Board Game Bucket List

I used to believe that gaming meant only using a console, handheld or using a PC. This summer, when I stayed in Winona, I discovered a cute little gaming store called River Quest.

**Edit: 12/10/2017 I found out River Quest was closing!  Sad Day 😦 **

My roommate got a job working there, so I was in the store at least once a week or every other week. I got to know the owner, who is one of the coolest guys in the Winona area. I was opened up to a world of a different type of gaming.

I’m creating a Bucket List of Board Games that I haven’t played yet, but I intend to. I will sticky this to the front page of the Gaming Section and I plan to update it as I play new games. Also I hope to post a review on some of these board games especially the ones with the strike out through the name. In the meantime, enjoy my bucket list! Also feel free to comment with various board games that I can add on the list.

Here is my Board Game Bucket List:

  1. Exploding Kittens Card Game
  2. Munchkin *any version*
  3. Star Wars Destiny
  4. Ticket To Ride
  5. Monsters & Other Childish Things
  6. Red Dragon Inn
  7. Arkham Horror/Eldrich Horror
  8. Star Wars X-Wing
  9. Red Dragon Inn 4
  10. Pandemic
  11. Love Letter *card game*
  12. Smash Up
  13. Bang *card game*
  14. Red7
  15. Sentinels of the Multiverse
  16. Letters from White Chapel
  17. Here Kitty Kitty 
  18. Stone Age
  19. Agricola
  20. Betrayal at House on the Hill
  21. Seasons
  22. Takenoko
  23. Code Names
  24. Shadow Hunters 
  25. Dixit
  26. Doctor Who Time of the Daleks
  27. Fury of Dracula
  28. Dead of Winter

Link to my Board Game Reviews:

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Wrecking Havoc in Call of Cthulhu

One of my bucket list items for October was to play in a horror D&D campaign. On Friday October 5th I cooperated in a D&D Call of Cthulhu campaign held by a couple players in a Facebook Group I belong to. Besides playing D&D, I was able to visit a new game store I had never been to; the Gaming Goat in St. Paul.  I drove 45 minutes from my apartment to the Gaming Goat during rush hour traffic because I was looking forward to the story. Our session flew by and we ended up playing the campaign for 5 hours straight. Call of Cthulhu D&D is probably my favorite format because of the horror element to the game.

I wasn’t the DM, but I do know a couple of the mechanics in Call of Cthulhu. When you roll the dice, you want to roll under you skill. For example, my character, Dr. Tamla Wisseller has a high biology skill of 70. In order to succeed, I would need to roll a 70 or under to pass. However, Dr. Wisseller has a 5 in fast talk which makes it impossible for my character to talk her way out of a situation. A critical failure would be to roll a 99 or even a 90 may count as a critical failure. Therefore a critical success would be under 10.

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Dr. Tamla Wissler: still the same scientist, playing the sax. 

To start the campaign, all of the characters were on a ship similarly built to the Titanic traveling to Massachusetts. Initially, all players could sneak items on the ship and I rolled to sneak a vial of acid in my pocket because Dr. Wisseller is a scientist and who wouldn’t want acid to pour onto a creature. As the days pass in our campaign, different characters go missing, are murdered or pushed overboard. In between all of the missing passengers, I did roll a critical success to pour a drink and yell obscenities at Nazi’s which I was proud of.

As our players ventured out on the boat, we uncovered the ship captain performing a sacrificial ritual to a black tentacled octopus creature underneath our boat. All of the characters who were murdered were sacrificed to this creature. Thankfully, the group of players stopped the ship captain before we had to fight the ugly monster so we “beat” our campaign.

A year ago, I participated in a Call of Cthulhu D&D session with the same group of people I played with this year. The DM still had my old character sheet from the previous year so I played as the same character from last year. That was an extra bonus to this session.

I enjoy the Call of Cthulhu D&D mechanics and would highly recommend it. It’s perfect for the October month, but can be played all year round. I’m attending another session next Thursday and I haven’t decided if I’m going to play as Tamla or as another in depth character trying to stay sane in the Arkham universe.

 

Best Body Positive Bloggers

Insecurity has plagued me longer than I can remember. I’m insecure with how my blog looks, if I’m working the right job or saving as much money as I should. I also hate to admit it, but I’m insecure with how I look. In the media, we are fed what “beauty” should look like and what “health” should look like. I wouldn’t necessary consider myself to fit this image, but I feel my body is “adequate” enough where I don’t get made fun of for my weight. There are some body positive bloggers out there who radiate positive energy and give me an extra boost of confidence I needed on a particular day. I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite body positive bloggers because we all need more positive vibes in our social media browsing.

