Tag: Harry Potter

Top 10 – Books/Series

Top 10 – Books/Series

Jumping around in our Top 10 topics, we’re going to go to books and or series. I was thinking about doing more movies, and I’ll come back to them, but felt like time to do books for some reason. I’m lumping series together, because I 

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 is going to cover things from Sci-Fi to Anime, but also beyond that.

The Nerd Who Likes to Drink – Get them an engraved beer glass or whiskey tumbler. You can find all sorts of interesting ones out there, and they aren’t extremely expensive. They are also better options than a shot glass, because most people have too many shot glasses from college. I have two stein style beer mugs that Kristen and I got at ConVergence with Lord of the Rings theme on them. But you can find them on Etsy with almost anything on them. If you want the rebel symbol from Star Wars, or the Vulcan salute, you can get that. This falls into that category of things that are a bit more unique. Or unique booze, that always works too.

Image Credit: Davis Beer Week

Board Gamer Bling – Now, this is slightly different than the next one RPG’er Bling, but basically, help a person bling out their board games. There are a lot of games that use cardboard coins, help them start replacing that money by getting them some metal coins for the game. There are a ton of shops that make awesome coins. Or, maybe they play a resource management game where there are different types of resources, you can probably find little molded or 3D printed pieces to replace those. Little things like that can elevate a gaming experience. Or, maybe a game has meeples in it, you can get custom meeples of the various colors, so that the game has a little bit more of a fun factor to it.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

RPG’er Bling – If this was like board gamer bling, I’d just say look back at the RPG list. However, I am going to add in some apparel stuff this list or little fun things. You can get things like D20 (twenty sided dice) earrings that are different, and there is even one place where you can get some glow in the dark ones. There are also necklaces that have D20’s or various dice hanging from them that you could go with. And, tons of goofy RPG related t-shirts that you could consider as well. In the RPG listed, we did some table bling, this time, the suggestion is bling out the player or the DM.

Collector’s Sets – This is really for anything nerdy, and I talked about it in fantasy, while people might have a version of something that they like, they probably won’t, since they already own it, go with the nicer version. So you can do that for them. This can be for books or movies or whatever it might be. But a hard backed version of a book, or the cool collectors version of a movie that comes in a nicer case or with something extra, that is fun. For, for video games, you can sometimes get a larger release pack that comes in a cool case or comes with a figure. With a video game, I would try and get a game the person doesn’t have, as compared to books or movies which can replace the old version on the shelf. I’ve found that people tend to go back to video games as much or at least display them as much. Now, that might be who I hang out with, but that’s my recommendation.

Image Source: IMDb

Manga/Anime – This one is pretty simple, if they have the anime or love the anime, consider getting them the manga. If they love the manga, consider getting them the anime. You can also look at what anime or manga that they like and find things adjacent to that, but it can be tricky with some o books or shows, because they are pretty unique.

Experiences – There are plenty of experiences that you can give a person when it comes to nerdy things. A lot of escape rooms have a nerdy theme to them. If the person is traveling or lives near a theme park, you could give them the experience of Star Wars or Hogwarts. Or maybe there is a convention that they’ve wanted to go to locally or not, you could pay for a ticket into the convention. Know the persons means to get to go and do these things, but experiences, as I’ve gotten older, are often just as good a gift as something that will just sit around. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t some things that people just really want to get, I know that there are some things that I want, but experiences can be something fun and different. Even if it’s just setting up a gaming time where they get to pick all the games and you’ll play games you normally wouldn’t with them, that would be a great gift that is cheap.

There are a ton of nerdy things that you can get for people or experiences that you can share with someone around the holidays. And, obviously, these aren’t tied into Christmas, they work great for birthdays, anniversaries, or maybe the person just needs a pick me up, and you can do that for them.

Hopefully these lists have helped jog some ideas for you for the nerds in your life.

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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 

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, and there are so many tough choices.

***Disclaimer***
These rankings are the opinion of yours truly, and if you don’t like them, that’s okay. We all have different tastes in games and that is great. There are some games that I’ve only played as a demo, and I felt like I got enough of a feel to put them on the list, thanks GenCon for all the demos. These are living rankings so next year I’m sure that things will change, so I’ll probably be doing another one next year. Thanks to Board Game Geek for letting me enter/rate my collection and games I’ve played. Thanks to Pub Meeple for creating a tool that pulls in those games that I’ve rated and creating a ranking tool. Again, the numbers and names will be linked to Cool Stuff Inc and Amazon if you’re interested in the games.

