In this episode, Valerie (Smalerie) sits down with fellow Ladies and current co-Organizers of ELS Game Day, Savannah (Meepline) and Tracey (Lady Diceacorn) to discuss the experience of women at the gaming table. Together they discuss what it can feel like to be the only woman at the gaming table and share some tips on ways all players can create a more positive gaming space.
Please welcome guest contributor Lindsay Moore. Lindsay has written for us before, sharing her experience putting together an all women horror anthology. In this series, she’ll share her experience writing horror stories that were adapted for the NoSleep Podcast.
I discovered the NoSleep Podcast in 2015, midway through its fifth season. At the time, my day job was less than fulfilling; it was downright boring. But, on the plus side, I was able to listen to podcasts and music all day.
I sat in my cubicle, alone, listening to horror fiction podcasts while I worked. I discovered the NoSleep Podcast through the subreddit, which is infamous for its creepypasta-style horror fiction. I couldn’t sit and read the stories, but I could listen to the best of the best, those carefully selected for audio adaptation. Continue reading
I walk over 3.5 miles for my commute daily and this puts me in the perfect position to consume lots of podcasts. It’s also a great way to ramp up or decompress from the work day by letting your mind focus on something else. But lately I have noticed my podcast consumption habits have changed and I can pinpoint the exact point. It was the Bret Kavanaugh hearings.
See, I also consume a lot of news media. Local news is on when I am getting dressed in the morning and making dinner at night. My Twitter feed is filled with lots of news and current event outlets and I used to listen to many current event podcasts. I say used to because all of a sudden I noticed I was doing something I never did before with my usual podcasts…..I was deleting or skipping episodes without listening, because I realized, I needed a break, badly. Podcasts weren’t a way to relax on my way to work anymore. Hearing #metoo stories or yet another attempt to explain consent was stirring up things and I was getting to work stressed, unfocused, and angry. That’s not a good look in any job, but in my role, I have to deal with these types of issues in a professional capacity, so things had to change.
Enter the audio drama. What I need now is escapism in form of heavily produced episodic storytelling and well-developed characters and I found some that have inspired major binge listening.
I have already mentioned some other audio dramas I enjoy – Darkest Night, Deadly Manners, The Black Tapes, and Tanis. The Red Menace has also given you a heads up on another Sci-Fi based fave, Hadron Gospel Hour (more please friends!)
But now I have more!
Limetown follows American Public Radio (a fictional NPR type entity) reporter Lia Haddock as she tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Limetown and its 300+ inhabitants, who have all disappeared without a trace. Structured like a take-off on a Serial type podcast, Limetown is spooky, mysterious, and a very compelling story. You will find yourself wanting to do you own research just to be sure this is in fact, fiction.
Note: It was recently announced that Limetown will be turned into a TV show on Facebook Watch starring Jessica Biel.
King Falls AM 660 on the AM dial wherever the mountain town of King Falls is located. It’s like the X-Files meets Northern Exposure. Shock Jock Sammy Stevens moves to King Falls and begins to host a local AM call in radio show. The whole podcast is done as the radio show, you learn about the characters and happenings of King Falls via call-ins and on-site radio broadcasts. It’s funny, scary, and at times quite emotional (yes there have been tears). King Falls has been around for a few years now, but you definitely want to start at the beginning. Listening to the character development over the episodes has been an absolute joy.
Note: This one has explicit content so not for kiddos or public listening in the office. You are gonna want your headphones, and people can just ask you what you are giggle-snorting about.
Angel of Vine is a crime noir story in which a present day journalist discovers the cassette tapes of a hardboiled 1950’s PI who solved a major Hollywood murder mystery. This one packs some pretty serious voice talent – Joe Manganiello, Alfred Molina, Constance Zimmer, Alan Tudyk, and Misha Collins (which I didn’t know till a few episodes in, so that was a fun surprise) and if this a genre you like, I’m guessing you will like this.
Note: This is another one with some explicit content, so not for the kiddos.
The Walk is quite unique in that the main character is you! Written by Naomi Alderman, who also does my beloved Zombies, Run! and The Power, in The Walk you are accidentally given a mysterious package that you must get from one end of Scotland to the other. The kicker, a terrorist group sets off an EMP in episode one, so the only way to cross the country is to walk.
Note: Perfect for days out strolling if you want to be the star of your own adventure.
The Ladies are discussing She-Ra this month. We talk about the original cartoon, the new reboot, and how things have changed in animation and television in the years between.
Smalerie interviews LadiesCon guest Kristen Gudsnuk right before the convention. Listen as they discuss Kristen’s comics, magical girls, and upcoming comics.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Bingeable TV Shows
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!
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.
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.
Our home away from home! We love you. Thank you for taking us in and embracing our little game day.
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
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!
As the Ladies resident (but not only) lover of spooky things, I wanted to share three things I am doing to get in the spirit for what is my highest holiday – Halloween!
I’ve only recently started listening to Darkest Night having learning about it via Deadly Manners. We’ve mentioned some spooky podcasts before and there are lots of them out there, but this one really distinguishes itself though the sound design. As you are told in the intro, this podcast really is best experienced with headphones, but beware…the experience can become quite immersive. No joke, the other morning I was listening to an episode while walking to work and I literally leapt across the sidewalk because I forgot the sounds were only in my ears.
Darkest Night is a story based podcast that follows Project Cyclops, an experiment where severed heads are sent to a lab for a process that draws the blood from a victim’s optic nerve so the moments before their death can be experienced and documented….but is that all that’s really going on here?
