Five12: An Interview with Brooke Favero

“Volunteering in the community has been part of my upbringing and I want to instill it in my children as well…It’s an easy and deeply rewarding way to serve in our community.”

-Brooke Favero

Brooke Favero took the time to talk with me on September 30th, 2019 about Five12, an organization that helps feed the children of Salt Lake City, Utah.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Brooke, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.

Brooke: Well, I’m an avid board gamer, aspiring writer and a mom with five kids, so I always have a game in my pocket. Friends and family often come to me for game ideas and thus Game Night Maven was born. It is a central spot for all my game knowledge. Plus, I love and admire Kickstarters, so I wanted to provide a space where I could help boost them. Kicking a game is a scary amazing thing.As for getting into the hobby, it has been since birth. I come from generations of game players. It’s how we spend time as a family.

Brooke’s family enjoying a game of Catan

TheCharityBoardGamer: What is a fond memory you have playing with your family?

Brooke: Growing up, my parents didn’t let us watch TV on Sunday. So my siblings and I would spend hours playing games. We became Risk sharks, and I have secret demon control of dice. I can almost always roll a 5 or 6 when playing Risk. I don’t know what it is about the dice, but I’m money. It doesn’t translate to any other dice game. Everyone just knows they have to come at me with triple the amount of armies because my troops fight like lions. So often as a kid, my brother would curse my lions.

TheCharityBoardGamer: What is the go-to game right now with your family now?

Brooke: That’s tough. It depends on our mood. For a party, Skull King. If I had my way: Tiny Towns all day everyday. If my husband could pick, definitely Outer Rim.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So I asked you here to talk about 512. What is 512 about and why is it important to you and your family?

Brooke: The 5.12 project is an amazing foundation. It was started to give back to the children in our local community. 

In Utah, many kids have subsidized lunch at school. This provides them with breakfast and lunch during the week but the foundation learned that often these children go home on the weekend with little to eat. 

Loading bags on a Wednesday evening.

Brooke: Thus the project was born. On Wednesdays, we go for about 1 and 1/2 hours and assemble weekend lunch bags for these children. In the lunch bags, there are several breakfast meals like cereal or oatmeal and then there are several items the kids can eat for lunch. 

Every week the foundation puts together about 800 -1000 lunch bags. Then they distribute them around our local county and Salt Lake City to help kids in need. Utah has taken in a lot of refugees from war torn countries and a lot of these meals feed these kids.

Brooke: Volunteering in the community has been part of my upbringing and I want to instill it in my children as well. We often go as a family because it is at 6pm at night. It’s an easy and deeply rewarding way to serve in our community.

TheCharityBoardGamer: That is beautiful. Can you share about a moment helping as a family that really stood out to you and reaffirmed why you do this?

Brooke: Going to the foundation is always the same experience because we don’t actually get to hand the food to the kids in need. But this last Christmas, we went caroling and delivered food to several refugee families from Africa in Salt Lake. It was when we were caroling and laughing with these amazing families and really hearing their stories of escape that my kids made the connection. Then my kids realized all the work we do at 5 12 project goes to kids like the ones we visited, and that connection instilled in them the desire to serve.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Brooke, if someone wanted to learn more about 5 12 or support them, where could they go?

Brooke: Five12.org. All of the food is donated from big companies and grocery stores and they have strict rules about what they can put in the weekend lunch bags. But I’m sure there is a link on the website of how you can donate. If you live in Utah, then you can always come serve on Wednesdays. Although I do know for large groups, like church youth groups, you need to email them and make an appointment to come.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Brooke, Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

Brooke: Anytime. It’s an awesome thing that you do, and it’s important to serve our community.

The Brown House: An Interview with James Hudson

“They did this alone, just their family with 2 small children. They were rejected and ridiculed, but when you look at the thriving community there today, I think they would tell you that all those hard years were worth it.”

-James Hudson

I spoke with James via E-mail about The Brown House on October 2nd, 2019.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into the hobby?

