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
  29. Hogwarts Deck Building Game

Link to my Board Game Reviews:

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile: Bundy Interview Tapes

As soon as I saw the first image released of Zac Efron portraying serial killer, Ted Bundy, I became invested in this movie. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was released at the Sundance film festival on January 26th 2019. The reviews of the movie aren’t great due to the tone they decided to portray Bundy. This inspired me to watch The Ted Bundy Interview Tapes documentary on Netflix. If you’re interested in true crime, this is a thrilling show to watch. Be warned, I felt some of the details of his crimes were gruesome, so I only watched an episode a day because I felt it was all I could take.

Trigger Warning: Discussions of killings, rape, sexual violence etc.

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Ted Bundy Interview Tapes: Photo owned by Netflix. 

The tapes review Bundy’s life, his romantic relationships and how he escaped from captivity twice. This man is extremely intelligent and was able to evade authorities which allowed him to kill again in Florida. It wasn’t until a day or two before his execution where he finally admitted to his crimes killing over 30 women across 6 states. Many of his victims will never be identified and I feel for their families.

Many of the details of his crimes are revealed as to how he treated these women including different markings on their bodies. What really sticks with me is the rape and bite marks to his victims. Rape and sexual violence is occurring at rapid rates in today’s society and still not being prosecuted like it should. That’s why with most types of media, if rape is included in a graphic manner, it’s extremely difficult for me to watch that media. Not necessarily because I have been assaulted, but it pains me to have to be conscious of my surroundings, so I don’t become a potential victim of sexual violence.

I have been pondering why we have a fascination with serial killers in our culture. I believe it’s the fear of the unknown chemical or nurturing environment that causes someone to commit acts of violence. We don’t have a reason why criminals do the things they do which could be applied to every killer. That scares me. H.P. Lovecraft wrote about fear of the unknown by creating mythical creatures in his stories. However in society, we have Ted Bundy who looks like a typical man, but is capable of so much more.

True crime fanatics will enjoy this documentary. It’s short with only 4 episodes and it tells a concise story about Ted Bundy. It doesn’t answer the question as to why Bundy is the way he is, but at least justice was served to prevent Bundy from killing again. I’m not going to debate the death penalty on this post, but if anyone didn’t deserve to live, it would be him.

 

Dark Ages Campaign Session #2 Murder House

You know 2019 has started off right when you realize you have been playing more D&D. Last weekend, our gaming group headed over to our friend’s apartment for our Dark Ages session #2 with our characters. You can read our session #1 recap in this blog post I made last month. I will say Althaea accomplished more in this session than in the prior session which made me super happy.

After sleeping off the fight with the barbarians, our characters awake in an ice prison underground with no memory on how we got there. There’s a tunnel about 50 feet down which goes deeper into this ice prison. Thankfully, one of our character’s has a rope where we climb down and start looting the corpses which are scattered everywhere. Muglupus (the boyfriend’s character) is a dwarf who spends most of his time building a tunnel to find an escape. Suddenly, the floor beneath us breaks and one of our characters drops into a sewer facility where she has to fight three rats.

It takes Althaea a little while to get down there, but she comes to aid to fight these massive rats. As a side note, three giant rats sounds horrifying to come across. After the defeat of the rats, we realize they weren’t actually intending on attacking us, they were running from a massive Aragog size spider. This is where Althaea is the true MVP in this session. I decided to grab my two ruby encrusted daggers attached to my hip. I held the handles in both hands and ran up to the spider intending on cutting off the two spider’s giant limbs. I ended up rolling a critical success. Althaea went for the two limbs, but ended up sliding underneath the spider and cutting off all its limbs. I’m just imagining that scenario in my head and it makes my character look like such a bad ass.

