What, no D&D or food for two weeks in a row? Nope, I’m going with another board game review, so many of them coming out right now, but I’ve been able to play more/new to me games as of late, so I get to tell…
Month: March 2017
Here’s the newest Thursday video that I’ve been doing. Because of March Madness happening now I came up with the idea of Monster Madness. This is where I tackle a monster and try and create a story/campaign arc around them that people could use instead of getting away from cultists, drow, goblins and dragons.
Let me know if there is a monster you want me to use?
So, about a week and a half ago now (I think), Kristen and I got the chance to go see a Fathom Events showing of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale for another blog that Kristen writes for, Twin Cities Geek. Since she wrote about it there, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the movie here.
If you’re not familiar with the Sword Art Online anime, the basic premise to it is that, in the first season of the show, they get stuck in a fantasy video game called Sword Art Online and to get out you have to beat the game. It’s a full immersion sort of game where you put on a head set and you are transported into the game. That’s the basic premise, except, to add one thing to it, it isn’t about clearing levels, beating boss monsters and epic fights, it’s about the people’s lives who are stuck in the game and how they deal with that well or not. The second season is more of the same thing, so you can kind of guess what the movie is about.
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale follows many of the same characters you meet in the anime, mainly Kirito and Asuna, as they spend time in the real world as well as venturing back into the old games. In the real world there is now an AR (augmented reality) system that is becoming really popular. Not learning for their many previous mistakes with getting sucked into games or games being more real than they expected, everyone is buying into it. But it turns out that the game might be more than they are thinking. Kirito starts to expect this when Asuna’s memories of the fantasy world from the first season are stolen from her. He then needs to find a way to get the love of his life memories back and as he searches into that, he unravels a greater mystery than he had thought was there.
I tweeted out my very brief thoughts on the anime/movie, but I’ll go into more depth here. Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is the light beer/pilsner of anime. What do I mean by that and is that a bad thing? To answer the second question first, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In the case of a light beer or a pilsner, sure there isn’t a ton of flavor of depth to the beer, but you’re still getting the alcohol. That’s kind of what this movie is. It’s something that doesn’t have a ton of depth, touches on areas at kind of a surface level, but it’s still an enjoyable movie. And as the case for some people with light beer and pilsners, that’s what you want. You don’t want to get into something that is very heady. It was an enjoyable watch and would I watch it again? Maybe, eventually, but it isn’t something that grabbed me all that well.
What I do appreciate about the movie is that it was more than just a monster hacking and slashing movie, they spent some time trying to developer real character driven plot hooks. Now, all of these hooks were quite shallow, but it wasn’t just cool AR monster followed by a fight. I do want to say that I didn’t appreciate some of the fights though. In particular, one fight towards the end of the movie, the animators were like “We have no clue how to do this.” so they were given the direction, just make it a ton of close-ups where you have no idea of what you are really seeing, move the camera around a lot (aka the Bourne Identity method) and we’ll call it good. It made for a very bad fight sequence.
Would I recommend that someone goes sees this?
If you’re a fan of the show, definitely and you probably already have or already plan on it. Would I recommend it to someone else. Sure, it’s a popcorn type of flick, know that going into it, and enjoy it, but if there are other movies that you want to see, put it low on your list and you won’t have missed out on anything if you don’t see it. I probably wouldn’t have ever seen it if Kristen hadn’t gotten free tickets for it, but I’m not sad that I saw it.
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The Xbox One adventures continue! Today, we’re talking about another game I’ve recently become acquainted with–Ori and the Blind Forest! When I started playing this game, I was still reeling a bit from Life is Strange. Watching Peder play that game was a great experience, and I…
Moving away from the world of Role Playing Games for a little bit, I wanted to talk about what the “essentials” are to have in your board game closet, on your board game shelf, or stacked in a corner somewhere. This list is meant to give you an idea of some good games to have around that people will enjoy and to introduce you to a different type of gaming. I’m not putting extremely complex games on this list and I’m not going to put extremely niche games on this list, these are games that if you want to build up your collection, it’s a good spot to start.
10: King of Tokyo
Why? Because this game introduces you to a fun, quick pseudo-euro style game that is all about die rolling. The rules are simple and it is very fast to pick up and gives you a lot of different ways to try and win the game. Plus, the theme, you get to play the movie monsters (or their knock-off cousins) who are trying to destroy Tokyo. Even a non-board gamer is going to enjoy that theme.
