Thursday, May 23, 2013

Girls Weekend!!!

So, when I first started this blog I made it a point to say I am a girl but a closeted gamer. Just because I play RPGs does not mean that I do not like to hang out with the girls, have a pedi- and mani- and shop. So here is a blog all about the wonderful weekend I had with 3 other amazing gamer ladies!

Louisville bound! Our trip started at 10:00am. Pomme arrived and then it was off to pick up Chiquita and then Berri. These are the names they picked while on our way back from our weekend. I myself am Shortcake. Once we are all in the car we discuss stops for lunch and breaks if they are needed. While on the road our conversations start with a little of getting to know you talk. Pomme and Berri have been introduced but have not spent a lot of time around each other. From there we talk about everything from how we come to meet our husbands and how we knew we had found our matches. Then the lunch topic rolled around, I told the ladies about a great sushi restaurant called Wasabi in Indianapolis. They all wanted to go. So that was out first stop. We had edamame for our starter and then we all choose our favorite roll to share. We had a great time talking about all the things we planned on doing while down in Louisville. Our lunch was fantastic! If you are ever in the Indianapolis area and you love sushi, then stop in and have a great bite to eat.

After leaving Wasabi we were back on the road and headed to Louisville. Traffic was not bad at all. We stopped again to get drinks, snacks and a potty break. I thought for sure that I would lose one or two of my passengers to a nap while driving, but all three stayed awake. Conversations took us to work and what we were doing and how things were going at said place of business. Being in the car with a teacher/librarian, a/r rep and a DBA plus and auditor made for some interesting conversations. As we make our way into Louisville 65 South becomes a parking lot. I think I am constantly apologizing at this point to the ladies in the car because it has taken us extra time to get to our hotel. The ladies do not seem to care, as they take in the view of downtown Louisville.

Finally, we arrive at the hotel, I park and go and check in. We find out that there is a bowling tournament in town and the hotel is booked with kids. I am thinking this is going to be a very long weekend. I can tell you I was very surprised by the fact that I could not tell that they even had kids at the hotel. We lug all of our stuff up to the room and choose beds. Pomme and I (Shortcake) shared a bed and so Berri and Chiquita shared a bed. By this time it’s getting close to dinner. We decide to go through a listing of the restaurants nearby. We mark off all the restaurants that we have back home, ridiculously priced restaurants, and ones that just do not sound very good. We decided to stay close to the hotel the first night and walked to a neighboring hotels restaurant called Blue Horse Cafe. The food and service were incredible! We started out with an amazing appetizer called Tomato Napoleon. Berri and Pomme had amaretto sours and Chiquita and I had water to drink. For dinner Pomme had a steak, Chiquita had a veggie burger and Berri and I both had a chicken sandwich. Berri had bacon and I did not. Dinner was great and sitting and talking to the ladies about how excited we were to be down in Louisville and what we wanted to do was great. We even got our waitress into the conversation as well as the manager. As it turns out the manager was a huge Star Wars fan so some of the girls had something to talk about. I have never seen Star Wars. We paid out bills and went to check out the gift shop.

After leaving we walked back to our hotel and decided to stay in for the night. I know what a bunch of old ladies, but we still had fun. We played Arkham Horror! Now this was not the first time that we have all played, but it was the first time I have played it with all women. So needless to say we beat the game. Come to find out we were not reading the directions the right way and when a gate opened we never placed the monster, oops. J  All players had female characters. My character just happened to be in the place that most of the gates or monsters would spawn and due to my weapon nothing could spawn or open if I was in that same space. I can tell you we had a ton of fun playing and we worked as a team to get it done. I hope to play this game again soon as it just keeps you wanting more. So after winning the game it was time for bed as we had a lot of ground to cover the next morning.

Saturday started off with a little exercise down at the fitness room in the hotel. Then we decided to try a place that was on Food Network for breakfast, Wild Eggs! If you live in Louisville and are reading this post, please go and have anything on the menu for me! The food, coffee and waitress were all fantastic! The wait was about 45 minutes to be seated, but it was worth it. All four of us got something different to eat, but we all shared. Pomme had lemon raspberry pancakes, Berri had French toast, Chiquita had strawberry pancakes and I had the veggie eggs benedict. We passed our plates family style around the table so we could try all the good food. Our waitress was great, we asked about places to go and she told us about a street called Bardstown Road. Great place to shop and eat.  So after having a wonderful breakfast and great coffee we were off on our first adventure in Louisville, Mega Cavern. The Mega Cavern was a great experience. We got to the cavern about 10:45 am, just in time for the 11:00 am tour. The tour was great, even when the tour guide had to eat a worm. After our tour it was time for more sightseeing.

