Review – Apples to Apples by Mattel

Game: Apples to Apples
Manufacturer: Mattel
Where can I get it: Target, Fred Meyers, Amazon, Etc,

What is it: This is a card based family game. It comes in two varieties the party pack and the junior version. Apples to Apples is one of the few “big box” games that we play these days. While it has made its way into the mass merchant shops it is still played heavily at Gamestorm (the gaming convention we attend). The pace is quick enough to keep it interesting and personal enough to make it fun.

How is it played: Each player has a set of cards in their hand representing different items or things. The judge picks a card from the top of a stack of special descriptive cards and then all the other players are to put a card from their hand down that best fits the descriptive card. For example, using cards from the junior set (only difference is easier words) here is my hand.
Birthday Cake, Sledding, Snow White, Aladdin, and Dinosaurs. The judge has placed Stinky in the center of the table.
Nothing I have is classically stinky, but if I was playing with my son and he were the judge I might put down Snow White, as he is still in the “girls have cooties” stage of life. The determination of which card is considered Stinky (in this case) is made by the judge, so it pays to look at it from another person’s shoes. Which makes for a good laugh around friends and a good, subtle lesson for kids in perspective.

The kids version is for 7+ and 4-10 players, taking less then 30 minutes to play. From my gamer family to yours I suggest picking this one up!

A new look

Welcome to the new look, we are not sure how long we will be keeping the decor, but it feels good to try out some new clothes for a while. I suppose these sort of changes help to jazz things up and in our case being a newer blog lets us try out the furniture until we find something that fits. Hopefully we will be able to achieve a better, cleaner appearance then I could manage with our previous theme, in particular I wanted to assure that any ads on the site were not covering the content of the site, and they are not as of now, so all is well there. Also I rather prefer the blue tones to the red, but that is just me.

Let me know what you think of the new theme as I am always open to suggestions.

Tomorrow I will be posting about the game Apples to Apples, a rather fun and creative game to hit the market much more openly in recent years. High on creativity and enjoyable to many ages.

New Family Board Games

Tired of playing Monopoly and Life for the millionth time with your kids, ready for something new and interesting to play on game night. There are a wide array of games that can meet your needs and now that there is the internet to make ordering easier these games are available to almost anyone. I have been slowly growing my collection of these card and board games for the last decade or so. Here I plan to review these games as a way for you to determine which might work best for your family. With any luck you should be able to find a number of new games to try out.

Lets start with a simple, yet complex card game called Fluxx. The game starts with the simple rule of draw one, play one, simple enough. As the game goes on people play goals for winning, which constantly changes as well as they can play different rules that can change a variety of aspects of the game. While it sounds complicated you will find it is easy to play and with all the expansions, like Family Fluxx, it is a great family game. This is one that I enjoy playing with my son, age 8, and my daughter, age 6. It is a bit over my daughters head she enjoys playing it none the less. You can pick it up at most any game store, in the Greater Portland Area we like going to Rainy Day Games as they have a great selection.

Magic for your TV

Just when you thought that the new Harry Potter theme park had taken the new wizard craze far enough, I have found the perfect gift for a Potter crazed fan (like my own mom). Think Geek brings us a Programmable Magic Wand for our TVs. I have not purchased this myself so I can not tell you anything first hand, but the site has a cute video about it that helps to show some of its functionality and it seems that, at least according to the video, the hand motions of wand flicking play a part. If that is the case I would keep this one from the young kids or who knows what you will be watching and at what volume!!

Just another friendly gift idea for the gamer who has it all.

If you buy it, stop back in and let me know what you think before I pick it up for my mom!!

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition Review

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is a fantasy based RPG published by Marquee Press in the mid 90s. I discovered it at Powell’s Book store in 1995 and fell in love right away. The system only takes one book and the character sheets have most all of the information a player needs on them.

The system uses percentile dice and all rolls are made against a table on the character sheet. Each roll is giving a rating between Catastrophic and Awesome and that rating is used to determine success or failure and to what degree. When a character rolls one of the two extremes they mark it with a check (one per adventure) and this allows them to perform a skill check later to possibly raise the skill, somewhat like Call of Cthulhu. Another feature of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition that is reminiscent of the much darker Call of Cthulhu is the sanity skill and how you can gain phobias and mental illnesses should you roll badly enough in the wrong situation.

