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Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I have been doing in GeekLists. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Tunes [OT]

Bobby Warren
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Every once in a while I want to send something out to the Cosmos and see what comes back, but I am really just not interested in maintaining a real blog. So when it is something that might appeal to the crowd here, I will toss the topic out and see what becomes of it.

I was really excited by the first and second trailers for the Guardians of the Galaxy film coming up on August 1. I was never a fan of the comics and generally ignored the space parts of the Marvel Universe when I was reading comics. But ever since seeing the first trailer for this, I've wanted it to be the release day, and the recent UK/international (sans song) and third trailers have done nothing to reduce the anticipation while not spoiling too much of the story.

One of the cool things is the use of music from the 60s and 70s in the trailers and, apparently, in the film because Star Lord has an old Walkman with a mix tape which he had on him when he left Earth as a child. The tunes used in the trailers all have some catchy hook, from the Ooga-Chaka in Hooked on a Feeling to the guitar riffs from Spirit in the Sky. I've wondered what other songs would be used, and the mix tape contents have been released on the soundtrack contents. Plus director James Gunn mentioned one song that was on the tape which didn't make the soundtrack (the last one). The contents are:

1. Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede (1974)
2. Go All the Way by Raspberries (1972)
3. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum (1969)
4. Moonage Daydream by David Bowie (1972)
5. Fooled Around and Fell in Love by Elvin Bishop (1975)
6. I'm Not in Love by 10cc (1975)
7. I Want You Back by The Jackson 5 (1969)
8. Come and Get Your Love by Redbone (1974)
9. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways (1976)
10. Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes (1979)
11. O-o-h Child by Five Stairsteps (1970)
12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (1967)
n/a Magic by Pilot (1974)


Not all of them have the same strong hook that worked in the trailers, but I started thinking what other songs from the era (roughly 1967-1976) might have been good ones for a trailer for the movie?

So pick one and see what others might have to say.

I thought of a couple, including movie soundtrack regulars Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London, but decided that the lyrics and high-energy pace from Never Been Any Reason by Heat East (1974) would be my choice.
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Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:14 am
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OT: Three spring Marvel flicks and shared universes

Bobby Warren
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All three of this spring's big Marvel superhero movies are out and a few things became apparent. Wait a minute, what about Guardians of the Galaxy? It's a comic movie set in a superhero universe and the second trailer looks even better than the first.

Anyway, what's apparent? First, Marvel Entertainment knows how to handle crossovers and a larger universe while the rights holders for their other properties don't.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started off slow but finished off with a bang, with Agent Coulson actually playing more like his movie self in the last couple of episodes. The slow start was in large part, IMNSHO, because of the secret that came to light in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I won't spoil the big reveal for those who have not seen it, but once it was made the creative team at the T.V. show was allowed to kick the story-telling up. That being said, there is still a lot of room to improve upon when it comes to stories in the show. It might have been better to start a series now, but that would have meant keeping Coulson dead for two years before his resurrection. Here's hoping the second season really get's it sea legs now that the groundwork has been laid.

Speaking of The Winter Soldier, it was the best sequel of any of Marvel movies, period. It succeeded at being that espionage-action movie they tried to make. We also were treated to a mid-credit scene introducing us to the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver which is a lead-in to next spring's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

That was followed up by The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which wasn't as good as the first one, in large part because Columbia wants to feed on the shared-universe gravy train and spent so much effort introducing elements which they could spin off into non-Spider-man stories using characters from the Spiderverse. That time wasted on trying to copy the success of The Avengers meant that character development and story for this movie were ignored or ended on the virtual cutting room floor.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Killing Gwen Stacy in the movie also felt flat. Part of the strength of that story was Spidey's arch nemesis was the one that finished her off which lead to the death of Green Goblin while fighting Spider-man. In the movie, the Green Goblin (the wrong one, on top of it) shows up and kills Gwen within a few minutes of his initial appearance. That's just weak.

While The Amazing Spider-man 2 managed to survive the shoe horn of universe-making to be a decent movie, will the next one be able to rise above being nothing more than a product-placement commercial for the Sinister Six, Venom, and every other two-bit property Columbia can try to squeeze out of Spider-man's pages? I suspect The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is going to turn out to be a messy conglomeration of villains just like Spider-man 3 was.

