Role-playing reviews

Reviews related to role-playing games, with a focus on Gods & Monsters, and a bit of superhero gaming.

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Great Potato Chips

Jerry Stratton, July 2, 2004

Let’s face it. Snack foods and gaming are inextricably linked. This is especially true if you’re into old-style gaming. Later I’ll try to recommend some great gaming snacks that are not full of grease and salt, and perhaps even involve fresh ingredients. This review is about nothing but greasy, salty, flavor-filled potato chips!

Poore Brothers

Poore makes both Poore Brothers and Boulder potato chips. Their slogan is “intensely different” and they are. My favorite is probably their Parmesan and Garlic chips but just about everything they make is great. Their habanero, jalapeño, and desert mesquite barbecue are all great choices.

The Boulder brand is their “natural foods” label. I don’t think they’re healthy so much as organic. They also make some great flavors, such as jalapeño cheddar, and another parmesan and garlic. The Boulder brand is also closer to “normal” potato chips than the kettle-style in Poore’s name-brand. Whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage will depend on your own tastes. I’m normally biased towards kettle-style, but in this case both are quite good.

A caveat, though, I’m not a disinterested party. I liked them so much I “bought the company”. I can’t say I recommend the stock: the snack food industry is “intensely competitive”, making this smaller company a risky investment. But their potato chips are definitely worth investing in for your next gaming session.

Poore also currently has the TGI Friday’s license. I’m not a fan of their potato skin snacks, but the onion rings and mozarella sticks are quite good.

Kettle Brand

Kettle Sour Cream and Onion Krinkle Cut

Like Poore Brothers, Kettle does not skimp on the flavor. Their New York Cheddar and their Yogurt & Green Onion are extremely addictive. You don’t want them around when you’re all alone. Great for gaming, however. Share those calories!

If you want something really different, try their Jalapeño with Tequila and Lime flavor chips. Truth in advertising: they taste like tequila and jalapeño. Worth trying at least once just to see what tequila-flavored potato chips taste like.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s Hawaiian-style kettle-cooked chips are very similar in quality to Kettle Brand. The honey and mustard is my favorite but they’re all good. If your Trader Joe’s carries them, you might also enjoy Snyder’s of Hanover honey, mustard, and onion flavored pretzels. Snyder’s is also known for stranger flavors, though these are not in my experience available at Trader Joe’s. Their kosher dill flavored chips are quite good, but to me Snyder’s will always be remembered for a flavor they apparently no longer make: steak and onion. It tasted just like a cheap deli steak and onion. Impressive feat.

Trader Joe’s in general is a great place to go for inexpensive but very tasty gaming foods and beverages.

May 8, 2006: Sold Poores

While I still love their chips, I’ve sold my Poore Brother’s stock. As I said above, the snack market is a competitive one, and I don’t see SNAK taking the steps to make themselves stand out. Their recent proposed name change from a memorable one to The Inventure Group was the deciding factor for me. That just doesn’t sound like a company I want to be a part of. (Besides being completely forgettable—I had to verify it in the press release—there’s already a group with that name.)

The name change was indicative of a problem I’ve been seeing for a while now, which is that they seem to be losing their focus from intensely-flavored snacks. So, I sold a couple of weeks ago. SNAK may well still be a good investment, or it may not. But it no longer is a good investment for me, and I didn’t want to leave that statement on the above article when it was no longer true.

Note to market: this is a signal for their stock price to rise precipitously.

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