Geek and Sundry

 

Geek and Sundry

DELVER Is a Dream Comic for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Fans (Preview)

Feb 19 2019

We’re living in a tabletop gaming renaissance and it is wonderful. From watching our favorite groups play live to more and more of us playing ourselves, it’s a great time to be a fan of classic Dungeons & Dragons style gameplay.

If you’re an RPG fan and a comics fan, take note: comiXology Originals will release the first issue of Delver on Wednesday, February 20th. A new twist on the classic fantasy story, C. Spike Trotman, MK Reed, and Clive Hawken provide a modern-day allegory in an epic tale. Which we’re exhilarated to debut it here with a look at exclusive pages:

When the door to a dungeon surfaces in the tiny village of Oddgoat and droves of newcomers arrive, the influx threatens the livelihoods of longtime residents–including teen Temerity Aster and her family. As wild magic and gentrification increase, Temerity is forced to make a choice: abandon the only home she’s ever known to carpet baggers and sellswords, or delve into the new and dangerous dungeon below in the hopes of finding unclaimed gold and treasure to support her family.

Delver is a fantasy adventure for folks who loved Terry Pratchett’s self-described ‘unimaginative’ approach to world-building; an insistence on asking questions, wanting to know why and how things worked the way they did,” says co-writer C. Spike Trotman. “In my case, Delver is my answer to ‘Where are all these abandoned, treasure-laden dungeons coming from, anyway? And what happens when you unload all that loot in the tiny hamlet down the road?’ It’s for fans of Critical Role, Ursula K. LeGuin novels, and The Adventure Zone.”

“Spike and I are the specific kind of nerds who see epic fantasy settings and wonder about the local economy,” says co-writer MK Reed. “Temerity, our main character, is a teen girl stuck in the middle of sudden economic upheaval in her very small town, except that her town’s gold rush also involves giant monsters springing out of the ground. She has no idea how to help her family and neighbors with the man-made crisis above ground, and the adults around her aren’t any better at solving problems. Going into a hole to win riches seems like the most practical solution, even if she’s not really sure how to fight or what to expect inside.”

You can grab Delver #1 on Wednesday, February 20. from comiXology; the issue is free if you’re a member of Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited!

This article originally appeared on Nerdist.

Images: comiXology Unlimited

More D&D Goodness!

The Mars Rover Opportunity Can Live On — In Your D&D Game

Feb 18 2019

You’ve probably heard about the Mars rover Opportunity signing off from the red planet for the final time this month. NASA lost contact with the intrepid robotic explorer, and after hundreds of attempts at reestablishing communications, declared the rover’s mission complete. That doesn’t mean it was a failure, however. In fact, Opportunity’s mission was a smashing success!

After 800+ attempts to contact @MarsRovers Opportunity, today we’re announcing the end of a successful Martian mission. Intended to explore the Red Planet for 90 days, Oppy outlived its mission lifetime by 14+ years. Join us live now: https://t.co/zJwTTpQNwp #ThanksOppy pic.twitter.com/U4J26TfzDv

— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 13, 2019

If you’re inspired by Opportunity and its dedication to its mission, there’s a way you can help the rover live on–in your Dungeons & Dragons game! Yes, you read that right. Walrock Homebrew, a creator of “fun, flavorful, and balanced homebrew content,” recently shared a free (!) addition to your Dungeon Master’s Guide to give Opportunity the… opportunity to explore your world next.

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“Here’s a fairly-accurate statblock for our rover friend, and a nearly plausible reason for it to exist,” they said on Twitter. Naturally, there’s a gnome involved. And a planar storm. Just another day in Dungeons & Dragons.

Walrock Homebrew also shared more details for those who want to get their new robot friend up and running.

Treat Oppy as if it is Alien Technology (as on page 268 of the DMG).

You need four successful Intelligence checks to figure out how to work and repair Oppy, using the Figuring Out Alien Technology table to set the DC’s.

— Walrock Homebrew (@WalrockHomebrew) February 16, 2019

If you enjoyed this bit of Martian magic for your campaign, be sure to support Walrock Homebrew on Patreon for more thoughtful Fifth Edition homebrew content.

And we join everyone around the world in congratulating Opportunity for completing its groundbreaking mission, and thank it for giving us all a little bit more understanding about our red neighbor.

If you could bring more real world magic into your campaign, what would you add? Tell us in the comments.

Featured Image: NASA

Opportunity Sheet: Walrock Homebrew, shared with permission

WATCH: Critical Role – Xhorhas (Campaign 2, Episode 51)

Feb 18 2019

The Mighty Nein safely make it to Xhorhas, but find more danger than they could have imagined in this new country…

GALLERY: Relics and Rarities Fan Art – Into the Woods

Feb 18 2019

Relics and Rarities is our Dungeons & Dragons show with Dungeon Master Deborah Ann Woll at the helm. In each episode, Professor Roundland assigns a group of four adventurers a mission on behalf of the R&R Brigade. They are accompanied by a special guest to help someone in need or retrieve a one-of-a-kind item that is causing more than a bit of trouble in the realm.

In the second episode of the series, “The Trail of the Hidden Ones,” the adventurers are joined by Ionis (Sam Richardson), a gnome ranger who is well-acquainted with the Briarcleft Forest. Within the mysterious woods, they seek the Fire Gem to fulfill the first part of a prophecy.

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Take a look at the gallery below for pieces inspired by the episode.

Would you like to see your Relics and Rarities fan art in a future gallery? Tag it #RelicsAndRarities on Twitter and we just might be in touch!

Catch this episode and new episodes of Relics and Rarities every Monday on Alpha.

Featured Image: Faye

Villains, Monsters, Wizards & More: 5 Games From NY Toy Fair We’re Excited For

Feb 18 2019

Every year over 1,000 toy and game publishers gather in New York for the annual New York Toy and Game Fair. While closed to the consumer public, it’s an opportunity for retailers to get first looks at the year’s hottest toys. We’ve kept a close eye on this year’s announcements and are here to share what we’re excited about!

Horrified

Dracula, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and others scared the pants off of moviegoers in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and now they’re back to terrorize your table. Horrified is a cooperative strategy game from Ravensburger that will arm you and your friends with pitchforks and torches and send you out against creatures from your nightmares.

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Horrified features varying difficulty levels giving gamers new and experienced a fighting chance against the monsters. Each monster is realized in detailed plastic and will require different strategies to defeat them. It will release in early August, giving us all the opportunity to prepare for Halloween game nights against Frankenstein, The Mummy, and more!