With a choice of 26 different races and about as many non-magical and magical types there is a huge flexibility in the character choices. Also each character roles on tables to determine events that have happened in their character’s past both benevolent and tragic. This not only helps to shape the character but often provides the Game Master with plenty of character hooks to keep things moving along.

The magic system of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is unlike any other I have ran or played. There are a number of different spell skills each representing a broad area of magic, such as Fire Mastery or Protection. After the player describes how they are going to use the spell skill and the effect they are looking for the Game Master will tell them how many points it will cost in temporary skill reduction (usually between 0 and 5) and the character will roll for success on the reduced skill level. Having such an open system allows for a level of creativity in spell use that is rarely seen in more rigid rpg games and is one feature that really sets this often unheard of game above most others in my mind.

While print copies are hard to come by these days, the author has seen fit to put his Legendary Lives 2nd Edition rulebook up (minus the artwork) online as opensource for all to enjoy. I suggest you not only look at this game, but his others as well. Also there are a number of useful charts and adventures online as well. I hope you enjoy this simple, yet highly creative rpg system.

Update Jan 29, 2017

I have added a few new items on The Halfling that are in support of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition. Here are the links for quick access to these new items:
2nd Edition Legendary Lives Character Sheet – PDF Form that you can fill out on your computer
Automated Class Option Finder – Enter your character’s base stats and get back a list of all available classes

A gift for the gamer that has it all

So while cruising the internet for other great rpg blogs out there I ran across RPG Blog II. While perusing The Zack List I found a website for dice and thought I would take a look. My collection of dice is sadly small and I would like to add some more specialty dice to it, like the body parts die that my hubby got me at Gamestorm a couple years ago. In cruising through the dice set I found the ultimate gamer die that I think may find it’s way to a few of my friends for this coming Christmas. The Amazing D-Total Dice looks most interesting and if nothing else would give us something to talk about at the gaming table before game gets going.

The amazing thing about this die is that it is really 17 dice in one. In fact other then percentile dice and any custom stuff you have this die would replace most of them. Here is a video showing how it came to be and how it works.

Youtube – D Total – All Dice in One!

Shadowrun comes to life

As time passes I find that more and more of the Shadowrun universe comes to life in our reality. First there was run-flat tires, and now I am watching a Future Weapons episode that was showing helicopters that fly themselves based on a program. Can you say drone? And then there are the number of implantable electronics for hearing and now sight, the beginnings of implants. Shadowrun here we come!!

Anyone else seen any of the Shadowrun future coming true around us?

Random Generators

In cruising the internet tonight I found a site of random generators. Chaotic Shiny will help most any GM with those momentary lapses of creativity that leave us desperately scrambling for a random chart of some sort. There is just about nay random generator you might want on this site from Medieval City Map to

RPG – One Book Wonders

I have long been a fan of the one book wonder RPG. True that many of these games are not truly only one book, though many are, they still never quite made the big leagues. Over the years I have amassed a number of these books and now with this blog I have the perfect format in which to share the knowledge of these small time games with the masses. In this series of posts I plan to spend a full post each reviewing a game in my collection.

My fascination and love of the one book wonder game came after an encounter with Shadowrun. While I enjoy the genre and much of the game play of Shadowrun the group I was playing with was far into using every rule they had ever read and owning all the books as well. Game could come to a complete halt for 30+ minutes while everyone dug through book after book to determine just how far you could jump if you were a well built dwarf with a running start and were jumping down from a higher position. The waiting on this actual led me to take up not only games with limited books and therefore limited rule sets, but also cross stitching during games to pass the time during the lulls of rule mongering.

Later this week I will post with the first in this series, Lost Souls.

GameStorm Game Day

GameStorm is hosting a game day this coming Saturday, July 24th from 9am to 10pm.

It takes place at the Vancouver, WA Hilton and will include Board Games, RPG, Video Games, and Magic.

Hoping to make it there myself.

Oh and the best part of all, it is FREE!!!!!!!