Our 2nd episode of Killer Bits is live. In this episode, Staci counts down 5 games that she’s recently played, from worst to best. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment!
Our 2nd episode of Killer Bits is live. In this episode, Staci counts down 5 games that she’s recently played, from worst to best. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment!Read More
Today, we officially launched our YouTube channel with the release of the first Killer Bits episode. Killer Bits will be short videos that talk about some aspect of the board gaming space, covering evRead More
Written By: John Minecraft is a very popular game today with more than 20 million registered users. Everyday that number grows by about ten thousand. The most likely reason the game has grown big so qRead More
Every Thursday night, I go to Gamelot in San Antonio and play board games with some of the coolest cats around. This article will give a quick update on the games I played and what I thought of them.Read More
Our 2nd episode of Killer Bits is live. In this episode, Staci counts down 5 games that she’s recently played, from worst to best. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment!
Today, we officially launched our YouTube channel with the release of the first Killer Bits episode. Killer Bits will be short videos that talk about some aspect of the board gaming space, covering everything from news, reviews, and previews, to opinions and recaps. There is much more planned for the YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe after you watch this video! Can you guess the card game before we tell you what it is?
Written By: John
Minecraft is a very popular game today with more than 20 million registered users. Everyday that number grows by about ten thousand. The most likely reason the game has grown big so quickly is that it pretty much breaks every “rule” a normal game has. There are no missions. You are set in a world where you can do whatever you like. Climb hilltops, dig tunnels underground, or build a nice house by the water. Everything is up to you – the player.
One thing that also sets Minecraft apart from other new games is its graphics. Some would say they are terrible while others would say it’s terrific because of its nostalgic old school look. Each and every texture in the game has a pixeled surface to it which really brings back memories of games like Super Mario and so forth. In case you are not that fond of this old school graphics, there are texture packages that will modify the way the game looks to your liking.
Minecraft can be played in single player mode or together with others online. Today, there are thousands of different Minecraft servers to choose from and sometimes it can be hard to figure out which to pick. A solution for that would be visiting MinePick Servers List. There you can find many different servers to choose from and each server has a description you can read to get a better understanding of what it is about. All servers in the server list are ranked based on how many votes they have. This is to make sure only the most popular ones are listed in the top and are the ones you will notice at first.
This is a great game to play together with your friends. Everything really comes down to teamwork while playing and it’s very rare to feel any anger or frustration, as you may feel in other games, because in Minecraft there’s usually no hurry to achieve something or get to some place. Everything can be done at your own pace.
All you need to be able to play on different Minecraft servers is a copy of the game. It’s purchased over at Minecraft’s own official website. It costs as little as 19.95 euro or $26.95 US and all updates are free. There is no monthly fee. There will most likely be no sequels of the game, meaning for that little money you will have a Minecraft account for all eternity.
Every Thursday night, I go to Gamelot in San Antonio and play board games with some of the coolest cats around. This article will give a quick update on the games I played and what I thought of them. They are ranked in the order of enjoyment with #1 being my favorite from that night.
1. Among the Stars Among the Stars is a relatively new game that was released in 2012. It’s a ship building card game in which players earn victory points by placing cards in front of them. Each card does something different and some have requirements or victory point bonuses if certain conditions are met. All cards have a cost requirement and money is not unlimited, so there’s a strategy in how to spend and when to discard for extra money. It’s a very fun game and I’m not just saying that because I smoked everyone else. My strategy involved trying to get as many of the objective bonus cards as possible and taking very high point cards that gave immediate points. I also chose a character that allowed me to replace special cards with the unused special cards, in order to maximize my points or remove a card my hand if I thought it would benefit someone else too much. I didn’t go for many of the cards that gave points at the end. In fact, I only got 10 bonus points, where as the person who came in second had 22 at the end, and he still couldn’t catch me. Take the lead early and build on it as quickly as possible was my strategy and it paid off well. It was my favorite game of the night.
