Thursday, May 17, 2007
Alright so I'm going to "start a new series" or if I were doing the whole Pod Cast thing (see the post about "To Cast or Not To Cast" for details) this would be a new segment...I come up with stupid, inane shit all the time and if you read my blog the you are the one who has to deal with it, not me. I suppose I could leave these strange mind numbing pieces of cranial methane alone and hide them away so no one would ever be harmed by them. No, instead I'm just going to purge myself of this need to write for my own masochistic reasons and leave my spewings here on this page for you to gobble up. Yum yum.
Still with me? heheheh
Games That Make You Go FUCK! Will be a series that I write up whenever I damn well feel like it. The goal will be to pick a subject matter and then lump a bunch of games into that little box as I damn well feel like it. Today's writing is "An Assemblage of Asinine" where I pick out some "games", and that's a term I'll use very loosely, that someone out there should be incarcerated to creating, someone else should be flogged for producing, someone else should be emasculated publicly by having their balls painted yellow dipped in honey and dangled over an ant hill for having decided to carry this product. In other words atrocities of the gaming world, laid out right here for you to see and read about...because I damn well feel like doing it.
(A note before continuing...Games That Make You Go FUCK! will not always be negative as I don't see fucking as negative. In fact mostly I see fucking as very positive and future editions of this series will showcase games where you use FUCK! as a method of praise for the games in that group.)
Games That Make You Go FUCK! Part 1: "An Assemblage of Asinine" is brought to you by:
Corx is our first piece of shit on the chopping block. The concept here is...get this...you pick up two corx (which is a cool spelling of the word Corks) and drop them. How they land is how you score. Ewwwwwww if they both land on one end you get big points. Hey now that's fun. Then your opponent does the same. Next it's your turn, pick those Corx back up and do it again. WOW! This rocks! Yeah well no it's really a bullshit method of trying to peddle off some useless piece of crap to kids. Hell the website for this product has even started up their own "lingo" for the game in an attempt to make it seem like it's got it's own cool subculture. So they thought they could play on the kiddies sense or need to belong...problem is there's no other kiddies out there that are in this new clique to belong with. What crap.
OK so next up is Monday Night Football Interactive TV Card Game. Well with that many words in the title it, you know it's got to be a fun game right? Alright so here's the gist. Tune in to the Monday Night Football game....there's the first problem with this game! It makes you watch football. Now, deal out a hand of cards. Plays and things appear on them. When that play happens play your card for points. So yeah what you got here is a game that gives you no control over whether you win or lose. Just play friggin' cards from you hand when/if you can then add up points when you are done. Hmmmmmmm Ok. I think you can figure out how absolutely ridiculous this is all by yourself and I'm not going to say anything further. Moving right along. . .
So next up is Fishing for Terrorists. Not as many words in the title of this game as we had in the Monday Night Football Interactive TV Card Game but then again there's not as many mechanics either. While Monday Night Football Interactive TV Card Game was a terrible game given it's mechanics Fishing for Terrorists is equally as bad with less. Playing on a poignant time frame this game was released in hopes of selling a few units based on the humorous theme. Still you can't get past the fact that you are playing WAR! That's right "good" ole war that you can just as easily play with any one of the 3 decks of cards you can get for $1.00 at the cheap ass store instead you can now shell out $20 for and give it a go with "humorous" artwork.
So if you are here reading my blog chances are you are a "hardcore" gamer. You aren't the type who gets juiced up thinking about playing a rip roaring game of Monopoly. Sure someone reading this may have accidentally stumbled onto my blog and like a train wreck can't seem to pull their vision from the atrocity of it but for the most part if I have readers they are going to be gamers. As such this "game" titled simply LCR probably defies all logic to you as it does to me. Pick up the dice throw them and get rid of your chips as per what the dice tell you to do with them. OK. Now pass the dice and let someone else do the same. When the dice come back to you repeat. huh? Alright well I don't even know how to rip this game a new one it's so completely ridiculous. So I'm going to move on. Still you hear time and time again what a good seller this is for the game stores. WOW Way to go whoever...rake in the cash of the gullible idiots out there who insist on throwing it at you.
My last little entry here is a hodgepodge if you will. First off is going to be all the licensed rethemes of "classic" board games. Not every movie out there needs it's own version of; Monopoly, Clue, Risk, Stratego and Life. The only one that seemed to make any sense to me at all was the Scooby Doo Clue...they were after all detectives. I did actually see Monsters, Inc., Life in Monstropolis game in action. Because it was a Disney movie it was retooled as well as rethemed and you don't have babies anymore...guess that's too close to having sex and can't let the kiddies know about that now can we?
CCG's and TCG's. Whatever you want to call them. Like above every theme that can be imagined is conceived into printed form for this medium of money sucking filth. Did you know there was an American Idol CCG? How about a Tomb Raider CCG? WHY!?!?!? They all tend to suck. Throw in my utter stomach turning disdain for any "collectible" game and you have a category here that I despise wholly. This is the utter putrid, vile butt droppings of the gaming world.
