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I must admit that I did not know much about Ryan’s work going into this interview. Of course I knew about Dinosaur Comics, but as someone who is much more focused on the art side of comics, I rather quickly dismissed it as a cute gag, and not really the kind of comics I wanted to spend my time on. But of course over the years I did come to become dimly aware of its brilliance. So I’m eternally grateful to Adam Prosser for getting Ryan to come on the show. It really was a huge pleasure talking to him. He is clearly a highly intelligent, kind, generous and incredibly witty person who impressed me no end.

Ah, you may not remember this but we met at the closing of Saturday’s session of Silicon Valley Comic Con. I cannot attend on Sunday and was wondering where I may access the broadcast. Please reply.

Hi Gabriella, Thanks for asking. Unfortunately Dinosoar Don went on a rampage, so the VR recording didn’t come off, but I am told that there is a good audio recording of the event, which I will track down from the organizers of the show, if I can. I’ll make a podcast of the event and post some of the may photos that were taken. Watch this space!

Chuck

I backed this comic on Kickstarter, and I am super glad I did. This comic reminds me of Knights of the Dinner Table. Completely tongue in cheek humor. A little more satirical and biting than KODT. The story line flows along quite nicely. Most characters are a mix of likeable and villainous, which I appreciate.
I also like the solid drawing style. I am not a fan of the watercolor or “sketchy” or noir styles of drawing ( sorry; not an artist and I don’t know the real names.) The panels are very standard format and easy to follow, like reading a book. (Maybe I am just too old, but comics that make you guess the order of the panels and they are all kinds of sitting on top of each other can be very tough to read. Visually appealing? Sure. Otherwise, difficult to pull off. Anyway, i don’t have to worry about that here.) There are some more intricate, beautifully colored, larger panels mixed in to give the book an impressive mix. Overall, i am happy with the coloring and shading.
The storylines are clever enough and each one is satisfying by itself, but they also weave together nicely to create a larger story arc. Whelon and Prosser have a solid serialized story going on here. I will definitely be returning for more Pewfell!

A beautiful book, gorgeous drawings and colours. There aren’t many pages- but on every double page spread there is a picture of a fairy tale with items/people hidden in the pictures you have to find. I wouldn’t pay RRP for it- I don’t think it is thick enough to warrant that price, however half price would be good value.

Wow, what a fantastic book for people of all ages. I’m playing through this book with my 9-year-old daughter and we both love it. Every page has many levels of activities, from straight-up “where’s the pickle gnome?” for the younger set, on through to logic and code challenges for older ones. The illustrations are whimsical, charming, and often laugh-out-loud funny (Owl Panda!). This book is so much fun that we wish we lived in the Wizard Pickles world.

My boys couldn’t keep their hands off this book from the moment it entered the house. It really does suit all ages. It launched my 6-year old into drawing a slew of his own search-and-find books, while my 10-year old was possessed with figuring out the hidden code puzzles. We still haven’t figured out all the puzzles, and that’s fine by me! The colorful illustrations are wonderfully imagination-inspiring, and the characters and writing style are tons of fun. I hope Chuck does another… and another…!

As a kid, I loved puzzle books, especially ones with fantasy, tons of details and a touch of craziness. This book has all of those things. And let’s not forget the illustrations because they are wonderful. There’s so much detail and all sorts of little things thrown in, making sure that one discovers something new every time they go through the pages. The puzzles themselves vary enough in difficulty to insure that a kid will have some success, while others won’t get bored.

I let my son and daughter (10 and 8) go through this, and they both adored it. Not only did they find the puzzles fun, but they enjoyed fingering through the illustrations and pointing different things out to each other. This is definitely one that my son will be placing next to his bed so he can take a peek before dozing off to sleep at night.

This is a book I can whole heartedly recommend. Between the fun puzzles and the very imaginative illustrations, kids (especially reluctant readers and knowledge buddies) will enjoy diving into this and be sucked into every page.

I received a free copy for an honest review.

Santa’s very busy getting ready for Christmas – but then the elves go missing! Where could they be? They could be anywhere in the world and santa needs your help to find them – are they skiing? Maybe they are at the ballet? Or the Christmas market? Can you spot Santa and his ten elves on each delightfully detailed, hilarious scene? There is so much to spot and enjoy. This hardback book is one that will come out yrear after year to give all the family lots of fun festive entertainment.

This is a brilliant book and straight away took me right back to my childhood and afternoons spent searching for Wally. It’s a great book or the whole family to while away Christmas Day evening. The scenes include a Christmas market, a ski resort the theatre and even a beach! It really is a lovely book and as well as searching for Santa there are other things to search for, including Elves and a host of things from the β€˜checklist’ at the back of the book. I really do love this book, so much so that I have ordered a copy already for a Christmas gift. It is sure to bring hours of fun, and I know we will be using our copy over Christmas.

Ten of Santa’s elves have gone missing and are hidden within the pages of this exciting book! Children get to follow Santa as he searches for the lost elves in places such as the theatre, a Christmas market. the beach or even on safari!

The extremely detailed, full colour pages are packed with things to spot and there is a spotter’s checklist at the back so you can check off things as you find them. Children can spot Santa himself hidden among the busy scene on each double page spread.

This is a lovely book that will keep everyone entertained and challenged as they search for the hidden objects and characters. The pictures are really humorous and fun, and kids will love studying every page. It’ll be a real hit at Christmas whatever your age, providing a fun festive challenge for the family.

Thank you, sir!! Yes. I took a bit of time out to get my freelance illustration career going. Now that it is, I’m cranking up the old Pewfell machine again. I’m not sure I’ll manage to get it going as frequently as I used to, but if I get some support on my Patreon page, I might just manage it. Right Now I’m shooting for one a week, as I am able. Also I’ve noticed that eBook sales have really gathered some steam over the past few years and there’s a general webcomics renaissance. I always meant to come back, so I figured now is as good a time as any. Tell your friends!!! πŸ™‚

Can I leave your second comment please? It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Can I just comment on the fact that I am truly honored to have the comments of one of the world’s great commenters as my second set of comments.

