GeekDad http://geekdad.com Raising Geek Generation 2.0 Mon, 20 Apr 2015 22:05:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 New ‘Jurassic World’ Trailer Released http://geekdad.com/2015/04/new-jurassic-world-trailer/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/new-jurassic-world-trailer/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:47:19 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=90090 When I was eleven, Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park made a huge impact upon me. I watched it in Texas with a dozen or more family members and what seemed like 100,000 people, packing the seats around me. We'd all been drawn to the creatures we'd loved all our lives. Oh, and we also wanted to see them just go nuts. Come check out the trailer for the newest installment Jurassic World. Continue reading

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When I was eleven, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park made a huge impact upon me. I watched it in Texas with a dozen or more family members and what seemed like 100,000 people, packing the seats around me. We’d all been drawn to the creatures we’d loved all our lives. Oh, and we also wanted to see them just go nuts.

I enjoyed the movie so much that I came home and purchased the paperback. It was the first adult novel I’d ever read. I read it in less than a week. You might say I devoured it like a Tyrannosaurus rex devours a goat. Um, or you might not. Either way, since then, I’ve been super excited to see this franchise grow (yes, even with the third movie). Now, we have Jurassic World, and it just looks great!

Check out these three posters from the upcoming film and enjoy the trailer, of course – all courtesy of Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment. When you’re finished, leave a comment and stop by the theater on June 12. I’ll save you a seat.

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JSW_Mose1Sht2_RGB_0416_3_Web JSW_Raptor1Sht16_NoBill_RGB_0416_1_Web

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GeekDad Giveaway: Game of Thrones Winner http://geekdad.com/2015/04/game-of-thrones-winner/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/game-of-thrones-winner/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:00:07 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=90075 The Winner is here!

Congratulations to the winner of our Game of Thrones t-shirt giveaway!
Continue reading

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The Winner is here!

Congratulations to the winner of our Game of Thrones t-shirt giveaway!

Joshua G. of Bowling Green, KY.

He has won the shirts of season premiere celebration courtesy of our friends at TVStoreOnline.com! Here is a recap of his spoils:

No spoilers here, but the first shirt that I have picked out for this giveaway is:

all-men-must-die-adult-charcoal-t-shirt-2

And since Daenerys is my favorite, as a bonus I am also throwing in:

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One winner took all!

Special thanks to TV Store Online! Go and check them out at: TVStoreOnline.com

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‘The Captain Is Dead Episode 2: Adrift’ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/captain-is-dead-2-adrift/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/captain-is-dead-2-adrift/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:30:31 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89888 So you repaired the Jump Core and escaped the hostile alien ship—but now you're in an asteroid field. Some aliens managed to stow away and are now sabotaging the ship's systems, and on top of that, an asteroid has knocked the Jump Core offline. Again. Welcome to 'The Captain Is Dead,' Episode 2: 'Adrift.' Continue reading

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The Captain Is Dead Episode 2: Adrift

So you repaired the Jump Core and escaped the hostile alien ship–but now you’re in an asteroid field. Some aliens managed to stow away and are now sabotaging the ship’s systems, and on top of that, an asteroid has knocked the Jump Core offline. Again. Welcome to The Captain Is Dead, Episode 2: Adrift.

At a glance: Adrift is an expansion (designed by J.T. Smith and Jamie Vrbsky) for The Captain Is Dead, so the base game is required. It’s a cooperative game for 2 to 7 players, ages 12 and up, and takes 60-90 minutes to play, according to the rules. I would allow extra time, though, particularly the first time you play or if you have players who really like to think through their moves. Younger players could probably play this, though they would need to be comfortable with brutally difficult cooperative games. The retail price is $19.99, but it’s currently The Game Crafter’s crowd sale for $10. (Read more about TGC’s crowd sales here.)

Captain Is Dead: Adrift components

Components for Adrift. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Components

  • 24 Yellow Alert cards
  • 25 Orange Alert cards
  • 8 Red Alert cadrs
  • 2 Battle Plan cards
  • 12 Veteran Ability cards
  • 1 reference card
  • 10 damage tokens

The cards look a lot like the base game cards, though the backs are marked with a little asteroid graphic so you can identify them easily. Except for the two Battle Plan cards, they aren’t actually shuffled together with the base game cards, so there’s not a lot of sorting necessary. I do wish they’d put the icon on the faces of the cards, at least for the Battle Plans, because now you can easily spot if either of the new Battle Plans is on the top of the deck.

The damage tokens are black plastic gems. The cards themselves are okay–the same quality as the originals. They’re not top-of-the-line cards, but they do all right. Like the original, there are minimal graphics, with mostly text. Most people know of The Game Crafter as a site to order components for prototyping games, though they do also sell finished games, like this one. However, in my opinion the overall quality of the components, even for the finished games, isn’t quite at the level of polish as other major game publishers.

