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. 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. Ticket To Ride
  4. Dungeons & Dragons Role Playing
  5. Red Dragon Inn
  6. Arkham Horror/Eldrich Horror
  7. Star Wars X-Wing
  8. Red Dragon Inn 4
  9. Force of Will *card game*
  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. Ticket to Ride
  23. Takenoko
  24. Code Names
  25. Shadow Hunters 
  26. Dixit

Link to my Board Game Reviews:

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Harvest Festival + Upcoming Chicago Trip!

October has been one of the first months where I have had plans every single weekend. Sometimes it’s nice to be busy, but I have been craving some down time. This past weekend I went to a Harvest festival in Stillwater, MN which is a gorgeous river town. This next weekend from Thursday – Sunday I will be in Chicago visiting a friend from college. Hopefully after Chicago, I should have a couple slow weekends until Thanksgiving. I wanted to share pictures from the Harvest Fest and talk about how excited I am to go to Chicago again.

Stillwater is right along the St. Croix river on the border of Wisconsin. It’s a bright river town away from Minneapolis & St. Paul. There were a couple activities such as the beer tent, but we didn’t participate in those. Instead, we walked around the town and explored. There’s a candy shoppe which was filled with chocolate goodies and I ended up purchasing a dark chocolate covered oreo. Nearby was a small bookstore attached to a coffee shop. I did end up buying some books which I know I didn’t need, but I cannot resist a cute bookstore. It turned out to be a perfect Fall date day. The pictures below are from Teddy Bear park which has life size statues of bears for kids. Me and the boyfriend wanted to check it out.

IMG_3205Teddy Bear Park

I have only been to Chicago once and that was back in July 2016 on my birthday. My former roommate from college is from Illinois and is living near the downtown area. We coordinated a weekend where I could drive to stay with her. It’s about a 6 1/2 – 7 hour drive from my apartment to Chicago which seems long, but I would rather drive that distance than pay 180 – 200 dollars to fly for a 45 minute flight. I already have my podcast episodes picked out for the drive and I’m looking forward to a smaller vacation away from my daily work routine with 2 days of paid time off. I am counting down the days till my tiny road trip.

Millenium Park 4Willis Tower 13

So that sums up what I have been up to and why I haven’t been blogging as much. I try not to let myself get frustrated if I hit a writer’s block or I become busy. My blog will be here when I’m done with mini vacations or I have a short 30 minute window to write about what’s on my mind.

 

Life is Strange Before the Storm Episode #1

I hate coming up with catchy titles for blog posts. I struggled writing this article for the longest time because I couldn’t come up with a creative title. One month ago I wrote about Life is Strange so check out my review if you haven’t already. I received a comment on the post directing me to Before the Storm, a prequel game released starring Chloe and Rachel. I recommend completing Life is Strange plus the first episode of Before the Storm before continuing reading this post. Also spoilers are included.

Chloe and Rachel

Chloe on the left & Rachel on the right. *Image from Youtube*

*Final Warning: SPOILERS*

 

 

Chloe at this point in time has just lost her father in a car accident. She often has flashbacks to being in the car with her father before he’s hit by another vehicle. I sympathize with Chloe because I lost my father at a young age. I dealt with the loss much differently than Chloe does, but none the less it’s a traumatic experience. She blames Max for not being around while she slips into a depression.

The episode begins with Chloe wandering around a farmhouse where a punk rock band is playing. I like how instead of Max’s optional photos, Chloe carries a sharpie to graffiti with. It’s fitting to her personality while unlocking easy achievements to boost my gamer score. This is also the event leading to her meeting Rachel because she saves Chloe from these dingy guys at the concert. Throughout the episode, I find Chloe and Rachel’s friendship to be awkward, yet endearing. I personally hope there is a romantic relationship between the two of them.

Chloe Before the Storm

My favorite video game scene. *Image by Hooked Gamers*

One of my favorite scenes in the game is when Chloe plays D&D with a couple friends. I start to like Chloe more through this scene because she treats her friends extremely well and seems to have a good time.

One unique game mechanism in Before the Storm is Chloe’s back talk ability. To progress a certain sequence in the game, Chloe has to use her sass to get what she wants. The game gives prompts to choose from based on what the characters say. If you choose the correct response, Chloe can sway characters into doing what she wants. Although every time I used Chloe’s ability, nothing major in the story happened. The most mild incident is chasing off a bully, but that’s about it.

Life is Strange was one of my favorite games I beat this year, and I personally got my money’s worth of Before the Storm. I think Before the Storm has a lot of hype because of how fantastic Life is Strange was. The next episode is available for download on October 19th.

 

Archie Comics Rejuvenated in Riverdale

River Dale

Photo from Netflix

This is probably one of my favorite categories on my blog to write about. I love binge watching TV shows because once you watch a good show you become obsessed with it for weeks. I am devoted to all my shows especially if they end on a cliff hanger which angers me yet gets me excited for the new season. A couple days ago I was browsing through my Netflix “list” and stumbled upon Riverdale and decided to give it a watch. Turns out I finished it in two days. I wanted to type my final thoughts on this Archie Comics reboot.

