Sex Can Sell Somewhere Else: Why the Pornification of Nerd Culture Helps No One

We’ve all seen it – a video game with a half naked girl on it. A picture of a barbarian holding her up, as she looks suggestively at the viewer, in distress. Whether it’s a chain mail bikini or a slave girl outfit, it’s a well known fact – there are a lot of books, tv shows, games and movies which seem to cater to what is perceived as the typical “gamer” – single heterosexual cisgendered Caucasian males.

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A great example – a great game, with a needlessly pornographic cover

I, the author, am one of these people, a heterosexual cisgendered caucasian male – and in the following article, I will present 3 concrete reason why it is better for EVERYONE that we ditch this almost comical sexualization of our preferred medium of enjoyment.

Continue reading “Sex Can Sell Somewhere Else: Why the Pornification of Nerd Culture Helps No One”

The Kingdom of Cavaliers: A Red Raven Inn Campaign Setting

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There is an island in the Kara Sea that has long stood against the rising Tides of Darkness. A breakwater to stem the hordes of barbarians, raiders, pirates, brigands and even maritime Empires that would threaten the Congruity of Nations. Here a consanguinity of many nations stands firm, built of stone and risen from ashes. Here the King’s Black Flag flies, a sigil in gold leaf defining a common people’s valor, courage, heroism and stalwart resolve. Knights with armor inscribed with Mithril Runes, clad in tabards of finest samite, ride these shores ever vigilant. When the Storm comes here is the Haven. When a Need arises here is found a Duty. When the Darkness falls here is found the Dawn.

Welcome to Xenia, the Kingdom of Cavaliers.

Continue reading “The Kingdom of Cavaliers: A Red Raven Inn Campaign Setting”

Winning Quickly in Chess

Hey everyone, this is Dylan Mize with my second blog post on chess. Seeing as how the first one was a bit dry and lengthy, I figured I’d give the people what they want with this one by providing just a few introductory tips and tricks for achieving a quick and satisfying victory against your less prepared friends or family. Disclaimer: While the quick mating ideas I’ll show you may or may not work against a weaker opponent, they surely will not against anyone who has been exposed to chess in any formal capacity. Therefore, these ideas can be fun for beginners, but are often unsound. However, I will be also be covering a general principle that can be used at any level – the f7 weakness (coordinate on the chess board, for those unfamiliar), which can often be used to form a swift attack, especially against unsuspecting players. While viewing the diagrams below, keep in mind white always has the first move, and checkmate occurs when the king is in check and has nowhere to run nor pieces of his own to block the attack.

Fool’s Mate (below): With that out of the way, lets start with the fastest possible checkmate. It is quite a rare occurrence this checkmate lands on the board even for beginners because it requires your opponent to make two specific moves, and has less to do with an active plan by you. Note that if black had made a normal developing move such as knight f6, it would have prevented white’s queen from invading altogether. Having pushed two of the king’s key defending pawns two spaces already, he has no way to block the upcoming checkmate. Any other combination of legal moves prevents this outcome, which is why this is an especially embarrassing way to lose and a quick way to win.

Scholar’s Mate (below): This takes a close second place for the quickest way to win with mate on the 4th move. It combines the powers of the bishop and queen to deliver mate on the f7 square (on black’s side), or the f2 square (on white’s side). Again, this way of developing is not so subtle and most players who have seen this idea once or twice will not be caught off guard. However, this is a more promising try for a quick win than fool’s mate because it involves a specific plan by white that black must prevent. These moves can occur in slightly altered move orders, but the main idea is the same – to use the queen and bishop to prepare mate on f7.

Attacks on the f7/f2 weakness: Having just seen the two most famous cheapo checkmates, let me expand a bit on one way to form a potentially strong attack, which can easily catch a beginner off guard if they’re not careful. The reason this square is often considered a weakness is because from the starting position, only the king defends it, making it a tender spot which you can often attack. If your opponent neglects it for long enough, you can bring a bishop and a knight to attack it from an early stage in the game with strong effect. In the position below, white is already winning with his attack on f7 because there’s no good defense to either 1. bishop taking with check, or 2. knight taking- attacking the queen and rook simultaneously (a fork) and winning lots of material. In either case, white has created an advantage that should be enough to win.

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Below is another, fancier example showing a tactical way to take advantage of the f7 square. There are plenty more ways than what I’ve shown, so I encourage you to be creative and find your own as well!

If you enjoyed this, let me know in the comments, and if anyone has any specific chess-related themes or concepts you’d like me to cover, also let me know so that I can make these posts as relevant as possible. Thanks! See you in a couple weeks!

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Pawns and Pints to Host Gamers Haven Games Library!

Hello all!

With only 33 hours to go in our Kickstarter we have a big announcement – We shall be hosting the Gamers Haven Games Library at Pawns and Pints!

For those who do not know, the Gamers Haven Library is a collection of approximately 330 board games, which served as the games library for Planet Comicon, KantCon, Midwest Gamefest, and MidAmericon 2 this year. An incomplete list of the collection is available here.

