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    Humble Book Bundle: Make: Electronics 2018

    Humble Book Bundle Make Electronics 2018

    Humble Bundle brings you $367 worth of digital books about electronics, JavaScript and even a digital book about how to make drones! Pay what you want, starting at $1 to unlock the first five digital books. The $1 bundle level includes a digital book with fun and easy DIY projects for younger budding electricians. 

    If you, or someone you know has an interest in things like making wearable electronics, sensors, or even how to teach facial recognition on a Raspberry Pi this is a great bundle. It’s also getting really close to the holidays, so this might make a perfect gift for someone you know!

    What’s Humble Bundle?

    Humble Bundle is a distribution platform that sells ebooks, video games, and lots of other great digital content. Humble Bundle also supports many charities. Using our link to purchase things via Humble Bundle additionally supports Extra Life, one of our favorite charities! 

    * Disclosure: The Mommy Gamers are a Humble Bundle partner. Using our link helps keep our website going and helps Extra Life charity. Thank you!

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    Vampire The Masquerade 5th Edition – Review

    Say Hello To The Night

    This may come to no shock to you all, but your humble narrator was once an angsty teen. I know, hard to imagine right? Like any angsty teen growing up in the late 80s and early 90s we have a plethora of material to fuel us. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Blade, The Crow, The Lost Boys, Interview with The Vampire, The Craft… You get it.

    *Author’s Note – If you haven’t seen ANY of those movies I highly recommend you have a movie night soon.

    Back in 1991 the gang at White Wolf Publishing created the tabletop role-playing game: Vampire The Masquerade. Based on a Storytelling Engine, Vampire The Masquerade has one GM/DM, or Storyteller, guide players through the game as they struggle with being a vampire. Seduction, intrigue, politics, and feeding are just some of the things players will face as they venture from night to night. Vampire The Masquerade also introduces unique dice aspects such as Blood Dice and Hunger Dice. These dice represent how hungry a vampire is, or how much of their blood they can spend to do something extraordinary.

    Not only was this one of the first mainstream RPGs to feature vampires, it also introduced an entire World of Darkness where players can play as Werwolves, Wraiths, and more.

     

    As with any tabletop RPG, rules change over time and Vampire The Masquerade has gone through a couple of iterations. Coming in August 2018, the  5th Edition of Vampire The Masquerade will be hitting digital and physical bookshelves and I, dear readers, got an advance digital copy to look over.

    If you have been following along with the metaplot of Vampire and World of Darkness, (if you haven’t, don’t worry), then you know that there was an event (Gehenna) that basically wiped out the vampires (or Kindred). 5th Edition, or V5 as we’ll call it from here on out, isn’t a reboot of the world, but rather  new way for the Kindred to deal with the events of the past. There promises to be overarching plotlines that storytellers can use to create chronicles for their players.

    I haven’t played Vampire The Masquerade since 1991 so I wasn’t around for the rules changes nor can I tell you how much is different from the original version. For me, Vampire was all about the lore. I owned multiple clanbooks and ancillary products because I loved the idea behind the World of Darkness, I just never played in it. I say this because it is important to understand that I went into V5 as a new player to the game, but not new to lore and ideology of Vampire The Masquerade.

    Within the first few pages of the core rulebook you will be instantly flooded with page after page of just pure setting. Letters from other vampires, transcripts of secret conversations, notes from an examination that have been marked up. It’s a wonderful introduction to the world and coupled with the art and photos, helps puts the player in the perfect mindset in minutes. Immediately following the lore, the intro and rules set in, and there are A LOT of rules. The core rulebook is no light read. It’s over 400 pages of rules, lore, and more rules.

    I thought to myself, “There’s only one way to properly review this.” and I started sending emails and text messages. Within minutes I had my crew and I was set. I am lucky enough to know some amazing actresses and outgoing people who all agreed that they would take part in some sessions so that I can review the core rulebook.

    I have very few negative things to say about Vampire The Masquerade V5. In fact my biggest complaint has nothing to do with the actual rules, but rather the lack of a physical book. Having to manually scroll through page after page on my laptop, iPad, or phone was incredibly time consuming. I had to make notes about what pages players needed so I could easily get back to them. I know books are big and bulky but there’s just something about hearing the crack of the spine on that first open. It’s much easier for me to flip a ton of pages at once than it was to scroll through a digital copy. As an old school RPG player a lot of my rulebooks have sticky notes and tabs for easy access and with a digital copy I just can’t have that. My players also had a tough time endlessly scrolling trying to find the pages they needed.

    I had asked my crew to do a little bit of prep (I linked them all to older editions of the clan descriptions) and OH WOW did they get into it. Don’t believe me? Take a look

    Vampire The Masquerade Mike Robles The Mommy Gamers

    Yup, that’s my wife and her friends vamping it up and taking this way more seriously than I thought they would. What happened next was the most intense Session Zero* I have ever experienced.

