Solving Mysteries In London – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

I have been trying to go through all my board games and play any that I haven’t played yet. One of those games was Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. My brother bought me the game as a birthday gift a few years ago and I kept forgetting to bring it to a game night. Last weekend, I finally got to play the first two mysteries in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and I wish I had played this game earlier. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is an easy-to-learn, detective-solving game that can be played with friends, family, or by yourself.

[Image features a board game. The board game is Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. There's a magnifying glass reading a copy of a newspaper. The bottom says "The Thames Murders & Other Cases"]

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective has ten mysteries to solve. Each mystery has a case file for that particular mystery. This booklet will also have information on leads that can be gathered to help solve the mystery. Besides the case file, there’s a newspaper that’s dated on or near the date of the crime which might also contain leads to follow up on. The goal of the game is to be able to collect enough information to answer the questions in the case. Once the questions are answered, the solution can be revealed. There’s a scoring system to see if you or your group can score more points than Sherlock Holmes. If you score more points than Sherlock Holmes then that’s worth bragging about!

[Image shows a case file open. On the left is a page that's a print. The right says "Case One The Munitions Magnate"]

As mentioned, our group completed two case files. The first case file seemed a lot more straightforward. We had to solve the murder of Courtney Allen, the owner of a gun company who was murdered behind his office. There was evidence that was collected at the scene along with his notebook which indicated dates and phrases that weren’t clear right away. As our group put everything together, we ended up guessing correctly who killed Courtney Allen. We were a little off about why he was murdered, but our group felt proud that we figured it out. The second case also featured a murder of a prominent general. Unlike the previous case, this case was a little bit convoluted. We weren’t sure who killed the general as it seemed like we were missing information. Interestingly enough, there was information in the first newspaper from the first case that helped us with this one. I loved that each newspaper from each case built off of the other.

Another reason I liked Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective was the amount of gameplay in the box. There are ten mysteries to solve and our group completed two of them. This leaves eight mysteries that still need to be solved. I kept comparing the Hunt a Killer box to this game as Hunt a Killer only had one case while Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective had ten. My brother told me that there are expansions to Sherlock Holmes which provide additional mysteries besides the ten included in this game. I like the ability to be able to replay a game over and over again versus playing it once and not seeing a reason to play it again.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a game I would play again because there are still mysteries to solve. I like that this game can be played alone as there aren’t that many games out there that are single-player. I can’t wait to go through the other mysteries and hopefully score more points than Sherlock Holmes.

Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York

[Image is a video game home screen. It says "Vampire the Masquerade"off to the left. Beneath the title, it has options listed vertically: New Game, Load, Settings, Credits, Exit" To the right, it shows a young haired woman with vampire fangs as she's licking her finger. It appears there is blood on her finger]

I have talked quite a bit about Dungeons & Dragons as I’m in a long-term campaign now, but one of my other favorite roleplaying games is Vampire the Masquerade. I first played Vampire the Masquerade at Gen Con and I was immediately intrigued. While browsing through Steam, I found these Vampire the Masquerade visual novel games. I played Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York back in 2021 without realizing that there was a game that took place before Shadows of New York. I carved out time to play Coteries of New York and I loved how this game ties into Shadows of New York.

[Image shows three pictures of people in a vertical column. Off to the right it says "Ventrue" with a description below: "The aristocratic Blue Bloods embody wealth, sovereignty, and control. A top-level corporate executive will join their ranks tonight".

I noticed that in Vampire the Masquerade Coteries of New York, I was able to choose my clan. The three options were: Brujah, Ventrue, and Toreador. Each clan has different personality characteristics. I opted for Ventrue to start even though I usually favor the Toreador. In most of my campaigns, I pick the Toreador clan for my character. Since there are different clan options, the game has a different start. For Ventrue, my character talks about her corporate life and how it’s a grind. She’s asked to go to a work meeting at a fancy bar. She awakes with no memory of the meeting and with a burning hunger. After feeding on a waiter, she’s rescued by Q’adir al-Asmai, a sheriff who resides in New York. After being brought in front of a trial, she’s taken under the wing of Sophie Langley, a prominent figure, who wants to teach our character how to act and behave in vampire society.