Well, touched as I am to receive a nice reply from such a venerable replier, I’m also painfully aware we commenters are but pond-life to the moderators, bloggers, site developers and of course creators of this urf. That said, keep it coming beard-face.

Unusually for an activity book, this is a hardback but that’s a real benefit as it makes the book excellent for use on the move. The penguins have escaped from the zoo and they can be spotted throughout the pages of this book enjoying themselves by the lake, in the desert, at the museum – in fact, all over the place. The trouble is, these are all very busy places so can you spot them? There’s a little story on each page too, so more to spot. As well, the pictures are packed with humorous details so make sure you enjoy all these.

My 5 year-old daughter loves this book! She’s even tried putting frosting on her nose and saying the shrinking spell. The colorful illustrations are eye-catching, we can’t wait to turn the next page. This book is a sweet story that shows us how to be kind and grateful.

My preschool class is sure to enjoy it too. I’m putting this book in my lesson plans every year. It’s a “Must Read” for anyone with a sweet tooth and an imagination.

β€œThis highly engaging information book makes the world of feline predators accessible to young readers. Quirky, full-colour annotated illustrations and amazing photographs accompany the many facts about these magnificent creatures.” –  

A great game with stunning components. I really enjoy the game and my kids (age 10 and 11) can’t get enough of it. It’s a lighthearted game that we have played many times, often consecutively. The game is a laugh factory and using the less obvious choices for characters allow adults to play against younger players without having to hold back too much.

I used DIG in my sixth grade social studies classroom to supplement the curriculum. DIG is a great example of informational text that one can actually enjoy reading due to the illustrations, the to-the-point captions and texts. It is a great collection providing a variety of reading for one subject matter. I am glad that I found it available on my Kindle Fire.

This book was a gift. The person I gave it to is an adult who loves to color. She liked the book a lot and how silly and whimsical it was. She also said that she ended up having to share with her son who fell in love with some of the pictures. This book would be great for anyone who loves to color. Best for crayons or colored pencil, paper is too light and pages are back to back so not good for markers. Please note–if this iis for a child there is a page where the dinosaur is serving alcohol. not all parents would approve.

It was only a matter of time. Wally-like books are proliferating fast, we’ve tried Tom and Millie, Spot the Dinosaur/Monkey series and enjoyed them, my son being a little too young for Wally.

This is great for preschoolers, slightly easier and less hectic than Wally. Santa finds that 10 of his elves have gone missing, so he searches worldwide for them. Can the reader spot them in each scene, and Santa too?

Some scenes are much harder and more full than others, but the book handily gives a ‘cheat sheet’ of all the elves/Santa’s location on each spread if your little ones (or you!) get too frustrated looking!

There are extra items/characters to find as well if your bright spark has sharp eyes.

Good Wally-like illustrations, loved the scenes. My son loved looking round each picture and showing me all the funny characters.

Would make a good Christmas present or read in the run-up to the day. Will probably be put away soon after New Year though. But you’ll have forgotten where Santa is by next Yuletide!

Lots of family fun to share.

This caught my eye in the library. My son is a little too young for Where’s Wally, but I like him to practice looking for things in pictures (like Can you see Sassoon?), and this has the advantage of using scenes from famous fairy tales, so familiar characters and stories are there and can be talked about.

We loved this. He’s nearly 4 and concentrated really well, recognising some scenes without needing a prompt (Hansel and Gretel features the most delicious house!).

On each page it’s not too onerous, you’d spend maybe 3-5 minutes (depending on how much help you offer) searching for the 10-12 items and people it asks for. Sometimes multiple numbers are needed (5 acorns, 3 bats). And in the next pictures sometime and characters can be seen again, so it’s entertaining noticing them in the wrong scene.

We knew almost all the stories but even if you don’t it’s still fun to search and there’s a lot going on, just like in Where’s Wally. It prompted me to find The Pied Piper book actually, so he’d know the story.

A few illustrations were odd – Aladdin’s genie looks like Kang/Kodos from The Simpsons, and the princess isn’t called Jasmine but the original name from the Arabian Nights (I think), which children probably won’t know.

It’s good to search for a number of something, it really helps memory and concentration and the pictures are good enough to remind a child of the whole story outside of the scene.

Loved the style of drawing – Wally-like in a way but different at the same time.

Definitely has longevity and can be looked at multiple times, and either with an adult or without. Would make a great Christmas presents for 3-6 year olds.

Originally posted at http://www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Game- Battle Merchants
Producer- Minion Games
Price- $50
Set-up/Play/Clean-Up- ~2.5 hours
Players- 2 to 4
TL; DR- You will never have so much fun fostering warfare! 95%

Basics- Let’s make some money! In Battle Merchants, you play the role of a weapon supplies for different fantasy races during a time of great war. This game is played across four seasons. In each season, players take turns doing one action until three new battles happen and the war begins. Each turn you can do one of four things: get weapon skill cards, build weapons, sell a weapon, or draw a kingdom card. By getting different weapon skill cards for each of the four weapons, your skill building each weapon type increases. This is only important for when fights occur at the end of a season. Building weapons allows you to build up to three weapons to sell. Selling weapons allows you to sell weapons to a spot on the board that wants a weapon you have for money. Each race at war is fighting on two fronts, and these fronts will require one of the four weapons for each spot on their side of the conflict. The factions won’t buy a weapon they don’t want, so you have to diversify enough to be able to sell all the weapon types. When you sell to a side of a conflict you get money and a token for that race. The more tokens you have for a race, the more money you get each time you sell to them in the future. When both sides of a battle have weapons, then a battle token is moved to the center of the board, and the next battle token is revealed allowing more weapons to be sold to the sides of that conflict. If a conflict doesn’t have a battle token as it was moved in a previous season, then you can still sell to that battle again. Kingdome cards give the player extra abilities and powers that provide new strategies for winning the game. When three battle markers are moved to the center for that season, then each player get one round before the time of war. At each battle with weapons on each side during the time of war, the weapon skill of each player’s weapon is compared and the higher skill says while the winner collects the defeated weapon as a marker of conquest and extra points at the end of the game. Weapons that are still on the board at the end of the time of war need to be maintained, so the player who made those weapons gets extra money. After four seasons and the times of war associated with them, just like life, the player with the most money wins.

