Tag Archives: kids

City of Zombies Board Game – Giveaway

One of the fab things about having another life as an accidental games shop owner is we get to play loads of games ‘for work’. It’s obviously not possible for each of us to have played every single game on our shelves, but between the team of five who work on the shop floor, we do have a fair amount covered, which means we can give genuine advice to the people who shop with us.

Since we have a ready made testing panel in our house, it falls to us to road test the kids’ games that come into the shop. This is something of a relief for me as my brain just does not work well enough these days for most of the grownup stuff (I live in hope that my marbles will one day return but as time goes by that is looking increasingly unlikely, ho hum).

Though we primarily play for fun, the kids learn a lot from game playing. Turn taking, negotiation, losing gracefully, thinking ahead, and if we’re playing a co-operative game, teamwork – all skills which will stand them in good stead in later life. Because I think they learn so much from board games already, I never really seek out ‘educational’ games for them. They love playing as things are and I don’t really want to spoil their or my experience by trying to bundle something in which is ‘good for them’.

So when I had a call from games designer Matthew Tidbury of Thinknoodle, telling me about a game suitable for age 8 and above that he had created to support his kids’ maths skills, I was initially slightly reticent. But then he started talking about a game featuring a city overtaken by zombies, and that sounded like a whole lot more fun. Ok I said – I’d love to trial the Zombie game in the shop, and maybe we’ll look at the Maths one at a later point? At which point Matt kindly said to me ‘ummm, sorry, you’ve misunderstood a bit – the Maths game is the Zombie game, at which point I got a bit flustered and pretended that I had totally not got the wrong end of the stick, and he politely let me pretend, before offering to send a copy to the shop to try out.

City of Zombies

The game happened to arrive on a day when my daughter was on a sleepover and my youngest was poorly, so we played it first off with the eight year old. It was refreshingly easy to set up and start playing – there is an instruction video available but the booklet that comes with the game is so well set out that you can easily manage without it.

Setting up City of Zombies

Once set up, the game is centred around a band of zombies advancing on a city – with a small bunch of heroes fighting them off, and (hopefully) destroying them before they make it over the fence. To get rid of a zombie, you use the three very dangerous weapons at your disposal – yep, these three dangerous weapons right here. Scary, aren’t they!

Zombie Killing Dice

On your turn, you must use the dice to get rid of as many zombies as you can, by using the numbers on the dice in any combination to create a number matching that shown in the red circle on the bottom right of the Zombie cards.


So, if you throw a 2, a 3 and a 6, you can kill off a zombie in the following ways…


This is the bit where a strange thing happens…yep, everyone gets very, very excited about, er, Maths! It was quite a revelation watching my eight year old bubbling over with different ways to try the numbers to kill off the most zombies possible, coming up with combinations that (whisper it) his father and I hadn’t seen. And it’s not just my boy – the exact same scenario was repeated with a whole bunch of children when we played at a family games event in the shop the next day…and the beauty of it was the kids didn’t even really realise that they were practically doing Maths homework!

Once everyone has grasped the basics of the game as above, you can have all sorts of fun by using optional special abilities and power ups, combining the two zombie decks to include extra-mean ones,  and using the advanced rules which mix the game up a bit – in short, there’s enough going on here for the kids to want to play it over and over again, and crucially, for the adults to enjoy it too.

Despite my reservations about ‘educational’ games, this is a game I’ve already bought for my kids to have at home – considering we already have a demo copy we could borrow from the shop, this says quite a lot about how frequently they want to play it! I’ve also been lucky enough to secure a free copy from Thinknoodle to give away here on the blog – entry is via the Rafflecopter below so why not try your luck – and see how much fun Maths can be!

If you’re not lucky enough to win a copy, they’re on sale at Rules of Play in Cardiff – or if you’re not local, you can also get a copy direct from the City of Zombies website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclosure – I’m a co-owner of Rules of Play; we were sent a City of Zombies free of charge for the shop to try out; Thinknoodle also supplied me with a copy to give away here on the blog. I have not received any payment for this post, and as always, this post reflects my honest opinion**

I’m getting on a plane (without my kids!)

