A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Coping with poverty

Kristin Hohman Editor-in-Chief Everyone is familiar with that stereotypical image of the ‘poor college student’; living off of pizza and ramen noodles, grabbing extra napkins and condiments from restaurants to use later, being afraid of checking your bank account balance….

Men’s team wins regionals

Mark Perez-Krywany Staff Writer Though many men’s basketball teams at Lorain County Community College have made it to the playoffs, the 2016-17 team is the first to have something to show for it. The Commodores’ beat Columbus State Community College’s…

LCCC, LEC sign MBA partnership

Rebecca Marion Managing Editor   Lorain County Community College signed an agreement with Lake Erie College, who will now offer their Parker Master of Business Administration through the University Partnership on March 3. This program will meet the Northeastern Ohio…

Campus mourns loss of faculty member

Kerri Klatt

Contributor

Submitted Photo | Bernie Kimpal, faculty and manager of the Duck Radio station at LCCC passed suddenly on March 19 after blood clots appeared in his lungs.

Bernie Kimpal, faculty and the manager of Duck Radio at Lorain County Community College, passed away suddenly due to blood clotting in his lungs.

As the news spread of Kimpal’s death spread across campus, it affected students and staff alike. Several of Kimpal’s students, still emotional, reminisced fondly of their instructor. Matt Melvin, promotions director and DJ at Duck Radio, worked alongside Kimpal frequently.

“We are still trying to wrap our heads around it,” Melvin said. “Bernie was the type of person that would help anybody and if he didn’t know the answer to a question, he would go to the department or the person and find the answer.”

Kimpal worked in the radio business for over 50 years, including  The Wave Radio station.

“Bernie was just a kind and wonderful fellow. A mature leader and a great asset to the college,” said Dr. Robert Beckstrom, dean of LCCC’s Arts and Humanities Department. “He often assisted in the development of the student. Bernie is just one of those people who cannot be replaced,” he said. Beckstrom added that he had read many of the student evaluations on Kimpal, noting that many had only positive things to say.

“There was a reason we called him ‘Duckmiester’ because he was the master of ducks, he oversaw everything,” said Tim Bradley, production student at Duck Radio.  Kimpal worked in radio back in the late 1960s. His work took him all over the states including New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.

“We all had a personal relationship with Bernie,” said. Bradley. “We would come in and talk about the weekend and Bernie would tell us stories about the sixties. We could talk about anything.”

 

Two students named to All-USA academic team

Submitted Photo | Daniel Truitt was named a New Century Scholar and was named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team.

Special to The Collegian

Two Lorain County Community College students were recently named among the top community college students in the country. Daniel Truitt and Brandon Holcomb were honored in the All-USA Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team competition. They will each receive a scholarship and will attend separate national conferences.

Daniel Truitt, of Vermillion, received the highest score of all community college students in Ohio and was named a 2017 New Century Scholar, one of only 50 students in the country to win the award.

Truitt, who was also named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University in Dec., 2016 through the University Partnership (UP). Currently, Truitt plans on attending medical school in the fall and has a 4.0 grade point average in all of his coursework.

“When I found out that I could continue with LCCC and earn a bachelor’s degree in biology through LCCC’s Partnership, it was like all the pieces came together,” Truitt said.

Truitt earned 17 college credits while in high school through the College Credit Plus program at Firelands High School. It was this experience during high school that led him to select LCCC and the UP for his undergraduate degrees.

“All of this has been possible because I chose LCCC,” Truitt said.

Truitt will be recognized as a New Century Scholar at the American Association of Community Colleges national conference in New Orleans and at the Phi Theta Kappa community college honor society conference in Nashville, both held in April.

Submitted Photo | Brandon Holcomb was named a Coca-Cola Scholar and was named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team.

Brandon Holcomb, of Lorain, was named a 2017 Coca-Cola Academic Silver Team Scholar and was also named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team

Holcomb is a senior in Lorain County Early College High School (ECHS), where he combines his love of music with his interest in scientific research. In May, he will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree from LCCC and in June, he’ll receive his high school diploma.

Holcomb conducts genetic research as part of the LCCC Early Scientist HIV Research group with professor Dr. Harry Kestler.

“I joined the Early Scientists in the summer of my freshman year and discovered my passion for microbiology, particularly regarding the studies of virology, immunology and genetics,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb shares his love of music with his fellow students through Rock Lab, an after-school music program where he is an assistant instructor.

