Friday 24 November 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th November 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th November 2023

World COVID Statistics: 698,216,394 officially reported cases and 6,942,772 losses of life.

WHO loneliness causes illness image of man with risk factors in thought bubbles eg. dementia

According to latest NHS figures and reported by COVID Actuaries, hospital admissions with COVID in England decreased by 12% in-week. Biggest decrease NE & Yorkshire (-22%) and the NW (-20%). Acute bed occupancy is down by 10%, on top of a 15% drop last week (although at the end of October England had less than 4,200 beds unoccupied in total, so really needed that decrease).

Monday 13 November 2023

The Ghost In The Attic Mystery Agency Puzzle Game Review Age 14+ (sent for review)

The Ghost In The Attic is an absolutely fantastic 'The Mystery Agency' escape-room type puzzle-solving game for as many players as you like, aged around 14 or over. Play is co-operative, and you'll need all of those different brains with different skills in order to beat the game. I'm proud to say we did, in around 2 hours - all of which we enjoyed immensely. 

The Ghost In The Attic Mystery Agency Puzzle Game outer box front like cardboard packaged parcel

The Ghost In The Attic is an 'escape room' type game, where you follow clues and solve puzzles in order to discover the solution. Sent to us for review by The Happy Puzzle Company, this is without any doubt THE BEST mystery/puzzle/escape type game I've ever played (including in-person escape rooms). It is incredibly well written and beautifully put together.

The Ghost IN The Attic puzzle home escape room game box contents

Friday 10 November 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 10th November 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 10th November 2023

World COVID Statistics: 697,638,516 reported cases and 6,937,323 losses of life.

"A&E  depts in England in October saw worst performance this year.
Nearly 30% waited more than 4 hours to be treated or assessed.
Nearly 45,000 had to wait more than 12 hours for a bed after decision to admit."
Some demoralising stats there, neatly summed up by BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym.

101123 COVID Actuaries hospital admissions

Thursday 9 November 2023

The Christmas Express Family Board Game Review (age 6+) Sent by Cheatwell Games For Review

Our latest review for Cheatwell Games is Christmas Express. Designed for 2 to 4 players aged around 6 or over, this a very nicely illustrated family board game with the aim to get your 'train' all the way to the North Pole first -  without sliding backwards down a bridge or getting caught in a snowstorm. 

The Christmas Express Game box front showing large colourful text, and cartoony illustrated snowy forest North Pole scene

The illustrations really are excellent, this is an attractive, bright and colourful game, with a very festive feel. The player pieces are card, with 8 cute animal characters to choose from, so everyone is happy. 

The Christmas Express Game box contents showing colourful bright friendly characters and game board

Movement around the board is via a hand of cards. Each time it's your turn, you pick up cards so that you have 5 in your hand. Most give a number of spaces to move forward, but some are more specialised....

If you collect 3 of the same numbered cards, then you can advance directly to the next train station. In gameplay we've found that has only occurred an average of once each game - it really doesn't happen as often as you'd imagine. 

The Christmas Express Game numbered card examples

Special cards include Hustle Bustle, Snow Storm and Santa, and you choose which card (or cards) to play each time it's your turn. When a special card is played, it triggers a specific action - you can swap places with whoever is in the lead, move other players backwards, make someone miss a turn and other dastardly deeds. 

Cheatwell Games Christmas Express Game playing card examples, showing movement and special cards

The meanest of the cards in my family's opinion is Naughty Elf, which moves another player to the top of the bridge. You can use this to push them back quite a long way if you are battling it out to land on the final North Pole square. You might not want to play this one with a 6 year old in that position, I know it would have caused upset in our house. A 15 year old, not so much. 

The kindest card is obviously Santa, who saves the day by blocking most of the other special cards - even the Naughty Elf. 

