Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet Me at the Table: Hanabi Review

Hanabi is a game that my husband and I picked up during one of our local game store stops. Whenever we go down to Milwaukee to visit family, we find time to stop into the Board Game Barrister. This was a store we found out about just as we were leaving the area and were pretty sad to realize we had a gaming place with 15 minutes of our house for the last 3 years.

So on our shopping day, we wanted to get one larger game and one smaller game. We saw Hanabi, which my husband knew about, and I snatched it up. It has made for several sessions of hilarious gaming.

Due to the time of year and the simple and cooperative nature of the Hanabi, I felt it would be a good first game to promote.

Title: Hanabi
Race the Clock. . .Build the Fireworks. . . Launch Your Rockets!

Geeky Specs
        Designer: Antoine Bauza                             Published by: Asmodee
         Year Published: 2010                                  Type: Family, Card Game, Co-operative Play
         Players: 2-5                                                  Rough Game Time: 25+ mins
         Suggested Ages: 8+

What's the Story, Morning Glory?
Hanabi (Japanese for "fireworks) is a game about celebrating  our love of fireworks displays.  The point of the game is to create the most AMAZING fireworks display possible, but you can only do this by having the proper balance of colored fireworks. The additional twist is that you cannot look at your hand. You can look at the cards of all the other players, but you cannot see your own cards. You have to work together with your team of fireworks experts to construct the best fireworks display of the millennium!

What's in the Box?
  • 1 set of directions
  • 60 Fireworks cards (6 colored suits - Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, White, Rainbow)
    • Each color has three 1's, two 2's, 3's, and 4's, and one 5.
  • 8 Clock (Clue) Tokens
  • 4 Fuse Tokens

How To Play or Not to Play
  • Each person is dealt five cards (2-3 players) or 4 cards (4-5 players).
  • The players should not look at their own cards.
  • Put the draw pile to the side and hold up your cards for other players to see.
  • Players are can only see the cards of the other players, not their own.
  • Players then are allowed to, at the expense of a clue token, give a hint to another player for what cards to play. They can only tell a player that "these cards are {this color}" or "these cards are {this number}" and the rainbow cards are always included in whatever color you point out. You touch the cards so that the "blind" player can know which cards.
  • Cards need to be laid out in numerical order within their color suit.
  • Players can either discard a card to earn a clock token, play a card, a clock token to give a clue on their turn.
  • If a card the player plays doesn't match a suit numerically, a fuse is burned.

The End
There are three ways that Hanabi can end:
  1. If the third fuse token is burned, an explosion is caused and the game ends in defeat.
  2. If the players make the 5 fireworks before the cards run out, to make a legendary display, the game ends immediately with a perfect score of 25.
  3. When the cards run out, each player takes one more turn after the last card is drawn and the game ends. The cards are then tallied up.
Score for how man you have in each color. For example:

This gives you 15.

The goal is to set an overall impression with your fireworks. Here's the layout (from the booklet):

Overall Impression
<-- 5
Horrible, booed by the crowd.
Mediocre, just a hint of scattered applause.
Honorable attempt, but quickly forgotten.
Excellent, crowd pleasing
Amazing, they will be talking about it for weeks!
Legendary, everyone left speechless, stars in their eyes!

Rules Weren’t Meant to Be Broken (Or Were They?)
You're probably asking yourself about the level at which you can communicate with others in this game. Are you allowed to wink or exaggerate your speech? Can you put emphasis on certain words?

The rules say that you can essentially do whatever your group agrees on. If you all feel that using emphasis is alright, have at it! The game is open to enhance your own gaming experience. We probably had the most fun playing with all the weird clues we gave with our emphasis or facial expressions. So don't feel that you have to be a monotoned android. Have at it!

Do NOT under any circumstances look at your cards! This is the hardest rule not to break, because you want to look. You might even accidentally flash your cards at yourself, but don't worry, forget them. 

Best Played Under These Conditions
I found that playing with 3-4 is probably the best mix. 3, because you have less time to forget your own clues between turns (fewer people). 4 people can be absolutely hilarious, but make sure you can sit to see everyone's cards well.

