Greetings Fellow Gaming and Star Trek Fans!

 

pinkie-hi

I hope that you found my site because of your love of gaming, Star Trek, and/or comics! I play a lot of board games, Star Trek: Attack Wing, and roleplaying games. I love Star Trek, most science fiction, and almost anything space related. I started this blog for Dice Masters related content and have since expanded into everything that I love. I write a variety of articles, so be sure to subscribe to keep up with the various articles so you don’t miss something you’re interested in.

The first thing you’ll find in this article is a list of links for my various social media pages and Facebook groups, as well as a section of links for folks that sell a variety of gaming accessories. Below the links, you’ll find the About Me and My Blog, Basic Rules, Contacting Me, and my Closing sections.

Dice Dice Kitty Links

Dice Dice Kitty Facebook
This is the link to my official Dice Dice Kitty Facebook page!
Dice Dice Kitty Instagram
This is the link to my official Dice Dice Kitty Instagram!
Dice Dice Kitty Twitter
This is the link to my official Dice Dice Kitty Twitter!
Dice Dice Kitty YouTube Channel
This is the link to my official Dice Dice Kitty YouTube Channel!
Dice Masters Dyersburg
This is a link to the group for my FLGS. If you’re in the area, stop on in for a few games!
HeroClix Dyersburg
This is the link to the group for my FLGS. Be sure to stop by if you’re in the area!
Dyersburg Board Gaming
This is the link to the local board game group at my FLGS. We’d love to have folks stop by and play!
Attack Wing Dyersburg
This is the link to the group for my FLGS. We’re always up for a space battle!

Sellers of Nifty Accessories

What fun are games without a little customization? These are folks that I have ordered accessories from and have reviews up for their products. Most of these were accessories for Dice Masters, but many of these sellers have the ability to produce a variety of items for various games.

The 3D Geekery
They have a lots of 3D printed goodies for Board Games and Dice Masters! They even do custom orders that are non-game related. Check them out! Their Dice Masters storage units are amazing! You can also type in the3dgeekery.com and it will take you straight to their Facebook page.
Litko Game Accessories
Dice towers and tokens galore!
Turn One Gaming Supplies
Seller of awesome sleeves and if you want a Roll Master Mat, they have them.
PlaymatMasters on Etsy
Want an awesome custom playmat design? Check this dude out!
Inked Gaming
Have a playmat design but need it printed? This is who I use.

About Me and My Blog

The first time I ever did a public ‘article’ was on July 18, 2015 in our local Dice Masters group on Facebook about Captain Cold: Leonard Wynters. I wrote several articles in that group but it didn’t take long for me to realize that a Facebook group wasn’t the best place for publishing articles. I dug up an old WordPress site I’d started and hadn’t done anything with and began transferring my previous articles. My Dice Dice Kitty persona was born at that moment on November 8, 2015 and has spread to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

My blog used to be primarily about Dice Masters, but I’ve grown it to include Board Games, comics, Star Trek: Attack Wing, and even occasional recaps of our roleplaying sessions. I’m also a huge fan of My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so you’ll see I use lots of screen shots from those IPs for article pictures and other various things. I also attend conventions when I can and do coverage for those on my Facebook and Twitter.

I like to do a variety of reviews and unboxings and I hope folks find those helpful and informational. When it comes to my reviews, I do not play favorites with companies and I always give my honest opinion. My opinion is not fact, of course, but it is at least another perspective to take into consideration when it comes to products that folks want to spend their hard earned money on. I encourage everyone to seek out multiple reviews for a product so that they have as much information and perspective as possible!

I also try to do interviews with celebrity guests, vendors, and attendees at conventions. I do not discuss politics or political positions in those interviews and I try to avoid religious topics as well. I look at it this way – If I’m watching an interview about a celebrity or anyone else, I want to hear cool behind the scenes stuff or how they feel about the character they portrayed, not current world topics. There is plenty of coverage for that – elsewhere.

Here are some of the types of content you’ll find and when to expect them:
~ Comic Box Recap – Typically weekly, whenever I finish reading the comics in my subscription box.
~ Board Game Review – Component and game play reviews – no set publish date.
~ Star Trek Adventures Session Recap – Kage Hoshi Division recaps are published after our sessions, and we try to play at least once a month.

Here is the list of potential content in the works:
~ Monthly D&D Campaign Recap (Whenever I start my game back up)
~ Star Trek related content about episodes, actors, books, etc.

Cancelled Article Series
~ HeroClix Figure Spotlight – Cancelled due to low views.
~ Dice Masters Confusing Card of the Week – The fate of this series is currently being decided.

I have a lot of content across all my social media and YouTube as well as articles here.

Basic Rules

I keep my private life out of my blog, so you won’t see articles about politics or religion. This is not the place for it, so I do not allow any political or religious related content – regardless of any good intentions. These types of statements will be removed without warning.

I do not approve of anything obscene, vulgar, or offensive being posted in comments on any of the sites I host from. These type of statements will be removed without warning.

I don’t like folks being mean to each other. There is enough cruelty in the world and I don’t want it on any of my content. Please, express your negativity in a more constructive way and don’t direct it at anyone.

Bottom line – be nice and friendly. There is enough hate in the world and I want folks to feel like they can safely explore my sites without fear of being exposed to current world issues. I don’t believe in the absolute censoring of folks, but there are platforms available for that discussion and this is not that platform.

Contacting Me

While I have folks from the community on my private Facebook page, I do not share my private social media pages with everyone. I have a Facebook page (Kitty Masters) that I use to share my content on Facebook. If you message Kitty Masters, you will not get a response. You can contact me through email at dicedicekitty@gmail.com or on my official blog Facebook page, here.

Closing

I hope that you find at least one thing you enjoy or that is of interest to you in my content. I’m so thankful that you visited my site and I appreciate all the likes, followers, and subscribers for taking that extra step and hitting those buttons. The bigger my sites get, the better variety of content I can provide!

If you’re looking for my previous sticky post with all the Dice Masters links, you can find it here.

Is there a convention you want to see me at?
Is there a board game I need to check out?
Want me to write about something in particular?
Leave me a comment here or message me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty.

 

Boldly Go!

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Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

The featured game for this article and video review is a game from Fireside Games, Remnants.

Remnants on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

remnants

The world ended some time ago. Our days are dust and sand. We build what we need to survive from the remnants of the old world . . .

Remnants takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Each player builds a compound and fights to survive Raiders and mutant creatures. Send Survivors into the Badlands to roll dice in a real-time race for Resources, and then take turns spending those Resources to buy weapon, defense, and special development cards. When threats attack, roll dice and use abilities from cards you purchased to stay alive and fend off the assault. Designed by Matthew O’Malley, Ben Rosset, and our own Justin De Witt.

Remnants takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Each  player builds a compound and fights to survive Raiders and mutant creatures. The game is played in 5 phases: Scavenge, Build, Fight, Heal, and Cleanup. In the Scavenge phase, you send Survivors into the Badlands to roll dice in a real-time race for Resources. In the Build phase, you take turns spending those Resources to buy weapon, defense, and special development cards that enhance your compound. When threats attack, you’ll roll dice and use abilities followed by a Level 2 threat, and then finally face down the Raider Boss. After the final attack, the game ends and the player with the most Victory points is the winner.

If you like Mad Max, you should definitely be looking into this game!

Rules

I can’t think of any rule book from Fireside that’s given me serious trouble. Fireside is great about explaining things in detail and so their rule books tend to be thick and intimidating when you first pick them up. The rule book is detailed and covers just about every aspect of the game. We haven’t had a single question about Remnants that wasn’t covered in the rule book.

As a general tip, I recommend that you give yourself time to sit and read the rule book in its entirety. Then sit down with a friend or two that doesn’t mind trying to learn a new game so you can work out the ins and outs of the game. I’d do all of this before introducing it to a larger group. If your group likes learning new games together, then board out and game on!

Fireside has a link to the rule book, here.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

Remnants is not a difficult game to learn or play. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to teach to a group. The complexity of the game comes in with the various RNG that’s in the game. You’re trying to accomplish whatever purchasing goal you have with the randomness of the Badlands cards and the dice. The development cards are different with each setup too, which I definitely like. You can bet that no two games will ever be the same. I also like that you don’t have to focus on defeating attackers in order to win. There are other ways to get the Flavor Pack VPs. I know they’re called “Flavor Packs”, but they totally look like Ketchup Packs. I almost want to buy a box of Ketchup Packs from somewhere just to use for this game. One of my favorite descriptive things from Remnants is this:“Victory Points are flavor packets because in the future, flavor is the most valuable commodity.”

Fireside is always good about putting player aids on the board, on cards to hand out, or somewhere in the game components. Once again, Fireside has not let me down! Your player board has a detailed turn order, which is really all you need once you’ve got the basics down.

I also enjoy the randomness of the attacking Raiders and the various ways you can set up the boss, like not revealing their Power Up card until the boss is actually attacking. It adds some suspense to the boss and I love it! We typically wait until we’re done with the Dread turn before flipping the Raider/Boss – which makes it that much more fun!

