Thursday, April 30, 2015

Don't Play iPad Lah! Play "Forbidden Island"

Date:  April 30, 2015

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I have started to play board games, card games and dice games with the kids.

The kids love these games.

However, kids are still kids.

When they lose, sometimes they will “Beh Song” and start to cry, and tears drop.

Well, let’s look it from another angle, the cries and tears will make them stronger in future, and help them to grasp the ideal of “It’s just a game!"

Forbidden Island

Today, let’s look at another new game that we played.

It is called “Forbidden Island”.

The aim of this game is to work together to find 4 secret treasures.  And run to the helipad (a.k.a Fool’s Landing) without being eaten by the island.  Take note, the island will be flooded from time to time.  Thank goodness, you have the magic to make it un-flood (a.k.a Shore Up).

Wait a second!  What do you mean by “Work Together”?????????

A-ha!  This is a “Co-operation Games”.  That means, all the players need to work together, hand in hand to accomplish the task, finding the 4 secret treasures.  There is only the Human Players win or the Forbidden Island Wins!”.  Each of the players are NOT competing against each other.  

I think co-operation games are very cool game indeed.  It cause lesser conflicts and it actually provides lots of fun.  And all the players have a common target and enemy.

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To learn more about how to play the game, please watch the following video links.  Hosted by Will Wheaton.  He will teach you everything about this game.

Here I will provide some basic of the game play.  My kids love this game!

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The setup of the game

There are 24 island cards.  You shuffle the cards and first form a 4x4 squares and then place each sides additional two cards.  

This is your island.

Because you shuffle your cards, so, the island will always change for new game play.  So, it will provides different fun and elements to the game.

There are 4x treasures.  Each treasures can be found on 2 island cards.  So, all together there are 8 cards that has the treasure marker on it.

Since you can play either 2 or up to 5 players.  So, there are 5 cards for each coloured pawn.  (i.e. red, blue, green, black and yellow).

You cannot let the Fools’ Landing (Helipad) island card sink.  If Fools’ Landing sink, the game is over, and the Forbidden Island wins.

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The 4 Treasures

These are the treasures you need to get.  You can place these 4 treasures on four sides of the island.

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Every turn, after you have done 3 actions, you can draw 2x treasure cards.

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And you start to collect the treasure cards each turn.  If your hand has 5 cards, you will need to discard additional cards.  Choose carefully what card you need to keep.

You will have to work together with each players and examine the timing and capture the treasure.  Your teammates can give you their treasure cards during their turn and both your pawn and his/her pawn happens to be on the same island tiles.

Except for Messenger (Your Job & Role), a messenger can pass the treasure card to any one from any where and it does not need to be on the same tile as the person who is going to receive the card.

Once you have collected four same treasure cards, you can try to move your pawn to the island tiles that has the same treasure symbol (only 2 for each treasure).

Take note, you must not let the island tiles that has the treasure on it sink.  You can sink 1 but do not let both sink before you retrieve the treasure.

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I have 4 "The Crystal of Fire” cards and I happened to have my pawn at the Cave of Embers or the cave of Shadows which carry the treasure symbol.  So, during my turn, one of the action can be to retrieve the treasure.  And place the treasures cards at the discard pile in front of the treasure cards.

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Adventurer Cards

At the beginning of the game, each player will have to pick one adventurer cards.  This is to decide what “super power" you can have.

If you are an explorer, you have special power to move and/or shore up diagonally.  Beside Explorer, NO ONE can move diagonally.

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You will love the engineer.  Because he can shoe up 2 tiles for 1 single action.  This comes very handy when you have way too many cards to shore up.

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This is the most wanted adventurer card.  To be a pilot, you can fly to any tile on the island for 1 action.  ONCE per turn.  (I think me and the kids played wrongly for the first few days as we can play it 2-3 times per turn.  HaHaHa… no wonder we won the first two games)

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A messenger can give treasure cards to a player anywhere on the island for 1 action per card.

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From time to time, the island tile will sink.  If you need to swim across a part of the island that has NO TILE, that means you will need the Diver to do the job for you by swimming across it.  There rest of the player CANNOT swim.

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The navigator can move another player up to 2 adjacent tiles for 1 action.

