*with added crime scene!

Clue is a classic.  It has been around since the 1940s and is known as Cluedo outside of the United States (with some changes in the names of characters).  I had never played an actual game of Clue, so this was a game that I felt like I HAD to play at some point since it is a classic.  I found a version of it on sale at Target for $5 with the added beach/ocean pier crime scene so I grabbed it up! 

Game play was easy, again, the instructions are always more complicated than the actual game play.  This has not been played in any season of Tabletop either, but if you really want to watch someone else play it first, there are plenty of videos out there since it has been around for a while.  I liked that its a game of skill and deduction, as well as bluffing.  And, you get to pretend to be a detective and bluff your way around the table to hopefully figure out in the end who committed the crime where, and with what weapon.  The only clunky thing, but completely necessary is the movement with dice.  It seems almost as if there should be a set path around the house upon which characters move, but the floor on the board is just open and the spaces you can move on or between are floor tiles that are large.  I don’t know if the original game board is like this or not…

If you play the beach side of the board, there are some added clue cards and additions to the game.  Sadly, we have not ventured to play on this side of the board yet, but I foresee it in my future!



Splendor was a game that I had no heard of or seen played until a friend pointed it out at the local game shop and said she wanted to play it.  It has not been played on Tabletop in the previous three seasons and is not scheduled for season 4; sadly.  So, I bought it.  I had no idea what it was about, other than jewels.

It took us several weeks after it finally got here to play it.  The quality of the game is nice, and the tokens used in game play are heavy and well-made.  I do not see this game being retired anytime soon due to deterioration of game pieces!  Something that I have noticed is that when reading the game instructions, they always seem more complicated than they actually turn out to be.  This game was the same in this respect; once you started playing the game the easier and faster it became.

IMG_3770The synopsis is quick.  You are a Renaissance jewelry maker who is collecting the patronage of influential figures as well as geographic locations from which you procure your raw materials.  The game consists of cards and tokens, each with a specific value in terms of jewels (brown, red, blue, green, clear, and a gold “joker” jewel).  You are to collect tokens or jewels in this case, in order to purchase more geographic locations (cards).  Depending upon how many people are playing, 3-4 patrons are also on the board for “purchase.”  After you collect the correct number of geographic cards that correspond to each patron, you are able to claim them as your clients.  The first to a total of 15 influence points wins the game!  Again, this sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

We ended up playing two games, back to back using different tactics each time.  We came to the conclusion that you can play either with pure influence points in your mind or with the goal of gaining the most patrons.  Either way, it is equally possible to win, at this point.  This game does require more time and a few more plays, but overall pretty fun.




But really, it seems as if games designed by Leacock are made to make you lose.

This game is set up like the traditional “save the world by curing diseases.”  The world is divided up into four colors denoting four different diseases.  Your job is to cure the four diseases to save the world!  If you so chose, you can eradicate the diseases…but you don’t have to.  You can still have disease cubes on the board to win.

At first it seems like there are a ton of disease cubes on the board and it seems impossible to clear them all enough to avoid outbreaks (when a city has 3 disease cubes of the same color and it receives a fourth.  Instead of a fourth cube, every city connected to it receives a disease cube).

Indeed, it does prove impossible.  The two times we have played this so far, we have lost.  The first time playing we ran out of player’s cards before we could cure all four diseases and lost by a mere round of play.

Pandemic is played by Wheaton and his friends on TableTop.  Watch it Here!

Forbidden Desert

On the back of the well-received and ever-difficult Forbidden Island comes Forbidden Desert.  The game is designed by the same devil, Matt Leacock and is just as difficult as Forbidden Island.  The game play itself is a little different, but the same concept holds as relevant:  Collect all the needed pieces and get your team back to the place you started to get out!

IMG_3514In this game, an ancient city has been covered by dust and sand by a massive dust storm that likes to migrate.  The city is important because it holds the secrets of a traveling machine that is special and runs on solar power…wooooo.

You can watch the game played on TableTop here Forbidden Desert.

We played this game for about 45 minutes and won, we think.  It was weird because Forbidden Island is really difficult where as Forbidden Desert wasn’t really that difficult…


So maybe we played it wrong, but we aren’t sure.  Overall, it was not even really as fun as Forbidden Island.  The moving sand storm gets annoying and the sand piles never really go away.  Also, the water rationing is annoying at first, but later it becomes a nice challenge once you get the hang of it.

We shall revisit he desert soon.  If we win the second time, something is up.