    *Session Zero refers to the session where players create their characters. In a game like Vampire The Masquerade this is often best to be done in person so that they can all build off each other and determine their relationships as well as how they all came to know one another in this chronicle.

    Together my players and I spent about 6 hours total going over every detail we can find and creating characters. My wife had gotten a head start and did some research on the older versions of the game. She was able to create an entire backstory the night before and was able to help the other players. This is where my note from before came into play. With so many rules scattered across so many pages there was a lot of confusion. It took us about 2 hours before we were at a point where we could easily move on. If I’m being completely honest, I think this would have gone smoother with a physical copy of the book.

    After getting every set we ended up with two Malkavians, a Tremere, and a Thin-Blooded. While this might not make sense to you mortals, it makes for a very interesting dynamic. After about 6 hours of character creation, we were ready to dive in.

    Vampire The Masquerade is, at it’s core, a storytelling game. While yes, there are saves vs X and players can check for traps and roll some dice, Vampire is different. Players use a d10 for all die rolls and instead of adding up numbers, you’re just trying to get higher than a 5 for a “success”. A natural 10 is a critical success and counts as two successes. I’m not going to get into each mechanic of the game but I will tell you that Vampires have A LOT of powers. So dice rolling will happen a lot. Like any good RPG, Vampire makes sure that story overrules dice rolls.

    New to V5 is a revamped Hunger mechanic. This, to me, is the most interesting aspect of running a chronicle. Each time a vampire has to use certain powers they have to quell their hunger. Get too hungry and a The Beast takes over and a vampire can think of nothing more but to eat and only eat. Represented by a different color (usually red) these hunger dice will replace a vampire’s regular dice pool the hungrier they get. Making challenges much harder.

    In addition to all the rules, there is the lore and “The Masquerade”. Vampires hide in the shadows to protect themselves and their lineage. Combing secrecy, intrigue, politics, and managing hunger makes for some excellent legs for your chronicle to stand on. The core rulebook gives you so much information that it’s overwhelming. So my advice would be to take your time and learn as you go.

    White Wolf has taken great care to give players a new, revamped edition of Vampire The Masquerade with V5 and I am beyond honored that I got a chance to sneak a peek at the core rulebook. I have spent countless nights reading and rereading sections trying to come up with stories to draw my players in. After we finished our second session I thanked my players and told them that I had enough experience to write my review. Every single one of them agreed that they were way to invested and having way too much fun to stop. We all gathered around and scheduled our next session, so I guess I am now running an ongoing chronicle… and I couldn’t be happier about it.

    Vampire The Masquerade V5 launches later this year and White Wolf wants me to go broke. There’s this amazing collectors edition with the core rulebook, two extra supplemental books, and the most beautiful vampire dice. I want it. I want it bad. If you want to pre-order the book now we’ll attach a link below for you to do so.

    Like most vampires, Vampire The Masquerade has awoken from it’s slumber and is ready to take the world by storm. I, for one, am happy to be along for the ride. Pre-order here.

    The author was given a watermarked pdf of the core rulebook for review purposes.

    Care for Our World

    CareforOurWorldGameTheMommyGamers

    My daughter Amber and I received a copy of Care for Our World, an interactive storybook app for iPad, and we had a blast playing around with it. Care for Our World, written by Karen Roberts, was originally published as a book in 2012. It included punch-out animals for children to play with. Sunbreak Games, have brought that creative play to the app with features like Habitat Playset (Amber’s favorite feature) where children can use interactive stickers to create their own animal habitats, Coloring Book where you can color a scene from the book almost anyway you want to, and Animal Encyclopedia where your child can learn about all of the animals mentioned in the story as well as hear what they sound like, and see pictures of them in the real world.

     


    The actual storybook part of the app is well done for the most part, and is highly interactive. Nearly everything you touch has a reaction, and narration. The colors are vivid, and the illustrations are whimsical. In fact, the only thing that didn’t sit well with me was the narration. In my opinion, when you have a story with words that are rich and full of life, you should strive to have a narrator that matches them with their voice. Unfortunately, in this case the narrator falls a little flat, and while his voice is not unpleasant, he’s not far enough away from monotone for my liking. I also feel that since the app is geared for ages 3-8, not having an option for narration in the, Animal Encyclopedia section of the app was a missed opportunity, as younger children will need someone to read for them.

    Overall, I think Care for Our World is lovely, and has a great deal of replay value for children. It is well worth the $2.99 investment. You can download it now on the iOS App Store by clicking here.

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    Author Interview with Kimberly McCreight

    From full time lawyer to best selling author

    January Book Club Selection

    For the month of January we read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s the link to our book club discussion on Reconstructing Amelia.