Which leaves only X-Men: Days of Future Past. I won't say too much about it since it opened this weekend. 20th Century Fox seems to understand the team movie concept and manages to pull off telling a time travel story quite well, but manages to cancel out the events of all the X movies to date, which I guess is good in the case of the Wolverine movies. Though the mid-credit scene for The Wolverine which had Xavier and Magneto approaching Logan at an airport was completely ignored when the movie came along. The movie was really well done, handling all the "new" mutants and those from the first three movies in the future with just the right amount of time an action while focusing on the story in the 1970s. I stopped reading comics about the time the Apocalypse story happened, so I have no idea what to expect from the next one and the lame post-credits sequence really only meant anything to those who know the comic. Marvel Entertainment does a much better job of bringing in the non-fanboy audience, though the Thor: The Dark World scene with the Collector was a little weak, but did at least explain he was collecting Infinity stones which will be addressed in future movies, including The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Speaking of Wolverine, please stop making movies starring this character. He's just not strong enough to carry his movie, but works really well in an ensemble. Just because he was a comic darling doesn't mean the character will transfer to the screen. Venom and Carnage also fall into this category, Columbia!

How would I rate the three films?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Amazing Spiderman 2
X-Men: Days of Future Past

I'll not even dissect Warner/DC's superhero movie making. Yikes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sounds like one hot mess and Green Lantern was a failure because it tried to do too much. Maybe they should stick with doing TV series?

I'm really looking forward to more Captain America and Marvel Universe movies, less-than-thrilled by Columbia's plans for the Spiderverse, and hoping the X-men movies follow more on the path of the first two and last two and ignore the ideas from the people who were behind the third one and the Wolverine flicks.
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Mon May 26, 2014 5:25 pm
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Games Played in July 2013

Bobby Warren
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It was a busy month which had me playing a lot of games. I've also been listening to a lot of podcasts. Mr. Tony goes on a summer vacation from his radio show for two months and since I would listen to the abridged ESPN podcast the day of broadcast and the full, but delayed by sort-sighted sales weasel version a day later, I needed to fill in some time. I started regularly listening to the following podcasts:

. . . .• Garrett's Games and Geekiness
. . . . I met Doug and Shelley at the Gathering and it's fun listening to what they play.
. . . .• The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast
. . . . I stop when the RPG segment starts.
. . . .• The D6 Generation
. . . . A little long at times.

. . . .• ESPN: Baseball Tonight
. . . .• ESPN: Behind the Dish
. . . .• ESPN: Football Today
. . . .• Inside the Huddle
. . . . NFLUK's weekly podcast which is a pretty good general take on the sport
. . . .• Rich Eisen Podcast
. . . . It’s not all about football and the last episode was hilarious
. . . .• Ross Tucker Football Podcast


I never take the opinions on the games by sponsors seriously because of the shill factor, which is why I've never liked Tom Vasel's reviews from day one when he was cranking out dozens of written reviews a week. I guess the college journalism ethics stuck -- you can't review something which was given to you by the manufacturer and be unbiased.

I guess I could have written a longer, stand-alone post on just the podcasts? I didn't think I could. Oh well.

I played 28 games a total of 63 times and recorded playing eight expansions a total of 13 times. I played 12 of the games and two of the expansions in June. Six of the games and one of the expansions were new to me.

Here is what I played in July:

7 Wonders
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Played with Cities.

We played with Cities for the first time since it came out. I really enjoyed playing with the expansion again, though I spent too much time making sure I didn't run out of cash. I had a nice, respectable score both games (in the 50s and third-ish place) but couldn't pull together a win. Part of it was also playing with seven players and not necessarily seeing cards I needed for what I was trying to do. Still, it is a great game to play with seven players.


Archipelago
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Mike was going to be making down to the store for one of the few Saturdays he can make each year and he was interested in trying this. Since he, Alex, and I all are able to show earlier than the others I suggested we meet and play this. As usual, we played the short game. This time I had the game-ending condition for number of cathedrals built, which is three. Both Alex and I built one on the first turn and I thought for sure this would be a game that ended on the second turn. Those were the only ones built during the game, which ended when the Pacifist condition came about.

