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.

 

My Youtube Subscriptions

When I was in middle school, me and my friends would create vlogs about silly things. It was a way we could get creative and manage our own page. I don’t actively add videos to Youtube anymore, but I have a few favorite “vloggers” I’m subscribed to. I wanted to list a couple of my favorite vloggers and why I enjoy their content.

Yoga with Adriene

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I’m extremely inflexible. My hip flexors are tight and it’s a struggle for me to touch my toes while standing. That’s why I subscribe to Yoga with Adriene. The yoga videos are free and there’s a variety of different videos. Some of her videos are catered to specific populations and no matter which video I choose, I always feel great after. Sometimes after a long day at work, I don’t want to go run on a treadmill, so I find doing a couple of her videos mellows me out.

Cameron Chaney

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Cameron specializes in “all things spooky”. He’s a horror author who often vlogs about book reviews of various horror books. Cameron provides “trigger warnings” in his book reviews which I really appreciate. A couple of the books he reviewed had intense rape scenes. I actively avoid reading about sexual assault in books for personal reasons. To see Cameron being sensitive to his audience makes me enjoy his content even more.

Molly McIsaac

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Molly McIsaac is the best witch queen on the internet. I started following Molly after watching the reality show on Syfy titled FangasmMolly speaks her mind and she’s passionate about body positivity, thrifting and social justice. Her videos recently have been pumpkin related shopping hauls, but she also vlogs about gaming, thrifting and more. I have yet to watch her #100babychallenge on Sims 4, but knowing Molly, I bet it will keep me entertained.

Super Space Chick

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Another Fangasm alum, Kristin is a booktuber. Many of the book series I have read came from her channel. I will say our book interests don’t always align, but it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone in what I read. Kristin loves young adult fantasy, contemporary and manga. Her videos are the perfect length and her channel is bright colored and peppy. I will continue to watch all of her book videos because they inspire me to keep reading all day every day.

Good Luck High Five

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Good Luck High Five is a Magic: the Gathering video channel and both Megan and Maria offer great tips on playing the game. As someone who has had negative experiences with the game, it helps that this channel is run by female gamers. My only negative with this channel is the videos can run long and my interest starts to wane. However, I usually play their videos while I do chores which helps pass the time.

Youtube is a great platform that’s allowed many to thrive making videos. All of these vloggers have made a positive impact in my watching experience and I can’t recommend them enough.

Good Omens by Neil Geiman and Terry Pratchett

The first book I read by Neil Geiman was Coraline. Coraline gave me nightmares and it’s the first horror book I can recall reading. I hadn’t read any other graphic novel or book written by Neil Geiman since finishing Coraline. When I learned David Tennant was cast in the TV version of Good Omens, it brought this book to my attention. Good Omens was a slower read for me, but I enjoyed the thick layer of satire between the lines.

*Spoilers for the book and possibly the Amazon series, though I haven’t watched it yet.*

Good Omens starts with the relationship between Aziraphale and Crowley. Aziraphale is an angel and a self proclaimed biblophile owning his own book store in London. Crowley is a fallen angel working with the demons from hell. Aziraphale and Crowley have a great bromance as they enjoy their lives in England. As such, when they recognize a plot to bring the apocalypse to Earth, they team up to save the planet.

Besides Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship, there are several side plots happening simultaneously. In the beginning of Good Omens, there’s a character listing which helps to keep everything straight. Anathema Device is the character I most enjoyed reading about. She’s a witch and a descendant of Agnes Nutter, who wrote a book of prophecies which are slowly coming true. Anathema stands up for herself and aids Aziraphale and Crowley to prevent the Apocalypse. Anathema’s relationship with Newt helps benefit her as a character as Newt allows Anathema to see how she can live her life without knowing her grandmother’s predictions.

Agnes Nutter is a special witch. She’s burned at the stake because of the townsfolk learning about her witchcraft. Agnes gets her revenge. As she’s being burned alive, she hides gunpowder and nails inside her coat which allows her to explode, killing her fellow townsfolk. Agnes is a force to be reckoned with.

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because at times the story could be boring. Adam’s story with his four friends didn’t interest me at all, however I liked how his friend group took down the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. My edition of Good Omens includes a section where Neil Geiman and Terry Pratchett talk about what it was like to work together in creating this book. It gives readers insight on how Neil Geiman and Terry Pratchett write which helped me like this book even more. Now it’s time to watch the series on Amazon and I can’t wait to see David Tennant be the sassy Devil he was meant to be.

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.

