Category Archives: Family

Mom gamers are awesome!

Nothing teaches kids better than leading by example. Parents who game have a d20 better chance of rolling awesome progeny!

Nicole Wakelin of D6 Generation fame (as well as Total Fan Girl and billions of other online ‘zines) co-authored a wonderful concise article for which captures the essence of Fair Game and why we opened the store. It’s a quick read and I encourage you to take a moment and check it out:


Gamer parents – check it!


Adventure Maximus is one of those games which belongs – dare I say it? On every gamer’s shelf. Most certainly if you are raising kids and want to introduce them to role playing games.

In a nutshell Adventure Maximus takes a lot of the back-end story creation away from the game master and uses a very simple card based mechanic to lay out the adventure and player creation. Each game session (Adventure Maximus does not really have a ‘campaign’ option) involves player creation, adventure layout and the actual role playing.

We’ve never had a full game last more than 90 minutes – and that is with multiple encounters.

Monsters, settings and rewards (TREASURE!) are all randomized using the cards, so the GM can concentrate on having fun – making some stuff up (“fluff”) and enjoying the experience. There is almost no preparation necessary – one can open the box and be rolling dice in 15 minutes.


For my kids, it was a natural fit – the cards dictate the situation, while the rules define the foundation. For the adults I’ve watched play, it was a nice light-weight game session without any min/max nonsense or challenging of rules.

Got kids? Have fond recollection of RPGs? Do yourself a favor and check this game out.




Turn off your TV and turn on your brain!

Turn off those screens!Don’t let Screen Free Week get in the way of having fun! Reconnect with your kids, while disconnecting from high tech – by playing a board game. Fair Game has a variety of games to fit any interest, genre, group or age. Come in during Screen Free Week, May 5th – 11th, and try out one of our demo games (our library has hundreds!) – bring your whole family. We will  find a suitable game for you that everyone will enjoy.


Second annual 24 hours of gaming at Fair Game!


This weekend (November 2 & 3) Fair Game is hosting a 24 (well, technically 25) hour marathon gaming session to support the Children’s Miracle Network via the Extra Life foundation.

Every year Extra Life hosts a 24 hour event to increase awareness of their cause and encourage gamers and their friends to donate to a great cause.

On an Autumn Saturday each year since 2008, tens of thousands of gamers have joined together to save the lives of local kids in a celebration of gaming culture that we call Extra Life.  From console games to tabletop RPG’s to even lawn sports, Extra Life gives people that love to play a chance to do what they love to save lives and make a difference.

Again this year, a local group of gamer-friends formed their own team, and asked us if we would host the event. Establishing a tradition only takes commitment so we agreed immediately – and now the time is upon us.

If you would like to participate, come in and play any time between 10am Saturday November 2 until 10am Sunday, November 3. We will close the store at 10am Sunday, but will be open again at noon as usual. We are encouraging (but not forcing!) gamers to donate during the 24 hour marathon – we can take donations through the register. As an added bonus, numerous Downers Grove merchants have generously donated prizes to be raffled away during the event. Thanks to Emmet’s, The Spice Merchants and Another Round!

UPDATED: More donations are coming in for the raffle! Thanks to Ballydoyle, and Edward Health & Fitness for generous donations of gift certificates. Also, one of the Naperville group has graciously donated Gloom and all expansions including exclusive promos from Table Top! Finally, game author WJ MacGuffin has offered some of his role-playing titles on PDF including Triune, Outlive Undead and the quirky variant of a classic: Personality Chess. Of course, we (Fair Game) will also be adding a few gift certificates of our own to the mix!

If you can’t make it out and still would like to contribute, why not go right to our part of the team page and give a little by pressing that big orange “Support Me!” button. Every bit counts!

Eric, Richard and I look forward to seeing the hilarity ensue as die-hard gamers and over-tired shopkeepers try to keep their sanity.