2. Elder Sign Elder Sign is a cooperative dice rolling game in which players work together to defeat a big, bad, evil monster that is dead set on devouring the world. Players have to defeat the monster by collecting a certain number of Elder Signs, awarded as rewards for completing quests, before the monster reaches the end of their Doom Track. Each player chooses a character with a special ability. I chose Amanda Sharpe. Her ability involves being able to complete as many tasks as she wants without having to reroll the dice. This is a useful ability when quests come up that have a lot of separate tasks but not many dice are needed for each task. In our play through of the game, though, I didn’t get to use it that much. We played a three player game and drew Azazoth as our big baddie. Early on, he got a lot of doom tokens and we had very few Elder Signs, so it didn’t look good for us, but then we had Rlyeh come out (which is worth a lot of Elder signs), and we ended up defeating the beast. Elder Sign was released in 2011, so it has some age on it, but still feels fresh and new for anyone who hasn’t played it much. I really love this game and the only reason it wasn’t my favorite play of the night was because I have some familiarity with it and Among the Stars was brand new to me (and I won Among the Stars…)
3. Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga Fire & Axe, released in 2004, allows players to become vikings in a quest for victory points. Players do this by trading, placing settlers, and raiding cities throughout Europe. The whole objective of the game is to complete Saga cards. These randomly come out of a Saga card deck (split into three eras) and have some kind of goal on them, such as settling certain groups of cities (or a lone distant city) or trading with a city. The game ends when all the Saga cards are drawn (after three rounds) or all the Saga cards are claimed (thus immediately ending the game.) The interesting thing with these goals is that only the last goal in a group counts, so a player can be working on a goal, such as settling three cities, and get two settled with their pieces only to have another player swoop in and settle the last city, claiming the Saga. Some of the Saga cards had bonus points, but most of the victory points come from points immediately earned for trading with a city, points gained by raiding towns (with tokens on them), and points accumulated for settling. There were some interesting bonus point rules that made the game more complicated and was often hard to keep track of. In the end, I came in third, and that was only because I managed to steal a couple of Sagas with high bonus points on them out from under the leader, who really killed the rest of us at the end. Of course, he was also the only one who had played before. I didn’t really enjoy this game as much as the other two and given the choice, there are a lot of other games I’d rather play.
Do you agree or disagree with my opinions of these games? Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts! Do you have a game you would like me to play and give my thoughts on? Please let me know that as well. Thanks for reading!
The year was 1989. I was just entering tenth grade. Most of my friends were boys. They made relentless fun of the New Kids on the Block and listened to hair metal. As a result, I completely missed out on crushing on Jordan or Donnie (were those the ones people crushed on?) Instead, I wanted to have babies with Joe Perry (of Aerosmith) and my room was littered with pictures of Lita Ford and Jon Bon Jovi. I honestly don’t feel like I missed out on much.
Flash forward twenty-three years. I went to the Half-Price Books down the street and picked up a grab bag of comic books for three bucks for my boys. I’m trying to get them started right. The front showed an old Batman comic and the back revealed Ninja High School, which sounds like an awesome comic. And school. I picked the boys (who are six and nine) up from their own school and showed them the treasure. There were ten comics just waiting to be discovered inside this beautiful, and cheap, grab bag. So we cracked it open and started divvying the comics up.
Stuck between two copies of X Factor, I found this:
My kids said things like “what’s this?” and “is it cool?”
The first I could answer. New Kids on the Block were a popular boy band from the late eighties and early nineties. Mark Wahlberg’s older brother was in the band. This must have been a comic that banked on the popularity of the band.
The second question was harder. Was this a cool comic? I started thumbing threw it, trying to remember what I could about the band I barely paid any attention to. They had some songs I thought I knew and a quick google search turned up gems like Hangin’ Tough and The Right Stuff. Seriously, go watch that video, especially if you loved them when you were a kid, and tell me it’s not one of the funniest things you’ve seen today.
The comic itself has gems like “Yeah! Hang tough, and as long as you love us … We’ll be loving you forever!” and a section called “New Kids on the Rag.” I’m just not sure what they meant by that, but in that section, it says “Hey Look! It’s the new fags on the block. What a bunch of poseurs!” The comic seems to outline their rise to fame, but there’s a mocking undertone to it, so I’m not sure if it’s cool or not.
I’m putting the comic in my own collection. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the group and I can’t figure out the point of the comic, it’s still something that does make me remember my childhood. The part where I made fun of anything that was cool and popular and mainstream. Funny how things don’t change.
Okay, I admit it. I’m a Facebook game snob. I look down on most Facebook games. The few in the past that have captured my attention, like Packrat or The Sims Social, were the exceptions to Facebook games, not the rule.
The times, they are a-changing.
Facebook games are, more and more, stepping out of the Mafia Wars and Farmville mold. It’s getting to the point that if it’s a game, it CAN be on Facebook. Nothing is proving this fact more than traditional casual games, with titles like AdventureWorld or Hidden Chronicles being very popular. Zynga Slingo is another of those games.