This game is loads of fun and it plays relatively quickly. If you like Mad Max or something similar (I LOVE Mad Max), you might like the feel of this game. It’s definitely got that Mad Max feel – you’re fighting against other players for resources and the opportunity to development your compound, while fighting for your life against the attacking Dread!

I would like to see additional Dread cards, either as an expansion/upgrade, or as an addition to a deluxe/collector’s edition of the game. I could also see miniatures and plastic tokens added as an upgrade pack or for a deluxe/collector’s edition and I would totally buy it!

The only complaint I have, has nothing to do with game play or anything really important. I wish there was a base piece or punch out spot on the player board for the turn player flag. I would love to see flag ‘flying’ over the turn player’s compound.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!!!

I hope to see expansions or upgrades in the future! This game deserves upgraded tokens! Even if you don’t dig the theme, give this game a try!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Comic Fans!

 

In my Comic Box Recap article series, I want to talk about each of the comics that I read from my subscriptions that week. I don’t always read all the comics I order, because I’m only collecting some of them. Others are ones I may have started reading, but lost interest in but I still order them. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit a series at a later date.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Do not read any further if you are trying to avoid SPOILERS!
Marvel
Fantastic Four #6

Human Torch is full of witty comments, and apparently he knows how to use his wit to gain information from his enemies. I like that he’s different from the other members of the Fantastic Four and his humor is fun. I’m hoping Reed Richards isn’t as naive as he appears in this issue. Doom had planned for everything, even where the FF were going to ‘invade’ at. I like Doom’s over the top personality and I really like Doom’s herald, Victorious. If Doom is just using her, I hope it was all part of the plan and she’s in on it. If not, I’ll be a little disappointed. She’s very devoted and seems like she’d do whatever Doom told her, including sacrificing herself. Fantastic Four has been a great series so far and really fun to read. I definitely look forward to more!

Invaders #1

I don’t have much knowledge of the Invaders because I don’t like Captain America or Bucky, so I always avoided series with them in it. While this book was well written and interesting to read, it’s not really a book for me. That’s kind of disappointing too, since i was looking forward to it. And that disappointment is basically just me being disappointed in myself for not being more interested. The parts with Namor were the parts I liked the most and that’s probably because I really don’t like Captain America. I wasn’t expecting Machan to be a figment of Namor’s imagination, so that was a surprise when it was revealed.

I like how this book is focused on helping a war veteran overcome what’s happening to him, instead of him just being written off or destroyed. It sends a powerful message about our veterans.

I give credit to the team on this book for their excellent work. Just because I’m not digging a book, doesn’t mean it wasn’t done well. I will continue to get this title for a little while longer, to see if it changes topics to something I’m more interested in.

Absolute Comics Group
White Widow #1

Someone just splashed the 90’s all over the pages of this book. I’m not complaining about it at all, so don’t take it that way! There were great books in the 90’s! This book was an interesting read and the main character has a nice personality. She also looks like she has a combination of powers from Carnage, Lady Deathstrike, and Spider-Man, which is also kind of cool. This was a fun read, though I wouldn’t recommend it for folks like that don’t like obscenities, raunchiness, and cold-blooded murder. I liked plenty of the offbeat comic heroes in the 90’s and it’s so much fun to see a new one in that style!

I picked up this book on a whim, but I’m actually interested in the story going forward, so I’ll be picking up this series. I also wanted to mention, one of my fellow comic guys said that this book felt ‘thin’, like it didn’t have as many pages as other books. There are 24 pages (that’s counting front and back as two separate pages) of comic in this book and there are ZERO pages of ads. Most of the other books I read contain right at 20 pages of comic and about 6-8 pages of ads. White Widow had great content on all the pages and has the same cover price as those other books… but with more pages and zero ads…

IDW
My Little Pony: Nightmare Knights #4

I love the warm fuzzies I get from reading an MLP book. They’re full of inspiring moments of friendship and triumph, even if the victory is small. This was another good issue where the smaller achievements will help the heroes rise to glorious victory. Luna reminds Stygian that nobody can save him from himself – only he can decide to be a better pony. Daybreaker is starting to see the light, pun intended. And Tempest is showing her softer side, which is quite wonderful. I also don’t believe Capper has betrayed his friends. I think it’s part of bigger plan that he’s cooked up in his head, or maybe one he’s made with one of the other ponies. Eris could be on to them as well, since she was so suspicious of Tempest’s ‘new nightmares’ – or I could be looking too much into it. I guess I’ll have to wait until next month to find out!

Star Trek vs Transformers #4

This series is the most outrageous Star Trek comic series I’ve ever read – and I LOVE it! I love the over the top dramatics that you’d expect from TAS and an 80’s cartoon like Transformers. I can almost hear the dramatic ‘dun dun dun’ music on the last panel of the comic. When you hear the sound effects and music in your head while reading, you’re either insane, or you’re just really into what you’re reading. I’m almost certain it’s the latter for me. For someone with little-to-no background knowledge of Transformers, I’ve found myself genuinely enjoying those characters. This makes me want to dig up the old series from somewhere and actually watch it. Fortress Tiberius is absolutely ridiculous, but so cool at the same time. I can’t wait to see the crew of the Enterprise defend Kronos from Starscream with the help of the Transformers. It’s going to be an epic battle!

Conclusion

I liked Fantastic Four this week, but I was just a little disappointed that I didn’t like Invaders more. Like I mentioned, the book isn’t bad, just not what I like to read. I hope it switches gears or I’ll have to drop it. White Widow was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to more issues of that 90’s throwback, offbeat super hero style. I have yet to dislike an MLP book and Star Trek rarely disappoints. This was a good week and I feel like I got my money’s worth on every book in my box, including Invaders.

What are you reading?
Is there a series I should be reading?
You can drop me a line here or find me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!
Thanks for reading and remember to like, follow, and subscribe!

A good book is the best vacation!

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

I know it’s only January right now, and Origins Game Fair isn’t until June – but if you’re planning a full week trip to Origins, you should probably start thinking about it now. I get asked a lot of questions about Origins and how to get ready for it. I want to share planning methods and tips for the convention that Mr. DDK and I have. We may not be the most seasoned when it comes to Origins (been a few times), but we’ve traveled a lot and we’ve definitely learned a lot!

Most of this article is written for travelers that are driving or taking other modes of ground transportation. I don’t have much advice for anyone flying because I’m not familiar with flying protocols.

October – November 2018

Hotel blocks and badge registration opened in October and November, respectively. We don’t usually book hotel rooms or buy badges that early. A lot of people do though. If you’ve got the money to spend, we would definitely recommend getting a room from one of the Hotel Blocks listed on Origins’ site – especially the connected hotels or one super close. By now, most of them are already booked. If you want to get a room at one of the connected hotels, you would have to be ready to book the moment the blocks open up. The hotel block registration for Origins 2019 opened on October 15, 2018. If you’re planning for next year (2020), be watching for the block announcement on their Facebook page or in their newsletter.

January – April
Hotel

These are the months when we scout hotels and decide which one to book. I’m not the best at stalking about the internet for the absolute cheapest rooms, so we probably end up paying more for a room than the expert scouts. There are tons of websites out there that can teach you how to take advantage of the discounts and sales and find the cheapest possible room.

When we look for a room, we try to find one within a mile of the convention center. The address for the Greater Columbus Convention Center is:

400 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

If the room is within a mile, that means we won’t have to drive and pay parking fees, and it’ll be roughly a 20-25 minute walk. Parking fees aren’t terrible for one day, but once you’re paying them for five days or more, it becomes a huge chunk of what could have been spending money.

We like rooms with a refrigerator so we have a place to keep food or drinks. We also try to get a microwave in the room or in the lobby, at the very least. We like to try to get a room with two beds or one bed with a pull out couch, just in case we have folks that decide to go with us.

Once we know what we want in a room, I will usually browse Kayak for rooms that have a free cancellation policy and a pay at the hotel feature. Once I’ve found a room that we like, I’ll book it, but I’ll keep looking at rooms all the way up to the last day that I can cancel my booking. I do that in case I find a room that’s cheaper, closer, or better than the one I booked. In all the years we’ve traveled, we have never cancelled one room for another, but it doesn’t hurt to keep looking. If we can save a few hundred dollars on a room, then why not? If the room is cheaper by less than a hundred dollars, I won’t bother cancelling our current room.

Badge Registration

Badge Registration for 2019 opened in November of 2018. We don’t typically buy badges until March, just because that’s when we have extra income. Work in your badge purchase when it best suits your finances. But don’t wait too late to register! Early bird prices have a cut off date and if you miss it, you’ll have to pay more for your badge.

There are a variety of different types of badges that grant you access to the convention for one day or all five days. We always go for the full show badges, but you should get the one that suits your plans.

May

This is the month that purchasing opens for Ribbons, Event Tickets, and Generic Tokens for the various happenings at Origins Game Fair.

