What Every Gaming Parent Needs…

Something I’d like to start doing more often – sharing articles I enjoyed with you. This one tackles the tough concept of finding a game that will entertain your child AND you.

Big Imagination Games

So, when I was putting the finishing touches to the Loopin Louie video review, I found myself somewhat downcast… Of all the games that I’ve reviewed so far with my pint-sized progeny, there’s no doubt Loopin’ Louie would be the one I’d recommend…

And yet according to my scoring system, it came in third place, behind First Orchard – a beautifully-produced game for really young children that does at least have one decision for players to make, but remains for grown-ups an experience more akin to First Tortured

So I got to thinking about what it is I personally want when searching for games to play with my kids Ezra (nearly 4) and Eli (2) and whether I need to rethink the rating system. The answer was a little disturbing…

All I care about is me!

20170205_162823.jpg Me! Devil horns and all…

Bear with me a second though gang.

Let’s be honest, here. Kids are easily…

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Happy Anniversary!

Welcome to Cthulhumom Games – a blog dedicated to my experiences raising a child in a gamer family.

As I was preparing this month’s post I found this on my drive. I had meant to post it the month before Dexcon, as July was the anniversary of the start of this blog. I had also meant to maintain some sort of sanity in that month and to that end wound up not posting a full article. Thus this article sat waiting. Though the anniversary of this blog has come and gone I still want to share the thoughts I had two months ago. So here it is – two months after the anniversary, my Happy Anniversary post!

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I started this blog after many months of thinking about it. I would have experiences and conversations that led me to several realizations. I wanted to share my thoughts and wanted to hear what other gamer parents were experiencing.

The first thing I realized is that there a lot of gamer parents out there, but we can’t always find each other. Life pulls you in so many directions and when one of those directions is directly behind your child (or children) it can be hard to locate other people your age with your interests. I also know how alone a parent can feel. I wanted other gamer parents to know they aren’t alone in trying to find time for their hobby and trying to share their hobby with their children. I looked around and all I could find on the internet was a few posts on various forums, mostly asking the same question “what game should I get for my X year old?”. Games are much more complex than an age rating. So are children. And parents.

I also know that we are all having our unique family experiences, but within those experiences is overlap. In that overlap we can help each other with what we have learned. I wanted to toss my experience out into the wind in hopes that where my life overlaps with yours you could learn from and be entertained by me. I had hoped to hear back and maybe learn a bit from you. I haven’t had much in the way of the conversation I had hoped to foster, but Yog is only five, so I have many years to get better at this.

Speaking of having a conversation, when I started looking into starting a blog there were many discussions on whether or not to have the comments turned on. I decided that I didn’t want this to be a lecture series, but an open dialog started by my (often rambling) thoughts. So I chose to enable the comments. Though there haven’t been many comments and even fewer discussions I consider myself blessed to have such a fine readership. The comments I have received have all been helpful and kind and thus far we have not had the de-evolution of society that is common on a lot of open comments. Thank you.

There is still a lot of ground to cover. Yog is now five, and we are dealing with a new phase in her development – she thinks she’s the boss. And boy is she bossy! We’ll see how this affects our ability to continue to play adult games and where it takes her desire to play with us. We’re still in the “I’m not the kind of person who likes to play games” phase. And who knows, maybe it’s not a phase. Maybe one day I’ll be writing about how we got someone to take her for the weekend so that my husband and I could go to the game convention on our own. Maybe one day I’ll be writing about how I had to explain to Yog that as much as she wants to play both games scheduled at the same time that we still don’t know how to bi-locate and she’ll just have to choose. Maybe lots of things.

We’re starting Kindergarten this year, which means there is a lot of new and first times in our future. We probably haven’t faced this much rapid change since the year she was born. Not that parenting a toddler or pre-schooler isn’t chock full of change and phases, but this is more external changes to handle. I’m curious to see where this next step in our lives leaves our hobby. How much time will we have? Will she want to play games with her new friends? Will we be able to keep in touch with her old friends?

Another goal I had when I started this blog was to feature conversations with other gamer parents and their experiences. This will take planning and time. I need to track down gamer parents willing to be interviewed about their experience, write thoughtful questions, and then figure out between two hectic family schedules when we can sit down to talk. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just not easy. I’d still like to do this. If you are interested in sharing your family experience with me and the rest of the readers, please let me know.

I also have ideas for deeper researched topics. These posts will take more time to produce and there won’t be as many of them. If I’m going to try to present facts to you, I’d like to make them as researched and factual as I can.

