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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.

    Hoagie: Kids Card Game Review

    Hoagie is a strategy card game for ages five and up that tasks players with building the perfect sandwich.

    Hoagie Card Game The Mommy Gamers Review Kids Game

     

    Hoagie is a strategy card game for ages five and up that tasks players with building the perfect sandwich. In Hoagie, the goal is to be the first person to create a complete hoagie while spoiling the other players’ ingredients using Oogie cards. Oogies are mischevious creatures who will spoil your delicious sandwich ingredients in a hilarious variety of ways, such as a couple of Oogies who grow a mold farm on your fresh slice of bread. Spoiled ingredients are easily fixed by placing a new fresh ingredient on top, but with only six cards in your hand at a time it’s not always an easy task. Other cards may reverse game play, skip a turn, or allow you to play two cards at one adding some extra fun ways to foil your opponents plans.

    Hoagie Card Game The Mommy Gamers You can tell by my daughter Hailey’s face that we had an absolutely amazing time trying out this new game. Her PaPa joined us for a few rounds and we all agree that this is a great game for any age range. Hailey, who turns seven next month, was easily able to grasp the rules of gameplay and found the pictures included in the instructions to be a helpful guide. As a parent, I personally found the quick game play perfect. The game lists a play time of about twenty minutes, but we were able to breeze through most games much faster than that. The short game time coupled with the small size of the game, makes this perfect for tossing in your bag for a few rounds before dinner out or anywhere you may end up with a few minutes to fill in your day.

    When I asked Hailey what she thought about Hoagie, she said it reminded her of Burgertime, a classic arcade game from the 1980’s where players create hamburgers…except the bad ingredients weren’t really trying to hurt you. This is clearly a sign of two things: Hailey has great taste in games, and she and her mommy spend a little too much time in the local classic coin arcade. But honestly, this girl knows her games, and considering she has asked to play it every evening over the last week…I’d say this game has the Hailey seal of approval. That means the game also gets The Mommy Gamers seal of approval, because any game that makes our kids happy makes us happy.

    You can purchase a copy of Hoagie for $17.50 on their website: www.quirkyengine.com/store/hoagie-game-limited-edition

    *Please note: The Mommy Gamers were given a copy of Hoagie for review purposes, but our opinions are all our own.

     

    Disgruntled Decks: The Original Card Game for Veterans


    PT-Belt

    Military charity Operation Supply Drop recently announced a partnership with Disgruntled Decks LLC, makers of the military-themed card game Disgruntled Decks: The Original Card Game for VeteransDisgruntled Decks is a new card game for military service members and grizzled Veterans who require offensive and inappropriate conversation to function normally. The folks at Disgruntled Decks understand that humor is on the same level as nicotine and caffeine when it comes to Veterans’ survival needs.

    Disgruntled Decks is a card game designed for military service members and veterans, designed by veteran-owned business Disgruntled Decks LLC. Disgruntled Decks is satirical game blending descriptive language and military themes, enabling service members and veteran players to share their military experiences together while healing through humor in the process. OSD is partnering with Disgruntled Decks LLC to deliver copies of the game to various Military Hospitals around the world, including to those being treated by Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), facilities where service members who require personalized rehabilitative care for at least six months due to sustained injuries while deployed reside.

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    “Prior to Operation Supply Drop reaching out to us, we knew very well about their contributions to the veteran community,” said Joette Coble, Co-Founder of Disgruntled Decks LLC. “We immediately hit it off once we started talking, and Operation Supply Drop has been incredibly supportive of our young veteran-owned business. We’re incredibly excited to work alongside them to put our game into the hands of veterans who require much-deserved R&R.”

    The rules of Disgruntled Decks are simple: the “Card Commander” reads aloud an OD green Mission Card and “Subordinate” players submit their gray Course of Action (COA) cards with possible answers. The winner is the one with the most COA cards chosen by the Card Commander. Disgruntled Decks is composed of 90 OD green Mission Cards and 310 gray COA cards, and features an instantly-recognizable military design and hilarious scenarios. For more information aboutDisgruntled Decks, please visit www.disgruntleddecks.com.

     

     

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    Games, Tabletop Games
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    Oh, the WHOmanity! Time for Cards Against Gallifrey

    whocards

    Forgive the pun.