The whole thing comes in a tuckbox that’s a little larger than it needs to be. With the small rulebook and the damage tokens, I can see why it wouldn’t go in just a regular tuckbox, but this one is thick enough that I can’t actually put it inside the original game box and still put the lid on all the way.

Adrift setup

Hmm, there seem to be a lot of aliens on board… Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

How to play

If you’re not familiar with the base game, check out my explanation of The Captain Is Dead here.

The object of the game is still to repair the Jump Core, though in this episode you can also win if the Alert deck runs out. (In Episode 1, if the Alert deck runs out, you lose.)

To set up the game, you replace the entire Alert deck from Episode 1 with the new Alert deck: red on the bottom, orange in the middle, and yellow on top. Also, you start with all of the aliens already on the board–one in each room, and one in each hallway. And you’ll shuffle the two new Battle Plans into the Battle Plan deck.

Each player also gets a Veteran Ability card–these are special abilities on top of whatever character abilities you have, and you distribute them before you choose your characters, so that you can pick a character that best suits the ability.

Adrift Veteran Abilities

The Veteran Abilities add to your character abilities. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Finally, as before, you resolve the first 5 Alerts, causing some initial damage to the ship (and potentially injuring players), and then the game begins.

The Alert deck is set up similarly to the original, but with a few twists. There are still various Anomalies that will affect you as you go about your business. These, as before, can be removed by researching them in the Science Lab.

Adrift Anomalies

Some anomalies are more problematic than others. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Asteroids are a new type of Alert. Since you’re drifting through an asteroid field, you’ll often be hit by an asteroid, causing various types of damage to your shields or to ship systems.

The Asteroid cards also introduce a new way to override Alerts. In the original, you could spend 3 Command points to override an Alert card you just drew. In Episode 2, your ability to dodge an Asteroid correlates to the state of your Jump Drive: the better your Jump Drive, the fewer Command points it costs to dodge an Asteroid.

Adrift Asteroids

Asteroids are the main source of damage to the ship. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

There’s a new type of damage in Adrift–sometimes rather than being knocked offline right away, a system can be damaged. You mark these with damage tokens. If any system gets 3 damage tokens, it is then flipped offline and must be repaired. Only the “Maintenance” Veteran Ability can remove these damage tokens. On top of that, at the start of any turn when there are aliens present, you add another damage token to any system that already has them.

Finally, there are the alien probes.

Adrift alien probes

Alien probes, as you may expect, are not good. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Alien Probes are ship-type Alerts, and will be placed next to the board. In the original game, alien ships will increase damage to your shields until you shoot them down with torpedoes. This time around, they don’t do damage when they show up, but if you ever have two of them in play at the same time, you lose the game. Ready those torpedoes!

Some of the Alien Probes are only active at a certain difficulty level, otherwise you discard them. So the harder you set the difficulty level, the more probes you’ll have to deal with (on top of having more repairs to make on the Jump Drive).

If you ever take shield damage that drops you below 0%, or if two Alien Probes are attached, or if you ever need to teleport more aliens onto the ship but you don’t have any more pawns, then you lose the game. To win, you must either repair the Jump Drive all the way, or survive the entire Alert deck.

Adrift-vented into space

Yikes! The Weapons Officer (me) just got vented into space. Red Alerts are brutal. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Verdict

I’ve only gotten to play Adrift a couple times so far, but I wanted to get this written up while the crowd sale was still going–you’ve got just about a week left. If you have The Captain Is Dead, I highly recommend picking up a copy: it’s only ten bucks during the sale, and adds a new dimension to the gameplay. (Note: if you don’t have the original, you can also pick that up during the crowd sale. The price is currently at about $38, but that could drop another two bucks if enough people buy it.)

One of my primary concerns when I reviewed The Captain Is Dead was the replayability. You can mix up the characters and the Alerts will always come in a random order, but otherwise the game was the same each time. (The final game did come with even more characters than I had in the prototype.) Introducing this expansion changes the experience and gives you a different set of challenges. The game still feels familiar, but with some tweaks–calling it “Episode 2″ is quite appropriate.

I do hope, though, that at some point we get an Episode that isn’t all about repairing the Jump Drive. I mean, the game is built around the Jump Drive–even the difficulty level of the game is based on its initial setting–but it would be nice to have some other type of objective, too.

Adrift alien trap

Ha! Caught the aliens with our Alien Trap Battle Plan. Nobody go in the Cargo Hold. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I also liked the Veteran Abilities, and the way that it gives you even more possibilities, mixing and matching these new abilities with the existing character powers. They do mention that they don’t recommend using the Veteran Abilities with Episode 1 because the game isn’t balanced for them. The two new Battle Plans are useful, but with only two of them you won’t always encounter them.

If you’re somebody who really wants top-notch component quality, I don’t think The Game Crafter’s games will quite live up to that. While I like Gaetano Leonardi’s illustrations, the overall look (font, card backs, etc.) isn’t quite at the level of major established publishers. However, if you’re willing to settle for good (not perfect) component quality, the gameplay is a lot of fun.