This game is also best played with gamers who are interested in having a good laugh and enjoy co-operative games. The point of the game is to have fun and to not be scared to have a laughable moment.

Filler games on larger gaming nights are popular to play between the more mentally taxing games. Hanabi is a great filler game, especially after a stressful game of Elder Sign or any Cthulu mythos game.

Spice Up Your Game
Are you celebrating a holiday where fireworks are a main part of the celebration? For example, in the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th and fireworks are one of the main spectacles. Or maybe you're living in Edinburgh where there are never not fireworks being fired off for one event or another (Or every weekend in August).  And let's not all forget New Year's Eve!

For the basics, a great candy to make the game more interesting and evokes the fireworks theme are Pop Rocks! So if you want to spice up your game, make Pop Rocks available to the players to amplify the laughs you'll have.

For other foody ways to make your game night special, there are countless items on Pinterest for suggestions for fireworks treats. My two favorites are the Fourth of July Cakelettes and the Firecracker Popcorn.

The Fourth of July Firecracker Cakelettes are shaped like little firecrackers using different colored cakes and Pop Rocks. I found it through She Knows and it is a really great treat to serve as a way to amp up to cool on the game. She could use all one color cake if you're not doing a 4th of July celebration or you can color the cake whatever you want. I personally would prefer making one thing cake of strawberry or chocolate and then just cutting the middle out of one. You wouldn't even need the extra frosting layers.

Firecracker Popcorn uses Pop Rocks, Star Sprinkles, White Chocolate, and Popcorn to make some festival looking popcorn. Another great grab snack for gaming.

Expand your gaming evening by theming out the whole meal, snacks, and drinks with some of these options:
  • Trader Joe's sells Firecracker Shrimp or you can check Pinterest for bang bang or firecracker shrimp recipes to make on your own.
  • You could even get Bombpops or Firecrackers (they seem to have changed the name since my childhood).
  • Firecracker Wine
  • FireworksPopcorn (I use this popcorn always and it's delicious).
End your evening with some fireworks, if they're legal in your area or you can even light a feel sparklers to celebrate your awesome celebration. This game can easily be played on a patio, at a fireworks display event, or anywhere.

Overall, this game is a great time for family and friends. It is a light, fun game that can inspire copious amounts of laughter and has so many snazzy connections that you can make to spice up a fun game night with friends and/or family. Great for a holiday game and you will definitely end this game with a few memorable moments. It is a very good game, that you will like to play and probably not turn down an opportunity to play it. That is why I gave it a solid 8 out of 10.

Rating: 8

Friday, June 27, 2014

Which Member of the Justice League Are You?

I have to admit, I like doing little quizzes. Sure, it's narcissistic, but it's also fun and all-connecting.

My childhood friend posted this quiz on Facebook. She was all disappointed that she didn't get Batman. She was labeled as Green Lantern, which isn't a terrible thing. I mean. . . she could have been Aquaman (teehee). I joked with her about how, well. . . you can read it for yourself and remember. . . friends since 1988.

Me: well... I mean... Batman is Badass...

Her: are you saying I'm not?!

Me: ::crickets::

Her: hahaha idk what you're talking about. I'm so gangster

Me: Thug Life Forever, what, what, yo!

There you have it. It's, I guess, funnier when you know the two of us. The point, though, is that we don't always end up as the super hero we love the most, because we love them for all the things we're not. They're all the things we wish we could be.

With that being said, I had to know which Justice League member I would end up as. So I took the quiz and was pretty surprised by who I got.

What I thought was so interesting about this is that teachers really do embody super heroes, with the realization that we can't save the whole world, but by banding together we can try to make a brighter future for as many children as possible. I thought this description was well-suited towards teachers, even though I'm not a huge Superman fan. Granted, I'm not very charismatic, but I felt good about what it said. Oh. . . did I mention I am so not uptight and boring?

Now, does your result match who you are? If not, were you being honest with yourself? My husband also scored The Green Lantern. While it fits, some things are a little different, but maybe it's more about how he sees himself and not how others see him.

