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Michael Barnes
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Episode 60 - Critical Strike

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We-reNotWizards
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Zombie Kidz Evolution Review

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Michael Barnes
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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

Barnes on Games- Talon Head to Head with Kyle Mann, Mexica in Review, Shadowrun: Crossfire

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25 Feb 2016 18:43 #223334 by Michael Barnes

Writing on game components is BARBARISM. At least it used to be.

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25 Feb 2016 22:46 #223335 by Sagrilarus
I kinda think I should get a copy of the old Mexica, because I have an old copy of Tikal and Java so it would make a set. Maybe this new printing will shake loose one of the old ones. They're few and far between.

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25 Feb 2016 23:04 #223337 by Gary Sax
Solid reviews the last month or so, Barnes.

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25 Feb 2016 23:12 - 25 Feb 2016 23:14 #223338 by Frohike
"So the aggressive part of the game doesn’t result in material loss, it results in incurring additional costs that over the course of the game can put you at a severe points deficit."
...

How is this different from the typical "death by a thousand passive aggressive cuts" of most contemporary euros? That form of "aggression" doesn't appeal to me all that much.
Last edit: 25 Feb 2016 23:14 by Frohike.

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25 Feb 2016 23:55 #223341 by Michael Barnes
Wel, it's a 45 minute placement and scoring game so there's not time for 1000 cuts...

It isn't like that. You can directly block someone in with buildings or canals or deny access to an area. It's not Kemet or Blood Rage where it's in your face aggressive, no, but you can seriously impact another player's next turn.

I kind of wish I had the original Mexica myself (and Java for that matter) to have the matching set...but the new edition looks really great and the resin buildings are much cooler than the lightweight plastic in the original edition.

Gosh, I want Java really bad now.
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26 Feb 2016 08:29 - 26 Feb 2016 08:33 #223351 by Sagrilarus
You know it's funny, one of the things Kyle said in the Talon review is "the darn thing is going to get played" and that's proven itself out over the last couple of weeks for me.

This is a very soloable title, and I've gotten three sessions in solo with just an hour or two to spare in the schedule. This past Wednesday night I was up at the big gaming group session north of Baltimore and pulled it out at 10:15, in spite of being more than an hour from home on a very rainy night. Out came Talon, and we had one ship hollowed out before I had to leave at 11:15. And that included teaching the game to guys that had been sipping on scotch whiskey for the two hours beforehand.

C&C can't do that as much because of the setup involved. Hold the Line is in the neighborhood, but honestly, with Talon you open the board on the table, lay down a couple of chits and go. The rules are very accessible even for new players.

It's not that the game is easy, it's that it's playable. There is some serious tactical action available that's about four minutes away from your first move.


I'm really liking the head-to-head format for those reviews by the way. I betcha they get more interesting as you find your groove and get a little more comfortable with putting digs in on each other. That's good reading especially when people disagree on the game. Granted it's for a commercial web site, but that doesn't mean you can't get a little grittier on your delivery.
Last edit: 26 Feb 2016 08:33 by Sagrilarus.
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26 Feb 2016 10:04 - 26 Feb 2016 10:08 #223357 by MacDirk Diggler
Last edit: 26 Feb 2016 10:08 by MacDirk Diggler.

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26 Feb 2016 10:07 - 26 Feb 2016 10:07 #223358 by MacDirk Diggler
Ah, head to head is the BEST!

I am curious how they get made. Do you agree to an outline beforehand? What pre discussion is necessary to ensure there is room to differ? Are they written a paragraph at a time and emailed back and forth? Or is it a phone conversation that gets transcribed?

Regarding the getting "grittier".... How awesome would it be, if, after Barnes makes a particularly well reasoned and articulate point, the other reviewer went all Chevy Chase circa 1979 on his ass.... "Barnes, you ignorant slut...."
Last edit: 26 Feb 2016 10:07 by MacDirk Diggler.
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26 Feb 2016 11:21 #223363 by LazarusTNT
Crossfire is really bad. It's not badly designed, per se, it's simply too hard. Like, "brutally punative" hard.

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26 Feb 2016 12:23 #223365 by Michael Barnes
The head to heads are our most popular articles. I wanted to come up with a fresh format and the idea was to get folks that wildly disagree on games to have a dialogue about them. But it seems like what we usually wind up with are "hug to hug" articles. I'm trying to encourage them to be more aggressive with them. Kyle did one with Teri Litorco on Machi Koro that was much more divergent last week, but they didn't get like violent with each other or anything like that.

Making one of these is a matter of me OKing the assignment- usually two folks come forward and say they want to, or it may be a situation where we have two people that want to cover a game (as is the case with Talon). It's basically just batting a Word doc back and forth without a setup, usually one person kicks it off and then we let them go until there's not much left to say. I like them because it gets people away from the intro-rules/process-opinion-qualifiers-conclusion structure and more into detail.

I don't know that Shadowrun is badly designed so much as that it's just so...meh. It is so by-the-numbers routine that it's almost painful. The two games I played were too difficult, I thought, but it seemed like it was that kind of "oops, drew the wrong card!" difficulty that usually signals a lazy or uninspired co-op design. I didn't really see the point in having the classes and so forth when you can buy any card and there's not really much value in specializing unless there's a card effect that impacts playing all one color or multiple colors. Already trying to work up a trade for it.
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26 Feb 2016 13:52 #223367 by JEM
Shadowrun Crossfire is an excellent game. In no way "too hard" it just has a meta that takes some* getting used to. Every game we play is a tense battle for survival. If they ever want to make a game of the movie, "The Warriors," a re-skin of this would be perfect.

*a lot.

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26 Feb 2016 13:54 #223368 by rocketkiwi
I have the old edition of Mexica, and I'd rather have a new one just because of the box size. I hate the longboxes that Tikal, Java, Torres, etc are in. They are a pain in the ass to store.

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26 Feb 2016 18:23 #223388 by Michael Barnes
See, I _love_ the old, flat boxes. I greatly prefer them to the squares. I get excited when a game comes in a flat box. I think it's one of the reasons I like Xia so much. Dumb, but it is what it is.

It's the Goldseiber size boxes that bug me, the "giant bookcase" size things that are as fat as a square box but only 3/4 as long as a long box. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, AFRICA!

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27 Feb 2016 10:27 #223433 by p4warrior
Kyle from the Talon article here. I've tried to sign up on this site a bunch but always got an error and couldn't figure it out. I'm an old man now apparently.

Michael's crazy; Talon's easily a 5-star game. It's definitive for the genre. I really think GMT's gonna have a massive hit on their hands here. Space combat without all the bunk.

Hope you recover quickly Michael. Not least because you sign my paychecks.
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27 Feb 2016 16:43 #223452 by Sagrilarus
CoolStuffInc has started advertising it through Google AdSense. It's popped up on a couple of screens for me. The fact that they've putting an ad for it into the auctions is a sign that they think they have a good seller.

It has a very low entry barrier, and you kill things pretty doggone quickly. I think it will do very well with the current short-attention-span gaming environment.
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