Holcomb plans to continue his education to eventually earn a Ph.D. in microbiology and aspires to have a career in clinical research.  

Holcomb will be recognized as a national Silver Scholar at the Phi Theta Kappa community college honor society conference in Nashville in April.

 

Students with criminal past have options

Zach Srnis

Special Correspondent

 

Students whose legal status may cause potential problems can find it difficult when pursuing an academic degree and finding a job. There are, however, certain ways that students with a criminal record can still be successful.

“Criminal records can not fully be erased in the state of Ohio,” said Marty Eggleston, program coordinator and manager of Positive Reentry for Ohio Prisoners (PROP), a second chance program that promotes education for former inmates.

Eggleston said that the preferred term is ‘sealing’ the criminal record. This is due to the fact that expungement can create an implication that the records can be fully erased, but that the two terms are essentially the same.

Cathy Shaw, information support specialist for Women’s Link at Lorain County Community College, said that students come to them when they need an expungement.

“Students have the option to visit the Cleveland Legal Aid Society,” said Shaw. “They have an office in Lorain. Students can also get legal advice through Oberlin Community Services.”

Shaw said that both options are in Lorain County, and require an appointment prior to visiting.

“Women’s Link has a bank of attorneys that provide consultation for almost any legal advice including criminal law,” said Shaw.

Shaw said that students who, for whatever reason, can not get their record expunged can still receive a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE).

“A CQE allows an individual, who can not get their record expunged, a chance to receive a certificate for a specific career path,” said Shaw. “If you already know what you want to do and that does not conflict with your criminal history, then a CQE is a good option.”

Shaw said that students can reach out to them if they want to start their own business as well.

“There are local resources in the community that allow for students to market their business and to do so at low cost,” said Shaw. “There is NEO Launchnet which will help students to take an idea for a business and develop it.”

Shaw said that there is also the Entrepreneur Innovation at LCCC which is a regional fund focused on supporting community and technology based business.

“We are here to help the students in any way we can,” said Eggleston. “They self-disclose to us and we do not want them singled out. We (PROP) seek to reduce reincarceration by increasing education.”

Julie Ford, the advisor for Second Chance at LCCC, said that the process is not easy but that LCCC is here to help.

“It is tough to move passed a criminal record but we are here to help the students through the process,” said Ford. “Second Chance provides advisement for students and connects them with the services that will help them succeed.”

Library utilizes student input

Troy Swiderski

JRNM 151 Student

Video preference is a major concern for the Bass Library and eLearning division at Lorain County Community College, so much so that several focus groups were conducted on the subject.

“We would probably need to do focus groups on many topics,” said Karla Aleman, dean of the Library and eLearning at LCCC. “This particular topic has risen to the top as most important.”

The focus groups were held with students only, and honed in on students’ preferences on instructional videos and what devices were most useful for them.

The questions were picked to try to stimulate discussion in a setting where responses were neither wrong or right. The division chose open ended questions that were concise and to the point, which caused the participants to ponder each question.

The first group meeting had seven students attend while the second had only three students. The ideal amount is six-10 participants.

“The idea is to have a group of homogeneous people, so you know, all students together and all faculty together in a comfortable environment where they feel safe to express their opinions and not with a facilitator that might influence their opinion,” said Aleman.

Focus groups involving faculty have also been done. Currently the library and eLearning division are doing individual interviews with faculty who use a lot of video to become familiar with what faculty do and what they need. Every semester the division works with faculty to help them with video, but the focus groups made it more systematic.

“There is a lot that instructors can do with video. So we are looking at what are the options for increasing activity,” said Aleman. “A little bit of focus on online students, of course, because we are the eLearning department, but there are a lot of face to face courses that use video and engaging in video in their classes.”

Another reason the focus groups were produced was because of the video system that is currently used by on campus.

“We are looking, potentially, at replacing our video systems that we have on campus,” said Aleman. “Right now we have a pretty old lecture capture system and method for hosting videos and streaming our own lectures.

An update to the system is wanted, one that will benefit the student’s learning.

A conclusion has not been met; the results of the focus groups are still being analyzed.

Once complete, the division plans on working with faculty to pick a new system or find a new way to handle video on the old system.

