Posted on May 12, 2018
The people have spoken!
Listen to find out what both Jody and James’ geek guilty pleasures are! Also, find out why Jody can’t pronounce names!
Live it, learn it, know it!
Contact Middle-Aged Geek:
Twitter Thingy-Do: @middleagedpod
Book of Faces: https://www.facebook.com/middleagedgeekpod/
Artwork: Lara Magyar-Groom (email@example.com)
Posted on May 1, 2018
It has broken box office records! It’s a movie version of a very popular story from a funny book! Its sequel is untitled (or is it?)! It’s “Avengers: Infinity Wars!”
Join Jody and James is they spoil their way through the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Did we say “spoil?” Yes, we did. There are spoilers in here, so if you have not watched the movie listen to this after you see it.
Or be spoiled. We don’t care.
Contact Middle-Aged Geek:
Twitter Thingy-Do: @middleagedpod
Book of Faces: https://www.facebook.com/middleagedgeekpod/
Artwork: Lara Magyar-Groom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted on April 30, 2018
It’s our first episode! Jody and James talk about what got them started in geek stuff and then go off on so many tangents it’s not even funny!
Welcome to our show!
Contact Middle-Aged Geek:
Artwork: Lara Magyar-Groom (email@example.com)
Posted on March 25, 2018
Well, I had planned on posting about my annual trip to Planet Comicon, but I did not go.
Why? Well, on February 7th of this year I had a heart attack. I am fine. I’m vertical and breathing, but things have been hectic since that day and I’m still playing catch up. I had to miss PCKC this year, but I want to be alive for the next one (and many more). This was the one I wanted to attend so bad as my favorite voice actors were going to be there, but alas…
Both sides of my family have had histories of heart issues (attacks, disease, etc.) that I knew it was a matter of time before anything caught up with me. Also, the fact that I’m a fatass and didn’t take care of myself only exacerbated the issue. Thanks to the excellent staff at Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, MO I now have three stents and doing fine. I’m back at work and have started some physical therapy to help things along.
The podcast is still coming. I was hoping to have a few episodes out by now, but it got delayed. I’m waiting on some final artwork and then get James (my co-host) over to record, but I hope to get two episodes published out of the gate.
I am still planning on attending Geekway to the West in May, so expect a report on that shortly after its conclusion.
Until the next time…
Posted on November 30, 2017
Up until 1992, I was reading several comic books a month. I didn’t discriminate between publishers as at the time, it was primarily DC and Marvel dominating the field. Independent publishers such as Image, Dark Horse and Malibu were either just starting or publishing books that just couldn’t reach the numbers as the “big two.”
Each year or so, DC and Marvel would have yearly events that would span across their major titles to be used as filler for the main event. Marvel would have “Secret Wars,” “Infinity Gauntlet” and “Infinity Wars” while DC would publish “52,” “Infinite Crisis” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, to name a few. These books were sometimes used to retcon or reboot characters, change origins, or kill some characters off. Many readers waited in anticipation to see what was going to happen in the next issue. There was one series, however, that pissed MANY people off due to what was called “complete dishonesty” by the writers for the story’s resolution.
I give you… Armageddon 2001!
The story was presented as a mystery as Matthew Ryder traveled back in time to 1991 (the year the comic was published) from 2001 to stop a super-powered tyrant named Monarch from gaining power and taking over the world. The whole story was built around “Who is Monarch?” While clues were given as to who he was, many readers were clamoring to determine his true identity. The hints we were given were 1) it had to be someone super strong, 2) someone with a lot of power, and 3) someone who could actually kill Superman. Theories abounded on who it was and readers had to get through two book-end titles and 12 Annuals to figure it out. Because Monarch always appeared in a suit of full body armor, his prior identity was unknown.
Now that you know this, let’s talk about our lead protagonist. He lived in a dystopian society ruled by the oppressive tyrant Monarch. People were, obviously, unhappy with his rule and no one was more unhappy than temporal expert named Matthew Ryder. Monarch was conducting time travel experiments and chose to use Ryder as a guinea pig. Ryder traveled back to 1991 which was ten years before Monarch’s massacre of Earth’s heroes. Ryder was determined to find out who Monarch really was and, if possible, destroy him before he could rise to power. As he travelled through the rift, his body mutated into a form of living temporal energy, and upon arriving at his destination he took the name Waverider.
