Barnestorming #118- Uncharted Board Game in Review, Lego Batman 2, Depeche Mode

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Barnestorming #118- Uncharted Board Game in Review, Lego Batman 2, Depeche Mode
There Will Be Games

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On the Table

Since I’m a tragically misunderstood genius and so few people read or understood the brilliance of last week’s article, I’m going back to reviews. Sorry, Dragonstout.

Uncharted is much, much better than I expected. In fact, I think it’s actually really darn good. It’s an interesting combination of influences including deckbuilding (but it’s NOT a deckbuilder), worker placement, and area control mechanics. Oh, and elimination. If you want it, there’s also some nasty PVP. It’s pretty abstract and really it could have been themed with Indiana Jones and it wouldn’t have missed a beat, but it’s a $30, hour long card game- not a four hour epic story. It’s also a Japanese design, which I always want to see more of. Good on Bandai, so far with this and Resident Evil they’re doing pretty good. Now let’s see ‘em do a Dark Souls board game. Of course the review is at the NEW home of Cracked LCD,

I’ve got requests in for Samurai Battles and D-Day Dice…trying to decide if Sky Traders is worth looking at. There’s just not a whole lot out there on the horizon for whatever reason. Kickstarter?

On the Consoles

Just in time for my comic book renaissance, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. This game rules. It’s simple, easy, and just fun to play. It’s also filled with tons of stuff to see and do- like have Batman ride on a lion or put Robin in a paddleboat swan and cruise around collecting Lego studs. It’s really well-written, and full of good humor that’s both broad and very DCU-specific. Batman’s animosity toward Superman- and Robin’s fawning admiration of the Man of Steel- is hilarious. I’ve never played any of the other Lego games, but I can’t see them being better than this one. I’m definitely on board for the upcoming Lego Lord of the Rings game. Wish they’d do a Marvel one.

I have the PSN version of Dungeon Twister, but I’m totally bored with it. It really needs to be on iPad. I have no desire to play it on the couch on the big screen with a controller. If I had it on the iPad, I’d play it while watching a movie or something. It’s 100% Dungeon Twister though, and the implementation is good. It’s just on the wrong platform.


Not buying any more IOS games until Summoner Wars releases.

On Comixology

Oh dear god, I’ve lost my mind. I’ve completely gone berserk. I have bought so freaking much lately, and tore through book after book. It’s getting ridiculous.

But, oh, the comics I’ve read this week.

Planet Hulk is great. Funny that I read it right after John Carter, because it’s definitely influenced by John Carter. It’s totally a sword and planet story, just with the Hulk in it. It’s a _fun_ book, hardly high-minded, sophisticated comics-as litrachooya at all. Silver Surfer puts in an awesome cameo. Definitely broad brush stuff, you can’t miss the Gladiator and Spartacus appropriations. But there are some cool surprises, like having one of the Brood among Hulk’s gladiator buddies

Remender’s Uncanny X-Force was pretty good- I’ve never read anything with Phantomex in it, I love that he’s basically a mutant Diabolik. The first storyline has the grossest and most shocking thing I’ve ever seen a Marvel character do, courtesy Deadpool. I don’t know if I’ll read further, but I liked the “assassinate Apocalypse as a child” setup and the whole mutant black ops concept.

Morrison’s X-Men is awesome, I regret not reading it when it was new. I’m not a big Quitely fan, but I rather like the ugliness applied to the X-characters for some reason. Love the E for Extinction story, and I love that Morrison introduces some almost Cronenbergian elements to the mutant concept.

I also really liked Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man, at least the first five issues of the “Five Nightmares” storyline. It’s definitely influenced by the best elements of the film, but it’s not afraid to throw MODOK into the mix. Compelling story, good art, and overall a very accessible, mainstream book.

I realized that I had never actually read a Green Lantern book yesterday. I’ve always read him in JLA or in other books, so I figured I’d dive in. Geoff Johns’ “Rebirth” storyline is where I started, and I loved it. The thing about Green Lantern is that it’s SO Silver Age and it just can’t shake that. So it makes sense to just bring Hal Jordan back to me. It was a fun story, and I didn’t have any trouble following what was going on or what lead up to it. The high point is definitely John Stewart cleaning Batman’s clock with Guy Gardner looking on with this bemused “holy shit” look on his face. Batman is a total asshole in the book, and deserved it. Johns’ writing is pretty workmanlike and not very remarkable, but like Planet Hulk it’s just a decent story told competently and I’m OK with that. Not everybody is Alan Moore.

Thinking about getting into American Flagg…when I was a kid, I always thought those were adult comics for some reason.

On the Screen

More capes. I picked up one of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold season sets for River to watch and I’m sitting there watching it with him and seeing all of these obscure-ass DCU characters show up and laughing at the sometimes brilliant writing and kind of realizing that I _love_ this show. After so many years of Batman(and comics in general) being so dark and gritty, it’s refreshing to see something that’s so bright and completely not-serious- although still reverential of the source material.

So many hilarious and cool moments. Aquaman is a high-spirited idiot that wouldn’t be out of place on Spongebob Squarepants. He teams up with The Atom (who has a totally gay voice) to go inside Batman’s brain. They ride a lymphocyte together. The Joker isn’t Mark Hamill, but he’s great and he does a full musical number in one episode. Guy Gardner gets in trouble with the Corp for throwing a “hissy fit” about the Corps Cafeteria cooking his eggs wrong. Batman teams up with Jonah Hex and puts aside his differences with Booster Gold. Killer Moth shows up. The god damned DOOM PATROL shows up in it. Wildcat is voiced by R. Lee Ermey. And Bat-Mite (voiced by Pee Wee Freaking Herman), addressing a convention of fat bearded men dressed like Batman whining about how the show is not “their” Batman because he fights killer Santa Clauses and Easter Bunnies, reads a note handed to him by the producers that states that the show’s more traditional comic book interpretation of Batman is just as valid as that of him being the “dark avenger crying for his mommy and daddy”. Take that, Frank Miller.

This show is brilliant, and I almost- dare I say it- like it better than the Timm/Dini show. It’s not as iconic or groundbreaking, but it’s smart and consistently great. I wound up buying all of the DVDs.

The irony is that I can totally tell that it influenced that god awful Batman Incorporated book.

On Spotify

I used to hate Depeche Mode. Not sure why. I broke up with this girl when I was a kid by writing “Depeche Mode Sucks” in glitter on a derelict TV and dumping it in her yard. For some reason, I liked The Cure but not the other big arena goth act.

Oddly, it was one of their later tracks that got me on board- “It’s No Good”. When I heard that, for some reason I completely flipped for all of their records, which I bought at a used book store except for “A Broken Frame”, which I still to this day have never heard in its entirety.

This week I revisited Dave Gahan and the boys for the first time in a while, and although “Violator” still makes me think of Steve Avery putting on a black tank top and heading out to the Omni to pick up goth chicks at the show, circa 1990.

“Black Celebration” is still my favorite album, and “Stripped” and “Question of Time” are still my favorite cuts. But I’ve really been listening to their gigantic stadium records the most. “Music for the Masses” is exactly that, a HUGE record that feels engineered for maximum accessibility- at least in 1987. This isn’t a bad thing, because it’s a great sounding record with some killer singles that are simply made to be heard in an enormous venue. They knew what they were doing on this record, and it’s really quite a far cry away from the teenybop bedroom pop of the Vince Clarke material.

Their newer records are actually not embarrassing.

There Will Be Games

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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