Happy Holidays & Updates

We at Hexes & Bows want to take a moment to wish everyone the happiest and merriest of Holidays this winter season! No matter what you celebrate, we hope you find some time to play games and share the things you love with people you love as well!

There are lots of things bubbling in the H&B creative cauldrons! First, we’ll be resuming our standard tabletop discussion podcast and releasing these episodes biweekly. Don’t fret! We’ll still be publishing more content every week! The second pot-a-brewin’ is our reviews! There’s loads of items for Mr. and Mrs. Gnome to go over and many more in the works! If there’s something you’d like us to tweet us your suggestion at: @hexesnbows!

Finally, we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who filled out an application to join the Hexes & Bows Actual Play Podcast! We’ve been working on building a new creative team, and although we’re still determining the setting, we are so excited to join the actual play podcast world!

Our next D&D live tabletop game will be this Saturday, December 30th at 6PM CST! Cersten, Billy, and Crash now join Tony, Tara, and Chrissy as they learn of their character’s destiny with the Feywild Queen! Join us for the last D&D game of 2017 on twitch.tv/gnomedic.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting the Hexes & Bows Podcast. 2017 was an incredible learning experience and 2018 promises new content, new cast members, and more tabletop love!

Merry Critmas to everyone, May your shelves be full of games and your table surrounded by friends and family!

See you in 2018!

-Gnome & the Hexes & Bows Podcast team

Action Cats Kickstarter with Keith Baker

Action Cats is the latest project created by well known roleplaying game designer and author Keith Baker. Action Cats is currently being funded on Kickstarter until August 1st and it is all about the Internet’s most beloved animal – cats.

You can listen to Keith Baker talk about the project on Tales from the Fandom podcast below.

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It’s a family friendly storytelling game where it is up to you to craft the best story. You’re given the beginning and the end of the story, but you fill in the story. The judge determines who has the best story!

You can find Action Cats by clicking on the links below:

Action Cats! Kickstarter

Video on how to play Action Cats!

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You can find Keith Baker at:
Keith Baker’s website
Twitter

Let’s Review: Manicdotes!

Gnome and Tara get their hands on Manicdotes!. This social, storytelling card game is a fun way to kick-start your game night!

Manicdotes!, created by Michael Hanson, “is a fun, fast-paced, challenging, social, storytelling card game. As the Storyteller, you are given an opening line (Story Starter) and a list of keywords (Words Card) that must be entwined into your tall-tale. Players must listen carefully to your fast-paced fable to identify which words were pulled from your Words Card. Manicdotes! is designed to be a fast-action experience that can be played time and time again.”

Gnome and Tara invited a few friends over to play this social, storytelling game! After several rounds, Tara was the victor and both she and Gnome had a solid understanding of the overall purpose of the game!

As with all of the Hexes & Bows reviews, Manicdotes! was scored on five categories: packaging, components, rules, replay value, and cost. Each score is the best out of 5 with 5 being the highest, most desirable score to achieve.

Packaging

File_004Both co-hosts strongly agreed that the packaging for Manicdotes! is the best overall selling point of the game. It’s bright and bold color choices along with a fun and unique font left both Tara and Gnome feeling nostalgic. The game looks like it was transplanted from the 1950s into the modern era!

Components

File_003The components were a bit of a hit and miss. Included in the game are 150 Words cards, 30 Story Starter Cards, 6 pads of paper, 8 pencils, and a 90-second sand timer.

While the colors of the cards match the external look of box and remain bright and colorful, the card stock quality was poor. After unraveling the card decks from their original plastic revealed many edges of the cards already suffered from damage. The corners of the cards were either bent, frayed, ripped, or splitting prior to shuffling. Trying to shuffle the decks was a surgical process requiring gentle hands and alternative methods of shuffling in order to prevent additional bending and folding of the cards.

The 90-second sand timer was timed 10 times and each time came out at 92 seconds, which, isn’t that big of a deal since that is more than enough time to generate a tall tale with the words card!

Tara was not a fan of the pencils and paper, while Gnome saw them as neither an advantage or disadvantage to the game. They’re nice to have in the game, but, according to the components list, their box was shorted 2 pads of paper.

Rules

Perhaps the most important element of game is its rules. Overall, the rules and general jist of the game is relatively easy to comprehend. Players draw one Starter Story and one Words card, create a story in 20 seconds, then convey that story in 90 seconds to the File_006other players at the table who try and guess which words in the story generated from the Words card! First player to 25 points wins! It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, this level of vagueness left some questions being asked, particularly involving wording regarding the Story Cards, “topics,” and “categories,” which are not described fully in the rules, if at all.

