, | Game reviews
Quadrialteral_Cowboy_review

There’s a bit of The Witness in Quadrilateral Cowboy. Just a tiny bit. The Witness is a game about teaching you how to play The Witness. Period. Full stop. Quadrilateral Cowboy is, at times, a game about teaching you how to play Quadrilateral Cowboy. Dot, dot, dot.

After the jump, I promise you won’t read the word “heuristics” because this isn’t that kind of review. Continue reading →

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, | Features
Eldritch_Horror_update_post

Last year, I predicted that Fantasy Flight would choke their elegant Lovecraftian adventure boardgame, Eldritch Horror, with the usual glut of add-ons. This was like predicting the sun would rise in the East.

Was I right? In a fit of pique, curiosity, and indiscretion, I bought all of the expansions. I spent a day organizing everything. Labeling plastic baggies (not included), integrating the bits and bobs from six (6!) separate boxes, and trying (and failing) to fit everything in fewer than three full-size boxes. Then I spent several more days playing Eldritch Horror. I lost several points of sanity. But I have emerged to update you on my prediction.

After the jump, rumors of Eldritch Horror’s death are mildly exaggerated. Continue reading →

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, | News
SkyBoats_Kickstarter

I don’t normally post Kickstarter campaigns, because I prefer getting excited about finished games that are currently available. But Brain Good Games doesn’t normally announce a new title. The creators of the minimalist and clever Axes and Acres are looking for support for Skyboats, which seems to be abandoning the minimalist part of the equation. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign and a page on Steam’s Greenlight.

Skyboats is what us boardgamers call “pick up and deliver”, but the twist is that a skyboat doesn’t just go where it wants to go. A skyboat is at the mercy of the wind. The flow of goods is dictated by the wind patterns, which are in turn dictated by the flow of goods. If you’re not convinced, you probably haven’t tried Axes and Acres. You can get it here and I’ll walk you through the basics here.

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, | News
Lead_and_Gold_free

Before there was Vermintide, the very good Left 4 Dead But With Warhammer Rats, there was Lead and Gold. In 2010, developer Fatshark released a very good Western-themed multiplayer shooter with unique character classes, carefully built multiplayer modes, and an absence of unlockable hats. No one played it.

Now that Vermintide is presumably paying the bills — the latest DLC was released a month ago — Fatshark is feeling magnanimous; they’re handing out copies of Lead and Gold for free. Well, at least the first 100,000 copies. Get yours here. You can even find populated servers online.

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, | News

Even if you don’t have plans to jump back into Guild Wars 2 just yet, you’re going to want to at least reinstall it when season 3 starts on July 26. Otherwise, later in the year, you’re going to jump back in and you’re going to be all, “Wait, there was a new season and now I have to buy it?” From the announcement:

Just as in Season 2, you can unlock each episode for free by logging in to Guild Wars 2 any time between the episodes initial release and the release of the next episode. If you dont own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, you can still log in to unlock the episode for free — itll be there waiting for you once you purchase the expansion!

This gives me just under two weeks to finally get around to finishing season 2…

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, | Features
Boardgame_Commandments_featured

The god of boardgaming is an angry god. Very Old Testament. I have just come down from the mountain with these 10 commandments printed on quality cardboard stock mounted on boards that unfold like, uh, like this, I think. Here, you hold that side, and…no, no, that doesn’t bend that way, it bends the other way. No, no, yeah, okay now this part folds out like so. Okay, lay it out on the table. I think it’s upside down, spin it around thisaway. Okay, there. Let’s see what we’ve got here.

After the jump, this god sure does cuss a lot. Continue reading →

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, | Game reviews
Lego_Force_Awakens_review

I want to like Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I really do. In the past, the folks at Traveller’s Tales have whimsically recalled the joy of Batman, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and, of course, Star Wars. But unlike JJ Abrams whimsically recalling the joy of Star Wars with his adroit filmmaking, this latest Lego iteration can’t live up to its inspiration. It’s familiar, played out, and disappointingly half-baked.

After the jump, 87/243, so only 156 Lego characters to go! Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
Witcher_3_haircut

Now that I’m playing The Witcher 3 in earnest, I’ve decided I’m going to ignore Gwent, the ingame collectible card game that Geralt can play to fritter away time and orens. As an erstwhile Pazzak player, Caravan player, SkyStones player, and GamePig owner, I know firsthand how much you can fritter away in an ingame game. So my Geralt will decide he has better things to do than play some Hearthstone clone. Besides, isn’t a standalone version of Gwent in the works? Wouldn’t playing Gwent in The Witcher 3 be like playing early access Gwent? I want no part of it. Which means I’ll have that much more money for things that actually matter! Like finally getting a haircut (pictured).

After the jump, here’s me not faffing about with cards. Continue reading →

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, | Movie reviews
The_Shallows_review

Sony’s marketing for The Shallows calls it a taut thriller. Taut is a nice way of saying “low budget”. The production consisted almost entirely of filming someone waiting on a rock in the ocean. Before that, you get some heavy-handed character development. After that, you get about ten minutes of action with a CG shark. The most interesting character is a seagull. No lie. A seagull. Taut thriller. Pfft. The only thing taut is Blake Lively’s amazing body. You’d never guess from this movie, which uses her about as well as any calendar shoot uses its model, that Lively is so good in Age of Adeline. Why don’t you just watch that instead? If you want cheesecake in your shark movie, Saffron Burrows in Deep Blue Sea is plenty taut and the movie itself is a real hoot.

The Shallows has no appreciation for the eerieness of the sea, much less the terrible majesty of its shark. It must be difficult to make a 90-minute movie out of something that should be over in nine seconds (for another example, see (i.e. don’t see) Andrew Traucki’s The Reef). I don’t envy any filmmaker who has to make a thriller, taut or otherwise, about a woman not getting eaten by a shark for 90 minutes. But director Jaume Collet-Serra, so deft with Orphan and so confident with Run All Night, has nothing but the expected jump scares and some godawful found footage gimmicks. Thanks, GoPro. And what an utterly ludicrous finale. You know how in movies a bear or dragon or dog jumps at the hero, and the hero holds up a spear so the bear or dragon or dog impales itself? The Shallows is one of the most absurd variations on that theme I’ve ever seen. It wouldn’t be out of place in a Road Runner cartoon.

Hopefully, Sony will release an extended edition that has more scenes with the seagull.

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