"I wonder if that was from the pastrami rueben I had yesterday?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mage Wars!

Finished my second play through of Mage Wars on Saturday. I love this freaking game. I find it hard to believe that Wizards of the Coast never came up with the idea for selling ‘spell books’ – books with four plastic sleeves a page for conveniently storing your cards and thumbing through them. Mage Wars had me right there when I read about this concept. But the spell books are only the beginning…. I played the Beastmaster mage and my wife played the Priestess (because she had a unicorn). I’d looked over the cards ahead of time and figured I was in trouble before the first spell was cast. (We played apprentice rules – a simplified version of the game with fewer spells, half the game board, and the special abilities of mages are not used.) Somehow she managed to hold off Cervere (think Guenhwyvar from the Drizzt books), a Steelclaw Grizzly (who attacked with 11 dice one round with Bear strength enchantment and a two dice bonus from the Beastmaster’s staff – to put this in perspective, most average cards roll 4 dice for an attack) and a timber wolf with just the royal archer and a Westlock knight. I got her down to within 4 hits of dying, but she wouldn’t go down. Then she summoned the bloody unicorn that grants regeneration 1 to all friendly creatures in the zone, cast a bunch of healing spells, and started picking off my creatures one by one. In the end it wasn’t even close. She was back up to full health and the Beastmaster was a bloody mess – full of arrows and singed from more than one blast of pure light. Some things I learned from the fight: - Don’t stand around toe to toe with the priestess in a zone that grants Aegis (takes away attack dice) - Don’t send a lone bobcat to harass the priestess and her royal archer. - Stunned mages can still case spells. Still my favorite game, even though I lost. Every spell has a counter (although not all mages may have that spell in their spell book.) I hear there’s a local gaming group in Madison that plays this. I may have to check them out, because my wife does not seem to share my love of Mage Wars.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Agents of Shield

The show has been growing on me. I'm not saying it's great television, but I'm compelled to keep watching it. I follow very few shows these days because: 1) I have a 2 year old on my hands who doesn't go to bed until 8pm, and 2) I don't have cable. What I follow I either watch over the internet or get disks via Netflix. I follow Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, the afformentioned Agents, and Brooklyn 99. I may get roped into Vikings since I've heard so many good things about it from multiple sources, but that's pretty much it. Oh, and Sleepy Hollow isn't too bad from the little I've watched of it. Agents of Shield has the tantalizing lure of the possibility that characters from the movies other than Colson's character could appear on the show. But they don't very often. So far we've had a cameo from Sif (Thor's scorned love interest) and Nick Fury. There's always hints about the goings on from the movie tie-ins, but rarely an actual appearance. I think for the show to really take off, Shield would need to step up and find a way to get the big names on the small screen, even if it's only for a moment. I think it would help interest in the movies and it would definitely help the series, giving it more of a sense of connectivity to a broader universe of heroes. I have no idea if it would be economically feasible, but if they could afford to get Samuel Jackson on, they could probably afford Helmsworth or Evans, right? I've heard other people complain that the Marvel title shouldn't even be attached to this series due to the paucity of named heroes attached to it. I think the producers listened when they put in an appearance from Sif. It's a small step, but a positive one. Not to mention that the interplay between the main characters has improved and I might actually care what happens to Ming Na in the series. Still not much caring about Colson or Sky. This is a series Joss Whedon attached his name to as well, right? So a main character has to die in the first season - that's a given. Unless he's lost his nerve or the network won't allow him to operate that way. But if it happened right now, I can't say I'd be surprised or shocked, regardless of who it was. Make me care, Marvel! I'm rambling. And I need to eat lunch sometime. So I'd better bail.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Game Weekend

Last week the wife and I went to sunny Florida, and came back just as pale as when we left. Every year around this time we gather with old high school friends to do nothing but play board games for 3 days straight. This year was another rousing success. My tastes vary from my Game Weekend friends, but I did manage to sneak in a game of Duel of Ages. I'd rather play Pathfinder, or Starcraft, or Battlestar Galactica, but sadly this will have to wait until I find new friends. Some highlights from the festivities were Glass Road, which had a really innovative dial for tracking resources (increasing some resources results in reducing others); Fleet, a game of sending out fishing boats to try to amass the most victory points; and Tzolkin, which has one of the most elaborate boards I've ever played on - resource gathering is done by placing workers on rotating gears, which all move in unison with the advancement of the Mayan calendar wheel. Great new games. Oh! And I really liked Hanabi, a card game where you try to develop the best fireworks display that you can all while not looking at your own cards and giving clues to everyone else what they hold in their hand. Of all of them, I think Hanabi is one I'd like to buy. It ended too quickly and I can't wait to plan for the next one.