Monday, September 29, 2014

Sushi Go! from Gamewright

Sushi Go!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to a cute little card game!  Sushi Go!  This is a game for 2 to 5 players and is recommended for 8 and up.  There are 108 cards included with a variety of cute sushi characters, like tempura and dumpling (our favorite!)

Each game is played for 3 rounds and goes pretty quick.  Depending on how many players you have, you deal out a certain amount of cards.  (I just realized we played with 10 cards instead of the 9 required for 3 players, but it still worked out ok!)  Players look at their cards, pick one to keep and hand the rest to the next player.  Everyone reveals the kept card at the same time and then picks up the next hand and does the same thing.  You keep passing hands until all the cards are played in front of you.  That constitutes one round.

After each round, you score your hand based on the different things that you might have collected.

Here's Ginny's hand after one round.  She's got a salmon nigiri for 2 points, 2 sets of tempura for 10 points, and another salmon nigiri on top of a wasabi which triples the value for 6 points, for a total of 18 points.  The cards all the way to the right are puddings which are only counted after the last round.

This is my hand.  I've got 4 sashimi, but I only need 3 to get 10 points.  I also have a pair of tempura for 5, 1 salmon nigiri for 2 and one pudding.  Maki rolls (the red card) are only scored if you have the most icons per round.  They come in 1, 2, and 3 makis.  Turns out there were only 2 1-maki roll cards in play this round, so Jack and I tied for highest!  We got to split the 6 points, each receiving three.  I scored 20 points for this hand.  You might have noticed that I also have a chopsticks card over to the left.  This allows me to play two cards on one turn.  They don't earn you any points.

This is Jack's hand.  You can see his 1 maki which he gets 3 points for.  He also has 3 dumplings for 6 points, 2 egg nigiri for 2 points, and 2 salmon nigiri for 4 points.  His score this round was 15.  At the end of the 3rd round, everyone counts up their puddings.  Jack ended up having collected the most, so he earned an extra 6 points.  I had the least, so I lost 6 points.

It's a really straightforward game and no need to memorize a bunch of scoring rules, because all the cards have their scores written out on the bottom.  It's a little bit of rummy, with collecting the sets, and a little bit of concentration, trying to remember what's in each hand as it passes around.  The kids came up with some strategies for optimum score collection.

The Chopstick & Double Tempura:  Jack likes to drop a chopsticks on one turn, then on the next hand they're available, use the chopsticks and drop two tempura at one time.  You need two to have a complete set and score 5 points!

Pudding Hog:  Jack also recommends hogging all the puddings to yourself.  I'm not so sure of this strategy, as you only get 6 extra points at the end of the game.  I think you could earn more by playing other cards instead.  (But then again, I did lose 6 points for lack of puddings!)

Dumpling Hog:  Ginny's like this strategy.  Play as many dumplings as you can.  Each dumpling you get just adds more points.  With many of the other cards, if you don't have a complete set, you don't get any points.  But dumplings are always worth something, and the more you have the better!

Wasabi & Squid:  Play a wasabi and pop a squid nigiri on top of it!  Wasabi cards aren't worth anything without a nigiri, but they triple the score if a nigiri is played on top.  Squid nigiri are worth 3 points, so with a wasabi, they're worth 9!

Maki Roll Wars:  This happens when everyone tries to collect the most maki rolls!  I'm not sure this is really a strategy, but Jack likes it!  Whoever gets the most maki rolls scores 6 points and second most gets 3.  Everyone else gets nothing.

We also decided to rate the game on different criteria from 1 star (lowest) to 5 stars (highest).

                           J          G        M
Cuteness:           5          5          5
Ease of Play:     4.5       4.5       5
Time Taken:      5          4.5       5
Fun:                   4          4.25     5
  with Others:     5         5          5
Overall:              4.5     4.5       5

Ginny said it was a nice game, but it really just wasn't her thing.  She even won a game, but could not be convinced.  She still gave it good ratings!  UNO is more her thing.

