Goliath Games Unboxing

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My Goliath Games Box. Photo taken by me. 

This is my second board game unboxing, but this time it’s from Goliath GamesWhen I secured my Gen Con press badge, I scheduled a time with Goliath Games to test out some of their newest party games. I was super impressed with the selection Goliath Games had to offer and they were kind enough to send me two of the games I played at Gen Con with an additional game in the box. My plan for these games is to take them to a brewery and play them with my friends. Here are the games Goliath Games sent me.

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Virus, Side Effects and the Misery Index. Photo taken by me. 

 

Virus: The Contagiously Fun Card Game

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Virus the card game. Photo taken by me. 

This is the game I have never played before. An experimental virus has escaped from the lab and players need to stop this contagious virus. However, a fun twist to the game is being able to infect the organs of other players with this virus. The first player with four healthy organs wins the game. I’m all about the dark humor within this game of infecting other healthy players to stop the virus. This game can be played with 2-6 players ages 8+. Virus can be purchased through the Goliath Games website or contact your local game store to see if they can order the game for you.

Side Effects: The Guessing Game With an Extra Dose of Absurdity

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Side Effects. Photo taken by me. 

I first played this game at Gen Con and it was hilarious. Imagine combing charades with drug side effects and that’s what this game is. All players are participating in a clinical drug study for a new drug set to be released. Of course there will be side effects. This game is played in two player teams. The first player is the test subject while the second player is the lab assistant. The first player has to get the second player to guess a word while performing two drug side effects simultaneously. When I played this game, I had to get my partner to guess the word “Tuesday” while making kissy faces and making goat sounds. For the record, my goat impression was second to none. I did pretty good as my partner was able to guess four words in a minute and thirty seconds. This is the perfect game to bring to a housewarming party because it’s going to get everyone laughing hysterically. This game requires 4+ players ages 13+. Side Effects can be purchased on Amazon for 24.95.

The Misery Index: Life Events on a Scale from Zero to Miserable.

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The Misery Index. Photo taken by me. 

This game is based off the wildly successful The Misery Index show on TBS. Hosted by Jameela Jamil from the Good Place, this game show forces players to rank events based on how awful the situations are. This is the card game version of this TV show. Each card has a scenario on it with a number from 1-100. One being pretty tame to one hundred being absolutely horrendous. Players have to rank the cards based on how awful the scenario would be. When I was at Gen Con, I had to rank these three events: getting caught masterbating by your mom, drinking a vomit milkshake or eating worm spagetti. Players get points by correctly sorting the events in correct order of being the most miserable. A couple of the other misery cards include: flat tire, pepper spray in the eyes and smelling like a fart for the rest of your life. Misery Index is for 2+ players ages 14+. The Misery Index can be purchased at Target for $17.99.

I’m thrilled to introduce these games to my friends. Goliath Games is a great game company and many of these games would be great for friends who aren’t hugely into board games in general. Once I rip open the wrapping on these games, I will be posting my in depth review of each game. Goliath Games can be found on their website and social media including: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Kosmos Game Haul

Since attending Gen Con in August, I have been receiving emails from various game publishers. One email I received was from Kosmos about their new board game releases. After emailing with Kosmos, they have nicely agreed to send me a couple of the games peaking my interest. The games I was most looking forward to playing include: Adventure Games: Monochrome Inc, Roll for Adventure and Exit: the Catacombs of Horror.

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Athena loves board game hauls especially if she can play with the dice. Photo taken by Me. 

Before I unveil the games, I wanted to give background information about Kosmos. Technically titled Thames & Kosmos, this company was originally founded in 2001 specializing in improving science education for all ages. In college, I taught science to elementary school kids as volunteer work and to see kids excited about science made me happy. Thames & Kosmos has moved into board games to teach kids social skills and stimulates logical and strategic thinking. Despite their intentions, these games are for adults as well, but can be introduced to kids with parental approval.

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My game haul cortesy of Kosmos. Photo taken by Me. 

The first game I asked for was Adventure Games: Monochrome Inc. This game puts players in the headquarters of Monochrome Inc., a biotech company with hidden secrets to be uncovered. Players have to escape Monochrome by working together and searching for clues. The appeal of the game is the rules are simple to learn. This would be the perfect game to bring to a brewery with friends. There’s also three endings to discover, which increases the likelihood I would replay this game. Market value of Adventure Games: Monochrome Inc. is $20 and can be purchased from the Kosmos website.

