Kunai and A Sure Can Attitude (Tiny Ninjas review)

When you’re on the go, it’s best to be prepared for the occasion. This of course means packing light, with only the essentials, like your wallet, watch, passport, a carry-on, and a mobile card game in a box.

I know what you’re thinking, how the heck can you play a card game on the go, well 2niverse Games has the answer.


Tiny Ninjas (2018)

Player Count: Solo, Competitively 2
Age: 8+
released on Kickstarter June 22, 2018
Play Time: 15 minutes
Designer: Ryan Leininger
Publisher: 2niverse Games
******** 8/10

BoardGameGeek: TBD
The Guardian: n/a

Ryan Leininger is a photographer, videographer, board game designer, graphic designer and owner/operator of One Wolf Creative – essentially a renaissance man for the board game golden age!

I’m not going to say too much more about him and the creative work he does with his wife Layla, but I was so impressed with their presentation of the this game at a playtesting session I was invited to, that I just had to review their game, and hopefully secure a creative professional interview in the near future…

*fingers crossed*

Now you’re probably wondering, what is Tiny Ninjas, and to be frank, I’d rather let you read a brief overview in Ryan’s own words, because I’ll go into detail on the Table Culture episode below.

Tiny Ninjas is a two-player, dice-rolling, head to head card game that’s designed to play right inside of the box! It’s easy to learn with the perfect blend of “push-your-luck” and card management strategy, ensuring each battle is engaging and packed with excitement!

Because of its size and utilizing the box as the play surface, it has an immensely small footprint making it ideal for gaming on the go. A perfect travel game!

Amazingly enough, it is not just an ecologically inventive game, it’s also really good looking too. Featuring chibi style ninja art, colourful kunai and shuriken die, and some seriously inventive scorekeeping dials, Tiny Ninjas pulls you in with it’s neat theme and aesthetics, but keeps you engaged with the layered gameplay.

It’s simple to learn, engaging to play, and can easily fill the space on a car ride, the plane, or even during your lunch break with your best bud. I know that’s fun for all ages, because my stepson Miguel had the pleasure of playing this one with me, and when you watch the video, you’ll get a bit feedback direct from his mouth…

So what are you waiting for? Check out the video, so you can get on the bandwagon and pick up this game before the June 22nd fulfillment date!

Right, you want some pros and cons.

Pros: The box serves as the game board, allowing you to easily travel with everything, and save on table space in those awkward moments when you don’t know where to place everything.

ConsIt can be a bit challenging to differentiate some of the card mechanics text from flavour text, and colours of some die faces are similar to each other… but Ryan promises that this is being worked out for the production copies.

Points of Interest: The husband and wife team of 2niverse Games is based in Sylvan Lake, and have been touring the province to share their game with the public. They actually won the People’s Choice Award at the Edmonton Prototype Convention, but I wasn’t able to see that award.

I also really like that the game has little to no setup time, which you’ll see in my brief demo during the video! Let’s check it out!

theories Summarized

My final thoughts… For a mere 28 dollars, you too can have a neat travel game that actually delivers on what it offers. Fun entertainment, in a compact space. It’s a game that rewards quick decision-making and is fun for all ages.

I really do hope this was a helpful review. And please let me know if you’ve bought the game and enjoyed it as much as I do. Ryan is an awesome guy and deserves all the support he can get, as this has been a 400% successful Kickstarter, and if you don’t buy-in, you’ll miss out on all the ninja fun!

So please let me know what you thought of my review, like and share the video, and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. More theories to come in the next few days!


The Name Game (K-Days)

Come on everybody, I say now, let’s play a game. I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody’s name. K-Days!

K-Days, K-Days bo B-Days Bonana fanna fo F-Days
Fee fy mo M-Days K-Days!

Well actually it doesn’t really work there, because it’s a truncated word, but it was still a fun exercise in naming.

And speaking of naming, let’s talk about K-Days dear readers. K-Days is an annual event spanning back as far as 1879 and with a fairly cool history to boot. It has also been called Capital Ex (from 2006-2012), Klondike Days (1962-2005) and The Exhibition (1869-1963) throughout various stages of it’s history. Though I do distinctly remember my parents and grandparents refer to it as the Ex well after the name changed to Klondike Days during the 90’s.

K-Days originally started as a fair for agriculture, and slowly added in a parade, then a community driven parade, even being moved to Northlands during WWI from it’s original location at Fort Edmonton. At a certain point the event turned into a carnival as well, and when it was re-skinned as Klondike Days, people would dress up in period based Klondike Gold Rush costumes. By the early 2000’s people had lost most of their interest in the Klondike theme, and thus the name was changed to Capital Ex. Though Edmontonians weren’t especially interested in the name change, and we saw attendance dip consistently until the rebrand to K-Days.

K-Days is quite an event – it features rides, food vendors, games, live music on two separate stages, street performers, merchandise inside the Northlands building, exhibitions which are usually themed around pop culture or environmental issues. All in all, there is something there for everyone.

But what I think is the most profound component of this festival is the cheap gate admission ($17 for an adult). It lets you in to see some great musical acts. For instance, you already missed X Ambassadors, Matthew Good, Moist, The Trews, Coleman Hell, and Tim Hicks. But you should know that Tom Cochrane is playing tonight, Monster Truck is playing tomorrow night, and then Simple Plan and Finger Eleven close out the weekend.

All in all, if you haven’t been yet, it should be a fantastic opportunity to soak in some local culture and especially if you’ve already taken the time to check out Taste of Edmonton and all of the food and ambience associated with that downtown festival.

With that said, I’m out of theories for now friends, I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll catch you on Sunday with something stimulating.


Is There Any Way To Make It Play Itself? (Real Time Games update)

A few months back I wrote a niche post about an idea we have at timotheories.