Some of the other issues from the base game still apply here: the alpha-player syndrome in cooperative games is still present, because The Captain Is Dead is a bit of a puzzle-solving game no matter which episode you play, so it’s something to be aware of.

If you like difficult cooperative games, The Captain Is Dead and Adrift would make a nice addition to your game collection, particularly if you’re a sci-fi fan. It’s fun to play through these “episodes” and I’m curious to see what designer J.T. Smith has for us next. Order your copy from The Game Crafter.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this game.

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Digital Comics Explosion: The Dynamite Mega Bundle http://geekdad.com/2015/04/dynamite-mega-bundle/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/dynamite-mega-bundle/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:00:25 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89894 BitTorrent and Dynamite Entertainment team up to bring you the Dynamite Mega Bundle, which packs tons of digital comic book action into a small price tag. Continue reading

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Dynamite Mega Bundle

Hot on the heels of the recent 10th anniversary Doctor Who Bundle and the Ricky Rouse preview Bundle, BitTorrent has once again given comics and sci-fi fans something to download and enjoy! Dynamite Comics, famous for such titles as Vampirella, The Green Hornet, and many others, has teamed up with BitTorrent to release The Dynamite Mega Bundle. This pay-what-you-can model delivers more than 140 issues and 4,000 pages of content for a minimum payment of only $6.00.

Not sure the collection is worth the money? (Spoiler alert: it is.) No worries. Dynamite Comics is offering up a number of titles–including Bob’s Burgers, Red Sonja, Sherlock Holmes, and more–absolutely free! Independent publisher Dynamite Entertainment is mostly noted for adding a unique voice with adaptations to existing properties in the public domain, but also for creating new stories for several popular licensed characters as well.

If this is your first foray into using BitTorrent, then you need to know that you will have to download their free client in order to receive the bundle. Familiar names such as George R.R. Martin, Dean Koontz, and Mark Waid should ease you into exploring some of the lesser-known titles. If you’re looking to breathe some life into classic characters or for a new take on a current favorite, be sure to check out this steal of a deal for hours of entertainment.

DYNAMITE MEGA BUNDLE:

  1. Vampirella Masters Series – Volumes 2 and 4
  2. Amanda Hawking’s The Hollows
  3. George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards
  4. Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called – Volumes 1 and 2
  5. Project Superpowers – Volume 1
  6. Green Hornet – Volumes 1 and 2
  7. Cryptozoic Man
  8. Red Sonja – Volume 2
  9. Pathfinder
  10. Dean Koontz: Frankenstein Prodigal Son – Volume 1
  11. Kirby Genesis
  12. Django/Zorro
  13. Twilight Zone
  14. Doodle Jump
  15. Bob’s Burgers
  16. Jim Butcher: Dresden War Cry
  17. Jungle Girl – Season 1 and 2
  18. Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time
  19. Mocking Dead
  20. Chaos
  21. Legendary
  22. Sherlock Holmes Trial – Volume 1
  23. Monster War
  24. Alice Cooper
  25. Uncanny
  26. Mark Waid’s Green Hornet
  27. The Warriors: Jailbreak
  28. Ex-Con
  29. Shaft
  30. Vampirella Masters Series Vol. 1: Grant Morrison and Mark MIllar

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‘iPoe Collection 3′: A GeekDad Review http://geekdad.com/2015/04/ipoe-3-review/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/ipoe-3-review/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:30:08 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89641 Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will enjoy the 'iPoe Collection 3,' the latest book-app by iClassics Productions, S.L. Continue reading

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ipoe collection 3

Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will enjoy the iPoe Collection 3, the latest book-app by iClassics Productions, S.L. The app combines art by David G. Forés, music by Miguel Tejada, and the words of Edgar Allan Poe to create a new experience of the classic stories.

I had enjoyed the earlier installments, so was eager to view this one, especially when I learned that it included my favorite of all of Mr. Poe’s stories: The Cask of Amontillado. It did not disappoint. Tejada’s music and Forés’s art fit the mood of Poe’s stories well. The app is creatively designed with interactive elements that aren’t always obvious on a first read. Turning the device or touching some of the art elements will reveal what was hidden.

dispositivosMy favorite of these was the torchlight effect in the darkness of the crypts. Moving my finger around the touch screen lit up different sections of the words, just as a torch would have if I were walking in the dark.

The multimedia approach makes familiar stories feel fresh and new and will engage younger, media-rich readers, encouraging them to give these classic stories a chance. I highly recommend this app-book.

Check it out on iTunes.