First of all, I felt that there is a lot more replayability in this game versus Shadows of New York. There are numerous side quests to interact with and the game is set up where there isn’t enough time to meet everyone while the main story unfolds. There are still several side characters who I wasn’t able to interact as much with. The side quests vary such as investigating a serial killer to confronting a reporter who’s gathering intel on Sophie. I do plan on playing through the game at least two more times with the other clans. There might not be that much of a difference in the story, but I want to unlock the steam achievements.

With Coteries of New York coming before Shadows of New York, this game sets up the next game perfectly. I wish I played them in order because I do think it would have been much more satisfying. I do recommend playing the games in chronological order as it interweaves the games together and you see the same side characters pop up in both games.

As always, Coteries of New York is visually stunning. The way worldbuilding is explained in the Vampire the Masquerade rules, your character sees the world through a darker lens. The games match that tone. Each scene is darker and the shapes in the background will move. For example, I was in a parking garage, and out of the corner of my eye, I would see a shadow move through a window. It’s unsettling.

I loved playing through Coteries of New York. I think I liked this game more than Shadows of New York, but I still liked playing through them both. Both games are developed by Draw Distance and I hope the studio would consider making more Vampire games.

Wizards of the Coast OGL Controversy

Since I have been regularly playing roleplaying games, I have been trying to keep up to date on any news or game releases coming from the TTRPG (Tabletop Role Playing Game) community. As one would have it, there has been a huge piece of news that I have seen being discussed everywhere. It relates to Wizards of the Coast (WotC) / Hasbro and their OGL (open gaming license) stance. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what the controversy was, but now that I have dug into it more, I can see why fans were angry. I wanted to delve into this a bit more as I think this is something that everyone should be aware of if they play Dungeons & Dragons on a regular basis.

To start off, an Open Gaming License is a copyright license where players can stream, discuss, and play Dungeons & Dragons without fear of violating copyright laws or being sued. I think about Not Another DnD Podcast being able to exist without WotC coming to them for using their game without their permission. While many Dungeons & Dragons streamers play the game using the rules created by WotC the worlds that are created are entirely built by the streamers. It makes it complicated to try and regulate that since a lot of this world-building is original.

Moving into the controversy, there was a leak online where WotC was considering modifying its OGL. WotC was contemplating adding a caveat that if streamers made a certain profit from playing Dungeons & Dragons, they would have to report that to WotC. WotC would reserve the right to take a portion of the profits. Based on the article I linked above, it looks like the dollar amount was $50,000. Additionally, any creators earning more than $750,000 would pay a 25% royalty to WotC.

If the above is true, who cares? Why is this a bad thing? My first thought on this is that it doesn’t make sense to me. In my opinion, if players buy roleplaying books, those books and any creations from the books are owned by the players. I think one of the biggest ways to help invite or welcome new players is for people to see the game being played in pop culture. This in turn can help increase profit for WotC since new roleplayers will buy the books. Another thought that occurred to me is how greedy this feels. 25% royalty may not seem like a lot for those making above $750,000, but it still equates to $187,500 that WotC would collect. The streamers who do make that much in profit are often trying to do this as a full-time job, so they would need to pay taxes on the profits they make. Based on all this, it feels more like a punishment than a good thing coming from WotC. Another fear that I had in reviewing all of this is how this could change. If WotC made this change and it was accepted, they could, in theory, lower the dollar threshold. They could make an amendment and say that anyone who makes $10,000 in profit would now be included. This wouldn’t go over with fans, but it could happen if this change to the OGL was successful.

The reaction to this has been furious and quick. Fans canceled their D&D Beyond subscriptions along with encouraging players to try other roleplaying games. Paizo, the game company behind Pathfinder and Starfinder made a statement that they would keep their OGL the same. WotC did release a statement on January 13th where they mentioned listening to fans and providing an update to their OGL which so far, doesn’t include the above changes. Personally, I feel disappointed that WotC tried to be sneaky about it as they wouldn’t have the profits without the players in the community. It feels greedy to me and I don’t want content creators to be impacted by this.

If you’re still left with questions, I’ll link a few additional articles that I was reading through when I put together this post. In summary, I think WotC shouldn’t enact these changes as it would impact content creators.

Insider – Dungeons & Dragons Change

Polygon – Wizards of the Coast Licensing

Gizmodo – Open Gaming License

Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower

[Image is a PC game cover. There is a castle with a gate and entrance in the background. The game says "Nancy Drew Treasure in the Royal Tower". In between Nancy and Drew there is black figure of a young woman.]

