50 Cosmic Encounters!

According to the board game geek as of Wednesday night’s game, I have played the Fantasy Flight version of Cosmic Encounter 50 times now– almost more than the total plays of all my other board games combined in the last couple years (aside from CCG’s).  Why is this?  Simply: Cosmic Encounter is the best board game there is. Period. That’s not to say it’s the only game I want to play, but it really is the stalwart standby that always delivers a great time.

That said, we have two more eliminated aliens from our COSMIC ANNIHILATION attempt to run through all the Aliens at least once: Guerrilla and Masochist join the Deuce, Amoeba, Leviathan, Tripler in the dead pile.

Blood Meridian

Well the western obsession as an escape from the realities of the first month having two kids continues unabated. As tough it was to find, I tracked a slightly worn copy of Blood Meridian down a few weeks back and read it. While not a huge fan of westerns, I took a Western literature class in college that started with The Virginian (of course) and ended with a few post-modern Indian novels. Why the prof didn’t have us read Blood Meridian I will never know as it’s one of the best books I’ve read, and possibly the best picaresque (I know, I know–what can top Unfortunate Traveler?). In trying to piece together the ending I stumbled upon this two part lecture by a Yale Professor for what looks like a freshman lit survey course. While they dig into the book something fine, the lectures thankfully do not get into the sad and rather pathetic mental masturbationist textual analysis I suffered through in a few classes, wherein the professor spends a majority of the time dealing with what other professors have written about other professors writings about the text in literary journals (in exclusionary language no less) rather than the book itself.  What’s more, there’s apparently a movie in the works.

Blood Bowl CCG?

“a standalone game of deck-building action that takes 2-4 players through the cutthroat excitement of an entire Blood Bowl season, all in about an hour.”  Well this looks interesting and it’s being designed by the dude who made Chaos in the Old World so that’s cooking with gas.  Is it a CCG? That’s the question.  I doubt it as the game is certainly not infinitely expandable with a limited number of teams.  Like Dungeon Quest and the oodles of Talisman expansions, this is yet again something from Fantasy Flight that my money won’t be able to avoid.

Torchlight 2 info

From PC Gamer (is this an online only mag now?) and what looks to be the official website here.

This is my favorite quote: “I think it’s probably important to mention here that we’re not aiming with our multiplayer to provide the perfectly secure, cheat free MMO multiplayer experience. The idea here is that you can play Torchlight with your friends, and you can modify that if you want to make the game with your friends all the better.”

That said, they could get some Zyel up in there!

For the nerds

Penny Arcade and some various others have actually recorded (and presumably took the time to edit) sessions of their D&D playing to offer up on wizards.com as podcasts.  I have listened to about 10 minutes of one and it’s exactly what you’d imagine– cracking jokes that only the people sitting around the table will understand, and then beating these jokes to death over the span of time– with a little gaming thrown in for good measure.  Here is the link. I’m not sure what to think of this– it seems like something you’d want to bash your head in with a rock rather than sit through, but I figured this is a chance for my wife to listen to Will Wheaton play D&D for all that’s worth.

Interview about the Ravenloft

ravenloft STUFF
Look at all the shit you get in the box!

A rather bland, but telling interview about the upcoming D&D board game series.  I really do not believe the R&D story about just ‘wanting to do it.’   I think it came down to marketing saying “we must compete with Descent.”  Regardless, I’m stoked these are coming out as the last good D&D-Heroscapesque board game released in the USA was…never?

Getting in on a good shootin'

And the (going insane from having a second kid) western obsession continues unabated.  While I have GW’s Legends of the Old West, I’ve been hunting around for another set of gunslinging rules to check out that had a bit more detail to the stat line.  Having checked out Savage Worlds and found it fairly muddy in the rules department, it was time to look elsewhere.   Many moons back, Wargames Foundry founder Bryan Ansell wrote a set of free rules called the Rules With No Name, but they were in such an ‘alpha’ version that I didn’t bother taking them seriously.  Foundry has revised, completed and put them all into a beautiful hardback book that I just accidentally ordered.  Members of my erstwhile gaming group– prepare yourselves for some miniature mayhem.  With paint being slapped on pewter between changing diapers and cleaning up milksplosions, the entire ERTL cow town 1/64 scale building set coming in the mail, and a new sandy-beige bolt of felt slapped across the 4′ X 4′ gaming table– high noon is coming for all of us.

Anyone get up inside the Starcraft yet?

I’m going with a co-worker to watch him pick up the collector’s edition over lunch.  It’s an exciting day for a lot of gamers.  While I’m not concerned that Starcraft will be another high watermark in the RTS genre–I would be very concerned whether or not the gamers of today care about RTS much at all.  The last really good RTS that pushed the envelope for me was Company of Heroes, with Dawn of War being a lesser but moderately OK version.  Both of these games stood on the shoulders of the amazing Warcraft 3, for which I have no limit to the amount of adoration or praise: for it’s gamplay, single player as well as single-handedly moving the genre away from the domination of the defense (like Total Annihilation or Age of Empires) other than that?  The genre has been rather meh.

The question is, will Starcraft 2 be big just because it’s Blizzard or will it be able to sustain the casual gamers?  Warcraft 3 had Ancients and the Hero mods for players that didn’t just want to go online and get their ass slapped aside in multiplayer, but due to the lack of heroes, Starcraft may not have the branches for modification Warcraft 3 does.

For me, sadly, having very little time to commit to learning another RTS to the level I feel comfortable with, Starcraft 2 is all about the single player which, if Warcraft 3 was any indication, will be absolutely brilliant on all fronts.