I am a long time gamer, and have a husband and two kids who are gamers also. We play table top rpg, my son plays in a LARP and we all play computer and video games too.

I am a long time gamer, and have a husband and two kids who are gamers also. We play table top rpg, my son plays in a LARP and we all play computer and video games too.

WagonCon 2017

Another year, another wonderful gaming con to go to!

WagonCon 2017 is getting prepped and has their Kickstarter in place. I recommend you check it out and get on board for this fun gaming convention in The Dalles, Oregon.

This is a boardgame, rpg and miniature rpg convention.  This is their second year and the team in charge are experience gamers and overall great people.  If you are looking for a smaller more intimate feeling convention then I highly recommend you come join me and my family at WagonCon 2017.

The Kickstarter is already fully funded so no worries that the event won’t happen.  Get your membership taken care of before the March 3rd deadline.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Larceny (the card game)

One of the members of our gaming group recently picked up a copy of the card game Larceny. He got lucky and found it in a bargain bin at a local gaming store and now it is part of our groups ever growing collection of board games. We have played it several times since then and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one definitely gets a gold star from me.

So what is it about? Well it is a card game of the roving judge variety (think Apples to Apples). The Chief (judge) supplies the crew (players) with The Score as well as two obstacles to get it (The Catches). The players then use cards from their hands (The fixes) to alleviate the challenges of The Catches. The Chief then determines the best fixes and awards points to the players that provided them. First to a predetermined value wins. Sounds more confusing then it really is, I suspect an example might help.

The Score: Hope Diamond
The Catch #1: Arena Lighting
The Catch #2: World Weary Private Investigator

Player 1:
Plays their Fix card of Fire Extinguisher on the Arena Lighting (face down so the judge doesn’t see who played what) hoping that maybe The Chief will understand how the cloud from the extinguisher would block them from the Arena Lighting
Plays their Fix card of Friendly Smile on the World Weary Private Investigator (again face down), while not as good as a Tazer Gun would be it is the best they have for this in their hand.

Once all the players have placed cards, The Chief determines (while the players defend the cards) which one overcame each Catch. If the same person takes both Catch cards they also get the Score card as well boosting their points that round. The the judge passes to the left. Rinse and repeat until someone gets enough points to win.

We found this was a good game for both gamers and non-gamers alike, putting it in the category we like to call transition games.

Here are the official like game stats:
Larceny
Players: 3+
Length of Play: 15 Minutes
Ages: 13+

The Last of the Sentinels

Sentinels Kickstarter ImageSo on the trend of things I am backing on Kickstarter, here is the latest to the list. Sentinels of the Multiverse: OblivAeon, the last in the line of expansions for the card game Sentinels of the Multiverse. We picked up the original set as it is a cooperative card game so it makes for great family play. In the game each player is a superhero (there are lots to choose from, even without the various expansions) and they work together to overcome the environmental challenges to defeat the villain. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but no two games are exactly the same. With the variety of villains, environments (settings) and superheros there is a seemingly endless set of combinations. We also like that both superheros and villains come in various challenge levels making it easier to play with a variety of skill levels and keep it balanced and fun for everyone.

Depending on your backer level on the Kickstarter you could get just the expansion, or for a bit more include a cool case that will hold the game with every expansion all in one very heavy box, or go for broke and get the whole shebang including the case and all the expansions.

If you haven’t had a chance to check this game out I highly suggest you do.

Kickstarter for Sentinels of the Multiverse: OblivAeon

Sentinels of the Mulitverse Webpage

Buy the original or expansions at your local gaming shop or online at Amazon: Sentinels of The Multiverse Enhanced Card Game (2nd Edition)

WagonCon – The Dalles, OR

There is a new Gaming Con coming to Oregon this year. It is taking place in the Dalles and is called WagonCon. There are four people on the board, one of whom I know from Gamestorm. They are funding the event via a Kickstarter campaign and it is still open for another 7 days (closes on 2/28). I am planning to attend for at least part of Friday and Saturday. The full event runs from Friday April 1st through Sunday April 3rd. While the first year will be on the smaller side, there is something wonderfully intimate about a smaller convention. Plus you would get to game with some great people (myself included). Be sure to check out WagonCon’s Kickstarter and get in while you can.

Board Game Anniversary

A Better Anniversary Gift List

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a Geek Version of the Traditional Wedding Anniversary list. The list is from Geek Dad on Wired and here is the link to the Geek Anniversary List so you can enjoy it too. Since then my husband and I have been using this list to determine our gifts for the year. We shake it up some since they don’t always fit. Like last year (5th Anniversary) was smart phones, but we both had good working phones, so we swapped for an earlier year we had missed out on, geeky t-shirts. I will share the shirts we got in another post later.