    We here at The Mommy Gamers are huge fans of Cards Against Humanity, and many of us also like “Doctor Who,” so the fact that “Doctor Who”-themed cards for the game now exist and are downloadable for free is pretty much the best news I’ve gotten ever.

    The irreverent and popular Cards Against Humanity is published under a Creative Commons license, which means that anyone can make their own cards for the game as long as they publish under the same Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and don’t make any money from the cards. The group Conventional Improv made this version for convention-based game shows it hosted during the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who.”

    These cards are .rar files, which means you may need to download a free utility like 7zip to open them. The .png files inside, which include black cards, white cards, and backings, can be printed and incorporated into your main deck or played on its own. Download them through dropcanvas.com here. You can download the original game through www.cardsagainsthumanity.com (it’s hard to purchase the boxed version at the moment, but that’s available as well).

    If you’re like me, this might be the perfect way to see you through the sub-zero temperatures and winter storms we’re getting in many parts of the country (although not in FLORIDA, where some Mommy Gamers who shall remain nameless complain when it gets under 60 degrees Fahrenheit – not that we’re judging 🙂 ).

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    Episode 52.5: Extra Life 2013

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    Marcia and Desirai wanted to make sure you all know about their Extra Life marathon on November 2nd, 2013 where they will be gaming for 25 hours straight to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The ladies are briefly joined by the amazing Doc Adams, founder of Extra Life. They also talk about how you can get their new smartphone app!

    To donate to anyone on The Mommy Gamers team and support them as they raise money for sick kids go to Extra-Life.org/Team/Jax You can still JOIN their team if you’d like. The more the merrier! You can also “like” our Facebook page for Extra Life in Jacksonville, Florida if you’d like to follow along with the fun we’re having.

    Live streaming of the event will be available via Twitch: Twitch.Tv/UndergroundAlley

    And ustream.tv/channel/extra-life-2013-jacksonville-fl

    The Ustream will be our main coverage, with interviews throughout the day and lots of other fun things. Make sure to tune in that day to win prizes and cheer the team on as they raise a ton of money to help sick kids.


    Cards Against Humanity – PAX Prime 2013

    Cards Against Humanity Fortune Cookies

    Cards Against Humanity Fortune Cookies

    What happens when you sneak in the exit of the Cards Against Humanity booth at PAX Prime? A random interview!

    I stuck my head in their booth, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bigger Blacker Box, and maybe grab some swag. What I ended up with was an interview with Ben Hantoot, one of the eight co-creators of Cards Against Humanity. Ben was a good sport and didn’t seem to mind being kidnapped at all.

    Desirai (Mommy Gamers co-host, co-owner, and Evil Genius) and I are huge fans of Cards Against Humanity. We’ve mentioned CAH in many of our podcast episodes,  Episode 22: Deep Dark Hole (12:35) and Episode 27: Sparkle Pukes, to name a few. Also, last year when I attended PAX Prime, I was covering the convention for The Married Gamers.  I experienced Cards Against Humanity for the first time and even wrote a little something about what has now become my favorite card game of all time.  You can read that article by clicking here.

    Sadly, I missed out on the Bigger, Blacker Box. By the time I got around to going to purchase one, they were sold out. I plan to keep an eye on their website though, where I’ve signed up to be notified when they are available to purchase.

    However, I did come back with something awesome. The exclusive Cards Against Humanity themed fortune cookies that were being handed out at PAX Prime 2013. I have FOUR of these to give away, and to win you just have to do one thing for us…harass the people at Cards Against Humanity. I’m sure they won’t mind at all.

    Cards Against Humanity Cookie
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    If you win one of the fortune cookies, please visit our Facebook page and share your fortune with us once you receive it. Desirai really wants to know what’s inside of these things. A fortune cookie opening video would really make her day.

    *Ben Hantoon was not actually kidnapped by The Mommy Gamers, and was safely returned to his booth after finishing the interview. I think he might have actually run away…hmmm.

    Rediscovering Boardgames

    boardgame collectionAwhile back, I felt that our home was becoming too complacent. My son was playing with his toys, the wife and I were surfing the web on our own laptops while the TV was blaring in the background, mostly just for background noise. Each of us doing our own little thing. We were just kinda passing the hours off in our own little worlds. Then we rediscovered boardgames.

