Last GeekOut Shrewsbury of the year, last GeekOut meet of the year altogether, and not a bad send off if I say so myself. It also marks our twenty first Shrewsbury Meet, so there’s a pointless little landmark for you. Merry Christmas everybody, whether you celebrate it or not, whether you enjoy it or not, Merry Tuesday at least. Here’s how we sent off the year…
Thank you to the Boiler Room, you guys have seen us through a disproportionate number of pre-meets. Cake, coffee, and environment are always welcoming, and you always seem prepared for us even when numbers are unexpectedly high.
Among this month’s more entertaining pre-meet moments, losing Murray for half an hour as soon as Harley put the Binding of Isaac card game on the table, followed shortly by his amassing a frankly insulting amount of health in a Magic game. We also introduced new-ish member Richard to Love Letter, along with a few other games this month.
But moving on…
What a wonderful way to “wrap up” the year, and the puns were no better on the day! There may have been some minor HDMI issues, because I did not bring mine, and many people were trying to hook up a Nintendo Switch to the projector. Turns out if we want to try that again we’ll need to fetch an extension cable too, the distance is too long to safely stretch from the projector and to the mains ports, and we need both. Ah well.
The pub was busy, and at times a little crowded, but it never slows us down. I brought Robo Rally at Harley’s request, and so lost her and a few others to a game that only lasted for a short while. Also this thing:
At the request of a few of our regulars, I held a short character building workshop, during which Sod’s Law prevailed. I have a collection of quick-start guides to throw together first level characters easily, and of course three members of the party were classes missing the sheet in my folder! Here I thought I was so well prepared. Characters were all created for the setting I am working on for regular play, using a system in which players roll their abilities, and the worse your stats are the better your starting bonuses. So, going around the table:
Alfie will be playing a wood elf ranger, a bit cliche but he randomly rolled the class.
Nicole is a high elf rogue. Her stats were low enough to start with that she could buy an extra level and a magic item, but not a good one.
Jardel is a bard of The Ormud (a human nation), born to the winter caste. He will be playing a failed jester with a mallet that honks.
Hannah rolled so well she had no choice in race or class, and is now a kenku cleric to goddess of the moon, Nuren’Ue. She has already acquired the nickname “Buff Bird” for being crazy strong.
And Kim is a god-born halfling (aasimar) rogue. I owe her a magic item too, and I owe them all some extra information to help them get started in the campaign.
Hopefully this group will gather on the pier at Meadsbridge some time in the new year…
Thanks to those of you who joined in the Super-Secret Santa, pretty sure everyone walked away pleased with what they got, although I have no idea about Julia who accidentally walked away empty-handed. Not to worry, it’s on its way to you, and thanks for the cornflake wreath too, it was delicious.
And thank you Harley and Vinni both for the handmade additions to the Shropshire Dungeon Master accessories, the dice tray from Harley will be making a few future appearances at games, the coasters from Vinni I think will be staying home for the most part, that’s where they’ll see the most use.
January folks! A lot of you (more than I thought actually) committed to some geeky pledges for the new year! I know that at least one person (not me) managed to stay true to theirs, and if you were at January’s event have a look at the cards that were pulled from the box. How did you do? I failed! Although I did have a very productive year either way, so… maybe I’ll get a comedy skit out next year? Along with a Pokenomicon, a book of item enchantments for 5e, and a whole bunch of other projects that are jamming up the proverbial pipeline.
There may be some changes in format next year! Monty’s Tower have other plans in the works that may prove either a boon or a hindrance to us at GeekOut but they want us to keep coming along, so will work with us to keep our events every bit as fun as they are now, and I don’t know about you guys but I’ve certainly been enjoying myself.
As it stands, the next event is booked for the 31st of January, a whopping six weeks away, and provisionally entitled “The Frozen North”. We hope to see you, all of you, more of you, there. And Merry Christmas or whatever.
Christmas time, mistletoe and board games! I think that’s how the song goes…
Yes, hello, welcome back you lovely folk. We’re Timlah and Joel and today, we’ve opened up the “Large, Flat Green Present at the back”, as your choice from last week. Lo and behold, the present happened to be this week’s Top 10, our Top 10 Board & Card Game Stocking Fillers. These are all small games, under £20, along with their price and a relevant Amazon link – You know, for them last minute purchases you totally needed to do.
What? We can’t assume you’re prepared for Christmas, can we? (more…)
I’m writing this on Christmas evening, slumped in my chair in a new hoodie, overstuffed with food and casting an eye over my haul for the year, watching some good quality entertainment, half working a short campaign, half writing this article. It’s been a big, weird year. It started with a Charizard… (more…)
Silent night; holy night. All is calm. All is– Ooh a present!
