Category: gaming

How Game Book Art has inspired us…

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Time to talk about RPG’s!

     Happy February everyone! We are very excited because this month at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival there is a D&D art documentary called Eye of the Beholder. It is not only a great title, but a great topic as well. Its question is: How has the art of Dungeons and Dragons inspired you? It is something we are going to discuss here, but we are going to broaden it a little. We are going to talk about the art of all game books and how it influences us as players and game masters. Once you enter through the door of D&D there are so many other games and systems to explore. We encourage you to do so and we are always happy to give you some recommendations. So we will be using Game Master and not Dungeon Master when we discuss this topic in this post.

Lady Diceacorn

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This books is so gorgeous that even after all these years it is one of Lady Diceacorn’s favorites.

     The cover art of an unknown RPG is what draws me to it immediately.  I remember one of the first times it happened and to this day it is a book I still use. I was browsing the aisle at a game store when a book from Pinnacle Entertainment Group caught my eye. It had pirates on it and in big pirate font Pirates of the Spanish Main. I picked it up and looked inside. It took me 30 seconds to realize that I not only needed this book in my life, I needed to run this game with a strong lady pirate captain at the helm. It used the Savage Worlds ruleset, which I was familiar with. I still love this book so much. It is one of the few books that I had to stop reading and grab a notebook to jot down ideas. I still haven’t run all of them, but maybe with the new edition, I will have another adventure in the works.

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It is hard not to be inspired with items as awesome as this.

        As a GM, anything can inspire a great game, but it is usually the art and design of the book that gets my brain racing with ideas. The newest addition to my RPG library and the game books I am currently loving to look at are my Star Trek Adventures books. They are laid out like a Starfleet Manual and the artwork is original and amazing. I have at least three games planned out for this system and I haven’t even finished reading the books. Plus, it comes with a pretty map. The cover is just the Enterprise and it evokes some of my favorite feelings. The other art shows away missions in dangerous caves and a large number of Red Shirts. The thing I love the most is that you can purchase pre-generated characters of your favorite crew, or mix and match for your game if you wanted. We have two “Try an RPG Day” dates this year, and I am pulling this game out for one of them. Although I am still determining which of the seven game ideas I will run. It is not a bad problem to have.

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Goblins in Spaaaaaaaccccceeee!!!!

     This inspiration is not just reserved for the games I run. It is also reserved for the games I am a player for. The best example I have of that is when we were starting a home Starfinder campaign. My GM had the book out and I was looking down and smiling back at me was the most awesome space goblin I had ever seen. I knew in that moment that was what I needed my character to be. My good-natured GM rolled with it and thus Dr. Spork T. Space Goblin was born. She is the smartest of the space goblins and that is why she is a doctor. Just seeing that artwork of a space goblin with a makeshift machete and a homemade laser gun, I had not only the character concept, but also her personality.

Meepline

     The thing I like most about art in RPG books is how it sets the tone for the game.  There are games that are intense, some silly, some fantastic, some gritty. The art, not only on the cover, but throughout the book, really sets the tone for the game as a whole.

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I mean…. Who wouldn’t want to fight this thing?

      My first ever RPG, Rifts, is a complicated mess of convoluted rules, but it’s still dear to my heart.  The art in the pages of the many (many, many, many) books sets you up for adventure of the crazy, gritty, post-Apocalyptic variety.  The art on the cover of the Ultimate Edition corebook (colloquially known as the RUE) shows a vaguely steampunkish mystical being kneeling in front of a portal (or rift) with a giant eyeball and nasty mouth tendrils emerging from it (this is a particularly big nasty being known as the Splugorth; if you’ve played Rifts you KNOW the Splugorth).  When you crack open the pages of it, each image really invokes that crazy adventure feel, from the illustration of the Rogue Scientist scaling a cliff, to the pictures of the Coalition Dogboys.

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The artwork from The Devil’s Spine that sparks Meepline’s GM creativity!