Ribbons

I’ve never purchased a Ribbon at Origins, but I’m seriously considering it this year. You can find the info for Ribbons at the bottom of the Registration page. Ribbons have a super sticky part across the front top of the ribbon. When you get your Ribbon, you stick it to the back of your badge, so the front of the Ribbon hangs just below your badge. I’ve seen folks with a stack of Ribbons, stretching almost all the way to the floor. Some Ribbons are earned by accomplishing various tasks, like turning in a coupon and getting your free spin on a prize wheel. Wearing the Ribbon shows you’ve done it, almost like a badge of honor.

I’ve heard lots of great things about Origins After Dark and the Board Room and that they are worth buying. I’m looking at getting the Upper Deck Ribbon because they make the VS System 2PCG: The Alien Battles and I love Alien. I wanted to learn to play it last year, but it was extremely difficult to get in without a ticket or ribbon – and I couldn’t schedule it easily last year either.

Event Tickets

Event Tickets are special tickets that you can purchase which guarantee you entry to a particular event at a specific time. You can buy tickets for practically anything at various times. You can download the 2018 Event Grid (last year’s) from the current event page, here. That’ll give you an example of the events. Last year, I bought a Giant King of Tokyo ticket and Star Trek Five Year Mission event ticket. Buying tickets in advance for events that you know you’ll want to play is a great idea. Doing it early will guarantee that you save yourself a seat! I plan on purchasing Giant King of Tokyo and some painting sessions this year. If there’s another Five Year Mission game, I’ll be getting in on that too! Mr. DDK loaded up on Dungeons and Dragons gaming sessions with Baldman Games.

We’re always careful not to buy too many tickets in advance. I’m not good at micro managing and you almost have to be to manage a stack of event tickets. We’re also careful when buying tickets for game sessions that are too close in time to each other. Origins is huge and if we buy an event ticket for an event that starts right after one ends, it’s not likely we’ll make it on time and lose our seat. Mr. DDK didn’t have to worry about running between events last year because all of his were in the same room, just at a different table.

If this is your first time at Origins, only buy a few event tickets so you can get a feel for the flow and ebb at Origins. Event tickets are usually available at Origins too, not just in advance. Some events sell out rather quickly, like the D&D events. Last year, Mr. DDK bought D&D event tickets in advance for what he could, and then picked up generic tokens when we got there. Sometimes, folks don’t make it to a scheduled event that they purchased a ticket for, or the event has extra spots open up. If that happens, folks with generic tokens have a chance to get in on that event. That’s not always the case though, so if you’re specifically looking at the D&D events, I would suggest buying them as soon as possible.

Generic Tokens

Generics are tokens that are similar in appearance to small plastic poker chips. They’re decorated with the Origins logo and each is worth $2.00 towards the entry into an event that accepts generics. Most events that I inquired about last year accepted generics, so long as all the ticket holders were seated first. If you don’t use all your generic tokens, you can turn them in by a specific day and time for a refund. It’s good to have several generics on hand, and I recommend picking them up before you start exploring the convention.

June – Leading Up To Origins

Origins month! Now it’s time to get ready for the trip!

Preventing Con Crud

Con crud is catch-all name for the germs that folks get when they spend a lot of time at a convention and don’t take care of themselves before, during, and after the convention. I should really be taking a daily vitamin all year long, but I typically start taking a daily vitamin around the first of June. Taking a daily vitamin is a good way to boost the immune system and help prevent the onset of con crud.

We also buy several travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer. We like the ones that attach to the outside of a bag so we have quick and easy access to them. We like to keep healthy snacks and plenty of water on us while at the convention. Eating well also helps to prevent the crud.

Washing your hands often while at the convention is probably the best prevention practice, which I talk about more below.

Demo/Purchase Wish Lists

It’s around this time that I start checking up on the companies that are attending and what products they may be bringing. This helps me make a list of games that I want to demo and games I want to purchase. When I make a list of games that I want to purchase, I usually keep it short. This leaves room for the possible addition of something I didn’t realize was going to be available, or in the event I demo something that I really want to buy afterwards.

My list of games to demo is usually pretty long. I like to experience as much as I can and meet as many folks as I can! I recommend making a demo list that’s larger than your purchase list. I don’t like having a large purchase wish list because then I feel like I need to go buy those things on my list and I’ll put off buying something else that’s not on the list.

I usually don’t plan on buying anything until after I’ve had a chance to demo a lot of the games on my demo list, unless it’s a game that looks like it might sell out. I would definitely recommend prioritizing the games on your lists in case some of them are hot sellers.

Buy Supplies and Make A Checklist

I always start my travel checklist around the first of June too. Making a checklist helps prevent me from forgetting anything. My travel checklists are detailed all the way down to which t-shirts I’m taking for each day. I know that might sound silly to some, but being organized helps keep my stress levels to a minimum. I write down everything, even if it seems like something obvious – like a phone charger.

Making a travel list also helps me see what I need to buy for the trip. For example, if I write shampoo down on the list, it’s not completely practical to take an entire bottle of shampoo. Buying travel sized toiletries will help save a little bit of luggage room. Saving a little room everywhere you can means you have more room to bring more things home. Do you realize how many sets of RPG dice you can fit in the space difference between the size of a normal bottle of shampoo and a travel size bottle?

Travel Food and Vehicle Prep

Chocolate, super sweet candy, and sodas are not good travel snacks. I would recommend beef jerky, trail mix, crackers, peanuts, and water or some other beverage like lemonade or Gatorade. I don’t bring anything that will melt or go bad in a hot vehicle. We make the trip by car and it takes us the better part of eight hours to get to Columbus, Ohio from Dyersburg, Tennessee. Having wholesome snacks also helps keep the number of stops to a minimum. It also helps to have good snacks for the hotel room too, so I always make sure to pack plenty of snacks.

We also make sure our vehicle has had its regular maintenance like an oil change and a tire inspection. We also check to be sure we’ve got a spare tire, jumper cables, plenty of gas in the tank, a map, and a GPS. I will sometimes check our route ahead of time and see where the long stretches are between gas stations and make a note to check the tank before reaching those points. Jumper cables should be in your vehicle at all times, regardless of the vehicle’s age. Spare tires are also important and we like to make sure we’ve got some funds set aside in case we need to buy another tire on the trip. Folks sometimes laugh at me for having an atlas in the car, but there could be times where you lose signal on your GPS or phone and you need to know where to go. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Weather Forecast

June is warm, but heads up – the convention halls can get chilly! We bring a light coat or a light weight long sleeved shirt with us to the convention.

We keep an eye on what the weather is supposed to be doing for the entire duration of the convention. We plan to walk to and from the convention, so we’ll need to know if rain is in the forecast. It didn’t rain at all while we were there last year, at least not when we were going to and from the convention. We took an Uber back and forth between the hotel and the convention last year. We also pay close attention to what the weather forecast is for the road trip.

Plotting the Course

We always check the suggested routes for which one appeals to us the most. Sometimes, we prefer the more scenic routes, and other times we prefer traveling through more populated areas. We cross check them with the weather and then select the one we think is best.

June – Convention Time!
Road Trip Time!

When departure day arrives, we make sure everything on our checklist is checked off and we put our selected route into the GPS app, and we head out! Depending on which day we leave, usually determines what time we leave. If we leave on Tuesday, we leave later in the morning, putting our arrival around dinner time. If we leave on Wednesday, we leave as early as possible (usually 7:00 or 8:00 am) which puts our arrival around 3:00 or 4:00 pm.

Pit-Stops and Safety

We stop as few times as possible, because that not only saves time, but also saves us a little on gas.

When we stop for a meal, we make sure it’s not super greasy fast food. Eating healthier on the road helps us stay alert on the trip. I know this all sounds cheesy, no pun intended there, but it’s the honest truth! I used to eat nothing but Cheetos and drink Mountain Dew while traveling and since I changed my diet, I’ve noticed a world of difference. When we stop for a meal, we make it worthwhile.

We also check the area around our potential stop for red flags. We never stop at a location that looks like it belongs in a horror movie – because I don’t want to be in a real-life horror movie scenario. We make sure the places we stop are well lit and clean on the outside. If there are storage buildings or trees close by, we don’t ever park near them. If there are a lot of folks hanging around outside a place, regardless of how they look, we will pass it by. We also look at the buildings in the area around where we’re thinking of stopping. If the area looks run down and unkempt, even if the place we’re wanting stop at looks okay, we will pass it up. It doesn’t take much effort to stay safe, just some common sense.

We also lock our vehicle at every stop, even if we’re only running in for a second, and we never leave the vehicle running. That’s just asking for someone to steal it. We like to cover our luggage with a solid colored sheet of cloth too, so anyone peering in won’t see what’s in the back of the vehicle. We hide anything that looks valuable, either under the seats or under the cloth in the back of the vehicle. And we also clean the change out of the cup holders. You would be surprised what folks will break into a car for.

Arrival!

When we arrive in Columbus, we like to check into our hotel room first if possible, just to be sure everything is in order. We haven’t really had any issues during an Origins trip (yet), but we’ve had issues with hotels in the past.

