Category Archives: Hive Mind

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.

Saying Goodbye to Gen Con; Saying Hello to PAX Unplugged

Thank you to everyone that stopped by the Calliope Games Booth at Gen Con 2018. We loved meeting with you and showing you a new game or two. Gen Con, Origins Game Fair, and PAX Unplugged are the three big chances we have to spend some time with our friends and we appreciate your willingness to spend some of your time with us. Here are some fun pics from this year’s Gen Con!

Just some of the funtastic Team Calliope!

Rob Daviau demos ShipShape, an upcoming Titan Series title.

Seth Johnson demos SpyMaster, an upcoming Titan Series title.

Big Al Mansky stops by and has a “Funky” time!

Players mastering menus in Menu Masters.

Stealing from the rich and giving to ourselves in Thieves!

Demoing Hive Mind, a honey of a game!

A busy day in the Calliope Games booth. Wish you were here!

 

Calliope Games will be at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, PA November 30-December 2, 2018. Why not make plans to join us?

See you there!

Game and Food Pairings

Have you ever wondered what food you should pair with your Calliope Game? Well now we have the answer for you!

Double Double Dominoes

Game components of Double Double Dominoes

Game components of Double Double Dominoes

Players: 2-4

Play Time: 50 minutes

Food Pairing: Oreos

Reasoning: When playing Double Double Dominoes, it is best to pair the game with a package of Double Stuffed Oreos! This is an obvious choice because both dominoes and Oreos are black and white. You score double the points in the game, while you score double the filling in your stomach while eating Oreos. In Double Double Dominoes, there are many strategies to win – playing double dominoes to build a continuous chain, play on big numbers, etc. While eating Oreos, there are also different strategies – you can twist the cookies apart to eat the filling, eat the cookie as a whole, only eat the filling, etc. This classy pairing enhances the play of the game and makes it even more enjoyable. You can purchase Double Stuffed Oreos at any store near you. If you would like to purchase Double Double Dominoes, click here.

 

Tsuro

Game components of Tsuro

Game components of Tsuro

Players: 2-8

Play Time: 20 minutes

Food Pairing: Chow Mein

Reasoning: To go along with the Asian theme of Tsuro, we have paired the game with Chow Mein. This is a perfect match as you must create a continuous path in Tsuro. Chow Mein is perfect due to the noodles aspect and resembles the paths created in Tsuro. By combining the two for your game night, you can have a total Asian themed night. Make sure to be the last one to finish your food because you will be the last on the board making you the winner! If you would like to make your own Chow Mein, check out this recipe. If you would like to purchase Tsuro, click here.

 

Running with the Bulls

Components of Running With The Bulls

Components of Running With The Bulls

Players: 2-6

Play Time: 40-60 minutes

Food Pairing: Sliders

Reasoning: What a better way to show those rascally bulls who’s boss by eating a beef slider! These sliders are the perfect size for any game night especially when playing Running with the Bulls. In the game, there are smaller dice which represent the runners for each player trying to get to their destination. For your meal, the sliders are the runners trying to get to their final destination as well – your stomach! What better way to spend time with friends than to eat some sliders and play Running with the Bulls! To make your own sliders, click this link. Running with the Bulls is currently not on sale, but will be available for purchase at your FLGS soon!

 

Ugh!

Game components of Ugh!

Game components of Ugh!

Players: 2-6

Play Time: 20 minutes

Food Pairing: Turkey Leg

Reasoning: When you think of Ugh! you think of cavemen. And what did cavemen eat? Turkey legs of course… well it might not have been turkey legs, but it’s close enough! These turkey legs are similar to the clubs that cavemen would carry as a weapon. Your game night will be stepped up to the next level with these turkey legs as it’s companion. You can make these copycat Disney turkey legs from this recipe. If you want to play Ugh! and purchase your own copy, you can do so here!

 

12 Days

Game components of 12 Days

Game components of 12 Days

Players: 3-5

Play Time: 15 minutes

Food Pairing: Cookies and Milk

Reasoning: It’s close to the holiday season and when Santa comes, we’ll be greeting him with milk and cookie shots. Santa Claus can enjoy his milk and cookies all in the same bite!  With these milk and cookie shots, you can work it perfectly into your game of 12 Days. Win some day cards and eat some milk and cookies! You can learn how to make these cookie shot glasses filled with milk here. And you can purchase 12 Days here!

 

Menu Masters

Game components of Menu Masters

Game components of Menu Masters

Players: 2-5

Play Time: 20-40 minutes

Food Pairing: Ratatouille

Reasoning: Have you ever wanted to be a Menu Master? You can you’re your friends that you are a Menu Master by cooking up some ratatouille and playing the game Menu Masters! By whipping up this recipe, you will impress everyone at your game night. It’s also possible to impress everyone by winning at the game – who doesn’t love to win? Use this ratatouille recipe to have a fancy Menu Master Party! Menu Masters the game will be on the store shelves soon, so keep an eye out!

 

Tsuro of the Seas

Game components of Tsuro of the Seas

Game components of Tsuro of the Seas

Players: 2-8

Play Time: 20-40 minutes

Food Pairing: Asian Steamed Fish

Reasoning: Tsuro of the Seas is the second version of Tsuro. In this edition, players are ships sailing around the seas trying to be the last one standing and escaping the wrath of the daikaiju. This Asian inspired game deserves some Asian inspired food pairing. Which is why we have picked out an Asian steamed fish! Pairing both the meal and the game together allows for a wonderful Asian themed night. Make this awesome recipe found here. Purchase Tsuro of the Seas from our website here.

 

Roll For It!  

Game components of Roll For It!

Game components of Roll For It!