     My favorite RPG in the entire universe, Numenera, also has the most gorgeous artwork.  The way the artists portray the Ninth World gets you in the spirit of exploration. The colors are bold, pastels and bright colors combined, unlike the dark colors of Rifts, giving it a more inquisitive feel.  And that’s true of the game; it’s all about uncovering the mysteries left behind by the previous worlds. The most used and iconic picture is on the Corebook and Starter Set. It’s a bright orange background, with the Amber Monolith in the center, surrounded by creatures and people.  It gives the sense of the vastness of the world and the possibilities. All of the art in every book is full-color and just as gorgeously detailed and vast. My favorite picture in all of the Numenera books is from the pre-written adventure, The Devil’s Spine. The adventure itself is a ton of fun, and I’ll try not to give too many spoilers, but at one point, adventurers may encounter a swamp filled with giant statues of vaguely humanoid shape.  The art is in muted tones of gray and yellow, highlighted with purple flowers. It certainly sets the tone of uneasiness meant to be felt in that area, and gives a slight vision of what is to come to those who venture into the swamp.

     Honorable Mentions for books whose cover art sets the tone for the game (and either has minimal inside art, or not as thematic art):  Ten Candles, a horror game by Calvary Games (I have yet to play this game, but the cover was what drew me to it, as well as the mechanic of using actual candles in the gameplay); Apocalypse World by D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker (this is one of my favorite games, and the first game I ever ran!  The cover art really sets the tone for how post-apocalyptic and open-ended this game really is); and finally, The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen by James Wallis (the version I own is stark white with black text and filigree; it really sets the tone for how lush and over the top the game is.  This game is all about telling the most extravagant lie)!

     We are grateful for all the work that it takes to put together games. It is so exciting that Eye of the Beholder is shedding light on one of them. We hope you will consider joining the directors at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM for a screening at the Somerville Theater. We both have plans to be there!  (Note: Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival has not paid us to promote this event and we are paying for our tickets. This is just a topic that excites us and we have offered to promote it as something awesome to do with a Friday night.)

    We also hope you join us for another fabulous ELS Day on March 10, 2019 from 12-6 at Comicazi. We are working on which woman created game we will be featuring, so we are going to make our game announcement via social media soon.   

 

Until next time…. May all your hits be crits.

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Great Games for Gifting

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Happy Holidays!

     Happy Holidays! Are you stuck trying to figure out a good gift for a family member who has everything? Have you ever considered the gift of gaming? Games make amazing gifts and we are here to help you pick just the right one.  We have taken six styles of games and chosen two of each we think make great gifts.

Cooperative Games

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Cahoots

     This game is one that was introduced to those of us who were at the November game day. There are five piles of cards with numbers and colors. The players must work as a team to clear all the condition cards to win. The number of players determines the amount of conditions. These conditions could include “All piles are green” or “ The green cards add up to half the total of the orange cards”. However, the player’s can not tell each other the cards that they have or discuss a specific plan. All they can do is allude to the fact that they can complete a task. (i.e. “If you can leave the third pile alone I can complete the third condition card.”) This adds a level of complexity that makes the game a challenge. The win condition is to complete the stack of condition cards. It was complex and engaging and left us wanting to play again and we had played twice. This absolutely has replay-ability and is fun for ages 10 and up.

Pandemic

     There are now several Pandemic games out there from Cthulhu (where you are shutting down demonic portals) to Rising Tide (where you are trying to prevent flooding). The Legacy version is challenging, but a limited use game. However for games to give the casual or beginner board gamer the original is probably the best way to start. In the game, the players work as members of the CDC and they are working to stop world-wide epidemics by using their special talents. The game is won by curing all of the diseases before the entire world gets over run with plague. Unlike Cahoots, you can lay out and work on a plan in detail, but there is plenty of challenge in this game. This game is for players 8 and up.

Competitive Games

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Munchkin

     Munchkin is a really funny, tongue-in-cheek kind of game that can get really cutthroat. There are several different versions of it, but I’m just going to talk strictly about Vanilla Munchkin (the original game). In this game, you’re an adventuring party exploring a dungeon without all the hassles of role-playing and making friends. It’s every man (or woman) for himself! You have to kick down doors, defeat monsters, collect treasures, and be the first to get to level 10. You can help others, or help the monsters. As I said, there are several different versions, but that’s the basic gist of all of the games. Ages vary based on the version, but they’re typically around 10 and up. Some versions can get a little racy, so use your better judgement.

Splendor

    Splendor has been a favorite for a few years now. It is a great game help beat the blahs during the mid-winter months. You play merchants trying to court favor over nobles. To do this you must purchase a certain amount of gems in a certain amount of colors. Some of these gems have point values and the nobles are worth 3 each if you can sway them. The first to 15 points wins. The wonderful thing about this game is how easy it is to learn. It is also beautifully designed and the gems are actually chips that you can stack. The tactileness of it is what drew us to it in the first place. It plays in about 30 minutes; so it is a good palate cleanser in between larger games or it is a good game while you are waiting for your kids to fall asleep. This is for ages 8 and up, but Lady Diceacorn’s son was 6 when he started playing.  

