Category Blog News

Painting & Escaping

It’s been a weird few days. Really weird.

For those of you who don’t know, I live and work in Boston. Well, technically Boston and Brookline, but this isn’t some thing where someone says they live in Boston and actually mean they’re just inside the 128 loop or in New England. So Monday was supposed to be a day of joyous celebrating due to it being Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon.

While I don’t run myself, I can’t help but be supportive of a giant event that brings people together – especially since this is the view of out of the conference room at my job:

And as you all know, it ended up not being that. So the last few days I’ve just being withdrawing after work and going home to paint while watching The Hobbit. My Reaper Bones Kickstarter hasn’t arrived, but I’ve had a handful of minis and more paint than I should.

I don’t know. It’s been weird and I haven’t been able to bring myself to write anything this week.

Stay safe and roll some dice,


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[CLOSED]Ascension & SolForge Giveaway from Stone Blade Entertainment!

You can win all of this!

It’s been a while since we last had a contest here at Castles and Cooks, but we’ve got a big one this week thanks to Stone Blade Entertainment. With the release of Ascension: Rise of Vigil happening last week and the release of the SolForge Beta on Steam, Stone Blade has been very busy.

So here’s what you can win from us here at Castles and Cooks – we’ve got five prize packs to giveaway!

The Grand Prize: Ascension: Rise of Vigil, Ascension: Immortal Heroes, 5 Ascension Promo cards (Lotus Siren, Ender of Days, Deep Drone, Kythis, the Gatekeeper, and Cobra, the Sordid and a SolForge Uterra deck code!

Second Prize: Ascension: Rise of Vigil, 4 Ascension Promo cards (Void Mesmer, Soul Collector, Cobra, the Sordid and Kythis, the Gatekeeper) and a SolForge Uterra deck code!

Third Prize: 3 Ascension Promo cards (Vortex, Nethersnare, Control Room) and a SolForge Uterra deck code.

Fourth & Fifth Prize: A SolForge Uterra deck code.


Entries must be received by 4/13/13 at 11:59:59 pm EDT. Winners will be announced 4/15/13.
Entries must be unique.
One entry per person and please use an email address that you actually check.
Winner must have a U.S. shipping address for the prize to be mailed to. Non-US entrants can still win the SolForge decks as codes will be emailed.
Anyone affiliated with Castles and Cooks are not eligible to participate.
Winners will be notified by email.
Winners will be selected at random and have 72 hours to respond before forfeiting their prize.

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Castles and Cooks Holiday Gift Guide

Buying gifts for gamers can be a real challenge. They are constantly picking up the newest games, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering might as well be foreign languages. So the Castles & Cooks brain trust joined forces to come up with 25 fantastic holiday gifts in a variety of price points.

Chocolate Dice – $8
If you need a stocking stuffer for any tabletop player, get them a delicious treat in the shape of a set of dice. It’s cheap, adorable and delicious. Available in white, 6o% and dark chocolate.

Bag O Zombies – $10
This is a bag of 100 zombies for $10, how is that not awesome? Any self-respecting DM can find a reason to use these, but when don’t you need a bag of zombies? It doesn’t matter if you play ZOMBIES or not – and they come in regular zombie gray or glow-in-the-dark!

LEGO Gandalf Arrives – $13
Lord of the Rings holds a special place in almost every geek’s heart, but as a desktop decoration, they don’t get more perfect than this. Gandalf’s cart is adorable and full of fireworks and a LEGO Frodo may be the cutest thing in the world.

Hogwarts Acceptance Letter – $15
Even if it didn’t arrive on your 11th birthday, getting a personalized acceptance letter to Hogwarts will bring a smile to any wizard’s holiday.

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Looking back and Heading Forward

When Tom and I started Castles and Cooks, things were very different. We were both stuck in corporate jobs that eroded our very souls and we needed an outlet to express ourselves besides hiding NERF guns in our office desks (that may have been just me). The site has evolved into something I don’t think either of us ever expected.

