Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition

Manufacturer: Beamdog

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Dad

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for PC is the penultimate version of this classic Dungeons and Dragons RPG adventure.  Baldur’s Gate is a top-down isometric view RPG adventure where you roll a single character or an entire party of adventurers to experience the story of your unusual parentage and the mysterious circumstances the Sword Coast of Faerun currently finds itself in.

The world of Faerun is a vastly fleshed out world in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons and many characters from the books and pen and paper RPGs like the wizard Elminster and the drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden appear in Baldur’s Gate. 

Baldur’s Gate is built on the 2nd Edition rules for Dungeons and Dragons and still remains one of my favorite RPG systems from when I was a kid.  The game can be paused at any time by pressing Spacebar allowing you to micro manage your party’s actions during combat. And there are some intense encounters where you really need to.

Expect to fight all of the classic monsters from Dungeons and Dragons such as Kobolds, Gnolls, Trolls, Giants, Doppelgangers, Beholders, carrion crawlers, liches and many more.  The updated spell effects and sounds really make your spell casters shine as almost all of the spell effects were updated with more depth and animations. And all of the classic D&D spells are available for your wizards, druids and clerics.  Some of my favorites are Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Bless, and Monster Summoning and all look fantastic in Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.

In 2016, Beamdog Inc had acquired permissions to re-release the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale series as Enhanced Editions and boy did they deliver.  Beamdog faithfully updated the entire game’s graphics, sounds on an updated version of the original Infinity Engine.  They even added new NPC’s to find and add to your party and some new side quests.

Beamdog has preserved the look, feel, mechanics, and spirit of the game and I have bought almost all of the Enhanced Edition Games they have released on Steam. 

My Love Affair With Baldur’s Gate started with the original release of the game in 1998. Baldur’s Gate was originally developed by Bioware and published by Interplay Entertainment.  I put in hundreds of hours in the base game and its expansion Tales of the Sword coast during high school and later in college.

Since that time I’ve done at least 10 full playthroughs with different main characters, including an evil character run that was just as memorable as any of my others.

If you are a fan of pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder, and you want to play one of the best RPGs ever made on PC, then Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is the place to start.

I highly recommend you check it out for yourself along with the other games from that series.  Beamdog currently has released Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale II.  They are all amazing and Beamdog has even released a brand new expansion for Baldur’s Gate called Siege of Dragonspear that has never been seen before. That’s right, they made a full game expansion for a title that is now over 20 years old. 

That is the kind of dedication to an intellectual property that I wish more developers had these days and it shines through every bit of work they did on enhancing Baldur’s Gate.

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Board Games as a Family Hobby

A Family Game Night How-To Article

By Dad

Gaming is one of oldest forms of entertainment. Game pieces have been found in archaeological digs around the world, dating back to some of the oldest civilizations on the planet. In modern times, Board Games have become one of the most diverse and interesting pastimes available to us.  There are so many different types of board games, card games, and miniature games available today that no matter who you are, there is a game out there that you and your family can enjoy.

Family game night has become a staple in households around the world, and for good reason.  Playing tabletop games together gives your family a reason to get unplugged from screens and interact with each other. Board games tighten much-needed family bonds and encourage families to spend time together. For kids, family game night provides an opportunity for new experiences and can be used as learning opportunity to reinforce basic math, vocabulary, reading and writing skills.

Cooperative games like Castle Panic and Pandemic help families learn to work together, problem solve and overcome challenges together. In contrast, competitive games like Munchkin, Ticket to Ride or Small Worldcan teach conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving. Games like Hi Ho Cherry-O or Jenga can help kids practice basic math skills, manual dexterity or other educational skills.  The multitude of games on the market today make it possible to find a game that is right for your family game nights, no matter what your family gaming goals are.

Setting up family game night is easy! Pick one evening a week to play a couple of games as a family instead of watching TV or playing video games.  Let each member of the family have a turn picking the game to play so everyone has a chance to play the games they want.

Make time to check out your local game store and shop for games together. Boardgame stores can be great resources to learn about new games and some will even let you play them before you buy.  I’m lucky that gamestores near me feature open play areas where we can go and play games outside of the house, providing a change of scenery. Playing games in a store play room is also great if you don’t have space at home for games that require more room.

