Halloween Planning Session 2012

Me (at the breakfast table): Alright kids I know it is a bit away but if I am going to sew costumes for Halloween this year I need to start figuring that out soon.  So what do you want to be?

The girl: I want to be a Rainbow Dash.

The boy: I want to be something that goes with the Orycon theme this year.

Me (to the boy):I don’t remember what it is.

Me (to the girl): I am not making a pony costume, I could but it isn’t going to happen.

The girl: I could just paint Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark on my face.

Me: You are not going Trick-or-Treating with just some make-up on, not out of this house.  You need to come up with another idea.  It doesn’t have to be super fancy but you need a costume.

The girl: I will be a witch and use the cape I already have.

Me: That works.

The boy: Apocalypse something.

Me: Oh, yeah.  It is Apocalypse How ’cause of the whole 2012 thing.

The boy: So what goes with that theme?

Me: Well pretty much anything, all genre’s can have an apocalypse it is just the end of the world.

The boy: So a Cybernetic Monkey Butler would work?

Me: Yes a Cybernetic Monkey Butler would work

Why I Love Guild Wars 2

Buy Guild Wars 2

So, as many of you likely know, Guild Wars 2 will be releasing on Aug 28, 2012.  At our house this is exciting news, as I trust it is at many of yours as well. My husband and I pre-bought the game for both of us as our anniversary present this year back in April when the option became available.  We intend to each dedicate a character slot to our joint play time, kind of a gamer date time when the kids are at their dad’s house.  Any way that works is a good way to keep the spark alive.

I never played the first Guild Wars, and haven’t been very big into the whole multi-mass player online game thing.  Mostly I don’t like to team up with others, partly because as a mom my attention can rarely be devoted fully to the game and partly because I am not super good at them and feel self-conscience around others.

Thankfully Guild Wars 2 has proven to be the game I was waiting for, I just didn’t know it.  A big thank you to my husband for knowing it for me.

When I play rpg style games it is all about the character and the development of the character.  I will choose things based off what the character would choose not always what is the best from a number-crunch perspective.  This often makes my characters ineffective but very real; so far I have had enough choices to implement style without sacrificing ability which is great.  I love how the items have really out there names sometimes which feeds my character personality need quite well.

I also have enjoyed the immersion of the character background into their personal story line.  This allows me to focus on doing things and generally staying away from the tedium of grinding.  Any game that makes me grind will quickly be left behind, I don’t find it engaging to endlessly run areas to kill monsters just to get experience to level to do the next real thing.  With Guild Wars I can collect hearts or way point or views and just go to a whole new area if I need to level for my story line.  It keeps me engaged which means I keep playing.

My family budget loves the idea that I buy the game and then get to play it, no deciding what we are going to give up each month to afford the dues for four of us to play.  Or splitting accounts so that we can all take turns playing just to afford to play at all.  Thank you AreaNet for going “old school” on this and dumping the monthly fees!

All in all I am excited for go-live to get here so I can play, play, play!



Cheap Sci-Fi Costume Ideas

While most of my costuming tends towards the elaborate and rather expensive, I also have made some pretty low-budget costumes as well.  Here are a few ideas for cheap Sci-Fi themed costumes.  I hope you find something here that you can use.

Mech Pilot: Decorate a helmet with a number or logo of your choice.  Find a tight fitting shirt and pants and decorate the shirt with a matching logo.

Homemade mummy costume
Halloween mummy

Mummy: Buy a white sheet at the second hand store and tear it into strips.  You can either sew or hot glue the strips to some old clothes you don’t care about anymore.  Put them on and wrap a few around your head as a mask.









Mech Mechanic: Find a pair of overhaul and smear them with grease.  If you want to make sure it won’t rub off an anything then use a black sharpie to create the look of grease.  Use some black face make up or the black stuff that football players use to dirty up your face and hands.  Carry a wrench around with you.

Zombie: This is pretty easy to do, it just requires a bit of make-up and staining up an outfit you don’t care about anymore.  My favorite zombie I have done was wearing a girls dress from Value Village, had my hair up in pig tails and carried around a teddy bear I had used a red sharpie on and half removed its head.  Guess I should mention I am only 4’10” so could really pull off the young girl thing.

