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Staff Picks

Advanced Adventuring: Spellbook Cards

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Advanced Adventuring: Spellbook Cards

Spellbook Cards from Gale Force Nine WILL change your life.

I'm the kind of player who gets flustered when the GM or another player questions whether my spell works the way I think it does. The character sheet doesn't leave you enough room to write down every aspect of the spell and I don't like to grind combat or role play to a halt. I want to do something cool/useful, describe it in the most extra way possible and move on. The more time that passes while I'm flipping through the Players Hand Book and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the more my soul is slowly crushed and I question my life choices.

Does that spell require concentration? What's the exact range? Is there a duration? What type of saving through does the DM need to make? What is the flavor text on Blight? These are ALL questions that can be answered in the palm of your hand with Spellbook Cards from Gale Force Nine. They come in packs specific to you class, meaning you don't have to weed through every option to even search the things available to you. There are even cards for martial classes and racial abilities if you want to make sure you have everything covered.

I recommend this tool especially if you're playing a Cleric, Paladin, Druid, or Wizard who needs to quickly adjust their spell list every long rest. These cards help you eek out every opportunity for customization and preparation that your class offers without interrupting the fun of the game for your friends at the table. Look for them at your FLGS and don't pass them up!

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Advanced Adventuring: WizKids Trophies, Premium Maps, and Deep Cuts Miniatures

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Advanced Adventuring: WizKids Trophies, Premium Maps, and Deep Cuts Miniatures

It is our last week of Let's Roll and we are going to open the door to Advanced Adventuring! These products all represent ways to enhance ambience, table presence, and gameplay experience. 

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It cannot be stressed enough how much WizKids can partner you in play when it comes to D&D. The first time I saw their trophy heads of beholders, dragons, and mindflayers - I knew I needed AT LEAST one for my game room.

Imagine sitting in your living room as candlelight flickers across the horrible visages of some of the most iconic villains in Dungeons & Dragons as your players drink mead and peruse illustrated premium maps enhanced with three dimensional painted miniature furniture and objects from their Deep Cuts line and music/soundscapes from Sirinscape build the tension. Te

These items are the perfect gift for the DM in your life and they the perfect storm for the senses. 

Show us pics of your best D&D Set up! What are your must have items?

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures from WizKids

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures from WizKids

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing D&D miniatures from player characters to monsters, but by far the best option when it comes to accessibility, quality, price, and variety is the Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures line from Wizkids. Here are 7 things you should know about these minis!

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  • There are over 100 varieties to choose from in different combinations of gender, class, and race so it's unlikely that you'll end your search empty handed.
  • The detail in this plastic line is second to none.
  • You'll also find this grade of plastic much harder than their pre-painted line with affordable prices that will make you want to collect them all!
  • Some even feature spell effects in clear plastic which colored wash brings to life in the blink of an eye.
  • Each miniature is pre-primed with a grey Vallejo primer so they're truly ready to paint right out of the box.
  • These miniatures usually come with two to a package, so when you get your female human barbarian, you have two versions in different positions and slightly different gear to select from or to share with a friend.
  • Each has a molded base and a flat circular standard medium creature sized base to glue the miniature to when it is complete.

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Best Tabletop Gaming Accessories

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Best Tabletop Gaming Accessories

The right gaming accessory can change the entire experience of the game itself - whether that's organizing the components of your favorite game, protecting character sheets and cards, or even just enhancing the ambience of your gaming table. Our APN Team rounded up some of their favorites to share with you this week!

Jayme B.

Ultimate Guard Digital Life Pad

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Not every game has perfect player aids; and I learned early on that creating my own can foster a much better play experience for the other folks at the table. (Nobody needs to sit and watch me rifle through a manual when I forget my turn options or the sequence of play.) The new digital life pads from Ultimate Guard provide a clean, eco-friendly, digital solution to my desire to take notes or create cheat sheets for myself, all while leaving my cellphone OFF the table and therefore eliminating distractions. They come in 5” or 9” sizes, have a stylus that is comfortable to hold and write with, and are affordable enough that I think I might pick up a few extras just to have them on-hand for guests at game night!

Ryan

Playmat of Choice

I still remember the first time I used a playmat. I was new to the World of Warcraft TCG, and had picked up a starter product that included several booster packs, a deck-box, and a playmat (the Scourgewar Epic Collection, for you old-timers out there). At first, gathering around the kitchen table, my friends and I thought, “cool art I guess, but gosh what a silly product, why would people spend money a giant mouse pad?”. Then I actually used it: wow, what a difference! The soft nature of a playmat makes picking up and manipulating cards during play so much easier and more natural. Ever try to pick up a card laying flat on your table, and end up just opting to slide it off the end to avoid constantly picking at the edges of the card? Never again once you use a playmat! Now I never head to my FLGS for TCG nights without a playmat in the car, and 9-times-out-of-10 will even opt for buying optional playmats for my board games when they’re available. And that cool art I mentioned before? That’s just a bonus. 😊

