Board Game Bucket List

I used to believe that gaming meant only using a console, handheld or using a PC. This summer, when I stayed in Winona, I discovered a cute little gaming store called River Quest.

**Edit: 12/10/2017 I found out River Quest was closing!  Sad Day 😦 **

My roommate got a job working there, so I was in the store at least once a week or every other week. I got to know the owner, who is one of the coolest guys in the Winona area. I was opened up to a world of a different type of gaming.

I’m creating a Bucket List of Board Games that I haven’t played yet, but I intend to. I will sticky this to the front page of the Gaming Section and I plan to update it as I play new games. Also I hope to post a review on some of these board games especially the ones with the strike out through the name. In the meantime, enjoy my bucket list! Also feel free to comment with various board games that I can add on the list.

Here is my Board Game Bucket List:

  1. Exploding Kittens Card Game
  2. Munchkin *any version*
  3. Star Wars Destiny
  4. Ticket To Ride
  5. Monsters & Other Childish Things
  6. Red Dragon Inn
  7. Arkham Horror/Eldrich Horror
  8. Star Wars X-Wing
  9. Red Dragon Inn 4
  10. Pandemic
  11. Love Letter *card game*
  12. Smash Up
  13. Bang *card game*
  14. Red7
  15. Sentinels of the Multiverse
  16. Letters from White Chapel
  17. Here Kitty Kitty 
  18. Stone Age
  19. Agricola
  20. Betrayal at House on the Hill
  21. Seasons
  22. Takenoko
  23. Code Names
  24. Shadow Hunters 
  25. Dixit
  26. Doctor Who Time of the Daleks
  27. Fury of Dracula
  28. Dead of Winter
  29. Hogwarts Deck Building Game

Link to my Board Game Reviews:

Harry Potter WYR: Giant or House Elf?

After publishing my post, Separating Fandom from Reality, I debated whether I still would write the Harry Potter WYR posts. I enjoy anything Harry Potter related, but I do not stand with Rowling’s statements regarding trans people. I decided by writing these, I’m not profiting off of J.K. Rowling’s success. I made these cards myself versus purchasing them from her directly. I still have a big stack of unanswered Harry Potter questions, so I decided to pick up where I left off.

Harry Potter WYR: Be a Giant like Hagrid or Be Tiny Like Dobby?

Harry Potter WYR: Be a Giant like Hagrid or Be Tiny Like Dobby?

Being a Giant would have its perks. I could pick up bullies who were being mean to friends of mine. Giants due to their biology are more resistant to magical curses. I would imagine my skin would be a lot stronger to resist bullets or sharp objects. As someone who likes to lift weights, being a Giant would make me super strong. One last point to mention, I understand Hagrid is a half-giant. For this question, I imagined being a half-giant versus being 100% giant like Grawp.

Being as small as a house-elf would be interesting. Dobby is small but mighty. I would be underestimated, but that would play in my favor. Dobby is small and cute. I would like to be able to hide in small places or navigating between lines without having to wait behind everyone else. In the Wizarding World specifically, I could go through secret passageways and listen to secretive conversations.

I’m going to pick. . .

Being small as a house-elf. I think it has great benefits and being able to be best friends with Dobby would be the best.

Which one would you pick?? Let me know in the comments.

The Normal Heart

As Pride is coming to a close this year, it’s crucial to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year long. This includes supporting organizations like the Trevor Project or watching media that’s been created by someone from the community. I recently watched the movie, The Normal Heart and it’s heartwrenching. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the Normal Heart revisits a time where the US didn’t do enough to manage another pandemic.

The Normal Heart is based on a play written by Larry Kramer. The play follows activist, Ned Weeks (played by Mark Ruffalo in the movie) who notices this mysterious disease mostly impacting gay men. As he starts to discuss this disease at length, he’s surprised how he cannot get anyone to listen to him. This is during a prejudiced time where many felt this was “god’s punishment” Ned falls in love with his lover, Felix Turner (played by Matt Bomer) although tragedy struck when Felix is diagnosed with HIV. The play and the subsequent movie version highlight how the US failed its people by refusing to provide research sooner.