Any input on video preferences for the campus or focus groups for the Library and eLearning division contact Karla Aleman at kaleman@lorainccc.edu. The focus groups are anonymous for the participants to encourages them to share their input.

Panel discusses opioid epidemic, grief

Logan Mencke
Staff Writer

Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (LACADA) and the Hospice of the Western Reserve hosted a forum on March 21 in the Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College. The presentation dealt with the struggles and grief that come after a loved one passes away from a drug overdose.

Initially scheduled to be held in Spitzer room 114, a smaller room, the panel had to be moved to the Grand room due to high attendance; a testament to the number of people affected by the opioid epidemic.

Speakers at the event discussed addiction and grief to offer advice on how to cope with a drug-related loss.  

Tom Stuber, the president of LCADA, explained to the crowd what addiction is and how it can completely take control of a person’s life. As a neurological based illness, addiction changes the structure and function of the brain, resulting in a compulsion that is more powerful than basic human instinct, according to Stuber.

In addition to explaining addiction, Stuber provided those who have lost someone with words of comfort to help them understand how someone could put their addiction before family and friends.  

“Your loved one didn’t choose drugs to be more important than you.  The drugs hijacked their brain and held them hostage.  No one chooses to live as they did; they just didn’t know how to get out,” said Stuber.

Diane Snyder Cowan, director of The Bereavement Center for the Hospice of the Western Reserve, discussed the different emotions a person may go through during a period of grieving.  Often at the beginning, deep sadness happens when the death is sudden, particularly over the fact of not being able to say goodbye.  Sadness is usually followed by anger; an emotion that consumes a lot of energy that needs to be released either physically or creatively, according to Cowan.

The most common emotion under these circumstances is guilt, an emotion that causes someone who is grieving to blame themselves and others.  However, Cowan asserted that those who are grieving should focus more on the positive memories.  

“The truth is, you probably have done more good in the life of your loved one than harm,” said Cowan.  Although the grief never absolutely dissolves, it will weaken over time, Cowan explained.

Amy Gilbert, a minister of Second Baptist Church in Elyria, attended the forum and said events similar to this will lead to positive changes.  

“These are the steps that are going to be large steps in our community to reach out to other people and to let them know there are organizations that care,” said Gilbert.

Greg McNeil is a father that shared the story of how he lost his youngest son, Sam, to a heroin overdose.  The story begins in 2007, when his son was severely beaten at a New Year’s Eve party.  After being taken care of in the emergency room, his son was over -prescribed pain medication; a common scenario for many future addicts.

In the beginning, his son was buying pain pills illegally on the street until the price per pill hit $80.  That was when his son switched from pills to paying $10 for a bag of heroin.  By 2010, McNeil and his family had discovered about his son’s addiction and put him into treatment where he did well.  However, his son would continue to go through cycles of relapsing and getting clean for the next few years.

In 2015, McNeil and his family believed that Sam’s battle with addiction was over.  “He had a great job and a girlfriend he was madly in love with,” said McNeil.  “They were expecting their first child.”  When his girlfriend left for a church retreat on the Friday morning of October 23, Sam contacted a dealer he had gone to before and died from the heroin he had purchased.  Like many of the overdose deaths in Ohio, his heroin was heavily laced with Fentanyl.

After a long 17 months’ period of grieving, McNeil shares his message with the crowd that addicts need more help than they realize.  McNeil compares an addict overcoming their addiction to someone wanting to climb Mt. Everest.  “There’s only been 4,000 people to (successfully) climb Mt. Everest and there’s a reason for that.  It’s because it takes a team,” McNeil said.  “I believe recovery is much the same way.”

Coping with poverty

Kristin Hohman

Editor-in-Chief

Everyone is familiar with that stereotypical image of the ‘poor college student’; living off of pizza and ramen noodles, grabbing extra napkins and condiments from restaurants to use later, being afraid of checking your bank account balance. People have long made light of college students facing economic uncertainties. But many students are in quite grim situations.

“I think every student we see, everything comes down to money,” said Tracey Maxwell, the coordinator of Women’s Link at Lorain County Community College, “transport, legal issues, health, child care, car repair, rent.” The Women’s Link office offers both personal and academic resources to LCCC students.

But what does ‘living in poverty’ mean?