    We connected with Kimberly on twitter. She was kind enough to join us for a short interview where she speaks about her transition from lawyer to writer, what inspired her to write Reconstructing Amelia, and what she’s working on now.

    Haven’t read it yet? You can purchase Reconstructing Amelia on Amazon.

    Other Books By Kimberly McCreight

    Prefer paperbacks? Me too! Kimberly’s second book Where They Found Her will be available in paperback on April 19th, 2016. Pre-order Where They Found Her in paperback and get it as soon as it releases.

    The Outliers, Kimberly’s third book and first venture into Young Adult, is part of a trilogy and will be available on May 3rd, 2016. Pre-order The Outliers here.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains a affiliate links. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here.[/box]

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    Books, Interviews
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    BOOK REVIEW: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

    A tale of four brothers and one mythic event

    For the month of November, The Mommy Gamers book club read The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. In his debut novel, Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma writes about “four brothers from a middle-class family–the oldest 15, and the youngest nine–take advantage of their father’s extended absence to skip school and go fishing at a forbidden river. There they encounter Abulu, a vision-seeing madman whose prophecy of violence will follow the boys through their lives, and shake up their family in both devastatingly tragic and yet redemptive ways. Already deemed a “classic tale of boyhood,” The Fishermen is both a coming-of-age novel, and a powerful portrait of familial and brotherly bonds, and what happens when trust–the main chord that binds a family–is broken.” (ChigozieObioma.com)

    You can check out our book club discussion of The Fishermen here.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains an affiliate link. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here.[/box]

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    Books, Reviews, Videos
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    The Halloween Happening

    By Priscilla York from Holiday Traditions

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    Halloween has become one of my children’s favorite holidays. They rapidly consume any Halloween-themed media they can get their hands, especially books. The Halloween Happening by Priscilla York is one of those books, and has created a delightful new holiday tradition in our house.

    The Halloween Happening is a story about a little pumpkin friend who comes alive and spells out a secret message in the days leading up to Halloween. The kids pick a name for their pumpkin character — we named ours Jackimus — and the book describes what happens next. Basically the pumpkin shows up each day, in a different location, holding a number. That number corresponds to a letter in the alphabet. The children record each number and then decode the message on the night before Halloween, when the pumpkin goes on his merry way until next year.

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    The idea is very reminiscent of The Elf on Shelf Christmas tradition, just a little less creepy. The nice thing about this setup is that each year the message can be different, and you can customize the number of days the pumpkin shows up by controlling how long the message is. Our pumpkin visits start on October 1 and run through the end of the month, so we have some wiggle for a slightly longer message this year. For people who have less patience, you could just do a week and have a nice short message.

    The book itself has fantastic illustrations and is fun to read. The kids sit attentively through the whole story, and then say goodbye to our pumpkin friend until he mysteriously appears again. My daughter especially loves all the illustrations for the pumpkin’s different facial expressions throughout the story. The included stuffed pumpkin character is super cute and seems durable enough to hold up to a few years of Halloween fun, given the right storage. At this rate I am going to have a creepy box filled with various characters that come alive at different times of the year. If I ever write a horror movie script that would make the perfect starting point.

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    Photo Credit: Elaine Stryker

    The bottom-line is: if you are looking for a fun activity that the kids can participate in around Halloween, this book seems like a great idea. It is excellent for kids that are just learning to read, or even younger kids who need practice identifying letters of the alphabet. This is a nice, warm, fuzzy experience in the middle of a spooky holiday season. My kids remain very excited about our Jackimus making daily visits all through October. I have a feeling this will be another tradition my children look forward to for a few years to come.

    The Halloween Happening and other Holiday Traditions books by Priscilla York can be purchased at htraditions.com

    [box type=”info”]You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. A review copy of The Halloween Happening was provided to The Mommy Gamers by Holiday Traditions.[/box]

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    September Book Club: Google Hangout

    Paper Towns by John Green

    TMG_BookClub_9-15

    The Mommy Gamers Book Club is back!  We have been reading Paper Towns by John Green and chatting about it over in our group on Good Reads.  Each month we will select a new book, and host a google hangout for everyone to get together.  With us all being spread out all over the globe, and having busy lives, this is an easy way to get a lot of us together for a virtual book club!  Anyone can join in the chat, or join our Good Reads group.

    Join us for our September Google hangout!
    When: Tuesday September 22, 2015 9:00 pm EDT
    RSVP here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69sBH3BGMBg 

    For this evening we have invited our Book Club VIP supporters to join us in the video chat, and the rest of you are invited to hang out in the chat for a fun discussion about the book.

    You can also join us on our GoodReads group: www.goodreads.com/group/show/170070-the-mommy-gamers-book-club

    Join our Patreon Book Club VIP level here, to be part of the group that leads the book club discussion via video: www.patreon.com/themommygamers
    Everyone else is welcome to join the chat room!

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