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Gary Beason
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Gary Beason

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A number of RPG-like board games are now on Kickstarter or soon will be. Here's my quick rundown of several in order of my interest.

7th Continent
(soon on KS) - http://www.the7thcontinent.com/en/index.php

This game is based on choose-your-adventure books (specifically the Fighting Fantasy series) with cards replacing the pages. Indeed several of the card examples have a bit of narrative text. It's also focused on exploring with the promise of more than 1000 minutes to complete an adventure. (The game will include a way to easily stop an adventure, track its status, and pack away.) The idea is that as you explore, you place a random map tile. The game is more than just combat as it has a kind of crafting system. 

As a fan of the Tales of Arabian Knights game, this one has me perhaps most interested.

+ Each map tile states 
    - what actions you can take on it. 
      Each action involves drawing 1 (or possibly more) cards. 
    - what directions you can move
    - what random encounter you must overcome to move onward

+ Your Action Deck does a few things:
    - allows you to perform actions
    - tells you whether or not you succeed (indicated by full stars)
    - represents your vitality
      You can replenish your cards/vitality at certain locations.
    - can also indicate how to make things

So, when you want to do something indicated on the map tile, you'll draw X of your action cards, and Y of them need to be successes. So, if you wanted to climb a tree, you might draw 2 Action cards. The Action cards themselves might allow you to take another action, like craft flute.

It'll take a little time to ramp up, but it looks like a fairly simple set of rules. 


Gloomhaven
(now on KS) - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1350948450/gloomhaven

Three things jump out to me: 

1) It's a living board game, like Legacy Risk. The game changes as you play it. 

2) Characters actions depend on your choices: not just what you fight, but what ability cards you select and how you use them. 

3) It has both a world map and specific location tiles, giving a very strong campaign or story feel. Not all of the world map is available to you, though. You must unlock locations before visiting them. 

Apparently, there will be various dungeon tiles, not just the one grey set seen in the Print and Play PDF. I like that each character has cards with 2 abilities, but you can only use 1. So, you have to select which cards to keep (because the cards represent your vitality), and then you have to decide how to play the cards, which ability to use. 
 
Like most RPG board games, the focus is on combat, especially since it's more of a dungeon crawler.

We're going to try it out this weekend with the Print and Play materials.


Gloom of Kilforth 
(now on KS) - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tristanhall/gloom-of-kilforth-a-fantasy-quest-game-1-4-heroes

Characters, action points, dice! It's very time based: You have 25 days to complete the objective (killing 1 of several possible monsters threatening the land), and there are Day and Night cycles. During the day, the players take on encounters and develop/advance their characters. At night, one of the 25 location cards is turned over. The game ends if the last one turns over and the monster isn't defeated.  Each player has to complete a saga (set of challenges) in order for the monster boss to appear. 

There's a draft of the game doc: https://www.scribd.com/doc/270081071/Fantasy-Quest-Rules-v5-1-9


Trove: Crystal Caverns 
(now on KS) - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2074786394/trove-the-crystal-caverns

This is a competitive game where each player is either the Knight, the Goblins, the Dragon, or the Cave. It has a very light, fun art style. I'm interested enough to read more. They have a print & play available which I might try, especially if I see more that interests me. I'm expecting a beer & pretzels game, which is fine. 


Folklore: The Affliction
(on KS later in Sept) - http://folkloretheaffliction.com/

Ryan Metzler from Dice Tower has a video overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFwOQVWXVZI

It actually has a map board of the overworld and map tiles for specific encounters. After each move, you draw an Event card to see what happens to you: good, bad, or no event. (Not clear if you get to challenge the event--in the examples, it just happens.) The cities have different features: apothecary,chapel, inns, market, physician, stables, & tinker (and there might be more). It is very story driven and will apparently have multiple stories to follow. It uses several dice: d4 (damage), d6 (movement & targeting), d100 &d10 (for attacks).  

The overworld seems to play like an old board game: role dice, move, draw a card. Very passive. But maybe I'm missing something. 


Swords & Sorcery
(KS soon) - http://www.sword-and-sorcery.com/

This looks very generic, mainly because there are almost no details on the gameplay.
The 7th Continent: the FIRST “choose-your-own-path” exploration boardgame!
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Last night we played Domaine, created by Klaus Teuber who also designed Catan. It's a territory-control game with only a few rules but a lot of depth, thanks to more player interaction than in Catan.

Summary
You're building fences to create domains. Forest and city squares give 3 and 1 victory points respectively. The capital squares gives you 5 points. The 4 different mines give you money (ducats) which you need to play your action cards. These actions include placing knights, building fences, expanding your domain, remove opponent's knight/add 1 of yours, and making alliances. You can also get points at the end for having the most and second most money (which made a huge difference in our game). 

