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  • Barnestorming- Firefly in Review, Thunderstone: Numenera, Battling Boy

Barnestorming- Firefly in Review, Thunderstone: Numenera, Battling Boy

MB Updated
Barnestorming- Firefly in Review, Thunderstone: Numenera, Battling Boy
There Will Be Games

The Best Firefly Game Ever Made.

On the Table

OK, let’s get that Firefly review in the can. Bottom line, the game is great whether you like the show or not. It’s a simpler and shorter take on the Merchants of Venus/Merchants and Marauders style commerce game with a major emphasis on adventures and crew. Buying Jayne Cobb a knife is as important as outfitting your ship with a new drive. There are lots of very simple, direct mechanics in the game along with just enough detail to really sell the setting. Gale Force Nine seems to be making quite a name for themselves with these cult TV board games. I see that they’ve licensed Sons of Anarchy, which I’ve never watched, but I can’t wait to see the board game.

For some reason AEG likes Ken B. better than me and they didn’t send me Cheaty Mages. Instead I got Canalis, the new Tempest game. Review is forthcoming, but man, I can’t remember the last time I played a game that lacked excitement to such an extreme degree. It’s not terrible, it’s just so…droll.

Thunderstone Advance: Numenera is much better. In fact, I think it may be the best Thunderstone product to date. A couple of minor but impactful tweaks and a very specific (and actually pretty neat) science fantasy setting distinguish this release from the rest of the line. I’ve only played a few games, but I’d be confident in recommending it as the best single purchase you can make if you’re interested in Thunderstone.

On the Consoles

Man, the Triforce quest in Wind Waker is a pain in the ass. It completely halts the momentum in the last act of the game. It’s so poorly timed- you just finished two really cool dungeons with unique puzzles and a neat outcome and then you’re supposed to sail all over the damn map to find the pieces. It’s improved from how it used to be (you get a map with the locations, at least), but it still just grinds the game down at the end. Still awesome, but it’s a design choice that I don’t think worked out.

Got to do some four-player Super Mario 3D World over the holiday weekend. What a madhouse. Complete insanity. But quite fun. Probably the best Mario game to date.

I think after Zelda I might try Xenoblade Chronicles again. It didn’t grab me last year, but it was at a time when I was playing other stuff and didn’t focus on it.


So yeah, Waterdeep is really good. Wish they’d fast track Skullport for it.

Skulls of the Shogun is definitely worth $4.99. Very cool TBS with a fun skull-eating mechanic. Definitely one of the better IOS TBS games…but there again, it’s hard to recommend playing it over XCOM.

On the Comics Rack

I’m on a Paul Pope kick right now. I just read Batman Year 100 and really liked it- mainly because of his grotesque, kind of upsetting artwork. As a Batman story, I dunno. But it looked and read good.

But now, his Battling Boy graphic novel…is unmitigated awesome. It’s a very YA-focused book, but it’s super fun with great monsters (including one that just wanders around eating cars and these sinister ghouls named Sadisto, Coil, and Nails), really cool heroes, a unique setting, and good writing. I’m only half way thorugh, but so far I’m loving it. I can see Hollywood execs reading it and seeing dollar signs- in the right hands, this could make a killer teen-friendly superhero movie. It’s very modern, very “now”. I can see kids graduating from Power Rangers and Ben 10 right into Battling Boy. Battling Boy’s dad is a total parody of Thor…there’s a fantastic scene where he calls his pops asking for help while they’re both fighting giant monsters. Great stuff, probably the best comic book I’ve read this year.

On the Screen

I unadvisedly stopped watching DS9 in order, but I found that I’ve enjoyed it more just watching random episodes rather than starting with 1 and going through to 167 or whatever.  The only thing I really don’t like about it (other than the awful Trek humor and the 1990s hairstyles/lighting/set design) is that comes across as very soapy at times.

 I feel bad for that kid that played Jake, his costumes were so silly looking. Great characters though, good storylines. I really like that the characters are so bristly- I think Kira is actually my favorite just because she’s so aggressively angry at one or more of the other crew members most of the time. I like Odo a lot too- he takes that whole “you humans, WTF” thing from Spock and Data and makes it more of an aggrieved irritation. Dax is such a weird character, I love the transgender dynamic- really kind of edgy for Trek.  Quark is a little too goofy for meI haven’t really seen what all the fuss is about Sisko...but I’ve also not really watched much of the Dominion war episodes so maybe that’s where he comes into badassery.

The Defiant RULES though, one of my favorite Trek ships now.

On Spotify

Rolled out the Christmas playlist, so of course we’ve been firing up the Phil Spector Christmas record again. That lead me to listen to a bunch of Crystals records. “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)”. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Jeezus.

While in the 60s, I also stopped Tommy James and the Shondells. If that band only ever did two songs- “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Crimson and Clover” they’d be just fine. The rest of the stuff is good, but damn, those songs…

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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