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Treasure Cards

To start the game, you give 2 treasure cards to each player.  If you draw a “Water Rise” card, then, you need to put it back and shuffle the cards.

The coloured pawns

Place your pawn in the corresponded island tiles.  My blue pawn happens to start from Fools’ Landing.

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To Sink The Tiles

Every turn, you will need to draw the flood card that is equal to the Water level.

Every flood card, you will need to turn over the island tile, and the blue colour card will sink the island half way.  You have to sink the island tile again to REMOVE the tile.

A missing tile is no good as it might block the way or path from one side to another side.

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To start the game, you draw 6 flood cards to make the island sink first.  As you can see, it just happened that all the 6 cards I have are all stick together.

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Water Level

This is the water level card.  We started from the Novice level, and each time we draw a Water Rise card.  You will increase the water level here.  And then you look at the water level to decide how many flood cards you draw.

Now, every time a Water Rise card was drawn, then, you take the flood cards from the discard pile (those cards that you have sank the island in earlier rounds), shuffle them and put it on top of the flood card.

I think this is so brilliant the game play is.

That means that you have high chance to open a flood card on any tile that has already been sank for 1 time.  If it sank the 2nd time, then, the island tile is removed.  That means the part or tile is completely gone.

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Water Rise! Card

There are only 3 waters rise card.  If you draw this card, the water will rise.  And all the previously flooded location risk to be flooded again and become missing tile.

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Helicopter Lift Card

This card is important.  Because after you and your team mates collected all 4 treasures.  All the players’ pawns must go back to the Fools Landing.  And then make use of this card to fly away from this forbidden island.

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Sand Bags Card

This card is cool.  At any time (not even your turn), you can shore up a tile with this card.

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The rest of the game play

It is easy.

Every turn, a player will need to

1) Take up to 3 actions.

     a) Move (not diagonally except for explorer)

     b) Shore Up (adjacent tile or on the island tile you are on)

     c) Give a treasure card (when you are on the same island tile with your other player)

     d) Capture a Treasure (use 4 treasure cards of the same treasure to capture)

2) Draw 2 treasure deck cards

3) Draw Flood cards equal to the water level.


This is a very simple game to play.

It is all about co-operative.

All players must work together.

So it is fun game and there are a lot of interactions between players.

It is amazing that the game play is so good.

Don’t play iPad lah!  Play Forbidden Island!  Play together with your kids.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Friday Playdates Night

Date:  Apr 27, 2015

I love my kids to have memorable childhood.

I love my kids to have good childhood friends to hang out with.

In our modern society, that does not come so easily.  

We the parents must make it happen.

We the parents must try our best to make it happen.

Not only we need to come out with activities that will interest the kids.


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We must make them do things together.

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We must make them felt proud of their own creations.

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They will feel good about themselves.

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They will feel more confident about themselves.

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It is not exactly very pretty, just remember, this is a product of fun, a product of enjoyment, a product of childhood.  That’s the main thing.

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Of course, you must have fun parents to boost this particular childhood memory. 

The key thing is to bring more fun to the kids.

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Some kids prefer to stand behind and take an observation seats.

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But if you do this every week.  They see each other every weeks.  I am very sure, one day, they will be the one down at the dance floor.  We just have to wait for that day to come.  No need to force them now, but just wait patiently.

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Just Dance 4 is a high intensive exercise game.  You follow the dancer and you dance.  It will make you sweat.  I am very sure in no time, we will get he mommies down at the dance floor too.  

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Friday is a good play date day for the kids.  No iPads, no iPhones.  Just play dates.

Can play Lego.  Build amazing things.

Can play hide and seek.  The whole house is for them to hide.

Can play board games and card games.  More brainy stuff.

And can have many different activities.

It helps to grow the kids faster, and a more healthier way.

See how happy both Kay Kay and Colette is.

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Of course, you need food, no problem.  There will always be food available.

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Healthy option?  No problem.  Got salads.

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It is so amazing, my boys has not been touching the iPad for almost 2 weeks.  (except for Kay Kay for the 20 minutes on Saturday).

Good for their eyes, and good for their social life.

Recording of Reading Books

Date:  Apr 26, 2015

I would love that my kids are good in their Chinese Mandarin.

