Review All the Things! Chips Ahoy Creme Donut (Dunkin’ Donuts)

This weekend, I was out of town for my undergraduate reunion. I got a chance that I missed last time I was on the East Coast – I actually went to a Dunkin’ Donuts! After stealing about half of someone’s iced coffee, I had two of their food products over the course of the weekend. The first, an Oreo Cheesecake Bar, was reviewed over at Oreo Life, but this post is dedicated to the the Chips Ahoy! Donut. The Chips Ahoy! donut was introduced at the start of June (just in time for National Donut day!), and there are two varieties. The crunch donut, I did not try, but I assume that it is the same as the creme donut, but without the filling.

Credit: Muad'Dib (P. Wortman)

Credit: Muad’Dib (P. Wortman)

From an external glance, it looks like a Boston Creme donut, but with Chips Ahoy cookie crumble added to the top. The crumble, similar to its Oreo brethren, made a bit of a mess while eating – however, it was less messy due to the chunks being a little bigger. I nibbled at the sides, getting a feel for just the donut and cookie topping. It was pretty good, but nothing particularly fancy. I then bit into the filling. Continue reading

Review ALL The Things – Strawberry & Creme Pies

For the second Review ALL The Things of May, we’re taking a look at another food item! This time, I tried out the Strawberry and Creme pie at McDonalds. Was it worth it?

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It was alright. It kinda looks like a standard strawberry pie just by looking. With their previous record for standard pies, I was worried.

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Opening it up, it had a decent amount of cream cheese, which was surprising. Taking a bite out of it, the flavor was surprising as well! It seems that McD’s has gotten better with their pies over time. If you have a reason to go to McDonald’s, you should give it a try.

Random Thoughts – S’mores Oreos, Helldivers, Kirby

Here are some random things (3, to be exact!) that I have to say for you today.

abcnews.go.com

abcnews.go.com

1 – S’mores Oreos came out last week. I was tempted to do a Review ALL The things of them for you this week, but I’ll leave that to Luis over at Oreo Life to review. Here are my quick thoughts, though. They’re phenomenal cookies, and you should all go out and buy them. I used to say that the Reese’s Oreos were unconditionally my favorite flavor, but S’mores gives them a run for their money. They got the graham cracker-flavored cookie spot-on (much better than their red velvet cookies, at any rate) and the filling and cookie complement each other’s flavors well. My lab demolished a package of them over the course of two days, which seems like a long time until you realize that it was Sunday and Memorial Day.

2 – I am terribly addicted to Helldivers at the moment. Got it on Friday, and I’m already up to level 16. Helldivers is a top-down twin stick shooter by Arrowhead Games, the same company that brought us Magicka. Two of the things that I love most about it are the fact that it is cross-…well, EVERYTHING (play, save and buy between PS4, PS3 and Vita), as well as the fact that it allows for both couch and online co-op, with blending between the two allowed. With the industry’s constant shift towards online-only multiplayer, this is a breath of fresh air. I spent most of it playing solo, but got readdicted when I played with a few friends online. Looking to getting a few local friends together to play it, as well as finding new people to play it online with!

3 – I’m also playing Kirby’s Dream Collection (as some of you saw on my stream two weeks ago). Although I mainly got it for an opportunity to play Kirby Super Star again (as my DS card for Super Star Ultra doesn’t like cooperating), I spent a good hour or so just going through the history of Kirby and learning about all of the spin-off games that were made. Also, getting to play Kirby’s Adventure and Kirby 64 for the first time is definitely welcome as well! Now, if only they would bring back Yo-Yo in the new games…Whip is kind of a compromise, but it isn’t 90’s enough for me.

 

Review ALL the Things/Double Dipping – Cotton Candy Oreos

This week, I finally start reviewing ALL the things, and not just the game things. As part of a guest post for a friend’s blog, Oreo Life, I’m reviewing Cotton Candy Oreos! I guess that would technically make this a Double Dipping post as well?

Cotton Candy Oreos were supposedly available at Target from April to May of 2015, but both he and I went to a few different Targets in both NorCal and SoCal, and didn’t find them. Thanks to the power of the internet, however, I was able to get a box!

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The box is the standard limited edition fashion, with more of a square shape than the rectangular box that Oreo aficionados are used to seeing. Inside were Golden Oreos, with a blue/pink blend of creme filling. I had read somewhere that the colors would be perfect for a baby shower? Anywho, on to the tasting!

Whole cookie:

I wanted to start with eating the Oreo as is, instead of how I usually eat Oreos. It…really didn’t taste like anything, to be honest, kinda like a generic vanilla creme cookie. I didn’t notice a distinct cotton candy flavor until I had tried them again after eating just the filling. Fortunately, they chose to use the Golden Oreos instead of the regular chocolate Oreos, else the chocolate flavor would’ve been overpowering!

