The Dork Den Blog

14
Dec
Review: Pandemic Season 2



It’s an Epidemic!

Image courtesy of https://www.zmangames.com/en/news/2017/6/22/announcing-pandemic-legacy-season-2/

The world lies in ruin.  Can you piece it back together again?

Two years after the release of the first season, gamers finally have a chance to see what the world looks like in the aftermath of Pandemic Legacy.  Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 picks up 70 years after the end of the first season.  While gamers who enjoyed Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 will see a few continuity nods, don’t worry about it missing anything if you haven’t played the first season, as Season 2 has its own story to tell.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, as its name suggests, is a legacy game.  This means that the game will grow with you and your gaming group as you play through its masterfully written story.  Before playing the first game, players get to name the three floating safe havens on the map, and create four characters.  During the game, players have to race around the map making sure each city has enough supplies to survive.  Supplies are represented by adding cubes to the game board (which is in contrast to all previous Pandemic games, which saw players racing around trying to remove cubes from cities).  The game ends when the players accomplish the objectives for each scenario (objectives change with each session), or when eight outbreaks occur.  Outbreaks occur when a city is infected when it does not have any supply cubes.  As the campaign goes on, players work to move inland and explore the rest of the world.   



Strengths:

  • Compelling Story: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 has an immensely compelling story.  The board will look different after almost every scenario you play.  This occurs through the use of stickers.  Stickers represent everything from changing populations in cities, to the discovery of new areas on the globe.

  • Challenging Gameplay:  Each game of Pandemic Legacy is different.  This means players have to adapt to the current state of the game, and can’t just have a rote playthrough.

Weakness:

  • Randomness:  Since the game mechanics are based around drawing cards from a deck, sometimes you’ll lose a game even if you played it perfectly.  This is a weakness, but it leads to intense moments in the game where the next card you draw could mean the difference between victory or defeat.  


Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 has a lot to offer gamers.  Since it is a cooperative game, Pandemic Legacy lends itself to both competitive and casual gamers.  The legacy mechanic also keeps players on the edge of their seats, even after the game is over.  Each box you open holds new and amazing surprises.  Each box holds the potential to bring the world closer to salvation, or to its knees.


To which outcome will you lead the world?


Rating: 9/10



12
Dec
Review: The Powerpuff Girls #1



The Powerpuff Girls #1

Review by: Anthony




With the return of Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network and the influx of constant comic book iterations of everyone’s favorite current and no longer current cartoons, it’s only fitting that Powerpuff Girls would get its own. I’m pretty iffy on these comic book spinoffs and stories. Often they feel out of place or worthless toward the progression of the cartoon in general. Steven Universe for example, has a rich and surprisingly enjoyable universe with an important story to tell and characters to develop, complimented with all the charm and enjoyment of a regular children’s cartoon. However, the comic book lacks the former and feels like more of an excuse to push more Steven Universe content, rather than provide actual story building or universe expanding material. Maybe I’m asking too much of a kids comic book, but I think it’s fair to ask for some manageably readable content from an adult perspective. Luckily Powerpuff Girls doesn’t have much of a story to tell or a universe to build, Powerpuff excels off its charm and its humor alone, providing some great action with some genuine enjoyment. So, hopefully, the comic book can take and run with that charm to create an entertaining and easy read.

This first issue is simple - the supervillain gallery of Townsville have gathered to form ‘The Bureau of Bad’ a Legion of Doom style villain team up in a secret location hidden away from the rest of the city. A new place for all evildoing and crime planning to take place without the interruption of the do gooding Powerpuff Girls. But, unexpectedly there’s a bit of a problem, they’re not sure how to pick a leader for their new evil team, so, in order to decide without tearing eachother apart, one by one they have to tell a story of how they managed to defeat the Powerpuff Girls, and whoever has the best story may reign supreme over the Bureau of Bad. First up, Princess Morbucks, the spoiled rich daughter you may remember from the cartoon in her very loud and very annoying attempt at besting the girls by using her money to create a super suit  . With the help of her father, she signs a legal contract that licenses her and her goons the team name “Powerpuff Girls” and the mayor only answers to that name of course. Blossom Bubbles and Buttercup find themselves in a pickle, and have to use their wits to outsmart the legally binding contract, and fight under a new name for the time being.