James: I got into the hobby when I was playing WoW (World of Warcraft). Some of my local friends invited to me to a game night and I really enjoyed the face to face interaction that the board game provided, it felt like old school LAN gaming, but with a tactile element. I was instantly hooked. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: What has been a go-to game you have been playing a lot lately?

James: King of Tokyo – I am playing it with the family every night. We have just left it out on the table and get a game in every night. I know for me, in the modern day of playing every new game that comes out, it’s nice to really dive deep into a single game and explore it intently.


TheCharityBoardGamer: Any designer that you have great respect for or a publisher that you have enjoyed?

James: This could be a really long list as the community has so many people that are admirable. I think, for me, Jamey Stegmaier is at the top of that list. I studied everything he wrote when I was on-boarding into the industry. I followed his lead, and when I reached out to him for advice, he was always there to answer my questions. His games are amazing and still someone I look up to as a publisher. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: Tell me about The Brown House. How did it get started and how did you and your family get involved?

James: The Brown House is a community of like minded people that believe that you have to “walk” with people to see growth. It’s not enough to throw a popsicle party here and there and expect to see growth in a community. Adam and Amy Pierce set out 15 years ago to break the “American Dream” by moving to the housing projects, to where society had decided that the people that lived their was “less than”. They did this alone, just their family with 2 small children. They were rejected and ridiculed, but when you look at the thriving community there today, I think they would tell you that all those hard years were worth it. 

James: We got involved when we met Adam and Amy at a Crossfit class. They invited us to tutoring (which is every afternoon after school when the kids get off the buses, there is a specific house that hosts the tutoring sessions and we would make sure the kids had help with their homework, snacks, and some playtime) and we fell in love with the community. We instantly started talking about a way to get involved and potentially moving our family to the community. It took a couple years but we made that happen and we lived there the last 5 years we were in Alabama before moving to Los Angeles for the board game thing. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: Why is this charity important to you?

James: The Brown House is important because it bridges so many gaps. It stands and proclaims that people are people, no matter where society has placed them in significance. I went to the Brown House thinking that I was going to show people a “better way” and I was quickly knocked on my butt. It didn’t take long for the community of West Circle to show me a “better way”.

James: The Brown House doesn’t ask for qualifiers for help. They don’t seek to “justify” the assistance that is handed out. They are there to accept people as they are, where they are, and to walk with them. They seek out the marginalized and run to them.


TheCharityBoardGamer: What is a way that we can help with the charity?

James: From afar, the best way is to donate funds. I know that sounds like a cop out or the easy answer, but there are a lot of needs and funds are the main way that people from the outside can help with those needs. When an expectant mother loses her job, she is in a crisis situation, having funds to support her in the short term keeps her in the housing and keeps her family unit together. I don’t think a lot of people understand that when you don’t have a support network like a lot of us are used to, we don’t have perspective for what that does to someone. The Brown House is their support network. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: Where can we go to find more information about The Brown House?

https://www.brownhousecommunity.org/

One Night Ultimate Alien: Tipping Cows is Fun!

Game: One Night Ultimate Alien

  • Publisher: Bezier Games
  • Designers: Ted Alspach, Akihisa Okui
  • Illustrated by: Gus Batts
  • Ages 8+
  • 4-10 players
  • 10 minutes

“Are you kidding me? I’m the cow! Why on Earth are you all voting for me…Wait a minute. You all are aliens.”

The laughter continued as time was up. “Three, Two, One, Vote!”

I’m ashamed of myself. I am neither human nor alien. I am an abomination and must die…in order to win!

We all flipped our cards… and their eyes went wide. I was Synthetic and they were all villagers. This time trying to kill Daddy backfired. I knew there were no other aliens…

One Night Ultimate Alien is the fourth in the One Night Series by Bezier and it is a great game. I’m going to start this out by saying that our family loves the One Night Series and that is why we are going to go over each in the series over the rest of the year. Elijah asked for this one first, so Alien is the first in our One Night Series. We will be going through Alien, Werewolf, Vampire, Daybreak and Super-Villains. Then we each will choose our favorite ones and why we like them the most.

13 roles of fun to choose from.