Mechanics- This is a deceptively simple game that has lots of deep strategy. On a turn, you can only do one action, so the game moves at a good clip while still having to make important decisions. Everybody starts out on equal footing, so you have to think fast and figure out how best to procedure. My only problem with this game is a run away victor problem. As winners get both points at the end of the game for most defeated weapons and extra points/money for having weapons on the board at turn end, a player who wins the first battle of the game can develop an unopposed lead pretty quickly. 4.5/5

Theme- You do feel like a weapons dealer in a fantasy war. The boards are cartoony enough to make it light hearted, but there is the undercurrent of making money off bloodshed. In fact, a strategy you can take is to sell weapons to BOTH sides at one battle. You get a win money for weapons attendance at a fight, the sale of both weapons, and defeated weapons for points. That right there nails the theme of being a cold hearted weapons dealer. 5/5

Instructions- The instructions are not bad but are something you have to read very carefully to really get all the small details. It’s a half sheet style of rules folded to make several pages in the rulebook. The rules do teach the game well, but there are a number of fiddly rules that can really change the game. These rules could use a bit more emphasis. Also, some rules are presented in examples, and that would be great, but the rules are not presented before or outside the example. That’s a pet peeve that makes the game somewhat hard to completely understand your first time through. However, after that initial first game, you will be playing this game like a champ. 4.5/5

Execution-I like what comes in this box. It’s got great cards with some fun, cartoony art. The boards are all great cardboard. The tokens are nice chunky cardboard. My one small problem with this game is the weapon skill cards. It took me ten minutes to find what the rules meant by the different colored backs. During game set-up, you separate the spring/summer weapons cards from fall/winter cards. What that means is some of the weapon skill cards will have colored spring/summer sections of the center season wheel, while the fall/winter will be light brown and the reverse will be true for the fall/winter cards. It’s not a major problem by any means, but I hope it helps you understand what that means when you play! 5/5

Summary- This is a great game. The theme might not be for everybody as you do play a conniving war profiteer in a fantasy setting. However, I enjoyed being the bad guy. The mechanics are fun; even they are not completely balanced. I liked the art and the physical build of the game. Overall, this is a great game that I wish I could play with more players. 95%

All the different pieces are so funny, my kids have loved playing with this. You get a surprising amount of use out of it, for it being so small. The covers are slick so you can peel the stickers off and put different ones on and such. There are different scenes on the inside covers you can build on. Definitely a good use of a couple bucks.

Faces is a great magazine for families. This is a very good magazine for older children, teens, and even adults! Each issue features a different geographic location and it’s history, social life, foods, landscape, culture, etc. It is almost like a travel magazine because the pages take you to these different places. There are very nice photographs, drawings, interviews, games… etc. There are no ads, unless you count ads for other magazines that this company publishes. The paper is very nice quality.

I must admit to being a bit of a penguin fanatic and love anything to do with the cute little critters, so when I spotted this book it had to join my collection of all things penguin. I wasn’t disappointed when it arrived. It was well packaged to protect the corners of the book.(don’t you just hate bent corners on hardbacks ?) The quality of the book in general is really good. The print is bright and bold and all the drawings are very very good. Actually finding the hidden penguins is easy to start with but gets infuriatingly difficult toward the end which is what you would expect. A great little book for leaving on the coffee table for both adults and children to enjoy.
Overall I would give it 9/10 for entertainment value.

We bought this for our girls (who are all homeschooled) and they read every single word of it, and proceed to talk about what they have read. The excitement of getting something in the mail beats electronic delivery any day of the week! The food section has been put to good use in our house with our eldest researching the origins of the foods covered, and regional variations of same. She then chooses one of the foods and tries to recreate it. Yum. Good magazine.

One of the best children magazines around. While each issues has a central feature (Egypt, Maya, etc,) it never fails to cover a broad scope of Archaeology. The history is covered and the methods used by scientists to recreate the past are explained in a concise and understandable format. The most important part, I feel, is that Dig will entertain, challenge, and teach an appreciation of the past.

A lot has already been written in other reviews here. Simply stated, I own a hundreds of board and card games. I collect them. This beautifully designed card game has hit the table a lot lately. My wife and I both love it. It plays in 30 minutes almost every time. If you buy it, please play WITH the 3 expansion cards. They make the game deeper, meaner and more fun to play.

Highly recommended above many games.

Those Pesky Humans!: 2-4 Players, Ages 13+, Average Play Time = 90 Minutes

First, I’d like to comment that the artwork is great. The game manages to maintain a dungeon crawler theme while still being light and somewhat silly…and I say silly in the best way possible. My eleven year old son Vinnie Jr. commented on how funny some of the cards were, which only served to draw him in more than he already was.

I personally love how flexible the game allows you to be. I prefered playing the role of the monsters for a couple of reasons…the main one being that I could change the rules as I needed to in order to keep things fun and fair. If I thought that the kids were having a tough time with the monsters, I’d back off and not spawn as many, giving them a little breathing room. If I thought that they were having an easy time, I’d continuously spawn monsters until I felt that their egos were put back into check. This game allows me to adapt to the current situation and control everyone’s play experience…as both a parent and “dungeon master”, that turns out to be a lot of fun.

