Who You Gonna Call?

Hey, Geeks.

It’s the spookiest month of the year, so it feels like the perfect time to be hearing about this.

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There’s a new Ghostbusters movie in the works (and this time it looks like it will really be happening). With a new, female cast and a new director, there will be a lot of changes–changes Bill Murray is apparently all for (and really, what better endorsement is there for such a film?). Paul Feig is taking the helm this time, though Ivan Reitman will be a producer for the film. This new direction came about partly because of Harold Ramis’s death—Reitman didn’t feel right continuing without him. The new cast is yet to be announced, but Feig is reportedly planning to cast funny women. His response to the criticism of women-as-gimmick warms my feminist-geek heart: “Why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?” Why indeed.

Filming is set to start in 2015.

Enjoy the long weekend—we sure will! I anticipate a lot of Netflix and possibly rounds of Thanksgiving M:TG between cousins.

-Sarah

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The Joy of Blending Cats: Kittens in a Blender

Hello, Geeks.

Normally Kenny will be writing the board game reviews, but as I am Geek Collateral’s resident cat fanatic, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Kittens in a Blender. It’s a fairly simple, deeply twisted card game: pick a kitten colour. Save your kittens from being blended. Turn your opponents’ kitties into cat purée.

Kittens in a Blender

Kittens in a Blender

The deck includes kittens for each player, cards that enable you to move kittens, cards to blend kittens, cards to save kittens from being blended, and cards that cause each player to pass their hand along. You start with six cards in each player’s hand. Each turn, you must use two and then pick up two. You want your kittens safe in the box (or at least on the counter) and your opponents’ kitties preparing mewing piteously from the murderous kitchen appliance. Whether you play with subtle strategy or for maximum carnage is up to you.

The game is quick and violent. I played against our CEO, Devin Edwards (though you can play with up to 4 people), and he made horrible whirring sounds when kittens died. He also insisted on reading out the names of the blended kittens at the end of each round. Sadist.

Kittens in a Blender Cards

Kittens in a Blender cards

Devin contemplating the deaths of countless kittens.

Devin contemplating the deaths of countless kittens/trying to look cute like the innocent kittens he is about to murder.

I was surprised by how affected I was by the blending. Maybe if the kittens didn’t have names or such cute cartoon faces, I would find it less upsetting. I found myself apologizing to Devin’s cats while I placed them in the blender, and I decided which of my own kittens to save according to how adorable the cards were (Ninja is just too cute to let die, but I don’t have quite the same attachment to Chester). Emotional trauma aside, Kittens in a Blender is a fun, fast-paced game that’s perfect for those with limited time (or a short attention span) and a dark sense of humour.

4/5 meeples and/or severed kitten limbs
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Takes 30 minutes to play
From Closet Nerd and Redshift Games

Superfight! Review

Greetings, Geeks.

You’ve waited long enough. Remember that game we played that we wouldn’t tell you anything about? If not, check out our intro to Kenny and his Board Game House to refresh your memories. The wait is over.

Take it away, Kenny.

Superfight! Review

I feel like every game collector has some games in their collection that they avoid playing at all costs; these games aren’t bad–after all, you kept them–but there is something about them that you want to deal with only on rare occasions. The obvious Monopoly aside, for me, two such games are Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. Now, I want to make this very clear: I love these games. But they get really stale really quickly, when the shock value and surprises of the cards start to fade away. This call-and-response-style gameplay is great when you want to play games with anyone, but for those who play too many times, you will find the same jokes being made over and over again. So then, one may ask why I funded Superfight!, yet another judge based party game off Kickstarter, and then claim that it’s brilliant? Simply put, this game has solved stale.

Superfight!

Superfight!

Superfight! is an excellent departure for the ever-growing subgenre of party game I simply call judging games. The concept is simple: each round, the players construct combatants for a gladiator-style battle to the death against the judge’s champion. The winners of each round will be decided by the judge, and any player who has a winning combatant recieves one point. The judge changes each round so everyone has a chance to play both roles. Combatant creation is simply achieved through the use of two large decks of cards, black character cards, and white attribute cards. The judge will randomly create their champion by drawing one character card and two attribute cards off the top of the deck (for example, a samurai that is made of sand and can summon anything from a department store). Each other player builds their battler by playing one character card and one attribute card from a hand of cards they received at game start (someone may have played a T-Rex with a fire hose). After that, everyone gets a chance to place a second attribute card on someone else’s warrior before the battle begins (and now the T-rex is trapped in a giant hamster ball). Once everyone has a character with two attributes, the battle–and the hilarious debate–begins! Judges are encouraged to award multiple points if they feel people have earned it, or no points if they feel no one beat their champion. Of course this requires faith that your judge isn’t a jerk, but if they are, then why play games with them?