This movie is difficult to watch. It’s graphic in the way it needs to be to show how HIV has taken young, healthy men and turned them into frail human beings. There’s one man as he lays dying calling out for his dog. I was crying throughout the entire movie because it hurts to know this is real. It’s amazing how far we have come into treating HIV and how many can live completely normal lives. At the core of this story is the discrimination gay men faced in getting basic care.

For those who feel the US isn’t handling Covid-19 correctly, it seems we can only look to our past for our failures. It wasn’t until 1986 where Ronald Reagan mentioned AIDS while addressing the United States. This is stated toward the epilogue of the Normal Heart. This is when discrimination becomes deadly.

The Normal Heart was a well-made movie honoring the brave people who passed away from this awful disease. It’s a movie that shows how media can influence public opinion and how our media can highlight issues before even our government can address them. I would recommend being in a good mental place before watching this because of the difficult nature of the movie. This movie is one of the reasons why Pride still needs to exist, so we never forget how our country failed its community.

My Favorite New Girl Episodes

It’s been six months, but I finally finished watching New Girl. I always start watching a new show although I become bored and usually end up watching something else. I would go through phases with New Girl where I would watch a season in a week and then not watch the show for months. Since I finished New Girl in its entirety, I wanted to list off my favorite episodes of the show.

“Prince” Season #3 Episode 14

As a Minnesotan, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Prince episode made it to this list. Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) and Cece (played by Hannah Simone) are invited to a party held by Prince. Nick (played by Jake Johnson), Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield), Winston (played by Lamorne Morris), and Coach (played by Damon Waynans Jr.) all come to crash Prince’s party after Nick blurts out to Jess that he loves her. This episode is so fun. Prince gives the roommates great advice and I like the episodes in season #3 where Nick and Jess are together. I got a little teary-eyed watching this especially since Prince is no longer alive. R.I.P Prince.

“Cooler” Season #2 Episode 15

I couldn’t find a GIF of this episode I liked. This episode marks the first kiss between Jess and Nick. This kiss is one of the best on-screen kisses I have ever watched. I was re-watching this scene from various Youtube clips and it sent chills up my spine. Jess and Nick are perfect together.

“Where the Road Goes” Season #7 Episode #4

As a cat lady, this episode has to be on this list. Winston hosts a funeral for his cat, Ferguson, who passed away from a heart attack. I was crying throughout the whole thing as someone who has lost two kitties in my lifetime. Losing a pet is never easy and towards the end of the episode, we see Winston express his emotion over his lost furry friend. This episode is relatable.

“Normal” Season #1 Episode 20

I picked this episode because it’s the first episode to feature the drinking game True American. Jess invites her boyfriend, Russell (played by Dermot Mulroney) over to the loft where the roommates play a drinking game. True American shows up throughout the series as one of the remembered games the roommates plays together. All I know about the game is that the “floor is lava” and to start a game by shouting “JFK” “FDR”.

“Hubbedy Bubby” Season #6 Episode 2

In this episode, Jess and Cece make a bet with Schmidt about signing up voters for the upcoming election. Jess and Cece party at a sorority house to attempt to get them to register to vote. As Jess and Cece triumphantly lead the women to vote, they unanimously shout their support for Trump. I picked this episode because it highlights Jess and Cece’s friendship as they go on this quest together.

Honorable mentions include the pilot episode, Schmidt and Cece’s wedding and Nick and Jess’s wedding. Let me know in the comments which episode is your favorite.

Kalamax, the Ultimate Dinosaur

Last month, I spent $250 on Magic the Gathering cards. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “how could she spend that much money on cardboard.” Magic the Gathering is the only deck-building game I’m currently playing and I wanted new cards from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set. Plus, I spent this money at my local game store and during a time like this, we need to support local businesses. In my Magic the Gathering haul, I bought three commander decks. I was able to play Kalamax, the Stormsire who is the ultimate MtG dinosaur.

Kalamax: the Elemental Dinosaur.

Before I begin this discussion, there’s one point I need to make. Wizards of the Coast has been under fire recently for racism and mistreatment for their African American employees and players. Wizards of the Coast needs to hire more POC writers and illustrators to alleviate this situation. By buying the Ikoria set, I did provide profit to my local game store along with Wizards. Since this is the case, I will link at the end of my post a couple of charities to donate to because Black Lives Matter.