Convention Goers at KantCon enjoying many of the games provided by the Gamers Haven Library
Convention Goers at KantCon enjoying many of the games provided by the Gamers Haven Library

Furthermore, the Gamers Haven Podcast is nearing it’s 10th anniversary, and has over 20 full days of quality audio available online here! We are excited to have them recording at Pawns and Pints in the future 🙂

Also – remember – this is the beginning of the last chance to pledge to our Kickstarter – and get exclusive rewards such as naming a NOOK after yourself, a loved one, or a pet – or get our annual membership for an incredible discount of $150 (normally $195)!

Pledge today by clicking right here! 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram!

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Edward Schmalz

What is Chess, Besides a Game?

This is a topic that’s been in the fullsizerender-26forefront of my mind for years, so writing this comes with a sense of gratification in my own reflection, as well as in the privilege of sharing it with others.

As a forewarning, I’m no doubt going to be carried away in my romantic raving on the beauty of chess, its many merits, and its impact on my life. Before that happens, let me introduce myself as someone who is perhaps no more qualified to speak on chess than any other formidable tournament player. I do, however, believe my perspective as an artist, philosopher and fervent believer in an inexplicable connection between all avocations of life, will uniquely qualify me to pitch the game of chess to a wide audience. Many thanks to Pawns and Pints, KC for allowing me an outlet for my thoughts. That being said, I’m Dylan Mize, and my goal in this first blog post is not to transform anyone into a Grandmaster, but to capture the attention of a diverse group of people and convince you that chess is a worth while endeavor, as a pastime if nothing else. This is the first of hopefully many chess-related posts I will be making on a bi-monthly basis, and full disclosure: This will probably be the wordiest and gushiest of them all. If you’ve made it this far, you probably have at least an inkling of interest in the game, so please continue to read and enjoy a nerd’s ode to chess.


Chess is entertainment.
 Probably invented in India, chess has been a favorite worthy of even royalty for almost two millenniums. Part of it’s appeal is it’s just so interesting – there’s no cap to the amount of hours you can spend on this game, and this makes its entertainment value incredibly high. Beyond simply playing the game, which I never get bored of, there are countless books, videos, online articles, magazines, and other forms of material dedicated to it which can occupy your time for as long as you want. This is more than you can say about most games. It has been said the mark of a quality game is its ease to learn and difficulty to master, which describes chess perfectly; you get out of it exactly what you put in with virtually no cap. It can be played at any level, and should not intimidate those who have yet to feel the satisfaction of capturing an enemy piece. There are many ways chess can be played – many variants (e.g. Bughouse, Fischer Random, Suicide, etc) and many possible time controls (long, rapid, blitz, and bullet). Again, its replay-ability is infinite.9369239722_1dde82fe53_m Continue reading “What is Chess, Besides a Game?”

Shootout at the Pawn & Pint Saloon!

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High Noon…

Spurs click in the desert sand. Two Gunmen stand alone in the street, their hands resting just above their still holstered pistols. The townsfolk watch with baited breath. All is silent. A lone tumbleweed rolls by. Neither Gunman blinks, neither flinches. Then, in a flash, Draw! Two shots ring out. One Gunman remains standing. Blowing his still smoking barrel he holsters his weapon, returning to the cheers of the town he has saved.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good Western? And no Western is complete without the climactic Shootout! To that end, for the first installment of our new Pocket Games Series, we are proud to introduce the Shootout At The Pawn & Pint Saloon!

This is a stand alone game, designed to be printed on a single sheet of paper and easily carried when folded in your pocket. You’ll be able to play on a moment’s notice with virtually no preparation needed. Never have a dull outing with family and friends again, never a bored half hour waiting for your ride. These Pocket Games are perfect to play while on the go, are fast paced, easy to learn and are over relatively quickly, allowing for multiple games that never outstay their welcome. Whether part of a game night or passing the time while on the go, we hope you keep our Pocket Games handy to pass the time with your fellow gamers!

Continue reading “Shootout at the Pawn & Pint Saloon!”

How to Teach Board Games : The Pawns And Pints Way

“If you look at page 97 of the rule book, you will see that the demogorgon may become an issue, therefore, in order to best attack, you shall have to utilize one of 18 flanking strategies, which I shall carefully explain to you right now….”

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We’ve all experienced it. We sit down to play a game with some friends, and a knowledgeable player begins “teaching” us the game – but, while this knowledgeable friend may know a lot about the game, all to frequently, they don’t know much about how to teach.

Therefore, I figured I would utilize my teaching background(I taught school for 2 years and have a masters of education), to develop and adapt a system for teaching board games which is simply to learn and will reduce the amount of time explaining a game a game and increase the time playing!

The basic concept is very simple : Simply explain what the player needs to know at first, and avoid complex explanations, tips, or analysis. 

Continue reading “How to Teach Board Games : The Pawns And Pints Way”