Jumping the Shark Podcast #166

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hey, look! It’s a new JTS for two consecutive weeks! With this kind of consistency, it’s almost like those old glorious times of, uh, early February! On tap for this week, Bill delivers a Conquistador Games and Abnercon update. (More on Abnercon from me in the next post.) I nitpick Tomb Raider some, wholly out of love I assure you, while Brandon plays the worthy defender. (And he’s right. It’s a great game.) Brandon breaks out his inner-psuedo sportsman and goes Ridiculous Fishing before hitting the links for a little Super Stickman Golf… 2! Finally, there’s more quality TV Time with Bill finally watching the Star Trek movie. All this and more in Jumping the Shark #166!

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You Can Go HOMM Again

Homm3

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been dabbling in the very, very low end of PC gaming again, preparing for the coming Console Apocalypse when every AAA game requires constant connection to your credit card, demands that you make friends, and somehow “services” you in exchange for forbidding you to buy a used game. I’m stockpiling classic games and notable indies for the End Times, which are scheduled to hit sometime around Holiday 2013. Maybe it’s a kind of doomsday prepping, but in my estimation it’s more a prepping to tell the corporate carpetbaggers and their blessed shareholders that have shanghaied the video games business where they can shove their DRM, DLC, and every FU with which they’ve assaulted their customers over the past several years. Continue Reading…

Calendar Man – Week of 3/18

calendar man week of 3-18 gears of war judgement

Lots coming out this week. Gears gets a prequel, the Wii U gets a new, non-licensed LEGO game, a new Walking Dead game hits as does a new Monster Hunter game and a whole bunch of other stuff drops. This is way too much activity for March. Don’t these people know that I have a move to plan?

As for me, I’m continuing my run in God of War: Ascension despite hitting a game progress glitch that forced me to restart. Oh Kratos, all sound and fury and no brains in that big, ashen head. Fire Emblem: Awakening continues to impress despite me getting my heart broken (more on that later in the week) and I continue to fill all manner of aquatic creatures with hot, hot lead in Ridiculous Fishing.

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Cracked LCD- Mice & Mystics in Review

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I’m not particular impressed by any aspect of the rules or mechanics that govern Jerry Hawthorne’s Mice & Mystics, a game that has proven over the past couple of months to be quite a blockbuster in terms of sales for Plaid Hat Games. Strip away the unique setting inspired by Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels, The Secret of NIMH and the comic books Mouse Guard and Mice Templar and what we’re left with is a fairly pedestrian light RPG adventure game descended from HeroQuest. It’s simplistic and like the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System titles, it’s geared toward accessibility and loose rules in order to make for an easy and quick-playing dungeoncrawl that doesn’t get bogged down in tactical detail. There are few unique mechanics beyond the typical move-and-strike fare, I actively dislike one of the key systems and others like a card-based initiative system aren’t interesting. There’s also the usual raft of +1 swords and other typical fantasy equipment and events, although everything is mouse-sized and whimsically rustic.

So it’s a good thing that games are more than the sums of their rules, otherwise Mice & Mystics wouldn’t have much to offer in comparison to games like the D&D titles, Claustrophobia or Descent. This is not a game about the rules. This is a game about the story, and to that end this is one of the best-written and framed adventure games I’ve ever played. Continue Reading…

Not Much to Say

games of q1 fire emblem awakening

I’m usually of the opinion that if you don’t have anything to say, there’s no need to talk. Unfortunately, regular posting schedules and not having an opinion on things don’t mix well, so here we are. I’m playing a lot, more than ever thanks to Fire Emblem worming its way into my usual evening routine of iPad entertainment but I don’t feel like I have a lot to add to the conversation around the game. Me starting it several weeks after everyone else certainly doesn’t help. It’s good! You should buy it! There’s a lot to it, a lot I’m still discovering.

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Random Tuesday Thoughts – Post Cruise Edition

St. Thomas Harbor

Beautiful St. Thomas. Photo Credit: Me! 

So, first thing’s first. Cruises are aces. My Special Lady –she hates that descriptor, by the way, so no one tell her I wrote that– and I hit up Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (6k passengers, 2k crew) for a trip through the East Caribbean and could not possibly have had a better time. And that despite a 10 hour layover in an overcrowded terminal in Ft. Lauderdale when coming home. (Seriously, fix your f***ing airport.)