Back to the review. One Night Ultimate Alien is very similar to Werewolf, Daybreak and Vampire. However, the application is vital. Luckily the app is free on many platforms and well worth the download. You have characters who can switch cards, expose them if not an alien, or change the fate of the game itself. One thing that makes this game is the voice of Eric Summerer. His narration is vital as you play. He may announce that a certain character is an even or odd number. What? Numbers? Yep, there are numbers that each player is given. These numbers could have a time loop happen while one player keeps their eyes open. Maybe the aliens can look at an odd player’s card, or maybe a particular even number cannot speak.

There are three center cards. No one knows the roles of these cards unless they have an ability that allows them to.

The app also works with a character called the Oracle. The Oracle may have the ability to join the alien team, or the app may state that everyone wins if the Oracle dies. Over the course of the game, the app will instruct the players what to do each night. This is especially helpful when playing with younger kids. Then everyone wakes up. Accusations fly and when time runs out, everyone votes for who must die. If a villager dies, the Aliens win. If the Alien wins, the Villagers win. There are other characters in the game that may have different win conditions. Playing with those cards could change up the way everyone interacts with each other, and that is what makes this a fun party game.

The Oracle has magical powers that can alter the game and even the space time continuum as we know it.
Components

Each card is more like a hard cardboard stock with colorful and cartoony images. These are not meant to scare people. This is meant for a family-friendly good time. The chips in the game are cardboard. (Images are showing the upgraded plastic tokens and sleeves.) The rulebook is easy to follow, but it is the app that makes the game easier to understand. Holding a finger on a character will help describe what each role is. This makes it easy to teach to new players how to play the game.

Looking to win by killing a neighbor.
Our Family’s Thoughts on OnE Night Ultimate Alien

Abigail, 12: I like the mystery about it that you have to decide who the other people are, but you can be completely wrong and kill the wrong person. As the aliens you can pretend to be the roles you know are not in the game and throw people off. I like at the end it does something cool and changes the game a little bit. It’s a game for the whole family, but playing it with more players makes for a more fun game. Recommendation: Buy It!

Beth: The cow ‘tipping’ cracks me up every time. It is so funny to imagine the aliens doing so. The oracle question is unpredictable as are the ripples in the space time continuum. It changes the game every time. Recommendation: Buy It!

Groob wants Zerb dead. Zerb wants Groob dead. Leader just wants them both to stay alive.

Chris: I love the app. The interactions with the app are great! Every time we play this there is that chance that I can go back in a time loop and see everything play out. It is so much fun! Recommendation: Buy It!

Nothing better than tipping a cow at nighttime…

Daniel, 11: It’s really fun and sometimes all of the aliens end up in the middle so you can’t figure out who it is. I like the whole thing about someone messing with the space time continuum and it changes who can talk and you can look at different cards. Sometimes you have to start all over again with some of the roles. Recommendation: Buy It!

Elijah, 8: I like being the oracle because it will ask you a question and sometimes it asks if you want to be an alien and you can say yes or no, but sometimes it still wont let you. Recommendation: Buy It!

This is part of our family game night. The App is a great companion and the artwork has the right feel to make it a fun family-friendly deduction game. For a game under $20, you can’t go wrong with this purchase.

An Interview with DeeJay Fox

DeeJay Fox enjoying while asking for Trobils…

“We raised $4592.76 that went directly to the Children’s Shelter. This year we will do more.”

DeeJay Fox

I had the pleasure of speaking with DeeJay on September 25th about NEAGamefest, an event where proceeds help out a local Children’s Shelter in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

TheCharityBoardGamer: DeeJay, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.

DeeJay: Thank You, Chris. My name is DeeJay Fox, and I’ve been an avid boardgamer for about 4 years. I always enjoyed board games, but Catan brought me into the hobby. My wife’s sister was visiting one day and brought it out. Stacy (my wife) fell in love with the game, and it rekindled my enjoyment of fellowshiping around a table. Now we probably have around three-hundred games between the two of us. Our love for gaming got me to search for a local game groups and I came across the NEA Gamer’s Guild because they already had a monthly public game day at our local library. I attended their public group and found it very inviting.

