The best games of 2018 – boardgames

To say 2018 was a good year would be odd, to say it was a bad year would be inaccurate. What we have before us friends is an absolute DELUGE of games. More video games, more board games, more console games and more (shitty) iphone games than you can even count. It’s like humankind shifted in the late 90’s from enjoying games occasionally to it being the absolute raison d’etre for human existence and that it only matters if a game is NEW and not if it’s GOOD. It may be said that this was the year where historians ages hence say that all people wanted to do from here on out was play games, and that would be great if we had some star trek level of egalitarianism and technology to support people just gaming, but neither will ever happen. As a gainfully employed American, here’s to the wayward distractions from the fall of the West.

Board games


Coming out near the end of the year meant we didn’t get a ton of play time with this one, but I’ve now played 15 or so times and it’s an excellent game. We haven’t had a ‘tournament’ day yet where we open random decks and go to town, but that’s coming. If this was multiplayer, I think it would be the best CCG ever made.

Rising Sun, pointing.

Rising Sun

This is my favorite game of 2018 by far. Really an excellent follow up by Eric Lang after Blood Rage. I was very skeptical of the battle system, but it works brilliantly. He trashed a lot of early designs to get to this one and you can tell he was going all in to make the best area control game he could. It’s a toss up at this point between busting this out or Blood Rage, and that’s saying something! If you’ve been stuck fucking around with Scythe (a euro)– this is the real deal.

Games I didn’t play from 2018


This is Martin Wallace’s follow up to A Study in Emerald. It’s a train game, a bit like Brass but with monsters. Will get to the table soon!


Looks like a solid COIN game. I probably should have kickstarted this one, but theme wise I should probably pick up Cuba Libre or Pendragon instead. The art is Armello-esque.

Western Legends

This is going to hit the table, but just hasn’t yet. This is an old west Talisman-style game and should be fairly good for a few plays but I’m not sure long term. I kickstarted this on a whim so we’ll see!

New BRASS (Birmingham)

I’ve played Brass a few times but never owned it, so I’m looking forward to busting out this LAVISH ass version of the game.

Dice Hospital

I have to get this to the table. The theme is not my favorite but I think my kids will love it.

Gateway: Uprising: Deck-builder area control games

We played Gateway: Uprising the other night which is the third deck-building with area control mechanics mash up game I’ve played and figured I’d write a bit since this type of game has held my interest for a while.

After Martin Wallace’s A Few Acres of Snow, this type of game became a thing with follow ups of Mythotopia and finally A Handful of Stars.  Deck-building with area control is a very  interesting style of game for me, creating player controlled asymmetry like Ascension or Dominion, but with a physical area that is controlled or conquered by players as the game goes along (so they are not as boring as Ascension and Dominion…).  There’s a lot of potential for “wow, I’ve never seen that before” in these games as well as having actual player interaction during the game instead of none.

Gateway: Uprising is a game of various wizard-lead factions (like the Great Fish!) in this very strange city that is having some immigrant and crime problems.  Your factions is built from cards you acquire which are either support cards, merchant cards or army cards build out of the various smaller factions in the city.  Support cards are single play and discard as are merchants, but Army cards stay on the table until destroyed (and they are destroyed often!) at which time they get shuffled into your deck.  Your goal is to score more points than your rivals after time is up or take over all the regions of the city which is instawin.

Unlike Mythotopia/Handful of Stars, locations in Gateway do not become cards in your deck. I was rather surprised by this as the city locations in the game don’t seem to do much except get attacked! You could win the game by not setting foot in the city at all if your faction could pile up enough victory cards (runestones).   However, if a Wizard faction controls the entire city of Gateway, they win the game immediately, so other factions are forced all into the city to make sure no one gets control.

Another interesting twist with Gateway is that there are monsters that show up which can and will destroy the city if not dealt with, generated via an event deck.   So…. this is how the game gets it’s ‘co-op’ tag on the box. It is necessary for the players to work together in order to hold off the horrifying monstrosities that continuously attack the city.  Co-op though, it’s really not. When the monsters start to destroy the sections of the city, it is then easier for one faction to take the entire city over and fighting between factions intensifies.

One thing Gateway has in spades is SOUL.  The art (by concept artist Sean Murray) on the cards and the city itself is superlative and is some of the best I’ve seen in a game for awhile (Rising Sun and Blood Rage aside).  The artist obviously loves Ian Miller/John Blanche as the cityscapes on some cards look straight out of The Enemy Within!  Like Dungeon Degenerates, this is a game that could justify purchase on the weird art alone.