I can’t say I have ever been a fan of the Archie comics. They just didn’t intrigue me and it seemed like a comic about two beautiful women fighting over one guy and I was just over that cliche. The TV show though… I want to go back and read the comics.

River Dale Characters.jpg

Let’s dive into the characters first if you are unfamiliar with the Archie comics. Archie Andrews is a conflicted teen who is committed to the football team along with writing music. Betty Cooper is the stereotypical girl next door, literally as she lives next door to Archie. She’s cute, sweet and innocent. Veronica Lodge is the opposite of Betty as she’s sophisticated and edgy. She’s entitled and privileged as she grew up with money and nice clothes. Jughead is the social outcast or the “weirdo” of the group.

The TV show revolves around the mysterious disappearance of Jason Blossom whom later is found shot to death in a river. All of the characters mentioned above have somehow been interwoven into solving Jason’s murder. Just when you think you have an idea of what’s going on, the show basically delivers a scene leaving you asking yourself what the fuck did I watch? Which is surprising since this seems like a creepy/eerie Gossip Girl show.

Usually in my Bizarre Brunette Binges posts, I talk about spoilers, but I’m going to leave out all spoilers in this post. I am encouraging all of my readers to watch this show before the season premiere on October 11th.

 

October Goals!

October is probably my favorite month because Fall is my favorite season. I love the beautiful colors of Fall and being able to wear a cozy cardigan with cute ankle boots. With the end of September, I wanted to reflect on my month and my goals I set:

Planned Out Harry Potter World Vacation – NOPE

My second job took over my life and I was unable to do this. I wanted to go to Orlando in February, but me and my family have also talked about an Arizona trip or a quick Vegas weekend trip. So we shall see what we decide on doing.

Rent Two Books from the Library – SUCCESS! 

Unfortunately both books I rented I didn’t like getting through. One was a mystery book that took place in MN which you would think would be exciting, turns out it was incredibly boring. The other was an Iron Fist trade paperback, but I still am not a fan of Iron Fist.

Participate in D&D One Shots – NOPE 

No D&D for me this month. However, I joined an all women led D&D group meeting at a comic shop in the cities while also being interested in other Facebook D&D events. I’m thinking this will be a way better month to get more D&D in.

Yoga once a week – SUCCESS 

I am actually very glad I included this in my goals. I use the Yoga with Adrienne video’s and I have a couple on my favorites list that I enjoy. Once my ankle is better (I sprained it pretty bad), I will get back to this.

50% of my goals achieved! I would say that’s not too bad. Now here are my Fall / October goals:

~Watch the Classic Horror Films

I have this collection of the classic Dracula, Werewolf and Mummy movies from the early 1900’s. It was a collector’s edition I found at my house that my mom wanted to get rid of. This would be the perfect month to crack open the case and watch them.

~Yoga Once a Week

~Participate in more D&D Sessions

~Carve a Pumpkin

~Plan a Trip with the Family next February.

 

 

Podcasts I’m Loving Right Now

The joy of being an adult is driving home to & from work in rush hour traffic. Listening to a podcast while I drive helps make traffic less stressful and allows me to get lost into the episode. Sometimes I learn something new or I get a new recommendation on a book to read. Plus I just cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen while listening to a podcast so I can be productive while hearing about Ixalan the new Magic the Gathering set.  I wanted to give you a couple podcast recommendations to get through rush hour traffic.

Panels & Pizza:

panels-for-pizza

Image from Fancy Pants Gangsters.

Panels & Pizza is hosted by Adam Vermillion a local Minnesotan comic book fan. He recruits local Midwest comic writers/illustrators on to his show to promote their work. This podcast is the reason I am able to support indie comics and become more of a comics fan. Typically, pizza is also ingested while talking about comics hence the pizza portion of the title. Even if you’re not from MN this podcast will introduce you to comics you didn’t know had existed.

Once Upon a Crime

This podcast should be downloaded if you’re a true crime fanatic. Esther Ludlow is a fantastic story teller as she describes the murderer, the suspects and the towns in which horrific crimes took place. Sometimes it’s so detailed that I cannot even listen to this podcast in the dark because it freaks me out. I usually am listening to this podcast in daylight when the boyfriend is home in the apartment with me. My favorite episodes include the series which detail the murder of musicians such as Marvin Gaye and John Lennon. Also the Rebecca Shafer murder episode is especially creepy.

Dorky Diva’s Podcast

Savannah Kiefer is an adorable Star Wars fan with a geeky sense of style. She writes her own blog which includes Star Wars fashion and does monthly episodes on her podcast. I admire her devotion to Star Wars and she is such a cute fangirl.

Coffee With Kenobi:

Coffee with Kenobi

Image from Coffee with Kenobi podcast.

