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Yearly Archive2015

Dad Vs The Nerdettes Dad is back!!!!

I’m not really sure where to start today. It has been 3 months and 11 days since I last posted an entry and I have learned that the longer I go without posting, the harder it is to sit down and write. As such, I’m going to ask you to bear with me as I ramble my way back into the swing of things. I had originally only planned on taking a few weeks off while we dealt with some health issues and while the nerdettes started a new school year. Unfortunately the health issues have compounded and school never really slows down. As every day went by it has become easier and easier to push this crazy project to the back burner. In fact I came really very close to turning it all off a few weeks ago. However, about that same time two things happened that made me change my mind.

The first has to do with the health issues I mentioned earlier. About three weeks ago I went to the hospital with some fairly severe chest pain. Luckily, they have been able to determine that I did not have a heart attack, but after several “non-invasive” tests they still have not been able to definitively answer what is going on. So, next week I will go in for an angiogram which should, fingers crossed, tell us exactly what is happening inside my chest. I have to admit that the whole thing has me super freaked out. While it is true that I have not made it a priority to be healthy, I also never even considered that I might have to deal with these kinds of issues while I still have a 5 and 7 year old in the house. The thought of failing them because of my poor choices terrifies me in a way I could not have imagined 10 years ago.

Luckily right after this, another thing happened that, while not earth shattering, has totally helped me keep it together. If you know me well, you might know that one of my all time heroes is Wil Wheaton. I have always found his willingness to be genuine and honest to be inspiring. Also, he has managed to make a living doing the things he loves, and it just so happens a whole lot of what he loves, I love as well. Well not to long after my heart attack scare, Wil posts on his blog how he has decided on seven steps to reboot his life. It’s a great post that you should check out here. This got me thinking that what I really need is just a reboot as well. I don’t have to give up on everything I enjoy, but I could certainly do less of the things that hurt me and more of the things that don’t. One of those things that doesn’t hurt is writing, both here at Dad Vs The Nerdettes and also fiction writing that I gave up on years ago. Now I’m not writing down my own 7 steps yet because I figure some of those will be dictated by my doctor, but rest assured that once I have my “doctor’s orders” I’ll formalize my list and post it here. One of them will definitely be to spend a lot more time writing here. I’ll be counting on all you nerds and nerdettes to keep me honest.

Now for some housekeeping. You will be seeing some new pages coming online soon. The reason for this is the nerdettes have discovered I Carly on amazon prime and they both have decided they want to start making their own content. So in the coming weeks (months?) we will build them each a section that they can use to blog/vlog but I’m not sure what that is going to entail just yet. Additionally, while i still want this site to mostly be about spending more time with the nerdettes, I would also like to highlight some of my own nerd-dom as well. So you can expect to see some reviews and ramblings from me on more grown up type things.

As always, if there is anything you would like to see highlighted here or any ideas you want to share, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also email me at dad@dadvsthenerdettes.com or you can reach me through the social media doohickeys to the right. In the meantime, from the bottom of my slightly bruised heart, thanks for reading and keep it nerdy.

Dad Missing in Action

So I have been MIA for a while dealing with some family issues but I wanted to post a quick message to let everyone know we are not gone for good. Soon we will be back with more nerdy kid goodness. I promise!

Also wanted to drop a quick note about our recent FoodFighters review.  They are in the last few days of their kickstarter campaign. So now is the time to back. Also there has been a shipping price drop since the review so it is even cheaper to get your copy here in the USA. There has never been a better way to play with your food.

Remember to keep an eye out for our next review coming soon.

 

Game Review – Foodfighters (Kickstarter)

Today we will be reviewing Foodfighters, a game that is currently being kickstarted by Kids Table Board Gaming. It is designed by husband and wife duo Josh and Helaina Cappel and will be illustrated by Josh Cappel.

*Disclosure: We reviewed the print and play version of Foodfighters at the request of the creator. We were not compensated for this review and the opinions are our own. 

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From the Publisher

Number of Players: 2

Game Time: 20 – 30 Minutes

Age Group:  8+

Foodfighters is a fun and light two-player battle game – each player controls a team of foods trying to win a food fight against the opposing team. First player to knock out three matching foods from the other team wins!

