Thursday, September 20, 2018

Board Game Review: Fate of the Elder Gods

I picked up Fate of the Elder Gods from the friendly staff at Greater Than Games during a gaming convention visit. I've played the game on four or five different occasions since then and absolutely loved it each time.


Let's start with the artwork. It's beautiful! Great detail on the figures, the board is well-designed, and the Elder God cards are lovely. Even the artwork contained in the rule book demonstrates an investment in time and the application of creativity and skill. 



 The components (thick cards, dice, Elder sign tokens, and various plastic figures) are sturdy and made to last. 

The rule book is easy to understand. The only issue our play team bumped up against was that per the rule book, the control actions are supposed to be done after the basic actions, but in at least one case the instructions contradict themselves and indicate it should be done before the basic actions.  A minor issue all things considered and one it should be easy to get clarification on from the designers through Instagram or BoardGameGeek.com. 

The play moves quickly so the game is not prone to analysis paralysis. It's fun, highly interactive, with just the right amount of "take that" built in. 


And the theme - I LOVE the Cthulhu horror theme! As typical for this genre, we have the cultists versus the investigators and in Fate of the Elder Gods we are on the side of the cultists. Too many investigators in your cultist lodge and you get raided and penalized with elder sign seals that represent the success of the investigators in sealing off the eldritch horrors. Pile up too many and you lose the game. 

This game is well balanced both under two player and three player games (we did not have the opportunity to play with four players) and the only potential improvement I can see is the addition of some kind of bonus to the second, third, and fourth players to compensate for turn order. Perhaps an extra turn at the end of the game or an extra cultist placed initially. 

I have 740+ board games in my collection. Because of its strengths and engaging game play, Fate of the Elder Gods is one of the top 20 games I reach for when friends come over to play. I recently picked up the expansion for the base game, Beasts From Beyond, and I am beyond excited to get it to the table as well.

Go get this game. Go get it now. 
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Publisher: Greater Than Games
Players: 1-4 (We played with 2 and 3)
Actual Playing Time (vs the guideline on the box): About 90 minutes
Game type: area control, dice rolling, worker placement
Rating:


Jenni’s rating scale:

OUI: I would play this game again; this game is ok. I probably would not buy this game myself but I would play it with those who own it and if someone gave it to me I would keep it.

OUI OUI: I would play this game again; this game is good. I would buy this game.

OUI OUI OUI: I LOVE THIS GAME. I MUST HAVE THIS GAME.  

NON: I would not play this game again. I would return this game or give it away if it was given to me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book Review: The Pioneer woman Cooks

I'd been reading Ree Drummond's blog at thepioneerwoman.com for years before she breezed into Washington, D.C. one sunny afternoon on her book tour. My friend Danielle and I were delighted to stop by and meet her and when we did I picked up a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Jenni (left) and Danielle (right) with Ree (center).

Several years have passed since then and while I've made a recipe or two from the book, I haven't really made her collection a focus of my menu. Recently that changed. My husband Christopher has been urging me to incorporate more comfort food into my menu planning and I guessed that Ree's recipes would be perfect along those lines. One afternoon I handed The Pioneer Woman Cooks to Christopher and asked him to tag a few recipes he'd like to see on our dinner table. He tagged 34. 😃😃😃 I've prepared about half of them over the past two months and nearly every one has been phenomenal, earning a family rating of 4/5 or 5/5 forks (and that includes our children as reviewers who are quite the picky eaters).

Some of our family favorites include the PW Potato Skins, Egg in the Hole, Sherried Tomato Soup (so flavorful!), Ribeye Steak with Whiskey Cream, Chicken Fried Steak (I won over my Father-in-law with this recipe), and Peach Crisp with Maple Cream (TO DIE FOR!!!).

I have to tell you about Ree's Cinnamon Roll recipe. I was halfway through prep on it when I realized the yield was 50 rolls. FIFTY! I've never made so many in one batch in my life. Ree says the extras can be given away or frozen after baking and frosting, so I froze 40 of them. You guys, my daughter has been living on them for weekday morning breakfasts before school for weeks. She just pulls one out of the freezer bag, pops it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and enjoys it with a few pre-cooked sausage links to start her day. The rolls are rich and filling and satisfying and the recommended espresso glaze gives them a complex flavor profile that pairs well with milk, coffee, or tea. Absolutely fantastic!

Ree's writing is intimate and invites you into her life as a friend, not just a reader. Her photographs are lovely and her directions are easy to follow. This is a cookbook to add to your collection without hesitation. I'll be picking up her other cookbooks as soon as I get the chance.

Book Review: The Glorious Pasta of Italy

When it comes to cuisine, Marcella Hazan is my definitive guide for all things Italian, so it takes a pretty remarkable cookbook to earn a permanent space in my collection alongside her work. Domenica Machetti has written one of those cookbooks and it's titled The Glorious Pasta of Italy.  Comprised of 274 pages of well-researched and well-written recipes for making a variety of pasta, sauces, soups, and entrees, it has served as a valuable resource for exploring new flavors in my kitchen.

I enjoyed Marchetti's fresh tomato sauce so much that I used it one summer recently as my basic recipe for transforming 125 pounds of farm fresh Roma tomatoes into canned pasta sauce for use all year long. The flavors remained bright and tangy even after canning. Another recipe I particularly enjoy is the orecchiette with creamy broccoli sauce. The ragu is rich and satisfying and because the broccoli is pureed it won over even the pickiest never-met-a-vegetable-I-liked eater in the family (my husband). I'm looking forward to trying the summer ravioli with arugula pesto or the roasted carrot and ricotta gnocci with herbed butter next.

Definitely a cookbook I'd recommend without reservations.