Powerpuff Girls #1 serves as a charming reintroduction of the girls to the comic book world and does manage to maintain everything that’s so watchable about the original cartoon. I have not experienced the reboot on Cartoon Network myself, though I will say that reading this reminded me of my old days watching the show, so regardless of whether the new episodes remain loyal to the original content or not, the comic book felt pretty good. The book is fairly unremarkable in general. It has a couple of laughs and it’s an easy read - which all in all is what I was hoping for from this one, so, Powerpuff Girls managed to succeed where I hoped it would, though it doesn’t particularly excel anywhere either. If you’re a fan of the Powerpuff Girls or just want a good nostalgia trip, check this one out. It’s a good time waster.


3/5



10
Dec
December Newsletter



It is quickly approaching the end of another year of gaming at The Dork Den. We are very excited for what 2018 will bring. Before we get to that we would like to thank each and every person who purchased something from us or played in one of our events. It makes us happy to play, recommend, or argue about games with each of you. 
     Though 2018 starts early with Rivals of Ixalan's pre-release and release, we still have a few gaming items coming up in 2017. First we have our Pokemon League's first challenge. This will be the first true tournament we have hosted for Pokemon. The entry fee is only $5 to keep the event casual. As long as we get them in time we will have special promos from the Pokemon company to give away as well as booster pack prizes. The other exciting event we have yet this year is our winter Monster Slayer's event. The Heroes' Festival will happen on December 28th and as of the writing of this newsletter still had 8 spots open. This is a kids Dungeon & Dragons program with groups paired up by age with up to 4 different Dungeon Masters. This is an in store campaign and is only available here! 
     Now on to the upcoming events and items.

 

Weekly Events:
 
Monday - Warhammer 40,000(Free), Legend of the Five Rings LCG(Free), Age of Sigmar(Free)

Tuesday - MTG Modern($5), Star Wars X-Wing(Free), Star Wars Destiny(Free)

Wednesday - Pokemon League(Free), Yugioh(Free), 

Thursday - Board Game Night(Free), MTG Draft($15)

Friday - Friday Night Magic(4:30pmStandard Free, 6:30pm usually Standard $5, 7pm Commander $5) Magic League 

Saturday -  Check Special Event Schedule otherwise open play, MTG Standard Showdown($5)

Sunday - 2pm Yugioh Tournament($5)

Special Events:

December:

14th - 
The Veil Card Game Preview(Free)

16th - Pokemon League Challenge $5 entry 11am-Noon registration rounds starting at Noon

28th - Monster Slayers Heroes' Festival    

January:

13th-14th - Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release

21st - Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifire(Sealed)

Sundays - Adventures League $10
Comics

DC
The Immortal Men #1
Damage #1
The Silencer #1
Doomsday Clock #2


Marvel
Marvel 2 in One!
X-Men Grand Design #1
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Storms of Crait #1
Rise of the Black Panther #1
Old Man Hawkeye #1
Legion #1
Rogue and Gambit #1

Independant
Rumble #1
Witchblade #1
Bone Head #1
Paradiso #1
Sleepless #1

Collectible Card Games
 
Magic the Gathering
Explorers of Ixalan
Unstable
Iconic Masters
 
Pokemon
Tapu Lele Pin Collection

Yugioh
Circuit Break Special Edition

Board and Card Games
Charterstone
Dragonfire
Gaia Project
Pandemic Rising Tides
Dinosaur Island
Breaking Bad
Stuffed Fables

 
     To end the final newsletter of 2017 we want to share with you the 3 new programs we will be starting in 2017. 

