NerdAtlas Buy-Guide: Last Minute Finds

So, it’s happened to you. Christmas is next week and you have yet to do any of your Christmas shopping. Well, thanks to a little thing called Amazon, here’s a list of nerdy items that will arrive at your door in time for the holidays!

For The Gamer Nerd: Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

This is the perfect mouse for any serious PC gamer. It’s fully customizable and fairly affordable!

$80.00

For The Internet Junkie: Grumpy Cat Plush

Everyone’s favorite meme cat, to have and to hold and to scare you late at night.

$22.00

For The Otaku: A Geek in Japan

Hector Garcia’s book is perfect for Japanophiles of any type – covering everything from the nation’s popular culture to tradition and history. A great pick for any otaku.

$20.00

For The Creative Nerd: Ball of Whacks

This “ball” is comprised of 30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks. This quirky toy comes in several different designs and is perfect for fiddling with at the office or in class.

$35.00

For the Cold Nerd: “Grown Up” Snuggies

From Harry Potter house robes to Batman, Amazon offers a long list of adult sized snuggies for nerds of any type. Not only are they comfortable, but they are sure to guarantee a good laugh.

$20.00 – $30.00

Good luck out there!

- E.B.

Featured Ar(tist): Aurora Wienhold

This week’s featured art(ist) is Aurora Wienhold.

Based out of Germany, Wienhold gets a lot of attention for her tutorials, speed drawings and portraiture work. It’s really impressive to watch the process of creating the artwork through the animated gifs and videos she posts. Here are a few examples:

Toothless by AuroraWienhold

Her mediums are varied, from pencils to digital painting, ink to watercolor, this woman does it all. She’s only been working as a freelancer since 2011, so her skill is impressive. Not only is she a talented artist but her materials are a great resource for aspiring creators of all kinds.

- E.B.

Board Game Review: Sheriff of Nottingham

This week’s featured review is all about Sheriff of Nottingham, a great board game released in 2014.

Described by the makers as “a social game of bluffing, bribery and negotiation” – I can attest to the fact this game requires you to lie, often. The results are often hysterical, especially when playing with the table rule of mandatory British cockney accents.

The game play is pretty straight forward. Each player is trying to transport their goods through Sherwood forest to market. Each round, a different player in the group acts as the Sheriff, whose job it is to inspect the goods being transported. You receive goods by drawing them from either the stack o’ goods or from the discard pile. Then, each round, you place goods in a small felt pouch and toss it in the center, declaring what you’re transporting across the border.

The deception comes in the fact players can only transport one type of good at a time. If the Sheriff decides to open and inspect your pouch, and you lied about its contents, you pay penalty fees. If you were honest, the Sheriff pays you a penalty fee. For example, if you decide to transport three cheese cards across the border, you would say “Three cheese.” If the Sheriff inspects your goods and finds the three cheese, he pays you a penalty per cheese. However, if you say “Three cheese” and really put two cheese and an apple card, you would pay the Sheriff a fee for the apples.

The game also has contraband cards, which are ALWAYS illegal to declare/transport. They have higher fines if caught, but they are worth the most gold.

You can bribe the Sheriff with gold, goods you’ve already transported to market, in-game favors or what may be in the pouch. If you make a promise that can be immediately resolved (ex: giving the Sheriff three gold and two wheels of cheese you sold at market) you must follow through. If you promise something in the future (ex: they get a specific type of good that may/may not be in the pouch or you won’t inspect them when you’re Sheriff) you are not required to honor the deal.

After every player has acted as Sheriff twice, the game is over. There are bonus gold rewards for transporting the most chickens, bread, apples and cheese across the board. Count up your total wealth between your gold and any goods successfully sold at market, including contraband – richest player wins.

The wheeling and dealing is dynamic fun, and the game play is fast. The moment that the Sheriff is holding a mystery bundle, evaluating whether or not to inspect the goods is fraught with tension. I love this game and if you’ve got a particularly good humored play group, it’s screamingly funny.

Maybe not the best game for some gamers who take a very long time to make the most analytical decisions possible… but for someone who loves to have a raucous time with friends? PERFECT.

- E.B.

Wednesday Cosplay – Oberyn Martell

This week’s featured cosplay is Amir (aka Mr. Blueberry) as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones.

Oberyn Martell by Mr--Blueberry

Oberyn is one of my favorite characters in the Game of Thrones series. A serious womanizer (well, realistically, a everyone-izer) and deft combatant, there’s a fierceness to the man known as “The Red Viper.” In the television show, Oberyn’s clothing is very different from the majority of the others at King’s Landing. Amir did a great job capturing this character’s flair in his cosplay design.

Also, let’s talk about that spear. Dang, that weapon is gorgeous. It looks just like the television show’s design and Amir wields it like a total boss.

Another quality find from the Game of Thrones universe. Seriously, this fandom has some of the BEST cosplayers.

- E.B.

NerdAtlas Holiday Buy-Guide: Table Top Gaming

Board games are a ton of fun, providing unplugged entertainment for any age or demographic. They are particularly wonderful around the holidays, serving as great bonding time with the family that doesn’t require awkward small talk.

I have linked all of the games to their Amazon link, and the prices is the original cost without discounts. Amazon has a lot of sales going on right now, so you can pick up some of these titles for as much as 50% off!

For two players: Android Netrunner: The Card Game

This is a “living card game” that allows you to buy cards and construct decks to face off against your opponent. By playing as the hacker “runner” or the “corp” defender, two use card powers and resources to score seven points the fastest. It’s complex, meaty and a good challenge to sink your teeth into. Start out by purchasing a Core Box set to have everything you need to play!

$40 - http://tinyurl.com/pnkn2sd

For three players: Suburbia

This is a tile placement and resource management game. Buy your buildings and services, harvest your resources and exercise your inner city planner. The game has serious depth, but it’s fairly straightforward to learn.

$60http://tinyurl.com/mplr96o

For four players: Ascension

This is one of my favorite deck building card games. Filled with fantasy flavor, you purchase your heroes and constructs and create vicious combinations to steal the victory. Any Ascension box set can be played as a standalone game – my recommendation is the Realms Unraveled edition.

$40http://tinyurl.com/mzjo6yc

For five players: Dixit

This is a game of storytelling and wagers. Players guess what image the “storyteller” placed in an anonymous lineup and score points based on the most popular answers. Simple, beautiful and a ton of fun to play with people you know well.

$35http://tinyurl.com/pwmelrp

For six players:  Shadows Over Camelot

As the loyal knights of King Arthur’s Round Table, complete quests and fight off Picts/Saxons to win the war over evil. Careful though, as one amongst you might be a traitor who can usurp the entire party. A great blend of social deception, co-op and tactics.

$60http://tinyurl.com/lpsfz2p

More than six: Coup

This is a game of social deception and elimination at its finest. Everyone has two identities, permitting them special powers. By deceiving others, stealing money, committing coups and catching others in their lies, players lose their identities. The last player left with a living persona wins. Fast paced and very very fun. One of my all time favorites.

$15http://tinyurl.com/qe5zpyd

For non-gamers: Quirkle

Match either six of a color or six of a shape to score a Quirkle! Create combinations to rack up as many points as possible. Essentially a visual variation of Scrabble, this game is easy to learn and quick to play. There’s also great potential to get competitive over placing tiles and upsetting someone’s best laid plans  – perfect for family time!

$35http://tinyurl.com/llr5uvv

Happy shopping and gaming!

- E.B.