D is for Deduction: Blogging Through the Alphabet

Welcome back to Blogging Through the Alphabet!  My friends Amanda from Hopkins Homeschool and Annette from A Net In Time are co-hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet.  This week’s letter is D.



D is for Deduction

Social deduction, that is!

Is that even a phrase you’ve ever heard of?  Until recently, I hadn’t.  Social deduction games involve hidden identities; secret plans or agendas; and trying to figure out those secrets by social interaction with the other players.

And now, Chara Games has a Kickstarter project for their newest game, UNAUTHORIZED.

Why we are fans of Chara Games

We were fortunate to review Commissioned and 3 Seeds in 2016, and we had great experiences with each of these games (you can find out more about them by clicking on the highlighted links).   Chara Games was founded by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght to create Christian-themed games to bring families together for fun and fellowship.  And joy, because the definition of the Greek word “chara” is “unshakeable joy.”  Both the games we’ve played from Chara Games have been creative, interesting, and really fun to play as a family.



So, the newest game from the Lysaghts is called UNAUTHORIZED.  I’m sure that you know that there are countries in our world which forbid the practice of Christianity.  Churches in those countries often operate in an underground fashion, and the church members can face job loss, imprisonment, or even death if they’re discovered.

UNAUTHORIZED is designed for 6-12 players and a 30-minute game play time.  Players’ identities (individuals from the Church attempting to grow, or the State desiring to crush it) are determined by the draw of cards.  No one knows who is doing what, but during game play try to figure that out AND either grow the Church or eradicate it.  There are 12 different Role cards (Police, Pastor, Matchmaker, Clerk, Thief, and more) and 97 Experience Cards (State Education, Enduring Joy, and others) which influence what the player does.  There are also Reference Cards and a complete Rule Book.

And you can get UNAUTHORIZED now via Kickstarter!

You can join the UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project (like we did!) and receive a copy of the game yourself for only $15.  (You can also become a Project Backer for less than that or more, depending on what level you choose.)  Just click on UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project  to learn more.  The game’s base funding has been met (which means that the game will be shipping out in November 2017), but further funding will enable Chara Games to meet further game goals.

Just check out the UNAUTHORIZED Kickstarter Project page.

Who would like to play UNAUTHORIZED?

  • Families who love game nights
  • People who enjoy getting to get together with friends for tabletop gaming
  • Those who’d like to teach their kids what it’s like to be a Christian in a society that forbids it
  • People who appreciate social deduction games
  • Those who are drawn to high-quality games

In closing

UNAUTHORIZED will be our family’s very first social deduction game.  I love the idea of it, and can’t wait to investigate another amazing experience from Chara Games!

Blogging Through the Alphabet Linkup

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the linkup.  You’ll be able to see lots of others’ ideas about the letter D!


Enjoy!  –Wren


Another Amazing Game from Chara Games: 3 Seeds

We’ve been so fortunate to receive another cool game to review from Chara Games.  You might remember our fun with Chara GamesCommissioned, earlier this fall (you can see our Commissioned review here).  This time, we were introduced to and played 3 Seeds, and I’m excited to share our experiences with you!




What is Chara Games?

Chara Games was created by Patrick and Katherine Lysaght back in 2014.  Their goal is to provide amazing Christian gaming opportunities for families, with tabletop games.  The name of the company, chara, comes from Biblical Greek and means “unshakeable joy.”  Just the emotion we want to create with our families in not only our daily lives together, but our fun times and activities!



Our first experience with Chara Games was with Commissioned, the tabletop board game focused on the growth, trials, tribulations and joys of the early Christian church.  We were so impressed with our Commissioned gaming experiences, and couldn’t wait to try out 3 Seeds.  Although the games are extremely different (a board game vs. a card game), our experiences were equally as amazing!


What is 3 Seeds?


