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Oh LARPers...will ya ever stop? The chubby dude on the far left is my favorite, the one standing next to the that guy in blackface? Is that TWO guys in blackface?

This week it's Eagle's DEFENDERS OF THE REALM in review, and it's overall a good review as far as the gameplay is concerned...everything else, not so much. This is one where you've got to kind of separate what the game is on the table and what it is on the retailer's shelf. It's also a tough game to recommend due to its unabashed appropriation of the core PANDEMIC mechanics, its price, and the kind of illustrations that might confuse a 14 year old nerd into thinking they're "art".  But the gameplay is good, and I think it's actually better than PANDEMIC all things considered. I think most folks here would like it better than that game as well, but I totally understand why many are balking at it based on the fouls it commits.

I'm really kind of disappointed, at a very personal level, that I know this very talented designer that's done one of the great games of all time, and his second big publication is really kind of a do-over of another successful game and not a more original work. Launius has some _great_ designs sitting around his house, including the best superhero game I've ever played, a really interesting Lovecraft storytelling game, a big post-apocalyptic adventure thing, and an absolutely terrific epic fantasy co-op game that has everything from dungeon crawls to field battles.

So I'm kind of leaving this one up to the reader to determine whether or not there are enough grievances to pass on the game, or if the ugly production and $85 (!!!) price tag are enough to leave it on the shelf. I'm not really sure that I would have bought it myself, not at that price.

Michael is a member of the Fortress: Ameritrash staff, and a regular columnist for Gameshark.

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Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of and as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

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