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.

Featured Art(ist) – Danar Worya

This week’s featured artist is Danar Worya.

Worya is a (mostly) digital artist based out of the Netherlands. The majority of his online portfolio is fan art, but it is very obvious that he’s a professional – his fan art beats a lot of “official” concept/design art I’ve seen over the years.

Not only is his portraiture game pretty ace, but Worya has a great talent for scenic design as well. The piece below was inspired by the world of The Last of Us – the colors and lighting are really lovely.

Follow him on Facebook for more updates!

– E.B.

Wednesday Cosplay – Lady Two Face

This week’s featured cosplay stars Meagan Marie and her Lady Two Face ensemble!

Meagan Marie is a professional cosplayer and community manager, not mention she’s pretty dang famous on the internet. I’ve featured her Wonder Woman cosplay before but I figure it has been a while, so I can feature her again! I know, such a fangirl…

Anyways, this is one of the more make-up heavy cosplays I’ve featured. The knack with doing any good Two-Face cosplay lies in the make-up and a stark contrast in design. Meagan Marie has this great, crisp line of contrast across her whole ensemble, which lends itself well to the animated series’ character design.

The make-up was done by San Diego make-up artist Hydred Makabali – and wow. That mouth looks painful, terrifying and about as real as a acid burned comic character can get.

I also love the suit in this cosplay. The design is well tailored and the contrasting black and white symmetry looks marvelous. In the small details of the button colors and pocket scarf play into the duality.

What can I say, Meagan Marie is one of the best!

– E.B.

T-Shirt Tuesday – The Magic of Books

The Shirt: With the turn in the weather, I decided to feature a bit of warmer winter-friendly wear. The true magic of reading is it allows you to live a thousand lives… including that of a muggle turned wizard.

Payment: Sold by the Harry Potter Alliance through the DFTBA store, who accepts all major credit cards.

Styles: Available in adult sizes S-XL.

NerdAtlas Buy-Guide: Whovian Edition

The ever popular BBC staple, Doctor Who, has attracted a particularly strong following in the last decade. These fans, Whovians, are serious about this series. If you love a Doctor Who fan, here are some gift ideas that will surely cement your place as his/her number one companion 😉

Custom Gallifreyan Necklace

Gallifreyan, the language of the Time Lords, is beautifully designed. These necklaces are just awesome at utilizing the language’s aesthetic potential. Be sure to order by Dec. 5th (USA) if you want to have guaranteed delivery by Christmas!

$15 plus shipping: http://tinyurl.com/o9t2tfq

 Doctor Who Quote Shirt
Redbubble has countless Doctor Who shirts, but this one is my personal favorite. Both the design and quote capture a lot of what makes the show special. A big hit for any fan.
$23 plus shipping: http://tinyurl.com/nv6qglb
Customizable Sonic Screwdriver

Every aspiring Time Lord needs a trusty Sonic Screwdriver. This kit lets you take the pieces and parts from several famous Screwdriver designs and construct your own creation. Lots of fun for Whovians of all ages.
$33 plus shipping: http://tinyurl.com/m465zuh
Expandable TARDIS Tent
Whether it’s used for decoration in a nerd cave or for the best sci-fi playtime, this expandable tent brings the TARDIS into any home!
Custom TARDIS Converse
These custom Chucks come with the works – a hand painted TARDIS and your name in Gallifreyan against a cool night scape. Careful, a Time Lord might try to steal these off your feet…
$75 plus shipping: http://tinyurl.com/k4cpvbv

Happy shopping!

– E.B.

Initial Impressions: BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition

First off, please note this is only an initial impressions post – expect a full review of the game to come. I’ve already logged about 12 hours into this game and I think I’ve only done about 7% of the story and I’ve barely touched the collectables/side quests options. This game is freaking MASSIVE, especially when compared to the incredibly linear nature of Dragon Age 2.

This game is a wonderful blend between the free roaming nature of Skryim and BioWare’s vision for story. Now, many have been critiquing the overall plot of the game (I am waiting to judge until I finish) but I do think the dialogue/character writing is fabulous. The characters I have met thus far are delightful and I’ve enjoyed crafting my own hero’s persona throughout the time I’ve been playing. Thankfully, BioWare has moved away from the Mass Effect/DA2 dialogue wheels that clearly delineated the “good” and “bad” choices. This “moral-less” compass lets you craft a more complex player character and you feel less confined story-wise.

The combat mechanics have returned to a strategic format, similar to that of Dragon Age: Origins. I think BioWare has found a good balance between allowing players to totally micro-manage combat and facilitating a more streamlined “button mashing” option for gamers who might not be as inclined to plot out every action. The ability to turn the tactics mode on/off with just a button push is great – for more complex fights I can plan each character’s movement but for little skirmishes I can just lay waste by mindlessly spamming awesome magic powers. I call that a win.

Graphics wise, I am also incredibly pleased. The game looks good on my PS4, with crisp colors and diverse area designs. This is not the brown, muddy and flat design of Kirkwall from DA2. It certainly holds it’s own to the other next-gen titles that have released in the last year. This game looks better than Destiny, in my opinion (at least there’s more creativity in the design) and so far, the engine has been running smoothly for me.

As I said, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The game is huge, so expect a full, detailed review in a few weeks!

– E.B.

Wednesday Cosplay – Sachie’s Vlog

One of Geek and Sundry’s featured vloggers, Sachie, runs an excellent series that helps out both new and seasoned cosplayers. She features great cosplays constructions of her own and step-by-step guides for creating things like armor, weapons, etc.

For example, here’s her most recent video, a Worbla (a thin plastic-like material) armor tutorial:

What I like about Sachie’s videos is that they are short, concise and cover a whole host of subjects pertaining to cosplaying. Her vlog provides great advice on working in the cosplay community as well as how to make very cool stuff. I really recommend you check out her content if you are even remotely interested in cosplay!

Here’s one of my favorite videos:

– E.B.