The spider quickly dies and I’m able to steal some of the spider’s fangs and now my daggers have venom on the blade. After traveling underneath the sewer we pop up in the Doctor’s office of the village we were staying in. The Doctor’s office contained several vials believed to be a mix of poison and medicine. Also included in the Doctor’s materials were his journal admitting on experimenting on the citizens living in the town. Our characters decided to poison both the Innkeeper and the Doctor for what they did to the citizens in the town. After revealing the truth at a town meeting, we decide to save the Doctor from the poison and let the town deal with him. We end our session by running towards a monastery and camping with Rose, a friend we met in the village.

Our next session will be this weekend because we may have to skip the month of March due to everyone’s obligations. I was really satisfied in this session and I feel rejuvenated in where the campaign is going.

If anyone has any D&D campaign stories to share, please feel free to leave it in the comments section.

 

The Lying Woods

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Two years ago I reviewed the first book I read by Ashley Elston titled This is Our Story.. I named it as my favorite book I read in 2017. Ashley Elston is able to create in depth, young adult characters and make you sympathize with those characters. When I found out that in November of 2018 she released The Lying Woods, I immediately pushed it to the top of my TBR pile. It also helps having $100 of spending money in Barnes & Noble gift cards thanks to the holiday season. The Lying Woods isn’t as good as This is Our Story, but it might depend on your book reading preference to determine which book you will enjoy more.

Owen Foster is the stereotypical rich kid: He goes to an elite private school, he has gone on amazing trips with his family and basically has a life any kid would dream of. Until his mother shows up to his school to inform him that his father stole money from the very people who work for his company, Louisiana Frac. Owen is forced to leave his private school and return to his home town where people despise him. Owen’s mother has been receiving death threats as many believe she knows where his father has gone. Where is Owen’s father and why did he steal the money?

The Lying Woods is more of a contemporary young adult story versus a mystery thriller like This is Our Story was. I’m not a huge romance novel fan, but I liked the balance between the romance and the mystery in this book. Owen was someone I originally couldn’t connect with based on his background and how he viewed his up state lifestyle. However, once Owen becomes more situated in his small town in Louisiana, I started to feel for him and what he has been going through. My biggest complaint with this book is it took me a little while to truly get into the story. I read This is Our Story in a day where it took me about a week to read The Lying Woods. Although, once I had 150 pages left in The Lying Woods, I did read it all in a day.

I don’t want to spoil this one because I truly believe all of Ashley Elston’s books are worth purchasing and reading through, but if you want to know what happens in the end, I did include spoilers in my good reads review. If we aren’t friends on goodreads, we should be! I will link my goodreads profile in this post. I also started following Books on the Book Shelf and they had a nice review of The Lying Woods in case you aren’t convinced on reading it yet. The Lying Woods is a great blend between contemporary young adult fiction and mystery. Ashley Elston’s books make me want to visit Louisiana, so who knows maybe I’ll take a road trip to New Orleans someday.

 

Surviving Until Dawn *Game Review*

Did you know Brett Dalton, Hayden Pantierre and Rami Malek were in a video game? I found this out as I slid the disc for Until Dawn in my PS4 a week ago. I hope if I ever became famous, I could appear in a video game too. Until Dawn is one of my favorite horror games I ever played.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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Josh invites his friend back for an epic, blizzard party. Motion Captured by Rami Malek. Image by Supermassive Games. 

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Brett Dalton as Mike in Until Dawn. Photo by Supermassive Games 

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Hayden Pantierre as Sam. Photo by Supermassive Games. 

Eight teenagers gather at a log cabin mansion owned by Josh’s family (motion captured by Rami Malek). Beth and Hannah, Josh’s twin sisters, run into the storm after a practical joke gone wrong performed by their friends. Beth and Hannah are never seen again. One year later, the same eight teenagers return to the cabin: Josh, Chris, Ashley, Sam (motion captured by Hayden Pantierre) Mike (motion captured by Brett Dalton), Jessica, Emily and Matt. As you play through the episodes, vicious creatures start to stalk the characters. Additionally, it appears one of the characters is a psychopath who’s also hunting the teenagers. Each of the ten chapters allows you as the player to make decisions regarding the fate of the other characters.