For the past two weekends in a row, I have been able to devote time to playing through a Nancy Drew game. In general, most of the Nancy Drew games take me 4-5 hours to complete, so it’s been nice having that time to set toward each game. Playing Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower, this might be one of my least favorite Nancy Drew games I have played thus far.

Nancy is on a ski vacation in Wisconsin. As a side note, who goes to Wisconsin for skiing? This isn’t important to the game’s plot, but I thought it was kind of odd. Anyway, Nancy is snowed in her resort and is told that the library was broken into and vandalized. Additionally, Nancy is alerted to treasures and secrets in the tower which prompts her to investigate.

I mentioned how this was one of my least favorite Nancy Drew games that I have played. First of all, there isn’t a journal in this game. In my previous post, I mentioned how in some games, Nancy has her journal that tracks her tasks. This game doesn’t have this, so it was more for me to keep track of what Nancy had to complete or figure out. Another slightly annoying part of this game was the alarm clock. In some of the Nancy Drew games where Nancy is isolated in one location, she can only meet with certain characters at certain times. This means that Nancy has to go to her room, and set her alarm, so she can wake up and talk with the characters. I found myself spending much of the game navigating back to her room and setting her alarm. I found this to be repetitive and time-consuming. The final thing I wanted to add was how I found this game to be more boring than the other Nancy Drew games. Nancy was often doing errands for the characters instead of solving puzzles or playing mini-games. It felt like I was grinding through the tasks versus actually enjoying how the tasks came together.

There was one moment in the game when I couldn’t but laugh. Earlier on, Nancy finds fake passports in one of the character’s bags. Nancy brings it up to that character and that character laughs it off. That character ended up being the culprit. I laugh because if you were to find fake passports, that’s a red flag. It’s funny because in some Nancy Drew games, I end up predicting who the culprit is and this was one of them.

While Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower was okay, it still puts me closer to completing all the games. I have one more Nancy Drew game in my library before I have to buy the next bunch. As mentioned previously, all the Nancy Drew PC games can be purchased on Steam.

Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon

[Image features a video game cover. It says "Nancy Drew Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon" In between Nancy and Drew is a black figure of a young woman holding a magnifying glass. In the background is a steam train"

It’s been a little bit since I wrote a Nancy Drew PC game review. I had a few of the Nancy Drew games in my Steam library, but I wasn’t in the mood to play them. The Nancy Drew games are fun to play, but can sometimes be a bit cumbersome with all the puzzles and mental brain power it takes to finish the game. I took a break and now that 2023 has started, I found myself going back to them. The latest Nancy Drew game I played was Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon

For those who are unfamiliar, in 2020 I set a goal to play every single Nancy Drew PC game. The Nancy Drew PC games are some of the most challenging games I have played. My husband jokes that he can tell that I’m playing them when he sees me near my laptop with a notepad in my hand. With the Nancy Drew puzzles, they are often so intricate that I have to write things down that might come up in the game later. While the Nancy Drew games might be aimed at a younger audience, I think they can be enjoyed by anyone at any age because of the difficult nature of the games.

Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon begins in a train car where Nancy is invited by The Hardy Boys to unravel the mystery of Jake Hurley, who stepped off the train and was never seen again. When Nancy is introduced to the other guests on the train, one of them disappears! Nancy must find the missing guest along with collecting clues into Jake Hurley’s life and disappearance.

The setting in the Nancy Drew games is pretty important because I think it serves as a gauge of how much I will like this particular game versus the other games I played. I liked how this game took place on the train. There was a lot to explore and several hidden items to collect. The train car felt antique, so in a lot of ways it felt like Nancy was back in the early 1900s. Another component of the Nancy Drew games is the characters or in most cases the suspects. Sometimes it feels pretty clear who the culprit is while other times it comes across as a surprise. There seemed to be something about each character that created a motive as to who would want to figure out what happened to Jake Hurley and what that notoriety would do for them. It helps create more suspense while playing the game.

The gameplay for the Nancy Drew games varies slightly. In some games, Nancy has a journal, and every time she encounters a puzzle, barrier, or other obstacles, she logs it in her journal as a task. Once the task is completed, the player can check off the task. Some Nancy Drew games have the journal while others don’t. I love that Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon had Nancy’s journal. It’s so much easier to track what I have left to do along with how much of the game I have left. I wish every Nancy Drew game had a journal because it makes the game much more enjoyable.

Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon was definitely one of the more fun Nancy Drew games I have played thus far. If you’re interested in playing the Nancy Drew games, you can find most if not all of them on Steam.