The problem that all judging games seem to have is that the entertainment comes from the cards alone. Superfight! solves this problem by having a good portion of the fun coming from the best use of the cards, and the discussion of the epic fights. The attribute cards are a slick addition, providing most of the hilarious chaos and giving the game far more life by reducing repetition. Unless you are really bad at shuffling cards, you will not see The Orb of Fire Marshall Sharptooth in a game again for a long time. When playing this for the first time, my guests kept commenting that they didn’t even care if they won or lost, as long as the battles kept being ridiculous and hilarious, which they did. Just like other games with no clear rules on when the game actually ends, setting some guidelines at the start of the game will save your group of players from having your friendly debates turn into actual arguments, or frustrated boredom as two people banter about their battlers endlessly. But these are mostly  matters of who you are playing with, rather than a flawed design.

In the end, if you are looking for a fun game that anyone can pick up and enjoy, that will entertain you every time you open it with a whole new set of hilarious conversations, Superfight! is worth your consideration. It’s great with a few friends and possibly a drink or two to unwind during the evening. Pretty much every major flaw this game has can be addressed by not playing the game with people who are jerks. It could use slightly more specific rules, but with its active encouragement of players to tweak and find new fun ways to play, Superfight! is far more concerned with having a good time than it is about the specific way to get there. I look forward to seeing what comes next with this game.

-Kenny

Rating: 4 out of 5 Meeples
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It’s Super Effective! How to Enter the World of Competitive Pokemon

With the release of Pokémon X and Y — already six months ago — fans saw yet another surge of love from the world. People are talking about Pokémon more than ever as the games have found a refreshed look with glorious character models and eye-popping battle effects using the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D technology. Of course, the question remains: when the credits roll, what do you do with your beloved creatures? Do you attempt the daunting task of catching ’em all? With a staggering 719 Pokémon to obtain, this has become an exhausting endeavor, with rewards only for the most dedicated and hardcore of Pokémon fans. Instead, I suggest a much more fun project: to take competitive and strategic Pokémon for a spin!

As someone who has been participating in the competitive scene locally since Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (Generation IV of the series), I highly recommend this generation of Pokémon games as an excellent stepping-off point for anyone who has ever been curious about getting involved in the scene. GameFreak has started really noticing the increasing attention this area of the Pokémon metagame has been receiving, and addressing it correctly. New mechanics have been implemented to assure less grinding is needed to create competitive-level Pokémon. TMs being multiuse allows for more optimal movesets for Pokémon without struggle. Truly a lot of control has been placed in the hands on the trainers before they even set up on the battlefield, and this is great. What may have once taken me a long time, even days, I can now complete in an hour.

Now, there are several communities online who can help you get familiar with these mechanics. Often, they will give you all of the how-tos, but they don’t really explain why. This guide strives to show you the ropes in order to create your very first cohesive Pokémon team ready for the competitive scene. We will look at the various elements of a good Pokémon team and how to achieve them, and then look at individual Pokémon to learn how to unlock their potentials. Once we have built a team, we will learn solid approaches to using the team in an actual battle!

It is important to note that there are ultimately no right or wrong answers when it comes to building Pokémon teams. Half of the fun of Pokémon battling stems from the amount of unpredictability a match can bring. You have to be ready to think on your feet and learn how to come up against many different and interesting strategies. And through that, you will find that you will be having a lot of fun. I have been in the competitive scene for four years and am still always finding new things and learning new approaches to a battle. Are you ready to be the very best?

In the next installment, we will learn the basics of team building.

Space Art at Creatures Creating

Ahoy, fellow geeks.

Some of my abstract pieces are currently on display at Creatures Creating gallery, and since they’re kind of geeky (as in, they are of space–stars clusters, galactic detritus, and what have you), I thought I’d share.

@Creatures Creating

@Creatures Creating

Me standing awkwardly with my art..

Me standing awkwardly with my art.

My family is very supportive.

My family is very supportive (see also the next photo).

My father looking at Devin Edwards's Geek Collateral business cards.

My father looking at Devin Edwards’s Geek Collateral business cards.

Visit Apple of My Odd Eye for more photos.

Boldly go,
Sarah