9: Five Tribes
Why? This game kind of gives you everything. You get some unique mechanics with the piece movement, you get to build up your own collection of different items, and it requires some strategy as you try and determine how you’re going to get that next person or resource that you need. Five Tribes is also a game that is visually fun to look at. The pieces are nice, the artwork is nice, and it’s very bright and colorful. Finally, even if someone new is playing the game, they can still pick a single strategy and keep trying that to win the game.
8: Seven Wonders
Why? This card drafting game set in ancient times is pretty straight forward. You get to build your wonder of the world. Again, it’s a theme that is very accessible for new players, and it is one of the games that uses a drafting mechanic that is a ton of fun to play. Now, this game can require a bit more strategy than some other games on this list, but it plays quickly, and people tend to want to play it again.
Why? Smallworld is the area control game for this list. It’s a fun lighthearted game about stomping down the other players as quickly as you can and then getting stomped down yourself. Why this works without hurt feelings is that it is basically impossible to gang up on someone and the game moves quite quickly. It also has very good replay value as each race that you can pick get’s randomly matched up with an ability so some game you might have flying orcs and in other games they might be diplomatic orcs.
Why? This is my worker placement game for the list, and it has a very unique component to it. You get to build the game board as you go along. This game moves pretty quickly, there are a limited number of options and the scoring tends to stay pretty close throughout. The game has been around for a long time and it’s stood the test of time for a reason.
5: Resistance/Ultimate Werewolf
Why? Pick one of these games, do you want to be trying to take down a future government, do you want to be trying to find out the secret werewolf? These games are a great hidden agenda game that tends to play quite quickly as you try and determine who a traitor might be or who a werewolf might be. It’s good for a social sort of game that is around bluffing, and there are so many different versions/themes of this game that you can really pick the one that is right for your group or for your friends who you are trying to get to play.
4: Sushi Go Party!
Why? This is another card drafting game, but with this game you are drafting adorable little anthropomorphized little Japanese sushi. The game plays quite quickly, the rules are easy to understand, and you can have many different combinations to start out your game. It’s also good because it expands out to eight players.
So, the last seven entries I would say are good games, but it’s kind of a take it or leave it with them. I’d highly recommend all of them to someone who is looking to build up your collection of games and someone who is looking to try a bunch of games to figure out what type of game they like, but these last three I really think should be on every board game shelf.
Why? Tsuro is my go to “party” game, I call it a party game because you can have up to 8 players and the game goes very very quickly. Plus, you don’t have to pay that close attention to what is going on until your turn because your option to do things is very limited. However, this isn’t what you’d think of a normal party game because it doesn’t have you guess trivia, say things in a silly voice or draw something when you really can’t draw. Tsuro is a very safe, fun, and fast game to get people who might be shy about playing a “party” game into playing a game.
Why? Well, in my last sentence about Tsuro, I talked about how it’s great for getting people into a game who aren’t normal gamers. Tsuro tends to work well as it goes quickly, however, when you are getting to something more serious, Pandemic is a very good game to have. One huge selling point to getting a non-gamer friend or a new-gamer friend to play it is the fact that it is fully cooperative. You are all working together, so you win and lose as a team and someone who might not be as good at strategy can still enjoy the game. The game is also streamlined enough that you are limited in what you can do in this game on your turn, so there is less decision fatigue than a more complicated game. At the same time, this game keeps you on edge and involved the whole time with a great premise for a game and with having so many ways to lose that it makes it seem like it would be hard to ever win. Even though this is a longer game than some of the others on the list, you’ll finish playing and people will want to play again.
1: Ticket to Ride
Why? This of this game as a gateway drug to other games. This game is pretty and pretty simple. You are trying to complete train routes by collection matching colors of train cars that correspond to the colors on the map. This game works well because it isn’t too complex and you get to score points at multiple times. This means that when someone is a long ways ahead in the middle of the game, they might not end up that far ahead. It’s also colorful and pretty to look at. Finally, this is a game that, while you are working against each other, it doesn’t seem all that cutthroat.
What are some games that you think are essential for building out a budding game collection?
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