Image Source: Gatherer

60 – Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering is the only collectible card game on the list (CCG), and one of the oldest and definitely the most well known. In this game you are playing one of several formats, but in each of them, your opponent(s) have a life total and you are trying to get that to zero before they get yours to zero. You do this by putting creatures into play that can attack them, use enchantments to make their creatures worse or to improve yours or cast spells that temporarily buff your characters, stop your opponent, or many other things. There is so much Magic to dig into that it can feel overwhelming, but the prebuilt decks are fun and a good spot to jump in. Once you jump in there, the deckbuilding aspect, setting up your deck with certain combinations or things that you want to do is a ton of fun. I could write a whole lot more about it, but that would be several articles by itself.

59 – Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
Another deck building game, but this one is different. In Magic: The Gathering, you build your deck ahead of time, that’s not what most people mean by deck builders. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, you start with a small deck, and you buy things to improve your deck while dealing with something else, mainly the villains from the Harry Potter series. You play as some of the main characters and cast spells, use items, and call on allies to defeat the various book villains all the while, darkness is building up, and that’s the timer that you have to beat all the villains. The game starts out as a simple deck builder, but as you go along, you add in more things that makes the game trickier and make your characters feel more unique, like they do in the books. It’s a very fun game with a fun theme that a lot of people are going to enjoy because of the theme. I’d say it’s a good introductory deck builder, because it is cooperative.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

58 – Captain Sonar
Captain Sonar is not a deck builder, in fact there are no cards at all in Captain Sonar. You take on various roles on two different submarines and in real time (though you can play turn based which isn’t as good), you navigate around, try and keep your ship running, all while your sonar operator is trying to figure out where the enemy is going so that you can sink them before they can sink you. This game is fun because it plays up to eight players, but it isn’t a party game. Sometimes you want something that’s a bit more meaty, and Captain Sonar does a great job of that with a lot of people. The real time aspect isn’t going to be something that everyone loves, but I do think the game shines best as that. Are you going to rush across the board or are you going to stay in a smaller area to make it harder to find. This is going to be a different sort of game for a lot of people, so it’s fun to introduce people to it.

57 – Roll Player
Now, I love D&D, and I love rolling up characters. Roll Player is a game that I didn’t love at first, because it seemed like it was only rolling up characters and the mechanics weren’t all that thrilling. But as I’ve gotten to see more of it and realized a rule we made a mistake on, it’s been a game that has grown on me. Yes, in the base game, you are only rolling up a character, but it’s fun to see if you can manipulate the dice in such as way that you get an awesome character who is clearly way to good to be an actual D&D character or a first level character. I haven’t played the expansions yet, but I like the idea of fighting with that character, or stacking them up against a monster in some way, which the first expansion adds. I don’t think it’ll ever stop me from wanting to play D&D and instead, but it is a lot of fun.

56 – Galaxy Trucker
Sometimes you just need to get goods from one side of the galaxy to another and you just don’t have the right ship for it. In Galaxy Trucker you throw together a ship by flipping tiles and if you want them putting them into your ship, but eventually, everyone is going to have a ship that is hopefully connected well and defended, because the next part you fly across the galaxy, and you’re taking the fastest route, which means that you hope your ship is good enough to deal with asteroids and space pirates and whatever else might show up. This game has to be looked at as silly fun, because that’s what it is. Your ship is probably going to get blown apart and you’ll come in with half the ship that you had when you started out, but that might be enough to win a round. The game plays quickly for being something that looks large, so that’s nice and while there are a lot of expansions, just the base game is a lot of fun.

55 – Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
When BSG was redone, I watched a good chunk of it, before it started to feel like it was repeating itself and I gave up on it. Then apparently the last season was good, but I was out at that point and I haven’t gone back to it. In the show there are Cylons, some of them just look like robots, but some look like you and me and might not even realize that they are Cylons. The game takes this and makes it into a massive social deduction game where the humans are trying to find Earth, but there are Cylons on the ship and sleeper agent Cylons possibly. So they are trying to stop your giant ship, the Battlestar Galactica and the humans are trying to deduce who the Cylons are and get them off the ship prior to things going too poorly. This is a big game that offers some interesting choices, and unlike so many games with a traitor or social deduction aspect to it which are pretty fast, BSG takes a long time to get through. And you feel like what you are doing matters and you can start to figure out if someone might be a Cylon through what they choose to do. It’s really fun, but a hard game to get to the table all the time because of set-up and because of how long the game is. Also, it’s out of print and it isn’t cheap.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