If we arrive on Tuesday, we usually take that time to relax and look over the website, making notes or changing wish lists. There isn’t much to do on Tuesday, besides visit the comic store and meet up with friends in the food court.

If we arrive on Wednesday, then we go directly to the convention center upon arrival in Columbus. Origins opens the on-site registration and badge pick up on Wednesday, as well as the gaming halls. The Exhibit Hall (Vendor Hall) is not typically open on Wednesday. We will oftentimes sit in the food court and browse the Origins event book and coupon book you get at registration.

Origins Game Fair

Everyone goes to Origins not only for gaming but to socialize with fellow gamers, the creators of their favorite games, and the companies that produce games. Origins is a very relaxed experience for how many folks attend. You wouldn’t think of 18,000 folks milling around as a relaxed experience, except the folks organizing this convention know what they’re doing. The GAMA organization does a wonderful job of it every year.

Quiet Time

This is an important topic for me and many other gamers as well. If you don’t already know this about me, you may be surprised to learn that I have some pretty severe anxiety issues. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I have panic attacks when strangers get too close to me. If I feel safe and comfortable, my anxiety isn’t an issue. A convention like Origins feels like home to me and I feel safe, so my anxiety isn’t an issue here.

I like how they have the convention set up. It never feels cramped in the gaming halls since the doors to them stay open most of the time. The only major ‘rush’ is when the Exhibit Hall first opens everyday. But once those folks filter in and disperse, which is actually quite fast, the Exhibit Hall doesn’t feel cramped either. The more popular booths will always have a crowd, but even those crowds are easy to maneuver while in the booth. The later in the day it is, the less crowded the booths are.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, there are lots of quiet areas all over the convention center to sit in. Most of the areas aren’t even designated as quiet spots, but they work great for folks like me that need a few minutes to rest. The Origins volunteers are helpful and understanding for anyone in need and can guide you to a quiet area or direct you to someone that can help.

Charging Stations

Last year, I thought I’d have to sit in the floor by an outlet in order to charge my video camera and my phone, but I didn’t! The Greater Columbus Convention Center has charging stations all over the place! They’re at tables, in the food court at a charging bar, in lounge areas, practically everywhere. It’s a convenience that I greatly thank them for.

Wednesday – At Origins

Unless they change something, Wednesday is the day we’ll be picking up our badges. The gaming halls are usually open and some events could be up and running. Wednesday is the day we use to scout out the locations for events we purchased tickets for and to visit the comic store, Heroes and Games, in the convention center. The staff at this store is always so nice and helpful and it’s a must visit place while at the convention.

We also look around the food court and see if there’s anything on the menus that we just have to try and make a note of it for later. There are a lot of great options for breakfast and lunch. The food court is spacious and bright, but they have dimmer areas too if you prefer it, and it’s a great place to sit with friends to get away from the bustle of the convention.

We try to hit the food court last so we can grab lunch and look over our booklets. When you register and get your badge, you also get a couple of Origins booklets, plus a coupon book. We’ll sit and go through the coupon book and select the coupons we’re most interested in and also browse the convention map and the event booklet for anything we might have missed.

If it’s not too late by the time we’re done with that, we’ll make our way back to the gaming halls to see if any of the booths are open and get in some early demos. If not, we’ll find some folks to play some games with!

Thursday to Sunday – At Origins

Thursday is probably the biggest day since that’s the first day the Exhibit Hall is open. Folks are trying to get in for the early show deals and trying to get any freebies they might have from the coupon book. Events are in full swing and folks are bustling around with bags full of games. The excitement is almost palpable in the air. There are vendors offering demos, supply vendors displaying their goods, artists and writers talking about their works, and folks from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the atmosphere and join in the excitement of playing old favorites and newly discovered favorites alike.

These four days are all similar in that we’re participating in various events, browsing products, and having fun! Sunday is the only day that’s different for us because that’s the day we check out of our hotel room and head home after we’re done at Origins. Many folks stay the night and leave on Monday, but we’re usually ready to head home by Sunday. It’s a whirlwind of excitement and fun for us everyday and the experience is well worth the trip!

Origins Game Fair Tips
3-2-1 Health and Hygiene Rule

I’m sure many of you have heard of the convention hygiene rule in one form or another. I’ve always heard it called the 3-2-1 Rule, but in recent years I’ve seen variations pop up. It’s basically this:

  • 3 – Get at least three hours of sleep each night of the convention.
  • 2 – Eat two proper meals each day of the convention.
  • 1 – Take at least one shower each day of the convention.

Sleep – Some variations say you need five or six hours of sleep each night of the convention. Every person is different. Some of us can function just fine off of three hours of sleep. Others need eight hours, or more. I’m somewhere around a six hour person and if I don’t get enough rest, I look terrible and I’m very grumpy. Don’t sacrifice sleep for more game time because you might regret it as the convention continues on.

Eat – Everyone needs at least two proper meals everyday of the convention. Mr. DDK and I get our three meals in, plus snacks. I love gaming, but I love food too. I won’t sacrifice food for more gaming. There is a time and place for each one and when it’s time to eat, then I go eat! Pretzels or other con-foods are not a substitute for a meal. There is an entire food court in the convention center with a variety of reasonably priced food and drink. Eating regular and proper meals is important for energy levels too. If you’re not eating properly, you are not on top of your game!

Shower – This is not just a courtesy for those around you, it’s a health thing too. You’re going to be in and around all kinds of folks. Some of those folks might have a germ or two and not know it, or they could have germs and not care. If you get those germs on your clothes, you’re transporting them around and spreading them. You need to shower every day to get those germs off. Don’t contribute to the spread of con crud, shower it off.

As a side note to go along with showering – do not shower in aftershave, cologne, or perfume – use soap and water, please. Use scented things in moderation. We’re not really in tight quarters in the gaming halls, but there are lots of people with sensory issues and a strong scent could trigger a negative response. Only in recent years, as my anxiety has worsened, have I learned just how debilitating a sensory problem can be. My sensory issue is texture and sound related, but I totally understand what folks go through when their sensory issue is triggered. Be kind to those around you and don’t drown yourself in scented things.

Clothes

Bring enough sets of clothes that you can wear different clothes everyday – pants included. If you can’t do this, or just don’t want to, have your clothes laundered. Wearing the same pair of pants for two days could contribute to the spread of con crud. I have a set of clothes for every day of the convention, plus backups. When we get back to the hotel, I toss my dirty clothes in their own bag so they don’t potentially contaminate my clean clothes. And that’s usually the first thing I do after we unload the car from the trip – I wash the clothes! Just because you’re not at the convention anymore doesn’t mean you didn’t bring the crud home with you.

Wash Your Hands

It’s very important that you wash your hands regularly, not just after using the facilities. And hand sanitizer is great if you can’t make it to the restroom right away, but it’s not a substitute for washing your hands. I make frequent trips to the restroom to wash my hands, especially after handling demo products or shaking hands with folks. Germs spread rapidly at conventions and the best way to stifle them is wash your hands and use sanitizer.

Cart or Bag?

Should you tote your purchases around in a shopping bag, a rolling basket or cart, a wheeled suitcase, or by some other method? Well, only you can answer that question! Last year, I used a wheeled suitcase and I’m leaning that way again. I wanted a wired basket or wheeled tote, like the ones shown below, but after lugging that suitcase around last year I think the basket might be too much of a hassle.

rolling carts

The suitcase worked fine and it was fully enclosed. While I feel safe at Origins, I am not that trusting that I would leave my belongings out in the open. The major benefit the baskets have over the suitcase is that they’re collapsible and the extra suitcase isn’t. The baskets are also larger, which could be good or bad depending on the situation.

There are plenty of folks that make purchases and carry their goodies using shopping bags, which works fine for them. But if you’re planning on making lots of purchases and you can’t easily make a drop off in your hotel room or car, then you might want to think about a cart or suitcase. Just be sure to keep your possessions out of aisles so folks don’t trip over them.

Conclusion

Origins Game Fair is lots of fun and a great experience. There is so much to do and there’s something for everyone who loves gaming. There are diverse gaming experiences for all kinds of folks, from board games and role playing games to live action role playing and video gaming. It’s an event that I recommend everyone try to attend at least one time, even if it’s just for one day. It’s an affordable convention in a beautiful venue and it’s located in a wonderful city.

I hope that sharing my planning steps and convention tips helps folks plan their trip according to their needs. If you’re attending Origins in 2019, I’ll hopefully see you there!

Feel free to share your tips in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Board out, game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

The featured game for this article and video review is a game from Gamelyn Games, Tiny Epic Galaxies (base game).

Tiny Epic Galaxies on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

teg

In Tiny Epic Galaxies each player controls a galactic empire, aiming to expand their influence by acquiring highly contested planets and increasing their cosmic armada. The game revolves around an innovative dice-rolling combo mechanic. The number of dice you roll is determined by the strength of your galaxy. Each die is engraved with symbols representing the various actions you can take, such as moving a spaceship, increasing your culture or energy resources, or advancing your political or economic influence over newly discovered planets.