Play Games, Heal Kids


GenCon 2013 – A New Hope

genconWhew! It’s been over two weeks since GenCon 2013 called it a wrap. A lot has transpired since then – Fair Game is back to normal operation, the kids are back in school and the summer heat has finally decided to descend on the Chicagoland area.

This year was a first for me at Gen Con – I had the distinct pleasure of bringing my family. It is always refreshing to bring someone new to the convention. After so many years of attending, I tend to almost get in a rut and not see what is transpiring as a whole. Bringing my wife and boys grounded my perspective a bit (which is a good thing!) and forced me to “take it all in” from a fresh point of view. Pretty neat.

Amy brought everyone down Thursday afternoon after I had attended the Wednesday Trade-Day panels and took advantage of the early entrance to the vendor hall on Thursday (decidedly not nearly as cool as it sounds). Sam and Wil (who are ten) wanted to experience two days of the convention, while Amy and Max (who is thirteen) where a little hesitant, so decided to just check out the happenings on Thursday. Needless to say, everyone has decided that next year we would all attend for the duration of the convention and take Gen Con by storm!

I shot some photos (as I always do) and, in a fit of laziness (or to spare you from slogging through my prose), decided I would just post a bunch up here with a quick caption or two. A familial retrospective on GenCon 2013.


Jon Speed Painting

Jon Speed Painting

Spectating at Super RoboRally

Spectating at Super RoboRally

The boys become enamored with the Lego Robo Rally game

The boys become enamored with the Lego Robo Rally game

Android Robo Rally Competitor

Android Robo Rally Competitor

Sam and Wil about to be pummeled by a Warjack.

Sam and Wil about to be pummeled by a Warjack.

Super Dungeon Explore - Painted Miniature contest entrant

Super Dungeon Explore – Painted Miniature contest entrant

My beast barfs in Rainbow!

My beast barfs in Rainbow!

Cardhall - day 2

Cardhall – day 2

Sam adopting some Evil babies.

Sam adopting some Evil babies.

Oh - that grabby baby is going to be trouble!

Oh – that grabby baby is going to be trouble!

The might of Menoth is evident

The might of Menoth is evident

The boys and I attend the D6 Generation Play-By-Mob event

The boys and I attend the D6 Generation Play-By-Mob event

Wil rescuing his brother Sam from the evil passenger car which materialized in the Crowne Plaza hotel.

Wil rescuing his brother Sam from the evil passenger car which materialized in the Crowne Plaza hotel.

I needed something for lunch other than "Gourmet Mac-n-Cheese"

I needed something for lunch other than “Gourmet Mac-n-Cheese”

Lego Superman. Enough said.

Lego Superman. Enough said.



Dad on Pins and Needles taking this photo....

Dad on Pins and Needles taking this photo….

The twins seem enamored with the Imperial Forces

The twins seem enamored with the Imperial Forces

Sam and Wil decide The Doctor needs two sidekicks!

Sam and Wil decide The Doctor needs two sidekicks!



Roll For It! - a nice push-your-luck dice game that plays fast!

Roll For It! – a nice push-your-luck dice game that plays fast!

David Malki! doing a Roll-A-Sketch for us. A Cactus-Tank-Rhino-Boba Fett.

David Malki! doing a Roll-A-Sketch for us. A Cactus-Tank-Rhino-Boba Fett.

A Bill Bricker designed miniature showed up in the competition

A Bill Bricker designed miniature showed up in the competition

Get your engineering on!

photo (2)

I feel like I shouldn’t even have to warn you any longer that the following post isn’t directly game related.

So consider yourself decidedly NOT warned.

