One of my favourite discoveries of recent months, the works of Creighton Broadhurst and his group Raging Swan Press have served as an inspiration and a great resource for me to call on in the quiet moments where ideas are running short and just need to be given a push until momentum takes over.
As it stands I am not short of ideas, but after spotting this headline I’m prepared to push a few planned articles back a week. Creighton‘s list and mine will differ quite radically though, I’m not so interested in running famous dungeons or campaigns, while I sit and peruse some of the classics from time to time I’m a firm believer in finding my own style and adjusting as I play, rather than finding someone else’s style and adapting it to my own, and after ten years and forty articles I’d like to think I know my style at this point. (more…)
A game for the criminally imaginative, that’s the tagline. Whilst board games have enjoyed a massive resurgence in the 2000’s and beyond, so too have games where there are less typical boards involved. This month, we investigate a game that’s been on my “to play” list for quite some time – Rogues to Riches. This was a game I backed on Kickstarter quite some time ago and I received it late last year. We finally got around to playing it as a small group at this past GeekOut Bristol Meet and I will say it’s one of the most funny games I’ve picked up in quite some time. Read on for our full review!
Fifteen days to go until the jolly man in red descends down our chimneys once again, in the world’s greatest game of Thief. But don’t you worry, he’s not going to rob you – Only put some things down your stockings. Oo-err. But never you mind what this phantom of kindness is doing late at night, creeping around – He means well!
However, if you can’t rely on Santa’s most recent sat nav system, then you needn’t worry! We’ve devised a Top 10 worthy to stuff your stockings, so strap yourselves in – We’re going to sleigh you with these Top 10 Geeky Stocking Fillers. Before we rush into this one and unwrap all these awesome gifts, the base rule for this was: It should fit in a pretty standard sized stocking, rather than a sack. It should also be relatively inexpensive (The maximum price of an item is £15).
10) Tabletop Minis
Quick and easy, something nice for the tabletop gamer in your life, or just someone who likes to build and paint creatively. The beauty of a new mini is that you can’t go too far wrong, at least if you’ve got the right genre. A good looking mini isn’t just a pretty ornament, but can often serve multiple uses; today’s cleric is tomorrow’s captain of the guard, what’s a power-armoured soldier now could easily be a cargo android in another game. Alternatively there’s no reason not to canibalize a gifted mini for spare parts, your new pirate could sacrifice an arm to give your ranger a musket.
There’s a surprising amount of high-quality, cheap miniatures, and even miniature scenery out there that’d make a great gift for gamers of all stripes, or someone with a penchant for crafting and painting might find a new challenge in a model they’ve never seen before. And if your recipient has a particular fandom, by-and-large you’ll find a miniature out there for them too.
Not Borderlands though, I tried.
9) Dice Games
I’m sure you’ve probably at least heard of the game Zombie Dice if you’re on this website? If not, then don’t worry – It’s a teeny tiny little game that features some specifically labelled dice. You roll them, check the action, keep score and keep going until someone is a winner. There’s also Cthulhu Dice, which is exactly the same, but with more insanity involved. Simple, easy, small – Perfect stocking filler.
But what if that special geek doesn’t actually want a dice game? Well, you can very rarely go wrong with a special set of dice. Websites are popping up all over the place, offering custom dice sets, so why not check them out?
8) Cardboard VR Headset
Right, so get this. In the year 2014, VR was definitely becoming a reality. I mean, it was all brand new and all a bit fledgeling, but it was certainly on our horizon. Jump forward a year or two and BANG! We’re hit by wave upon wave of Google Cardboard-wannabe’s – but this is a great thing to the average consumer.
If the geek in your life loves a little bit of cheeky tech, then why not consider buying a VR headset for their phones? They come either pre-built or flatpacked, depending on the package you pick up. They have cheap little lenses inside of them and bang – You can see in a VR world. How exciting is that? It’s all rather new, plus they have to have a relatively good phone, but hey – They can get involved with VR right now for dirt cheap.