If you don’t have a local game store near you to help you choose the game right for your family, check out Youtube or a review website like to find out what other people are saying about games they love to play.

Game Night Rules:

We have a rule for our family game nights banning electronics from the table when playing board games or role playing games. It’s too easy for the entire family to get sucked into their individual screens, causing us to interact with each other less than we should. Setting up a time where the whole family can come together that doesn’t include electronics is a much needed break for everyone. All it takes is commitment by the whole family to show up for that weekly evening to play games.

Be aware that you need to give yourself permission to adjust your rules as needed. As an example, my father enjoys playing miniature games, but because of his poor eyesight he needs a tablet with zoom to read rules and warscrolls for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. We make exceptions where it makes sense.  The main goal of our “no electronics” rule is to keep us from getting distracted from playing the game.  This rule may not work for every family, but it has served us well to keep everyone focused and having fun.

Our family has built years of amazing memories playing games on family game night. It has helped our family bonds grow tighter.  Countless game nights and camping trips, hauling our game collection along, have taught us that the family that plays together, stays together, and you don’t have to be staring at an LCD screen to have some serious fun.

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Games Workshop Thanquol & Bone Ripper Skaven Warhammer

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review By: Dad

The mighty Boneripper protects his master Thanquol with his savage bulk and a choice between Warpfire Braziers and Warpfire Projectors.  Thanquol has some amazing fluff written around his addiction to warpstone, which fuels and boosts his megalomania, paranoia and fantastic spell casting abilities.

He can cast two spells in your hero phase and unbind two spells in your opponent’s hero phase as well and the Warpstone Addiction rule gives him an automatic spellcasting reroll on a 2+ but on a 1 he can’t cast anything. Boneripper can drop an automatic 2d6 (two six sided dice) wounds with his Warpfire Projectors, which is savage to any unit that comes within 8” of them.  The Warpfire Braziers net you 4 attacks with d6s hitting on a 3+ with -2 rend and a whopping 3 damage each.  Either choice works well and can consistently deal damage so pick the one that works best for your play style.

Thanquol and Boneripper are a beastly Hero Unit choice for your Skaven army in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and are a great pick as your general with a Command Ability granting a 6+/5+ invulnerable save to any unit.  Thanquol’s Warp-amulet allows them to heal a wound every hero phase, as well making them tough to kill without consistent damage being done. Just keep him in range of some blocking support to keep powerful ground units away from him while Thanquol unleashes his powerful spell-casting and Boneripper hoses anything down that gets close with the Warpfire Projectors or smashes them into piles of goo with the Warpfire Braziers.

The kit itself is well designed and fairly easy to build with the normal patience and time miniature modeling requires.  There are only a few joints that may require gap filling during construction and they are small enough that Games Workshops Liquid Greenstuff works great to fill them in. Games Workshop recommends and age of 12+ for the majority of their products, but younger kids can still paint them after an adult handles the hobby knife and plastic glue putting the kit together.

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is a fantastic fantasy miniatures wargame, with many different armies and army themes to choose and build from.  Miniature wargames are a combined hobby of miniature modeling/painting and an exciting, strategic, dice based simulated battle.

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Dungeon Roll Dice Game

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Dad

Dungeon Roll by Tasty Minstrel Games is a fantastic dice rolling, dungeon delving game for one to four players and a recommended age range of eight plus.  However, with some minor coaching, our six-year-old Robby was able to pick it up and play easily.

In Dungeon Roll each player has a character they play (the player type can either be handed out randomly, or chosen by each player depending on the rule set you choose), which hearken to the types of characters you’d see in a Dungeons and Dragons style game. Each have different passive and active abilities to aid your party in the dungeon.

One of the fun aspects of this game is that every player gets to takes turns being the Dungeon Lord (Dungeon Master). The Dungeon Lord rolls the dungeon dice to reveal monsters to slay, magic scrolls and potions. Meanwhile, the challenging player tries to defeat the dungeon levels and collect treasure and XP. 

Our son had a great time being the Dungeon Lord and rolling the “bad guy” dice for Mom’s party to fight. He did sometimes find it hard to remember to advance the dungeon dice as the levels increased, but with a little coaching, he was able to make it through the full game like a pro.