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Gadget Deal Alert: Amazon Cuts Fire HD7 Tablet to $79 Today! http://geekdad.com/2015/04/fire-hd7-tablet-to-79-today/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/fire-hd7-tablet-to-79-today/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:14:56 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=90077 The very popular Amazon HD7 tablet is on sale today. Continue reading

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black-fas-slate-01-lg-novid._V325436168_

We’ve spoken highly of a number of the Fire tablets over time, especially in various holiday gift guides, because they provide a good entertainment and app experience for value, so we have no qualms pointing out this amazing deal on Amazon today. They’ve cut $60 off the price of their hugely popular HD7 tablet for one day only (it’s actually cheaper than the next smaller unit). If you need to pick up an early Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or graduation gift, this might be the perfect time. And at this price, you don’t have to worry as much about letting little one’s play with it.

Pick up an Amazon Fire HD7 tablet for $79

The more powerful Amazon Fire HDX is also on sale, $40 off, at $199

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Cute Baby Monsters Alert! http://geekdad.com/2015/04/cute-baby-monsters-alert/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/cute-baby-monsters-alert/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89965 Everybody needs more baby monsters in their lives. Continue reading

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beats2

Everybody needs more baby monsters in their lives.

You may recall in January when we helped promote the Baby Bestiary calendar by our sponsor Metal Weave Designs. Turns out that was an off-shoot of their previously-successful Kickstarter campaign to produce a beautiful folio of what we think Anne Geddes would do if she were hired to shoot the Monster Manual.

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The results of this effort will be available in July, in the shape of full-color prints, a beautiful picture-book, post cards, tabletop gaming tokens, and more. And you can get in now to pre-order your favorite cute beasties.

Click here to pre-order your Baby Bestiary art!

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Stack Overflow: Not Your Typical Princess http://geekdad.com/2015/04/stack-overflow-princesses/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/stack-overflow-princesses/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:30:19 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89990 In this week's Stack Overflow, we explore three books about princesses. But they aren't your normal princesses. Continue reading

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Covers for The Princess in Black, The Orphan Queen, and Heir of Fire

Strong female lead characters are intriguing to me. It’s because I have two young daughters with whom I want to share stories. Stories with which they can identify and relate. Stories that don’t rely on the traditional “princess gets rescued by a heroic man” motif. In this week’s Stack Overflow, I have three such books with three atypical princesses.

First up is The Princess in Black, written by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. In it, Princess Magnolia appears to be a typical princess, having hot chocolate with Duchess Wigtower.

Until the monster alarm sounds!

Then Princess Magnolia sneaks away to become the Princess in Black, the monster-hunting princess. Can she stop the monster threat and keep her secret safe from Duchess Wigtower?

I got this book for my six-year-old on release day. When she arrived home from school, she immediately grabbed the book and started reading, rather than going into her usual routine. She absolutely loves The Princess in Black and wants to order the next in the series.

Next on my stack is a book by Jodi Meadows titled The Orphan Queen. This is the first book in a fantasy duology, with recommended ages fourteen and up. The premise is that magic, when used, has a by-product called wraith. Wraith is slowly taking over the different lands.

To combat the wraith, the different rulers of the lands created an alliance to ban magic use. The main character of the book, Wilhelmina Korte, is the daughter of two rulers who refused to sign on to the alliance and ban magic.

Wilhelmina and other children from her land have banded together to take their land back from those who invaded and killed their parents. They’ll stop at nothing to get their homes back, and, for Wilhelmina, to keep her secret.

I enjoyed this book. The magic system was not unique in itself, though the wraith is new to me. I like the idea that magic use has a detrimental effect on not just the user, but also the world at large. Meadows has plotted The Orphan Queen in such a way that we understand the dangers the wraith poses, but are left wondering what it really is and what really needs to be done about it.

Last on my stack is Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. This is the third book in the Throne of Glass series. Maas has noted that the Throne of Glass series is a twist on the Cinderella story: Celaena is a disenfranchised princess-turned-assassin who now works for the tyrant king who killed her parents and subjugated not only her kingdom, but the entire continent. He’s also, somehow, extinguished magic.

Heir of Fire is the third book of the series. If you haven’t read the series yet, I’d urge you to stop reading here, as it’s hard to write a spoiler-free review of a mid-series book!

Celaena is on her mission for the King of Adarlan to assassinate the Ashryvers of Wendlyn. As we are discovering, Celaena is an assumed identity. Her true name is Aelin, and she is related by blood to the Ashryvers.

Celaena completes enough of her mission to know the weaknesses of the Ashryver’s fortress, and to have seen her target. She discovers that her target is beloved by his people and not at all the monster she thought him to be.

In the end, she can’t go through with her mission.

Instead, she gets drunk and debates finding her aunt, the Fae Queen Maeve. Maeve may hold the key to overthrowing the tyrant king who killed Celaena’s parents and restore Celaena to her throne.

I’ve enjoyed this series immensely. This is my second read-through of Heir of Fire. I’d recommend this series to adults or teens (fourteen and up) who enjoy epic fantasy stories.