Through careful planning, you must make the most out of your turn, taking the available actions in whichever order you consider most beneficial. But be careful, as each of your opponents can choose to follow each action you take by expending valuable resources. This means that it can always be your turn, even when it is someone else’s turn!

Players will colonize new planets throughout the game, thereby earning victory points and accumulating special abilities which they can activate for their galactic empire. Careful spending of resources will ensure the fastest growth of your empire, while allowing you to receive the biggest possible pay‐off from the actions you take.

Will your influence be enough to control the most powerful planets in the galaxy? Will you be able to meet your secret objective along the way? Will your empire stand victorious?

There are loads of nods to great Sci-Fi classics that are cleverly placed throughout this game! That’s one of the many things I love and adore about this game.

Rules

The rule book is a quick and easy read. I didn’t have any trouble finding answers to game play questions while we played our first game. Once you get an understanding of how the game works, you may not need to pull out the rule book. We’ve played this game too many times to count since June of 2016, and we haven’t pulled the rule book out since then. There is a reminder chart on the Activation Bay that gives a brief description of what each die symbol does.

Gamelyn has a link to the rule book as well as How to Play videos up on their site, here.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I love Tiny Epic games. Why? There are many reasons! One reason is because they’re all in glove-box-sized boxes but they expand into a full table game. I wish more games were like this! This makes transporting and storage so much easier. Another reason is because the games are all unique in their play style and they have various different themes. There are a couple of fantasy themed ones, but they feel different from each other because of how they play. Of all the Tiny Epics, Galaxies is my favorite because of the game play and the theme.

You upgrade your Empire to gain more dice and ships. You fly your ships around the galaxy, landing in a planet’s orbit or on the surface. You might have to race against other players across a planet’s orbit track to conquer the planet before they do. There are ways to ‘follow’ or copy an ability on a die that was just activated by another player, potentially giving you an advantage or setting you up for glorious victories on your turn. Each player also has a different Secret Mission that only they know. If you’re close enough in points to the lead player and you complete it, it could give you enough points to win the game.

There is so much fun in such a tiny box and it’s epic!

Buy or Bye?
Buy!!!

This game is a favorite among my fellow board gamers. We play it often, with and without the expansions and bonus content. I highly recommend this game for folks that love space themed games and dice games!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

Some of you may be following the crew of the U.S.S. Mulgrew already, but if you’re not, be sure to check them out! You can find the most recent (at time of writing), here. We are using Modiphius Entertainment‘s Star Trek Adventures RPG rules. If you’re not familiar with the 2D20 system, then this Star Trek Adventures RPG Starter Set is the product for you! It won’t answer every question, but it’s the perfect place to start.

In my unboxing video (HERE), you can get a look at all the items in the Star Trek Adventures Starter Set. I wanted to take a moment and put a few words in this article about what I think of the product overall as well as the individual items.

starter stock

Tokens & Dice

In the starter set, you’ll find several different punch board tokens. There are Momentum, Threat, and character/ship tokens. The Momentum and Threat tokens are pieces you will definitely use for every game you play. You can use anything to represent Momentum and Threat, but it’s nice to have actual tokens designed for Momentum and Threat. The character tokens; consisting of player characters, opponents, and ships, are perfect for the starter set. You can easily use these tokens in other games too, especially if you don’t use miniatures or haven’t purchased any yet.

Overall, the tokens are standard cardboard punch out tokens, but they serve their purpose and they’re perfect for a starter set like this one.

The dice included in the starter set are two standard D20’s, and four custom D6’s. The D20’s are opaque dark maroon with white accents. The custom D6’s have two blank sides, a single burst side, a double burst side, and a Star Trek Delta symbol on two sides. The D6’s are opaque black with white accents. The special D6’s are called Challenge dice and you will use them for a variety of things in the game like rolling for work on an Extended Task’s Work Track and dealing damage in combat.

Overall, the dice are as basic as you can get for this game. Modiphius has custom premium dice available for each of the three divisions and those are made by Q Workshop. But the dice in the starter set are more than adequate for all levels of game play, so if you only have the starter dice, you’re set to play!

Maps

There are several double-sided poster maps included in this box. The maps are beautifully colored and detailed. They don’t have unnecessary reference marks on them, which makes them perfect for games beyond the starter set adventures. There are examples in the Adventure booklet that show you where to place tokens on the maps. I’m so glad that Modiphius put all the Adventure-relevant info in the book and not on the maps. The maps are made from paper, but it feels thicker, like a poster.

Overall, the maps are very pretty and useful for more than just the starter games. That’s a major plus for me. They’re also worth getting laminated, which I’ve never done for any other starter set.

Character Sheets

There are five unique characters included in this box and all of them are a different species and have a different skill set. There are a variety of ranks as well, with Lieutenant Commander being the only duplicate rank. The sheets are easy to read and have all of the important information needed to play the character. The only thing I would change on the sheets is how the Focuses are formatted. I would have made them into a bulleted list like the Values, just so they would be easier to see each individual Focus. I love how they used each characters’ division color for the accents on the sheets. That was a nice cosmetic addition that serves a functional purpose as well.

On the back of each character sheet, as well as the ship’s sheet, you will find a reference sheet that makes it easier to understand the details of play with the chosen character. Some of the reference sheets work for all the players, like the Conflict Reference on the back of the Medical Officer’s sheet.

The ship, USS Magellan, has its own character sheet. I’m so happy Modiphius chose to put a ship in the starter set! This ship can be used outside of the starter set, as well as a reference or guideline for what a ship’s completed sheet should look like. And the back of the ship’s sheet has both charts for Personal and Ship Conflict Momentum Spends – which is invaluable during play.

Overall, the character sheets appear to be complete and well thought out characters. If you read through each of the characters’ lists of Values, you can glimpse highlight of that character backstory. I also like that they left each character unnamed. Being able to name a character, even a pre-generated one, usually gives players a feeling of ownership and control of the character. The character sheets are great and could easily be used for newer players in any game, and not just this starter set. And having the reference sheets on the back of the characters sheets is so great! I’m thinking of getting these sheets laminated as well, mainly to preserve them, but also so a dry erase marker can be used for writing on the character sheet.

Starter Rule Book

This starter rules booklet is as useful as the reference sheets. All of the basic, need-to-know information is in this booklet. I really wish I had purchased this starter set before the Core Rulebook because it would have made our first few sessions go much smoother. We did fine, but there was a lot of time spent digging through the Core Rulebook for things that are easily found in this booklet. It feels like it’s made out of the same paper as the maps. The colors are gorgeous, and I love that it’s white text on black paper. It makes it easier on my eyes when I read for an extended period of time, and it looks super classy too.

Overall, I love this booklet. I didn’t think it’d be as useful as it is until I started looking though it. If I would have had this booklet when we wanted to start playing, we would be much further along in our adventures. I spent several months reading over the Core Rulebook and I would rather have started with this booklet.

Starter Campaign

I haven’t read the entire booklet, but it appears to be a full campaign, from beginning to end. There is a lot of content in this book and as you play through the campaign, it teaches you everything you need to know as a player or GM. I assume this is a TNG Era campaign since one of the playable characters is a Bajoran, but I didn’t see anything to verify this (unless I overlooked it). The Galaxy Class ship, USS Magellan, would definitely be a TNG Era ship as they weren’t in commission during Enterprise and TOS eras. I’m sure the campaign could be modified for TOS play, but not sure about ENT play. Just like the starter rulebook, the pages feel like they’re thicker than normal paper and they’re black with white text. The last few pages show where all the character tokens should be placed on the maps. The pictures are brightly colored and easy to see.

Overall, the starter campaign looks like a fun and easy way to introduce players to the Star Trek Adventures RPG system. It also looks like a great campaign for players that are already familiar with the system.

Conclusion

This is probably my favorite starter set out of all the starter sets I’ve ever purchased. It’s well rounded and contains literally everything you need to play. It has a good price for what you get in the box. You can usually find the starter set for around $30.00 (USD). That price will vary depending on where you buy it from and if there are shipping costs included. I would recommend asking your FLGS if they can order it, and if they can’t, go directly through Modiphius.

For anyone that enjoys playing through the starter, I would highly recommend picking up the Core Rulebook and These Are The Voyages Volume One. There are additional supplements for the different divisions and different quadrants space, premium tokens and dice, and miniatures! All of this is not necessary, but they do enhance game play.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

This isn’t just great for beginners, it’s a also got handy and useful resources for players that are already in a campaign. It’s well worth having to help introduce new players to the Star Trek Adventures RPG!

Want to drop me a line? Do it here or on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!
Thanks for reading!

Qapla’!

Greetings Fellow Comic Fans!