Trophies can be unlocked based off decisions made in the game. For example, I chose to cut off one of the character’s fingers with a hatchet after getting stuck in a trap. This allowed my character to still have a working hatchet and I received a trophy for this decision. Some decisions in the game were easy for me to make, but others I had to deliberate on for much longer.

Until Dawn relies on QTE’s (quick time events) meaning pressing buttons in rapid succession to succeed in an event. I accidentally failed this when one character was racing in the woods and I pressed the wrong button on the PlayStation controller. Missing one button led to a character’s death. There’s many ways to replay the game as I need to collect all the collectibles, but also wanting to see how different choices play out differently. I want to unlock the trophy where all the characters survive as my first play through I accidentally killed them all :/

I have no criticism for Until Dawn and I cannot stop raving about how great this game is. There’s a soft spot in my heart for Ashley and Chris since they both remind me of young, high school love. The graphics in this game were breathtaking as the cabin is based on top of this mountain with a brutal snow storm being the back drop for the teens. Until Dawn is a game you must play if you own a PS4.

Why Does Global Warming Cause Temperatures to Drop

Donald Trump tweeted about how global warming must “come back fast” because of the colder temperatures in the Midwest. By cold, I mean it’s -20 degrees with the windchill making the temperature feel like -50 degrees. Exposed skin can experience frost bite in minutes with hypothermia to follow. It’s dangerous leaving my apartment right now, which means I need to take necessary precaution in how I dress. Trump’s response shows how little our population knows the science behind global warming and I wanted to address this in a non-judgmental post. Global warming is happening even though temperatures are rapidly dropping in other areas.

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Image screenshot of Donald Trump’s twitter feed. I took this screenshot myself.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) defines global warming as warming effects caused by heat being trapped in Earth’s atmosphere instead of moving towards space. Normally, heat would escape into space, but instead certain chemicals cause heat to be trapped on Earth causing temperatures to rise. This is known as the “greenhouse effect.” Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide contribute to the “greenhouse” effect. These chemicals are released by burning fossil fuels, producing waste and using fertilizer.

At first, one may think who cares? Why does it matter that temperatures are rising on Earth? Let’s discuss the rising sea level. Rising sea level caused by glaciers melting into the water could potentially sink low sea level cities such as New Orleans or even Miami could be underwater within decades. Besides sea levels, certain areas on Earth can become dry making it more difficult to grow essential crops. Over time, less crops means less overall food supply. Global Warming should scare you, as it does me. Our Earth could be negatively impacted permanently if we don’t change our current path.

Going back to the beginning, why do temperatures get colder if Global Warming is occurring? Towards the North Pole is the Polar Vortex. The Polar Vortex consists of strong winds when spinning create high and low pressure systems which help give us the weather we have. However, when temperatures rise, the winds will start to meander instead of being isolated in the North Pole which means here in Minnesota, temperatures are way below 0 degrees.

This post isn’t meant to cause a debate because Global Warming is occurring. I’m here to provide education on what may be a confusing phenomenon. Reading Trump’s tweets further reminds me how our science education is lacking. Our Earth is going through a crisis and we need to do something before it’s too late. All of my sources come from NASA’s website 

 

 

 

Hogwarts Deck Building Game

Last Christmas, my brother received the Hogwarts Deck Building game along with the expansion pack bringing Luna Lovegood to the story. I had played the Hogwarts Deck Building game when I was in college, so I wasn’t a stranger to the rules. I hosted a board game night two weeks ago with my family and the boyfriend where we tested out this game. My mom loved the game and it made her more excited to go to Universal Studios in February.

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Teaching my mom how to play. Picture Taken by Me through Snapchat.

The Harry Potter deck building game gives you four characters to choose from: Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville. The goal is to defeat the villains before the locations are taken over by the Death Eaters. Since this is a deck building game, you can purchase cards for your character deck. These cards can heal characters, take off a villain token from the location and send a spell to a villain resulting in their defeat. This is an entirely cooperative game which is something else my mom liked.