You and your opponent each control a faction of fighting foods. On your turn, you can move a Foodfighter, or roll dice to attack an opponent (that your Foodfighter is thinking about and that is in reach), or roll for Beans (cash). After that you can spend your Beans to buy awesome gear from the store or Power cards that are unique to your team. Then it’s the other guy’s turn. Keep going until you’ve knocked out three of a kind on your opponent’s team, and you’ve won!


The Game

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Foodfighters is a head to head battle game where two players lead their faction of tasty troops to victory (or defeat) against their mortal epicurean foes. The game is played out in a 6×3 grid with each player controlling half of the grid. As a player you will either be team veggie or team meat (although additional factions may be available depending on whether or not certain goals are met in the Kickstarter campaign)  If you are team veggie, you will control 3 broccoli tiles, 3 cabbage tiles, and 3 onion tiles. If you are team meat you will control 3 steak tiles, 3 chicken tiles, and 3 bacon tiles.

At the start of the game, each player lays out their tiles randomly in a 3×3 grid facing the other other player.  The player who has most recently eaten one of their “characters” will then take the first turn

On a turn, you will have the option to:

1. Swap the position of 2 of your tiles. If you swap tiles you also get to take one bean  (in game currency) from the “kitchen”

2. Have one of your characters attack a character of the opposing team.  In order to attack, your character must be thinking about the other teams character (indicated by the thought bubble on the tile) and the opponents character must be in direct line of sight of your character. You must then successfully roll at least on splat icon on the dice for the attack to be successful

3. Roll for beans. You may roll the dice and collect as many beans as shown. You may re-roll any splats.

Once complete you may use your beans to purchase items from the kitchen. These include spoons (weapons), crackers (shields), and pans (helmets) as well as special ability cards and an extra die.

Turns alternate back and forth until one player has knocked out all of one type of their opponents characters.

Print and Play version is here if you want to try it out and you can back it here on Kickstarter

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Dad’s Review

When I told the nerdettes that a game creator emailed us and asked us to check out a new game, they became more excited than I have seen them in a while. They could hardly wait for me to print out the game and get it all set up. In fact, they were so excited I was beginning to worry that the game itself would have a hard time living up to their expectations. Luckily I was wrong.

Foodfighters turned out to be a very good and engaging little fighter game with a theme that really works for the nerdettes and for me. Since I’m a big fan of games like Summoner Wars, it also has the bonus of being “like one of daddies grown-up games”.  Best of all the nerdettes picked it up very quickly, even Nerdette the Younger. Additionally, the artwork on the print and play is super cute and the designers have stated that the end result is sure to be even better.

The only slight hiccup we ran into is the number of players. With one dad and two nerdettes, someone is left out of each game. We resolved this by putting whoever is not actively playing in charge of the kitchen. Nerdette the Elder especially enjoyed this role, although I kept having to tell her that she wasn’t allowed to change the prices even if there was a high demand.

Although the suggested age is 8+ neither Nerdette the Younger (age 4) nor Nerdette the Elder (age 7) had any trouble picking up the rules.  Both of them had to have help reading the special abilities cards and understanding what they were for. As for the special ability cards, during the game I had to actively remind myself to use them as I don’t think they added a significant amount to the gameplay. As such, if the nerdettes want to play on their own I feel fully confident that we could remove those cards from the game and they would be able to play without much or even any parental assistance. That fact alone might make this gaming gold in my opinion.

There is also endless possibilities for different faction expansions. This would be a huge boost to replayability. My girls both decided the best faction would include: cake, cookies and ice cream.

The only possible negative I would say is that the creators are billing this as a game that can be played by kids, adults, or both. I can not see myself ever playing this with another adult on our own. It does have enough adult entertainment value  though, that I can see playing it with the nerdettes any time they like.

Dad’s Rating:

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Nerdette the Younger’s Review:

Do you like Foodfighters?: Yes

What do you like about it?: Winning and I love the spoons.

What don’t you like about it?:Losing and losing some more. I don’t like losing A LOT!

Who would you recommend it to:  Everybody even babies, but not dogs.

