Category Archives: All About Games

Calliope Games You Can Play Remotely

With the holiday season being… for lack of a more original word, unprecedented, it’s not exactly easy to gather around a table and play games with the family the way you usually would. And that can be disappointing! I know it is for me; I have a handful of new game suggestions that I want to share with my father who loves lightweight games, but we have no plans to see each other in person for a bit. It’s okay to feel that sting. But the great thing about gamers is we know how to solve a puzzle. 

Calliope’s entire mission has been about gathering folks around a table to create lasting memories. So what do we do when we can’t gather around a table? In the illustrious words of Ross Gellar, we PIVOT! Between Zoom, FaceTime, Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, apps etc., it’s really become easier than ever to play games remotely. And we want to share with you the best Calliope games to play remotely with your family to create some brand-new memories.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro has an award-winning app from Thunderbox Entertainment that plays up to 8 people and is available on Android, Apple, Steam and more. It gives you the full Tsuro experience, and can be played all at once or turn by turn (perfect for when you need a quick break from mashing potatoes for the very first time).

If you have just one person Skype-ing in, you can actually play Tsuro with the physical copy! Prop that one player’s tiles up so only their camera can see them, and make sure they have a clear view of the board. They’ll tell you which tile they want and in which orientation. I’ve played this way several times, and the laughter induced from the, “no not your left, my left!” interactions add a whole other level of fun.

Roll for It!

Roll for It! also has an excellent app from Thunderbox Entertainment that allows you to play the Red or Purple edition, and has a bunch of different dice that you can’t get in the physical version. You shake your phone to roll the dice, and the game plays exactly the same as the physical version.

Don’t want to play on an app? You could play with just one copy of the game and an impartial roller such as a dice tower, and let the players tell you where they want their dice allocated. Insistent on rolling your own dice and happen to have your own copy? Find the matching cards you’re trying to roll for, and roll your own dice! This game probably has the most versatility for playing remotely, so if you have another suggestion, let us know!

Hive Mind

Hive Mind is Calliope’s contribution to trivia and party games! Designed by Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering and King of Tokyo fame), in this game you’re not trying to find the best, funniest, or most correct answer, you’re trying to come up with the answer that the most people playing will also have given. So if the question is “Name 3 flavors of popsicle,” it doesn’t matter that “blue” isn’t a flavor, it’s a color; as long as you know other people playing will also give the answer “blue,” you’re going to get points. Hive Mind is our easiest game to play over Zoom with just one person having a physical copy, and it also plays the most players, with up to 12 people playing. Have more than 12 people? Play in teams! Or grab extra meeples from a different game and add more players. The more, the merrier!

Dicey Peaks/The Mansky Caper

As we learned this summer during our 12-hour streaming marathon raising money for Food Lifeline, both Dicey Peaks and The Mansky Caper are very easily playable remotely as long as one person has a copy of the game, and a camera good enough for people to clearly see the board. The person with the game will also act as everyone’s hands, moving dice, pawns, and tokens wherever the players decide; but all of the gameplay decisions are made entirely by the players. As far as The Manksy Caper is concerned, it’s almost like Big Al himself is pulling the strings!

Allegory/Mass Transit/Enchanted Plumes

These three games are the newest in the Calliope lineup, in fact they’re currently being funded on Kickstarter! Until December 11th, you can play all three of these games for free on Tabletop Simulator and they each play up to 6 players. Looking for a cooperative or even solo game? Give Mass Transit a try! Know some people who love poker and bidding, and want to show them the art of set collection? Time to try Allegory. Want to see some truly beautiful card art within a potentially cutthroat game? Check out Enchanted Plumes

The truly wonderful thing about having these games on a digital platform is being able to play with people you’d never be able to get at a table at the same time. We’ve had the chance to play with designers and friends to create some fantastic moments that never would have been possible otherwise. We highly encourage you to do the same.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours! And if you get the chance to play some of these games in any capacity, make sure to tag us. We love seeing those memories getting made. 

