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  • You can tell things have gone crazy busy for a while, since my posting here took a drop off the map.  Ditto on that other site and on my own blog.  Went into a bit more detail on the blog, about both my problems and just the slow down in external marketing.

    Admitedly, we've also had a very good run on the search engines which has put us on really nice keywords (e.g. board games Canada for Starlit ), which barring a major change in Google will give us a good inflow of customers.

    Still, I've lately been devoting more and more time to direct advertising on sites.  While advertising is more expensive than spending say an hour writing a blog post (like this one) or commenting on other sites, it's also less time extensive.  And with my time being crunched further and further, it's something I've had to look into to ensure we keep a good flow of customers in.

    As always, the good old marketing project equation holds true.

  • Ok, I know it's only March and I should wait until December to place my vote but it's not very often I get excited about a game to play with my kids.   I don't give a Trash Jr. Award out very often, probably only every 3 years.   The last award went to Cash n' Guns. Most years it is hard to find a really good kids game that I get excited about playing as some of my favorite Ameritrash games.   I haven't played The Adventurers and Defender of Realm isn't out yet but as of right now the lead candidate for the 2010 Trash Jr. Award is Summoners Wars.

    Summoners War would probably win hands down if it wasn't for the crappy board.   Actually, the board will win the award for the worst board of All Fricking time.

    Meanwhile, I'm hooked on this game like crack whore after her dealer gives her a taste.   I never got into Magic or any other CCGs but now I know how people blew major bucks on Magic cards.   I can see me now turning tricks for the next Summoners War expansion.  Damn you Steve "Hey you want to try this nice game it's only $16.99"  Damn you Barnes "You want enter the create a character contest?"

    Actually, I can't wait until the next box comes out.  Me and my daughter are working on our own expansion.   Evil of the Underworld vs. Half-Breeds of Woodlands.  Evil of the Underworld are all undead creatures.  Skeleton, Zombies, Ghouls, Wrights, Dracula is the Summoner.  The main thing they have in common is that they are slow.  Most of them will only move 1 per turn.  So they kind of suck in combat but when they are killed you roll a dice to determine there fate.  Some rolls they will be reborn in the Evil summoners hand other rolls they will turn into magic for the other player.  The Half-Breeds include centaurs, satyrs, hippogriffs, etc. the may feature will be speed.

    Hopefully, it will only be a few months before the Mercenary cards come out.

    Enjoy, KingPut

     

     

     

     

  •  No, I haven't been kidnapped by Haitian terrorists.   

     This is just one of those times of year that can make finding time--any time--rather difficult. 

     It doesn't help when, on Christmas night, you're in the office/playroom and see water marks by the closet door.  Oh, you know, the closet with the water heater in it.  No big deal, right?  Except for wet walls and carpet...ugh.

     I was very fortunate in that there were no major casualties except one--one of my giant CCG boxes got soaked through.  It was the bottom box and thus the least important, but it got it GOOD.  What does this mean?  I had to bid goodbye to the following CCGs:

     -Young Jedi
    -Jyhad (yes, all seven Jyhad decks were in this box)
    -Rage (my three power Rage decks?  Gone)
    -Star Wars TCG (This was actually doing me a favor...)

     And some other odds and ends.

     This kind of ties in with my philosophy on Christmas this year.  I just didn't want very much stuff at all this year.  I'm so buried in shit to do as it is, it felt wrong asking for more to pile on.  And these CCGs hadn't been played in YEARS.  Even Jyhad--one of my all time favorites--had been gathering dust for quite some time.  Honestly, none of my friends wanted to play Jyhad with me anymore because my decks were all "The Nasty."  They had even dared me to make a Toreador deck that worked and I cooked up a nearly unbeatable Masika/Talbot's Chainsaw deck that would get in combat with vampires and TOAST them completely in one round.

     But I digress.  Tossing soaked cards out sucks, but it really made little difference in the final analysis.  Thankfully the CCGs I still care about and have played within the past two years were OK--including Raw Deal, Star Wars CCG, and Lord of the Rings.

