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Katy England

Katy England

edge staff writer

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016 21:14

Wintery Mix

Editor's note: Wire reports contributed to parts of this story.

For a long time, this winter wasn't really acting like a winter. Balmy temperatures, not-so-white Christmas, open water just about everywhere. Well, now that it's mid-January things are starting to normalize. We've had a couple of decent-sized weather events and soon those who enjoy being out in the cold will be able to do so.

If you're one of those people, you probably know a fair thing about what the state has to offer in terms of outdoor winter activities. But if you're new, or made a resolution to get out and play in the snow, here's a few things you can try.

Caveat: Yes, we've had some snow and colder temperatures, but that doesn't mean waterways have frozen solid in that amount of time, or that all the snowmobile trails are open. If you aren't sure, check with your local clubs or state organization about your trip. It spoils everyone's fun if your Skidoo falls through the ice or bottoms out on a log. Be careful and have fun.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 20:55

Edge Mom: Game on

In 2014, we received a board game for the kids from my cool sister-in-law who lives down in Mass. I remember taking it out of the box and scrambling to understand the basics while the kids were all grabbing at different pieces. She grinned as I fumbled with the directions and said, 'I just make up the rules.'

It was some of the best advice I'd ever heard about gaming with young kids.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 20:27

Time Waster (01-20-2016)

Reach the Core'

'Reach the Core' is a fun upgradeable game where you are trying to reach the core of a planet with your remote mining machine to get fuel that your ship needs to keep on trucking. Unlike many 'launch' games, where you propel your avatar as high as can, 'Reach the Core' is different and superior in many ways.

It's less about simple blast physics, or hitting the sweet spot on takeoff, and more about managing your mining bot's battery power and gathering the blocks you need while avoiding or strategically destroying threads in the forms of burrowing insects, mines and lasers (though it is unclear how the lasers function underground they just do). Some of the lasers target your health, others will simply drain your battery, but the end result is the same. If you run out of power, or your drill runs out of health, you have to return to recharge or repair.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 20:04

Criminal Mischief - (01-20-2016)

Maine man defrauds victims for hundreds of thousands of dollars

LISBON Maine State and Brunswick Police say a young Chelsea man suspected of bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars for items and services never delivered was arrested recently in Lisbon.

Ervin Morrison III, 23, was tracked down of a home on Memorial Street in Lisbon and taken into custody without incident. Police have been looking for Morrison since last summer after receiving several complaints of services or products solicited on Craigslist that were never delivered. Trooper Christopher Rogers said two Maine companies lost $132,000 in the swindle and expected the total losses in Maine will total $250,000. That number is expected to double, as additional complaints come in from out of state. A Florida man reported he lost $140,000 to Morrison in an investment scheme, and a woman in North Carolina said she paid Morrison $25,000 last week in the same scheme, but changed her mind and stopped payment before the check was cashed.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 21:36

SnowCon: Episode VIII

BANGOR For the eighth consecutive year, tabletop gaming enthusiasts will decend to one central location and game the weekend away during SnowCon: Episode VIII. SnowCon will be returning to the Cross Insurance Center on Jan. 16 and 17, with a kickoff party in Brewer on Jan. 15.

For those unfamiliar with SnowCon, it's a two-day convention with gaming, gaming and more gaming. And we're talking table-top, cardboard-boards, dice rolling, role-playing, game pieces and moving board games. You won't find video games here - not they aren't enjoyed or appreciated, just that this is all about inter-personal gaming.

'Part of the philosophy of SnowCon is that games are great for people - all kinds of people. And we have games for all kinds of people,' said Bouchard. 'SnowCon is an all-ages event, and we encourage families to come and game together. We have options for people of all ages, and there are opportunities for everyone.'

For many people, gaming is more than just a hobby or a pastime; it's a community of friends. And as people grow older, start families and have more and more social and professional obligations, sometimes it becomes harder to maintain a regular gaming group. For some people, SnowCon is the time they get to hang out and play with friends that they haven't seen since the last SnowCon.