 

In my Comic Box Recap article series, I want to talk about each of the comics that I read from my subscriptions that week. I don’t always read all the comics I order, because I’m only collecting some of them. Others are ones I may have started reading, but lost interest in but I still order them. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit a series at a later date.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Do not read any further if you are trying to avoid SPOILERS!
Marvel
Avengers #12

This was a whole background issue on how Black Panther gathers intel for the Avengers. It was a fun read, the first time. I tried to read it again and found myself skipping parts. It’s one of those issues that I’ll keep because it’s #12 in the series, but I doubt I’ll find myself reading it again. I was happy to see Ka-Zar in this issue, though he didn’t seem like the Ka-Zar I remember.

I’m quickly losing interest in this title and it may be one that I drop soon. I got it because She-Hulk and Captain Marvel were on the roster and I thought I’d get to see more of them. They’re in one panel – on the last page of this issue, and I haven’t seen much of them lately anyway. This is starting to feel like a Black Panther story…

Captain Marvel #1

Yes! This book is absolutely wonderful! It’s a great start to what I hope continues to be an amazing series. If it keeps up this way, Captain Marvel will become my favorite Marvel book, right alongside Doctor Strange (don’t make me choose between them). I’d die for a She-Hulk series done by this team!

I was happy to see Carol and Jessica in action together again. I was never a fan of Spider Woman, but Carol is best friends with her and friends are important. I also totally relate to Carol when Tony is trying to talk her into the ‘interview’ thing for the Avengers. Even when Tony says that he was nominated to talk to Carol because she’s scary – I relate to Carol there too. I also like that Tony isn’t a huge annoying punk in this issue – such a breath of fresh air.

I think my favorite thing about this issue is the message that it sends to women and young ladies: Don’t give up. If you get knocked down, get back up and push forward. Even if you’re faced with what seems like an impossible task; whether it’s a kraken or a misogynist jerk, stand your ground.

This issue is also a perfect example of how a super hero writer can apply current real world issues into the world of super heroes, without bringing the real world into it. Captain Marvel is facing off against this giant of a man, who is a total jerk and takes every opportunity to point out that a woman doesn’t stand a chance against him – a man. Captain Marvel responds appropriately and shows him just what a determined woman is capable of. Captain Marvel’s male teammates stand by her as an equal and they are equally smacked down. But, Carol’s strong will and determination helps her to get her hands on Nuclear Man. He briefly gets the upper hand, but it’s long enough for him to kidnap the reporter that was supposed to interview Carol. Carol’s sheer determination to be better than she was, better than she is, is what propels her into a portal to save a woman she had only just met.

Everything about this book is great. Great writing, great art and colors, great action, great messages and overall content, and a great cliffhanger! This team is absolutely amazing – and who better to write and illustrate an amazing woman, than more amazingly talented women! Nice work, ladies. I look forward to more Captain Marvel!

Image
Outer Darkness #3

I love this book so much. I feel like I’m reading an episode of a TV series. Will someone please make this into a movie or show?! It’s not often that I make a verbal exclamation while reading to myself, but I did this time. As soon as Ensign Hydzek was stabbed, I let out a very loud, “NO!” that was almost followed by an expletive. But, I have a three year old toddler in the house and she was playing on the floor right in front of me, so I stopped myself. But the loud, “NO!” made her jump and she looked at me as though I was scolding her. I don’t know what it is about Hydzek, but I really like her and I was instantly saddened by her death, until I saw they were retrieving her and Corporal Shin.

I hate that Hydzek is having trouble with the retrieval. I didn’t want this for her, but at least she’s alive. And Shin – oh boy… I knew something was up with him, long before I saw the final panels. He’s got demons! Or at least, that’s what they look like. And poor Elox – Rigg will never remember his name. And I still don’t trust Satalis and Prakash. I still feel like they’re up to something. I’d trust the Crone before either of them.

The characters in this story are all alive with personality and John Layman has done the most amazing job at writing this series. Afu Chan’s art is unique and the style works so well with the story. I love all the design choices for everything from the ship to the suits – especially the space suits. I love those helmets! I can’t say enough good things about this book and I hope others find it to be as entertaining and enjoyable as I do.

Conclusion

Avengers wasn’t terrible, but it was kind of lacking this week, especially compared to Captain Marvel and Outer Darkness. After reading those two books, I’m now left with an emptiness – a void that can only be filled with more Captain Marvel and Outer Darkness. I will have to not-so-patiently await the next installments… I wish I had them now!

What are you reading?
Is there a series I should be reading?
You can drop me a line here or find me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!
Thanks for reading and remember to like, follow, and subscribe!

A good book is the best vacation!

Greetings Fellow Dice and Clix Fans

 

It is with some sadness that I officially announce the retirement of my Dice Masters Confusing Card of the Week articles as well as almost all Dice Masters and HeroClix content. If Dice Masters has anything related to the Star Trek IP pop up, I’ll definitely cover it. HeroClix is still planning some Star Trek sets, and I’ll be unboxing those and talking about them, but I won’t be filming matches or writing any other general content articles for those two WizKids games.

That’s the short version. Here’s the rest…

Normally when I leave a gaming community, nobody notices and it’s likely that will be the case here too. But I know there are a few folks who actually read my articles and do genuinely care. I wanted to be sure I gave them a chance to hear my reasoning and some of what’s been going on behind the scenes.

When my dear friends from Double Burst announced the retirement of their Dice Masters podcast, I felt that it was time to say what I’d been feeling for a long time. I don’t get excited about Dice Masters anymore. I don’t get excited about HeroClix either, but my presence in that community was minimal.

I’ve been around the gaming industry for a very long time, well over 20 years now, and I’ve played a wide variety of collectible games that have been released since MtG. I’ve been in and around those games when the doors closed on each one. I’ve seen the mistakes of more than a dozen gaming companies and I can say that I feel like WizKids has changed Dice Masters in a way that wasn’t for the best. WizKids has made way too many errors in judgement, regarding Dice Masters, for me to keep investing my time and money into it. I won’t go into the list, because it’s quite extensive. I’m also not bashing them or hating on them for their choices with the game, I’m just saying that I don’t like how they’ve handled Dice Masters and I’m done.

Dice Masters Players

Another reason I feel my time is being wasted in Dice Masters, has to do with certain members of the community. The community as a whole isn’t bad and there are communities that are far worse. I was going to detail some of what transpired, without disclosing the individuals, but I’ve decided not to. It’s a bunch of negativity happened through private messages, so there is no point to spread it or give those individuals any satisfaction of detailing their bad deeds.

I will miss some things, like getting together and rolling dice with friends. But the bitterness I have associated with Dice Masters is not something I want to experience anymore. I likely won’t play the game any longer unless it’s with a particular IP, like the TMNT sets or a Star Trek one if they ever make one. I will miss meeting folks through the game. I’ve met so many amazing people and I’ve had so much fun over the years. I will miss the feeling of family when I see everyone at a WKO or Origins. Board games are great and you can meet friends through board games, but there’s something about the collectible competitive scene that feels different. “We’re friends, family, and comrades, but we’re also competitors. I’ll help you train, but when we face off in a tournament, it’s for real.” That’s what I will miss – that competitive feeling.

Thank you, to all of you that were nice to me. Thank you, to all of you that helped me along the way. Thank you, to all of you that read my articles. Thank you, to all of you that were my friends, my family, and my comrades. If you’re in board games or anything Star Trek related, then this is not a ‘goodbye’, but a ‘see you soon’. If you’re only a Dice Masters player, then this is goodbye and I hope you have positive experiences to remember me by.

Special thanks to the Double Burst crew, Chris and Andy (MOD), and the Dice Coalition (Michaela especially). I know I’ll probably see most of you folks at Origins or other conventions. Roll on, my dice family.

HeroClix Players

My existence in the Clix community was short lived. All I can really say is that once my spoilers stopped coming from WizKids, nobody was interested in my other articles. I have no reason to believe that this would change now. That makes me feel like my opinion on anything related to Clix isn’t worth the time or effort, that the majority of the community only wanted to see the spoilers.

This shouldn’t be a surprise if you read my last HeroClix Figure Spotlight. I announced the end of those articles in that final one.

Thank you, Daniel, Jason, and David. You guys are always awesome. Thanks you, Sam. You were one of the few girls that I could easily get along with in a highly competitive game and I love you to pieces. I still want to play with all of you, but you know me and what I like – Battle Royales or something crazy like my Shirtless Squad!

I’ll still post unboxings for any Star Trek Clix that WizKids puts out, but that’ll be the extent of it. I’ll post Instagram pictures of my teams too, when I play. Live long, and Prob it!

Conclusion

I’m sorry that I couldn’t find the energy and the love for Dice Masters to stick with it until the official end. But for me, the game has died completely – mainly because there is no more collectible competitive scene. If they ever return it to the collectible format, I may come back and revive my articles.

Fear not! Dice Dice Kitty is not going away! My future is full of Star Trek Adventures RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, board games and Star Trek themed games, miniature painting, comic book articles, and many other exciting things! I’m happy to close the book on this chapter of my gaming life and move on. I only wish I’d done it sooner. Spend your time on what you love and what makes you happy, otherwise, it’s being wasted. I hope there is still something of interest for you to read on my site or watch on my channel. If not, then thanks for your support up until now. If you’re still here with me, the adventure will continue!

