28 November 2014

Geeky Christmas gift guide 2014

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There's less than one month to go before Christmas, so now is the time to pull out all the stops and get your shopping done before the hoarded masses start making things crazy.

Here is a quick run down of recommended gifts to get that special geek in your life this Christmas

Guardians of the Galaxy OST  - Awesome Mix Vol. 1 - cassette

Perfect for the retro music geek

Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the runaway successes of 2014, grossing $770 million at the box office and proving that Marvel has the balls to make any of its storylines a success.

One of the biggest draws to the success of Guardians (apart from, apparently, seeing Chris Pratt's abs) was it's astounding soundtrack - Awesome Mix Vol 1.

I'll just leave this here - you're welcome, by the way
The OST has been released digitally as well as on CD, vinyl and on cassette.

This is probably the first time you could buy something new on cassette in at least a decade.

As far as I'm aware, this is exclusive to HMV in the UK (you can pick it up elsewhere in the US).

RRP - £7.99

Knitted knight's helmet

Perfect for the fashion conscious geek

Defending the kingdom and looking spectacular in the process.
Hats are so last year.

Beard hats are so last month.

If you want to get your geek on and stay warm, it's all about the knitted knight helmet, as modelled by yours truly:

There are loads of different types, from Medieval to Roman. I picked mine up from Amazon UK, but there are others about across the web.

RRP - somewhere between £10 and £20, depending on what style you go for

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug extended edition blu-ray

Perfect for the film buff geek
The standard edition DVD/Blu-Ray will serve you well if you're just a fan of the film.

If you're anything like me and the prospect of special features and extras has you salivating, then the Extended Edition will be a must-have addition to your stocking.

You can read my full review of it here, but all you need to know is that it has nine hours of extras

You know you're in for something special when the bonus material has a video intro by Peter Jackson where he spends 10 minutes going through the contents of the Blu-Ray.

RRP - £14.99 on Amazon UK

Geeky subscription box

Perfect for the geek-of-all-trades

This is one area where I can't give a specific recommendation because there are just so damn many!

The only one I've tried so far is LootCrate - a US based monthly subscription of geek swag based on a different theme each month.

There are a whole host of others that are based in the UK you can check out:

Infinity Crates

Each month you usually get a T-shirt or vinyl POP figure as well as a cornucopia of random geeky goodness.

RRP - usually between £15 and £20 per box, depending on the subscription package you go for. Subscribing for three or six months at a time usually gets you a discount.

Machi Koro

Perfect for the gamer geek

In the interest of full disclosure, I've not played Machi Koro myself.

But it has come highly recommended. By EVERYONE.

Machi Koro is a fast-paced card game that sees you as the mayor of your own city, and it's up to you to develop the city into something vibrant and flourishing.

You buy landmarks and buildings, which give you certain benefits when the dice are rolled.

But be careful, as your opponents can benefit from the dice you roll too.

Here's a video review of the game to whet your appetite.

RRP - £25 at Rules of Play

What's on your Christmas wishlist? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @mithrilwisdom!

About Jamie
Jamie Gibbs is a life-long geek and leans towards anything with sorcery, dragons or obscure pop culture references.
You can follow him on at @mithrilwisdom for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.

14 November 2014

13 feels you'll feel at the Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff


The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff has regenerated along with the Twelfth Doctor. These are the feels you'll feel when you visit (one feel for each Doctor)

1. A certainty that it is the happiest place on earth

2. Jealousy bordering on rage when other people go before you get the chance

3. Smugness when you get VIP passses and can get up close and personal in a Dalek's business ahead of the riffraff

4. A little trepidation as you're surrounded by all the villainy of the Whoniverse

5. Absolute terror when you REALLY NEED TO BLINK but know you can't

A photo posted by br3nz (@br3nz) on

6. An uber-fan infatuation that is liable to get you a restraining order

7. ... actually there's too much uber-fanning for just one entry on this list - here's another



8. Becoming a blubbering wreck when you hear the words "I don't want to go" over and over

9. Maniacal omnipotence when you become the pilot of a Dalek 


 10. A feeling of lightness - especially in the wallet area - as you enter the gift shop

11. Complete and utter happiness with your life

12. A profound appreciation for everything that is, was, and will be, Welsh

13. Withdrawal that hits you like a sack of bricks as soon as you leave

Check out the teaser for the Doctor Who Experience, starring Peter Capaldi

Any feels I've missed out? Let me know in the comments! Don't forget to check out my Geek's Guide to Cardiff to see how to get to the Doctor Who Experience (and more geek-friendly places in the Welsh capital)

About Jamie
Jamie Gibbs is a life-long geek and leans towards anything with sorcery, dragons or obscure pop culture references.
You can follow him on at @mithrilwisdom for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.