Thoughts
Unfortunately because the board size doesn't change with the number of players, it's a better game with 3-4 players because your domains will be butting up against others'. And that's both a good and bad thing, which is why I like this game. 

While being close to other players is a potential threat, it also means that you can threaten them. And being able to screw with other players is key. In our game, the orange player had one side of the board to herself while the blue and red players were frequently checking, threatening, and engaging each other. 

Even though the orange player got to a big lead early, she and I tied, and I won by having more coins. The blue player was only 1 space behind. No one was completely out of the game, even though it sort of felt like it midway through. 

It's a well regarded older game (2003). It can be a slower moving game with certain players, especially late in the game as the possibilities for gaining, losing or even giving points are many. 
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I binged on a couple of comics last night. Admittedly, I've been losing some interest and hadn't really found anything new for a while that has that "read just one more issue" feel. But I found two at least. 

Copperhead is a scifi comic with western overtones, and it's not complicated, but so far, it's good fun and feels like a different take on the "new sheriff" story. But the "Deadwood in space" comparison isn't working (which isn't a criticism). 

Injection looks like another good Warren Ellis story and has a different feel and pace than Trees, which sometimes I read don't for a while. I had heard the first issue of Injection was a harder in media res story to get into, so I waited until there were 3-4 issues before starting. 

Omega Men isn't grabbing me. I like the Slifer-Giffen series from the 80s. I just read #1, so I should try a couple more, but, while I like the art, the characters and the story are very light. True, it's another in medias res first issue, but I acknowledge I'm more willing to give Ellis leeway. 
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Trying to remember an artist, I recalled that he drew issues of Hellboy and B.P.R.D. 

Unfortunately, that's still a huge list of artists. :)
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I found one list, but either my memory's wrong (very possible) or he's not on this list (which stops at 2013). It's a great list of artists, though. 

http://www.multiversitycomics.com/columns/the-many-looks-of-hellboy-art-feature/
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Some sketches from the paper table cloth at dinner tonight.
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Finished Armada. There's a couple of hours I wish I had back.

True, I wasn't expecting much, except some fun, campy sci fi. But I didn't even get that. 

Almost none of the characters can talk without subtle and blatant references. I couldn't help but notice 4-5 per page, making me put down the book (actually, just close Kindle) because my eyes had roll fatigue. I tired of being reminded of "Wargames" every time I saw the main character's name. 

The novel is close to being what "Shrek the Third" is to "Shrek," taking something that was good in the first work and then running it into the ground. Okay, it's not quite that bad. But let's learn from M. Night Shyamalan: Don't let a gimmick get in the way of telling a good story about interesting people. Or at least, make the gimmick more mature, like references that actually mean something or enrich the story.
It doesn't need to to be "The Wasteland" of science fiction either. But the genre is capable of being both fun and meaningful. (See the Marx Brothers or Bill Hicks.)

Nostalgia has its usefulness, its time. But more and more, I see geek culture, like our general culture, obsessively nostalgic. And that is strange for science fiction, a genre defined by envisioning the future.
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Go read The Martian if you haven't yet. Finished it in one day.

Reading Seveneves now, awesome so far.
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About 3 weeks ago, our group played Might & Magic Heroes, a board game based on the computer game Heroes of Might and Magic and  not sold in the U.S. due to licensing. 

Right up front, I have to say that the sheer number of icons slowed the game. I counted at least 63 different icons. Even with printed aids for everyone, it took time to find the icon and decipher it. The game is longish as it is. With 4 players, it took us around 4 hours to play. But I think our group takes longer to play games than most, due to a bit of analysis and our own chattiness. 

It's another game base on getting the most victory points. But there are different strategies you can use to do that. You can build up your heroes (you start with 1). It's a very thematic game with a few decisions--develop your knights, go after resources by picking which monster difficulty, or develop your city. You start with 3 action cards that you can use once per round, though you can add another which is a significant aid. You can move, gather resources, recruit an army, or build. 

The combat system is hard to describe, but it seems like a fairly unique one. The gist is that you select units to bring to the combat, and you roll dice to =< the unit's attack number. There's not a lot of strategy to the combat except choice which and how many units to fight with. It's relatively fast as a result. 

To gain resources to build and recruit, you have to go to locations where you have to fight enemies. Once you defeat that enemy, you then get the resources on that square. However, you will also have to defend it from other players. 