For those not familiar with Slingo, it essentially combines Bingo (which I do play IRL) and Slots (which I do play IRL.) There’s a limited number of spins and players have to fill up a card of numbers by spinning slot reels for those numbers. There’s a variety of power-ups that will help fill the board, like one that marks everything in a line or wild jokers that will allow the marking of anything in a line (or my favorite one, anywhere on the board.) Objectives include completing a pattern, achieving certain high scores and filling a complete card.
Zynga Slingo takes all the best parts of Slingo and puts them on Facebook. It adds in help from friends and a limiting element. And all that comes together into a very addictive game. I feel like I can never get enough. I bought a full day’s worth of energy (something you can do with Slingo Cash, which you can purchase with real life money or earn by completing various offers) and thought by the time that day was over, I’d be done with my addiction and be able to move onto something else. I was wrong. If anything, I’m more addicted now.
Players start out with basic boards and a small amount of energy, and as they complete objectives, they will gain medals. These medals are essentially the leveling system. I currently have 226 and am number one on my friends list! *gloat off* To play a board, it requires energy and energy replenishes automatically, one every three and a half minutes. Energy can also be purchased in small increments or unlimited supplies for a limited time.
There’s a certain number of free balls a player gets when they purchase the board (using energy) and when those balls are gone, four extra balls that can be bought for two energy each. After that, players may have free balls they can use or they can purchase additional balls, either by spending coins, which are gained by filling up the coin bar, or by spending Slingo Cash. They can also spam all their friends and ask them to send additional balls (sorry friends!) and that’s where the social aspect comes in. Friends can help out by sending coins or balls or energy and players can return the favor. There’s also something called Play With Friends, which is ‘coming soon’ and I can’t wait to see what that ends up being.
Zynga has separated the game into stages, with each stage having nine cards. These stages have unique and interesting artwork. The higher a player goes in stages, the more complicated the cards and patterns get, and the more energy it requires to start the game. Right now, I have six stages unlocked, with titles like Sugar Rush and Shooting Stars. I thought there were only five stages, but when I got to a certain point in the game, Shooting Stars just appeared.
I played the heck out of the Slingo games on the PC, although by the time I got to the last few, they had become tired and worn out. The developers tried to change things up by adding in an adventure element, but it ended up just annoying me. Zynga Slingo takes the Slingo format and puts it on a friendly platform. It hasn’t gotten tired yet, probably because I can only play it a limited number of times before I have to stop and wait for my energy to replenish, or choose to spend some money on it.
I need more Zynga Slingo friends. My current friends are great at sending me balls, but in this game, there’s no such thing as too many balls. So feel free to friend me for Slingo purposes.
Do you play Zynga Slingo or other Facebook casual games? What keeps you going back to a specific game day after day?
Over this past weekend, I volunteered at ChimaeraCon, a local convention that focused on tabletop gaming. There were some other fun things to do, like LARPing (Live Action Roleplaying), and there were some Cosplayers, but the conference really focused on tabletop gaming. I spent most of the weekend chatting up the special guests and doing my volunteer gig, but in my free time, I played some games. When I went to write down the list of games I played over the weekend, I noticed a distinct pattern in the games I chose to play and/or watch. See if you can spot it:
The Walking Dead
There were a couple of other games I popped into, like Frag and Blood Bowl, but I didn’t so much choose to play those as that’s what was available to play while I was free.
The funny part is, I don’t think I like Zombie stuff all that much! I don’t watch The Walking Dead (although that’s more of a ‘when the heck can I find the time to catch up on Season 1′ rather than a choice to not watch it). In most of my fiction reading, Zombies play a small role, if they are in the books at all. But when it comes to gaming, I adore ones where I can kill Zombies. My favorite arcade game of all time is The House of the Dead. I played Typing of the Dead and loved it (plus I’m a super fast and accurate typer so that helped.) Plants vs. Zombies–yes, please. I even like the shooter maps where someone gets to be a zombie (if I’m the one who gets to kill them.) Apparently, this love for killing game zombies translates into tabletop gaming too.
After this weekend, my favorite Zombie tabletop game is Zombie Fluxx. If you’ve never played Fluxx–shame on you! Of course, I hadn’t played a Fluxx game until this past weekend, so it’s forgivable. I even got the game and brought it home to my kids. It’s easy enough that I can play it with a nine and six year old. The game begins with two rules. Draw one card and play one card. But the cards drawn will change the rules, like requiring that more cards be drawn or played. Some rules are really crazy, like having to groan like a zombie every time a player draws a zombie creeper. The object is to collect the keepers (like a shotgun or lumber) and have those keepers match the goal cards (which will be ever changing). Most goals require the players to not have any zombies in front of them, so there’s ways to kill and get rid of zombies–my favorite part! There’s also some special cards that allow a player to ignore any zombies in front of them and still achieve the goal.