12 November 2014

Cardiff Film & Comic Con: 8th-9th November 2014 (A Retrospective)

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The Welsh geek event of the year - Cardiff Film & Comic Con! Two days of celebs, costumes and spending a hell of a lot of money!

As the third installment of Cardiff's answer to Comic Con, I finally decided to cosplay a little.

What I initially went for was Paul McGann's outfit in Night of the Doctor, which we all know is the best Doctor Who costume.

Since a lot of the pieces are vintage WWI-era clothes (and therefore rare and expensive) I adapted the costume to be a generic steampunk getup.

I had earlybird tickets on both days so I got in with plenty of time to scout the floor, get autographs and pick out the choicest swag (if you read my Wales geek con survival guide, you'd do the same).

Sunday morning was a lot quieter than the Saturday (which, despite heavy rain and a rugby match on in the city, was still quite busy).

A thumbs up goes to Showmasters for organising a two-minute silence at 11am for Remembrance Sunday. Having so many people in a big venue fall completely silent was eerie.

The Talks and the Guests

I went to three talks over the weekend - Game of Thrones and Doctor Who on the Saturday, and then to see Sylvester McCoy on the Sunday.

Despite last-minute cancellations from Jason Momoa and Carice van Houten, the Game of Thrones talk was a lot of fun. This was mostly down to the banter between Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) and Finn Jones (Laurence Tyrell).

Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor) was the highlight of the weekend for me. He was quirky and enthusiastic when talking about his time as the Doctor, and when talking about his role in The Hobbit (he'd frequently add in "Because I'm in The Hobbit, you know" during every answer he gave).

We were also treated to an impromptu spoons playing session when a fan brought out a pair of spoons as part of their Seventh Doctor costume.

McCoy also defied Q&A tradition by grabbing a microphone and going into the audience so they could ask him questions directly, which was delightful.

If you weren't a Game of Thrones or Doctor Who fan, you might have not had much fun with the guests this time around. There weren't too many guests from other film and TV franchises to pull in other fans.

Speaking of Sylvester McCoy - I had him autograph my Doctor Who Regeneration box set. I know have the Seventh, Eighth and Twelfth Doctor's autographs. Ten more to go!

The Indie Scene

The entire indie comics zone was up on the second floor - last time they were in among the stall vendors in the main hall.

On the one side, this gave them a dedicated section along with the cosplayers so you can meet some indie publishers and get some good geeking going.

On the other side - and this seems to be the sentiment among other con-goers - was that the indie guys felt pushed out the way at short notice, which wasn't great.

One of the sad things about the emergence of Cardiff Comic Con was that it saw the death of the smaller Cardiff Comic Expo, which was all about promoting indie publishers, comic artists and writers.

If the same thing starts to happen here, Cardiff Comic Con will just be a massive place to buy stuff rather than get some real gems from local creators.

I met the wonderful Mystrade Doodles, who did me a custom Malcom Reynolds sketch (with added Castle quote for extra geek cred).

I also had a signed Young Sherlock Holmes comic from Huw-J (it's steampunk; I couldn't say no!) and some issues of New Wasteland Fairy Tales by Dave Powell.

The Cosplay

Let's let the pictures do the talking, shall we?

There seemed to be a lot more cosplayers this time around, which was awesome. There were quite a few Attack on Titan costumes, which was good to see.

There was a very convincing Khal Drogo cosplayer that got a tip of the cap from the Game of Thrones panel (you can't get a better endorsement than that!)

Final Thoughts

If Saturday was anything to go by, Cardiff Comic Con has outgrown the Motorpoint Arena, and might need to look at a bigger venue in the next year or so.

Sunday was a lot quieter, and I think it might have been a combination of the bad weather and last-minute cancellations that stopped many people from coming.

I really hope that they don't shun the indie guys - giving them their own space was a good idea, but nobody knew that they were all the way up on the second floor unless they were on the second floor already.

Still, I had a blast. Good costumes, good geeky swag, good guests, good people.

I now need to make some tweaks to my costume ready for the next con in March!

All cosplay images from Shaun Gibbs Photography. Used with permission.

Were you at Cardiff Comic Con this weekend? Let me know in the comments what your highlight was!

About Jamie
Jamie Gibbs is a life-long geek and leans towards anything with sorcery, dragons or obscure pop culture references.
You can follow him on at @mithrilwisdom for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.