards and Colin the cup timer.
Pandemonio is one of the newest games from Drumond park and came out towards the end of 2017. It is a fast card swapping game that is very easy to learn but mastery and being a winner make take some practice.
Game play starts with each player choosing a coloured playing piece and placing this on a picture on the starting line of the board. Cards are chosen for the number of players and shuffled. Each player then starts with a hand of eight cards. Colin is wound up and set off on his track down the board.
Pandemonio as the name would suggest is a frantic game as players attempt to swap their cards to get as many of the cards their playing piece currently sits on before Colin reaches the end of the board. We found game play frantic and loud even with just the three of us, as you barter market style to get the cards you need.
At the end of the Pandemonio round you count up the number of matching cards you have and move this number up the board. Collecting a ring at the top and returning down the board the winner is the first to cross the starting line.
Pandemonio also comes with a super version with slight alterations to scoring where you get to move extra moves or maybe choose to move your opponent back a few spaces! This can mean a few tactical moves can come into play for those with a competitive nature like the Dragon Family.
Pandemonio is available now from toy store, online, or click my Amazon affiliate link below
Disclaimer, I was sent Pandemonio in return for a review and have not been paid.
This is the question Pandemic asks. Pandemic is a cooperative play game so there will never be just one winner, but as we found out this doesn’t make it less challenging. In order to save the world from the deadly diseases you will need to work with your individual skills to cure the 4 diseases before they breakout takes over.
I have come to expect well made and packaged games from Asmodee, and Pandemic doesn’t disappoint. The playing pieces have a lovely weight and feel and each part comes with its own zip lock bag so there is very little additional plastic packaging. The box and board a are a very good long-lasting card. The player cards also have a good long-lasting feel.
Game set up is fairly straight forward and is set out well in the instructions. Cards are dealt in relation to the number of players, and roles are also chosen at random. We have enjoyed playing this game as after our first try an average game lasts about 3/4 of an hour. The rules were also pretty easy to pick up and we only missed one which helped greatly on subsequent games.
Play follows three parts with the first being 4 actions, moving your and other players pieces around the Pandemic board. This can be setting up research stations of helping fellow players to cure the diseases before they spread too far. Players draw more cards and then infect cities. Play continues until you either cure-all four diseases, or you run out of players cards.
We discovered that we could save the world on our first attempt of playing the game, and then have failed on our last two pandemic games. It turn out I think it was beginners luck. Pandemic has been a refreshing change to the games we usually play which can be very competitive. It is great for encouraging conversation and co-operation. It is also not as disturbing as the name mas suggest.
Pandemic has won many awards and will also be featuring in the Asmodee Classic games promotion for 2018. This classic version of the game is a great start, and if you enjoy it then there are other variants of the game. Pandemic Legacy looks like a great with slightly different game play as well as various expansion packs.
Pandemic is available now from your local games store, online and via my Amazon affiliate link below.
Disclaimer: we have been sent this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club with Asmodee Games and have not been paid for this review. #BoardGameClub
I have enjoyed completing Colin Thompsons puzzles since I did my first one a couple of years ago. The Awesome Alphabet didn’t disappoint. It has a great mix of old and new illustrations and once you have completed one of Colin’s puzzles there will always be something familiar in his other puzzles.
The awesome alphabet as the name suggests has a theme and this puzzle is the letter A. There is a great picture sheet included with Colin’s explanation of the origins of the puzzle. This includes a list of some of the possible A related items you will see in the puzzle picture. There is plenty to debate with the picture in the puzzle as there are lots of items with tenuous links to the letter A.
I started with the border of the awesome alphabet. This was straight forward. The rest of the puzzle is one to piece together slowly as there is no dominant colour. As I progressed through the puzzle more of the brighter colours stood out including the outline wood of the letter A.
I have loved completing the Awesome alphabet puzzle and spent some time trying to find all the A letter illustrations. The boy joined in for a bit as the bright colours are very attractive. This puzzle is great for anyone wo like me is a fan of Colin Thompson puzzles or simply those that like a bit of a different puzzle experience.
Awesome Alphabet is available now in stores and online from Amazon with my affiliate link below.
Disclaimer, I was sent this puzzle in return for an honest review. I have not been paid for this post.