    Boardgames can be the best way to interact with your family. It brings you together at a table to talk, laugh and enjoy each others company. At the same time your building on your close relationships and making new discoveries of how crafty and devious your partner can be as well as how much your child can rub their victory in your face. (Yes my four year old has done this on many occasions.)

    We have started to bring our tabletop games with us to visits to our relatives homes so after we catch up we can have some fun together and not have to worry about teaching grandpa how to work the controller. Now we all can teach each other a new game or have fun with old classics as well.

    One of the most amazing parts is you can really find some great deals on boardgames. Just go to your local Goodwill or other second hand stores. My wife found a forty five dollar Risk 2210 that had never had the games pieces removed from the hermetically sealed baggies for two dollars at a yard sale. (She gloats over that one to this day.)

    There is a wide variety of games out there from child friendly to adult, from solo adventure games to party games. Not only are there some for all ages, but they have so many genres to choose from. From epic space sagas and super heroes to horror games and race cars.  There are even games where the board itself is against you and you must all work together as a team to win or lose.

    If your interest is peaked, go to your local game store and ask the friendly staff about a tabletop game that might suit your family’s age and interest. If you don’t have a local game store there is always the Internet. But do some homework first… it will save you money and keep you from selling a game in your yard sale for practically nothing.

    Watch it playedGo to YouTube and search for board game reviews. There are plenty of ones to choose from and some are very professionally made. There is even a few series where they don’t review games but actually go over the rules and then play the game to give you a feel if the game would be right for your family. There is one called WatchItPlayed, and it is run by Rodney Smith and he brings his children and his wife in to play the game as a family. It truly an a wonderful show to watch, and very child friendly. Click the picture to check his channel out.

     

    Tabletop games are fun, easy to pick up and most importantly… one of the best ways to have a wonderful evening with the whole family. I am a firm believer that the family that plays together stays together.

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    And DLC for all…

    In my small town, we have a local game shop. It is filled with new and used video games, board games, movies, comics and collectible toys. It is a hub for all things that most nerds hold near and dear to our hearts. Most afternoons, they have some type of tabletop or video game activity like tourneys and free play events. It really is one of the last “mom and pop” stores where people can gather, hang out and be with like minded people.

    As an example of how wonderful these stores can be, during my wife’s pregnancy they would offer her a seat if she looked tired, and just in case, had the employee bathroom key on hand if she needed it. When our son was born, one of the employees sent balloons to my wife’s hospital room. Before we took our son home from the hospital, we brought him to the store. A kind of baptism of all things nerdy and cool. Today, we take our son there at least weekly to see what is new in the store and with our friends that work there.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sure, there is a franchised store close by where you can get video games. But the mentality is different. The only time there is any social interaction with fellow gamers at this store is when there is a midnight launch. The rest of the experiences I’ve had at these types of stores are as follows: You go through the door, the sales person immediately asks if your looking for a particular game and if not, they ignore you. Only after you’re in line with a game to purchase do they seem interested in talking to you. Then they want to talk about the upcoming games that “you can pre-order right now” or, attempt to coax you into a membership where you acquire points for “free” stuff.

    The point I’m trying to make is this. Local, non-franchised game stores tend to enhance and cultivate what makes our gaming community closer. These places promote video games more by word of mouth and with tourneys than any other store has ever done. They pour their hearts and souls into great customer service with a family feel, and yet they get no love from the video game publishers and distributors. Sometimes a new title will not be available to our local store until the day of, or up to a week after a launch. It is if these stores don’t matter at all.

    I would love if these companies gave launch day exclusives to all brick and mortar stores. They don’t have to get all fancy with handouts, just DLC  all other Big Box stores get. Exclusive DLC should be for anyone buying their game on launch day, not because they are buying from a franchised outlet. I feel that if given a choice of stores, people would rather spend their money to local store owners if this option was available.

    Page 3 Thanks to a increased interest in tabletop board games, our local store has seen a small increase in traffic and their selection of said games has exploded. But because of slow distribution, and lack of launch day exclusive DLC, new game sales are low. I wonder what the impact would be if game store patronage was based on the quality of service and not because of what DLC customers could get at different stores. How hard could it really be to make this happen?

    I’m not saying that I think people should stop supporting franchised stores, we need, as consumers, competition on the best prices and service. I’m just saying to the distributors and companies they should stop playing favorites. Let these “Mom and Pop” stores in on the DLC action.

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