Barnestorming #1777- City of Remnants in Review, Twin Peaks, King Diamond

Barnestorming #1777- City of Remnants in Review, Twin Peaks, King Diamond Hot

Michael Barnes     
 
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 Coulda been a Warriors game...

On the Table

I don’t compare Plaid Hat’s City of Remnants to Nexus Ops lightly. There is a similar sense of streamlined, tight design that does away with a lot of needless clutter. But what this game does is even more of a feat than condensing the Axis and Allies-style DoaM to a core. It mashes up deckbuilding, maybe a little Agricola, auctions, massive dice pools, and special function buildings together to create a 90-120 minute game for four that is full of both awesomeness and possibly greatness.  It’s savage and nasty, but it’s also thoughtful and full of compelling choices. I think the theme is a little forced- it really should have just been a contemporary organized crime game- but it works and the whole futuristic gangs thing is definitely cool. You should definitely check this one out, Plaid Hat’s star continues to rise. Review at No High Scores, naturally.

Wizards of the Coast kindly sent over the new Blood of Gruumsh pack for Dungeon Command, and I’m digging the faction. It’s Orcs (and an Owlbear!), they hit hard and die harder. I’m actually having a tough time beating them consistently with the other sets, but it may just be a matter of working out how not to get murdered by them.  The sculpts are the usual, but the painting this time looks noticeably poorer, especially on my beloved Owlbear. He kind of looks like anthropomorphic dog poo with a beak . I’ve come to like Dungeon Command even more than when I reviewed it, I think there’s a lot of quality game there and it’s really quite different than most of the other offerings in its class. The diceless play irks some, but it really feels like a CCG with figures and terrain. I like balancing out fielding the big guys with the potential loss of morale if they go down- particularly now with the Orcs bringing a one-hit kill to a tapped figure. Yeouch. I still wish the game was cheaper- at this point, we’re up to $200 retail for a full set- but it’s a great product otherwise. I’d love to see an expansion with some aberrations next.

Playing lots of  Mage Knight plus the expansion, but I still haven’t dared to use Volkare yet. The new monsters are brutal. The new character may be my favorite. Still a tremendous game, still enjoying it solo more than most video games these days.

If you’ve been reading in our forums, I’ve pretty much declared beloved AT grand dame Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel dead. After a series of missions I played through last week, I can not come up with a viable reason for why anyone would continue to play this game with so many other dudes in a hall games available today, almost all of which are better at multiple levels. It was a great game for 1995. In 2013, it’s really fucking boring.

 

On the Consoles

Aliens: Colonial Marines. It really is that bad. In a just world, everyone involved with the making and promotion of this game would be tarred and feathered.

I finally tried in earnest to get into Minecraft. I dunno, I'm not really seeing the appeal. It seems tedious and boring to me.

I think I might just go back to some Dark Souls.  Unless Gamefly sends me Revengeance next week.

 

On IOS

Oddly, I had an inclination to play Ticket to Ride on the phone the other day. I wound up buying Europe because I never actually played it. The thing about TTR is that on the phone, for ten minutes, its’ an ideal casual game. On a table with other live players, I can’t stand it. I like the Europe game, I actually bought the Switzerland add-on to go with it.

Mads B. has joined Matt Thrower in getting beat down by the Axis onslaught. I’m still waiting for YOU to enlist.

The He-Man game is cute. Something about Skeletor holding an iPad is irresistible. It’s a dumb Magic Sword-like hack and slash/platform thing. Dubbed the “most powerful game in the universe”. Definitely worth a buck for the smiles.

 

On the Comics Rack

The Batman “Death of the Family” storyline wrapped up this week, and it ended pretty well despite a tired “OMG that happened…oh wait, it really didn’t” plot device. There’s a surprisingly chilling observation that Joker makes about Batman that may be true. I won’t spoil it. The ending was pretty awesome, despite a Reichenbach Falls.

Wasteland…I don’t know what to do with this book. I’ve read ten of them, and I like it but for some reason I constantly feel like I’m reading a friend’s amateur comic that just happens to be pretty good and very readable. Maybe it’s the art. Maybe it’s the references to Fields of the Nephilim, Hardware, and song titles. I dunno. But it’s a decent post-apocalypse story, not without merit. I’ll probably keep on with it.

I’m liking Bendis’ X-Men books, surprisingly. Uncanny X-Men #1 dropped this week, and I like the whole Scott Summers as terrorist/Che Guavara figurehead thing. Bendis is writing these books a little tighter and the plotting is pretty good. But I know in my heart that it’ll all go to shit as soon as there’s some asinine “House of M” style crossover event.

Oh look, Star Wars #2…I can’t wait to see that. Wonder who Leia is going to off in this one. No, seriously, I do. The book may turn out to be awesome in the long run, the seeds are there for greatness in terms of Star Wars transmedia. I guess that isn’t saying much.

On the Screen

Twin Peaks. About halfway through season 2. We were talking about it at the Hellfire Club the other night so I started plowing through it. It’s really amazing that show was so popular back in 1990…I watched them when they aired, had the Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, and all that.  There’s a lot of soapy melodrama (completely intentional, of course) but when it goes off the rails…god damn. It’s as squirrelly, obtuse, and absurd as Lynch’s big screen stuff. Bob, the One-Armed Man, Leland Palmer…shit gets crazy.

One thing I really love about Lynch, and I’m not kidding, is how he likes to use strobe lights. It’s ridiculous.

Other than that, He-Man.

On Spotify

I really wanted to hear Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” and Spotify had it on the Clerks II soundtrack. I’ve never seen Clerks II, and I’m not sure why it has “that Silence of the Lambs” song in it. It’s a great song, but it’s impossible to not visualize that scene when you’re hearing it.

Anyway, also on that soundtrack I noticed King Diamond…so I loaded up “Abigail” a record I’ve not listened to in a couple of years.

What an amazing, amazing metal record.After the shock value of the Satanism and bearded dude in makeup wears off, you’re left with a great gothic horror story told through a great concept record. The band- especially Andy LaRocque and Mikkey Dee- are SHIT HOT throughout. The songwriting is complex, evocative, and it’s got those mid-to-late-80s heavy metal riffs where you can just see fire shooting out all over the place.

“Mansion in Darkness” just blows me away, as does the title track and “The Family Ghost”.

I guess his voice is an acquired taste, but I like how stylized and eerie  it is. He never did another record as good as this one again, although “Them” has its moments. I think I’m going to go through all the Mercyful Fate stuff again next, I’ve got a hankering to hear “Into the Coven” right now.

 

Barnestorming #1777- City of Remnants in Review, Twin Peaks, King Diamond There Will Be Games
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