Jack seemed to really enjoy it.  It had a little bit of strategy involved with the cards being passed around, and I think he liked that aspect.

Personally, I thought it was totally awesome!  The cards couldn't be any cuter!  It's a fun game that is quick to play and offers a little bit more interest than a simple game of Go Fish.

All of us feel that the age recommendation is a bit high.  Sure, younger kids might have a little trouble trying to remember the cards as the hands zoom by, but it's not really important to do that.  We think younger kids would love playing with these little sushi guys, so we're thinking 5's and up might be ok too.

Have you played Sushi Go!?  Did you enjoy it?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

TpT Homeschoolers - Spreading the Homeschool Love

Did you know that there are a bunch of homeschoolers selling resources on Teachers Pay Teachers?  Some of us have created a linky party and a giveaway to help you get to know us better!

Here is the giveaway...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just click to enter for a chance to win some really cool products!

And you can find the linky at the bottom of this post, but before you leave to check out all the other cool sellers/moms/homeschoolers here's a little bit about me!

My store is The Puzzle Den..hence the blog name too.  I write and sell puzzles across the ages and subjects.  My favorite puzzles to write are for math, but I do love a good word puzzle too!  I've been homeschooling my kids 2 kids for over 9 years now.  We are firmly into JR High this year and many of the resources I create reflect that, like History Flashcards and Latin Language Puzzles.

For the younger set, I have been working on filling my shop with seasonal and holiday related sets.  Fall and Halloween are right around the corner (where has the year gone!?) and I've got puzzles for both of those!

For Fall, I've finished K, 1st and 2nd grades.  I'm planning on going up to 5th.  (The puzzles are written, they just have to be plugged into the computer!)

For Halloween, I've got a free 5 page Mini-Puzzle book available.  Just click here and you can download it from TpT.

I know that many homeschool parents are teaching several grades at once (sometimes a WHOLE bunch of grades).  To help the budgets a wee bit, I've bundled many puzzle sets into one, with all the grades included!  Like the Halloween puzzles you see below.

Halloween Super Bundle of Puzzles

One of my other favorite puzzle sets is Crypto-Riddles!  There are riddles for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Click on the picture below to check out the multiplication set.  You'll see links from there to the other sets, plus some money saving bundle options.

Crypto-Riddles Multiplication

One last thing...I post a free puzzle on my blog every Wednesday.  So if you'd like to see what pops up, just click the links on the sidebar.  You can subscribe via bloglovin', google+, or email.  And thanks for visiting my blog today!

Now let's go check out some of the other TpT Homeschoolers.  These ladies are completely AWESOME and their resources are AMAZING!  You will totally enjoy visiting with them too, so just click on the links below to begin!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles - 9/24/14

All About Hummingbirds

In honor of the hummingbirds that are visiting our new feeder, this week's free puzzle in All About Hummingbirds!

If you'd like more bird trivia puzzles, I also have one about owls and one about eagles.  Just click here to find those too.


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Several on Sunday

1)  Our regular bird feeder has attracted some hummingbirds.  I felt so bad that I didn't have anything for them to snack on that I went right out and bought a hummingbird feeder.  The little guy in the pictures above still likes to check out what all the fuss is about with the other birds!  I got some neat pictures of her (I think the one that visits most often is a female Ruby-throated hummingbird) as she flew up to the regular feeder then flew off past the gold finch.  He looked back like "what was that?!"  We also picked up a finch sock.  They seem to like the regular feeder best still, but I've seen both gold and purple finches on the sock.

2)  We had this really cozy cat bed for forever, but the cats never slept in it, so it got shoved on one of the homeschool shelves.  Mona found it a couple days ago and has been curled up in it ever since!  She gets so warm in there!  I think her old bones like that!

3)  B&N had Halo Risk on the bargain bin this week.  I let Jack get it.  Risk is a decent game.  Jack likes Halo, even though he's never played it!  He crushed me at this Halo Risk.  I'm thinking the regular version is probably better, but he seems to like it.