I knew Rod K. from The Boardgame Closet, and he told me about his and Jimmy’s YouTube videos. And he showed me the new world of gaming. Rod told me about a group that meets at the Library, which got me looking into NEA gamers Guild.I found their Facebook group and the rest is history. Every month the Library and our FLGS Gamers’ Haven team up and purchase new games for the community to try out and enjoy.

Preparing for a day of gaming for a good cause.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So what is your go-to game right now?

DeeJay: My wife’s go to game now is probably Orleans. We play that quite a bit. Mine may be Scythe or maybe even Everdell at the moment. I enjoy everything.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So who wins the most in Orleans?

DeeJay: Stacy is cutthroat. She usually wins. It is one of our favorites to bring out to new gamers.

The CharityBoardGamer: So tell me about NEA Gamefest. How did it get started and what is it all about?

DeeJay: The fellowship aspect of gaming is what really keeps us in the hobby. I love solo games, but being able to sit around a table with different people is just great.Nea Gamefest (Northeast Arkansas Gamefest) was the brain child of 3 siblings. Sarah, Kier, and Megan Heyl. They group up board gaming and have always wanted a group close to home. The 3 of them, with there close friends and families, started the Northeast Arkansas Gamers Guild. In time, the guild has grown exponentially. The NEA Gamers Guild Facebook group now has over 750 members. Sarah has always loved attending Geekway to the West in St. Charles MO, and really wanted to create something similar in our area.

Members of NEA Gamefest at Geekway

DeeJay: Megan Heyl wanted to use this idea to help the Northeast AR. Children’s Shelter located in Walnut Ridge, AR. Together they partnered and through the Heyl’s connections from their many years of Gaming at Geekway, and their other company connections, got our convention going. This will be the 3rd NEA Game Fest.

All of the money raised goes to the Children’s Shelter. Last year (2018) through donations, badge sales, etc. We raised $4592.76 that went directly to the Children’s Shelter. This year we will do more.

The Children’s Shelter is amazing. They are an emergency shelter that meets the needs of children suffering from neglect, family violence, physical and sexual abuse, deceased parents and more. Since their opening in 2009 they have helped over eight hundred children in need.

DeeJay’s daughter, Chloe, enjoying a game of Echidna Shuffle.

TheCharityBoardGamer: That is amazing! So what will be some of the events at NEA Gamefest?

DeeJay: Employees of the Children’s shelter will be their selling food and refreshments.If the kids are there, we will not know who they are, do to confidentiality. All Children are welcomed to attend. Kids 9 and under get in free. Children 10 -15 are $5 per badge. Adults 16+ are $20 per badge at neagamefest.com. Badges will be $25 at the door if not purchased online.

There will be many great things going on at NEAGameFest! We have Play n Wins, Silent Auctions, Family Friendly Game Tournaments such as our Second Annual Happy Salmon Tournament and a Loopin Louie Tournament, Vendors, Magic The Gathering Tournaments, RPGs, and so much more!

Some of the games to be given away at this year’s NEA Gamefest.

TheCharityBoardGamer: DeeJay, where can people go to donate towards the Children’s Shelter if they are not in the area? How can others help the event and the charity?

DeeJay: Many companies have donated games for our play n wins and for our silent auctions to help support the cause. We accept donations directly through the website. If any company wants to send games or products, they can contact me and or the Heyls directly.

I would love it if people would at least go to the website to get a look at our sponsors because they are what continue to make NEA Game Fest great year after year.

TheCharityBoardGamer: DeeJay, Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about NEA GameFest and what it’s doing for the local community. I wish you another great year of success!

DeeJay: Thank you for having me, and thank you for taking the time to highlight the good in our industry.

An Interview with Max Holliday

“Years later when my sister and then my brother passed, I remember my friends picking me up having a game night. It was those moments that remind me why games are so important in my life.”

-Max Holliday

I had the pleasure speaking with Max Holliday about the Youth Resource Center on September 23rd, 2019.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Max, thank you so much for talking with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.