With the influx of guests, gifts and decorations, the arrival of Christmas can cause cramped and busy conditions in your home. However, while the array of friendly faces and festive atmosphere might seem great to start with, it won’t be long before you start to get fed up of searching around trying to find the things you want and stumbling over stray toys, abandoned shoes and people’s feet!
Of course, space is always going to be tighter at Christmas than at any other time of year, but that’s just a part of the season’s unique charm. However, that doesn’t mean that you should sit back idly and accept your home being turned into a hotel-slash-storage-facility year after year. Instead, take matters into your own hands and commit to doing what you can to maximise space in your home and avoid that cramped feeling this Christmas.
To help you get started, here are some top tips and space-saving hacks to employ in your home this party season!
Christmas is a time for indulgence and, often, overeating, as we snack on our favourite treats and gorge ourselves on a sumptuous feast come Christmas lunch. Couple this indulgence with the extra supplies needed for any guests, and it’s no surprise that our cupboards, fridges and freezers are full to bursting during December. Save space by storing only what needs to be kept cold in the fridge – everything else can be relegated to cupboards until it is needed. If you need to save money, too, you could also ask your guests to contribute towards Christmas dinner or Boxing Day tea. That way, everyone will be involved and you won’t have to find space in your already-full fridge!
Similarly, if you have a conservatory or garage, it can be a good idea to store drinks in these areas to free up some space in the kitchen. These areas are usually the coldest parts of the home in winter anyway, so chances are your drinks will stay cool and ready for drinking! However, if you’re after a longer term drinks storage solution, have you considered investing in a wine rack? Bespoke wine racks can be made to fit any space, allowing you to easily store your festive wine collection in style all year round.
Have you invited guests over? Will you have family staying with you during the festive season? If you are planning to host guests, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re well prepared for the influx of people in your home. Once you have confirmed numbers, the next step is to sort out sleeping arrangements. For older guests or those who would prefer not to slum it on the sofa, it may be worth investing in a sofa bed for a more comfortable option. Alternatively, airbeds are a great way to provide a quick and easy bed that can then be folded away and easily stored for the rest of the year.
Do you have enough chairs for all of your guests? Is there enough free space to enable everyone to move around freely? Similarly, if your home is a little on the cramped side, it might be worth having a shuffle around and moving any unnecessary furniture to the attic or garage for the duration of the season.
Too many presents might seem like the ultimate first world problem, but if you have a large family, people staying over or just a small home, the question of storing all the gifts is an important one. Tuck smaller items away in stockings to save a little space, and once everything has been opened on Christmas morning, why not invest in a set of tubs or boxes for each member of the family to store all their gifts in? That way, everything can easily be moved around and it will all be kept together in one place.
Are you ready for the onset of the party season? The most wonderful time of year is fast approaching – make sure that it’s as wonderful as can be with these top storage ideas and space-saving hacks!
This month the Bloggers Board Game club sent us Catan to have a look at. I knew as soon as I saw the front of the box that the boy would enjoy this one. Catan is a trade, build, settle game and that is exactly what you have to do. The box contains terrain hexes with a frame border. Tokens, resource cards, dice and playing pieces including the robber.
The Catan rule book looks daunting, but this games comes with an alternative way to learn how to play. There is a handy game assistant which you can download onto you phone or tablet. This runs you through all the basic play and I found was a great way to get the game started. The Tutorial helps you to set up a basic three or four player game. It covers how to lay out the hexes, settlements and roads. It then takes you through basic turn taking, trading and building.
We very quickly found we were playing the game without the apps help. The rules at first look complex but we found easy to learn. Catan progresses as each player trades to enable them to build up their settlements upgrading and gaining victory points. The games winner is the first to 10 victory points. These can be gained for different achievements such as longest road or most battles won.
Play progresses with a throw of the dice, and then collecting your resources. Trading these with other players and then using them to build up your roads and settlements. Trading can be fun and a little frantic if there is a particular card you need. We found there was a little ganging up on the player in the lead to try and stop their progress. This just added to the fun of the game.
Catan is a game I can see we will be playing lots over the winter as it is very well suited to three players. Catan also offers the possibility of changing up the board and moving from the beginners set up to the more tricky variable set up. We haven’t quite braved this as we are getting used to where the beginners board takes us. There are also a range of Catan extension packs available so the play-ability of this game is endless.