The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza Spotlight: Enchanted Plumes

In Enchanted Plumes, players strive to complete magical Peacocks by assembling plumes in sparkling rows from top to bottom, using multiple colors of Feather cards while matching cards of the same color from row to row. The player with the most valuable plumes wins the game and is bestowed with the luck of the Peacock!

Designed by Brendan Hansen, Enchanted Plumes is one part set collection, one part press your luck, and a little bit of everything in between. Anyone walking by who sees this game on the table knows immediately what is happening: players are creating triangular rows of peacock plumes using like colors and trying to maximize the point values of the cards they play. But there is so much more to the game than that! 

Players are swapping cards in and out of a shared pool called the Train, possibly giving their opponents a chance at a vital card. They need to be mindful of what color plumes other players are using in case they run out of that color for their own peacocks. And then there’s the strategy involved in building the triangular rows! The first row you make will count negatively towards your score no matter how long you choose to make it; but the bigger the first row, the more subsequent rows of positive points you can make. You can make as many peacocks as you’d like, and you can make the rows as big or as small as you’d like. So many choices!

Enchanted Plumes Rapid Rundown:

Enchanted Plumes plays with 2-6 players in about 30 minutes. Your goal is to attract the attention of the Peahen by having the most sparkling and enchanting plumes of all the Peacocks in the land. To do that, you’ll need the most victory points. To do that, you’ll need to be strategic as you play plume cards triangularly. 

Setup:

Players begin by setting aside the Peahen card, and then shuffling and dealing 9 cards to each player. Each player will choose the 6 cards they would like to start with, and return the discarded 3 to the deck. The deck is reshuffled, and players will shuffle the Peahen card into the last eight cards of the game; once the Peahen appears the game is over, and scoring begins. The number of cards you use in the game will vary depending on player count (removing the 7’s, 8’s, and/or 9’s for lower player numbers).

Flip and place the top five cards of the deck in a line extending to the right of the deck; this lineup is called the Train. 

Playing the Game: 

On your turn you will do two actions: 

1. Play one or two cards either to start a new plume or add to one of your existing plumes; the cards may be used together in the same plume or split up among different plumes.

2. Replenish your hand in one of three ways:
(a) Draw two cards from the Feather deck
(b) Swap two cards from your hand with two cards from the Train
(c) In either order, draw one card from the Feather deck and swap one card from your hand with one card from the Train 

Building Plumes:

Every turn as you play your one or two cards, you’ll be building rows of plumes. Cards that are placed on the top row will be scored as negative points, while cards played in lower rows will count positively. As you descend down the rows you can only use colors that have been previously used. So if a row has three cards: the blue, yellow, and red feathers, the next row will only have 2 cards, and they may only contain those colors. Once a lower row of cards is started in a plume, Feather cards can no longer be added to higher rows in that plume. You can always begin a new set of plumes before finishing a current one, and you can have as many sets as you like. 

Once you get down to the final row, which will hold only one card, you will play that card face down. This obscures your point value of that card, allows you to collect bonus points at the end of the game, and creates a beautiful peacock! The final card does have to follow the color constraints of your plumes.

Attracting the Peahen:

When a player draws the Peahen from within the final 8 cards of the deck, play immediately ends and scoring begins. The top row of each set scores negative points, and all subsequent rows score positive points. If you have completed any peacocks, flip over the last card and add it to your score. Completed peacocks also score 1 bonus point for each card used to build them. Incomplete Peacocks do not score bonus points. 

The player with the highest score is the most enchanting peacock of them all, and is allowed to strut around as they please. 


Enchanted Plumes is coming to Kickstarter as part of The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza! on November 10th, 2020. You’ll be able to get 3 fantastic card games that scratch three different itches, and together make for one incredible game night. You can check out the Kickstarter page here to be notified when the campaign is live, and if you want to talk more Enchanted Plumes you can follow the game on Board Game Geek.