Am I over-analyzing an online quiz? You bet your sweet muffins I am. Try it for yourself.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Game of Thrones Warrior Name

In a moment of silliness, I was curious what my Game of Thrones Warrior Name would be. So I had to put in my first and last name and then pick a weapon. Here is what I got. . .

I feel it is a little cliche being House Targaryen, but hey. . . dragons are cool! I just love that I'm disgraced and the breaker of summer. haha!

Find out your name!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rainbow Dash Perler Design

My daughter LOVES My Little Pony. Her favorite is Rainbow Dash, but her answers vary depending on the week, day, hour, minute, and second that you ask her. So I found a perler design for Rainbow Dash on Pinterest and went to work sorting out the beads and making it happen!


  • 48 Toothpaste (the light aqua looking ones)
  • 75 Light Blue
  • 14 Red
  • 14 Orange
  • 11 Black
  • 10 Yellow
  • 5 White
  • 4 Magenta
  • 5-3/4 x 5-3/4 inch Perler Board




Sunday, June 22, 2014

Star Trek Insignia Perler Craft

I've been dabbling in crafts, especially now that I have a daughter at home who is also into crafts. One of the crafts we love to do, because it teaches my daughter shapes and dexterity++, are perler beads. I used to do these as a kid all the time!

My first perler creation was a turtle using a turtle shaped perler board, but I wanted to branch out and do some others. As I prepared to send my first International Geek Girl Pen Pal a letter, I wanted to send along something special. So I looked up a pattern for a Star Trek Insignia and created one on my perler board. Here are the pictures and the directions.

  • Black Beans = 100
  • Gray Beads = 60
  • Clear Beads = 118
  • Yellow Beads = 43
  • Cheddar = 29
  • 5-3/4 x 5-3/4 inch Perler Board




Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

It's Father's Day and my daughter and I had some special stuff planned for dad. Sure my husband would have preferred for us to vacate and he have a day alone, relaxing. But our plans were WAY more fun.

First, there was breakfast. Scrambled eggs with shredded havarti over naan. Then, we gave him his awesome gifts. He had already gotten one of them two weeks ago. . . a cotton candy maker. My daughter thought it was a great idea and because the two of them love cotton candy, I thought they could have fun with it. Did I mention you can put any hard candy in it and it'll make cotton candy out of it? Oh yeah. Plus, we can make cotton candy whenever we want! Which, quite honestly, saves on the running out to purchase some and turns into a family activity of fun and laughs. 
Next, we got him a Sherlock Holmes book pillow from Think Geek. Ray and I have been talking a lot about Sherlock Holmes lately, because I'm taking a renewed visit through the compendium of Sherlock texts that I own. All in preparation for watching the BBC Sherlock. Plus, well. . . we've got some Scottish connections. Trust me, it's a super thoughtful gift idea.

And finally, from me to him, I got him the most recent Pathfinder (ACG) adventure pack: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords Deck 5 - Sins of the Saviors Adventure Deck. After we finish binge watching Eureka, we're going to continue on our campaign. Probably around Wednesday, it looks like. We get to spend time together, just the two of us, which is always hard to do with all our other obligations. So it was supposed to be special to remind him that we still have time for each other through everything.

Since we had two hours before we had to go, Ray wanted to watch an episode of Eureka. We're making our way through and he is just OBSESSED with it! I really like the show, but he just can't not have it playing at every opportunity. So he put on an episode while we ate breakfast and I baked him a Heart-centered cake. 

As fate would have it, the episode was the perfect Father's Day episode. The episode was "Reprise," also known as the episode where Felicia Day makes her first appearance. So that was bonus #1. Ray's been watching and watching for her first episode. We'd already seen Wil Wheaton, so he was super excited to see her. Next, the episode has Allison Blake leaving Carter with her two kids, so he got to be all fatherly to them. Again, another big point of awesome and perfect for Father's Day.  Finally, it dealt with the suggestive nature of music. Playlists are something my husband was totally into. He even made seventh playlists for our daughter before she was born. We'd play them for her while I was pregnant and play them for her constantly now (in the car, in the house, etc.). So that was a super awesome moment, as well. It was just the perfect Father's Day episode for my husband and it was totally by chance that it happened.