Pop Culture New Year’s Resolutions – 2023

Last year, I wrote about my “Pop Culture New Year’s Resolutions” and I wanted to repeat that for 2023. I’m not a big New Year’s Resolutions person, to begin with, but I like the concept of making goals that are centered around my hobbies, interests, and fandoms. I’ll start by summarizing my resolutions from 2022 before ending with my new resolutions in 2023.

2022 New Year’s Resolutions

  • Watch at least 3 different Anime Series (EOY) – I read two different mangas but didn’t end up watching much anime.
  • Start Watching Mighty Nein, Critical Role’s second campaign – I’m so close to being done with Vox Machina but didn’t make it in time to begin Mighty Nein in 2022
  • Attend an Out of State Convention I Have Never Been to Before – This one didn’t happen either. I go back and forth on this goal and I’ll explain in a little bit why that is.
  • Play and Complete 4 Different PS4 or Console Games – Completed! I think I will carry this one into 2023.
  • Play through Marvel’s Spider-Man on a Tougher Difficulty – I decided halfway through the year that I wanted to move this to 2023 since Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is coming out this Fall.

I wanted to break down a few of these resolutions I had. The first resolution came from wanting to use my Funimation subscription. It takes me a long time to watch TV shows and I found it a lot easier to read manga than watch anime. I ended up canceling my Funimation subscription halfway through the year since I wasn’t utilizing it. In the future, I think I will stick to reading manga as I find that’s a lot more doable for me.

For Critical Role, I decided that I didn’t want to rush through Vox Machina because I wanted to fully enjoy it. I’m currently on episode #111, so I’m close to fully finishing the series (there are 115 episodes total). After I finish them all, I want to watch the Amazon Prime series The Legends of Vox Machina along with the one-shots associated. Once that’s completed then I will start watching Mighty Nein.

Regarding the “Attend an Out of State Convention” I mentioned how I go back and forth on this. While I think it would be fun to attend a convention in a state that I have never been to before, attending a convention would take up a full travel day. This could be a day that I could explore or hike and I’m not sure if attending a convention would be worth it to miss out on being a tourist in a new city. This might be a resolution I will put on hold for now and focus on attending local conventions instead.

As far as my video game resolutions, I do want to carry these over into 2023 as gaming is a hobby of mine that I don’t want to lose.

With all of that being said, here are my resolutions for 2023:

Start Watching Mighty Nein

Read 100 Books, Comics, Graphic Novels, etc.

Play 4 Different PS4 or Console Games

Play Through Marvel’s Spider-Man on a Tougher Difficulty

Rewatch Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor Who Series + Tennant’s Series by End of the Year

Happy New Year! If you have specific pop culture resolutions, I’d love to hear your resolutions in the comments.

2022 Pop Culture Year in Review

Happy New Year! 2022 was a jam-packed year full of various trips, weddings, and surprises. As I reflect on all the memories made in 2022, I can safely say that 2022 was a great year.

Movies I Watched:

  • Shang Chi
  • Black Widow
  • Licorice Pizza
  • The Batman
  • Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness
  • Top Gun Maverick
  • Black Adam
  • Morbius

If there was a film that would be “the movie” of 2022, it would easily be Top Gun Maverick. I went to see Top Gun twice in theaters. My mom saw Top Gun 6 times in theaters. Top Gun was pivotal as it made going to see a movie in theaters so fun especially after the lull of the pandemic. I wouldn’t be surprised if I rewatched Top Gun in 2023 as my husband hasn’t seen it yet.

Besides Top Gun, I loved The Batman. Robert Pattinson knocked it out of the park and I liked how this movie felt like a “Detective Batman” adaptation.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Dopesick
  • Euphoria
  • Castle
  • Peacemaker
  • Moon Knight
  • Kenobi
  • The Kardashians
  • Bridgerton
  • Critical Role
  • She-Hulk
  • Ms. Marvel

I think if I had to choose my favorite TV show that I watched this year, I think it would be Moon Knight. Moon Knight was grittier and I loved Layla El-Faouly (played by May Calamawy) as Scarlet Scarab. I’d love to see her pop up in other Marvel adaptations. Besides Moon Knight, I liked Peacemaker a lot which is interesting because Peacemaker was one of my least favorite characters in The Suicide Squad movie. I think Vigilante (played by Freddie Stroma) stole the show with his dark humor and one-liners.