The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza Spotlight: Mass Transit

It’s quittin’ time in the Big City, and rush hour is about to begin! It’s up to you and your team of urban planners to get all these Commuters home to their families. You will need to skillfully work together to construct transit routes out to the Suburbs, but City Hall bureaucracy limits how much you can help each other! If you can manage the red tape, and your team works like a well-oiled machine in getting everyone home, you will ALL succeed at Mass Transit!


Designed by Chris Leder (who also designed Roll for It!) and Kevin Rodgers, Mass Transit is a limited communication, lightweight cooperative game in which you are working together to expand various commuter lines (bus, train, and ferry), to get 6 meeples from their jobs in the Big City to their homes in the suburbs, while having to contend with traffic stops and dead ends. It’s quaint, it’s charming, it’s addicting.

Mass Transit is a lot of firsts for Calliope Games: our first cooperative game, our first game with a solo mode, and, believe it or not, our very first game with traditional meeple tokens! Can you believe that? I almost didn’t, and had to go through the components of each of my game boxes to confirm. But yes, indeed! (And when you back the Kickstarter you’ll receive stickers to customize your meeples!)

If you’re hoping to learn a little more about Mass Transit then look no further! Well, okay, you can look further on this page. That’s where the information is. But you don’t have to go further than that!


Mass Transit Rapid Rundown:

Mass Transit plays with 1-6 players in about 20 minutes. Players will set up the Big City board and place the 6 commuter meeples at the 6 starting locations. Everyone then draws 4 cards. Each round, players will take turns playing at least 2 (but more if you would like) cards to either extend a route, or discard a card to move a meeple to the next station.

Extending a route: 

Six transit routes lead out of the Big City toward the Suburbs. When you first play a card to start a route, place it to extend the road, canal, and rail lines on one edge of the Big City board. You can then play later cards next to either the Big City (to begin a new route) or an existing route (to continue it). The colors of the cards don’t need to match and most likely won’t! The focus is on getting the meeples further along the track via the stations on the cards.

Moving meeples: 

In order to move your commuter meeples towards home, you must first discard a green walk card to have a meeple walk from the big city to the first station. After that, you can discard a card in your hand that matches the color of the route you want to take. So if you want your meeple to head home via train, you will need to discard one red train card to move your meeple from one station to the next. If there are cards in between with no stations to stop on, it looks like that train is going express!

Traffic, Dead End, and Urgent Cards: 

Of course commuting is never as easy as hopping on a train and going home! You’ll be facing Traffic Stops that require you to stop along the route before you reach the next station, requiring you to discard another card to get moving again; Dead End cards that force you to walk to a different method of transportation; and Urgent cards that must be played before your turn is over (unless you’re able to get your last meeple home). How your team handles these cards can be the key to your success. 

Getting home: 

Suburbs cards are the ending points for your commuters. Each Suburbs card shows a number (3 or 4) just above the house icon; this number represents the minimum number of cards that must be placed between the Big City and that Suburbs card. Once your team has played that many cards, you can play a Suburbs card to end that commuter line. You will still have to discard a card to move the meeple home. If you can get all 6 meeples home, congratulations! You win the game!

Limited Communication: 

Bureaucracy is a real pain! Even though you are all working together, you may NOT tell other players exactly what is in your hand or where you will play on your next turn. You can discuss the current map on the table and say vague things like, “This could be a great express route” or “I can’t wait to ride the train!” to get around the red tape; however, you can never suggest what actual cards to play or what the next move should be. How well do you and your team really know each other?


Mass Transit is coming to Kickstarter as part of The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza! on November 10th, 2020. You’ll be able to get 3 fantastic card games that scratch three different itches, and together make for one incredible game night. You can check out the Kickstarter page here to be notified when the campaign is live, and if you want to talk more Mass Transit you can follow the game on Board Game Geek.

