Tag: Harry Potter

Top 5 Books – 2019 Edition

Top 5 Books – 2019 Edition

This year, I actually did a lot of reading because at work we were doing a reading challenge. There were three (four) of us who decided to try and the Popsugar reading challenge. That meant that we were given forty prompts to find books for,…

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Last list post, I considered doing a couple more for things like Sci-Fi and Anime, but there are so many specific things, like with Fantasy in both of those, that I thought, let’s wrap it up with a nerdy grab bag of ideas. This list…

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

This is towards the end of Christmas ideas, because I know if you’re using of them, you need to plan for the shipping time. And I’m running out of different things to do these lists on. Today’s is like yesterdays where it’s more of a general thing, not something more specific like a type of board games or RPG’s. I’m going to just briefly mention it now, a lot of the epic board games and the RPG stuff I talked about would work well on this list, and for that reason, it won’t be on this list.

Vintage Copies of Books – So, books will show up multiple times on the list in different ways, but I think that there are different types of books you can pick up for that fantasy fan. And one of the cooler ones is vintage books. Getting an older copy of Lord of the Rings, even if it has a little bit of wear and tear on it is going to be awesome for a fan of Lord of the Rings, because the vintage covers and just the feel of the books is different. Or, it could be any other vintage sort of fantasy book, but there’s just something about having that almost collectors type book, that fantasy book lovers will really like.

Image Credit: Flavorwire

Box Sets of Books – Here’s the other book thing. Box sets of books are also that other book lovers collectible thing. Again, box sets are the pieces that you can put on the shelf and show off. It also means that you can give them something they might not buy, for example, if they were picking up the Harry Potter books as they went along and they were published, they could have a mismatched set, but most book lovers will spend their own money on more books, not making a consistent collection, so you could give them that as a box set, so it is consistent, and it’s something that they’ll likely love.

Fantasy Themed Artwork – Now, this is a bit iffy to put on here, simply because, while Superhero artwork you can know has a recognizable superhero on it, fantasy artwork is all over the map. So, I would lean towards artwork that is based on something. So, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter are good examples here. There’s going to be artwork that has been done depicting both of those stories, and if someone is a fan of that story, they’ll appreciate the artwork more so. That said, maybe the person has some obscure story that they like and there isn’t artwork on it, I’d be hesitant to suggest picking up large artwork, but postcard size stuff that is work appropriate and they can put up in a cubicle, that would work. Just don’t go with anything too large that they might not like because it’s just not their style.

Image Credit: Wikia

Fantasy Themed Magnets – Fairly specific with this one, but I’ve found that a lot of people have pretty boring magnets, if they have many magnets on their fridge. Or they might again be using them at work in a cubicle. This is where you can go with the more generic fantasy, because, again, it’s smaller. And especially going with a cute art style or maybe a chibi art style, those work for a nerdy person’s fridge. If the person has a beer fridge or a wine fridge you can put magnets on, getting the hobbits drinking pints in chibi form would be great, in my opinion, for something like that. Or maybe, the person doesn’t want chibi but loves Dungeons and Dragons fantasy, get them dragon magnets. This also has the advantage of being something if you get a magnet that you can use as a stocking stuffer.

Lego – Yup, there are plenty of fantasy Lego sets out there, some generic, and then Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Sorry for you Game of Thrones fans, no Lego sets. This is another display type thing, or if they are younger kids, something that can be played with. But in our house, we have a Hobbit Lego on one shelf and a Hogwarts up on top of another shelf. So, you can go small or big with this, but Lego is a bit on the spendier side of things with the larger sets. It is a lot of fun to put together, and if someone has time off over the holidays, it gives them something fun to do through their time off.

Image Source: Green Ronin Store

Video Games – Woo, another generic category, but there are a lot of fantasy games out there. You can go retro if they have an older system or a Retron system and get them things like the original Zelda or Final Fantasy. Or, there are middle aged games (not games in the middle ages) like the original Dragon Age that have been ported over to the newer systems, but if someone still have an XBox 360, you could find it for that. There are so many fantasy games out there, figure out if the person you are giving the gift to like the more sword and sorcery style games, more story driven games, fighting, whatever it might be, and you’ll probably be able to find something unique for them. And if they are already a video gamer and have a lot of them, you can look towards more of the indie titles and there are a lot of interesting fantasy games out there.

Classic Fantasy Movies/TV Shows – When I say classic, I more so mean old ones. Find the fantasy movies or TV shows that people might not remember from back in the day. I’m sure there are plenty of good lists out there, or you could find the B-Movie classics in the genre as well. Definitely a lot of them you can check out, and if they are more of a classic one, the cheesy nature of them works better versus a modern cheesy story. Now, you still end up with some of them being too cheesy or dated poorly in other ways, so do a bit of research, but you can probably find bluray or DVD collections of them that would have a good variety as well.

