Wines offered from Lot18 are usually limited edition and unique. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t get more unique than wine themed around one of Ubisofts’s most popular game franchises, Assassin’s Creed.
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
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.
Influenster sent me their Cherish VoxBox, a new box with full sized products and coupons for awesome stuff. I opened it up live because unboxings are fun and people seem to like watching them. I infrequently get these boxes of goodies in exchange for my honest review. This particular box had items in it for the whole family. The dog, the kids, myself, and my imaginary boyfriend.
Comments make us happy! If you’re still reading this, please leave us one. I’ll comment back!
*I received all of these products from Influenster for free in exchange for my honest review. The Mommy Gamers are not employees of Influenster, we just love getting awesome things for free and sharing our thoughts about them with you!
I love to cook. I get a chance to do it quite often because I’m a single mom and I can’t afford healthy, gourmet restaurant dinners every night. I can barely afford pizza once a week!
I love gaming. That, I often have to skip because I also have to make money. My time is pretty much always taken up writing, trying to get more writing work, getting my school work done, and doing mom things.
So – I don’t always have time to game. I have a new PS4 I’ve barely touched. I have Zelda: Breath of the Wild, sitting in my living room starting at me. I drop my kid off at D&D games and then go home to study. This doesn’t stop me from sneaking a few minutes of smartphone gaming at bedtime and Pokemon Go when I’m out and about. But it does mean my gaming time is cut pretty drastically. Every year my #1 New Year’s resolution is to Play More Games.
So, what’s the compromise? This fall, I’m finding it in a little book called Cooking With Dice.
Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. A kitchen-based RPG. And it’s going to save my season!
This original game, the first in what will be a series, turns cooking into a game you can play alone or with the entire family.
This past spring, Cooking with Dice was a Kickstarter project offered by the people behind Adventure Scents. Creator Jennifer Howlett says that the project, and her company, started as a way of gamifying cooking to make it more fun for her kids, and to help her family connect. “I think that gamifying something is a great way to drive learning and motivation,” she says. “I love watching TV cooking competition shows (it’s a guilty pleasure) and have always wished I could capture that adventure in my own kitchen. I feel like Cooking with Dice has helped me to experiment more with cooking and try out things I’d never done before.”
She did plenty of research to create the recipes in the book, and utilized family members and volunteer play testers to complete the project.
There’s a story. You’re an adventure-chef, journeying through a fantasy setting with different scenarios. Like Dungeons & Dragons, there are classes and races, and you roll your dice to introduce an element of chance into your endeavors. Actually, you start out at Level 1 as a Plongeur (dishwasher), and work your way up to Chef de Cuisine (head chef).
And it’s fun. Using formulas and gaming tables rather than outright recipes, Cooking with Dice allows you to gamify different aspects of cooking. You can be more creative and flexible, and, as Howlett says in the book, add “your own personal magic.” This first installment of the series forgoes heat in favor of chemical changes caused by acid. Every food you create is a bit different, because the dice decide.
I’m not really an RPG gamer. I don’t have any patience to read the manuals, and no one has ever invited me into a D&D session that evolved past character creation. But Cooking with Dice is short and the instructions are clear and simple.
But this concept has made my grocery shopping more interesting. I hate grocery stores. Now, though, I take my copy of this game, and a bag of dice, and I roll to see what ingredients I’m going to be buying. If you see a random person in the produce section trying to find a flat surface, then rolling a 20-sided die, that could be me. Or someone else playing the game.
Also, this type of cooking is unfamiliar to me. I tend to be more hit or miss when it comes to dishes that require chemical reactions as the main form of food alteration. However, this is giving me a chance to try things I’ve never done. It’s fun, and getting kids on board is easy. The writing is engaging and witty, and the recipes and instruction are creative, well thought out and simple.
I made pickles (see above)! In fact, I made quite a few items that are outside my comfort range, and my son helped. He hates pickles, but would eat the game’s Quickles all day. (Ours were cucumber seasoned with rosemary, based on our roll.)
So, success! Howlett’s goal worked for me. I’m sold! And my son has never had so much fun cooking. I haven’t quite finished the book yet, but I’m getting there. This is a really good way to get your kids involved in the kitchen.
I can’t think of anything, except that failure can be discouraging, and I failed with the cheese the first time because I used pasteurized milk. I also failed with the Dragonfly Jam because I could not locate the right kind of pectin. But those things aren’t Cooking with Dice’s fault. The book clearly said I could not use pasteurized milk, and I could not locate the correct kind of pectin. Oops. Like I said, this is not an area of cuisine that I’m terribly familiar with.