Two and a half years later, we’re looking at a website that is the most twisted take on a chimera I’ve seen in a long time. Our fracture posts are incomprehensible and off kilter, but I kind of like it that way. But between Wizards of the Coast feeling the need to release a new Magic product every two months and some major changes in the lives of all our authors, something has to give.

In the beginning, Castles and Cooks allowed us to escape the confines of the corporate 9-5 grind. Drafting feasts and sending each other messages about how one would go about cooking a dragon was a fun way to pass the time, but in the last few months, Tom and I have both walked away from that path. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still playing games and cooking, but our changes have meant much less time to write.

In the last few months, I’ve gone from a soul sucking corporate job that was literally so mismanaged, I didn’t have a boss to tell that I was quitting to working for a local toy store. I’ve always loved toys (my other website might be a giveaway) and being able to spend my days talking about LEGO sets while getting paid is something I never could have imagined.

This change though means some aspects of my life have to relent. Sadly, I simply don’t have the time or energy to write about dungeons, castles, dragons and cooks every single day. Combined with the awful burnout I suffered during the Return to Ravnica spoiler season, I’m left questioning where I want Castles and Cooks to go from here.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Magic: the Gathering and I don’t ever see myself quitting the game (I know Tom, that’s a sunk cost fallacy), but I feel like Magic and I are at a crossroads and I don’t see us going the same direction. I do see us going alongside other kinds of tabletop games, but Castles and Cooks was never meant to be a site about Magic.

As for the cooking side of things, I’ve loved experimenting in the kitchen with new ideas but often those concepts are hard to give a fantasy twist to. Bleu cheese and steak pizza is delicious, but I don’t think dwarves are chowing down on it at the local inn. I would love to expand into true fantasy feasting that isn’t such a reach. I want Castles and Cooks to be a site where when people say they want to try lembas, blue milk or butterbeer, we are the place people direct them to.

Food and gaming are about the exact same thing at the end of the day: bringing people together. And while real life seems adamant at throwing us as many curve balls as it can, Castles and Cooks will prevail.

And this is where you come in. Castles and Cooks has grown far beyond what I imagined was possible, but now I’m asking you to give back. I want to craft a list of recipes across all fandoms and I need you to tell us what foods you want to finally taste.

While I may have deemed myself the Baker when we launched, I am much more than that and it is time to put the cooking back in Castles and Cooks.



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Happy birthday to us!

It’s hard to believe that Castles & Cooks has only been running for a year. Between discussing the concept of this site between drinks and dinners with Tom during our years at college, we’ve managed to go from a website that only got 557 page views in our first two weeks to getting almost 120,000 page views in the last two weeks.

It’s funny to think of how excited we were when we broke 100,000 page views and celebrated with a pizza the size of my kitchen table. But between some fantastic recipes, reviews and news, Castles & Cooks has grown far better than I think any of us expected with us quickly closing in on the half million mark by the end of the month.

So to Tom, Colin and Patrick, thanks for all your hard work contributing to the site – if I was the only one writing it would just be about Top Chef and Magic: the Gathering, your recipes, reviews and Dungeons & Dragons articles continue to blow me away. John, you deserve a special mention for your phenomenal artwork that graces our site.

And to all of our readers, thank you for all your support over the last year.

Now lets break that million page view mark!



I have difficulty fathoming what achieving 100k page views is. More difficult is comprehending that I was somehow involved with accomplishing that feat. We’ve blown well past that fateful night where I learned that the trunk of my car is indeed 3 feet by 3 feet, but on the whole I’m still coming to grips with it.  I guess this Internet thing might not be a fad after all.

I can’t thank Jesse enough for staring at me across a table at Jacob Wirth’s one night and telling me he had an idea to mesh gaming and food. Then Patrick and Colin came along and helped us push the site beyond what the two of us originally imagined was possible. John’s artwork has given us a level of legitimacy without which this site just does not work. I’m more than happy to say that I am the least talented individual involved with this wacky project.

We’re all very excited to see what the next year brings, as the site continues to evolve and improve. As always, none of this matters without you the readers. Whether you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or just fire up our homepage day after day, we couldn’t thank you enough.



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Crunchy Dish Contest!