Alright well it's obvious that there could be more things in this list. I'm done here for today but I hope, like me you were able to look at the games and think to yourself "Fuck that's bad" and if so I further hope that it rekindled a new level of love for your current game collection. You may not have the biggest or best collection out there but be proud of what you have and be proud that these are not part of it.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Alright on deck today for examination is Combat Soldiers: Battle of the Bulge. "This is not a wargame" the die hard grognards will cry. "This is too much of a wargame" the non-wargamers will whine back in response. "It's just a card game" comes the complaints of the boards gamers who don’t understand how a game can be played without a folded piece of cardboard. Followed closely by the "There's too much to it" as the card gamers sift through the chits. It’s not that hard to figure out people but this game is all of that and that's what makes it such a unique game, deal with it.
A wargame? Certainly but not in the typical you play this side I'll play that style. Is it an American style game? Yes but you can see the attempt to give the game some diversity in it's approach as well. See the game is about getting VPs and not winning the war…hell or even winning the battle. It's more like "taking bets" on parts of the battle. No player plays the Axis or the Allies…everyone plays BOTH the Axis and the Allies. That's right you can setup an army of German soldiers with on turn and have your already existing American troops move into a held area to contend for it. (Ahhhh the true nature of politicians running a war almost seemed fully embraced in that idea now doesn’t it?) The goal of the game is still intact with this maneuver as you are really only looking to gain VPs. In fact the individual unit cards have different units and are played with one unit in the upright position indicating what unit you want that card to represent. So I can easily see the wargamers thinking this just isn't right but then again they are still scrambling for their copies of Ogre and ASL and clinging tightly to rule sets that are 20 years or more old and not willing to pry their brains open to much new.
The game is pretty involved for a card game (and let's face it people, the main components are the cards) and there are a lot of little rules that are easily to forget or not be able to find again in the rule book after reading it once or twice. The rules literally house a sub-section about half way through the book called 220.127.116.11. This makes the rulebook itself stretch out to a full 37 solid pages of rules. That can really the freak the living shit out of those who are not use to it yet for those who are these rules are going to be simple and common place. Some of the verbage in the rules too gets a little inundating as your units can group, refit, reorganize or rearrange all of which means something different. In addition units can surround, pin, isolate or be entrenched within a garrison. All of these little rules will easily be classified as fiddly to someone not use to wargames and those bullheaded grognards will be more than comfortable with and use to.
Now I'm not going to go into detail on how the game is played as I said it's a 37 page rule book and that's just not my reviewing style. What I am going to say now is that if you are still reading this review then you have more than a casual interest in the game. I haven't run you off with the talk it not being your typical wargame when you wanted another Europe Engulfed. I've also managed to keep your attention in the face of the game being fiddly yet you are use to games with only a couple options on a turn ala Alan R. Moon games. That's a good thing because by virtue of you still being here reading this you are about to discover a pretty damned cool little game.
Yes a turn in Combat Soldiers takes some time to get through as they are detailed turns. The sequence of an turn is as follows:
A – Reorganize/Withdraw
The turn however flows smoothly and there is plenty of player interaction within the turn as attacks happen frequently and preparation for the attack that an opponent is obviously building is fundamental. There's no map (it's a card game remember) so there is no messing about with movement, opportunity fire, or terrain effects which is kind of nice. This allows players to keep in the action and heat of battle which is what this game is really about…I mean don’t we play games with a war theme to feel the fury of unloading our machine gun into the belly of an enemy…or is that just me? Further the game is about your foot units (the fucking game is called Combat SOLDIERS remember) and the few armor units in the game while being tough as hell when they attack can be taken out of play relatively easily if you have some anti-tank units out there. Of course if the deck screws you and you don’t get the anti-tanks and another opponent or two manages to put armor in play then you might want to put both your handsin front of you in a nice little bowl format as you ass I most definitely about to be handed to you. The game is also fit with event cards that can be triggered to keep things surprising and put players on the edge as you never know when someone who is nearly out of the game is going to play that ultimate “fuck somebody over” card and swing the tide of the war.
The game itself is made by Lost Battalion Games who self publishes all their titles. The cards and chits look fantastic and have a nice high gloss feel to them. You start the game by setting secret goals for yourself that you try and make happen regardless of how unusual the combination of those goals are. These goals if accomplished award more VPs come game end and hopefully a victory.
The big problem with this game is what group of people you end up playing it with. Convincing those pansy euro only gamers to give it a shot could be a challenge and even assish wargamers might feel the need to shy away from it due to it’s simplicity and manageable playing time. Choosing what players to put this in front of is paramount. You need to find the players who are open to a game with more meat to it than Memoir '44 and yet is not a board game. A game that has a lot of detail to it but doesn't cover every slight detail of a war. If you think you've got the group that can embrace this mindset then Combat Soldiers is a highly recommended game. I like the game but due to the play group really don't get to play it much. Then when the rare occasion comes that I do I find I'm referring to the rule book a lot as I'm so unfamiliar with it. Bottom line this is a good game, well thought out, with a unique approach and very nice pieces that is simply put not for everyone and that’s alright I don’t personally like everyone anyway. Those who do like it are going to have hours of fun playing it though.
Queen's Games version is long out called simply Thebes and it's every bit as good as the 2nd version in my opinion. I will say that I think each dig site SHOULD have a set number of discs randomly discarded at the beginning of the game. Without it people just calculate which bag has artifacts left and how many instead of digging where their' knowledge best lies. That seems thematically broken to me. Simply start the game and pull out 4-7 discs from each bag (as you did in 2nd Ed.) and this is fixed.