I’d like to know what you want to hear me ramble about as well. Feel free to contact me through the site. I love learning things, so if you ask me something that needs some research I’ll jump on that. However, see the previous paragraph.

It’s been an interesting year of learning and growing. I have done more new things inside the gaming community than I have in a long time. It has all given me new perspective on various aspects of gaming. It has presented me with new challenges. I have met many new people. Yog is constantly changing. It has given me new things to write about.

Happy Gaming!

The Good And The Bad

The good news is that I have a lot to say about Dexcon. And that work is crazy busy. So is life in general. The bad news is that I’m beginning to wonder how far one has to go to pass out from exhaustion like you hear celebrities doing all the time. And that this month’s post isn’t ready yet. However, it is started. And I promise not to put it off any longer than needed. But sometimes living comes before writing (unless you’re a professional writer, then get back to work 😉 ). As soon as I have a few spare moments, I promise to share them with you. With pictures. Of Batman.

In The Beginning

Hi and welcome to Cthulhu Mom Games, a blog about my experiences as a gamer mom. I have learned a lot in my four short years of parenthood but am by no means an expert. Not even with my own kid. My goal here is to share my experiences, and hopefully in the future be able to interview others and share their experiences. I will be writing about how I squeeze gaming into my life as well as how we are including our daughter in our hobby.
As my daughter grows and changes so will this blog. Right now our biggest challenge is how do we game with an active Pre-schooler, who cannot focus through a full game of Candy Land quite yet. As a result gaming has to happen during naps and after bed time. Yes I am lucky enough to still have nap time. Our hope is that she will share in the joy of our hobby and one day join us at the gaming table.
When not gaming I am a professional video editor, actress, wife, and mommy. My husband and I have been together for ten years and married for eight of those. We are the parents to a singleton daughter. We all live in a small house in Pennsylvania with our tabby cat, an entire closet full of board games, and shelves of role-playing books with more lurking in the attic. And lest you think we’re completely behind on technology (we’re not completely behind, just mostly), our hard drive holds several more role-playing game books and we own a Wii.
I consider myself a fairly well-rounded gamer, however there are lots of games out there, only so much time, and frankly, only so much interest. I don’t video game. We own the aforementioned Wii and I use it for an exercising game (Walk It Out! – yes it’s cheesy, but it gets me off my butt!). I don’t miniature/war game. I don’t have anything against those game types, I just have no interest in them. My husband does some light war gaming/miniature gaming, so from time to time I may talk about his experiences from our cramped basement. I am terrible at building decks, so any of the classic CCG games are right out. I do however play a variety of board games, card games, table top RPG games, and I love to larp (so long as the system being used is a non-touch resolution style – for now).
I feel like I am a late bloomer in gaming. My husband has played games most of his life, as have a lot of our friends. I grew up playing Monopoly, Life, Parchesi, and Trivial Pursuit. I learned how to play Pinochle when I was in middle school (it was an actual elective class!). I didn’t discover larping until college when my RA introduced me to her gaming group (and thus my husband) based on a vampire poster I had hung up in my dorm room. Yup. Like many a larper in the early 90’s I played Mind’s Eye Theatre’s Masquerade. This is when I consider my gaming life to have begun. It was also when I found out that I was the daughter of gamer parents. As I tried to explain my new-found hobby to my mom over the phone (connected with a cord to the wall by the way), her comment was “Oh, it’s like D&D. I get it, we used to play that when you were younger”. I had no idea the weekly gathering of friends at our house was game night! I just knew I wanted to play with the figures on the table and wasn’t allowed to, but that we got out the air popper and made lots of popcorn.
The first board game that really influenced my current gaming mindset was Settlers of Catan. We played it a few times a week until we started branching out. It’s been years since I’ve played Settlers. I should get into a game next time I’m at a convention.
Since then I have tried Euro style, worker placement, asset management, deck building, party, and tons of other board game types that I cannot even remember or classify. I’ll give anything a few play throughs before deciding I don’t like it. My current favorite table top system is FATE, though I will admit this system has grown and changed a bit since my first introduction and I really only understand the basics of it. My favorite larp system so far is the Cthulhu Live system.
So that’s me in a nutshell. Or, more accurately, in one blog post. Going forward my posts will be on how my husband and I manage to get games in, how our AWESOME gaming group helps us keep gaming, and how we introduce our daughter to the world of gaming. I hope you enjoy the ride and are able to use some of the tricks we’ve figured out. Please feel free to respond with your own tips and tricks, as well as topics you’d like to have me chime in on. Until then – happy gaming!