Jaws

Duh-dun. Duh-dun. Duh-dun-duh-dun-duh-dun. Chomp. Those 2 notes make up one of the most iconic movie-monster themes in history. Jaws remains a movie classic and is another upcoming title from Ravensburger that we’re looking forward to. Unlike Horrified, Jaws will be a “one vs many” game. One player will play as that titular great white shark, terrorizing the shores of Amity Island. The rest of the table will play as Brady, Hooper, and Quint as they try to locate the shark and ultimately eliminate it.

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Jaws will come packaged with a double-sided board used to represent two phases of play. The first side of the board shows Amity Island. The human players will attempt to save swimmers and track the shark while the shark player secretly navigates the board and tries to-well-eat those swimmers. Once located, the board is flipped over and the humans have to race against a rapidly sinking ship. Again the shark player will be secretly circling the boat, attacking the players and the boat itself. Can Brady, Hooper, and Quint take out the 3-ton terror of Amity Island? Or will they fall victim to that mouth of teeth? We’ll find out in June when the game releases.

Harry Potter Games (x2!)

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Ok so technically I’m cheating and listing multiple games under 1 entry – 10 points from Geek & Sundry – but given how fun USAopoly’s previous Harry Potter games are, we can’t ignore either announcement. Scrabble is getting a magical twist this year with the Harry Potter edition of this classic game. In addition to normal words, you can use words from the Harry Potter universe. Lumos, Alohamora, Polyjuice, and Hogsmeade are legal if you can pull them off. Additionally, special cards will provide bonus points if you can meet their goals.

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Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is getting a dueling twist with Harry Potter Defense Against the Dark Arts. This two-player competitive card game is inspired by Hogwarts Battlebut rather than working together to save the school you’ll be squaring off in the dueling ring! You’ll have to balance acquiring defensive and offensive spells to block and stun your opponents. A third game was teased but details are sparse; we’ll let you know as soon as we have some!

Villainous: Wicked to the Core

Villainous Wicked to the Core

We loved Villainous last year, so it’s no surprise to us that it won Game of the Year at this year’s Toy Fair! Wonder Forge took the opportunity to show the world Wicked to the Core, the upcoming expansion. It features 3 new classic Disney villains; Hades from Hercules, the Evil Queen from Snow White, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog Because there are no central boards or pieces, you can actually play Wicked to the Core even if you don’t have the original. Wicked to the Core will be available March 3rd so you don’t need to wait long to get your hands on this one.

BONUS: Warhammer 40k Funko Pops

Just. Look. At. These. Pops. Our favorite heroes of the dark millennium are getting a little big-headed as the first — and hopefully not last —  collaboration between Funko and Games Workshop was revealed.

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Featuring units from the Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Blood Angels, and Dark Angels chapters, these new Pops are ready to bring the grimdark war to your office or game room shelf. Now, how many WAAGHs does a guy need to launch to get an Ork one?

What other upcoming games are you excited about?

Image Credits:  Ravensburger, Games Workshop, USAopoly, Teri Litorco

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.

A Closer Look at the 3 Villains From DISNEY VILLAINOUS: WICKED TO THE CORE

Feb 16 2019

This weekend at New York Toy Fair, Wonder Forge won Game of The Year for Disney VillainousThe worker placement game that lets players take on the role of iconic Disney villains was one of our favorites, earning a spot among our top games of 2018, and there’s been much anticipation for more villains. After all, on the back of the rulebook was a question that hinted at future villains to expand the game.
Villainous Wicked to the Core

As it so happened, Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core has been revealed this weekend. It’s a standalone game that is also fully compatible as an expansion for the original Disney Villainous game. Wicked to the Core adds three villains to the game, Hades of Hercules, the Evil Queen from Snow White and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog.

Villainous Wicked to the Core Villains

The core gameplay is still the same, but as with the original game, each villain has a unique victory condition and plays differently than the others. Wicked to the Core’s villains bring new mechanical elements to reflect their unique abilities. We opened up the box to show you just what you can expect from these villains.

We’re not going to give everything away, but you can check out the gallery below for a closer look at each villain’s board and guide. Keep your eyes peeled for our full overview of the game, as well as How to Play and Game the Game videos here on Geek & Sundry.

You can pre-order Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core today, and you’ll be able to find it on Target shelves starting on March 3rd.

Image Credits: Teri Litorco

 

 

 

Build Your Warlock’s D&D Backstory By Answering These 5 Questions

Feb 15 2019

Players have a lot of decisions to make when they put together a Dungeons & Dragons character. Spell choices, weapon choices and where to put ability scores influence how a character comes together mechanically. But what about the fictional side of the character? In D&D, the Background choice offers some mechanical support for what a character as before they became an adventurer, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A character with a good background can give a Dungeon Master several wonderful ways to hook a character into dashing into danger.

Warlock Feature

useful background doesn’t have to be a full-fledged biography about a character’s life before 1st level. Most serial stories take their time to spool out juicy bits of background info as the story unfolds. Sometimes it makes more sense to leave specific elements open so that they can be filled in by information informed by what happens in the game. This series of articles offers five background questions for each class that a player can answer with a few short sentences whenever they want (yes, we’ll be doing one for each class). Players can answer these questions ahead of the first session, or DMs can facilitate this character building exercise with a session zero.

Who Approached Whom About Making The Pact?

Warlock characters have a unique place in D&D games. They get to define a relationship with a powerful member of their world right out of their gate; their patron. Most relationships are complex, to say the least, but this question can put things into perspective. Did your character fall to their knees inside a summoning circle ready to make a deal? Did your Patron sense a desire that it could fulfill for your character?

What Does Your Patron Get Out Of The Deal?

Your immortal soul is nice and all, but it seems like small potatoes in a fantasy world full of powerful dragons and CGI-budget-busting magic.  Your warlock gets cool spells, class features and invocations, so surely the patron must be getting something beyond some ill-defined sense of service. Does your patron get a bit of the life force of each creature you kill to sustain itself? Are you hunting artifacts that can allow your Patron to eventually cross over into the Material Plane? Did you offer your life in exchange for someone else’s, cursing you to immortal servitude to protect someone you loved?

Are You Your Patron’s Only Pact?

If you are the only being that’s sworn yourself to your patron’s service, that makes your character unique. It also likely makes your relationship more personal and your patron more likely to interfere in your life to protect its investment. If there are other warlocks that serve your patron, how do they feel about you? How do you feel about them? Are you all allied with your patron’s goals or are there factions within your fellow warlocks that act as rivals to your cause?

