More like "Hooey".
On the Table
I guess I can reveal it now since it’s a couple of years on. Game Z was a tactical dudes-in-a-hall game where you had Delta Force commandos taking on these REALLY awesome scenarios like saving hostages on a plane. The mechanics needed LOTS of work, but it’s the ONLY game I’ve ever played that had a Modern Warfare-style theme. It could have been huge with some development. When Zev pulled out the board and it was a freaking airliner that we were raiding, I was just like “oh yeah…”
Anyway, Mike Fitzgerald’s new Hooyah- The Navy SEALS Card Game is unfortunately not up to the challenge of putting modern special forces action on our tables. It’s a very basic co-op that hinges on a Ticket to Ride-like card drafting mechanic and playing colored cards to meet target numbers. It’s almost anti-thematic. Can you believe you never even SHOOT anybody in this game? Not even Bin Laden! The team discards three red cards and it’s Geronimo down or whatever. I’m not a fan. I’ve not written a negative review in a while because I’m careful about what I ask for to review, but here’s your rare opportunity to see me issue one.
I’ve been playing the new Dungeon Command set, Curse of Undeath, and as Pete suggests it may be the best one yet. Between this one and the Goblin set, they’re subtly adding new features and increasing the potential for this game to be something really interesting. The figures are the best yet, and the army as a whole feels more thematic and compelling than the first two sets. I’m really liking the game more after the two expansions, I think it feels very different than similar titles and I’m interested in getting the next set too. This is also a great set to expand your Ravenloft bestiary with, for obvious reasons.
Now, let’s say my mini-review there isn’t enough for you. Let me direct you to the WORST board game review I’ve ever read, one that sums up pretty much EVERYTHING that is wrong, bad, or misguided about games writing. This is a SEVEN THOUSAND WORD review of Curse of Undeath from 2D6.org. I’mma say that again. SEVEN THOUSAND WORDS. My reviews are usually between 800-1500 words. That means at my longest winded, this review is still almost SEVEN TIMES as long. It’s FIFTEEN PAGES in Word. Without the pictures. It contains 400 words of silly flavor text, component lists, box dimensions, a complete rules re-write, a sub-section about how the guy evaluates games based on how comfortable he is with his kid looking at them, strategies for each card, how he feels as a hobby painter about the miniatures, a couple of different numerical scores, an example of play, and on and on and on. If you make it to the “final verdict” score, keep reading. THERE’S MORE AFTER THAT!
And this is for a one player faction pack, not even a complete game! If this guy reviews Mage Knight, what are we looking at, 150 pages?
I don’t usually go after other games writers, not anymore. But this guy has pretty much summed up everything that is a total embarrassment about games writing, and why nobody will ever take any of this seriously. If nothing else, he’s proven the difference between amateur garbage and professional, editorial content.
On the Consoles
Lots of GOME, but getting kind of frustrated at the wait times. I like that you get an average wait time to get into a match, I don’t like that the actual time is usually at least double that. And I do not like waiting all that time to be put in a match that’s me and some other guy with three AI against a team of all. Or against a full five player roster of real people. I’m playing mostly Haldir and Arathorn with a side of Legolas, I like the bowmen.
Halo 4 Crimson map pack is great, the new extraction mode is nice.
I never played Lego Star Wars and I got a copy to give to River for Christmas…it’s really fun. Completely no-friction, but it excels at being just a good old fashioned good time. He’s really a little too young to play it, but I think I can co-op him through some parts.
I also got him the Batman: Brave and the Bold Wii game from a couple of years ago. It’s hilarious. Gameplay is extremely simple, but the writing is straight out of the show. The first “episode” features Batman constantly shooting down Robin’s suggestions that Catwoman is behind a cat-themed burglary. Bats has convinced himself that it’s Catman. Yeah. Catman.
Annnnnnd….nope. Nothing new.
On the Comics Rack
1970s Marvel week, thanks to our very own Shellhead. He wrote a nice summary of the Moench/Gulacy Master of Kung Fu run that sent me to scans of that out-of-print-forever series. It’s really good, very 1970s Kung Fu craze…you can almost hear the wakachooga in the background and it’s impossible to imagine Shang-Chi with a voice other than Bruce Lee’s. It’s cool that it sort of welds a bunch of Sax Roehmer stuff (Fu Manchu) into the Marvel world, but that’s also why it’ll probably never be in print again due to rights issues.
Also took a look at some old Ghost Riders (which I think were only good in the 70s), some Defenders (what a doofy team- Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk…yeah, alright), Kirby’s The Eternals, Son of Satan (which I really liked in a OMG 1970s devil worship way), and of course Man-Thing. This all led me to Marvel’s 1977 Star Wars book, which was drawn by folks like…um…Howard Chaykin and Carmine Infantino. I read them when I was really little, it’s weird how much I remembered from them.
And they’re definitely better than John Ostrander’s Star Wars: Legacy which I had heard was really good. Sorry, but Star Wars is not a bunch of roided up hardasses grimacing and staring through their eyelids with their heads down to me. Total crap, didn’t last an issue.
Morrison’s Animal Man, brilliant…glad to finally have finished it. Also on the Morrison front, I read all of the current Action Comics run that he did, and it’s pretty great. It’s VERY different than All-Star Superman. It kicks off with a younger Clark Kent just in Metropolis. He’s not yet a godlike messiah. The costume is a custom T-shirt, jeans, and workboots. People don’t like him. It eventually spins off into the usual Morrison hijinks- big concepts, crazy chronology, playing with mythic figures, and so forth. But it’s still 100% Superman, and it’s really good. I think I read that he’s only doing 16 issues, and I just read 15 so it may be over soon and they’ll probably hand the reigns over to some hack like Peter Tomasi.
Reading all the new Valiant stuff now, liking all of it so far. I really liked changing up Archer’s background…he was raised in one of those ridiculous religious amusement parks that doubles as a secret headquarters for the 1%.
On the Screen
River has been watching the old Genndy Tarkovsky Clone Wars show…the cool, hand-drawn one. Man, it’s really good. It’s a shame that it’s kind of come and gone, replaced by a bunch of nonsense. It feels like Star Wars…but fresh. There’s lots of great aliens, not much terrible dialogue, and lots of cool action. It’s a shame that it’s based on such bad movies, but it may be the best thing to come out of that period of Star Wars.
Tried watching Tin Tin again, there’s no use. The movie is just empty, superficial, and artificial, much like Hugo.
As Christmas time kicks into high gear, it’s all Burl Ives all the time. River is REALLY into Frosty the Snowman, so we have to listen to like thirty versions of it on a car trip. He’s digging the Jackson 5 one a lot, I’ve noticed.
Would love to hear something exciting and new…just haven’t. Just being an old man and going back and listening to Roxy Music records, being a music snob and all.