Card Games

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If you are stuffing stockings, these make a great addition!

Sushi Go

     Sushi Go is an adorable game that is small enough to toss in a purse or bag to take on the go! You are trying to put together the most appetizing (and high scoring) meal you can over the course of three rounds. The tricky part is you hand the cards to your left or your right every round, so the cards and your strategy has to change quickly. This game has definite replayability factor. Its portability is definitely a bonus. If a challenge is what you seek, try Sushi Go Party. That has interchangeable menus from the “My First Sushi Go” for beginners to a really tough version for experts. This game is 8 and up, but you know any kids you are shopping for better than the box.  

Gloom

     Gloom is one of Meepline’s all time favorite games ever.  It’s a fun storytelling game in which you choose a family, make them as miserable as possible, then kill them off.  The more miserable they are, the more likely you are to win. Like in golf, negative points are the key. The really great thing about this game are the cards themselves.  They’re all transparent plastic, so you can stack them on top of each other and the point amount showing is the one you get. There are several versions of the game, and Meepline owns and enjoys them all!  This game is for 13 and up, due to the macabre nature of the game.

Party Games

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Codenames

     In Codenames, you split into 2 groups.  Each groups has a clue giver, or spymaster, and one or several teammates.  The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames.  The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.  This is a game for 4+ players, but there is a version for 2 players called Codenames Duet. This game is ages 10 and up.

Funemployed

     Improvisers would love this game where each person has turns as an HR director (who has a card that tells them the job the players are going for) and the other players have three cards with items or phrases that they have to work into their interview. Then the HR director chooses who to hire. Then the HR director changes. The game goes for one or two rounds (dependent on the amount of people playing) and the player with the most cards wins. This game has some cards that are not for the really young. It is great for an adult crowd though and it is a hit at parties. This game is for ages 16 and up.  

Family Games

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Outfoxed!

     There is a fox and he or she has stolen the pie. But can you and your chicken detectives solve the case before the fox escapes? This excellent family game is a beginners cooperative game where on a player’s turn they choose whether they will look for clues or reveal suspects. Once they have decided, they roll the dice to determine that they can accomplish their turn goal. If the dice all reveal the symbol of their goal, they are allowed to move toward a clue and look at it if they make it or reveal two suspects. The suspects are eliminated if they are wearing or holding something that the actual criminal is. If they do not roll matching symbols then the fox moves closer to the escape manhole and if they reach it the detective team loses. It is a great way to work on a child’s deductive reasoning skills. This game is for kids 5 and up. (But truth be told, this can be played as young as 3 years old with parents help.)

King of Tokyo

     In this epic battle game players are kaiju who are battling for control of the city. You are trying to get to 20 victory points while attempting to hit the other kaiju and take them out. Three rolls of the dice tell the player what they can do on their turn. This game is fun and great for families who are a little competitive. This is for ages 8 and up.

Roleplaying Games

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No Thank You, Evil!

     Ever dream about the land under your bed, in your closet or out of your window while you sleep? Shanna Germain has, and created a great beginner game for Monte Cook Games. No Thank You Evil! Is a role-playing game for kids 4 and up that not only keeps their imaginations (each session runs about an hour and a half) and begins training them to be storytellers (this game’s version of the GM). Families who already have the base game should check out the supplements. There are story cards and even a book on how to be a storyteller aimed towards kids. This games special talent is it grows as the child does. There are basic rules for beginners, somewhat complicated rules for older kids and a fleshed out set of rules for adults. You can run a game for different skill sets and it still plays really smooth. They have stand up characters for all the pregens and a great character sheet and specialized dice in a box. If you want to see the future of the hobby; kids post pictures of their games on the Monte Cook Studios website.  This game is for ages 5 and up.

