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  • Barnestorming- Deus in Review, Heroscape, The Golden Child, Gothic Rock

Barnestorming- Deus in Review, Heroscape, The Golden Child, Gothic Rock

MB Updated
There Will Be Games

 Better than it looks..

On the Table

I think Deus, the new game from Troyes designer Sebastien DuJardin, is kind of shaping up to be a big deal. Which is somewhat deserved, because it is a really good civ building/tableau building game with some pretty interesting mechanics. However, the game is so freaking ugly I can hardly bear to look at it. It is a virtual checklist of bad taste/terrible aesthetics.  The wooden pieces in it are all stock- nothing custom. That’s fine for cubes, bad when it makes your game look like a prototype. The terrain tiles are mostly red, blue and yellow. Which makes the eyeballs bleed, didn’t anyone tell the illustrator? Then there are WordArt warped fonts (like it’s the 1990s all over again) and just terrible visual choices in every facet of the game.

But it is a really good “new Eurogames” style design- simple, but with lots of hidden depth. And lots of card combos!

So Deus is the ugly duckling up for review this week at Nohighscores, and thanks once again to Asmodee for the review copy.

Mostly focused this week on sorting through the massive box of Heroscape I got from our very own Pete Ruth.  So…much…stuff…

I’ve soloed around with it a bit and got the kids to play a game. River wanted robots, so I gave him all the Deathwalkers. Scarlett wanted to “be the girl” so that meant some Drow lady, Raelin and an elf. But she got frustrated and threw them all into the lake. River picked up on the various ratings and dice rolling pretty quickly, and I think he understood the idea of “seeing” other figures and of being at an advantage up high. It was fun. Dad took three big dragons so it looked dramatic and cool

Last night I tried MicroCorps Agents versus the Marro Stingers and a leader, that was a pretty fun battle- turned out to be pretty evenly matched, even though I just threw some things together and didn’t even count the points.

On the Consoles

Not much really this week- went back for some more Hyrule Warriors, which has suddenly gotten really hard.

I think I actually do not like Spelunky. I played it years ago on PC, but for some reason I can not get into it at all.

Played a little more Binding of Isaac. I hate it. The Garbage Pail Kids shit has got to go.


Horribly addicted to Skyforce 2014. It’s a new version of a long-running shooter series on IOS, but this new one has a really hooky levelling/grinding mechanic. You collect stars to buy upgrades, which means you have to redo levels over and over again. But the good part is that each level has four different missions- destroy 100% of enemy forces, collect 70% of the stars on the level, make it through untouched, or play Choplifter and to pick up soldiers from the battlefield. All of these require different play styles/strategies. All are really pretty tough. It is kind of a freemium game, but like $4 worth of buy-in makes it pretty much a premium title.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Drift n’ Drive. It’s a top-down racing game (sort of like Rally-X) with a steering model a lot like those old arcade games with steering wheels, i.e. crazy. The races are quick, and you are encouraged to finish even if you completely screw up because your pole position in the next raise determined by how you finish. So if you give up, you’re in last position next time. There’s a shop, challenges…lots going on, no IAPs or freemium crap at all.

On the Screen

Gosh, Snowpiercer was terrible.

Still waiting on my Blu-Ray of the complete Riddick collection to come in the mail, got a great deal on it. Still enjoying Chronicles and thinking about getting the PS3 version of the game that came out a few years ago. I guess I am now a Riddick fan, which is pretty unexpected.

Star Wars Rebels is, by this point, completely legit. I just watched the one with the Imperial Academy.  Loved it. They even referenced something from the prequels (podracing) and it felt seamless. My kids LOVE it. River wants a bunch of Rebels stuff for Christmas, and Scarlett loves the “pink clone” as she calls Sabine.

Watched an awesome double feature with some family Saturday night (with beer)…Big Trouble in Little China and The Golden Child. 1986 night, indeed. Man, I love The Golden Child, they just don’t make them like that anymore. “I want the knife…please give me the knife…” Of course, Big Trouble was great as always…”China is here? I don’t even know what that means”.

Who knew that Victor Wong studied with Mark Rothko and he was affiliated with the Beat movement…crazy.

On Spotify

Inspired by Matt’s being inspired by me, I’ve been digging up the corpse of gothic rock…listening to a big, giant playlist I made on Spotify of old school gothic rock, mostly the UK stuff because the American strain in the early years was  more accurately termed death rock and mostly centered (rightly) around  LA.

On the playlist is tons of fairly obscure stuff outside of the usual beat of the Sisters/Fields/all of the quasi-commercial stuff. Xmal Deutschland, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Ausgang (“I’ve got the Hots for Christ”), Skeletal Family, Sex Gang Children, Gene Loves Jezebel (early!), Virgin Prunes, Danielle Dax, Danse Society, Sex Beat, Specimen, 1919, UK Decay, Marc (Almond) and the Mambas…none of that silly ass post-1980s Cleopatra records shit.

Probably will jump the pond this week and hit up Christian Death, Burning Image, 45 Grave, Kommunity FK and so forth.

Spotify’s “related artists” thing turned up an interesting item, this recent Italian band called Spiritual Front. The descriptions I read sort of aligned them with a neofolk/martial industrial thing which generally leads to bands that sound more or less just like Death In June (Rome, for example). But I listened to the records and…I really don’t know what to think for a change! It’s kind of a cross between Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Scott Walker, Tango (!), Death in June (it’s in there)…but there’s almost a commercial sheen to it and a little “bop” that’s quite unexpected. I haven’t decided if I like this band or not, there’s definitely some goth-sex cheese going on with them. Apparently they’re big in Russia, so there’s that. Odd find. I guess they’ve had some soundtrack songs, something in a Saw movie for example…and a track called “Jesus Died in Las Vegas” that was on some TV show about Las Vegas.

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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