That is why you can see that I have been doing a lot a lot of special projects and experiment on Jay Jay.

Previous Posts on Learning Chinese Mandarin….

One thing I found it very useful is to make use of the flash card.  The old fashion way.  

Every day, if it is not raining, I would walk about 4KM with him after dinner, and I will bring out the flash cards to ask him to remember the Chinese characters and how to write it.

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Jay Jay has changed a new home tutor for his Chinese tuition.  The previous one has to go back to school and work and therefore, cannot have time to teach Jay Jay.

So, I went to Ace Tutor and get him another home tutor.

This home tutor is somewhat unique.  He does not wants Jay to do any assessment book or test paper.  The first few class is just asking him to read the text book.  And the way how he does it, is to record down his own voice and the “correct” pronunciation of reading the text for Jay and he asked Jay to listen to it every day.

So, after 2 weeks, I can see that Jay is more comfortable in his text book chinese characters, etc.  

Jay has a Chinese Oral test coming soon.  So, I decided to record some of the exercise passage and ask him to listen and learn the words and how to read passage.

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I used this book.

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It is actually a recommendation supplementary book from the previous tutor.

It is suitable for P3 and P4.

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Inside the book, there are about 15 passage to read.

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So, I am asking Jay to first read once the paragraph.  circle the words that he does not know.

And then, write down the Han Yu Pin Yin on those words.

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Then, I will read it and record it using his iPhone.

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Here is the sample audio files.  Click it (via Google Share).



I am asking him to listen to this few times a day.  And after a few times of practice, I can see quite a significant improvement on his Chinese speaking and he knows more Chinese words.

And the tutor Mr. Chung is correct.  There is not much grammar for Chinese.  The key thing is to be able to know more Chinese characters and words and know how and where to use them. 

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So, I am asking Jay to read more and more paragraph by listening to how I would read it.

I think this method is actually quite good and it builds on the basis that the more you read the more you will get familiar with the text paragraphs and soon or later, you will know how to write it.

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Jay felt that it is quite useful too.  And he himself also found that it helps in correcting some of his pronunciations too.

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MOE’s 学乐 website also have some reading passage.  Which we found it useful too. (Need Flash).

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jay's Golf Lesson Updates April 26

Date:  Apr 26, 2015

This is what Jay Jay likes.  I can see he always enjoying playing golf.  

Being 8 years old, still not fully learning it.  But I think he already did quite well against some of his classmates who is much elder than he is. 

Yes, I know, he has a Science test tomorrow which worth 10%, but as long as he already done his revisions, there is no point not letting him to enjoy his interest.  HaHaHa...

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Hole #1.  Still a little bit over-swing when bringing the driver back, but no complaint from his coach.  Coach Muthu actually claps his hand.  So. I guess is OK.  Later, he spent quite a number of putts on the green that has severe slops to reach the pin.   That’s fine. 

Hole #2.  Another claps from his coach.  But this swing is over-swing at the back again.  I think have to teach him more how to control the back swing.

As you can see the Monkeys are all out playing at the field.  :)

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The second shots is a bit too light.  He should have full swing the shot.  But he didn’t and he will need to hit another shot.

The third shots of Hole #2.  This time, with a full swing of sand watch, puts the ball on the green near the pin.  He left with 6-7 feet to putt.

Nice Putt Jay!  1 foot from the hole.  The line is correct.  

Even the Komodo Dragon came out.

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Hole #3.  Giant shot, but still need to hit his over-swing problem.

Not too bad, but the direction is way off.

He seems to have problem hitting the uphill shot.  Always put in too much strength.

The sky is not looking good at all.

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Although raining, another giant shot (can hear from the ping sound of the driver hitting).  

OK.  After this hole, the marshall found me and asked me to leave.  :)  I was not wearing my golf shoe and I was not wearing a collar golf shirts too.  And I am not allowed to follow my son as I am not a player at the time.  hahahahaha  They managed to play hole #4.  Jay tee-off a very nice tee shot at hole #5.  And the thunder alarm finally came out.

Since I am not travelling too much in June Holidays, I think I will bring him to golf course and give him some tips on how to hit a certain shots.  He did good in the stance when standing on the uneven slopes.  Surprisingly.