Something really cool happened right here in Downers Grove this weekend (Sunday July 21st to be exact). A group of college kids on a sort of engineering tour of the US (driving the SparkTruck) stopped by Downers Grove North Highschool to show some of our kids (and adults!) a small example of what it is like to take an idea from initial concept to design by using a small variety of pieces and parts and a whole lot of enthusiasm.

photo (3)

My son Sam went to two of their sessions (organized by the FRoG group right here in DG also) and had a great experience both times – designing and building a photo (5)“jelly-tick” consisting of a foam carapace and long tentacles (is that what a jellyfish has?) which moved in a somewhat organic way by virtue of a small pager motor and coin-sized battery. He also learned to work with a team to help their “alien robot” maneuver around a newly discovered planet in search of energy.


photo (6)

These two exercises were – themselves – cleverly designed to show the participants a variety of design principles without becoming a lecture. Kudos to the originator of the idea(s), and even more props to these students who are basically following the same routine of a small touring band; stopping from city to city and sleeping wherever someone will let them. More often than not, they wake up in a new city and hit the ground running: sharing their love for creativity, engineering and discovery one city at a time.

If you get the chance to check out one of their sessions, I highly encourage you to do so. If you don’t have kids, register your niece or nephew or pretend your child “got sick” the day of an event and go “in their place.”  It is that good.

So here’s to Sarah, Benji, Brittany, Steven, and the “do you know anyone with that name” Warren. You guys GOT IT GOING ON – keep it up!



All hail the duo!



I just wanted to make a quick announcement: Fair Game will be hosting a rather auspicious event early this morning before opening our doors to the public.

Our twin boys turned 10 this past week and we are celebrating today. Happy birthday Sam and Wil!

Never mind the Elder Gods – having kids will do a great job of driving you insane 😉

Love you guys!


Frantic preparations all around: TABLETOP DAY IS TODAY!


Yowza! March 30th didn’t really sneak up on us, but nonetheless, I’m surprised to see it here.

Today is TableTop Day all around the world! In case you haven’t heard the incessant cries of gamers everywhere, what this means is today is “officially” dedicated to playing games. Fair Game will be hosting all sorts of #FGTableTop shenanigans starting at 11am and ending around 9pm. There will be lots of games to play, achievements to…achieve, and prizes to win.

Also – for you Easter bunny better-late-than-never shoppers, try out something photo (2)a little less sugary for your Easter Basket and buy a small game or two for your little bunnies. Tomorrow (March 31, 2013), Fair Game will be closed for Easter (and to allow us some time to recoup from Spring Break and build some new Warmachine play surfaces!) so plan ahead!


TableTop Day at Fair Game – March 30th!

TableTopDay_logoYes, yes – a thousand yeses my precious! Fair Game is indeed hosting a thing for International TableTop Day on March 30, 2013!

What that is exactly remains to be seen. I imagine we will be playing a lot of TableTop featured games like Zombie Dice, Wits & Wagers, Tsuro and others. We might even break out Pandemic or Elder Signs for some nail-biting fun.

You do know about the Geek and Sundry show Table Top right? If you haven’t watched an episode yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Wil Wheaton hosts a cadre of famous nerd-gamer actors and actresses playing a game each episode. It really is well done.

International Table Top Day is dedicated to gamers of all types. The idea is to just play games on that day – enjoy your fellow human. Interact. Socialize. Have fun! Felicia Day talks about it here.

Throughout the day we will be raffling off prizes including snacks, coupons and even free games. Most importantly, we will be playing games. Lots and lots of games. Stay tuned for more details!

(and yes, we realize the TableTopDay website does not list us as hosting an event; that isn’t our fault – honest! It appears that they are having issues with their event locator web-app. With any luck, they will get it fixed soon. But, in reality, do you really need to locate an event now? You know where to go! Fair Game for TableTop Day!)

See you soon!


One shot RPGs – This Saturday!


  • In the mood for a ‘quick’ role-playing game?
  • Do you have a hankering for something different?
  • Want to see what modern role-playing games are all about?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above – or feel like you want to observe (and maybe kibitz a bit) a bunch of gamers getting their nerd-groove on, come on down to Fair Game on Saturday February 23. Starting at 3pm, the Naperville Freaks, Geeks and Weirdos meetup group will be hosting a One-Shot RPG gathering right in our store. I think they even asked first!

