Support Local Game Stores

If you haven’t guessed it from my previous posts, I’m a fan of all types of games: roll playing, card, board style, complex, simple, gross, or pretty. No matter what, chances are I’ll play it at least once. Video games are the exception because the motions often bother me.Game time clipart

So today I’m giving a shout-out to my local Northwest Indiana stores and gaming cafes. One does not have to be a deep level D&Der or Magic fanatic to enjoy wandering into these locally owned shops. They stock all kinds of wonderful games and gifts. Want your preteen or teenage kids to have some social time away from the glowing screen? Take them to a game store. In addition, these places are great for date nights because they allow you to talk with your partner rather than stare silently at a big screen. Nothing against movies, but game places lead to actual conversing and fun. If your date gets cranky or is a poor loser, best to find that out early.

Many game stores serve drinks and snacks as well so you can have hours of fun. They are family oriented, and games encourage critical thinking, reading skills, tactical analysis, math skills, and in some cases, language skills. Plus, they allow you to give your child the best gift ever, some of your focused time.

My favorite part is that game stores allow you to “try before you buy”, which beats most toy stores any day. Nothing is worse than being stuck with a game that doesn’t work for couples when you only have two players or is just boring. For instance, Oh My God! There’s an axe in my Head looked fun and a little twisted, usually the way I like them. Games Inn had it available for testing so we checked it out. Turns out this Stratego-style board game was dull. It either did not work for couples (despite the box’s advertisement) or just didn’t work for us. Either way, I’m glad I found out before shelling out around $20 for it.Magic game symbols

However, if game stores and gaming cafes are to survive in this order-online world, they must sell games. The coffees, snacks, and playing fees may help but moving their products is what keeps them in business. Most metropolitan areas have at least one or more of these stores. For those in the Northwest Indiana area, here is at least a partial list of the shops (in no special order) that I know about and would encourage you to check out. You’ll certainly find something for that special “nerd” in your life.

Games Inn: This Hobart, IN store features a very large open area for gaming, a few tables specifically set up for Warhammer, large café, and huge choice of trial games.

The Librarium Café: It is also located in the Hobart downtown area. This coffee house offers an intimate place for gaming and enjoying fine bakery products. They offer a small variety of games for sale and 100 games to try.

The Tenth Planet: Located on Hwy 30 in Schererville, IN, this store features a wide array of comic books, movie and comic collectables, and games. They sponsor Friday Night Magic tournaments. They also stock some unusual games that come from more international developers.

Galactic Greg’s has been a  Valparaiso, IN icon for 25 years. It features comic books and also has a section for playing Magic, Pokemon, HeroClix, and Star Wars X-wing. Because many of these games use miniatures, the store also has a nice miniature collection.

I have not visited these places yet but found them on a Google search.

Gotta Have It Games &Collectibles in Lake Station, IN. According to their website, they feature a number of collectible and trading cards, actions figures, and vinyl records. They also have live game playing table times that can be reserved for groups.

Heroes Haven in Michigan City, IN. Their Facebook states that they sell comic books, graphic novels, action figures, and play specifically Magic, HeroClix, Warhammer and more.

By the Board Games & Entertainment in Lowell, Indiana. They have special rooms for Friday Night Magic, D&D, and board games. The website also says they offer vintage and used games and extra pieces.

Bring Out Yer Dead, or Keeping the Inheritance in the Family

As a fan of all things morbid yet funny, I’ve been hunting around for the Bring Out Yer Dead game ever since I saw it demonstrated on a vblog. Produced by Aaron Watts and Ginger Ale Games, this board game involves making sure your relatives get the best graveyard sites so that you inherit the most money. The gameplay features a simple bidding system using numbered “death certificates”. Folks improve their odds by switching graves or pulling their “lost” relatives out of the river, which is the destination of the lowest bids. Players can also line their pockets by graverobbing a little treasure, which doesn’t help with game play but adds bonuses when adding up final points

Bring Out Yer Dead

Bring Out Yer Dead

The game works with two to five players, limited by the little bags of coffins and family shields. The board game is colorful with the card artistry attractive being slightly comic without wandering into the gross or too morbid. The style is late 1880s but I would never go so far as to call this steampunk.

Bring Out Yer Dead works well for two players but, like most games, it is more fun with higher numbers. The designers were smart in creating a different board side for larger numbers of players; the main difference being a larger amount of grave spaces. Playing time is about an hour, ending when the first person runs out of dead relatives.

I enjoyed the game enough to buy it after trying it once and have now played it multiple times. It provides a nice combination of competitiveness in terms of victory points and ruthlessness in kicking people out of the high point grave sites. I also think that the game ends too quickly in two-player mode because it provides too few coffin pieces. As play progresses, some of the coffins should wind up in the river, most in the high point graves and a few in the low point mass grave. The game ends so quickly that really no one winds up in the mass graves.

The downer side is that, despite multiple readings (and arguments about meanings) of the rules, I’m not sure I’ve played it correctly yet. The instructions are unclear on the use of the fate and treasure cards. Having a section where the designers gave examples of the game play would have been extremely helpful.

bring dead fate

Fate Cards that help with grave positioning

For instance, it took a while to figure out the Vampire card. It allows you to place a coffin in a graveyard but not in a grave. Since points are based on getting the high-end graves, this card appears to do nothing helpful, so why have it? Turns out that its only useful value is as a counter to the Ghoul card that allows you to force another to take one of your coffins into his own stash, thereby slowing his ability to win. When that opposite player puts the coffin into a grave, it doesn’t benefit their score, only yours. They can still throw it into the river but another card allows you to save your river-drenched kin.  By using the Vampire card, the opponent player can then place your family coffin in the grass area of the graveyard, giving you no points and no way to move it. It took us two attempts at playing to figure that out.

The game is a lot of fun even with the high price tag. However, clearer rules would have raised this review from a B+ to a golden A in playability. As it is, I can see folks getting frustrated on exactly how to use the fate and fortune cards in the bidding. So, if you don’t mind a little morbidity and interpretation, Bring Out Yer Dead is a great quick strategy game for a dark evening’s worth of fun.