It is easy to create your own set of rules for the game and the official rules offer alternative ways to play the game or make it more challenging!

Replay Value

As with most investments, at least between Gnome and Tara, the ability to replay a game over and over and over is exceedingly valuable. Manicdotes! can quickly become a predictable game. After a few play-throughs, a player may associate particular words with a card and simply “guess” the rest of the words in the story without having to listen properly.File_005

One way to combat this, as suggested in the rules, is by drawing multiple Words cards and then selecting the first word on each card! This method deals with the repetitive association of words that would otherwise decrease the replayability far too soon.

Cost

Manicdotes! retails for $19.95 on Amazon, which is the only store to currently purchase the game from that Hexes & Bows could find. While Amazon includes 2-day shipping in the overall cost for “free shipping,” both Tara and Gnome felt the cost was relatively fair for a game “Made in America.”

Ultimately, Gnome and Tara collected their scores and Manicdotes! earned itself an average overall score of 3.34/5.00. Listen to the podcast for the complete breakdown of the score!

You can try out Manicdotes! for yourself at www.manicdotesthegame.com!

mancidotesthegame


Leave a comment below if you’ve played the game! We’d love to know your thoughts on it!

 

H&B Podcast: Episode 001

It’s here! It’s here! Hexes & Bows finally has a podcast!  Grab some lunch, pop in those earbuds and come hang out with Gnome, Hansard, Tim, and Joe in their very first podcast episode!

Today we discuss our first experiences into the tabletop gaming world, which games we love and hate, and how games influenced our lives growing up.

Games Discussed

Gloom, Star Wars FFG, D&D 5e, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, Arkham Horror, Checkers, Chess, Risk, Mastermind, Vampire the Masquerade, VtM: Bloodlines

Cool Stuff Mentioned


What are some games you played growing up? What games do you play now? Let us know in the comments!

Meet the Cast

Podcast Team

17190959_1224222267693352_4483168509959382449_nName: Joey “Gnomedic” Barranco
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
H&B Position: Producer, Writer, Podcaster
Profession: Paramedic, Writer
Favorite Tabletop Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill
Favorite Video Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Favorite Movie: UP!
Favorite Book: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Biography: Gnome is a paramedic, writer, gamer, and geek extraordinaire. He studies Technical Communication and Media Analysis at Arizona State University (and is looking for employment opportunities! *hinthintwinkwink*). When he’s not being a real-life healer, he plays one in various games like Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, and more! Gnome also writes videogame reviews for Brutal Gamer and Marooners’ Rock, juggling the rest of his time livestreaming on Twitch, making YouTube videos, running a D&D campaign, and volunteering with Extra Life to raise money for sick and injured kids at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Interesting Fact: Too tall to be a gnome, too short to be a human.

Follow Gnome on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Twitch | YouTube | Extra Life |

timName: Tim McLaughlin Jr.
Location
: Greenfield, MA, USA
H&B Position: Podcaster
Profession: Audio Engineer, Writer, Artist
Favorite Tabletop Game: Mutans and Masterminds
Favorite Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Favorite Movie: Big Fish
Favorite Music: The Mountain Goats, Josh Garrells
Biography: Webcartoonist, pastor-in-training and thrice-failed church planter, freelance artist/writer, husband, father, and audio engineer. Let’s do this.
Interesting Fact: I can’t wear watches because anything digital or analog that stays consistently close to me dies within a couple days. If I put them away shortly thereafter, though, they generally recover.

Follow Tim on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Twitch | SoundCloud| Extra Life |
Tim’s Web Comic: Fatebound | Redbubble | Tumblr 

joeName: Joe “DaddyGamer” Siemsen
Location
: Minneapolis, MN, USA
H&B Position: Podcaster
Profession: Freelance Video Editor, Animation & Motion Graphics
Favorite Tabletop Game: Star Wars FFG, LotR CG, MTG, D&D
Favorite Video Game: Uncharted 4, Mass Effect 2, Chrono Trigger, Legend of Dragoon, LoZ Twilight Princess, Final Fantasy IX
Favorite Movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Favorite Book: Kingskiller Chronicles
Biography: In a moment of particular brilliance realized that he could combine all of his major passions into one! Locking himself away in the den he went to work. Almost breaking under the pressure of self criticism he was finished… Thus Daddy Gamer was born! Aside from that I make videos while trying to manage a family, I seem to be doing alright so far.
Interesting Fact: I lost 4 baby teeth in the 8th grade

Follow Joe on social media: Twitter YouTube | Facebook |

16864216_10154461472208434_241830407975789077_nName:”The Hansard”
Location
: Saskatoon, SK, Canada
H&B Position: Podcaster
Profession: Aspiring Super Villain
Favorite Tabletop Game: Mansions of Madness
Favorite Video Game: Chrono Trigger
Favorite Movie: Fight Club
Favorite Book: Dune
Biography: Canadian, tea drinker, aspiring super villain.
Interesting Fact: Hansard probably is an NPC.