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World Cosplay Summit – North American Finals Results http://geekdad.com/2015/04/world-cosplay-summit/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/world-cosplay-summit/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:00:31 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89893 This last weekend, as part of the Midwest Media Expo, I was privileged to see the North American finals for the World Cosplay Summit. Nine duos from across the United States competed to see who would win the honor of being "Team USA" at the World Cosplay Summit 2015 finals in Japan later this year. Continue reading

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This last weekend, as part of the Midwest Media Expo I covered, I was privileged to see the North American finals for the World Cosplay Summit. Nine duos from across the United States competed to see who would win the honor of being “Team USA” at the World Cosplay Summit 2015 finals in Japan later this year.

The competition clearly had heart and everybody was at the top of their game. All nine of the teams, all eighteen cosplayers, were among the best cosplayers I’ve ever seen. Before I reveal the results, and who will be “Team USA 2015,” I want to first take time to appreciate each of the teams for their time, energy, and sacrifices to even get this far.

WCS NA Group Shot

All of these teams performed a skit or dance as their chosen characters, often impressing the crowd with mid-performance costume changes, subtractions, or additions. None of these teams failed to impress, even, as we’ll get to later, the night’s tragedy.

I apologize for the photos. I was trying to compensate for the movement and stage lighting, but I’m not a photographer.

Team 1 – Kiss Kiss Cosplay – Cosplaying Princess Jellyfish
Kiss Kiss 1 Kiss Kiss 2

Team 2 – Colony Drop Cosplay – Cosplaying Slayers
Colony Drop cosplaying Slayers

Team 3 – Karmaluna Cosplay – Cosplaying Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Karmaluna Cosplay 1

Karmaluna 2

Team 4 – Team Magpie – Cosplaying Persona 4
This was the tragedy of the evening. As the pair ascended from backstage, evidently part of a costume or prop broke. They spent a while trying to get it fixed enough to perform the skit, but after almost a minute of prep on stage were forced to tearfully admit that the skit could not be performed because of the broken element.

Their costumes, as can be seen in the photos, were outstanding and they handled themselves like true champions even in the face of such bad circumstances.

Team Magpie

Team 5 – Elemental Moon Cosplay – Cosplaying Howl’s Moving Castle

Elemental Moon

Team 6 – Something Clever Cosplay – Cosplaying Paradise Kiss

Something Clever 1 Something Clever 2

Team 7 – Team Guava Drunk Kero – Cosplaying Cardcaptor Sakura

Team Guava Drunk Kero

Team 8 – Ennui KILLED the Cosplay -Cosplaying The World of Mystic Wiz

Ennui Killed the Cosplay 2 Ennui Killed the Cosplay 1

Team 9 – Slim Zeus – Cosplaying Megaman and Samus as they appeared in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U

Slim Zeus

The Results

While all of the teams were impressive and undoubtedly deserved the honor, there could only be one Team USA (and one runner-up team). The judges, all former World Cosplay Summit competitors, agonized over the decision but eventually came to a consensus over the team that would represent the United States in the 2015 championships. But first, the runners-up.

The runners-up were given a suite and platinum passes for Midwest Media Expo’s parent convention, Youmacon, held at the Detroit Renaissance center around Halloween each year.

The Runners-Up: Karmaluna Cosplay

WCS NA Runners Up

The winners, in addition to being given the honor of representing the United States in Japan for the 2015 finals, was granted a gift bag of items the judges had found useful in Japan. The first item, gifted to Team 2014 from Team 2013, was an iron, an item that was both surprisingly useful and rare during the competition.

This year, in addition to Team 2013’s iron, Team 2014 added a universal power converter to the bag, something they’d found necessary upon entering Japan.

In addition, they each gave their words of support and encouragement to the upcoming Team USA, wishing them to think of this opportunity in terms of friends gained and experiences had, rather than focusing on winning or losing. Both members of Team 2014 said that, while it took 4 years of their life to get to the point where they could represent the United States, they regretted none of it. They made great friends, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun.

Without further ado, the judges announced the winners.

The Winners and Team USA 2015: Something Clever Cosplay

WCS NA Winners

We at GeekDad would like to congratulate Team USA 2015, and wish them luck in Japan, but we would also like to once again thank and congratulate all the teams that competed in the World Cosplay Summit North American finals.

WCS NA Group Shot 2

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‘Battlestar Galactica’ Charity Event Success http://geekdad.com/2015/04/bsg-charity-event-success/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/bsg-charity-event-success/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:30:17 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89903 Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer from 'Battlestar Galactica,' and Kurt Yaegar and Chris Reed from 'Sons of Anarchy,' were in attendance for the annual Tulip Ride and 'BSG' screening this past weekend. The event raised over $40,000 for The Humane Society for Seattle/King County. Continue reading

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BSG-ThreeKatee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica, and Kurt Yaegar and Chris Reed from Sons of Anarchy, were in attendance for the annual Tulip Ride and BSG screening this past weekend. The event raised over $40,000 for The Humane Society for Seattle/King County.