Alex had the Pacifist and Mike had the Separatist. It ended up being a tie because I scored my points for having the most character cards and Alex scored his. I ended up with the most cash and won the tiebreaker. I think we might want to play the middle-length game from this point on.


Belfort
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

I talked in-depth about this in my previous entry on the blog. It's a wonderfully produced and presented game that is fun to play.

We also played a second three-player game. This time I taught it to Nick and Michael. Nick went worker happy while Michael ignored them until he realized how many extra actions and resources we were gathering. Nick and I ended up very close while Michael placed a distant third. While Nick maintained a worker advantage most of the game, what really threw the game to him was he drew, and was able to build, three of the Keep and Michael got the other two. If there is one building which I think probably should have been changed a little it is that one. Giving it's builder two control markers in a region and an income for a single build seems strong. The other building which allows a player to place two houses is the Gatehouse and that takes a build and a Gnome to add a second marker and that has to be in a different region, and it generates no income.

On a depressing side note, I discovered that publisher Michael Mindes moved from Tucson so I can't make fun of them for being down there. For my sake, I think he should move back there. Because, as you know, it is all about me.


Castle Dice
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

My second time playing was a four player-game which ended up in a three-way tie with Nick winning the tie-breaker. They all had 11 points. I finished with five. I got too greedy and went hunting for walls and found none, meanwhile the others were actually building towards something. The next time I play I am going to focus more on the worker deck earlier in the game and see if I can get any kind of engine rolling.

Game three was with three players with Ben and Nico. Nico also Kickstarted it and we cracked open his copy. I learned my lesson from the last game and I grabbed 4:1 Village to Castle deck cards for the first round. The really funny thing is during the game I ended up with five walls and one Volunteer, but I didn't see a single of the big keep card which has its cost reduced by the number of walls. Go figure the odd luck in the last two games! I still ended up with a solid win while Nico was unable to get anything rolling and Ben was within a few points of me.


Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 2/13
My Rating: 7

We started a campaign with Mike running the Overlord and me controlling Tomble Burrowell [Thief] & Widow Tarha [Necromancer] and Jerry controlling Syndrael [Knight] & Avric Albright [Disciple].

We had a pretty easy time with the First Blood scenario and then trudged on to take on the Fat Goblin. Mike got three of the food off the board in the first half, which gave the Fat Goblin a significant hit point advantage. We ended up beating the Goblin the last turn before he would have escaped, so all is good in Heroland.

We got together to brave a second scenario on our way to defeat the Overlord's terrible plans. Death on a Wing was not so kind to us. We had a plan, and it was a good one, just the dice failed us and the evil, cruel Overlord used his tricksy cards and beat us.


Dominion
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 9

Expansions Played: Guilds for two of the games.

We played Guilds before breaking out Dark Ages, which is still languishing, unplayed. In my opinion, Guilds is the best of the small-box expansions.


The Duke
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike was interested in this and even though it looked dry and boring I said I would try it. It turns out to be a fairly-clever two-player game which plays in a short amount of time and is never going to be quite the same because the pieces are drawn from a bag.

I wish the rules were a little clearer on the effects of some of the tiles, but other than that I really enjoyed playing it.


Dungeon Fighter
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

A dexterity dungeon crawl. Not my thing, but I will play it. The weird gyrations combined with the tossing of dice makes for either a fun or annoying experience, depending on the mood.


Elder Sign
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Unseen Forces for all of the games.

In our first game, we beat Tsathoggua by collecting enough Elder Signs. I played Michael McGlen, Mike played Amanda Sharpe, and Hilary played Joe Diamond and then Diana Stanley when Joe met an untimely end.

Our second game we lost to Hastur. I played Gloria Goldberg, Hilary played Amanda Sharpe, and Mike played Jenny Barnes who smartly died early on leaving him to finish with Mark Harrigan who had to face Hastur's wrath.

Game three had us facing Nyarlathotep. Hilary played Kate Winthrop and started off by getting cursed early on and it took a while for her to be able to ditch it. In the mean time Jacqueline Fine (Mike) and Mandy Thompson (me) didn't make much progress, but there weren't many doom tokens added. Once Kate's curse was lifted we got on a roll and managed to easily defeat the Crawling Chaos who never posed a serious threat.