Who Is Unhappy With Your Bargain?

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There’s probably some bad reputation news associated with signing a pact; otherwise, everyone would have done it. Is your character hunted by an organization? Perhaps a church or a sect of paladins? Why do clerics or paladins in your groups keep you around then? If not demon hunters, who in your life reacted in horror when they found out what you did? Are you trying to win them back?

Is There An Escape Clause?

Any contract can be broken, even one signed in the blood of ancient demons. One side just has to be willing to pay the price. What could your warlock give their patron to get out from under their service? Perhaps a massive pile of gold? What must the patron do to rid themselves of your warlock? Is there anyone powerful enough to intervene if one side wants out and the other doesn’t?

Tell us the best tidbits of your warlock’s backstory in the comments below! 

More bardic inspiration!

Images Credits: Wizards of the Coast, Warner Brothers

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. He can be hired as a professional Dungeon Master for in-person or remote games. His Twitter is here. You can watch him livestream RPGs with the Theatre of the Mind Players here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

Remastered THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LINK’S AWAKENING Heads to Switch This Year

Feb 15 2019

Even if you’re one of the most dedicated The Legend of Zelda players, chances are you’ve been missing out on a game or two in the legendary franchise. If so, Nintendo is coming to your rescue like a Hero of Time!  The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening came out for Game Boy in 1993 and was the first Zelda released on a portable game system. Now, over 25 years later, a remastered version of the unique game is coming to the Nintendo Switch, the most popular and well-crafted Nintendo portable system to date.

Link’s Awakening is notable for other reasons as well. Princess Zelda and Ganon are missing from this installment, which takes place on the island of Koholint rather than the kingdom of Hyrule. This mysterious island is populated with some familiar faces from Super Mario, believe it or not, like the Chain Chomp and other surprising cameos.

Link washes ashore on the island after a storm interrupts his journey to Hyrule. As much as he wants to leave the island and return to the princess, he can’t do so until he completes certain tasks. (Because Zelda.) Helping him on his journey is an enigmatic owl who guides him in his quest.

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Originally black and white, and later colorized for the Game Boy Color, Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch has been beautifully remastered in an adorable style that will set the game apart even more from the rest. Link has never looked so cute–sorry, Wind Waker–and the colors and island itself are simply stunning.

IGN shared a comparative look at the game’s announcement from yesterday’s Nintendo Direct with the original opening of Link’s Awakening DX, and the result is jaw-dropping!

1998 vs. 2019 pic.twitter.com/0BkHKILFBL

— IGN (@IGN) February 14, 2019

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is planned for a 2019 release on the Nintendo Switch.

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All Images: Nintendo

Forge Your Nation and Watch It Fall in ICARUS – A DM-Less RPG

Feb 15 2019

From the Qing Dynasty to the British Empire, great powers ruled much of the world for centuries at a time, and they all had one thing in common: they eventually fell.

Icarus is a collaborative storytelling game about how these civilizations crumble under the weight of their own greatness. Written and created by first-time designer Spenser Starke, Icarus puts players at the height of their city’s powers when it decides to build a massive monument to showcase its sophistication and prestige to the entire world.

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Drawing on The Quiet Year and Tales of the Arabian Nights as inspiration for the game, Icarus is world-building in a box; a GM-less dice-stacking role-playing game. Becca shows us how the game plays in this video:

Players take on the roles of diplomats, scientists, marshalls, actors, politicians, and business moguls as they describe the events that take place for months or even years.

You and your fellow players build an awe-inspiring tower of dice while a rulebook, a deck of 52 cards, and note cards, drive the narrative action. Players contribute to the growing hubris of Icarus and you’ll see the nation falter and decay from your failures. Once the dice tower itself tumbles, the civilization is finished as well.

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Your group will use its imagination to create a unique world, but Icarus comes with several pre-made settings so you can get into the action quickly and easily. Want to see the dawn of humankind? What about building the first colony on Mars? Or how about a fantasy land full of magical beasts and spells? Choose one and begin your historical adventure.

In the game each player receives a Pillar of Society card that they’ll use to represent an element of Icarus: art, technology, agriculture, law, energy, social structures, and more. Each card has a strength and weakness prompt; players decide collectively which one will be the weakness of their city.

As for the characters that inhabit the city, you’ll create them as the typically major players in the infrastructure of Icarus. They’re tied to their Pillar of Society card, but also motives that drive your character throughout the narrative, based on a drawn Motive card. Like past civilizations, the movers and shakers of society may not always be inspired by the common good.

Icarus FI

During the game, you’ll draw Story cards that prompt you to answer questions and move the city’s narrative forward. Record your answers on the Aspect cards to create a mindmap of the city on the tabletop. Aspects may be events like “the city is running low on food” or “President declares martial law” and, like scenes in a movie, contribute to the story of your civilization’s collapse.

And as your character acts accordingly based on their motives, you’ll place dice on their Aspect cards. The dice return to the pool if they’re resolved successfully, but if they fail, then the dice must be added to the tower. Yes, real-life dexterity points come into play! (But don’t worry; a digital accessibility package provides a way to play without the need for physical stacking of the dice.)

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Ultimately, the tower of dice will come tumbling and crumbling down. To finish the game, your group will answer three simple questions:

  1. What caused the tower to collapse?
  2. What happened to your character in the aftermath?
  3. What became of the civilization after its fall?

The rich and immersive experience of a faltering empire in Icarus is achieved in a remarkably short game time of only 90 minutes. You can see how it all comes together as an immersive, narrative experience in this episode of Game the Game:

Want to secure a copy of the game for yourself? Check out the Kickstarter to back the project for Icarus!

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Image Credits: Hunters Entertainment (Art by Ryan Richmond)

This post is sponsored by Hunters Entertainment.

Ruel Gaviola loves board games, books, food, travel, Star Wars, and date nights with his wife. He writes about games for iSlaytheDragon and tabletop-test.com, podcasts about games for The Five By, and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog here.

WATCH: Overlight: Fractured Paradox – Bondmates (Episode 2)

Feb 15 2019

A motley crew of Skyborn explorers encounter strange occurrences in their fractured, floating world. Using the Overlight RPG system, this kaleidoscopic fantasy crosses through colorful landscapes, with our heroes channeling the mythical Overlight to perform astonishing feats!

Fennel, Mat, Udos, and Thokmay discover what’s at the end of the tunnel.