     

    All I got for Christmas--all that I asked for--was Guitar Hero World Tour, The Dark Knight DVD, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game.  My youngest brother also surprised me by giving me his copy of Guitar Hero III and wireless guitar for the Wii.  Okay, so that's where I have to confess that while that's all *I* got, our sons got a Wii from Santa.  Yes, I realize that this is somewhat like cheating.  They also got a mess load of games, including one that has barely left the Wii since we got it--Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

     They should just call it "Nintendo Fanservice: The Game."  You want to talk packing a game full, I don't think I've seen one this full of stuff to do in quite some time.  A story mode, event mode challenges, a billion ways to brawl, a stage editor to make your own level (to go with the 35+ levels already in the game) and all sorts of junk to collect...incredible.

     Guitar Hero: World Tour is also pretty frickin' incredible.  They've adopted a "gig" system sort of like Rock Bands where you can play through the game in a pseudo non-linear fashion.  What's great about the game is that even the songs I wasn't really looking forward to playing are actually fun to play.  I mean, I'd rather gouge my eyes out than entertain the prospect of a Blink-182 reunion tour, but their song is enjoyable to play.  Who knew? 

     My brother got Rock Band 2 for his 360 and it's also fun, so either way you go you're going to have fun.  And what I've found is that by playing the songs you actually get to know them better...hear little guitar and musical ticks you never noticed...it's pretty cool, actually.

     

    Only squeezed in one game day this break, but it was a good one--two games of Battlestar Galactica with five.  I'll talk more about BSG in my "2008 in review" column that will go up in early January, but man I gotta say that BSG is one of the few games this year that did not disappoint me.  It's a game that has pretty much everything in gaming that I like--variable player powers, a hidden traitor mechanic, space combat, card play, backstabbing and paranoia, it's just a hodgepodge of everything that's good and (in)decent about gaming.  It's definitely on my shortlist of "game of the year" candidates in a year that was unfortunately filled with mostly disappointment after disappointment....but again, more on that in my year in review column that's yet to come.

     My brother and I also set up Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage after everyone had gone, and we played through a turn just to get a handle on the game.  We were sort of staggering through getting the hang of it but it's easy to see the game is likely going to be a GOOD one.  I got a unpunched copy of the AH version in trade this year and debated whether I should punch it or not...until the gamer in me pimp-slapped the collector side HARD and I dutifully sleeved and punched everything. 

     Speaking of gaming, my brother and I are a lock for Atlanta Gamefest on January 9th and 10th.  We might make it too late to attend on the 9th but we'll definitely be there all day of the 10th.  I think we've agreed to take Hannibal with us to play late Friday and wait until the next morning to go to Gamefest.  Either Hannibal or Twilight Struggle.  Everything I want to play these days seems to be card-driven, and that's okay with me.

     

     Anyway, we're looking at the direction of F:AT over the next year.  The first year was all about just getting the blog going, the second year was all about the website, and now we've got the website (with more bangs and whistles than I'd ever dreamed) and an established readership that we are always looking to grow.  In that regard, we'll probably be fishing for feedback soon about some ideas we have, and even allow you to give us a report card grade for the past year--what's worked for you, what you've enjoyed, what you'd like to see more of, what things you could do without.  I'd love nothing better for us to double our registered membership.  As we've grown and continue to get more of a "professional website" feel, we'll need you guys (and gals) more than ever to keep us straight and continue to improve the site.

     I think from a technical side we're pretty solid--user profiles, recommendation/ranking system, forums, member blogs, regular front page updates, a much-improved user submission system, and more.  It's now more about solidifying the direction of the site in terms of content...how much boardgaming content, how much pop culture content, moving forward with cementing our regular features (news, photos, comics, reviews)...

     

    2008 was all about "How."  Hopefully, in 2009 we can focus more on "Why."

