Magic: the Gathering – Building A Casual Fun Deck For Modern

A lot of people seem to think that after I created one hell-raising deck, that I’d create nothing but destructive decks. I had a discussion a little while back, which made me reflect upon all of the terrible decks I’ve built. So, I wanted to make this right and build a deck that was a lot of fun for me, but brutal to play against. Without any hesitation, I started to make my strangest deck – So here’s a look at how I go about building fun decks for Modern.

A lot of people seem to think that after I created one hell-raising deck, that I’d create nothing but destructive decks. I had a discussion a little while back, which made me reflect upon all of the terrible decks I’ve built. So, I wanted to make this right and build a deck that was a lot of fun for me, but brutal to play against. Without any hesitation, I started to make my strangest deck – So here’s a look at how I go about building fun decks for Modern.

Continue reading “Magic: the Gathering – Building A Casual Fun Deck For Modern”

Thanos Of The MCU

So far Marvel’s roster of villains has been good enough. Outstanding examples are few, but they rarely detract from the quality of the film and have never been so bland, poorly motivated, and misinterpreted as to match up to Jesse Eisenburg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor!* Most appear for a single film, and are gone for good by the end because most of the heroes in the cinematic universe aren’t so foolish as to keep their rogue’s gallery imprisoned, they just go for full blown obliteration.

Two villains have never completely faded. Loki has stuck around as  beloved fan favourite and loose moral canon, and because Tom Hiddleston is having too much fun with the role. The other has yet to take his place in the front lines of action, but has been pulling the strings of Loki and Ronan the Accuser, and perhaps more since the earliest days of the Cinematic Universe. The Mad Titan, Thanos. Continue reading “Thanos Of The MCU”

Fun vs. Time

In many ways I’m glad I stopped playing computer games. Not because I don’t enjoy them, not because I feel like I’ve outgrown them or anything like that, but because returning to them after so long having not played has been a glorious revelation. Case in point, I picked up Civilization V which has been in my library for maybe a year, it’s taken a couple of attempts to actually run having a few issues with actually appearing on screen, but as soon as they were out of the way I was ready to see what all the fuss was about. Continue reading “Fun vs. Time”

Dixit Odyssey

Dixit

Dixit is a simple game which features wonderful little bunny rabbits as the characters that represent you, the player.

As you hop and jump through a magical dream-world like state, your goal in this beautiful game is to get to the number 30. Why 30? I dunno, something to do with you getting 30 points and winning the game or something.

This was the worst thing we could do to this sweet, innocent game.
This was the worst thing we could do to this sweet, innocent game. Don’t judge us. We were possibly a little bit drunk.

It’s a deceptively simple and all around adorable game. Each player is given 6 cards, each of which have nice large illustrations on them. The purpose of the game is to tell a story or to describe your picture in a way that some people get it, but not everyone. Once you’ve described your card, you place it face down around the board and the other players put down a card that they feel is similar to what you said. These get shuffled up, the story is generally repeated and then the cards are placed face up so people can see the cards around the board. Once all is said and done, the players must then decide which card was the story tellers card.

The game can be played between 3 to 12 players, but I’d say it’s recommended with at least 6 players. If you have more than that, you are required to vote for 2 cards, yet if you have 6 – You have a bigger range of cards to choose from and you basically have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the answer right. In a game with just 3 people, it’s quite easy to guess which card belongs to the story teller, but this is down to the creativity of the story teller in general.

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I first played my new set of Dixit Odyssey in our recent Taunton meetup. We were playing this game after a good number of us had consumed a reasonable amount of alcohol, which really made some of our descriptions of our cards quite warped in a fun and friendly way. The most amazing thing is, we played this game right after we had played Cards Against Humanity. As such, we expected we’d have made all of the lovely pictures out to be a lot worse than what they are – but we didn’t. Dixit truly is a beautiful game which allows people to be creative without the need of being obscene.

Each player is given a voting card, which has 12 holes in it. Players then also get either 1 voting peg (for up to 6 players) or 2 voting pegs (between 6 to 12 players). Scoring is quite simple too: If some (but not all) of the players guess the storytellers card correctly: the story teller gets 3 points. If everyone guesses the storytellers card correctly, then everyone except for the storyteller gets 2 points. If no one guesses the storytellers card correctly, then again everyone except for the storyteller gets 2 points. Players also score an additional 1 point for each other player that voted for their card, rather than the storytellers.

Thanks to BoardGameGeek.com
Credit goes to BoardGameGeek.com

It’s simple, it’s cute and it’s really not too expensive brand new if you buy it from Amazon or eBay.

If you’ve played the standard Dixit before, then Odyssey might be somewhat disappointing to you, as it is basically the exact same game. There are a few basic variations to the rules, which is easily replicated over to the standard Dixit game. The only thing that isn’t so easy is the fact it has 12 voting cards unlike the normal Dixit. But with the amount of cards you get in Odyssey, you will quickly run through them all and start reusing cards. It might be worth investing in the expansions, but these can go for an extra £10-£15 a piece!

Have you ever played Dixit before or Dixit Odyssey? What did you think of the rather dream-like qualities of the game? Have you ever been able to make one of the most magically innocent games into something warped!? If so, shame on you – but tell us your stories below!

DMing 101

In DMing 101 I’ll be giving generalized advice on how to run a tabletop roleplaying game. The articles will not presume any knowledge, except being able to read. And maybe knowing what dice are. And paper. And a computer. Maybe some other stuff. I’ll also presume that you can remember that DM means Dungeon Master. Some people call it a Game Master or GM, but I don’t. Suck it up. There are a few quick start guides on how to DM out there, but DMing 101 will offer a fairly easy set of tips that a novice can follow to make his/her games something truly memorable. Continue reading “DMing 101”

Tonight

I am keeping this post short and sweet, like me and you… Unless you are not short, then just me!