Then, we all loaded up and went to Green Bay to spend a Day Out with Thomas at the National Railroad Museum! We shared in our daughter's first major geek love and her and daddy had so much fun geeking together. He knows ALL the trains and together they share in that love! I got to do all the craft stuff with her and then we all rode on the train. This was fun for Ray and I, because we used to always travel by train when we lived in Scotland and we miss train travel a good deal now. Isabelle hadn't been on a big train before, so this was super fun for her, too.

My daughter and I had our own little geek moment. As we left the museum, we went over to the crosswalk and I said "hey, Thomas hasn't left the station yet. Let's run down and say goodbye!" So my daughter and I ran to the end where Thomas was. We wanted to see his face, which was hard to do at the place, because you have to do the whole pay-for-pictures thing and we didn't have the money or the patient toddler for that. So as my daughter yelled GOODBYE! The eyes on Thomas moved to my daughter and Thomas smiled! We squealed with girly delight and cheered. Then I noticed the conductor of Thomas. He had seen us and made Thomas look at us. That really made the day and we ran off back to Ray.

On our way home from Green Bay, we went for dinner at Outback. This restaraunt dates back to our early dating years and is always a fun little stop. We even ordered the Thunder from Down Under and I shared the memory of when he first took me to Outback and I first had one of these. It was super cute.

We went home. Watched a little more Eureka and called it a night. We had to resolve the Bev mini-arch that started in "Reprise." It was a really nice day for daddy. My husband is such an awesome dad. I put the Gru picture up top, because he reminds me of my husband and how he really is a wonderful house-dad. He is so great with our daughter and really takes care of the whole family.

So Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there of all sorts.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hobbiton to Rivendell

Oh Thursday, June 12, 2014. . . I made it from Hobbiton to Rivendell.

I would have made it sooner if I hadn't spent the first two months of the year having all sorts of pedometer glitches on my cell phone. Really it was the phones fault and I had a not-stellar phone.

I was totaling up past points in the wee early hours this morning and realized. . . I had made it last night!


Now. . . 462 miles from Rivendell, through Moria, to Lothlorien. I've got my troll battling gear ready!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Richard Parker Poop Balls

In a previous post, I shared how I made Life Saver Doughnuts for my students who were reading Life of Pi. Well, I also made another treat for the kids who did their homework over the last weekend we had to finish the book. See, I had to have the kids read the last five chapters bringing us up to Part III in the book, but it was also over the last weekend in the school year. So to reward the kids who really put in the effort to finish it, I made them this really simple and awesome treat. I, of course, had to tie it into the book and make it gross, because that's how I roll!

I got the recipe from a co-worker a few months back on how to make Oreo Truffles. Since we had read the wonderful chapter that week on Pi trying to eat Richard Parker's poop, I had a EUREKA moment and decided to make Oreo Truffles, also known as Richard Parker Poop Balls. I then served them in a plastic cup, that the students could then fill with water from the bubbler to wash the rich chocolatey taste out of their mouth. It was quite a success and great fun. I heard, through the halls, about the Richard Parker Poop Balls and it was a memorable connection for my seventh graders.

Oreo Truffles
(AKA Richard Parker Poop Balls)

36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
4 pkg.  (4 oz. each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted
Any kind of chocolate you want. (I used mini chips, melted in the microwave for 1 minute, then 15 second intervals until melted.)


1. Use food processor to break up Oreo’s until fine pieces.

2. Mix soft cream cheese and cookie crumbs in a bowl until fully mixed. (Clean hands work best.)

3. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Place on wax paper-covered cookie sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

4. While the balls are being refrigerated, melt the chocolate until smooth.

5. Take out the Oreo cookie balls and dip them in melted chocolate; place them back on waxed paper.

6. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Overnight for best results.