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Barnestorming #11410- River's Games, Infarkt, DMC

MB Updated
Barnestorming #11410- River's Games, Infarkt, DMC
There Will Be Games

Better than Caylus.

So yes, my three-year-old son River has started playing games. No, I really do not want him to be a gamer. I’d really much rather he get involved in playing music, soccer, or spending the time he would be gaming doing something creative that actually produces a result other than entertainment. Look, I love games and all, but when I think about the time I’ve spent playing them since I was very young- geezooey.

But we’re having fun, and this article is about playing games with River. The revelation I’ve had is that I want exactly the same thing out of playing games with him that I do out of grown folks’ games these days. Bullshit-free fun.

I’m still sort of in shock that there are people on the internet that will chin-scratch over whether a game for three year olds has “meaningful decisions” or not.

Finally made it out to Frank Branham’s Big Baller Bungalow (aka Swamp Castle II)…played a tipsy game of Space Cadets, which is brilliant and I’ll write about more later. Also did this insane Polish game called Infarkt (yes, that’s Polish for “Heart Attack”). It’s kind of like Funny Friends, but it’s all health and wellness related. Unbelievable, a board game about being healthy. Anyway, your character has a number of tracks like cholesterol, depression, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and so on.  Events happen to raise those things. You do worker placement stuff to try to lower those things before they kill you. But then some jerkwad like Billy Motion throws something like a lard-on-bread and buttermilk  party and his left and right neighbors are forced to come, forcibly raising their levels as they eat the offered grub. It’s a fun, funny game with a pretty bleak prognosis. The best part is that it’s totally an elimination game.

John Clowdus showed up and he handed me the three new Small Box titles, which I’ll write up at some point. All look pretty darn good, art is definitely on par with his recent stuff.

I should also mention here that despite his exquisite new manse, Frank is livin’ on the edge of a broken heart because you- yes you- have not yet bought Battles Beyond Space. You really should.

Still playing LOTR LCG, almost every day.  Winning every so often, damn game is as hard as Ghost Stories. The Hobbit expansion is pretty great, it adds sort of a mini-campaign concept as well as a hero (Bilbo) that you bat back and forth. I think the game is actually really fucking great, but it takes time to really dig into it, which is what I was hoping to discover in the first place. It’s meant to be as involving as playing a full-blown CCG is in terms of deck building, testing, and execution…the fact that it’s a solo CCG is sort of genius…no need for a community, no need for other players. You explore it at your leisure.

I’m going to be doing a new semi-regular series of Cracked LCD Retroactive reviews, where I do things like what I’m doing with LOTR. Revisiting games that I gave mixed or negative reviews or that really needed some more time to develop. Dominion will probably be the next one. I’ve traded my way up to an almost complete set, just missing Hinterlands and Dark Ages.

Piles of 2013 review games are coming in so stay tuned. Police Precinct looks really good, finally got Manhattan Project from Minion Games, should have a couple of Plaid Hat treats soon. And then there’s Exodus…

I've had a bunch of new stuff turn up at Worthpoint, I'm too lazy to go find it. But it's there if you're interested. War of the Ring, a holiday article, electric football, and dum dum dum...the Great Satan, Kickstarter.


On the Consoles

DMC rocks. Screw the “they changed Dante’s hair” haters, it’s a great brawler. Not as good as Bayonetta, of course, but it’s top notch all the way. Hard to believe it was made by the same folks that made the horrid Enslaved.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo is out, which is also the new Platinum game. It looks pretty insane, I am kind of worried about the controls. Fighting Gekkos with the Zentatsu system or whatever is sort of frustrating. When it works, it’s innovative. When it doesn’t, it feels like a concept that’s not quite there yet. But it definitely looks and feels Kojima, so I’m going to have a hard time talking myself out of picking it up opening day.



Been in the mood for IOS board games, actually really enjoying Kingdom Builder. I would absolutely not like the game outside of the App, I think. It’s really just an old fashioned, Leo Colovini-style abstract with drop-in scoring modifiers. It feels old fashioned, apart from the ridiculous variety that the cards and buildings provide. It’s great for a 15 minute iPad game, but I just wouldn’t want to play it live between sorting out where you can and can’t place and the scoring.

I got Alien Frontiers, which is great but the AI is terrible. And, as reported by just about everybody, it’s too slow.


On the Comics Rack

Definitely a Vertigo week. Read a ton of Sweet Tooth this week, which I really like the more I read it. I like Lemire’s art, and I like that it’s a more compelling post-apocalyptic story than usual.  Read through more of Delano’s Hellblazer run and hit the story with Constantine hanging out with the travellers, which killed my enthusiasm and stopped me from reading all 300 issues in one go. Northlanders is decent, but it’s really an organized crime story with Vikings in it. Even read Season of Mists this week, that’s still the best Sandman story.

Looking forward to a couple of new Valiant issues this week, a new Prophet, more Azarello Wonder Woman, and I think I may check out Chew, Multiple Warheads, and probably some more Thorgal, which I think is a way better Viking book than Northlanders.


On the Screen

Finally made some headway into the Matt Smith Doctor Who. Wow, he’s really good, I see why some folks slate him over Tennant. I really, really like how well he does that transition from “Doctor as slightly whimsical, silly character” to “Doctor as slightly arrogant, possibly dangerous and angry character”. Pond is a good companion, Rory is a good foil, and so far I’m liking it as much as the Tennant shows. Of course, the big fumble is bringing the stone angels back in a sub-par way. But the Venetian vampire episode and the one with Van Gogh are favorites.

Been watching tons of He-Man and She-Ra, River just got into those thanks to Netflix. He has not yet chosen whether Skeletor or Hordak is the best. I like Hordak better.


On Spotify

Pretty much still just listing to Oi!  Mostly 4-Skins and Angelic Upstarts this week. Also found myself wishing that Spotify had something other than live Subhumans records, which lead me to unsuccessfully search for either my vinyl or CD copy of “The Day the Country Died”. What does a man have to do to hear “New Age” or “No” digitally these days?

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 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.

Articles by Michael

Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Articles by Michael

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