BodyPosiPanda

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Bodyposipanda’s instagram! Picture screenshot taken by me!

Bodyposipanda is run by Megan, a pastel princess who started encouraging others to love their bellies, cellulite and other imperfections society tries to cure. Not only is Megan an author, her book is titled Body Positive Power: How to Stop Dieting, Make Peace with Your Body and Live, Megan is also an eating disorder survivor. I adore her posts because of her energy, but she also includes trans, non-binary and men into her discussion which usually in the body positive movement, these individuals are left out. She’s a great human being and she brightens my feed literally.

~Michelle Elman Body Confidence Coach

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Image from @ScarredNotScared, image screen shot taken by me

Michelle Elman is another strong, beautiful individual with a unique voice to the body positive community. She’s had 15 surgeries which has left her body with scars. There isn’t a lot of voice given to bodies with scars until she came forward and starting being honest with her followers about her journey to love herself. She’s relatable when she talks about chronic pain and how she has let go of what others think of her. I have never had chronic pain and I have no idea what that’s like, so to hear her story is inspiring to me.

Jazzmynejay from Buzzfeed

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I don’t watch Buzzfeed as much anymore, but Jazzmyne was one of my favorites. She’s the best friend you want to have. She’s smart, funny and loyal to her friends and I also see her comment on other body positive pages too. She’s my fashion inspiration if I’m wearing an outfit that’s kind of funky, scrolling through her page gives me the extra boost I need to wear that outfit. I also think it’s important to follow a diverse group of body positive bloggers because their experiences can be vastly different. Jazzmyne is also friendly to anyone who is trans, non-binary or isn’t necessarily straight.

I_Weigh

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This isn’t referencing a specific blogger, more like a movement. Jameela Jamil stars on The Good Place which I still haven’t watched, though it’s on my TV list. She started this campaign to remind women to feel valuable besides seeing a number reflected on a scale. She posts pictures of women with captions describing how unique they are as individuals. It’s a nice reminder to myself to stop being obsessive over weighing myself weekly.

Shout out To Plus Size Nerd!

Plus Size Nerd was started by Nancy Basile who is also creator of Media MedusaShe considers herself plus size and wanted to create a website advertising clothes fitting plus size women. I don’t necessarily consider myself “plus size” however, I find buying women’s t-shirts to be aggravating because there’s no room for my boobs and they’re always too tight in the arm pits. I admire all the work she puts into her blog because it’s normalizing body types not fitting the mold of “beauty”.

Following all of these body positive bloggers has made me feel more confident and secure with myself. We shouldn’t require outside validation to feel pretty, but it’s tough in the society we live in. Instead of fat shaming each other, we should compliment each other and spread more positive energy around. Social media can be a dark place, but it doesn’t have to be.

Forced TV Watching: Why Do We Do It?

I told myself at the beginning of summer I would be all caught up on the Flash and Arrow while also starting Legends of Tomorrow. Unfortunately, this goal was way too ambitious. I had been trying to watch the newest season of the Flash and it’s been rather difficult for me to get through it. It’s not that the season is bad, but I’m just not as enthralled as I was in the prior seasons. Yet, I had been trying to force myself to watch it. This also applies to Arrow as I wasn’t a fan of the whole team splitting up which made me stop watching. Why do we force ourselves to watch TV we aren’t that interested in?

Arrow

One reason I force myself to watch TV is based on a friend’s recommendation. They say the show is SO GOOD, so you feel obligated to keep watching even though you barely could get past episode #2. This was my exact reaction when I started watching Making a Murderer. I felt the show was too boring for me to keep up with even though everyone became emotionally invested in Stephen Avery’s case.

Another reason I force myself to watch shows is the cast. Stephen Amell who stars in Arrow seems to be a down to earth human being. I have watched how he has raised money for cancer research by selling his collectible tank tops and t-shirts. He is one of the few celebrities who seems to not let fame get to him. He’s also nice to all of his fans he meets. With that being said, I feel bad that I’m not caught up on his show even though I’m not as big of a fan as I once was.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to get caught up on my shows. I still haven’t watched Luke Cage Season #2 or Iron Fist Season #2 and Daredevil is already releasing it’s third season this month. There’s so much TV and I’m trying to catch up on it all while still maintaining my social life, getting 8 hours of sleep and 5x a week for exercise. One reason why I have been watching less TV is because I have been spending all my time playing Marvel’s Spider-Man by Insomniac Games. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for watching less TV because I want to devote my time to something else.