Garden Dice
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/12
My Rating: 8

Since I gushed over the Belfort player aide I thought I should do the same here. It really explains just about everything you need to know about the game except the chaining, which is something I hope players understand from the rules explanation. It's pretty amazing how high the quality is on this for a first-time game publisher.

Michael had played before, but it had been a while, and Nick was new to the game. We had a lot of chaining of other players seeds and vegetables, which was different from that last time I played it at the store. Nick got lost in planting and watering part of the game and forgot about the importance of the set collection until it was too late.

I ended up with two runs and two sets of three and won the game. Michael had one less run and came in second. I think I may have still won without the second run, but it would have been close.

I am really looking forward to the The Card Expansion which should be here soon.


Gauntlet of Fools
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 2/13
My Rating: 7

I thought we might get in a game of this at some point. Instead it was three and they were all fun.


Geschenkt
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 4/12
My Rating: 9

Jeff broke this. He completed a high 20s to 30-something stretch of five or six cards to win. Not that this is too rare, but he did it again the next game, then pulled off another long run lower in the sequence during the third game for the win. Michael is considering burning his deck.


Guildhall
Times Played: 5
Guildhall: Job Faire
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

I am commenting for both the original and Job Faire here. The first time I played this month was with Mike who reminded me of a rule I forgot about when I taught it the previous weekend: You can only play one of any profession on a single turn.

It's been pretty well received by the group and we started mixing the professions from the two sets for the last three plays. Nico decided it was his kind of game when we started playing it, so he's now also a proud owner of the games.

I bumped my rating up from a 7 to an 8 this month because I really enjoy playing it with two, three, or even four players. I will start tracking plays under just the original release in August.


Hanabi
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

So this won the SdJ. Not a bad choice, though I still haven't bought a copy. That's because Alex, Mike, and Michael all own it and any time I might play it would be with them. I post the score we made in the play comments so if you are interested in seeing our scores you click on the number of plays above and it will take you to a listing of the games played last month.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/12
My Rating: 8

While I did get a set of the custom Chessex dice which were made, I sure would like to get a second set in a different color just to have two sets at the table. That's not a necessity, but would be a luxury. And who among us wouldn't prefer to eat our cooked worms in luxury?


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

It's a fun dice game that might end up taking too long if it is expanded as it looks like it might be. Going through two adventure boards is just about long enough for this to begin to wear out its welcome on the table. Expansions? I say, "nay, nay!"


King of Tokyo
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Power Up! for all the plays.

Five players (with a young child being the sixth for about half the game) and another five-player game later in the month.


Mystery Rummy 4: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Mike and I keep playing this. Yeah, we like the other games in the series but we know this one without having to refer to the rules for some of the little things, so we keep playing this one.


Pandemic
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: On the Brink at all times.

Mike, Hilary, and I took on the hidden menace. The foul viral alliance was too much for our intrepid heroes as we ran out of time just as the mysterious fifth disease went critical.


Quarriors
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/13
My Rating: 8

Played with Rise of the Demons, Quarmageddon Quest of the Qladiator, and Quartifacts.

This was our first playing of Quartifacts. My initial reaction to the quests is that the game is still too short to risk the random rewards of a quest and the possible results over just scoring the points for surviving to the next turn. It'll take a few more plays before I decide if I will always include the quests or relegate them to the deep, dark recesses of being stored under the box insert.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/13
My Rating: 8

One of these upcoming Saturdays I will bring this and Ra and insist we play both versions. We could also do it with Samurai and Samurai: The Card Game, Carcassonne and Cardcassonne, Puerto Rico and San Juan, or Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: The Card Game.

I'm sure there are other games which are based on another game with a new mechanism driving it.


Saint Petersburg
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/12
My Rating: 8

Michael taught this to Nick and the three of us went on to build the glorious old city. I won fairly easily by being able to make a jump in the income buildings early which let me get cash flush and then I was able to time the end-game and built some larger buildings which scored for a couple of turns. I also managed to collect the most aristocrats and maxed out that score, though it looked like I might have made a cash miscalculation, but ended up having just enough to pay for the expensive ones.