For Fluxx, there’s also Pirate Fluxx (Arrr matey!), Monty Python Fluxx (which everyone would not stop talking about over the weekend, apparently if you are a Monty Python fan, this is a must have) and Eco Fluxx (which may or may not teach people about the environment…not sure.) It’s a great game and I’m looking forward to my next gaming event so I can get some adults to play more Fluxx with me.
My kids have been wanting to do Thrill the World, so perhaps I’ll get us Zombie costumes this year and dress as a Zombie. Maybe after I pretend to be a Zombie, I’ll have a better appreciation for the Zombies and won’t want to kill them quite so much. Or maybe I’ll just want to play more Zombie games, but instead want to be the Zombie.
So I’m wondering if I’m the only one who has a love for a particular theme in gaming. Does anyone else have a theme they just MUST play if the game has it?
I’ve been playing Tiny Tower, a Tower Sim I’ve downloaded on the iPad. It’s available for Android as well. It’s one of many apps from developer Nimblebit, one that I keep logging into day after day.
Let me make a few confessions before I talk anymore about this game. First, I hate Farmville and all the other ‘sim’ style games on Facebook. I did play The Sims Social for a while, but even that got boring pretty quickly for me. Second, I have a short attention span with games in general and once I step away from one for a couple of days, that’s it. It would be a rare thing for me to go back to a game I’ve stopped playing. Third, I played Sim Tower like a mad woman when I was in my twenties and I still think it’s the best Sim game ever. EVER.
I downloaded Tiny Tower on a whim, because I was applying for jobs in casual games and, truth be told, the iPad was new to me and I hadn’t played too many of the games on it yet. On all the sites I applied to, every single one of them was raving about Tiny Tower, so I figured …
Sorry for the interruption, I had a VIP sitting there waiting for me. It was a realtor and I had some open spots in one apartment, so I wanted to get her to that floor. What was I saying? Oh, right.
I downloaded the game, and like most of the downloads on the iPad, it was quick. In seconds, I was up and running. I walked through the basic tutorial and it explained the elements of Tiny Tower. There are essentially four: build floors, construct businesses, stock inventory and move people (Bitizens) up the elevator. There’s some extra features that are fluff, like the Bitbook that is essentially Facebook for the Bitizens, and missions, which reward Bux, one of the two currencies in the game. Bux are used to upgrade systems in the game or take quick shortcuts, such as immediately stocking inventory or moving someone into an apartment. Bux are pretty easy to obtain by keeping shops stocked and by working the elevator. The entire point of the game is to build the next floor and the next floor and the next floor and … you get the point. If there’s an endgame, it’s not obvious.
As the Tiny Tower gets built up, and becomes not so tiny, everything starts to cost more coins (the other currency). But coins also become easier to earn and it evens out. My tower is currently at forty-nine levels and I’m itching for my fiftieth. I think there’s an achievement at fifty. I currently have eighty-nine Bitizens (I keep evicting anyone who doesn’t have at least one nine in their stats–I know, I’m terribly mean!) and twenty-nine businesses. I check my stock first thing in the morning, then periodically throughout the day, then make sure everything is as stocked as I can make it before I go to bed. I’ll also sit here while watching TV or even writing (this article) and pop people up to the floors they want to go to intermittently. I’m definitely hooked.
When playing Sim Tower, I wanted to build the biggest and broadest tower I could manage. That level one hundred tower was a thing of beauty. A part of me is hoping that when I get to one hundred, there’s some big fireworks show and then I can move on with my life. Another part of me hopes it’s the tower that never ends. It will just go on and on my friends. Some people started playing it not knowing what it was. And they’ll continue playing it forever just because this is the tower that never ends…
It’s also interesting to note that I spent the weekend at a convention (ChimaeraCon, which you can read about my weekend on my other blog) and didn’t have much time to just chill at home with my iPad and yet, I am still playing it. Meaning I put it down for a few days and came back, just as hooked.
If you are an overachiever who likes to take people up and down elevators all day long, then check out Tiny Tower. Huh. Maybe I missed my calling. Instead of a writer, I should have been an elevator person…what are they called anyway?
You can see my Tiny Tower at this link. Feel free to add me as a friend on Gamecenter on the iPad as well! I’m rosethornii.
