Game Review: T.I.M.E. Stories

Have you heard about the game T.I.M.E. Stories (TS) before? It’s a fairly new game, it was published in 2015 and it is a Legacy game. Meaning that you have to have the same people together to play the game over and over (although I don't think this would be strictly necessary, but I’ll get to that later). The game supports 2-4 people and it is a community dice and puzzle board game. 

The premise is neat, you play Time agents who travel through time and inhabit different “receptacles” in their respective time periods. Each receptacle gives you a different skill set, and everyone uses their players to fight various things and solve problems. Once you solve whatever problem that was happening in the time period you are sent back to you then you are officially done with that edition of the game. In that respect its not great. With the exception of the last expansion we played it took us more than once to defeat each of the editions. In this sense it is not a game to play over and over forever. 

The latest expansion we played. 

The latest expansion we played. 

The problems are usually pretty complicated and require more than one play through so you definitely get your money’s worth out of it. However it is rather pricey the base game costs $50 and the expansions will set you back about $25. The quality of game design is excellent! The board is well designed and made from a really nice thick material. The art on the cards is unique and high quality.

some of the art. 

some of the art. 

I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the actual game play. It is a lot of fun to play and I enjoy the legacy aspect of it. I would rate this game 3.5/5 stars. Mostly because I think the cost is high based on a per play value. If the budget is tight i would skip it. You could always borrow your friends board if they have one to see if its worth investing in the expansions.

IMG_6104.JPG

Have any of you play TS yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments! 

Harry Potter Gift Giving Guide

The Holidays are upon us. It seems that every year goes by faster and faster, even though each Monday feels like three years by itself. Such is life, I suppose. Every year around this time gift giving guides crop up like ma and pa Christmas tree stands. When I was younger I would flip through women magazines to see the holiday gift guides. They were usually broken down by types ofpeople-  get the girly girl in your life get XYZ, or for the Bohemian lady in your life get these chic grass earrings. While these were entertaining to read one thing that struck me (even as a bratty teenager with barely any knowledge of personal finance and budgeting) was how expensive everything was. Don’t get me wrong, the people in my life deserve the world, but advocating spending $10,000 on a personal computer seems absurd. Even small stuff like jewelry had diamonds in it that would run easily up to $1000. Meanwhile last year I colored pictures and gave my parents homemade candles (Love you Mom and Dad!). 

So I wanted to take a departure from the traditional gift giving guide by sharing a Harry Potter themed one. I broke it down by house. If you don’t know what house you belong in (or your friend doesn’t either), get thee over to Pottermore and get sorted! I am apparently a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin as I had previously thought. (Let me know what house you’re sorted into in the comments!) I’ve tried to include things from all price ranges, including homemade items or experiences, or offering help in some way.

The Hogwarts Crest

The Hogwarts Crest

Here is a list of famous people and their Houses if you need inspiration: 
Slytherin- Lin Manual Miranda, Emma Roberts
Hufflepuff- The Rock, Kristen Bell
Gryffindor- Idris Elba, Maisie Williams
Ravenclaw- Kendrick Lamar, Daisey Ridley

Gryffindors are known for being brave hearted. They are also loyal, courageous, and adventurous. Gryffindors motto is “do what is right.” 

1.) A bottle of Macallan 12yr a classic Gryffindor scotch, it is bold and will be a scotch you will always reach for even in uncertain times. - Prices Vary $50-70 depending on where you live. 

2.) A collectors edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -$30

3.) A Gryffindor house snuggie (I am currently wearing mine and it is wonderful)-$26

4.) A classic hat, every good adventurer needs one, I’ve chose and Indiana Jones style hat for Gryffindors. -Prices can vary from $15-$60

5.) A Coupon for grabbing pints with your mate. Make sure you go somewhere you can actually talk. -Probably around $10, you can make it cheaper buy buying a six-pack and drinking at your house too. 

Slytherins are known for being cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherins crave power and love being leaders. Their motto is “do what is necessary.” 

1.) The Ardbeg 10yr Scotch, a nice expression for the cunning Slytherin, it is peaty and slightly smoky but with a smooth finish, perfect for those nights when you are discussing clever plans with your fellow Slytherins. - $40-$60

2.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu. A must read for every Slytherin- $4

3.) Slytherin Robes- $23

4.) A trapper hat to keep their ears warm in the winter months or when they are visiting Durmstrang- $20

5.) A homemade coupon to pet sit their owl or snake while they are away. 

Ravenclaws are known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Ravenclaws value brains over brawn and are often quite quirky (a la Luna Lovegood). Their motto is “do what is wisest.” 

1.) Talisker 10yr is definitely the Ravenclaw of scotches. This scotch comes from the Isle of Skye and is as slightly salty with a nice medium finish. Perfect for playing a game of wizards chess with a fellow Ravenclaw. - $80-$90

2.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A classic for the Ravenclaw in your life- $9

3.) Ravenclaw Robes- $31

4.) A Porkpie Hat for when their studies take them all across the globe- $20-$70

5.) A coupon for board gaming and beer. 

Hufflepuffs are known for their hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuffs are sought for being just and true. Their motto is “do what is nicest.” 

1.) Highland park 12yr sure to delight any Hufflepuff. Highland Park is slightly grassy with a sweetness to it, that is always nice to drink. - $50-$70. 

2.) Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin is a perfect read for Hufflepuffs just graduating- $13

3.) Hufflepuff snuggie- $65

4.) A slouchy beanie is ideal for fitting in with just about anyone- $15

5.) A coupon to make them a home cooked meal of their favorite dish. 

