Category: Things To Love

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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Disneybounding: A Beginner’s Guide

This week we have our first post from our new contributor – Mother Of Figments. This talented lady is not only a runner, an accomplished knitter, and incredible singer/performer, but she is also our very own Disneybounding Expert! Here you will find the first post in her new series where she’ll not only introduce newbies to “Bounding” but will also be sharing her tips and resources for those who also want to get in on the fun.

 

My very first ‘Disneybound’ was completely by accident.  As a fan of Once Upon A Time, I heard that there was a storefront at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park that was meant to be the storefront of Mr. Gold’s/Rumplestiltskin’s shop from the tv show.  To show my love for the character, I bought gold eyeshadow and gold shimmer lipstick and wore my Loki t-shirt (because Gold/Rumple and Loki share much in common, in my mind). I had no idea that what I was doing was a ‘thing’ and that it was becoming more popular by the moment!

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First Disneybound!

Around that time I started seeing people walking around the park in green, mermaid-scale leggings and purple tank-tops, obvious homages to Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’.  It was later in that trip that I realized that what they were doing, and indeed, what I was doing with my Mr. Gold/Rumple homage and my ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party’ costume had a name: Disneybounding.

Buzzfeed defines Disneybounding as: When Disney fans dress up as contemporary versions of their favorite characters. It’s basically closet cosplay at its finest.’

A question that often gets asked is ‘What is the difference between Disneybounding and Cosplay?’  The members of the ‘Disneybounders Unite’ Facebook page generally say that when a costume is built to be an exact copy and wigs/prosthetics are involved, then it’s ‘Cosplay’.  Otherwise, it’s considered “Bounding” (there can be other types of Bounding…I’ve seen Pokemon, Star Trek, Harry Potter, DC Comics, Dr. Seuss, Elfquest etc. represented!).

Bounding came about because of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland rule that “Costumes may not be worn by Guests 14 years of age or older; however, some costumes may be permitted during select special events.”  Adult guests, however, wanted to show their love for certain characters so the idea of representing them in more contemporary ways came about.  Google ‘Disneybound ideas’ and there are pages upon pages of images and Pinterest Boards devoted to outfits for almost any Disney character that anyone could think of.  

As someone who loves dressing up and loves the idea of costumes as a whole, this idea fascinated me.  The next time I attempted Disneybounding’was during Dapper Days, an unofficial celebration of all things Vintage at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris.  Everything that I wore that weekend came from my closet as I used the ideas of color and pattern to convey the characters I chose.

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Dapper Mickey

The Disneybounding Bug had bitten me!  I started going through my closet, putting together outfits that, maybe with an accessory or two, would create a Disneybound for another character…or seven.  I started collecting clothing items that could work as a ‘Bound’. Amazingly, there are quite a few retailers that have embraced and encouraged this trend, such as Hot Topic, Torrid, BoxLunch, Etsy,  Unique Vintage, and even The Disney Store itself.

My favorite way to find items, however, is to first dive into my closet and pull up basics such as solid-color shorts or skirts and solid-color tops.  I then see what color combinations might inspire a character for me. All it takes is a black shirt and a pair of red bottoms and voila! It’s Mickey Mouse!  Then I think about what accessories might enhance the outfit. I’m a fan of enamel pins (that could be a whole other post!) and other jewelry bits that give a little hint.  Sometimes those are a special purchase or can be easily made if you’re crafty (or know crafty friends).

If I’m missing something of a specific color or style, I then tend to look through consignment/thrift shops to see if anything might work if it’s not something I would normally add to my closet.  There’s no need to buy something crazy if you’re only going to wear it once! That $8 purple t-shirt from a craft store or thrift shop is just as good as one from The Disney Store if you’re only going to Ariel-Bound once!  It’s also a lot of fun to make pins or hair accessories from Fimo (molding clay) from a craft store.

For my trip in February 2019 for the Princess Half-Marathon weekend, I’m planning to Disneybound every day.  Thus far I have Casual Snow White (t-shirt purchased from Etsy), The Genie (belt purchased from Pin Up Girl and t-shirt to be determined), The Mermaid Lagoon from Peter Pan, and Joy from Inside Out (dress purchased from Poshmark).  All other items not specifically mentioned, have been pulled from my own clothing collection.

Budget is super-important to me, especially as the trips to the parks themselves are so expensive, but there is also no rule that says you can’t collect pieces as you come across them!  I will also be the first to admit that I have put together an Evangeline (The Princess and the Frog) Disneybound that I’m quite proud of…even though every piece was purchased specifically for it.  Disneybounding also isn’t just for the parks! I’ve worn some outfits to work that I have either accidentally or purposefully curated for Bounding purposes.

There are some great resources on Disneybounding on the internet including videos, Pinterest boards, and Facebook pages.  In my next post, I’ll go into a little more detail about Closet Shopping and figuring out character color-blocking.

Anyone can Disneybound;  all it takes is a little faith, trust, and Pixie Dust.

The Kpop Lip Sync Battle

2018 Kpop Lip Sync Battle performer R. Zin

My life as a Kpop fan started out as a lonely one. Korean fans have fan cafes and chat rooms where, on their luckiest days, they can talk to their idols. The fans know their idols’ schedules to follow them. They have the ability to understand the music better than international fans because it’s their own culture that’s on that stage. When I got started with Kpop, I didn’t have support. I didn’t have other friends I could talk to about my fandom who understood. There were a few girls at my school who did like Kpop, but not in the way I did. Nothing out, loud, and proud. It was lonely for a good while before I came to have the friends I have now, who share the same passion as me. Continue reading

2019 – The Year of the Audio Drama

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.

