Friday, July 30, 2010

Chaos in the Old World

Warhammer Boardgame
This was my introduction to the Warhammer universe. I enjoy the dark setting and detailed art. Players control gods that summon demons and cultists. What game nerd doesn't want to do that?
Each player has a specific way to win. Each player gets closer to winning by dominating territory, and/or totally ruining it. Like most games, it takes same strategy to be the winner.

I've always been impressed by the intricate detail and often grotesque nature of Warhammer. The art style and themes of this game does not disappoint.

It's not the most complicated board game I've played, but definitely not for casual gamers or young impressionable kids.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Expansion

The Board Game
Any Call of Cthulhu game is going to test your patience and your character's sanity. Innsmouth is as difficult as ever. This expansion even gives you options to make it MORE difficult.

I ended up getting taken out by the second monster and making a new character instead of spending the rest of the game nursing him back to starting level.
I enjoy the works of Lovecraft, especially the PC game Dark Corners of the Earth and the stories concerning Innsmouth. So playing the expansion with a risk of your character turning into a Deep One (fish-person) adds more excitement/danger to an already craaazy game.

By our record keeping, we've only win Arkham Horror once a year. Even with cheating, massive unintentional and some intentional, the game just beats you down again and again. Although it's endearing since that fits with the style of the mythos.

My favorite part of the Innsmouth expansion is developed personal stories for each character. Not many people bother to read the back of their character cards, but I enjoy delving into the dark world of unnamable terror that is Cthulhu.

Galaxy Trucker

The Board Game
This one takes a few turns to get the hang of, but it's still fun while you're learning. The players each build a space ship out of a pile of parts as fast as they can, and then launch it into space.

The game has the flavor of Hitchhiker's Guide if you enjoy reading flavor text.

I had a heck of a time actually making the trip there. One time I wasn't paying attention while building and sealed off half of my building area, so I ended up launching half of a ship.

Small World

The Board Game
Fight over territory with control over a race and a power. Die rolling is infrequent [1d6 with 3 blank sides, a 1 2 and 3]. The interesting thing is that you can choose a new race to take new territory and set the old race into decline to hold onto the old territory.
I really enjoyed the high quality, stylized art of the game. It stays in the fantasy genre yet still makes fun of it a bit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

PW is what I expected MGS3: Snake Eater to be. Don't get me wrong, MGS3 was still a good game, only in an unexpected way. As a MGS fan I get chills as Big Boss develops his sanctuary for soldiers without a country, knowing that it will all be inevitably taken down to his son, Solid Snake.

The boss battles are with mechs: armored carriers, tanks, metal gears. This is a change from the uncanny special forces units that usually make up boss battles in previous MGS games. The near-supernatural powers of the past bosses were interesting and fresh at first, but after a while they became ridiculous and silly.

Players have frequently complained about the lengthy codec conversations in past games of this series, but in PW these conversations have been cut down during gameplay. All that extra stuff is now available outside of combat missions, served in a retro tapedeck. Codec calls in-mission are now strictly related to what the player needs to know at that exact time. All of the extra background information on the setting and characters is optional and the player can now go listen to it if desired.

The cut scenes have improved from the previous canon MGS game on PSP, which are made up of 2D paintings by Ashley Wood. Even though I enjoy the MGS comics drawn by Wood, I felt the pace and spirit of the previous game was hurt by those cutscenes. Mostly I was disoriented because it was so different. The cutscenes in PW are still 2D, but now include a level of interactivity that starts to make up for my previous complaints.

One thing I've always enjoyed about the MGS series is how much I learn about real history and science without feeling like I'm in school.