One of my most important RPG experiences in the past ten years has been Microscope by Ben Robbins. Part of that is because almost all of my RPG gaming during that time has been long distance and Microscope was wonderful in a play-by-email format.
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Monday, August 28, 2023
I once heard an NPR music critic say the golden age of music is whenever you were twelve.
Friday, August 25, 2023
It took me five months to finally watch Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3, which for me is actually watching a movie quite close to its release. (I am much more of a reader than a viewer) I managed to be relatively spoiler free so it definitely manages to surprise me at times.
- While I knew the movie would feature Rocket, I hadn’t expected it to be centered around him. But I’ve liked the character since the 80s so it’s cool. And, story wise, it works.
- Peter Quill’s arc wasn’t about him getting the girl but growing up. I like that he isn’t wish fulfillment but is used to address the issues of being a man-child.
- I hadn’t been a fan of the MCU Mantis. The comic version can go toe-to-toe with Thor and is always the adult in the room. In this movie, though, she clearly shows herself to be physically tough and very insightful so I was happier.
- Holy cow. The comic High Evolutionary is a borderline hero while this one was incredibly vile and reprehensible. Possibly the pettiest and nastiest villain of the MCU.
- Okay. We still haven’t gotten Moondragon in the MCU. I’ll wait.
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
I’m about eight years late to the party but I picked up and read Archie Comics’ Road to Riverdale. It was a sampler for their New Riverdale line, the first issues of five of the books. And it obviously was done to help promote the Riverdale TV show. (Which I have never watched but I understand critics love to savage it)
I had heard of the New Riverdale line, a reimagining of Archie and his world with more realistic artwork and more continuity-based storylines. And, while not inappropriate, aimed at an older audience.
And it wasn’t quite what I expected. As opposed to being Archie as a serious drama (which isn’t actually unknown), it was more of a denser, wackier look but with a heavy emphasis on character development. Honestly, it felt like a post-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Archie, self aware but room for feels.
I find Archie weird. Before I was old enough to not be embarrassed to read it, I thought of Archie as simplistic, repetitive and reactionary. And, frankly, a lot of that is true. Archie has been going since the 1940s and has been almost always aimed at a younger audience.
At the same time, Archie has been constantly reinventing itself. I don’t even know if Archie Comics itself knows how creators have worked on the franchise. And it’s been addressing social issues for decades.
What muddies the water is the fact that they are constantly reprinting stuff from all over their catalog. So you can find different messages, sometimes in the same magazine.
To be fair, you can point to any long running franchise. Batman has been many things. However, Bruce and his merry band of vigilantes have been allowed to change and adjust. The lack of continuity and constant reprints means Archie Comics keeps the values dissonance constantly churning. There is good stuff but they keep burying it.
Which might be part of the point of New Riverdale.
Heck, it got me to read the first volume of Archie. Which I did enjoy but found almost bipolar. We have moments like Archie’s bumbling destroying the entire Lodge mansion contrasted with Betty’s angry tears at Archie freaking out over her makeover.
From what I understand, the New Riverdale has ended. Perhaps that has to happen. When you actually create a story where the characters develop and change, endings make sense.
Monday, August 21, 2023
Rustling Leaves had been on my radar for a while, seeing as how it is a Roll and Write game available as an app. So, when most of our stuff was in boxes, picking it up was a natural move.
Friday, August 18, 2023
Honeycomb Cavern is the latest game I’ve tried by Alexander Shen.
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
One game, or really a game system, that was never in danger of being purged from my collection is IceHouse/Treehouse/Looney Pyramids. Yes, back in my day, we bought pyramids in sets of fifteen in tubes that didn’t come with any rules!
Monday, August 14, 2023
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve found Battle Card Market Garden an interesting little work. The game really plays itself but it’s an interesting to show Operation Marker Garden on a post card.
Friday, August 11, 2023
In order to ease myself back into the mindset of both making PnP projects and learning PnP games, I made a few of the simplest entries in this year’s One Card Contest: Flyswatter, The Flea and the Circus, One Card Maze. None of them feel like I could get an entire blog out of them but I’ll throw them together as a pack.
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
My journey with learning Dark Imp’s PnP games has come to an end with Restaurantrepreneur. Certainly not my journey of _playing_ them and if they publish more, well, I definitely be interested in learning those. But Restaurantrepreneur wraps up me learning all of the one currently published.
The theme of Restaurantrepreneur is opening up a new restaurant, which is thematically similar to another Dark Imp game, the Grand Opening, about a restaurant’s first day. However, Restaurantrepreneur involves things like buying fixtures, advertising and hiring folks.
The game consists of five different mini-games. (The Menu, Hiring Staff, The Location, The Fixtures and Fittings, and The Marketing) They all have their own rules, are pretty simple and none of them could really stand on their own.
Each turn, someone rolls three dice. Each player uses one die to pick the game (sixes are wild for this purpose), one die to use in that game and one die as money withdrawn from the bank.
Now, if Restaurantrepreneur just consisted of two dice, picking a mini-game and a die to use in it, it would still be pretty good. But the bank is what pushes the game to the next level.
There are three accounts (pips 1&2, pips 3&4, pips 5&6) They each have sixteen money bags. When you have to cross out a seventeenth bag in an account, you are overdrawn and the game ends for you. (You can’t force an end to everyone’s game)
The bank doesn’t just act as a timer for the game, although it does do that. It makes every turn more interesting. And, at a certain point, you have to make sacrifices to either keep the game going or end the game earlier than you might like to get crucial points.
No, none of the elements are new. Dark Imp doesn’t reinvent wheels but it makes good use of wheels that have been road tested.
While I can’t say that the mechanics really reflect the theme (they are either crossing out numbers or marking spaces), the themes tie together nicely with the overall idea of trying to get a restaurant started.
Restaurantrepreneur is part of Dark Imp’s placemat line, which means that they take up two sheets of paper, have slightly more complex rules and are ink heavy. The ink heavy part kept me away from the placemat games initially but I’ve been quite happy with them after I took the ink plunge.
Restaurantrepreneur lands solidly in casual gamer camp. It has good choices and the thematic pieces click together. It’s a game that I would pull out for a low key family game night. Restaurantrepreneur captures the feel of a Euro family game in two pages.
Monday, August 7, 2023
I have finally played Railroad Ink. As someone who is into Roll and Write games, multi-player solitaires and railway games, it’s been a game I’ve been itching to try since I first saw it lol
Friday, August 4, 2023
I dug Radoslaw Ignatow before it was cool :P
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
With our move and all, I had very low expectations for learning games in July. With that said, I exceeded my expectations.
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
During July, we drove across the country to our new home, waited for our stuff to catch up with us and have been unpacking ever since.