Barnestorming #98- Lords of Waterdeep in Review, Astron, Dark Crystal

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Barnestorming #98- Lords of Waterdeep in Review, Astron, Dark Crystal
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D&D makes its saving throw against Cube Confusion

On the Table

Lords of Waterdeep is a great Eurogame for people who hate Eurogames. It’s toothy, fun, and easy to play. Unlike many cube-pushers, this one doesn’t bother with convoluted scoring and it’s definitely not the kind of passive-aggressive experience many worker placement games are. The D&D setting is negligible at best, and it’s a game made up of parts of other games but it’s still a solid, entertaining title with just enough depth and process. It’s also a great departure from the genres typically associted with D&D. In short, WotC made a good Eurogame and didn’t embarrass themselves or the IP with it. Review at Gameshark. I’ll send someone a free D&D book (“Players Option: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos”) to the person who can identify one of the two lines written completely by Bill Abner in this review. That high-touch editing rascal. I’d be a shambles without him, though.

Looks like Destined Hero is next on the block, Victory Point Games’ 8-bit style two player card game. Should be cool.

Oh, I've also got an article at Worthpoint about Astron. I'll intentionally forget the link and let Sag post it in the thread. Gives him something to do, makes him feel important.


On the Consoles

Mass Effect 3 ended. It was good. Don’t believe the internet.

Ninja Gaiden 3 was terrible, I reviewed it. Regret ever playing it. The only good thing to come out of it is that it got me to pick up a used copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, which is still one of the best action games ever made.

I’m slipping mostly back to fighting games, it seems. I picked up King of Fighters XIII since I’ve never played a KoF game and the only experience I really have with SNK fighters is a couple of the old Fatal Fury titles. KoF13 is pretty great- it feels completely different than SF or Tekken. It’s obviously lower budget and somewhat more old fashioned, but techniques are compelling and the three-on-three format is fun. Characters are pretty bland though, there’s not like an iconic figure like Guile, Skorpion, or Ivy among them.

I may actually get around to playing Ico this week. It’s looking good. I got past the opening cinematic, which is a first.



Liked King of Fighters on console, so I got King of Fighters-I since it’s on sale for $3. It’s great- I think it’s better than the IOS Street Fighter. Good controls, decent challenge level…and it looks just about exactly like the console game for better or worse.

I fell for yet another retro-styled adventure platformer- Swordigo, by the folks that did Soosiz. And like every one I buy, I played it for about 30 minutes and will likely never touch it again.


On the Screen

I can’t stop watching The Dark Crystal. What an amazing movie, they DEFINITELY don’t make ‘em like that anymore. It’s pure 1980s fantasy at its very best.

I remember seeing it in the theater when I was like seven and it just blew me away. It was so dark and mysterious…kind of frightening but also compelling. I remember being really scared for some reason at the part where the Skeksis strip the Chamberlain of his garments .

The puppetry is just incredible, I still think that at a technical level it’s the best thing that Jim Henson ever did in a career full of best things. But really, the star of the show is Brian Froud’s production design which is just stunning.I love his work in general (and I actually have a Froud tattoo), but he never did anything better than this movie.

River wasn’t really interested in it though. All he wants to watch is The Iron Giant, which I am about ready to never watch again.


On Spotify

Well, I guess I’ve become an old music snob. I’ve spent the last week listening to old music snob music. All that “adult” new wave.


I had never really listened to much Nick Lowe outside of the big singles (“And So it Goes”, “Cruel to be Kind”, “Breaking Glass”) but I’ve been totally into “Jesus of Cool”, the album those songs come from. And I’ve been digging back into the Elvis Costello and the Attractions, listening to early Squeeze (particularly “Argy Bargy”), and even some Joe Jackson.


I saw Joe Jackson a couple of years ago at a friend’s behest. I normally wouldn’t have gone to see him, I don’t think, but my buddy had no one to go and he offered to pay. It was actually a rather amazing show. He opened with this really grim, dark piano-only version of “Steppin’ Out”that was actually better than the record version, even without that insistent, killer synth riff.His take on “Got the Time” was more energetic and punk rock than anything I saw The Exploited do live the very next week.


Oddly, listening to Joe Jackson makes me think of going to the dentist when I was a kid.

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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