Thrift Store Finds: Catan Junior Board Game Review

I love finding deals in thrift stores and I found a Catan Junior board game for only $3!

Despite so many options for board games, Catan is still the most popular gateway game out there. In fact, I met almost everyone in my gaming group through playing Catan. Still when introducing someone to Catan (especially if Monopoly is the most complex game they ever played to that point), it can get a little overwhelming. I am hoping Catan Junior will fill this niche. The trick is to call this game Pirates of Catan and not Catan Junior…

Catan Junior Board Game

This game streamlines the rules and takes out almost all the feel bad, take that mechanics. You don’t get to choose the starting positions so everyone is on equal footing. It is also plays very fast (often can finish games in 15 minutes). These are all good things for beginners and it is also an ok option as a filler between games. It is also a version of Catan that can play with 2 players.

I was so so on the trading mechanic first but I found I like it. Instead of trading with players, you trade with a market. You basically take 1 of the 5 resources available and put 1 of yours back. It starts off with 1 of each of the 5 resources but as people start trading you often find you can manipulate it to your benefit. It is easier because everyone’s hand is not hidden.

One thing I don’t like is the coco tiles which are like the development cards. They are too powerful since most tiles gives you resources back so you can buy a lot of tiles in one turn. You also get a free pirate fortress at spooky island if you have the most tiles (the goal is get all seven pirate fortresses on the board). My house rule is that you can only buy one coco tile per turn. In addition, I have house rules that you can’t have a fortress on spooky island if the ghost pirate is still there and you only check if you can put a fortress there when you buy a tile. (But you still lose the fortress if anyone beats or ties with the number of coco tiles.)

All the components are very nice and I actually like the pirate theme. I host a weekly Catan meetup in Bryant Park during the summer and this game is definitely going to be added to the collection.

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My Pokemon Day Haul

2/27 was Pokemon Day! I spent most of the day catching pokemon on Pokemon Go. I got a bunch of new pokemon for my pokedex including an armored Mewtwo! Also I decided to stop by the Nintendo store to seeing if they are doing anything special. There was a photo opportunity with pikachu and there was also a little freebie if you purchase any of their pokemon products.

So I got a Pokemon TCG tin the shape of ultra ball. It has three packs (Sun & Moon Burning Shadows, Sun & Moon Lost Thunder and Evolutions). The freebies I got was a pin and a postcard.

Pokemon Day Haul

Didn’t really pull anything special from the packs but I love the pin!

Finally Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution debuted on Netflix on Pokemon Day and I highly recommend it! After all these years, I still think the Mewtwo saga is still the best pokemon story ever told. I remember watching the original Mewtwo movie with my friends in the theater when I was young. Story wise I think this is even a better movie than Detective Pikachu and I love that movie. My only complaint is the new animation style. I didn’t really like at first but I grown to be OK with it. I still think the human characters are little stiff and robotic. But the pokemon look awesome.

Next year is the 25th anniversary of pokemon and I can’t wait to see what’s in store then.

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Random Pack Break: Dragon Ball Super Card Game Miraculous Revival

Game Trade Magazine is a magazine for board games and card games. I get it every month and it usually has some sort of freebie or promo. In this month’s GTM (GTM #241), I am pleasantly surprised to find a pack of Dragon Ball Super Card Game Miraculous Revival.

Dragon Ball Super Card Game Miraculous Revival

I am always cautious in getting into another Collectible Card Game/ Trading Card Game. They are a huge money sink. The back of the pack even says “due to the nature of the product, multiples of one card may appear or it may be difficult to assemble a full set”. Also I almost never find time for 2 player games. But I love the Dragon Ball universe and I always considered checking out the Dragon Ball CCG. I honestly don’t know much about the game but just reading the cards, there seems to be a lot going on.

I actually recently rewatched the Majin Buu saga and it moved SOOOO slow. It is so repetitive and like 80% of the show feels like filler. I have no idea how I watched this series in 30 minute increments every week. I definitely don’t have the patience for it now.

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Another 6+ Collectibles Mystery Box

I picked up another mystery box that promise 6+ items worth over $20 in value.

Mystery Box Repack

I got from this box:
The Walking Dead Dog Tag Season 6
The Walking Dead Chibis
Super Mario Dog Tag
TeenyMates Baseball Series 3
Ooshies Pencil Topper
My Hero Academia Collectors Bag Clip

There are a bunch of dog tags in this repack again but overall I am a lot happier with the packs and selection than last time around. Here is what I pulled.