One surprise for me was how much I enjoyed Bridgerton. I’m not normally a big Victorian-era TV show person, but I found myself truly invested in the show. I’m looking forward to Penelope’s (played by Nicola Coughlan) season even though I’m not a fan of Penelope and Colin together because he seems toxic.

The last show I wanted to mention was Dopesick. Dopesick was a Hulu miniseries that focused on the Opioid epidemic. The acting in this is superb and finishing the show left me frustrated since the Purdue family will more than likely not face repercussions for what they started.

Video Games I Played:

  • Nancy Drew Secrets of the Old Clock
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Donut Country
  • LEGO The Skywalker Saga
  • Backbone
  • Disney’s Dreamlight Valley
  • Hidden Through Time DLC
  • Overwatch 2
  • The Quarry
  • LEGO DC Supervillains
  • Nancy Drew: The Final Scene

My favorite game of 2022 was The Quarry. I like Supermassive’s games because they have just enough horror and jump scares where I can play them without having to cover my eyes too much. I played The Quarry Halloween weekend with the lights off and it was perfect.

I didn’t play as many Steam games this year as I did in previous years, but I want to get that going again. With the Steam sale, I plan on picking up a few games on my wishlist. I have a few Nancy Drew games still left to play.

I played a lot of Overwatch 2 which I have to admit, I was expecting more from the game. I’m trying to play new characters as I usually always play as either Zarya or D.Va. I recently discovered Brigitte and she might be my new go-to character.

Gaming in 2022:

  • Taught my mom how to play Exploding Kittens
  • Curse of Strahd campaign
  • Adventurer’s League with Zehiri
  • Doctor Who Fluxx
  • Star Wars Villainous
  • Hunt a Killer – Motel
  • Goodcritters

One highlight in 2022 was playing Curse of Strahd every other Thursday. Our campaign is still ongoing since we haven’t gone after Strahd yet. It’s been fun to meet new people and see my character shine. If this campaign wraps, I will be joining another new campaign. Besides Curse of Strahd, I am still playing in Adventurer’s League sessions. I usually play in a session every few months due to monthly obligations. I am planning on playing in a session later this month.

If I had to pick, I think Star Wars Villainous was my favorite new game I played in 2022. I love Star Wars board games to begin with and I liked how easy this was to learn.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read This Year:

  • Moon Knight Vol #1 – Jed Mackay
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #1 – Alyssa Wong
  • The Weatherman Vol #1 – Jody LeHeup
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #2 – Alyssa Wong
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol #3 – Alyssa Wong
  • Peacemaker – Garth Ennis
  • Teen Titans Beast Boy – Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
  • Hawkeye Issues #1 – #3 – Marieke Nijkamp
  • Vampire Emmy & Garbage Girl – Pat Shand
  • The Last Session #1 – Jasmine Walls
  • The Death of Doctor Strange Blade – Danny Lore
  • Birds of Prey Manhunt – Chuck Dixon
  • Plume Vol #1 – K Lynn Smith
  • Batman Year One – Frank Miller
  • Daredevil Woman Without Fear Issues #1 & #2 – Chip Zdarsky
  • Batman Killing Time #1 & #2 Tom King
  • Critical Role Vox Machina III #1 – #5 – Jody Houser
  • Aquamen #1 – Chuck Brown
  • World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw #1 – #3 – Danny Lore
  • Ms. Marvel #1 – #5 – Samira Ahmed
  • She-Hulk #1 – #7 – Rainbow Rowell
  • Manhattan Projects Vol #3 – Jonathan Hickman
  • Star Wars Princess Leia Vol #1 – Mark Waid
  • Star Wars Obi-Wan #1 – Christopher Cantwell
  • Star Wars Poe Dameron Vol #2 – #4 – Charles Soule
  • Han Solo & Chewbacca #1 – #5 – Marc Guggenheim
  • I Am Not Starfire – Mariko Tamaki
  • Star Wars Crimson Reign #1 , #2 & #4 – Charles Soule
  • DC Pride 2022
  • March Book #1 – John Lewis
  • Miskatonic High #1 – Mike Shea
  • Ice Cream Man Vol #1 – W. Maxwell Prince
  • Bettie Page #1 – #4 – Ani-Mia
  • For Goodness Sake Vol #3 – K Lynn Smith
  • Preacher Vol #1 Garth Ennis
  • Star Wars The High Republic Vol #1 – Daniel Jose Older
  • Stake #1 – David Byrne
  • Captain Carter #2 – #4 – Jamie McKelvie
  • Constantine – Kami Garcia
  • Delicious in Dungeon Vol #1 – Ryoko Kui
  • The Ridler #1 Paul Dano
  • Deadpool #1 – Alyssa Wong
  • Blade Vampire Nation #1 – Mark Russell
  • Ms. Marvel & Venom #1 – Jody Houser
  • Batgirls #1 2022 Annual – Becky Cloonan
  • Teen Titans Beast Boy Loves Raven – Kami Garcia
  • Nightmare of the Living Cat – Hawkman