54 – Cat Cafe
This is the first roll and write game on the list, and it’s one that I wanted to check out just because of the theme. Now, I will say, the theme doesn’t make a ton of sense when you think about it, you are basically creating your ideal set of cat towers to get the cats to come and visit you in a cat cafe, seems like that would already be set, but the game itself is a good time. In it you are trying to complete towers, which give you points. But you can also get points depending on what you’ve put on the towers. Maybe you have a lot of mouse shaped toys or food dishes, you decide. This decision is made based off of what dice are rolled. But, be careful that you can place the die, because the one you draft is either the item that you get or the level of the cat tree you put it on, and there is one die left over that determines the other part. If you aren’t careful, you might end up filling up only the middle of rows of trees. The game offers a good amount of luck and a good amount of strategy that makes it easy enough for most people to play. The dice in the game are terrible, but you can find thematic dice with cats on them if you want, like I did, and they are offering to replace dice at the conventions that they are at, which is good of them.

53 – Dice Forge
This game has an awesome toy factor to it, because you are building better dice. Everyone starts out with the same dice, that you roll on every turn, but as time goes by and you get money and gems, you use those to get better faces on your dice as well as cards that give you points. The game goes a number of rounds, and the person with the most points from card and other things wins. This game should play fast, but there are a lot of options, so analysis paralysis players, please realize you could slow down this game and try and play fast with it. The strategy in this game can be varied which is nice, because it could easily just come down only getting money or only getting gems. Both options can be very strong depending on the set of cards available. The game works well, and while it isn’t in my collection, I’ve considered it because it’s a nice mid weight game with a little bit of strategy through the options you have, but depending on what you roll and what you add to your dice can really help focus down your strategy onto a few things. This game looks cool and is definitely a lot of fun.

52 – Cry Havoc
An asymmetrical game where players take on different factions who want to get crystals on an alien planet. This game has some very interesting things going on with it. Some factions want to grow as many crystals are possible, many want to harvest them to get as many crystals or have more territories or many other things that will give them points. Cry Havoc is definitely an area control game with some interesting ways of getting points and how much area you need to control and be determined by your faction. One thing that is very unique about this game is the combat where you have three different areas, one for controlling the area, one is for taking prisoners, and one is for killing the enemy and you can split up your troops between that and then manipulate that. The combat will not be for everyone because of that combat, but I really enjoyed it, and I like how different every faction felt. The game has a bit of a lead in for teaching it because the factions are different, so learning how to play them all can take a bit of time, or getting good at them can do that. The game is also surprisingly fast, though, once you start playing. You want another round or two to really get everything working.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

51 – Ice Cool 2
No, 50 is not Ice Cool. Ice Cool 2 is just basically the same game as Ice Cool. In it, you are flicking penguins around a school. If you have the first, you don’t need this one, if you have this one, you don’t need the first. But the game is a lot of silly fun as one person is the hall monitor who is trying to catch penguins who are playing hooky from class because they got hungry and wanted a fish snack. This game offers so many great moments as you get an amazing shot or a shot that just misses or maybe you bounce through an extra door that you hadn’t planned on going through. The main reason that I even have Ice Cool 2 is that you can play 8 players when you combine both sets, so an eight player game is just crazy fun as you go around this massive board. Also, one last cool thing (I’ll talk more about it with Ice Cool as well), is that the box itself is the board, you have five different parts that all piece together that you can shoot your penguins around, banking them off the walls and through doors cut in the boxes. This is just so much fun.

Alright, there are the next 10 games on my list. It’s an interesting collection from massive games like Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game to a small roll and write to two games with real time in them to the biggest card game ever in Magic, and then you can flick penguins around. Hopefully there is something that looks cool, but I really enjoy all of these games, and after writing about them, I want to play them again. That’s one thing that this list keeps making me think, that I need to play more of these gain.

What is a game that stands out to you as a game that you want to play? Or is there one on the list that you already love?

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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. 

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 do if you’re in these games or events. We decided to get into a few of these games, so here’s a quick rundown of how things went, and some thoughts on the game.

Image Source: GenCon

The first game that we played was a mid-Alpha version of a game called Roll Player Adventures. If you’re not as familiar what Alpha or Beta testing is, Alpha testing is when you’re testing out a concept and still fine tuning it. You’re seeing what works, what might not work, and taking notes on that, Beta testing is more focused. You have a professional or nearly professional looking copy of the game around and you can play through it, you’re just looking for those few flaws that are left, but the mechanics are generally locked in. This was the earlier stage, and there were things that were just pieces of paper, or the story book was just pages in a binder. With that said, this was one of the highlights of the con. The game play was already a ton of fun, the story in the game was good, and the table was great. Role Player Adventures is going to be a cooperative campaign game where you are winning the favor of different groups, fighting different monsters, and reading story as you go. The game it’s based off of Roll Player, is about rolling up your D&D character and manipulating the dice to get the best character possible, and this one allows you to use a character in a game for a real adventure. We had a good group, so it was a bunch of silly fun, and the story was well crafted so that it was serious, but also lighthearted at points.

