Sunday, January 25, 2015

Awesome Pack Review: January 2015

Well, this won't come as much of a surprise, but this month's Awesome Pack was AWESOME! I liked it so much I immediately contacted Little Miss Crafty and tried to convert her. I know she's debating. At first glance, it's somewhat pricey so it is the kind of subscription you may want to see reviews of before committing. I saw a bunch of reviews and they were all for people different from me and my husband, but I am such a game fanatic that I had to take the risk. I love board games, tabletop RPGs, card games, video games, and game shows. Awesome Pack felt made for me - and it really was!

This is a subscription that is incredibly customized. Even your info card is addressed to your family personally. When you sign up, Awesome Pack asks for the details about every family member, even your pets if you want toys for them included. They take into account two adults and two children so you pay extra to get every family member over four included, but it's really worth it because they will make sure your pack has something for everyone. Later in the month, prior to shipping, they send you a survey about your interests, as well as what games you have and like. A lot of boxes do something similar to this, but I really assumed my box would be one of two of three options. I figured Awesome Pack just made a pack for families with small children, one for families with older kids and tweens, and then a "big kid" pack for anyone with teens or without kids. Well, perhaps they got really lucky, but I felt like this box was made 100% for me!

I mentioned several times in my survey that my husband and I don't see friends or family very often so we prefer games that can be played with only two players. I also said we're geeks, love trivia,and watch tons of TV and movies. We're pretty savvy about pop culture and both are educated, so we like nerdy types of games, as well as things like D&D and Magic. I could not have anticipated just how well the people at Awesome Pack integrated this info!

First of all, I said to my husband a few times, "there is so much stuff in this box." I expected maybe one game and then a card or travel game and a few little tidbits, plus a couple cat toys. I didn't expect four games! That means we can have game night once a week and we'll just be running out when our next Awesome Pack comes. That's, well, awesome!

For our little additions, we received two things that were perfect for us. One was a Star Trek skeleton figure that merges the show with the Mexican Day of the Dead. We also got a little Joker climber figure who attaches to a cord to an electronics system or TV. These were basically as geeky as you get and felt like the kinds of items I'd see in my many geek boxes. That's not at all a complaint! :)

The kitties got a couple of toys, too. They received a pair of mice that jingle, which they kind of looked at for a second yet will suddenly feel must be hunted at 3 am some night this week, I anticipate. There was a also a pompom attached to a spring that they both circled like it was the most interesting thing they'd ever seen. Then the boy cat took a nap next to it when he couldn't figure out how to eat it. I know that, realistically, it's silly to buy toys for cats as they would be very happy to sleep in the box, but they're part of the family and I love that Awesome Pack recognizes this.

So, now onto the games! First up was a travel game clearly chosen based on our survey. It's trivia from The Big Bang Theory. Since I said we're geeky and we watch a ton of TV, this makes sense. I admit that I'm sort of down on the show these days because it panders to the wrong audience, but that doesn't mean we haven't seen every episode at this point. It's on a lot in syndication and it tends to be background noise when Seinfeld reruns aren't playing. Since we love trivia based on TV, we will definitely play this and know a ton of the answers.

When I first opened the box, the first item I saw was the next game. It's shaped like a giant package of bologna and is called The Game of Baloney. Basically, the strategy is that you are given a card with a fact on it, as well as two lies based on the truth (for example, you can't sneeze with your eyes open, but you could say you can't sneeze at altitudes above 40K feet). My husband and I are nerds who have way too much useless trivia in our heads, so this will be fun to challenge each other with. You can also play with up to six people and I can see this being a lot of fun during the holidays!

I am most excited about the last two games, though. They're both card-based strategy type games. One is for 2-4 players and the other is only made for two people so Awesome Pack did an awesome job paying careful attention to the fact that we don't have a family or friends to play games with most of the time. I like that they included one like Baloney, which can be played with more people, but that all of these can be played with just me and my husband.

One of the last two games is called Forbidden Island. We haven't played it yet, although it gets generally high ratings. It's a strategy game that requires teamwork and sounds challenging. It estimates a game takes about 30 minutes. This is another element I love about the Awesome Pack this month - the games all take about 30 minutes, the perfect amount of time to play (this was also in the survey). We have some RPG games that take several hours to half a day, which are fun but it's also hard to always find that kind of time. These will all be great for a fun game session that can last hours if we like, but can also last less than a full hour if we're busy. It will still give us a chance to have fun together and make game night a regular thing (well, aside from our normal Xbox/PS4 game nights!).

The last game sounds absolutely awesome! It's called Vampire Empire and is a strategy game where one player controls vampires and the other must hunt them. We are going to play this one night this week. My husband is really good at strategy games and always beats me, so I anticipate losing no matter which side I play, but maybe I will be able to win one! We shall see.

I really can't sing the praises of Awesome Pack enough. I am so happy I took a chance on this and I cannot wait for future boxes. When I see that big box of awesomeness on my porch each month, it's going to bring a giant smile to my face!

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