Barnestorming- Quarantine in Review, The Last of Us, Miami Connection

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Barnestorming- Quarantine in Review, The Last of Us, Miami Connection
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 The return of tile-laying

On the Table

Quarantine almost falls into that “cute” game category, which is generally a sign that something is a disposable, limited value title. But I think it’s a little more than a “cute” game, there are some really neat mechanics in the kind of old-fashioned tile-laying game and I love public health themes. I’m ALWAYS up for a game about hospitals, policemen, firefighters, or whatever…I guess civil services are more interesting to me than generic fantasy. So yes, Quarantine is a good, cheap game if you’re looking for a game that plays something like an old German game with some special ability stuff thrown in. And it’s surprisingly nasty, which is always a plus. It's not bad at's kind of "cute". Review at NHS.

Triassic Terror is pretty good so far, it’s also an old fashioned German game in a lot of ways. It’s pretty much an area control thing, with some vicious interaction by way of a couple of predator tiles. There’s a streamlined quality to the design that I really like, it’s a one-action-per-turn thing and all of that stuff you can do in El Grande is sort of distilled into six basic action types. The dinosaurs theme is fun, of course. Probably not something for the Forever Shelf, but it’s definitely got appeal.

The Spartacus expansion is on the way, that’s going to rule.

I also just got the new Mage Wars expansion, which blew my mind because it features something that I don’t believe I’ve ever see on the cover of a board game product aside from Jambo. A black woman. I really kind of wish they had gone full out and made the entire expansion themed around a kind of fantasy Africa and left out the white guy, but there he is.


On the Consoles

I wrote up The Last of Us at No High Scores. Incredible production values, terrible gameplay. Metacritic score, 95+. Says a lot.

Still playing Metro: Last Light. I’m digging it, but it is WAY WAY WAY too easy so far. It’s much more forgiving of the first game. There’s been some really cool scenes and the atmosphere is just killer. It’s definitely not as good as 2033, but it’s still better than most other games I’ve played this year.

I actually rebought ZombiU after being let down by The Last of Us. I think that may be the best zombie game ever made, apart from the better Resident Evil titles.



I’ll get Rivals of Catan tonight, but I’ve been playing a lot of Agricola. It’s really good overall, but I find myself completely uninterested in the multiplayer.  I’ll do a review next week.


On the Comics Rack

Since I have no interest whatsoever in Man of Steel, I thought I’d just read a bunch of Superman this week. Loeb and Sales’ Superman for All Seasons was pretty decent, but it’s impossible to read something like that without comparing it to All-Star Superman. It was a good, melancholy take on the character with some good artwork. But it’s just not in the same strata. This week- Waid’s Birthright, probably Red Son (even though I don’t like Millar) and Secret Identity.

I read more Suicide Squad, and the question I’m coming out of the second arc with is “why the hell would you take Penguin with you on a mission into Soviet Russia?” It was fun, the supervillan Dirty Dozen concept is cool as hell, and I like the terribly dated parts of it.

Legion of Superheroes is almost impenetrable. I read a couple of issues of The Great Darkness Saga, I have no idea what is going on. So many characters named something Lad.

I’ve mentioned it before, but Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder is a must-read…the last couple of issues have been freaking great. The catch is, this is kind of like a Death Metal version of Thor. So he’s after this dude called the…dum dum duhhhhm…God Butcher, who is making a Godbomb to kill all of the gods in the universe. Preposterous. But fun. And no less preposterous than having THREE Thors from different times in his life loading up a space-faring longship with ale and weapons to go fight him. And then having Thor ride a space shark. It’s _fun_.


On the Screen

Have you ever, at any point in your life, said to yourself “man, I wish there was a movie that had dirtbike-riding Ninjas squaring off against a Tae Kwon Do-themed rock band in a crap-ass 1980s cocaine story”?  Would it be a bonus if the lead actor barely spoke a lick of English, if there were multiple unusually gory (and cheap-looking) amputations? How about a dude that looks just like John Oates with a giant whitefro mullet? What about if the film also featured original shitty synth-rock songs actually ABOUT Tae Kwon Do, including one called “Against the Ninjas”?

Have I got a movie for you.

It’s Miami Connection, an all-but-lost 1987 picture that got a theatrical revival last year. You should watch this movie on Netflix tonight.

Usually these kinds of things are just bad, like Troll 2 or The Room.  This is kind of like that, in that it’s a phenomenally bad and pretty much worthless film with some hilarious moments. But there’s this weird sense of heart, like the folks making it…really kind of believed in it. There’s this one bit where the band “Dragon Sound” is making these plans to go on a world tour. The character goes on winsomely about how they’ll visit each member’s ancestral homeland to spread the message of Tae Kwon Do, sharing their message of peace with all of the dojos. I don’t get a sense that this guy was acting.

This thing is monument of ineptitude, a genuine cult film that will show you why all of these half-assed attempts at creating cult phenomenon don’t work. It’s not any good. But it’s fun to watch, and it’s probably better than anything Zack Snyder will ever direct.

Hemlock Grove is unwatchable trash.

I’ve also been watching some classic Trek. There are so many little things I love about it. Like how Spock is way too fucking tall for his console, so he hunches over. Or when they serve coffee on the bridge. And when Kirk and Spock get into this weird “professional” tone with threats of discipline and whatnot. I watched “Squire of Gothos” last night, I love that one.

On Spotify

Why didn’t any of you people tell me about These New Puritans? Holy crap, what a great band. Still digesting and will issue forth later, but I’m in love with both of their records.

I bought New Order tickets this morning. I’ve never seen them, because the last time they were in Atlanta was like when I was 12 or something. Hooky isn’t with them, which sucks, but I’ll finally get to see at least half of Joy Division.

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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