Jumping the Shark Podcast #210

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I should have posted this before July 4th week, but it was July 4th week and I was busy drinking and replacing door locks (not an interesting story) and napping. So, a bit late, but in episode 210, Brandon and I get our Telltale mojo on and discuss episodes #3 and #4 of Wolf Among Us as well as episode #3 of The Walking Dead. I also, over a year later, finally complete Tomb Raider so we go deep into what makes that game tick and Brandon ties a nice little bow around his time with Watch Dogs.

Enjoy! (And look for episode #211 to post, on time, next Monday.)

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype

Cracked LCD- Ars Victor in Review

arsvictor box

Making a claim that it is “the one hour wargame”, Ars Victor doesn’t make a very convincing case for itself with its tagline. It’s almost like advertising a title as “the wargame with chits” at this point in the genre’s evolution. There are tons of one hour tactical wargames ranging from any of the Commands and Colours titles to Jeff Horger’s Manoeuvre to Conflict of Heroes to the Pocket Battles series and on through to lesser lights like the Mythic Battles line. This class of game has been very popular over the past ten years and, for many game players, it’s also a class that has become redundant. So Ars Victor, designed by the very enthusiastic Stephen DeBaun, has its work cut out for itself. It needs to prove that it can stand next to some of the one-hour titans, it has to evidence differentiators that set it apart from the pack and if it’s going to be eligible to be considered THE one hour wargame- it’s got to be awesome. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- My First Carcassonne in Review

my first carc

My First Carcassonne is Z-Man Games’ new reprint of Kids of Carcassonne and as either title would suggest, this game is a junior-sized version of Klaus Jurgen-Wrede’s classic tile-layer. When the game was first released back in 2009, I didn’t have children. But in 2014 I have a four-and-a-half year old boy and an almost three year old girl. River and Scarlett are already playing lots of different games (as long as they’re not too “domplicated”) ranging from the usual Haba and Ravensburger suspects up through titles as complex as Rampage and Zooloretto with a little help from dad, of course. But of the games I’ve played with them, I don’t think any of them have been as big a hit as My First Carcassonne. It’s rare that I get to play a game over 20 times before committing to a review. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Inside AEG’s Summer Releases Box (Doomtown, Sail to India, Mai-Star, Valley of the Kings, etc.)

aeg box

Here’s a little  “inside baseball” about the games review racket. Most publishers, especially the smaller guys, you need to email or call and ask for press copies. It’s somewhat humiliating in a way, going out with hat in hand to ask for a free game but the game makers benefit from the press more than a reviewer benefits from a free game.  But some of the companies have bona fide press lists, and they send out press packages and unsolicited promos. Sometimes, this is a great thing because you get to see games ahead of release and it gives you lots of material for the next several articles. But sometimes, it feels like this huge obligation- particularly if you’re being sent games that you don’t want to cover.

Fortunately, AEG does good press packages and even though I’m pledged to impartiality and I’m not swayed by swag I appreciate their generosity. It shows that they respect reviewers and understand their part in the marketing process. There’s a new AEG box with their summer releases packed in it that I got a couple of weeks ago so I thought I’d just review the whole damn thing in one swing. Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #209

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week Brandon and I welcome back Troy Goodfellow to the show, for a long overdue update on yon Mr. Goodfellow’s happenings and his landing with Paradox. It was also E3 week and that meant we spent our time talking all things E3. Dragon Age 3. Witcher 3. Ubsioft shenanigans. Nintendo’s gambit to keep the Wii U relevant as well as thoughts on the Sony and Microsoft pressers. It’s all here. It’s all good.

Enjoy!

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype

Ivor the Engine Review

ivor-engine-01

British people of a certain age tend to regard children’s animators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate as minor deities, so totally did their wonderful conjurations dominate the world of kids TV in the 70′s. Dizzying edifices of imagination and storytelling, built on Firmin’s instantly recognisable art and Postgate’s incomparable animation, they remain a colossal founding pillar of my childhood.

