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Pokémon: An Anime Review

pokemon

There are some anime that really need no introduction. It takes a very special kind of story to captivate audiences for over twenty years. It would have to be the kind of story that has a little bit of everything that makes a story great.

That is exactly what Pokémon is, an anime that came at the right time with all the right elements for a great story. The anime first aired in 1997 and hooked fans from the start. The story had an interesting group of “pocket monsters” who were inspired by real animals and creatures. While starting in Japan it also became a huge hit in the United States. The television series spawned spin-off movies, trading cards, stuffed toys, games and all kinds of toys. New seasons of the show are still going, helping to inspire new trainers everywhere. 

A young boy named Ash is on his way to make his dreams come true. His world is full of amazing creatures called Pokémon. Pokémon can be tamed and trained to fight with the help of their human trainers. Most trainers form a very strong friendship with their Pokémon. Each Pokémon has special abilities based on what type of Pokémon they are. They can also evolve into a more powerful version of themselves. Ash and his new friends have many fun adventures in store as they gain new Pokémon allies and, of course, try to fend off the sinister group called Team Rocket.

Pokémon utilizes the tools to make a great story. The character’s have wonderful and sometimes even whimsical designs that intrigue the viewer. The real design stars, though, are the Pokémon themselves. They are drawn from real creatures and myths so so they, like the show itself are both something we know but also something magically different. The music is perfect with what is happening with the story line. The characters are interesting. They, like their Pokémon, also evolve throughout the series. 

I, like many other anime fans, grew up with Pokémon. It is a great anime that showcases the power of friendship and learning. I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is kid friendly but also funny enough for anime fans of different ages. It also has a fantastic theme song. 

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Crymson’s Top 10 Completed Webtoons

Everyone knows that I am a big fan of Webtoons.com, with a subscription to over 150 comics. Here are some of my favorite completed comics.

10. Asuras Bride

‘On her way to an arranged marriage, a haughty princess is ambushed and held captive by bandits until she is rescued by a tired, hungry and pissed off soldier. All the accidental knight-in-shining-armour wants is to get some sleep after returning from the battlefield – but having a beautiful princess in tow is making it very difficult for him to do so, in more ways than one.’

This was a favorite of mine for a long time. However, the ending is a bit rushed. The artist, Lilyduck, could no longer continue the comic on top of their other endeavors, but they gave us a satisfying ending and that is all I can ask for. 

9. UndeadEd

‘After being declared clinically dead, traveling salesman Ed Zamsa tries to go on with his life regardless of his strange condition. As if things weren’t hard enough without being dead.’

I learned about this comic by reading Apocalyptic Horseplay, another comic by Boardman. It’s a cute adventure that made me very happy. It takes, what I think, a more realistic approach to the situation and introduces us to characters that we run into again in the author’s other comic. This made me want to cuddle the comics all the more. 

8. The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn

‘Follow the journey of the world’s greatest paranormal investigator – Oscar Zahn. Friend to lost souls, enemy of evil, he may lack a body but that doesn’t mean he’s missing a heart!’

Tri Vuong puts together a very well written tale of the odd and mysterious. You are taken on several adventures with Oscar as he tries to save humanity from the shadows. The ending felt a bit awkward to me but was a wonderful tale none the less. 

7. Catharsis

‘Fear is a powerful emotion that can end up overtaking one’s life. Leon thought he knew that. But when he’s thrown into the demonic realm that Catharsis governs over, he’ll learn that there is more to “true” fear than he could ever have imagined… But will he learn how to face it?’

This comic takes you on a wild ride. Filled with a rich history that leaves you yearning for more! Every time I felt like I had an idea of what was going on they threw me for a loop. I really hope that Ahniki has more in store for us from this rich and unique world. 

6. Live Forever

‘After a tragedy, Sarah’s conviction to never lose another loved one drives her to discover a formula for eternal life that provokes a fatal crisis’

I adored this comic for so many reasons. Greyscale artwork with reds. The rich characters that you connected with. The story, the heartache, the message. All very well done. It is a drama with horror elements that I highly recommend. 

5. Super Secret

‘The boy next door, friends for life, is actually a werewolf!’

Super Secret is super cute, weird and so much fun. I find myself loving all the characters surrounding the main character more than the main character at times. It is a wonderful tale that I loved the whole time. I may even read this one again. 

4. Refund Highschool

‘Do you want a refund on your life? Start earning karma at The Refund High School to reincarnate as an ideal version of yourself.’

LICO, the author, provided such an adorable idea here. Going to school to prove that you are good enough to reincarnate into a new life. I loved it. Again, didn’t love the main character all the time but all of the supporting characters are so rich and full of life that I loved them immensely. It’s a long journey with an ending that will sit with you forever.  Bring tissues. 