Now that you know the basic plot, each annual for the year of 1991 had Waverider making physical contact with a suspected hero to see a glimpse into the several possibilities of where they would be in 2001, when Monarch rose to power. Some highlights of the possible futures included:
- Batman was in prison for murdering the Penguin.
- The Flash, Wally West, was in the Witness Protection Program, but had to save his super-powered son.
- Superman had a few possibilities, including becoming President, being killed by Batman, and romancing Maxima after Lois Lane died while she was pregnant with Supes’ kid.
The last annual before the conclusion was Justice League Europe. The members were lost in time and, after everything was resolved, Captain Atom returned to the JLE embassy. Waverider approached, touched Captain Atom and…
We would have to wait a bit before we see what Captain Atom’s future was. Issue # 2 of Armageddon 2001 was supposed to be out the following week, but SOMEONE leaked which hero would become the despot Monarch. Rumor was it was penciller Dan Jurgens, but this still has not been officially confirmed. Regardless, somebody at DC leaked the identity via the old FidoNet messaging system that was used by Bulletin Board Systems in the late 80s and early 90s. DC had to scramble and make last minute changes to the story due to the identity getting out earlier than anticipated.
Monarch was SUPPOSED to be Captain Atom, and it made sense. His powers included the ability to absorb and manipulate infinite amounts of energy which granted him many skills such as super-strength. He was very powerful and he could feasibly kill all of the DC heroes, including Superman. The basic gist was that Monarch was keeping an eye on Waverider, and when he touched Atom it was to open a rift allowing Monarch to travel back to 1991 and wreak havoc. This is not, however, what happened.
When it was revealed who Monarch really was, it was met with much anger, hatred, and a lot of “Really?! Him?! How?” I’ll get to who it was momentarily, but the frame story had been presented as a mystery – which superhero would go insane, kill all other heroes and take over the world, and why? – and clues were provided. Captain Atom made sense. His solo title was cancelled to facilitate the change as well.
Instead… it was a mid-level character named Hank Hall who was the hero named Hawk.
Hall teamed with his brother, Don, who was a hero named Dove and collectively they were known as “Hawk and Dove.” How original.
The Hall brothers were the sons of Judge Irwin Hall. After an attempt on Judge Hall’s life, Hank and Don eventually followed the criminal back to the hideout where they accidentally locked themselves in the closet while the criminals were planning to murder Judge Hall. Don and Hank rarely agreed on anything, but when they both agreed that they should save their father, a couple of voices gave the boys a chance to save their father. All they had to do was call upon the powers of the Hawk and the Dove. The mysterious voices belonged to a Lord of Chaos named T’Charr and a Lord of Order named Terataya. The Lords of Order and Chaos were eternal enemies, but these two eventually fell in love with each other.
To explain the Lords of Order and Chaos would be to simply think of Republicans and Democrats, Good and Evil, etc. They were there to keep the balance in the universe and also tried not to interfere with “lower” life form’s problems. Anyway, when the Hall brothers said their respective power’s name (“Hawk” for Hank and “Dove” for Don) they would transform and gain enhanced powers. Hank, who was conservative, was more hot-headed and aggressive while Don, who was liberal, was more thoughtful and reasoned, but could also be indecisive.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc, Don was killed while trying to save a young boy from shadow demons. Without Don/Dove to restrain him, Hank grew more violent to the point where many heroes started to treat him as a villain.
We now return you to Armageddon 2001.
In the Hawk and Dove Annual #2, Waverider encounters Hawk and the new Dove (Dawn Granger) and we were given a hint that Hawk wasn’t going to become Monarch. Another problem was that Waverider saw Hawk fighting with Monarch, that Hawk would eventually lose his life at the hands of the villain, and that Dove had allowed him to see so many futures so as to conclude, “No matter the future they fought him but never became him,” making Hank Hall and Dawn Granger the two heroes Monarch could not be. Ironically, they were the only characters shown in this situation, and thus any of the other major characters could have been Monarch without creating a continuity issue.