 

Wildcard by Marie Lu

I’m close to meeting my goodreads goal of having read fifty books in 2019. This is a surpurb reading year for me. It’s become difficult to write book reviews on this site because I read faster than I can type reviews. I wanted to write a review for Wildcard by Marie Lu because it’s the second book in the Warcross series. Warcross was one of my favorite series I read in 2018, so it holds a special place in my biblophile heart.  Despite Warcross’s strong start, Wildcard is a weaker addition to the series.

*spoilers from Warcross & Wildcard down below, be aware*

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Wildcard Book Cover. Photo from Amazon. 

Wildcard begins immediately after Warcross with Hideo Tanaka’s neurolink going online. This neurolink forces anyone who has committed a crime or thought about committing a crime to turn themselves into the police. Emika feels betrayed by Hideo because she feels no one should have this type of power even if Hideo’s intentions are good. Emika is contacted by Zero who is revealed at the end of Warcross to be Hideo’s missing brother, Sasuke. Zero gives Emika a way to shut down the neurolink by being recruited by Zero’s group the Blackcoats. As Emika investigates further into Sasuke’s past she uncovers a shocking horror into what happened with Sasuke and how this leads into the Blackcoats true intentions.

Sasuke’s backstory is tragic. I’m not going to reveal any of it because I don’t want to be giving massive spoilers in this review. I wouldn’t say I shed any tears for Sasuke, but his backstory allowed him to be manipulated by high ranking individuals who weren’t looking out for his best interests.

Marie Lu is skilled at creating morally ambiguous characters. The villain’s methodology is completely wrong, but their intentions are good. This type of character creation allows for open discussion about the implications in Wildcard with our current society. Hideo can be considered a villain as well because even though he has good intentions on trying to decrease crime, he has also caused mass suicides of criminals and innocent people. In my opinion, Hideo is more of an anti-hero because his intentions are good, but the outcome is severe.

Wildcard builds off of my OTP’s including Hammie & Asher and Roshan & Tremaine. I don’t ship Emika with Hideo because Emika is fiercly intelligent and she deserves someone who will listen to her and Hideo doesn’t.

As I mentioned, Wildcard is a weaker addition in the series because the final “battle” drags on forever. I found myself losing focus while reading because I found the virtual elements to be confusing to picture in my mind. I never lost my focus reading Warcross, whereas Wildcard felt too long.

Wildcard isn’t terrible, but could be better. I initially gave this book three stars on goodreads, but seeing the return of the Phoenix Riders along with the addition of new characters allowed me to give this book four stars. It’s not as great as Warcross, but it’s still a worthy sequel into this neon gaming world.

Colorado was Mesmorizing

Two weeks ago I took a solo road trip to Colorado driving 13-14 hours one way. Colorado is a beautiful place with the Rocky Mountains extending throughout most of the state. I have seen the Appalachian’s in Georgia, but the Rockies are an entirely different scenery. I had an amazing trip and I wanted to share my experience.

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Picture taken by Me. 

One of my childhood friends recently moved out to Federal Heights which is half way between Denver and Boulder. As soon as I found out about his recent move, I knew immediately I wanted to go and see him. I left on a Wednesday and made stops in Sioux Falls and Mitchell, South Dakota. Sioux Falls has the falls park, which is rather pretty, but now that I have seen it, I wouldn’t stop there again. In Mitchell, South Dakota, there’s the corn palace. The Corn Palace is a gigantic castle with a history of corn inside. It’s very midwestern which is part of the reason I stopped there. It’s corny, *see what I did there* but I had a fun time exploring the castle. Eventually, I reached Denver by 9:30 PM. I stayed in Colorado for three full days before heading back to Minneapolis on Sunday.

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Outside of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Picture taken by Me. 

While in Colorado, we did a lot of hiking. I’m surprised at how much the altitude impacted me. I consider myself mostly in shape, but I found I was out of breath faster. The hike was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. I wish while I was in Colorado that I drank more water. I had a tension headache throughout most of the trip which was probably due to dehydration and lack of oxygen. Despite the headache, the hike was breathtaking *I have got to stop with these puns*

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Harry Potter Tattoo Hike. Photo taken by My Friend

The last hike we did was the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs which is two hours south from Denver. Unlike the first hike in the Rockies, these rocks are bright red in color. This hike was less difficult than the one in the Rockies, but again with a mounting tension headache, I started to lose steam towards the end.

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Garden of the Gods. Picture taken by Me. 

Towards the end of my three days, I didn’t want to leave. I had friends from college who had moved to Colorado as soon as they graduated. I can see why. My friend said I’m welcome back anytime and I might take him up on that except I wouldn’t do the drive again. Colorado was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and I can’t wait to go back.

