What If Cars 3 Was A Board Game

What kind of game would it be if instead of a movie Cars 3 was to be seen on tables all around the world.

Tabletop games are just as good for storytelling.

Before getting onto Cars 3 as a boardgame, let me confirm to you that my son loves Lightning McQueen and he is not alone. He shares his passion with lots of other children at school. He is also aware that Lightning is everywhere we’ve been: let’s say we visit a small town high up in the Pyrenees, nothing feels strange when we find out that a Lightning McQueen toy is there waiting for him inside a little rustic shop (this repeats over and over, wherever we go); even when a town is so small that it hasn’t any shops, there is another children there with a drawing of Lightning McQueen on his T-shirt, backpack or cap; and if we pay a visit to our family relatives in the other side of the globe, Hong Kong, it gets wilder as the fever there for Lightning McQueen seems to be even stronger.

cars 3

I was reluctant to watch Cars 3 with my own son, cause I thought this was more than a movie for him (and expectations can lead to some serious frustration). But, apparently, I was wrong. He took every twist and surprise in the plot with joy and excitement and now it seems he loves the world of Cars even more.

Spoilers ahead…

Cars 3, The Boardgame, tells the story of an old Lightning McQueen who is confronted with the start of a new era on the racing tracks. He will need to discover a new himself in order to be able to deal with it. In search of that new himself he will meet Cruz Ramírez, a trainer and a potential racer that will become of vital importance towards the end of the game. She suffers from lack of confidence and will need to overcome it in order to reach her most important goal: becoming a race car.

cars 3

cruz 51

This should be a cooperative game…

The player’s target is to help McQueen make the right decisions, aiding Cruz Ramírez to gain the confidence she needs and finally becoming her crew chief. Game starts right at the Fireball Beach Track and it jumps to diferent locations (Thunder Hollow, Thomasville Speedway, the forest, etc.), until finally making it to Florida for the first race of the season.

What should be inside the box…

The board depicts all diferent locations where players will be placing Lightning and Cruz. There is a deck of cards too, and little car tokens.

cars

Game actions and mechanics…

In each round players get to set both characters into one of the locations which are depict on the board. Players draw from a pile of cards and manage their hands in order to assist Lightning and Cruz with their current goals.

Here comes trouble…

cars

There is a set of cards designed for every location. Each one of these decks consists of a diferent variety of difficulties which characters will face in there, forcing players to interact with it wisely, using the cards in their hands. Every time Sterling appears, or when anyone is sent to the Rust-eze Racing Center, it will cost the main characters to drop huges ammounts of confidence.

Who wins the race…

lego cars

From every location players will collect diferent cards (lessons) for both Lightning and Cruz that will add up into a single deck which will be used during the final round, when the Florida 500 takes place. Players will need to use the new assembled cards to fool Jackson Storm and Mr. Sterling, and win the race by making both Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramírez compete together.

I hope a game similar to this was available at the usual gaming store.

By the way, all the photos in this post are taken by my son. He loves taking pictures of his toys.

By Joel

TableTop: Watch It Together With Your Children

TableTop is a show hosted by Wil Wheaton and produced by Geek & Sundry.

My favourite kind of show…

TableTop was created back in 2012 by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, as one of the main shows of YouTube Felicia’s channel Geek & Sundry.

Time goes by and Geek & Sundry has become a successful platform (to my understanding), now part of Legendary (which is now part of Wanda Group), producing what I would call specialized entertaining content. Let me rephrase that: they produce some type of entertainment which they love and they are passionate about, and which has to do with games, not producing them but playing and talking about them.

Thanks to TableTop I’ve been able to engage dozens of amazing games which I had no idea they existed, but even more important than this: I start something new because they made me believe it was worth it.

