Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and since we are both Moms, we thought we would give you some tips for gaming with kids. For the most part, we love to game with our kids. However, time has taught us many lessons about how to handle the potential pitfalls. If you have never tried because you aren’t sure whether your kids are ready or aren’t sure that they can sit for the whole game at the table – we wholeheartedly recommend that you give it a try. (SHAMELESS PLUG: We encourage moms who want to try with their daughters to try at an ELS Day.) Also if you are an Aunt or Uncle or friend of the family who is interested in getting kids into gaming, this guide is for you too. This month we will be sharing our tips with you. Let’s just call it the quick start guide to gaming with kids.
- Evaluate the Kid Mood
It is no fun to play the game if a kid is easily frustrated and upset. Make sure your kids are well rested and not hungry before you start the game. Do not, we repeat DO NOT, play a game right before you start making dinner. It is no fun. At that point, not even snacks are enough to prevent a kid from being hangry. Any other time Snacks at the table are a must.
Also, if it is too close to bedtime or your child seems overtired- don’t start a game. It will only end in tears and no one wants that.
2. Patience, Patience, Patience
Anyone who has a kid knows, they can easily get under your skin. Teaching them the rules of a new game can really test you, so don’t hesitate to take a break from the game. And don’t ever worry about modifying rules to make it easier on yourself! Candyland actually caters to this with their rules about the face cards; for younger players, they encourage you to ignore the face cards if you’ve already passed them (typically you move back to the character). Meepleine just removes the face cards when playing with her 3-year-old.
3. Remember: You know your kid better than the box.
If you pick games based off of the age on the box; you may be doing yourself a disservice. There are going to always be exceptions to the rule and your kids may be one of those. Can your child read really well at five years old? They may be ready for a more advanced game than is considered “normal”. Lady Diceacorn figured this out when her (then five-year old) son wanted to play Lanterns after seeing it on the Tabletop YouTube series. After reviewing the video, she agreed and they tried to play together. It soon became a family favorite. The same thing happened with King of Tokyo and Sushi Go. And Meepleine plays a bunch of 13+ games with her 10-year-old, unless there are just too many rules. (Pandemic good, Star Trek Panic bad.)
4. Play the game with another adult before you play with your kids.
This is a big one. Make sure you understand the rules of the game before playing them with your kids. It will make sure that you can learn in peace and you won’t have your kids asking if it is time over and over until it was time.
5. Make Gaming a Lesson in social interaction.
Tabletop gaming is an amazing way to practice proper social interaction. Taking turns, waiting to talk and being a good sport are key things learned by children at a gaming table. Kids with special needs that hinder or hamper social interaction can “gamify” their life and it all starts at the table. (Lady Diceacorn will write about her experience with this in a future article.) Make your family game night a chance to show your kids how to behave at a table and refer to it in your everyday life. “Remember how you waited your turn when we played the game? Now is another time for taking turns.”
6. Start young
You can start playing as early as two years old, playing Go Fish and Matching games. There are a lot of great games for the three-year old and up that practice fine motor skills. Setting a regular family game night is a great way to spend time together, eat snacks and enforce those social interaction rules listed above. Meepleine plays games frequently with her 3-year-old; Peaceable Kingdom is an amazing company that makes games specifically for 2+!
7. Make sure that the games are fun!
If a game is not one that your kid will like – don’t play it. Some games just won’t be their favorite. If you have a Minecraft fan, like Lady Diceacorn and Meepleine, there is a Minecraft card game. It is a simple game that Lady Diceacorn has played several times with her son and it made him interested in trying other card games. There are tabletop games that are based off of a lot of pop culture and you can use those as a springboard to other games.
MAY’S FEATURED GAMES :
Game for kids 3+ : Who Shook Hook?
This game, based on the TV show Jake and the Neverland Pirates, is a combination of Kerplunk and Don’t Wake Daddy. You play Jake and his pirate friends Izzy and Cubby. They are trying to get their treasure back from a sleeping Captain Hook. There are several different hooks and tweezers that add different ways to remove the treasure from the hammock Hook is napping on. It is a lot of fun and full of laughs. The person who knocks Hook off of the hammock loses.
