It's really more of a hugging match than a boxing match.
So Charlie and I went head to head on Blood Rage, and I was all ready to explain to him why his favorite game of 2015 was no good. But it turns out that the game is really freakin' good, and we both just loved it up for 1000 words or so.
The design work is brilliant- it's so disciplined and measured, definitely Eric Lang's best to date. There's a sense of refinement that makes me kind of feel like this is one of the best embodiments of the modern hybrid style. We are a long, long way from Age of Mythology at this stage. The game is also intensely direct, ruthlessly paced and full of neat little "a ha" bits like some great combos that may or may not emerge in the draft. It's no wonder this was one of the games everyone was talking about toward the end of last year, because it is among the best of last year. I do still favor Cthulhu Wars over it because it's more obnoxious and old fashioned in a couple of ways, and I prefer the mythos monsters to Viking stuff. But both are what a DoaM game circa 2016 should look like.
I got in a few of games with a good friend of mine from NYC that stopped by over the holidays. Scarlett actually stayed up to play a few with us so we did Click Clack Lumberjack, Coconuts and some kid-friendly fare. We did Star Wars Risk, which is now my go-to "hey, let's play a game" title. Explains and sets up in five minutes, plays in 30. Everybody understands it. Even my four year old. She did all the dice rolling for me and cheered when we blew up TIE Fighters. I just about punched Kurt in the face after he successfully fired the Death Star four times in a row- including double sixes on the fourth shot. But the rebels carried the day and a B-Wing made the shot to end it.
Scarlett fell asleep watching Glitter Girls on Netflix so I showed him the Nate Hayden games and he about flipped out. He wanted to do Mushroom Eaters, but I steered him toward Psycho Raiders. It was an awesome game- he played the victims, and he actually won. He got lucky and Joey showed up on the first turn and he managed to get one of his people to the car. He almost got another into the Fixer-Upper that the Mechanic was in, but the Mechanic was sinister, and I had him grab the girl while the raider with the blowtorch roasted her. NASTY piece of narrative there...I actually did get the kill card on it, too.
Flick 'em Up was pretty great- we just did the beginning scenario and the gameplay was pretty standard flicking stuff, but the production is just brilliant. I love how the cowboys spin around and their hat flies off when you hit them.
A couple of rounds of Resistor were shaky but went well...but here's a tip- maybe don't play that one at 3am.
In other news...been playing Shadows Over Normandie. It is, in fact, Heroes of Normandie with Mythos-y stuff added to it. Which is interesting, because the game already played kind of like a cross between an adventure game and a wargame. So now, your officers and heroes might have spells, swords, tomes or other magic stuff going on...while they fight Deep Ones and have to make terror checks to see if they do things like try to kill themselves in the middle of battle. Four scenarios in and it's shaping up to be a cool campaign, better than the scenarios in the original game. The one I did yesterday played out pretty much like a dungeoncrawl...but with US Rangers. Review is heading to Miniature Market next week, I think.
I got a big box of games from Thames-Kosmos over the holidays so I've been going through those too. The reprint of Legends of Andor was in there, and I've done the first three "legends" in it. I had played this before when FFG had it and liked a lot of it, but let it go. Coming back to it, I kind of have the same opinion of it. There are some really great things going on in how it is presented and I love the simplicity of it, but it also doesn't completely engage me for some reason. The combat is terrible and the legends have a very puzzle-like sense about them. So I dunno, it's a 3-3 1/2 star game I think. I have the expansions but I haven't tried them yet. The Star Shield one looks good, it adds a bunch of stuff. But not to the old legends, it's all for the new ones.
I also have Tumult Royale, the new Klaus Teuber game. To say that they don't make 'em like this anymore is an understatement. I swear this game dropped out of Essen 1992, even though it has a Galaxy Trucker-inspired real-time piece grab thing. It's pretty fun, you have to grab resources to build monuments but not TOO much or the peasants get pissed off and have a titular tumult. AND IT HAS A SPINNER. Not a "rondel" or something like that. A bona fide SPINNER.
Steam Time, the new Rudiger Dorn game, is in there too but I haven't tried it yet. It looks kind of good despite the steampunky look. It's a time travel game. Rudiger Dorn can go either way with me, so I'm interested to see if this is another "traditional" German game.
I've got the full new wave of Imperial Assault sitting here, haven't even opened the blisters yet. The campaign looks good, but it is longer than Twin Shadows- more like the one in the core game. Which irks me, because I liked the short one better. It's billed as "Return to Hoth", but it looks like we're also going back to Bespin too. Having Dengar in the game is pretty awesome, but what is even cooler is that one of the made-up characters is a Mon Calamari sniper.
And in the mail- A Study in Emerald (FINALLY) and that Glenn Drover Empires: Age of Discovery thing. More on those sometime in the future.