To be honest, it’s actually taking me a long time to get through the game because I’m always so busy, and finding other ways to use up ingredients I bought for the game is sometimes beyond my mental capability, even though they aren’t weird or anything. So my son and I have to make an extra effort to do the game justice, but Cooking with Dice gives our kitchen a much-needed culinary spark on nights we decide to play. It’s a good thing the game is so easy and flexible, because otherwise it’d just be another Crock-Pot dump meal for us.
In a world that’s becoming more and more digitized, in which we have much less free time than we’d like, Cooking with Dice is a breath of fresh air. My son isn’t always a super-adventurous eater but he’ll try new foods, especially if we make them ourselves.
Cooking with Dice lets us fit gaming into our busy lifestyle, and eat better food while we’re doing it. That’s a win-win in my book!
Howlett and her 12-year-old daughter are working on a sequel for 2018, which would contain formulas that are easy for kids to make with minimal supervision. I’m on board with that!
If you’d like more information on the book and Adventure Scents, visit www.cookingwithdice.com. Next month, Cooking with Dice: The Acid Test will be available via the website and through Amazon.com.
I’ve been a part of Influenster for a few years now. Influenster is a site that rewards your social media prowess with products that you can enjoy in exchange for honest product reviews. I don’t have to pretend I like the things I get, and sometimes I do not like them at all. This isn’t the case with all of the products in the most recent Darling Voxbox I received. I’ve already used pretty much everything in the box. Curious what was inside? Check out this unboxing video to see what I got, and then stick around for my thoughts down below.
Instead of talking about every product in the box I’d like to highlight the one that I was the most impressed by. First off is the Live Clean gentle moisture baby lotion and tearless shampoo & wash. Because my youngest “baby” is seven I was going to pass this along to my sister who happens to still have baby age people in her house. However, when my youngest daughter did a sniff test on these products she proclaimed them hers. The lavender, aloe and chamomile scents blend together so nicely that I will admit I have used the lotion myself…recently. The products have an eco-friendly tag on them boasting 97% plant ingredients, SLS free (whatever that is) and paraben free. If those things are important to you and you enjoy hugging an amazing smelling child after bath time you should keep an eye out for their products.
Honestly, all of the products in the Darling VoxBox are being used right now and I’m not dissapointed. If you have a nice social media reach and like trying out new products you should totally check out Influenster. Or just keep coming back here from time to time to check out what we get.
You can probably hear the lack of enthusiasm in my voice. I wasn’t very impressed with my first Birchbox. However, after opening my box I went back to redo the survey and noticed I had “Send me all the samples” checked off. I’ve since uncheck that option and I’m curious to see how that will impact my next box. We’ll see how my May/June shipments go.
If after watching my video you’d still like to try Birchbox, you can sign up here for $10 a month. Be sure to come back and let me know what you got in your first box.
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If you listen to our podcast, watch our YouTube channel, or just in general follow any of our shenanigans, then you are aware that I (Carrie) just had a baby. This gave me the perfect opportunity to review the WaterPura chemical-free wipes I was sent for free for review purposes.
For those of you who may know me, you know that I’m pretty wary of chemicals. I clean my house mostly with vinegar and try to only eat grass-fed meats when I do eat meat. So when I heard that these wipes were completely chemical-free, I was pretty much already sold. Instead of chemicals, they are made of 99.9% water and a touch of citrus. I was, however, wary as to how well they were going to work. I received them a couple weeks before I gave birth, and decided to hold on to them until I could really give them a good test… the first poop.
Anyone who has had a baby knows that first poop is a sticky, tar-like mess. It isn’t very easy to get wiped off, which is awful considering how sensitive newborn skin is. However, I was extremely pleasantly surprised to see that the WaterPura wipes tackled that first poop like a champ. It wiped clean off without having to scrub or use more than two wipes. Let me tell you, this was no small feat considering just the massive size of my daughter’s first deuce. The WaterPura wipes did not at all let me down.
Over the next few days I was seriously stunned at how well they worked against not only diaper messes, but also on sticky spit up. The wipes being chemical-free eased my mind a bit since I was wiping her face with them. I’ve always felt wary about wiping infant faces with normal wipes. Also, since they are mostly water, they are extremely gentle on the skin. All three of my other daughters ended up at some point with a diaper rash so bad I would have to forgo wipes for a while. WaterPura wipes shouldn’t give me this issue, since they are 99.9% water.
WaterPura wipes are seriously hands down the best wipes I have ever tried. They work better than normal wipes, and I don’t have to worry about wiping down my newborn with chemicals. I can’t recommend them enough.
Both Marcia and Desira recieved the Fierce Vox Box from Influenster and collaborated on a joint unboxing video! Check out our YouTube video linked below to find out what was in their boxes. Influenster is a fun site that sends products out for free for testing purposes to people they believe are influential. It’s free to sign up, and fun to get suprises like these in the mail from time to time.