In short, Dawn/Dove is killed by Monarch…
Hank/Hawk goes ballistic as he no longer had Dove to calm him down and beat up Monarch until…
That’s what we got… A complete turd of a reveal. Myself and a bunch of my comic reader friends shouted many vulgarities at this time. None of us could accept a hero so low on the DC totem pole, powerful enough to kill even Superman, would become such a high powered villain. This made us want to rip up our issues.
DC Comics tried to change things much later. In the Battle for Blüdhaven story arc, Monarch’s origin was retconned to where Captain Atom did transform into the villain. Still not satisfied, a JSA storyline revealed that the ending of Armageddon 2001 was faked by Mordru, the sorcerer. I don’t want to even get started what happened in this arc. No…just, no.
None of the futures shown in the story came true. Waverider hung around in Superman comics and DC hasn’t republished Armageddon 2001 since its original release and there have never been any plans to. The outcry was THAT bad.
Good. Keep it that way. This was a story that had a good chapter one, but just fell apart after that. Who cares that the person was leaked? It would’ve made more sense and also could have been a more enjoyable conclusion. Instead, we got a nonsensical conclusion that made only confused readers and no matter how many times DC tried, they couldn’t make up for it.
Posted on November 29, 2017
No, we aren’t going anywhere. 🙂
I wanted to let you guys know why we have had some downtime this year.
- I have a full-time job with a school district and this year has been busier than normal, so I haven’t had much time to write.
- I also have a family (human and feline) and they take a highest priority in my life.
That being said, I do have some exciting things in the works for next year:
- A podcast! Yes, I will be creating a podcast to run as a compliment to the website.
- More stuff! I hope to have more reviews of board games, movies and will also be attending Planet Comicon in 2018 as well as Geekway to the West.
- Streaming game playthroughs? Maybe. I’ve seen some really good ones, but also some real shitty ones too.
There you have it! Stuff in the works and cool thingy-dos abound!
Posted on June 13, 2017
As you probably know by now, I love board games and this year my wife and I attended our first Geekway to the West in St. Louis. What you are about to read is a summary of the games we played over the course of three days.
I am a fan of the original Carcassonne and thought that the addition of the Star Wars theme and battle mechanic would be a welcome addition to both franchises. Sadly, however, this is just a basic re-skin. Granted, when Ginny and I played, we didn’t get to a situation where we could employ the battle mechanic, but we just felt that after one play it was enough. We got bored pretty quickly and will stick with the original.
I’ve been wanting to play this one for a while. Ginny and I did the basic setup for Chapter 1 of the story, but found some of the rules to be a little overwhelming at first. We were about to pack it up, but two other people wanted to play it as well and we tried again. After getting into it, the rules were easier to follow and understand. I really had fun with this game. It’s a good introduction to some of the D&D elements that many gamers are familiar with. Sadly, we were not successful in reaching the goal of Chapter 1, but I enjoyed it enough to where I would like to add this to our library.
This was a pleasant surprise for the both of us. This is a two player information abstract game that takes place on a 5×5 board in which you each have 5 pieces. The goals are to either capture the opposing player’s monk or moving your own monk into the opposite side’s starting space. With multiple ways to play and move, this does require players to think a few moves ahead. While not as involved as chess, this does have the same feel. We liked it so much, we purchased it.
This was a quick pirate-themed card game in which the object is that the first player to 21 wins. Cards can be played as an action or used as treasure. Each card has a point value for treasure and action text which can be used to sabotage your opponents or even wipe the entire board. The game went too quick for us when the both of us tried it. I think with more players (it can play up to 5) the games can get more fun.
With Ginny being a hardcore HP fan, she really wanted to play this. We had another person join us in this cooperative deck builder, but felt that the game went too quick. The game is divided into school years based on the novels and the movies. Your job is to protect Hogwarts from villains by consolidating your defenses and gaining influence. We guess that as the years progress that there would be more resources to be added, but overall (for me, at least) the game was rather lackluster. Plus, I’m not a fan of deck builders to begin with.