Qapla’!

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

I received lots of positive feedback in regards to my refurbishing of our game room table and I wanted to share the table’s background and the process of turning it from an eyesore to a decorative and functional piece of furniture.

The Table

Years ago… like back in 2010… we were given a table. This table was going to be thrown away by one of my husband’s co-workers. They didn’t want the table because ‘someone’ had left an iron on the table and it scarred it really bad. The table also had lots of deep scratches and blemishes from its previous owner(s).

table 01

My husband and I weren’t married yet (not even engaged yet) and he took the opportunity to acquire a table for our table-less game room. Since 2010, this table has traveled from the first rental property we were living in, to one other rental house, and finally to the house we now own. We had thrown table cloths over it all these years to hide the blemishes. The tablecloth would get caught on everything and get pulled off the table all the time.

In October of 2018, I had finally had enough and we were thinking about getting a new table. But I had an epiphany, and why it took me eight years to come up with it, I’m not sure. I was thinking about my ‘battle map’, which is a half sheet of particle board that’s spray painted green and has a one inch grid drawn in pen on it. We use it at our FLGS for large D&D battle royales, or to expand the table size for D&D games. It’s just a piece of particle board – not a table. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to turn the table into a new battle map with a dry erase top…”

Then it hit me! There are acrylics and other finishes for that. I decided to refinish the table instead of buying a new one and so the project began!

Supplies
  • Table
  • Hand Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Paper Towels or Rags
  • Paint – Color of Choice
  • Yardstick
  • Square Tool
  • Ruler
  • Sharpies – Color of Choice
  • Polycrylic
Project Time

About 12 Hours – This is from beginning of sanding to the final coat of Polycrylic.

First…

Regardless of how nice your tabletop is, you’re going to need to sand it to prepare it for paint. DO NOT SHORTCUT PAST THIS STEP. This is important. I’ve seen lots of projects go wrong because someone thought they could bypass the sanding step. Sanding the tabletop will smooth out any imperfections so you don’t get weird textures showing up through the coats of paint. In the pictures below, you can see how bad the iron burn was an just how deep the damage went. After sanding it many times, it was smooth enough for paint to hide it. Had I not not sanded the table, the paint would cover the burn, but the bubbling scar would have shown through.

Once you’re done sanding, take a some moist paper towels or rags and wipe all the dust off the tabletop. Be sure all the dust is cleaned off and do not use any chemical cleaners. Chemicals could have an odd effect on the paint, so be sure you only use water. My table was quite pretty after the layer of finish had been sanded off. It’s a shame that I couldn’t sand out the iron burn or I might have left it like this.

Second…

After the tabletop is sanded and wiped off, you can begin to paint it. Depending on how you prefer to paint will determine if there is a primer involved, how many coats of paint, etc. I used a paint and primer combination from Lowe’s (LINK), which was around $12 when I purchased it. I only purchased a quart because I didn’t plan to use it for a large scale project. I also chose a flat finish so I wouldn’t have any trouble drawing on the painted surface with my Sharpie markers.

paint

The Valspar paint claims to cover in one coat, but like every paint out there, that’s not really the case. I put three coats of paint on the tabletop to be sure there was complete and even coverage. I used a roller to apply the paint and not a brush. I prefer the look of rolled paint to brushed paint on surfaces like this. You can see in the picture below, there is a touch up spot on the right that was still wet when I snapped the picture.

table 06

There was also some water damage (toward the bottom right corner of the picture) to the table that I couldn’t sand out without cutting into the table and partially replacing the top. It’s noticeable in this picture, but not so much now that’s it’s finished.

Third…

Once the paint is dry, you can begin to draw the lines on your tabletop. I used a ruler to help measure and the yardstick as my straight edge to draw the lines. I used a silver colored Sharpie brand permanent marker for the lines on my table.

sharpie

I chose silver because I wanted the line color to be noticeable, but not too bold. Black was definitely too dark for me and it would also make dungeon lines harder to see. I had thought about using brown or copper, but I thought it would still be too dark for my liking. The silver I chose has a cool ‘shifting’ look depending on how the light hits it. Gold might work as well and have the same shifting look as the silver, but I haven’t looked into it. I’m more of a silver person anyway.

table 07

I was asked a bunch of times about my method for how I chose a starting point for the lines on a round table. It’s super simple – I put the yardstick on the table’s edge and drew a line. It looked good enough for me, so I started from there. I’m sure there’s a super complex mathematical method to make the lines exact, but I didn’t care about ‘exact perfection’.

If you don’t like your first line, or any line, it’s an easy fix. A quick touch up with the paint and a little drying time and then you can start again. I got lucky and my first line looked good enough for me.

Marker Tip: Be sure you do not draw with the tip of the marker. This will chew up the marker long before you run out of ink. Use the side of the marker tip and not the point of the marker tip.

table 08

Once you’ve got your first line, use a ruler near one end of the line and measure one inch from the line. Use a pencil and make a light mark, then go to the other end of the line and do the same thing – measure an inch from your line and make another light pencil mark. Then lay the yardstick on the table and line up the edge with the two marks. Once you’ve got the yardstick lined up, place the tip of the marker on its side and slide it down the edge of the yardstick.

If the table is longer than your yardstick, which was the case when I got to the center of the table, make multiple marks along the length of your line and draw as far down as you can. Then move the yardstick and line it up with the partially drawn line and the other measured mark and finish the line.

Measuring Tip: Make sure you measure the same way each time. What I mean by that is, if you place the ruler on the center of the line’s mark and then on the far side of the next line’s mark, your squares are not going to come out as the exact same size. That’s because the marker line is thick, unless you use a pen or something with a fine tip.

table 09

Once you’ve finished drawing all the lines in one direction, you can start drawing the cross lines. To start this, I used a square tool and put on one of the lines to make a 90 degree corner, then placed the yardstick against it and drew a very light pencil line. I checked corners along several of the lines to make sure they were all square and then drew the line again with my Sharpie.

table 10

Once you have your first cross-line, the rest of the lines are drawn the same way as your first batch of lines.

table 11

I recommend checking your squares with the square tool to make sure they’re all uniform and something doesn’t get off track somewhere. I was paranoid enough that I checked every single line. Some of my squares may be slightly off in size, by like a hair, but they’re all square!

Fourth… Final Step!

When all the lines are done, you’re ready for the final step of the process. It’s time to coat the table with your finish of choice. There are tons of options out there, but I chose the most cost effective for my particular project. I chose to use Polycrylic (LINK) because it was only $10 and not $50 – $100 like all the clear Dry Erase finishes I found. If that price decreases, then I will likely refinish the table in Dry Erase so I can use those type of markers.

acrylic

This finish works best if you apply several coats. I used a nylon brush and applied four coats to the tabletop. I would recommend applying the finish just before you go to bed or leave the for an outing, that way it will be dry when you get up or return home. You’ll be able to place items on the table when it dries, but the finish needs at least two weeks to cure before you try drawing on it. I tried to draw on it the next day and everything stained it. I consulted some folks at Lowe’s and was given the advice on allowing it to cure. Allowing it to cure means you’re giving it time to fully harden.

Making Your Mark!

The Polycrylic I chose does not work well with dry erase markers. They tend to stain the finish and there was only one way I found to salvage it without a complete re-work. I had to use rubbing alcohol to remove the marks on the stained area, let it dry completely, and then re-apply the finish. I tested a variety of colors of dry erase markers and each one stained the finish. I tried Expo’s Vis-à-Vis wet erase markers and found that only the black works perfectly. The red, blue, and green all have a tendency to lightly stain the finish.

visavis

Once the finish has cured long enough, there should be no trouble cleaning off the black Vis-à-Vis marker. It only takes a damp paper towel to easily and quickly remove the marks. I’ve let marks stay on the table for hours and had no trouble erasing them. I can’t say how long the marks can stay without them staining the finish because I haven’t dared to test that. I might try it on the very edge at some point, but right now, I prefer to keep my work intact.

The examples above are mostly D&D related, but we also use the table for our Star Trek Adventures (Modiphius) games. That system uses ‘zones’ and not a grid system. Even with the grid lines on the table, I can still draw out the zones without them being a distraction because of how light they are compared to the black marker. The walls I drew could easily be two zones in a Star Trek game or a building in D&D. These marks were on the table for about two hours before erasing them.

Conclusion

My table is very low tech compared to the super fancy tables that I’ve seen. I like using low tech accessories because they’re much less work for me in the long run. I’d rather spend thirty minutes drawing out a map than spend hours trying to figure out how to draw a map, download a map, and then get a map from a program to fit correctly on a TV table insert. I’m kind of a ‘theater of the mind’ type of player/GM as well. We draw out maps for combat to make it easier to visualize where everyone is. This type of gaming accessory is perfect for me and my players. Is it perfect for every group? Definitely not, but it’s perfect for us.