Introducing the Calliope Game Night Extravaganza!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/calliopegamenight/the-calliope-game-night-extravaganza

Calliope Games is thrilled to announce The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza!  A Trio of games that takes you by feather, rail, and epic tale! Celebrate an evening packed with excitement and fun challenges for all!  During your game night, you’ll build peacock plumes of vivid colors!  You’ll cooperate to construct a transit system and deliver commuters home.  And in tales of epic lore, you’ll bid to win, but may lose if you do!

The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza! launches on November 10th and includes three amazing new card games: AllegoryEnchanted Plumes, and Mass Transit.  Each game is small enough to take anywhere! Bidding, set collection, cooperation, and hidden objectives! There is something for everyone – and every game night – in the Calliope Game Night Extravaganza! 

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • A Whole Game Night In One Bundle!  All the games take less than an hour to play.
  • Easy To Teach And Play! The games entertain from one to six players ages 8 and up.
  • Unique New Card Games! Bidding, set collection, cooperation… there’s something for everyone!
  • Unbelievable Value! Get Allegory, Mass Transit, and Enchanted Plumes for only $40 USD when you pledge for all three games.

  • Unique twist on auction/ bidding games
  • Rich and striking artwork
  • 2-6 players, 30-50 minutes

An allegory tells a captivating story while hiding a deeper, meaningful moral underneath. In the game of Allegory, you’ll compete with others as renowned authors, each scribing a trilogy of Tales: Nature, Energy, and Spirit. Master the use of Lore to incorporate powerful Themes into your Tales. At the end, you will be rewarded for weaving a hidden Moral throughout all of your Tales—but only the most concise Tale shall become a literary classic for the ages!


  • Collect and play cards to build peacock plumes
  • Skillful decisions lead to big scores
  • 2-6 players, 30 minutes

In Enchanted Plumes, players strive to complete magical Peacocks by assembling plumes in sparkling rows from top to bottom, using multiple colors of Feather cards while matching cards of the same color from row to row. The player with the most valuable plumes wins the game and is bestowed with the luck of the Peacock!


  • Cooperative transportation game
  • Limited communication provides fun strategy
  • 1-6 players, 20 minutes

It’s quittin’ time in the Big City, and rush hour is about to begin! It’s up to you and your team of urban planners to get all these Commuters home to their families. You will need to skillfully work together to construct transit routes out to the Suburbs, but City Hall bureaucracy limits how much you can help each other! If you can manage the red tape, and your team works like a well-oiled machine in getting everyone home, you will ALL succeed at Mass Transit!


The Calliope Game Night Extravaganza will be going live on Kickstarter on November 10th, 2020. Be sure to click to get notified when it goes live: https://bit.ly/CalliopeGameNightKSPage

And if you would like to be included in the Kickstarter email list for first looks and early access, you can sign up here: https://bit.ly/CalliopeKickstarterSignup

Gamers Engaged With Food Lifeline

On Sunday August 9th, 2020, Calliope Games is participating in an incredible event with Gamers Engaged, the giving arm of Card Kingdom and Mox Boarding House, where we will be streaming and playing games from 10am-10pm PST to raise money for Food Lifeline.

Food Lifeline provides the equivalent of 134,000 meals every day, and every dollar we raise provides 5 meals. Our team goal was to raise $1,000, and thanks to your generosity we have already smashed that goal!! Along with an incredible donation was a challenge: “$1000 as a goal is too low. Aim high! We love each other!” So we’ve DOUBLED our goal! Now we want to raise $2,000, or 10,000 meals for Food Lifeline.