Watch the full season of Overlight: Fractured Paradox ad-free on Alpha

WATCH: Relic Reflections with Sam Richardson

Feb 15 2019

Relics and Rarities Storyteller Deborah Ann Woll sits down with VEEP’s Sam Richardson to discuss the creation of Ionis — his Gnome Ranger — and then dig into his first experience with playing an RPG.

Watch Relics and Rarities first on Mondays on Alpha. New Alpha members, use code “RELICS” when you sign up for a free trial.

More D&D Goodness!

Warhammer 40K Goes Back to the Board With HEROES OF BLACK REACH

Feb 14 2019

Warhammer 40,000 Heroes of Black Reach is a funny product. This one is a wanderer, stuck between worlds and attempting to find its way. It’s a miniatures game but it’s not. It’s a sequel but no, it’s not. It’s a wargame but…well, it is indeed a wargame.

Let’s break it down.

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First off: it’s a seamless reworking of the 2014 Devil Pig Games release Heroes of Normandie. This was a tactical World War II squad-based thriller with a rapid pace and strong presentation. Heroes of Black Reach is virtually the same system. It boasts that enticing activation mechanism, a plethora of beautiful 2D units spanning Ork and Adeptus Astartes forces, and enough carnage to break your jaw.

You will activate a subset of units each round in a hidden order, pushing them forward across one of the gorgeous tiles depicting a broken ground. Asymmetric cards provide moments of drama, allowing you to boost rolls or pull off surprise maneuvers.

This is a bit of a Euro-style hybrid of thematic gaming. It broadly exists as something akin to traditional wargames such as Combat Commander or Advanced Squad Leader, but it’s much simpler and direct than those offerings. It does suffer at times from an excessive amount of icon baggage and some haphazard exceptions to its multi-phased rules.

One of the key factors offering flavor is an angle of capturing the heroics of individuals. There are character options for both forces in the box and this melds well with general Warhammer sensibilities. They can have a significant effect on the overall narrative and are an outright force to be reckoned with.

HBR_Battle

Supporting the leadership options are a number of unit choices. Each individual soldier does not cost points; instead, you build your army through sub-groups which breaks the process down into more sizable chunks. This is important as you don’t need to spend time doodling with paper and a codex to get your fighting formation up to speed.

The fundamentals here are powerful. It offers a sleek 60-minute experience that allows you to field a moderately sized Warhammer 40K force for a fraction of the coast, and perhaps more importantly, the space. We have no painting and no foam trays, just bright cardboard ready to shred other bright cardboard.

There’s a dedication here that definitely appears sincere. This setting is not slapped on or phoned in. Units feel as they should. Armor functions as you’d expect. Everything falls into place as if it was designed by a fan of the miniatures game and all is right–well, everything except for the odd lack of suppression ability on the Ork shootas squad.

Those engaging this system will find it most rewarding by committing to a deep dive and exploring the included campaign of scenarios. There’s a grand story waiting to be told and it bears some nuance, nuance that’s paralleled in the sometimes heavy nature of the interlocking systems. If you can find a partner willing to commit to such an endeavor, the experience is one full of reward and gratification.

HBR_Scenario

Yeah, I’m not ignoring the life-sized squig in the room. There is a burning set of questions associated with such a release that must be answered: the most prominent one being what’s the philosophical purpose of such a release? Why not just play 40k?

That’s a tough one to crack. Of course, there’s the challenge of modelling and painting, but one key aspect of Heroes of Black Reach is that this is very much a board game and will appeal to such a crowd. There’s no measuring, you don’t have to collect or research your own force list, and the scope is nearly entirely contained. I say nearly because there are additional units you can pick up to expand your battlefield options.

This appeals for the same reason Kill Team found its mark–it lets us engage this phenomenal setting in a new and interesting way. You can experience armies, characters, and color you may otherwise never touch. The barrier to entry is shattered as you only need an hour and some change to get acclimated. It’s all very inviting and an easy sell while giving those of us who love the setting another precious hit.

The game itself is quite good, although the rules are of course not identical to 40k. This is very much its own thing built on the bones of pre-existing success. It’s been given new musculature and skin to fight a never-ending war in the 41st millennium. Heroes of Black Reach is a release to be reckoned with and one that fulfills its promise to offer something familiar as something new.

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More Warhammer Goodness!

 

Image Credits: Devil Pig Games, Charlie Theel

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Charlie Theel writes for Ars Technica, Tabletop Gaming, Player Elimination, and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. You can find him on Twitter @CharlieTheel.

Couples Who Play Board Games Together Release “Love Hormones”, Baylor Study Finds

Feb 14 2019

I’ll be the first to admit that when I’ve played games with my significant other, particularly competitive and confrontational games like miniature wargames, sometimes the games we play end up being rather heated. But it turns out that while we were having a lengthy discussion about how different rules interacted or if the last move we made was legal, we were also strengthening our relationship through the release of a “love hormone”, at least according to the findings of a recently published Baylor study.

The study focused on hormone levels of couples who either played board games or went to a couples art class together, and measured increases in oxytocin, also known as the “hugging hormone”, which plays a role in social bonding.

When comparing changes in oxytocin levels, the study found: “the release of oxytocin increased most for the men in the art class, followed by women playing board games; women in the art class; and last, men playing board games. But the last three groups did not differ significantly from one another […] ‘Our big finding was that all couples release oxytocin when playing together — and that’s good news for couples’ relationships,’ [Baylor assistant professor of child and family studies and study author] Melton said.”

While men who took the painting class did have the highest release of oxytocin, it does beg the question as to whether or not couples who paint miniatures together might also see similar benefits, as a board game rules lawyer might argue, it’s blending games and art class. Either way, it is another great reason to play a fantastic game on your next date night.

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WATCH: Game the Game – ICARUS

Feb 14 2019

Great civilizations will rise… and eventually they must fall. In this week’s Game the Game, host Becca Scott is joined by Markeia McCarty, Ivan Van Norman, and Leo Camacho to play Icarus by Hunters Entertainment. In this storytelling game players create a narrative about the civilization Icarus, and dictate how it will crumble.|

Learn how to play the rules here:

Thanks to Hunters Entertainment for partnering with us on this video. Check out the Kickstarter to back the project for Icarus!

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Take Your Fashion Further With Her Universe’s New CAPTAIN MARVEL Line

Feb 13 2019

Just like the fearless Captain Marvel herself, you can always count on Her Universe to take things higher and further! Inspired by Carol Danvers and the upcoming film from Marvel Studios, Her Universe’s new Captain Marvel fashion collection is as bold, vibrant, and powerful as the headlining hero.