The second game is Roll for Adventure. This game is a dice-rolling, cooperative game. Players have to stop the Dark Lord from spreading darkness across the land. Players can either save the empire or allow the empire to succumb to the Dark Lord. This game reminds me of a DnD inspired adventure. This would be perfect for a tired DM who needs a break from writing a session for players. Market value of Roll for Adventure is $35 and can be purchased from the Kosmos website. 

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“Mom, what’s this????” Athena says as she examines the games. Photo taken by Me. 

The final game I picked was Exit: The Catacombs of Horror. Kosmos has a new line of board games titled “Exit Games” which are inspired by escape rooms. Each “Exit” game has a different story which allow for players to experience a different adventure. This game takes place in Paris in the catacombs underneath the city. After the disappearance of a friend, players make their way down into the underground labyrinth. This game is rated as a difficulty of 3.5 / 5. I haven’t had a chance to play this game yet, but I’m intrigued as to how challenging I will find it to be. Market value of Exit: The Catacombs of Horror is $25 and can be purchased from the Kosmos website. 

That’s the end of my Kosmos game haul! I want to thank Kosmos for sending me these games in the first place. Every game they had sounded fascinating, but these three stuck out to me. I would highly recommend pursuing Kosmos website. Kosmos can be found through their website and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition / My First Time Being a DM

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First time being a DM or Keeper. Photo taken by Me.

I started playing the Call of Cthulhu role playing game approximately two years ago. I became enamored with the setting, the dice rolling and the challenge of the game. This rulebook doesn’t favor the players and it’s common for a character to die in a campaign. One of my friends messaged me asking if I would be the DM or in Call of Cthulhu’s terminology the keeper in a session. I was elated to accept the challenge and I successfully led our group through a campaign and spoiler alert: all of their characters survived.

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Ooohhh spooky. Photo taken by Me. 

Call of Cthulhu is created by Chaosium Inc. They’re pretty well known as I have seen them tabeling at C2E2 and Gen Con this year. Chaosium Inc. is widely well known for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, but have also created an RPG to Heroscape which is a game I played in middle school. In order to become the keeper, I bought the Call of Cthulhu starter set. It includes three booklets: the first book is an adventure with one player, the second book is the rules and the third book is other pre-made stories built to be played with a group of players. This set also includes the Call of Cthulhu dice, empty character sheets and five pre-generated characters.

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Inside the Starter Kit. Photo taken by Me. 

Before the game started, I was nervous. What if my players got stuck? What if they don’t understand the rules? What if they get bored??? Thankfully, none of these occurrences happened. I did use one of the pre-made stories, but I tweaked it in my own way. This allowed me to be creative, but have a reference in case I got stuck being the keeper.

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Rulebooks! Photo taken by Me. 

I underestimated how intelligent my friends are. My friends discovered there was an entity trapped in a farm house and how it’s main power is to reanimate dead corpses. As my friends stumbled on the farm house, they discovered various animal corpses and a dead body of a young woman. My fiance decided he wanted to cut up the body parts and throw them down a well. My other friends agreed and they spent time cutting up these body parts. They took sanity damage for it, but in the end this was a smart decision. When it came time for my final boss battle, I couldn’t reanimate the dead creatures or the corpse woman. This made the battle easier on the characters, but my life more difficult. My friends were able to conquer the entity in the end. 

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Nevada Jones, archaeologist. Photo taken by Me. 

Ultimately, I’m going to play through the other two pre-created scenarios, so I feel 100% comfortable leading a campaign. After this happens, I will purchase the full seventh edition rulebook and investigator handbook. This will allow me to create my own story in the Call of Cthulhu mythos. If you have ever played the Call of Cthulhu RPG, feel free to leave a comment about how the story went. I would love to hear it.

 

1920’s World Building in Scythe

When I got my Harry Potter tattoo at Jackalope TattooI had my best friend from college drive up and stay with me for the weekend. It was helpful having her with me because not only does she have several tattoos, but she allowed me to hold her hand if I needed it. Before I went to get my tattoo, we had a board game night on Sunday. She pulled out her copy of Scythe and we decided to give it a go. I didn’t think I would like this game as it was explained to me as a mixture of Settlers of Catan and Risk. However, once I was able to comprehend the rules, I would definitely play Scythe again.