D&D 5 E

     Dungeons and Dragons is one of the oldest, and well-known, role-playing games.  Created in the 70s by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, it’s set in a world of high fantasy (wizards, elves, dwarves, you get the gist).  In 2014, Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition was released. It’s a similar, but different, set of rules. Some who have played the game for years say it’s simpler and cleaner, some say it’s dumber, but most agree it’s much better than the 4th edition.  You still get to create a fantastic character (in every definition of the word fantastic), sit around a table with friends (or strangers), and roll some dice. The past couple of years, Wizards of the Coast have been rolling out a bunch of well-made adventures, in case you’re too intimidated to create your own story.  Feeling a little more ambitious? The Dungeon Master’s Guide can give you some great information about world building, and there are a ton of resources available online, from DnD Beyond (the unofficially official D&D website), to the Wizards of the Coast website (where the creators sometimes roll out test materials under the heading Unearthed Arcana), to WotC workers being easily accessible on social media (Chris Perkins, one of the major editors of D&D, is extremely active on Twitter and Reddit).  This game is recommended for 12+, but if your kid is reading and doing math, you can easily start them with a simpler storyline (definitely NOT Curse of Strahd).

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Dice! 

     For role players, there is also always the gift of dice. There are some great sets out there and if you have a friend or family member who plays D&D or Pathfinder, you can buy them special dice. There are sets that are sold that match Paizo’s various Pathfinder campaigns. (The Curse of the Crimson Throne ones are gorgeous.) You can head to Comicazi or your friendly local gaming stores and see them before you purchase. (Comicazi also has great pop culture dice bags.)

     We hope we gave you ideas, and if you have any specific questions, please leave them in the comments and we are happy to answer them. Just call us your elven bards.

     We hope your holiday season is filled with all the warmth and light possible and your new year is filled with much happy gaming and lots of laughter at the table. We hope you game at our table at one of our various ELS Game Days and we will be announcing the dates shortly. We have so much in store for you next year!  

Until then, may all your hits be crits!

 

Thankful Post of Thankfulness

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Fall is Here! 

 We know it is Halloween, but we won’t be posting before Thanksgiving and our hearts are just bursting with thankfulness. In celebration of this, we are going to share some of the things that we are thankful for. So here we go…. things we (Lady Diceacorn and Meepline) are thankful for this year in no particular order.

Our Family and Friends

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We love our boys!

We both have big families and we are thankful for them. We are super thankful for our husbands who do the solo parent thing one weekend day a month so that we can go hang out with awesome women and play games. We know how hard solo parenting can be, so we want you to know we appreciate it and we love you tons. We are thankful for our kids, who are cool but also can show us that we have a ton of patience (especially when it comes to hearing about Fortnight dances and Minecraft). We love you guys too.

We are thankful to our friends who fill our lives with happiness whenever the world feels like a dumpster fire. Even just a “how are you?” on a bad day means the world.  

First Responders

We are grateful to those who are trained to run in when everyone else runs out. You are brave beyond measure and we are grateful to you for everything that you do. We also recognize that you sacrifice holidays with your family because emergencies do not take a holiday. Thank you for that sacrifice.

 

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Mr. Meepline and his partner.

   Mr. Meepline is a paramedic, so first responders hold a special place in Meepline’s heart. She’s also thankful to some of his single co-workers who have offered to work a swap for him so he could be home on Christmas with the Meepleteenies.

The Ladies of Comicazi

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     When our game day didn’t have a home and someone suggested Comicazi, we had no idea we would be meeting so many new friends. Tiny Doom, Red Menace, Smalerie and Cartoon Sara were so welcoming and helped us sort everything out. We were so honored when we were asked to be official Ladies. We are thankful for the caring and wonderful women you are. In creating inclusive events like LadiesCon, you are creating a community of caring people. It is a community we are so proud to be a part of.

Game Companies

     There are so many board, video and RPG companies out there and we don’t really have the word count to list them all, so we are just going to say thank you to the collective. Thank you for creating games that capture our imaginations, make us think, make us laugh and bring us together. Thank you for helping us tell a story, be braver than we thought we could and go on adventures that exceed expectations. Thank you for giving kids the environment to do things that they were told they wouldn’t be able to do. This year we learned that some therapists were using role-playing games to work on speech and social skills with kids who needed a place to open up. Games are magic and you are the magic makers.  Keep doing awesome things. We cannot wait to see what is next.

Kickstarter

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We played this deluxe Kickstarter game at our last ELS Day!

     We are grateful to Kickstarter for allowing us to fund a game before it is made. Is the system perfect? Not at all. Lady Diceacorn is still waiting on a game from 2013. It didn’t stop her from kicking in for the new edition of Savage Worlds though. Things that may not have been made otherwise can be made with crowdfunding. We had new Mystery Science Theater because of Kickstarter.