'It's really a wonderful place to renew a love of gaming. Some people don't have time to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) or their game of choice, but they really miss it. Or it's been years, and maybe they want to introduce it to their kids, or they don't have a group to play with, or the rules have changed,' said Bouchard. 'This is a great opportunity for lapsed gamers to come home to their gaming community and reawaken their love of that game.'

SnowCon has always been friendly to gamers of all stripes. Whether you're a hardcore veteran of various board games, or you're just idly curious and want to see what all the fuss is about, there is something for you. It's the perfect place for you to try out that new board game you got for Christmas, but haven't been able to coax your family into trying.

'We love SnowCon's friendliness,' said Bouchard. 'There's a substantial Game Library and there's a chance to revisit classic games. You can bring your own game and you can almost always find somebody to play with. There's good comradery with warm and friendly people. We're very proud of the community that has built around SnowCon.'

This year there are some interesting playtests and tournaments taking place.

'S.U.E.T. the Card Game by First Stall Productions is a card game where you play evil geniuses vying to build a doomsday device to gain entry into the Society of Ultimate Evil and Terror,' said Todd Caron, co-organizer of SnowCon, in a Facebook message. 'FSP is demoing and playtesting their game as they work towards a Kickstarter campaign.'

He noted the 5th Epoch Publishing will be in attendance with two games: War of Epochs and The Vampire Codex RPGs.

'Based on the original fantasy role-playing game Metal, Magic and Lore, War of the Epochs broadens the horizon of play to intercontinental conflict among six major races: Men, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Minotaurs and the dreaded Serpenti,' said Caron. 'In this Axis & Allies-style board game it is Good vs. Evil. Will the forces of evil rise and ban together to take the civilized world, or will the forces of good squelch the rising tide? Come find out!

'Using the 5th Epoch Engine, The Vampire's Codex is a role-playing game based on Jeff Dohm's refreshing new vampire setting. With never-seen lore, this role-playing game brings a new and exciting perspective to vampire-based settings,' continued Caron. 'The game system is based on the 5th Epoch Engine, a percentile based RPG, compatible with Metal, Magic and Lore and the upcoming spy game Ultimate Operative. Come interview the publisher, learn about this game in a discussion based setting and find out if it is for you and your fellow RPGers. Hold the product, see inside, check the system!'

The Play-to-Win Gaming Library has expanded significantly for this year. Derek Porter, co-organizer of SnowCon, noted that the Envoy program really helped with the expansion.

'The Envoy program is run by Double Exposure, Inc. that helps game publishers demonstrate their games at conventions across the country,' said Porter via Facebook. 'Publishers often receive hundreds of requests for convention support each year, and it takes time and energy to determine which conventions to support and how to support them.

'Envoy simplifies this process by ensuring that games get into the hands of people that are willing to teach them at conventions, as well as present them properly. The Envoy program currently represents 50 different game publishers, each with diverse libraries of games,' he said. 'With Envoy's support and the support of the companies they represent, we have greatly expanded SnowCon's Play to Win library this year. With over 20 games from several different publishers, there's something for everyone in SnowCon's gaming library.'

And if you want to try to play to win, it couldn't be easier. Players simply check the game out of the library, play it with gusto, and then when it's returned everyone who played is entered into the contest. Porter provided a list of just a few of the games you could win there are literally dozens more. Visit the website for a full description.

- Codenames from Czech Games Edition. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES. In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

- Dark Moon from Stronghold Games. Welcome to Dark Moon, the mining station of Saturn's moon, Titan. A routine excavation operation has gone wrong, and certain crew members contracted an alien virus and have begun acting paranoid and violent. Players must determine who the Infected players are and keep them Quarantined as they await rescue, while the Uninfected players must secretly attempt to sabotage the station.

- Favor of the Pharaoh from Bezier Games. In ancient Egypt, even the lowliest peasant could seek audience with the pharaoh. In this game, players must begin with only a few dice and work their way up the levels of society, gaining more dice and special ability tiles, until they can roll seven of a kind and win the queen's favor, which in turn allows them to win the Pharaoh and the game!