Also I find myself re-watching shows I have already seen because I genuinely love them. This summer instead of watching the Flash or Arrow, I re-watched season #1 of the Punisher on Netflix and seasons #1 – #3 of Agents of Shield. It brings back memories especially watching Agents of Shield because me and my college roommate would talk for hours about the plot twists happening in Coulson’s helicarrier.

Eventually I do want to get caught up on the Flash and Arrow, but it has to happen on my own time. If that means I’m not going to be able to watch this current season, that’s fine. Forcing myself to watch TV is more tiring than I want it to be. My goal is to pick what I want to watch regardless of what friend’s think and what new season is airing in Fall. I’m curious if anyone else feels this way. If you do, leave a comment below.

 

 

Midwest Comic Book Association’s Fall Con

I’m grateful to be living in a place that has a strong geek presence. I became aware of this community when I started writing for Twin Cities Geek in the summer of 2015. Three years later, Twin Cities Geek has allowed me to become comfortable in this geek community. Every year, Twin Cities Geek tables at Midwest Comic Book Association (M.C.B.A)’s two comic themed conventions; Spring Con & Fall Con. Last weekend was Fall Con and I had the pleasure of attending this volunteer run convention.

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MCBA Fall Con Guide & Pass

As I mentioned, this convention is run 100% by volunteers. This isn’t a for profit show and the M.C.B.A. wants to highlight all of the Minnesota comic talent living and thriving in the Twin Cities area. This is a spending convention meaning it’s designed for people to show up, bring cash, and support local creators. However, I only brought $20 in cash, I still left with two comics I’m looking forward to reading. You don’t need a lot of money to be able to support creators. $20 goes a long way.

An extra added bonus is the M.C.B.A. volunteers provide lunch to everyone who tables at the event. They always have hot dogs and pulled pork to share along with chocolate chip cookies and hot coffee. I gravitated to the hot coffee because I happened to be running on 4 hours of sleep. It’s especially appreciated by creators who are at their booths for hours. It’s easier to grab something quick to eat on site than to leave their booth to get food which risks losing sales.

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YAY Free Comics 

Another nice feature to the con is the M.C.B.A. always gives away free stuff. They do raffles and draw tickets fairly often. In fact when I received a ticket, it was automatically the winner. I could choose from coloring books, comics and complete comic series. I ended up picking Spider Gwen #2, Mockingbird #1 and Scarlet Witch #1. At Spring Con this year, I won a Lois Lane Bombshell figurine along with a graphic novel. It’s fun leaving the convention with free comics and comics I originally paid for.

A lot of my readers probably aren’t from the Minnesota or Midwest region of the U.S., however if you are, this is a con you have to attend. Everyone is incredibly friendly and I have never had a negative geek experience at any of the M.C.B.A. conventions. I cannot wait for Spring Con happening May 2019.

 

 

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan TV Series

One of my favorite memories growing up was watching action movies with my mom. One in particular that struck out to me was Harrison Ford’s role in the Jack Ryan movies titled Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Both of these movies were well made in my opinion, plus it was another movie where Sean Bean played a brilliant villain. Recently, there was a new Jack Ryan TV show airing on Amazon Prime starring John Krasinski. John Krasinski is a talented actor and even though I’m not a fan of the Office, I did like the character he portrayed. I finished watching this show last night and it wasn’t bad.

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John Krasinski’s Jack Ryan.

Jack Ryan was created by Tom Clancy in his series of CIA/covert spy novels. Jack Ryan appears in seventeen novels with three of them being adapted into movies. Ryan’s backstory began as U.S. marine from Boston College being severely injured in a helicopter crash. He survived the crash and left the military to become an investment broker later recruited by the CIA. Ryan’s job is to look at the financial aspect of different money groups looking for suspicious activity that could be linked to terrorists. I personally have never read any of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, though I would really like to eventually.

In the TV series, Krasinski stars as Jack Ryan who is plagued by memories of the helicopter crash. He has already been recruited to the CIA and examines financial records. Jack studies a series of transactions coming from Yemen which he believes are suspicious. He brings this evidence to his boss, James Greer who forces Jack to accompany him to Yemen. Jack’s suspicions were correct as the man they met while over there is named Suleiman and he has sinister plans to get revenge on those who had wronged him in the past. This show is a cat & mouse chase between Jack Ryan and Suleiman and stopping the plans Suleiman has started.