You can also play solo, if you’re willing to be creative. One person could hypothetically play both sides and make up their own rules as far as how aggressive the monsters are and etc. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’ve always been of the belief that one can bend the rules (in regards to games) to make their play experience best suited for them. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a great variant that others might enjoy adapting…use your imagination!

The game only takes between an hour or two to play, which significantly ups its appeal in my book. As a full-time accountant and full-time dad, time is a precious commodity. I simply don’t have the time to devote entire weekends to one long dungeon crawler. This game progresses at just the right pace…that is…producing the end result fairly quickly while maintaining the feeling that you just embarked on an epic journey. The quick play variant included in the manual is also a welcome addition.

My son particularly liked managing a party and slaying a bunch of monsters…who wouldn’t? Out of all of the humans, he favored the magician class, mainly because he could teleport and “fry” a monster instantly with his special powers. Anthony Jr, the sixteen year old, enjoyed playing the rogue because she was able to get out of a lot of bad situations. He ended up using her to grab the gems and make a quick dash for the exit while using his paladin and a distraction card to pull my monsters away…quite ingenious.

I highly recommend this game for people who enjoy light dungeon crawlers. There are certainly others out there that are much deeper and take a lot longer to play, but if you aren’t the kind of person that gets enjoyment out of spending two hours to resolve one combat action, then “Those Pesky Humans!” is right for you.

Tahiti: 2-4 Players, Ages 13+, Average Play Time = 45 Minutes

The game components were sturdy and I had no trouble making out the various colors on the island tiles. Vinnie (11) and I enjoyed the art on the player boards and island tiles. The learning curve wasn’t too bad, though I had to read the manual a few times to understand how all of the game’s mechanics came together. While the game is easy to moderate in terms of difficulty, there’s a lot to consider during the many phases of the game. I can see where a new or casual player might be intimidated at first, though in most cases I can see that being overcome after the first few rounds of play. Once players get into the swing of things, they’ll be able to concentrate more on the strategy as opposed to how the game mechanics function.

While the general idea behind the game is simple, there’s a lot to think about during a player’s turn. Which actions are the best to take right now? Should I load up my canoe to its full capacity (covering up rowers) and limit the number of actions I have on future turns until I unload the goods I’ve collected? Do I take the chance of going over a reef and possibly losing some or all of the goods I have in my canoe? Which direction should I move the Haumea pawn so that it would benefit me most? Should I collect resources of one type or should I collect one of each, as per the “harvest goods” rule? Players will be asking themselves these questions as they play, opening up the door for many different types of strategies to unfold. Just to name an example, some might keep their canoe at a lighter load to ensure that they can take three or four actions a turn while others might take the viewpoint that the more they load onto their canoe, the better.

Scoring is another big factor in the way a player will develop his or her strategy. The favorite crops tile a player receives will tell them which goods will provide them with bonus points at the end of the game, should they get the most or second most of the goods in question. This might encourage players to pass up certain opportunities in favor of collecting the goods they’d need to ensure that they had the most. Players also score based on the number of goods they’ve collected of a particular type and score based on the number of complete sets they’ve managed to make. Since goods are plentiful early to mid-game and are rare toward the endgame (with the exception of fish, depending on the situation), there’s a bit of tension going on as players rush to score the particular goods that they may need to receive those bonuses.

Vinnie had a fun time moving around and collecting resources. It took him a few rounds to fully understand how the game came together but once he did, he was quickly on his way to giving thought as to how to collecting resources of a particular type for scoring purposes. Watching him collect resources this way allowed me to guess as to what was on his hidden favorite crops tile, which opened the door for possible sniping…that is, going after those resources yourself to prevent someone else from getting them. I keep that kind of sneakiness to a minimum for the benefit of the kids, but other groups may exploit that mechanic to its fullest via bluffing and etc. If your group is a bit more hardcore, then prepare to have your wits and poker face ready.

Overall, I found “Tahiti” to be a fun and engaging game. There are many ways to play the game in order to score points, and your strategies will change based on the layout of the board. This feature alone gives the game almost unlimited replayability. With the proper parental guidance, younger children will have the ability to play it too. There are a lot of little pieces, so keep pets and toddlers away, if it all possible. The game is currently being sold in various places for prices in the twenty dollar range (as of 3/6/13), which I believe is a fair price all things considered. If you’re looking for a good, light-hearted game to play on family game night, then “Tahiti” will fit the bill nicely.

I recently bought this game out of curiosity and enjoyed it. I have only played it once but it seems fun. I think the normal players may have the advantage but with more play throughs of the game it can get better. Overall it’s a good game.

TOP THREE TO PASS:
1)Game seemed unbalanced.
2)Takes some time to set up
3)Kind of expensive for what it is.

TOP THREE TO GET:
1)Fans of D&D who want to get there kids into it.
2)Fun to play with a group.
3)It is re playable because the game is never the same.

Final thoughts:
I would recommend to D&D fans or any players wanting to get into role playing games. It is worth a shot but if you can find it for a little less it is well worth it.

Bought this game a while back and have just recently played (and won) it for the second time. The premise of the game is that a fantasy nation’s King has just died leaving no legitimate heir. You take on the role of an illegitimate heir trying to assert your claim to the throne. To do this you must travel around the board, collect 3 crown jewels and make your way with the crown jewels to the throne room.

Easier said than done, as other characters may try to steal them or otherwise hinder your progress by means of attacks or magic spells. As you travel around the board you land on spaces where you can draw cards representing creatures (which can be placed in front of you to add their abilities to yours), magic spells, magic or cursed objects or quest cards. A quest card directs you to a location where you can retrieve a crown jewel card.