4)  This weekend JP's army group (command, battalion, whatever!) had a family outing.  We got to watch a bunch of guys do a field training exercise.  They had to set up equipment and march around.  One of the exercises was called the "angry farmer."  They had to pretend that they were in a foreign country and they had to interact with a civilian who was upset about his cow (and goat and sheep) getting blown up.  They had to use an interpreter and set up a security perimeter.  JP could explain what they were doing better than I, but it was still very interesting.  After watching that, we took a ride in a Humvee!  Wheeee!  It was awesome!  Our driver asked us if we liked things "shaken or stirred" and then drove off the dirt road over a pile of big rocks!  We also bumped over some fallen trees and down a bit of a hill.  It was REALLY fun!  Then Jack and I shot a rifle and a machine gun.  Filled with blanks, but still an interesting experience.  We also ate MREs for lunch.  But those weren't as interesting as we used to take MREs with us when we visited castles in Germany.  Anyhow, it was neat to see some of the things these guys do when they go out into the "field."

That's it for last week.  This coming week is the last Friday of the month, so we have something interesting planned for Field Trip Friday! 

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Baffledazzle ready to ship!!!

Just got this note in my email...

"Time to get excited, Rachel Happen is getting ready to send out rewards for backing Baffledazzle. RewardCirkusu! Seven games from around the world with a printed riddle, hint, and solution to guide you through the puzzle. Cut from solid Cherry. 12 x 24 inch footprint."

My kids also wanted a copy of the above puzzle, called Ozuzo, so we added that on later!

Absolutely cannot wait for the mailman to deliver this package!!!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles - 9/17/14

Fall Puzzles

I'm still busy working on Fall puzzles, and here are 2 extra fall puzzles for you to try out.  These would work for 1st and 2nd graders.  Kindergarteners would enjoy the Leaf Search, but would probably need some help with spelling for the Hidden Word.  Enjoy!  And I hope Fall is heading your way soon!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

DIY Stencil Puzzle

A couple of months ago, I reviewed a puzzle from ThinkFun called Stenzzles.  This puzzle comes with 8 stenzzles and 8 layering challenges. 

Stenzzles from ThinkFun

I loved the Tropical Collection that I purchased, but wasn't very interested in their other Stenzzle themes.  So I thought I would try making one of my own!

If you'd like to make your own Stencil puzzle set, you will need some heavy cardstock paper, a printer, an exacto knife and a cutting board.  I buy cardstock at Staples in mass quantities.  I use it all the time for homeschool  They don't have a large color selection, but this pack has 5 nice colors.  The blue is sometimes hard to see when you print on it, but for stencils it is perfect!

Flower Stencil Set

First you need to download one of the stencil sets that I've come up with.  (If you have some cool stencils at home, you can use those too.  You'll want fairly large ones that fit nicely into a 5 1/2" square.)  I created two themes.  One is a flower theme that comes with a tulip, leaves and stem, and 3 regular flowers.  You can download it by clicking the stencil above.

Space Themed Stencils

The other theme is a Space Stencil Set.  This one has a comet, satellite, sun, Saturn, and a rocket.  You'll have to forgive me here, the rocket looks rather like Darth Vader's helmet!  But I'm not an artist.  Of course, that means that anyone can draw a stencil, so you can try drawing out your own stencil set too!

Next, you'll need to print the stencils out on some heavy cardstock paper.  I used my color printer which feeds the heavy paper through more easily than my b/w laser printer.  Try clicking on an option like "scale to fit media" or something like that before you print (it will depend on your printer software).  This will keep the printer from creating huge margins on your paper and shrinking down the image.  But even it your images shrink a bit, as long as they all print the same size, you should be good to go!

The next step is to cut out all your stencils.  Place your stencils on your cutting board, then use the exacto knife to cut out the stencil bits.  Try to cut around the outside of the black lines so you don't end up with a lot of black markings on your finished stencils.  I didn't do a perfect job myself, so don't sweat it too much.  If you have older kids who you trust with an exacto knife, you can let them help with this part!

