Plaid Hat done do'd it again.
On the Table
The new Mage Wars set is really good, they’re definitely expanding that game the right way. Two completely new combatants with different strategies. I’m going to write it up more fully in a joint “GOTY expansions” thing with the Star Wars ships.
I love the scenario in the Slave-1 rules flyer- it works extremely well with the Falcon. I loaded the Falcon (Han Solo flavor) up with a bunch of evasion upgrades and damage prevention and took along the two A-Wing aces for escorts. Fett and three Interceptors crept up behind, the Interceptors streaked out to flank and cut the Falcon off from circling around. The A-Wings broke to engage and it wound up in this bloody, close quarters scrap. The A-Wing pilot that lets you shoot at targets you’re touching bases with rules- it lets you get in and basically have knife fights with other pilots that they can’t counter. Fett hung back, he had the crew member that gives you a bonus for firing at long range and a heavy cannon. Totally blew through the Falcon’s shields. Chewbacca fixed one. The 360 degree firing arc saved the ship’s bacon. Both TIEs went down to the A-Wings while the Slave-1 and Falcon just blew the shit out of each other. Slave-1 dropped a concussion bomb and ticked off the last hull of one of the A-Wings, but the Falcon carried the day, swinging all the way back around to the other end of the playfield by the end of it.
The game just rules. If all they ever release is another set with a B-Wing, TIE Bomber, Z-95, and TIE Defender, I’d be happy.
Probably picking up Kemet and the Blood Bowl expansion this week.
I’ve seen the semi-final rules for Tomorrow, the next Conquistador title. Bill Abner, whom you may remember as the editor of Gameshark.com, is a designer on it. He’s my friend and all, but the game looks pretty darn great. If you like WMDs, terrorism, nukes, and such this is one to watch. They also just put another game up on Kickstarter (yech), a two-piece low-end WWII tactical game called War Stories. It looks pretty good, and they’re using World Tank Museum toys for miniatures. Stumpin’ for my bro, here.
On the Consoles
Nothin’. Haven’t even turned them on except to watch movies or to play pinball. The Boba Fett table is SO good.
I’ve been playing a ton of King’s Bounty: The Legend though, and it’s freaking great. Basically, it’s HOMM but more RPG focused. I never played the original game, I may check out that one and the sequel to this one (Armored Princess). There are some things I actually like better than HOMM, a lot of the more boring elements are eliminated and the exploration and questing elements are more pronounced. Oddly, it feels a lot like Mage Knight.
I tried the Starcraft II demo, but I don’t regard 14 FPS to be very playable. Poor little laptop. Anyway, if it’s not already clear, I think I’m swinging back to PC gaming. I really want to see what Valve does with their Steam box, I may just skip whatever microtransaction/social gaming machines Sony and Microsoft put out and go with that.
Ridiculous Fishing. I hate this game. It’s incredibly stupid. But I’m finding that I can’t stop playing it. I think it’s awful, really, I do. But there is definitely a compulsive quality to it, and it is challenging.
I tried Pinball Arcade again- who the hell wants to pay $8 for ONE table? I really like the tables they have (Twilight Zone, Attack from Mars, Star Trek) but damn, they are overpriced. The physics are a little wack too. But the tables look great.
On the Comics Rack
Reading lots of Kirby’s Fourth World stuff- I’ve only ever really read New Gods, which I still think is probably the best thing he ever did other than actually create many of the iconic characters that are still around. It’s so overheated, crazy, and ridiculous. But I’ve not ever really read Jimmy Olsen, and I’ve just read a couple of issues of Mister Miracle and The Forever People. Jimmy Olsen is great, Kirby is all trying to be hip with the kids yet his out-of-touch old man sensibilities are all over it. Superman goes to check out the “weird motorcycle gangs”. There are these crazy psychedelic photograph collages. The “Whiz Wagon”. The Newsboy Legion is in it, along with a character that wears a wetsuit the whole time named…Flippa Dippa. Love it!
The funny thing is that when you read this stuff, pretty much everything Grant Morrison has done at DC (after Doom Patrol and Animal Man) reads like a continuation of the kind of stuff Kirby was doing with these books.
Star Wars #3 is out, I think I love this book. The art is sometimes irksome since it’s drawn by one of those guys that you just know had that “How to Draw Manga” book, but I think Wood really nails the right tone and dialogue.
In case you missed all of the spoilers about Robin, pretty much every DC book with a Bat family character in it will go ahead and spoil it for you. Seriously y’all. Don’t even try next time.
Age of Ultron is pretty dumb. The new Guardians of the Galaxy looks pretty promising though, the first book was fun and it’s a nice intro- since they’re going to be gearing up for the movie and all, they’re playing it light and accessible.
On the Screen
I’ve watched Wreck-it Ralph about 85 times since last week. It’s terrible. The first half is really funny and has lots of great jokes- like the drunk space marine leaving Tappers (!), walking endlessly into a wall like it’s bad AI programming. Q*Bert is great, the general concept of the film is great. Sending up first-person shooters and dubstep is great. But once the film decides to suddenly become an entirely different one when they go into the Sugar Rush game (kind of a candy-themed Mario Kart), it takes a sharp nose dive and becomes almost unwatchable and obnoxious. It’s almost like they said “hey, look! Video game movie!” and then “Nope! Willy Wonka meets Speed Racer, but not as good as either!” It doesn’t help that it has a trite retelling of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Ugly Duckling story, where the “glitch” kid makes good and shows up the snobs. By, effectively, cheating.
Oh, and then there’s five minutes worth of poo-poo humor (Hero’s Duty- get it?) and some really, really unfunny slapstick. Suddenly, the picture aims for the stupidest people in the audience. Even though John Lassetter is an executive producer, it’s pretty clear that the folks that made this missed all of the fine qualities that make the Toy Story films timeless, sophisticated, and intelligent.
At least it’s better than the Blu-Ray of Ice Age: Continental Drift that my parents left over here. I’ve never seen a film so clearly made for unintelligent people.
Welp, let’s go ahead and roll out the “best album since Scary Monsters” comments because Bowie’s new one is out. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since “Reality”.
It’s very, very good. And it hearkens back very specifically to the late 1970s period, the Eno records up through Scary Monsters. Ironic, since Tony Visconti (who must be 150 years old) is producing, and he is mostly associated with the earlier glam records. The first track could almost pass for an outtake from Lodger or Scary Monsters. Bowie sounds great, and it sounds like he’s really committed to the record- which is something I don’t think was consistently heard through Reality and Hours. But you just can’t shake the feeling that this is a record made by the guy that made Ziggy Stardust and Young Americans, and that makes the record feel somewhat weaker than it really is- because it is a great modern rock record that sounds current, vital, and energized. He ain’t resting on his laurels and trucking on past successes, but I think he is acknowledging that the things he was doing 30-40 years ago are pretty much timeless and at this point, may as well be eternal.
The thing is, Bowie doesn’t need to make a great record anymore. All he needs to do is to show up and remind us that he is still David Bowie. When you hear that voice on the opening track, it’s almost magical.
I’m about to start looking into this G-beat thing that’s apparently going on- I guess a bunch of Discharge-y crust punk bands decided to start doing TSOL/Christian Death/45 Grave inspired death rock. Deathcharge (best band name ever?), Arctic Flowers, Spectres, Cross-Stitched Eyes…I have a list of names.
Also Blizzard of Ozz…I’m going to listen to Blizzard of Ozz this week.