An interesting aspect of the game is that characters may be good or evil, whilst the creature cards may be good, evil or neutral. Your character starts out good, but attacking another ‘good’ player will turn you evil, as will making use of an ‘evil’ creature card. If/When you turn evil, all your ‘good’ creatures abandon you and their cards are returned to the draw deck. Completing a quest will sanctify your character making you ‘good’ again. At which point any ‘evil’ creatures will abandon you. The effects of one or two of the magic spells/items may also change a character’s alignment. Neutral creatures will stay with you regardless of alignment.

As an example, in my recent game I picked up evil creature cards fairly early on (including one that allowed me to attack from a distance) and decided to play them, thus becoming ‘evil’. I attacked other players and managed to steal 3 crown jewels fairly quickly. They then ganged up on me and, failing to steal the crown jewels back, resorted to transportation spells to send me to the furthest reaches of the board but fortunately not into the swamp areas which would have hindered movement more significantly. Eventually, they ran out of transportation spells and I was able to work my way back towards the throne room. One of the other players then launched a change alignment spell at me, not noticing that I had swapped my evil creatures out for neutral ones, and so when I finally ascended to the throne I was a ‘good’ benevolent monarch, despite all of my previous misdeeds.

The board is well made, while the cards (in my edition at any rate) feel a bit rough and flimsy. The game’s designer has commented on boardgamegeek that later editions of the game use better card stock than earlier editions. I assume mine was an earlier edition. The illustrations and the written materials are all done in a humorous, anarchic tongue-in-cheek manner, which I find quite pleasant, but may not be to everyone’s taste.

Game balance is variable. There is an element of luck at the beginning to how your character’s attack, movement and magic modifiers will start off, as well as to which cards you will draw from the deck to strengthen these abilities, but I don’t believe anyone is too disadvantaged. The number of cards you are allowed in your hand is limited to 7 (or 8 in certain circumstances), including crown jewels, so as you approach a winning position you are less able to stack your hand with fortifying cards, thus making it easier for your opponents to stymie your march to the throne.
A typical game would seem to be somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of players and familiarity with the rules.

Overall verdict: good fun.

In a market flooded with fashion magazines for female tweens and teens, it’s unbelievably tough for mothers to find alternative reading materials in periodical format for their daughters — but Faces saves the day! Although it’s a slightly expensive subscription, the educational information it provides about the world — and especially about the world’s children — is well worth the cost. I HIGHLY recommend either substituting a Faces subscription for a fashion magazine one, or adding it to a tween/teen girl’s periodical library.

First, I’d like to commend the creators of this game for managing to make a card game that has fairly simple rules but offers a wide range of strategic play. I found that I was often thinking about which cards I should play and which cards I should hold onto until later. It seemed advantageous to play what you had so as to “control” the board. The more crops you have going at one time, the less options other players have.

I thought the game would take a while to play, seeing as how we had five players and thus had five seasons. I quickly discovered though that the later seasons were shorter since we were scoring cards in the interim, which results in the draw pile diminishing with every passing season. Season one took a good five to ten minutes whereas the fifth season was over within a few minutes. It balances out well into a nice thirty to forty-five minute game, depending on how many people are playing and how often they procrastinate.

I have to say, the kids picked up the rules very quickly. The biggest hurdle that they were often faced with was what they could and couldn’t play during the “plant or speculate phase”…after all, there are a lot of restrictions and stipulations as to what crops you can and can’t plant based on what is currently on the board. Once we played for a while, we got the hang of all of the special rules without having to consult the rulebook.

Vinnie Jr (11), Anthony Jr (16), Carolyn (13), and Jennifer (she’s not telling) all thought the game was fun and expressed interest in playing it again. They all couldn’t pinpoint why they thought the game was fun, just that it was. Jennifer, my girlfriend, can be picky when it comes to games and for her to admit that she’d play it again is high praise. We definitely have a winner for family game night.

I highly recommend this game to players of all ages. It serves as a great go-to game for when you want to introduce friends and family to the wonderful world of board games. Nile DeLuxor is simple enough to attract casual gamers but also in-depth enough to keep hardcore gamers from becoming bored…sort of a “not too hot and not too cold” deal.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a semi-casual card game that would appeal to all audiences, then you wouldn’t do wrong in picking up this little gem.

This is an excerpt from my full review on http://zombieparentsguide.blogspot.com

The game is fun but it requires a bit of thinking, remembering, and crafty strategy. Since the graveyard’s contents are visible to everyone, the player must decide which rows to focus on. Two players might fight over a row full of valuable objects and leave another player free to claim more objects in other rows. It helps to remember which zombie you put down first (as well as which ones others put down first) and their value. It’s not too hard to remember with three zombies, but as the players build more zombies it get more difficult to track. Attacking zombies also requires some strategy. The attacking player may open a spot on the board but may not get the chance to take the spot as other players take their turns first. It still could be helpful if a brainy zombie is taken out of the equation.

In the five or six times we’ve played the game, we’ve never put a zombie on the Start Player board. The advantage seems pretty minimal, though perhaps we haven’t played enough to see its tactical importance. In one game I thought I could use it on the last round to make sure I had a chance to attack any zombies trying to steal a piece of the Master from my vault when I had all three pieces. The thought occurred to me after the game, alas. The game I didn’t win!

The zombie theme fits well with the mechanics of the game. I had fun getting into the role of the mad scientist and trash talking or making commentary in character. The game is a little complicated but not too hard to teach. The instructions recommend playing without attacking or the Start Player action to make the first game easier. Going through the graveyard and assessing how much brain influence each player has space by space is a little bit tedious. Also, it is possible for players to get caught in “analysis paralysis” as they try to figure out the best move.

Overall, this is a fun game. We love that it allows two players and plays in under an hour (most of the time).

NILE DeLuxor places you and your friends into the roles of Egyptian farmers, planting and harvesting a diverse selection of crops, building monuments and speculating on crop futures, all while at the mercy of the mighty Nile river. The river is unpredictable and conforms to no man – flooding crops on a whim and forcing a player to harvest their crops, while at the same time allowing only certain types of crops to grow. If that weren’t enough, plagues of locusts may also find their way into your fields, consuming the largest crop! In the end, only one farmer can be successful, but it’s going to take keen observation and a little bit of luck to come out on top!