Commissioned {Chara Games}

3 Seeds is a quick, fun card game for 2-5 players, ages 12 and up.  It takes about 30 or 45 minutes to complete a game.  In 3 Seeds, each player starts with a different crop card (Resilient Raspberries, Attentive Avocados, Limber Lettuce, and so on), drawn from the Crop deck.  Each player has a color-coded 3 Seeds pack (with a matching color game cube playing piece), which contains cards that are played on the crop card, in the categories of Time, Money, and Labor.  Each crop, in order to be harvested, requires a certain number of these cards played upon it (by any of the players).  Event cards can be played on the crops with a number of outcomes on them, such as Harvest Bonus, Time Bonus, Wild Seed, Crop Swap, etc.  Harvest cards are applied when crops are completed, and add a point value to the players’ crops.   Points are tallied on the numbered scorecard, and each player moves his colored cube (matching that player’s 3 Seeds cards) along as crops complete.  The game is finished when all crops are scored and the Crop stack is empty.  Total points are added up for each player and added to their totals, and the winner has the highest overall score.



How we played 3 Seeds

We’re a 3-person family, so we followed the instructions for 2-3 players (removing the Crop cards with a 4 in the corner).  We played at our dining room table.  There is plenty of room on a tabletop (or even an ottoman) for game play.  My husband, 14-year-old son and I played together.  The first time we played, we kept out the instruction booklet and referred to it off and on, but we got the hang of the game really quickly.  The person-to-person play moves quickly, and it’s exciting to watch what we play ourselves and what the other players do.  Each player tries to complete his own crops, but helps the other players complete their own (which everyone then receives point value for).  The Event cards and the Harvest cards add extra excitement and intrigue to play.


3-seeds-pic-1What we thought:

My husband LOVED it.  He particularly loved adding up the point values when crops were completed.  He says, “I liked the mathematical aspects of it.  And, it was fun and easy to play.”  My son enjoyed it too.  When we played it the first time, he loved it immediately.  Later on, as a matter of fact, one night when our choice of family activity was either a favorite movie or something else, he said, “Let’s play 3 Seeds!”



I’m the gardener in the family.  So the game’s subject matter (planting and harvesting a crop, along with everything that goes into that)  is automatically interesting to me.  I love the silly aspects of the plant names and descriptions.  I love that it’s easy for everyone to play.  While it does have a competitive element, it’s also very cooperative.  I found that it was a wonderful way for us to hang out together, compete in a gentle way, and master a new family favorite!

In this day and age, sometimes families with full schedules have to really be purposeful about spending quality time together in non-electronic or non-techy ways.  Of course movie nights are fun (and we are a family that really loves movies), but if your goal is to have fun while the family is really interacting, board and card games are a fabulous way to go.

And Chara Games has provided the perfect vehicles for family fun, with both 3 Seeds and CommissionedThe games are very different, yet both are quite incredible.  We both admire and fully support (and recommend!) Chara Games, and we’ll be avidly watching for any and all games they produce in the future, while continuing to enjoy the ones we have!



Where to find and purchase 3 Seeds

If you’re an Amazon shopper, you’ll be thrilled!  Chara Games is selling 3 Seeds there, and you even have time to get it before Christmas!  Just click on Amazon 3 Seeds and you’ll go right to the game page.  It’s the perfect stocking stuffer OR family gift!


Visit Chara Games at their social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharaGames/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharaGames@Charagames

Enjoy!  –Wren


DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Our Review of Chara Games’ Cool Board Game: Commissioned

We have had a chance to review something that we normally don’t get to check out: an awesome board game from Chara Games!  It’s called Commissioned and it really is like nothing our family has ever played before.  Let me tell you about our experiences!


commissioned-banner-1What is Chara Games?