Follow Hansard on social media: Twitter | Twitch |


D&D Team

IMG_9268Name: Joey “Gnome” Barranco
H&B Position: Dungeon Master, Teak

Info: Gnome guides his fellow roleplayers through epic adventures across the realm of Faerun of the Forgotten Realms.  The party began their story with the D&D 5e Starter Kit campaign, Lost Mines of Phandelver. After successfully completing the official adventure, the story continues in an alternate version of Neverwinter where anything is possible for the adventurers. Gnome also plays the lovable Teak, a mute, gnome druid of unknown origin who befriended Taliel months prior to their adventure in Phandalin. He often serves as the party’s off-tank and main healer, though, his methods may be a little… out there.

18360550_10154654273867843_1674794285_nName: Tony (Trout Knight)
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
H&B Position: Roleplayer, Beard Enthusiast.
Character: Grohl Thundermaw, Half-Goliath Fighter
Profession: Operator
Favorite Tabletop Game: Ticket to Ride. 10′ to Kill
Favorite Video Game: Final Fantasy VII
Favorite Movie: Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back
Favorite Book: The Last Command
Biography: In a wrestling match nobody bites like Tony
For there’s no one as burly and brawny
As you see I’ve got biceps to spare
Not a bit of him’s scraggly or scrawny
No one hits like Tony
Matches wits like Tony

My, what a guy, Tony!

Tony is an old school gamer and second to none nerd. Despite working full time and part time in school, that doesn’t stop him from one of his passions which in tabletop gaming. Like may others, he is a recovering World of Warcraft addict that could relapse at any time :D. Most of his gaming now consists of The Witcher III and Overwatch.
Interesting Fact: The nickname Trout Knight was bestowed upon Tony and he wear this title with pride.

Follow Tony on social media: Instagram

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Name:  Tara
Location:  An enchanted glass sphere
H&B Position: Roleplayer, Podcaster
Character: Taliel Anestacia, Wood Elf Ranger
Profession: Medical Biller
Favorite Tabletop Game: Pandemic
Favorite Video Game: Legends of Dragoon/Overwatch
Favorite Movie: Practical Magic
Favorite Book: Anita Blake series
BiographyTara’s geekdom started with a Harlequin Romance novel about a Fairy Queen, her personal character designs, RP via Rhy’Din on AOL (omg), creative writing, sketching/art and solo video gaming. This expanded into becoming a Marvel fangirl, Dark Horse enthusiast, and DC Comics’ side-chick which eventually lead to the rabbit hole known as World of Warcraft and the idea of MMOs. Still a solo gamer at heart she’s happy to share in the geeky world of nerdisms with others in the community.
Interesting Fact: Can’t play Crash Bandicoot without Janet Jackson’s 1997 The Velvet Rope CD playing.
Name: Chrissy Deluge

Location: Chicago, IL
H&B Position: Roleplayer
Character: Makaria, Tiefling Sorceress
Profession: EMT
Favorite Tabletop Game:
Favorite Video Game:
Favorite Movie:
Favorite Book:
Biography:
Interesting Fact:

Follow on social media:

Past Cast Members: Cody Kohl as Jelal, Devon Kohl as Enzo, Crash Neubauer as Ricochet

Things a’Brewin’

A big hearty welcome to you, traveler! Of all the domains to stumble on, this is the one you decided to sift through! For now, I’ll be brief.

We here at Hexes & Bows are just beginning our adventure into the world of content creation. While our podcast is still in production, you can watch our live Dungeons and Dragons campaign on Twitch! We typically play one Sunday or Saturday a month for 5-8 hours straight!

If you take a moment to follow this blog (and I insist that you do!), you’ll soon find articles, editorials, instructionals, photography, and storytelling entries written by members of Hexes & Bows.  Stories may be independent or, they could intertwine with our current tabletop campaign and provide additional insight to the characters in our world!

There are plenty of adventures to be shared, traveler, and I do hope you’ll return to share them with us.

Thank you for stopping by and may the glow of your device be ever radiant!