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  • Barnestorming- AEG Review Rodeo, Freejack, I Assassin

Barnestorming- AEG Review Rodeo, Freejack, I Assassin

MB Updated
Barnestorming- AEG Review Rodeo, Freejack, I Assassin
There Will Be Games


On the Table

I’m not really ready to issue forth with my yearly Dragon Con wrap up, because I’ve got some not nice things to say about it and I’m kind of working through whether or not it will be my last time attending it or any other convention. I think I may be through with conventions in general. There is too much I am at odds with. It doesn’t help that Dragon Con is, more and more, an excuse for white trash to come out of the woodwork and be sleazy and skeevy in public. It’s an event ringed with this sick sense of desperation. And speaking as someone who has always and will always love sci fi, fantasy, comics, movies, and so forth…it sucks that there isn’t a convention for mature people with taste, dignity, and manners that actually care about quality examples of these pop culture phenomenon.

I’m starting to rant, sorry.

Anyway, this week’s Cracked LCD is a Review Rodeo of several AEG card games that they’ve sent me over the past couple of months, most of which are expansions to existing games. I’m returning the generous favor with capsule reviews of them all. The main takeaway is that the new Love Letter is the best version, Maximum Throwdown is stupid and fun, and the rest are decent if not remarkable. I like AEG, I’m glad to see them improving and developing their product lines away from Tomb. Far, far away from Tomb.

I finally got the Pathfinder character expansion and started up another solo campaign with the barbarian, the druid, and the monk. VERY different experience, VERY different strategies. The barbarian is obviously the brute force, pretty much able to slaughter or break anything. The monk is really interesting- starts with no weapons but eight blessings, and he can use as many as he wants in a check and _recharge_ them instead of throwing them away. This makes him a melee god. The druid is cool- again, no weapons but lots of items and allies to start with and a battery of clerical spells. The team has no Arcane, so it'll be interesting to figure out workarounds for when those checks come up. We won the first scenario, down to the last two timer cards. Ran into a NASTY location that had a skeleton horde and two ghosts in it...of course, that's where the awesome sword and magic shield were. 

I also finally got around to the Edge of Darkness expansion for Star Wars LCG. It rules. Fleshing out the Scum & Villany and Smugglers & Spies factions adds a lot to the game, and I’ve been enjoying decks with just those pods. S&V has a lot of NASTY capture effects, and you can’t beat a Bossk versus Chewbacca battle. I really love this game, I’m glad to have all of it.

On the Consoles

I was totally feeling Dragon's Crown at first, which is basically like a modernized Golden Axe with amazing art (except for the ladies, that look like mutants) with some looting and quests. But I played for about four hours and I realized that it was stupendously repetitive. It’s yet another game that may be better multiplayer, but I don’t really like multiplayer anything. Especially not with randos. Still, it was definitely worth renting, but it has that Vanillaware “we made a ho hum game look great” sense about it.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is really fun. Light and enjoyable.

I downloaded Tokyo Jungle because it’s like $3 on PS+ right now and played through the tutorial. I think I’m gonna love it. It’s kind of a postapocalyptic animal sim, you have to hunt prey, impress mates, and claim territory to survive. It’s VERY Japanese, very PS2. Which, come to find out, usually means that it’s a game I’ll like a lot.


Honestly haven’t touched anything. Waiting for Space Hulk…


On the Comics Rack

Re-read The Incal, again. I’m oddly obsessed with it. Metabarons too, which I just started up again.

I wound up with a full run of Savage Sword of Conan so I’ve been working on some of those…classic stuff, the B&W artwork is great. It somehow makes the books seem seedy in that late 70s/early 80s way, which is a feeling I treasure very highly in this post-Miley Cyrus world.

I tried to read some of the more recent Solomon Kane stuff that Dark Horse did (“The Castle of the Devil”), although the pencils are nice I’m not connecting with the story at all.

I’m very interested in The Star Wars, which I think comes out today. It’s based on Lucas’ original 1974 script with the green Han and all that.

On the Screen

I tried watching Dredd again (which was, after Deadpool and Doctor Who, the most widely seen costume at Dragon Con). Nope, still didn’t like it. I picked up some of the nodding references this time that I missed  like Bolland and O’Neil blocks. But the movie still sucks. Like I said before, it really captures the feeling of watching some crap-ass made-in-South Africa action movie from 1987, probably put out by Vestron Video or Cannon Films. It’s trash without any joy, heart, or soul. Come to think of it, it reminds me of Freejack in more ways the one. Freejack. I bet you haven’t thought about Freejack today, have you?


On Spotify

Even though I’m a huge Gary Numan fan (see Barnestorming #1 or #2, where I issued forth about “Replicas” and the Tubeway Army material), I’ve actually not listened to much of the records between “Telekon” and the cheesedick electro-goth records of the late 1990s. I’m really, really liking “I, Assassin”…it’s this odd mix of his earlier synth-futurism and the jazzy funk of “Dance” with what has got to be a huge desire to be Prince. You can really hear this on “We Take Mystery (to Bed)”, which is very Prince-like party funk…if it were performed by a nerdy, balding white Englishman with a PKD fixation. The record is surprisingly good overall, even if it’s not groundbreaking or bracing like anything on “Replicas”. The fretless bass does tend to make anything it’s in sound like Japan to me, but it enriches the queasy retro-sci fi concept.

I’m going to try  some of the other less reputable Numan records…I remember really not liking “The Fury” and “Warriors” so they’ll be next.


Michael is a weekly columnist for Fortress: Ameritrash and one of our co-founders. He is a columnist for Gameshark and NoHighScores. He has two small dogs named Pixie and Posie that will bite your face off.
Click here for more articles by Michael Barnes.

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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