No Mere Brush War – The Last King of Scotland Review

Last King of Scotland cover

Fun fact: the flags are reversed on the countries…

I’m not a timid gamer. I don’t shy away from complexity, and I don’t mind long sessions. But something has always scared me a little bit about wargames. There are a lot of reasons for this. Fair or not, wargames equal complexity in my mind. Historicity is always a key consideration in the genre, and that means that little exceptions will exist to make the game a little more accurate. Such detail also means that the game will might run for a while, possibly hours. But as I’ve said, complexity and length is something I can negotiate with. The real reason that wargames are intimidating is because of the subculture that comes with them. It’s a world that exists outside of Renaissance princes and Orcish invaders, one of military tactics and an insane knowledge of historical minutia. I like history, but it’s hard to see a paper map with stacks of chits and not feel just a little inadequate. Continue reading

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Why Video Reviews Suck, and How To Fix Them

Video review watcher

As you may or may not have noticed, I love the written word. It’s a medium in which I am the most comfortable, which is why you may noticed I can be a little flowery in my wording. Don’t worry, I’m working on it. And as niche and narrow as this hobby can be, I love to write about board games. I’ve heard it said that when one engages in creative work regularly, further creative work flows more naturally, and that has proven true for me. The truth is that our hobby can go as deep as we want it to go, and since most board game writers aren’t really pushing too far past “should I buy, Y/N,” I sometimes feel like we’re forging new ground whenever we just talk about games and how they impact us. That’s a cool thought. Continue reading

No Disintegrations – Star Wars: The Card Game Review

Star Wars Box cover

I’m on the leader!

Star Wars represents my third attempt at one of Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games. My first was a copy of Game of Thrones that I scored in a math trade. I tried most of one two-player game, and it was not much to my taste at all. I found the strategy more daunting than the effort I was prepared to expend, and I’m not a big fan of the source material in the first place. So into the trade pile it went. Then I tried my hand at the very unusual Lord of the Rings card game. I’m a big fan of those books, but after a brief flash of enthusiasm, that one left me cold as well. It felt mired in process, and all too often the cooperative nature rendered the game an utter slog.  Continue reading

Cover Your Mouth – Pandemic Retrospective

Eh, could be worse

New overdone artwork shown

This weekend, I watched Steven Soderbergh’s thriller from 2011, Contagion. I’m not entirely sure what I was suspecting, but I liked what I saw. I found it to be a clear-eyed portrayal of what a true global pandemic would look like, without apocolyptic overtones and overwrought doomsaying. It was simply about a very serious global scare and the aftermath, and that straightforward quality suited the subject matter well. In some ways, it felt more realistic and therefore more frightening. But the whole time, I was remembering back to the movie’s release, when my wife pestered me to go and see “that Pandemic movie.” Continue reading