Episode 52 – Monkey Birthday & Gaming Recap

Well, we did it!  We actually made it a full year – 52 weeks and 52 episodes – without killing one another, destroying our friendships, and offending and alienating the podcast masses!  Join us this week as we not only take a look back at our first year, but discuss where we’re at and where the MITC crew is headed in year number two!  Oh yeah, we’re also recapping Robert’s GMing rotation, chock full of Board-gamey and RPG goodness.  So, settle in and take a listen as we go shout-out crazy and thank all of our listeners, supporters, and most of all each other for a great first year here at Monkey in the Cage!

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Unboxing: Locke & Key The Game

Locke & Key The Game by Cryptozoic

One of the first booths we came upon at WonderCon this past weekend was the Cryptozoic booth.  They had game demos going on and I immediately spied Locke & Key.  I had been meaning to get my hands on the game since it’s release about a month ago but I completely forgot.  In fact, in my rain-soaked head, it had yet to be released and I was scooping up one of the first copies.  Yeah, motherhood has made me forgetful and I always said I would never turn into “one of those women” *sigh*.  Anyway, I handed over my $30 and went on my merry way.  Turns out you can pick it up at Amazon for $18… the moral of the story?  Forgetfulness can be costly.

Overview: Box, instruction booklet, 3 decks of cards, Lock token, and Keyhouse

The game is based on the insanely popular Locke & Key comics by Joe Hill and illustrated by the uber-talented Gabriel Rodriguez.  I have read the first four hardcovers and have enjoyed them immensely.  The story revolves mostly around the Locke children to do to live in a mysterious manor owned by their family called the Keyhouse located on  the fictional Lovecraft Island.  The kids find a series of keys that do amazing things within the house.  They band together to stop an outside supernatural threat from obtaining the keys for his our sinister motives.

The Strength Deck

I can see how the story lends itself to becoming a game.  The player is a member of the Locke family and must overcome various challenges whether they be personal and psychological or physical and supernatural.  The players use their strengths to overcome these challenges.  Players can assist each other and be rewarded or possibly punished.

The Challenge Deck

The challenges vary in degree of difficulty as signified by the color.  White challenges are personal or deal with other humans.  Blue challenges are mysterious and otherworldly.  Black challenges are the most difficult and represent entities or creatures.

The Key Deck

After each player takes their turn then Key cards can be played to if they are relevant to plays that just took place.  The Lock token is passed around and each player gets a chance to play a key that can help or hinder.  When the “Game Over” card is revealed the player with the highest points is the winner.

WonderCon Exclusive Cards

Paying full retail price at the con did score me some awesome WonderCon exclusive key cards to add to the game:  The Moon Key, The Timeshift Key, and The Harlequin Key.  We own one other Cryptozoic game  AMC’s The Walking Dead and the quality is similar.  The holographic foil on the exclusive cards are very nice and highlight their exclusivity.



Episode 17 – Co-Op Experiences

In this day and age of online gaming and social media, we geeks have it sweet in the ability to jump on our PC’s or consoles with people from around the world and wreak havoc upon AI foes or one another in any number of settings no matter what time of day it is. Whether it’s banding together for a raid in World of Warcraft, or failing miserably to save the world in a game of Pandemic, one of the best gaming experiences a gamer can have is when teamwork with you closest friends brings sweet, sweet victory or amusingly humiliating defeat.

Join us this week as we shotgun blast your ears with our numerous (and we mean numerous!) experiences with Co-Op gameplay. From video games to board games to tabletop RPG’s, we hit it fast, hard, and chaotic, just like Leeroy Jenkins himself. Plug in and listen up, because the Co-Op memories just keep coming!

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Episode 14 – Convention Experiences with. . . The David

One of the best parts of a new year, besides failing miserably at your resolutions by the second week of January, is the start of a whole new convention season.  Whether you are rabidly anticipating the “Geek Mecca” that is San Diego Comic-Con or like to keep it low-key and hit up your local favorites, we here at the Podcast love conventions, large and small.  From awesome (to awesomely bad) cosplay to getting mad-dogged by The Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno, hitting the convention circuit and reporting back to our listeners is definitely a top priority for the podcast monkeys this year.

Join us this week as we welcome our most seasoned Con-goer and close personal friend, The David from the Greenlandic Powerpop band The Maxies, as we recollect some highlights from convention trips past.  Grab your daily passes and stack up your swag while we dive into this week’s look at the convention experience.  It’s both chaotic and fun, just like the convention floor!

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2012 Geek Resolutions

I love the new year.  My type A, OCD-addled personality loves how perfect January 1st looks on the calendar.  We all have resolutions, even if you’re the type of person who doesn’t “believe” in them, it’s a great time to set some goals and make some improvements.  So here are my geek-related resolutions for the new year!

Go To the Movies

I can’t tell you the last time I went to the movies.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies it’s just hard to get out.  However, with so many awesome geek movies on the horizons we are going to have to sneak away once a month or so.  Here’s my Top 3 Must-Sees:

The Avengers coming May 4, 2012:

Batman:  The Dark Knight Rises coming  July 20, 2012:

The Hobbit coming December 14, 2012:

Play More Games

It must be noted that this does not mean buy more games.  We have a walk-in closet chock full of awesome games that have yet to be played!  Here’s my Top 3 Must-Plays:

Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight Games

This game has co-op game play set in a Lovecraftian world so what has kept us from playing?  A dauntingly long rule book and laziness, or course!

Bang!  (La Pallottola) The Bullet!  by Da Vinci

A Western-based card game should have us chomping at the proverbial bit to play this one but it fell to the wayside for quicker-to-play fare and once again.. laziness.

Battleship Galaxies by Wizards of the Coast

I loved Battleship as a kid and when I saw this new variation of the game I immediately impulse-bought it!  I wanted to get my Captain Maul Mal on but the guys seemed meh about the whole thing.  So lack of interest and wait for it… laziness sent this one to the shelf o’ “how long have we had that game!?”

Read More Books

Since I finally got out of my vocabularily-abusive relationship with Fablehaven it’s time for me to sow my oats and see what else is out there for me.  Here are my Top 3 Must-Reads:

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

When I first heard of this series my inner voice yelled, “Didn’t you learn anything from Twilight!?  Don’t believe the hype!”  But I quickly quieted that voice and hopefully clicked the purchase button.  I am about five chapters into the first book and so far I am liking it!  Katniss Everdeen is no Bella Swan and that alone makes this series far superior to Stephenie Meyers’ dreck.

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

I own all four hardcover volumes of this series:  Welcome to Lovecraft, Head Games, Crown of Shadows, and Keys to the Kingdom but just haven’t found the time to read them.  When I first started hearing buzz about this series I was very intrigued.  It’s written by Stephen King’s son and that makes him a legacy in my book.  I picked up World War Z for a similar reason and Max Brooks impressed the hell of me.  It was also optioned for a television series  on FOX and although it didn’t get picked up (much to my dismay) Cryptozoic is making a board game based on the series this year.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

When I heard that this book was originally conceived during a NaNoWriMo project I knew I had to pick it.  Writers write whether it’s National Novel Writing Month or not but I like the idea of setting aside a special time to chase that manuscript that is always rattling around in my head.  Erin Morgenstern did just that and I am beyond curious to see what she came up with. Oh, and Matt, I know you got your hopes up but it’s not a sequel to Night Train.

So, fellow geeks resolve along with me to get some checks on that old to-do list!  What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2012?