Nerdette the Younger’s Rating:

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Nerdette the Elder’s Review:

Do you like Foodfighters?: Yes

What do you like about it?: I like to beat the vegetables and I like buying the kitchen tools.

What don’t you like about it?: I don’t like when I lose or when I don’t have enough beans to buy the stuff I want.

Who would you recommend it to:  Everybody could actually enjoy it.

Nerdette the Elder’s Rating:

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How young is too young? Age appropriate Nerdery

I have not posted anything in a while, mostly because the Nerdettes are out of town with my mom (’cause Nanny is AWESOME). Instead, I have been using my time to catch up on my own nerdery that I don’t feel is appropriate for a 7 and 4 year old. Things like Game of Thrones and Outlander are relegated to strictly after bedtime watching, and there are only so many hours I can feasibly keep my eyes open. As a result, I tend fall behind on a lot of shows and these past couple of weeks I have been able to catch up some. I’m still not there yet on GoT though, so NO SPOILERS!

Anyway, this has got me thinking about what franchises I can and can’t share with the Nerdettes. There are some things that are obviously inappropriate and those are easy enough to pick out. Then there are others that have kid friendly versions that I can easily substitute. Some good examples are Star Wars Rebels from Disney and  The Hobbit from the seventies. Now don’t get me wrong, these are not my go to titles if I want to scratch my Tolkien or LucasFilms itch, but they do give me a way to introduce the things I love to the Nerdettes without my having to think about whether or not there will be nightmares or having to explain what happened to my wife.

The really hard ones, though, are the borderline franchises. These are the movies and shows that aren’t really horror but may still be too scary, or most shows where most episodes are fine but a few get a little risqué. I recently ran into this kind of trouble with Star Trek: The Next Generation. I didn’t watch this when I was younger so I have been binge watching it recently to pass the time. Nerdette the Younger would snuggle up with me on occasion to watch it as well. Meanwhile Nerdette the Elder always preferred to watch her shows in the other room, so it was nice to have some one on one time with “the baby” However, the first and only time Nerdette the Elder decided to watch with us, all of a sudden the episode was about psychic rape. Needless to say, we changed it to a more appropriate show, but it did serve to stress to me the importance of knowing what exactly we will be watching.

Unfortunately, two of my most favorite things in the world fall under this borderline category. Harry Potter and Dr. Who. I am fairly certain if I were told I was going to a deserted island for the rest of my life and was only allowed to bring two things for entertainment, I would be perfectly happy with the Harry Potter books and the Dr Who boxed sets.  In fact, I am such a huge Harry Potter Nerd, that in college English, when I was assigned to write a short form memoir, I wrote a piece specifically about reading Harry Potter. (You can read it here if you are interested.)

My dilemma is, when can I introduce the nerdettes to my favorite things.  I want them old enough to enjoy them without having to worry about if it is too scary, but I also want them young enough that the magic of Hogwarts and the “science” of the Tardis inspire their imagination.   Plus I’m slightly impatient to re-experience the excitement through them. I still haven’t decided.

So help me out. Let me know in the comments what ages you think are appropriate. If you have already introduced your favorite things to your kids, what age did you start? How did you go about it? I’d love to hear your experiences  and learn about your favorite nerdery.

The Boy Who Lived…Vicariously

Two things of real significance occur July 16th, 2005 and the least of these is that I turn 23. This was vastly overwhelmed by the fact that this is the day I have been waiting for for three years. This is the day the newest Harry Potter book will be released. This is the day that I will finally be able to live again.

I wake up the morning of the 15th in a rush. Before my eyes even open I am already thinking, planning out my attack. I just have to make it to midnight and then the book will be in my hands. I will finally find out who the half-blood prince is. Then I remembered, “oh yeah…work”. I jump up and hurriedly get ready. I can’t be late again because my dependability is already in the toilet. At the same time, I have to take some time on my appearance or else Carrie, my boss, will razz me about it. “Another late night bender, eh Jacob?” she will sneer. Or, “Good thing vodka doesn’t have a smell huh?” She thinks I am an alcoholic because I have time management issues and frequently look like I slept in my clothes. The truth is that my clothes are wrinkled because folding them takes time that I would rather spend reading, and I sleep in because the night before I had to finish just one more chapter.