Forbidden Island

I have been watching TableTop; a show created to allow celebrities and well known figures in the geek world to play tabletop games with Wil Wheaton on camera.  This has been my starting place for table top games.  I grew up on the classics, like Monopoly but since my younger years I have not touched a board game, besides for a random night of Risk after my masters degree graduation.  We all know that if you want to keep friends and not make enemies, you do not play Monopoly.


I have seen the crews and Wheaton play many games on the show. Forbidden Island – TableTop.  One that caught my eye and made me want to play was Forbidden Island.  In the episode, the crew loses and the island floods before they can recover the treasures.  The game looked fun and easy to learn, so I decided to give it a try.

Here are the basics, you and your team have found a mysterious island with four ancient treasures related to the four elements.  The island is flooding, but the flooding isn’t normal.  The island is actually working against you and trying to flood itself before you can get the four treasures.  By moving around the island and collecting four cards for each treasure, you can pick up the goodies.  The entire crew must move back to where you started, Fool’s Landing, and be airlifted out to safety.  At that point, you win!  If you fail to get one treasure, the water gets too high, fool’s landing is flooded, or any player gets stuck and cannot make it back to fool’s landing, you lose.


This is a Matt Leacock game.  So, you will lose over and over and cry before you get enough luck to win the game.  It’s important to say that first.  Secondly, you will grow to love the game.  My crew and I played this game at least 5 times before we were able to beat it.  IMG_3489The first time we “beat” the game, we quickly realized that we in fact, did not beat it because we forgot to shuffle our discard pile.  However, when we actually did beat it, it was obvious that it was the real deal this time.  It seems as if a lot of luck is needed to beat it and the right cards in the right order.  In the end, we were down to two cards, Fool’s Landing and The Temple of the Sun.  We ended up drawing the Temple of the Sun to be flooded, leaving our only other option Fool’s Landing, thus allowing us to leave the island with all four treasures and the helicopter card we saved.


Since that great night we have won 0 more times.  Each time ends up as a deeper and deeper failure.  Maybe the island is angry at us….



*** Update***

We have played Forbidden Island several times since this first post, and happily won many of those games.  The greatest accomplishment however came on 23 May 2016, when we beat Forbidden Island on LEGENDARY.  That’s rights….legendary.  Like making legends.  However, I should note that the game proved to beat us once more, as that night and the next day there was massive flooding in our town.  Coincidence…… you decide.


The winning setup.  We all made it back to Fool’s Landing with one helicopter left to get us out of there!

The Latest Foray into Table-Top Gaming



But really, the shelves of my hallway closet are starting to buckle from the weight of games.  And then I have games on my table, and then my floor, and then my dining room table, and then my coffee table….they migrate.IMG_3361






Currently, I own:

  • Forbidden Island
  • Forbidden Desert
  • Pandemic
  • Dungeon!
  • Castle Ravenloft
  • The Temple of Elemental Evil
  • Arkham Horror
  • The Fury of Dracula
  • Clue
  • Splendor

Over the next few months, I (with people) will be playing these games and blogging about it!  So far, we have played about half of them and won only 2 games so far.  Along with my tabletop adventures I will be blogging about my experience as a Dungeon Master and as a D&D player along with my (hopefully) upcoming adventures in video gaming.  Basically, a lot of games.  So keep an eye out….

In the beginning…

there was a group of people who met in a tavern in the very beginning of that very beginning.  And so, the group decided to take the old man in the corner with food in his beard, up on his offer of an adventure.  And so, the group became a merry band of adventurers.

And then, they did dumb stuff and died.


I have played a few games before; gotten my trusty Eladrin Wizard to level 5, helped beat a  nasty dragon, saved the Ashen Crown, gotten stuck and died multiple times in the Tomb of Horrors, walked to Ashenport to face the mighty Dagon, became a gladiator in Althas, and ventured to the Feywild.  All within about a year and a half all while still managing to work, write papers, and do course reading.

I started playing table-top role playing games, specifically Dungeons and Dragons in the fall of 2014.  I was brand knew to Arkansas and had essentially one friend, who also attended the same school for me in the same masters program and had also accepted a graduate student position at Arkansas State.  Immediately, Dungeons and Dragons became  my life.  It was the only way for me to have fun and meet people; I’m a naturally very shy person and talking to people out of no where is just not my thing.  I have been playing since then, usually in spurts as the crew can see fit to get together.

My love for the game grew quickly.  In my second semester of course work, I used my Dungeons and Dragons experience as the core for my coursework and research.  I wrote two course papers and conducted and ethnographic project based on Dungeons and Dragons.  Currently, I am working to develop my ideas for my dissertation which will, believe it or not, also be focused on table-top role playing games.

So, without further words, welcome and let the games begin!