Disclaimer: we have been sent Catan as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club with Esdevium Games and have not been paid for this review. #BoardGameClub
Chilean easy peelers are a great fun snack and one my whole family love. They remind me of dark winter evenings. I used to spend my weekends at my Nan’s curled up on the sofa with a little orange which she used to peel for me and watching the A team.
I started popping little oranges in my sons lunch box when he started Junior school. They soon became a sign of Autumn and a way to make him smile when he was having a hard week. I like to draw silly faces on a Chilean easy peeler. Something silly and easily done with a marker pen. It was guaranteed to make some funny comment at the end of the day. I think his favourites were always pumpkins or a Santa face!
Now I use these little Chilean easy peelers for after school. They are such a quick snack especially for a midweek car journey. In our house they always come with a square of kitchen roll for wrapping up the skin. I love that Chilean easy peelers are high in fibre, vitamin C and 87% water. The perfect way to stay hydrated, or as a great on the go pudding. The boy says I am swearing when I mention the F word (Fruit) but as a mum I know these little oranges are a much better alternative to chocolate and biscuits.
“This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee.
Colt Expressis a Bandit Train game for 2-6 playersaged 10+ RRP £27.99. This game is an award-winning board/card game with a bit of a difference.
We first reviewed Colt Express from Esdevium in November 2015. It is still a family favourite and one we have enjoyed revisiting now that we have a Monday night free to play games as a family. Play is fast and exciting and the boy is enjoying punching and shooting us off the train as much as he did before. Have a look and see what you think of this game which would make a great Christmas gift.
The box contains, 6 playing pieces and 6 sets of action cards. Marshal, Locomotive, 6 cartridges, 13 bullet cards, 17 story cards, 18 purses, 6 jewels, 2 strong boxes. Also assembly instructions game rules and 6 player profiles.
Colt Express sounded just the sort of game that my family would enjoy so I was interested to see what they would think to this different style of board game. The box looks fairly traditional but once you open it you will find that unlike other games it has no board. Instead you have to build the Colt Express train which will act as the playing platform for your pieces. There are 6 carriages, the Locomotive, as well as money, jems and even a few scene setting cacti. When you first set up this game it is worth noting that it will take some time and care freeing the pieces, to build the train cars. We found that if you tried to rush this process there was some damage to the playing pieces. The card is of very good quality, but it was almost impossible to avoid a few tears in the pieces. Assembly instructions are included and this took about half and hour to complete.
Once you have built the Colt Express Train it is worth having a good read through of the game rules. We decided to have a play through to get a feel for how the game worked and did find that the rules are quite complex. Once you have played a few times the rules become clearer and we found after two games we had worked out where we were going wrong. The basic idea of the game is to move your bandit playing piece around the carriages of the train using action cards, collecting as much money as you can. There is extra bounty to be earn’t for being sharpest shooter, and robbing the Marshal.
You start the game buy choosing your bandit, each has a special power that comes into play when you get into the second part the “stealin’ phase” of the game. You set out the locomotive with the marshal and one of the strong boxes. You then need to add a carriage for each player. Each player has a set of 10 action cards, six bullet cards and a purse of $250 to start. Shuffle the 7 round cards and choose 4 to start your story as well as one end story card. Set up the train with the number of loot tokens indicated on each of the carriage floors. Choose a starting player and this person puts their bandit in the last carriage. Even numbered players go in the next carriage along, and odd numbers in the back. Now you are all set to start the first phase, the Schemin’.
Colt Express game play has two phases, Schemin’ and Stealin’ In phase one you take it turn to lay action cards following the descriptions on the round cards. This is quite tricky to work out the first few times you play. There are additional rules, and this is the part where you have to concentrate on where you opponents end up! Once all the cards are placed it is time for player one to read through the story in the “Stealin” phase. This is the fun part, as if you have “Schemed” correctly then you will be collecting the loot. Get it wrong and there is plenty of shooting into thin air! There are added events on some of the story cards meaning you need to think about where your bandit ends up at the end of a story too. At the end of the 5 parts to the story the Bandit with the most Loot, including shooting bonuses is declared the winner. In our case this was most often the boy, but I have managed to win back one game.