It took me a long time to fully type out this list. When I skim through the list, there are a few comics that stand out to me. I started reading Moon Knight in anticipation of the show. I’m seeing some repetitions such as Alyssa Wong as they wrote Doctor Aphra and Deadpool along with Kami Garcia’s YA DC graphic novels. My favorite new series that I read was The Last Session which is about college friends getting together to finish their DnD campaign. Other memorable series include Captain Carter, Plume, She-Hulk, and Nightmare of the Living Cat.

2022 Pop Culture Moments

  • Don’t Worry Darling Drama.
  • Lizzo playing James Madison’s old flute
  • James Gunn & Peter Safran reorganizing DC


I split my time between working from home and working in the office. When I work in the office, I listen to podcasts. The two podcasts that I discovered this year have kept me entertained throughout the workday. Three Black Halflings is a podcast that focuses on diversity within role-playing games. Force Toast is a Star Wars podcast that I listen to. It’s one of the few podcasts that I have found that focuses on Star Wars books and comics.

Catchiest Song in 2022:

I was looking through my Top Songs in 2022 playlist on Spotify and I know for a fact that I listened to I Ain’t Worried by OneRepublic so many times throughout the year. It’s so catchy.

Conventions I Attended in 2022:

The only convention I attended this year was Twin Cities Con in November. I hope to attend more conventions in 2023.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2022:

Road Trips

Buying a House


Splitting the Heist Money – GoodCritters

My brother always brings the most interesting games that I have never heard of to our family board game nights. Some of the games he brings may not be my cup of tea, but I still like them because it exposes me to board games I wouldn’t have thought to play. One of the games that he brought was GoodCritters. GoodCritters is a game that I could see myself bringing to a friend’s board game night. It’s easy to learn and it can be played with up to 8 people, which is the exact size of our group.

The premise of GoodCritters is pretty simple. The object of the game is to collect the most money from the heist compared to other players. The characters are a variety of different animals hence the name of the game being GoodCritters. One person plays the mob boss who decides how they want to split the money in the heist. After the boss splits the money, the crew places a card that represents an action after the round. They can either approve of the boss, meaning they like how they split the money. They can reject the boss, meaning they don’t agree with how the money is split. There’s an action to skim, where a player can pull the next money card off the deck and add it to their pile. However, if one player skims before the other player, the player who was second to reveal their skim card gets no money. Players can rob each other or be on guard to prevent being robbed. Once a certain card is revealed, the round ends, and players add up their money.

I think the fun of GoodCritters was to figure out what the strategy is. When I was the boss, I tried to split the money evenly while giving myself $100 or so more than everyone else. Additionally, I tried to skim when it was closer to my turn to reveal my card to increase the likelihood of a payout. I ended up guarding myself anytime someone tried to rob me to protect my money stash. In the end, I ended up winning by only a $100 difference.

I like that GoodCritters is an easy game to learn. As my brother explained the premise to us, I found it easy to pick up. I liked the bluffing aspect of the game. Whenever a player wants to rob another player, they take their animal token and place it near the player they want to rob. However, that doesn’t mean that the player has to rob. They can place it there to force the player to guard their stash while the player ends up doing another action instead. I also liked how the rounds don’t take a long time. I don’t mind games that take several hours to complete, but sometimes that’s exhausting.

GoodCritters was a fun game that I would definitely play again. I’m not sure if I would purchase my own copy since my brother has his. I do think if you’re looking for a game to play with friends or a game to bring to a brewery, GoodCritters is a good option.

Disney Villainous – Star Wars Edition

I feel that the Ravensburger Disney Villainous board games are top-rated. I have seen multiple people I follow on social media rave about the game. Several editions and add-ons released since the original game came out. One of those editions is a Star Wars Disney Villainous which I received as a present from a friend after moving into our new home. I recently brought it to a game night to test it out. Star Wars Villainous was a lot of fun and I hope to see more Star Wars expansions in the future.