I put it fairly directly at the time, and it still rings true, but I’ll expand on that idea today. The idea was one that might be obvious, but like many obvious ideas, it should be repeated. BECAUSE it’s important – Board games have been associated with children, fun, and idle time for a few decades, but the truth is that not only are they a lot of fun, they are now absolutely useful and necessary in our culture.

And they will continue to be a key feature of life as we become more reliant on digital tech to work, communicate, and conduct most affairs in our personal lives.

The reason for this need is that board games do something that is really is important for human beings, but which cannot be achieved via digital tech. Direct human contact.

See a little light bulb just went off, didn’t it?

But before we continue, we should clarify that much like realm of advertising, which is a component of marketing, and not a root word, board games are a facet of something larger and should be used in context. As dogs are to mammals, board games are a type of table top gaming.

Table top gaming can refer to games played with dice, cards, on a board, with tiles, timers, miniatures, wargames, and any other variation that would be done on a flat surface. Which is what separates them from live action role-playing games, video games or sports games. Which is why I would make the argument that playing sports or playing video games in the same room as your friends works decently well too. But video games aren’t made that way any more

As for the politics surrounding chance for strategy in table top gaming, let’s not get into that today.

This is where Real Time Games came into the fold – Real Time Games, as I’ve mentioned before, is about people and sharing the joy of board games with them. My brother Ryan and I set up a weekly gaming group so that we could ensure that we spread the message, so-to-speak, about the hundreds of hobby games now available and which have slowly been cropping up since the turn of the century.

Nowadays, there are all kinds of hobby websites, YouTube channels, brick-and-mortar stores, and organizations that help promote this niche industry. But the proletariat are less versed in culture shift that needs to take place.

Yes, it’s happening, but ever-so-slowly, which is ironic given the motility we are supposed to have with the current technology at our fingertips.

And so we play different games every week, with the intent of sharing the social value of the games that we play. And my original plan was to develop a video series for Real Time Games wherein we discussed the value of said games via a standard table top review. But it occurred to me that that wasn’t a realistic use of Ryan’s time, and he wasn’t comfortable getting in front of the camera to declare expertise. So the idea sat, and ruminated for 6 months or so.

But now it looks like I have found a new partner in crime, and so Real Time Games evolves to become more timely delivering content to those who are using technology but looking for analog connection.

So please stay tuned as that idea unfolds. Because we’ll be discussing the latest and greatest at Edmonton’s new hot spot, The Gamer’s Lodge. I’m not going to reveal any more, since I’m out of theories for today, but stay tuned as I work with my new partner to set up this regular service and help flesh out our community.


Introduction To Theory (timotheories presents)

Hello and welcome to my blog! This is my digital platform, soapbox, gallery, lounge, theatre, and studio.

My primary intention with this blog is that I can inspire not only myself to keep making art and putting it out into the world, but to provide a forum for others who care about the arts as well, whether they need a push or maybe some comfort in reading another artists journey. This blog is about finding health and happiness within the arts, and as the tagline at the top of the page suggests, whatever tangent it goes off to at any given point, it will always be digital curating at heart. I say heart, because I am passionate about art, and I don’t think you can have heart without art, now can you, dear reader?

Moving right along… I should introduce myself. My name is Timothy, but most people I know call me Tim. I am an Edmonton Alberta born and raised guy, and for those of you who live here or have lived here, you know that Edmonton has an interesting relationship with the arts.

Just look at this snippet, which is my favourite part of the Wikipedia entry on Edmonton.

Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname “The Festival City”.[14] It is home to North America’s largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (the world’s largest mall from 1981 until 2004),[15] and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum.[16]

We Edmontonians have lots of potential to make cool art because of already existing attractions and because the terrible weather months give us focus whenever the snow dumps down. I kinda timed my first entry with the start of winter to illustrate exactly this point. So we should look at West Edmonton Mall (WEM or The Mall to lots of us) and Fort Edmonton Park for a moment. I grew up within walking distance of The Mall and have been fascinated by the hustle of malls ever since. I attribute a great deal of my interest in pop culture to the weird whims and details of WEM. It is an ever-changing behemoth that features items like an indoor amusement park, an indoor water park, a massive theatre that once hosted a fire breathing dragon, and even a dinner theatre. The other tidbit of that Wikipedia entry I really enjoy is about Fort Edmonton Park, nestled alongside the North Saskatchewan River in the SW quadrant of Edmonton. Fort Edmonton happens to have a very vibrant group of interpreters who all seem to be involved in the Edmonton theatre community in one capacity or another. What is even better about this place is that both of my brothers work here in the summer months and so I’ve learned a lot about the character of that hub.

I am also hoping that the more I write about my local community, the more this blog will turn into an arts lifestyle view (guidebook?) for the creative sojourners out there. And so I believe that I must talk about the arts! But the more you get to know me, the more you will see that while I personally cannot live without art in my life, we all benefit from it in one way or another.

Mind you, I am not just interested in the goings on of Edmonton, I mean I love Edmonton, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed after I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Art and Design) from the University of Alberta, but I am also interested in Canadian culture and whatever is going on in the world at large.

Even more so, this blog is not just going to be an academic piece where I write about the goings on at the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Jubilee Auditorium or independent sources like Vue Weekly, though I do love all of those things. No, I am going to get into pop culture too. I am a huge movie buff, love all kinds of music, and game with the best of them (board and video), oh and dancing too. Dance is amazing.

Now I am going to tell you how you can get involved! Please leave comments! I am no stranger to criticism and encourage healthy discussion. I went through 4 years of professional art criticism, so your feedback is appreciated, and encouraged.  What if you want to email me? Please do, you can hit me up at timotheories@outlook.com.

That’s all the theories I have right now.