This was a game that another attendee brought with them and it did look interesting. All but one of us has never played it before and the one who did kept repeating some explanations over and over again. By the time he was done, I had no desire to play it, but I soldiered on. This is an area control/influence game with worker placement and resource management mechanics as well. Your position at the start of each turn will determine how well you fare. Too early and you don’t gain as much prestige. Too late and you risk the other players stealing the best opportunities. Overall, I thought this was an “ok” game, but started to burn us out on worker placement games. Not something I would be excited about playing again.
This is the game I have been wanting to play for months. Due to it being sold out as well as out of print, copies were hard to come by. Ginny and I were setting up a round of 51st State when two other attendees starting setting this game up. We asked if they wanted any additional players and 51st State would have to wait. This game is fantastic! The object is that you are running a corporation and you are wanting to…wait for it…terraform Mars! You draft cards and collect resources to plant forests, build cities and raise the oxygen and temperature so the red planet can become habitable. This game lives up to the hype and proves why it is a popular game. All it took for me was playing it once and I want it very badly added to my library. It’s supposed to be getting a third printing next month (along with an expansion), so I will have to wait.
This was another game that has been recommended to me by a few of my friends and it looked interesting enough to where I wanted to play it. In this game, the world as we know it is gone. There is no government. No army. No civilization. The United States has collapsed and new powers finally try to take control by attempting to establish a new order, try to control others and create a new 51st State. This is a card drafting game in which you control one of the four factions trying to build the new country. Players put new locations into play, hire leaders, and send people to work in buildings to gain resources and new skills. You an also sabotage other players to make sure they can’t succeed. We played with two of our friends, but I was a bit disappointed. There was too much down time between turns and I felt that hurt the gameplay. I was told that once you know the cards it gets better, but this is fallen down on my list. I may give it another chance, but not anytime soon.
You and the other players take on the role of city planners who have been charged to redesign two cities. In this partner-driven tile-drafting game, you and the person to both your left and right discuss options when tiles are revealed. Which tile would suit which city? I enjoyed this game a little bit. We had the yet-to-be released “Capitals” expansion available to us, but we opted not to use it. One of the game’s authors even stopped by and offered to show us how to play. I wouldn’t say “no” to playing it again, but it’s not a high priority.
This one looked really interesting. Basically, it’s an analog version of the popular “match 3” games on mobile devices. You collect marbles to act as ingredients to a potion that can do a specific task. I thought the concept was neat, but it’s not one of my favorites. Kudos for trying.
The second city builder we played and by now I was getting irritable because it was getting late. This did affect my mood on how I felt the game, so I think I need to play it again before I really give it an honest appraisal.
No gaming as we skipped this day to attend the graduation celebration of Ginny’s nephew.
I first saw this game at a game shop in KC and it looked interesting. We were joined by our friends and gave it a go. The game looked fun once we got started, but the luck of the cards was not in our favor as we couldn’t stop the monster in time. It’s something that I do need to play again before making a final decision on adding this to our library.
This was a fun, quick game that would be good for any “warm ups” needed before the BIG game. In this game, your are to grow the largest cultures you can in your petri dish and sabotage the work of others by pushing their microbe populations above their limit, causing them to explode. A neat thing is that the microbes look like little meeples. I want to play this again a few more times.
Our friend won this game at the con and we started to play it. Sadly, I was already burned out and grumpy and was on edge. This card game has elements of Magic: The Gathering in it and this, in my opinion, was what ruined it all for me. I absolutely LOATHE Magic and other CCGs. I think the others saw I wasn’t in the best of moods, so we stopped playing before it got started. Apologies to the other players. This is one I will not be trying again.