For what appears to be a fairly regular 'from start to finish' board game, there can be a lot of strategy in The Christmas Express Game. Having 5 cards to choose from does mean you always have options, and they are really quite varied. You can hold on to certain cards until the perfect moment, and destroy someone else's chance of winning, or streak into the lead. It can actually be quite harsh if you are a very competitive person who is determined to win. Likewise, it can feel very rewarding to block someone else's attempt to snow on your own section of the railway line. 

Three people sitting at a small table playing The Christmas Express

Each game we've played has taken under an hour. The Christmas Express Game has a 'snakes and ladders' feel to it, but with much more opportunity for strategy and gameplay. You find yourself travelling up and down the board a lot, especially when the race hots up, and it's never a straight line 'start to finish'. My competitive boys and partner really love the way this plays - I'm always too soft to be ruthless, so I feel guilty whenever I have to hobble another player, especially when they are younger.

The Christmas Express Game was sent to us by Cheatwell Games for review. It is designed for 2-4 players aged 6+, and ideal for family games night. It's beautifully decorated and a really fun and festive treat, which will make you feel warm and cosy and Christmassy - even the Naughty Elf.

The Christmas Express game in action, showing teenager looking at board while other boy makes a move

Our copy of The Christmas Express Game was sent to us by Cheatwell Games for review. It's available from Amazon for a very good price - just £15.49 at the time of typing, although full RRP is still a very reasonable £22.99. I've left an Amazon affiliate link below with the latest price... 

We were sent our copy of The Christmas Express family board game for review. I was not paid or offered any other incentive, and this review is all my own thoughts and words. Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence if you buy through my link, but you won't ever pay a penny extra. 

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Cheatwell Games 'Host Your Own Family Quiz Night' Game Review (age 8+, sent for review)

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night has been sent to us for review by Cheatwell Games. Recommended for 2 or more players aged around 8 or over, you play as 2 opposing teams. All of the cards have 2 general knowledge questions - one of which is more suitable for the adults, and one a little easier (and sometimes more recent) with multiple choice answers for the younger family members. We played adults vs kids, and it was brilliant. 

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night Game Box Front with large logo

The game board is relatively small, so you can play without having to clear a big table, and play is instant - set up from brand new took about 2 minutes. Putting the game away is just as quick.

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night Game opened with contents spread out

The questions are split into 8 themes, and the board has corresponding spaces, so if you land on 'People', then you get a 'People' question. It's really varied, and the questions very well selected, so none of the categories actually became dreaded or favoured (even Geography).

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night Game board showing categories

Whenever you get a question correct, you roll the dice again for another question, and the aim of the game is to get exactly to the centre first. It means occasionally there's a lot of distance between teams, but that advantage can disappear very quickly!

Boy sitting thinking about question answer for family quiz night

Each game we've played has lasted around 30 minutes, which is a really great length of time to play, and means if you are playing with younger children, they won't lose interest and wander off. We could all see quick progress forward, and it actually makes it really exciting and fast paced game. 

Playing a quick 30 minute game is incredibly handy when you are short on time, or want to warm up for something more serious! 

Two teenagers playing family quiz night game

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night is genuine fun. Nothing frustrated anyone, no-one became disappointed that they weren't doing so well, and the mix of board game and general knowledge quiz works really well. The questions really are excellently compiled, they aren't too tricky, or too easy! 

Cheatwell Family Quiz Night game question cards

This is an incredibly user-friendly game too. It's a great choice for a family or group of any ages - as the fact there are 2 different questions means everyone plays on an even par together, and the 2 opposing teams gameplay means anyone else can come into the room and join in with one of the teams at any point. 

Host Your Own Family Quiz Night is recommended for 2 or more players aged 8 or over, and it's an excellent quiz game, especially ideal for multi-generational play, for when you only have half an hour, or if you want a warm up game. The price is also incredibly good, at the time of typing reduced to £17.49 on Amazon (affiliate link below) - regular full price is still very fair at £26.99. 

We were sent our copy of Host Your Own Family Quiz Night by Cheatwell Games for review. We were not paid or offered another incentive, and my review is entirely my own thoughts and words. Amazon links earn me a few pence if you buy through my link, but you never pay a penny extra.