BSG-iPicMenuFor fans who like to get autographs or photo-ops with celebrities, you’re probably used to paying $40+ PER guest at a convention. This event was $50 for the opportunity to get autographs and photos with four celebrities. Just for that alone, it was a really great deal if you’re a fan of either BSG or Sons of Anarchy. iPic Theaters also had out a great spread of free coffee, tea, and continental breakfast, but they also had a special breakfast menu that attendees could add-on.

BSG-AutographsI didn’t bring any memorabilia to get signed so I opted for the next best thing–my GeekDad business cards. I think using these perfectly captured the moment.

BSG-iPicPhotoAfter the screening, your guest photo was ready and waiting for you to grab. Talk about quick service! When they took the photo they had mentioned it would be available online so having an actual print was a nice surprise.

BSG-IpicIn addition to meeting Sackhoff, Helfer, Yaegar, and Reed, we also got to watch two episodes of BSG, “33” and “Downloaded,” in the amazingly comfortable theater. Seeing BSG on the big screen was simply amazing. Even though I’ve watched the entire series multiple times, I caught things in these two episodes I’d never noticed before. There is definitely something to be said for seeing great TV on the big screen.

BSG-FourIn between episodes, all four stars went up to the front of the theater and thanked everyone for coming and helping them raise money for the Humane Society. All four of them have rescue pets, and Helfer admitted to us all just how many cats she has, but then Sackhoff made us all promise not to tell. Just know that it’s a lot more than you’d probably think.

BSG-KateeAndMeIt was such a privilege to meet Sackhoff and Helfer. They were both so genuinely kind and sweet. I definitely plan to attend the screening again next year. What was really amazing, though, is the sense of camaraderie I got hanging around them and the VIPs who also attended the dinner the night before. It really felt like they spent the time to meet and hang out with their fans.

BSG-TriciaAndMeAnybody who is near to or travels to the Seattle area who is also a BSG fan would be remiss to not attend this annual event. I will make sure to remind you all when we get closer next year.

Disclaimer: I was given free admission to this event.

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Spoiler Alert – The Perils of Great Expectations http://geekdad.com/2015/04/spoiler-alert/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/spoiler-alert/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:00:11 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89924 The new 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' trailer is being discussed everywhere, but are we in danger of spoiling the main event? Continue reading

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Due to the incompetence of my internet service provider, which entirely failed to live up its name this week, I have only just been able to watch the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. I kept hearing about how amazing it was, but was unable to see for myself. I could have watched on my phone, I suppose, but when I watched it, I wanted it to be on a big screen.

I still had access to all my usual social media streams, and, across all of them, it was big news. News I didn’t want to hear. I was desperate to avoid spoilers, even on 2 minutes of promotional video. But it was unavoidable. Images were everywhere. Even my wife sent me a copy of an article entitled, “Is Finn a Jedi?” An intriguing question for any Star Wars fan, but one that has increased significance in our family. My middle son is called Finn. That there’s a Finn in the new film is big news. If he is a Jedi, I’ll probably have the most excited seven-year-old in existence.

I thought about how thrilled he would be when I told him, but then I wondered whether to tell him at all. Surely his excitement would be even greater if he found out, as he watched the film, in the theater? Would I, by telling him in advance, be spoiling something? This led on to a more encompassing thought; do we, by poring over the details, spoil things for ourselves?

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Well, is he?

You can’t move, on the Internet, for breakdowns of the trailer, analyzing every frame. There’s an excellent one here on GeekDad. It’s good fun to predict what might happen. It’s exciting to imagine what the full film might bring, but does it propel our expectations to heights that can never be matched by reality? I often find with books I’m desperate to read that I come away disappointed. The experience can never live up to what I hope it will be. In my mind, I envisage the perfect novel. Reality is rarely going to live up to that billing.

For Star Wars it’s worse. Reading is a singular experience. I might have heard good things about a book, but usually nothing about the story. With Star Wars, the collective fan base builds a story from the barest bits of information. From the teaser trailer, whole story arcs are speculated. These are then honed and polished by the hive mind into glorious unbeatable narratives. Is Finn a Jedi? I have no idea, but now there’s going to be countless fans potentially disappointed if he isn’t.

In the age where information is always available, we demand more of it all the time, whether or not we’d be better without it. The Star Wars Celebration event revealed costumes, vehicles, and even the new lightsaber from the film. They were great to see, but wouldn’t it have been better to see them for the first time on the screen? Trailers, scripts, and episodes of much-loved entertainment shows leak all the time. We can’t help ourselves. It’s like stealing into your parents’ bedroom to find your Christmas presents. Sure, it’s fun on December 9th, but it does rather spoil the excitement of December 25th.