Mystery Box Pulls

I am keeping the My Hero Academia collectors bag clip sealed. It can be a nice gift. I am also pretty excited about the Walking Dead chibi figures. But these chibi figures are quite cheaply made. There are really noticeable air bubbles in the clear zombie figure. But I am thinking I can use them one day as miniatures for a zombie board game. Just those two packs alone are worth the $5 I spent.

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Awesomely, Awesome Comics: Star Wars #1 Signed, Variant Comics & More

I just cleared a good chunk of my unread comics pile. I don’t keep a lot of comics for collection (since I don’t have the room) but here are few I am excited about.

Star Wars #1 Signed By Charles Soule
I enjoy most of the new Star Wars comics by Marvel but there are A LOT of them. I recently got the latest reboot of the Star Wars comics signed by the writer Charles Soule. It looks into the events after the Empire Strike Back and the first issue focuses on a big space battle. It is pretty fun story and it is definitely action packed.

Star Wars Justice League Odyssey D&D Comics

Justice League Odyssey 2 Variant Cover
One of the comic book stores near me just stocked a bunch of comic blind bags that has 13 comics and 1 one of them is a limited variant. I am very happy to get a Justice League Odyssey 2 variant cover. It is of Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and she is one of my favorite comic book characters right now. Jessica Cruz is a superhero capable of great things but she also suffers from anxiety. It is a fresh take on a modern superhero. If you want a good introduction to the character, I highly recommend the animated movie Justice League vs the Fatal Five. As for Justice League Odyssey 2, the art was top notch but the story is very confusing but I did start it in the middle of an arc. I may try to finish the story.

Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides #1
I am a huge fan of D&D but I never really got into the comics. I read Dungeons & Dragons vs Rick and Morty and I didn’t like it (too much going on). Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides however did catch my attention. It has everything I want in a epic fantasy story (an interesting world and intriguing villains). I am definitely interested in the next issue. I also just watched the Dungeons & Dragons movie and it is terrible but the DVD does comes with a fast play adventure, Sewers of Sumdall. I highly recommend it as a starting point for anyone interested in D&D. I just ran it for people who never played a RPG before and it was so much fun.

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Pokemon TCG Detective Pikachu On the Case Figure Collection

I have put it in the back burner lately but I am still trying to complete the Detective Pikachu Pokemon TCG set. I should probably just buy the singles that I am missing but it is more fun to find the cards in packs. Plus the Pokemon TCG Detective Pikachu On the Case Figure Collection was on sale in Target. It has 4 foil promo cards, 1 Dectective Pikachu figure, 3 Detective Pikachu packs, 2 other Pokemon TCG packs (Sun & Moon and Sun & Moon Burning Shadows) and a code card.

Pokemon TCG Detective Pikachu

The Good:
I really wanted the 4 Detective Pikachu promos cards of Pikachu, Snubbull, Psyduck and Bulbasaur. I was always on the fence on getting this when it first came it, full priced.
I also pulled a Charizard GX and foil Pikachu card for my collection from one the Sun & Moon packs.
The figure is kind of cute.

The Bad & Ugly:
I didn’t get a single card I needed to complete my Pokemon TCG Detective Pikachu set! I am still missing #5, 12 and 17. Ugh. I should probably just buy the singles I need…

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Lost Collectible Miniatures Game: Star Wars Attacktix

This is a pretty obscure collectible miniatures game (CMG), Star Wars Attacktix made by Hasbro (there are also Attacktix for Transformers and Marvel Comics). It came out in 2005 but I haven’t heard about it until I found a couple of loose figures at an used bookstore. They have quite the unique look to them.

Star Wars Attacktix

Attacktix is quite clever and very simple. First off I love the name. To play, you move your figures then attack. The figures clicks when you move it so if the character has a movement of 6 you move it forward until you hear 6 clicks. Then you can attack with the character and the goal is to physically knock down your opponent’s characters to eliminate them. Some figures have a projectile and some figures have a melee spin attack.

Characters have a point value and players build a team of an agree upon amount like 100 points. Figures can vary by having a range or close combat attack, the number for movement and the size of the base (the bigger the better). You also have consider weird things like the shape of the characters. I am pretty sure smaller characters have an advantage.