Yes, you’d better believe it, you voted for it and you’ve now got it; we’re going to check through video games once again for another Christmas staple – Wrapped Presents. See, throughout the year, wrapping paper is an oft-forgotten part of gifting, as really it’s only Christmas wrapping paper that has some intriguing design choices.
We’re going to delve deep under the Christmas tree of video game past, in hopes to uncover some still wrapped gems. Maybe we’ll uncover a brand new game? Or perhaps we’ll uncover some more delicious wall turkey? Mmm, wall turkey.
… Sorry; last week’s ‘A History of Festive Food in Video Games’ is still on my mind.
If you have not read the Christmas Encounter Table, it may be worth having a quick look before proceeding, as this is not the Santa Claus you’re familiar with, and far from the 5th edition homebrew versions of Kringle you might have seen elsewhere. My Santa, the Santa of my long-running annual Christmas Campaign is a villain, a wicked courtier of the Fey, a master of his own Wild Hunt. Tooth Fairies feed him information on the children of the world so that he can enslave their minds, ensuring his power is never challenged as those children grow into meddlesome adventurers, Baron Klaus, mad tyrant of the candy folk. (more…)
Some context: Every year I have run a Christmas themed game for one of my local gaming groups. The first one was supposed to be just a one shot, an overly dramatic story of a band of misfit toys who escape the island (really a peninsula), to return home, lead a revolt of the Candy Folk against the cruel tyranny of the Fey Lord Klaus and his wicked elven wild hunt, and reinstate Bannock, Gingerbread King of Candy Folk. And because I can’t control myself, this became an ongoing story, four years strong. This will be the first year since 2012 in which I have not done a Christmas game.
What can I say? I’ve felt rather uninspired in that regard and other projects are taking off rather nicely. So for now, the Dark God of Candy will have to wait to reclaim the world, here instead is an encounter table which sees a nondescript party of 4-6 Christmas themed adventurers level 2-4, wandering the frozen wilderness in an effort to evade Santa and his sadistic brood. It assumes information from the D&D 5th edition Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Whilst Sunday 10th was a rather snowy day down here in Bristol, Saturday was a fairly sunny day. Sure, it was cold outside, but it didn’t stop people getting down to the pub for another good old GeekOut Bristol Meet. There was a lot of food and drink consumed, a lot of geeks partying in the only way geeks know how and there was a lot of new people coming to join us, as well as plenty of our regulars too. From a slow start, the meetup picked up quickly and it turned into a rather busy night! As ever, join us for our monthly gallery of our events!
Three days to go!
As a retail worker, I appreciate the sympathy of customers who comment on how sick I must be of Christmas music. You’re right, and you’d be surprised at how much I appreciate your empathy on a day-to-day basis.
But as a shameless lover of Christmas, dammit I want to enjoy some Christmas music too, I just can’t listen to Boney M or Elvis anymore, and I didn’t want to listen to Coldplay in the first place. The biggest let down was when I couldn’t stand the Fairy Tale of New York any more, I loved that song for it’s bitter outlook and oddly joyous anger, love and hate balanced in equal measure, and now I’m bored of it. (more…)
Fifteen days to go until the jolly man in red descends down our chimneys once again, in the world’s greatest game of Thief. But don’t you worry, he’s not going to rob you – Only put some things down your stockings. Oo-err. But never you mind what this phantom of kindness is doing late at night, creeping around – He means well!
However, if you can’t rely on Santa’s most recent sat nav system, then you needn’t worry! We’ve devised a Top 10 worthy to stuff your stockings, so strap yourselves in – We’re going to sleigh you with these Top 10 Geeky Stocking Fillers. Before we rush into this one and unwrap all these awesome gifts, the base rule for this was: It should fit in a pretty standard sized stocking, rather than a sack. It should also be relatively inexpensive (The maximum price of an item is £15).
10) Tabletop Minis
Quick and easy, something nice for the tabletop gamer in your life, or just someone who likes to build and paint creatively. The beauty of a new mini is that you can’t go too far wrong, at least if you’ve got the right genre. A good looking mini isn’t just a pretty ornament, but can often serve multiple uses; today’s cleric is tomorrow’s captain of the guard, what’s a power-armoured soldier now could easily be a cargo android in another game. Alternatively there’s no reason not to canibalize a gifted mini for spare parts, your new pirate could sacrifice an arm to give your ranger a musket.