3. Noblesse (Also Noblesse: Rai’s Adventure)

‘Rai wakes up from 820-years long sleep and starts his new life as a student in a high school founded by his loyal servant, Frankenstein. But his peaceful days with other human students are soon interrupted by mysterious attackers known as the “Unions”.’

I devoured this comic! I stayed up late into the night, many times, delighted with all of the characters. Loving Rai and his friends more than I thought possible. Being brought to tears more than once. Laughing out loud and devouring more ramen thanks to his obsession. With over 500 episodes that spawned a Manga AND Anime, neither of which I have enjoyed at this moment. They even have their own wiki page. If you love vampires, please give this amazing comic your attention. 

Ok, I know you are confused. There is no Number 2. I love these both so much they are both equally amazing and deserve the Number 1 spot.

1. Rainbow in the Dark

‘Urban fairytale of gray vs color in a world of monsters, romance, and epicness! Within the world of gray lives a singular girl. Normalcy is a prison. Everything changes when a colorful band of rebels explode out of nowhere, blasting through the city streets. Swept up in their struggle, she finally finds the one thing that has always eluded her – purpose. Updates every Wednesday.’

Comfort and Adam are incredibly talented (and I’ve had the pleasure of gushing at them about it) and brought home a story that will always be with me. I am even purchasing the Graphic Novel from Amazon so that I can always keep it with me and even share it with others. The tale is rich, full of love, characters you want to protect forever and I was up late just sobbing. I don’t have the words to describe how amazing this story is. It’s definitely one you have to read. I am also reading their other comic The Uniques, waiting for Season 2 to start!

1. Dents

Dents is an apocalyptic journey to the year 2111, where more than half of the world’s population has been wiped out by an ancient plague. After a vaccination is developed, there is a massive increase in the birth of identical twins possessing extraordinary powers, known in society as “Dents.” Following an incident at school, Eleanor learns that she herself is a Dent, separated from her twin at birth, and is quickly swept into an underground society of other Dents trying to survive. Dents will be back with a brand new season!’

I’m not going to lie. I typically don’t read post-apocalyptic unless zombies are involved. I think I was having a bout of insomnia and looking for something to read came across this. I was immediately enthralled and had trouble putting it down. The range of feelings that I had, the characters, the message, the story. Not to mention the beautiful art. It really has it all. Hold tight to your heart and bring tissues for this incredible ride.

What are your favorite completed webtoons?

Dungeon Crawling: Artificer

Image result for D&D Artificer

Lords, ladies, lads and lasses, I am Vinni the Troll and I come to you bearing gifts. The Artificer class is new, shiny, and chock full of new and shiny things.  With the release of the “Eberron: Rising from the Last War” supplement I’ve been happy as a halfling on a dinosaur. The Eberron setting first came out with the 3.5 rules, and now we can play in it 5e style.

Today I shall cover the Artificer. This hybrid battle mage is a master of magical items. Whether it’s the Alchemist and their experimental potions, the Artillerist and their fondness for make things go boom, or the Battle smith waging war on the frontlines with his construct squire, the Artificer has a lot to go over.

The base class features of the Artificer are pretty decent starting with d8 hit dice, light and medium armor proficiency, and shields. Weapon wise they only gain simple weapons, but if your campaign has firearms they gain those as well. They are also skill in the use of tinkers and thieves tools. They only gain a pair of skills from some pretty academic choices, but you’re not here for the skills.

You’re here for the wonderful toys.

At level 2 the artificer gains knowledge of infusions. There are magical blueprints of prototype magic items they can construct and use. Each day they can create or change a limited number of these that will last until they exceed their limit, or will fade away soon after they die.

One rather powerful combo is the repeating shot ranged weapon and a shield. Drop that infusion onto a hand crossbow and it’s +1 weapon that loads itself. Outside of melee combat there’s no need to take the crossbow expert feat. Even then, with the ability to use an infused item as a focus, you could use that same hand crossbow to cast Shocking grasp.

Image result for D&D Artificer

As they level they are able to attune more magic items than a normal PC. Some of their infusions replicate other magic items, and require attunement as normal, so this is a good thing. Maxing out at 6 attuned items with no race or class limit they can really be decked out in the best toys. Their capstone even buffs their saving throws based on the number of attuned items they carry or lets them sacrifice an infused item to recover from dropping to 0 hit points.

As they level the cost and time involved in crafting magic items lessens. They’re able to boost the skill checks and saving throws they (or their allies) make as well. They can even store a 1st or 2nd level spell from the Artificer list inside an item and use it multiple times, essentially creating a wand after a long rest.