All throughout the day we will be playing your favorite Calliope games in a multitude of ways; from Zoom calls to good ol’ fashioned round-the-table gameplay. We are also thrilled to announce that Ruel Gaviola (whom you may remember from the Accommodations for Colorblind Players article) will be playing ShipShape with his family as our special guest. There also may be a super secret playthrough of an upcoming Calliope game that hasn’t even hit Kickstarter yet! If you want to know when it’s live, make sure you’re following us on social media, or sign up for the Kickstarter Preview newsletter in our sidebar –>

And just to sweeten the pot, every person who follows us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), signs up for that Kickstarter newsletter, or donates, is entered in a raffle to win some con-exclusive Calliope swag! We want to give our thanks to you all for joining us for this incredible event. We literally cannot do it without you.

We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, and that you’ll watch, comment, share, enjoy, and if your wallets can afford it, that you give back and make a donation. Remember, $1 provides 5 meals, so truly every little bit helps.

Stay Safe. Stay Kind. Play Games.

-Team Calliope

Making Board Games Accessible for Color Blind Players

It is estimated that over 300 million people worldwide live with some form of color blindness. There are various forms, from the most common deuteranomaly and protanomaly (commonly known as red-green color blindness) to tritanomaly, which makes blue shades less distinguishable. As we all are aware, color makes up a huge part of board game mechanics. If we want color blind players to enjoy playing games, it’s up to designers and publishers to make sure they are accessible.

I had a chat with Ruel Gaviola about his personal experiences playing board games while color blind, and it was a truly lovely and enlightening conversation. I thought my experience working colorblind accommodations into my classroom gave me a pretty strong foundation, which it did, but there is nothing quite like personal experience, and I was once again reminded of just how important it is to seek out that expertise.

We didn’t just talk about accommodations both common and uncommon, but also about favorite games, favorite gaming moments, and games that surprised him by being a lot more accessible than expected. Here are some fundamental insights:

Some basic accommodations that most games already use:

-Match each color with a symbol

This one is pretty straightforward: if you divide something by color, each color will have a corresponding symbol. As this is arguably the most popular accommodation, you can see this in tons of games, including Ticket to RideLanterns, and Calliope games such as Everyone Loves a Parade and Ancestree. For games light on theming, or games that incorporate this accommodation directly into their game mechanics, it’s barely noticeable for those who don’t need it, but highly appreciated by those who do. It is a simple but highly beneficial adjustment that ensures no matter how similar your colors are, all players will be able to tell the difference between sets. 

-Make the meeples/pieces different shapes

Similar to the color/symbol accommodation, if you have physical components that are different colors and need to be distinguishable, make them different shapes! You can see this in Tsuro Phoenix Rising with the three lantern colors: each color has a different design both in the drawings and the pieces that go on the board. The Mansky Caper has player standees that have distinct artwork and strike different poses, allowing players to locate their piece with more ease than colored pawns of the same shape.

-Don’t require color distinction in the first place 

This of course won’t work with every game out there, but for certain types of games, particularly party or word-heavy games like Hive Mind, or games that don’t require color grouping/distinguishing like Double Double Dominoes, the easiest accommodation is to make it so one simply isn’t necessary! For ShipShape, the different pieces you can collect (contraband, cannons, treasure) all have different symbols to indicate them, and while they are different colors, that’s simply because cannons are black, treasure is gold etc. You’re not trying to collect a certain amount of red cannons versus green cannons. 

These considerations carry a bonus: they are useful not just for players who are colorblind, but also for players of varying ages, language skills, and learning styles. Everyone benefits from having multiple methods of component distinction. For instance, I play games with my partner all the time, and we are VERY different players. He is a visual learner and immediately looks for pictures and symbols, while I read quickly so I look for words. We both do well with Spymaster because each type of card (Surveillance, Blueprint, Espionage, Dossier) have a corresponding color and symbol (which work for him), and the full card type written on them (which works for me). So what is an effective accommodation for colorblind players is actually a successful type of accommodation for multiple types of players. As game designers and creators, we want to make sure we have the highest amount of accessibility possible. There’s no downside to making these changes.