     The first is Adventures League. This will be happening 2 Sundays a month. It is organized Dungeons & Dragons. Our Dungeon Masters will  be running the adventure path content. This program will be good for new, lapsed, or experienced players. It will not be as kid friendly as our Monster Slayers program but we do our best to run family friendly events. The cost for the sessions will be $10, each person gets a $5 gift card from that, the second $5 of will be given to each Dungeon Master as a gift card. Keep an eye on our Facebook page we will be announcing the start date soon!
     Our Draft Championship is our next program. This will be a free draft event held the week before the next set's pre-release. April 14th will be our first Championship and will be held at 6:30 pm. To qualify for the free draft you have to have played in 6 drafts at our store during the Rivals of Ixalan season(Jan 19th-Apr 14th). 
     The last new program is our Standard Championship. You should see a new Standard Leader Board show up in the play space in December. The top 16 people will be invited to play in an invite only Standard Tournament the week before Pre-Release of the next set. The leader board will be match points and will be from any Standard event held at the store with an entry fee. April 14th is the date for Rivals of Ixalan season. We will have this tournament early in the day so that players if qualified can participate in both the Standard Championship and Draft Championship. Both Championships will have plague's as additional prizes.

07
Dec
Review: Werewords



Werewords


Take Werewolf, One-Night variety, add a dash of Twenty Questions, forget how to stop counting at twenty, and voila:



Like normal Werewolf, there's a Seer, a Werewolf, and some villagers, and all the non-Werewolves are trying to find the Werewolf. Like One-Night, there's only one round of gameplay, and everything is over in five minutes.


The difference is in the challenge placed before the villagers. There's a magic word, chosen by the Mayor from a short list, which the Seer and the Werewolf also know. All players close their eyes, and the game's phone app directs the relevant characters to open their eyes in turn so they can see the magic word. Then all players ask the mayor questions, which she answers by handing out yes, no, maybe, or so close tokens. The players have four minutes or until the mayor runs out of tokens to guess the word. They can take as many guesses as they want, but each wrong guess eats a no token.


The Seer's goal is to guide the players towards the correct answer, while the Werewolf's job is to ask questions that guide them away from it. If the villagers guess the word, the Werewolf reveals himself and has one chance to guess who the Seer is; if successful, he wins. If the villagers don't guess the word, they have one chance to guess the Werewolf, and if successful they win. Thus most of the game hinges on the Seer and the Werewolf, as they need to affect the data being revealed without making their roles apparent.


(Note: The Mayor also receives a role, which means she can theoretically end up as the Werewolf. If this happens, she can lie about the answers. Being in control of the answers can make throwing the villagers off easier, but given that the Seer knows the word, it can also be an easy way to get busted if you send them too far off away from the actual word.)


Werewords is an ultra-fast party game, to use for either a few rounds as a warmup for bigger games or to play for many rounds if everyone's having a good time. It's important to remember how game size and the skill of the Seer/Werewolf are in determining outcomes. If the villagers keep getting Seers who are too obvious about what they know, it can look like the game is skewed heavily towards the Werewolf when the Werewolves keep pulling out wins. Likewise, inexperienced Werewolves might be prone to getting busted and feeling like it's impossible to win. The game itself, though, allows for a broad enough array of strategies (literally any question you can come up with is allowed, and you need to pick the ones that will help you win) that it's not weighted in either direction unless the good guy/bad guy ratio is skewed. (The instructions don't say at what number of players you should add the Beholder, Minion, or second Werewolf, so experience and a desire to experiment will have to be your guide.)


Much like in regular Werewolf, most of the responsibility falls on the people with the special roles. If you're a piddly little Villager, you have about as much impact on the game as in Werewolf: plenty if you're thinking and being active, very little if you're passive and let others lead the action. On the plus side, it doesn't suffer from the Werewolf problem where active players are assumed to be special roles, and often are accused of being Werewolves just because they're so vociferous. In Werewords, there's no potential downside to trying to get involved, and you may just lure the Werewolf's attention away from the real Seer.


Basically, it's Werewolf, it's word games, and it's cheap. If at least two of those three attract you, you'll probably like Werewords.


Score: Five dead villagers with their guts spread across the street in the shape of the alphabet out of six.