     

     

    Anyway...that's where I've been, what's going on with my world, and a peek at some stuff that's to come.  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that everybody has a supremely awesome New Year.  Thanks for 2008, and I'll see you guys again in 2009.

     

     

  • Puzzles are solved. Mysteries are revealed.

    Even when you can't find the right answer [to solve a puzzle], you know it exists. Puzzles can be solved; they have answers.

    But a mystery offers no such comfort. It poses a question that has no definitive answer because the answer is contingent; it depends on a future interaction of many factors, known and unknown.

                                                                    - Gregory F. Treverton

     

     

  • Android, one of the last Fantasy Flight Games to come out on 2008 has generated a lot of conflicting opinions and discussion. In this review I want to analyze a few of the different aspects of the game, especially some that are usually misunderstood.

  • Hi! Welcome to the factory. Here’s your station--now get to work.

  • THE WORKERS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE FACTORY STOP THEY GOT THEIR HANDS ON A BUNCH OF NEW FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES STOP THEY’VE STOLEN MY ONE SONG REVIEW STOP PLEASE SEND HELP ASAP
  • Come see what the factory's been cranking out lately.

  • Super Turbo Vacation Edition!

  • Howdy there, underlings! Go ahead and put down your tools, wipe the soot off your brow, and come hither. Your deep-pocketed, hard-fisted supervisor has some thoughts about board games, and guess what? You’re gonna listen to ‘em. You will, of course, need to make this time up later.
  • One of threads in Trash Talk asks the question of when is a good point to end a game.  I know I've touched on this before, especially in Puerto Rico but here are some other games that I think have annoying endings.

    1.  Talisman - This game has the opposite problem of Euros,   I think the ending in this game drags out too long.  It involves rolling a die.  You either defeat the crown of command or you take damage.  If you take enough damage, you have to start over again.  If someone steps in, they have to fight you and then can continue.  If one of you are defeated, you have to start over.  This can go on and on sometimes.

    2.  Supremacy - The ending condition when 12 nukes appear on the board.  Nuclear winter sets in and nobody wins.  I don't know how many games have ended this way.

    3.  Nuclear War - You get eliminated through propaganda.  No retaliatory strike.  No nothing.  Blah.

    4.  Rail Baron - The thing where if you are going back to your home city and someone can bump you.  If you don't declare with enough money, you can find yourself having to take a few more turns.

    5.  Any Crayon Rail Game - Just as things are going swimmingly for your rail network, someone has the requisite money to win.  Admittedly, if they didn't put a set money point the game could last forever.

    6.  Caylus - Just as you are about ready to build some of the cooler building, the jackass has reached the end.

    7.  Agricola - See #6.   Just as your farm is going swimmingly, the 15th turn arrives.

    8.  Mare Nostrum - This one isn't as bad because other folks are generally challenging it.  Someone will have enough stuff to build their 4 heroes or wonders.

  • I was watching the Hunt for the Red October the other night and was thinking about yet another game idea.  I'd almost want to do the thing like an old Navy game my uncles had.  It had like 4 or 5 levels.  Surface ships on the top, subs lurking underneath.  There were also little mine pieces.

    Anyways, one player is the Red October.  Another player is the Soviets.  And another is the Americans.  The object for the Red October is to get to the Americans before the Soviets find him.  The Americans are trying to find him before the Soviets.  And so on.  There may even be a track where the Soviets can try to convince the Americans sink Red October and the Red October player has to convince otherwise.

     Or the other possibility is to be set on the ship.  Make it like Battlestar Galatica.  You have one group of players trying to defect, another oblivious and just trying to run the ship and another trying to sabotage things.

  • train_raider.jpgI have played this game and you have not. Hail, GAME Z!

    It's really too bad, because I know a lot of you folks would love TRAIN RAIDER. I think it's probably the coolest, most fun, and likely best train game I've ever played. It would be a great game for a company like Z-Man or Fantasy Flight to pick up- it's totally unique, innovative, and daring in a way that many games released today simply aren't.

