The Moon Is Out – One Night Ultimate Werewolf Review

There is no genre of game with which I have quite the same love-hate relationship as traitor games. Part of this is just plain old burnout, since it’s a popular genre over the last several years and one that frequently is trotted out in large groups. The other part is that it’s a difficult genre to do well. It embraces a specific player personality, so they often struggle to be fun for someone besides the most outgoing and verbal person at the table. It’s also tricky to nail the right complexity level. Too much mechanical flourish, and the social component is stifled in a miasma of rules questions, as sometimes happened in heavily-expanded games of Battlestar Galactica. Not enough structure and they meander pointlessly, like the senseless Are You The Traitor? Continue reading

Takes a second to say goodbye – War (1983)

The normal history of U2 points to a couple of radical reinventions, usually after the overwrought Rattle and Hum, and then again after the muted response to Pop. But U2 is a band very sensitive to what they need to do, correcting course when they feel they’ve reached the end of a creative well. The first time they did this was after the mushy October, with the blistering attack of War. Rather than chiming guitars, the listener is greeted by a blast of martial drumbeats in “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Songs rarely meander, instead surging forward with an energy that finally delivers on the most intense moments of the first two albums. U2 has released several great albums, but I would call War their first masterpiece. Continue reading

Planet Chudyk – Impulse Review

The last two designs from Carl Chudyk were both, in their own way, brilliant. Glory to Rome built on the groundwork laid by San Juan to create a nuanced production game, probably one of the best card games of the last ten years. Innovation was even more extraordinary, a game that spoke to how ideas and inventions unbalance and dictate the flow of history. Now Chudyk turns his eye toward a broader genre of hobby games: space empires. The most visible entry into this genre is the enormous Twilight Imperium, but recent years have brought other entries like Eclipse and the well-received reprint of Cosmic Encounter. But the new game, Impulse, is a different animal altogether. Even while it fulfills we expect from the genre, it breaks countless design rules to create something fresh and interesting, if a little difficult. Continue reading

Gloria in te domine – October (1981)

October is one of two U2 albums to go largely unacknowledged by the band (the other being 1997’s Pop). It came out in 1981 to a middling response, and it’s gotten short shrift in all of the U2 best-of collections. In fact its only appearance was the title track in the 1980-1990 collection, and even that was a hidden track. It also hasn’t seen a lot of concert performances since the mid-1980s, when they finally had enough songs to ignore it. Continue reading

Haters Gonna Hate

Today Weezer released a new album,  their first in four years. For those wondering, the new album is actually pretty good. It’s not a new masterpiece, but it’s unreasonable to expect a band to release nothing but masterpieces. Given the bizarre nature of Weezer albums in the last ten years, I’d say that “good” is commendable. This seems to be the general consensus on the album, including a surprisingly positive review from Pitchfork. In a piece that maps closely to my own feelings, the following passage stuck out to me: Continue reading

Review – Every Mario Kart 8 Track

It's-a-me!

It’s a common misconception that unemployment means you are looking for a job, and that’s what you’re doing. The truth is that this is only a portion of what you do. In my case a big part of unemployment has been occupied by caring forpreschoolers and wondering why 4-year-old boys are so insane. Then there are thetimes spent polishing resumes, applying for jobs, following up, stuff like that. The rest of that time has basically been taken up eating, sleeping, and playing Mario Kart 8. Continue reading

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