Skip to main content

Lost Temple in Review

I really like Stronghold Games a lot- they’re doing a lot of great reprints (like freaking McMulti/Crude) and they’re also bringing out some interesting and not necessarily safe titles like Panic Station that are positioning them to be the next Z-Man Games, which is in my opinion a very, very good place to be. Last week I reviewed Revolver from them, and word is from the company that there are expansions planned for it that may very well alleviate my one big issue with the game- that it may not have legs over repeated plays.

But they can’t all be winners. Lost Temple, a re-implementation of the Citadels mechanic, is OK but I’d hardly recommend it to anyone apart from large groups that need a 7-8 player game that plays in a reasonable amount of time. It’s essentially a “role selection and move” race game, and the mechanic doesn’t really feel quite right for it. It’s not broken or anything like that, and it can be fun- but it’s just largely unremarkable.

Review is at Gameshark since they paid for it. This week, I’m reviewing Victory Point Games’ Destined Hero- an 8-bit board game.

The Digital Transcendence of Deckbuilding

Holy smokes, you know what I forgot to do? Post last week’s Cracked LCD link. Sorry ma, I was Witchering!

Anyway, I’ve not done an editorial in a while because there’s been too much on the docket that I wanted to review. But things are slowing down, and I’ll probably start rotating the reviews with smarty pants articles, trolling lists, and ranting. Last week, I wrote about deckbuilding and how I no longer have any desire to play physical games in that genre. But boy, I do love them on the iPad.

It’s a genre that has come of age along with the maturation of tablet and smartphone gaming. And it’s a perfect fit. The funny thing is that a lot of the liabilites and negatives around deckbuilding games fall away when the logistics, calculation, and process is automated. What’s that you say? “But Barnes…face to face gaming with friends and family!” To that I say “that’s what Cosmic Encounter is for, not Dominion”.

It’s a somewhat unpopular opinion, but I would be more than happy to see a lot of physical games just go straight to a tablet/smartphone format. There are games that specifically need human, face-to-face interaction. But there are many that do not. And I’d much rather spend my limited time gaming at the table with friends with the former than wasting time with the latter. There’s also the issue that digital board games are much cheaper, more eco-friendly, and you can play them any damn time you want without having to negotiate with the wife, get four other friends to schedule time (and negotiate with their SOs) and have everybody drive somewhere to meet. It’s the future of board gaming, like it or not.

Rex in Review- the Dune Ghola

Fantasy Flight’s Rex: Last Days of an Empire has been out for about a month now and I’ve put it through its paces. It’s a nominal reprint of Avalon Hill’s classic Dune board game, but since FFG couldn’t get the license they reskinned the whole thing to fit their proprietary (and uninspired) Twilight Imperium setting. To FFG’s credit, they were sort of in a no-win situation with not being able to get the rights to the IP, and likely did the best they could.

The result is a surrogate Dune. It’s the guts of Dune, it plays like Dune, but it isn’t Dune. It doesn’t have Dune’s heart and soul. It’s a clone with metal eyes- like the Gholas in Herbert’s novels. Instead of Houses Atreides and Harkonnen clashing over Spice blows on the sands of Arrakis, you’ve got space turtles and space cats duking it out over abstract number chits in a space city that’s more or less a rip off of Coruscant.

You can buy this game and experience- at least mechanically- why Dune is one of the best games ever published. But the make-it-fit setting, horrendously misguided map redesign, and needless alterations spoil the experience to a degree. Review is at Gameshark. Prognosis? Just play Dune, if that’s an option for you.

Oh, I was also on Chick’s podcast last night. It was fun. We rap about Sine Mora, Mass Effect 3, Journey, Mage Knight and the upcoming Sour Patch Kids game. Chick stumps me with a movie question, which is hugely embarassing.