Honorable Mention: Snug as a Bug in a Rug
This game is one of the absolute best games to play with young players. There are 3 levels of play, and it grows with your kids. There’s a party on the rug, and all the little colored bugs want to hide under the rug before the 3 stink bugs come and stink up the party. This game teaches dice rolling, spinner use, taking turns, teamwork, and matching! Each bug has a certain color, shape, and number of shapes, as well as large or small eyes. At the first level of play, you roll the die and use what it lands on to find the bugs you’re hiding (color, shape, number). You spin the spinner to find the exact match you need. If you have run out of bugs to match, oh no! The first stink bug shows up. Now, you need to match eye size. This game is fun no matter how old your kids are (Meepleine bought it for her 3 year old, but her 10 year old likes it, too) and is by that most amazing of companies mentioned earlier, Peaceable Kingdom.
Game for kids 6+: King of Tokyo
This game is fun for the whole family. Everyone is a Kaiju trying to take over Tokyo. The Kaijus fight each other and try to get enough victory points to win. The first kaiju to 20 experience points or the last Kaiju standing is the winner. Expansion packs for this game includes a special Halloween version with their version of Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie. We will have this expansion and the Cthulhu and Kong expansion at the next ELS Game Day.
The next ELS Game Day is happening at Comicazi on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 12-6 for an ELS Game Day filled with fun games to play with your family. If you need a last minute gift for the mom in your life – we can also give some great suggestions. We hope to see you there!
Well that is it for us this month. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!
Until next time, may all your hits be crits!
It seems only fitting that our first blog post for the Ladies is going to highlight games designed by women. Our game day is dedicated to getting women together to game and introduce little girls to gaming while being surrounded by confident women who share the hobby. There are some amazing woman-created games out there. We are going to highlight just a few for you here. Each one is highly recommended and odds are that the games are on one or both of our game shelves.
Word is out and LadiesCon 2017 (or as I like to call it LadiesCon II: The Revenge of LadiesCon) is coming at you on Saturday, September 16th. The guest announcements have begun and our social media is buzzing with excitement. In the case that you’re itching for even more info about the Con, here’s a little something to help tide you over – 5 Fun Facts About LadiesCon.
1) LadiesCon is for Everyone
We’re often asked if LadiesCon is just for those who identify as women. While we do strive to highlight the contribution of women in pop culture and the community, you don’t have to be a woman in order to support and be a fan of work featuring women or created by them. This means that everyone is welcome, including all ages. Inclusion is very important to us whether it’s our guests or vendors.
2) LadiesCon is FREE again this year!
That’s right! Admission to the LadiesCon 2017 is completely free. There are a few reasons why The Ladies have insisted that it be this way. The first reason goes back to the previous fact – LadiesCon is for everyone. We don’t want high admission prices to prevent anyone from coming to our Con or even just stopping by out of curiosity. We want to expose as many people as possible to our guests, vendors, and panels. Letting people in for free helps us do just that. Another reason we keep admission free is that we want those attending LadiesCon to spend their money on our guests and vendors. Purchasing books, art, etc. from the creators directly is more than just a chance to get your hands on some really wonderful stuff. It’s also a chance to support them financially, allowing them to create even more wonderful things. So seriously, we want to you spend your money, just not on getting in the door.
3) LadiesCon is run by volunteers
LadiesCon is proof that if you get enough passionate people together, amazing things can be accomplished. By the time we open the doors at the Armory, dozens of people will have already contributed their time, skills, and community spirit to creating LadiesCon. In fact, a lot of those people will then be running around all day at the Con giving one last push to make everyone’s LadiesCon dreams a reality. If you see them in their Staff shirts or buttons, feel free to say “hi” or “thanks.” Without them, there would be no LadiesCon.
Want to know what else is fun about this being run by volunteers? It gives you a chance to get in on the action as well. The Ladies are always looking for people to partner with whether it’s for the Con, our blog, or any of our other events. Remember, you don’t have to be a lady to contribute. Warning though, once you’re in “the family” who knows what else we might try to rope you into… *wink
4) We have some big changes and surprises planned for this year
I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys spoiling surprises, but let’s just say that our new space gives us a lot of elbow room to add some more content. We are also reaching out to new potential partners and guests every day. We are reaching for the stars in hopes of making our little Con as special and fun as it can be. Who knows what goodies you might find yourself taking home with you this year?
Also, remember those VIP events we had last year? The early admission lunch and the after-party? Keep your eyes out for those as we have not only listened to the feedback we received last year, but are also hoping to make them even more fun and interactive this go round.