In contrast to the rather dry Mythotopia and Handful of Stars, the goals that your faction has (kill monsters, dominate the city, kill the city guards, kill off the other player’s army) are clear from the outset, unlike the sort of vague ‘go forth and get points’.  Players being able to instantly win with full board control in Gateway is another excellent aspect that obfuscates a bit of the point salad that is inevitable with these types of games.

Mythotopia and Handful of Stars have player’s controlled areas scattered across the map at the start of the game, forcing them to fight with others or neutrals in order to consolidate some sort of defend-able empire and score points.  Gateway: Uprising starts with the city in the game controlled by no one, and the gangs/factions have to stake claim to the board as they go.  I find this a superior method, especially since Mythotopia feels pretty messy when you first start out and you immediately ask yourself why on earth you, as a fantasy lord, would control areas scattered randomly across the country side like this?  You have no sense of your faction or loyalty or what you are trying to do—it doesn’t make much sense.  I chalk that up to Mythotopia being one of Wallace’s ‘mechanics tests.’  Handful of Stars feels a bit better in this regard since the board represents 3 dimensional space and you are an alien faction (with a special power) rather than a generic fantasy lord.  I think both the Wallace games would be better, albeit LONGER if they started the players with a single star system/region or off board to start the game.  This would be a major design change since resources to play and buy cards come from the regions/planets themselves.

The rules are OK, there are some gaps we found in the rules (like, if regions are destroyed, do they count against the ability for a faction to control the city? It never says), so you have to make some judgement calls.  Components are good but the big hexes are not cardboard, they are very thin card and get moved around easily.  

Anyway, Gateway is pretty cheap (I got it lightly used for 15$) and well worth having in the collection (the box is small too for those of you with limited shelf space). I like it better than Mythotopia, and about the same as Handful of Stars. Gateway is far easier to set up to play than HoS is though!


this is one crazy ass beast.

Aphex twin on 2019

This got posted to reddit.

2019 update
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asbv in the pipesine ib the svno-awaitel “besektel aujient wvzrb 1.5” uetas kabbette, kl, dvuit-tintel dinfs anl uancas kiphezb (mckr lioitasb, anasvo vnsf, jajf). adaisajse mvz lvwnsval jf rinl seoas aozeeuent mzvu z+b zekvzlb inteznativnas dia uais vzlez vn uazkh 5th, 2019.

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khekr vct uf scbh aphex twin wejbite mvz the vmmikias annvcnkeuentb, i lvn’t hade anf btzvno meesinob ajvct fvc btcpil twitb bv i wantel fvc tv je the 1bt tv rnvw.

qvfzex ib a kcnt, zellit bckrb lvnref likr, fvc’ze jeino jzainwabhel jf kheutzaisb. hade a happf 2019 anl oet kzakrino fvc bsaob!

eteznassf fvczb in pzibu anl jitkheb, pzitkhazl j bsaub

That is:

hello guys, girls and trannies, just checking in to announce there will be some totally new aphex twin custom official limited edition dentures for sale soon. so vexing!

also in the pipeline is the long-awaited “selected ambient works 1.5” metal cassette, cd, vomit-tinted vinyl and manual ciphers (fuck digitals, analog only, baby). available for download by kind legal agreement from r+s records international via mail order on march 5th, 2019.

finally, while you’re at it, sign up for the upcoming korg “selected ambient works 3”-themed lush 25 keys rompler kickstarter with weirdcore designed interface print! synth programmeded by my chinky mate tatsuo mcwhatshisface. street date is july 5th 2019, will be offered with optional 3 months limited warranty, power supply sold seperately.

check out my lush aphex twin website for the official announcements, i don’t have any strong feelings about you stupid twits so i wanted you to be the 1st to know.

joyrex is a cunt, reddit sucks donkey dick, you’re being brainwashed by chemtrails. have a happy 2019 and get cracking you slags!

eternally yours in prism and bitches, pritchard b slams


Mandy, Mandy, Mandy.  There is one film per year that becomes your gang of freaks’ “movie of the year.”  Doesn’t matter if it’s a quality film, doesn’t matter the genre, the actors or the amount of swords and TITS included (usually prerequisites though…).  It just has to have an effect on your group in a meaningful way, even if it’s arguing.  Examples of this are Fury Road for 2015, the VVitch in 2016, Get Out for 2017, Hundra for 1983, etc.  It’s only September, but I’m feeling like Mandy is already a strong, strong contender.

This film came to my attention when the trailer hit and moreso on account of strong rotten tomatoes score after Cannes. When the trailer hit, I watched it like 4-5 times the first day, then again the second day while whoring around the trailer to others whenever possible.  This film pretty much aims straight at Appendix N people and it hits like a Sniper Elite NUTSHOT.   If you like weird ass horror, HK cinema crime/revenge films and dig a bunch of stuff from Appendix N, you will cream your jeans on this film.  If you grew up in the 80’s as well, this will be an enlightening experience as the film is like an extended music video from 1983 or so.

