A Room Of Our Own

12 gardens live billy joel

I moved to Kansas City from Michigan in 2006, just a year out of college. I was about to embark on a short-lived stint in college before I settled down, met my wife, and put down roots in the KC area, but I didn’t know any of that in 2006. All I knew was that I had a new life awaiting me, my first time on my own, and I knew it was a long ways away. Anticipating a lot of time with my own thoughts, I went to Wal-Mart and looked for some new music to help occupy me on my trip. For whatever reason, my eye was drawn to Billy Joel’s new live album, 12 Gardens. Continue reading

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I’ve Seen The Lights Go Out On Olathe

2003 blackout New York

I saw the Empire State laid low.

Taking advantage of the long weekend, I planned several weeks ago to get together five friends and play a game of Dune, the classic game based on Frank Herbert’s book. This was going to be my fourth game, and I’ve been waiting to get it played again since this winter. It’s not always a long game, but it can go as long as six hours if it goes the distance, so it can take considerable effort to get it set up. Needless to say, this was a pretty exciting prospect for me. Continue reading

I Think I Smell A Rat – The Resistance Review

The Resistance

It’s more futile than they let on.

Three years ago I promised I would never play The Resistance again. Back then it was a brand new game, the newest entry in the swelling ranks of suspicion games. Our group had been playing it a lot lately, since it’s short and uncomplicated. The first ten games or so I had a great time, but as it started coming out a little more frequently I realized that it was wearing thin. One particular session was enough for me to decide to close the book on The Resistance, and I stayed with my plan for a full three years. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I finally returned to this game after my extended hiatus. Continue reading

Godzilla – Movie Review

RAAAAAAAHHHHH-SKRONK!

Here there be some light spoilers. Ye be warned.

The only proper way to discuss a Godzilla movie is in relation to other Godzilla movies. If you hear someone complaining about the special effects in, say, Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero, that person has already missed the point. That’s one reason the 1998 American version of Godzilla felt so disappointing. It felt the need to distance itself as far as it could from the Japanese series, but it turns out that Godzilla really does work best in the context of what’s gone before. Continue reading

Restoring Balance

off balance seagull

Careful, buddy!

One of my favorite things about board gaming is the math trade. For those who’ve never had the pleasure of participating in one, it’s essentially an enormous board game lottery without nearly as much risk. You list games that you have to trade to other people, and everyone adds theirs to the same list. Then you each put together a list of games from the big list that you would accept for your games, and a computer program puts together trade loops so that people end up with new games for their old ones. If that sounds a little arcane (I didn’t explain it very well), don’t worry. The point is that there’s a real sense of anticipation, almost like a mini version of Christmas. You don’t know what games you’ll get for yours, but you know it’s something you’re excited about. Continue reading

Tales of Wonder – Tales of the Arabian Nights Review

Arabian Nights

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place…

I still can’t believe that Z-Man’s reprint of Tales of the Arabian Nights had any impact at all. There’s a market for even the dodgiest games, but this one runs counter to just about every trend I had seen in gaming. It’s far too random to approach anything like strategy, and it makes a mockery of player choice. It’s key mechanic involves passing a huge book around the table while you look up numbers on charts to see what paragraph you have to read. It resembles nothing so much as the world’s most expensive Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. How could such a game become anything besides an admirable failure? Continue reading

Monster of My Heart

When I was about eight years old, I discovered a series of books at my library about movie monsters. Of course that included the Universal monsters like Frakenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman (of whom I was a little afraid), but it also included monsters like King Kong and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. But the one who captivated me was Godzilla. I must have checked that book out a dozen times. I think it might have been his resemblance to a dinosaur that got me in the door, but I was truly enchanted by the enormous variety of creatures he battled. Rodan, Mothra, and the coolest one of all, King Ghidorah. Continue reading