“One Shot,” in this sense just means a single play session, rather than an episodic campaign – that way players can get a complete game done in one sitting. The NFGW Group has found a willing band of game masters to run players though a single play session of a variety of role-playing games. From science fiction, to espionage and – of course – fantasy, there is a setting and system for many interests.

If you just want to see what all the fuss is about, stop on by Fair Game after 3pm and just observe. All of our players are required to be friendly and respectful to all questions – lest they be sacrificed to the Elder Gods.

If you think you might want to play, I encourage you to register immediately as spots are filling fast. Below I will link to individual registration pages for the variety of games that will be run. Even if a system is full, feel free to get on the waiting list – you never know, someone might not show up.

Below are a list of the games currently scheduled to run on Saturday, February 25 at Fair Game starting at 3pm.



A one-shot adventure for the PARANOIA XP roleplaying game

PARANOIA is fun. Other rpgs are not fun. Play PARANOIA.

Need more? PARANOIA is an award-winning science fiction rpg originally released in 1984 but updated in 2004. A satire of politics, governments, economic systems, roleplaying games, and more big terms that you can shake a stick at, PARANOIA is unique among rpgs because you are NOT expected to cooperate with other players. Instead, you are expected to lie, backstab, trick, cajole, irritate, and bullshit other players all the damn time. (Except if cooperation would benefit you, of course.)  As such, players should be mature enough to face Catch-22s and betrayal without pouting or getting upset. Register here.


FATEFantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment, is a generic role-playing game system based on the FUDGE gaming system. It has no fixed setting, traits, or genre and is almost entirely customizable. It is designed to offer the least possible obstruction to role-playing by assuming that players do not want to make large amounts of dice rolls.

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. This adventure, based off the original S1-Tomb of Horrors AD&D adventure module and featuring characters from the popular 1980s Dungeons & Dragons animated series, is designed to be a quick and easy to learn introduction to the rules of the new FATE Core playtest. Register here.


Thirteenthage13th Age: Blood and Lightning

13th Age is a new fantasy roleplaying game, designed by Jonathan Tweet – lead designer of Dungeons & Dragons® third edition – and Rob Heinsoo, the lead designer of the fourth edition of D&D®.  13th Age honors old school fantasy role-playing values as it dives deep into rich story telling adventures.  The game features a familiar d20-style system, but it lighter on the rules compared to D&D which results in smoother, free-flowing combat.  An Escalation Die rule that keeps battles fast and exciting by giving characters an escalating combat bonus the longer they fight. Register here.


ep_cover_2Eclipse Phase: Ego Hunter

Eclipse Phase is a game of Trans-human Conspiracy and Horror. Designed by those fine gentleman and ladies at Posthuman Studios, the game is set in the far future where space is colonized and earth has been abandoned. Humanity has achieved functional immortality through the process of uploading their conscious (called an Ego) into a digitized state and then downloading them back into fresh bodies, called a Morph.

In this particular story and one shot, you will undertake the role of individuals set on Mars…. and… that is all you need to know for now. :) Register here.



World of Darkness is a modern horror game from White Wolf Game Studios.  This is the new iteration of their World of Darkness series, featuring the new version of their Storyteller system.   The mood of the game is a darker reflection of our world…crime is a little worse, corruption more rampant, hope a bit more distant.  The game system is designed with enough generality to potentially showcase any sort of horror story. Register here.


Wanted: Explorers willing to risk life and limb to seek out strange new worlds, survive fantastic adventures, and uncover lost and mysterious truths!

The Savage Worlds Game System is an open-ended role-playing game system created by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Its slogan is Fast! Furious! Fun!, which is exactly what it is designed to provide. It’s a simple, easy-to-learn, easy-to-use system that lets you get right into the thick of the action. Register here.