My Love / Hate Relationship with Magic the Gathering

On Sunday, I attended my first Magic the Gathering pre-release for the Ravnica Allegiance expansion. Me, my brother, and my two friends from college met up at the coffee / game store I occasionally work at. I played terribly at this pre-release because I didn’t win a single match. Honestly, I was slightly embarrassed having to turn in my score card saying I lost eight matches. The worker at the game shop even made a comment and was giving me sympathy which made me feel worse. This is what prompted my post describing in detail my love / hate relationship with Magic the Gathering. 

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I started playing Magic the Gathering in 2003 when my uncle taught me and my brother how to play. I became obsessed with the mechanics of the cards, the art on each card and the story behind each set. I even had a Magic the Gathering birthday where I received a hand picked deck and played Magic all day. This teaching didn’t stick as I gave up the game a year later because I became focused on other things. Ten years later, I was in college and an ex-boyfriend of mine had been playing Magic more often with his friends. I decided then I would try again and re-learn how to play.

One thing that was different when learning Magic in 2013 was realizing how toxic the Magic the Gathering community can be. I had played against players who were specifically targeting me because I was the only woman in the group. I had players where if I was winning, they would “scoop” or draw from the match instead of allowing the game to finish. I had players be condescending towards me if I was losing and telling me I had “a lot to learn” if I ever wanted to win against them. The toxicity I experienced became exhausting to deal with.

It led to several times where I would play Magic more often and then go breaks without playing. I became discouraged at times based on who I had played with recently. I don’t want to give up a hobby based on my experiences within the community, but it’s hard not to. I will say, my brother and my two friends never made me feel embarrassed because I hadn’t won a game. They were friendly to me and my brother wants to sit down and play more games with me and offer strategy advice which I would find beneficial.

Simic Pre Release Jan 20th.jpeg

My specific goals involving Magic the Gathering is to play more! I can only get better as a player if I play more games. I also downloaded Magic the Gathering arena which is an online format of the game where you play against players in real time. This way even if I can’t get in a physical game at a game shop, I can play at the comfort of my own home. Finally, I discovered an all female Magic group that plays at various game stores in Minneapolis. I’m hoping this will be a judgement free place to learn more about the game without the harassment I had experienced in the past.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the game if you ever played. Specifically if you have experienced harassment in this community, let me know in the comments below.

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Playing in the Dark Ages New D&D Campaign

Toward the end of December, a good friend of mine created a group Facebook group regarding a D&D campaign he wanted to start. It was going to be set in the Dark Ages with 5e mechanics. The boyfriend had never role played before, so this would be an exciting opportunity to introduce D&D to him. We had our first session yesterday complete with Moscow mules, pizza and snacks. I briefly wanted to recap the campaign and share what’s to come in future sessions.

January 12th 2019 First DnD Session.jpeg

I’m all for looking cute to play D&D. *image taken by me for my instagram story.*

My character is named Althaea and she is a level #1 Elf Sorcerer who happens to be an Occult Investigator. When she was young, she started developing magical abilities much to the chagrin of her father. Her father refused to teach her how to defend herself due to being in fear of the dark source of Althaea’s magic. When Althaea was 10, her father was killed by an evil spirit. Althaea has sworn revenge on this evil spirit and finding more information behind her father’s murder.

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Althaea’s character sheet! *image taken by me*

Our campaign began in January of 453 AD. Side note, as our DM revealed the date, each of our group members wrote the year wrong. I still don’t know how that was possible considering he was sitting right next to us. Our characters were trapped in a burning village being attacked by barbarians. Six of them came after us. I rolled very poorly most of the time during this attack which led to me having only one hit point at the end of the battle. Once the barbarians were slayed, we investigated another town which also was being invaded by barbarians. Althaea did a lot better as she used her “ice knife” spell and it ended up landing on one of the barbarians.

After defeating the barbarians, our group of five is approached by an inn keeper. He offers us rooms since we saved his village from the barbarians. One of our characters rolled an intelligence check to determine if the innkeeper was hiding something from us. The innkeeper is hiding something, but throughout this session, none of our characters figured what it was. Althaea did attempt to flirt with the inn keeper, but I rolled so low that he pushed me away and wouldn’t talk to me. It was at this moment I realize I should have been a Bard. Anyway, not much happened after that, but our DM said the innkeeper is hiding something huge and the name of our next session is titled “Murder House.”

Overall it was a great first session. I will say I don’t have a lot of experience with character building with 5e rules. There was a lot I didn’t create with my character prior to the session beginning. Thankfully, the group I’m playing with is rather forgiving. The DM even admitted he wished he did a bit more research and had a map for the players to look at.