Our Foremothers

    It took a while for women to be recognized for their contributions in history. We are grateful to all the women who took a stand and did something great. We see you and we appreciate you.  Women have been at the forefront of many great things throughout history; from Mary Shelley publishing Frankenstein anonymously 200 years ago, Helen Keller being one of the founders of the ACLU and Nichelle Nichols working with NASA to recruit women astronauts. We walk in the shadows of great women and for that, we are truly thankful.

Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds on Twitter  

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     Twitter can be a hot mess, but one of the best things about the social media platform is whenever a new tweet appears from Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds. First, Chris Evans, who is a hometown boy, loves his dog, his fake Civil War feud with Robert Downey Jr., fall and (as Lady Diceacorn excitedly found out the other day) Christmas. He is also not shy about being diagnosed with anxiety, something that makes him a hero in our eyes. Second, Ryan Reynolds. Well, there’s a reason he was cast as Deadpool. His tweets are irreverent and with a dry humor that makes Meepline chuckle, especially when he’s talking about his wife and girls. There have been several times where they have interacted with each other and it has been magic. It is a smile that we all need right now.

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Bingeable TV Shows

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You can watch TV anywhere now!

     Remember when we were kids and had to wait a week or a long time to find out what happened next on our favorite TV show? Not anymore! DVR’s, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and countless other streaming services allow us to decide what we want to watch, when we want to watch it and where. While waiting at the doctor’s office, watching a show on our phone is something we can do. If the commute home was bad, we can watch our favorite comedy to help us laugh. (Lady Diceacorn loves the fact that Monty Python is now on Netflix, as is Mystery Science Theater 3000.) Kids can watch what they want when they can now too. Most cartoons and shows are available on one of the big three streaming services. We cannot say enough great things about Netflix’s children’s programming. The Who Was show is a staple at both houses and Lady Diceacorn’s house loves Beat Bugs. Beat Bugs tells the story of a group of bugs living in a backyard and each story is told to a specific Beatles song.  (Lady Diceacorn suggests the Eleanor Rigby episode. It is her personal favorite.) At the Meepline House, all of the Meepleteenies have been bingeing some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Netflix has the whole series, all of the Equestria Girls movies, AND the motion picture!

Dice    

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So pretty!

    We love dice. They are pretty and sometimes they roll well for us. We have a lot too. Sometimes we use poor rolling as an excuse to buy more dice. This is why Meepline is going broke. She loooves dice, but the dice hate her.

Podcasts

     Lady Diceacorn is a huge fan of podcasts. They get her through her new much longer commute. Did you know The Ladies have a podcast? We are grateful for the really talented people who display their talents out there on the internet for free. We have a lot of podcasts we love. Lady Diceacorn suggests Thrilling Adventure Hour Treasury, Welcome to Nightvale, History Chicks and Unspooled.  

Comicazi

     Our home away from home! We love you. Thank you for taking us in and embracing our little game day.

ELS Game Day

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     Our beloved game day grew a little bit this year. We are thankful to everyone who has come to our game day and played games. We can’t wait to see what next year brings. Happy Third Birthday ELS!

Finally – Each Other

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Wearing our tiaras at LadiesCon!

Lady Diceacorn: I can’t even begin to count the reasons that I am lucky to have Meepline as my platonic life partner. We met because we needed something different from our everyday life of chaos and ended up finding a true blue friendship. You are always there to hear my grumbles about commuting or share the joy of a new house. You give me pep talks before important stuff and remind me that I always have a friend in you. When I needed a partner in running the game day, you didn’t hesitate and jumped in beside me. May we have many more years that we get to be thankful for each other.

Meepline: Oh, man. So, I never thought I’d ever find a kindred female spirit outside of my family. And yet, here she is. Not only does she share my love of games and all things geeky, but she understands my frustrations as a boy mom. We share all of our annoyances, bolster each other up when we’re down, and gush over how adorable each others’ kids are. (Seriously, we have some cute kids.) I’m glad that you’re the Ethel to my Lucy, the Twilight Sparkle to my Pinkie Pie, basically the sane character to my insane character. May we grow old and be able to pass this torch to ladies younger than us. ❤

Featured Game: Trash Panda By  Gamewright Games

     We are excited to be having Gamewright Games demoing their wonderful games at our game day on November 10th. This Newton based company has been making hit games for as long as we can remember. We love their games because they are engaging from the boxes to the pieces and card artwork.  Some of their games that we have played in the past are Sushi Go , Trash Panda and Outfoxed.