Kalamax, the Stormsire is the commander in this Ikoria commander deck. Kalamax has a converted mana cost of four for a 4/4 elemental dinosaur. Kalamax aims to attack other players as this activates the special ability. If Kalamax is tapped, whenever an instant or sorcery spell is played, the spell is copied. Whenever a spell is copied, Kalamax receives a +1/+1 counter. Kalamax’s main goal is to copy spells I play which in turn makes Kalamax more powerful.

When I first played this deck, it was unorganized. I had to spend time planning out my turns to make sure I played my spells in the correct order. After a few turns, I was able to catch on how I needed to play Kalamax to make this card the most effective. I played with a friend of mine and I almost lost to her cat deck. Somehow, I managed to defeat her after killing her cats and boosting Kalamax. I ended up swinging at my opponent with Kalamax being at 25/25. There’s a land in the deck that allows me to give Kalamax trample. Trample means even if Kalamax is blocked by creatures, Kalamax can still “trample” over the creatures and hit the player with life.

Kalamax is a blast to play. The deck is already built and it runs well which means I didn’t need to purchase any other cards to play it right away. This deck is ideal for any players who plays instant or sorcery cards. If you’re a beginner to Magic, this deck may be challenging to play at first, but after a couple of practice games, you will be able to thrash through your opponents to win the game. Kalamax, the Stormsire can be purchased online or at any local game store. It’s retailed at $41.99 if you purchase the deck at Target. Prices may vary depending on where the deck is purchased.

As I discussed, here’s the link to ways to help the Black Lives Matter movement. If you’re not able to financially give, there are other ways to help. This includes voting, signing petitions, protesting, and other resources to be an ally in this movement.

Body Positive Power

I follow bodyposipanda on Instagram when I need positivity during this time of uncertainty. Bodyposipanda is run by Megan Jayne Crabbe, an eating disorder survivor who has quit dieting and is trying to promote positivity around how our bodies look. I find her Instagram page to be inspiring. Our bodies are ridiculed by not looking a certain way and Megan has battled this persona. Megan wrote a book titled Body Positive Power: Because Life is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live it. I purchased this book toward the beginning of Quarantine and it made me feel better about myself and improved the relationship I have with my body.

“I’m sure we all know someone who eats junk food, never exercises, and stays thin no matter what. Yet we refuse to believe the opposite could be true, that you can be fat, eat well, exercise, and stay fat.” – Megan Jayne Crabbe.

In this book, Megan shares everything she knows about the weight loss industry, our bodies, and her journey to overcoming her eating disorder. Megan details her experience spending time in a facility for her disorder. Reading this section was difficult, but crucial because we still don’t know how to treat eating disorders and why they happen. This book targets Anorexia specifically because of Megan’s personal experience, but she does touch on binge-eating disorders too. Eating disorders are difficult to treat and I hope we get to a place in society where we know more about them and can effectively treat them.

One of the most interesting sections of the book was when Megan breaks down what’s in diet teas and diet pills. I knew the Kardashians were promoting their stomach tea, but I didn’t know what the tea consisted of. Two ingredients in diet teas include Senna and Chinese Rhubarb root. Both of these ingredients promote the emptying of the bowels. Another interesting topic was the discussion on diet pills such as dinitrophenol (found in herbicide), various amphetamines, and even Fen-Phen which led to heart valve damage. It’s sad how our society is concerned more for people to lose weight than by doing it safely.

After finishing this book, I felt slightly irritated. I spent so much time hating my body when I could have been living my life. I will always have insecurity with how my body looks, but I want to be nicer to myself. I don’t want to force myself to give up the food I like, but instead focusing on portions. I’m going to not journal my food as that’s where it becomes too much of an obsession for me. Megan’s book confirmed for me that my flaws are what make me unique and normal. My cellulite, fat surrounding my stomach and even my acne are normal for a human body to have.