Cat Girl: Any cute outfit can go sci-fi/anime with the simple addition of cat ears and a cat tail.  No back story or justification required.

Mad Scientist: A white lab coat that has been stained up with a number of different colors.  To that blacken up your face and use copious amounts of hair spray to make your hair fly back, in that my experiment just exploded in my face sort of way.

I would love to hear your ideas.  Please share them in the comments section.


The Ghost Returns for High Adventure on the Coast of Crusade

A few months ago our Call of Cthulhu DM ran a one night game of It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show.  I had never played the game before, though I had read through the rules a while ago.  For a long time now I have had a love for what I call the one-book-wonder role playing games.  My preference is for games that are low in rules as I find they are more fun to play.  When you have multiple rule books, like in Shadowrun for example, it is easy to get caught up in the myriad of rules and forget that the joy of the adventure and the interaction of the characters is what makes a really good story and therefore a really good game.

In this case the game was epic in nature and well worth writing about.  Our DM got his inspiration from the Grave Robbers from Outerspace card game, which is another great card game I will need to write more about someday.  He used the cards to help generate the plot locations and encounters, which I thought was a terribly novel approach to getting ideas; a really great way to get the creative juices flowing.  Even the name of the adventure came from the cards, which is a part of the rules of the card game but I will cover that in another post.  As per the name of the post, the adventure name was The Ghost Returns for High Adventure on the Coast of Crusade.

If you have never played It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show I would recommend it.  In it you are playing an actor that gets cast into various roles to be in a late night movie.  Needless to say, these shows are low budget so a bit of cheesiness is in order.  For example the major bad-guy in our adventure was this horrible tentacled creature, with several arms that waved about seemingly at random.  We found this large creature was only affected by sharp objects and the more that we punctured it the more that it let out a hissing sound until it eventually deflated and laid flat across the ground.

In case you are looking for more details on our adventure, or need a one night run for your group.  My DM has blessed me with his notes from our High Crusade, and allowed me to post them on my blog.


I hope you enjoy it, I know we did!

Brief Review of We Didn’t Playtest This at All

Last week, we started our regular Friday gaming night session out by playing a few games of We Didn’t Playtest This at All while we waited for everyone to arrive. It is a neat little card game, rather humorous and a very quick play. I think we played four or five games in about 30 minutes. The rules are super simple; basically take once card, play one card.
I think my favorite thing about the game is how cut-throat the game itself is to the players. Sure there is some player to player smack down that goes on, but mostly the game itself is rather ruthless. The only way to win is to be the last player not to lose, and the cards make losing a very easy thing to do.
One of our games even included a player being saved by a dragon showing up in game, just in time. How often can a person be happy to see a dragon, or have it save your butt rather than eating it?
If you ever get a chance to play We Didn’t Playtest This at All I would really recommend you take 10 minutes out of your life and do it. I promise you won’t regret it!

Crappy Birthday – The Game

Crappy Birthday

Here is a new game we played last week at our weekly gaming session, Crappy Birthday. It is a card game which is similar in play style to Apples to Apples. As the name of the game implies you are trying to give someone the worst present you can for their birthday.

Each player has a hand of 5 cards, each of which is a different gift. A person is selected to have the first “birthday” and everyone else at the table pulls the worst gift they can from their hand and places it face down in front of the “birthday” person. Then the birthday person flips over the cards and determines which of the presents given they think is the worst. So, when giving gifts you really need to consider the person you are giving them to and what their tastes are like.  Who knows they may actually think a family room wallpapered in old newspaper (yes that really is from the game) is a neat historical thing. Once a crappy gift has been selected the gift-giver gets the card back to place in front of them on the table as a token of having won that round. Then the “birthday” person rotates to the next in the table and the gift giving starts all over again. [See how it has that Apples to Apples feel]. The first person to have given three crappy gifts wins the game.

We did find the game to be fun and a fairly quick play with very simple rules. The only challenge we had was that there are a number of gifts that our gaming group does not consider crappy at all, such as a tank in your front yard for decoration. This meant you could end up with a hand of cards that you simply couldn’t win with due to their being too cool to be crappy.