This list is a bit more generic, so I apologize because it’ll make you do more work tracking stuff down. But fantasy is a bit broader than the board game topics and even broader than superheroes, because, while there are indie superheroes out there, most people think Marvel and DC. I tried to suggest some ideas that are a bit more specific for Lord of the Rings fans or Harry Potter fans, but there’s so much in the fantasy realm that it’s hard to cover some of the broader stuff. For that reason, if the person loves reading, books is always a great option, next time you see their book shelf, look at it and find what books might work there.

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Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Sometimes going to visit family can be a lot around the holidays. If you want to find something you can do together, board games are often a fun option, though not for every family. If you think your family would like board games, here are…

My Top 100 Board Games: 60 to 51

My Top 100 Board Games: 60 to 51

We’re done with the bottom half of my top 100 after today’s post. That’s awesome, there are some games that I really enjoy on this section of the list, I feel like some of them should be higher, then I see what is coming up,…

Table Top Takes: Dominion

Table Top Takes: Dominion

Normally I do these reviews on games that I really enjoy. However, I thought it would be interesting to do a TableTopTakes on Dominion, a game that I have enjoyed but now that I don’t enjoy as much, and it’s still a very popular game.

In Dominion, you are building your deck up to be able to buy as many victory points as possible. The downside is that those victory points clog up your deck. On your turn you are playing down cards that give you additional actions, card draw, number of cards you can buy, and money. At the end of your turn, you draw up a new hand of cards and you repeat the process. Doing this, you are getting cards like Marketplace, Council Room, Estates, or cards like Copper, Gold, and Silver that give you money.

In terms of a pure deck building game, Dominion is a pretty good game. The issue is that it had a dull theme on it. It looks like it’s a trading in the Mediterranean game with poor artwork and a dated looking card design. And with Dominion, that theme “works” because the game itself has nothing to do with the theme. Why the Council Room gives you draw of 4 cards and an extra buy action and the Festival gives you 2 coins, 2 more actions and another buy action, who knows. And really who cares, you are just trying to build an engine of cards to be able to buy estates as quickly as possible.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

But, like most deck building games, you are really looking for a very small combo. You are looking for ways to get as much money into your hand as consistently as possible while avoiding getting dead cards. There is a strategy to the game, but with a bit of luck of the draw when you start the game, one person is going to be down the path to victory faster than everyone else, and there are going to be no catch-up mechanisms. Now, a good strategy game, that’s fine, but there’s enough luck with the shuffle of the deck that now it doesn’t matter that you figured out the strategy, someone was able to get the combo going a turn faster than you, you won’t win. And if you don’t notice the strategy, you can figure out half way through the game who is going to win because they figured out the right combo of the cards. Now, again, Dominion is an abstract deck builder with a pasted on artwork and theme that aren’t needed, so if you want that puzzle and hope that you can get your engine rolling faster with a little luck in the card draw, Dominion is a great game for that. It’s meant for you to min-max your cards and find the ways to empty out your deck to just have what you need, more power to you.

For me, I’ve gotten rid of Dominion though. I think that there are other deck builders like Clank! In! Space! or Xenoshyft: Onslaught that I have on my shelf that are a lot better. Now, there’s a bit more going on in those games, so it’s probably not as good for teaching deck building, but I’m not teaching deck building too often. And I think some of what bugged me about Dominion was that there are a plethora of expansions for the game, but they really don’t add that much new, and the new and additional rules that they add, they aren’t thematic, or are they used all that often, because they add to the complexity of Dominion. Dominion being more complex pushes it away from being that introductory deck building game, which means that unless you have people who live and breath Dominion, there are those people out there, I know one of them, and always want to play it and play it with other people who love it, those cards and rules aren’t going to be needed.

Dominion is significant to the hobby, and I recognize that. It really helped create deck builders, and without it, games like Xenoshyft: Onslaught or Clank! In! Space! might not exist. And Dominion has helped get people into the hobby, but some of the love for it that it’s gotten over the years, it just doesn’t resonate with me. That might just be my taste in games coming through, but I think that there are plenty of better deck building games out there, and while Dominion might have been a good introductory deck building game to teach the concept, I think that there are better ones out there, and an early year of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is going to be just as good for deck building if not better. Or even something that’s definitely more complex like Xenoshyft: Onslaught, because it’s cooperative, could work decently well in that teaching role. And with both of those games, they feel like they have more theme and that you are doing something more. The veneer on Dominion has now become too thin when it comes to theme.

