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Barnestorming #1HD- There Will Be Games HD, Pax Porfiriana, Sentinels of the Multiverse

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Barnestorming #1HD- There Will Be Games HD, Pax Porfiriana, Sentinels of the Multiverse
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There Will Be Games

Newly remastered in High Definition!

On the Table

Since Dragonstout is convinced that my writing has been in decline for the past three years, I thought I’d satisfy him- and others who have asked for this- by starting the reprint series of There Will Be Games. It’s been a touch over five years since it debuted at Gameshark.com, and there’s been a lot of new readers both here at Nohighscores.com that may have missed it. It’s been technically “out of print” for almost two years, so here it is again in HD. If you have no idea what it is, it’s my 12 part saga of owning and operating a game store. Lots of drama and probably plenty of bad writing I’d be embarrassed about but I almost never read anything I wrote after it gets published. So tell me about it here.

Mostly playing Pax Porfiriana and Sentinels of the Multiverse over the past week. Pax is very, very good but it is, like all Phil Eklund games, squirrely and weird. It’s by far his most accessible and straightforward design, mostly because you can kind of say that it’s sort of like an advanced (and WAY more thematic) St. Petersburg or Race for the Galaxy. It’s also WAY WAY WAY more interactive than either of those two comparisons. It’s brutal, nasty, and chaotic- which is _exactly_ the design’s agenda in depicting this particular stage of Mexican history. There’s some really brilliant stuff going on in the design, but you still have to be willing to put up with bizarre crap like upside text on the cards and seemingly random callout boxes. The rules are actually sensible- it only took me two plays to figure out what you’re supposed to do to win the game.

Sentinels, I’m so torn on. I liked it when I reviewed it a couple of years ago in its first edition but I definitely didn’t love it. I’m going over the Enhanced Edition and all expansions for a retroview, and I vascillate between loving it and thinking “yep, this is just another underbaked Kickstarter game”. There’s some great, simple ideas that make this actually one of the best co-ops available- like having each hero, their story, and their abilities all explained by the individual decks. There are elements that are almost- but not quite- like a better version of LOTR LCG, in terms of the environment deck and how the villains operate. But then there’s the clutter of the game, the flood of modifiers (that thankfully now have tokens), and the WILD imbalances. I swear the Matriarch is unbeatable. But Ambuscade barely puts up a fight. It still feels like it’s an edition off from being where it really needs to be. I’ve actually gotten kind of fond of the ersatz comics universe they’ve created, even though the art is ghastly.

On the Consoles

Hey, how about that Xbone, huh? I think I’d rather go buy a Gamecube at the thrift store. Seriously. I don’t watch TV and I despise sports.

Disillusionment has driven me back, ironically, to New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. After seeing that dreadful “next generation” reveal and realizing how little “next generation” has to do with video games, it was oddly relieving to get back to a Nintendo game. Just a plain old video game. That’s really freaking hard.

So I’m back in the Wii U camp…mainly because I know that Nintendo at least will release some new video games this year. And Super Metroid is on sale for .30, and I’d rather play that than Call of Duty: Who Let the Dogs Out.

On IOS

So yeah, I’m kind of on a platformer kick so I dug up some old IOS platformers. League of Evil is still probably my favorite, although it is just ludicrously difficulty. Mikey Shorts is pretty good speedrun one, one thing neat about the design is that instead of just killing you outright a la Super Meat Boy it just puts stuff in your way to slow you down. Random Heroes would be cool, but it’s one of those where you have to have 5000 moonbucks to buy an upgrade and you get like .5 per game…unless you submit your credit card number. Fuck that. Swordigo is pretty neat, kind of a side-scrolling Zelda adventure platformer. Pretty decent, if kind of simplistic.

Warhammer Quest next week. Goodbye, all other IOS games.

 

On the Comics Rack

Sort of a mixed run this week. I re-read Kingdom Come, having not read it since it came out. I don’t think it’s really all that good, but I’m a sucker for any time that older comics writers and artists shake their cane at the younger, more aggressive and darker style of comics.  Love that Magog was intentionally drawn to look like a terrible Rob Liefeld character. There are some really nice thoughts on morality and superheroes, and I actually really like how Batman is portrayed as a bitter, angry, and ultimately alone man. Broken and wearing an exoskeleton. But by far my favorite character is Von Bach, an incidental character that is so very clearly a homage to Yugoslavian industrialists Laibach. He’s a Yugoslavian dictator with the giant Laibach cross on his chest. Ha!

Also re-read the big Moore Superman stories- “For the Man Who Has Everything”, which is of course a masterpiece, and “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”, which still looks just lovely.

Plowed through more JSA too, I still just absolutely adore it. I’m on the story with the Ultra-Humanite, which has been pretty fun so far.

Really want to get back into Waid’s Daredevil, but I’m just stuck on DC stuff right now.

On the Screen

More Fringe…getting more in to the “mythology” stuff, and it’s pretty decent although the shadowy super-science cabal’s name and agenda is ripped off almost directly from Marvel’s AIM.

I watched Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome again for about the 2,243,239 time. I don’t care what anybody says, that is the best Mad Max film and one of my favorite (if not the best) films ever. I absolutely love it. The music, the look, the camera movements, the dialogue, the Peter Pan stuff. There is not a single thing I dislike in the entire film. It’s such a bad ass idea, and Tina Turner rules. I remember seeing it in the theater when I was 9 or 10 and it just completely changed my life. The scene where checks all the guns, Dr. Dealgood, “ain’t we a pair, raggedy man”, Master Blaster, DINK DONK! DINK DINK DINK DONK!...everything about the movie is completely perfect and you can’t convince me otherwise. Don’t even try.

On Spotify

Don’t be silly. Random Access Memories. Right now, “Touch” is the one I’m listening to the most, the Paul Williams track. It’s so bizarre, grandiose, and oddly tender. I really should watch Phantom of the Paradise tonight.

“Giorgio by Moroder” led me to take a break and listen to a little Donna Summer. “I Feel Love” is just an amazing number. Monumentally important and groundbreaking. I envy anybody who got to hear that for the first time at a discotechque as it should be heard.

There Will Be Games
Michael Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

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 FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com 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.

Articles by Michael

Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Articles by Michael

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