Quingo: Play iPad Games for Charity

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Lately I’ve been playing an iPad game or two to unwind and relax before I head to bed in the evenings. They’re fun, but one or two quick games can turn into five or six games, and before I know it, a half hour has gone by. The games that keep track of how long you’ve spent playing just make me depressed. I’ve wasted that much time?

Luckily, when I play Quingo, a new iPad game that launches today, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. The more I play, the more money goes to charity!

Quingo is a cross between a quiz game and bingo. You are given something to look for (For instance, “characters in Harry Potter books”) and must find the five answers in a bingo board of options. You’re timed, and each wrong answer reduces your time more. A game is played in 5 rounds, and at the end, your score (or “hope points”) goes towards the charity of your choice. I chose Seattle Children’s Hospital for mine.

The game is currently available to download for free for iPad, and other mobile options will be made available later in the year. Find out more about the game here and download it here.

Give the game a try and let me know what charity you’re playing for! I’ll be playing mine and watching the “points you’ve given” number keep going up.

Bake with Doctor Who

The other day, Kristen Hackett from On Wednesdays We Wear Pink introduced me to Dalek Cupcake toppers. I had a bit of a freak out moment. Why aren’t these in my life, and how quickly can I get them? Who makes these? Do they make other things? Why is it only available on Amazon UK?

I did some sleuthing, and came across the company that makes them. Guess what: They’ve made a full set of amazing Doctor Who baking and party supplies. Be still my beating heart. Unfortunately for me, the company is based in the UK, and shipping to the US starts at around $40. I may have to love these all from afar for the moment, but hopefully some of you are able to get them!

Here are some of my favorite pieces from their collection:

TARDIS Cupcake Kit

TARDIS Cupcake Kit Two different patterns of cupcake wrappers, 4 different types of toppers, and it call comes packaged in a mini TARDIS? Yep. Need it. £9.99.

Dalek Cake Stand

Dalek Cake Stand This cake stand would make the coolest centerpiece for a Doctor Who party, or a great way to display cupcakes for a Whovian’s birthday. £7.99.

TARDIS Chocolate Mold

TARDIS Chocolate Mold This chocolate mold features 6 different Doctor Who designs. These would make super cute gifts or party favors! £4.99.

Doctor Who Dusting Set

Doctor Who Dusting Set This set allows you to dust powdered sugar, cocoa, or other fun ingredients over cupcakes, cakes, the foam on your coffee, and whatever else we can think of. This is super classy looking! £3.49.

Dalek Cake Mold

Dalek Cake EXTERMINATE the cupcakes and go for one large cake with this fantastic Dalek Cake Mold. I mean, just look at it! £16.99.

See the entire Doctor Who collection from Lakeland at Lakeland.co.uk.

Which of these Doctor Who items are you wishing will appear in your kitchen?

Wood For Sheep: The Unauthorized Settlers Cookbook

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You all know I love theming my food and drinks with my game nights, but I never realized how easy (or tasty) it could be for Settlers of Catan until I read this cookbook. Chris-Rachael Oseland (who also wrote the Doctor Who cookbook I love) put together an assortment of delicious recipes that can team up to form various Settlers maps, using these hexagonal containers. The best part of her maps? Every set has something that someone can eat. If they can’t, she provides options to make them more friendly to dairy free, gluten free, meat free, or other dietary restrictors.

These recipes are absolutely perfect for game night: Most can be set up before folks come over, and people can help themselves throughout the night. No fuss from you when you want to be playing games, and the recipes are all healthier than the standard pizza run.

You can find the book at Amazon for $13.64. Even if you’re not the biggest Settlers fan, I promise, this will be a fantastic base for any gathering of geeks.

Grand Theft Auto V: The Movie

My friends at Cinesaurus asked me to be a part of their most recent video, and I had a blast getting to nag and yell at a fictional husband for a night. The finished product is a look at Grand Theft Auto V if it became a bit Inception-ized. It’s pretty sweet. Check it out (and look for my two cameos) here:

You can also see an extended cut of the scene where I’m yelling at Michael in the Behind the Scenes. They gave me some background info on the characters and let me run with it. It was a lot of fun! (My part starts at 6:55, but the whole video is really interesting!)

Will you be picking up GTA V tonight when it comes out?

Friday Favorites: Friday 13

Friday Faves Sept 13

It’s Friday the 13th! But instead of focusing on superstitions, I’m making hundreds of cupcakes and celebrating the love of some good friends at their wedding. It shall be a glorious day! While I’m busy making cupcakes and tearing up at vows, you can check out some of my favorite things from the past week!

Favorite Video: Cinderonce
Todrick Hall, who apparently was on American Idol and is also a thing on YouTube, made this fantastic video retelling the story of Cinderella through Beyonce songs. It’s worth watching for the costumes and choreography alone. Find it on YouTube.