5) You can still support LadiesCon even if you can’t join us on Sept 16.
The Ladies work all year to support LadiesCon – this is especially true financially. If you can’t be at the Con this year, you can show your support by attending other events or fundraisers we host throughout the year. Looking for something more specific? Here are some ideas:
- Shop at Comicazi and maybe purchase one of our bracelets up at the register
- Attend one of the Comicazi Yard Sales and drop by our table (The next one is Sunday, June 25th!)
- Come to any of our upcoming events and purchase a snack or raffle ticket
A great way to stay up to date on what we’re up to is to get on our mailing list.
Not local or want to support LadiesCon another way? Easy, spread the word. Honestly, the more people who know about the Con and our mission, the easier it will be to have bigger and better events.
So, what are you most excited about this year? What would you like to see added? Let us know in the comments below!
March is Women’s History Month in the US – a time that various government institutions “commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.” Here at the Ladies we encourage you to study, observe and celebrate women’s contributions every day – particularly their contributions to comics and pop culture. One of the things I like about doing your periodic webcomics round ups is that not only is it a chance to share the sheer talent of so many lady artists and writers (of whom there are still fewer than I would prefer getting work in mainstream comics publishing), but it’s also an opportunity to embrace a much wider scope of what storytelling in comics can be. Even though your average shop is offering far more than just superhero tales these days (and there’s nothing wrong with superhero tales), it still feels like the web has some weirder, wilder offerings. Here are three I’m digging right now.
Monsterkind by Taylor C.
Updates: T, Fr
Monsterkind is one of the first comics about social work I’ve ever seen. (Feel free to tell me if there are more in the comments!) It’s the story of Wallace Foster, a young social worker who’s recently been relocated to District C – a place where the inhabitants are mostly monsters. Wallace is human, and some of the residents of District C clearly don’t trust him and his intentions. Somehow he’s got to figure out a way to win over his clients – and figure out some of the deeper mysteries surrounding him, District C, and his new neighbors. What I really like about Monsterkind is that, even though it deals with some pretty deep and potentially sensitive topics – racism, segregation, and identity – it does so in a lighthearted and upbeat way that counterbalances the darkness of its subject matter while still taking it very seriously. It’s also got some pretty great and innovative character designs for the monster residents of District C – some look human but have powers and abilities that seem supernatural, while others sport everything from tentacles to detachable eyes. The underlying mysteries unfold slowly, but steadily, and promise a worthwhile payoff. Content-wise, this is appropriate for all-ages, but many of the interactions will go over the heads of young kids – I think early teens up would be the most interested.
Bonus: Another comic! Taylor C.’s significant other, one Zack Morrison, also does a weird comic I love called Paranatural. Maybe one day I’ll give it a whole review, because it’s awesome, but as Zack’s not a lady, it didn’t fit here. It’s fine as a bonus, right?
Not Drunk Enough by Tessa Stone
Updates: T, Th
Logan Ibarra is a young repairman with a pretty normal life – until he’s called out to do a nighttime service call at the local laboratory. When he gets there, it quickly becomes clear that the problem here is a lot worse than a faulty AC system. Reality itself has become warped, along with most of the lab’s employees. Now Logan’s got to figure out how to escaped before he’s transformed, eaten, or his flask runs dry.
I’ve been a fan of Tessa Stone’s work since her one of her earliest efforts, the dearly departed Hanna is Not a Boy’s Name. That was a comedy about a paranormal investigator, full of whimsy, jokes, and sweet-hearted humor. Not Drunk Enough has a sense of humor, but it’s a much more macabre one – the jokes of terrified people who know they’re unlikely to survive the night. The art, in turn is dark and jagged, befitting the paranoia permeating the doomed lab. Like Monsterkind, there are deeper mysteries to be solved that Stone teases out slowly, and real human heartbreak driving the choices the characters make. The creature designs are killer, literally and figuratively – this is a great read for older teens, but a bit too mature for the younger crowd.
Bonus: Stone also collaborates with Ananth Hirsh of Johnny Wander and Sarah Stone (yes, related) of Monster Boys and Robots on Is This What You Wanted, a comic that is just starting about romance and illness and demons. So if you dig her character design here, check that out too.