In just about every franchise going, there is an obsession with who is going to play which role. I concede it would be impossible to keep it a secret, but imagine the excitement of wondering whether you are going to see Han, Luke, and Leia in the film, if you hadn’t known two years in advance. Last year the BBC ran an interminable reveal show for the next incarnation of Doctor Who. They tried to make it interesting, but (to my mind at least) failed miserably. Nothing could have compared to the regeneration light fading and the face of the new Doctor slowing pulling into focus to reveal … a total surprise.

As the release date approaches, we will chase information about The Force Awakens harder and harder, setting ourselves up for a fall. The collective mind is hard to appease. It claims ownership of the films, even though all it has ever done is watch them. If he messes up, J.J. Abrams will have ruined “our” films, spoiled “our” experience. The collective demands perfection without conceding that no such thing exists. We forget that we watched the films as children, with almost no preconceptions, and with greatly reduced critical faculties. The innocence of children is very forgiving. They won’t notice the imperfections; they will take the film for what it is and not what they wanted it to be. We should try to do the same.

The Star Wars trilogy was front and center of most of our childhoods. Most of the readers and writers of GeekDad are passionate about it. For us, as parents and as geeks, the best thing the new film can do is foster a similar passion in our children. There is one thing The Force Awakens affords us that the original three films didn’t: the opportunity to share it with our children. To be able to watch their excitement. See their wide eyes in the cinema, enjoy them flying, arms outstretched like X-Wings and make “Shuuuuum” noises as they battle one another with lightsabers. They will do all of this without agonizing over the trailers, without expectation and without spoilers. Perhaps on this they can teach us something.

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‘Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One’ Details Announced http://geekdad.com/2015/04/rogue-one-details/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/rogue-one-details/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:30:40 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89999 A few details, including the central story line, have been released about 'Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.' Continue reading

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Director Gareth Edwards at Wondercon. Image courtesy Wikimedia.org.

Director Gareth Edwards at Wondercon. Image courtesy Wikimedia.org.

On Sunday, during the final day of the Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and director Gareth Edwards revealed some details about the first stand-alone Star Wars movie, Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.

“Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”

Of course we’re all familiar with that introduction to Star Wars from the opening crawl in A New Hope, but as of Christmas, 2016 we’ll get to see the story behind those few sentences, as that battle and the theft of the Death Star plans will be the focus of Rogue One. Obviously, the movie is set in the period immediately before Episode IV. Little else is known about the film as of now, other than that it is being directed by Godzilla’s Edwards, will be written by ILM vet (and Photoshop co-creator) John Knoll, who apparently came up with the story, and will bring over many of the production crew from The Force Awakens.

Two things in particular set this movie apart from the other Star Wars films. First, it will star recent Oscar nominee Felicity Jones as a Rebel trooper, so it will be the first female-centered Star Wars film. And that’s all-around great news.

Second, this is going to be the first Star Wars property (not counting the books and comics that are no longer canon) that will not feature the Jedi at all. Edwards stated, “It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.”

Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One is scheduled to hit theaters in December, 2016.

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The GeekDad Legal Fund Continues to Grow With Your Help http://geekdad.com/2015/04/legal-fund-continues-to-grow/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/legal-fund-continues-to-grow/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:15:11 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=90052 GeekDad has settled its long-standing legal issues with our former partner over ownership of the GeekDad name. We came out with our brand intact, but dealing with a major publisher, as with land wars in Asia, can be expensive. Continue reading

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GeekDad has settled its long-standing legal issues with our former partner Condé Nast over ownership of the GeekDad name. We came out with our brand intact, but dealing with a major publisher, as with land wars in Asia, can be expensive. So, two weeks ago we started our crowdfunding campaign towards helping pay off our legal expenses.

The response has been heartwarming. The outpouring of affection from our fans reminds us that what we do isn’t just for us, but for everyone who needs ideas for projects to do with their kids, or just to know when’s a good time for a pee break during the latest blockbuster movie. In just two weeks, we’ve brought in over 3% of our goal (we’re looking for $80,000 in the next 18 months.

If we do the math, and if we could keep things going at this rate, we’d be able to make that goal. But we also know that to keep things going, we have to keep asking. We need everyone who has ever enjoyed a post on GeekDad to consider offering something up; maybe just the cost of a fancy coffee once a month. Every little bit matters.

Over the eight years we’ve been doing this, we’ve had literally millions of people read our stories (really, it’s like 30 million unique visitors). If getting help from people was like using Drake’s Equation to determine the number of spacefaring races in the galaxy, then figuring 1% of the people who have read a story on GeekDad might learn about our plight, and then 1% of them might actually give us $5 a month on Patreon for a year to help, then we’d bust through our goal early (or be visited by aliens).

Here are the ways you can help us:

Thanks for all your support. And for the fun of it, we’ve been collecting special shout-outs from cool, geeky people in the areas we cover. Here’s a few of those:

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8 Great New Gadget Projects on Kickstarter This Week http://geekdad.com/2015/04/8-great-new-gadget-projects/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/8-great-new-gadget-projects/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89904 Computers for emerging markets, a smart new font, and more cool new stuff on Kickstarter. Continue reading

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Endless Computers
Using smartphone processors to make low-cost computers for emerging markets.