We have picked one of these games, Trash Panda, as our featured game. You play raccoons trying to collect the most trash (like feesh, which is the actual title of the card) by the end of the game. At the beginning of your game you roll the dice to determine what you can do in a round, but if you roll the same thing twice your turn is over. It is fun, fast and great for families and the occasional grown-up game night.

    Come play some amazing games with us at our last game day of 2018 on November 10th from 12-6 p.m. at Comicazi. Our 2019 dates, including another Try an RPG Day will be announced as soon as we have the dates!

From us to you, we hope you had a great Halloween and that your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of tasty food. We will see you at the end of November when we talk great gifts for all ages!

Until next time…. May all your hits be crits!

On The Move: Building Your Game Room

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Meepline shows off our booth at LadiesCon!

        Before we begin this month’s post, we want to thank all the people who worked hard to make LadiesCon a success. It was such a wonderful time and we were happy to see so many people visiting. For those who came to see us at our table or at our panel, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and learn about our game day. We hope you attend our October 28th game day from 12-6 at Comicazi. Everyone is encouraged to dress in costume, but not too scary please! (This is just in case children come to the game day. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.)

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The Before….

       The conclusion to our “On the Move” post from July is all about building your new game space. We have a brand new game room that is technically still in the works. It needs a few more shelves (more on that later) and frames for artwork. Lady Diceacorn is picking up with setting up your game room.

Step 1: Layout

     When you start with your game space the best way to begin is laying out the shelves and storage for your gaming supplies. This includes building new shelving or rebuilding any shelves that had to be disassembled in the move. This can take more time than you are thinking. Once you have the shelves assembled it is time for step 2.

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The Right Supervisor is Important!

Step 2: Figure Out Your Game Organization Plan

    If you are like us, you want a game room that has things easily accessible and organized. Sit down with everyone who will be using the game room and figure out what is important to have readily available and where other books should go. This can take about a half an hour to do, but saves time in the end and allows the game room to come together without much difficulty. If your children game, get them involved. Allowing them to figure out where their games go will help make the room theirs too.

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Lady Diceacorn’s son was very excited about his shelf in the RPG library!

Step 3: Unpacking Your Games

      Unpacking your game materials will take a lot of time. However, if you have made a plan, it can be easy to do.  As you unpack, use the game organization plan to create piles of games or game books that will be shelved together. This will create several piles and take up lots of floor space, but it is a really important time saver. Once all the boxes have been opened and sorted, all that is left is to place the games on their shelves.

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Broken Token’s Gloom Tomb

     As you unpack, take a look at all of your games and make sure they survived the move. This is also a great time to make reorganize any games that became unorganized in the move. If you have a little disposable income, maybe consider purchasing some great organizers from Broken Token. (Meepline swears by this company. They have a Gloom Tomb!)  

     We unpacked the board games first and once they were on the shelves we unpacked our RPG library. This cut back on the space needed for the piles and actually allowed the creation of more space because we were getting rid of boxes.

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Meepline has plenty of room for new games!

     We need more shelves in the Lady Diceacorn game room, but for now the remainder of the unshelved games and materials are confined to a fold out table and a corner of the game room. You think you may have enough shelves, but you don’t. When we get more shelving we will make sure to have extra room for new games and new game books.

      By the end of two days, our game room was functional and ready to welcome gamers. Sure, there is still work to do, but it has been wonderful gaming in our game room.

Featured Game: Mysterium

     The best way to explain Mysterium is that it is a cross between Clue and Dixit. You’re all mediums at a seance, trying to figure out who killed the ghost, where, and how (Clue). The ghost can only communicate through visions represented by beautifully artistic cards (Dixit). You only have a few hours to figure it out. Can you all do it in time? Or will the ghost be doomed to walk the earth forever tormented by their murderer’s escape?

Until next time, may all your hits be crits!

Convention Season Survival Guide

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The Crowd at NerdCon in Boston in 2017.

      We are in the middle of convention season and with LadiesCon around the corner we thought that we would share some great conventioning tips that we have learned over the years and help you prepare for successful conventioning. Here are our top fifteen tips to help everyone enjoy conventions.
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On the Move: Tips for Taking Your Games on the Go

 

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Our New House!

Happy July! Summer is in full swing!  I want to thank Meepline for writing the last post solo last month. We have been in the process of packing, moving and unpacking at our new house!

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How Many Boxes? 47. The Answer was 47.