Currently, the United States national poverty line stands at $12,060 for a single person, or $24,600 for a family of four, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s 2017 Poverty guidelines. These guidelines help determine financial eligibility for specific federal programs, like parts of Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For Lorain County, about 42,269 people, or 14.4 percent, live below the poverty line, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency’s (DSA) Feb. 2017 report. This means that Lorain County is slightly lower than the statewide poverty level, which is 15.8 percent, or 1,775,836 people, according to the DSA report, which is based on data collected between 2011-2015.

The city of Elyria itself, however, fares worse than state and county averages, with poverty at about 22.2 percent, according to a Dec. 2016 survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau between 2011-2015. The poverty rate for children (17 and under) was even higher, at 36.5 percent.

Of course, all of these numbers show real consequences when it comes to education.

While the Women’s Link office at LCCC offers counseling, crisis intervention, and legal services, the most requested assistance among students is financially related, according to Women’s Link Information Support Specialist, Tamara Wright, who sees students on a one-on-one basis. Between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, Women’s Link saw 1,245 students with financial needs and 826 students received an emergency loan, Wright said.

“That was our highest service request, by far,” Wright said. “It’s always like that anymore.”

Within that same time period, 144 students were seen requesting food assistance, which covers a broad array of needs.

“It could be that they need lunch for today – they don’t have any food with them and need something to eat right now,” Wright explained. “It could be a referral to food pantries or a food bank, or it could be information on how to apply for food stamps.”

Maxwell estimates that there are roughly 2,000-2,500 students who are seen each year at the Women’s Link office. This means that almost exactly 50 percent of the students that are seen each year are in search of financial relief.

Women’s Link does offer a few options to students who are caught in circumstances. The office has an emergency loan fund of $19,000, according to Maxwell. Students who are receiving financial aid can borrow up to $500 per semester. The loan is paid back through a student’s financial aid overage check with no interest or fees.

In Jan., their emergency loan fund ran out barely two weeks into the new semester, which is a pretty typically occurrence, according to Wright.

“Fall semesters and spring semesters, we do run out pretty quickly,” Wright explained. “We do have more money in our fund than we did in the past, but still, there’s just such a need.”

To address some of the issues facing students, at least twelve Ohio colleges have opened food pantries on campus, according to a new report from the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (ACAA), a group of affiliated organizations whose main goals are to eradicate poverty and help the poor become self-sufficient. LCCC is included in that number, with the Commodore Cupboard available to students who qualify.

 

For a family to be fully self-sufficient, without government or private assistance, their actual income would need to be about 46 percent higher than the federal poverty guidelines suggest, the ACAA found.

“I really think finances affect everything, in one way or another,” Wright said. “It affects where you live, how you live, what you eat, if you eat, if you can get to classes or not, if you can make it through the semester, if you can come back next semester. It affects mental health, physical health, children, families – and definitely their studies,” she said. “ If their electricity gets shut off, it’s really hard to study, use a computer.”

According to the DSA report, 49 of Ohio’s 88 counties had poverty rates below the national average of 15.8 percent, including Lorain County. 39 Ohio counties were above this average.

Education plays an important role in this. Of those who did not graduate from high school, 27.3 percent were poor, while 13.3 percent of those with a high school diploma were poor, according to the DSA report. Meanwhile,10.9 percent of adults with some college education or an associate’s degree, and 3.9 percent of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree were considered poor, the DSA found.

LCCC’s campus is relatively unique in that it has resources that are directed at poor students. Besides the emergency loan, Women’s Link also offers what is known as the DASH Emergency Grant.

“A DASH Grant is for an unexpected financial emergency that could prevent the student from being able to continue on with their classes,” Wright said. “That could be they need a car repair to get to school, or they have a medical concern or bill they need to pay, even if something unexpected happened with their finances if they can’t pay their rent or utilities. So it’s for, extreme, dire financial emergencies,” she explained.

Students can use a DASH Grant of up to $500, Wright said, adding that these checks are payable to third parties, so no check would go directly to the student.

“They have to bring in documentation. So, if they need a car repair,” Wright offered as an example, “they have to get an estimate and bring that in. If they’re approved for the funding, a check will go directly to the place they got the estimate from,” she said.

 

Engineering faculty adviser receives SWE regional award

Zach Srnis

Special Correspondent

Submitted Photo| Ramona Anand, faculty adviser for the LCCC chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, was awarded the Region G Advancing Leader Award on Feb. 18.