05
Dec
Review: John Wick #1



John Wick #1

Review by: Anthony




Ah movie comics - perhaps the most difficult comic book to get right. With 2 hours a movie can only do so much to set up and tell a story. Comic books on the other hand, which are so naturally filled with exposition and storytelling potential, have all the time in the world to throw universe expanding dialogue at its reader. So, how does a comic book adaptation of a movie succeed in this reality? Should it expand upon the movie material? Well, in a world like John Wick where the story universe it's created is such an integral part of the movie it’s difficult to provide canon material to a much smaller audience. It introduces the difficulty of whether future movies should ignore the new canon the comic book has set up, or use the new canon and leave regular viewers who haven’t expanded beyond the movies out to dry. It could tell an origin story, but even still the comic book may end up feeling like an inconsequential read. So, to summarize, the John Wick creative team have a bit of a pickle to deal with if they’re going to write a good comic here, and it’s no easy pickle.

It’s difficult to put a time on exactly when this John Wick #1 takes place. Sometimes it feels as though it takes place between the first and second movies. Other times it feels like many years before the first. Wick’s relationship with the Continental, the professional hitman organization John Wick used to work for in the first movie is difficult to understand here. It appears that John doesn’t really know what the organization is, which would place the comic book some years before his endeavors within the group. Regardless, Wick is on a personal vendetta tracking down some thugs and criminals from his childhood, and knowing Wick, nothing will stop him on his killing rampage. When an old friend Charon shows up at the scene of the revenge killings, a character you may know as the super cool Continental concierge in the movies, John will be invited and potentially introduced into the hired killer organization.

So, it appears after some reading that John Wick #1 is indeed a bit of an origin story, telling the story of how John became involved with the Continental. This comic does succeed in staying loyal to the cool, calm and collected demeanor of John as a character and Keanu Reeves as an actor. He doesn’t speak much, he doesn’t want to be bothered, and he doesn’t take any crap, which has always been the best part about John Wick in general. This alone carries the comic book and makes it a decently enjoyable read. However, like I mentioned earlier, origin stories in movie comic books can quickly and easily feel inconsequential. The comic book will likely mean nothing when it's finished, and that doesn’t necessarily make the comic bad, but it can kill motivation for non superfans. All in all, John Wick #1 is an easy and flashy read that will provide some intermediary John Wick material for massive fans of the new franchise. Unfortunately, the John Wick comic likely won’t expand beyond that, and you know what, that’s okay.


3/5



30
Nov
Review: Twilight Imperium



Magnificent Peace and Glorious War

Image courtesy of https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/twilight-imperium-fourth-edition-showcase/

The throneworld lies empty, who hath the courage to claim it?

Fantasy Flight Games has just released the 4th edition of Twilight Imperium, and it feels like heaven on Earth.  Twilight Imperium (TI) is an area control, resource management, and political discourse system rolled into one giant boxed board game.  TI allows for groups of three to six people to have between four and ten hours of fun as they trade, barter, and wage war on their neighbors in the name of being the most prominent race in the galaxy.  Before the game begins, each player chooses a race to champion.  Each race has different abilities and beginning resources.  Then players build a board using the provided hex tiles to represent star systems.  Players build from the inside out, starting with the throneworld of Mecatol Rex.  Play occurs throughout a number of rounds, ending either after the 10th round or after a player scores ten points.  Points are scored by achieving objectives throughout the game.  Each objective is stated on cards, but each game only uses a small portion of the available cards, so every game will be different.  During the rounds, players alternate taking actions.  These actions range from building starships or construction sites, exploring star systems, or waging war on your fellow players.  Throughout the game, players are encouraged to make deals with their fellow players.  These deals can be promises or transactions of goods, but they are not always binding.  At the end of each round after Mecatol Rex has been conquered, players will vote on new laws to apply to the galaxy.  



Strengths:

  • Intrigue: Twilight Imperium has a ton of player interaction.  This keeps you engaged throughout the entire process of the game.  Unlike other 8 hour plus board games, there is never a moment in TI where you are sitting around unaffected by what is going on in the game.  The making and breaking of alliances with other players is also critical to winning the game.