The alchemist subclass creates a magical elixir that has a random effect. Higher up they gain a bonus to a healing spell or damaging spell (provided it’s related to acid, fire, necrotic or poison) equal to their intelligence modifier. Even higher they see liberal casting of Restoration spells, granting temporary hit points when their elixirs are imbibed, and they themselves gain resistance to poison and acid. If you wish to be a master potion peddler, this is the subclass for you.

The artillerist, as the name suggests, makes thing go boom. They can summon a short-lived magical turret. This small (or tiny) construct can be summoned as an action, commanded as a bonus action, and can crawl 15ft per turn. They can also be outfitted with either a flamethrower, arcane bolt caster, or shield caster. Eventually they can be ordered to self-destruct, summoned in pairs, grant cover, and resummoning then only costs a spell slot. Also the artillerist can do a little extra damage with their specially carved focus.

Last we have the Battle smith. This intellect warrior can use his intelligence modifier for attack and damage rolls with any magic weapon he wields, and he gains proficiency with all martial weapons as well. He’s also able to create a Steel defender. This four-legged or bipedal buddy will accompany him into battle tearing into his foes, repairing constructs, or deflecting attacks.

In short, if you want an armored spell caster look no further than the artificer. No multiclass needed.

Review: Just One

4-7 player
Age 8+
Designed by Ludovic Rody and Bruno Sutter
Published by Repos Production

Just One is a party game where, in true parlor game fashion, you get a card with a word on it and your friends have to communicate it to you. With Just One, the card is placed on a pleasing white board stand and you pick a number from 1-5, which will communicate the word to your group. The other players then secretly write something related on their white board stands, then compare words. Any repeats are discarded and then these clues are shown to the first player. You then have to work out the word from their brilliant, but obscure clues.

Now my family loves a parlor game. Our copy of Pictionary went on every family holiday with us, but we were rubbish at Just One. Maybe it was just us, we kept going a bit obscure on the clue in hopes that no-one else would pick it, which only led to the first player being utterly baffled.

I then played it at a dinner party and, again, rubbish score. Telestrations, on the other hand, we played endlessly over Christmas, to much hilarity. And this brings me to my point. For whatever reason, we did not find the normal joy in Just One that we do in Pictionary, Articulate or Telestrations, with the usual “I’m sorry that is NOT what a dog looks like” or “How could you not get Blue Tit!!”

There are some games which people struggle with in social situations, Spy Fall for example can reduce people to a mute confusion, while other people lie with such mendacity you worry for your own safety. Just One seems to fall, unfortunately, into the former category.

It was the 2019 Spiel Des Jahre winner, beating out the equally word based Werewords, and L.A.M.A, an Uno style card game. I’ve not played either of the other nominations, so can’t really speak to whether it should have won. What I can say is what my mum said, “its not really in the same league as King Domino, is it?”

As far as SDJs go, it does tick a lot of the traditional winner’s boxes; it’s an entry level, simple, family game with a fun/unusual component. As I said, the elements are all very pleasing, however for a party game it can be very isolating and thinky. Mostly you sit there pondering what a good clue would be (discarding words that you’ve forgotten how to spell) and hoping that no-one else came up with it.

Invariably, even if you come up with something lickety split, someone else will be sitting there for 5 minutes going, “I just don’t know what to put?” During this time you are just thumb twiddling. Maybe if there was a time limit, it might add an element of jeopardy lacking in this part of the game. Then again, the first player sits there with no time limit checking that they can read your appalling scrawl and then head scratching only to guess something totally unrelated.

In contrast, the big boys of the SDJ winners, Ticket to Ride and King Domino are arguably a lot less interactive in their mechanic, however there seems to be more fun interaction. We always end up having joking arguments about who is hoarding all the yellow cards or why you stole the route someone else was CLEARLY working towards.

Just One is a fine party game and for £20. There’s no reason not to own it if you like word-based parlor shenanigans. If your only experience of the SDJs is of Azul and Ticket to Ride, you might be a little disappointed or baffled, but its low price point is a massive benefit. If you find a group who can ace this game with minimal umming and erring then I see no reason why it shouldn’t be a family favorite, just maybe not my family.

Be Someone’s Superhero: Feb. 29th 2020!

We’re happy to announce our 4th annual Be Someone’s Superhero fundraiser! This 12-hour gaming marathon will benefit The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, through Extra-Life.

During this event, many of our members will stream on the Real Women of Gaming Twitch channel, passing the baton to each other as we try to help the kids!

Here are the details:

If you want more updates and details regarding this event, check out the Facebook event here. You can also use the hashtag #BeSomeonesSuperhero on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected.