Back in May, I posted an Instagram photo of my packing and asked the question “how many boxes of games do we have?” The answer was/is 47. We have quite the collection, which includes role-playing books, board games, minis and GM supplies. That is where I got the idea for this post. How do you move things like game books and board games and hope they stay together? I hope to provide you some tips and tricks for packing your collection safely. Next month, Meepline and I will be back writing in tandem bringing you tips for convention going in honor of LadiesCon. Post LadiesCon, we will be writing about organizing your collection and setting up an effective (and fun) game space and I will (hopefully) have our new game room setup to show you pictures.

But for now, here are some tips about packing up your games. You can use some of these tips when you go on vacation as games are great entertainment for cabins or beach houses. Continue reading

Games To Travel With

Hello, darlings! Summer is soon to arrive, and that usually means a lot of travel and vacations. I know a lot of you are asking, “But, Meepleine, when I get to my destination, it can sometimes be a little boring.” And so, I give you this little  list of little games that you can throw in a bag and take with you (virtually) anywhere! (I’m writing this post on my lonesome because Lady Diceacorn is currently packing to move to her new house! She’ll do a post later on about how to effectively pack your games. Last count, she was on 30+ boxes of just games.) Continue reading

Gaming with Kids: A Quick Start Guide

   

Meepleine and her Family 

    Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and since we are both Moms, we thought we would give you some tips for gaming with kids. For the most part, we love to game with our kids. However, time has taught us many lessons about how to handle the potential pitfalls. If you have never tried because you aren’t sure whether your kids are ready or aren’t sure that they can sit for the whole game at the table – we wholeheartedly recommend that you give it a try. (SHAMELESS PLUG: We encourage moms who want to try with their daughters to try at an ELS Day.)  Also if you are an Aunt or Uncle or friend of the family who is interested in getting kids into gaming, this guide is for you too. This month we will be sharing our tips with you.  Let’s just call it the quick start guide to gaming with kids.

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Lady Diceacorn and her Family

  1. Evaluate the Kid Mood

     It is no fun to play the game if a kid is easily frustrated and upset. Make sure your kids are well rested and not hungry before you start the game. Do not, we repeat DO NOT, play a game right before you start making dinner. It is no fun. At that point, not even snacks are enough to prevent a kid from being hangry. Any other time Snacks at the table are a must.

    Also, if it is too close to bedtime or your child seems overtired- don’t start a game. It will only end in tears and no one wants that.

      2. Patience, Patience, Patience

     Anyone who has a kid knows, they can easily get under your skin. Teaching them the rules of a new game can really test you, so don’t hesitate to take a break from the game. And don’t ever worry about modifying rules to make it easier on yourself! Candyland actually caters to this with their rules about the face cards; for younger players, they encourage you to ignore the face cards if you’ve already passed them (typically you move back to the character). Meepleine just removes the face cards when playing with her 3-year-old.

     3. Remember: You know your kid better than the box.

Meepleine and her eldest, breaking the box rules

     If you pick games based off of the age on the box; you may be doing yourself a disservice. There are going to always be exceptions to the rule and your kids may be one of those. Can your child read really well at five years old? They may be ready for a more advanced game than is considered “normal”.  Lady Diceacorn figured this out when her (then five-year old) son wanted to play Lanterns after seeing it on the Tabletop YouTube series. After reviewing the video, she agreed and they tried to play together. It soon became a family favorite. The same thing happened with King of Tokyo and Sushi Go. And Meepleine plays a bunch of 13+ games with her 10-year-old, unless there are just too many rules. (Pandemic good, Star Trek Panic bad.)

     4.  Play the game with another adult before you play with your kids.

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Mr. Lady Diceacorn and Lady Diceacorn try to figure out X-Wing so that their kid can give it a try. 

     This is a big one. Make sure you understand the rules of the game before playing them with your kids. It will make sure that you can learn in peace and you won’t have your kids asking if it is time over and over until it was time.

    5.  Make Gaming a Lesson in social interaction.

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No Thank You Evil has great mechanics for indicating whose turn it is to speak and act…. Also snacks.

     Tabletop gaming is an amazing way to practice proper social interaction. Taking turns, waiting to talk and being a good sport are key things learned by children at a gaming table. Kids with special needs that hinder or hamper social interaction can “gamify” their life and it all starts at the table. (Lady Diceacorn will write about her experience with this in a future article.) Make your family game night a chance to show your kids how to behave at a table and refer to it in your everyday life. “Remember how you waited your turn when we played the game? Now is another time for taking turns.”