  • Strategy:  Twilight Imperium is a weird beast when it comes to strategy.  The beginning rounds are basically a slow burn as you build the foundation of your game plan and set yourself up for success, but a misstep in the beginning stages could be catastrophic later in the game.  The latter half of the game is full of explosive moves, and finely tuned strategic thinking that can make or break how you end up on the scoreboard.

  • Replayability:  With 17 races, a modular board, and two entire decks of objectives, no two games of Twilight Imperium will be the same.

Weaknesses:

  • Length:  Twilight Imperium is a long game.  With your first learning games taking about six hours to play, which is not including the hour of explanation before the game.

  • Grudges:  Games of Twilight Imperium will get “punchy.”  It is easy to let skirmishes affect your view of other players.  Grudges may also occur when players may vote against you or break deals during the creation of new laws for the galaxy.  It is important to remember that you are playing with friends, especially if your gaming group has a friendly neighborhood pirate out for plunder.


Twilight Imperium is an immense game that is amazing to play.  TI is certainly not a game for everyone, but it is a game that makes life long fans.  TI can be long, bloody, and frustrating, but it is always a blast.  With that said, there is only one question left to be asked.


Do you have the audacity to claim the throne?


Rating: 10/10



28
Nov
Review: Batman: The Merciless #1



Batman: The Merciless #1

Review by: Anthony




As we reach the final stretch of Dark Nights Metal one-shots in the ever exciting DC major crossover event: Metal, DC doesn’t seem to be faltering in the least with these ridiculously fun and fresh stories. These solo stories about the now infamous Dark Knights have been an absolute treat these past few weeks in light of the many bland main-line titles Marvel and DC have been putting out these past months. While there are still a couple of gems, the two comic book companies have been struggling recently, Marvel more than DC, with telling stories that make readers want to come back for more. However, with Metal and the magic powers of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, DC has launched back to the top with these dark but fun loving, adventurous tales which deliver week after week. The second to last Dark Night, The Merciless finally premiered to give readers some answers into his back story. The Merciless, the Dark Knight closely tied with Wonder Woman was perhaps the most mysterious of the Dark Knights, but now it was time to finally get some answers.

Somewhere in the Dark Multiverse, a place where all bad events goes to happen, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince, Batman and Wonder Woman, have lived happily together as a couple. However, Ares, the God of War has wreaked havoc upon the world, destroying near everything and leaving the earth crumbling in his wake. Unable to stop Ares’s reign of destruction on the planet, the two heroes make their final stand, determined to end this once and for all, or die together trying. Unfortunately, there are no happy endings in the Dark Multiverse, and fate calls. Fueled with seemingly unlimited power, Ares defeats our heroes in battle and Diana falls. In a final desperate attempt to destroy Ares, An emotional Batman is able to dislodge Ares’s helmet from his head, a helmet filled to the brim with godly power. Quickly Bruce equips this powerful helmet of the gods and destroys Ares with one fell swoop. However, putting on the helmet comes at a grave cost, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bruce transforms into the Merciless, the new god of war, a merciless killing machine.

The Merciless excels in its origin storytelling and its art which is very reminiscent of the current Trinity comic book run which stars Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. The artist Francis Manapul does indeed do both comics, and it was an obviously intelligent choice to recruit the Batman/Wonder Woman team up comic to do the Batman / Wonder Woman team up Metal one-shot. Additionally, Peter Tomasi does the writing on The Merciless, who is one of my favorite comic book writers of all time. The comic does falter a bit in its tone - which comes off a little too stark for how these Metal comics have been going. As I mentioned, the event as a whole has been a ton of fun, and while it's a gritty and dark story it’s never crossed that line of taking itself too seriously. The Merciless teters on that line, and while the comic book is still extremely cool, its jumps back and forth between an origin and the current time of him invading Earth with the rest of the Dark Knights is a little more dramatic and tonally serious than the others. All in all, while the Merciless isn’t the best of the Metal one-shots, it still belongs in the great lineup of comics coming out of this event, and even manages to keep the hype train going strong.     