Overall Grade: C-
Gamer Grade: D
Casual Grade: B

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TableTopTakes: Bring Your Own Book

TableTopTakes: Bring Your Own Book

This is a different complexity of game than I normally review. Even when I talk about party style games, I normally don’t bring up the games that kind of play themselves. I’m talking about games like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples. Bring Your…

GenCon Recap – The Con Games

GenCon Recap – The Con Games

Besides being a spot where a lot of new games are released, therea re also ticketed events that you can go to as well. In these, you can play board games, demo out new games, or play RPG’s. There’s never a shortage of things to…

GenCon Recap

GenCon Recap

There’s so much that I could talk about at GenCon, that I’m probably going to just be writing about it for the next week. But I wanted to start with a bit of recap, talk about some highlights, some things I’d do differently, and some things that I’m really glad that I did.

So, one thing that I’d do differently, but I was glad that I did this time, was that we stayed at my friends parents place so we didn’t have to pay for a room, that saved a good chunk of change. The downside to it, was that their place was an hour and fifteen away from our parking spot. So that was a lot of driving at times. Now, if I were to do it again, I would maybe see about doing, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at a hotel, but keep our same driving schedule of getting there on Wednesday and going back on Monday. That way my friend would be able to see his parents, but being closer to the convention would be really nice.

Image Source: Shut Up and Sit Down

The other thing that I’d do differently is be a bit pickier on games. Now, I think basically all the games that we played in were great, and that it was a good number of games, I think we ended up doing six events in total, but we skipped one game on Sunday to get into a demo of another game. That was a great call, since as interesting as the Harry Potter miniatures game sounded, the price point was too high, so we likely wouldn’t have started playing it even if we loved it. Instead, we got to demo a game that we both decided we wanted after playing it.

That really takes me to one of the big highlights. There are so many games there, and we spent a ton of our time wandering the dealer floor and looking at games, getting games explained to us, and best of all, getting games demoed. There are so many games that if you didn’t want to, you wouldn’t have to do any organized events. We got to demo God of War, Deranged, Last Hour, Homebrewer, Bottom of the 9th, and so many more, and I’ll be touching on some of them in future articles. In fact, it took us a day and a half just to walk around what we thought was all of the dealer space, only to find that we had missed some and then remember that we had skipped some bigger booths to start because they were too busy when we went by them the first time.

Oh, and the events, the events that we went to were great. Marc Gunn performing Hobbit drinking songs was a fun and goofy old time. There was the North American Championships for Ice Cool (I was a semi-finalist), and that was a blast, most of the people were there to just have fun with it, so everyone was having fun. The best event was playtesting the Alpha version of Role Player Adventures. It’s a RPG-Lite sort of game, where it’s more about some dice manipulation, but we had a great group to play test with and we made some silly decisions and had a lot of fun with it.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

There is so much to talk about, and I did pick up a number of things, so let me give a fast rundown of what I picked up:

  1. Cowboy Bebop Boardgame Boogie – I like Cowboy Bebop a lot, and the game looked fun
  2. Albion’s Legacy – Got this one for free with Cowboy Bebop, and it’s a big box game which is interesting.
  3. Hats – Good simple card game with a lot of interesting and challenging choices. You kind of have to forget what you know about card games to get your brain wrapped around this one.
  4. Cat Cafe – Cat Cafe is a roll and write, but it’s actually more complex than you’d think for the theme. Definitely a fun one with the time I played it.
  5. Loup Garou – A choose your own adventure book, really, but you have a character sheet, so there’s a game element to it.
  6. Detective: City of Angels – Big box detective game. In it, one person is the “chisel”, person giving clues, but they don’t want anyone to solve the case, but if they lie all the time, people will know that too. And all the detectives are racing to a solution.
  7. The Grimm Masquerade – Which of the fairy tale characters are sitting around the table and trying to collect their item of choice? Can you call them out before they succeed, or maybe bust them with the item that they don’t want. Seems like a fun and interactive social deduction game with an actual game there.
  8. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong & Expansion – Not a new game, but my favorite social deduction game.
  9. Tokyo Highway & Expansion – Not a new game either, but hard to find, it’s a pretty looking wood game where you are building out roads and trying to be the first to place your cars.
  10. Welcome To… Fallout and Spring Expansions
  11. Sagrada Expansion

Oof, I have a lot of board games to get through. So I want to talk more about games that I demoed in a future articles, games that we paid for and played, including a Dresden Files skinned Savage World game, and more. There’s a lot to unpack and a lot of fun was had, and I definitely want to go again next year.

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GenCon Vol 2 – Events

GenCon Vol 2 – Events

Woo… we’ve reached the point where event registration is open for GenCon. Let’s talk a little about how the process went with getting registered for events. There are two big things to note that we did, since there were two of us, when when we…