Ginny ended up buying:
Antoine Bauza’s “7 Wonders” gets a two-player make over. As with its parent game, you go through three ages to acquire cards that provide resources or advance their military or scientific development in order to develop a civilization and complete wonders. Rather than draft cards simultaneously from hands of cards, players will take cards from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of an age. With each age, the layout will change. The cards can be used like they are in the original game, but this time each player has four wonders to attempt to complete in order to gain special abilities. Since only seven can be built, one player will get the short end of the stick. We like this variant of 7 Wonders and can see us playing it repeatedly. We also picked up the “Pantheon” expansion, but have yet to play with it included.
There you have it! Our trip to Geekway to the West 2017! Can’t wait to go back next year and try the new to us games.
Posted on June 12, 2017
My honey and I have attended our third Planet Comicon in Kansas City and, in my opinion, it was the best one.
Yes, it began on Thursday when cosplayer Abby Darkstar sent out an APB for some of her favorite snacks:
— Abby Dark Star (@abbydarkstar) April 28, 2017
Being the nice guy I am…
Before we hit the road on this rainy morning, we stopped at a nearby grocery store to pick up a few things. As mentioned above…
When we arrived at the convention, Mrs. Darkstar was setting up her booth and I showed her what I had brought to her. Her husband, Keith Zen, laughed and said “You put out an APB for those things?” She was excited and offered to pay for them, but I refused to accept anything. I told her it was OK, but she started to insist. Rather than accept cash, I asked if she would be willing to trade the bag of snacks for a selfie and an autographed photo. She agreed:
She is such a sweetheart. Both her and her husband are two of the nicest people you can ever meet. I found out later that someone brought her a grocery sack with five bags of her snack of choice. Good on him.
Next up was John Barrowman! He was supposed to be at PCC a few years ago, but due to scheduling issues he had to back out. He made up for it in a big way. His line was a bit long, but that was expected. He was also there with his sister, Carole, who is an author. We got some selfies and an autograph:
Some friends asked me to kiss him and I tried:
Alas, it was not to be…
We also got a professional photo-op with him as well:
John was a super nice guy. Very friendly and talkative to everyone.
Felicia Day’s panel was up next and it was a blast. She was funny and just all around great. Here are some bad pics:
Next up, for me at least, was meeting the 16-time world heavyweight wrestling champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Flair has a reputation of not being overly personable at Cons as people seem to think he’s only in it for the money. However, his fiancée was in an automobile accident two days before the con and it was understandable if his mind was somewhere else. Regardless, I found him quite nice and he was personable as he could be. I asked him how is “lovely lady” was doing and he gave me an update and after the selfie, I told him that everyone at Planet Comicon is wishing for a speedy recovery. He seemed genuinely touched by the comment and said “Thank you, my friend” as I shook his hand.
The rest of the day was walking around and chatting up with friends we ran into. Nathan was all over the place meeting some of his favorite cosplayers and voice actresses. Ginny and I hung out with our close, personal friends Clearly Guilty. After a bit, we headed to grab some dinner and then headed to our friends house for a night of rest.
This was the day we were looking forward to the most and requires a little back story on how I got 15 minutes of Twitter fame. A couple of years ago, we were playing Cards Against Humanity. Earlier that day, part one of the TableTop episode for “Mice and Mystics” aired on YouTube.
During the episode, Wil Wheaton talked about how his dice rolls are awful and his family was now part of the “Wheaton Curse.” While playing CAH, I got the idea to make a card poking fun at that and would tweet it to Wil for shits and giggles. Behold:
— Jody Cooper (@KaiThePirate) August 15, 2015
I didn’t think much of it as I figured Wil was too busy to re-tweet something as mundane as what I posted. Thirty minutes later, my phone buzzes and I take a look. He DID retweet it and for the next forty-five minutes my phone is going crazy with “likes” and “retweets.” After a few days, it all died down and all was normal in my lackluster Twitter life.
This day at Planet Comicon, Mr. Wheaton would finally meet the person who mocked his dice rolls. Ginny was more nervous as she has been a fan of his since she was a teenager. She was afraid to talk to him, but she did fine. When I got there I said “Do you remember about a year and a half ago when some douche posted a card from CAH about your dice rolls?” He looked at me with a bit of curiosity and said “Yeah?” I proceeded to show him the card and he busted out laughing. He asked if I wanted him to sign it and I said that I did.
