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Hello Friend-
Greetings from the design lab here at Ludoliminal!
I hope you’ve found plenty of time to play and relax this summer. If your family is like ours, the fall is shaping up to bring more uncertainty and change. Play, particularly play through games, builds resilience, problem-solving skills, and helps us connect with one another. As you plan for the coming fall and navigate the craziness that is the world right now, remember to hold space for play! If you’re looking for new games to try, we’ve got you covered- keep reading!

I’m also excited to announce that this fall we’ll be running playtests for a new game, codenamed “Fraxagon.” Our first playtest is open to 10 families with kids 8-10 years old. You can learn more and sign up below.
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We're recruiting families with kids 8-10 years old to playtest our new game prototype, codenamed "Fraxagon." The time commitment is 2 hours from September 9th to 19th. (Learn more about our playtests.) Feel free to share this invitation with friends, family, and neighbors!

Here are some games we've been playing this summer that your family or friends might enjoy checking out.
Outfoxed - This cute cooperative deduction game has been a favorite in our house all year. All players work together to solve the mystery of which fox character stole Mrs Plumpert's pot pie. It has simple rules and a clever clue-decoder tool. It’s easy enough for a 5yo to play and balanced so that kids can contribute on fairly equal footing with adult players. This is also a great game for kids to play together- we’ve seen our 7yo teach other kids and play successfully with no adult help!
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine - This cooperative card game plays well with adults and kids over 10. If you’ve played traditional trick-taking games like Bridge or Hearts, you’ll already get the basics of this game. The unique twist here is that all players are working together to conspire to have certain players win specific cards over a round in order to complete a team mission--only there’s no talking about the cards in your hand! Imperfect information and lots of room for abductive reasoning make this a fun game to debrief together after each mission. There are 50 missions but we usually only play a few in any session. The Crew is also playable online via Board Game Arena for physically-distanced game nights.
WanderSquares - Last year I backed this delightfully-illustrated role-playing-light game for kids on Kickstarter and we played it as a family a few weeks ago. We completed it in two sessions—about four hours, including character creation. It won't hurt if you have some basic D&D knowledge to run this game for your kids, but it also comes with a fairly clear rule book and a simple-to-follow Adventure Guide story book for each location in the game so there’s not a lot of pressure on you to be a creative storyteller for your group. The most important skill to be the game master is the ability to voice characters, so if you’re a bedtime storybook veteran you’ll be just fine. This game is available as a free print-and-play.
PHOGS! - This charming, surreal video game steeped in the dreams of dogs—sorry, I mean “phogs”—was a joy to play together with our 7yo. This is a two-player game where each player controls one head of a two-headed dog-like creature. You can play this solo, but as a co-op game it shines. There are a few challenging puzzles and jumps but overall it is pretty forgiving of failure—eg, falling off the edge of the world—which we did A LOT, sometimes with hilarious repetition. We played on the Switch, but it’s also available on Steam.
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure - We are fans of photography games in our house and Alba has been on our wishlist since it came out last year. This is a short adventure game where you play as a young girl, Alba, as she discovers wildlife and cleans up her island community. The animals featured are real species so there’s some real-world knowledge embedded in the game. Our 7yo played this completely solo in just a few hours and has continued to dip back into the game since completing the main storyline. Now I've started my own game and she's acting as my tour guide, so though the game is short, we're getting many hours of play. Available on Steam or the Switch.

HABA USA Design Contest Semi-Finalist

Our family participated in the 2021 HABA USA Design Contest this June. For this yearly contest, you buy a $6 pack of random game pieces from HABA and then design a 2-5 player game with at least 3 of the pieces. We had a lot of fun prototyping a couple of games. Our final cooperative game prototype, "Earthquake Eggscape," was inspired by a set of cute stegosaurus pieces we received in our kit. Our prototype has been shipped off to the contest finals. Finalists will be announced this fall. 🤞
2021 HABA USA Game Design Contest

Reflecting on Raising Good Gamers with Minecraft

In this video, I explore what Minecraft has meant for our 7yo and her friends (and us, the parents!) during the covid-19 pandemic. This is a follow-up video to the Sims4 Co-Play video I created last year based on my experience playing Sims4 with my daughter.
This video was produced and shown for the
2021 Games for Change Festival.
A few links we think are interesting reads for anyone thinking about games for their family!

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