Five Pesos on Nutmeg! – Manila Review

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Under an orange Filipino sky.

I’ve been reviewing games for nearly five years, and I’ve never played anything quite like Manila. I don’t mean that my experience hasn’t led me to anything similar, I mean I don’t even know anyone ELSE who has played anything similar. Usually something so unique would be a tough sell. After all, “unique” is usually a fancy word for “weird.” But Manila never feels weird, only natural and fun. The wildest part of all is that Manila isn’t even available anymore. I’m not sure how this gross injustice happened. Far worse games have been consistent favorites, while this gem withered on store shelves and now fetches nearly $100 on the secondary market. Continue reading

Friday Fallout – October 26, 2012

sven's warning

I want to say ouch in Swedish, but I can’t get my keyboard to put that little line through the “o.”

Oh, hello there! Yes, it’s been a couple of weeks since the last Fallout column, but my excuses are that I had a very busy Friday two weeks ago, and I was on vacation last week. So there. So now you know that you, as my readers, are not more important than personal relaxation and being busy.  Continue reading

Bump In The Night – Fearsome Floors Review

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Finally, the foul fiend finishes his feast, and follows the scent of a fearful fellow.

There are times when a game sounds so much better in your head than it actually is in real life. You read every review and gaze upon the box on the store shelf. And you finally get the game…and it just isn’t that great. Not bad, exactly. Just not what you had hoped it would be. That’s where I find myself with Fearsome Floors. It’s not that it’s a bad game. Indeed, it has some good things to recommend it. But it looked so much better in my mind’s eye. Maybe it’s a situation of expectations. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be a problem. Lots of games try to do something different than you expect. But the issue with Fearsome Floors is that I think the game IS trying to be what I wanted it to be. It can see the goal, but it can’t quite make that crucial leap to excellence. Continue reading

My Fellow Americans – Swing States 2012 Review

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This…is GNN.

I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was going to review Swing States 2012, the new solo election game from Victory Point Games, and he remarked that if we weren’t already eye-deep in election season, he might be interested in playing it. But the thought of digging into anything to do with the current US Presidential election made him feel a little queasy. I can’t say I blame him, but when you strip away the endless attack adds, distorted facts, and general cynicism, it’s plain that elections are perfect fodder for games. Swing States 2012 is the first to my knowledge, however, that makes it a purely solitaire experience. Continue reading

Motherland! – Kremlin Review

kremlin

Game play you!

I’ve always had a somewhat romanticized view of the Soviet Union. It’s not that I particularly agree with communism or that I’ve ever spent time in the country. I think it’s more that it’s like the bizarro version of the United States. It’s fascinating to think that, for as afraid as the US was during the Cold War, that our “enemies” had their own fears and struggles about us. Because of that 40-year struggle, the Russian culture has always felt like the other side of the coin to me, a counterpart that we’ve never been able to figure out. Continue reading

Friday Fallout – October 5th, 2012

headbangers

Maybe they’re born with it…

I could begin this section by griping about how busy I’ve been. But that would be redundant wouldn’t it? Suffice to say that adjusting to a second child, while easier than adjust to the first one, still takes some doing. We’re getting there, slowly by surely. Tonight’s my big game night, so there’ll be more game news later on. Continue reading

Stupider Like A Fox – Talisman Review

Talisman

A dragon! A dragon! I swear I saw I dragon!

I have a genre of games that I like to call “stupider like a fox.”  These games are profoundly silly, filled with ways for your planning to be rendered moot by simple bad luck. While this might make a lesser game aggravating, if a game goes far enough, it comes back around to being terrific. Only a couple games I’ve played have really been able to swing for the fence of stupidity and succeed so wildly. Magical Athlete and Dungeonquest are two such games.  But before them, there was Talisman. Continue reading