My year was made. We then made our way to the photo-op line with Wil and I handed him the card. He chuckled and here is the result:
Afterwards, we were walking around when our close, personal friend Mark Leaver called to us and then snapped a quick pic.
He’s such an amazing photographer. I just LOVE this pic!
Next up, it was time to meet Felicia Day. We had listened to her audio book and thoroughly enjoyed it. When we got up to talk with her, she focused on Ginny and said “Oh, I LOVE your eyes!” Ginny was so flattered and the two started talking like they were old friends. I didn’t say anything of note. We did, however, get a nice selfie:
She is SUCH a sweetheart.
It was time for John Barrowman’s panel. He had no moderator and it was fantastic. He came out wearing this:
He was on fire the entire time. He got the ALS interpreters involved and kept saying “Hung like a donkey!” to get them to do the sign. Towards the end, however, the backdrop behind him collapsed. After things calmed down, he kept going. This was the best Q&A panel I’ve been to.
Sadly, the rest of the days panels in the main room had to be moved or postponed. This did throw a kink in our schedule. Nathan spent a lot of time going to various panels and meeting up again with some of his favorite people. We met up and left the center for dinner and rest.
Sunday started with a live performance from our close, personal friends Clearly Guilty. If you are in the KC area and dig nerd music, they are the band for you. Sadly, we had to leave before they finished to attend Wil Wheaton’s panel.
We went downstairs and caught the tail end of Ron “Fucking” Perlman’s panel. He was very low key, but funny. Once his was done, Ginny and I made our way to the chairs of justice and his panel began. I had the opportunity to ask him a question and he answered. Basically, I thanked him for creating TableTop because of the series, it influenced our purchasing decisions on several games in our library. He seemed genuinely touched about that comment and then proceeded to answer my question as to why the game 7 Wonders would not fit on the show due to it mechanics.
After the panel, we went back upstairs and Ginny wanted a selfie with Summer Glau. We went up to her booth and she was just as sweet and nice as many people have said.
After that, it was time for the journey home. Before we hit the road we had dinner with our close personal friend Katy and her cousin Kimberly.
Overall, this was the best PCC we’ve been too and we hope that they can top this year.
Posted on June 7, 2017
Below is a list of the board games that grabbed my attention and haven’t let go. This is by no means a “top 10” list or anything like that as the games listed are in no particular order. These are games I enjoy and continue to recommend to friends and family so their own libraries can exchange. Here we go:
7 Wonders – In this card drafting game your role is that of a leader of one of the seven great cities of the world. Manage resources, develop trade routes and show your military strength while trying to build one of the original 7 wonders. This game may scare off people who are seeing it for the first time, but fear not faithful reader. This is a game that is super easy to teach, pick up and play. The flexibility with this game is great from anywhere from 3 to 7 players with very little down time. With the “Cities” and “Leaders” expansions adding new elements to the game, they can make it more challenging, but just as fun. We did play with the “Babel” expansion, but felt this expansion changed the rules too often and dragged the gameplay down. For those who want a 2-player variant, look at “7 Wonders: Duel.”
Pandemic – You play the role of an agent from the Center for Disease Control and need to stop four diseases before they spread across the globe and cause a, well, pandemic. Fantastic co-op game with much suspense and tension. Very scalable, easy to pick up and play. For those with heart problems be forewarned. Added expansions increase some difficulty, but others such as “Contagion” do nothing.
Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 – Great variant using the “Legacy” system developed by Rob Daviau. This takes the original Pandemic game, but as the play progresses, so does the game itself. Each “month” can make things easier or become your worst nightmare. One of the things I look for in a game is re-playability and this one gives you at LEAST 12 plays. Be forewarned if you are anal about damaging your games as this one “scars” your board as it goes on month to month. This also has just as much suspense and tension as it’s proud papa. Once Season 2 comes out, we are going to get it and hope it’s just as good.