Ava’s Demon by Michelle Czajkowski
Plot: Ava Ire is a total outcast at school – all of the other kids and even the teachers think she’s totally crazy. Of course, since she’s often talking to herself and prone to emotional outbursts, it’s hard to blame them. What they don’t know is that Ava is plagued by a very real demon – Wrathia Bellarmina, the ghost of a former warrior queen who wants to bond with Ava in order to get revenge on the person responsible for her demise. That person happens to be the ruler of the entire universe, Titan; part corporate overlord, part god. When a series of strange events cause Ava to flee her home, a deal is struck – but will either Ava or Wrathia really get what they want?
Ava’s Demon combines fantasy and sci-fi elements into a powerful combination unlike anything I’ve quite seen before. The world-building is thorough but unforced – you learn about what’s going on as the characters do. The art is complete gorgeous, with fully saturated color and light effects that give everything a dreamy quality. Czajkowski takes advantage of her storytelling medium completely as well – each weekly installment consists of several pages that the reader flips through, introducing an almost animated quality to the story. At the close of each chapter is an actually animated sequence, complete with music. It’s frankly unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait to see where the story is headed. This is another one I’d pitch more towards teens – there’s nothing too crazy but some of the violence might be a little much for a sensitive younger reader.
Bonus: If you follow the Ava’s Demon Tumblr, Czajkowski shares the beautiful fanart folks do for the comic.
Are there any other comics by ladies I should check out? Let me know in the comments!
In honor of Women’s Month, we thought it would be a lot of fun to take a moment to feature one of our favorite vendors: FanMail.
If you’re a fan of subscription boxes, are proud to be a geek, and want to take the opportunity to support a business owned and run by women, you really can’t go wrong here. A subscription to FanMail means that every other month you are going to get a box of unique, curated items picked specifically for today’s lady-geek. There is a focus on featuring other small lady-owned businesses within the items as well. Seriously guys, this stuff is so great that I’m doing this post not because they gave us a box in trade, but because I’m a happy subscriber and am pleased to give them my money.
One (or should I say two) of the things that makes FanMail so special are the owners Rose and Jenny. Rose and Jenny share The Ladies of Comicazi’s mission to celebrate women and the community in which we create, forge friendships, and experience our fandoms. They are dedicated, friendly, and are responsible for a lot of people getting their hands on some really amazing stuff.
In an attempt to convince you, I wanted to share the unboxing of my February Box. This month’s theme was Familiars and Companions.
Items: Bookstr Notebook, Avatar/Totoro Cross-over T-Shirt, Doctor Who Donna Noble quote sticker, Luna-inspired Sailor Moon Necklace, and adorable Eevee Pokemon (or is that a Flareon?)
Item: BB-8 throw pillow case. So gorgeous!
Item: Niffler pouch – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I realize my photos don’t seem to do the items justice, so if you want to see more, you should head on over to FanMail’s Instagram.
Oh, and if a subscription might be more of a commitment than you are ready for, you can browse their shop for past items and boxes. I got my eyes on these sweet but subtle Hogwarts House mugs. Hufflepuff forever!
Summer is upon us and while for many of us are planning our trips to the beach, I think it’s safe to assume that just as many of us are getting ready for Boston Comic Con in August. This means a flurry of activity as we make plans, obsessively check the guest lists, and get our cosplay ready. The Ladies of Comicazi will be there with a few surprises (more on that coming soon), and we hope you stop by and say hi.
But as we eagerly await the big event, I wanted to take a moment to highlight a special cosplayer who’s not only gorgeous and talented, but also related to Tiny Doom and I (please don’t hold that against her, she really is a lovely person).
Mikaela (aka April O’Neil) is an up and coming cosplyer based out of New York. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us about her experiences doing cosplay.
How did you first learn about cosplay and what made you start participating?
How do we learn about anything? The internet! LOL! I was looking up pictures of superheroes online and I came across a woman dressed as Rogue, from X-Men. I then started to research cosplay, started participating in chat rooms as well. When I first discovered all of this I hadn’t transitioned yet. I was still hiding who I was. I saw cosplay as an outlet for me to be who I really wanted to be. I attended my first convention back in 2010, NYCC, as April O’Neil. It was very well received and for the first time ever I felt amazingly confident. Cosplay gave me courage that I don’t think I would have had otherwise.