It took us a few rolls to get the game-play down, but once we did, we all had a ton of fun. The game gets into a rhythm as play goes around the table, turning Dungeon Roll into a quick-paced game for family game nights. It would be a fun transition game to play between your favorite card games and board games, as play typically lasts fifteen to thirty minutes. 

Dungeon Roll is also quick to learn and accessible for a new players. Dungeon Roll originally came to life on Kickstarter and crushed their goals early in the campaign. Dungeon Roll was so successful that it’s now available just about anywhere that board games and card games are sold. Check out Dungeon Roll for yourself and see if it fits into your family game nights as well as it does ours.

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Games Workshop Nighthaunt Hexwraiths

Our Rating: 5 of 5

Review by: Dad

Hexwraiths are an amazing cavalry battleline unit for a Nighthaunt allegiance army in games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. I have to admit, i’m massively biased when it comes to Hexwraiths, I absolutely love them! And Games Workshop indulges my love of Hexwraiths with the Deathriders Battalion Warscroll in the Citadel Nighthaunt Battletome

The Deathriders Battalion include two units of Hexwraiths (I run two units of ten), A Black Coach and one or two Dreadblade Harrows (I run them both and call them the Murder Bros).  All of the units in the battalion get plus one to their charge rolls.  And if they roll a nine plus on the charge, they can immediately pile in and fight a round of combat.  This is amazing because they can still be selected to pile in and fight as normal during the Combat Phase. I run a two thousand point list based on this battalion and it is tons of fun!

Hexwraiths are available in units of five in their own box and in the Start Collecting: Malignants box. They have two wounds each, a whopping twelve inch move, and a four plus save.  They have four attacks split between their Spectral Scythes and their Skeletal Steed’s Hooves and Teeth with fairly modest attack profiles.  But the Spectral Scythes do automatic wounds on a hit roll of  six.  The unit leader is a Hellwraith and gets and extra attack with his Spectral Scythe. To top that off, if you make a move across an enemy unit, roll a dice for each Hexwraith that passed through an enemy model on a five plus the unit suffers a mortal wound.

I like to charge them in for a round of combat, then move through the unit im fighting, do those extra mortal wounds, charge, then pile in and attack again.  I back up each unit of Hexwraiths with a Vampire Lord ally (only available through Games Workshop) to give them extra attacks and bring back dead models/heal lost wounds.  Always ensuring the Hexwraiths are dealing damage and staying at a reasonable unit strength.

Hexwraiths are an amazing option for your battleline units in your Nighthaunt army for games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  They are a must buy to at least have a fast, heavy hitting unit for capturing objectives or flanking enemy units.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternals Liberators

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review By: Dad

Games Workshop Liberators are the main battleline unit for armies of Stormcast Eternals in games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  The leader of the unit is a Liberator-Prime and gets an extra attack with his equipped weapon.  Liberators can either be armed with Warhammers or Warblades and they can take them either paired to reroll hit rolls of a one or single with a Sigmarite Shield allowing them to reroll save rolls of a one. One in every five models can instead take either a Grandblade or Grandhammer to add some extra damage output and some rending to the unit.

Liberators have two wounds, a five inch move, and a four plus save making them pretty hardy against most other melee units.  While Judicators may also be taken as a ranged battleline unit option, Liberators are a great choice for holding objectives or locking down enemy monster and hero units thanks to their ability Lay Low the Tyrants.

Lay Low the Tyrants allow the Liberators to get plus one to their hit rolls when fighting units with five wounds or more.Giving them a two plus to hit with blades and a three plus to hit with hammers. Liberators go great with a Lord-Celestant on foot backing them up.  The Lord-Celestant’s command ability Furious Retribution can further boost the Liberators to hit rolls by another plus one, guaranteeing that those hit rolls go through.

The models themselves are beautiful along with all the other Stormcast Eternals sculpts from Games Workshop.  The easy to build kit is a great way to fill in your units if you want hammers, but can easily be kit-bashed to blades if you pick up a full box of liberators as well. Liberators are available in several different boxes of models.  The come in a unit of ten models in the standard box from Games Workshop. They also come in an easy to build box of three models and the Stormcast Eternals Start Collecting box in a unit of five models.

Ready to start building your army? Get the Stormcast Eternals Start Collecting Box on Amazon Here.