Max: Thanks for chatting with me. My name is Max Holliday, and I’m a game designer/graphic artist. I’ve worked on over thirty published games in the last nineyrs. I’ve been playing boards for so I don’t remember what brought me into it. I started playing MTG in 93-94 and I’ve been playing games ever since. I guess I would say it was an escape for me. Every major good or bad event in my life was followed by playing board games.

TheCharityBoardGamer: What are a couple of the games that you have worked on?

Max: Well the first game I made was Eaten By Zombies!!! and the most resent game was Bring out yer Dead!

TheCharityBoardGamer: So what is currently your go-to game at the moment?

Max: well… I’ve been playing a lot of Quacks of Quedlinburg, but I’ll play Clank in Space or Last Will just about anytime. Oh, and a lot Wingspan… and I can’t wait to get may hands on Era: Medieval.

TheCharityBoardGamer: How did playing board games help you after these good or bad events? 

Max: When my grandfather died, it was playing games that helped me deal with the first big lost I experienced in my life. Years later, when my sister and then my brother passed, I remember my friends picking me up having a game night. It was those moments that remind me why games are so important in my life. I’m not very social and kind of shy, so games give me a buffer to connect with others.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So tell me about the charity that you are supporting.

Max: Here in Salt Lake City we have a Youth Resource Center by the VOA (Volunteers of America). That helps at risk youth get their high school diploma or help getting ready for a job interviews, and in many cases, just a safe place to eat or sleep. What I’m hoping to do is get these young people a library of games. I’m going to be hosting a few game nights at the center. My belief is that through board games we grow basic skills like reading, socializing, and critical thinking. This helps us in our every day life.

This is only the first step. Second, my plan is to hold a game auction at our local game convention, Salt Con. For this we’ll be taking game donations from local gamers with 100% of the proceeds going to the center.

TheCharityBoardGamer: That is awesome, Max! If someone wanted to help and donate a game, how could they reach you?

Max: The best way to reach me is through my email at MaxHolliday@gmail.com.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Where can people go to support the Youth Resource Center?

Max: You can reach out to them through their web site, https://www.voaut.org/yrc.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Max, thank you for sharing about this amazing opportunity. I wish you success in your quest to help the Youth Research Center.

Max: Thank you for your time!

Bank Heist: Trigger Happy Fun!

This is not the final copy of the game. This demo copy was provided by Lonely Hero Games.

Game: Bank Heist

  • Publisher: Lonely Hero Games
  • Designed by: Chris Kincaid and Jared Kaplan
  • Ages 13+
  • 5-8 players
  • 30-60 minutes

13 years on the force. 13 years and this is my chance to stop the Crew. Yeah, that Crew. Even Sticky-Fingers McGreary was with them this time. My partner and I went undercover for our chance to stop this gang from running away with all the money. Then it all went South.

Little did I know that there were rival thieves on this heist, ready to turn on the crew. We had just gotten into the getaway vehicle in hopes to make it back to the hideout and out came the guns. Accusations were flying everywhere, but bullets were flying even more. I took one to the chest. Luckily my bulletproof vest stopped the bullet. I revealed myself and returned fire. Down went McGreary.

Sadly my partner was stabbed by a rival and bled out. You’ll be remembered Elijah. I’ll be sure to bury your Legos with you, except for the Star Wars ones. Those are just too nice to put in the ground. With the next couple actions I had put handcuffs on a couple of the Crew. I also had some help from a Rival who had a guilty conscience for what life they had led. I guess that talk about ice cream after the game made him change his mind. With only a couple miles left, we were gonna make it, and we did. Your death wasn’t in vain, Elijah. Rest in peace, fellow agent.

Bank Heist is game where elimination doesn’t happen until the final act. In the beginning you are given a role. These roles could be:

  • The Crew, a tatooed syndicate of thieves eager to score big
  • The Rivals, a couple no-good bad guys who like to get their gun off
  • The Agents, a couple of good guys trying to show that crime doesn’t pay

The Rivals know who their fellow Rivals are. The Agents know who their fellow Agents are and the Crew knows nothing. Out of the eight roles there are 3 Crew and a sticky-finger crew member, two Rivals and two Agents.