Gameplay:

Nile DeLuxor is a game for two to six players and the number of rounds (referred to in the game as “Seasons”) is based on the number of players. If you’re going to engage in a two player game, for example, you’ll only play through two seasons before naming a victor. If you can wrangle up five friends, five seasons will elapse and so on and so forth.

At the start, each player is dealt a hand of five cards. The game features a number of different card types, but the bulk of the cards are going to come in the form of crops – Wheat, Lettuce, Castor, Onion, Papyrus, Flax, and Grape. Ultimately, these are the cards that will determine your fate, so careful planning will go into the planting, trading and harvesting of these cards. Other cards will come into play as well, including:

Speculation Cards – Which features two different crops and are used to predict the outcome of the flood cards.
Flood Card – Which shows the current crop that is being flooded by the Nile.
A Plague of Locust Card – The one truly bad card in the game, these little guys will feast upon the largest crop currently in a player’s field .
Also in the game, we’ll find two other types of cards which make up the DeLuxor expansion:

Stone Cards – Similar to a crop card, stone cards are “planted” to create monuments, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
Monument Cards – The Sphinx, The Obelisk and the Wall. These cards provide a special ability to the player who builds it.
Once cards have been dealt, player one begins his/her turn by flipping over the top card from the draw pile, placing it face up on top of the flood card – whatever crop has been drawn has now been flooded by the mighty Nile (in the case of a speculation card, where two crops are shown, BOTH crops are flooded)! When a crop is flooded, two things occur:

First and foremost – any player who currently has the crop in play must harvest ONE card from their field. If the flooded crop is flax, for example, and player two has two flax cards, they take ONE of their flax cards and place it face down next to them. This is now their storage pile. Anytime a crop is flooded and you have to harvest it, the harvest card moves to your storage pile for use in trading and, ultimately, to determine the winner of the game.
Secondly, in the planting phase, the crop currently in a state of flooding cannot be planted. If you were holding on to some onions, for example, and onions come up on your turn as the flooded crop, you’re going to have to wait until your next turn to plant them – and hope that they don’t end up flooded again!
Once the flood phase is done, the player’s turn continues into the next phase – trading! In the trading phase, the player can take a combination of cards and trade with the draw pile in order to either gain a new card (or cards) or to create a new flood. Players are NOT allowed to trade with one another, as this would work against them in the end. Negotiations, no matter how fun they can be, would be somewhat damaging to the game and thus all trades are made with the draw deck following these basic rules:

Cards being traded MUST be from your hand or from your storage area. You cannot remove cards from your fields in the hopes of trading them in.
A player may take two cards from their hand or remove two cards from their storage (or one from each area) and sell them at market (the “market” being the draw deck) for one new card, which they place in their hand.
A player may alternately make an offering to the Egyptian deity Hapi – in this case taking their two cards (again in the combinations listed for the market trade) and discarding them in order to flip a new flood card. This is advantageous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ability to screw other players in a number of different ways.
Trades can continue for as long as you have cards to trade – and believe me, trading comes in very handy.

Once the trading phase of the player’s turn has come to an end, it’s time to get out into the fields and start planting! If you don’t plant, you can’t harvest and if you don’t harvest, you don’t win. It’s just that simple.

As with the other phases, planting has a number of rules which player’s must abide by. To plant crops, you can do one of the following:

Take TWO or more cards of the same crop type and place them in a new field. If you have two papyrus cards, that works. If you have four lettuce cards, till that soil and plant those seed. If you have one onion, however, you’re out of luck. That is unless…
You plant two different crops using one card each. Take that onion and start a field, while at the same time taking that lone castor card you’ve got and create a second field! Planting one card is dangerous, as you’ll see in a moment, but it’s a way to get a crop on the table.
You can also add as many cards as you want to any existing field in your play area. If you’ve got castor, flax and onions in your field, and you have one card of each in your hand, feel free to plant them all!

Remember, you can’t plant crops that are currently represented on the flood card!

When planting, it’s also important to remember that players cannot, at any time, plant a crop in their fields that is already represented in another player’s field. If player one is growing lettuce, for example, player two can’t plant it – UNLESS they play more cards in their field than those in the opposing player’s field. To illustrate:

“Pete has two lettuce cards on the table. He’s been working diligently over time in the hopes that he can harvest his crop and keep his family fed with delicious, nutritious salad. He ends his turn and the next player up is Evie. She draws her flood card and it’s onions! That’s too bad, because Evie has four onions in her hand and only two lettuce cards – meaning she can’t plant onions, due to the flood and she can’t plant lettuce because she doesn’t have more lettuce cards than Pete. However, Evie is a smart cookie and decides to head to market in the hopes of making an equitable trade. She gives away two onions and is rewarded with a fresh new random card from the draw pile- a lettuce card. Now, Evie has three lettuce and a plan! Taking her three lettuce, she places them in her field, laughing manically, as Pete sighs. He removes his two lettuce and discards them. There will be no salad in the coming months for his family. Evie, however, managed to gain the upper hand through smart trading and a bit of cunning.”

The moral? No two players can have the same crop, but you can take a crop from another player by playing MORE cards in your field than your opponent has in theirs. And yes, the illustration was a true story.

If you opt not to plant, you can, instead, choose to speculate on crop futures. This is the “wheeling and dealing” part of the game. If you’ve got a speculation card in your hand, you can play it onto the table instead of planting a crop. In fact, you can play multiple speculation cards on the table instead of planting! Speculation cards cannot be harvested, but can be used to gain bonus cards. If you look at a speculation card, you’ll notice that it features two distinct crops. During the flooding phase, a speculation card causes those two crops depicted to become flooded. During the planting/speculation phase, however, you’re essentially betting on the next crop card to be downed by the mighty Nile! If you played a speculation card that had flax/papyrus and flax is flooded on the next player’s turn, you receive three bonus cards! If you had a second speculation card that featured flax/castor, you’d receive a total of six free cards! Is that great or what?