Now here there is a game, a modern game, based on my most cherished of all their creations: Ivor the Engine. It’s here, in my hands. This is going to go very well, or very badly.

Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Firefly: Pirates and Bounty Hunters in Review

pirates

Gale Force Nine’s Firefly board game was last year’s surprise hit- for me, at least, because I wasn’t much of a Firefly fan before playing the game. I’m still not exactly what you’d call a “Browncoat”, but I loved the game’s rigorously fan-pleasing attention to bringing forward the show’s space cowboy/pirate concept to the table. I also especially liked that it was very much a game about commerce and crew. “Find a crew, get a job, keep flying” is what it says right on the box and that’s exactly what you do for more or less all of the games two or three hour duration. The Breakin’ Atmo expansion, which was a small box that added some new jobs and supply cards, was a nice low-cost but slight addition. I definitely recommend it for fans, but for those looking for something that substantially changes the game, look no further than the new Pirates and Bounty Hunters expansion. It’s out in stores now for $30 or less and it is money well spent if you find yourself wishing that Firefly had more, well, disagreeable behavior in it. Continue Reading…

Maturity, Inclusion, and the Game Industry in 2014

Microsoft E3 Presser

So, E3 is happening. Over Monday and Tuesday there were pressers and demos and a Brinks truck loaded with video. There’s always one or two things to stand out to me from these events, but the topic that’ll stay with me for awhile is maturity and the strange dichotomy in which this industry (fans included) needs more of it yet sometimes fails to recognize it when it appears. There are two catalysts for this post. One is the all too predictable trolling of Danielle Riendeau’s 100% on-point and valid piece on the lack of female presenters during the major press conferences. (Hat tip to the excellent work Danielle is doing at Polygon. We miss her a ton!) The other is a post from “Ashelia” on her Hellmode blog, defending the teaser trailer for the next Tomb Raider game against attacks that it’s made a victim of Lara Croft. (Apologies that I don’t have a real name to attribute to Ashelia.)

Originally, this post was mostly about Tomb Raider and a bit about Brothers and not laying charges of sexism where they don’t exist because it does disservice to those examples of brilliant work this industry is capable of producing. I can’t, in good conscience write on this topic without first calling attention to this sort of abhorrent behavior and state outright that when someone like Danielle speaks out on this topic and meets an ill-considered, reactionary response like this that it is all of our responsibility to condemn it in no uncertain terms. I don’t want these troglodytes, these soulless imbeciles, carrying the torch for who we are as gamers. I know we’re better than this. You know we’re better than this.  But unless we slam the door on this sub-human behavior we’ll remain defined by it. And in case you think I’m overstating, enjoy this piece of human filth:

Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #208

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did you think we’d gone? Admit it, you thought we had completely checked out. But Brandon and me? We recorded our 208th show last week. It’s been up since Sunday night. I’m just the wanker who didn’t make time to tell you about it. But I digress. With wedding shenanigans (and you’ll hear all about those) behind us, we’ll be back on our every other week format. This show features Brandon’s descent in the privacy-free world of Watch Dogs. The man’s inner-voyeur has been set loose and we should all be very, very afraid. There’s also a long look at Transistor and how the beauty of its world enthralls Brandon, but he sees enough short-comings to believe it not quite as awesome as Supergiant’s opening masterstroke, Bastion.

After the break, a quick sidenote…

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype

Continue Reading…

Eight Minute Empire Review

eight-empire-01

Of all the lies that are told in the context of board gaming, the biggest and most odorous are those printed on boxes alongside the legend “playing time”. Yet even amongst this exalted company, Eight-Minute Empire reaches new heights of outrage. Whatever it says on the box, the rules inside freely admit that it’s probably three whole times as much as claimed, and my experience supports that.

Of course, that’s still only twenty to thirty minutes. So I might be over-egging this pudding just a little.

Continue Reading…

Page 3 of 319«12345»102030...Last »