Intrinsic Value

My word, is it 2015 again already? These universe cycles go so quickly these days. Next thing you know, it will be the Big Squish all over again.

2014 was a good year for me. That’s how I plan on thinking about it, at any rate. While some aspects of my personal and professional life were less than ideal, I believe that I produced and helped to actualize some works of great intrinsic value. Here are a few recent highlights:

I began the new year with a reinvigoration of my Session Report series on Entropy. Session Report: Mage Knight Board Game and the Sandbox represents the next evolution of the series–not an evolutionary leap, but a subtle innovation, like a new pattern of stripes or spots. The newest concept is that, in addition to providing a narrative retelling of a single play session and an overview of the game’s mechanics, I will launch into a monthly theoretical discussion of a different aspect of game design. In this article, I talked about sandbox games and how to tell a good sand castle platform from a stinky catbox.

Near the end of the year, I replaced my singular Session Report with a marathon of smaller reviews, called the 12 Days of Gaming. Although these reviews are (slightly) more succinct than my norm, I couldn’t resist gushing over a few favorites, such as The Lord of the Rings, Flash Point: Fire Rescue and Hey, That’s My Fish! Also worth checking out part one of an ongoing solo roleplaying game (or creative writing exercise, by a different standard), generated using the excellent Storyteller Cards.

I haven’t been alone at Entropy, though. Late last year, I invited Chris Holly into the fold, and he’s been generating some fantastic content. In January, we launched his new series, Playing Detective, wherein Chris discusses his love of the detective genre and analyzes the successful and failed attempts to combine it with the realm of the interactive. The debut post covers the one-of-a-kind Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, while the next leg, coming this week, discusses the Tex Murphy series of computer adventure games.

A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures is another essay from game designer and publisher Phil Eklund on Entropy. I am increasingly convinced that Eklund is board gaming’s greatest thinker–he might not be the savant of game design (I can’t personally comment, not having played his games yet), but he’s a great font of intellectual discussion. In this essay, inspired by his upcoming title, Neanderthal, Eklund discusses the impact of vocabulary on human cognitive development.

Outside of Entropy, I launched a new series on NerdSpan called The World on My Table. The World on My Table is a monthly concept that explores a more casual side of my gaming obsession. Rather than involved final-word reviews and essays, it represents my shifting thoughts on whatever I happened to play that month, alongside quick nuggets of tabletop gaming news. In January 2015, I discussed my two most-played games of the month, the indie game Shadows of Malice and the ultra-flavorful deckbuilder Legendary Encounters: Alien.

Finally, I continue to contribute board game reviews for Indie Cardboard. Most recently, I reviewed David Chott’s colorful and creative tile-laying game, Lagoon: Land of Druids.

Well, that’s all for now. Until next time, kiddos!

Advertisements

Season’s Bleatings

 

It’s true that I haven’t posted on this website of late. I’ve been too busy transforming my life into a nightmarish montage of self-imposed deadlines and unquenchable exhaustion. But now! Now I have something for you, darling readers.

Halloween is my favorite time of year, and I have been exceptionally busy (even for me) making sure I had some ghoulish content going. Just look at these puppies:

 

On Entropy

Session Report: Mansions of Madness

Silent Hill 3: Biography of a Place

Five Monster Movies That Aren’t Really About the Monsters

 

On Indie Cardboard

Review: The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein

Preview: I Hate Zombies.

 

But that’s not the extent of my recent activity. Check out these other recent posts on Entropy and Indie Cardboard:

Review: Star Realms

Tabletop’s Most Wanted: SPIEL 2014 and Beyond SPIEL

Letter To You (a guest post by Todd Michael Rogers, creator of the world’s first tabletop novel)

D&D: Entropy Style (an ongoing D&D campaign with my fellow Entropy editors)

 

Last but not least, I’m getting back into fiction writing this month as I tackle…

NaNoWriMo!

 

Follow my novel’s (pathetic) progress here: my NaNoWriMo page

 

Have a spoooooooky November!


You’re Not My Mom

You’re not the boss of me. I can review a game I’ve already reviewed if I wanna.

See?

http://www.nerdspan.com/boss-monster-card-game-review/

So naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah


Rant Gaming Round-Up: 10/27-11/02

What a week!

It started out on a high note with Boss Monster: A Not So Old School Review. Not So Old School is by far my favorite thing to write about at Rant Gaming, and it’s even better when I get an advance review copy of an excellent crowdfunded game! Be sure to check this one out–we’re nearly at the $100,000 stretch goal!

Next, here’s a bit of historical speculation: Top 10 Historical Figures to Watch For in Assassin’s Creed III. I’m currently in the midst of this game, with four sequences to go before the end, and I have yet to meet some of these folks, so it’ll be interesting seeing how well my predictions play out. Of the ones I’ve seen so far, I’m 4 for 5 (I was promised more bawdy Ben Franklin!).

Perfect timing for Halloween, here are the Top 10 Costume-Wearing Video Game Heroes. Dressing up is always something special, even when it’s in a video game, and I had a lot of fun writing this list.

