DreadBall – The Futuristic Sports Game

One of my favorite games, if not my #1 favorite game, is Blood Bowl. I adore almost everything about it. Problem is, I never get to play it much these days. Funny thing is I really don’t know why — I play a lot of boardgames but BB has remained packed up for quite some time now. I blame Cyanide. (Hey why not?)

It’s likely because Blood Bowl:

A: Is at its best when playing long term in tourney or league play
B: Is a bit antiquated in its rules
C: Takes a while to play

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the old game, but there’s nothing wrong with a new spin and perhaps a little innovation.

Enter DreadBall from Mantic Games.

The Kickstarter has raised $160,000 to date which has unlocked a slew of “stretch goals” and after reading everything I can about the game it looks like it could be a nice successor to Blood Bowl. Blood Bowl is such an established franchise filled with reams and reams of house rules, living rules, fan made teams, etc. that Dreadball will be behind that curve at first. I think the game, even with all the goals, will carry four teams to start.

But it looks modern, and sounds like it plays fast and fun without much downtime. I’m pledging.

Cracked LCD- Smash Up in Review

I have an inherent- and frankly personal- issue with Paul Peterson’s Smash Up, a new card game hot off the AEG presses. I despise the prevailing nerd humor idiom in which combining two “cool” things yields some supposedly funny juxtaposition. Smashing up Cthulhu with McDonald’s or Hello Kitty yields a bumper sticker with McCthulhu’s and Hello Cthulhu. They make T-shirts combining Doctor Who and Star Wars to make geeks giggle. Go to any given convention and you’ll see this kind of comedy, whether it’s something about ninja monkeys or- possibly the worst- Killer Bunnies in all of their dreadful, accursed variants.
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A Tale of Two Difficulties

I’m currently in the middle of two different games, at two different difficulty levels, providing two different level of challenge and two different opportunities for progress. I’ve always been somewhat averse to high difficulty levels, but never really took the time to figure out why, other than chalking it up to a well developed sense of laziness.

The two games I’m talking about are Darksiders II (no surprise) and the just released English translation of Inquisitor, Czech developer Cinemax’s 2009 PC RPG about killer bats and torture (not necessarily in that order).

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Best of the Jumping the Shark Podcast Compilations

So, this happened.

I’ve long thought about trying to stitch together some favorite moments of JTS, but I’m lazy and worthless and I can’t remember what moments happened when. I have more excuses too, if you like. I’m like Jake Blues offering platitudes to Carrie Fisher’s character in Blues Brothers. But I digress.

Autistic Angel is a better person than me and that’s why there now exists not one, but two Best of of Jumping the Shark audio compilations that absolutely had me rolling yesterday. We really have had some great times recording the show and I’m reminded how much we miss Danielle’s contributions to it. Part two is above (just because the size fits our front page images better), while the first is after the break. Enjoy!

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Eador: Masters of the Broken World on Steam Greenlight

Word has trickled down to me this morning that one of my most anticipated games of 2012, Eador: Masters of the Broken World, has made its way to Steam Greenlight. So hop on over and give it a thumbs up vote post haste.

If you want some more info on the game check out my lengthy Q&A with Snowbird’s Vladimir Tortsov. I am telling you this game sounds and looks awesome.

Guild Wars 2 – The Game That Doesn’t Change Everything

 We founded ArenaNet to innovate, so Guild Wars 2 was our opportunity to question everything – to make a game that defies existing conventions. If you love MMOs, you’ll wanna check out Guild Wars 2. And if you hate MMOs, you’ll really wanna check out Guild Wars 2.

That line is from ArenaNet’s MMO Manifesto video, which I embedded in a blurb I wrote a few days before Guild Wars 2 launched. As a rank MMO amateur who likes his single-player fantasy RPGs, the video effectively sold me on trying the game. After all, I was in the mood for a high fantasy RPG and since I largely hate MMOs, I “really” need to check this game out, right?

Among a host of other promises, the game promised a better combat model, a more immersive world in which you feel a little less like one of a billion other hosers all doing the same thing, and perhaps most significantly, no grinding. After roughly a dozen hours with the game, it’s hard to say that it really cashes in on these promises. No, you’re not collecting a dozen wolf pets every fifteen minutes and the game does solve a lot of problems that MMOs have, but it is most decidedly not a game for people who hate MMOs. If that’s you, do what I failed to do and just save your money. Dark Souls PC is just $40 on Steam. Maybe try that.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #141

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Joining us for Jumping the Shark #140 is the one and only Jason McMaster, he of Cap’n Patch Kickstarter fame. Now, I would tell you that nobody in their right mind would back a game who’s main character is a spider, but even I have to admit the little bugger is oh so cute. I mean he’s got a pipe and a spatula. What more could you ask for? Jason and I then talk up some Guild Wars 2 action. Given that he’s an MMO guy, and I’m incredibly not, it makes for a decent point-counterpoint. For those of you looking to see Bill get his PC Dark Souls on, you’ll be shocked to learn that he hates it. And I mean hates it. Except that he doesn’t. Who’d of guessed? Finally, Brandon is witness to the Fall of Cybertron in the latest Transformers game from High Moon Studios. Find out why the guy with an Autobot tattoo isn’t as blown over by the game as he’d hoped. All that and  little Bastion on the iPad talk is coming your way in this week’s JTS!

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Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype
(The embedded feed is after the break.)
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Cowboys and Angels

The above video is a video that Bill sent to me today because, apparently, Bill thinks that I have a deep and abiding love of country music. I do not. In fact, when I listen to country music, I understand why some people think that all rap and/or hip-hop sounds the same. When I hear country music, all I hear are slide guitars and pickup truck commercials. I’m not saying that’s an appropriate response to a genre of music that is, most likely, as varied and multidimensional as the genres that I love, I’m just telling you what goes on in my little pea-brain.

Honestly, I didn’t get through the entire song because it was not my cup of tea (trying to be polite here), but it did leave an impression on me in that I think that the team-up of an angel and a cowboy would make for an excellent video game.

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The Borderlands Are Waiting

I’m just going to let this fantastic new trailer for Borderlands 2 speak for itself. My desire for this game is strong. Very strong.

The Hidden Gamers

Where are all the board gamers hiding? And why?

I’ve been playing games for a very long time – about 30 years for both video and hobby tabletop games of various kinds. I rather immodestly think of myself as being intimately familiar with most of the genres, and of being representative of the more obsessive end of hobby gamers generally. It therefore came as something of a shock when, shortly after discovering boardgamegeek.com in 2002, I realised that my taste combat-heavy, thematic and fairly random games was considered niche. It seemed that modern gamers generally preferred these new-fangled “European” games coming out of Germany.

I was further mystified when I learned that the foremost modern-day purveyor of the sorts of games I particularly enjoyed, Fantasy Flight Games, had become one of the largest game publishers in the world, ranking behind only mass-market producers like Hasbro and streets ahead of any other hobby-focussed companies. If my taste in games was considered niche amongst a community of board game hobbyists, how come the publisher that best suited that taste had grown so large? Who on earth was buying all their games?

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