Game components of Roll For It! Deluxe

Game components of Roll For It! Deluxe

Players: 2-4*

*2-8 with red and purple versions combined, or if playing with deluxe version

Play Time: 20 minutes

Food Pairing: Sandwich

Reasoning: What some of you might not know is that Calliope Games loves traveling to Chicago for one particular restaurant. We all love Italian Beef from Portillo’s! One of our best travelling games is Roll For It! and it’s perfect when going to Chicago and Portillo’s. The pairing works perfectly because you don’t need much space or cleanliness to play Roll For It! or when eating Portillo’s Italian Beef. Make sure you get your copy of Roll For It! Red and Purple here, along with your copy of Roll For It! Deluxe here. And next time you’re in the Chicago area, stop by Portillo’s and get yourself an Italian Beef.

 

Thieves!

Game components of Thieves!

Game components of Thieves!

Players: 3-6

Play Time: 15-20 minutes

Food Pairing: Chocolate Coins

Reasoning: Thieves! is a great game about robbing a bank and escaping from the police with the most loot! And what do you think of when you think of loot – gold coins obviously! With these gold coins, you can play the game of Thieves! in rounds. So instead of using the jewels that come with the game, you can use homemade gold coins. What makes it even better, is that you can eat them afterwards because they are made out of chocolate. Use this recipe to make your own chocolate coins and purchase your copy of Thieves! here.

 

Hive Mind

Game components of Hive Mind

Game components of Hive Mind

Players: 3-12

Play Time: 30-90 minutes

Food Pairing: Honey

Reasoning: The only way to please the Queen Bee is to make her think that you think alike with your other bee mates! But bribing her with some honey sticks might help out as well! Make some homemade honey sticks for you and your friends to eat while playing Hive Mind. Answer the Queen’s questions and get as many points as you can to stay in the hive. But might as well enjoy some honey sticks while you’re answering questions. Learn how to make some honey sticks here! Keep an eye out for Hive Mind on FLGS shelves within the next few months.

 

Got ‘Em

Game components of Got 'Em

Game components of Got ‘Em

Players: 2-4

Play Time: 30 minutes

Food Pairing: Lollipop

Reasoning: Got ‘Em has the classic 50’s pop art feel. So why not support this pop artwork with lollipops! Got ‘Em is a great game that you can play with anyone! The game comes in both a bright and brainy version for those who desire different ways to challenge themselves. Lollipops are the best option to pair with this game. You can even make your own lollipops using this recipe. Purchase your own copy of Got ‘Em here.

 

Gen Con 2016

Why hello there everyone!

Gen Con is coming up soon and all the pieces of the convention puzzle are coming together at the Calliope Games Headquarters.  Everyday has been a blur of meetings and dice rolling and we can’t wait for all of you to see!

gencon16 banner

Gen Con 2016 | August 4-7, Indianapolis

As many of you know, we have been working on our Titan Series games. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Titan Series, it is an upcoming collection of gateway games by the some of the industry’s best game designers.  Ray Wehrs, President of Calliope Games, invited well-known game designers like Richard Garfield, Eric Lang, and Jordan Weisman (to name a few) to create games that fit within the Calliope wheelhouse — easy-to-learn, quick to play, accessible to all ages and levels of game experience, and above all, lots of fun! The idea is to offer you gateway games designed by your favorite designers! That way you can share your love for board games by your favorite designers with family and friends… and not have to worry about scaring them away!

Calliope will be demoing the first wave of three Titan Series games at Gen Con this year: Running With The Bulls by Paul Peterson, Hive Mind by Richard Garfield, and Menu Masters by Zach & Jordan Weisman. Each of these games are expected to be released in stores this September. Along with the Titan Series games, we will also be demoing all other Calliope titles in booth #1901.

Paul Peterson gives a demo of RUNNING WITH THE BULLS at Origins 2016.

Paul Peterson gives a demo of RUNNING WITH THE BULLS at Origins 2016.

menumastersplay

Chris Leder demos Menu Masters at TexiCon 2016

Players who have had an opportunity to demo the Titan Series games at Origins and TexiCon have had a blast playing them! We are excited to be working together with your FLGS (Favorite Local Game Store) as we move toward their availability in the fall!

HiveMindBoxrwtb_boxmenumasters_box

We are also very excited to tell you about the Calliope Games button collection. For the very first time at Gen Con this year, attendees who stop by our booth #1901 and play/demo one of our games will receive a collectible button that corresponds with that game! If an attendee collects all 11 buttons, they will receive a special Titan Series lapel pin!

We at Calliope Games want to help make this the best Gen Con ever for gamers!  Drop by booth #1901 and be the first to play some new games with your friends before they hit store shelves! We’ll also have some incredible deals at the booth that will make sure your gaming library is the best in town!

Join us, and let’s play!

Origins Titan Preview Roundup

We had an amazing time out at Origins Game Fair this month, playing games and meeting people.  One of the best parts was getting to play the first three releases from the Titan Series — Running with the Bulls by Paul Peterson, Hive Mind by Richard Garfield, and Menu Masters by Zach & Jordan Weisman with attendees of the convention!  These incredible games are in production now, and should be on store shelves in September, but we wanted to share some links to video overviews, so you could get a flavor for what they are about and how they play!

Paul Peterson gives a demo of RUNNING WITH THE BULLS at Origins 2016.

Paul Peterson gives a demo of RUNNING WITH THE BULLS at Origins 2016.

DICE TOWER ORIGINS SUMMER PREVIEW


BGG ORIGINS PREVIEW


TITAN SERIES OVERVIEW – TO THE TABLE

Thanks for reading and watching, and we will see you soon!  Gen Con is less than 40 days away!  AAAAAH!!