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Several pieces in Her Universe’s Captain Marvel line are based on the red, navy blue, and gold hues of Carol’s costume, which is quickly becoming a familiar sight in current pop culture. Most pieces feature Captain Marvel’s signature star insignia, not only front and center on jackets and T-shirts, but in the small details like zipper pulls and embroidery on the back of a distinctive olive green cotton jacket.

Pieces also have a military feel to them, an homage to Carol Danvers’ tenure in the Air Force early in her hero career, from a faux leather aviator jacket to an olive green cargo romper that’s both flirty and fandom-tastic. Pair any of these pieces with aviator sunglasses and you’ll feel ready to save the world yourself.

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Our favorites, however, have to be the swingy cotton Captain Marvel dress coming soon to The Dress Shop at Disney Parks (shown above) and a metallic, eye-catching one-piece swimsuit only offered online, both inspired by Carol’s now iconic costume. And then there’s the tiny Captain Marvel windbreaker jacket just for tots, which is both fierce and fiercely cute. (Don’t worry, there’s a grownup version of the windbreaker as well.) Basically, we want all of the pieces in this collection.

You’ll find all of Her Universe’s Captain Marvel inspired fashion collection for men, women, and kids at HerUniverse.com, Hot Topic, BoxLunch, and Torrid.

Are you excited to see Captain Marvel on the big screen? Tell us why in the comments.

More Comics + Fashion Goodness!

All Images: Her Universe / Hot Topic / Torrid

GMs: Get A Head Start On Your Mega-Campaign Planning With These Tips

Feb 13 2019

GM Tips is our series to help Storytellers and Game Masters improve their craft and create memorable roleplaying experiences. Last week we talked about picking up long dead campaigns and this week we look ahead a few months at summer blockbusters (or comparably massive campaigns).

The long dead, cold, and ruthless winter shuts down many games (hint: it is cold where I live). Holiday seasons, budgets, and a relentless amount of new projects are other reasons for a little game slow down. Many conventions, blockbuster LARPs, and special events start in the spring and summer and now’s the time to get a head start. If you are attending a convention and running tables, planning an Adventurer’s League epic, or eyeing up a seasonal premier event you should get started now.

Being insanely far ahead of the game may seem foolhardy, and you’ll often tell yourself that you’ve got time to work it out. You might, but stress is a factor that runs through every GM and Player leading up to events and crafting a great storyline or event requires preparation. This article is serving as a reminder for all of us out there — myself included — to pause and take a look out at our year for the purposes of planning and the acquisition of loot. Ideally, you want to touch base at least six months out (so if you are planning a winter event like The Cursed Castle, you should’ve read this article last July, but since time travel isn’t viable yet, let’s focus on what is next.)

Work Out Logistics

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Since Dragon Thrones is the blockbuster LARP  I’m focusing on attending this summer, I’ve been working with their storytellers Chris and Evan from The Game Theater. Any event, even local D&D groups need logistics and now is the time to prep your venue. Renting a castle is reserved for the larger groups, but start making phone calls to local community halls, local historical buildings, and other places of interest in your town. Collecting a list of sites and sending out initial emails months in advance is the first step to ensuring that an event goes smoothly since that forms your budget baseline.

If you aren’t the event host and are hitting a major convention, logistics takes the form of hunting for lodging and transportation. Here’s the catch: you aren’t just searching for yourself. Look at this from the players’ standpoint and make it easy for them. Write up a small guide on how to get to the event, or send out reminders to everyone to block their calendars. Check your event times and ensure you aren’t cutting things close to when players are leaving or arriving. Far too many games and administrators fail at spending time on transportation. Take stock of your past events and see if there is anything you can do to make it easier.

According to the head storytellers of Dragon Thrones, planning for Out Of Game Time is as important as In-Game Time for logistics. A weekend event can be physically and emotionally taxing, so taking time to plan the logistics of safety and pacing of the weekend is essential. Accommodating needs and accessibility for the events or cons may require extra signage, dedicated staff, or even forethought into making sure your players are comfortable and confident for the event. The earlier you can start planning and accounting for these logistics, the more power and ability you’ll have to focus on gaming and being an awesome GM.

Take Inventory

Props make the game! Bust open your storage and costume closet and take inventory of your outfits and stage-props. Now’s a good time to repair any tears and fix anything that may have broken. Costumes for characters tend to evolve year-after-year and adding a few tweaks now may even inspire stories for later. Get everything you need, organize it, and start packing it up now in ready-to-go bins. Those buckets may grow and change later, but they are at least organized, and you may want to head over to Dog Might Games for some epic quest items—particularly if you are doing more tabletop gaming.

Next, create a food plan. I’m serious, months out, take a post it and slap it on your costume or prop crates of food items for later. Thinking of the type of event you want, run a few internet searches to hunt for the perfectly themed drink and food. Mead’s work well for fantasy games and check into some awesome glowing drinks for a Shadowrun or Cyberpunk game. A box of Amaranth-O’s acquired early would be worth picking up as a prize for players if you are storytelling Vampire: The Masquerade.

Write Like The Wind!

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There is a reason that writing is the third step in preparation for the main events—the other two reconnect you to past games. Every storyteller needs a little of this as you plan for what comes next. At this stage of campaign writing, you really want to focus on outlines that hit appropriate tempo for an event. Thing big picture with various factions in the game (rather than character focused) and showcase their victories from the prior chronicle and their defeats. Right now, it’s important to be realistic—if one group was walloped be honest. Placing all the groups at different tiers creates a waterfall effect for your writing as you get to objectives, which need to be staggered throughout the entire event.

Since players like to earn and quest, it’s okay if they start in a ditch or even have goals to merge or join others. Large events can get unwieldy with plot and moving bits rather quickly, so it’s best to have an overall narrative manager and continuity editor. If you don’t have one yet, congrats, it’s now you—so compile the list of every deed and failure (again, be brutally honest here), of past characters, or factions from past events. When you are writing your outlines, use the lists of deeds as a guide! Players who have victories should be written into events where they’re new-found powers bring new responsibilities. Meanwhile, others who lost or are outnumbered can look outward into the world setting for new possibilities of strength.

This last tip is a great thing to do for players as well as storytellers since it helps you frame objectives in a clear and concise matter. If it’s a brand new game you’re planning, then this step uses the fictional histories of the characters and actions you are planning. Regardless, this step sets the stage for the next few months: You’ll share your continuity with your GM’s, get edited, then start writing individual player backstory, and eventually, the game will start and everything explodes.

What blockbuster or major events are you looking forward this year? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below!