I started exercising last week. Not a lot mind you – cause I’m in terrible, terrible shape. Just terrible. But we recently changed our diet (stopped eating fast food every day) and that’s a good start towards not being in terrible shape. I decided to add a jog/walk that I do at 7:30 in the morning. My husband and I drop our kids off, then I jog/walk home. Every day, I jog a little more and walk a little less. Once I don’t feel like I’m dying, I’ll add some distance to the run (take the long way home probably), but I’m sticking with a 1/2 mile for now. Last week was the first week of school, so it’s the first week I’ve done this and it went well. I was a little sore here and there, but in general, I felt fine. I had plenty of energy. This week, it’s not going so well. I’m exhausted and it’s making me cranky. I’ve been getting headaches. And my legs are really not feeling so hot. I know this is just that initial hump I have to get past, and I’m not going to let it beat me, but dang – I’m seriously tired.
On another note, I bought these hot looking shoes so I can at least look fashionable as I limp/jog down the street. –>>
I got an email yesterday about a job I applied for – one that sounded amazing, doing demonstrations of a really wicked product. Unfortunately, the job requires a significant amount of travel (3 weeks out of 4 every month) – some travel I’m good with, but I couldn’t be away from my kids that much, so I had to pass on the interview. All my eggs are currently in one basket, the interview I have on Thursday. I really must get this job.
The bowling league I want to join has an organizational meeting tonight. I can’t go, since my husband bowls Tuesdays (the league actually bowls on Wednesdays, so not sure why they are doing the org meeting on Tuesday). I emailed them and I hope they have an opening on a team for me. It’s an IGBO league (International Gay Bowling Organization) and I think it would be great fun to meet the gay community here in San Antonio, even though I’m straight.
I logged into EverQuest 2 today and it’s been a while since I hit my level cap (90) on a character and took a break from the game. It took me a while to figure out my spell bar! I’m a level 90 coercer and I just found out that there’s a level 85 quest to fly for my character’s race – I must go on that. I want to fly! The gliding down was already cool, so this is just super bonus. I also came across several shinies and remembered the thing I love most about the game is the collections. EQ2 I’ve missed you!
So I finally got into trying out Turntable.FM and I have to say, for the most part, I LOVE it! I love that I can share my tastes with other people, particularly those I know. I like being a DJ (who knew?). And there’s even rooms where people play games around the concept of DJing and matching names of songs – and games are always win.
There are a couple of things I don’t like about it. First, people can click lame on your song and if enough people click lame, it skips. I suppose this would be great for really busy rooms, but when it’s just few friends and someone clicks lame, it hurts your feelings. If it gets skipped because your friends want to play their crappy music and you politely listen to theirs, it can ruin friendships. So be careful about who you room with.
Second, the queue has no management abilities, other than move something to the top. It would be nice if you could tag songs so you could pull up a playlist (if the current room calls for it) or finds songs more easily. The search is pretty limiting as well. That said, my complaints don’t really matter since I’ve had so much fun messing around in it. I joined a room earlier where the theme was mellow songs, so I played my mellowest songs (which of course included Tom Petty) and it was fun to listen to all the other mellow songs, many of which I’d never heard. Now we’re playing the matching game and it’s been fun.
Now on to random thoughts – I really, really, really like Rachel from Big Brother. Maybe it’s because my husband and I watch Big Brother After Dark and did last season, so we got to see the ‘real’ Rachel instead of the ‘edited’ version, or maybe it’s because she’s just the type of girl who grows on you after a while, but I enjoy listening to her conversations and I love it when she gets a little annoying to the other houseguests. It’s part of her charm. And you can’t say Danielle and Shelley don’t deserve every snark they get from Rachel. Shelley is the biggest hypocrite to ever play Big Brother. She thoroughly ‘hates’ Rachel, but Rachel has been far more of an honest player than Shelley and Rachel definitely has more integrity – not to mention Rachel can win competitons and Shelley can’t do anything apparently. I’m sure IRL Shelley is a good person and her husband and kid don’t deserve what’s happening and will continue to happen because of some of the things Shelley has said and done on Big Brother, but she’s made some very bad decisions and her insistence that she’s an honest player despite the fact that she’s lied to nearly everyone on the show since day one is very annoying.
Back to my original point – I don’t know if America likes or hates Rachel (did they vote Brendon back in just to help Jeff/Jordan?), but I genuinely like her, both as a player in the game and as a person. I think she gets a bum rap with the editing. Yes, she does and says everything they show – but what they don’t show is what led up to it. You think Danielle was innocent and did nothing to provoke Rachel? I’ve also been very proud of Rachel keeping her head on her shoulders and keeping her calm, especially when Shelley became confrontational (both times). And Shelley – I can’t recall anyone who has played the game before ever lying more than she has.
On another topic, I have an interview Thursday for a job I really, really want to so send good thoughts my way.