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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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).
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!
Hello fans, friends, and frenemies, and a very happy Dinovember to you all! If you’re celebrating the United States harvest festival tomorrow, we hope that it too is a pleasant experience for you, with a minimum of screeching and clawing at the table, and a maximum of delicious carcasses and entrails to devour.
On April 14th, we celebrated the joys of fandom with our second annual Fanfiction Theater. For me, it was extra-special, because it was the first time I got to experience it in person. It was everything I hoped it would be.
If you’re not familiar with the event, the concept behind Fanfiction Theater is simple. It’s a night to share the wonderful stories, poems, and songs that people create celebrating their favorite fandoms. Continue reading
If you have been reading along you know that we have been focusing on love this month….not necessarily romantic love, but rather those things you might be a little embarrassed to love, and well, love filtered through the eyes of some dinosaurs. This month I am going to tackle what is probably the most difficult type of love. Loving yourself.
Two of the ladies hit big birthdays this year, and hitting a big birthday can trigger a desire for introspection. You’ve made it this far, so what did you learn? What would you tell 20-year-old you? This, plus, have any of you seen this Vogue list? Frankly, I barely got through the thing. It’s astounding in its lack of relevance and practicality. But it did inspire me to , as our Honorary Lady Gary says, turn inward, and take a look back at what I did right, what I did wrong, and what stuff makes me realize that yeah, maybe I’m doing all right.
Your mileage to this list will vary, you might think it’s terrible, or just as irrelevant, but I hope it inspires you to make a list of your own so you can take stock of what you learned, how you have grown, and what a long way you’ve come baby.
Tiny Doom’s 40 things I learned by 40
- Don’t listen to your High School Guidance Counselor
- It’s ok not to want kids
- You are just as valid if you are a mother of pets, plants, other humans, dragons, or nothing
- Be reliable
- Be capable
- Be open to compromise
- It’s never a good idea to idolize someone, everyone is human
- Know what colors look good on you and wear those
- If you want a tattoo, get a tattoo
- Do your research
- It’s ok to be a little weird at work so long as you can back it up with #’s 4 and 5
- Friendships drift and that’s ok
- Pay your bills on time
- You can adapt to almost anything so don’t be so afraid of change
- Put stuff in your Amazon shopping cart and then give it 24 hours before you hit buy
- Look forward, not back
- Avoid self-help books
- When it comes to skin care most expensive stuff isn’t always the best stuff
- It’s ok to drink most of your liquid in tea form
- Eat your vegetables
- Scarves really do keep you warm
- Take care of your feet! I cannot stress this enough
- You don’t have to smile when someone tells you to
- Always act like you are supposed to be there-it’s ok to fake it
- Watch all the crap movies and TV you want
- Say no
- Red lipstick
- It’s not bullshit that doing nice things for other people can make you feel better
- Bring your lunch to work as much as you can
- Make a family that’s not related to you by blood
- Mittens are better than gloves
- Just do the thing, you’ll feel better when it’s done
- Walk there when you can
- There is a certain joy in day drinking (as long as you don’t make it a habit)
- Don’t be afraid of new technology
- Always keep your own bank account no matter how in love you are
- Try to travel if you can
- Learn to make things-food, socks, plans
- If people make you feel bad about yourself, don’t hang out with them
- Never turn down a piece of pie
Ok, if anyone else feels like taking on a list, I would love to see it.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Ladies fans! In honor of the holiday, we’re bringing you a very special Fashion Raptors column. You see, our friend and Honorary Lady Gary had this blog years ago where he talked about some of his collectibles. His great passion is for Bobby Orr paraphernalia, but he’s no slouch at comic collection, either. A subset of that collection is romance comics – those treasured tales of the 60s and 70’s. Part of these books involved advice columns – the mostly teen, mostly girl readers could write in and lay out their romantic and other dilemmas for the book’s agony aunt to solve. Gary shared a few of these, and we thought that, beyond the historical interest, there was an opportunity here for the Fashion Raptors to weigh in with their own take on the questions. So here it is, the Fashion Raptors’ advice to the lovelorn, next to the originals. Enjoy!