There’s a surprising amount of high-quality, cheap miniatures, and even miniature scenery out there that’d make a great gift for gamers of all stripes, or someone with a penchant for crafting and painting might find a new challenge in a model they’ve never seen before. And if your recipient has a particular fandom, by-and-large you’ll find a miniature out there for them too.
Not Borderlands though, I tried.
9) Dice Games
I’m sure you’ve probably at least heard of the game Zombie Dice if you’re on this website? If not, then don’t worry – It’s a teeny tiny little game that features some specifically labelled dice. You roll them, check the action, keep score and keep going until someone is a winner. There’s also Cthulhu Dice, which is exactly the same, but with more insanity involved. Simple, easy, small – Perfect stocking filler.
But what if that special geek doesn’t actually want a dice game? Well, you can very rarely go wrong with a special set of dice. Websites are popping up all over the place, offering custom dice sets, so why not check them out?
8) Cardboard VR Headset
Right, so get this. In the year 2014, VR was definitely becoming a reality. I mean, it was all brand new and all a bit fledgeling, but it was certainly on our horizon. Jump forward a year or two and BANG! We’re hit by wave upon wave of Google Cardboard-wannabe’s – but this is a great thing to the average consumer.
If the geek in your life loves a little bit of cheeky tech, then why not consider buying a VR headset for their phones? They come either pre-built or flatpacked, depending on the package you pick up. They have cheap little lenses inside of them and bang – You can see in a VR world. How exciting is that? It’s all rather new, plus they have to have a relatively good phone, but hey – They can get involved with VR right now for dirt cheap.
7) Giant Microbes
Did you always want to give someone the plague, but you were never sure how to get hold of it? Want to post anthrax to a friend without getting arrested? Want to smack people in the face with yeast but couldn’t get a solid handful? The good news is you can get these and many more microbes, cells, viruses and parasites in plushy and adorable form.
This season you can give the gift of gangrene, cholera, or blood. There are also… less tasteful options for the people in your life with a sick sense of humour, basically anyone with whom you’ve played a game of Cards Against Humanity. That said, many of these little gifts have a far friendlier side, right now if you give your friends the Zika virus, some of the proceeds from the sale will also go towards supporting relief for those currently suffering in the recent outbreak.
6) Booster Packs
We’ve a tendency to collect, is that fair to say? We like stuff, and the stuff we like, we want more of. Boosters of collectible card games, Lego minifigures, Minecraft mystery boxes, Marvel dice, all of these little randomly selected additions to our ever growing collection take just a sliver more space away and yet add so much value.
Plus boosters are often cheap and easy to grab a fistfull of and shove them in with some of your well thought out and carefully selected presents. Didn’t get the card you wanted? Don’t blame me, blame the booster.
A specific example of high-quality geeky t-shirts at an amazingly good value. These guys are regulars to the convention scene and yes, I’ve got quite a few of their t-shirts. They’re comfortable, they’re light and they look amazing. The designs are really well thought out and I often get comments on the ones that I wear.
But it’s as if they are aware that Christmas is a thing. They do a whole section dedicated to £10 t-shirts. From sizes Small to XX-Large, there are plenty of different designs which are of a high quality. So, why not get that geek in your life a super cool t-shirt from some guys who are also absolutely super cool.
4) Love Letter
How very sweet. Or… actually no, not very. If anything this is a cutthroat and underhanded little game in which all players are seeking to win the favour of the princess, and using their sway in court to pass a token of their affection to someone as close to her as possible.
It’s actually one of the most simple games I have ever played, consists of no more than sixteen cards and a fistful of tokens all contained in an elegant drawstring bag, and you never have more than two cards at a time. It takes moments to learn, but time to master, as you start counting every card in play, guessing what each play could mean.
This is a very specific present, but hold on there. This speaker is teeny tiny, at something daft like 6cm tall by 6cm wide. Yeah no, that’s the size, it’s teeny tiny and it’s been on offer for £8 for quite some time. It’s typically only £15 normally and I’d gladly pay the full price, but I got 2 for the price of 1 and £1 extra. Well worth it.
This is the speaker that’s inside of our brand new GOCade (more info on that to come by on Mondays article). This is also a teeny tiny speaker that was vastly superior to our little TVs sound quality… And it’s loud as hell. It’s amazing, for such a tiny little device and so we figured, if you’re looking for a gift for an audiophile, this is that gift. What’s more, it won’t break your bank, but it might break your windows!