The game then leads to safe cracking to decide which player goes first. Three numbers will come out and whoever can answer the multiplication of the numbers is the first player. A suggestion when playing with eight year olds is to make it an addition problem and maybe four of the ten numbers. If someone says the incorrect answer, the round moves closer to the agents winning.

The first one or two rounds, depending on player count, is the silent phase. Each player will draw a card from the vault. The vault is definitely an odd vault as you will find zip ties, knives, extra bullets and more, but the important piece is the cash bag. When you draw a card, you will look at it and then pass it to a player in silence with no gestures. Then that player will look at the card and if their character sees a cash bag, they will act on what their role tells them they can do. Agents will always keep it and so will the sticky-fingered Crew. Rivals can keep to pay off the invisible getaway driver and win if they and the Crew make it to the Hideout. After those rounds it is the alarm phase. Looks like someone tripped the alarm. Each player will draw an alarm card and play out its action and then draw a card from the vault like normal. Some of these actions will give ninja like reflexes or in my case Hush Money so I can’t talk the rest of the game.

If at any point during the robbery phase five cash bags are put in the getaway vehicle, the getaway phase begins. This is where players will be able to shoot, stab, zip tie and arrest each other. Some players may avoid a bullet with adrenaline. Some may have their turn skipped thanks to some chloroform. When the Crew fires their gun, they can fire once. The Rival can fire twice and reveal themself and the Agent can only return fire if shot at. If for some reason the robbery phase ends without five cash bags the Agents win!

Components

With this being a demo copy, Jared let me know that the final copy will have nice playing style cards and a foldable board to play with. The token for phases will be a wooden marker. Kickstarter backers will also have the chance of getting a print-and-play copy and their own demo copy for one of their reward levels. The game is currently funded.

Our family’s thoughts on Bank Heist
Look at all these attributes you can get during the Alarm phase… Wait?!? Is that a Hostage???

Abigail, 12: It’s fun. I like that you can shoot people and stab people. I like how that it’s not really the roles that make the game better, it’s the people. They make the roles interesting. I like how the different attributes change things significantly. I like it better when its more people playing because it makes it more fun playing. Its guaranteed more people on your side. Recommendation: Buy It!

Beth: This has been a lot of fun for our family. It doesn’t take too long and has a great combination of quiet secretive playing to build the tension and a time for loud accusations. I pretty much love to fool my children during these types of role games, they think I would be good at being evil, but they are glad I’m not. Everyone has a chance at winning and stopping the others. Recommendation: Buy It!

This safe has so many goodies.

Chris: I had the pleasure meeting Chris and Jared back at a charity convention and had a great rapport with them. I immediately fell in love with the game and how it varied from social deduction. It has that element of who is on your team, but it doesn’t dwell on it until that third act. Up until then you are trying to figure out and hoping you guessed right when the shooting begins. Recommendation: Buy It!

Daniel, 11: I like everything. I like how when it gets into the getaway phase you can shoot anybody you want, and I like how the bulletproof vest on the cops can’t protect them from knives. I like how you zip-tie and you can poison people. I love the crew person and the getaway phase. I like the trigger-happy card because you can shoot people. It’s a lot harder for the crew to win versus the cops and rivals. It’s a lot more fun when you have 8 people instead of 5. Recommendation: Buy It!

Cracking that safe for younger players is better with addition rather than multiplication.

Elijah: My favorite character is the Agent. I like how they can handcuff people. I like how you can get stuff from the vault and use it in the getaway phase like the ninja power. I don’t like trigger-happy, because I am not able to zip-tie people or stab them. Recommendation: Buy It!

Our Family Highly recommends this fun-filled game! It brings us and others laughter whenever it hits the table. Go Buy It now!

Bank Heist Kickstarter

Skulk Hollow: My Kids are Killing me!

My Foxen army were no match for Raptra.

