Barnestorming: Game of the Year Edition, some other stuff

Barnestorming: Game of the Year Edition, some other stuff Hot

Michael Barnes     
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 Don't fuss, I know what's best for you.

Alright, time for the Game of the Year awards.  You probably already know my pick, but do you know the other four games I’ve shortlisted?  Maybe not.  One of them I didn’t think was going to make it, but the last couple of sessions really improved my opinion of it. Not that I didn’t like it to begin with, but some of the things I was harrumphing about became much less important.

I still haven’t played Mice & Mystics, Clash of Cultures, and a couple of other big games…not too worried about it, I’ll catch up with them this year.

Playing a lot of Star Wars LCG, to be reviewed next week.  It’s good. Not sure if it’s great yet, I think it needs a couple of additions to get to where it wants to go. It’s a rock-solid CCG design that pairs up some welcome depth with  some really tough binary decisions. All of the bitching about a rancor punching an X-wing or whatever is fucking ridiculous. It’s a CCG-style card game, therefore it has a high level of abstraction. It doesn’t necessarily represent the rancor punching the X-wing, it represents that a rancor and an X-wing were involved in the particular conflict. It’s very high level, which is a little jarring when you’ve got named characters with personal equipment and so forth, so there may be an odd scale issue, but by and large I’m liking it. I have two cores, and the deckbuilding is really fun. Love the “packets”, it takes a lot of the tedium out of putting a deck together.

I’m actually going to give the LOTR LCG another shot. I didn’t dislike it when I played it back in ’11, but it felt incomplete and the whole “must buy three cores” thing chafed me. Now that it’s had plenty of expansions and some time to develop, I want to see where it’s at now. Thing is, I really want a solo-playable card game right now and this is likely the best candidate. I got a package deal for pretty much everything, we’ll see how it goes.

Oh look, a box from AEG…it’s all of the Tempest stuff.  Looks interesting.  Didn’t realize Love Letter was one of those.

 

On the Consoles

And I’ve also written up my GOTY column for video games. Again, probably not a surprise what took the prize. Hint- it’s not Walking Dead, which is utter garbage. Black Barney probably loves it.

 

On IOS

What’s this? I played some new IOS games! Dunno, just got in the mood.

Waking Mars is pretty great…it really shows that you can do a non-violent sci-fi game centered around research, exploration, and atmosphere.

Mutant Mudds is a total disappointment after hearing all the praise. I don’t really feel like playing a fake 16 bit game made by people that worshipped Blaster Master. I’m too old for that shit. Ironically.

Rayman Jungle Run is great, however. It’s an auto-runner, but somehow it feels very close to Rayman Origins.

ARC Squadron was free the other day, but I’ve barely looked at it.

Have you played Battle of the Bulge yet? You should.

 

On the Comics Shelf

Back into the Brubaker Captain America run, which I just completely adore, and still plowing through the Bendis Daredevil.

Went on a TPB buying spree with Christmas monies…got the three Bendis Daredevil Ultimate Collections, both volumes of Seven Soldiers, Flex Mentallo, All-Star Superman, Black Mirror. Almost went down for the new Technopriests collection too, but pulled back.

Sort of unimpressed by Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright. I guess I’m kind of tired of retellings of the Superman origin story. Plus, Morrison’s Action Comics just blows it out of the water.

Got a strange and uncommon urge to read some Wolverine books, looked at the Jason Aaron stuff. “Wolverine Goes to Hell” is just about as silly as you’d imagine. Can’t say I wasn’t entertained, but it’s definitely trash.

The new Journey into Mystery, focusing on Lady Sif, has gotten a lot of top reviews…I don’t get it, I thought it was boring.

On the Screen

Rewatching The Lord of the Rings since I can’t get out to see The Hobbit. It blows my mind that people grouse and whine about little details in the films like Arwen turning up at Helm’s Deep or Legolas skateboarding. Get over it. This is the ULTIMATE fantasy film, there is simply nothing that comes anywhere close to the scope, scale, ambition, and world-building that these films accomplish. It’s such a huge production, filled with lots of OLD FASHIONED craft and plenty of practical effects. Yeah, there’s things that don’t work, but in a film this size (12+ hours) not every minute is going to be perfect.

The thing is, the adaptation is right on the money. Arwen NEEDS to be at Helm’s Deep if this story is going to be a screenplay. Tom Bombadil NEEDED the restraining order. And yes, it needs all of those endings in ROTK.

These movies are just extraordinary…it’s such a massive jump from crap like Dragonheart or even beloved junk like Sword and the Sorceror to Jackson’s LOTR.

It’s funny, when I saw them in the theater I couldn’t believe I was seeing them. They seemed impossible. Now, ten years on, they still do.

If anybody wants my old set of the extended edition DVDs, in the cool-ass book cases, I’ll sell ‘em to you. I just got the blu-rays.

 

On Spotify

I realized the other day that my friend Erekh looks like Andrew WK, and that sent me to the AWK backcatalog.

I forgot how great “I Get Wet” is. Yes, great. It’s an outstanding pop record. I remember the first time I saw the video for “Party Hard” I thought it sounded like Oi! crossed with Ministry and a touch of “Let’s Go Crazy”. The song writing on that record is so good, the production so over the top. It screams “fun” in your face and then punches you, laughing.

I saw him on that tour, I don’t think I’ve ever seen ANYONE peform as hard as he did. After the last song, he got down right off the stage, went back to the bar, and sat down to have a drink. Just hanging out with people.

Speaking of oi!, I dragged up some good old streetpunk/UK82 stuff on Spotify. Oddly, that’s like the one genre that is underrepresented there. The Adicts for example have just some of those crap live collections and only one full album. Fortunately there’s everything from Blitz, who are my favorite band out of that lot. “Someone’s Gonna Die”, “Razors in the Night”…definitive. Their postpunk stuff is really good too, but it still has that laddishness.  Also making the rounds with Vice Squad, Exploited, Cockney Rejects, Cocksparrer, The Business, Varukers, GBH, UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, and so forth. I haven’t listened to some of that stuff in quite a while, it’s got me wearing my old painted leather jacket (what I call my high school letterman jacket) again. Much to my wife’s chagrin.

Barnestorming: Game of the Year Edition, some other stuff There Will Be Games
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