For every fandom there is merchandise, most of them made by Funko of course, but there’s always your Fallout bobblheads, special edition statuettes, or a comicbook shop’s glass cabinet filled with superbly made sculptures that most certainly should not appear in someone’s stocking – too big and too pricey. A well made, high quality figure needn’t be big or pricey, but they’re a lovely way to celebrate your fandom, or perhaps show your understanding for that of your friends and family.
Of course it’s always hard to find space for these things, and a tough decision to be made as to whether or not to keep the box – always worth debating your resale value – but no reason to let such considerations hold you back from getting some for other people. You never know when you might stumble across that unique find, or the one thing they’ve wanted but would never buy for themselves.
1) Nerf Gun Jolt & Darts
If you’ve never had the power of the air-propelled pistols in your hand, you’ve been missing out. I received my first Nerf Gun during the 2014 Super Secret Santa and you know what? I’ve kept it ever since – So if The British Bumpkins ever read this, huge thank you to both. I remember who gives me gifts – Especially when they own up to it!
So Nerf Guns are really simple little things. You put a spongy little foam dart into the a slot, then you aim the Nerf Gun at your friend and POP! You pull the trigger and your friend explodes backwards in a firey inferno, screaming “OH GOD WHY THE NERFS?!” Thankfully, this is just a dramatisation of what happens when I get hit by a Nerf Dart. The truth is, they don’t hurt what so ever and they’re great fun. I often have fired them off of walls, letting them come bouncing back to my hands and doing it all over again.
We’re getting somewhere near the bottom, almost time to start interacting with the relatives, overeating, and silently dreading returning to work. All the good stuff is gone, but there’s still a couple of packages down here before you reach the satsuma that’ll end up back in the fruit bowl before dinner.
Posters – GeekOut Posters
Ah yes, the poster is a very simple concept that everyone can buy into. I mean, it might be that the special geek in your life is really into Minecraft. There are posters dedicated to Minecraft. What about Game of Thrones? Don’t you worry: There are definitely posters for the hit show! Heck, posters are a perfect and relatively inexpensive item to put down somebodies stocking. You can even buy specific poster tubes, which again are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at your local post office. Lovely.
Wait a minute, what’s this?! Your favourite website that produces Top 10s every single week without fail also sell posters?! Let us know in the comments if you need one for Christmas! We’ll do a Christmas deal! That’s right, 3 posters for £1.50 + PnP! That’s just 50p per poster! PnP will be £3.50! Just £5 for three posters, ho, ho, ho that’s a merry deal for you! (No serious, leave us a comment and we’ll sort you out.)
This is a bit of an odd one. Personally I’ve no dislike of vouchers, it’s not exactly high-effort but it shows a lot more consideration than cold cash. Both are a kindly gesture for sure, but at least a voucher shows better knowledge of the recipient, and who doesn’t like some control over what they get for Christmas; wishlists exist for a reason. But here’s why we dumped vouchers into the honourable section.
Would you really expect to see a voucher in a stocking? Envelope, sure. Cards, or even the bit of card it card it was hung upon in the first place, but surely a stocking is no place for it. A voucher is flat, easily folded, spindled and mutilated beyond use, and a stocking is usually filled indiscriminately with assorted stuff. By all means get your friends and family a voucher (perhaps Steam, League of Legends, or the local bookshop, keep it geeky folks) but if you’re going to load it into their stocking then you’re weird, and frankly wrong.
We’re all out of wrapping paper for all of these amazing gifts, so why don’t you get on down to your local shops to pick some of these up? I mean, after all, we’ve given you enough ideas to start buying gifts for that geek in your life, so why don’t you just get on with it?! Honestly, we couldn’t tell you anything else to buy – But you can tell us what we should do a Top 10 of next week by voting in the votes below! We’re fast approaching the end of the year..!
Now of course, we didn’t accommodate those boys and girls who were naughty – They don’t deserve geeky goodness, but perhaps a pop with a Nerf Gun will put them in check. What do you think of our list of geeky goodies in a stocking? What will you be putting in a Christmas stocking soon? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
Christmas Trees are a major tradition that a lot of people don’t really even think about; they just do it. Think about it for a moment – Where’s the logic in bringing a tree into the house and covering it in tinsel, baubles and ornaments? Really there’s none, except for the sake of upholding tradition. But it got me thinking for a moment: What if we broke tradition, by making it into our own? What if, just what if, we could keep the tradition of having a Christmas Tree in our house, but completely turn it into a representation of ourselves? Here’s my guide to decorating your tree this Christmas season.