I arrive at work a bare five minutes late, and looking like the worst of muggles, in business casual attire that not even my grandmother would object to. This is a good result for me, so Carrie doesn’t say anything. She can’t resist an exaggerated sniff as I walk by though, searching for the aroma of a drink of which I didn’t partake. I sit at my desk and pull the bundle of letters waiting for me over to my computer. I am ready to tackle the day’s allotment of abuse head on. I work for a credit reporting agency in their fraud department. Every day I hear from people who have had some villain steal their identity, use up their credit, and left their credit rating in a shambles it is unlikely they will ever be able to fully recover. I hear stories about how people are unable to find work, get a car, or rent a home. Mostly I hear about how betrayed they feel, that someone could come in and take something so integral to their existence. I tell these people they should have been more careful, as if they just left their identity lying around. I tell them that I will happily put a statement on their report, even though I know this is more likely to hurt their efforts to get new credit. And finally, I tell them all I can do is dispute the incorrect information. I tell them it is up to them to work with the companies who have the false accounts to get them removed, even though this is a blatant lie. I tell them all of this because my company makes money on the amount of items that it reports. The more items removed, the less money we make. After about the fourth or fifth person calling in with the same sad story it strikes me. In my day to day existence I work for the bad guy. In this life I am a death eater.

Unfortunately this thought sticks with me all the way through the morning. I have to break out of this funk. It wouldn’t do to show up to the “pre-release” party with this kind of attitude. So at lunch, I decide to go out to eat with, Derrick, a friend of mine from a few rows over. He reads Stephen King like a religion so he understands my obsession, and we spend the hour re-discussing various books and authors that we have in common. I tell him about my plan to go to the pre-release party tonight at Barnes and Noble and invite him along.  He politely refuses, and secretly I am glad. Derrick is a great guy and one of my best friends, but he is also a bit of a talker. The last thing I will want at midnight tonight is to have to make small talk with someone I see at least five days a week anyway.

My “literary lunch,” as I like to think of it, is just what I needed to push through the rest of the day. I soldier through the complaints, the insults, and even the tears. I absolutely refuse to let even the elderly lady crying over how her assets have been frozen and she is on a fixed income faze me. After all what are the plights of a few individuals compared to the battle for the entire wizarding world.

When I finally get to the party, I feel at home. These are my people. From the shy girl in the manga aisle to the elderly couple dressed as Professors Dumbledore and Trelawney, these are the people who understand who I am. The rest of the night passes in a blur of pointy hats and wand waving. To my astonishment, I win the trivia contest. This means that not only have I proven my superiority in knowledge, but I have won the third place in line when it is time to buy the books. I am right behind the winner of the contest costume and the little boy in the motorized wheelchair. I force myself to believe he isn’t just faking it. As the clock counts down to midnight we all count along. It’s louder than any New Year’s Eve party I have ever seen. As the count reaches zero we all surge toward the registers, eagerly reaching toward the cashiers who have superimposed a forced smile over what would be an expression of fear and awe. Any other day I would be worried that they are judging me, but not today. Today is too important to care about such frivolities. I get three copies; one for myself, one for my sister, and one for when my first one wears out. I hurriedly pay and force my way past the line of people all staring at me hungrily. I can’t believe my luck. I had planned to be in line for another two hours yet, but it is only 12:15 and I am already on my way home.

Once home I don’t even stop to lock the door. I head straight to my bed, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince clutched in my hands. I stare at it for a while in astonishment. Sure, I knew what the cover would look like. Scholastic released it three months ago, but I still wanted to make sure I had every detail etched in my memory. I open the book and read, “Chapter One – The Other Minister” and suddenly I am swept away back into my real life. I am Harry Potter. I feel his astonishment as he meets professor Slughorn. I laugh out loud at the antics of Fred and George Weasley. And I puzzle through the mystery of the Half-Blood Prince’s identity with Hermione.