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.

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     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!

 

My Growth with Kpop

It all started in the fall of 2010, my last year of high school. I was bored and browsing a pre-Facebook social media site when I came across a picture of a group of very attractive Asian men. I learned the band’s name, went onto YouTube looking for more, and got my first taste of Kpop. I really can’t say for sure why I liked it so quickly, or why I was willing to give up all the songs in my iPod and start all over again from scratch. My music tastes before Kpop were American pop acts such as Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Pink, as well as rock groups like Skillet, Paramore, and Linkin Park. It felt like there was a big shift in the music scene happening, at the time. There were so many pop songs on the radio and then hip hop came back. The music was good, but I just was not impressed with it anymore. I wanted something more.

When I watched my first Kpop video, “Bad Girl” by B2ST (pronounced Beast, now known as Highlight), it was an instant love connection.

Continue reading

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!

Sparking Joy – Suggestions for Decompression

Today is the last day to register to vote in Massachusetts. Are you registered? Up to date? Good!
With an important mid-term election looming, and the news cycle, well, all the time really, but particularly in the last few months, many folks I know and particularly folks who identify as women have been feeling pretty stressed out of late. The Kavanaugh hearings were difficult for a lot of folks and the results were even more so. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel those feelings and, if possible, use them constructively. But sometimes you just need to take a break and feel some positivity. Here are a few things that have been working for me, lately.

Tussetroll and Tingeling: Fun fact, I am not particularly an animal person. I’m not afraid of them – I’m just…not that interested. However, once in a while there comes a pet Instagram that I can’t help but fall for, and this is the latest. The animals I like have a lot of personality and are usually a little different from the norm, and huge, flat-faced Persian Tussetrolle and his pitch-black, Scottish Fold flat-eared sister Tingeling hit all of the right notes for me.

The Little House, ready for Honk!


Little Allejandro: Another Instagram feed, but this one’s closer to home. The Giant Party should have made it obvious that I am in love with tiny things. I also really love inanimate objects having grand adventures – it’s a little bit of magic in a world that is often far too mundane. Little Allejandro is a doll who lives in a house quite nearby to my own – and the house has a little dollhouse BUILT INTO THE FRONT OF IT. Child-Me would have been obsessed with it – and frankly, adult me is, too. The homeowners change up the scenery of the dollhouse frequently to match the seasons, holidays, and events in the neighborhood, but they also run this Instagram feed for their most iconic resident, Little Allejandro. He accompanies them on trips and occasionally runs into trouble. It’s a brilliant, soothing bit of everyday magic.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Fancy Sprinkles!


Making Ice Cream: I’d never suggest eating your feelings, per se, but this summer I finally broke down and bought my own ice cream freezer and I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how to get the most out of it. So far I’ve mostly made very traditional, custard-based ice creams, largely inspired by http://bravetart.com/, but there’s a whole world of sorbet, ice milk, and other delights waiting to be explored.

Hilda: I don’t want to step on the toes of any other Ladies who might want to do a more comprehensive review of this Netflix gem, but if you’re looking for something comforting to watch, you couldn’t do better than Hilda. Based on the popular graphic novels by Luke Pearson, Hilda is the story of a little Scandinavian girl who has adventures meeting the magical creatures who live in the woods and city around her. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is top-notch, and the whole show is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa. (Hilda herself is voiced by Bella Ramsey, better known as the amazing, scene-stealing Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones.)

Work with the Rage: Finally, sometimes you just have acknowledge your anger to let it go. The Believer published this excellent long read by Megan Stielstra about women’s rage and why we have so much trouble acknowledging and processing it. She’s been dealing with her own anger in part by throwing axes, which you can now do here in the Boston area, if that appeals. However, you can also use those strong feelings to make a donation or volunteer for a nonprofit in your area (here’s my personal favorite), campaign for a politician or cause you believe in, or start a Meetup for folks to come together to share other ideas for engagement, learn more about candidates, or just talk about how they’re feeling.

So that’s how I’m dealing with my anxiety about November 6th. ON November 6th, of course, I’m going to do the only thing I can do – I’m going to vote! What are all of you doing to deal with your hopes and fears? Tell me all about it in the comments.

San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Highlights

San Diego Comic-Con, as most of you probably know, is the pinnacle of pop culture conventions, one of the largest shows of its kind in the entire world. To be perfectly frank, I’d long thought of such an event as terrifying – too many people, all jostling to look at celebrities and learn about the latest movies and video games. Sure, comics are right in the title, but it’s become so focused on pop culture as a whole – would there really be anything there for me?
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An Introduction to Kpop – What is Kpop?

So, you what to learn about Kpop? I can tell you from experience that it is not easy to describe. I can’t just tell you that Kpop stands for Korean Pop Music and have that be the end. It’s not that simple. I wrote a paper once where I compared Kpop to a video game addiction because at the time it was the easiest way to explain the type of music I like to my professor. That theory has grown a bit, but Kpop is not just a type of music. It cannot be explained in one way. There are many aspects of what Kpop really is and what it represents. Continue reading