Well, first of all, you’re going to want to know what “chara” means.  If you’re a Greek scholar, you already know…but for all of the rest of us, here’s the definition:  “unshakeable joy.”  Now who wouldn’t want to purchase things from a gaming company with a name like that?  Patrick and Katherine Lysaght created Chara Games to produce Christian-themed board games which will bring the whole family together for fun, fellowship, and (of course) joy.  Currently, Chara Games has produced two games;  Commissioned and 3 Seeds, which we’ll be reviewing a little later this month for you.  (Stay tuned for that….after experiencing Commissioned, I have high hopes for more gaming fun with 3 Seeds!)


commissioned-pic-1Commissioned is….

a tabletop board game based on actual history, in which players build the early Christian church, starting in Jerusalem (where, you might know, the Christian church began) and moving out into Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the known world at that time.  The game is designed for 2-6 players, and those aged 14 (or even, perhaps, 13) and up will play and enjoy the game most effectively, although younger players can definitely play with the help of a parent or an older sibling.

Players choose to play as one of the first apostles (Peter, John, James, Andrew, Paul, or Barnabas).  Each of these has a small playing board which describes the apostle and provides instructions for the game and for what happens during each turn.  To begin the game, players are given 6 Faith Cards.  Then, the first player takes the shepherd’s staff and draws a Trial Card, which determines what happens to that player and the board during that turn.  The Trial Card describes a struggle that the apostle or early church faced.  In Commissioned, those trials can include losing a missionary, blocking church growth, losing church members, or imprisonment, to name a few.  There are also increasing levels of difficulty, so once you’ve mastered the basics of the game you can continue to play other interesting challenges.  The goal is to build the Church and start new groups in different regions and cities, along with collecting the books of the New Testament, building your faith deck, and persevering through the trials.  Generally, game play takes about one hour from start to finish.  Watch out, as you don’t want your churches to be extinguished!


commissioned-pic-2How we played it

I am someone who would always rather read directions than watch a video on how to do something.  (I realize in this day and age, I’m in the minority!)  However, this is one time when you absolutely want to watch Patrick Lysaght’s 24-minute “How To Play” video.  (This is found at the Commissioned link.)  This game is so enjoyable, but just reading the directions (which are very clearly written and beautifully illustrated) wasn’t quite enough for us.  So, the first two times my husband, son and I played Commissioned, we watched Mr. Lysaght’s video AS we were playing.  He describes how to set up the board, what each game piece or card does, and then he takes you through playing an actual game.  The first time, we sort of understood it.  But the second time, our reaction was, “OH!  That’s how you do it.  How cool!”

We’re a 3-person family, so we had a perfect number of players (although clearly, we could have had more people over to play and things would also have worked well).


commissioned-pic-3What our family thought

We loved it!  We enjoyed playing a board game together; honestly, we’ve played more cards or video games in the last couple of months than board games.  So it was wonderful to have a fascinating game we could enjoy together.  Our son is 14, so I think it was also good timing for him, as there are some tough things that happened to the early Christian church that do come up in this game; like lions, imprisonment, persecution.  Yet the cool thing is that players can see, in a gaming fashion that I know they can then apply to real life, that tribulations CAN be overcome.  Plus, it’s just fun!

I found it interesting to see how the three of us reacted as we played through the game.  In many ways, Commissioned is a collaborative game, so players work together using their Faith cards to overcome struggles.  My son did a great job in seeing what cards would most benefit us as we worked to overcome the struggle.  My husband is apparently the strategy king; he reminded us here and there how we could move in ways that would benefit the church overall.  Me?  I just loved playing the game with my guys, and being reminded of some of the amazing things God did in the early church.  We all liked the way it gives a very visual image of what life was like in the early church, from a macro perspective.

We say:  big thumbs up!


commissioned-pic-5Who would enjoy Commissioned?

If you, or someone you know:

  • loves tabletop or board games
  • enjoys world-building games
  • has played that Catan game and liked it
  • is looking for ways to enjoy family game time
  • is interested in learning how the Christian church might have spread
  • or is just looking for a fascinating new game…

then you might just love Commissioned!  You don’t have to be a Christian to thoroughly enjoy this game…although enjoying history would probably be a plus.  The game is interesting historically, extremely fun and fascinating to play, and something that we truly enjoyed.  The more you play it, the more you’ll understand it; but those who’ve played world-building, collaborative games before will probably get it immediately.

