Hey kid, wanna "back" a copy of Catacombs?
On the Table
Man, that Catacombs Kickstarter really pissed me off. I think it illustrates a lot of what is really effed up about Kickstarter and the people that throw money at those “projects”. So I wrote about it, if you have no interest in Kickstarter and the effect it’s having on the hobby (which I think is very damaging, actually), don’t bother reading the article. But if you do care- and I think you should- let’s rap.
Gamewise, I missed a couple of game opportunities this week so I’m in a holding pattern of Legendary and Race for the Galaxy. I have all of the RFTG expansions now except for Alien Artifacts. For some reason, Brink of War is kind of off putting to me. The Prestige rules seem like just a touch too much for some reason. I do like Rebel vs. Imperium, the takeover rules are pretty neat actually and I like that they’re not an open season, rather reserved for a dramatic, decisive move. The solo game, as I’ve said, rules. The “robot” sets the tempo and keeps you pushing toward points and it can be really challenging. I tend to either get annihilated or squeak by with a couple of points for a win.
Legendary, I think I’ve played everything in the box at this point. The thing about the game is that it is really not that great. It’s a decent nth-generation deckbuilder with some bells and whistles bolted on. But somehow, those bells and whistles kind of make the game- especially if you sort of tweak the game to suit your tastes. The Marvel setting goes a loooooong way too with this. Last night I did a “Liefeld’s Delight” set- Cable, Bishop and Forge up against Stryfe. He got completely blasted, but it was fun. Especially because I almost never wilfully select those characters. I’m really liking the Spider-Man expansion, there’s some really fun and complicated combos you can get out of Black Cat, Symbiote Spidey and Scarlet Spider.
It’s just a damn shame that they cared so little about details like the art on those scheme twist cards.
With the kids, I picked up Bugs in the Kitchen (an odd Target exclusive by Ravensburger) for them and was going to stick it in their Easter basket but we broke it out yesterday. You have a board with rotating plastic silverware and a Hexbug running around. You roll a die and turn whatever utensil it shows, trying to lure the bug into your trap. It’s really cute, the kids love it, and it was only $20 on sale through the 19th. Thanks Von Tush for recommending it.
On the Consoles
Blight Town can bite my wing-wang. That is all.
I couldn’t resist FTL and I’m glad I couldn’t because it is by far the best way to play this great game. I’m no good at it, but it is a brilliant design and lots of fun to play. I can’t even beat the easy mode yet.
I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I’ve sort of gotten hooked on this Star Wars freemium game, Assault Team. Granted, I haven’t spent a single penny on it. Its REALLY dumb. Essentially, it’s a super simple JRPG-style turn based combat thing where your characters have either a standard attack or a special ability on a cooldown timer. The “card” of a character comes up and you tap on what Stormtrooper, Womp Rat, or whatever you want to shoot at. Then they shoot at you. That’s pretty much it. But there’s tons of characters, right now I’ve got Han, Chewie, a Rebel Doctor and a Gammorean Guard running around. There’s an overly complicated levelling up system where you spend items versus affinities or whatever to “promote” your cards. Haven’t played much multiplayer, but it was fast paced and kind of fun. Paywalls- there is an “energy” thing, each level requires you to pay energy and if you run out you have to recharge or wait. But I’ve found that by the time I run out, I’m pretty much tired of playing anyway. There are also gems that you have to spend to upgrade, but you can reduce the costs with the right items. I haven’t felt remotely compelled to spend any money on it. It’s a silly timewaster, perfect to tip-tap on while watching a movie or waiting in line.
On the Comics Rack
I started on Spider-Island, which seems pretty good so far, but I broke to catch up with the Waid Daredevil. It’s time for me just to come out and say that Daredevil is my second favorite Marvel character after Captain America. Third is Thor. But I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I just love Daredevil. Part of it is because Daredevil , for whatever reason, lends himself to some really good, dramatic storylines. I’m actually almost done with the run, which I think is as good as the Bendis stuff. And the art is just so, so good.
Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising is CRAP. My god, what a terrible book. It’s exactly what I was talking about last week about women written from a man’s perspective. The horror elements are just trite and clichéd, the story is completely uninteresting, the art boring. What a waste of time. I didn’t even finish the first trade. I had heard lots of praise about it, which was apparently wrong.
On the Screen
HOLY SHIT, Maul and Savage versus (censored) was a better lightsaber battle than anything in the prequels. Damn. The whole story line leading up to that fight was one of the absolute best, really almost a gangster/crime epic. Maul and Savage basically subjugate all of the criminal elements in the galaxy from Black Sun to the Hutts and then join up with Death Watch (basically the Mandalorian We Used to be Bad Asses Heritage Society). Really top notch stuff, and not really for kids at all. Some of the scenes it were just amazing…Mandalorian commandos flying all over the place, lightsabers, speeder chases…damn.
Barreled through most of the second season of A Game of Thrones…it was pretty good, I liked it better than the first season. Some nice changes of scenery helped, like all of the stuff at Qarth. Really liked all of that and the business with the warlocks was pretty cool. The shadow assassin thing was good too, pretty spooky.
I tried to watch Man of Steel since it was on HBO and the only effort required was for me to push “enter” on the remote control. It was absolutely unwatchable. I was actually kind of taken aback at how bad it was. Whoever the DP was on that needs to be blacklisted…seriously, that “camera is resting on a pool ball” style of shaky-cam is at this point ten years out of date. The costumes, the characters, the morose tone…everything about it was completely misguided and not at all what I would want from a Superman _anything_. I actually wound up playing that stupid Star Wars game on the phone through most of the film and then fell asleep fifteen minutes before it was over. Just garbage. How Zack Snyder is not regarded in the same league as Uwe Boll amazes me. His films are just as bad as that shit, just with bigger budgets and “name” actors.
As expected, I spent most of the week listening to Suicide. Needless to say, if you have any interest whatsoever in any kind of music made with synthesizers, rock music, punk or new wave their first two records are absolutely essential listening…even if you hate them, their influence is profound and there still is nobody that THROBS like they do. If you want to create an atmosphere of being down and out, jacked up on heroin in NYC circa 1977, look no further than “Frankie Teardrop” or “Cheree”.
I usually gravitate toward the first record, which has their best-known songs on it (those two along with “Ghost Rider” and “Rocket USA”), but this time ‘round I’ve really been listening to the second more. It’s slightly more developed but less raw…but it also sounds more modern overall. “Shadazz” and “Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne” are the standouts aside from “Dream Baby Dream”, which is arguably their peak. Bruce Springsteen has been known to cover it live, which is really kind of weird. But then again, he championed them at Sire, got them signed with enough of an advance to hire Rick Ocasek to produce their debut.
Their other records are good but not as important as these two.
One of my favorite rock n’ roll memories was Suicide came through Atlanta back in 2002…one of those bands you never thought you’d get to see. Alan Vega looked sort of like cross between an aging goodfella in a silver tracksuit and Roy Orbison. Martin Rev’s whitefro was thinning but he still wore his tracksuit and giant glasses. During “Dream Baby Dream”, Vega was handing the microphone to people and I was right up front. He handed it to me and I said “Thanks so much for coming here!”…he got down off the stage, hugged me and said “no, thank you for listening to us”. That was really awesome.
Reminds me, I really need to go back and revisit his solo records, “Saturn Drive” was really good.
The Faint have a new record out, which I’ll listen to between now and then…their last one was not very good, hoping this one is a return to form. Can’t believe it’s been 14 years since I saw those guys in a tiny club, playing music a local paper described as “Fugazi meets New Order” to about 13 people. The singer still owes me a shirt from that show, he went back to the van to get a medium but disappeared.