MORE RPG GOODNESS

Images by: The Game Theatre’s Blockbuster LARP Dragon Thrones (Facebook and Twitter)

Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn, and a storyteller with a focus on LARPs, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and many more. You can follow game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook.

Past Meets Present With the STRANGER THINGS D&D STARTER SET

Feb 13 2019

If you’re a longtime Dungeons & Dragons player, chances are the first image that comes to mind when you think “D&D” is the iconic red box set from 1983. No matter how old you are, the red box and its glorious Larry Elmore cover will always be a symbol of imagination and wonder, an endless supply of adventure stashed in a well-loved cardboard box that’s barely holding together.

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Netflix’s Stranger Things has long paid tribute to that era of Dungeons & Dragons from its very first episode; one of its most terrifying creatures even comes straight from the game. So it’s not a surprise–but it is a delight!–to see a new red box Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set hit store shelves, this time inspired by the hit television series.

The Stranger Things D&D Starter Set comes with everything you need to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, including the rule book, an adventure book, dice, Stranger Things character sheets, and two minis of the Demogorgon. According to the product description, the box includes an adventure that includes a one-of-a-kind monster “created” by series character Mike.D&D Stranger Things

Stranger Things has been inspiring a new generation of Dungeons & Dragons players, so this set holds the same promise of adventure that many of us enjoyed in the 1980s–but this time the only “panic” will probably be how to find this popular set still on store shelves, thankfully.

The Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set is out this May for a retail price of $24.99.

More D&D Goodness!

All Images: Hasbro / Netflix

These Podcasters Use FANDOM AND WELLNESS To Talk About Mental Health

Feb 13 2019

This isn’t just any story. This is a superhero origin story.

One day back in 2016, Arkeida Wilson, who was in the throes of a mentally abusive relationship, took a walk in Manhattan to clear her head…and wound up taking the brunt of a terrorist bomb

Wilson didn’t wind up with nitroglycerin-imbued abilities. She did, however, suffer from PTSD. But what helped her triumph over this emotional evil? Therapy and Harley Quinn #25 (February 2016).

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“It was the issue where you see Harley Quinn finally dumping, leaving, brutalizing the Joker” that inspired her to purge her boyfriend from her life. Wilson said, “That, in combination with me talking to my therapist about how I felt, was the reason why [I decided] ‘I don’t have to deal with this anymore.’”

Wilson said, “Fandom has shaped who I am as a person,” going on to admit how it has helped her alleviate her depression, anxiety and PTSD while, “giving me points to think about when it comes to dealing with mental disabilities.” Harley’s bold move inspired her to move on with her life without her own version of the Clown Prince of Crime.

And as with any good superhero, she’s using her strength to help others.

Cut to Danielle Reichman

Wilson’s friend Reichman, who has long been a mental-health advocate for the geek community, decided she would use the power of fandom to combat the dark forces of mental health issues. Reichman (formerly known as Danielle Ward) recruited Wilson and fellow depression/anxiety sufferer Jenny Cheng to join her in her crusade. The result is a podcast of positivity, Fandom and Wellness.  

Fandom and Wellness is still new as far as geeky podcasts go. But it’s already shining the Bat-signal on sensitive issues, such as racism, undiagnosed mental illness, and navigating health insurance, and it’s filled with knowledgable asides, such as the fact that half of all sufferers of anxiety also have depression. The podcasters are startlingly honest about revealing their mental-health secret identities.a

Reichman says, “Collectively, our goal is to put out something that people can relate to and to feel less alone, to advocate going to therapy…. The more you talk about mental health, the more you end the stigma about talking about mental health.”

Wilson, who is Caribbean-American, says she particularly wants “to end the stigma of getting mental health care in the black community, especially within the nerdy black community. [Therapy is] looked down upon in the black community. If people sought help, the better off they would be.”

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According to the National Institutes of Health, which released statistics for 2016, 44.7 million Americans suffer from mental illness, nearly one in five adults. This suggests that at conventions like DragonCon, with an attendance of 80,000, perhaps 16,000 attendees have a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. Fandom and Wellness speaks directly to those people.

(If you think this number is higher than the Court of Owls’ ambitions, think again. Reichman believes the number is higher even than that, as people who suffer from depression and anxiety can go undiagnosed.)

Cheng, who lends her voice to the show and acts as the group’s Oracle—as in, she handles the technology—is enthusiastic about the trio’s mission: “I want to make people feel like they’re not alone, that there are people out there who have the exact same feelings that they do. And it’s totally okay. […] Listen to us if you want to feel less alone.”

She also provides much of the show’s snark: Cheng says she teamed up with her pals because “I thought that everyone needs to hear my opinion.”

Wilson explains why Fandom and Wellness should be on the radar of those who are seeking to banish the darkness in their own minds: “This is a great intersection between fandom and mental health. We…talk about series’ we all love in fandom and how they pertain to how we perceive the world and how it affects our mental psyche and how to better yourselves from it.”

By opening up about painful issues with sensitivity and wit and framing them in a geeky context, Cheng, Reichman, and Wilson are the superheroes that fandom needs and deserves.

You don’t need Batman’s cryptographic sequencer to access Fandom and Wellness. It’s available online and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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More Great Geeky Community Stories!

Image credits: Fandom and Wellness, DC Comics

Editor’s note: Interview excerpts have been lightly edited for clarity.

WATCH: Cross-Continuity Cops (The Wednesday Club One-Shot)

Feb 13 2019

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show chatting about all things comics. Hosts Taliesin, Amy, and Matt discuss comics history, trends and mythology – offering a deep-dive into the illustrated world that’s suitable for newbies and seasoned readers alike.

Sometimes, crime is just too big for one hero. Other times, it’s too big for one universe! In this week’s Wednesday Club One-Shot Taliesin Jaffe, Amy Dallen, Matt Key, and special guest Dani Carr come up with a killer pitch for a Dr. Strange and John Constantine team-up!

How would YOUR favorite hero meet the fashion show challenge? Sound out in the comments!

Wednesday Club Picks!

Arkham Horror’s 3rd Edition Is Tighter More Narrative Experience Than Its Predecessors

Feb 12 2019

Arkham Horror is one of Fantasy Flight Games’ most enduring titles. It’s often pointed to as the pinnacle of the “ameritrash” game category and receives equal parts praise and disdain for that moniker. Arkham Horror is a game of cosmic terror and horrifying monsters. Investigators prowl the streets of Arkham, Massachusetts hoping to scrape up just enough weaponry to take down a Cthulhu-esque Great Old One. Now in its 3rd Edition, Arkham Horror is embracing modern narrative trends to update a classic system.