Honestly, anyone who likes board games should check this out!


commissioned-pic-4You can find Commissioned at:

Visit Chara Games to purchase Commissioned.  And read more about this neat company while you’re there!  Other Crew members of the Homeschool Review Crew also played and reviewed Commissioned.  If you click on the banner below, you can read about their experiences!

3-seeds-reap-where-you-sow-3_zpswpje7juhAlso–we’re really excited about reviewing another game from Chara Games called 3 Seeds.  Keep an eye out for that review, which is coming soon!

Visit Chara Games at their social media sites:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharaGames/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/CharaGames/  @Charagames

Enjoy! –Wren

Commissioned {Chara Games}Crew Disclaimer

Dig-It! Games’ “Roman Town” ~ A TOS Review

Our latest Schoolhouse Review Crew item is an educational app!  Dig-It! Games produces several outstanding iOS apps and online games, all designed to provide fun learning time for kids.  (Or adults, for that matter!)  We received a subscription to Roman Town, which combines archaeology, history, decoding, excavating, and other skill-building games, into an enjoyable learning and gaming experience.  It’s appropriate for middle school-aged children.

Roman Town banner

What is Roman Town?

Roman Town is an online game (iOS) that is all about exploring Pompeii.  The animated game has 35 different puzzles that can be played again and again.  Players pursue master thief Ladrone, who’s popping up here and there in Pompeii to beat the player to the artifacts.

Players can select different avatars to play as (Fiona or Charlie).  They explore different areas of Pompeii, such as the Street, the Temple of Jupiter, the House of the Vettii, the Roman Baths, and the Basilica at the Pompeii Forums.  And as they explore, they search for clues in each of these areas.

Game play begins as you tap on one of the tourists with an exclamation point over his or her head.  The tourist answers you in text, and tells you to figure out the quest (artifacts, how pipes run, street mazes, and so on).  Once you complete the quests (which get progressively harder as you go along), you receive your clue.  Or, sometimes you tap on a tourist and receive some Roman historical facts.

Dig It! Games Review 

Roman Town also includes mini-games, which are very fun and are based on Roman history and personal skill.  We haven’t unlocked all of these, but we’re looking forward to playing more of them!  Here’s a listing of some of these fun mini-games:

  • Knucklebones
  • Code Breaker
  • Calculi
  • Artifact Identification
  • Roman Numerals
  • and more!

As the student plays Roman Town, as in many other online games, he’ll unlock achievements.  Achievements are unlocked when the player completes a certain number of games, like playing Calculi 5 times (Calculi Master), or learning facts (Fact Collector) by talking to 5 tourists.

How did we use Roman Town?

Often, we included Roman Town as a fun extra at the end of our school days.  Jackson (my eighth grader) is an aficionado of games so this was an enjoyable addition to him.  He selected Charlie as his avatar, while I played as Fiona.  (Can you imagine which of us was better at the game?)

Dig It! Games Review 

So, what are some of the things we learned about, as we played Roman Town?

  • Peristyles
  • Calculating Roman numerals
  • Identifying Roman artifacts (not as easy as you might think!)
  • Why everything in Pompeii was so well-preserved
  • How the Roman baths worked

We played Roman Town on our iPad 2.  The graphics, music and games all worked well.

Our impressions:

Roman Town was both engaging and challenging.  It would be a great game to add into studies about the Roman Empire.  But, it’s also something homeschooling families could add into regular gaming times, or schooldays.  It ran smoothly on our iPad.  And, it was really neat to add an educational app to our studies.  It has been a long time since we’ve played one!