Halfway through the book I decide I have to have a break, if for nothing else than to use the restroom. I force the book down onto my bedside table and it causes a near physical wrench. I get up, lock the door, and empty my ashtray. I have already gone through a half of a pack of Marlboros, although I doubt I have actually smoked even 2 full cigarettes. Mostly they sit in the ashtray wasting. I change into pajamas, get a glass of water, and sit back down. I know I should go to bed and finish the book tomorrow, but the very thought it so abhorrent to my identity that I also know it isn’t going to happen. I open back the book and just as fast I am back at Hogwarts. I speed through the pages as if my life depended on it. I must know what happens next. I thrill a the story and I marvel at the events as they unfold. And then it happens. Snape kills Dumbledore. I gasp in shock. I mean I physically and verbally gasp. It is like I have been doused in cold water. Snape kills Dumbledore? My entire world is in upheaval. Surely I read something wrong. I read it again. The hero of my youth has just been thrown off the tower with a single spell. Avada Kedavra. No. Surely this is a plot twist. Ms. Rowling is just being clever. I go back to the book and rush through to the end, but Dumbledore is still dead when I close the book.

I am exhausted. It is now 7:00 am and I have an even greater yearning for the next book than I ever have. I finally turn off the light and lay my head on my still damp pillow and close my eyes. Before falling asleep, my last thought is that the message boards will be blazing tomorrow. Maybe someone else has found something in their first reading that I missed. Or maybe when I read it through again, more slowly and carefully, I will find some clue as to what really happened.

The next day, when I emerge to meet people for my birthday celebration, I am bleary eyed and sad. Everyone notices. They think I must have been up all night celebrating my birthday. They all ask, “What did you do last night?” I reply, “I bought a book,” but no one believes that is really true. This is ok because it isn’t really true. Actually, I lived.

Game Review – Munchkin Treasure Hunt Because dragons are no match for a Nerdette with a full diaper!

Today we will be reviewing Munchkin Treasure Hunt by Steve Jackson Games. Munchkin Treasure Hunt came out in September of 2014 as a Toys R Us exclusive. It  was designed by Andrew Hackard and illustrated by John Kovalic.

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From the Publisher

Number of players: 2-6

Game time: 60 Minutes

Age Group: 6+

Munchkin Treasure Hunt is a fun board game for up to six players, ages 6 and up – now everyone in the family can be a Munchkin! Treasure Hunt comes with a board, two custom six-sided dice, 96 colorful cards, four blank cards (so you can write your own!), six character standees, and a rulesheet.

The munchkins (that’s you!), move around the board. If you land on a monster, use the Monster cards to find out how tough it is, then roll a dice and use your Treasures (like Protective Kittens or a Broccoli Smoothie – EEEUUWW, YUCK) to beat it. When you run out of Treasure cards, whoever has the most gold in their hand wins the game!


The Game

Munchkin Treasure Hunt boardBasics: Munchkin Treasure Hunt is a basically the simplest form of a dungeon crawl game. Each player has a cardboard munchkin in a stand that represents them in the game. Everyone starts out in the center room on the board and everyone starts with three treasure cards.  You roll a die to see how many spaces you can move. Once you get to the next room you must fight the monster in that room for treasure.

Fighting: To fight a monster, you will first determine the monsters power. This will be the number listed in the room + the value of one monster card (two cards for the dragon). Next you will determine your fighting power. This is done by rolling a die. You can then add the value of your permanent treasures along with any one time use treasure from your hand. you may also ask for help from any one other munchkin who is within 6 spaces of the room you are fighting in.  If you defeat the monster, you take the number of treasure cards indicated  in its room.  If you cannot beat the monster, you run away and lose one permanent treasure.

Treasure: There are two types of treasure: Permanent and  One-Time. You can have up to two permanent treasures in front of you at any time. These add to your overall power. One-Time treasure stays in your hand until you use them, at which time they are discarded. Each treasure card has gold value which determines who wins the game. The treasures are very tongue in cheek and provide most of the “theme” of the game.

End Game: The game ends when the treasure deck is emptied. Once this occurs everyone counts up the gold value of their treasure cards. The highest gold wins.