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Games Workshop 40K Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternals Paladins Retributors

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Dad

Paladins are a must buy for your Stormcast Eternals armies for games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  Boxes of Games Workshop paladins can build three different sects: Retributors, Decimators, and Protectors. No matter which version you choose, these big boys have three wounds each, a four-inch move, a four plus save and are bravery seven. Each type of paladin is equipped with a different weapon. These weapons give the paladins amazing flexibility in their role on the battlefield.  This allows you to build a versatile army built of primarily paladins since you can take two minimum units of Judicators for your battleline units in a Stormcast Eternals allegiance army.

Two in every five models of paladins can take a Starsoul Mace. In general, you’ll want to take the maximum number of Starsoul Maces.  They do an automatic D3 wounds per Mace on a hit roll of a two – five. On a six they do D3 plus one wounds instead and a hit roll of a one misses.  Starsoul Maces are consistent damage output for units of Paladins, no matter which variant you take. The only time I don’t take maces is with Decimators.

Decimators are equipped with Thunderaxe’s that make a number of attacks equal to the number of enemy models within two inches of each Decimator.  Up against large blobs of enemies, Decimator paladins do exactly as their name implies, they are capable of completely destroying a large blob of one wound low bravery models in one round of attacks. And Decimators reduce the bravery of enemy units in the battleshock phase by two, increasing the chance of extra models running away.

Protectors are equipped with Stormstrike Glaives with a whopping three inch range. Stormstrike Glaives are designed to deal massive damage to monsters with their Deathstrike ability. Deathstrike turns hit rolls of a six into d6 damage instead of one. Stormstrike Glaives also allow Protectors to knock missle weapons out of the air with their Storm-shield ability, giving them plus one to their saves against shooting attacks as well as boosting the save of any units being shot at that are wholly within six inches of a unit of Protectors.  Taking Starsoul Maces are a great option with Protectors for consistent damage output against a variety of enemy units.

Retributors are equipped with Lightning Hammers that do two damage with each hit and do an automatic two mortal wounds on a hit roll of a six. Retributors are the best all around version of paladins for doing consistent wounds to just about any enemy unit they get in close combat with.  They have the shortest range of any of the paladins at one inch.  Taking the maximum number of Starsoul Maces with units of Retributors is pretty much required to boost the damage output of the unit.

Paladins are more or less required when building armies of Stormcast Eternals for your games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  Their flexibility means building at least one unit of each type a must for your collection. Further boxes can be collected to build up an army of mostly paladins which can be great fun on the battlefield.  These boxes also contain a ton of extra bits making them useful when kitbashing or converting other models.  Paladins are available in box by themselves in a unit of five models you can build into any type of Paladin, in the Storm of Sigmar box in a unit of two Retributors, and in the Stormcast Eternals Start Collecting box in a unit of two Retributors.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

Games Workshop Warhammer Spirit Hosts

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review By: Dad

Games Workshop Spirit Hosts are a fun little unit for your Nighthaunt army in games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  Spirit Hosts are available in a unit of three in their own box and in the Start Collecting: Malignants box.  Units of Spirit Hosts can be any number of models but I highly recommend taking them in a minimum unit of at least three.  A unit of three is only one hundred and twenty points per the 2018 Generals Handbook which makes this the perfect filler for that last bit of points in your list.  And boy are they worth the points even in units of only three.

Spirit Hosts are also a battleline unit if your army has the Nighthaunt allegiance so taking massive amounts of them and spamming their crazy six attacks per model is viable. Spirit Hosts are tough with three wounds each and a four plus save. While they only hit on a five plus and wound on a four plus, their number of attacks generally guarantees wounds going through every round of combat.  And if the hit roll is a six, they inflict an automatic mortal wound!

The sculpts of the models are really cool looking with each model having three spirits floating around with their Spectral Daggers.  However, whoever designed the model and build instructions was a sadist. There are so many little bits that you can accidently break off cleaning up leftover sprue on the pieces.  And there are several points where you have to glue pieces together and let them sit for a while before gluing on the next piece. This makes building the models themselves a rather tedious and delicate process. And they are as delicate once built as a lot of other Nighthaunt models, so they have to be more carefully stored and transported.

Spirit Hosts are a fantastic option for your games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar by Games Workshop.  They do well as long as you take at least a minimum unit of three, and can really put the hurt on in units of nine or twelve.  Check them out for your Nighthaunt army today!

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