Tonight is the night of the next GeekOut session. Oh yes it is, so if you happen to be in Bristol and in need of a beer, come join us!

7pm onwards, upstairs at the King William Ale Pub. If we are not there, try the commercial rooms where a few of us are grabbing dinner.

King William Ale Pub can be found on King Street.

Cheers, here’s to a great night for all!
Tim

Cosplay, a history

We tend to say Japan started the trend of cosplaying, but is that necessarily true?

Whoo boy, this won’t be a small post now, will it? This is a very brief summary of the history of cosplaying and what cosplaying is like today, along with some resources/websites to get your feet wet with the fandom.

 

Cosplay, ladies and gentlemen. A pass-time of many a geek. It’s also the pass-time I am starting to explore that keeps me away from being in front of a monitor 24/7 (work, games, studies).

See, I have always been a gamer. To extend my gaming to another medium, such as dressing up, is my way of expressing myself and my interests to those who ordinarily wouldn’t know about my interests. It is immediate, fun and very social.

So, how did it all start?

Cosplay, humble beginnings

Early days of cosplaying! Though it was just “Costumes” then! Thanks Wikipedia for this one!

Actually, we always tend to associate cosplay with Japan, thanks to anime and manga being such a booming industry. In theory, before Japan started to suit up, there was America!

Yes, although back then it wasn’t cosplaying. It was simply some people dressing up like a character to express their love for their interests. Cosplay, the word, was supposedly coined at the World Fantasy Summit, when an artist was admiring the fans who turned art from comics, animation or series to a physical representation.

This Japanese man, Nobuyuki Takahashi, was a part of the anime studio called “Studio Hard”. The words he used to describe these people who made costumes themselves from all sorts of bits and bobs, were “kosu” for “costume” and “pure” for “play”. When translated back to English, we literally get Cosplay. Nice. (Just as a little note to those who aren’t sure how that happened, the Japanese are known for taking two words and joining them together to make another word. Don’t believe me? We’ll use our good friend Wikipedia!)

In Japan, cosplay even affects the street fashion! In western worlds, a bit different, but cosplayers often incorporate other “Dressing up” hobbies, such as Live Action Role Playing (LARPing), Fursuiting and many other similar interests.

Cosplay, today

Pretty incredible!

Due to the success of anime and manga, Japan helped to make cosplaying a very normal thing to do at a convention! The idea behind going to a convention suddenly expanded from the super fans and people who wanted to find more of their interest, to the very vocal and eager to participate fans we see at many an anime convention today!

As well as this, competitions are set up for cosplayers, with different categories. One of the largest cosplay competitions is the euro cosplay championships. With participants all over Europe, this is where the best of the best are picked out and are judged by a panel. Prizes are available for the different categories and more and more people enter these championships as cosplaying gets ever bigger!

Cosplayers don’t limit themselves to conventions, however! Sometimes, they meet up as a social get together. Even here, in Bristol, there is a cosplay clubnight for cosplayers to get together and par-tay! But how do cosplayers work today? Cosplayers have a few avenues to go down, depending on how much cash they have and their interest in the DIY aspect:

  1. DIY – So yes, DIY Cosplay. This is where a cosplayer will work on his/her costume him/herself. Wigs are usually bought by specialists, however some cosplayers who’ve been cosplaying for some time will make even the wigs themselves! I am a DIY cosplayer, in that I don’t really ever want to “buy” my parts. I want to make all of the parts. I made a mistake on my first cosplay event, in that I gave myself almost no time to do it in, however the fan base were very supportive and very nice. Many even complimented the character (Even though practically the whole costume fell apart! Clubnights in cosplay… Wow… Pretty hot!)
  2. Commissioned pieces – As I mentioned earlier in this post, some people actually have made a living out of this! I.E they take commissions, make the costume for someone else with specifications and tailor make the costume for an individual. This is quite a popular avenue, albeit more expensive than routes 1 and 3. Sometimes, route 1 (DIY) is more expensive than commissioned pieces, but this would be down to the experience of the cosplayer in their craft and/or the materials being used.
  3. Store bought – There are some stores that sell whole pieces in a “ready to wear” fashion. Simply ready to ship, these are mass produced for people who want to cosplay, however don’t want to spend hours upon hours making their costumes. Also, store bought costumes can, sometimes, be cheaper than the DIY route.

So, if you’re going to do a cosplay costume and you want to Do It Yourself, how do you do so?

Cosplayers have to learn many a new technique. I went into cosplaying not knowing how to sew. I now know (kind of) how to sew and can piece some things together. Not yet in a “great” way, but hey, it’s better to start small and learn slowly but surely. For my next costume, I had to learn how to mould thermoplastics (Worbla’s).

The internet has provided the world of cosplayers a much easier time to start off. We share our experiences, we help others get started, we can ask one another for suggestions and tips. Social media has brought people together in a big way, including cosplayers. It’s well worth checking out some of the bigger websites (For the UK, try Cosplay Island) just to see what the fandom is like for this.

Interested in anime conventions, but not cosplaying?

Even if you decide to never cosplay but are interested in anime conventions in general, do not hesitate to go to one. They’re great fun with an excellent and supportive fanbase who want to talk to one another, share their interests and… Make… Skits… Like the below…