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Harry Potter’s deck. 

The game is incredibly easy to grasp as I mentioned, if I taught my mom how to play this game, anyone can learn. Not that my mom can’t grasp board game rules, but the more complicated the game, the more my mom gets lost within the game’s mechanics. One exciting moment from our session was when my mom corrected my brother on the rules. I repeat, my mom corrected my brother on the rules of the game. I think both me and my brother’s jaws hit the floor.

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Athena was playing with us while also eating my food. 

This is probably one of my favorite board games I played. It’s more fun playing with Harry Potter fans, but I think anyone could enjoy this game. It was a fun way to get hyped for Harry Potter world and I imagine my mom is going to want to beat the whole game before we go. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

 

Caraval is Decadent

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Also look at how gorgeous this cover is. 

Remember, It’s Only a Game. . . 

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is my first official book read in 2019. I originally became aware of this book based on Super Space Chick’s book channel. It’s odd because I don’t read much Young Adult Fiction, but the premise sounded intriguing, and I happened to find Caraval on display at my local library. Caraval is spellbinding and it perfectly demonstrates the unbreakable bond between two sisters.

Caraval initially reminds me of Frozen mixed with a psychologically compelling carnival. Scarlett Dragna has become increasingly aware of her awful living situation as she and her younger sister, Donatella [known as Tella], are regularly abused by their father. To escape the abuse, she dreams of attending the faraway carnival known as Caraval. Caraval is a magical game run by Legend, a mysterious man who grants one wish to anyone who wins the game. Eventually Scarlett meets a sexy sailor who allows her the chance to leave the island she has known all her life while also being able to attend Caraval as the guest of honor.

Unbeknownst to Scarlett, Tella is kidnapped by Legend and Scarlett is forced to participate in the game to secure her sister. Everyone tells Scarlett to remember that Caraval is just a game, but she becomes intertwined with the performers and doesn’t exactly remember what’s real or what’s become a fantasy. Scarlett needs to be clever enough to rescue Tella otherwise she may be lost or worse, killed.

The first positive comment about the book is the description of Caraval itself. It seems to be this light-hearted, fantasy carnival with a darker twist to it. Scarlett is forced to face her fears and give out her deepest darkest secrets to save her sister. It seems Scarlett often has to question her sanity throughout the book. I couldn’t imagine being in Scarlett’s position having to save a loved one while contemplating what’s actually happening in reality versus what is magic or fiction.

I also felt Scarlett involved into a completely different character by the end of the game. Before Caraval, she was this scared, shy and distrustful person due to the abuse inflicted by her father. By the end of the book, she took numerous risks while also recognizing her feelings for Julian, the sexy sailor. Originally, I wasn’t a fan of Scarlett’s character based on her personality and how she looked down upon her sister for flirting with men. However, Scarlett truly opened herself up and I genuinely started to feel sympathetic toward her experiences in Caraval.

Caraval reminded me of Frozen because of the bond between Scarlett and Tella. Tella reminds me of Anna as she is the outgoing, flirtatious one while Scarlett is similar to Elsa as she is more reserved, but extremely protective of her sister. The bond between the Dragna sisters is probably one of the best parts about the book.

Another point I wanted to make is how I wasn’t a huge fan of Scarlett and Julian as a couple. Sure, Julian is attractive as there are many descriptions in the book of the muscles on his back. Although Julian is somewhat shady and I’m surprised Scarlett would be willing to trust him so easily. Clearly, he’s hiding something and I wish Scarlett would have questioned him a bit more.

Caraval was a captivating read for me. I became enamored by the Caraval setting along with the character development regarding Scarlett, the main protagonist of the story. The second book in the series, Legendary was released in May of 2018 and the final book Finale will be released May of 2019. I’m hoping movie rights get picked up for this book as it would make for an amazing movie.