Non-Dice Masters gaming with the Kids & #CompetitiveWife

As I am sure is the case with many In the community; Dice Masters is not the only game I play.

It’s one of only a handful of game I play competitively, but Tabletop gaming is a part of my home life with the True Mrs Six, and we’re particularly partial to stuff that lends itself well to a two player experience over a glass of wine. She’s actually quite competitive (hence the nickname #CompetitiveWife when mentioned on my social media!) and she loves the opportunity to beat me in a game, but we also like a bit of co-operative play now-and-again, and have a pretty good variety of options in our collection.


I’ve also started some groundwork to develop some tabletop interest in the kiddiewinks. They are a little young for Dice Masters just yet (although definitely take an interest in the colourful plastic cubes, take a look at this previous post HERE) but, with a little investigation & advice I’ve got a couple of little games to start them off in the hobby.

So… I recently listened to a Critical Twits podcast episode about Christmas gaming with non-gamer family members (go and have a listen HERE) and was inspired to write this post about some of our family favourites. Here they are:

With The Kiddies


This has been a big hit with the little ‘uns, to the point of unhealthy addiction.

The game is so simple, yet beautiful in that simplicity. For those who haven’t played it: you have a deck of cards, and each card has a selection of images on it. You draw the top two cards, place them face up for all players to see, and the first to spot the matching image on the two cards wins.


Right out of the tin you can get playing with young children, providing you are prepared to get annihilated by toddlers! My pair are far & away better at this game than me and it’s not unusual to find when we count up at the end for me to end at dead last.

Zombie Dice

First off, to be clear, I’ve not given the context of this game to the kids, so we’ve not been talking shotguns & eating brains at chez Mister Six. As far as my pair are concerned – the shotgun blasts are fireworks and the brains are “bright ideas”!


The game is a “push your luck” dice game where you are aiming to be the first to roll 13 brains. Each turn you can continue to roll die from the shaker in an attempt to increase your brain count, however, if you roll three shotgun blasts you are eliminated and lose all the brains you rolled that turn. After every roll you have a choice – keep what you’ve rolled so far and bank your brains, or “push your luck” and roll again, risking the chance of hitting the three shotgun blasts or achieving more brains towards your Win.


My lad (the youngest) isn’t quite getting it yet – he likes to roll for the shotgun blasts because I made the error of teaching him they were ‘fireworks’ in an attempt to avoid the gory theme. His sister doesn’t mind though – it means she is more often than not guaranteed a win! We have a good laugh playing it, and their young minds have interesting ways of responding to the risk/reward dynamic of the gameplay.

Quick, easy, and light weight to transport – Zombie Dice is a winner in our house.

Story Cubes

Another dice based game, which is especially popular with my little girl.

The game has nine dice with a variety of images on the sides, and the object of the game is to create the most fascinating story you can (voted for by the other players) from the nine images you rolled. It’s not really competitive, but a wonderful laugh to play.


It’s proven to be a great game to suit the enormous imagination in my little girl. We’ve invented all sorts of mad narratives as a result of this game and some of the stories we’ve invented have become little ongoing in-jokes for the family that we reference. The parachuting sheep who rescued the princess is a personal favourite.

It’s easy to learn, not too competitive, and educational. What more could you want?

Loony Quest

Loony Quest is a drawing game where the objective is to follow certain instructions and draw your work on a clear plastic sheet, against a time limit, which is then subsequently laid over a template page and you score points for accuracy.

The description doesn’t really do it justice. The game is enormous fun and tests your observation & spatial awareness in an enjoyable way. The cartoon-y theme also appeals to the family: my little girl loves all the quirky characters and gives them weird little names for her own entertainment.


It’s got excellent production values and is a well made & presented product out of the box. You are provided with everything you need to play – so is intriguing enough to appeal to non-tabletop gamers (such as Aunty & Uncle when they visit)

It’s a wee bit challenging for the kids and I’d consider it at the higher end of difficulty to understand at their age range, but now we’ve ‘got it’ it comes together fairly well.

If you’re looking for something a little different then this is one to try out.

With The Wife


Smash Up

To my surprise; this has probably become my Wife’s personal favourite of the selection of games I’ve tried putting in front of her and one she frequently suggests when we discuss getting a game out.