Skyline
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

A nice filler dice game with a whole stinking load of dice and cardboard tokens. The box is the perfect size and I sure wish TMG had used it for Dungeon Roll. Not that I'm bitter or obsess over the smallest, insignificant (to others) things.

Never.

I had a thought after three plays is that most games shouldn't last much beyond the third or fourth round because someone ends the game by building the biggest (36-point) building. After the second play, that has become my goal in the game, because if you are the only one to complete one of these the odds are good that you will win. In the third game I did manage to pull this off on turn four and pulled an easy victory. But the next three games all lasted longer -- six or the maximum seven turns.


Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/13
My Rating: 9

Expansion Played: Romantic Vacation.

With the English version of Romantic Vacation released, we mixed it with the base game and played it.


Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/14
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Caverns of Bane and Root of Corruption for the game.

Mike taught Jerry how to play after a Descent campaign session and we dove into the dungeon. The Corrupted Royal Guard came up as one of the monster choices and it really slowed things down for an intro game.


Thunderstone: Starter Set
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Played with just the cards from this set. The first game was without the Tower character, the Radiant Orb and Insight village cards. Other than that we used the entire set which is exactly why this is such a great set for casual players. It works as something you can play out of the box with minimal set-up time. You just need to pull out one hero and two village cards, and shuffle the guardian into the bottom ten dungeon cards and you are set to go.



Warmachine
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/13
My Rating: 8

I haven't played this or Hordes since March and only a total of four times before this. Here's hoping that we start playing a little more frequently.

There was no doubt that Alex was going to play his pThagrosh army again and I decided to go back to trying to pull a win out using pButcher and the iron men of Khador. First on my list was the Conquest colossal. It didn't help. Once again Alex used his superior knowledge of the game and my lack of being able to pull the timing off to beat me.
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Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:58 am
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OT: Barsoom, 3D Jedi, and 2.5D Gods

Bobby Warren
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A brief interlude from games...

Sometimes the 3D process used for live action movies works, a lot of times it just doesn't. But before I comment on that, let's look at the movie I have wanted to see since I was in junior high school back in the dark movie-making decade of the 70s.

Back in the dark days before everyone had cable TV and there were dozens of channels to watch (even though you have to pay for a couple of hundred to get them), all you had were three or four regular channels and a PBS station. One of the staples of those times were the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, which I really enjoyed watching. This led to reading the books, which were fun and nothing like the movies. I also started reading other books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which led me to A Princess of Mars, which is the book which the upcoming movie John Carter is based on.

After Star Wars (before the ridiculous "A New Hope" subtitle and when Han did shoot first -- check out a script from the time), a lot of science fiction adventure movies were attempted, and failed at. I always thought the John Carter series would make terrific movies, but there was no way to film it with all the six-limbed green aliens and ten-legged large "dogs" and other aliens.

When The Phantom Menace came out, it became apparent that the Barsoom books might be able to be filmed after all. It took several years and some false starts, but finally the rights were picked up by Disney in 2007 and Pixar's Andrew Stanton was picked to direct it. All was looking good, but it's taken five years and a huge budget to get the film finished. The trailers look pretty good, but the film seems to be flying under the radar of the movie-going public. The following of the books isn't as strong as some series, so it looks like the film is destined to flop because it hasn't generated enough buzz compared to its budget.

Hopefully, some of you hadn't heard of the series and might not have known what this John Carter movie was all about but will now at least look into it.

I thought about posting this last night after seeing the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace. No, it's not a great movie, but I went with Christa anyway since I would like to see some of the rest of the movies when they are re-released and she wants to see them all. The 3D wasn't bad in this movie, but all the computer animated characters looked more cartoonish than they did in the original print. At times it was like jumping between a cartoon and live action, but it still wasn't a bad experience.

One of the 3D previews was for Wrath of the Titans. First of all it's puzzling that a sequel to such a terrible movie was made in the first place. I mean the movie failed on so many levels who would think it would be a good idea to make a sequel? Secondly, the 3D effects in the trailer were horrendous! It was like watching regular 2D images imposed over a background. I swear that the Monty Python animations were more realistic and believable than Perseus riding his Pegasus was in the trailer. The movie looks worse than the original, which would be somewhat of an accomplishment.

So that's it for non-gaming stuff. My next game of the week pick will be up in a few days.
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Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:49 am
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