Categotry Archives: The Geekery

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My #Tabletop Top Ten

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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

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Getting My Geek On

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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.

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Showing the love with #GISHWHES & #NoteToSelfie.

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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.

 

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Pokemon GO Gets Social, by NOT Getting Social

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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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#SSSVEDA Day 7 #Gamenight with #Tabletop: Pandemic

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#SSSVeda Day 3: Where I go off topic already.

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Geeks, Rosewater & Finding Your Passion

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11821176_1057843920895149_500233631_nLast week, I attended my first ever, GenCon in Indianapolis. I had no idea what to expect, except for a lot of people, a lot of gaming and a lot of heat. What I was hoping to get out of my week was some inspiration. I have maybe only written one or two blog posts in the last year, when I used to write 2 or 3 a month and I have been trying to get ‘unstuck’. I went and signed up for a long list of writing seminars in hopes of triggering something to get me back at the keyboard. Wait…. There are words on a screen right here… you are reading them, so obviously, those worked. Right? Wrong.

My inspiration did not come from the writing seminars, don’t get me wrong, they were all useful for people wanting to write a novel, or a story, or a screen play… but not for me. For me, they were a bit disheartening when I didn’t get that spark that I had my hopes set up for. What did inspire me to get back to my writing was discovering the passion the people at GenCon have. Seeing how much time and effort that people put into intricate cosplay outfits, to recreate favorite charachters (not to mention suffering through 90 degree heat in them). Or people that sat playing their favorite games for so long, they have to pack breakfast, lunch and dinner, to eat at the tables. Now, while I consider myself a proud geek and I love what I love, I did not understand the intense passion that some people have for a game, a world or a particular character… or in the case of my main inspiration, a very specific topic in a very specific time frame.

My boyfriend, Jon, and I as well as the friends we went to the con with, spent most of our time going in four different directions. Jon and I decided we wanted to attend at least one event together. We read through the website and found one seminar that we both said. “Hey, that’s weird. Let’s go to that one!” So we both signed up for Creating Medieval and Fantasy Cuisines… because, why wouldn’t you?! Not knowing even a glimmer of what to expect, we took our seats… and were immediately called out for sitting in back, I knew then, this was going to be good! The room filled up quickly and the speaker, Daniel Myers, started in. He covered all sorts of things you would need to know when creating a universe and the foods and methodology of how that food would be prepared down to the last detail (Knowing the available heat sources are a must when considering how people in your world eat and live.)

The now practically full room, was buzzing. Comments, questions, side conversations.., the place was full of energy. At one point, Daniel stopped following his outline and the second hour just became an open discussion. This is when pulled out my phone and put the title of this blog into Evernote. Then, he started to talk about Rosewater. I don’t think I can even put into words how Daniel talked about rosewater, but I made me want some. Listening to him describe his complete joy in making a dish that was similar to meringue but featured rosewater… you could see multiple people pulling out phones to Google it for making it at home.

Thanks to Daniel, and all the other 61K people at GenCon (and my yearly participating in GISHWHES), I’ve been able to reignite my passion, not only for writing but embracing all the weird and wonderful things I love.

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The Almost Gamer Girl

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I’m a geek. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. A card carrying, Star Wars loving, Bad Wolf ring wearing, GISHWHES participating (certified) weirdo. I get it, I’m proud of it, I celebrate it. I am always down for learning  something new, fun and geeky.
That said.
About a year ago, I started playing Shadowrun with my boyfriend and another couple, but I’ve been hesitant to refer to myself as a ‘gamer’ or a ‘gamer girl’. I don’t really know why I don’t. While I can easily slide into most “geek” oriented situations, I’m still unsure about the world of Shadowrun and gaming, at least as far as the world of RPG’s anyway, outside of my immediate group. I’m sure that will come in time and be built within circumstance and education. I still feel a bit like Bambi on ice when I sit down to play every Wednesday.
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I’m still very much learning the ins and outs of gaming and picking up the skills I need to master to become comfortable playing. Quite honestly, I’d be pretty excited to get comfortable enough with my small list of spells to know specifically what they do without checking my flash cards for how they work. (Puddle of Goo anyone? I mean, really)
My introduction into the world of the shadows is about to go full speed ahead. I’m about to become immersed into the world of gaming. Tonight, we registered for GenCon.
We’re heading down with the con with the couple we play with in our home game. Did I mention that the couple we play with have one of the most popular Shadowrun podcasts out there? And that one of them is a writer for one of the Shadowrun sourcebooks? So, year. These cats are hard core. These guys are gamers with a capital G. The three of them have been so very helpful with me and allowing me a curve to learn the game and blessing me with a heft dose of patience.
The four of us are heading down for the week of the con and will be attending various events thoughout. Tonight, I sat down to see what I wanted to sign up for.  While I didn’t sign up to play, I’ve allowed myself plenty of free time to learn and explore the exhibit hall and just absorb it all. Taking in my first con, as well as trying to pick up tips and tricks on playing (as well as working while I’m there) may just be on the line between being whelmed and possibly over.
I did want to block some time to sign up for some things while we are there. The one I’m most excited for is the talk on “Women and Gaming”. I find the topic obviously, extremely relevant to me and I want to listen and learn from people who are far more deep into this world then me.
This topic has been know to be a relativity hot one in the recent past. From Gamergate to the Denver ComicCon “Women in Comics” panel that was made of all men. I’ve had some conversations about this topic with a friend of mine and I’m intrigued about what they will be saying.
This post is going to be the first in a series where I further explore the world of gaming and my place in it. I’ll be exploring what it’s like to jump full bore into this world and what it’s like playing as a beginner with people who have been doing it for years, and are even turning it into their profession.
I don’t know yet why I can’t refer to myself as a gamer, I somehow feel like I need to graduate into that roll. In the meanwhile, I’m just a French, Fairy Mage with a vendetta against the Undead.
But, that’s a story for another day…