Each player in the game competes to take control of ‘base’ locations (drawn from a ‘base’ deck) by playing Minions & Actions ¬†from their deck. Each deck is themed and is made up of two ‘factions’ that each player chooses (the #CompetitiveWife and I do this randomly using an app on my phone) and themes include a range of parodies of narrative archetypes popular Intellectual Properties. Some examples would include Pirates, Ninjas, ‘Disney’ Princesses, 50s style Pulp Aliens, and, a personal favourite; ‘Mythic Horses’.


Why is it so popular with the #CompetitiveWife? Well – the Mano e Mano style of playing it two player appeals to her competitive nature and has CCG/LCG – style mechanics without the chore of deck building (which does not appeal to her at all)

I’m a fan of the loving nature of the parody and it gives me my ccg fix outside of heading down to my FLGS.

A win-win all round.

Three Cheers for Master

This was a random small box purchase I made one day using some store credit I won in a tournament down down at Element Games, and turned out to be a fave for me & the #CompetitiveWife.


In it; you play a ‘foreminion’, commanding a force of Minions tasked with creating a cheerleader tower to cheer your Master up. The aim is to build the best tower (2 dimensionally, as cards laid out across the table) and use your minions to interfere with your opponent’s ability to build theirs.


The game has tonnes of personality with really engaging artwork & a curious selection of Minion cards to use. We enjoy the humour of the Minion illustrations and the unique flavour of the images.

The gameplay is fun too. Each Minion has different capabilities that influence the success of your tower or allow you to disrupt your opponent’s success that makes it interesting to play & gives it good tactical depth.

Exploding Kittens

It’s just daft. Really daft. And that’s why we love it.


A shared deck is placed in the centre of the table for each player to draw from each turn. Somewhere in the deck is the ‘Exploding Kitten’ that goes off when you draw it, eliminating you from the game. The other cards provide you with a range of shenanigans to decrease your chances of drawing the fatal card or increase the chances of your opponent picking it up.

As a two player game it’s a bit slow to get going, but when it does the cut & thrust can be a lot of fun. We’ve played it in company and found it’s much faster with four players, but the pace of the two player variant doesn’t bother us.


Why is it so daft? The game is illustrated by popular web-comic “The Oatmeal” and has a lot of images with bizarre humour in them. We play with the NSFW version of the game for some added weirdness & humour with an adult twist.

It’s highly competitive, which, once again, appeals to the #CompetitiveWife, and is yet another that is quick & easy to get out and start playing with (upon reflection, with the exception of Pandemic, we’re clearly very keen on games with a small amount of set up time & effort – might explain why Elder Signs or Legendary: Firefly doesn’t get dug out often).


So, there we go folks – I hope you enjoyed this short diversion away from Dice Masters related content on the blog. It’s not an exhaustive list of the game splayed in the Mr Six household but a short selection of some of the favourites that I felt like calling out to the world.

Do you play any of the games mentioned above? How do you find them? Do you like them too? Or maybe you have a suggestion for me to consider playing with the kids/wife? Let me know in the comments below…

1 Comment

  1. Story Cubes, Smash Up, and Exploding Kittens are all on my wish list of board games! I’ve played Exploding Kittens and it’s so much fun! Zombie Dice is a big favorite in our local scene for a quick-play, compact game.I would definitely recommend Chupacabra, which is similar in design to Zombie Dice. You’re trying to roll Chupacabra eyes to eat any herds of animals that your opponents have, without rolling too many animals and risk getting put out. It’s not like Zombie Dice in game play, which I like. You could avoid the gore theme there too by telling the young ones that they eyes are ‘watching’ animals and they can only ‘see’ a certain amount of animals. When you spot them, you collect them – instead of eating them. XD

    Have you played King of Tokyo with the family yet? I recommend it as well! I think the little ones might like playing as a colorful Japanese style Kaiju that’s dancing in and out of Tokyo.

    For a nice competitive two+ player game, the Trap games are so much fun! I played with a friend one day, just to have something to do (and the FLGS had an open copy), and we loved it. I have it on my wish list too.

    Great article and it’s always nice to break away, on occasion, from the collectible atmosphere that is Dice Masters.

    Liked by 1 person

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