Game: Skulk Hollow

  • Publisher: Pencil First Games
  • Designed by: Eduardo Baraf, Seth Johnson, Keith Matejka
  • Illustrated by: Dustin Foust, Sebastian Koziner, Keith Matejka and Helen Zhu
  • Ages 8+
  • 2 players
  • 40 minutes
The battle is about to begin…

“Get off my back!” I yelled as Elijah started stabbing away at me.

“Bwahahahahahaha!”

“Alright, time for me to throw you. Wait. Did you stop me from throwing?”

“Yep.” “Bwahahahahahaha!”

“Noooo!!!!!”

The Foxen reside in the land of Skulk Hollow. I am curious about these other possible races of creatures that live in this vast world.

Skulk Hollow is a 2 player assymetrical game. What does that mean? Well it means that each player has different conditions to winning the game. You either play as the Guardian, a creature made from the creator protecting the land that was made long ago, or you play the Foxen Heroes, the civilization that has now occupied the land and are destroying some of the land to provide for their own. The Guardians have awoken from their slumber and it’s up to the Foxen Heroes to stop them.

Choose your character. Will it be the Foxen Heroes or the Guardians protecting the land?

There is something beautiful about the story of the Guardians and the Foxen Heroes. What has been created here is a universe of balance over the land and who lays claim to it. As the Foxen Heroes your goal is simply to kill the Guardian. This is done by deploying allies, leaping up onto the creature and dealing damage, firing arrows and moving into position to stop them at all costs. The Guardian’s conditions are different. They simply want to take the royalty out of power. There also are other conditions for each of the four Guardians to win.

“My Lord, there is a massive creature ahead. Shall we call in reinforcements?”

Each player has a set amount of cards they can have and so many actions they can play. Some cards for the Foxen Heroes may have movement, power cubes which will help individual actions for certain characters, melee to be done on the guardian, leap and missle attacks with their bow and arrows. The Guardians may have attacks on them, or other actions that can help towards the winning condition. Some cards have two available options, letting the player choose what to do.

Apoda has killed the Prince of Guile.

The Foxen Heroes go first. They play three actions and then refill their hand. Then, it’s the Guardian’s turn. The game ends when either player completes their winning condition.

Components
Each character has it’s own box filled with goodies.
The board is easy to grasp and there is another side to make it easier to understand movement.
Power cubes give players a chance to do additional actions.
Relics can be a handicap for a player new to the game. They can be spent for additional actions.
The mini expansion continues the use of relics by placing relics on the board for players to collect.

This game is beautiful and full of life and detail. If you have ever seen Disney’s Robin Hood, you will see a comparison with the Foxen Heroes and the beloved classic animated film. My kids pointed it out as soon as I took the cards out of the box. Did I mention that each Guardian has their own special box, filled with their own large meeple and cards? Also, card is vibrant in color and detail.

The Foxen Heroes have symbols to match with their player cards.

The Foxen Heroes’ meeples are adorable and the other wooden pieces have such detail. What I like is that the Foxen Heroes symbols match the heroes on the cards. This makes it easier to differentiate who is taking damage and who is in a particular space.

Choose one of four Foxen Heroes to lead your army into battle.
Each Guardian has its own special board for Foxen to leap on to.

The board has two sides. This is helpful when teaching the game to younger kids like Elijah. The one side has dotted lines on the 3×3 grid, while the other doesn’t. This makes it easier to help understand movement.

When damage is dealt to a specific area, it can paralyze that ability of the Guardian until they can mend their wounds.

This was well put together.

Larger than life, the Guardian Meeples are well made.
Our Family’s thoughts on skulk hollow

Abigail, 12: Its fun because it uses strategy and you can mix things up so that it’s not the same thing. I like the artwork. It’s a good deal so Buy It! It’s a lot in the game. Recommendation: Buy It!

Beth: I have only played as the Foxen and they put up a good fight against the Guardian but definitely have their work cut out for them. It’s a tough battle. You can change the game around in so many ways and can try different cominations which really appeals to me. I look forward to trying again with one of the other royalties with different abilities.