I would consider myself somewhat active in the body positivity movement. Shaming someone for their fat is insensitive and disgusting. If you’re struggling and need a pick me up, this book is worth it. Megan is making this world a better place. 

Saving Halloween in Costume Quest II

Costume Quest 2 **image from Steam**

During Quarantine, I bought Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass has over 100 console and PC games to play. Besides more popular games, there are quite a few indie titles here as well. I recently downloaded What Remains of Edith Finch, but I also finished playing Costume Quest 2. Costume Quest 2 is one of my favorite games I played in 2020 because it appeals to my joy towards Halloween.

Twins Wren and Reynold are getting ready to trick or treat on Halloween night. Suddenly, dentist Dr. Orel White teams up with a time wizard to go back in time while also unleashing orc-like creatures on their town. The goal for Dr. White is to rid the world of Halloween forever. This can’t happen because Halloween is the best holiday that’s not a holiday. Wren and Reynold jump around in time to stop the infamous dentist and bring Halloween back.

Costume Quest 2 is made by Double Fine Presents. Costume Quest 2 was my first Double Fine Presents game, so I did a little research on the company. In 2019, Double Fine Presents became absorbed by Microsoft Game Studios, so they sadly won’t be making any more games. I’m disappointed as this studio is one I’m watching for. I followed the developer on Steam as I do want to play more games they made.

One of my favorite parts of the game is the battles. As you encounter the orcs, you enter into battle with your Halloween costumes. Each Halloween costume has a different ability. My personal favorites were the dinosaur, the pharaoh, and the wizard. The battles themselves remind me of Pokemon battles as you take turns using your attack move until you build enough to use your special move. There are also attack cards that provide additional bonuses in the game. I forgot to use them when I had them, but they did help me win my battles.

I’m an achievement hunter by trade and I liked that most of the achievements were fairly easy to unlock. I’m only missing one, but it’s a difficultl achievement, so I do intend on going back in the game and playing it on a harder difficulty setting.

I cannot recommend Costume Quest 2 enough. If you love Halloween as much as I do, this game has to be on your gameplay list. I love this game so much that I would buy this game on Steam to play it again. Steam does have the first Costume Quest game where the Xbox Game pass does not. If I do play both games, I will buy the Steam bundle where you can buy both for only $20.

Ready or Not

Ready or Not film poster.

Recently, I have been getting into watching more horror content. Typically, I hate horror movies. I’m not a fan of the “gory / over the top” horror. This is why I never got into the Walking Dead or why I couldn’t watch past Saw II because it felt a little too gross for me. Ready or Not was recommended to me to watch because it had more humor in this film and it wasn’t over the top gore. Ready or Not is an intelligently written, black comedy, horror film.

Grace (played by Samara Weaving) is ecstatic to be marrying her husband, Alex Le Domas (played by Mark O’Brien). The Le Domases are extremely wealthy as they own the “Le Domas Family Games” company. After Grace and Alex get married, they are forced to sit down and play a game. Grace draws the “hide and seek” card which is the only card that forces the Le Domas family to kill the bride or groom to be. Grace doesn’t take hide & seek seriously until she sees a family member murder a maid. Grace has to fight the family and survive the night.

As I mentioned, I’m not into gore. There’s a little bit of gore because it is a horror movie, but not enough where I couldn’t watch the movie. I appreciate the anti-rich message in this movie. The reason why the Le Domas have their money is they agreed to participate in this game ritual. They don’t care about what they have to do to keep their wealth. Even Samara utters in the movie, “fucking rich people”.

Samara Weaving is amazing in this role. I rooted for her throughout the movie. When Grace sits outside the mansion as it’s up in flames smoking a cigarette, what an aesthetic. Adam Brody plays Daniel Le Domas and he was a great character to watch too. Supporting roles by Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny and Melanie Scrofano help make this rich family be as evil as they are.

Ready or Not is a great film to play in a horror movie marathon in October. Another recommendation would be to play this movie as background noise during a board game night. Let me know in the comments if you have watched Ready or Not and what your thoughts are. Additionally, if you have horror movie recommendations that aren’t super gory, I’m happy to hear those recommendations as well.

Separating Fandom from Reality: J.K. Rowling

Image from Pixabay.