Wow, just wow. No matter how tough we New Englanders are, our insane winters always find a way to surprise and challenge us. This winter has already proven to be no exception. So, the question on my mind is: Is there a way to actually enjoy the winter as opposed to just surviving it?
In the interest of sharing more than just my methods, I reached out to my fellow ladies to get some of their ways of beating the winter blues. They should be following up during their weeks.
Disclaimer: I feel that it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge that both depression and seasonal depression are very real things. The methods we discuss here are meant to be fun and might be helpful to some, but are by no means designed to replace a doctor’s or therapist’s guidance.
Happy Dinovember, advice-seekers! This is our favorite month of the year. Besides being a 30-day celebration of our glorious selves, it’s the month in which we celebrate our favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year you humans take in the right number of calories. This year, the feasting starts early – we and the Ladies are kicking off our celebration on Saturday, November 5th with our buddy Kyle Coston’s Gut-Bustin’ Thanksgiving special. The Ladies will be feeding Kyle a special treat, so don’t miss the fun!
If you’re more into dinosaurs than turkey, be sure to follow the adventures of our pal TR Henri and his friends at the Henrietta Public Library. These guys get up to all kinds of hijinks!
And now, without further ado, we solve your problems. These questions come from some of our friends who attended LadiesCon 2016! If you don’t see your question, fear not – we will address it in a later installment.
In which our agony aunts, the Fashion Raptors (or Fraptors, as I like to call them) answer your questions on fashion, etiquette, and life in general. If you’ve got questions for our saurian sages, email us at email@example.com and we’ll pass ’em along.
Hey readers. You may recall that previously The Red Menace put the word out that our lovely mascots, The Fashion Raptors, were interested in sharing some of their well thought out advice. Well, this week we let them take a crack at some of your concerns. Are they helpful? You can decide.
Dear Fashion Raptors:
I worry about the apocalypse (Ed: don’t we all?). We never know when the dead might begin to rise, some contagion might be released, or even what’s really in the Mariana Trench. While I don’t want to become one of those crazy preppers, I do feel like some sort of on-going level of preparedness isn’t the worst idea. Thoughts on footwear that is both fashionable and functional in the event of a total collapse of civilization?
Looks Like a Pump, Feels Like a Sneaker
You bring up a great point. Though we raptors don’t need to worry about shoes, we know that humans feet are fleshy and delicious….um, sensitive, and need protection. However that protection need not be unfashionable. Opinions on the best apocalyptic footwear may vary. But we feel you should have something durable, yet flexible, because face it, when alien overlords take over, you are going to need to run. Because of this, stay away from any high heels or wedges. While a running shoe is the ideal for this, they may not hold up to the rigors of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. We suggested you focus on a leather shoe or boot, with a rubber sole and a little spring. A brand we suggest is Teva. They have some very fashionable options that can be worn daily and with either pants or skirts, so if you aren’t home and near your closet when the end of days comes, you’ll still be able to outrun the weaker and less informed members of the pack. Happy shopping….
The Fashion Raptors.
Dear Fashion Raptors:
I’m what you might call, “accident prone.” So accident prone that it’s been suggested that I just wrap myself in bubble wrap and be done with it. While this might be protective, I’m not sure it will look that great. Any suggestions?
We think we understand your issue.
There are a few directions you could go with this. We understand the bubble wrap might not be the most flattering of mediums; however, one of the nice things about bubble wrap is that it is clear. This means you could wear your favorite pants outfit or dress and have the bubble wrap as an outer layer. Think of it like the clear plastic protective cover on a sofa. Our grandma used to have those because it’s hell getting viscera out of upholstery. Here are some great examples of a dress, and a lovey two piece ensemble. Depending on your accident level you may want to add protective layers as appropriate.
The Fashion Raptors
Dear Fashion Raptors:
We hope you enjoyed The Fashion Raptors’ maiden voyage into advising. Send your questions, fashion-related or otherwise, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them to our Facebook page.