Saturday, 21 March 2015

Board Games and gathering around the table again

Shadows over Camelot, as seen on Tabletop (super fun game, too!)

I have been a big fan of board games since I was a kid. I can remember setting up Mouse Trap to play one Christmas, splayed out on our horrible shag carpet with my uncles and mother, trying to figure out the Rube Goldberg device in my four year old mind. It started as fun, and has grown into a real hobby.

I have always been a fan of things that will bring people around a table. The table was always central to us growing up in the Maritimes. We used to pass the time playing family games of 10 step Rummy (eliciting many curses from those around the table), as a teenager I started roleplaying around a large table in my friend Rageofthenorth's basement, and now as adults, we do both of those things. We try to get in a board game once a week. Now, we have a pretty large collection - and a number of our friends are also huge into board games - so we've been working through them slowly.

Gaming is something that tackles a trifecta of necessary skills - teamwork, critical thinking, and strategy. Every game is different, so it's like a good exercise for your brain. If you have ever been interested in board games (and you should be!) but are a little intimidated by the sheer choice, I've worked out a few recommendations that are easy to play and fun!


Pandemic is a cooperative game for up 5 players. The world is being infected by viruses (represented by coloured cubes), and you work together as a team to try and eradicate the viruses and restore order. Each person has a different role, which has different capabilities. For example, the Medic of the team can cure all cubes in an area (instead of having to spend an action for each cube), and when a cure is found, they auto-cure in every city they stop in (we call it 'Jesusing').

The rules can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get a few rounds in, it gets easier. The nice thing about this game is that it is cooperative - everyone works together for the common goal, and you either win as a group or lose as a group. There is strategy to it as well, because sometimes you have to work out what things will be a few turns ahead. It can be a very hard game to win, at times, but it makes it that much more rewarding when you do.

I'll include the fabulous video from Tabletop (which everyone who loves board games should watch!)

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a game about trains for up to 5 people. The goal is to fulfill all your tickets and to build the longest route. You do this by drawing cards to collect the requisite number of whichever colour you need, and then trading those in and placing down your trains. It can be very competitive, especially if you have multiple people going for a specific area. It's also a game that can change very quickly, depending on how it is played and what strategy you use.


Tsuro is a a game for up to 8 players. It is a quick game to play - we often play it as a warm up for whatever we're investing more time in. The aim of the game is to outlast all other players and be the last one standing. You pull cards, which have various little paths on them, and place where you like. You move your marker along the paths until you end up off the path or run into another player, or you are the last person on the board.

It's very simple and a really good game for kids, as it's pretty quick. So quick that Tabletop included it with 2 other games on the episode. The video below has 3 games, Tsuro is the first 10 minutes or so.

Kill Doctor Lucky

I was always a big fan of Clue as a kid (and an adult). Kill Doctor Lucky is essentially reverse Clue. The aim of the game is to kill Doctor Lucky, the old man wandering his vast mansion in a predictable pattern. You can attempt murder at any time, provided you are in the same room and out of eyeline of any other person. You draw cards, which are either Failure cards (used against someone trying to Kill Doctor L), Room cards (used to move you or Doctor L to that room), and weapon cards (used as a bonus when trying to kill Doctor L). For every attempt you've made that results in failure, you collect spite tokens, which make your further attempts to kill the old man a little easier - and you can also use your spite to cause someone else's failure. This is a good, rainy day game that you can play a few rounds of. Unfortunately, they have not done it on Tabletop yet, but this video gives a good explanation of the game mechanics.

Cards Against Humanity

First off, I include this game because it is easy to play, and there is a manner of strategy to it. I will include this disclaimer: if you are easily offended, or offended by anything, do not play this game. This is not a lighthearted game for children. It takes a specific mix of people who feel comfortable with one another. The aim of this game is to be an absolutely, horrible person. There are two types of cards - white cards and black cards. The judge (which rotates every hand) chooses a black card, and all other players play a white card. The funniest card combo usually wins - hence the strategy. There are variants you can play to make it more interesting. The cards themselves are utterly filthy and terrible.

There are, of course, many other games I will be doing periodic reviews of. There are more involved, longer games. there are quicker games. Whatever your flavour, there is a board game out there for you. The revolution of board games is making the table a central place again, and getting people having fun together. Board game nights of beer and board games are becoming more common - we do a games night once a month.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Starting a new era

This has been a long time coming.

I had outgrown my last project awhile. I actually set it up for deletion last February, but I stopped myself. I figured I owed it to myself to keep pushing forward - I worked so hard, built up readership. Slowly, I was realizing that the skin of that project was constricting.

Last week, shit hit the fan. I got harassed online by a local crackpot, and I posted about it on the blog. Well, that didn't go well - not only was I informed that person was a massive racist, I found out that people were defending that horrendous behaviour! Like, what?

That was the straw that broke the camels back. That wrecked the proverbial shop.

Yesterday, I decided to pull two tarot cards - a little guidance, a little affirmation, a little lesson. I pulled Death and Ace of Wands. The meaning was pretty clear -

Absolutely not going back.
You can’t make me turn back.
I don’t follow orders.

Jason Pitzl posted T. Thorn Coyle's brilliant post, and that sealed the deal (man, talk about synchronicity and speaking to my very soul. Really.).

I decided I was done. Not done of what I was doing, per say, but done associating with that constant negative feedback loop. There is a lot of crazy, and a lot of vindictive people with big mouths. I think I used the word 'disavow' when I mentioned it to my covenmates earlier.

I have suitably removed myself from all of that, and have set up here. I am hoping to broaden the scope of what I am doing. I have a lot of interests, and I'd like to talk about them a lot more.

I am gamer - various different types of games. I'm an artist of sorts - a photographer, painter, weaver, and sometimes sculpter. I bake and cook like crazy. I'm a writer. I like weird news and social issues. I'm a feminist. I like history and mythology. I like pop culture and I have an entire folder of choice reaction gifs on my computer.

Just an example of my curated collection of internet art.

I'm here for a refresh. I'm shedding old skin -like what happens when the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, puts on some sweet sunglasses and dances like it gives no fucks.