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  • Barnstorming- Battle at Kemble's Cascade in Review, Dungeon Command, Riddick, A Certain Ratio

Barnstorming- Battle at Kemble's Cascade in Review, Dungeon Command, Riddick, A Certain Ratio

MB Updated
There Will Be Games

 Bullet Purgatory.

On the Table

Alright, Battle at Kemble’s Cascade. Review here.

I think it’s a good game, but most definitely not a great one. The thing is, I think it’s good more for its ambition and what it’s trying to do than for the design itself. I think the design is needlessly cluttered. Part of the appeal of arcade shooters is that they are very direct, immediate, and require moment-to-moment skill. Not playing initiative cards, collecting currency to go shop, counting out squares, budgeting energy, and keeping an eye on all of these goal cards.

It’s a tough love review, because at the end I don’t think the game is really quite where it needs to be to be a success. But I can’t help but like it, between it featuring a Falco-like birdman to paying Homage to Captain Harlock to the totally bad ass little shmup ships in the box. I think this game will likely garner a cult following, but I also think a lot of folks will be disappointed with it. But I love that it exists, and I love how singular it is in a sea of Kickstarter detritus and recycled ideas.

More from Asmodee this week- Claustrophobia’s Furor Sanguinus expansion which is already a must-buy if you have Claustrophobia. Also Deus, which is quite possibly the ugliest game I have played since Glory to Rome. It’s actually pretty good though, a kind of cross between a tableau builder and Settlers. More of a card game, really, but it has a modular board. The two player game is really good, trying it with three or four this week sometime.

I think I’m spent on Galaxy Defenders, I played almost every scenario in a solo campaign and a couple of one-off five player games with the gang. It’s good, but it feels like one of those that starts to feel redundant with other titles.

Playing lots of Dungeon Command lately. Gosh, I love that game. Had an awesome game last night, Heroes versus Drow. The Drow played very aggressively, spiders everywhere. The heroes got bogged down at the starting tile but got a Dragon Knight out- who promptly got taken out by a Drider. An Earth Guardian came into play and just smashed the shit out of the Drider, and then retreated to get some treasure to boost morale. It wound up a complete slugfest in this hallway with a Human Ranger and Halfling Sneak, supported by a Dwarven Defender, holding off the Drow Blademaster and a Drow House Guard. It came down to two morale on both sides, but the heroes pulled it off in the end. Probably one of the best outings I’ve had of this great game.

On the Consoles

Still playing Bayonetta 2 post-credits, but casually. Lots more to see and do. Going in to various levels and trying to improve my ranking. Shit is HARD on the Third Climax setting, even with lots of upgrades.

For reasons I can’t quite explain, I fired up Borderlands 2 the other day and wound up playing it for much longer than I expected. It was a PS+ download a few months ago, I grabbed it and thought I’d likely never actually play it. Well, there it is.

Speaking of PS+, tried all of that new indie stuff they just gave away last night. Frozen Synapse Prime is more Frozen Synapse, but I think I like that kind of game better on the iPad. Luftrausers is really neat, a very unusual shooter with a crazy control scheme and tons of crashing. Binding of Issac…I dunno. All the poo poo stuff is pretty off-putting. The gameplay doesn’t seem very compelling so far. I know it’s supposed to be great, I’ll give it a bit to prove it. Steamworld Dig looks pretty neat, Dig Dug meets Metroidvania.

On the Comics Rack

Still reading Metabarons.  So many insane ideas in it. It is truly science fiction without limits. Trying to find a not-outrageously-priced copy of the Technopriests Ultimate Collection next, and also the other Incal books.

On the Screen

I’ve never seen any of those Riddick movies other than Pitch Black, which I remember almost nothing about other than really not liking it and hating the character. But I watched half of Chronicles of Riddick last night and I’m really enjoying it. It’s trash, but it has some crazy baroque costume design and it really kind of feels more like a Heavy Metal kind of story than I expected- even down to the way things are named. “Necromongers”, “Crematoria”…that’s the kind of stuff you’d see in a Heavy Metal comic. I still don’t like Riddick, but I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed this movie. Loved the beginning with the bounty hunters, that was fun. Guess I’ll finish it and watch the third one.

Constantine was not bad. The actor feels right for the part and he’s mostly written to spec. It’s a shame they couldn’t have him smoking the whole time. I don’t think the show will last more than two seasons, but it’s nice to see someone try to do Hellblazer justice. So funny that the episode was set in Atlanta.

Rebels continues to be great. Every episode has been a winner so far. I haven’t watched the one with the Stormtrooper academy/”Imperial Youth” thing yet, but last week’s with Luminara Undili was just awesome. The Inquisitor RULES. Holy crap, what a cool character. River wants his lightsaber for Christmas. Already bought it.

On Spotify

A Certain Ratio’s “Sextet” got reissued, so having a listen to that mostly. ACR is what a band sounds like when they are hugely influenced by Joy Division but want to make party funk records. Of course that comes off sounding kind of weird and incongruous. “Sextet” is generally regarded as one of their best, but I prefer the earlier “To Each”. God, I paid like $50 for that CD a few years ago.

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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