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To begin a game of 3rd Edition you must first choose a scenario. In addition to defining your “big bad” evil enemy, the scenario will also define which city neighborhoods are on the board, which monsters you’ll see, and – most importantly – provide a set of event and encounter cards. These are critical to creating a cohesive narrative feel.

Take, for example, the scenario Echoes of the Deep. Echoes features Cthulhu: everyone’s favorite tentacle-faced demi-god. His transdimensional home of R’lyeh grazes against our own deep underground. Stories of great Cthulhu often warn of amphibious fish like monsters emerging from the sea, of the salt-tang smell of low tide miles inland, and other nautical portents. The event cards used in Echoes of the Deep weave a narrative infused with those elements.

The scenarios themselves also offer a richer narrative experience than simply surviving until it’s time to fight the bad guy. The narrative patch can and will branch depending on how effectively you manage various threats popping up around the board, and you’re often presented with “choose your own adventure” style choices that let you make your experience your own. The downside is that on repeat plays you’ll start to gain a sense of familiarity and you’ll inevitably be more successful as you know what future demands the scenario will make of you.

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Fortunately, this isn’t so much of an issue because Arkham Horror is a challenging experience. It isn’t enough to simply fight monsters, or remove doom, or gather resources. You’ll also have to spend time in various neighborhood spaces hoping to succeed at encounters and discover clues. These clue tokens are the only generic-feeling element of the 3rd edition, but acquiring them still comes with a narrative description of what’s going on. Notice that the rain is falling upwards and you’re seeing animals walk past the window twice deja-vu style? That’s Azahoth approaching…

Juggling all of these competing priorities is especially difficult because players are limited to only 2 actions per turn. This greatly restricts your ability to be where you want to be and makes it all the easier for monsters to pounce. Unfortunately, this does create a source of downtime. Player turns often move quickly and it doesn’t feel like you accomplish much before monsters move, then attack, then each player draws from the Hell Bag of Doom which inevitably causes more issues, monsters, and doom to appear. If you’re one of those gamers that embrace games that throws obstacles at you faster than Shub-Niggurath can grow her brood then you’ll love this. If not, it has the potential to feel defeating.

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Twelve intrepid men and women are included in the base game. Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Files games have always had an excellent and varied cast of characters and that’s no different here. Each investigator feels unique and will force you to play and adapt differently. Coupled with 4 scenarios there’s plenty of opportunity to replay this game even if you start to recognize familiar story beats. I’ve played each a number of times and have yet to win the game so there is certainly no risk of things becoming stale due to familiarity.

Key to this is the variety of ways in which I’ve lost! It’s hard out there for a deeply flawed human trying to stare down an incomprehensibly vast being of light and doom. In some games, my loss came close to the end as I spent too long in a pocket dimension and disincorporated bodily. In others, I took too long to investigate and watched in horror as Anomalies burst into reality all over the city. These hasten your demise as they vomit doom onto your scenario card accelerating your race against the clock. In many, I lost just because humans are weak and die a lot.

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Yes, Arkham Horror 3rd Edition is no easier than its predecessor. What’s different is how you go about it. Arkham Horror 3rd Edition feels like a modern take on this familiar story, borrowing from each of the Arkham Files games that came before it. Layered over the core elements of Arkham Horror is a narrative that reminds me of the Arkham Horror: Card Game and a sense of cohesive exploration I get in Eldritch Horror.

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Arkham Horror 3rd Edition is a worthy successor to the King of Ameritrash games. Designer Nikki Valens has done a wonderful job crafting the story of each scenario, and many of 2nd Editions dated “fiddly” elements have been streamlined or eliminated. I don’t know that it will win over anyone who disliked the level of chance and lack of control in previous editions, but I like the decision to tightly bind the scenarios together with a sense of cohesive adventure. Maybe I’ll even see the positive ending one day.

Want more opportunities to fight the Eldritch Gods?

Image Credits:  Raf Cordero

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.

 

Fantasy Flight Announces New STAR WARS Board Game: OUTER RIM

Feb 12 2019

The Star Wars franchise is full of iconic and memorable characters from the Outer Rim. It’s a lesser explored element – at least in the movies – but many of our favorite characters have ties to the Outer Rim. It’s a lawless area of the galaxy, away from the prying eyes of the Empire. It’s also a place where you can make your own destiny.

Star Wars: The Outer Rim is the latest Fantasy Flight Games title set in a galaxy far, far, away. Featuring scoundrels and miscreants from across the movies and television shows, it tasks players with skimming through the Rim in search of fame and fortune. Everyone gets a ship that they can upgrade or replace throughout the game. Adding crew – like Chewbacca – or weapons upgrades lets you tailor your ship to your goals: speed for the smugglers, weapons for the bounty hunters.

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Eschewing the miniatures and sprawling boards of other Star Wars titles, Outer Rim features an arch-shaped board that lays out hyperspace routes and planetary destinations. Encounters, jobs, and more are delivered through various decks of cards. These narrative elements will fill in the events of your story, while the decisions you make will drive your character’s growth. Will you perform jobs for the huts? You could always ignore them in favor of attacking an opponent who has managed to earn a few bounties on their head.

While we don’t have too many specific details yet, it seems that many card types will offer conditions that allow you to flip the card to a more powerful side. For example, the ship featured in the preview is a “modified YT-1300 light freighter”. Sound familiar? Well if you acquired Chewbacca or a few upgrades then that card turns into the famed Millennium Falcon!

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We’re excited to see a sprawling adventure game set in one of our favorite universes! Star Wars: Outer Rim is scheduled to release in the second quarter of 2019, so we shouldn’t have to wait long to begin our adventure.

More Gaming Goodness!

 

Image Credits: Fantasy Flight Games

 

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Higher, Further, Faster

Feb 12 2019

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show chatting about all things comics. On this episode, hosts Matt KeyTaliesin Jaffe, and Amy Dallen chatted about Carol Danvers and the many names and titles she took on before becoming Captain Marvel, as well as about the others who have gone by that name.

Captain Marvel is the name of several characters in both the Marvel and DC universes, although currently there’s only one on everyone’s mind: Carol Danvers, the first woman superhero headlining a solo film in the Marvel cinematic universe.

The first hero with the name of Captain Marvel (in the Marvel universe, that is) was Mar-Vell in 1967’s Marvel Super Heroes #12. Mar-Vell wasn’t human but a Kree, one of the aliens that inhabit the galaxy. “The Kree are the best of what humans could become, but also just kind of over the top,” Taliesin said. “They’re a conqueror people.”