Speaking of your transition, is there is anything you would like to talk about in regards to the cosplay community and its response to your transition? For instance have you found cosplayers to be more or less supportive?
That is difficult to answer. A majority of the cosplayers that I know, that have supported my transition, I was already friends with. I haven’t really found a good outlet to gauge what people, in the community, think about it. I did come out to my followers on DeviantArt last year, in a journal entry on Transgender Day of Visibility. I can say that I got mixed responses, a majority of them positive. Then of course you have some that are negative as well. Someone, who I assume follows me on DA, commented on one of my April videos on YouTube. He said he can’t really like my video because I’m a man. In my experience though, everyone I meet who discovers I am transgender has been overwhelmingly supportive. It could be luck, it could be things are moving in a positive direction as we move into the future, I am not sure. I can say I feel truly blessed to get that amount of support and I hope that will always be the case no matter who I meet in the community.
Which cosplay/fandom is your favorite?
I only choose to cosplay characters that have a special place in my heart. I grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was my first love. I always looked up to April. She had a feisty attitude, independent, smart, brave and one hell of a driver. I always wanted to be her, so to be able to cosplay her is actually a dream come true. Catwoman is another favorite who I cosplay quite often and I have multiple versions of her to wear. I have many other favorites, many other characters I want to cosplay. It’s an expensive hobby, all in due time lol.
Do you have any suggestions for others who want to get into cosplay?
If the interest is there, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. It’s not only a lot of fun, but I have met people I wouldn’t have and did things I never thought I would do because of cosplay.
Favorite cosplay experience?
My favorite experience was when I went to a con as Catwoman. I was walking around the convention center and I had a little Batman come up to me. He held on to my leg very tightly and said “You’re mine, Catwoman.” It was the cutest and most heart warming moment. I spent a little while with that little boy as he told me about why he loves Batman so much and I took a picture with him. He thought I was really Catwoman and it was such an wonderful experience.
Any bad experiences with cosplay or the community?
I have been lucky in this regard. I know a lot of cosplayers who have had terrible experiences. I haven’t had anything really bad happen. Walking down the streets of Manhatten to get to NYCC in costume is always an interesting experience. I get the cat calling when I am in costume, but most of the time I ignore it. Nothing has ever been so rude that I had to turn around to take notice. When I am at conventions people are usually very respectful if I say I can’t take a photo or anything. Some look more disappointed than others, but again nothing bad has ever come of it.
Do you have any new plans or ideas you are working on for your next costume or character?
As I stated previously I have many other characters lol. I want to do Tracer from Overwatch, Teela MOTU, Cheetara from Thundercats, Juri, Ibuki, Poison, Cammy, Vixen from DC, the list goes on and on. I hope to be able to do them all at some point. Cosplay isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I am optimistic lol. Even if it does, who cares, I am still going to cosplay my heart out!
What skills have you learned or want to learn in regards to costume making and planning?
My sewing has actually improved dramatically since I got into cosplay. I can make adjustments on my costumes no problem, although construction without a pattern to follow is still very intimidating to me. I have only tackled very simple things. I leave the more complex costumes to someone far more talented than I. I would like to, at some point, be able to make my own and not have to commission my costumes.
Any events you will be attending this summer?
No major events planned, at least convention wise. I am attending a midnight showing of the Suicide Squad as Knightfall Catwoman. Other than that I would like to do more photo shoots. I have several photographers that want to connect to do some work with me. It would be nice to have more content for my pages. It’s hard for me to find the time with my work schedule.
As someone who reads a lot, and has a pretty widespread taste in books, folks frequently ask me for book recommendations. Some friends I give the full list, knowing that they are also literary adventurers who are equally happy reading Harry Potter, The Corrections, or a book about oysters. If I know what they like, I might give them a tailored list of mysteries or urban fantasy or great literary fiction. However, I have a special, curated list as well – the books I think any right-minded, well-read person would like. These are the stories that transcend genre and individual tastes. They’re practically a litmus test for my friendship – if you don’t like these stories, we’ve just got such radically different worldviews that I don’t see how we could possibly get along. (Okay, that might be going a little far. And yet…) As a bonus, in addtion to being great reads, all three of these books are written by women, and all three have girls or women as protagonists. So for this year’s Summer Reading post, I present the three lady-centric books I think anyone (and everyone) will enjoy.