Don't forget to tell me what house you are sorted in below! 

Board Games: A Love Story, Past and Present

I’ve LOVED board games ever since I was a kid. It started with playing War  and other card games with my friends and eventually evolved into poker with my Dad, and a long running contentious game of Michigan Rummy. We had two teams for Michigan Rummy: team Animal Kingdom (my bestie Nora and I) and team Squirrel (my dad). The teams were named after the receptacles we placed our pennies for betting in. Michigan Rummy is a card based game, with a rollout mat and semi-elaborate betting system. It’s a lot of fun and brought all of us a tremendous amount of joy. These games played during summer evenings when we didn’t have bonfires are some of my favorite memories growing up. This love of gamesmanship followed me to board games.

Here is the old school mat for Michigan Rummy, we had to replace the original tray that Michigan Rummy normally has.

Here is the old school mat for Michigan Rummy, we had to replace the original tray that Michigan Rummy normally has.

When I was a kid I thought there were just the standard board games like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Electronic Dream phone. At this point I should tell you that I am very competitive. I’ve been able to reign in my competitive spirit a lot over the years, but when I was in high school I was pretty intense (Imagine Abbi from Broad City at the Soul Fitness competitor days). I’ve definitely mellowed out and channel my competitiveness into healthy things and no longer get mad at my friends over board games. In college I no longer had a built in board gaming group, which meant I wasn’t able to play very often and that was a total bummer. Not only are college students broke so it’s hard to justify buying a board game, but there are usually other activities like drinking and drinking games that college kids would prefer.

This game was bonkers, unfortunately none of my soulmates from this game panned out.

This game was bonkers, unfortunately none of my soulmates from this game panned out.

When I graduated from college I moved across the country. I realized I didn’t really have any friends besides my family (who are amazing), but they also have their own busy lives. No one really tells you how hard it is to make friends as an adult when you don’t have something as unifying as school. Luckily I convinced my other best friend to move with me so at least we had each other. Then I met two people who changed everything.

I met Rachel and Derek at a wedding and they were so cool, friendly, fun, and took pity on me because the only person I really knew at the wedding was my ex-boyfriend, who was also in the wedding party. My ex introduced me to Rachel and Derek (who he went to high school with). As luck would have it Derek and Rachel both love board games and happen to host a weekly board game night at their house.  They invited me to join and I gleefully accepted. Rachel is an amazing cook/baker. She runs the blog By the Pounds which is a fantastic food blog featuring cocktail recipes, desserts, and other assortments of delicious foods. Every week Rachel makes a dessert for everyone who comes to board game night. We stuff our faces with delicious treats and marvel at Rachel’s infinite talent. Rachel also tries out desserts she is inventing so we can taste test them for the blog (she invents some seriously delicious stuff).  Go check out her blog right now, just do it, I’ll wait.

Photos courtesy of www.rachelpounds.com

Photos courtesy of www.rachelpounds.com

So I started going to game night most Thursdays. As you might expect people who are awesome like Rachel and Derek attract other awesome people. Over the past few years I’ve met a ton of their amazing friends whom I am now lucky enough to call my friends. Now I have friends! Yay!

Through Rachel and Derek’s generosity I have been introduced to a whole new world of board games. There are sooooooooooooo many more board games out there than just Monopoly (and better too!). Those Thursday nights have allowed me to try more board games than I ever thought existed and find some new favorites.  Board games are fun because they allow you to strategize, build, connect, and scheme with very low stakes. It’s basically practice for world domination. It’s also a great way to socialize and have fun with friends. On some weeks Board game night is the only thing that I have to look forward to. I know that the people who will be there are friendly, the games are fun, and the food is always delicious. It also astounds me that Rachel and Derek are able to do this every week. Serious props to those two.

Dominion in action.

Dominion in action.

I’m going to start reviewing new games that we play at board game night. I want to give people who aren’t as lucky as am I to have friends who host a board game night a chance to explore games they might want to buy.

Here are some of my favorite games to get you started:

Dominion- Every time you play Dominion it is a different game, which means you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s also the first deck building game I’ve played that I’ve truly loved, its fun to try and think out a strategy and watch your strategy fall apart when things don’t work out as you planned. Plus there are like 10 or so expansions for Dominion so the game will keep feeling fresh long after you’ve bought it.

Seven Wonders- Aaaaaah, Seven Wonders, I can’t quite pin down what I love so much about this game. I truly think that as with Dominion I like strategy games that I can play out that don’t necessarily go my way, because I feel like strategically thinking is an opportunity for me. It’s always good to try things you aren’t great at so you can be better. At its core, it is a fun game about building different wonders and screwing over the people next to you. Win-win.

Concepts- Concepts is the charades of board games. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but trust me it is. There is no discernible scoring system, but that is freeing in a way because it is just you and your friends using rudimentary symbols to get each other to guess the concept you are trying to get across. It is simultaneously frustrating and hilarious. It also reveals a lot about how people think and how they draw connections between things and drawing on shared experiences and knowledge.

Bring Your Own Book- This game is a pure delight. Everyone brings their own book and there are prompt cards like Apples to Apples or Cards against Humanity and you have to find a good answer in your book. It’s absolutely hysterical and really funny to see what books and passages people choose.

The Sheriff of Notthingham- you get to lie and sneak products across enemy lines and you also get a shot at being the sheriff and catch your friends in their lies. Definitely fun to play with people you know really well and see how good you are at lying to each other and convincing the sheriff of others treachery.

Do you have any favorite board games you and your friends love to play? Do you have a board game group you get together with? Let me know in the comments.