Dad’s Review

Munchkin was the very first hobby board games my wife and I purchased and it has always been a big hit whenever we pull it out. That’s why when we heard Steve Jackson was publishing a children’s version we knew it would soon be part of our collection.  I am so glad it is because the nerdettes absolutely love this game. It is simple enough that both of them can play on their own and we spend the whole hour giggling over the different treasure cards.  My personal favorites are:

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Because there is some reading and math involved, we cannot leave them to play it on their own. Nerdette the Elder would have too much of an advantage. We have also instituted a house rule where instead of holding cards in our hands, we lay them all face up. That way we can help Nerdette the Younger read them.

The game plays very well with 3-6 players. I would not want to try it with just 2 as you would loose a lot of interaction that way. Even though the games do last at least an hour typically, the nerdettes always stay engaged until the very end.  This is rare in our house regardless of what we are doing. My only complaint is that if someone ends up with very powerful permanent treasures early on in the game, then they are certain to win. It would do better with some way to catch up.

Overall I am crazy glad we got this game and I would suggest it for any family. However, if it is just adults playing, I would stick with Munchkin.

Dad’s Rating:

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Nerdette the Elder’s review

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Do you like Munchkin Treasure Hunt?: Yes, I love it!

What do you like about it?: I like beating the monsters and getting treasure. I like going up against the dragon because he has the most treasure.

What don’t you like about it?: I don’t like it when I lose and have to run away.

Who would you recommend it to: Everybody

Nerdette the Elder’s Rating:

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Nerdette the Younger’s review

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Do you like Munchkin Treasure Hunt?: Yes.

What do you like about it?: I like the funny cards and helping people.

What don’t you like about it?: Nothing.

Who would you recommend it to: Everybody

Nerdette the Elder’s Rating:

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*The link to purchase is an affiliate link. This mean that if you purchase this game through that link I receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. It is my intent to use these affiliate links to help offset the cost of running the blog and I guarantee they will never affect the decision of which products to review. That decisions will solely be based on whether or not I think it will be successful with the nerdettes.*

 

 

 

Comic-Con with Kids

Last weekend we took the nerdettes to Dallas Comic-Con. We also had the added bonus of bringing my niece (Nerdette the Cousin) who the nerdettes worship like an Amazonian Goddess. Additionally, it was mine and my wife’s first visit to a big con, and we were all looking forward to it.

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Unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out to be the day of awesome we had imagined. Now don’t get me wrong, we had fun. From everything we saw it seemed like a well run con, but I don’t think taking the nerdettes was the right decision.  They are not disciplined enough at this age to sit through the panels , so we missed out on one of the biggest draws for going to cons.  Also, we all had a pretty negative reaction to paying out crazy money to get an autograph or picture with the celebrities. This cuts out another big part of the experience. As a result we spent the day shopping and people watching. Both of these were lots of fun, but not exactly worth the price of admission.

With that being said, there were a lot of really cool parts of the day. All of the nerdettes LOVED the idea of cosplay and tried to take pictures with as many “celebrities” as possible. The only exception is Nerdette the Younger doesn’t like males (fingers crossed this sticks for a good long while) so she would only take pictures with the female characters.

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We also had a great time at the children’s cosplay contest. There were some really amazing costumes that the kiddos put together, and all the nerdettes said they want to compete next time we go to comic-con.

The nerdettes especially enjoyed seeing the real life R2D2s and other droids made by the Astromechs Builders Group, as well as the 501st Legion cosplayers. We have recently started watching Star Wars Rebels (more on this in a later post), so it was a treat to see the characters we love up close and personal. My wife says I am not allowed to make my own R2 unit but I’ll wear her down eventually.

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Plus, I got an awesome lightsaber, made by the good folks at Ultra Sabers. This has provided hours of fun sparring with the nerdettes.

Overall, I would definitely go back, but I’ll probably find the nerdettes a sitter. At least until they are old enough to really enjoy the panels.

Dad Craft #1 – American Girl Doll Cape It's a bird, It's a plane, it' a........doll??

If  you ever want to see a little girl well and truly geek out, you have to take her to an American Girl doll store. The first time we took the nerdettes was about two years ago, and the amount of excitement was just as palpable as any Call of Duty or Harry Potter release I have ever attended.