Inspired by our series “Crunchy Dishes” where each week we introduce a new in-game food to be used by players and Dungeon Masters alike, Castles and Cooks is proud to announce our first ever Crunchy Dishes contest. We are looking to you, our intrepid readers to create the next great Crunchy Dishes. While the application for these dishes are for tabletop RPGs and D&D in general, we welcome all entries using any source material or inspiration that you would like.

To enter the contest simply create a new Crunchy Dish inspired by an RPG or fantasy novel and be creative. If we get 50 entries for Lembas bread this is going to be a disaster.

Send your crunchy dish in an email to We will post them all in a future edition of Crunchy Dishes and then declare a winner. So, even if you don’t win your work will still be visible for everyone on the Internets. You may create more than one dish if you want, but only one will be considered as your official entry so choose wisely. We recommend using Power2ool to create your dishes (it is free and easy) but you can write them up any way you feel.


We will have two winners. Because the t-shirt is only one size, we are giving the first place winner their choice of either prizes and the second place winner will receive the remaining prize. Winners will be announced on the site after the close of the contest, they will also be contacted via email.

We’ve decided to extend the contest which now ends on Friday April 22.

Rules of entry:

  1. One entry per person.
  2. Only eligible to residents in the United States. Sorry international readers!
  3. Contest runs until April 15, 2011 11:59 PM EST.
  4. All contributors to Castles and Cooks and immediate family are not eligible.
  5. All decisions made by Castles and Cooks are final.
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Gamer Food Energy Bars Review & Giveaway!

The food for nerds and geeks has been Mountain Dew and Doritos for far too long. Disgustingly sweet sugar water and chips coated in dust aren’t exactly the most appetizing options available. So a new company has come forward to try and make a geeky snack for gamers: Gamer Food!

Describing themselves as “Cirque du Soleil meets Lord of the Rings meets Cain and Abel… just without the whole fratricide part,” Gamer Food’s two founders, Christopher and Michael Davis, have launched a new product line of energy bars targeting the gamer demographic.

But these aren’t just your every day granola and Powerbars, these are specially made and inspired by some of Blizzard’s classic games: Warcraft and Starcraft. Chris was kind enough to send us some samples for a review – and we’re giving away two bars to one of our readers!

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Celebrating 100,000 Page Views with an Epic Pizza

A little while back, Castles and Cooks celebrated our 100,000th page view. So when Tom finally came up last weekend, we knew we had to celebrate this milestone with something a little different. Earlier I had been to the local pizza chain, the Upper Crust (which is excellent) and noticed something different on their menu: the Challenge.

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Geeky Clean Giveaway!

Looking to win from free soap? We’re giving away some extra geek-themed soap from Geeky Clean and this is your chance to win it! Two lucky readers will win.

First Prize: A Dungeon Crawler’s Pack which contains Health (nag’champa), Mana (coconut), Barbarian Scrub (orange), Cure Light Wounds (peppermint) and Zom-B-Gone (lilac). Plus you’ll get four new d20s, can you ever really have enough d20s? As of starting this contest, this pack is sold out on Geeky Clean!

Second Prize: An Extra Life 2-pack which includes Health (nag’champa) and Mana (coconut)!

Two ways to enter – become a fan of us on Facebook to automatically get an entry (yes, that means people who are already fans are automatically entered)! Or leave a comment answering the following question:

What monster would you least like to clean and why?

Two winners will be selected one will get a Dungeon Crawler’s Pack and another will get the Extra Life 2-pack!

Rules of entry:

  1. Up to two entries per person, you must use a valid e-mail address when posting a comment.
  2. Only eligible to residents in the United States. Sorry international readers!
  3. Winners will be chosen randomly: first one picked gets 1st, second one picked gets 2nd.
  4. Though highly unlikely, if you are picked first and entered twice, your second entry is voided for the second drawing.
  5. Contest runs until January 21st, 2011 11:59 PM EST.
  6. All contributors to Castles and Cooks and immediate family are not eligible.
  7. All decisions made by Castles and Cooks are final.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us here at Castles and Cooks, we’d like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! May your day be full of resting, food, gaming, more food and getting ready for the epic battle that is known as the Black Friday!

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