During my chat with Ruel, he gave three recommendations that were succinct and measurable:

1. Start Early. 

If you’re designing a new board game, it is 1000 times easier to work colorblind adjustments into the design than it is to put them in later. This is especially important when it comes to theming: if you know your game’s theme is going to result in a lot of similar colors, then you’re already aware you will need to do something to incorporate symbols or shapes to help distinguish those colors, and you can make those shapes theme-appropriate as well. 

2. Get Playtesters who are Colorblind.

Even if you’ve worked colorblind considerations into your game, sometimes you miss something, especially if you are not personally colorblind, or have only thought about one specific type of colorblindness. There are apps, websites, and lenses you can use to simulate it, but at the end of the day the people with the most experience are the people who live their lives this way. 

3. Think of it as a Challenge.

This was my favorite piece of advice Ruel had. He told me a story about chatting with a game designer friend of his and saying he basically dared him to put as much colorblind inclusion into the game as possible. Extra points if they feel truly integrated. He said the friend leapt at the challenge. It’s such a great idea! Designers love puzzles, and they love making their minds work! When he told me that, my heart swelled. What a smart idea.

There’s a lot of work to be done as a game designer. But thinking of creating colorblind accessibility as just another task to check off, same as “how does a play win?” and “how do different player numbers affect gameplay?” means that it’s not an extra task. It’s not something to be thought of as, “great if we get to it but if we don’t, that’s fine”. It’s important that we consider accessibility as something vital to gameplay. In order for everyone to feel welcome at the table, we must make everyone feel comfortable at the table.


Ruel Gaviola is a writer, podcaster, live streamer, and voiceover narrator for all things board game related. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can check out his blog and his board game geek profile.

5 Board Games to Pair with Movie Night!

You’ve got board game night. You’ve got movie night. Classic. Both are fun ways to get off your phones and spend time with family. So why not combine them into a Board Game and Movie Night? You can create a fully themed night from the dinner choice, the game, the movie, you can even dress up if you are so inclined! 

I’d like to offer you 5 Calliope games for game night, and a movie (or several) you can watch after/while you play.

1. ShipShape:

Pirates sailing the high seas, stealing treasure and enjoying some casual bidding? What better movie than the original Pirates of the Caribbean! The art on the character cards look like missing characters from the movie, and nothing gets you more pumped up than hearing that iconic soundtrack. I’ve definitely found myself shouting “Stop blowing holes in my ship!” while I’ve played ShipShape. As a bonus alternative if you’re a 90’s kid like me, might I recommend the 1996 classic, Muppet Treasure Island? It’s fun, it’s goofy, and I think we all have a little bit of cabin fever right now. Time to do some sailing for adventure on the big blue wet thing! Or you can try the 1995 Geena Davis classic: Cutthroat Island. Just don’t get too competitive!

2. The Mansky Caper:

There are a couple of different ways you could go with this fun press-your-luck game. You can lean into that heist aspect and go for any of the Ocean’s 11 movies or The Italian Job, or you could focus on that mob boss 1920s/30s feel with something like Dick Tracy. If you don’t mind playing a game while watching a movie about a different game, I recommend Clue. Personally, with the rulebook being styled like a comic book I always think of Batman: The Animated Series; specifically the episodes “It’s Never Too Late,” “The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy,” and “Almost Got ‘Im”. Yes, I’m already breaking my own rule of choosing movies, but I could absolutely see The Mansky Caper as an episode of this show, so it’s worth it.

3. Spymaster:

Similar to ShipShape and Pirates of the Caribbean, having a rocking soundtrack while playing a board game is just the best, and for Spymaster you obviously have to go with Mission: Impossible. This game can definitely make you feel like Ethan Hunt. Other fun spy movies to get you in the mood include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Flight of the Condor; and Red. Depending on the ages of the players, you could also go with movies like Kingsman for adults, or Spy Kids for families.