Of course, if you were to play the exact same speculation cards and wheat happens to be drawn, you get nothing. Plain and simple. Regardless – speculate, speculate, speculate! It may give you the upper hand in the end.

Finally, after all is said and done, once all the flooding, harvesting, trading, planting and speculation have been completed, the player draws two cards and play goes to the next person, who then starts their turn by flipping over the top card of the draw pile thus flooding a brand new crop! Play continues like this until the draw pile is exhausted, at which time the current season ends. Depending on the number of people, the draw pile is reshuffled and a new season begins. Once the final season is completed, the game is over and the victor is revealed…

But first, let’s talk about the expansion and how it works prior to ending our game!

If you add the expansion to NILE, you’ll place a new commodity into the game – Stone. Stone is “planted” in much the same way as a typical crop, but it works a bit differently in harvest phases. Planting stone uses the same planting rules, so you can either plant two stone cards (or more) at one time or plant one stone card, along with another crop. When a stone card is placed in your field, you’re granted one of the three monument cards included in the game. These monuments have special abilities and powers, all of which come in pretty handy:

The Sphinx – The Sphinx is generous and allows you to harvest TWO crop cards instead of one during your harvest phase.
The Obelisk – The Obelisk grants the player the power to gain three cards, instead of two during the draw phase. It also provides the player with double the cards for a successful speculation!
The Wall – The Wall is my favorite of the monuments, as it forces a player to play TWO more cards in their effort to usurp your field. If I have three lettuce, for example, a person would need four lettuce to force me to discard my field, but if I have the Wall in play, they would be required to have five, making it a bit more difficult to get rid of my field.

Once a person has a monument, they are free to use it until either another player steals it, which in this case is done in exactly the same manner as planting a crop another player has – you just need to have more stone than your neighbor, or if the monument is removed during the harvest phase (every time a stone card is drawn during the flood, you remove one stone. When you remove the last stone you had, the stone is discarded and the monument returns to the general play area, waiting to be created once more).

The expansion adds a lot to the game and is honestly the way I’ll play NILE from now on. It adds a bit more strategy and makes the game a little more cut-throat. Players can control as many monuments as they have stone fields to handle them, too!

Oh, before I get to the end of the game scoring mechanics, I’d like to talk about my favorite card – THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS! To put it simply, this is the only card in the game that can truly mess you up and believe me, it will mess you up! As I stated before, the only way to plant a crop type that’s already on the board is to pony up a field containing more cards than the player whose crop you wish to plant. To keep players from doing this, a smart farmer will keep adding cards to their field so that the cost to replace a field becomes more trouble than it’s worth! If I have six flax cards in my field, not many people are going to waste the time to put down a field of seven and force me to discard!

That’s where the locusts laugh in your face.

You see, when this card is drawn, something terrible happens. The largest crop yield in any ONE field is devoured, leaving that farmer cursing their fates. If there is a tie, all fields in the tie are consumed and many farmers will cry out to their respective deities in anguish, rueing the day they made the decision to plant so much flax! In NILE DeLuxor, there is but one plague card, but when that card is drawn (as it will be each and every season), someone gets screwed. Royally.

Honestly, I’ve been playing NILE DeLuxor for a number of days with a host of different people of all ages (and gaming interests) and have gotten in more games than I can possibly discuss. What’s really wonderful is that an average game of NILE, even with a full complement, is roughly a half an hour, meaning that you can cram a number of games into a short period of time if you’re really on top of it. The rules are so simple to learn, the game itself is easy to teach and the gameplay is easy enough that every person I introduced it to could get into it with little effort. My daughter absolutely loved the game, both enjoying the Egyptian thematic element and the whole concept of managing different crops. At nine years old, the basic strategy was easy enough to comprehend and she was busting my chops every chance she could get – be it from forcing me to discard whole crops (several times in a row) or simply harvesting more crops than I could keep up with due to her “mad trading skills”! Where we did run into trouble, both with her and some of the other play groups, was in the final scoring. I think people misunderstood how the victor is crowned in the end and instead of making sure to have at least one of every crop in their storage bin, players would simply harvest and plant what they had. In fact, in our first few sessions, we weren’t even trading as often as we did in later games, simply due to the fact that we didn’t see a benefit in it. Of course, as you get one or two games under your belt, you start to understand that trading is a crucial part of the game and that you can really cause a lot of damage by gaining an extra card from the market or praying to Hapi in order to cause another flood!

In the end, I found that two groups really got more out of it than the others. My daughter and her friends liked it and those who weren’t as hardcore about gaming enjoyed it. In all honesty, almost every person who played it enjoyed it in some way, but the hardcore gamers saw it more as filler than anything else – that game you play while someone is setting up Arkham Horror, for example. For the most part, however, the majority of those who played actually kept up through a number of several hours sessions – a task they said they’d love to do again.

As for me, I quite enjoyed NILE DeLuxor. I can see where the expansion makes the game more interesting (and is almost necessary to add more depth), without distracting from the relative simplicity of the gameplay. That’s not to say that the game itself is a simple one! The concept is easy to grasp, but there is a fair amount of strategy involved, a lot of which is purely observational. A favorite tactic of mine was to try and monitor which crops people had yet to plant and do my best to prevent them from ever being able to do so. In this way, I could attempt to harvest every crop, while forcing the other players to miss at least one, thus making me the winner. With four or more people, this tactic becomes insanely hard, but when you’re dealing with two or three, well, it’s certainly easier. The act of causing multiple floods in the same turn also offers up some nice opportunities to (hopefully) force people to harvest crops so that you can either eliminate their crop through the harvest itself or reduce their cards enough so that you can destroy their crop and plant it yourself. It’s a nasty tactic and it has it’s downside (they still get to harvest), but it does provide more opportunities to plant. Not to mention that you could harvest multiple times in the same turn (as my daughter loved to do). Her tactic of taking surplus from her storage area in order to cause more floods was brilliant!