Dig It! Games Review 

I also have to share that the folks at Dig-It! Games provide both excellent and speedy customer service.  I needed to contact them a couple of times about some questions, and they responded quickly and kindly.  I really appreciate that, in any business!

Here’s what my son Jackson had to say about Roman Town:

“It is a fun game, and you don’t always think of it being schoolwork.  It may be an educational game, but it is very, very fun.”

You may purchase Roman Town from Dig-It! Games.  If you’re looking for a quality educational app, we do recommend it!

Dig-It! Games ReviewCrew DisclaimerEnjoy! –Wren

Awesome Game Giveaway—enter today!

I’m participating in a new giveaway that is perfect for this holiday season, for families and especially homeschoolers!  Simply Fun and The Squishable Baby are giving away three amazing games to bring fun and togetherness to your family!

@SimplyFun #educational #games #giveaway


Sponsor:  SimplyFun

Host:  The Squishable Baby


Have you heard of SimplyFun?  Well, if you haven’t, I know you will love them as much as my family does.  SimplyFun creates high quality board games; making learning fun for kids of all ages!

In this lovely giveaway for homeschoolers, students who love learning through fun and families ages 8 years old+,  SimplyFun has generously offered 3 of the following games:


Letter Slide

Take a fast paced ride down the Letter Slide! Don’t “slide” by the letter tiles that you need. Spell as many words as you can based on the card that has been turned over. Hurry before the timer runs out!  Your child will improve vocabulary and spelling!  This game is easily adapted to players of all reading levels from very beginning to advance.



Vinculum is a fast paced game of fractions. Race to get the most Fraction Tiles and win! A fraction consists of a Numerator (on the top)and a Denominator (on the bottom). The line that separates the two is called a Vinculum. Learning how to reduce and expand fractions will help players recognize equivalent fractions.  This game is perfect for children ages 8+, and is easily adaptable for more advanced knowledge!


Pack It


Go camping with the family!  Build up your backpack, and use Strategy as you decide whether to go on a hike or stay at camp.  It’s fun game for ages 8 years old +.

Check out my review of Pack It here.



Enter below to win these 3 SimplyFun games!  ARV $84.50.  Open to US Residents 18 years old +.




Neither The Squishable Baby nor any other participating bloggers are responsible for prize distribution 


(RED)-World AIDS Day 2014 Brings New Updates to 10+ Apps

Hi there!
It’s me, Jackson.

The organization (RED) is a special group that fights to stop AIDS in Africa. So now, (RED) has teamed with Apple and many world-famous apps and companies to save lives. And one of the games that recieved a special update was Angry Birds. That’s right, the original Angry Birds, along with many other games like Minion Rush, Clash of Clans and Cut the Rope 2 have received special updates with exclusive (RED) content, and while we’re on the subject of Angry Birds, let’s cover what it went through with the update, shall we?

Angry Birds: What’s New

  • GOLDEN EGG! A special new level has made its way into the already famous game. Press the play button and you should see it near the bottom of the screen. Tap it to unlock the level and go to the Golden Eggs section to play it.
  • NEW POWER-UP! Now, the all-new (RED)’s Mighty Feathers power-up can be purchased for $2.99 for use in any level. Tapping it puts a special slingshot in place of the normal one. The special slingshot can turn any normal Red Bird into the special one that we see in the section “Red’s Mighty Feathers”. Please note that it only puts one special Red Bird into the slingshot. Any other Red Birds that hop into the slingshot will stay normal. Three levels can be played in the shop for free use of it before purchase.

Now, with that said, all of the apps that (RED) has teamed with, including Angry Birds, can be downloaded to save lives. And just like in Angry Birds, some in-app purchases have come to the other apps too (like Minion Rush). In Minion Rush, the Lifeguard minion, Red Token pack and Red Prize Pod have been added.

Please note that these special purchases and app versions are only available until December 7th, 2014, so please download these apps if you want them!

The link to (RED)’s site is here.


Enjoy, and God Bless! -Jackson