7) Giant Microbes
Did you always want to give someone the plague, but you were never sure how to get hold of it? Want to post anthrax to a friend without getting arrested? Want to smack people in the face with yeast but couldn’t get a solid handful? The good news is you can get these and many more microbes, cells, viruses and parasites in plushy and adorable form.
This season you can give the gift of gangrene, cholera, or blood. There are also… less tasteful options for the people in your life with a sick sense of humour, basically anyone with whom you’ve played a game of Cards Against Humanity. That said, many of these little gifts have a far friendlier side, right now if you give your friends the Zika virus, some of the proceeds from the sale will also go towards supporting relief for those currently suffering in the recent outbreak.
6) Booster Packs
We’ve a tendency to collect, is that fair to say? We like stuff, and the stuff we like, we want more of. Boosters of collectible card games, Lego minifigures, Minecraft mystery boxes, Marvel dice, all of these little randomly selected additions to our ever growing collection take just a sliver more space away and yet add so much value.
Plus boosters are often cheap and easy to grab a fistfull of and shove them in with some of your well thought out and carefully selected presents. Didn’t get the card you wanted? Don’t blame me, blame the booster.
A specific example of high-quality geeky t-shirts at an amazingly good value. These guys are regulars to the convention scene and yes, I’ve got quite a few of their t-shirts. They’re comfortable, they’re light and they look amazing. The designs are really well thought out and I often get comments on the ones that I wear.
But it’s as if they are aware that Christmas is a thing. They do a whole section dedicated to £10 t-shirts. From sizes Small to XX-Large, there are plenty of different designs which are of a high quality. So, why not get that geek in your life a super cool t-shirt from some guys who are also absolutely super cool.
4) Love Letter
How very sweet. Or… actually no, not very. If anything this is a cutthroat and underhanded little game in which all players are seeking to win the favour of the princess, and using their sway in court to pass a token of their affection to someone as close to her as possible.
It’s actually one of the most simple games I have ever played, consists of no more than sixteen cards and a fistful of tokens all contained in an elegant drawstring bag, and you never have more than two cards at a time. It takes moments to learn, but time to master, as you start counting every card in play, guessing what each play could mean.
This is a very specific present, but hold on there. This speaker is teeny tiny, at something daft like 6cm tall by 6cm wide. Yeah no, that’s the size, it’s teeny tiny and it’s been on offer for £8 for quite some time. It’s typically only £15 normally and I’d gladly pay the full price, but I got 2 for the price of 1 and £1 extra. Well worth it.
This is the speaker that’s inside of our brand new GOCade (more info on that to come by on Mondays article). This is also a teeny tiny speaker that was vastly superior to our little TVs sound quality… And it’s loud as hell. It’s amazing, for such a tiny little device and so we figured, if you’re looking for a gift for an audiophile, this is that gift. What’s more, it won’t break your bank, but it might break your windows!
For every fandom there is merchandise, most of them made by Funko of course, but there’s always your Fallout bobblheads, special edition statuettes, or a comicbook shop’s glass cabinet filled with superbly made sculptures that most certainly should not appear in someone’s stocking – too big and too pricey. A well made, high quality figure needn’t be big or pricey, but they’re a lovely way to celebrate your fandom, or perhaps show your understanding for that of your friends and family.
Of course it’s always hard to find space for these things, and a tough decision to be made as to whether or not to keep the box – always worth debating your resale value – but no reason to let such considerations hold you back from getting some for other people. You never know when you might stumble across that unique find, or the one thing they’ve wanted but would never buy for themselves.
1) Nerf Gun Jolt & Darts
If you’ve never had the power of the air-propelled pistols in your hand, you’ve been missing out. I received my first Nerf Gun during the 2014 Super Secret Santa and you know what? I’ve kept it ever since – So if The British Bumpkins ever read this, huge thank you to both. I remember who gives me gifts – Especially when they own up to it!
So Nerf Guns are really simple little things. You put a spongy little foam dart into the a slot, then you aim the Nerf Gun at your friend and POP! You pull the trigger and your friend explodes backwards in a firey inferno, screaming “OH GOD WHY THE NERFS?!” Thankfully, this is just a dramatisation of what happens when I get hit by a Nerf Dart. The truth is, they don’t hurt what so ever and they’re great fun. I often have fired them off of walls, letting them come bouncing back to my hands and doing it all over again.