Thanks for reading my recap! Our next session is planned for Saturday February 2nd, so expect a post somewhere near then.

 

2018 Pop Culture Year in Review

2018 became a memorable year loaded with trips, comic book conventions and everlasting memories. I wanted to write my recap post a little bit earlier before time gets away from me and I forget to publish it. 2018 was a fantastic year.

Movies I saw in Theaters:

Aqua Man 2

Seeing Aquaman early! Picture taken by the boyfriend

  • Black Panther *twice*
  • Avengers Infinity War 
  • Solo: A Star Wars Adventure
  • Antman & the Wasp 
  • Mission Impossible Fallout 
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me 
  • Venom 
  • Crimes of Grindelwald 
  • Robin Hood 
  • Aquaman 

My Favorite Movie of 2018: This is a tough call, but I’m going to have to say it’s a tie between Aquaman and Black Panther. Aquaman was a win for DC’s movie universe and Black Panther was representation for the African American community along with the fact it was an amazing movie.

TV Shows I Watched:

BBC Bodyguard

Richard Madden ❤ ❤ ❤ Image by BBC

  • Riverdale Season #2
  • Rewatching Jessica Jones Season #1 
  • Jessica Jones Season #2 
  • Parks and Recreation 
  • Mindhunter 
  • Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan 
  • Luke Cage Season #2 
  • Iron Fist Season #2
  • The Bodyguard 
  • DC’s Titans 

My Favorite TV Show in 2018: I’m indecisive which led to me picking The Bodyguard and Parks & Recreation. The Bodyguard is only six episodes long which meant I finished it in a day. Richard Madden is an excellent actor and it also helps he’s extremely attractive. Parks & Recreation has easily become one of my all time favorite TV shows which is surprising considering I didn’t think I would like the show initially. Shout out to the boyfriend for convincing me to watch this with him.

 Video Games I Played:

Black Cat Game Informer

This Spider-Man DLC rocks. Image from Insomniac Games

  • Lego Marvel Superheroes 
  • Uncharted Drake’s Fortune 
  • Uncharted #2 Among Thieves 
  • Uncharted #3 Drake’s Deception 
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man + the DLC

My Favorite Video Game of 2018: Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best game in 2018. I probably will end up playing through the campaign again in 2019.

2018 Biggest Pop Culture Moments:

  • James Gunn’s pedophile Tweets resulting in him being fired by Marvel
  • The disgusting Brett Kavanaugh trial.
  • Aziz Ansari and the importance of asking for consent prior to engaging in sexual activity

Biggest Pop Culture Moment: The Aziz Ansari story shocked me when it first released online. Reading through the story, Ansari crossed the line. If someone says no about wanting to engage in any sexual activity, that’s a no. It doesn’t give you a free pass to try other activity. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get consent. This incident shows how little people know about what giving consent looks like because it’s not discussed in sex education and that’s a big problem.

Podcast I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:

Anna Faris’s Unqualified Podcast was recommended to me by my best friend. In each episode, Anna interviews a celebrity of sorts and then they take questions from fans. I prefer the questions from fans because it’s interesting hearing their life problems and hearing Anna Faris’s advice. This is the one podcast I will make sure I’m caught up on.

Catchiest Song in 2018:

I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin has been on repeat every time I work out. Anytime this song beats through my head phones, I work out harder with whatever I’m doing.

Conventions Attended in 2018:

Panelist 2

First Panel at Convergence 2019 

Waiting in line for Matthew Lewis

Planet Comic Con: Waiting for Matthew Lewis’s Autograph 

4. (Planet Comicon, Convergence, Spring MSP Comicon and Fall MSP Comicon).

Personal Memories:

Top Three Memories in 2018:

Adopting Athena:

Halloween 2018 2

I’m so lucky to have this kitty in my apartment. If you follow me on Instagram, I post a cat picture often. I can’t help it, she’s too adorable. Cats are easy to take care of and it’s nice to come home from work and a have a fur ball waiting for me by the door.

Driving to Boston:

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My family has started a tradition of going on one major family vacation every year. This year we drove to Boston. Boston is a city I had always wanted to visit and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s colonial history combined with the East Coast environment led me to falling in love with the city.

Flying to the Big Apple

Brooklyn Bridge

I will say, Boston has nothing on NYC. New York City was ginormous, but captivating. Central Park was much bigger than I had expected it would be. Getting lost in the subway is something I will never forget, but it taught me how to navigate around. If I were to visit NYC again, I would do a lot better with knowing where to go.