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Deconstructed cookie:

As is the norm for me when eating Oreos, I have a method of eating them popularized by one of my favorite Oreo commercials. First, you twist the cookie (hopefully the filling stays on one side), and then you lick the filling clean from the cookie. Finally, you eat the cookie (milk optional). This method has the advantage of helping people actually taste the filling, to better understand what flavor they were trying to go for.

The twist:

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The cookie was twisted open, and the frosting stayed on one side. Good so far…

The lick:

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The filling was a bit resistant, but it was overall lickable off of the cookie. I could finally taste the cotton candy flavoring this way, and the flavoring was a bit weak. Mostly tasted like sugar, but not the cotton candy sugar flavor. Fortunately, the flavor didn’t persist for too too long.

The Crunch:

I didn’t realize this before, but Golden Oreos have a fairly strong buttercream flavor to them on their own. Normally, the filling counteracts this somewhat, but in this case, that was the major taste you got when eating the Cotton Candy Oreos on their own.

The Ranking:

On Oreo Life, Oreos get ranked into one of five tiers based on a completely biased opinion. We shall do the same here. Overall, Cotton Candy Oreos aren’t offensive to the tastes, unlike some other flavors (looking at you, Fruit Punch Oreos. Crystallized sugar pieces, really? Disgusting!) However, they didn’t really give much of a punch flavorwise either. They were kinda just there. So, my ranking for this cookie is 3/5, or ‘Cookie Tier’ on Oreo Life’s ranking scheme.

Where can I find them?

Amazon? You might be lucky and see them at a Target in your area, but I don’t think that this flavor is going to be sticking around for much longer.

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Review All The Things! Micro Play Break: Protector

In this newest game by MSP Games, Micro Play-Break: Protector, players play as one of two roles – a Villain trying to take over the world, and a Protector trying to save it.

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There are 12 location cards, that all have differing point values for the Protector (all cities are equally useful to the villain:

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Worth 4, 20, and 40 points, respectively.

In each turn, two of the location cards are played face up on the board. The Villain and Protector will each play their card face down pointing towards one of the two locations, like so:

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After both players have played their cards, the cards are revealed, and the locations resolve as follows:

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If the two players are pointing at different Locations, then the Villain successfully attacked the location, claiming it.

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If both players are pointing at the same location, then the Protector has successfully defended the location, and claims the Location card.

After all of the cards have been played, two stacks of two cards are taken out as well and played similarly. The game is then scored at that point, and whomever has the most points wins!

Looking at this game, it feels in the same vein as Duel or Castles, in that you are playing the player more than the game itself. By giving differing Protector Values to the Locations, it forces both players to think about whether the higher/lower value of a location for the Protector can justify a decision one way or the other. I’m not too sold on the final play of the game (two locations up for grabs instead of one), because it seems out of theme for the game, plus doesn’t feel to contribute too much on its own merit.

One big plus that this game has going for it is the artwork – there are several excellent representations of the different Locations on offer in the game, and the artwork for the Protector/Villain look pretty swank as well. One awkward point in the artwork is in the numbering for the location values. For the Protector in particular, the coloring is hard to read, and the text feels small. Instead of the bars and small numbers, a larger number might be easier to read and pop a bit more on the card itself.

The Kickstarter for this will be launching soon, so check in on MSP Games’ Facebook page and website for more!!

 

 

 

Review all the Things: Valley of the Kings

Today’s game is the first non-Kickstarter game that I’ve taken a look at, and one of my favorite takes on the deckbuilding genre of games for a while: Valley of the Kings!

imageValley of the Kings is a deckbuilding game where each player is a Pharaoh, trying to obtain the greatest collection of Egyptian artifacts to have buried with them in their tomb. Like many deckbuilding games such as Dominion and Ascension, the objective is to have the most victory points (VP) by the end of the game. VP is earned by purchasing cards from a common stock, which can either be used as currency to purchase more powerful and valuable cards, or used for a particular effect.

Although the general goal is the same, Valley of the Kings distinguishes itself in two major fashions:

1 – how purchasing is made from the common pile, and

2 – how VP is tallied and scored.

In most deckbuilding games, a player can purchase any card that is currently available for purchase if they have the funds to do so. Valley of the Kings, staying true to it’s Egyptian theme, instead has a pyramid design for purchasing cards:

image_1The pyramid design, however, is not solely for looks. Only cards at the base of the pyramid can be purchased. How then, does one purchase cards near the top? The simplest answer is through the crumble mechanic, where cards will crumble down to fill in spaces created by purchasing cards. An example is below:

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The middle sarcophagus was purchased. This created a gap in the base of the pyramid, so a card has to crumble down from the second row…

After crumbling, a gap has now opened up in the second row, so the top card has to crumble down to the second row...