Board Game Gifts

Zombie Cinema - Story GameSo with this year being our 6th anniversary and us both really enjoying playing board games we went with the scheduled theme for this year. Last month we went to GameStorm (our local Gaming Convection) it made the shopping that much easier. While my husband is generally good at choosing gifts, he also tells me that he prefers me to be direct and not hint about. So when I found that Guardian Games was selling a game I had really enjoyed playing a few years ago at GameStorm I told him that is what I wanted. I also got his game from the dealer’s room as well.

I asked him to get me Zombie Cinema. It is a true Indie game in both feel and content. The game play is virtually all storytelling with a roaming narrator along with some basic dice-offs and a board to make sure the story progresses in true zombie horror style. When I played it at GameStorm we set the patient zero on an airplane at PDX and the trigger as airline food. It was a crazy story that I still have fond memories of several years later, which is the point in any story-telling game after all. And amazingly I made it out of the scenario alive, though barely. Sadly my current gaming group isn’t big into Indie-style storytelling board games so it may be a while before I get to use it. I do have a couple in Wisconsin that it would be fun to play the game with, perhaps life will let me travel to them soon.


For my husband I got him an expansion for one of our new family favorites, Sentinels of The Multiverse (2nd Edition). This game is a great family game as you are all playing together to defeat the bad guy. There is a lot of replay value as their are multiple villains and settings to choose from as well as super hero characters to play. Really it includes something for everyone. Since we have the base set and a friend picked up some expansions for it, I went with a different expansion and am really looking forward to playing it soon. I got him Sentinels of The Multiverse: Shattered Timelines. Which has several new villains, heroes, and settings. I am really looking forward to trying to beat The Dreamer, but I am not sure we will be able to manage that one. Guess I will update you if we ever manage it.

We love embracing our geek when it comes to gift giving. What is the geekiest gift you have ever exchanged with someone else?

Sometime you just need Meeples

Robot Meeple
Meeple Source – Robot Mega Meeples

There comes a time in every gamers life when you simply don’t have enough tokens, figures, widgets, poker chips, what have you to represent all of the bad guys, or all of your good guys. It may be during an epic RPG battle where you really need to show that you have amassed an army of evil robots to do your bidding. You could either buy a large number of mini-figs or resort to baubles to show them all, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you actually had a small army of Robot Meeples to put on the map? I discovered today, via Board Game Geek, an online store specializing in Meeples, Tokens, and other various side bits to the gaming frenzy. The store is called Meeple Source and they carry a wealth of tokens, Meeples and other products to assist the gamer. They also make products for the Board Game designer as well, so if you or your kids need supplies for their personally crafted, work-of-art board game this is the place to shop!! Plus, if you are in need, they even do custom designs. I will say that I haven’t shopped with them, and they don’t even know I am endorsing them, but their products look so great I couldn’t help but share this resource with you.

Where to find costume ideas and materials

Steampunk Costumes
Steampunk Costumes
Mad Scientist & his Clockwork Doll

As the calendar moves from August to September we head towards the last days of sun for a few months here in the Pacific Northwest. With the fall comes the rain, and for me that is the sign that it is time to start sewing costumes again. Having weather a touch too icky to want to go out makes it all the easier to get going on the next round of costuming.

Even though we haven’t seen the rain yet, I still need to get my sewing area back in order. We have already started discussing ideas for Halloween and Orycon this year. Nothing new for me this year, at least I don’t think so. However, my daughter will need a new costume and probably my son as well. For my daughter this year it is a belly dancing outfit that uses the same pattern mine does, but in different colors and without the vest and waist-cincher. As for my son I am not sure. Finding costumes for the nearly teen boy is challenging at best and downright impossible at worst. Especially when you have to rule out anything that involves a mask or face make-up. At least he tolerates hats these days so perhaps that might help.

Costume Ideas

Here are some links I get ideas from for costuming as well as some new finds that look fun. Perhaps these links will spark an idea of your own…

Patterns & Fabric

Once we get our ideas in place it is time to get patterns together and some materials to make our costumes with. In some cases I make my own patterns by using newspaper and the kids’ clothing to help with sizing. I have had mixed results by doing this. Likely that is because I am rarely being very precise when I take that approach. For better results I use a commercial pattern. For my husband and son I can usual use them as-is out of the package. However, my daughter and I are more of a challenge and it usual involves merging several different sizes of the pattern pieces together. Thankfully this has usually worked out for me quite well.