The following day, we played an RPG to start our day. The game was run in the Savage Worlds system and themed around The Dresden Files. If you’ve read many posts, you know that I love The Dresden Files. It was an interesting game to play, and I definitely had a fun time playing it. However, I didn’t love the system that it was run in. Savage Worlds is meant to be that kind of setting agnostic system, where you can play a Dresden Files game in it, but you could also play a World War II game in it with no magic, or it could be a Sci-Fi game set on a far off planet. I don’t think that is a major flaw with the system, but as a person who played a magic user, I had spells that were all flavored with ice. The spell cards though, were just like “blast”, so my “ice blast” did “blast” damage, and it could have just as easily been fire damage, force damage, any sort of damage. It made the system too devoid of that flavor that would make a character seem unique. The game itself was fun, but I will knocked the GM for the game a little bit. We had the BBEG for the one-shot on the ropes in the first battle. Instead of just having this generic BBEG bite it, he had them escape after a lot of unlikely things happening. It would have been better to let us win, and then have the BBEG’s cousin show up later in the final battle to get his revenge. Overall, I had a good time, but it was lacking.

To end the day, we played Village Attacks. Village Attacks is a tower defense game. But as compared defense game where you are the heroes fending off wave after wave of bad guys. In this game, you’re the bad guys, who are fending off wave after wave of villager who is coming to your house with torches and pitchforks. We had a couple of different experiences with the game, but we both ended up liking it. I had a fun group to play with, and we bum rushed the objective of the game. The game played pretty fast, probably an hour and a half after being taught the game or a little bit less. And you feel the tension of the game as more and more bad guys are placed onto the board. The other cool thing was that we got the scenario, and the full set of scenarios that we played as well as some character sheets for moving some guys from another game into our game.The downside was that my friend got stuck in a game with a person who had slept 1 hour thus far for GenCon, didn’t pay attention to the rules, and then left for ten minutes to go get pop and didn’t actually help the team in this fully cooperative game. So that was frustrating, but my friend still liked the game a lot, and that led to the other downside, it’s hard to find the game right now. And both of us want it, because it’s a very fun game.

Image Source: Brain Games

The Saturday started out with the North American Championships for Ice Cool. And I love the game already, I learned a little bit from watching other players who were “better” than I was, and I made it to the semi finals. I won’t go into this too much, because I’ve already written about this game. Needless to say, it’s a game that I love, and playing in the tourney was a lot of fun. I might have been able to make it to the finals, but ran into a bunch of bad luck in the first round, which was just kind of funny. There were a few people who took this silly penguin flicking game too seriously, but overall, people where there to have fun.

Our other Saturday event wasn’t actually a game. We went to Hobbit Drinking Songs with Marc Gunn. That was just a funny old time, and even though he had some issues with his amp, the room was small enough that he was able to just play without the amplification and everyone could hear it. He’s a good performer and he has a lot of fun songs to sing. Also learned about ALEP (A Long Expected Party), Hobbit/Lord of the Rings event that happens in Kentucky. Seems like a small educational event and celebration of Tolkien’s works.

Sunday we were supposed to have two games. We actually skipped the first one, the Harry Potter miniatures game because the game just costs too much, so it wasn’t really worth the demo. We should have known because it was a miniatures game. But we did play in a win a box game with the new expansion for Marvel Legendary. That was a fun time, and I really liked the expansion. The most interesting part was that we were the only two people there, so that meant that one of us was winning the expansion, and with having spent $8 total between the two tickets, my friend who has collected most of Marvel Legendary, was able to get the game at a very discounted price. The expansion itself was a lot of fun, and we flew through the game, but just ran out of time at the end before dealing the killing blow, not because we were losing, but because we got started a bit late while seeing if other people would show up.

Overall, I think we planned out basically the perfect amount of gaming and events. With the Harry Potter Miniatures Game, I think that it would have been fun, but our Sunday would have felt a bit full. When we go back in the future, I think we’ll want to keep ourselves as busy as we were this time. A good balance of having things to do, but as you’ll learn in the next article, there is a lot to see and do on the dealer floor.

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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