This is a project that anyone that’s inspired to do so, can take and modify to their budget and abilities. We used an old table, tools we had on hand, and only purchased what we needed. The project cost us less than $30 because we had most of the tools needed. I only needed to buy a yardstick, paint, Polycrylic, brushes, roller, and Sharpies. Don’t like grey and silver? Pick tan and gold! We used neutral colors that we liked, but also ones that would fit with the various games we play.

table 12

Colossal Red Dragon (D&D Icons Miniature) against a party of medium sized adventurers.

My table project is not fully completed yet. I want to finish the edges of the table in either silver or grey and maybe modify the tabletop into a turntable. The turntable option is one that I likely won’t have done for a little while because of the mechanisms involved. If I don’t go with a turntable, I might put pull out trays around the edges for folks to put their drinks/dice/books/etc on so they have more room in front of them. You can be certain that I will share the updates when I finish them!

Do you have a project you’re proud of?
What are your future projects?
Share them with me here or on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!

Qapla’!

 

Greetings Fellow Comic Fans!

 

In my Comic Box Recap article series, I want to talk about each of the comics that I read from my subscriptions that week. I don’t always read all the comics I order, because I’m only collecting some of them. Others are ones I may have started reading, but lost interest in but I still order them. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit a series at a later date.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Do not read any further if you are trying to avoid SPOILERS!
DC
Batgirl #30

I’m so not a fan of this issue. This issue lost me when I saw the phrase, “pc garbage” pop up in a speech bubble. I forced myself through the rest of the issue and didn’t like any of it. This issue demonstrates just how bad politics are and how it separates folks when they get too dedicated to one side or the other. Gordon is clearly on one side and Babs is clearly on the other. It’s lucky for my subscription box that I don’t really consider “pc garbage” to be enough of a real world political topic to drop this title. It references political correctness, which is definitely real world politics, but it could be used in comics without an actual real world reference. That was kind of the case here where there were no references to Republicans or Democrats or whatever. Had the reference to real world parties been put in, I would have stopped my subscription and tossed every issue of Batgirl Rebirth. I read super hero books for the extraordinary, not the real world references. If I want political content, I’ll go read one of the many political themed comics out there, as I have in the past.

Image
Unnatural #6

Leslie just can’t catch a break. Every time it feels like she has a moment to rest, something happens. I expected a breather in this issue and a chance to learn a lot more. Mirka Andolfo has a way of giving you just enough to keep you holding on before the rug is pulled out from under you and you’re on the run again – just like Leslie! I’m running straight to the next issue of Unnatural – can I speed up time and get my copy sooner? With every bit of information that Leslie acquires, the intensity of the situation increases. I’m glad that Carol wants Leslie alive, but I’m also glad that she’s not afraid to do what needs to be done if their plan fails. What’s their plan? I have no clue yet, but if I were Leslie, I’d do whatever Carol told me to do. I absolutely love Saya and Khal too, and I hope neither of them are bad folks. I think I would cry.

If you haven’t started reading Unnatural, you’re missing out! So much has happened in just six issues and it’s such an awesome story! Each issue just leaves me wanting more. I envy those that will get to read this series all at once, like in a graphic novel. They won’t have the anticipation of waiting nearly a whole month for the next installment. I plan to read this series again after the final issue, but it won’t be same since I’ll know the ending. I pulled the first few issues out of the comic box the other day and when I saw Trish and Derek, I was reminded of their tragic deaths. This is definitely a story that you want to completely take in on the first read.

Conclusion

I do not make idle threats. When I say something, I mean it. In my December 12, 2018 Recap, I said, “If Avengers can’t keep the real world references out of its pages, then I’m dropping it. That goes for any of the super hero titles that I read, not just Avengers.” Batgirl skirted that think line this week. If the political story line keeps up for too long, I’ll definitely drop Batgirl.

Just like my last two weeks, this week would have been a drag if not for one specific book. In my last article, Grumble was the highlight, much like Unnatural was in this article. If the two books had been in the same article, my head might have exploded – figuratively of course. My head is still buzzing with all the events of Unnatural. I hope you enjoyed your books this week as much I enjoyed Unnatural!

What are you reading?
Is there a series I should be reading?
You can drop me a line here or find me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!
Thanks for reading and remember to like, follow, and subscribe!

A good book is the best vacation!

Greetings Fellow Comic Fans!

 

In my Comic Box Recap article series, I want to talk about each of the comics that I read from my subscriptions that week. I don’t always read all the comics I order, because I’m only collecting some of them. Others are ones I may have started reading, but lost interest in but I still order them. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit a series at a later date.

You’ll notice that this article has two weeks of books, and that’s because I didn’t want to separate the December 26th article since it only had one book – Fantastic Four.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Do not read any further if you are trying to avoid SPOILERS!
Marvel
Defenders: The Best Defense #1 (One-Shot)

I’m not a huge fan of Ewing’s writing, but I liked this book well enough. I was happy to see Astral Strange’s plan come together. I learned quite a bit about Silver Surfer and Namor’s histories in this issue too. I didn’t know Silver Surfer’s board had a name. I don’t think I knew about Namor being stranded in space and the board saving him, but all of that sounded familiar. It’s possible I read it and forgot about it. This book was entertaining and worth reading, which goes to show you that even if you don’t care for a particular writer’s work, they could still surprise you with a gem like this.

Fantastic Four #5 (650th Issue)

This issue has three mini stories in it: Change Partners, Guys’ Night Out, and 4-Minute Warning.

Change Partners
This was a touching and emotional story that shows glimpses into the past of Ben Grimm and Sue Richards. It shows how you can make mistakes and say things you don’t mean, but still remain close when you forgive someone. I enjoyed this story and could easily relate to the messages being delivered. This is a great story for anyone to read.

Guys’ Night Out
And a great story is followed up with a bachelor party. The content of this story wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, except for the panel where they cut to the girls’ party. But most of the story was fun and there was definitely a touching moment between Johnny Storm and Ben at the end. It’s not a bad story at all, but I’m not a fan of drinking and partying and so I’m glad there wasn’t a bunch of that at Ben’s bachelor party.

4-Minute Warning
The final story is the wrap up for the wedding issue, and there is indeed a wedding! It’s almost interrupted by Doctor Doom and Galactus, but thanks to Reed, Ben and Alicia are granted four minutes of peace and quiet to speak their vows and complete their ceremony. Once it’s done, the Fantastic Four is off to save the world from Galactus, even though Doom said he’d handle it. I’m not sure how I feel about them dropping in on Doom and Galactus fighting each other. I mean, let him deal with it and if he can’t handle it, step in. But we’ll see how it goes in the next issue.

I’m so happy to see Ben and Alicia’s wedding go down with very little interference. I’m also happy they actually got married. With all the ‘weddings’ lately that didn’t actually go down, it’s refreshing to see a follow through instead of a ‘twist’ to the story.

Albatross Funny Books
Grumble #2

Both issues of Grumble have been great! Action, suspense, drama, and a foul mouthed pug – You just can’t ask for more. I’m curious as to why Tala is trying to stick with Eddie, despite his negative attitude towards her. He obviously cares, somewhere deep down, but he’s awfully mean to her. He’s almost thrown her to the wolves a few times now, but either his guilt or conscience has prevented him from doing so. I think she’s either desperate for his attention or there is something bigger going on, and I’m inclined to believe the latter. I was not disappointed by the crazy bird skull bounty hunter. I am slightly disappointed that she was taken down in this issue though. I was hoping for an ongoing threat from her, but I could be surprised! Her ship called for back up, so maybe there are more crazy bird skull bounty hunters on the way. I just really loved the design for the bounty hunter and how freaking cool she looks! Bernie is also a great character from what I’ve seen of her. I hope she turns up again. I want to know what she discovers about that bounty hunter!

I said this last time, but it’s more than worth saying again – Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton are an absolutely amazing team! And Marissa Louise does a spectacular job on the colors. This book is just fantastic all around and I can’t recommend it enough!

Boom!
Firefly #2

I was hoping that this issue would improve my perspective on this story, but it didn’t. I can’t put my finger on why, but it doesn’t feel like a Firefly comic. I’ve read the other Firefly comics from Dark Horse and I love them. I was expecting more of that from Boom, but I’m not getting it. The characters don’t feel like the characters I know, more like imitations of them. The writing isn’t bad and the art is fine, so I don’t know what it is that has me so let down. I’m going to give it one more issue and if I’m still not digging it, this will be a series I buy but don’t read – for now.

Conclusion

Hands down – Grumble was the best comic in my box for the weeks of December 19th and 26th. I liked Defenders and Fantastic Four, but Grumble was totally the highlight. Grumble is definitely a series I’ll read several times because I keep finding new things each time I read the issues again. It’s the way something was said, the small details in the art, or how a splash of color was used that I love finding during a second read through. It’s like I’m watching a movie for the second or third time and finding hidden things I didn’t see before. Speaking of movies, Grumble could be an amazing movie or mini series!

What are you reading?
Is there a series I should be reading?
You can drop me a line here or find me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!
Thanks for reading and remember to like, follow, and subscribe!

A good book is the best vacation!