On Friday, I’m doing something that I feel a bit – a lot – weird about. I’m getting on a plane without my kids!  My friend and fellow blogger BeachLifeEtc and I are going to Northern Ireland to visit another friend for the weekend. No kids, no partners – we have arranged this weekend for no other reason but that we fancy doing it.

I don’t feel weird about going away without my kids – wider family commitments have taken me away quite a lot over the last year. They didn’t like it much at first but understood the reasons for me going, and got used to having lots of bonus Daddy time.

This time, my going away has been a bit more tricky to explain – I had a chat with my daughter last week that went something like this…

‘So who are you going to visit, Mum?’

‘Two old friends who I don’t see enough of’

‘Oh – what’s wrong with them, are they ill?’


‘Is one of them having a baby and needs some help, then?’

‘Err…no’ (at least I flipping hope not – there is Guinness to be drunk in Ireland you know!)

‘Oh, I know, is it another one of those fewn-fewl-foon – well, you know those things you have when people die?’

‘No sweetheart, it’s not a funeral’.

Silence. Then,

‘So if you don’t need to help anyone and there are no babies and nobody is dead, why are you going away then?’ *Hard stare*


My rational head tells me that I need this, that I deserve it even. I know that making an effort to have a break every now and then, and do something for ME will make me a better mother.

I also know that friendships deserve time and effort. To be brutally honest, my efforts at being a friend have been on hold to a greater or lesser extent while I have navigated the last few years. Either because my friends have kids themselves and are in the same boat, or because they don’t and therefore I’ve felt far too boring and frumpy and kid-wrung-out to have the confidence to pick up the phone.

And guess what – I still feel kidknackered, boring and frumpy – but that isn’t going to change any time soon unless I make an effort to bring some non-child fun into my life, and I think it’s about time I girded my loins and did just that. So here’s to friends and seeing a bit more of them!


Oh…still here? Well done, I always thought most people gave up half way through. Anyway, since you ARE still here, and if you’ve got nothing better to do, I’d absolutely love it if you felt that LearnerMother was worthy of a nomination for ‘Best New Blog’ in the MAD Blog Awards….THANK YOU!

MAD Blog Awards

Blogging and kids

I had a message from someone the other day in response to a post on my blog; it was a private message, because as she said, ‘my elder two don’t need to see their mother’s issues on social media’.  Her kids are older than mine, but it struck a chord with me as it’s something that’s been playing on my mind recently – the whole blogging and kids thing – both in terms of their online safety, and their privacy.

I’m aware that I am effectively creating an online footprint for my kids, before they are old enough to do it themselves. For this reason, I am careful with their identities online. I never use their names on the blog, and I use photos that are recognisable to friends and relatives, without being full face, identifiable shots. Occasionally I’ve posted a Silent Sunday which is more recognisable because I love the photo, and in this case I just mark the post as ‘private’ after a week or so.

Thanks to this article from Mediocre Mum, I do a regular google check of all my kids’  names – have a read of it to find out why you should probably do the same if you maintain any sort of online presence. And I also check the inbound links to photos on the blog, suggested by Leslie on this article at Scottish Mum.  So I’m reasonably happy that I am behaving sensibly in terms of their online safety.

But their privacy – that’s a much more tricky issue for me to wrestle with.  I think I am respectful and sensible in what I share, but will they agree? How will they feel in the future about reading about their milestones online, knowing that some of their friends’ parents may be reading the same thing? And what will it be like for them discovering things they don’t know about me?  I mean I think I have done a reasonable job so far of protecting them from the knowledge that I’m a complete muppet, but a few minutes digging around these pages will soon reveal the truth. Poor buggers, how are they going to cope with THAT?

I’ve made a start on giving the blog a bit of a separate identity, by setting up specific FacebookTwitter and Google+ profiles that I can use to share blog posts; (really? Would you? Oh how kind! Yes, just click there, and there and there and I’ll love you forevs.) The idea is that I will move away from sharing LearnerMother posts on my ‘me’ accounts. That way when the kids are old enough to set up their own social media they won’t see my witterings in their feed at least. But making the blog less in their faces, does not take away from the fact that it exists.

What do you think? Have you changed the way you blog as your kids get older? If you have older kids, how do they feel about what you write? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading, as ever!