Rating: 4 out of 5 severed heads
Whooo boy, we finished this over the weekend and what an emotional roller coaster. This Netflix show whips you from fear, to sorrow, to anger as it pairs terrifying images with the equally terrifying human condition. The Haunting of Hill House is a modern adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel and a love-letter to the 1963 film The Haunting (also based on Shirley Jackson’s novel). Like all good horror, it’s not just about ghosts or murder. HoHH looks at trauma, obsession, and grief and how the lasting impacts can follow you through life, even if you think you have locked them away.
Don’t get me wrong – this is real deal spooky. As you watch, pay attention to everything, because things happen in the background and in your periphery to keep you as off balance as the characters are. Episode 6 is particularly masterful is how it pulls you reluctantly through long shots that become more and more dizzying to reflect the downward spirals of the characters.
Too late in the series I really started to key in on the color symbolism used in the filming, and now I want to watch it all over again to follow that thread. Seriously, if you haven’t watched this yet, I’m a little jealous of you getting to experience it for the first time.
Rating: 5 our of 5 red doors
Hopefully some of you were able to make it to the Comicazi Cookie Clash this year. It’s an amazing dessert filled event for a great cause, Boston Partners in Education. While I am not someone who loves or thoroughly enjoys baking (I’m not great at the exactness of it since I tend to like to experiment – not a good idea in baking unless you are really down with the science), I have competed in the cookie clash every year since its inception. Fun fact: The Cookie Clash started originally as competition between The Red Menace’s cookies made with love (she LOVES baking and is quite good at it), and my Cookies made with Hate™ (recall: I don’t love baking).
But I digress…this year I decided I wanted to go for flash rather than substance and made these gooey eyeball cookies for my baker’s choice entry. While these cookies taste good – sort of a cheesecake sugar cookie, they aren’t super exciting or nuanced. But then again, you aren’t making them for nuance, you are making them because they fun, colorful, and involve so many candy eyeballs.
The best advice I can give it to follow the recipe directly, and that getting the neon food coloring colors is totally worth it if you want that bright popping color. I also got 3 different sizes of candy eyes and found that the mixing of different sizes really adds a lot to the aesthetic. Otherwise, these cookies are pretty easy and a lot of bang for your buck.
Rating: 4 out 5 Beholder eyes
This month, we’re talking about tropes! What is a trope? What makes them so effective that they keep popping up again and again? Which tropes do we love? Which ones do we actively seek out?
We’ll be adding a few links to examples of our favorite tropes soon.
Check out previous episodes and subscribe to the podcast on our podcast page.
Summer is often a time for sitting. Sitting on the beach, sitting in a fishing boat, sitting in traffic. Not all these situations may be conducive to indulging in summer reading. As the person who is often the driver for summer travels I can confirm, reading and driving, super frowned upon. (Note: This is a joke, I don’t even talk on the phone while driving).
There are tons of educational and current events podcasts out there, but summer is also a time for escapism and I think we could all use a break from the daily assault of what’s going on in the news media. So, here are 3 serialized story podcasts for you to enjoy while staring at a either body of water, or the break lights in front of you.
Despite being a pretty avid podcast listener and this absolutely being in my wheelhouse, I was a bit late to the party on this one. The Black Tapes Podcast is presented by Pacific Northwest Stories (PNS), and Minnow Beats Whale. It’s a docudrama hosted by Alex Regan, and presented as a journalist investigation rather than a narrative story. Alex begins her podcast series by looking at unusual jobs, but it very quickly takes a new direction when she meeting Dr. Richard Strand, head of the Strand Institute and his black tapes files. The Strand Institute’s mission is to debunk the supernatural, but what happens when they come across things that can’t be easily explained away?
I binged this one hardcore. It’s 3 seasons and seems to be completed. Shout out to it for being responsible for me cleaning out my closet because I just put my headphones on and next thing I knew, I had a nice pile of items for donation.
Check this out if you like: The X-Files, Serial, Supernatural
This is another one from PNS. After loving The Black Tapes so much I decided to further explore the PNS offerings (and there are still others I have in my queue). Tanis is similarly structured as a journalistic investigation, and hosts who are familiar from The Black Tapes are featured. The central question of this investigation is What is Tanis? Is it a place, a person, a feeling? Nic Sliver sets out to answer this question and is quickly pulled into a terrifying mystery that affects him and everyone he interacts with.
I’m still listening to Tanis, it’s 4 seasons and it still going. It took slightly longer to grab me than The Black Tapes, but once it did grab me, I always make sure I have at least 3 episodes downloaded on my phone and ready for listening.
Check this out if you like: horror based mystery, things about cults, and salty hackers
Did you know that AMC/Sundance were into the podcast game? Me neither until I happened upon Deadly Manners. Deadly Manners is also a murder mystery, but much more of a “who done it” done in the style of a classic radio drama. There is a fancy dinner party at a grand house during a snowstorm. Soon enough people start dying, and with no one able to leave, and a host who insists the party must go one, will any of the guests survive the night?
What makes Deadly Manners so much fun is the voice talent. You will hear some very familiar voices including Kristen Bell, RuPaul, and LeVar Burton. This is another completed podcast so very bingeable.
Check this out if you like: Clue, some over the top voice acting, and twists.
All of these podcasts – plus our own podcast – are available via iTunes. Let us know any others that we should be checking out!