We’re getting somewhere near the bottom, almost time to start interacting with the relatives, overeating, and silently dreading returning to work. All the good stuff is gone, but there’s still a couple of packages down here before you reach the satsuma that’ll end up back in the fruit bowl before dinner.
Posters – GeekOut Posters
Ah yes, the poster is a very simple concept that everyone can buy into. I mean, it might be that the special geek in your life is really into Minecraft. There are posters dedicated to Minecraft. What about Game of Thrones? Don’t you worry: There are definitely posters for the hit show! Heck, posters are a perfect and relatively inexpensive item to put down somebodies stocking. You can even buy specific poster tubes, which again are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at your local post office. Lovely.
Wait a minute, what’s this?! Your favourite website that produces Top 10s every single week without fail also sell posters?! Let us know in the comments if you need one for Christmas! We’ll do a Christmas deal! That’s right, 3 posters for £1.50 + PnP! That’s just 50p per poster! PnP will be £3.50! Just £5 for three posters, ho, ho, ho that’s a merry deal for you! (No serious, leave us a comment and we’ll sort you out.)
This is a bit of an odd one. Personally I’ve no dislike of vouchers, it’s not exactly high-effort but it shows a lot more consideration than cold cash. Both are a kindly gesture for sure, but at least a voucher shows better knowledge of the recipient, and who doesn’t like some control over what they get for Christmas; wishlists exist for a reason. But here’s why we dumped vouchers into the honourable section.
Would you really expect to see a voucher in a stocking? Envelope, sure. Cards, or even the bit of card it card it was hung upon in the first place, but surely a stocking is no place for it. A voucher is flat, easily folded, spindled and mutilated beyond use, and a stocking is usually filled indiscriminately with assorted stuff. By all means get your friends and family a voucher (perhaps Steam, League of Legends, or the local bookshop, keep it geeky folks) but if you’re going to load it into their stocking then you’re weird, and frankly wrong.
We’re all out of wrapping paper for all of these amazing gifts, so why don’t you get on down to your local shops to pick some of these up? I mean, after all, we’ve given you enough ideas to start buying gifts for that geek in your life, so why don’t you just get on with it?! Honestly, we couldn’t tell you anything else to buy – But you can tell us what we should do a Top 10 of next week by voting in the votes below! We’re fast approaching the end of the year..!
Now of course, we didn’t accommodate those boys and girls who were naughty – They don’t deserve geeky goodness, but perhaps a pop with a Nerf Gun will put them in check. What do you think of our list of geeky goodies in a stocking? What will you be putting in a Christmas stocking soon? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
So it’s now been over a year since my first article that I wrote for GeekOut but my regular Wednesday slot started on 16th December 2015. It’s been an interesting challenge writing for the site. At times my mind has slipped into panic as it desperately tries to figure out what I’m going write about. I’ve tried hard to find interesting content; not only to write about, but also for our readers, so I hope you have enjoyed the content.
Oh the weather outside is frightful and the fire is sooo delightful, when there’s simply no place to go… Oh, who put this massive ice wall outside of my house?
Yes, that’s right, we’re looking at the Top 10 Ice Moves & Attacks this week, a very specific kind of attack. The only rules we have for this is that it has to be the actual ability that is ice. It needn’t be aggressive, but the user needs to have been able to manipulate ice to some capacity. Therefore, we won’t be allowing a weapon that’s made of ice, unless it requires them to maintain its iciness.
FREEZE! You need to cool off… Er, no more puns. Let’s get on with this list.
10) Smash (Ice Climbers) – Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Notoriously cute, the Ice Climbers are a duo of eskimos who have teeny tiny little hammers in their hands. Named Popo (in blue) and Nana (in pink), they come from a game released back in the mid 80s simply called Ice Climber. Normally, you’d play as Popo, with Nana being controlled by the CPU – and in Smash Bros, this is no different. You control Popo, with Nana mimicking Popo’s actions.