     6.  Start young

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Unofficial ELS Baby starting out young…

     You can start playing as early as two years old, playing Go Fish and Matching games. There are a lot of great games for the three-year old and up that practice fine motor skills. Setting a regular family game night is a great way to spend time together, eat snacks and enforce those social interaction rules listed above. Meepleine plays games frequently with her 3-year-old; Peaceable Kingdom is an amazing company that makes games specifically for 2+!

     7.  Make sure that the games are fun!

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Just like food, there are a lot of different flavors that work for different people – find the ones that work for you!

    If a game is not one that your kid will like – don’t play it. Some games just won’t be their favorite. If you have a Minecraft fan, like Lady Diceacorn and Meepleine, there is   a Minecraft card game. It is a simple game that Lady Diceacorn has played several times with her son and it made him interested in trying other card games. There are tabletop games that are based off of a lot of pop culture and you can use those as a springboard to other games. 

MAY’S FEATURED GAMES :

Game for kids 3+ : Who Shook Hook?  

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Lady Diceacorn couldn’t help herself – she had to post this photo of her son from 2014 playing Who Shook Hook? with the classroom bunny. 

This game, based on the TV show Jake and the Neverland Pirates, is a combination of Kerplunk and Don’t Wake Daddy. You play Jake and his pirate friends Izzy and Cubby. They are trying to get their treasure back from a sleeping Captain Hook. There are several different hooks and tweezers that add different ways to remove the treasure from the hammock Hook is napping on. It is a lot of fun and full of laughs. The person who knocks Hook off of the hammock loses. 

Honorable Mention: Snug as a Bug in a Rug

This game is one of the absolute best games to play with young players. There are 3 levels of play, and it grows with your kids. There’s a party on the rug, and all the little colored bugs want to hide under the rug before the 3 stink bugs come and stink up the party. This game teaches dice rolling, spinner use, taking turns, teamwork, and matching! Each bug has a certain color, shape, and number of shapes, as well as large or small eyes. At the first level of play, you roll the die and use what it lands on to find the bugs you’re hiding (color, shape, number). You spin the spinner to find the exact match you need. If you have run out of bugs to match, oh no! The first stink bug shows up. Now, you need to match eye size. This game is fun no matter how old your kids are (Meepleine bought it for her 3 year old, but her 10 year old likes it, too) and is by that most amazing of companies mentioned earlier, Peaceable Kingdom.

Game for kids 6+: King of Tokyo

This game is fun for the whole family. Everyone is a Kaiju trying to take over Tokyo. The Kaijus fight each other and try to get enough victory points to win. The first kaiju to 20 experience points or the last Kaiju standing is the winner.  Expansion packs for this game includes a special Halloween version with their version of Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie. We will have this expansion and the Cthulhu and Kong expansion at the next ELS Game Day.

        The next ELS Game Day is happening at Comicazi on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 12-6 for an ELS Game Day filled with fun games to play with your family.   If you need a last minute gift for the mom in your life – we can also give some great suggestions. We hope to see you there!

Well that is it for us this month. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! 

Until next time, may all your hits be crits!

You Find Yourself…

Buying dice can be so much fun!

Inspired by Smalerie’s post about her lessons learned as a D&D newbie and our upcoming Try an RPG day, we are inspired to look back on our first time at the gaming table and our first or favorite (because Lady Diceacorn has run so many games she can’t remember her first one) time as a GM (this means game master, it is the generic form of DM). We hope you will read our stories and, combined with Smalerie’s inspiring post, want to try roleplaying games. Believe it or not, there are more RPGs on the market today than there have ever been and there’s a system for everyone. We hope that through the Try an RPG day you find a game that you like and share it with your family and friends. If you would like to volunteer to GM, we have a handy fill out form and would love to have the help on April 29 from 12-6.
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Ready, Player One?

Hey all – Today we bring you a guest post from Honorary Lady, The Goog. He went to see Ready Player One this weekend, and since Tiny Doom opted out on this one, we asked him to share his thoughts. Ready? Go…

This is going to be heavily laden with spoilers about the plot (or lack thereof), and less spoilery about the movies easter eggs.

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Hello internet, it’s The Goog, aka Castle Thunder Graphics, aka Dan and I enjoyed Ready Player One.

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I’m Mario, Donkey Kong is the Internet, the barrels are opinions.

 …okay, I see some of you are still here, so let’s chat.
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