- Three Kingdoms Redux from Starting Player. Relive the epic story of China's romanticized Three Kingdoms! The three states of Wei, Wu, and Shu vie for supremacy during this tumultuous period of history and it's up to you to lead your state to victory.

There is a discount if you purchase tickets early through online registration (which is open until Jan. 15). A weekend pass is $40 and single day passes are $25 for Saturday only and $15 for Sunday only. Day-of registration is $30 for Saturday only and $20 for Sunday only, and there are also observer passes available. All passes are upgradeable. There is also a family-cap plan that allows families with many children to attend without breaking the bank.

The So You Meet at a Tavern (and Everyone's a Bard) kickoff this year will take place at the Blank Canvass Brewery, 74 Center Street, in Brewer. Tavern-goers are advised to eat before they come, but there will be plenty of beer on hand. The highlight will be Nerdaoke (nerdy karaoke). Participants are encouraged to write their own geeky lyrics set to their favorite pop-song. Marissa Lopez will be the Nerd DJ for the evening of dancing and singing and don't worry if someone picks the same song as you. Your words will be different.

For more information, including a full schedule and listing of games, visit www.snowconmaine.com.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 21:25

The Horror' - (01-13-2016)

Andre Kruppa brings a theatrical experience to horror gaming

BANGOR When many people think of role-playing games, they think of dice, paper and the occasional miniature to represent where their character is on a map. They may not picture an immersive experience with theatrical lighting, sound effects and props but that's exactly what they'll get if they sign up for Andre Kruppa's intense cosmic horror games.

'I think many people are fascinated by storytelling,' said Kruppa in a phone interview. 'The reason I do what I do by creating an atmosphere like that is the horror games are more exciting, more tension-building.'

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 20:49

Criminal Mischief - (01-13-2016)

Snap into a felony

BANGOR An area woman is facing felony charges for allegedly shoplifting some smoked meat products from a convenience store.

Bangor Police Officer James Hassard responded to the One Stop on State Street for a reported shoplifting. He spoke with the employees who provided surveillance footage of Lybra Cousins, 26, of Bangor approaching a display of smoked meat products and take several and conceal them in her coat. The employee believed she took 'Big Mama Sausages' valued at $1.69 each.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 20:24

The gifts they give

There's a lot to be said about the isolation of parenting. About how much you give up for your kids and how much they change your lives. There are many, many great articles about it. But this one is more about how they made me a more creative person.

You lose large swathes of free time when you have kids, especially if you have three kids at the same time.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 19:18

Time Waster Z-Type

ZType'

'ZType' is an intense shooter with a twist you shoot as you type. Each of your enemies is accompanied by a word; as you type the word, it shoots the object floating menacingly towards you. Speed and accuracy are your friends in this game. If you mistype, you'll still be stuck on that word until you finish it - which means the other ships will be zeroing in on your location, and if they get there you're toast.

Some of the ships do more than just float menacingly at you: they launch new words, or scatter-shot letters across the screen. You then have more threats to deal with in addition to the words already in play.

It's intense.

One of the neat things is that you can get better, learn to anticipate your problem ships and deal with them while maintaining your cool with the simpler words. Then you see how far you can get and try to beat your best score.

Play it for free at http://zty.pe/.

Tuesday, 05 January 2016 19:24

2016 Cold Weather Driving Tips

Editor's Note: This story ran in January 2014; it has been updated.

For about half the year we have to drive in snowy, icy weather. But every year it seems like we have to relearn how to do it I think it really comes down to an intense desire to never have to drive in such a mess again, so we suppress the memories. Whatever the reason, tips about driving in icy conditions are always handy.

Slow down. The biggest issue with driving in snow is that the speed at which you can lose control of your vehicle is much lower than in nice conditions. Stopping takes more time, accelerating takes more time everything takes more time. So whether you're pulling out into traffic or following another vehicle, make sure you have plenty of room for the maneuver.

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