They make this list, but only just, as their ultimate ability in Smash Bros. is to summon a huge mountain of ice. When their opponents touch it, they can freeze up completely, becoming immobilised and being moved around by physics alone. Their ability however is all they really have going for them as they are by far one of, if not the hardest character to learn in the game. Nevermind little Eskimos, you’re still amongst the cutest characters in game.
Uh, forgive me, Pikachu and Jigglypuff…
9) Wall of Frost – Magic: the Gathering
Pretty much a must have card for any blue or blue mixture deck. If you need to buy yourself some time to drop some cruel trick on your opponent, want to give them pause for thought when deciding whether or not to attack, or want them to be left wide open while you slip past their big guns, there is no reason not to want a wall of frost in between you and them. Crazy low cost, high toughness, and freezes any creature that touches it.
Only one MtG card in the game is more useful and/or iconic, the indestructible (and flying) Fog Bank, but that barely needs a whif of damage before it’s dispersed. The Wall of Ice is not only one hell of a nuisance for your enemies, they’re also tough to shift. So sit back, relax behind your freezing fortress, and counter every attempt to pull it down with all that mana you’ve left untapped.
8) Hyoten Hyakkaso/Frozen Heavens Hundred Flower Funeral – Bleach
As captain of the 10th brigade, Toshiro Hitsugaya is in possession of one of the most devastatingly powerful Zanpakuto in all of Soul Society. In the sword’s final released form – Daiguren Hyorinmaru/Grand Crimson Lotus Ice Ring – the sword forms a kind of armour formed of ice, in the shape of a dragon, sculpted around him. This in itself would be awesome enough, but it’s still technically an item, not a power. Hyoten Hyakkaso is a power only available to Daiguren Hyorinmaru.
A hole opens in the sky, and it begins to snow. Everywhere the flakes touch their sprouts a flower with petals of razor sharp ice crystals. The snowflakes settle on any surface they contact, such as his enemy’s weapon and body, finally encasing them fully in a tomb of ice. This is not his only power to encase his enemy in ice, but it is the most inescapable, insidious, and devastating power he weilds…
7) Ice Block – Warcraft
Probably the most iconic Mage move bar for the mighty powerful Pyroblast, Ice Block is a highly defensive move, allowing the Mage chance to get some much needed survivability. This is a move mostly used in Player vs Player combat in World of Warcraft, Ice Block is best used when you can get some backup from other players on your team, so you can then release yourself back into the middle of a group fight.
However, Ice Block has been in more than just World of Warcraft; it’s been around in Warcraft lore for a very long time. It’s by far the most important survivability move a Mage can have. Still, it was later ‘replaced’ due to talents, but it’s still in game, so don’t worry fans of Vanilla!
6) Mei’s Ice Wall – Overwatch
Let me be honest; I didn’t see this coming myself. However, when we were considering the ice moves and attacks, this was actually a much improved version of Wall of Frost from Magic: the Gathering, simply because it’s portable! It’s a great big wall in the way of the opponent’s, blocking Mei and her teammates from incoming pain. It must be great to hide behind a wall of frost.
Mei dresses in warm clothing, but she’s not an Eskimo. Nope, she’s Chinese in nationality, but it seems she learned how to be cold as ice (HAH) in the process. Her Ice Wall has 5 pillars, each with its own 500 health. To be fair; that’s a lot of health for a basic wall that can be put up anywhere. Lasting for 4.5 seconds, this is a very strategic support ability which can change the pace of a game.
5) Blizzard – Pokemon
Oh we had a lot to choose from here.
Actually it came down to two of the best ice-moves from Gen 1, but while Aurora Beam is beautiful, clever, and has rather nice lingering effects, Blizzard is so much more iconic, and frankly it was the first move to spring to mind when we even considered the list. Incredible power, high accuracy (because you can’t outrun the storm!!!) and a chance to freeze your opponent where they stand, it’s about as icy as you can get.