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Matte Sleeves

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This will come across as perhaps the most mundane of items to call “life changing”, but not unlike my take on playmats above, I wasn’t always a believer. As I explored the trading card game scene more many years ago I came to understand that card sleeves were so much more than what most see as a way to “protect your investment” (though they do that too). For me, I quickly realized what a difference sleeves made when shuffling a deck of cards, be it in TCG matches where it’s a constant element of the experience, or even in board games that are card-heavy (especially deck-building games!). From there, there were what felt like an overwhelming number of options: What do I buy? What brand? What size? What finish? Art, or non-art? All of these questions have answers (and some of them more important than you may realize!), but generally speaking I found that matte finish sleeves were the ones for me. Not only do they look super sleek on the table, they feel great and shuffle smoothly as well. I find myself often going back and forth between Dragon Shield’s matte line, or Ultra PRO’s Eclipse line. Can’t go wrong with either!

Jayme C.

Ultra PRO: Dungeons and Dragons Character Folio

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Recently I’ve jumped into playing Dungeons & Dragons for the first time, and I am super pleased with these character folios. Being able to organize my character sheet and spell cards all in one place at my fingertips is perfect. As well as having the ability to write on the sheet protectors and easily adjusting my stats makes learning the game a smoother experience. Having extra storage never hurts either for all the supplementary notes I keep accumulating.

 

 

 

Dragon Shield: Playmat – Limited Edition

Out of all the fantasy creatures, dragons are my absolute favorite. Arcane Tinmen knocks it out of the park with their limited edition playmats. The playmats have stitched, rounded edges and absolutely beautiful artwork. They come with a collectible coin, in either gold, silver, or bronze. With gold being the most rare and bronze the most common. A fun addition is that you can use the coin with the notches on the case to track your life total, and the coin itself is a very comfortable weight. With the huge range of colors available you can bet I have a nice hoard of these playmats! 

Justin

Board Games Sleeves by Arcane Tinmen

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I am the crazy gamer that sleeves everything. The idea of a card game getting all bent up, chipped on the edges, and coated in snack dust is enough to give me nightmares. I used Dragon Shield sleeves for years (also awesome and made by Arcane Tinmen) but they were just a little too rigid for my liking. So I tried out the Board Game Sleeves and instantly fell in love. They are durable, non-glare and shuffle smooth all while being pliable and stackable how I want. They also come in every board game card size you can imagine. Definitely the best sleeves to get IMHO.

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14 Best Board Game Expansions

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14 Best Board Game Expansions

Game expansions can change everything! There's nothing better than being ravenous for a game and discovering that yet more tantalizing treats await you- rife with new variations, strategies, and lore! We've gathered the APN team's favorite board games with expansions here for you to feast upon. 

Josh's Picks

Century: Eastern Wonders

Josh: It should be stated upfront this is not REALLY an expansion- it’s a standalone game. However, I want to list it here because it also connects with Century: Spice Road, giving you essentially a third game called From Sand to Sea. This adds a lot of play value to games that already highly re-playable.

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Dragonfire: Adventures

Dragonfire in general has settings and themes (Dungeons & Dragons) along with mechanics I like (cooperative and deck building), so the Dragonfire adventure expansion chapters just add to that. There’s a couple out already, but I’m looking forward to Ravaging Sword Coast this year just because I’m a fan of Baldur’s Gate.

 

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Jayme B.'s Pick

Legends of Andor

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love a good co-op game! There is something deeply satisfying about beating a campaign united as a team – especially when the game AI proves to be a formidable adversary. I was originally intrigued by the Legends of Andor series because of the stunning artwork, but quickly discovered (after several losses) that the trying gameplay motivated me to want to play more in order to hone my skillset, as well as develop new strategies with each group of people I played with. 

The expansions released so far have added new campaigns, items, and even characters to not only further the main storyline, but to drive replay-ability by changing up the original experience. I am particularly excited for Dark Heroes, which is releasing this fall. It introduces brand

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Justin's Picks

Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave

I love, love, love me some solo board games and Hostage Negotiator is one of my favorites. Crime Wave expands on the already awesome base game with more Abductors, Terror cards, Pivotal Moment cards, and Conversations. It also has enough room in the box to fit the original game plus future Abductor Packs as they become available!

Smash Up: Cease and Desist

Smash Up is an amazingly fun, incredibly easy to teach card game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It was really hard choosing just one expansion, but Cease & Desist really stands out for me. Satirizing four of the most famous pop culture franchises in the world with hilarious cards makes the game even more enjoyable. Plus, even my friends that aren’t deep into geek culture instantly recognize what’s being made fun of in this set!

 

 

Caelin's Picks

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Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk

Why do I love Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk? Two words: more stories. I’m a sucker for horror and I love a good story, so that’s why Betrayal at House on the Hill is still one of my favorite games. The Widow’s Walk expansion adds 50 new haunts to add to the story, as well as 20 new room tiles, 30 new cards, and 78 new tokens. For someone like me that went at Betrayal wanting to know the outcome of every story, this has keep the horror going strong.