  •  Well it is official. There is a new game slated for production and you're going to want it. Why? Some might want it because it's new take on cooperative adventure games. Some might want it because it's Richard Launius' first big design since Arkham Horror. But most people are going to want it because it is fun. Damn Fun.

     

    Defenders of the Realm was just picked up by FRED distributors to be produced and released hopefully at Origins 2010. I helped demo the game at the last Origins and it created quite a buzz.  There was quite a demand to try it out and unfortunately I had to slip away several times just to get in other games.  Defenders is one of the few games that I will not turn down because the game is always tense and challenging but retains a lighthearted adventury feel. It provides the thrill of mowing down hordes of enemies, lots of decisions about what to do each turn and a quest element that is he ultimate determination of victory. That is of course, providing you actually manage to save the Realm- which is quite difficult.

     

    Each player has a character who with the other players is collectively trying to prevent the downfall of the kingdom. All hell is breaking loose because four generals are moving toward the central city and their minions are popping up everywhere. As they populate the land, it begins to become tainted.  Should a general ever take the centrally located monarch city the game is lost. Running out of taint markers or having too many minions on the board also spells defeat. To win, you need to kill the four generals which is problematic because the game ramps up as the generals are killed. As they fall the others rush forward and the minions redouble their efforts. The beginning  mid game and endgame all have different pacing which leads to a nice climax at the end.

     

    Gameplay is pretty straightforward. Each turn you have a meager 5-6 action points to spend. You may move, fight, attempt a quest, or take special actions such as building a gate or try to cleanse the land. Everything costs action points and you can sometimes shave a few by spending cards to expedite travel. Fighting involves rolling a die for each minion with a 3+ killing orcs, 4+ killing undead and demons, and 5+ killing trolls. If you end you move in a spot containing minions they hurt you and decrease your action points(health).   Orcs pop up in droves, Demons taint the land faster, undead cause extra wounds, and trolls are just plain hard to kill. You have your own set of character specific abilities though which help even the odds. Each round after you take you actions moving, killing, and questing you draw two cards and then a Darkness Spreads card which spawns minions and moves generals. The cards you draw can augment your movement or be used to attack generals. To attack a general, you travel to their location, eliminate their minions and spend cards matching their suit.  Each card spent provides a die roll to attempt to defeat the general (each of whom *also* has a special power.) After generals are defeated, their minions become very easy to destroy and if completely removed they do not return.

     

     

    Sooo why is this fun? It is fun because things rapidly spin out of control. The game balance is such that you never quite feel like you've got a handle on things and even if you're optimistic, things can go badly very quickly. There is also some lucky breaks and clever use of character powers. I'm delighted the game made is going to be availbel to the public because I rank it as one of my most favorite games (right up there with Thunder Road and Cosmic Encounter)

     

    Steve"gamenews"Avery

  • Roadkill Rally
    Ok this time I'm not dangling the latest greatest prototype that I've played- though I have pulled that stunt on you guys once or twice. (mostly to hear the cries of anquish across the internet as hapless game nerds are denied great games that may never see the light of day.)

    No this time I'm talking about Z-mans' Roadkill Rally.  Roadkill rally is the kind of game I would have designed with the aid of lots of beer, some dice, a couple of cocktail napkins and reruns of Deathrace 2000 playing in the background.
    In other words: A FRIGGIN GREAT GAME!

    1st Clue: Frank Branham reccomended it. More than once. Frank is understated. In Fact, he takes pride in being as understated as possible and if he mentions a game more than a few times then it is either incredibly good or very very bad. In this case Incredibly Good.

    2nd Clue: It has both Boobs and Bombs. Lots of Bombs (though it could use a few more boobs)

    So when I got to Origins, playing this was at the top of my list.
    I tracked down Zev and forced him into a submission hold until weeping, he conceeded to teach me.

    How Avery would teach the game:
    Everyone moves their speed and runs over pedestrains.
    Everyone shoots each other and pedestrians.
    You discard rally cards to avoid wrecking and damage.
    Ok lets play!