What Nerdy Women Create: Nerdy Nummies

nerdy nummies

The nerd community is vast and full of amazing creators. With an immense amount of subject matter to draw from, these creators bring so many ideas to light. They are artists who use their passions to bring joy to others in many ways. 

Nerdy Nummies was started by Rosanna Pansino on April 7, 2010. The channel was started on Youtube as a way to share recipes inspired by different interests that she has within nerd culture. Cakes from video games? She’s got it. Donuts from video games with special guests from other YouTube channels? She’s done that. Macaroons based on science fun? Yes, those have been done, as well. There has even been a video about partnering with American Girl dolls. 

Yes, American Girl.

The company was impressed with the work that Pansino has done. By celebrating her love of the plethora of things within nerd culture, Pansino has inspired her viewers, who span all ages, to create. Her creations are beautiful and look complex. Pansino breaks down how to make them with her own brand of cheerful humor in a straightforward way. She also works to make sure that she has recipes that are good for viewers with options for different dietary needs. 

Pansino didn’t start off looking to bake on YouTube, though. Her first dream was to be an actress. Pansino was guest starring in multiple shows and had started her YouTube channel. She found herself at a crossroads. She had to commit to one career or the other. Pansino choose YouTube, even though she knew it was a big gamble. She said that it took a while before she started to make money, but she pushed on with what she loved. 

Pansino was taught how to bake by her grandmother. She now often works with her sister, the two of them using the lessons of their past to create nummy creations. Pansino is a gamer and now also an author. She has books available to help us nerds create tasty things to bring to parties. Thanks for teaching us how to look cool, Ro! She also works to showcase other’s creators talents on her channel through crossover videos. 

What we can learn from Nerdy Nummies is to keep going. Pansino could have quit at any time, but she didn’t. Now she is inspiring bakers of all ages. She shows that it is okay to mess up and evolve in her videos. She also proves that being a nice nerd really can pay off. 

If you want to learn how to make some really fun food that is inspired by nerdy things, check out Nerdy Nummies!

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!

Happy 2020: A time of reflection

Good Morning.

As I write this, I am sipping my coffee at nearly 7 am New Year’s Eve morning. Not a typical time for me to be awake, but today I find myself reflecting. 

The end of a decade comes tonight. For half of that decade, I’ve been a mother. For almost a decade now, a wife. For over a decade, I’ve loved my husband and been loved by an incredible human who still amazes me. Near a decade, Vanri has been my best friend and so much more, my person. For decades Aiks has been my friend and guardian angel through some of the best and worst times. These are all blessings.

For most of the last decade, I have had the distinct pleasure of growing Real Women of Gaming. I saw us start as a Facebook page,  evolve to YouTube, then streaming. Grow into charity events, conventions. I’ve watched us help others, with tears of pride in my eyes. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing humans on the planet. They are my family and I wish I could impart to you how truly stunning each one of them is. How truly honored I feel at calling each of them, my family. These brilliant, courageous, beautiful human beings. 

In the nearly 7 years we’ve existed, I have learned so many lessons. Most about me, the rest about people in general. I’ve seen people come and go. I’ve made personal strides, gone on crusades (I’ll have my masquerade ball, damn it!), and made many, many mistakes. I’ve fallen, stood up only to be knocked back down, and I’ve had several hands help me stand again.

Tomorrow will be a new year, a new decade. Reflection is due at a time like this. Looking back at the years, we’ve worked, we’ve laughed and we’ve cried. It’s time to step forward into a new light. To take all the work that has been done by so many people and roll it forward. Not alone; never alone. To bask in the beauty not only of what we have accomplished, but also in what we have yet to achieve. And we will achieve it. 

I’d like to say that we are stepping into 2020 ready to kick ass and take names, but that’s not happening. We are holding out our hands, pulling up a chair and inviting you to come to sit at our table. We are playing games without judgment or prejudice; we are enjoying all that these amazing masterpieces have to offer while accepting you, and us, for who we all truly are. 

We are sending out our love and acceptance to all of you. You are all included at our table. We aim to show you the passion, sweat, and tears of some of the most wonderful creators on the planet. Epic human beings who’ve made these masterpieces in the little spare time they have while working full-time jobs and going to conventions on weekends for something they love. To show us their heart, sometimes wrapped in a box with game pieces and cards, massive tales of adventure and characters you’ll fall in love with.

So as we prepare to step into 2020, which will be the most incredible year, we offer our hand to you. We’ve done so much but I promise you, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Happy 2020. May all of your hits be a critical success. 