Here are some of the places I like to shop for patterns and fabric. I am sure there are likely some great options in your neighborhood (and if they sell online we would love to hear about them in the comments), but no harm in knowing a few more places to look.

What are your plans this year?

I would love to hear what your plans are for you and/or your kids for Halloween this year. Or for the next convention you are going to. Please share in the comments below.

Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Image of Feed the Kitty

Overview

This adorable little game is perfect for family or friends to play together. This game takes no reading skills to play and doesn’t even take much in the way of counting either so any child that can keep the dice out of their mouths is old enough to play. The whole idea is of the game is that there is an invisible cat whose food bowl sees a small group of mice in and out of it through the actions of the dice. The game is pure chance, which means that like the classic game Candy Land you can’t through the game in your child’s favor if they aren’t able to lose well yet.

Game Play

The game play of Feed the Kitty is pretty basic. The components of the game are small wooden mice tokens, 1 plastic food bowl, and two 6-sided dice. Youngest player goes first and play proceeds clockwise around the table. The mice are divided evenly between the players with any left over mice placed into the food bowl. The player rolls the two dice and follows the actions shown. The various actions for the dice are:

  • Sleeping Cat: The cat is sleeping – nothing happens
  • Food Bowl: The cat captures a mouse – place one of your mice in the food bowl
  • Mouse: A mouse escapes the food bowl – take a mouse from the food bowl (if there is one) and place it in your mouse pile
  • Arrow: A mouse moves to a new pile – pass a mouse to the player on your left

Play continues in this manner until only one person has mice left in their pile. The nice thing is that if a player runs out of mice they are not totally out of the game. They could get passed a mouse from the player on their right.

Pros

  • Requires no reading so perfect for those that can’t read
  • Game play is fast so games don’t take very long
  • The rules are simple so it is easy to learn
  • My kids still enjoy it even at 12 and 10

Cons

  • Game is pure chance no skill involved
  • Because it is pure chance you can’t throw the game to make it easier for your kids to win

How to get the game

The game is still in print and should be available at your local game store. Or you can order Feed the Kitty online via Amazon.

 

Blacker than Black

A new product

So, no doubt you have heard by now about Vantablack, the new product that absorbs 99.965% of light. If you haven’t then I suggest you go and check it out. Here is my favorite link about it (link here), I think the image there does a great job of showing off just how unusual and trippy to the human eye it looks. I am fairly certain that seeing this in person would “blow my mind” as my kids would say. While we are taught that what you see is really the reflection of light bouncing off a surface Vantblack’s ability to absorb virtually all light really illustrates it in a way no text or lecture can. I guess a picture is worth a million words in this case.

Applications

However what has me going is the variety of applications for this product combined with the fact that it is actually manufacturable and not just a great idea stuck in a lab somewhere. In fact the article I read (see link above) says they have already filled their first order. So beyond obvious stuff like coating the inside of a telescope, or to replace all the optical black anodized parts made now, where and how do you see this getting used?

Share your thoughts

I would love to see both your practical and your more fantastical ideas on the various uses for Vantablack. How could you build this into a game like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk? Could future ninjas be blacker than black, and would that be so black that they would stand out? Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

Even More Floor Plans

One of my most popular posts on my blog has been my short list of floor plans.  Having a map of an area is one of the easiest ways to not only plan your rpg adventure, but also to make sure that all of your players are visualizing the same thing.  Anything that keeps everyone on the same page helps to reduce confusion and arguments, both of which take away from the joy of the rpg.

So without further delay here is another list of floor plan links you may find useful in your games.  Most of these are aimed at the near past, modern, or near future time periods.  Hope you enjoy them.

Multnomah Country, OR Downtown Library Floor plan A map of a historic and large library.

Academic Building Floor plan – University of Wisconsin La Crosse Nice detail including the number of seats per room.

Floor Plans for the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo (a page with links to a number of floor plans)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art A wonderfully details floor plan

Johnson County Community College A page with links to the campus map and building maps.

Commercial Building Floor plans This page has a number of different plans and shows both the front facade and floor layout.

A vast collection of Theme Park Maps Covers multiple parks and for many of them has several years worth of maps.

Cerro Gordo County, Iowa Jail Nice detail in a modern jail floor plan and it is a pdf!

 

Is there a certain type of map you are wanting and just can’t find?  If so, let me know and I will see if I can locate it and add it to my next floor plan blogpost.