Hosting #TabletopDay 2017


2016 was my first year celebrating Tabletop Day. We had recently taken a break from our regular Arcology Podcast home game to spend a few months playing straight up tabletop. Needless to say, I was into it. And once I learned there was a whole holiday dedicated to games, well, I just HAD to make it “a thing”.

Once we had the date locked down and the invite list confirmed, it was time for fun part. Themed party prep – YAY! We had our hexagon shaped serving dishes on order from Crate & Barrel, the petri dishes coming from Amazon (because: Pandemic, duh) but you and I both know it can’t be a perfectly themed party without themed food. That’s where the trouble came in.. what the heck to make?

I did a quick google and all I could come up were articles about easy to make snacks Chex Mix, veggie trays, smaller version of other things & food in the shape of a hexagon. Not really what I was looking for at the time. That said, I just now found this Geek & Sundry post from 2015 that would have come in handy last year. 😉

I wanted to be ahead of the game this year. Pun intended. So, here is my best mash up of Martha Stewart & Felicia Day. I mean, come on now… how baller would that combo be, for real?

I hope these game themed snack ideas give you just the inspiration to make something awesome yourself.

Pandemic Disease Cubes- Jello Jigglers
When you serve them perfectly portioned in a petri dish, it’s just gross enough to be delicious.



Sushi Go! – Fruit Sushi “Frushi”
I had absolutely planned on just buying some sushi for this instead. And, if I’m being honest, I probably will when Tabletop Day comes around. This one is a bit tedious.

Photo Mar 11, 4 44 42 PM

Recipe – It’s fruit & you make it look like sushi.

Red Dragon Inn – Cheese Coins
Of course, when you make these, you should have a tasty beverage in hand to get you in the mood. When I make these, I roll them out instead of “strawing” them and cut them out with, I kid you not, a bottle from some squeezable mayo. It’s the perfect size.

Photo Mar 12, 11 37 40 AM


Shadowrun – SoyKaf
This is the coffee substitute that you drink in Shadowrun. We were warned, but we tried it anyway. Do not make this, If you do, don’t follow my cheat method, you can find an actual recipe here 

Photo Mar 11, 6 10 09 PM

I hope this inspired you to get crafty in the kitchen for Tabletop Day, or just for your next game night! Let me know what you make or if you have any other recipes to try, over on Twitter @CarrieJKeenan 


My #Tabletop Top Ten


pandemic_2Listening to the guys from Epic Gaming Night talking about their list of top 10 games, it made me want to do the same. Now, mind you, I’ve only been playing games over the last two or so years but I’ve come to find some sure faves. Tabletop and card games and I have an interesting relationship. I love them…. They do not love me back quite as much. If you EVER want to win on game night, call me. I’ll show up, find some kind of fantastic was to screw myself over and lose the game in quite a creative way. It’s kinda my thing, I’m cursed, but I’ve become accustomed to it by now and still always have fun.