 

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Scythe is an alternative 1920’s engine building game where players will expand their group by farming, building factories and possibly colonizing. I picked Bjorn & Mox because it was the most “Minnesotan” group to pick from. As a side note look at my cute Buffalo (is it a Bison?? Not sure). Bjorn’s special ability is being able to cross rivers. I was able to utilize this ability to access a special reaction token. To win a game of Scythe, it’s all about how many points a player accumulates in the game. One reason I was able to get most of my points is because of my popularity. Popularity is underrated and since I didn’t colonize and was nice to people, I gained more points at the end of the game. If I play another game, I would emphasize being popular makes a difference in being able to win.

When I first played the game and my friend was explaining all the rules to me, I was lost. There’s a lot to keep track of as far as turn selection and what resources produce which type of colony. It wasn’t until half way through the game where I finally understood what I was doing with Bjorn. Bjorn didn’t earn me a win, but I feel if I were to use his Buffalo again, I’d be able to gain dominance in Scythe’s alternative 1920’s universe.

Scythe is one of the many board games funded on kickstarter which led to it’s release in August of 2016. Stonemaier Games is based in St. Louis, MO and specializes in creating memorable board games which specialize in entrepreneurial mechanics. Scythe is the only game I have played from Stonemaier Games, but since Scythe’s release, there have been expansions released for the base game. One apparently includes hot air balloons, which I haven’t played, but my friend did. She said she liked the concept, but was confused by how it worked.

Playing Scythe was a fun experience. I don’t think I will personally purchase my own copy of Scythe because I have two friends who own the base game. Usually I’m not a fan of entrepreneurial type games, but I would make an exception to play Scythe. 

My Love / Hate Relationship with MtG Arena

Throne of Eldraine was released last weekend in spite of the fact I wasn’t able to attend. My brother was kind enough to snag me a pre-release kit when he played on Saturday. I opened it on Sunday and was disappointed in some of my pulls. In my pre-release kit was a code for six free Throne of Eldraine boosters on Magic the Gathering: Arena. This caused me to re-download Arena even though I had already uninstalled it twice from my laptop. I have mixed feelings around Arena which caused me to type this post today.

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My online profile. Screen shot taken by me through MtG Arena. 

I first downloaded Arena because of time. I barely have time after work to exercise, cook dinner, do laundry and go to sleep. Playing Magic in person, at a local game store, doesn’t fit into my after work routine. I appreciate the convenience of logging into my account and getting matched with another player in the comfort of my apartment. Completing the daily tasks is motivating due to the reward of extra coins. This in turn can be spent on booster packs. It’s a way where I can earn cards without having to put actual money into the format. That’s about the only positive things I can say towards Arena. 

It boggles my mind how there isn’t a mobile version of Arena. It would be 1000 times easier for me to get a game of Magic in on my lunch break versus having to pull out my laptop after a long day at work. Many other competitive card games utilize a phone app including Eternal published by Dire Wolf. Many other Magic players would play Arena if it was available as an app. For a well established, gaming company, Wizards of the Coast has been missing the mark in terms of making Arena accessible.

Another mild inconvenience is Arena takes up a bit of memory. I don’t have a gaming laptop, so my memory is precious. Arena has many network patches and updates which causes the game to grow in size. This helps with the realism of the game, but also doesn’t work the best for me. If Arena was available in a mobile platform, I could play the game on my phone versus my limited capacity on my laptop.

My last negative critique in Arena is the game has a few glitches. I have played in games before where my “hand” or my seven cards in my hand doesn’t load. Therefore, the game can’t continue. I have had to concede numerous games where this happens and it’s annoying.

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Throne of Eldraine Deck Building. Photo screen shot taken by me.

At this moment, Arena is front and center on my home screen. I’m getting enough boosters to build a Throne of Eldraine Black / White Knight deck. I’m hoping to use that deck in standard play if I obtain enough Black & White cards. Arena has kinks to work out, but it has loads of potential to become a legitimate, online gaming experience. If only Wizards of the Coast would listen to their fans.

 

Throne of Eldrain Pre-Release Preview MtG

Fall is coming which means trips to the Apple Orchard, pumpkin carving, hanging Halloween decorations and playing scary video games. Besides Fall themed activities, it also means a new MtG block is being released, but this one has me rather intrigued. It’s titled Throne of Eldraine and it’s a story book themed MtG set. Normally, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of fairy tales, but this seems to intertwine the “lighter” tales with a darker edge. I wanted to preview this set and share my excitement with a new, bold take on a MtG set.