The Indie Game of the Week this past week was Katabasis, because it just Would Not Do to publish an article ON HALLOWEEN and not have it be about a horror game. As horror games go, though, this one is an odd duck, focusing more on mystery and suspense than on any real and present danger. If you’re a fan of experimental games like Dear Esther, and have a few hours to spare (there doesn’t seem to be any way to save your progress), give this one a try.

Everything You Know Is Wrong in Assassin’s Creed III. It’s true. Not only does it show you a side of the American Revolution you didn’t know existed, it also subverts many things you’ve come to expect from the Assassin’s Creed series so far. Here are a few of the biggest surprises. Once you get past these changes, it’s a game like no other–keep an eye out for my full review, hopefully coming this week!


Rant Gaming Round-Up: 10/20-10/26

Welcome back to the Rant Gaming Round-Up, your weekly update on the new video game and board game content written by yours truly.

Well, almost weekly updated. As you may have noticed, this Rant Gaming Round-Up has an end date of 10/26, while the current calendar date is 10/31 (as long as you have a current calendar, that is). What’s my excuse? Only that next week’s Rant Gaming Round-Up is going to be a doozy. I’ve been so busy playing games, and writing about them, that I haven’t had a chance to keep up with the housekeeping side of things.

What can we expect from the week to come? I’ll give you a little hint: it involves knocking people’s wigs off with the sharp part of your tomahawk. Excited yet?

Speaking of getting excited, here’s the new(ish) content for the past week (and some change), beginning with 5 Reasons to Get Excited About the BioShock Infinite Board Game. Yes, Virginia, I will be playing this the moment it comes out.

Continuing with the board game theme, take a gander at If I’m Going Down: A Not So Old School Review. Do you like zombies? No? Get the hell off of my internet!

Finally, we have last week’s Indie Game of the Week – Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Even if you don’t like zombies, surely you must enjoy pretending to bash each other with swords. What could be more integral to human nature than that? Pretend decapitations and burning oil? Count me in!

You’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for next week’s update, coming a little sooner than you might expect!


Rant Gaming Round-Up: 10/13-10/19

Now THIS is what I’m talking about! A week that started out with a sort of consolation prize for poor people (Not So Old School’s list of the Top 10 FREE Board Games for Halloween) ended up delivering a few unexpected, but not unappreciated, gifts to gamers great and small. For example….

Sony Announces Deadly Premonition Director’s Cut; Whistling Commences. THAT’s a headline I can get behind! If you don’t have this game pre-ordered, you haven’t discovered time travel. Why do my most anticipated games always end up being the ones where people talk to themselves and enjoy delicious turkeys?

Then there was the Indie Game of the Week: Flightless, Nitrome’s Little Puzzle Platformer That Could. Do you have any interest in intelligent game design that doesn’t condescend to the player? Of course you do. In that case, go play this demo right away. That’s an order, magic ladder bandit duck thing.

Boss Monster: 8-bit “Dungeon Building” Card Game Terrorizes Kickstarter. I’ll be reviewing this game next week, if you can wait that long to put in your pre-orders. But seriously, for $20? You don’t need to hear my opinion. The pixel art alone is worth that price.

What bounty from the heavens will next week bring? Ta ta for now, gamers and other interested parties.


Rant Gaming Round Up: 10/6-10/12

This was a slow week for Rant Gaming articles, but I have a good excuse! Training! That’s right, I’m now (training to be) a certified member of the workforce! Economy get! So, let’s see what I was able to squeeze into my busy, busy schedule….

The main bulk of the week’s posts went to Not So Old School, my weekly take on board and card games from a video gamer’s perspective. That’s because this week, Not So Old School featured a terrifying triptych of articles, all focused on helping you find the perfect game to play on Halloween. In Roll 1D10 for Terror – Horror Board Games of 2012 (Part 1), I looked at top-secret government bases, zombie-infested cities, and even more zombie-infested cities during my overview of Level 7 [Escape], City of Horror, and the prolific output of Twilight Creations. In Horror Board Games of 2012 – Part 2, I talked about 5-minute dice game Chupacabra, the newest edition of the Resident Evil Deck Building Game, and my unspeakable yen for Mansions of Madness. Finally, Horror-themed Board Games of 2012 – Part 3 wrapped up loose ends, mummification style, with coverage of Cthulhu Gloom, Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Nights event, and the new Ticket To Ride mini-expansion, the adorably orange Halloween Freighter.

That was it for me this week…unless you count the most awesome part of all. On Wednesday, I introduced a new weekly feature with Rant Gaming: the Indie Game of the Week. Every week, I’ll be looking at a downloadable, browser-based, or mobile game that I consider to be the Indie Game of the Week. It could be free, or not; it could be on the PC, phone, or home gaming console; all that matters is that it’s the product of a small, independent developer. The first IGotW was a love letter to my childhood, a wondrous amalgamation of all things 1980s–the inaugural Indie Game of the Week: Retro City Rampage.

Next week: slideshows!