World’s First Self-inflating Electric Powered SUP board
A paddleboard with a jet-propulsion engine! Wireless controls in the paddle.

Albert Einstein Font
Makes anything you write seem a little smarter.

Droplet: The Smart Reminder
“A wireless button that can be attached to anything that needs a reminder.”

Bluz: A cloud-connected, Bluetooth LE development kit
More Internet-of-things building blocks! This one is Spark-powered.

LUNALUXX
Because why shouldn’t lighting involve a little levitation?

Swimmo: The Ultimate Swimmer’s Smartwatch
Wearables get highly specific.

Restoration of the B-29 Superfortress at Nuclear Museum
Of the 3,700 B-29s built, only 17 are left.

New to Kickstarter? Read our crowdfuding primer.

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Graphic Language: How to Read Comic Books With Your Kid http://geekdad.com/2015/04/read-comic-books-kid/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/read-comic-books-kid/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:30:15 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=89919 Comic books can be exciting, rewarding reading material for young readers. But for parents who didn't grow up reading X-Men or going to Comic Con, they can seem confusing and intimidating. I've been reading comics my whole life, and I've had more than one parent ask me, "But how do you READ THEM? Do I go panel to panel? Do I have to read the sound effects out loud? I don't get it." And that's a normal reaction. Continue reading

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graphic-language-how-to-read-comics-hero

Illustration by Amy Borrell

Special thanks goes to the folks at Brightly and to the original article’s writer Tom Burns for sharing. Check them out here.

Comic books can be exciting, rewarding reading material for young readers. But for parents who didn’t grow up reading X-Men or going to Comic Con, they can seem confusing and intimidating. I’ve been reading comics my whole life, and I’ve had more than one parent ask me, “But how do you READ THEM? Do I go panel to panel? Do I have to read the sound effects out loud? I don’t get it.”

And that’s a normal reaction.

If you’re worried that The Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” might declare you the “Worst. Parent. Ever.,” here are some tips that might make introducing your family to the world of comic books little less daunting.

  • 1. Start Simply

    Before you start reading sequential comics with your kids — where you follow a story across multiple panels — you might want to test the waters by starting with something a little more basic. For example, Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie books are essentially comic books: They tell stories with artwork and word balloons, but every page is just one big panel. Jeffrey Brown’s Star Wars books — Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess — are also great starter comics that tell one quick story per page.

  • 2. Appearances Can Be Deceiving

    Even if a comic book has big, cartoony, kid-friendly art, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s age-appropriate. Just as there are animated TV shows that you’d never let a young child watch, there are some comics that are not meant for children. Flip through comics first before you hand them over to your kids.

  • 3. Font Size Matters

    This might sound nitpicky, but trust me, it’s not. There are many comic books out there that are simply not designed to meet the needs of young readers. Yes, kids love Spider-Man, but a lot of Spider-Man’s adventures are packed with cramped, microscopic word balloons that no beginning reader would ever be able decipher. Check out the catalog of Toon Books to see examples of comic books that are actually designed with children’s reading levels in mind.

  • 4. Talk to a Librarian

    Comic books and graphic novels have become a very popular genre with modern librarians. If you need suggestions for good comics for your child, your local youth librarian should be a fantastic resource.

  • 5. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Silly

    Yes, use your finger to move your child’s attention from panel to panel. Yes, do all the sound effects in your biggest, most expressive voice. Reading a comic can be like following a storyboard of a big-budget movie blockbuster, so feel free to treat it like a performance and really make the story come to life.

  • 6. Find a Nice Long Graphic Novel to Read at Bedtime

    While there are loads of fun, single-issue comics out there, graphic novels offer longer-form comic stories that can be read more like a normal chapter book. So let your kid read an issue of Tiny Titans on their own, but if you want to share the reading experience with them, why not curl up and spend a few days reading a graphic novel together, like Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Haetke, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, orAmulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi? There are so many great options to choose from.

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Daily #DadJoke for April 20, 2015 http://geekdad.com/2015/04/dadjoke-042015/ http://geekdad.com/2015/04/dadjoke-042015/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:00:33 +0000 http://geekdad.com/?p=88674 My father was told to get a metal-covered set of dentures, because the sauce from his breakfast favorite (Eggs Benedict) was too acidic for the plastic ones. Continue reading

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Daily #DadJoke for April 20, 2015:

20150420My father was told to get a metal-covered set of dentures, because the sauce from his breakfast favorite (Eggs Benedict) was too acidic for the plastic ones.

It’s like they say: there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.


Have a great joke that you would like to see in print (complete with a “submitted by your name here” shout-out)? Send it in to GeekDadJokes!

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