Casual Games… A New Fad or a Sign of Things to Come?

We are hard-core gamers.  We can easily spend 5 or 6 hours at the dining room table with family and friends, playing a marathon session of tabletop games.  I never really paid much attention to the categorization of tabletop games before but now that I am a game retailer, I am inundated with specs, data, and other marketing crap. Heck,  I didn’t even call them tabletop games. We just called them games.

What is a tabletop game?

Board games, card games, dice games, even roleplaying games are all considered tabletop games.  Almost any game other than video games and sports 🙂 falls into this category.

What is a casual game?

According to the brand-new Casual Game Insider magazine, a casual game is

  1. Set up and taught in 10 minutes,
  2. Played in under an hour,
  3. Has lightly strategic play,
  4. Is fun and accessible for everyone.

I also feel that price levels should be included on this list.  I might pay a premium for a hard-core game that has lots of  expansions available.  I would probably not pay as much for a casual game. I do enjoy casual games, but they do not need to cost as much, especially since they don’t usually have a large multitude of game components.  I think a casual game should be priced at $20 or less (maybe $30 if it is truly AMAZING and unique).

Some games can have a  split personality!

Chess, backgammon, and many other timeless classics can be casual games and hard-core games.  A novice or occasional player may approach these games from the casual player stance.  The rules are quick to learn, setup is minimal and almost anyone can play right away.  But as the old saying goes, “A few minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.”  These games have a depth of play, hidden under the simplicity of the rules.  Each time I play, my strategies can be developed into more sophisticated gameplay.

Still Confused?

Casual Games:

Hard Core Games:

Split-Personality Games:

So, do you wanna play a game?


There is a time and place for gaming…. All the Time and Everywhere!

Family at the Holidays

Holidays, Family and Game Time

All the time, and everywhere. Titles and styles of play run the gamut, and every gamer out there knows what I mean. Move away from the flat screen, and step away from the remote. When we game, we open the doors to social interaction, and invite fun, excitement, and whole new rafts of friends into our lives. When adversity strikes, it is through the escape—and the community—of gamers that we not only begin to understand what it means to be there for each other, but we also take the gloves off, and fight the discouragement, isolation, and emptiness of a disconnected life. Organized play, in the form of games of this nature truly transforms lives. And that will brighten anyone’s day, even amid the storms of life. © 2012 Jonathan Albin, the Game Market Guru.

In his recent blog post, Jonathan Albin of Casual Gamer Magazine discusses the place games have in our lives and how we can incorporate them into holiday family gatherings. He also offers practical advice on how to select a game for a group.

Check out his post and then pack some games for your holiday travels!

Art credit goes to RinaCat at!


Cthulhu Christmas Calendar – Freebie of the Day

Calling all H.P. Lovecraft fans!

Free for Today Only – Nov 30, 2012

I just read an interesting review of the Cthulhu Christmas Calendar App at Red Wasp Design’s blog this afternoon.  This is a cute app for counting down the holiday season. Cute – but not TOO cute.

“The app features an original image each day that can be opened, featuring well-loved festive imagery such as Santa, mistletoe, Christmas trees and the like. However these have been merged, mixed, mutated and mashed with other, darker figures drawn from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.”  Red Wasp Design

Holiday Matsuri 2012

If you didn’t get a chance to game with us at GeekFest Florida, come see us at Holiday Matsuri 2012!  It is December 14-16, 2012 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida.

We will be in Booth 605.  We will have lots of games, Tokidoki, Magic: The Gathering singles, dice, and…more games!  We will also be raffling off a brand-new game during the convention.

We are waiting to hear back if there will also be space for some open gaming time. We are looking forward to seeing you in Kissimmee!


GeekFest Florida was a blast!

We had so much fun at GeekFest Florida, it was easy to forget that we were working.

We led an open gaming session and had a chance to introduce people to new games. The session was supposed to last 2 hours… we played for at least 4 hours! Good thing nobody else was scheduled for our tables!

We held a raffle to give away a copy of Dr. Who Monopoly. Luckily for us, the Doctor was there to lend us a hand.

Congrats to Carly Wagner! Thanks to John Corby for being such a good sport!


ICv2 – Review: ‘Dungeon!’ (Board Game)

We recently had the opportunity to see this game at a trade show.  I had been excited to hear that a bit of our childhood gaming experience was being reprinted. A whole new generation of gamers would get to play the dungeon crawl game that has influenced an entire genre of games.

Boy, was I disappointed! I had such high hopes for Dungeon!  The  player pieces are made of thin cardboard and constantly fell off their stands.  The cards don’t fit on the board. The monster pieces are rough around the edges and the cards are flimsy and thin.  For a more detailed review of Dungeon!, William Niebling of sums it up pretty well in the following review: ICv2 – Review: ‘Dungeon!’ (Board Game).

Maybe the problem isn’t just with the game itself, but with me as well.  How often have we looked back, reminiscing over some bit of childhood nostalgia, only to be a bit disappointed when we try to relive that experience.  So today’s lessons: you can’t step in the same river twice and maybe the 70s should stay in the 70s!

Open Gaming at Conventions

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