    How Zev Taught the Game:
    You get a hand of rally cards and equipment cards. The Rally cards represent your handling and the equipment represents er...equipment.

    You can play rally cards from your hand for special effects but they are also discarded to avoid damage or avoid crashing. You can equip your car with the cards from your hand. There are three slots that are each color coded to mathc types of equipment.

    You also get a special skill card that gives you a small perk in certain situations.

    Set your speed, then beginning with the lead inside car, you move spaces indicated by your speed (Speed/ 20.) if you move through a pedestrian space you can try to hit them by rolling a die. (You may discard rally cards to roll more dice.) The dice have 1 hits and 2 hits and the double hits open up. 2 hits kill a pedestrian.

    If you move into a bend the edges are color coded.  On your accelerator, there are colored bands showing how many dice to roill at unsafe speeds. So if  you're gunning it at 120MPH into a tight bend,  you might end up having to roll 6 dice and discard that may cards.
    exploding car
    If you can't discard that many?  KARLgoBOOOOM!! 
    Crashing sets your speed to 20 mph and you loose one of your weapon slots until you pit.  And you get a nice fat -20 point penalty. And everyone else makes fun of you.

    Three crashes and you're outta there or you can play nice and keep them in the race without the ability to make a pit stop. -but then who is going to get your beer when you're thirsty?

    After all the movement you fight. You can shoot pedis (which take three hits instead of two)
    or other cars. Shooting another car gives you a +10 pnt bonus and the cards the victim has  to discard.

    Instead of attacking, you can play a pit card and swap out equipment. There is a nice selection of weapons and gear. At first glance there looked like there could be some very effective combinations but the draw is random. Besides, if anyone gets too uppidty just blow them off the road.

    Each tile of the road has some sort of interesting effect, like having to navigate a jump or roll through a blazing barricade.  Or you might get lucky and run through a shool crosswalk as the little tikes are on their way to school. (That thought will long sustain me as I wait out at car pool duty during those cold rainy January mornings.)

    The board and peices are done in bright primary and secondary colors with fun little red splats of blood to make where the pedis go. Although, I would have liked to see things looks a bit less cartoony, I appreciate the irony of the happy bright colors depicting crazed motorsport killers. roadwarrior
    So how is the gameplay? It is only fun if you enjoy peppering your friends with fire from a vulcan cannon, rolling lots of dice, and running over senior citizens.  And I'm afraid it has no cubes...not even one. Oh wait, the damage dice are cubes so it looks like its got the Eurogame angle covered.  I guess this game has a something for everyone. I will say there is a lot of dice rolling and card playing, and while the game is very simple and straightforward, it does take some time to go through a whole turn of 6 players through a hairpin turn while everyone is shooting at each other. Fortunately if you have a bunch of people you can just shorten the track by removing a few tiles.

    The bottom line is that this game is pure fun. It still doesn't replace my all time favorite of Thunder Road, but comes in a close second with lots of carnage and laughs. Oh and if you don't like it then you're a complete wanker.  Thats not an opinion, it is just a fact.

    Steve"RoadWarrior"Avery

  •  By now, you've probably heard that SUMMONER WARS is a good one- our very own Matt Drake wrote a review of it something like ten years ago and gave it high praise. I even stole the picture at left from his website. I've been playing the game off and on over the past couple of months and now I've finally gotten around to the write-up and I'm happy to say that Plaid Hat Games is off to a great start. Colby Dauch was kind enough to send me a review copy, and in the next couple of weeks I'm going to be doing an interview with him and we can hopefully get him to spill the beans on some of these secret Hasbro projects he's been involved with. Maybe not.

    There may also be a SUMMONER WARS contest in the future- details TBA.

    Anyway, the review is in the usual spot over at Gameshark.com. I may be appearing on one of the new "Jumping the Shark" podcasts in the near future rambling on about board games, video games, or both. Stay tuned.

  • King of Tokyo (2011) Iello

    K: It has finally happened. The Damn Yankees of the board game universe.