Ramona Anand, faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Lorain County Community College, received the Region G Advancing Leader Award at the Society of Women Engineers Regional Conference at the University of Pittsburgh on Feb. 18. The award is given to a collegiate or professional individual who has been engaged in an engineering or technology degree, who has shown technical excellence, and who has engaged with SWE.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news,” said Anand. “I immediately told my daughter the news. It was an exciting moment.”

Anand is the founder of  SWE at LCCC, which has been in the national spotlight as well with their webinar series that can be viewed on the college’s website.

“Romana has done a great job overseeing the student chapter,” said Kelly Zelesnik, dean of engineering, business and information technologies at LCCC. “The student chapter is the first of its kind for a community college.”

The LCCC administration, the LCCC Foundation, and Zelesnik were all to thank due to their continued encouragement and support of SWE, according to Anand.

SWE was implemented to encourage women in engineering, regardless of situation or background, Zelesnik said.

“There has been a great response to what Ramona has done,” said Zelesnik. “The Science Technical Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach event, for example, has over 360 students that attended. We actually had to, unfortunately, turn some away because of the lack of space.”

Zelesnik added that Anand’s passion is teaching and she is well respected by her colleagues and students.

“She has a great knowledge of technology,” said Zelesnik.”She is always learning and is committed to teaching the students what she knows. She is one of the hardest working people I know.”

Anand has done a great job with coordinating the group and has done great things for the division as a whole, Zelesnik added.

SWE hosts several events on campus throughout the school year and recently announced their partnership with the United States Army to generate STEM awareness. At the beginning of March, SWE and the U.S. Army sponsored an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration program to help undecided students discover their major.

“We hosted the STEM outreach event last October and it is something that we do annually,” Anand added. “It serves as an outreach event and we invite students from other colleges as well.”

Anand said that she loves her current teaching position at LCCC.

“I love teaching the students,” Anand said. “They bring a positive energy and are very enthusiastic about learning and they always have new ideas.”

 

Cyber-hacking on campus

 

Zac Wenzel

JRNM 151 Student

 

Cyber crime is more relevant today than ever. Recent major incidents include the Sony hacks in 2014, the hacking of Yahoo customer information, and the theft of Target’s customer information, and alleged Russian cyber involvement in the 2016 U.S. election. Living in the digital age, where information is stored on hard drives and in clouds, information is more susceptible to being stolen at the click of a mouse.

Cybercrime, at its most simple definition, is the action of illegally obtaining data through malware and various other hacking techniques. Some of these include the installation of malware onto computers, cell phones, and other digital devices. Processes such as “spearfishing,” in which a perpetrator may use e-mail spoofing fraud attempts to target an organization for financial gain, or access to secure information are also relevant.

It is important to know how a large issue like cyber crime can affect college students at all institutions.

“College students are not usually the end targets of cyber criminals,” said Hikmat Chedid, professor of Engineering and Information Technologies at Lorain County Community College and director of the Advanced Digital Forensics Institute for the Northeast Ohio Forensic Data Recovery located in North Ridgeville. “But they do have access to student email accounts to reach professors and ultimately servers used by institutes.”

While students may not be the endgame of criminals, they can be used as bait to bigger fish. Chedid strongly advises against using public Wi-Fi, found in such places as coffee shops, restaurants and hotel rooms to access websites like MyCampus, Canvas, and any online banking websites, as any criminal also on that Wi-Fi is capable of accessing information from those educational sites. Students must also avoid clicking on any unfamiliar links or attachments they may receive in emails. Using a Virtual Private Network, VPN, is also highly recommended by Chedid for all students when accessing course work.

While there is no specific data to backup the vulnerability of college students as opposed to others, hackers do tend to target “those who are distracted and vulnerable,” according to Doug Huber, assistant professor of computer information systems and network security at LCCC.

With much of their focus on their studies, distraction and vulnerability can be a common trait among college students. However, students should feel comfortable knowing they are protected when accessing information on their devices on the LCCC  campus.

“The college has a very advanced firewall, and all emails sent go through extensive security and are very thoroughly scrubbed,” Huber said.

Huber, who has also done work for the FBI sponsored company Infragard, which helps protect various cyber infrastructures, recommends the same standard practices one might use to avoid getting sick.

“If you don’t want the flu, wash your hands, disinfect areas,” he says. The same can be said about cyber security. Routine safety practices will reduce vulnerability and restrict cyber criminals from the wrongdoings they seek to inflict.   