As a fan of Harry Potter, I appreciate how the series tackles tough topics in society. Harry Potter is important to me and always will be. When J.K. Rowling released her statement regarding trans people, I wanted to write a post about this. To be clear, I’m a fan of Harry Potter, but by no means do I condone J.K. Rowling’s comments. I’m not going to discuss her thoughts at all, if you want to see what she said, feel free to use google. It’s possible to still enjoy Harry Potter while recognizing how the author has opinions that are hurtful to a community of people.

Aside from Harry Potter, one of my favorite board games is Arkham Horror. Arkham Horror is based on horror tales by H.P. Lovecraft who is a horrific racist. He used racial slurs in his stories as if the word meant nothing to him. I still enjoy playing board games, but it doesn’t eliminate who Lovecraft was as a person.

Since Rowling’s comments were released, I’m going to do my best not to give her any more profit. I already own the Harry Potter books, so no need to buy them. Another way to support the fandom and not Rowling is to buy fan art. Buying fan art supports local business and no profits go back to Rowling. I think to the future of the Fantastic Beasts movies and although I want to see them, I’m going to try not to see them in theaters.

Finally, I wanted to link essays written by trans people addressing Rowling’s comments. It’s important when discussing these topics to not speak over the people who are directly impacted by these statements. Another recommendation I have is to donate to the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a charity specifically helping young LGBTQIA+ escape homelessness or who are needing aid.

Here are the essays I mentioned above:

Essay by Jackson Bird the New York Times < this essay is on the NY Times. I don’t have a subscription to the website, so I wasn’t able to read this essay myself.

I’m a Trans Harry Potter fan, and there are a few things I want J.K. Rowling to know.

Harry Potter saved my life. J.K. Rowling is now endangering trans people like me.

Why can’t J.K. Rowling accept transgender people like me?

Bought My Blog Domain Name!

Traverse City, MI March 2020.

Last Friday, I was a couple of hard water seltzers in, (Vizzy is my favorite and I love the Blue Pomegranate) and I was debating what I wanted to do with my blog. I have been blogging since 2015 and there are still goals I have about how to make this blog better. With that being said, I decided to purchase my blog name! I’m officially bizarrebrunette.com versus bizarrebrunette.wordpress.com I’m excited to see how my site can improve.

As far as goals, I do want to change the layout of my blog. It’s a plain purple color, but I would like a patterned layout. I do want a blog image that’s mine. Whether it’s a cartoon version of me, but an actual blog logo. Lots to accomplish and so little time. I figure purchasing my blog name is the first step to get there.

I thought about what I want out of this blog. Many bloggers want to monetize their site and I’m not sure if I’m there yet. I blog because I genuinely enjoy writing and I want something to reflect on. However, making side money isn’t something to complain about either.

Anyway, to wrap up this post, I’m looking forward to my blog and the future ahead. Thanks to everyone who reads my post, I wouldn’t be here without all of you.

Harry Potter WYR: Hippogriff or Phoenix?

It’s been a hot minute since my last Harry Potter WYR post. I was behind in the blog posts I wanted to write, so I took a break. I’m back though with a new question. This question is all about what kind of pet you would prefer.

Harry Potter WYR: Have a Hippogriff or a Phoenix as a pet?

Harry Potter WYR: Have a Hippogriff or a Phoenix as a pet?

Having a Hippogriff as a pet would be similar to owning a horse. A Hippogriff would be an extremely loyal pet and it’s strong enough where you would be able to fly around. It can be dangerous, so you would have to train it while training other people when coming to interact with it. Buckbeak is too precious.

Although, having a Phoenix would be a pet forever. It keeps being reborn in its own ashes. You would never need to own another pet! The healing powers with the Phoenix tears may be helpful as I’m extremely clumsy. With the powers a Phoenix has, would everyone be able to own one? or would this be a pet you would need a special permit for?

I’m going to pick. . .

This is a tough one, but I think I would choose a Hippogriff. I appreciate the loyalty a Hippogriff offers and I would be willing to train one. I like the balance of riding a Hippogriff on the ground and being able to fly in the air.

Let me know which Magical creature would make the better pet!