In Red/Blue versions, blizzard is surprisingly only available to two pokemon, Jynx and Arcticuno. It has only been out-weighed by a couple of ice-moves from Gen 5, and has long been the crown jewel of an ice-type’s moveset, and is a great TM to add to your high-powered team members.
4) Mr. Freeze’s Freeze Gun – Batman
We all probably remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger rendition of Mr. Freeze, as it is highly memorable unto itself, but let’s not take away from the character here. Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s most famous enemies, as noted by the fact he makes up part of the Rogue’s Gallery. Often depicted as having fallen victim to an industrial accident whilst trying to save his wife’s life, he’s a tragic character who is prone to saying things like “Chilled to perfection.”
One-liners and Arnold’s performance aside, Mr. Freeze has one of the most powerful ice-manipulation weapons I think I’ve just about ever seen. He just misses out on our top 3, to which we have some real crazy abilities, however this gun is elegant in its simplicity. Able to freeze an opponent completely, the ice gun is one weapon you do not want to get on the wrong side of.
Sheesh, talk about giving your enemy the cold shoulder!
3) Heat Death – “Iceman” Bobby Drake
X-Men founding member Bobby Drake’s ability to turn water vapours into solid blocks of ice is fairly well documented, and his distinctive power to change his entire form into ice. By and large he does this by slowing the vibrations of water molecules to reduce them to freezing temperature. It’s a rather useful skill, to be sure, but lesser known fact is that Bobby is reducing the vibration of molecules to a complete stop.
The universe strives to reach equilibrium, ending all energy and motion and reaching a state of absolute zero, a terrible expanse of darkness, nothingness. Now, Iceman’s ability can accelerate the process in its own little way, but at his peak of power he can actually bring about the total heat death of the universe, classifying him as an Omega Level mutant. A mutant capable of bringing about the end.
2) Ice Form – Skyrim
Before I start this one, please do watch the above video. No, no, seriously – I’ll wait right here. You go on now. Okay, has your laugh-tank been depleted? Great, let’s continue.
Ice Form is a rather powerful shout in the smash hit, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. You assume the role of the Dragonborn, a powerful entity who is able to speak in the language of dragons. Your role is to go and kill the dragons that have returned, take their souls and use their souls as a fuel to power your Shouts. Of course, there’s a bit more story to it, but that’s the jist of what being Dragonborn is about.
Ice Form is one of these shouts. You shout at your enemy until their frozen, however this is where the move stops being a cool move. It crystalises into something that breaks the game in the funniest of ways. Well, breaks enemies and yourself in the weirdest way anyway. If Ice Form is shouted on you or an opponent, the body hits the ground in a bizarre way… And the game can’t physics any more.
It forgets how gravity works and it thinks that you’re going to go on a jet-speed flying trip around the universe. Because, y’know, Bethesda Quality? (We do love you, Bethesda. No harm meant~) Oh and if you want one more video, check out the above.
1) Sub Zero’s Ice Clone – Mortal Kombat
Whether Sub Zero is the more popular MK character than Scorpion, that’s another article in itself. However, let us discuss one of his more potent and versatile moves, a statue of himself made of solid ice. If your opponent so much as touches the clone they become flash-frozen, leaving them wide open for a follow up attack, but so what? They can just move around it, right? Well Sub Zero can actually throw the frosty figuring straight at his enemies, making it far harder to simply side-step without getting frozen. If Sub Zero has a clone out and suffers a deadly injury? No worries, you were beating up the clone this whole time and I was over here staying really still.
While some may feel the ice puddle is more memorable, or the tombstone teleport looked cooler, I say that leaving a perfect copy of your body that’s cold enough to freeze a human being fully on mere contact is too cool to pass up and you can just throw it at them. It’s a power shared by both incarnations, Bi-Han (now Noob Saibot) and Kuai Liang, and is way more awesome than making the ground a bit slippy, and for that matter, any other ice-powers you care to mention.
Have you had the time to cool off, or are you feeling a little cold from all of these puns? Well, Icy that you need to have some time out, so here’s some honourable mentions for this list. These are our picks for honourable; not getting to the main list due to their lack of oomph.