4. Tsuro of the Seas:

 

Is it too obvious with this one to say Pacific Rim? Yeah, probably, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a fun popcorn flick that I highly recommend having on in the background while you’re playing to add some more suspense as you roll those dice. If you happen to be playing this back-to-back with ShipShape might I suggest Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest? Daikaiju, Kraken, sounds like a bunch of stuff you want to avoid in the ocean. Choose your path carefully!

5. Dicey Peaks:

This is another one where you can drastically change the theme depending on if you’re playing with adults or kids. If you want to lean into the mountain climbing and you don’t plan on personally climbing Everest any time soon, there’s no shortage of wintery disaster movies like K12127 Hours, and Everest. For more kid-friendly, yeti themes we recommend Abominable, Missing Link, or Small Foot. Or you can just go basic “cold” with Ice Age or Frozen.

Bonus!

Hive Mind:

 

Bee Movie. Sorry not sorry, I just had to. 

What do you think? Do any of these combinations get you more excited to play? Do you have any good dinner recommendations to pair with a particular board game and movie? Or would you like that to be the next blog post?

All Aboard! Announcing Station Master on Kickstarter!

We are excited to announce the sensational return of the beloved train game Station Master, now boarding on Kickstarter until December 12th! Station Master is a classic card game for 2-6 players ages 8+ that plays in 30-60 minutes.  During the game, players attach railcars to vintage steam locomotives, assign passengers to trains, and play action cards to send things off the rails!

Designed by Chris Baylis (designer of Dark Blades), Station Master is getting a luxurious revival from Calliope Games, publisher of hit family-weight games such as Tsuro – The Game of the Path, Roll For It!, and Hive Mind!

Every morning, the train station is bustling with passengers looking to depart for their destinations on time. As Station Master, your job is to keep passengers happy by guiding them to the right coaches and sending the trains out of the station on time, earning you points for efficiency. When completed trains leave, players with passengers aboard the train score Efficiency points. Station Master is loaded with railcars of positive and negative values, so you’ll need to plan carefully when sending trains off, as you’ll be affecting other players’ scores when you do! More fun is added to the mix when Action cards are played that alter the rules with special one-time benefits. The game ends once all trains have left the station, and the player with the most Efficiency points is declared the winner and triumphant Station Master!

Created with GIMP

Station Master is now live on Kickstarter, offering an exclusive Executive Class version only available during the campaign. This deluxe edition includes such special features as a flip-top magnetic-close box with opulent flocked insert, unique alternate Passenger pawns, and breathtaking Locomotive postcards that will be revealed throughout the campaign.

Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a fan of betting and bluffing, or just someone who enjoys great games, you’ll definitely want to check this game out! Will you manage to board your passengers before another player sends your train out of the station? Prove you are the most efficiently at boarding passengers and building trains in Station Master! Pledge today to get your copy!

3 Calliope Games To Play With Your Tutor

Adapted from a Titanium Tutors blog post by Oscar Smith

If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I can’t resist a great board game! I was introduced to the hobby by some friends during high school and it was love at first sight – one of my early favourites was Calliope Game’s ‘Tsuro’, a modern classic.

As a tutor, I’m constantly thinking of new ways to help my students learn new skills in different and exciting settings; one idea I’ve been experimenting with is using board games to introduce younger students to basic academic concepts. So, without further ado, here are 3 titles from Calliope Games which I think would be a hit with students.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro – The Game of the Path

For me, this is the game where it all started. This tile-laying game of survival sees players sending their dragon tokens down paths, hoping to steer them away from other players without sending themselves off the board.

Tsuro’s educational appeal is not straightforwardly visible, but it certainly has a place in the classroom. Success in this game comes from effective long-term planning and efficient problem-solving. If an opponent suddenly closes down your options with a surprise move, being able to adapt your strategy and work out how best you can use the three tiles in your hand is vital.