For those unfamiliar with Disney’s Villainous games, each game has several villains to pick from. Each villain has a goal and if that goal is accomplished first, they win the game. Each goal relates to each villain depending on what the villain’s ultimate endgame goal was. For Star Wars, there were five villains to choose from: Darth Vader, Moff Gideon, General Grievous, Kylo Ren, and Asajj Ventress. There is an option to mess with other players by drawing out of their “hero” deck. This helps to throw a wrench in a plan to win the game.

As we opened the game, I immediately took Moff Gideon. Nothing is more evil to me than stealing a child. How rude. Moff’s end goal was to have an ally out, laboratory materials, and Grogu on the villain side of the board. I was so close to winning, but then my brother drew a card out of my hero deck which moved Grogu and kill my Death Troopers. I’m not going to lie, it set me back quite a bit. However, I was able to draw another set of Death Troopers from my villain’s deck which helped me win the game in a few turns.

In the second game, I played Darth Vader. Darth Vader’s goal was to have Luke in the “conflicted” stage meaning he is debating the Dark Side. Vader also has to have Emperor Palpatine out on the board as well. As I was playing through the game, I realized I wasn’t drawing Palpatine. I basically had to maneuver throughout the planets to draw cards. I ended up losing the game and as I looked through the deck, Palpatine was at the bottom. Sometimes that’s how it goes. Both Moff and Darth Vader rely on drawing the correct cards and if the cards are towards the bottom, that can slow down getting the win conditions together.

I would definitely replay Star Wars Villainous. There are still three characters I haven’t played yet. In my gaming group of four, it helped to see how the other characters were being played. I hope that there would be more expansions for Star Wars Villainous. I could see adding Count Dooku, Boba, or Jango Fett, or even a political opponent like General Hux or Snoke could be an interesting addition to the game.

Why Unlocking all Achievements and Trophies is No Longer for Me

Playing video games will always be a hobby of mine. With that being said, I have been contemplating how I play video games today and where my priorities are with choosing the games I like to play. One of the bigger realizations that I have come to recently is how I’m trying to be less of a completionist and more focused on the games that I play. I wanted to share a little bit of what that means to me and how I got here.

For those unfamiliar, a completionist is a gamer who strives to collect every achievement or trophy in a video game. This can relate to PC gamers who may unlock achievements in Steam games as well. When I first started playing video games, I found myself motivated to unlock achievements. I liked seeing my gamerscore increase and I felt a surge of energy if I unlocked as many of the achievements as I could in a particular game. In high school, I had the time to devote that many hours of my time to a video game.

When I went off to college, I didn’t bring my Xbox with me. Therefore, if I wanted to play video games, it was playing with others on their consoles. I would come home from breaks and play Xbox every now and then. When I would play Xbox, it would be games that I felt a lot of nostalgia for such as Gears of War, Bioshock, or the Batman Rocksteady games. After college and moving into my own space, I started developing a pattern where I wouldn’t move on from a game unless I collected all the achievements and trophies in that game.

The problem I quickly realized is that I don’t have time for that level of commitment. It ended up being more of a chore to play a game through multiple times versus feeling satisfied that I finished the game and was ready to move on to something else. I found myself feeling frustrated especially if an achievement was taking more time than I realized it would. It made me go back to the basics of why I like playing video games in the first place. I don’t want to spend hours collecting every item in a game. Part of the fun of leaving achievements or trophies unlocked is now I have something to look forward to if I replay that game again in the future.

Since I have set aside my completionist ways, I have noticed that I’m motivated to play video games on the weekends. I have started playing through Resident Evil 2 and I don’t feel pressure to pull up a walkthrough and find items. I can play through the game on my time and feel fully immersed in the story. I’m able to better balance my video game backlog because I don’t spend as much time on one game. I feel a lot more relaxed than I have been in a few years.

There’s still a part of me that finds joy in collecting achievements or trophies. I think that will always be fun for me, but now I’m able to play more video games since I’m not as strict about collecting everything right away. I’m looking forward to playing Resident Evil 2 in between playing rounds in Overwatch 2. I have had my eye on some new games coming out including Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and Bayonetta 3. The way I play video games have changed, but my love for the hobby remains the same.