Our sightseeing took us to an RPG store called Roll of the Dice. The store was pretty small and was limited in the RPG merchandise that it carried. It did have a nice selection of comic books and if you are a magic player, then this is the store for you. I have to admit that I was disappointed in the dice selection that they had. I guess I will be asking the husband to bring home some dice from his trip to Gen-Con this year for me. After leaving the store we walked to a used book store and of course books were purchased. I am reading one of them now and I will be writing a review on it when I am finished. From there we took a stroll in the rain to find a shop for Chiquita. The shop in was not at all what we were expecting. We ended up in a drug and sex paraphernalia shop. Some of the ladies in the party had never seen a glass dildo or butt plug and the look on their faces when they were told what those items were, was priceless. I laugh so hard just thinking about it.   After leaving the store, we went in search of lunch and landed at Tom + Chee. The gourmet tomato sandwiches and salads are amazing.  If you are ever in Louisville and on Bardstown Road stop in for lunch, I hope you will not be disappointed. After lunch we decided to head back to the hotel and rest for a while.

Back at the hotel we rested for a while watching “Say Yes to the Dress.” The subject of dinner came up and we decided that we should try another restaurant that was suggested to us by our waitress at Wild Eggs, called the Garage. So we left our hotel and headed to the Garage. When we arrived the line was so long and we could not find parking. This was our only disappointment of the weekend. When then decided to head to Mark’s Feed Store, a bbq joint. After a little bit of a detour we landed at our destination. We had a about a 15 minute wait and after being seated we ordered a couple of appetizers.  Corn bread and fried pickles landed on the table and we dug in. According to Chiquita the corn bread was the best thing she had eaten in a while. The fried pickles were a little thin. If the pickles would have been thicker they would have been a lot better. Pomme ordered the only authentic bbq at the table. She seemed pretty pleased with her choice, Chiquita had a baked yam and had no complaints and Berri and I had chicken strip basket. This was something I would not write home to my mom about. I know chicken strips are not too much to talk about at any restaurant, but I could not have the bbq because of allergies. A couple of the gals ordered dessert and they seemed pretty pleased with their choices. After dinner it was back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel it was time to relax and play The Great Dalmuti. This game is so much fun to play, especially while drinking. The object of the game is to be the first one to get rid of your cards. This person is known as the Great Dalmuti. The last person that gets rid of their cards is known as the Greater Peon. When playing, someone may throw four tens on the table, the next person to play must play four of a lower numerical value, this goes around until the last player is able to throw down four cards of the lowest suit. This person wins that pot to lead the next round by throwing down more cards out of their hand. This will continue until only one person is left with cards or card in their hand. The ladies and I had a lot of fun playing this game. This is a great game to play with four or more players. After drinking and playing cards our night was over with. The next morning we drove home. We had a great time on girls weekend. My only wish is that it could have lasted longer. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend going to Louisville, KY. Click on the link for more info. Hope you enjoyed this blog entry.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Arkham Horror Review

This is the first review I have ever written. So, with that, please be patient as I get the hang of this.

Arkham Horror is a board game for 1-8 players and for ages 13 and up. I must say, I agree with the age range, but think having eight players would be a bit much and some people would get bored waiting on a turn. In my opinion 4-6 players would be much easier to play with and in the end kill the monster that is chosen in the beginning of the game.

The object of the game is to have all players work together and investigate the strange happenings that are going on in 1926 Arkham. The players hope to stop the stirring creature from destroying the city. Every character that you choose has a back story as to why and how they find themselves in Arkham. Take for instance, Jenny Barnes who is looking for her sister that wrote to her while she was visiting Paris. Another person is Darrell Simmons who grew up in Arkham and is a photographer for the Arkham Advertiser. Each character has a list of fixed and random possessions that they begin with:  it could be a spell, a revolver, money, clue tokens, or even a skill etc. The skills, weapons, common items and spells are all cards that you draw from.  I have to admit that the cards are a little overwhelming at first, but once you get use to them you will have no problem. The characters all have stamina and sanity. Different characters have different starting stamina and sanity points. Each character has a home/place that they start on the board. Jenny starts at the train station and Darrell is at the newspaper.  On the character cards are different attributes that are grouped in pairs, speed/sneak, fight/will and luck/lore. Each has 4 sets of number pairs after them; using a slider you set how your character is going to use those attributes (i.e.:  speed 3 sneak 2). You can change these in the Upkeep phase of every round if your settings do not work to your liking. Choose your monster and you are ready to get started.

Arkham Horror is played in 5 different phases per round. The first is "Upkeep," in this phase you decide on the attributes that your character will display in this round. The second is "Movement," in this phase depending on how you set your speed you can move that many spaces. The third phase is "Arkham Encounters" in this phase if you landed on a named location and not on a street you will have an encounter with someone or maybe even something. As you move through the game you may run into a monster that you need to fight in the streets of Arkham.  Phase four is "Other World Encounters" in this phase if you are sucked through a portal into an alternate dimension you will have an encounter here just like you would if you were back in Arkham. The last phase is five in this phase called "Mythos" you will read a card that tells you what is going on in Arkham. For example the card can read:

Heading: Egyptian Exhibit - Visits Miskatonic U.

Environment: Urban

Gate opens at: The Witch House monster appears

Clue appears at: Black Cave

If you have monsters that correspond to the symbols on the card they will move throughout the streets of Arkham. Read any special text on the card. In this example the card says "Any investigator who ends his movement in the Miskatonic U. streets may pass a Lore (-1) check to gain 1 clue token by reading the straange heiroglyphics on the artifacts in the exhibit."