Favorite TV Show: Bob’s Burgers
Yeah, yeah. It’s been on for years. I just started watching Bob’s Burgers a month or so ago and I can’t get enough of it. It’s funny, quirky, and actually kind of sweet.

Favorite News: JK Rowling’s Writing a Screenplay!
JK Rowling is creating a screenplay based on the Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It will focus on the author of the book, Newt Scamander, and will take place 70 years prior to the Harry Potter series, and will start in New York. All exciting things! Read all about it here.

Favorite Clothing: BlackMilk’s Harry Potter Collection
It’s as if BlackMilk knew of the JK Rowling announcement when they decided to push their Harry Potter line launch back to this week. The clothing is all really fun looking, and I’m coveting the Marauder’s Map dress, but unfortunately, BlackMilk prices are still pretty steep. I’m holding out for another sale around my birthday like they did last year! See the whole collection here.

What amazing things have you discovered in the past week?

Hey Girl, Thomas Edison Likes You

GE has started some kind of marketing campaign of some type that involves them creating “Hey Girl” memes, but replacing Ryan Gosling with Thomas Edison. It works. It works so well. Check them all out on their Pinterest page and send your favorite to some fellow geeky ladies. Below are some of my faves:

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I’m expecting a Tesla version to pop up any moment. Seriously. One of you, get on that.

Turn Your Door into the TARDIS

TARDIS Cling

I’ve always wanted to paint my door a vibrant color, and since I started watching Doctor Who, the color of choice has become TARDIS blue. However,  I currently live in an apartment and painting my door would be frowned upon and more work than it would be worth. So in the meantime, I can get this decal from ThinkGeek. The door cling is made from PVC and can be easily removed or reapplied. It comes as one large sheet, and you cut holes as you need it for door handles/peep holes/etc. This means a bit more initial work for you, but a nicer, more custom fit for your door.

It’s sure to be a conversation starter. Stick it on a closet door and hope that it turns it bigger on the inside, or stick it on your main door to turn everyday you leave your home into an adventure. Who knows where you might end up this time!

Doctor Who TARDIS Door Cling, $59.99 at ThinkGeek.com.

(Bonus: Think Geek currently has a “Buy One, Get One for 50%” deal going on for their whole site. Just use promo code “TRIBBLEMATH” until 11:59pm ET 9/12/13.)

Galaxy-Inspired Nails by Julep

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Julep, my favorite Seattle-based nail company, sent out an email about a new galaxy-inspired color yesterday called Estelle. (Why Estelle? I have no idea. EDIT: Apparently “Estelle” is a French name meaning “Star.” Thanks Wendy!) The color is black with holographic sparkles, and looks like the perfect mix of edgy, girly, and fun. To launch it, they created three “Galaxy Mystery Boxes” that contain $50+, $70+, or $120+ of Julep products for less than half the price.

If you’re looking for a fun new look and are willing to be surprised, or are looking for a great gift for someone, you should snag these boxes. You can find all three available at Julep.com.

I’ve been noticing a lot of my favorite brands coming out with space/galaxy-themed products for Fall. I’m loving that it’s becoming a trend. Science–it’s so hot right now!

The Care and Feeding of your Board Game Group

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Photo by Andrew Ferguson

One of the fantastic panels I attended at PAX was on the care and feeding of your game group. Whether you game casually with friends, have a large weekly meetup, or haven’t found a group yet, there was some great info for you. See below for my notes from the panel based on words of wisdom from Dikla TuchmanMax TemkinMatthew Baldwin, and Boyan Radakovich. (Additional commentary from me are in italics throughout.)

How to Gather a Group by Matthew Baldwin 
1. Why have you gathered everyone together? What is the purpose of this game group? There are multiple different types of gamers, and each has a different goal. Will you be catering to the jokers of the group who want to have fun and focus on party games, or will you be catering to the competitors with a serious/tournament-style game group?
2. Set a schedule and stick to it. Will you be meeting every Monday? Every New Year’s Eve? Every day during lunch break?
3. Take a break from evangelism. Stop trying to recruit everyone. It’s not your job to convert everyone. Enjoy the group you have.
4. Teach the games. It’s your job as host. If you’re not good at it, find someone who is.
5. Enforce Wheaton’s law. (For those who don’t know, the law is “Don’t be a dick.”)

These notes are great for those ready to start a more official game group. I game casually with friends which is nice, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything like a regular RPG session because we’re so scattered. Starting and keeping a schedule is a great idea. Additionally, Matthew touched on the 9 different types of gamers and said he could “ruin a cocktail party” by talking about them forever. Matthew, you’ve piqued my interest! I want to hear more!