Terraforming Mars – This wildly popular game lives up to the hype. I played it for the first time at Geekway to the West 2017 and LOVED it! This has easily become one of my favorite games after just one sitting. It’s THAT good. You are the head of a corporation and you are competing with others as you try to…wait or it…terraform Mars. Play cards to increase production, raise the temperature and oxygen levels, build cities and forests and manage your resources. It does look a bit intimidating at first, but it’s worth it in the end. A new expansion is coming out soon as well as a third printing of the original. Worth every penny.
Lords of Waterdeep – Want to domesticate Owlbears? This is the game for you! “But, Kai! It’s another resource management and worker placement game!” While it may look that way, it does it quite well. Easy to learn and play and good for two players. This German-style game takes place in the legendary city-state of Waterdeep. For those who play Forgotten Realms, this is the main place travelers go for pretty much everything. However, in THIS game you are competing with other lords to gain control. The addition of the “Scoundrels of Skullport” expansion adds new quests and a new “Corruption” mechanic that do not take away anything from the original. Well worth the investment.
Carcassonne – One of the classic European style games that helped start the board game boon back in 2000 as well as introduced players to the now classic “meeple.” This tile laying game takes place in the medieval town in France called Carcassonne (duh!). You lay tiles and place your meeples to gain points by making farms, creating roads and building cities. There are numerous expansions and re-skins, but I’ll stick with the classic.
Munchkin – I know some of my hard core gamer friends poo poo Munchkin, but it is the game that got me away from Monopoly and the other basic games that most of the world’s populous plays. A humorous card game designed by Steve Jackson, this take on the classic D&D style games has funny artwork (by John Kovalic) and your job is to get to level 10. You do this by killing monsters, taking their treasure and backstabbing your friends. The puns are great and with numerous themed variants and expansions will give you some enjoyment for hours.
Arkham Horror – This co-op game is a long one (That’s what SHE said!). You will need a day to play this one as it takes about an hour or two to setup as well as explain the rules. Set in the Lovecraftian Cthulhu Mythos, you take on the role of an investigator in the town of Arkham, MA. Gates to other planes have opened and an Ancient One is waiting in the wings. You and your fellow investigators must close the gates before said Ancient One wakes up and causes the world to be devoured. This game can take several hours to complete (our record is eight hours), so make sure you have plenty of time.
Elder Sign – This card and dice co-op game is also set in the Cthulhu Mythos. You and your fellow investigators are adventuring in a museum searching rooms for clues in the hopes of gaining enough Elder Signs to seal the Ancient One before it is awakened. Your luck with the dice will determine if you can assist and stopping the monster or if it wakes up. This can be a quick game and is easier to teach and play than Arkham Horror and can serve as a good intro to the mythos and this line of games.
Kill Doctor Lucky – Think of this as a prequel to the game Clue. In Clue, you try to solve the murder, but in this game, you are attempting to do the murder. In this game, you need to do the obvious and kill Dr. Lucky because for some reason, you hate him. However, you need to do it without the other visitors in the house seeing you do it. Dr. Lucky is constantly moving and if you can do it, kill him when you have the chance. However, the others will try and help Dr. Lucky so they can do the deed themselves. If you decide to play with either of the pets, it can add another challenge as the dog will bark and warn the good doctor while his cat will distract you because who doesn’t like to pet cats? Games can go long or VERY short, so plan ahead.
Tokaido – This is a BEAUTIFUL game. Designed by Antoine Bauza, who also created 7 Wonders, you play a journeyman walking along the historical Japanese road of Tokaido. You are travelling from Kyoto to Edo and there are many stops along the way. Hungry? Stop at a restaurant for some grub. Like the scenery? Complete your great work of art. Want to go shopping? Stop at one of the many stores along the way. The artwork is something to behold and gameplay is simple to pick up on. This was the first game we bought thanks to the Tabletop Youtube series.
Betrayal at House on the Hill – This is actually my wife’s favorite game and I can see why. A nifty co-op tile laying game where you play explorers looking through a house. Everything goes fine until one of you betrays your friends and you have to kill your former colleagues. The haunts can be random every time thanks to the house being different with each play. With the new “Widow’s Walk” expansion, it adds a new floor and new haunts as well giving the game more replays.