My Resolution for 2019:

Spend lots of money at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando!

 

 

 

Spider-Man Fights the Maggia in Turf Wars

I apologize for my prior Spider-Man reviews because I kept forgetting the hyphen in Spider-Man. I believe The Modern Gafa pointed it out to me a bit ago, so when it came time to review Turf Wars, the newest DLC from Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PS4, I made sure not to forget it. It’s such a silly mistake, but I’m a human being and I’m capable of error. These new Spider-Man DLC’s are intriguing and add more elements to the story and Turf Wars is no exception.

Yuri Image from Marvel.jpg

Yuri Takes on the Maggia [Image by Marvel, found on the Marvel’s Spider-Man website.]

The focus for this DLC is on Spider-Man’s relationship with Yuriko (Yuri) Watanabe. I practically know nothing about characters in the Spider-Man universe, however after looking at the Marvel wiki, I realized the game is accurate in it’s portrayal of her. Both Yuri’s father and grandfather served on the police force with her father being arrested for accepting bribes from the mafia. Yuri wanting to distance herself from the toxicity her father created, became a police officer dedicated to doing things the right way. I adore her relationship with Spider-Man as he’s the goofy one and she’s the serious kick-ass character in their partnership.

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New Spider-Man Suits! I personally like the one in the middle. [Photo by Marvel found on Marvel’s Spider-Man website.]

Turf Wars, picks up with Spider-Man investigating stolen Sable International tech led by infamous criminal mastermind, Hammerhead. Yuri leads this investigation and unsurprisingly a shootout erupts. Many of Yuri’s men are killed ruthlessly which almost changes Yuri in a way. Spider-Man is left to pick up the pieces of locating Hammerhead and preventing Yuri from performing an act that cannot be undone.

As always, there’s side quests to do in this DLC like the Heist before it. I prefer completing these before going through the story. The bases are surprisingly difficult with the new appearance of different enemies for Spider-Man to fight. There’s more of Screwball’s social media challenges which are annoying, but easy to complete.

I’ll be sad when the last DLC titled Silver Lining drops in December. I have gotten used to new content being added for this game. Eventually, I plan on playing New Game Plus which will keep me invested after I complete Silver Lining. I can’t recommend Marvel’s Spider-Man enough as it certainly is my game of 2018.

Black Cat is Seductive & Ruthless in Marvel’s Spiderman the Heist.

Black Cat Game Informer

“Hello Spider”. [Black Cat image from Game Informer]. 

After unlocking all the trophies in Marvel’s Spiderman, I was desperate for more content! I haven’t finished New Game Plus yet because I may want to return to the game in a couple months. To fill my Spiderman void, I downloaded the Heist DLC featuring the Black Cat as a main protagonist in the game. I have to admit I found parts of this story to be more challenging than I expected, but I still finished the DLC in under 6 hours. This was a terrific addition to the main story.

Felicia Hardy aka. the Black Cat is the true definition of an anti-hero as she is a leather clad Robin Hood stealing from the rich. In the Heist, Spiderman is called to an art museum to stop crime boss Hammerhead & his crew from stealing expensive valuables. However, Felicia drops by and ends up stealing a flash drive from the back of a painting amidst Spiderman’s plees to do right with the law. Black Cat succeeds and Spiderman’s forced to chase her down throughout NYC to uncover her motives and stop Hammerhead.

The dialogue between Black Cat and Spiderman was perfection. From my understanding, Spiderman and Black Cat have a flirty, dynamic relationship which has it’s ups and downs. In the game, it appears Spiderman had a fling with Black Cat before he got back together with MJ. The final mission in the game allows the player to direct the Black Cat to enemies she can eliminate. I found I was using Black Cat more for take downs than Spiderman during this sequence.

I highly recommend completing all the side quests as one features more background on Felicia Hardy’s family. There’s also new crimes to complete such as activating the Spider Bot to defuse bombs underneath cars. Screwball, a lesser known Spiderman villain creates challenges for Spiderman to complete which although were easier than the Task Master challenges, I found these tasks bothersome to complete.

Ultimately, the Heist DLC is enjoyable and I hope Black Cat makes another appearance sometime soon. Better yet, why not release DLC where I can play as her for the entire game. There will be two other episodes to purchase for Marvel’s Spiderman titled “Turf Wars” & “Silver Lining”. “Turf Wars” is released supposedly this month, but I’m not sure on the date. Marvel’s Spiderman’s the Heist can be purchased on the Playstation Network for $9.99 or a season pass can be purchased for $25.00.

 

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.

 

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.