How to Teach a Game by Max Temkin
“No one’s there to learn the game, they’re there to play the game.”
1. Set up the board. (Bonus points if you set it up before people get there)
2. Teach the big picture about the game before you start.
3. Explain the theme of the game.
4. Explain how to win the game.
5. How the game ends. (Give basic, high level info. Not all the details/strategies are needed at the beginning.)
6. Explain what happens in a turn.
7. Don’t teach strategy
8. Don’t get into the fine print. (Instead, just teach basics. “Normally, this is how it works,” etc.)
9. Start the game. (Play your hand first, talk aloud about what you’re doing and why.)

Teaching a game correctly is one of the best skills you can have. It can make the difference of your friends understanding and loving a game or ending up frustrated and/or bored. Practice a few times or write down notes for yourself if you’re not sure how to explain it! Looking for good examples of games being taught? Check out Tabletop and Shut Up and Sit Down

The Feeding of Your Game Group by Dikla Tuchman
1. You want people to enjoy themselves. What else do they have in common, other than games? Food? Beer? Wine? Something else?
2. Make sure you plan time in your day for food prep and during the game night for eating.
3. If your group is interested in beer, try a beer share: “Let’s do stouts and Ticket to Ride this week.” Everyone brings their favorite stout (ideally a larger bottle or growler) so everyone can sample a variety of that type of beer. Think of it as a beer potluck.

Thematic Game/Beer Pairing Ideas by Dikla 

  • Ticket to Ride and Steam Train Porter
  • Cataan and 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat
  • Forbidden island and Island Big Swell IPA
  • Gloom and Dead Guy Ale (Dead Guy Ale is one of those beers that’s perfect for a lot of horror games/movies/parties. I’ve used it for Cabin in the Woods and have wanted to use it for Betrayal at House on the Hill.)

Combining your friends’ other interests is an easy way to met them halfway and introduce them to gaming.

Well, now I need to throw a beer potluck. Such a fun idea! 

Final Thoughts by Boyan Radakovich

1. It’s not about the game: it’s about getting together and having fun.
2. Stick to a schedule, even if everyone can’t make it.
3. Find someone that can be a host for your game night: Making sure it’s running smoothly, people are greeted, etc.
4. Join an Online Community. Have a consistent theme, branding, logo for your game group. Suggestions:

  • Boardgamegeek.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Meetup.com
  • Facebook  for invites
  • Twitter for sharing
  • Tumblr for game play video or images

5. Community Engagement. Your gaming group is a community. Engage with other communities IRL, such as volunteer groups, crafting groups, book clubs, your work, etc.
6. Do it in public. #doit (This is a verbatim quote from the panel.)

Boyan couldn’t stress the first point enough throughout the panel. Getting people together to play games ISN’T about the game. It’s about getting together and having fun. Remember that as you start/attend your board game group sessions!

Do you have a regular gaming group? An other tips that aren’t included here? Leave them in the comments! Questions? Reach out to any of the panelists, or let me know in the comments and I’ll hunt down an answer for you!

Friday Favorites: September 6

Friday Faves Sept 6

Summer is over! Con season is over! (Ok, that’s a lie. I know of three more cons coming up in the next month or two.) Job Hunters production is over! (Also a lie. We’ve got a few tiny shoots left over this next month or so.) Time to sit around and relax and bask in all of my free time now that Fall is here! (HA! Why do I even try?)

Things may still be busy, but I think I’m at that point of the year where most summer things are starting to calm down and I can start being consistent with Geeky Hostess goodness again. I’ve got some really fun posts, parties, recipes and more in the works, so stay tuned! Here are my favorites from this past week:

Favorite Jewelry: Royal Star Necklace
I picked up this star necklace from the Sanshee booth at PAX, and I absolutely love it. It looks more expensive than it is, and I wear it on days where I need a bit of invincibility. You can find it online here.

Favorite Web Series: Shut Up and Sit Down
Board game reviews and instructions as they should have always been done: By an enthusiasitc British guy in costume. These are super well done. Watch them all here.

Favorite Song: Ylvis’ The Fox
Make no mistake: This is a goofy video made by a group that is essentially a Norwegian Lonely Island. No one making this thought it would be a serious video. That doesn’t make me love it any less. The tune is catchy and I caught myself singing along the second time I watched it. Enjoy.

Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Three Olives’ Loopy Vodka
Sometimes, you just want your vodka to taste like Fruit Loops. Yes, that time is often when you’ve just turned 21 and you can handle ridiculously sweet things, but if you’re still a fan of fun-flavored vodkas, you’ve gotta try this one. I have no clue how they made it taste like Fruit Loops or why it’s so good, but they did and it is. Find out more here.

What are some of your favorite new discoveries from this past week?