In the end, this is a game I’d highly recommend. The rules are well written and simple enough to be grasped by a number of demographics, the gameplay is paced well and there is no downtime at all, the artwork and theme is delightful and well produced and the game itself is simply fun – for both a night of gameplay or a quick game at lunch!

* This review is a shortened version of a review I wrote for meeplesnextdoor.com *

These tattoos are inexpensive, easy to apply and my son likes them. A child would not, however, be able to do them alone as you have to cut the actual paper to get the tattoo that you want – it is like two small sheets of tattoos. Which is fine for us but just an FYI.

MY HUSBANDS DAUGHTER LOVES DNOSAURS AND TATTOOS SO THIS WAS GREAT! THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A STOCKING STUFFER BUT HE GAVE THEM TO HER EARLY LOL SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM AND THEY WENT ON GREAT. THEY WERE A GOOD SIZE AND DIDNT FLAKE OFF AN HOUR AFTER SHE PUT THEM ON.. NOW IVE GOT TO BUY MORE! πŸ™‚

Bought this for my kid who’s been sucking up maze books by the bundle and this quickly became one of his favourites! Not your typical boring maze book; the illustrations are super fun and the mazes all have a “story” behind them. The illustrations are so good in fact the book actually doubles as a coloring book! Highly recommend…

These guys are in the tradition of GWAR, as far as looks go. But GWAR were more over-the-top.

I used to despise Cookie Monster Vocals, but I sort of warmed up to that style with bands like Unearth, Amon Amarth, and some Killswitch Engage. It’s hit and miss. You gotta acquire a taste for it first, then you can sort out the good from the bad. To the untrained ear it’s all just a lot of slobbery noise, but when you get that feel for it you begin to appreciate the raw force these bands can drum up.

Well…some of them anyway.

Cool work! I love the D&D influence! Very Gygaxian.

Water weirds hold a special place in my heart because of the cover to one of the old choose-your-own-quest books. I once had a brief correspondence with Rose Estes, the original author of those books. Very nice lady.

Anyway, love this artwork. It's actually quite charming. Thanks for sharing!

Faces is packed with all kinds of information on a range of topics that spans the world. Issues cover individual countries and cultures or things that affect the whole world, like human rights. Its light but educational articles are accompanied by tons of photos, contests, plays or stories and topic related activities. Targeted at 9 to 14 year olds, it’s fun and interesting for adults as well.

FACES is a great magazine that lets children explore many cultures from around the world. Through folk tales, photos, and maps FACES takes its readers on an adventure that teaches them about the lives, traditions, and pastimes of many cultures. FACES’ target audience is between the ages of 9 and 14, but its interesting articles and entertaining themes are suitable for any reader looking for knowledge. You will learn about many places in the pages of FACES.

Yeah, terrific stuff. The image of Nogwatch is beautiful.

There is an artist who makes the St. James Art Festival every year in Louisville, KY, who I think you’d really dig. And dammit I can’t remember his name. I’ll dig it up and post a link if he has a sight. Very much along these lines.

I’m definitely aware of Terry Pratchett but, I have never explored his works. I’m going to have to try out this “audio-book” thing. You kids and your futuristic contraptions!

Despite only knowing of him by name; I’m saddened to hear about his illness. It sucks when a creator’s doorway to expression is threatening to be shut.

Chuck: I know huh?

Ok to answer your questions. Make a living off of it? well if i put more effort in going to shows and pushing them – i prob could. My prints do better when i am there. I have several sizes ranging from 13×19 to the big ones. All are limited which was really important and all (which is more important) are separate (but 1) from my books and such. It opens my audience quite a bit- Especially to those not interested in my stories but are interested in my art. It’s all supplemental right now, but i really don’t pull into my reg income to make it happen which is nice.

Nate: stardusters was a test that was about 3 to 4 years old- trust me i hate comic sans- one day if time permits I might drag it out and tackle it again but I am working re-hooking up with some book publishers and tackle some childrens illustrations with a comic like flare:)

I love the blambot site as well. I am playing with a few of the fonts. I am though looking for a nice comic lettering font with lower case.

Just the thought of Barry in space makes me laugh!

Travis, if you’re still here, I have a couple of questions: are you able to making a living off the prints and stuff, or is it basically supplemental income? Where do you make you most sales, online or through actual shows?

wow what an honor guys-

prankster- i am not leaving comics entirely and if the right project comes along i will jump on it- i am just focusing on many other good projects that are more challenging to me and little less demanding. One of the things i am looking for is really the right project for me to latch on to.

hey ap- book 2 will go tomorrow just need to sign it.

Believe it or not, I have never read Elfquest — It always seemed a bit too cutesy for me, but I actually went to see Wendy Pini speak at the Cartoon Art Museum in SF a couple of weeks ago and though then that I really ought to give it a go… guess now I have no excuse!

I own Volume 1 & 2 of the collections, one in hardback. I haven’t read the other two yet.

I remember an ad in a Marvel comic…I think it was John Carter, Warlord of Mars. Must have been 1980-1982. I can’t remember the year because I didn’t really pay that much attention back then. But there was an ad showing two child-like people, one with a sword, and there was a cave and perhaps a serpent. I don’t remember. But it really stuck in my subconscious. I’ve always assumed it was Elfquest. I might be wrong. But that day was one of the watershed moments of my life. I was 9 or 10.

Anyway, the Pinis are fantastic. Wendy’s art is incredible, seminal, and highly influential.