    A: I don’t get the Damn Yankees reference.

    K: Really? They’re a super group.

    A: I knew it was music.

    K: Do you get it, though, we’re the super group.

    A: I get it.

    K: How do you think this is going so far?

    A: Bad.

    K: Here, let me look up their big hit. It’s called High Enough.

    A: I’d have to hear it.

    K (singing): Can you take me High Enough

    A: Oh, okay. I know that.

    K & A: King of Tokyo!

     

    First Impressions

    A: Initially, the game didn’t really hold any interest for me. I was kinda pissed with the end game in Monsters Menace America and Richard Berg’s Godzilla seemed like a bloated mess of rules and shitty components. I had pretty much given up on finding a really good monster bashing game. I just assumed this was going to be another disappointment.

    K: First thing I noticed was that Richard Garfield was the designer, he of Magic: The Gathering and Robo Rally fame, among other fames. Never sure what to expect from Richard.

    Theme

    K: I fucking love monsters. I love things that eat other things, especially things that are buildings. I love the idea that another monster, pissed off at the diet and/or manners of the first monster might have a beef, and pick a fucking fight. The possibility of a tertiary monster sends me into throes of man-angry bliss. To control said monster, would be divine.

    A: What the fuck? I like turtles. Even after what I said in First Impressions, I can’t help but get a little giddy because of the theme. What I like especially about it is the ‘king of the hill’ experience. I may be getting into mechanics, but I think when it comes to monsters brawling, the way it goes down is relevant.

    Visual Design

    A: The overall art direction in this game is fucking incredible. The art on the cards, every one, is unique, and that’s something you don’t usually see. The colors are vibrant and the characters are well developed and overall I think it’s a tight package.

    K: I think you’re a tight package. Visual design can suck me. I didn’t even notice. Of course, I was last to arrive to the gaming group, and was given Cyber Bunny. (By the way, I rocked Cyber Bunny, even making up a circa 1980’s cartoon theme song before slaying all other whores.)

    Gameplay

    K: The core mechanic here is Yahtzee. You roll six – dare I say it, my favourite thing in all of gamedom – Action Dice! There are multiple symbols relating to attack, points and the currency of the game: energy cubes. Picking what you want out of action dice is awesome fun, and the luck element here couples with that to make you feel like you’re really in control. Great balance on that front.

    A: After you resolve the dice effects, you are then able to purchase cards that power up your character. This element reminds me of Cosmic Encounter and lends another level to the game.

    K: Yea, I agree. Also, the fact that you don’t have to buy a bunch of gear, it’s just one way to approach the game.

    A: For sure. In terms of gameplay, dice driven, high-conflict combat games are my thang, and that is definitely present here. Although I love laying the beat downs, in King of Tokyo that’s not necessarily going to win you the game. Timing your attacks is very important. On your turn, you can also use the dice to heal or score points, so there are other options.

    K: I think it’s important to go back and talk about the king of the hill mechanic, it being the central premise of the game. When you’re in Tokyo, you attack everyone else and everyone else attacks you. This was very cool and different.

    A: Lurve it.

    Enjoyability

    A: Ah, yea. I loved it. I liked that the turns were simple and that each game felt slightly different. It made me want to try new ways of approaching the game.

    K: I liked it as well, but didn’t feel the replayability that you did. I will admit the game played quite differently each time, but I’m not sure how many times that will hold up.

    A: I don’t think it’s a game you’ll want to spend a whole game night on, but to play at the beginning or the end of a game night, that’s where it’s at its strongest and bestest.

    K: Agreed. Definitely falls into the category of games that are good to own so you can bust it out on occasion. And I do mean own. This is one worth having in the collection.