As a side note, Colorado is a geeky place. My friend took me to a numerous amount of game stores, comic shops etc. My favorite game store I went to was in Boulder titled Gamer’s GuildWe were able to sit down with the owner and his cute puppy. We even did a Throne of Eldraine draft on Friday night. I didn’t do so well in the draft, but it was still fun to experience the geeky culture in Colorado.

 

Halloween Tag

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When I saw this Halloween Tag appear on A Geek Girl’s Guide, I knew this would be right up my alley. I always say Halloween is my favorite holiday that’s not an actual holiday. Why do I love Halloween so much?? Hopefully this tag gives you some insite into my spooky brain.

When does the Halloween season start for you?

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My favorite Pumpkin sweater. Photo taken Fall of 2018

I started wearing my Pumpkin sweater on the last weekend in August. Many coworkers felt this was too early, but I disagree. The fiance doesn’t let me put up any decorations before October 1st.

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

When I was younger, my dad would always take a ton of pictures before we went trick or treating. Halloween was fun in my family as we would gather around the kitchen table carving pumpkins. My mom would stay at home and watch horror movies and pass out candy. As I reflect on my childhood memories, Halloween will always be a pleasant memory of mine thanks to both of my parents.

What is your favorite Halloween memory?

This is a tough one. There was one memory where my dad drove me and my brother around to trick or treat. I remember going with my friends as we all lived in the neighborhood. There was a time where I would have a sleepover with one of my best friends if Halloween happened to fall on the weekend.

Do you decorate for Halloween?

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YES! All of the Halloween decorations. We picked up a couple of antique decorations at an apple orchard near our apartment. There are Halloween window stickers, a purple velvet skull and several hanging decorations as well. All of it will probably come down November 1st, but I will attempt to keep them up for as long as possible.

Favorite Halloween Costume?

I loved being Belle from Beauty and the Beast. My brother was Steve Irwin that year for Halloween. Besides Belle, I remember dressing up as Jesse from Toy Story and I had an orange and black witch costume.

If you could be in a Halloween movie (horror or not) which would you choose?

My favorite type of Halloween movie to watch is a slasher film, but I wouldn’t want to be chased by a serial killer. I would probably pick It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown because the Peanuts are cute and I would love to see myself animated in the style of a Peanuts character.

How do you plan on celebrating Halloween this year?

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Halloween 2017: Dressed as Waldo & played Call of Cthulhu One Shot DnD. 

I could either play a Call of Cthulhu DnD one shot session or in year’s past I would go to a brewery and have a pint while being in costume. It all depends on what I’m in the mood for this year. Personally, if I do go to a brewery, I want to find an animal onesie, so I stay warm in the cold.

Have you ever carved a Jack-O-Lantern?

HECK YEAH! I don’t think I will carve one this year, but I have done so in the past.

What is something you want to do to celebrate Halloween one year?

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Inside a spooky shop in Salem, MA. Photo taken May of 2018. 

Visit Salem, MA. My family & I drove up to Salem when we went to Boston in May of 2018. I have heard Salem goes all out for Halloween and I think it would be a dream come true to go. Otherwise visiting Tokyo or New Orleans during Halloween would probably be fun too.

What is your Halloween costume this year? If you don’t have one, what would you like to be?

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Catwoman & her Bruce Wayne. Halloween 2018. Fiance (then boyfriend) wore his batman onesie out to a brewery. 

No idea! I haven’t had time to go costume shopping. I’m going to check goodwill, but I also have a Spirit Halloween coupon to use. I try not to shop at Spirit because the quality is cheap and expensive. Sometimes I’ll pick up accessories I can use in cosplay because that way I can use whatever I buy multiple times. It comes down to what’s affordable or what I can thrift for what my costume will be this year.

Super Scary Halloween or Lighthearted Spooky Halloween?

A little mix of both. I enjoy watching various horror movies, but I also like little kids in costumes. I would love to get a costume on Athena, but I’m not sure if that will work out this year.

How would you spend a Halloween at home versus going out?

I personally want to go out on Halloween. I like being around people who like Halloween as much as me! If I were at home, I would probably read more of the Deathly Hallows or play a scary video game.

Why Do You Love Halloween?

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Another reason why I love Halloween? Snapchat filters. 

Reasons why I love Halloween: autumn colors, spooky decorations, cute costumes, little kids in costumes, candy corn, pumpkin carving etc. Need I say more? 🙂