Barnestorming #36- Dungeon Run in Review, Amy, Jekyll

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dungeon_run2011 leftovers and the worst video game of 2012 in Barnestorming #36

On the Table

Here’s a 2011 leftover- my Dungeon Run review. I had it done when I submitted Super Dungeon Explore, but we just went with that one.

Dungeon Run, as you may or may not know, is another fine example of a hometown F:ATtie making good. This time, it’s our very own Mr. Bistro and he done good. It’s also the latest game from Colby Dauch’s Plaid Hat Games and it takes place in the Summoner Wars world.

It’s a solid dungeoncrawl with a Betrayal at the House on the Hill-style twist. Which means that it does require players to play in the spirit of the game for it to really work. Gamers that don’t get into the potential nastiness of it aren’t going to get as much out of it. I’m not too partial to the combat system and I worry about its prospects in the marketplace against similar games, but there are a couple of pretty smart differentiators that make it worth checking out. I’ve liked it enough to keep it and hope for an expansion, so that counts for something.

Just don’t play it with six, no sir. Four is best.

Got the new Evo tabled the other day and it’s good. It’s funny to see how Keyaerts has developed over the years…which is to say, not really all that much. A lot of his core ideas that are in Small World, Vinci, and Olympus are in Evo. There are some minor rules changes, but I didn’t really notice them. The artwork is a vast improvement.

I’ve also got a new Worthpoint article up, this one about the “Magic Rush” in the mid-1990s.


On the Consoles

We did our year’s best thing at Gameshark. I can’t believe someone put El Shaddai on their list. No accounting for taste and all that.

I just played Amy for a review. And…well, let’s just say that Bill let me issue a rare “F” grade. There’s also a review up of this rip-off Tekken package that came out a while back It's tagged "Tekken your money".

I’m also reviewing Choplifter HD. If you liked Choplifter in the 1980s, you’ll like this. It’s pretty fun. They did overcomplicated it a little and it certainly did not need zombies, but the core gameplay is there and it’s still about picking up little guys in a cool helicopter and dropping them off somewhere.


Even more new stuff…New World Colony, which is a decent original IOS board game…Star Marine: Infinite Ammo, which is a Contra-like game and pretty good…Super Crate Box which is fun but not as good as its imitator, Muffin Knight.

I’ve been playing a little Hero Academy too. It’s hard to say right now, but it could turn out to be pretty neat. It’s a Summoner Wars-style board game but it’s multiplayer only, which kind of stinks if you don’t want to wait for someone to take a turn. There’s only two factions, but if they expand on it, it might get interesting. It’s developed by ex-Ensemble Studios people who made Age of Empires and Halo.

But most IOS time is going straight into Ascension. I have 18 games running right now. It may be my favorite app of all time at this point. It plays so, so freaking well on iPhone or iPad. Plus, the more you play it the better it gets as more and more subtle strategies reveal themselves. Playing it through the asynchronous multiplayer lets you play way more than you likely could in real life, which increases the experience you can have with it and it’s a lot easier to get to higher levels of play. Another way that IOS is a huge boon to board games.


On the Screen

Haven’t watched a whole lot this week, but I did catch Murder by Decree, a 1979 Sherlock Holmes picture directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things). Christopher Plummer as a strangely warm Holmes, Jehmzzz Mehzzzuhn as Watson with Donald Sutherland, David Hemmings, and Genevieve Bujold in the cast as well. It’s a Holmes versus Jack the Ripper thing.

The interesting thing is that there are a lot of echoes from _this movie_ in From Hell- both the Alan Moore comic and the Hughes Brothers film.

Notes such as the grape stems, the psychic angle, the Freemasonry connection…there’s even a couple of shots such as the red-hued opening vista of Whitechapel that are awfully familiar if you know From Hell. Not that this is a bad thing and it doesn’t diminish from Moore or the pretty decent film that has very little to do with the book, but it’s noticeable.

I watched the first episode of Steven Moffat’s Jekyll as well and it just didn’t click with me. There’s some decent acting, but it feels rather contrived. Hyde is a proper horrendous cad and a total prick, which is cool and all but nothing can ever top the pre-code Rueben Mamoulian version of the story with Frederic March as Jekyll and Hyde…it’s bawdy in that wonderful pre-code way and has a manic energy that can’t be beat.


On Spotify

Nope, still don’t like “The Suburbs”.

Michael BarnesFollow Michael Barnes Follow Michael Barnes Message Michael Barnes


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.

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