My biggest complaint in any terrorist show is how every single terrorist cast is Middle Eastern descent. Not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. I think TV shows like these perpetuate the dangerous stereotype where if someone is a part of the Muslim religion, they are a part of a group like ISIS. This is inaccurate. I see more large scale crimes committed by white men than by anyone of Middle Eastern descent, yet those white men aren’t considered terrorists. The Jack Ryan TV series isn’t the only TV series guilty of perpetuating this stereotype. 24 is another show I watched where a few of the “terrorists” were played by actors with middle eastern descent. It’s something to be aware of when watching these types of TV shows.

The Jack Ryan TV series wasn’t bad. I thought it was a great use of my time and with only 8 episodes, it’s easy to watch most of the series in a day. The last couple episodes had me hooked because I wanted to see the final showdown between Suleiman and Jack Ryan. John Krasinski does a great job in this role and I will watch the next season if only to see him on my laptop screen. 🙂

 

Spider-Man: My Favorite Game of the Year

It’s been a while since I had been anxiously waiting for a release to a new video game. Now I can afford video games unlike when I was a college student. It wasn’t appealing to look forward to a video game I couldn’t afford. Gaming is an expensive hobby to maintain, but worth it for me. When I had watched E3 footage of Insomniac’s Spider-Man, I was blown away. I am happy to say Spider-Man is amazing and it’s my favorite release of 2018.

NYC Spiderman PS4

Spiderman, Spiderman Does Whatever a Spider Can 😀

Spider-Man takes place 8 years since Peter Parker received his powers. He quit the Daily Bugle to do neurological research with Doctor Otto Octavius. He assists Aunt May with volunteering at F.E.A.S.T. which is a soup kitchen / entertainment facility for the homeless population. Finally, Peter is trying to maintain a friendship with his ex-girlfriend Mary Jane. Peter has experience fighting crime, but he has so much to learn with regards to maintaining great relationships.

The game begins with Spiderman beating Wilson Fisk aka. Kingpin. This is also the tutorial which demonstrates how to fight as Spiderman. Learning the controls for Spiderman’s combat was more difficult than I had thought it would be. He’s incredibly weak because he hasn’t been leveled up yet. Ultimately, Wilson Fisk is put behind bars, but a new crop of criminals arises known as the Demons. It’s clear the Demons have some sort of supernatural power because they emit a black & white energy from their weapons and bodies. Over the course of the campaign, Peter has to take down the demons while also fighting many of his previous foes.

Parker and MJ

Peter Parker and MJ < screenshot from Insomniac Games

Being able to explore NYC as Spiderman is fantastic. I had just visited NYC for the first time in August and I felt I was reliving the trip throughout this game. Another positive to Spider-Man is the story itself. I love the intro to Miles Morales and Mary Jane Watson. I wrote my thoughts about MJ in a separate post which I have linked in case you missed it. Miles Morales had a big role in this game and I was happy about it. If there ever is a sequel, I would love to see Spider-Gwen included or even Silk.

My only negative thought with this game is I found the controls to be sensitive. There are times I was swinging around the city and I hit one button and Spiderman launched away from where I wanted him to go. There were a few situations where I failed timed missions because I accidentally touched the wrong button. However, this didn’t really change the game experience for me.

I could go on forever about how much I adored this game, but I have to end this post. Spiderman deserved a great video game and this game does him justice. I’m excited to hear there are 2-3 more DLC’s planned for this game including one released at the end of this month starring Black Cat. Spider-Man by Insomniac Games was everything I wanted it to be.

 

October Bucket List

This is the moment I wait for all year: Halloween and the arrival of Fall. Everyone at my work knows how much I love Halloween and I keep ranting about how great Fall is. It’s gorgeous outside with a nice breeze in the air which means it’s time to break out the funky pattern rain boots and cozy cardigans. I wanted to set up an October / Halloween / Fall bucket list to keep me on track. This is a rather ambitious list so I’m not sure how much I will accomplish, but I wanted to keep myself organized during this Fall season. Check out my Fall To Do List:

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Target has a super comfy & cute clothing line right now. 

  • Watch the Classic Horror Movies! I own Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy.
  • Watch Rocky Horror Picture Show *the original* which I have also never seen before.
  • Visit an Apple Orchard
  • Attend a Halloween Costume Party
  • See the new Halloween movie in theaters
  • Carve a Pumpkin
  • Watch Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix
  • Play a Horror Themed D&D campaign
  • Attend the Minneapolis Zombie Pub Crawl

What else do you want to accomplish in this spooky season? Once the season ends, I’ll publish a follow up post to see how accomplishing my list went.