One way I’ve been playing this game is in a ‘speed’ format. At first, I give my student two minutes to make their move, then I reduce it to one minute, then 30 seconds and finally 15 seconds! This addition of a timer is a great way to introduce younger students to the feeling of exam time pressure in a fun context, improving their mental agility.

Roll For It! - Red Edition

Roll For It!

Many kids struggle with mathematics, particularly with the statistical side of things. Understanding how probabilities work and how to calculate them is a crucial skill for any student who has to learn about stats and Roll For It! is a great way to get students thinking about the practical applications of maths.

The game is delightfully simple; roll your 6 dice and match them to the scoring cards – once you’ve matched all the die on that card, you keep it and score the points on that card. The most important decision is working out which dice to put with which cards – concentrating on the harder cards with more specific requirements might earn you more points, but you could earn more by targeting several low scoring cards.

This risk/reward dynamic makes Roll For It! a great game to teach kids about probability. When a new card comes up, I ask my students to calculate the probability that they’ll be able to roll their 6 dice and get exactly the right roll to secure a card. For cards where you need 6 of one result, the calculation is 1/66, which is a very low probability! This not only helps students learn simple probabilities, but also helps them play better!

Wordoku – Fun Spelled Out

I’ve always been a sucker for word games, so when I discovered Calliope Games’ Wordoku it definitely struck a chord with me. In essence, this game gets players trying to make four letter words using small tiles in a 4×4 grid. Each tile has a symbol and so, like a sudoku puzzle, there must be one of each symbol in each row and column.

Spelling is right up there with some of the most critical skills a student can have. I love playing this game in a 1v1 situation with a student, testing their vocabulary and seeing how creative they can be. The sudoku element of the game forces students to really stretch their knowledge of words and playing just one round of this game can be a great way to start a tutoring session in an engaging way.

So, there you have it! I hope you’ve found some inspiration for using board games in teaching. A big thank you to Calliope Games for letting me share my thoughts about their fantastic titles on their website – happy gaming!

Oscar is an undergraduate at the University of Warwick, where he studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics. When he’s not playing board games or performing jazz gigs on his saxophone, he tutors Science and Mathematics and works for the team at Titanium Tutors – one of the UK’s leading private tuition agencies.

To read the original blog post (‘Top 5 Educational Board Games to Play With Your Tutor’), click here.

Calliope Games Celebrates 10 Years

At Calliope Games, we are thrilled to celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary! Over the past decade, our library of gateway and filler games have entertained, inspired, and provided an opportunity to make memories around the game table, and it all started with our flagship title, Tsuro: The Game of the Path. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this 10 year milestone than by returning to the series that started it all, which is why Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is taking flight in 2019!

10 years ago, Calliope Games began as a collaboration between Dawne Weisman, Jordan Weisman, and Ray Wehrs. All of us are experienced game industry professionals who have worked together since 1999 when we collectively launched WizKids. Calliope Games has been producing and selling quality tabletop games since 2009. Our products are inspired by family for families.

At Calliope Games, we publish fun, affordable, family-style tabletop games for all to enjoy.

With gamers in mind, our games make the perfect “gateway” or “filler” game. They allow you to easily draft your non-gamer friends into your favorite hobby. Calliope games are excellent for starting out game night and are easily played between heavier games. It’s important to point out to our non-gamer friends that we do take a slightly different approach to the games we produce. At Calliope, we focus on entertaining adults; however, the games we produce allow children to compete with their parents without the parents “throwing” the game. It’s a really a pretty simple concept; instead of having the parents step down into the child’s world, we are inviting the child to step up into the parents’ world.

For gamers and non-gamers alike, the results of our efforts are games that are accessible by all players regardless of skill level or age, play in under 60 minutes, are affordably priced, and most of all… are a blast to play!

We are proud and humbled to have been able to deliver fun to game tables for 10 years, and we are excited to keep doing it for another 10 years…and beyond!

Thank you for being a part of the first 10 years of Calliope Games! Until next time, game on!