If you’re the type that likes quick hitters and a more guided experience over going off on your own to explore every nook and cranny of a destination, then getting on a big floating hotel is where it’s at. It also helps if you can happily lose hours of your life just standing on a deck, drink in your hand and wind in your face, overlooking the water. Also, important safety tip, plan an alcohol budget and, if the price fits, pre-purchase a package. We were gifted a 5-bottle wine package that we used just for dinners and, even had we paid it ourselves, it would have been well worth the money. We did not, on the other hand, drink nearly enough for the premium alcoholic package to have been worth it.

So – gaming. Since there’s been so little (read: nothing) that I’ve been interested in taking deep dives into for quite some time, I’ve decided to just collect some random notes throughout the week that I can then group up, comment on, and post on what’s traditionally been our quietest posting day of the week. This edition is helped out by the fact that there’s actually been happenings this past week…

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #165

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Proving once again that everything in existence hinges entirely on my participation, my return to the show this week means that there was, in fact, a show this week. Yes, like being shocked that it was the butler what did it, I have been the secret linchpin to the JTS success story this entire time. You’re welcome.

Right. Podcast.

The gang is all here for episode #165 and we get down to business by properly taking EA to task for their utter contempt for gamers and their ruination of SimCity. We even give them an award. After that, Bill gives us an update into the world of Conquistador Games and the much anticipated (by me) happenings for Abnercon. Brandon and I go on an adventure with Lara Croft and conclude that with this new Tomb Raider, unlike EA, Square has delivered on exactly what they sold us. Brandon then raves and raves and raves about Fire Emblem: Awakening. Oh, and there’s some TV Time to go along with all that. Join us for the show that almost never skips a beat… except when it does.

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Calendar Man – Week of 3/11

calendar man week of 3-11 god of war ascension

The March of games continues this week with a new God of War game, a Starcraft II expansion as well as some ghost sniping. Not sure how you can snipe a ghost, but maybe you use wrought iron bullets. I’m not up on my ghost sniping. Me, I plan on dabbling in God of War once it arrives as well as continuing raiding tombs and beating down filthy hobos with my climbing ax. I know that the bad guys in Tomb Raider are all stranded on this island, but would it kill them to wash in a river or shave once in a while? I mean, come on. Have some pride in yourself. I’m also making progress in Fire Emblem but I did take a detour to check out the new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon demo. It could be a contender. We’ll see.

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Introducing War Stories

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If you have been listening to the podcast you know that we have another game on Kickstarter called War Stories: Red Storm. Actually we have both Red Storm (east front) and War Stories: Liberty Road (western theater) both on Kickstarter simultaneously sold either separately or in one large package.

This is a World War II block game which can also be played as a miniatures game. We have the rights to the World of Tanks Museum minis as well as sculpts from 21st Century Toys for the Liberty Road minis. So basically we have a lot of cool pre-painted tanks, anti tanks, and trucks which may be used in the game. You don’t need the minis to play as it works great as a block only game. But the minis just look damn cool.

The idea behind War Stories is to take what is normally a fairly complex genre (World War II tactical games) and break it down into a very easy to learn and play game with all of the detail and charts and minutiae boiled down into cards.

Check out the Kickstarter videos. I made the videos so if they look cheap — that’s all me baby! It’s already funded but we’d like to keep it rolling.

In other news, I have been knee deep in the development of Tomorrow. It’s winding down and I am really happy with how it’s turned out. We have added stuff like espionage, new objectives, discovery cards, reworked how diplomacy and cyber warfare functions — a lot of new stuff. I submitted the first draft of the “final” manual and when that’s done I will post a link so people can download it.

I can’t wait to show if off this summer.

A Week with Kingdom Builder

kingdom builder box

Why hello. Take a glass, and pull up a chair. Let me tell you about my week.

On Thursday a box arrived containing a copy of Kingdom Builder, winner of the coveted 2012 Spiel des Jahres award. That night I slotted into my well-worn groove on the settee and got down to the job of removing shrinkwrap and popping cardboard. Sadly, and perhaps surprisingly, that task gets tiresome when you’ve done it as many times as I have.

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