 Now you'll want to cut the outer edges off.  Your finished stencils should measure around 5 1/2" square.  I used my handy-dandy paper cutter, but you could always use your exacto knife and a ruler to guide it straight.

 Once all the stencils are cut, you're ready to play the game!  Oh...did I mention that you might want to cut out 2 sets??!!  With 2 sets, one person can create a layer challenge for someone else to match!  Like so...

The first person can turn and flip the stencils in any way they like, then stack them all up.  The second person must recreate the first stack just by visual inspection.  It's actually quite fun and sometimes rather challenging!

If you're playing with younger kids, try using only 2 or 3 stencils at a time.  This will be less frustrating for them.

When you finished cutting everything out, you'll have a big pile of interesting shapes left.  Challenge your little artists to create something with them!  They could glue them onto a sheet of construction paper or just play around, rearranging the shapes as they like.

I also thought it would be fun to make the stencils out of foam sheets.  You can still print off the stencils onto plain paper, then cut out the middles and use them as a guide to cut the foam sheets. 

The foam comes in a lovely selection of colors!  These sheets measure 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" so you only need to cut off a bit of one end for the correct stencil size.

I cut out the space stencil set on the foam sheets.  These are sturdier than the paper versions, so they might be more fun for the younger ones.

Here are the foam stencils layered up!  They make a tall stack!

And again, you have some cool cut-out shapes to play with when you're done!

If you've got creative kids, let them draw their own stencils for the puzzle.  They can create their own theme with their favorite things!

Have fun stenciling!

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Some On Saturday

1)  Lots of birds at our bird feeder this week.  We've had several yellow finches come to dine.  One has a dusty grey back (maybe it's a female), but the other colorings are the same.  One has black around his eyes in such a way that it looks like he's wearing steam-punk goggles.  Another one has different black markings around his eyes.  Our bird feeder is right outside our homeschool room, so we get some good views!  The cats have really enjoyed watching too!

2)  On Wednesday, we tried some geocaching.  Turns out my phone's GPS is not very accurate (I guess they are all like that), so we didn't actually narrow down our search well enough to find the package.  We searched for quite a while (I hate giving up), but no luck.  We will try again on a weekend when JP and his fancy GPS watch can come with us.  Our geocache site was called the Lombard Mill Pond.  There's a small trail there and the ruins of an old grist mill.  Lots of mosquitoes too!

3)  Friday was super busy!  JP's class had a family PT morning.  We joined them for a walk at Euchee Creek Greenway.  I think it was a nice park, but at 6 o'clock in the morning, it's really hard to tell for sure!  We didn't think to bring flashlights or glowsticks with us, so it was VERY dark.  Lots of trees too.  There was one little area with some rocks that looked out over a lake and that was quite enchanting in the moon light.  We will have to visit it again during the day, so we can actually see the park!  I have no pictures from that adventure.

For lunch, we met Jack's new friend Aaron and his mom at the food court.  We spent quite a lot of time chatting!  On Saturday, Aaron came over to play with Jack.  He said that it was an "exquisite" afternoon.  I think Jack just had a lot of fun having someone to do things with.  They played some Wii games and some Magic.  Maybe they will get together again soon to do some Nerf wars?!

The picture above is from later Friday afternoon.  Ginny and I did a little shopping at the mall.  Of course, we stopped in at Starbucks!  The Teavanna store was also open and they sucked us right in!  Ginny and I loved all the samples and we came home with a some Mint tea and a Chocolate Chai!  Oh my G.O.S.H!

4)  I been working on a little crafty-puzzle idea this week.  This is just a sneak preview.  I will try to post it tomorrow!

5)  I've also been working on some Fall puzzle sets.  I have a Kindergarten and Grade 1 set already in my store.  Grade 2 is almost done!  I've also got another set of History Flashcards almost complete.  These will be about the unifications of Italy and Germany in the 1800's.

Enjoy your weekend!

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