I’ve always enjoyed playing games, but it was more like a side dish to me. A remnant of my childish behavior, I thought, and something I wasn’t proud of. I’ve learnt to overcome that nonsense and even started this blog you are reading (with a push from my wife alright, cause she knows better than I do what’s good for me).

tabletop the loser's couch

I haven’t yet watched any of the episodes together with my son Isaac, who is 5, because english is still a bit of a problem (it won’t be pretty soon though). He can speak and understand three other languages at this moment: catalan, spanish and mandarin. But I can’t wait for that day, when he and I will seat side by side and entertain ourselves until Wil’s closing line sends us to “play more games”. I know he will like it, and his sister Tanit, who is only 2, is already showing an inclination for it.

I guess there’s not much to add. Just this: thank you TableTop team.

One more thing, I encourage you to start watching the show with this following episode, which is about Catan Junior.

You can find more videos right here.

By Joel

Dungeon!… Playing With Your Children

The right way to play Dungeon! with a 5 year old.

This is not a complete review of the game, although very useful…

I love D&D, and I’m amazed that my son loves it too. Only difference between him and me is about who are our favorites, inside the many worlds, characters and monsters this game has to offer. I’m going to focus on one particular game, Dungeon!, which I purchased in advanced, forseeing that he could really fall for it (as he had been already spending some time going over my D&D pen and pencil core rulebooks, from first edition to the last one, currently the fifth).

My son is only 5 years old, and when he discovered the game, well, I couldn’t just show it and tell him it was meant for older kids, before hiding it again, right? So we made a few tries, while learning the rules, making our own, and a couple of weeks later I can say we have had half a dozen pretty good matches. He always favours mage, and goes after the Level 6 dragons pretty quickly. I myself like to play either a rogue or a warrior (more of the multiclass melee sphere I’ve always been), and go straight up to the kitchen hall, cleaning everything in my way, hungry as hell.

dungeon low perspective

There are just a few tweeks you must do, if you want to really have fun playing Dungeon! with a 5 year old. First of all, you must start with a decent secret object, of the lowest value available, for each of the characters. We usually give the Secret Door Card to the Rogue (makes a lot of sense lorewise), the ESP Medallion to the Cleric (weakest class I would say, and clearly in need of knowing who is behind the door before entering into a fight), the Magic Sword goes to the Warrior (makes a lot of sense aswell, and you just roll for the bonus as usual), and finally the Crystal Ball would go to the Wizard (for obvious reasons as it works perfectly with his/her spells mechanic).

dungeon treasures

This is not quite cheating, but having fun in advance! Playing Dungeon! with a 5 year old can be very mean and cruel if the dice don’t go along in your children’s favour. In fact, I would recommend starting this game always, even when only teens and adults are involved, with your secret objects equipped, or else it can turn rather tiresome and you won’t have that much fun either.

Another important thing about playing with your children is that the game must be short in time. Now, Dungeon! is nothing of the sort, it’s probably the lengthiest of all the games that I own (which are not many, but anyway). So, in order to play Dungeon! correctly, preventing you to leave the game unfinished almost every time, you have to choose one single class (same one for both of you), and just play over one or two Levels of your choice (according to class restrictions).

dungeon cleric dice

Best fun we ever had by playing this way was when we chose the Warrior class, and limit our hunting for treasures between Levels 2 and 3, covering all the upside part of the dungeon map. We started at diferent halls even, Armory and Pantry, each of us with a Magic Sword +1 in our hands. The game would then finish when either treasures or monsters, from any of the two chosen Levels, would run out of sources. And the winner was that one of us who had collected more valuable treasures at that point (adding up all the golden pieces).

Now, this is, by no means, a bragg or anything, but playing Dungeon! this way, well, it has to be the right way (keep in mind, with a 5 year old child seating next or in front of you).

dungeon board game layout

Have fun!

You can find a more complete review (in fact, too many) in BoardGameGeek.

By Joel

Rolling Dice With Your Children

throw your dice of 6

Create the most simple game with one single dice.

For ages 3 and 4…

If you are a dad who likes playing games, and one day it so happens that your child catches one of your role playing dices and likes throwing it and finding out what number appeared on the top surface of it, you’ll keep grinding for the rest of that day, cause you know you have a plenty of shared gametime experience ahead of you together with your own child. And I can hardly find something more simple and yet at the same time as family bonding as this.