I wasn’t aware of Attacktix when it first came out so I can’t say for sure why it failed but I can guess. This game isn’t clear who it is marketed towards. Kids for its simple mechanics and cutesy figures, collectors for its blind packs distribution or gamers for its team building? The figures also do look really weird and there doesn’t seem much strategy to the game. It honestly is just a step up from playing with action figures.

But all in all there is nothing like Attacktix and honestly I think this is a better game than the king of CMGs Heroclix.

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What’s Inside a Christmas Cracker?

I found a box of Christmas crackers for real cheap after the holidays and I just couldn’t resist. Christmas crackers are an old British Christmas tradition. Two people pull on the sides of the crackers, it makes a popping noise and one person gets the prizes inside. According to the box each cracker has a gift, hat, motto and snap. The gifts could be anything. But they are usually small knick knacks. I never open one until now.

Christmas Cracker

Christmas Cracker Gifts

My cracker has a bottle opener, a red crown, the story of Tom Smith and a little piece of paper with a joke and title of a movie for charades.

I decided to open the rest of the Christmas crackers and I got the bottle opener, plastic golf tees, a metal puzzle, a magic card trick, a die and a mini notepad. These items are definitely as random as advertised!

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2019 Topps WWE Money in the Bank Briefcase Tin

I haven’t had a big pull in awhile and I am hoping this is the one. This is a 2019 Topps WWE Money in the Bank tin. It is comes in a tin shaped like the Money in the Bank briefcase and I found that to be a fun touch. It has 4 packs with 5 cards per pack. It is guaranteed one autograph or relic card. (I better not pull a tiny piece of shirt from someone like the Revival.)

2019 Topps WWE Money in the Bank Tin

Xavier Woods Auto Mat Card

My hit is an autograph and mat relic card of Xavier Woods green variant 49/50. I am actually pretty happy with this pull. He isn’t the biggest star in the WWE but I am a big fan of his Youtube channel UpUpDownDown and his role playing with Acquisitions Incorporated. It is funny I was just watching Acquisitions Incorporated just before I decided to open this tin.

2019 Topps WWE Money in the Bank

As for the rest of the cards, I pulled a rookie card of Ricochet and I kind like the insert design with the money border. But I find the design of the base set kind of boring. It looks like something out of a base set. There were also some weird inclusions in the set like Lord Tensai (a Legends card in the set) and Titus O’Neil (which the back of the card mentions he has never been in the Money in the Bank match).

All in all, I feel I got quite lucky as there are a lots worst hits I could have pulled from this tin.

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My Board Games from Pax Unplugged 2019

I had a lot of fun this year at Pax Unplugged. It is of course the biggest board game convention in the Northeast (I think?). I got to try a lot of new games and I came back with a ton of games.

Board Games from Pax Unplugged

First off, my pick for the board game of the convention is the Valley of the Vikings. It won the Kinderspiel des Jahres Children’s Game of the Year and it is so much fun. I love light games that I can teach in less than 5 minutes. It combines a dexterity game with a simple take that strategy game. The dexterity element comes from knocking down the right color pieces with a ball and the strategy comes from positioning yourself to maximize the amount of gold you get while trying to knock one or more players off the track. It is actually a lot easier to learn if you watch a video.

I got a bunch of Pack O Game for little stocking stuffers for my friends and got a couple of games in trades or random giveaways. I probably even have a few game buried in a bag I haven’t gotten to yet.

Random Cards from Pax Unplugged

Here are a bunch of card games, promo cards and giveaways that I also got. I am honestly finding random cards everywhere in my bag (hiding in pockets, books, accidentally bent underneath a game…).

Mystery Box Pax Unplugged

Finally you know I can’t resist mystery boxes and I got a mystery box of board games for $50. I got BattleCon Fates of the Indines, Current Number of the Beast, Captain Carcass (aka Dead Man’s Draw) + two playmats and Gameception. I am pretty happy with my box and probably bringing Current Number of the Beast and Captain Carcass to my next board game meetup since they are very easy to learn games. I also love playmats (I just can’t get enough). The only game that I am probably giving away is Gameception. It is just not my thing.

I actually got a little group from across the country that meets once a year at Pax Unplugged and we play a bunch of games throughout the weekend. It is something I look forward to every year!

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