An August-less #boardgame #wargame month

SUMMER IS NOT THE BEST TIME for boardgames or wargames in the RockyMountainNavy house. There are so many outdoor activities to be had and family events on the weekend that games get pushed to the back burner. So it was for August in the RockyMountainNavy home. I recorded a measly 13 plays of 9 different games…my worst month in almost two years of recording plays.

The month did blast off with Tranquility Base (Worthington Publishing, 2019) being the definite winner with four plays in the month. This included one play with the Soviet Moon Expansion.

Nights of Fire: Battle of Budapest (Mighty Boards, 2019) is a new game that found its way to my table. This “militarized Eurogame,” as co-designer Brian Train puts it, is most enjoyable.

The best family night game was a long overdue session of 1812: Invasion of Canada (Academy Games, 2012). With the beginning of the school year and a return to a somewhat normal cycle of weekend family games I am sure that the many Birth of America / Birth of Europe-series titles will land on the table regularly.

It finally released! Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel – Kursk 1943 3rd Edition (Academy Games, 2019) arrived. This is supposed to be our next weekend family night game. Spoiler Alert: I really like the Spent Die Mechanic and encourage all the naysayers to actually try it before they knock it.

I found myself at home on some days that Mrs. RMN’s summer daycare girl was here so we got a few children’s games in. Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking (HABA, 2019) is a real winner!

On a recommendation at CONNECTIONS 2019 I picked up Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie (Jasco Games, 2019). I haven’t written up my thought yet but (spoiler alert…again) this tune is a bit flat to me.

I attended CONNECTIONS 2019, the professional wargaming conference in mid-August. I have yet to compose all my thoughts but I did get to see a bit of wargame history with Upton’s US Infantry Tactical Apparatus.

Looking ahead, designer John Gorkowski was kind enough to send me an e-kit to playtest with for the next game in South China Sea-series from Compass Games. Indian Ocean Region is already available for preorder and this is my chance to try and influence the game and make it better for everyone.

As mentioned before, the return to school means a return to a more regular schedule of gaming. I also still have several games in my 2019 CSR, Origins, and GameGeek Challenges to complete before the end of the year.

So..back to gaming!

A little girls #boardgame (and that’s a good thing) – Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking (@HABA_usa, 2019)

MRS. ROCKYMOUNTAINNAVY leaned in to help a friend this summer, meaning that we quite literally had a 5-year old little girl running around Casa RockyMountainNavy many days. With school back in session, Mrs. RMN wanted to give her a present. Naturally, she turned to me and asked for boardgame suggestions. I recommended Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking (HABA, 2019). Little Ms. A played the game and she, her mother, and Mrs. RMN all give it a giant 5 UNICORNS!

Although our kids are older, Mrs. RMN tutors younger ones meaning we have a collection of children’s games on hand. These include perennial favorites from HABA like Rhino Hero (2016) and Animal Upon Animal (2005). Little Ms. A only plays boardgames when she is at our house so she has lots to learn. She has played Animal Upon Animal and liked it, but we (OK, me…) was looking for something similar yet different. Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking combines both a dexterity and cooperative game into one. Perfect for small children. Don’t believe me? Check out this video from Game Trade Media filmed at Origins Games Fair 2019 for a great explanation of the game and example of play.

We played Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking with Little Ms. A today. Actually, we played three times. We won all three games (although one was really close) and Little Ms. A really enjoyed it. She still needs to be guided (she occasionally throws the die instead of rolling it) but she caught on quickly. Mrs. RMN declared we are going to purchase at least two more copies (one for another student and one for our collection) because it takes the best of Animal Upon Animal and adds the cooperative play element. She also points out that the pink box is key.


Courtesy BGG

OK, we all need to stop adulting for a minute and remember that Mrs. RMN wants these games for young girls. Little girls that Want to be little girls and don’t understand anything about gender neutrality packaging. Sure, they like the yellow HABA boxes but Little Ms A was very proud to show the box to her mother and proclaim, “Look! A girl’s game!”

To be clear, HABA does not market any of their Unicorn Glitterdrift games specifically towards girls. Even so, the pink box and colorful unicorns screams this is a “girls game.” So, am I evil to allow this sort of gender gaming? Too bad; the game is great and if it helps bring a little girl into the hobby then so be it. More importantly, Little Ms. A also sees the RMN Boys playing the game with her. If they don’t want to play a game because “it’s for girls” THEN we have a problem. But they don’t, and Little Ms. A earns not only a sense of ownership (“Let’s play MY game”) but also a reason to keep playing in the hobby. We can worry about gender neutral games later.

In the meantime, I have a unicorn castle to build.

Feature image Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking components courtesy BGG

Postscript: Kudos to HABA for providing a multi-lingual rulebook in this game. Surprisingly, one of the languages is Korean – the primary language of the families Mrs. RMN teaches. Little Ms A was tickled pink (pun intended) with the Korean title of the game which translates as “Twinkle, Twinkle Unicorn.” Yet another way she was able to connect to the game and find an inviting hobby waiting for her to explore.