Verdict: I will stick to putting cinnamon in my hot chocolate, not my tea.
Most of this tea quest I have had the issue of finding most teas very washed-out in terms of flavour. This was not the case with the Cinnamon Roobios Chai. Strong cinnamon smell and equal in taste, but it mixed with another super sweetened flavour that threw a punch. This was a tea I couldn't finish because it was too much flavour.
Verdict: I will stick to putting cinnamon in my hot chocolate, not my tea.
I can't believe it. It finally happened. I found my tea!
By total random-happenstance at a Christmas party, I picked up the secret gift-exchange box that contained this packet of tea, tried it, and, for the first time in my life, can finally say that I found a tea that is my warm hug on a cold day.
Once again, this is a tea that doesn't actually contain any real tea, which is probably why I like it. It's filled with fruit and nuts and cinnamon. It smells wonderful and tastes like happy.
Verdict: I need to order the big tin, and they sure as hell better not discontinue this after the holidays!
This month we took a food tour around the Netherlands. I must admit that this is a country that I have not often considered menu-wise. I'm so ignorant that when the clue in the previous box mentioned "known for cheese" that was more trivia for me than a clue.
Let's explore the box:
Click through the pictures below for treat-by-treat commentary
I'll be honest, there wasn't a leaping OMG snack for me in this box, but there were a few delightful novelties that I wouldn't say no to.
Our Netherlands care-package could include:
-Jan Hagel the "ugly" cookie
- Orange Pastills
-Cadillac wine gums
In the last newsletter I dedicated October to family. Part of that was giving my husband a shoutout space for his Kickstarter table-top game "Witchful Thinking". While it is his creative brain-child, I have been on this journey with him and have seen this game evolve from a very simple concept to a competitive eye-catching game that stays true to the initial inspiration: to make mental math fun.
While I believed in the game from the first prototype placed on my dining room table, I am astounded by the life that this game has been given thanks greatly to the fantastic art created by Jackson Gee. I am eagerly waiting for the latest prototype to arrive this up-coming week so that I can see these beautifully wicked card designs for myself.
In light of the new prototype on the horizon, I thought that I would revisit the very first version of this card game. So please join me as we look at the original game and compare it to what's in store for Kickstarter backers.
You have to give the original box some credit, for the Paint program, it's pretty darn nifty. At least it's better than anything I could have designed with those little pixels.
Of course, when you look at the teaser picture from Jackson Gee, there is no comparison. Nonetheless, the theme is clear from both. A witchy game for witchy witches.
The Cards - Ingredients
The cards from the original game were very straight-forward. As you can see, there is no artwork just a title and a number value. The Ingredient cards are purple, they are cards that range in value from +5 to -5, as well as Action cards that can change up how a player uses their turn. These Ingredient cards make up the hands of each player, and these are the cards that will be played into the "Cauldron" (a 4 card slot in the middle of your gaming area).
For reasons beyond my knowledge, the Ingredient cards in the Kickstarter have the Green backing... and yes, you will see below that the other deck now has the Purple backing. Why are they switched? I have no idea. Does it matter? Not in the least because your game is epically more awesome to even bother thinking about this MS Paint print-and-play version I have!
The Cards - Potions
The green cards in the early prototype represent the Potion Cards. One of these is played each game, determining the value that players are aiming to achieve. Upon reaching the exact value of the Potion Card, the player who played the final ingredient card to equal the potion value wins the Potion Card. After this, a new Potion Card may be selected for a new game. How many Potion Cards are played is up to the group of players. You can choose to play to a certain number of points (ie. First player to 3 points), or you can play a pre-selected number of Potions (ie. the first 10 Potion Cards), you could choose to play based on a set time (ie. The player with the most won Potion Cards within twenty minutes), or make an epic game of going through the entire Potion deck.
Once again, these cards appear very simplistically in this early draft. Your game will look much more impressive with the awesome illustrations.
And, once again, I don't know why the colours are reversed, but, once again, it doesn't really matter!
Even with the new elements introduced in the Kickstarter version of this game, setting up the game table is pretty straight-forward. Select a Potion for the group of players to play with, and then set room for four cards within reach of all players. The four cards will be the "Cauldron", or in other words, the "Cauldron" will be the four number sequence to create the formula for the Potion value.
Last I played, players put five Ingredient cards into their hand, and then the group determines a play order. First player plays a card from their hand and then may discard and re-draw their hand. Turn order continues until an Action card (or in the new game, an Ability) determines otherwise. Your rulebook will be much more comprehensive than this one:
Extras - Number Line
Even in its earliest conception, "Witchful Thinking" has always been about brining young children to the game table. Even those kids who are just learning about their take-aways need to be able to play independently without being pushed aside as a spectator on a "team". To help those youngsters (and, let's face it, some of us who are a little slow to the draw when it comes to numbers), Matthew included a number line that could be used as reference. Not only does this help to speed up the gameplay for everyone else, but it can help a player strategize on their own privately, especially in the Kickstarter edition where there will be an available number line for each player; even better is that it is cleverly designed as a Spellbook so novice witches don't have to feel self-conscious about practicing their craft!
Extras - Game Changers
I really don't know what to call these. I know that they are listed as "Addition and Subtraction Cards" but that isn't a funky title. These are new to the game concept, and, as far as my knowledge is, they are used to complicate the formula in the Cauldron. You can play one of these cards to adjust how your number sequence goes. Replace a number in the cauldron with one of these cards and suddenly you have a brand new formula. Minus-ing a negative number? Well, now you've got a positive! *Note, I have not played with this feature yet, so I might be corrected on this!*
Extras - Characters
Probably the most impressive part of this game is a feature that did not come about until at least 3 game designs later... Character cards. Because this game was always about learning the fundamentals first, the idea of adding extra challenging strategy lingered in the air for many years. The only way to ensure an inclusive game was to design it to be customizable for each group of players. Therefore the Characters cards, while entirely genius, are completely optional. Got a player who isn't a strong reader or who is still working on understanding the basic gameplay? Don't worry about the cards with added text! You can take out the Action cards. You can take out the negative numbers (but if doing so make sure you only play with Potions of value +4 and up!), and as for Characters, skip 'em, or at least skip the Abilities and just let your little witches choose the picture they like best! This game is meant to evolve with you as you get better at your math skills and need a more competitive edge. Really want to shake things up? Choose a different witch per game at random! Not only will you get a different game experience, but you will have to re-train your brain on how to strategize from game to game (remember that you will probably be playing multiple games during each sitting since each game uses only one Potion card.)
While Matthew is the brain behind the witch characters and their abilities, Jackson Gee gets all of the credit for making them so lively! Honestly, I would read the graphic novel about these wickedly wonderful witches (maybe I should convince my husband to let me write that!).
And if you need some extra incentive to look at becoming a backer on Kickstarter, I may or may not have had a hand in designing a very special, slightly secret exclusive character card... (the only hint I can give you is: it may not be a witch!).
There are 16 unique Characters in each standard game box, each being double-sided with 2 Ability choices to choose from. So if you haven't been won over by the game yet, honestly, these characters are worth it just in art!
How To Play
As I mentioned above, there are many ways to play this game. In my first cringe-worthy video, I will walk you through how to play the very basic early version of this game. The game materials may change, but the game itself is still the same!
Ashley Newell, stupendous noveling sensation whom you've probably never heard of...