This is only a brief explanation of the game rules as there are additional play rules for experts, 2 player games and games with more players. Once we had mastered the basic play Colt Express has been a great way to spend a wet cold evening. It is a game that the boy feels he has no disadvantage with his age, with both an element of luck and mastery needed. The added special abilities of the bandits mean you tend to find a favourite player and stick to them. We had fun banning dad from his favourite player Ghost, or playing with players we hadn’t tried before. Colt Express is best played in a group of 3 or more and I can imagine is great fun in a bigger group, the age recommendation is about right as you need to have a good understanding of the complex rules and cause and effect each action card has on a player. There have been plenty of laughs as well with Colt Express as sometimes you have no option but to shoot or punch nothing, or even better being shot by the marshal and not ending up on the part of the train you thought. We even managed to persuade Granny to give it a try, and despite not really understanding fully what was happening, she said she could see it was good fun and something a bit different.
We have reviewed this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club #BoardGameClub
Colt Express is already winning awards, and we agree it is a great fun family game. Esdevium distribute this game in the uk, and you can find out more by visiting their Facebook and twitter pages. Colt Express is available to buy now from Waterstones, or Amazon. Have a look at my Amazon affiliate link below
Codenames is a game for 2 – 8 players aged 14+ RRP £16.99 and is the first game to be sent to us as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club.
As a family we like to spend time playing card and board games. It is the perfect way to reconnect as a family and learn and have fun at the same time. The Bloggers Board Game Club picked Codenames as our first family game. We started playing it when the boy finished for the summer and it has already become a favourite.
Codenames can be played as a party game but is ideally suited to playing with four people. Codenames is a secret agent word game, and although the instructions seemed lengthy at first it is simple and quick to play. As a family of 3 we discovered that we can play in a couple of different ways. With roles as Operatives and spymasters being changed over as we discovered who was best at the clues.
Codenames gameplay starts with the word cards being shuffled and laid out in a grid 5 x 5. A codename card is picked at random telling you which team will start as well as the location of the spy’s, bystanders and assassin. The object of the game is for the spymaster to give a one word clue to the location of their coloured spy’s without the operative finding their opponents spy’s or the assassin. Covering up each word card as it is guessed correctly until you find all your spy’s or the assassin who makes an instant looser. The gameplay is that simple and the rule book gives you examples of guesses and how to best use your clues. There are some firm rules, but you can play to your own rules too.
We loved playing Codenames and discovered that Dad Dragon found it much more difficult to think of the word clues. The boy had a great way of coming up with some alternative ways of thinking and ended up winner on more than one occasion. Codenames can be played in a short time so will be ideal as an addition to our train game list, although it does need some space to lay out the cards. Sometimes the simplest of games are the ones that are the most fun and we have enjoyed playing Codenames.
It has been a great way of looking at words and expanding vocabulary and connections of words. I would recommend Codenames to family’s that like a competitive game as well as those that don’t as you can play with just two players against an invisible opponent. I think you could also played codenames with younger children as the boy is only 12 and loved working out the word clues.
Codenames is available now from online retailers like Amazon, as well as your local store.
Disclaimer: we have been sent this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club with Esdevium Games and have not been paid for this review. #BoardGameClub
The #TearsIntoSmiles campaign has challenged me to turn those tear filled moments into a happy ones.
I don’t think there is a household in the country that doesn’t have a selection of plasters. We have long been fond of the ones with fancy pictures, as somehow they seem to make things just a little bit better. I used to have to stock up in the USA on these fun additions to the medicine cabinet, with favourites like the lion king and winnie the pooh. Now there are lots to choose from and the Star wars ones are an instant hit.
When the boy has an accident I used to take on the strategy from his nursery which was to treat the wound with magic liquid (water) and then a big hug and a plaster. The boy was always ready to show off his Piglet or Eeyore. The boy loves to be outside, and his favourite at the moment is water pistol battles with his dad or friends. Bumps cuts and bruises are part of childhood and turning the #TearsIntoSmiles is a great way to make things better. I love the video from Elastoplast turning real tears into these miniature paintings.
Making sure that you get out and about in the fresh air is the best way for kids to learn about their surroundings and their limitations. The boy has had his fair share of bumps and scrapes. With a love of Fencing we now carry a first aid kit with us to every event. This kit will always contain a few plasters as well as cool packs and cream for bumps and bruises. I still use magic water, and you cant beat a big hug to make everything feel a little bit better.