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Tokaido: Crossroads

Okay, I really like Tokaido even thought it’s totally not horror. The first expansion I played for it was Tokaido: Crossroads (Tokaido: Matsuri is good, too) and it added a lot to the game. Tokaido is a beautiful, fun, and relaxingboard games I’ve ever played; the goal of Tokaido is to travel across Japan, and the one who wins is the one who has the nicest time. While competitive, it’s a very soothing win that doesn’t leave you feeling defeated (or dead) if you loose. Crossroads adds new strategies to each stop along the way, and therefore more ways to win by having the nicest time. With that strategy, how can you lose?

 

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Bobby's Picks

Clank! The Mummy’s Curse

This one’s pretty simple for me - One of the best deck-building games for me, just added one of my favorite settings. Renegade took Clank! and dropped it in a fantasy Egyptian setting, complete with a new map, cards, a DOUBLE-SIDED board, and a wandering mummy! This isn’t just a pasted-on theme, either. The new maps provide very different challenges, so your old stand-by strategies won’t be good enough for The Mummy’s Curse. As far as deck-building games go, Clank! was made for me. This expansion pushes the entire experience farther up my list.

Scythe: The Rise of Fenris

The Scythe base game might be the perfect game for me: As an artist/designer, the artwork hooked me before the game was even released. As an agriculturalist, I acknowledge the struggle of the inhabitants of the world. As a fan of ‘weird war’ or ‘alternate history,’ the world-setting of the game makes me feel right at home. And it’s just my style of board game. But there was one element that kept it from being ‘complete’ for me: Story.

The Rise of Fenris is the final chapter in Scythe’s story, and as an expansion, it harvests a bounty of goods to add to your table:

This expansion has several mechanisms that you can add to your game, but you don’t have to add them all. YOU build the game of Scythe how you want it, each and every time. Akin to other ‘Legacy’ games (originally conceived by Rob Daviau, Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, et. Al.) The Rise of Fenris offers unlockable secrets and spoilers, in a campaign-type setting. Rumor has it that one of the scenarios in Fenris has everyone playing cooperatively. For me, Scythe just added another favorite mechanic to its gearbox. Scythe always let me play solo, but now I can play solo in an ongoing campaign. In real life, it means I’m going to spend a lot more time playing Scythe.

Jayme C.'s Picks

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Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle – Deck Building Game and The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion

Cooperative gameplay with deck building that adds in the magical setting of Hogwarts from the Harry Potteruniverse? Perfect! This is a favorite of mine as well as being able to loop in others who are fans of the Boy-Who-Lived. The Monster Box of Monsters keeps the adventure going by adding new creatures, encounters, villains, and now you can play as Luna Lovegood! Grab your wizard robes and get ready!

Happy Salmon: Blue Fish

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If you didn’t know, Happy Salmon has an expansion! Happy Salmon: Blue Fish allows you to up the fun from the original 3-6 players to 7-12 players total! I’ve always had a blast with Happy Salmon and now being able to get a larger group all around just adds to the excitement! I regularly fish this out to get a group of friends quickly breaking the ice and laughing within minutes!

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Ryan's Picks

Roll Player: Monsters & Minions

Every time I taught the original Roll Player game to a new person, they inevitably asked some variation of this question: “So once we’re done rolling these characters, what do we do with them?” Designer Keith Matejka must have anticipated this when designing the game, because the Monsters & Minions expansion tackles that very concern. The expansion adds to each play one of several “big bad” monsters that the players must each face individually at the end of game with their finished characters, as well as a menagerie of minions to slay along the way. A must own for Roll Player fans!

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Great Western Trail: Rails to the North

While it isn’t quite out yet (soon!!), I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Rails to the NorthGreat Western Trail is such an absolutely STELLAR game that combines so many elements and mechanisms incredibly well to create a wonderful puzzle of strategy and counter-play with other players. This first expansion to the game sets out to add a variety of new destinations to where players will ship their cattle, including Chicago, Detroit, and NY among others, as well as new challenges to face along the road, new tiles & buildings, and more. I don’t think there’s a single other game expansion I’ve been looking forward to more in all of 2018.

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Anne's Pick

Thornwatch: The Dark of the Wood

The world-spanning forest of the Eyrewood holds so many mysteries that they would not fit into one box! While the base game of Thornwatch gives you the chance to play the summoned archetypal heroes who protect the denizens of the wood when they are in greatest need, The Dark of the Wood expansion brings new lore to bare, allowing you to explore darker adventures that deal with the tainted magic that encroaches on verdant glades of the original game. You get 5 new heroes with powerful skills and curses to match, new storyboards and campaigns, 2 new Judges, new terrain cards, and new rewards for completed quests. I’m a huge fan of the original comics by Penny Arcade and this expansion is a must own when it comes to exploring new stories and aspects of this world. Odds are, if you can’t find me, I’m deep in the Eyrewood! Join me when the game and its expansion launch in stores July 31st!

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