Throne of Eldraine is described on Magic the Gathering’s website as a “storybook land of castles and cauldrons”. Part of my love for the Magic the Gathering pre-releases is the lore behind each set. There’s a story going on underneath all of the games everyone gets to play. I try to end up purchasing a bundle which consists of boosters, a deck box, plenty of land cards and a special booklet containing extra art and story background behind the set. After researching, I found out the booklets were discontinued which is a shame because the booklet would be perfect for Throne of Eldraine. No matter what though, I do intend on purchasing boosters or a pre-release kit for this set.

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Throne of Eldraine has new card art styles along with a brand new planeswalker. The new cards can be seen in the picture I took a screenshot of on Magic the Gathering’s website. On the far right card, it shows the new design of the card’s abilities. It looks like a picture book with one side saying what type of card it is including abilities, with the right side saying a quote from the card. I’m thrilled at this design because it doesn’t look too forced, yet it fits right in with the whole “storybook / fairy tail” theme.

There’s also a new planeswalker. Planeswalkers are cards that can “walk the realms” in Magic. Normally most cards will battle on one plane or one of the realms in Magic. However, planeswalkers have added abilities because they can travel throughout the realms in Magic. They are harder to kill, but provide more added benefit for a player. There’s a new one introduced in this set and I’m absolutely loving the art for this character.

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Here is Oko! Oko looks like a pretentious, pompous teenage boy looking to cause mischief in Eldraine. The attention to detail is what catches my attention with his bright blue arms and blue sparkle emanating from his sword. As far as his abilities, I’m not quite sure what food tokens do. The second ability isn’t too bad especially if the opponent has a bad creature, turning it into an elk may be lifesaving. The third ability would come in handy though being able to swap for an opponent’s creature. I would be interested to see how he plays out in a game.

Throne of Eldraine is open for pre-order for both local game stores and for Magic the Gathering: Arena. The pre-release will happen starting Friday September 27th with the actual release being on October 4th. Pre-releases are one of my favorite ways to play Magic because I get to play with the cards early, but also being challenged by having to create a deck without knowing which cards I will pull. I’m getting better at putting decks together, but it’s still a challenge for me. If you’re playing in this pre-release, tell me what you think of some of the new cards in the comments below.

 

Play Space Catan with Lander

Gen Con is so much more than spending a bunch of money at the exhibitor hall. In between board game purchases, developers host players to demo their games. Three months before Gen Con, you can register for game demos, often these events are free. One of the demos I registered for was a space exploration game titled Lander. As our demo leader Dan stated, it’s loosely inspired by Settlers of Catan, but in space.

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Lander Poster. Photo taken by me. 

Lander is a space themed strategy game where players take on the role of corporations to complete missions in space. There are three playing styles within the game, but in the demo version, we played the basic simulation. The win condition in the basic simulation is to have seven completed mission stars. In order to complete missions, you need to complete your crew and gain resources. It’s more complex than what it sounds which is where the challenge comes in. I lost the game because I didn’t attach the right characteristics to the right crew members. As a result, I couldn’t complete the mission.

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Lander instructions. Photo taken by me. 

Unlike Settlers of Catan, Lander puts more focus on negotiation. There’s an hour glass within the game which represents the time you have to successfully negotiate with another player. It’s funny because one of the players in our demo group hates Catan with a passion because of how you can be a jerk in the game, yet they ended up loving this game once we finished.

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I was the blue corporation! I still lost :/ Photo taken by me. 

Immediately, I wanted to purchase this game after I completed it. However, Lander isn’t out yet. It will be an upcoming kickstarter campaign in March of 2020. What makes Lander a unique campaign is their #playbeforeyoupledge. Many local game stores will be receiving a copy of Lander, which allows players who weren’t able to attend Gen Con to play Lander and determine if they will back it in March. There’s an interactive map on their website, so you can identify which game store would receive a copy of Lander. 

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I LOST!!!!!! 😦 Photo taken by Dan, our demo instructor. 

Lander is a complex strategy game that needs to be played multiple times. It was more challenging than I had anticipated which makes it worth replaying. One of my good friends loves Settlers of Catan, and I want to introduce her to this game. Lander is going to be on a future kickstarter campaign which will launch March of 2020. I do plan on writing a blog post to remind all of you about this game once it gets closer to the kickstarter launch. Otherwise, feel free to browse through Lander’s website and check if your LGS will have a copy to play.