    And in summation, I conclude, the crux of the matter…

    K: For me, and not atypically, theme is the key here. Loved the rolling mechanic, but loved even more that it meant high impact, steel punches and scaled handfuls of giant monkey hair. Also, this thing is rife with humour. For example, I swear ‘The King’ had a handful of feces, just waiting to monkey bukkake any monster at the drop of a sky scraper. There were a few negatives. Any game that a player can be eliminated from kind of bums me out and overall I thought the game took a little too long. But that’s pretty arbitrary. Mostly, it was a good time. Also, I called the energy cubes ‘energon cubes’ right from the start as a social experiment and the term caught on. Another victory for Optimus Prime. Transform and roll out.

    A: Papa Garfield brought it. I loved the look of the game, I loved the pseudo character building aspect and I loved the sweet (and timely) beat downs. Although the straight ‘victory point grab’ strategy can take away from some of the narrative elements, being able to use Meka Dragon’s Fire Blast to fry your buddy’s assbrokenkaiju makes up for it.

    Final Rating

    Keith: 6.5 out of 10.

    Anthony: I dug it.

     

    Until next time, kids. And don’t forget to Do The Review!

    K: Is it okay to call them kids?
    A: I don’t know. Fuck ‘em.

     


    Anthony is a.k.a Dr. Mabuse

    Keith is a.k.a. AKA (Ask Keith Anything)

  • So, I got a baby. The doctors took it from my wifes belly, which is were I left it,I guess it's my fault.

    It was  a C-section. I remember sitting beside her and the doctor held this weird looking baby covered in what appeared to be lard up over a curtain and said; "here's your baby." as he walked away I yelled; "We don't know the sex yet." he told me to come over and look.

    When I got there I saw a penis, obviously a boy. Then I turned around to tell my wife and forgot all about the curtain. I saw everything. It's one thing to see your wife exposed but let me tell you, mid C-section is as exposed and she can ever be in front of me. I had to pretend I didn't see anything at all and go sit calmly beside her and tell her about our beautifull boy. This boy that has changed everything.

    I remember going out every week-end to play games. It's foggy but I do remember it. I remember a game group I had, I remember going to my brothers house for our "Wildcat" sessions. These are sessions where we get drunk, and then record a song. We pick a genre and a topic and write and record a complete song that very night. Usually garbage and almost always funny. We've written hip hop, death metal, classic rock, Native traditional, Chinese folk, Quebecois Protest songs... the list goes on. I think that Wildcats and gaming are what I miss most right now.

    Before the baby came I heard a shit ton of advice, and thousands of people told me things like; "You just don't know what your in for", "Your life is going to change forever", "there is no experience like it", "It's the best thing you'll ever do"

    I think I heard enough boring platitudes about fatherhood that by the time the baby came out I knew exactly what to expect and so far... nothing has been a surprise. Enough people warned me that I didn't know what I was in for, that my life would change forever that by the time it happened I knew exactly what to expect and I did it anyway. So it's my fault.

    I knew I'd be like this a long time ago too. I remember in our pre-natal classes we went around the room and all the guys had to say "when they got it". They'd say that during the ultrasound it finally clicked, or when they felt the first kick, something like that. It came to my turn and I said that it still hadn't clicked. I was hoping it would happen at the birth.

    But it didn't. There was no "click"... just, nothing. I think for me it's really slow. I'm learning to love him day by day. It's a process. At first I thought something was wrong with me. I asked my friends; "How come I haven't clicked? Am I a monster? I don't feel emotional yet what is wrong with me?" I had intellectualized it too much. I had essentially removed myself from the equation.
    Was the birth of my son the best moment of my life? No. I can say that unequivocally and without remorse. It was a pretty standard medical procedure and it intoduced me to someone, who although I love, doesn't really have too much to offer me just yet.  It's not that it wasn't a great moment, or that it didn't have meaning, it's that I've had so many great moments over the years that to elevate this above them all seems a little ignorant on my part. Who can create a hierarchy of moments that callously anyway? Am I going to let this procedure eclipse the great bonding moments I've had with my friends and family thus far? I am very excited for him to start learning how to speak, I am excited to find out just who he's going to be. But right now:? He's a selfish and inconsiderate person with pretty much nothing interesting to say. If I compare him to my brother, he's an absolute bore.
    I felt worse after the birth. The grandparents were there and they cried when they saw him, my Brother in law showed up and he cried... what kind of asshole am I? I still haven't cried. I hold him close and kiss his head and feel very loving towards him but no uncontrollable emotional outbursts. Everything is slooooowwwww. Am I dead inside?