With Love,
Crymson Pleasure &
Real Women of Gaming

Games Created By Women: Candy Land

Some pretty fantastic games have some not so sweet origins. Some games have been created because of some dark reasons. However dark the beginnings of these games though they still bring joy and distraction for the players.

Candy Land is one such game. It was released by Milton Bradley, now Hasbro Games, in 1949. The game was created by school teacher Eleanor Abbott. Abbott contracted polio, which is a disease that can cause paralysis by the infection affecting the spinal cord and brain. While recovering in the hospital Abbott was surrounded by children who couldn’t move, children would be out in a machine to help them breathe called “the iron lung” that totally encased them. Seeing how these children suffered she wanted to find a way to help them pass the time. Immobility was a big problem for these children. They were stuck for most of their time in the hospital, and children back home were confined indoors for fear of the spread of the disease. Mobility would be the main part of the game for Abbott. 

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Candy Land has always been a brightly colored board game. The game is also very easy to play as it doesn’t even require the player to read. It was perfect as a way for children to play who were stuck indoors or if they were having a quick break from their treatments. The player picks a brightly colored token to play and sets them on the star of the path through the board. All candy themed with certain perils that can turn players around or force them to be stuck for a turn. The player moves by picking up a card, with colored squares on it that indicate how far they can move. It is a fun game of chance. 

Candy Land has been a popular game for children since 1949. It was a game that gave children without mobility a way to move. It has been a game to occupy children who are stuck inside. It is a game that multiple ages can play together. It has gone through some aesthetic changes throughout the years but it remains beloved. 

I would highly recommend Candy Land. It was created to help children. It has been able to entertain children for generations. 

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

PAX Unplugged 2019: Crystal Chaos

In the hustle and bustle of PAX Unplugged 2019, we were able to sit down with Fawn of Ogopogo Gaming. We sent her a few questions to answer about her game, which is currently on Kickstarter! Video interview coming soon.

Q. Tell Us About Your Game

A. Crystal Chaos is a fast paced party game that takes 10-15 minutes to play. It’s all about finding and acquiring the Treasure card while your opponents sow chaos all around you. The game seems simple at first, but once players get used to the mechanics of moving cards and hands around and manipulating the draw deck, they realize how deep the strategy can really be.

Q. What Was Your Inspiration To Create the Game?

A. I was driving in my car one day and a wave of inspiration hit me. I wanted to make a game that would appeal to experienced gamers and beginners alike as well as children and adults. I used to play Old Maid with my grandmother and cousins, so I started to brainstorm ways it could get a major overhaul to meet my requirements. I went over all the options for rules and card mechanics in my head and pitched it to my business partner. We started play testing it and tweaking it to make it robust. In the end, it’s very much a collaboration that we are both happy with.

Q. When should we expect to see it? OR, if already released, how has the response been since release?

A. The target launch is late July or early August 2020. So far the response to customer demos has been overwhelmingly positive. Our kickstarter is live now and is 20% funded with 16 days remaining. We have a lot to go, but we are determined to see it launch.

Go check out Ogopogo Gaming’s Kickstarter for Crystal Chaos! Back it if you’re able to because it’s seriously an awesome game! Stay tuned for the video interview, where Crymson plays the game with Fawn!

PAX Unplugged 2019: Castle Siege

At PAX Unplugged this year, we had the pleasure of meeting Bryan Staudt, the creator of a “no table needed” card game called Castle Siege. We asked him a few questions. Check out his answers below!

Q. Tell Us About Your Game.

A. Castle Siege is a “no table needed” pocket strategy game of castle building and destruction (2 players, ~10 minutes). It can be played without a table, perfect for standing in line, or waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Players build their castles in the spaces between fingers on their left hand, using catapults and siege trolls to attack the enemy’s castle, and using archers, boiling oil, and fireballs to defend their own!

Q. What was your inspiration to create the game?

A. I designed it for one of Button Shy’s 18-card challenges: Design a game with only 18 cards that can be played without a table. I thought, “If I can’t play cards onto a table, what if I play them into my own hand instead?” Using the spaces between fingers felt like constructing the tiers of a building, like a castle, and the rest of the design grew out of that.

Q. When should we expect to see it? OR, if already released, how has the response been since release?

A. Castle Siege is currently on a crowd sale through The Game Crafter, a print-on-demand website. List price is $15.99, but the sale starts at $13.99. For every 10 people who back the game, the price drops by almost 50 cents. When the sale ends on Sunday, December 15th, 2019, everyone gets the lowest achieved price! Check it out here.

You can learn more about the game here.

The crowd sale over on The Game Crafter started yesterday, Dec. 9th and will end on Sunday, Dec. 15th. Go check it out today!