10. Red Dragon Inn: I first played this game at GenCon 2015 http://www.gencon.com/ with the crew from the Arcology Podcast Actual Play. This is a game you could… sort of… call a drinking game. Imagine what happens when the D&D adventure is over and the daring adventurers head to the pub for a pint. My favorite part of this game is the vast amount of characters. They all have such distinct personalities and fun traits. I just like to read thru the decks to see what they are up to. The point of this game is being the last man standing after everyone else passes out. Check out our TableTop Day play of Red Dragon Inn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwhb_t6wJg8
9. Fluxx: So, this is a game where the rules are, we have no rules. Well, not technically. The rules of Fluxx are exactly that, in flux. There are cards that constantly change as you go. Each deck has a theme (We have Zombie, Star and Monty Python here at home) I would consider this a great beginner or family game (it was one of the very first I’ve played). With the rules being ever changing, as long as you read the directions in front of you on the table, you know what’s going on. NOTE: If you do not enjoy being silly, this may not be the game for you, there are quite a few cards that direct you to do things like sing. If you are not prepared to sing “Every sperm is sacred” in front of your boyfriend’s 13 year old son… you’re not ready for Fluxx.
8. Settlers of Catan: This game is a classic. It’s one of those games that needs to be on your shelf no matter how deep into gaming your family may be. This game is also a quick way to see who is the most immature member of your game night crew, the first person to make an “I need your wood” joke is that person.
7. Caverna: The Cave Farmers This game is great, once you get it ready to go. This game has lots of pieces and parts and takes quite a bit of set up time. (Note: if you buy this game, you need to buy this Broken Token organizer. Our friends who have the game bought this thing too and it cuts down your set up time quite a bit.) This is a resource collecting game where you play a small dwarf family gathering crops, animals, various mining items like rubies and ore. If you have a long night to play (including set up and take down) this game rocks! Pun intended.
6. Gloom: This game is awesome… if you have friends who enjoy storytelling. Each person has a family who you will be telling the tale of and trying to make them as miserable as possible, before killing them all. You take turns telling the tale of your family and ‘help’ the families of the other players.The cards in Gloom (We have the Fairytale Edition) are made of a clear vellum so you can see the story unfurl in your hand.
5. Encounters: is one of those games we break out a lot. We have both the “Bravest Warriors” and Shadowrun editions. On your turn, you pull a card and roll the dice. You are trying to match the goal numbers with your roll, you are aiming to get the highest score. There are item cards that help you reach those goals. I prefer the silliness of the Bravest Warriors edition, any game that has cards titled “Chocolate Puppies” or “Professor Fartsparkles” is down for a night full of giggles.
4. Carcassonne: Carcassonne is one of the classic European made games. You select tiles and build roads, cities, farms and abbeys. Then you can get points all through the game and, at the end all the remaining structures are scored.The placement of your meeples and luck of the tile draw will help you win the game.

OK. Top three time. This is the hard part. These are all games that I will ask to play at any time. Do I have a ranking for them? No. It will really depend on my mood and the crowd who is playing. I do notice two distinct things in common between the three.

  • They are all cooperative games (even when they are not) and everyone at the table it playing to reach the same goal.
  • They all have something to do with a horrible situation (the end of the world or a house of fire) and the players need to save the day

3. Flashpoint: I spent about 5 years working at Pierce Manufacturing so I get excited about anything to do with firefighters to begin with. In this game, the players are firefighters and trying to rescue the victims inside. Check out our game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqIkYX_Ughg

2. Dead of Winter//Dead of Winter: Longest Night: One word here folks: ZOMBIES. In these two games, the team works together to survive the zombie apocalypse. The difference with this game is there is sometimes a betrayer. (FYI: Cliff is always the traitor… trust me)

You know how I just said I don’t have a favorite? Wrong. I do.

1. Pandemic: Ok, this game has kicked our asses so many times, I can’t even count…. But we’ve started to turn it around lately. The essence of the game, is there have been four (five if you add in the expansion) nasty viruses released and spreading over the world. Your team’s job, is to cure those viruses and save the world from icky, sicky death. (NOTE: the orange/green team member combo is our magic player combo.) Teamwork and strategy make this game the most fun cooperative game, (be mindful of the Aplha Player here, don’t let there be a bossy pants) I’m super excited for picking up the legacy version (Pandemic Legacy and playing that soon!) VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wcIRWIw8oU

So guys – go out and pick up some of these and play them next game night! You’re gonna have a great time!pandemic_2


Getting My Geek On


img_2373“I’m dusting off my site and making it a point to actually write and use it! ” she says with all the confidence of a party goer making resolutions at 11:45 on New Year’s Eve. Followed immediately by “and this time, I mean it.” So, here we go again with all the very best of intentions!

What I’d like to start doing is cover all my geeky favorites, taking it further than just my #GameNight weekly instagrams. I’ll be writing about the games we play on our weekly tabletop night with friends, the difference when you play with a table full of high school boys, a possible trip to our next gaming convention and so on. So think of this post, dear reader, as a promise. Maybe not a promise to you… but a promise to myself to actually take the time and do this for me. To take the time and do all the cool ideas that are floating in my noggin and bring you along for the ride! And who knows… it might just happen. I mean, I gave up caffeine for almost 2 weeks that one time, anything is possible.


Showing the love with #GISHWHES & #NoteToSelfie.


Photo Aug 06, 1 24 44 PMAugust is a big month for me. It’s my BTC workaversary (three years!) and it also holds two events that I wait the entire year for. GenCon, the best 4 days in gaming ™, in Indianapolis and GISHWHES (the greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen.).