    The most impressive thing he's done, at 5 weeks now, is roll over to his back from his front. Whooooooo. See, we give him "belly time", where he gets to try and exercise his practically useless limbs and occasionally he manages to flip himself over. That's it. Sure, he's cute, he's precious, and I adore him. But my standards are a bit higher then that. It's just not enough, and I don't feel bad about saying it. Although I sometimes feel like I'm supposed to feel bad based on the responses I've seen to my opinion.

    When he was born I knew I would have to give up some of my hobbies, I just have too many, so I told my wife that the only one I'd keep was the band. I can't have everything. It's all I have left. I'll probably buy Quarriors cause I can play it at lunch here at work but other then that, forget it. It's too bad becuase my favorite games are generally really long games where we sit around all night playing one moster game, trash talk, drink, and hopefully get angry enough at each other that an apology is due come night's end. For now, that's done. At least the band makes money, gaming just costs money and it's not quite as rewarding.

    But even the band is suffering. I haven't been able to write shit since he's been born. I play songs for him all the time but it's not real practice. He doesn't like to hear me practice, he wants something with a beat, something worked out. Our little music critic can apparently tell the difference! What a dick! So I must have played a thousand lullabyes lately ( I have a book of lullabyes from around the world, great book too) and I am so sick of those strong simple melodies. Man, they're all in 3/4 it seems so I'm getting sick of anything in 3/4. I must have played Rubber Ducky a couple hundred times too, dancing around like a fool. I love the bridge though...

    Every day when I / make my way to the tubby
    I find a fella who's / cute and yellow and chubby

    Rub a dub dubby

    Rhyming fella and yellow is genius, don't get me wrong and the jazzy chords are fun to riff on, but I was starting to feel limited. So, after Barnes last blog thingy I started playing him Slayer. He loves the riff in the middle of Angel of Death, the one Public Enemy used. I also started playing him some Willie Dixon... Spoonfull has been great as a sleep tonic. I just bounce the little guy around while singing spoonfull and he passes right out. Turns out he's not nearly as sensitive to genre as my wife would have me believe.

    But no games, just none.

    I miss them, they look at me when I'm sitting on the couch. I sit in the can with my TI3 expansion rules and cards and look wistfully at them, longing to have friends again. I have practiced my Carrom skills sitting alone in the living room, or with a baby on my lap, trying to bounce the striker off the far side and pocket the pieces left behind my shooting line (we play the no shooting backwards rule). My bank shots are getting pretty good! I've played around with Earth Reborn trying to come up with kick ass scenario's that I just can't play test.

    Games I've played since Sunderland was born...

    Wizard (Screw your neighbour) which hardly counts
    Survive... but only Two Player
    7  Wonders at work (thank god for work, without it I wouldn't play at all)

    uh, I think that's it. I play a lot of video games now. Mortal Kombat and Metro 2033. Mortal Kombat is amazing. But video games just aren't the same.

    New feature in my life... I rush to the store whenever my wife wants anything... [i]anything[/i]

    "Hey honey we're low on diapers."

    "No worries babe I'll walk down and get you some"

    "Let me make a list first so you don't have to go again later on."

    "No worries there babe, I'll go eight times in one day if  you like" (anything to get out of the house!)

    That's my life right now. I used to game every week-end, I used to have friends, I used to be irresponsible occasionally, I would walk around downtown aimlessly, stop at the comic store, wander into EB games, go the Art Gallery, I used to just jump up and go to see some new Jazz guitarist, movie or local metal band at the drop of hat,  I used to drink for fun, now I drink out of neccessity, I used to be a man, now I'm a father.

    Anyone want a baby?