 

Barring of media outlets is concerning

Zac Wenzel

JRNM 151 Student

Submitted photo | Zac Wenzel JRNM 151 Student

“It is a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” This classic George Orwell quote from the novel “1984” rings truer than ever in today’s relationship between our government and journalists. The novel is a bleak glimpse at a government controlled dystopian future, where all is controlled by the powers that be, including the press.

On Feb. 24, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held what was called a “gaggle,” a smaller non-televised press briefing. This came just before President Trump’s speech at the annual gathering of conservatives known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he launched yet another attack on the media and continued claims of fake news.

What was troubling about this “gaggle” was the barring of six specific news outlets, The New York and Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed News, BBC and The Huffington Post, due to their criticisms of the current President and his administration. Spicer, admitted that the meeting was only for reporters from a group of previously confirmed news outlets such as Breitbart News, One America News, and The Washington Times, which are viewed as having conservative leanings, as well as networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox News. Reporters from The Associated Press and Time Magazine were permitted to attend, but they chose not to attend in protest of the White House’s decision to ban certain outlets.

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” said Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times.

History is there to teach us vital lessons. In the late 1960s and early 70s, the Nixon administration had an extreme distaste for journalists. And it was journalism that ultimately brought his wrong doings to light. Through hard work and determination, Washington Post writers Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein showed journalists what the power of the press can truly mean.

For future journalists everywhere, these events are earth-shattering and troubling. It is easy to become discouraged at the current climate and treatment of journalists everywhere. It can also provide the determination to work harder than ever to practice freedom of press and First Amendment rights.

As a journalism student, I have never felt more determination than I felt after these journalists were barred. Seeing this unfold and being overcome with anger and fear, those emotions quickly turned to pride. Pride in those journalists in the world who press on despite being labeled as “fake news” and barred from press briefings. As a journalist of the future, I take great comfort in the fact that there are journalists out there now that won’t allow the destruction or silencing of their words.

 

Game Review: Fire Emblem Heroes

 

Kent Springborn Jr.

Staff Writer

Kent Springborn Jr. | The Collegian | Fire Emblem Heroes home screen

Fire Emblem Heroes was released for Android and iOS devices on Feb. 2. This was the first time that the 26-year-old franchise was released for a mobile device. Fire Emblem is well-known for its strategy role-playing style of gameplay, so it was interesting to see how the series would be adapted for mobile devices. Thankfully, it’s be adapted well for one-handed gameplay.

As a long-time fan of the series, I was both excited and hesitant to play the game.

Fire Emblem Heroes uses the gatcha mechanic that is common in Japan, which means you use summoning orbs, the game’s currency, to get new characters to build your team. To get summoning orbs, you can either buy them using real money or you can complete in-game tasks to receive them. With each summon session, you can spend up to 20 summoning orbs and get five randomly selected heroes from previous Fire Emblem games.

This mechanic can produce a mix-bag of characters. Some characters can be great and some can be not-so-great. I found myself becoming a bit frustrated when trying to get specific characters that I wanted, but getting multiples of characters I didn’t want at all.

It’s a straightforward game to play. Each map consists of an eight by six grid, which is perfect for mobile devices. At first, it can be confusing on how to move the character, but once you get used to dragging the character across the map, it becomes easier to play.

As with every other Fire Emblem game, Heroes utilizes the weapon triangle, a take on rock-paper-scissors, to determine which units are stronger than another. In this game, red beats green, green beats blue, and blue beats red.

The game’s story is a bit sparse and did provide players with four original characters, the two protagonists, Alfonse and Sharena, and the two antagonists, Veronica, and a mysterious masked man. There are times where I wish more was explained in the story, but with more chapters, in the form of paralogues or side-chapters, being added on a regular basis, there’s hope more will be explained.

There are some negatives when it comes to Heroes, however. The game does drain the phone’s battery and there doesn’t appear to be an option for a battery saver mode. The Arena battle mode has caused me a few problems when facing against other players who have two or more of an overpowered character that can make it difficult to beat them. This makes it hard to earn points in the arena and it can discourage a player.

I have found myself playing this game every day and enjoying myself. Trying to get a certain character can be difficult and frustrating, but that’s what one should expect when playing this type of game. Even with some of these frustrations, I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys strategy games.