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Formerly a PC-exclusive gamer, Kae was introduced to the tabletop world by gateway of the World of Warcraft TCG. Since then, her interests have broadened with her favorite games including Battlestar Galactica, Pathfinder, Lord of the Rings LCG, WarmaHordes, and more. Kae is willing to try just about any game and loves learning new strategy.

Raising A Geekling : Part Three

Hello there, gamer parents! Last post we told you that HABA Games was excited about our series and generously provided us with a game to help us kick off the series, and we wanted to talk about them and the game they provided for Raising A Geekling.

Animal Upon Animal (upon animal upon animal upon…)

We opened the box containing HABA Games’ Animal Upon Animal 2+ and couldn’t keep the geekling away. From the moment it came out of that cardboard box, he was bouncing off the walls excited to play. We figured our 3 year old would enjoy the game, and we underestimated just how much. Though the game is labeled as ages 2 and up, our 3 year old grasped the game quickly but wants to play it ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes he gets so excited that it comes out as “Mommy, can we play Animal Upon Animal upon animal upon animal upon??” We find it cute, so we run with it.

geekling animal upon animal 2

In the beginning, the geekling found it difficult to find ways to stack the animals, but mostly because he wanted to try and stack them upside down or sideways like Mommy and Daddy. We modified this by stacking them straight up and down for a while until he felt confident enough to start experimenting with different angles. He has a habit of stacking them in impossible positions now, just in time for my turn!

geekling animal upon animal

Example of the crazy stacking – look at that “good luck with that!” face.

When we introduced the advanced levels of Animal Upon Animal, he was stoked. Adding the die to the game gave him new rules to learn. I’ve noticed that the more we play, the better his focus is becoming. We had a couple meltdowns early on in learning different versions because all he wanted to do was flip sun tokens and stack an animal. The act of slowing down to choose a token, roll a die, and determine which space the animal would go on seemed to frustrate him, but as time went on it got better.

We’ve even started letting him tell us how to play. When his aunt joined in for a game, he completely explained the rules to her (with minor clarification from me) and they got to playing immediately. I think the sense of pride that kids get from playing games is great for them at this age. At a stage of life where I frequently have to redirect him and give him instructions, being able to accurately give instructions and be confident in doing so really brightens his day.

We recently did a video review of Animal Upon Animal and you can see it here.

Basics Are Just As Important

I am dedicated to making my son’s learning experiences as fun as possible, and while not considered tabletop exclusive, we play other games that enhance his cognitive skills and keep the focus on fun. He was gifted a Dr. Seuss Matching Card Game for his 2nd birthday by some gamer friends of ours and he still loves playing with it. I tell you about this particular game for two reasons : matching and memory skills, but also for imagination.


While the first 10 minutes or so after busting this out is actual matching work, eventually he decides to move on. He has started to use the tiles to tell stories. He’ll take 3 tiles and give me 3 and he’ll tell me a little story using the pictures he has, then ask me to take a turn. Sound familiar? I believe that he will greatly enjoy Once Upon A Time once he gets to the age that he can read.

However, until then, we have looked into Rory’s Story Cubes. I picked up the mini version of this simple dice game by Gamewright. The game says it is for ages 8+ but with a little imagination, can be used at almost any age. Because of his love of dice and the latest development with the matching game, we’ve been able to create some age appropriate games of our own. While there are a few rule ideas in the package, we generally just take 3 dice at a time out of the box, roll them, and take turns telling stories. The thing I like a lot about this version? It is very small and I can slip it into my purse to play with him while we are out running errands. Mommy win!

Left my hand in for size reference.

Left my hand in for size reference.

The geekling has an active imagination and has told me that images on the faces of the die are different from what we may see as adults. For example, he once said that the teepee was a birthday hat. The beetle you see in the bottom left corner of the photo above has been a mask, and also has been a Cyberman from Doctor Who. I rarely tell him if he is wrong, because I’m a creative type and I can see how he pulls some of these ideas from what he sees.

That is the beauty of playing games with little kids. As an adult, you will learn to see through the eyes of a child and take on a new appreciation for games, but also for the world around you.

Leveling Up

We have added more and more games to the geekling’s game cabinet over the past few months with the help of recommendations and companies that have jumped on board to help out with this series. If you have any suggestions, please comment and share them with us! If you are interested in seeing any particular game, let us know that too and we will do what we can.

Next time, expect to see some games from a company called Peaceable Kingdom! They’ve sent us a couple games to enhance our series and give parents more options for gaming!

Until next time, happy gaming – with your kids!


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  1. Raising A Geekling : Part Four | Initiative : Tabletop - August 10, 2015

    […] Part Three of Raising A Geekling, we looked at Animal Upon Animal and talked about how it aids in small hands working for better […]

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