After the card is read, the next round will begin. 

When you have a portal that opens a monster will spawn.  The object is to have one of the investigators go and fight the monster, enter the portal, have encounters in the other dimension come back through and close the gate. To close a gate you need to have a special symbol called the Elder Sign to seal the gate or at least five clue tokens to shut it. This is the part of the game that can either make or break the game. If you have a hard time closing gates and killing monsters you will have a hard time winning the game. The game has a terror track on it, the object of this is that when you have more monsters on the board than your team can handle, the terror in Arkham goes up, and you can also read a card in the Mythos phase that can make the terror track go up. Once you reach ten on the terror track, the monster that was chosen in the beginning of the game comes to Arkham.  Depending on the monster you choose/picked, will influence the difficulty in winning the game. In the games that I have played it is very hard to defeat the monster at the end. But I have to admit it is great to think you are going to kick this monster’s ass and win the game.

You will lose stamina and sanity throughout your play; you can always go to the hospital to get your stamina back and then move to the Arkham mental health facility to get your sanity back. Each place will cost you money. This is a good thing to have in the game. If you die you lose half of your belongings.  Random things will go on in Arkham. Shops will close, you will meet people and can use them to help you in the game, but if you die you will lose their abilities as well. You can take out a bank loan if you need money to buy items in the game. So many small details and pieces that it can make the game a little complicated to follow at times.

In the end the game is a lot of fun to play. I was addicted to it after just playing a couple of rounds and not even finishing up the game. This is a great game to play with others who like the Cthulhu Mythos. I hope that if you decide to play that you have as much fun as I do playing. If you want you can even let me know what you thought about it after you play.

Grading Scale for this game:

Fun Factor – 4/5. The game is great to play, but seems to have unnecessary phases that can make the game seem like it is going on and on.

Complexity – 5/5. This might seem harsh, but in the end all the little pieces that you have with this game along with all the cards takes time to set up and not to mention the interaction with all the pieces during play.

Length of game – The game can easily last 2-3 hours, even longer depending on the number of players.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Things to Come

This blog is about me and my take on being a woman gamer, but also still staying true to myself.

I have to admit that I am some what of a gamer that is still in the closet. I have not told my family that I partake in roleplaying games (RPG). Not that I am worried that they would make fun of me, but most of them do not even now what role-playing is even about. I have a brother that plays WOW, or not, I think he is back to EverQuest. I had never had any contact with anyone that played games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) or RuneQuest when I was younger. Then in 2009 I started dating the man that would become my husband. When I asked him what he liked to do he told me that he roleplayed. When I asked what he meant, he told me he played games like D&D. He told me he was playing in a pirate game and something about vampires. I was a little surprised, as I thought gamers were geeks and very wierd. I started doing research about what D&D was and my big mistake was looking on wiki and reading some of the information on it. I think that I questioned "D" over and over about some of the information that I was on wiki. I just was not sure what it was all about.

After dating for about 2 1/2 years, I decided I needed show some interest in what this was all about. D's house was full of gaming books and he had a friend that lent me a book about girl gamers and some understanding about what RPG's were all about. So I read the book and even skimmed over some of the books that D had. I was fasinated with the stories and some of the concepts that seemed to be involved with RPGs. D ran a one on one using the Pathfinder system. It was after that game that I wanted to play more and gain more knowlegede of how this all worked. D has a friend that invited us over to play a couple of play tests and it was so much fun. I tended to be the player who would choose to play a barbarian and kick the crap out of other non-player characters (NPC). I felt empowered to have this character who would go in, kick butt, and take loot.

My first real RPG was All Flesh Must Be Eaten. I played a survivalist that loved guns and could craft her own bullets. This game was about a zombie outbreak wherein four other players and I had to survive while figuring out what caused the outbreak. It was great to bring me in as a rookie player and surrounded by 4 guys that have been playing for a while. I learned a lot from this experience, the most important point, that I needed to always stay with the group. This game pushed me to my limits at times, getting upset with the game master or the other players. I struggled to learn how to play with the different personalities not only from the players, but also the players' characters. This is also something I still struggle with from time to time. I think I am starting to get a hold on it, but sometimes I want to scream.

This first game also taught me a lot about what I wanted out of a character. I wanted someone who was strong, but with some sort of a weakness that would make me lean on the other players. Someone that could get the job done that was being asked of her, but at the same time making the mistakes that needed to be made to get farther in the game. I am still learning the curves of role playing and like learning about new games.

I am currently in a game, with 3 other people, that D is running. So far, my character is an Elf barbarian that does not know magic. I know it was a little extreme for a setting where almost all Elves cast magic and I can not wait to see where this game goes. This will be a big topic on my blog. As the game progresses I plan on using this blog as my journal and put down my thoughts about the game and how I think I am doing as a woman gamer. I should tell you that D was the game master (GM) on the zombie game that I played in as well.

This blog will also post reviews about books that I read and even board and card games that I play. I will also be posting pictures of my wonderful stiletto heels that I love to wear and the good times that I have with my other gamer women.

So in ending this first post, I hope that you look forward to reading as much as I look forward to giving you a little insight into a stiletto wearing gamer girl.