Coffee with Kenobi is another podcast for Star Wars die-hard fans. What I like about Coffee with Kenobi is that it breaks down the Star Wars fandom into different themes. For example, I like the Comics with Kenobi series along with Lattes with Leia because of the female co-hosts. Also if you’re a Star Wars Rebels fan, there are episodes that discuss the Rebel’s season. It took me some time to get caught up with this podcast since the first episode debuted in 2014. This podcast will keep you busy for sometime.

Magic the Amateuring

Magic the Amateuring

Image from Magic the Amateuring podcast.

Magic the Amateuring is hosted by Megan and Maria and they talk about Magic the Gathering. It’s a great podcast for new players to turn to if they’re starting to play Magic. I like the two female co-hosts as they are energetic and passionate about the game. It’s helped rejuvenate my own Magic the Gathering fandom.

How We Roll

How We Roll podcast

Image from How We Roll podcast

How We Roll is a D&D based podcast with a couple guys from England and Ireland getting together with alcohol and Cthulhu. The DM creates an intricate story for the players and I enjoy hearing the players laugh whey they epically fail a roll. It’s also a great podcast to learn the vocabulary of D&D if you have always wanted to play.

These couple podcasts should keep you busy for a while. I am a podcast fanatic now and I can’t believe it took me so long to use the podcast app on my phone. What other podcasts are you enjoying right now? I always could use recommendations 🙂

 

Quitting My Second Job :/

Why haven’t I made a blog post in almost two weeks? Great question. My free time has been used up plus I am fatigued. I don’t have the energy to read a book before bed because my eyes feel heavy as my head hits the pillow. I hadn’t seen some of my friends in a month and I went weeks without calling my grandmother. Two weeks ago, I made a decision to quit my job at Steamship Coffee and Tea and today was my last shift on the schedule.

Steamship

I can change the background on the screens, how cool is that!?

I originally applied to be a barista because I missed it! Being a barista is challenging which is what I enjoyed. I compare this to a real life Diner Dash work environment. I can be my boisterous self and yell over the sound of the espresso machine pulling shots. It balanced out my full time career while introducing me to a new set of regular, geeky customers.

Steamship Behind the Counter

Behind the Counter

As I mentioned, I started to notice changes in my demeanor. I would come home and crash right away or my friends would text me about plans Saturday night, but I was busy working. Me and the boyfriend didn’t have quality time together because our schedules were so chaotic. Thankfully, me and the boyfriend have Sunday’s off so we can have a regular date day once again. I asked for advice from friends and family who both said maybe I’m doing too much.

Kyoto Drip

Making Kyoto Drip Coffee

Plus my gaming decreased! One reason why I was excited about being a barista was because it was connected to Universe Games. I haven’t had the time to put a Magic the Gathering deck together or roll my Star Wars Destiny dice. I am looking forward to becoming a customer rather than an employee.

I always look at the positive side of any situation because that’s who I am. My co-workers know if they need a shift covered, I’m the first one they will call. So technically I’m “quitting”, but I could still work a shift in the future. Instead of crafting the perfect latte, I’ll be drinking cups of coffee while gaming as a loyal customer.

 

Life is Strange

Max Caulfield from Life is Strange reminds me of myself at the age of 18. She’s insecure, timid, yet caring to her close friends. Playing through Life is Strange reminded me of old high school drama that I experienced. My best friend recommended this game which says a lot because she isn’t a gamer though her boyfriend recommended it to her.  After beating the game, I can without a doubt say that this was the best game I played this year.

Life is Strange Photo by Game Accessibility

Max is a freshman at a prestigious art school in Arcadia Bay, Oregon. As a talented photographer, she was accepted into Blackwell Academy which is her dream school. During a lecture, she experiences a vision of a tornado destroying Arcadia Bay. In addition to having these visions, she hides in the bathroom and watches helplessly as a woman is shot and killed by a student. Turns out this woman was Max’s former best friend, Chloe. Max awakes in her classroom and is able to rewind time to save Chloe. Max now has to balance her newly renewed relationship with Chloe and uncover how to save Arcadia Bay from the tornado.

Life is Strange Photo from Wikia

Life is Strange is all based on making decisions that will impact the later episodes. I often took a couple minutes to think about how Max would react. It could be something as simple as choosing to comfort a mean girl or more complicated responses like trying to prevent a student from committing suicide. The game is all dependent on how you choose to interact with each character.

*Massive Spoilers*

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the game, Max is looking out at the tornado which will soon be upon the shores of Arcadia Bay. Max and Chloe realize that the tornado was created based on how time has been altered. Chloe pleads with Max to allow her to die to save Arcadia Bay so do you: A. Ignore Chloe and watch as your family and friends perish or B. Choose to rewind time, but not save Chloe and allow her to die so the town will be protected.

I chose to let Chloe die like she was supposed to. Morally, I couldn’t justify saving one person and sacrificing thousands. It’s heartbreaking to watch the cut scene as Max is shedding tears knowing there’s nothing she can do to save Chloe.

I’m interested to know what my readers thought about all the decisions in this game and what they chose at the end. Also I really hope there will be a Life is Strange sequel because I will have that pre-ordered in a heartbeat. Life is Strange is the best video game I played and probably is one of my all time favorite games.