After crumbling, a gap has now opened up in the second row, so the top card has to crumble down to the second row…

Like so. Now, the amulet can be purchased, and the book can potentially be purchased if the amulet or the canopic jar are bought.

Like so. Now, the amulet can be purchased, and the book can potentially be purchased if the amulet or the canopic jar are bought.

Buying that many cards in a turn can be difficult, so there are card effects that can allow for swapping of card locations on the pyramid or destroying cards (forcing a crumble) as well as cards that allow for an automatic purchase to be made.

The scoring is semi-unique as well. In Ascension (which I keep using as my deckbuilding example because I’ve played a lot of it), the honor of all cards that you purchased into your deck will be summed up for the final score. In Valley of the Kings, you get zero points for any cards in your deck. How do you score, then? Remember what the goal of the game is?

As part of a turn, a player can entomb a card. This essentially removes the card from the game, putting it into your tomb to be buried with you:

An example of a tomb with some entombed cards.

An example of a tomb with some entombed cards.

At the end of the game – which occurs when the pyramid and pyramid stock are completely depleted – players will tally up their VP and determine a winner. Some cards (starter cards and Unique cards) have a set VP value, but the majority of the cards in the game are parts of a set (Books, Sarcophagi, Canopic Jars, Amulets, and Statues). If you only have one item in a set, you get one VP. However, if you have multiple items in a set (duplicates don’t count), then you’ll see exponential gains in the amount of VP you earn, ranging from 9 (collecting all 3 sarcophagi) to 49 (if you somehow managed to collect all seven statues).

The five different sets in the game.

The five different sets in the game.

With there only being 1-3 copies of each card in the game, however, it becomes more difficult to get full sets, and keeping an eye on what players are trying to collect what sets is a key to victory. However, you can only entomb one card per turn unless a card’s effect says otherwise. Therefore, you need to be constantly entombing cards (losing their effects) in order to keep up with the other players. It’s a delicate balancing act between keeping cards for their value, keeping cards for their effects, and entombing cards to lock in VP at the end of the game.

I’ve only gotten to play a few rounds of this game thus far, but it has a really fascinating premise and style of play, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes games in the deckbuilding genre!

Review all the Things: Micro Play-Break – Duel

((Note – pictures are from an early version of the game, and may not be indicative of the final product, especially since my printer was not cooperative and didn’t like the colors too much…))

 

Red Attacks Blue  with a direct physical attack to the upper body. Blue does a special block on the upper body. Since the blocking types do not match, Blue takes one damage to the upper body.

Red attacks with a direct physical attack to the upper body. Blue blocks special on the upper body. Since the blocking types do not match, Blue takes one upper body damage

The fist connected with Franz’s face. He staggered back for a second, the opposing TechnoLectric warrior bearing down on him. All TechnoLectric warriors had the same rigorous training, so Franz and his opponent were evenly matched in terms of techniques. However, one thing that wasn’t taught in combat school was deceit and intuition. How one could both mislead and read their opposing mark. Those that had a talent for it, wound up working for the most notorious Warlords, while those who didn’t…well, their fate was obvious.

Red keeps the momentum, and attacks again towards the upper body. Blue must decide whether the attack is physical or special, and whether the attack is to the upper body or lower body.

Red keeps the momentum, and attacks again towards the upper body. Blue must decide whether the attack is physical or special, and whether the attack is to the upper body or lower body.

The other TechnoLectric warrior wound up for another punch. Was she going for another punch? The motion was too blatant, she was trying to mislead him into blocking the punch, distracting him from a leg blow. Or was that part of the deceit? Franz had to think fast.

Blue successfully predicts that the attack is a Misleading physical attack, and blocks low. Since the attack was blocked, momentum is now shifted to Blue.

Blue successfully predicts that the attack is a Misleading physical attack, and blocks low. Since the attack was blocked, momentum is now shifted to Blue.

At the last second, he stepped back, and a foot grazed the air where his knee had just been. The opposing warrior, not expecting the dodge, staggered forward. She was off balance! Franz stepped towards her, electricity starting to crackle from his powered gauntlet. The Duel had only just begun…

Micro Play-Break: Duel, is the third Kickstarter game by MSP Games. (For information on the other games, take a look at my reviews on MPB: Castles, as well as MPB: Kingdoms). As was hinted at above, Duel is a 2-player game where each player controls a TechnoLectric warrior in combat. The objective is to reduce the health of either the upper or lower body of your opponent to zero. Unlike other games, where the two fighters would just trade blows until one was defeated, Duel uses a momentum style of play. The attacker is allowed to continue attacking until the defender successfully blocks. Continue reading