I would like to see them come up with some expansion card sets, I am sure they could do at least one or two to really round out the cards. But even without that it is a fun little game and being low cost it is worth it. Additionally, this would work as a good cross-over game, you just have to remember who you are playing with.

Gamestorm 14

Last weekend was another exciting gaming convention, sure wish I could go to more of them.  As it is nearly bedtime for me this will be short and sweet.

For those that don’t know, Gamestorm is a gaming convention held each year in the Portland/Vancouver area of the PNW.  The last few years it has been at the Hilton in Vancouver, WA.  For 3-1/2 days we take over the entire convention space and fill it with RPG, RPGA, Miniature, Indie, Board/Card Games, LARPs, LAN, CCG, and console gaming.  There is something for everyone and all have a great time.

This year I ran one session of Horror Rules, and played in a number of RPGs.  I played Faery’s Tale, Monsters and Other Childish Things
, Zombie Cinema, Teenagers from Outer Space, and a d20 Modern" target="_blank">d20 modern set in the old west.  My weekend was full of all sorts of great stories and I plan to share them over the coming days.

But for now I will end with one of the many great quotes from my gaming weekend.

“I’ve been snasquatched by the hideunder!”

Geek or Nerd

A couple of months ago I got into a discussion with a friend who was trying to determine the difference between a geek and a nerd.  So while I proudly claim both monikers as my own, here is my description of both and how they pertain to me.

Geek – A geek is someone who is passionate about something to the point that they study it intensely.  For these people there is simply no end to the amount of knowledge they can have on their subject(s) of passion.  Do you know someone who could quote the all the Star Wars movies in their sleep?  How about someone that lives and breaths D&D and can provide any given rule at a moment’s notice.  Or even someone who knows every stat on their favorite sports players.  All of these people are geeks!!

Nerd – A nerd is someone who has a general thirst for knowledge.  They want to learn and do so at any given opportunity.  They enjoy the random article feature on Wikipedia just for the sake of new knowledge.  They not only ask questions but go and read until they find the answer.  Documentaries and history shows are their favorite programs.  Hermione is the epitome of a nerd, her thirst for knowledge knows no bounds.  Do you know someone that reads text books for fun?  Someone who reads everything they can get their hands on?  Who assigns themselves subjects to do reports on?  All of these people are nerds!!

So the main difference is that a Geek focuses on a subject or handful of subjects, while a nerd simply wants to learn everything they can about everything.  The other difference is that a nerd is more likely to only pull out their knowledge as needed, while a geek will happily jump up on their chosen soap box and pontificate on their given subject(s) for hours on end.

I am a geek when it comes to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We are heading there again this December and I can’t wait to make my 8th visit there.  I could go on and on about everything there, but I will save that for another post.  There are plenty of gamer type things to write about, probably more than you guessed.

I am also a nerd.  I used the cash my grandma gave me for my 18th birthday to buy my own copy of the Calculus text book we used in high school such it was so well written.  When I was a kid I would assign myself subjects to study over the summer, such as owl pellets, Norway, or ice skating.  In fact I taught myself Calculus I the summer before my senior year in college.  I have tutored several people in math because I enjoy algebra the way people do crossword puzzles (which I also enjoy).   This is a lot of why I could be successful getting my bachelors degree through Portland State’s online program.

Hopefully this helps some to clear up any confusion you might have on the words nerd and geek.  It should also put me clearly in the nerd category with a touch of geek, a position I have learned to be proud of over the years.  So where do you fall on the spectrum, and if you are a geek what are your topics, if you are a nerd what proves that?

We are back

Hello readers!  After striking for a day in protest of the SOPA and PIPA Bills going through the US Government right now, we are back on line.  If you are in the US and you haven’t already made your feeling know about SOPA and PIPA I strongly suggest you contact your representatives and let them know how you feel, after all they work for us!

I know that I have been fairly quiet through the bustle of the holidays, but now that we are into cold, rainy winter nights I am back to blogging so expect to hear a lot more from me in the coming months.