So who will you choose?

Chris: I love this game. The art drew me in and the story discussing this conflict is well put together. I almost want to root for the Guardians and their quest to protect the land that was created. Looking at balance, I like that there are ways to help others with small handicaps with relics. The relics could be given to a player to use as an additional action in the game and this is helpful when playing with the kids. I would love to see this lore continue with other races and maybe even a 2v2 game where the Guardian’s and animals co-exist, competing against other guardians and their animal counterparts. I look forward to what Pencil First has next in line for this series. Recommendation: Buy It!

Daniel, 11: So I like how you can be different Guardians. I like how they have their own statue like thingys, and I also like the little meeples for the foxes. I like that there are different abilities for each Guardian. I like how the little foxen came straight out of Disney’s Robin Hood. The artwork is fantastic and I would say Buy It! Recommendation: Buy It!

Elijah, 8: I like Tanthos and that he is an octopus and he has tentacles that he can put in different places. Recommendation: Try it.

Skulk Hollow is a Buy It! The art, gameplay and ease of play makes this a game worthy of being on your table. The assymetrical nature of the game and the variety of Guardian’s and Royalty make for a great 2-player game that kids and adults will enjoy.

An Interview with Rob Kalajian

Rob, playing the Song of Storms on his recorder, at least that is what I like to believe.

“…a charity that focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health issue and also provides support for those who need it…

-Robert C Kalajian Jr

Rob took the time to talk with me on September 12th, 2019 about the board game hobby and Take This, an organization that helps with mental health and anxiety that occur in conventions and other settings.

TheCharityBoardGamer: Rob, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.

Rob: I’m Rob, a web dev by day a game reviewer by “every other time.” I’ve been gaming since I was young, starting with games like Sorry, Monopoly, etc… Eventually my parents would find games like Fireball Island, Dragon Strike, and Battle Masters that REALLY caught my interest. From there it was a quick jump to AD&D 2nd Edition, then on to the Magic, the World of Darkness games, 40k, and on to the hobby games most of us enjoy today.

TheCharityBoardGamer: How did you get into reviewing? What led to this path?

Rob: A little over 10 years ago I answered a call from Yehuda Berlinger, who was looking for writers to help create more content for Purple Pawn. I started writing short news articles, and did some reviews. Over the years of writing there, going to conventions, and making new contacts I had more games to review than I knew what to do with. Since Purple Pawn was mostly a news site I started my own site, A Pawn’s Perspective, to focus on reviews. Eventually it grew to the point where I moved on from Purple Pawn and started focusing solely on it.

TheCharityBoardGamer: That’s amazing.

Rob: It’s been quite the ride.

TheCharityBoardGamer: What is your favorite game currently?

Rob: I’m a huge fan of Dragon Dice. It’s an older game that I rediscovered was still in production a few years back.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So, tell me about Take This.

Rob: Take This is a charity that focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health issue and also provides support for those who need it, specifically in the gaming community and industry.It’s a charity that hits close to home, and I’ve seen first hand some of the great work they do, particularly with AFK rooms at conventions.

TheCharityBoardGamer: AFK?

Rob: AFK is a term from the video game work that means “Away From Keyboard”These rooms are quiet, safe spaces that people can go to and get away from the noise, stress, and crowds of a convention.

I first found out about them a few years ago when they started a charity promotion with Wyrmwood Gaming. They sold hardwood shields with an engraved sword on them to help raise money.   https://wyrmwoodgaming.com/products/box-of-hope/

TheCharityBoardGamer: Now you have stated that this charity hits close to home. Would you be willing to elaborate?

Rob: Personally, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have other family members who deal with mental health issues as well.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So how can one help an organization like this?

Rob: You can always make donations at  https://www.takethis.org/get-involved/donate/, but you can also get involved volunteering at AFK rooms. They list a few other ways at  https://www.takethis.org/get-involved/

TheCharityBoardGamer: This is great information. Thank you for sharing about yourself and Take This. I believe it’s important for the community to help each other and this sounds like a great charity to support.

Rob: Thanks for having me.