This year, all three managed to collide.

As you may know, at BTC we’ve been asking you to send us your #NoteToSelfie’s, well as it happens… one of our GISHWHES tasks took that to another level.

“As you all know, Saturday the 6th of August is International Find Another Gisher Day. Meet up (reach out over social media to find gishers in your area) with AT LEAST 5 other Gishers that aren’t on your team at a bus stop and, together, decorate the bus stop with post-it notes inscribed with a mix of delightful, surreal, and uplifting messages. One must read, “Be the unicorn you want to see in the world.” Submit one image of all 5+ people standing in, on, or around the decorated bus stop. The submission description must include the gishwhes usernames of each Gisher in the photo. Each team can submit the same image if a team member was there representing the team.”

Coincidentally… I was going to be in Indianapolis on the 6th and took to the socials to find GISHERs from 5 other teams to meet up. With a lot of coordination and luck, we were able to find our bus stop and get something scheduled.

We drifted in one at a time, and got set with our Post It’s. As we wrote, the 6 of us could not help but talk about the warm fuzzy level growing. One of the things I did was, write out many of the messages from the #NoteToSelfie Twitter stream to keep them going. As we decorated our bus stop, passers-by asked questions and a few even jumped in and wrote some of their own!

It’s been almost a week and I’m sure it has been taken down or rained on… but my hopes are that our messages lived in and the people who stopped to read them.

No go out and Be the Change (or the Unicorn) you want to see in the world.



Pokemon GO Gets Social, by NOT Getting Social


imageYesterday, we succumbed. While on a long weekend, visiting Milwaukee for Summerfest, we both downloaded the Pokemon Go app.

Just a little background about me and Pokemon, I’ve never once played. Not the card game, not the computer game, the cartoon, zip. I worked at Barnes and Noble when the cards were in their hay day & In my mind, I was always “too old”, “too cool” or just too indifferent to bother learning to play.

That has all changed.

I am much older, much cooler and found myself very intrigued by all of the chatter amongst my friends about the game.

First thing yesterday morning, we lay in bed, dreading getting up and facing the world after staying out past our bedtimes two nights in a row, and we both started to play.

One of the first things we noticed and found odd was, there was no need to connect with one another on the game. We tried to form a team, we stood next to each other trying to see one another on the map, we tried to beat each other to the Pokemon in the room.

That night, as we played all the way in from the parking lot and into the fest grounds. When we stopped for dinner, the first conversation happened.

We both say at the table with our apps open discussing our games (I had just gotten to level 5, thank you very much!) when we heard someone behind us ask the couple a table over.. “Oh! What level are you on?”. I turned around and held up my phone. “So, we’re not the only ones who came to Summerfest for Pokemoning?” The five of us chatted for a little bit about our levels and what teams we should join and then we all moved on.

We discovered pretty quickly, you can form Pokedar pretty quickly, especially in a big crowd. It’s similar to seeing the faces people make when using Snapchat face filters.You would see someone being led around by the phone then suddenly stopping, aiming and flinging those balls. Once you see that, you hurry to open your app and go over to stand by them and catch your prey. You nod and smile and maybe talk about what you just got and your teams.

When we settled into the massive crowd to watch Death Cab For Cutie, we overhead some people chatting behind us and guess what the topic was? Yep. Pokemon GO.

As the night for on and we got closer to the show starting, we resituated where folks were standing and I proceeded to chat Pokemon with one of my new festival besties (neither of us being super excited for the show).

We talked about the lack of a social layer and whether or not it was intentional. Did Nintendo set out to create a mobile game that not only, got us nerds out of the house, but interacting with other people?! He talked about a similar game called Ingress, that had the social later so we know the technology is out there.

It can’t have been an oversight on Nintendo’s behalf, social on a mobile app is not something you forget about. So, it’s down to us to desire for ourselves what the reasons behind the decision was for. I like to think that it was with intention to draw people out and interact with one another while getting out and exploring the world.

My memories of this year’s Summerfest will be two things: The Whiskey of the Damned CD launch party, and all the fun PokePeople I’ve gotten to meet.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Bellsprout over in the corner. I’ve got to go.

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