It happened to me first when my son Isaac was 3 years old. He catched in a glimpse my box full of dices, and he jumped to
it immediately, said “Uau” (cause that’s how you say Wow in spanish), and took several of them. I had to guide him though, very quickly, into starting from the beginning, with one d6 (dice of 6 faces). He kept for a while both asking what it was and turning all six faces as if looking forward to see some magic happening. I approached and explained.

Then he threw the dice for the first time in his life, and it was just as if some magic had really taken place.

throw your dice of 6I’ll push forward now. You need to explain the use of it. And there is nothing more simple than just drawing little boxes on a piece of paper: you can even make it like a road, or a story building, and whoever gets at the top first wins (find characters among any toys your child may have, or even use some other dice to play with). Just one small advice: three year old children can’t manage frustration all that well; let her roll twice if you feel she is being left behind, or even better, play cooperative, you both roll the dice in turns, but play for the same victory (sharing is nice).

Establishing rules will become more important from her fifth anniversary and beyond. Now is the time for fun. And that’s why by simply rolling a dice you are already achieving that. Is the sense of luck that brings all the fun in. Adding a target to it just makes it competitive, which is also good, cause it brings a reason, a purpose, to keep rolling that dice.

If your child is 4 years old, or just gets it faster than you’ll expect, you can push a bit forward, and make some simple rules, depending on where the characters fall at the end of a roll (check the next image and the description below as an exemple).

throw your dice of 6Grey area boxes (numbered 8, 16, 24 and 32) means your character falls back 3 spaces; the orange box at 18 means your character jumps forward 8 spaces; whoever gets to box 36 first wins. Use a d6 to play with.

By Joel

The Little Gamer: Playing Games With Your Children

I thought I would call this, my first post, The Little Gamer.

Cause that’s what El petit means…

I almost entitled this first blog The Little Gamer In You (sounds dubious to me now), but on a later thought I found that it could be easily changed to The Little Gamer In Us (more embracingly), or The Little Gamer In Me (more self-centered). So, finally, I’ve decided to name it for what it is: The Little Gamer. Pretty much general and straight forward.

Althought, the title is not mine. My wife came upon it, one afternoon, while she was giving me ideas on how to put up to a good use my free time (which on her opinion I must have plenty, probably too much of it). So, no more just playing or reading (or looking for a new job, infructuously I must say). She convinced me that I have a lot more to offer, than just teaching myself how to spend a creative and engaging time with my children.

In fact, this is what the blog I’m creating is about. Spending quality time with your beloved children, family and friends. All of that, from the perspective of someone who enjoy playing games.

the little gamer tabletop

There’s no need to spend larges ammount of money, nor even a coin. Everyone that has one knows it: just taking a walk around the neighbourhood with a 2 year old can be challenging enough. Currently, that’s the age of my daughter, Tanit, and I have a son too, Isaac, who is 5. In order to clarify myself, I’ll add this: my intentions here in this blog are to provide my own experiences, on how do I approach certain games which I’m currently playing with my children.

I started playing board games with Isaac since he was three years and a half, and it has been, for so long, absolutely joyful. And it’s been helping him too! For instance, to learn the numbers and count faster, developing his motricity skills aswell, and growing a certain awareness of rules, which will prepare him on his journey to becoming a man, well, first a kid, then a young adult, then…

But, who am I kidding, the most important part of it all is that ammount of quality time that I got to spend with my child. Laughing together, having lots of fun, being there for him and with him, when he was probably having one of the best moments of his life too.

I want to conclude my first post by encouraging you to create your own games. There are so many tools out there, and it will always depend on what you and your children are up to. My son Isaac and I have created a couple of games already, and in the process of making them, he trained and learned an immense variety of skills, pushing him forward in the stairs of knowledge (which are the stairs I believe all of us to be in). But, what’s more important (again), is doing it together. I’ll certainly be posting about it soon (check my next post right here).

But first of all… Welcome to El Petit Gamer!

Shuffle the cards, be prepared, and throw your dices…

By Joel