Mar-Vell is sent to Earth to be a spy, but ends up defecting and falling in love with humans, Matt said. In the next issue of Marvel Super Heroes, we meet one of his associates: Carol Danvers. She becomes part of his supporting cast. Several issues into solo run, Carol encounters a Kree device that will change her life forever, the Psyche-Magnitron. She would disappear from the series, and the Marvel universe, until 1977.

Ms. Marvel #1 (1977)

 

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Empowered by the Psyche-Magnitron, Carol Danvers is now the hero Ms. Marvel! In her first solo outing, she takes on classic Spider-Man villain Scorpion. Her two personas are unknowingly separated, unlike most superheroes, and unaware of each other’s actions. As Carol, she’s made a career change to journalism, and does some work for one J. Jonah Jameson.

“This next generation with Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk all have these identities derived from established dude heroes,” said Amy. “But they’re all much more scrappers, all much more active. In this case for Ms. Marvel, in 1977, it’s an actively feminist title.”

This issue and many more classic stories are collected in the Ms. Marvel Epic Collection.

(Marvel Comics, Gerry Conway and John Buscema)

Avengers Annual #10

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In future X-Man Rogue’s first appearance, she’s a short-haired villain–and she steals Carol’s powers and memories. Rogue’s ability to absorb powers through touch is often uncontrollable, and when she comes in contact with Ms. Marvel (off-panel) it has devastating and long-lasting effects on Carol Danvers.

Amy noted that it’s clear Claremont loved the character. “Rogue would go on to struggle with Carol’s powers and personality for years,” she said. “They had a really interesting and antagonistic relationship when Claremont made Carol a supporting character in X-Men.”

(Marvel Comics, Chris Claremont and Michael Golden)

Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau

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Before Carol took the title of Captain, there was Monica Rambeau. Monica was Captain Marvel in the 1980s, a New Orleans police lieutenant who gained the ability to wield all types of energy. Her first appearance was, remarkably, in a Spider-Man annual included in this collected edition. She later takes the name “Photon” in 1996, Matt noted.

“[She’s] an Avenger, a really wonderful character, and a big deal,” said Amy.

(Marvel Comics, various writers and artists)

Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More

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Carol is back with a new name and a new costume, and as Captain Marvel, she’s an instant sensation. Her new solo book begins on Earth but eventually places her back in space where she’s felt she always belongs. In these pages you’ll meet the Carol Danvers we’ll be meeting in the Captain Marvel film.

“It was not a sure thing,” said Amy of the relaunch of the character. Kelly Sue approached Jamie McKelvie, a relatively unknown artist, and offered to pay him out of her own pocket to take a stab at re-designing Carol’s costume because she believed in his artistic talents. The rest, as they say, is history.

“[This title] was right ahead of a tidal wave of new energy in the [Marvel] books,” Amy said. “This book sort of started a fire.”

“When I read these pages for the first time in 2012, I cheered,” Matt said.

This is the book and run The Wednesday Club hosts suggest for new readers.

(Marvel Comics, Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez)

Amy, Taliesin, and Matt also talked about other books with Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel like Ultimate Secret (“Warren Ellis makes her scary”), Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, X-Men’s Brood Saga, Jim Starlin’s The Death of Captain Marvel, Carol’s turn as Binary in Uncanny X-Men #164, Jessica Jones: Alias, House of M, Ms. Marvel: Best of the Best, The Life of Captain Marvel, and the new ongoing Captain Marvel series by Kelly Thompson.

THE DAILY WEDNESDAY

Did you know The Wednesday Club has their own letters column with questions and comments from viewers? Send in your thoughts, comic recommendations, questions, and more to Matt, Amy, and Taliesin at thewednesdayclub@geekandsundry.com and you might just see yourself on the next episode.

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MORE COMIC AWESOMENESS!

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha every Wednesday night to catch the next spectacular episode of The Wednesday Club.

All Images: Marvel Comics (Featured Art by Julian Tedesco)

WATCH: How to Play ICARUS

Feb 12 2019

Great civilizations will rise… and eventually they must fall. In this week’s How to Play, host Becca Scott teaches Icarus by Hunters Entertainment. In this storytelling game players create a narrative about the civilization Icarus, and dictate how it will crumble.

Thanks to Hunters Entertainment for partnering with us on this video. Check out the Kickstarter to back the project for Icarus!

More Gaming Goodness!

EVOLUTION: THE VIDEO GAME Launches With A Giveaway To Win The Board Game

Feb 12 2019

Evolution is an award-winning board game first published by North Star Games in 2014. Built around the concept of natural selection, Evolution pits players against each other in a race for survival. You’ll begin with a basic species and layer attribute over attribute in a bid to compete for scarce resources. Perhaps your species will evolve a long neck, giving you advantageous access to the food supply. Or maybe you’ll evolve into a carnivore and gain resources by attacking your opponent’s creatures directly. It’s possible to hunt an opponent’s species into extinction, but not if they evolve hard shells or other deterrents!

Ultimately, Evolution is a game that has a broad appeal – it’s great for families, great for strategically-minded gamers, and fantastic for players no matter where they fall along the “Eurogame-Ameritrash” spectrumUnlike collectible card games, Evolution is not dependent on new cards to make each game different. There are so many possible combinations that it’s almost impossible to see the same exact species twice. You’ve got to react to each game differently, rather than rely on previously developed strategies.

The big news is that the long-awaited video game implementation is now available! Evolution: The Video Game aims to capture all the features of the board game, with a few new twists of its own. North Star has added A.I bosses and a campaign mode in addition to the sorts of animations and art you’d expect to see on your computer or tablet. A guided tutorial will teach you the basics while an online matchmaking system will pair you against opponents capable of providing an appropriate strategy.

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To celebrate, North Star is giving away 1,000 copies of the board game, giving away 10 copies for the first 100 days of the game’s launch. How do you enter to win? Simply play an online match in Evolution: The Video Game to enter the giveaway Evolution (it’s free-to-try in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, and the free mobile versions allow for one free online game per day). Ten winners will be chosen each day, so every day you play is a new opportunity to win. (Winners cover the cost of shipping for the physical game.)

Evolution: The Video Game is now available in English on PC and Mac via Steam for $14.99, and free-to-try on iOS and Android with a full version available for $9.99. For more details, check out North Star Game Studio on Twitter and Facebook or visit the official website.

More Gaming Goodness!

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