So, you're exploring the board, trying to take as many resources as you can and also developing your city. I like some aspects of it, but on the whole, it's not a compelling game for me. I'm glad I have friends who own it, and I would be willing to play it. But it's not a game that I'll suggest that we play.

When it comes to an area control game, I'd rather play a game like Domaine, the classic El Grande, or Belfort. Even Eight Minute Empire. For an epic competetive RPGish game, I'd rather play Runebound. 
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I'm getting a Kickstarter game this week for which I'm beginning to have buyer's remorse. I watched the Rahdo Runs Through video before backing, but as I'm now reading the rules and watching others' videos, the length of this game is now hitting me. Thanks to the iconography, long rounds (7 phases), and the interplay of abilities, I can see each player's turn taking a long time resulting in long encounters, which isn't how I like my RPGs or RPG-like board games to play. 

Still the response from people who have played it is largely positive, so I'm trying to put my concerns to the side and be ready to play it when it arrives the middle of next week. 
NSKN Games - LudiBooster is raising funds for Mistfall - Legendary adventures for 1-4 fearless heroes on Kickstarter! Legendary heroes, vile monsters and true fellowship await in the perilous fantasy world of Mistfall!
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It's board game night!
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"Come out to PLA-AAAAAY!"
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I've always wondered exactly what some of Jack Kirby's lines represented (especially in his later work after '65), like on Thor's outstretched left arm shown below. They sort of suggest muscles, so I assumed the muscles were stylized but incorrect. 

But I read Shane Foley's article from The Kirby Collector #65 that offers a theory: They are lines to show where dark and light areas meet. Feathered lines are highlights (which is a common style). He compares Kirby's squibbles and featherings with John Buscema's style. So, Kirby's lines sometimes are where muscles are because that's where light and shadow meet. So, Kirby possibly wasn't drawing muscles but lights and shadows (albeit stylized). 

This also seems to fit in with his crackles, where he's defining negative space. (At least to me, his crackles seem more about the space between the black dots, how that empty space looks energized and active, as seen in the full #72 cover.)

So, I looked for examples that would support or disprove that theory. The Silver Surfer from the FF #72 cover seems to support it. The featherings are right where the colorist has highlights--not all the highlights but many.  The same for this panel from Captain Victory. 

It seems like a reasonable explanation, one I'll now keep in mind and test when I look at his work. 
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I finally watched season 3 of Ripper Street, and like others, I thought the finale felt like the end of the series, with each character's personal life seemingly wrapped up. It's been a show set in a transitional time to the 20th century, especially in terms of science, police procedures, and social issues (women's rights in particular). 

The season itself started with a great loss of life. The series has had mass murder before, such as the "King" cholera episode. But in the finale, we see the plot to unleash more mass murder, one that foreshadows the destructiveness of WWI (although the first 20th century widescale murder was in German East Africa 1904-1907). With this episode,  the transition to the 20th century seemed more complete. This season has felt like it has a much larger stage, even as the stakes of the personal relationships grew somewhat larger, too. 

The show is to have seasons 4 and 5. Besides perhaps changing the cast, I can see the show skipping ahead to 1901 and the end of the Victorian era, much like like season 3 skipped 4 years. 
Official website for BBC America's series
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Watched first episode of Sens8, and I'm not hooked. 

But Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has me. Even the kids are into it. I had recently wanted to reread it, but I've been having problems reading physical books with tiny print these days. 
Official website for BBC America's series
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I just saw that in Canada, it's being shown on The Movie Network. First episode on Sunday. But I will watch on demand, so I can binge watch after we finish our GoT binge.
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I've tried to develop different talents and mastered none of them.  I enjoy talking about them regardless.
  • Games (board and video) 
  • Science fiction and literature
  • Rhetoric 
  • Comic books (art)
  • Technology
  • Unitarian-Universalism
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Carrollton, TX
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Longview, TX - College Station, Texas - Lafayette, Indiana - Nacogdoches, Texas - Deer Park, Tx
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  • Warhammer Quest
Great service, friendly people. I had a small job---a broken case handle. They treated me well and fixed it will ahead of the original estimate.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
I've lived in Carrollton for more than 12 years and thought that I had eaten at Joe's. But I realized recently that I hadn't. It's not the same as the Joe's Pizza and Pasta further north in Carrollton (which is a bit nicer but informal setting). But Joe's on Beltline is good, basic Italian food. The service can be good and friendly (though one time they were simply indifferent). It's mainly a serve-yourself place anyway. The pizza is good, and I've had a couple of pasta dishes that were good, too. The sauce is tasty, a lot better than some other nearby places with bland sauces and overcooked pasta.
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Quality: Very GoodAppeal: GoodService: Good
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
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