Ice Crown – Adventure Time
More of an object than a move or power, but if we’re discussing icy powers then it’s absolutely worth a nod. At the cost of your memories and sanity, the bearer of the crown of ice created by the first of the Ice Elementals – Urgence Evergreen – gains immortality, and complete access Evergreen’s magical powers. Bolts of ice are the most basic skill, but the icecrown’s powers seem quite limitless, including freezing the entire world for 400 years without the need for a living bearer.
Shaping and creating ice into whatever shape is useful to the host is a given, shields and weapons with which the host actually possesses greater ability than with normal weapons, a skill called “Fridjitzu”, weather shaping (although only one type of weather), facial hair based flight, and dominion over the ice-based life that seems to occupy the snowier regions of Ooo. All in all there’s no one power the crown possesses that’s of particular remark, but it is remarkable in itself in how it parasitically dominates its wearer.
Ice Man’s Ice Slasher- Megaman
One of the original Robot Masters, Ice Man is one of those bosses that you can’t help but remember from the original Megaman title. However, he wasn’t a final boss or anything; he was just one of the Robot Masters. He was pretty good too – Design wise and ability wise as well. Designed by Dr. Light, he was created for good, until Dr. Wily got ahold of him and the other Robot Masters and reprogrammed him with the intent to take over the world, Pinky.
However, Ice Man’s main ability is Ice Slasher, which when used by Iceman takes the form of a large sword made of ice, which is spat from the mouth. On touch, this can freeze anyone. When you defeat him, you acquire this ability, but for Megaman it turns into an arrow head for… reasons? Perhaps more bafflingly is the fact that Ice Man’s Ice Slasher is the most effective move against Fire Man. No, that’s not just some physically fit guy in flame retardant clothing, stop it.
Ah, we’re finally sat by the fire now, able to heat back up after this rather frosty reception you’ve given us. I mean, just because we’ve been making ice puns throughout the whole of this list doesn’t mean you should be so cold! Nevertheless, we’re here to do a damn good job of these Top 10’s and so we hope you’ll now pick our next Top 10 which will be ready next Saturday. You might notice a theme with the lists this month!
That’s it for this week, hopefully you’re going to stick around through this festive season and let us know what you thought about the above Top 10 list. Do you agree with Sub Zero being our number one choice on this list? For the record, between Joel and Timlah, the choice of Sub Zero was 100% undenied. We could not justify anything else that made our list getting the number one slot, but the Ice Form shout getting number two only made it there through game-breaking comedy. Was that the right move? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
A world gone awry, a land desecrated. People and creatures sparse and cultures completely gone to waste, this is a list of those worlds that we remember. Not just words: But these are Dystopian Worlds. It doesn’t matter how the world around them is falling apart. It could have been ravaged by rambunctious aliens, or it could have been war gone wrong. Perhaps nukes have gone off and all that’s left are wastelands, or perhaps they live in a bleak future, where people depend on substance to survive. All we know is that the lands we’ve chosen today are our Top 10 Dystopian Worlds.
Whether your buying pre-made, building from a kit or crafting for yourself, when making scenery for tabletop wargames or RPGs there are a few materials that are most commonly used due to ease, price, and effectiveness. You can use anything you like of course, but there are some definite favourites, and it’s a surprisingly common conversation.
Here’s a few things to consider when deciding how to populate your table. (more…)
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted the results of last week’s vote. Well we’re certainly not ones to chicken out of a tough list, but we did flock together with Kevin from The Mental Attic to get the job done. He helped us to gather up a veritable aviary drawn from geek culture, and try and arrange them in to some kind of logical order. I don’t know what you do for fun on a Thursday night but this is our kind of party at GeekOut.
Traditional games have become such a raging success over the past few years, that it’s no surprise that some companies have gotten rather good at producing them. Two years ago, we received the world wide success that is Exploding Kittens from The Oatmeal. This game has been played so often at our meetups, that it’s sometimes tempting to buy a second copy of it, just so more people can get involved. Instead however, there are expansions for the game and now, The Oatmeal are back with a brand new title.