*Conversely, this means that as nerds, we act just like little girls in a doll store…so take that #GamerGate….but I digress.

After that first trip, the girls both came home with American Girl dolls of their very own (thank God for grandparents). Nerdette the Elder has Saige, a spirited young girl who loves art and horse back riding, while Nerdette the Younger has Emily, a shy and quite girl who faces an uncertain world with a brave smile. I know this about my daughter’s “dolls” because they also come with books and movies.  What I did not realize at the time of purchase was that Saige and Emily would not be like the dollies that came before. No, they are not dolls at all to my girls, they are new miniature family members, each with their own birthdays and subsequent parties, fashion preferences, and distinct adopted personalities. Since welcoming them home, I have had to; learn how to style doll hair with tiny brushes and clips, play nurse and give dolly check-ups, scold naughty dolls that were misbehaving, and even pretend to change a doll diaper or two. Just the other day, Nerdette the Younger (who is still learning about family dynamics) asked me if I would rather be Emily’s uncle or grandpa.

What I  also didn’t know walking out of the store (although my wife tells me I should have), is that this trip would start an apparently never-ending pursuit to have the best  and biggest doll wardrobe possible. At $25 per outfit minimum, this could have turned into a significant problem. Luckily, my wife’s mother is amazingly good at sewing and has kept them supplied with most of what is needed. However, if I am going to be an American Girl Grandpa, then I am certainly going to do everything I can the nerd out the American Girls.

So what does every nerdy American Girl doll really need?

A super hero cape!

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Here’s how:

You start out with a shirt that the wife won’t miss too much. I used a “personalized” shirt that was sent to us without being personalized.

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I cut out the back to use the fabric. It was a size 6 child and the back was enough material for both capes.

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Now unlike my mother in law, I do not sew. My original intent was to just leave the edge raw, but, due in part to the fact that t-shirt material curls and due to the fact that I apparently don’t cut straight either, that wasn’t an option. That’s ok, because as every good dad knows, “Duct tape fixes almost anything.” Make the duct tape at the top longer than the actual cape to give it an easy way to attach to the doll.

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***Dad TIP, you should really wait to duct tape the sides until after the next steps. You have been warned.

Now every good superhero needs a logo. So the girls took over the next step. They colored the picture of their choice onto some ultra-fine sandpaper using old crayons. It is important that they bear down harder than the would on regular paper so it transfers better. I intended to have a live action shot of them designing, but the nerdettes have a talent for knowing when a camera is pointed their way so:

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Next we put the sandpaper face down and used a hot iron to transfer the crayon wax onto the capes.  (mad props to Cindy Hopper @ alphamom.com for the idea!)

Nerdette the Younger picked a Unicorn motif

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While Nerdette the Elder chose a Butterfly

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You’ll notice that Elder’s is much darker. This is because she did a better job bearing down while drawing.

Now if you didn’t follow the Dad Tip above, your next step will be to re-apply duct tape and  scrape all the melted duct tape off the iron before the wife gets home. That way you’ll just have an interesting anecdote instead of a “What happened was…” moment.

Finally,  attach some self-adhesive Velcro to the duct tape on each side of the top and finally attach the capes to the dolls. Now the nerdettes and Ameri-nerd Girl dolls are ready to take on any villain.

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Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also if you have any ideas for other fun nerdy stuff I can try out on the nerdettes, please let me know.

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Game Review – My First Carcassonne If you like it, then you should've put a meeple on it!

Since this is my first review, I think I should go over some formatting information. My plan is to first give you some basic information about the game. I will add the publishers description and some pictures (hopefully). Then we’ll get some thoughts on the game from me and from both of the nerdettes.

*Oh and for full disclosure, the link to purchase is an affiliate link. This mean that if you purchase this game through that link I receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. It is my intent to use these affiliate links to help offset the cost of running the blog and I guarantee they will never affect the decision of which products to review. That decisions will solely be based on whether or not I think it will be successful with the nerdettes.*

Today we will be reviewing My First Carcassonne by Zman Games. This is a very popular title designed by Marco Teubner and released in 2009.


