All My Lovin’ – Love Letter Review

love letter cover

I’m not sure I actually like Love Letter, but I also don’t know if I’d ever turn down a game of it. What would  be the point of refusing to play? It’s such a trifle that I find it hard to believe that anyone would hate it enough to want nothing to do with it. In fact the most impressive thing about Love Letter is probably that it makes a case for itself at all, over easier activities like having a sip of coffee or sitting quietly. It’s just good enough to justify its existence and it makes the wise choice to wrap it up at about the two minute mark, then grab the cards, shuffle them up, and go again. Continue reading

Heroes and Wonders – Mare Nostrum Review

Mare Nostrum cover

There’s conquerin’ afoot!

I received my copy of Mare Nostrum in a trade almost five years ago, and I have played many times. Just this weekend I played it after an extended hiatus. We were playing with the Mythology expansion, where the players have the option to call upon the favor of a god to give them a one-shot boost for the round. I made the foolish decision to spend the resources to use a god that actually was a lot less useful than I had expected. Mare Nostrum is not a very forgiving game when it comes to wasting resources, and I assumed I had blown this one. But then an odd thing happened. The god I had selected, Baal, had the ability to destroy a city of an opposing player. I realized I was holding on to a live grenade that I could lob at someone, and that I could get my way to a limited extent by using the threat of the destruction of a city. I’ve played many times, and for whatever reason this had never occurred to me. I probably would have still been better off saving my cards and doing something else, but for a brief glorious moment I had the joy of watching an old game reveal yet another new facet to me. Continue reading

Forever Weird

Weird Al

I think that every music fan goes through a Weird Al phase. Mine began in middle school, around the time of Bad Hair Day and peaking with the release of Running With Scissors. Oh man, Running With Scissors. That was the summer of the first Star Wars prequel, and also the summer that I took a trip back to the USA without my parents. I was excited to see Episode I, but I was almost as excited to get Weird Al’s newest opus. I listened to it so many times that I think I had memorized “Albuquerque” by the time I made it home. It was also around this time that I discovered UHF, which became a permanent fixture at every sleep over and youth group event.  Continue reading

Board Gaming’s Vanishing History

Manhattan!

A couple of years ago I wrote an article talking about the lack of historical context within the board gaming hobby, especially when compared to other mediums. There is a pervasive ambivalence about old games in the hobby today, which is increasingly focused on the newest Kickstarter campaign and the churn of the right-now. At the time I thought that there was hope for those of us who really enjoy older games, because I believed we were living in the age of reprints. Back  then old classics like Wiz-War, Merchant of Venus, and Survive! were getting top shelf reprints from major publishers. But now that a couple of years have passed, I fear we are more disconnected with our roots than ever before. This time however, it’s not because of the ambivalence  that I complained about. It’s because the games that brought many of us into the hobby are quickly vanishing, to be replaced by games with vast expansion lines and fancy miniatures. Continue reading

Headed South

I don’t tend to get too personally revealing on my blog, and that’s gone doubly so for the last six months or so. It’s easy to just let this be my “review” spot, where I can chat about games and music and so forth, so I don’t always remember to share important things with my readers, especially ones that might affect what they are reading.  Continue reading

Good News for Lonely Mages – Mage Knight: The Lost Legion Review

Mage Knight: The Lost Legion

Looks like we found that legion…

It says something about Mage Knight’s quality that even as my life has become less permitting of long dense games, I still find time to play Vlaada Chvatil’s classic several times a year. I enjoyed it when I first got it two years ago, but it has only improved since then. The more time I spend with it, the more I am convinced it is not only Chvatil’s best game, but perhaps one of the  best fantasy board games ever designed. But one thing I didn’t think the game needed was an expansion. It’s such a vast ocean of a game with so many ways to play, that I couldn’t think of anything that needed to be added. But now that I’ve played The Lost Legion a few times, I see how wrong I was. It’s a terrific expansion, enriching the original experience to such a point that to go back to not using it would  feel like a regression. Continue reading

For Asgard!

simonson thor

Like many boys, my childhood was filled with comics. For me those comics were collections of daily strips, particularly Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, and heaven help me, Garfield. I also was big on Asterix, partially because I had never heard of him before moving overseas. My favorite comics were (and probably still are) Tintin. But unlike a lot of people, superhero comics were never something I got into until adulthood. I do remember the hoopla surrounding the death of Superman, and I had some passing casual interest in TV shows about them. Batman: The Animated Series began while I was young, and the X-Men had infiltrated popular culture as well. But the world of the superhero comic was one that remained closed off to me. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,164 other followers