"Looks like we got ourselves a reader...whatchoo readin' for?
On the Table
Fallen is probably one of the more interesting two player games I’ve seen in a while. It’s a one-on-one storytelling dungeoncrawl that probably pulls off the “RPG-less RPG” thing better than just about anything else because it focuses on story and it has a kind of actual DM playing against the hero player. I am not a big fan of “all against an overlord” games, but the head to head, asymmetrical format works here. It’s a pity that a bunch of game material was squandered on Kickstarter backer goals or whatever, but there’s a solid, compelling game with good replay value already in the box. Review is at No High Scores this week.
Still barging through Temple of Elemental Evil, both solo and with a couple of friends. I do have to say that there are a couple of slight disappointments. I think the scenario design isn’t nearly as good- too many “get to tile 9-12 and beat the boss” ones, fewer that use special tokens or cards to develop a unique setup. The town scenarios are really kind of dumb- fun, but dumb. The cultists aren’t really very interesting to fight and you fight them ALL THE TIME. It might be the campaign game’s fault, but it also feels really easy. Out of seven scenarios, I think we’ve used two healing surges. I still love it, and I’m really looking forward to mixing some of it up with the other titles…and figuring out how to put the campaign rules into the other games.
Evolution is, I’ve decided, really really good. Very, very well done card game that is surprisingly rich and full of actual theme (not setting). Love how each game creates a kind of unique biosphere in which you either adapt or die. Review on that next week. The Flight expansion looks really good and I’m allllllllmost thinking about backing it before the Kickstarter ends on Sunday. I’m sure it will pass once I make my saving throw against Kickstarter, for which I have like a +19 modifier.
Trying to rustle up some review copies but not getting much response lately…wanted that robot baseball game, Forge War and that Transylvania thing but nobody’s returning my calls. Will be reviewing the new T&E and Drakon over at Miniature Market in the coming weeks though. Might just buy Forbidden Stars if I can sell some things.
On the Consoles
Not much this week, other than dabbling around with Mario Tennis again and occasionally pretending like I’m ever going to beat Xenoblade Chronicles. I like the game, but I’m like 25 hours in and there is literally no end in sight. I’ve heard upwards of 75+ hours, and I don’t know if seeing whatever happens and then the credits is going to actually be worth it.
Definitely picking up Splatoon next week. Kids should really like that one. Thought about Witcher 3, but then I realized that it’s one of those that will be under $20 in six weeks.
Hearthstone. Mostly playing an Oil Rogue deck and a Grim Patron Warrior one. I seriously have lost interest in playing pretty much any other IOS game for the time being. Right now on my phone I have this, Duck Tales and Star Wars: Rebels (which is awesome, in case you needed to be reminded).
On the Comics Rack
If you are a person that has anything to do with purchasing screenplay rights, please take a look at Descender from Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. It’s three episodes in, and so far it’s really, really cool. The artwork is awesome, the story is fascinating and there are HUGE opportunities for this to be a great science fiction film. The catch is, I would want it to be hand-drawn animation. Very cool book, another great SF title from Image…a company I no longer associate with Spawn, thank god.
I also read Harrow County, a new Cullen Bunn horror book and it was quite good- I can tell he’s a southerner, and I like that approach. I forgot I had most of the Sixth Gun queued up some time ago but I didn’t get into it, so I started that too. It’s fun so far, definitely a good read if you like the whole “weird western” thing. Maybe a touch silly and not quite as good as the best Jonah Hex books, but worth the read. Wonder if it will keep up over a long run though.
I tried Secret Wars but I just don’t care for it. Another cumbersome, bloated Marvel summer event book. Seems marginally better than Original Sin was, at least.
On the Screen
Fury Road. Probably the best action film since The Matrix, and one of the defining genre films of our time. If you thought that you’d never see something on par with Aliens, The Terminator or The Road Warrior again…well, here it is. “They” don’t make them like this anymore. But George Miller does. This movie should be a stop work order for anyone writing an action or science fiction script. Tear it up and start over, but don’t expect to beat this movie. A total masterpiece that they hype is actually kind of UNDER selling.
I haven’t really listened to Siouxsie and the Banshee’s 1981 record Juju in quite some time. I’ve always regarded it as their best album- particularly since they are more of a singles act, I think. But damn, revisiting this record has made me realize that it is probably the most underrated records of the post-punk era. The band is just unbelievably good on it, the performances are meticulous and the arrangements are just stunning. John McGeoch was already worth note from his work in Magazine, but on this record he comes through with some astonishing and hugely original work. Steve Severin never recorded anything better, there’s just some tremendous bass work. And Budgie- good god, the drumming on this record. He plays LEAD drums that are often as much a part of the melody as Siouxsie’s voice, which was also never finer than on this record.
Song after song, the record just doesn’t stop delivering an intense, compelling listen. The funny thing about it now, listening to it some 25 years after I heard it for the first time, is that I recognize now that is more of a psychedelic record than a goth one. Not that those are mutually exclusive, but there’s probably more Jefferson Airplane on this record than Alice Cooper.
If you listen to only one cut, make it “Arabian Knights”. Or “Spellbound”. Or “Monitor”. Everything on there is great though.