From the Publisher

Number of players: 2-4

Game time: 20+ Minutes

Age Group: 4+

The streets of Carcassonne are filled with kids who are trying to catch the animals set loose for the festival. The city has never been so alive! This version of the modern classic, Carcassonne, has been adapted to allow players of all ages to play together. No need to count points! Each turn, you place a tile to build Carcassonne. When you close a street with one or more kids of your color, you get to put your pawns on the board. Be the first to place all of your pawns to win the game!


 

The Game

fr_327_size640My First Carcassonne is a simple tile laying game that is scored using meeples. Basically each player gets to pull a tile from the stack and place it against any other tile already in play. The tiles have paths on them as well as children wearing either green, yellow, red, or blue clothing. When a player places a tile that ends a path, every player that has a child on that path gets to put a meeple on top of it. The first player to place all of their meeples wins.

 


Dad’s Review

My First Carcassonne is the first “real” game we purchased with the girls in mind. Since purchasing, it has saved me from countless games of Candy Land and Sophia the First Surprise Slides.  It has become a favorite in our household specifically because it is something we can all play and enjoy without having to do too much in the way of hand holding with the nerdettes. Both girls understand the game mechanic and are able to make their decisions with a very minimum of suggestions from mom and dad.

Nerdette the Elder has fully embraced the game and plays to win. She loves it when she can beat Dad all by herself. Nerdette the Younger, however, still doesn’t quite grasp the idea of competition. She enjoys “helping” everyone else, but she really does not like losing. As a result, we try to make sure that anything she does to help someone else also helps herself in some way. We also have to sometimes keep them on task as stacking meeples in “cheerleader” towers is fun in and of itself.  We have yet to have the advertised 20 minute game. Most games run about 30-45 minutes

The game itself plays equally well with 2, 3, or 4 players  but I would not suggest it with an adult only crowd or even older kids as the game play is quite simple. Overall I would suggest this for any family that includes children age 6 and under.

Dad’s Rating

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Nerdette the Elder’s Review

Do you like My First Carcassonne?: Yes

What do you like about it?: I like placing the tiles and getting to put down meeples.

What don’t you like about it?: I don’t like it when I am not the blue player.

Who would you recommend it to: Everybody

Nerdette the Elder’s Rating

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Nerdette the Younger’s Review

Do you like My First Carcassonne?:Yes

What do you like about it?:I like putting on meeples and tiles and being the winner.

What don’t you like about it?: Being the loser and not putting meeples.

Who would you recommend it to?: I don’t know

Nerdette the Younger’s Rating

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The Quest

The first thing you should know about me is that I am a lifelong nerd. I mean like a fantasy lovin, tabletop game playin, geeky shirt wearin, wand wieldin, nose in a book, and wish I were a Jedi with a TARDIS nerd.

The second thing you should know about me is I am a dad. I have two human (I think?) female offspring ages 4 and 7. I like to think of them as my Padawan nerds or my Nerdettes.

This brings us to why I decided to start this blog. About two months ago, my once stay-at-home with the kids wife started a new job so she could start talking to adults again. Apparently that sort of thing is important. Therefore I was quickly thrust from the role of supporting cast member to “Maximus Parentus” with all of the duties and privileges pursuant thereto. My duties can range from elaborate doll hair designer and fashion show judge to nightly family chef and homework helper.

I’ve learned that 4 year old girls are very opinionated about their fashion and hair choices and that seven year old girls are sneaky with lip gloss. Screaming and crying happens much more often than was ever expected and little girls are immune to all logic. Mr. Spock would go crazy at my house.

I’ve also learned that more than anything my girls simply want to spend time with me. As a natural introvert I’m not 100% comfortable with this idea, but what can you do. Plus it is important to me that my Nerdettes fully experience the geeky side of life.

This blog will chronicle my quest to spend time with my nerdettes while balancing their need to be little girls with my need to not always play dress-up princess teatime. I’ll tell you what activities we try complete with what works and what doesn’t. I’ll review the games we play and the places we go. Maybe I’ll even be able to talk about some grown-up geekiness too.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments, email me at dad@dadvsthenerdettes.com, or post them to the myriad social networking sites above. I look forward to hearing from you. And remember, real  dads (occasionally) have to wear a tiara.