So go see it. The film will likely be out of theaters until award season at least as it’s likely going to be up for something and then get another stint in the theaters again.  Stop here if you don’t want spoilers.

The Film and stuff I liked

  • Mandy and Red’s bed in the porch room with the greasy windows surrounded by woods.
  • The part where they were in the boat and then Red is looking across the fire at Mandy.  A lot of people have said that these characters are ‘really in love’ but Red has a level of obsessed awe and confusion when he really looks at Mandy that Cage is able to pull off that is different from some Love Actually shit.
  • The scene with Mandy being killed is very disturbing and they linger on it a long time.  This is extremely effective BUT I feel like they did not linger on the deaths of the cult enough when their time came.
  • The bathroom scene with Red in his tighty whities was amazing.  There’s a lot to love about Nicolas Cage’s performance overall, but that scene takes the cake.
  • I really enjoyed the fight in the shitty drug house with a coked up demon biker who was watching a porno on a small TV.
  • You can’t argue with practical effects face melting.  As a kid I accidentally watched this one movie where a woman gets too close to a volcano and her face melted.. then the next summer it was on again and I walked into the room just as that scene was playing so I saw it a second time!!
  • Acid. Every single character is on LSD or something like it at some point in the film.
  • The music

Stuff I didn’t like

  • I couldn’t understand what Red was saying at the end of the movie! Too garbled up.
  • I think the film should have given more of a feeling of time-span between when Red escapes and starts killing people, or spans in between the killings
  • Some of the killing/fighting was a bit boring, granted most of the cultists were petrified non-combatants, but the demon bikers could have been a bit more interesting in the fight choreography /setting (think Freddy Vs Jason or Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness witch fights type of shit).  Red gets all fucked up, but you don’t FEEL it like you do when Ash does in Evil Dead.
  • The film is slow in the beginning and then there is payoff. I was expecting some 2001 style psychedelic trip out at the very end of the film (there’s a small one, but not a huge freak out that I expected) to tonally shift it back to the first scenes of the film.  It shows a surreal flashback of Mandy and Red at a party where Red is staring at Mandy with that obsessed confused look and she is smiling and crying and I would have cut the movie right there and not shown Red again driving in his car through the woods.  His gift for going to hell for revenge is to be able to experience her memory uncluttered with all the ‘crazy evil’ and they should have left him with that.


Why didn’t Red kill the young whore-cultist girl?  She was party to everything and didn’t help Red for shit at any point.

What was the double moons and alien landscape at the end of the film supposed to indicate?

Why didn’t they kill Red when they had the chance (twice!)

Where did they get that VAN? Where did they find that HOUSE?

Kickstarters, Kickstarters

Four kickstarters of interest have just popped up.  These are pricey to back in some cases, and I certainly can’t back them all, but one or more may be worth your interest.

First up is one of those insta-backs that is bound to make a shytte-load of cash and be awesome:  Eclipse!   This has cool ships, cool trays and probably isn’t something absolutely needed if you have the base game, but you’re going to want it.  The full game with the expansion is a hefty 150$ though.  I remember getting a copy of the first printing when the game got really hot by luck of timing years back and it’s been balls to the wall Eclipse ever since.

Second is OVER THE EDGE, a new version of the classic ‘fucked up island’ RPG that I never had a chance to play or run. The design was very influential and I expect it will be even better (much like Feng Shui 2 is to Feng Shui).  This may not be everyone’s cup o tea, but the old game spawned the Greatest CCG card ever made.

Third is another Quartermaster Game yet this time about the Cold War.  I really liked Quatermaster 1918 and feel this one will be even better.

Last is DEAD MAY DIE: CMON’s take on the Agents VS Cthulhu thing.  This looks good but there are so many of these games… sooo many…

Names for Maaaat

We play a bunch of RPG’s and Matt is castigated most of the time for his character names. So much so that he has descended into utter filth or silliness as a response. While I’m used to players naming their characters after other PLAYERS in the game, or some two word combo that turns out to be violent sexual imagery when pronounced, I seek to help matt with his naming problem and wasn’t sure how until I found this post about a neural network generating thousands of ‘fantasy’ names.

Here are some good ones out of the 10K+

Chagg Castlewink
Mira the Bastard
Ravelock Hewclot
Saltroth Dank
Varion Mandrin
Perry Bardwood
Mellock Fistbelly
Rhon Smallthorn
Maedo Balland
Poppy Didgins
Corvish Prinn
Temen Maft
Morrigan Hellioa Forgelock