23
Nov
Review: Sentient



Sentient


In the short history of Renegade Games, they've developed a very positive reputation, built on the backs of high-quality titles like Lanterns, Flipships, Clank, and Lotus. They're not perfect; their greatest sin is making a game called Shiba Inu House and not Doge House, which is what it is, LOOK AT THE DOG ON THE FRONT, IT'S THE FKING DOGE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING RENEGADE



Their new title is Sentient, a game about being a futuristic corporation and hiring AIs to I'm just kidding it's about dice. The theme looks very cool—the art is fantastic—but there's nothing about that theme which has anything to do with the mechanics. They could have gotten a Dora the Explorer license and turned it into a simple algebra game for kids. That's not to say the game itself is bad, but if you hoped for something that would let you sink into a futuristic world the way Pandemic throws you head-first into a toxic one, that's not what you're getting.


The game itself has each player taking control of five dice, four agents, and five assistants, in an effort to collect the cards and chevrons that will earn you more points than your opponents. Players start with a board that has a space for each of the dice and a chevron with one of the five types of AIs available. Games are three rounds; at the start of each round, players roll their dice, place them by color, and have to work with whatever numbers they got.


Each turn, a player can place one agent and any number of assistants next to an available AI card, then place the card between two of their dice. AI cards have requirements the dice on either side of them must meet in order to score that card's points at the end of the round. Making things trickier, each card has a +, -, or = sign in each upper corner; you have to add or subtract one from the appropriate die, or leave it alone for an equals sign. However, you have the option to place an assistant on one or both of those corners, which keeps the add or subtract function from happening, which you will need at some point for your dice to give you what the cards require.


(Also, once per round, players can choose to wipe the board and place their turn-order token; the earlier you do this, the later you go the following round. Turn order determines tiebreakers for winning chevrons (see below), but going later lets you set up your agents and assistants after other people are done, so there isn't a big advantage to any spot in the order.)


Five chevrons matching each of the AI types sit out on the middle of the table. Available AI cards sit between two of those chevrons (thus four cards are out at any given time). At the end of each round, players count up how many agents and assistants each of them have next to each chevron; whoever has the most next to one gets it, while whoever's in second receives a one point consolation prize. At the end of the game, each chevron is worth points equal to the number of cards of that type you've taken during the game. Thus, while one person might grab anything that scores maximum points  each round regardless of type, another player can stack up three Service chevrons and five Service cards for fifteen bonus points at the game's end.


That's pretty much the game. To its credit, Sentient is well balanced between the strategies of grabbing point cards and grabbing sets. If you never collect any chevrons besides the one you start with, it'll be hard to win solely on high-value cards, but you have to be fairly unlucky not to get any unless you dump all your assistants into avoiding pluses and minuses. However, if you plan completely around good assistant placement and maximizing the chevrons you collect, and just score points on cards where you can, that's not going to be enough either—there aren't enough bonus points reasonably available to make up for a desperately low score.


The question here, as it is with other games of a similar dice-puzzle type, is how much you can deal with playing around weird strings of good or bad chance. It's entirely possible you've built an empire of military AIs and just need a couple more in the last round to solidify the victory, and they just don't come, or they fit what other people need so well they take the cards without even trying to hurt your cause. The math between your dice and the available cards might just not work one round. And this can sink you, because whatever strategy you employ at the start is going to define your game. If you have two rounds of twenty-plus points but only a couple of chevrons and a wide variety of card types, bad math in round three can't be made up for by suddenly dumping all your efforts into whatever sets might work best for you. And since you need to score a reasonable number of points each round even if you're focused on sets, a final round where you can't find anything to add to those sets isn't likely to be fixed by a random selection of high-point cards.


The randomness is a feature, not a bug, so there's nothing wrong with it. It's a simple game with enough decisions to make people go into the tank hard at times, but it's probably not something that will require twenty playthroughs to develop as optimal a strategy as is possible. This is where a strong thematic tie-in to the game itself would be nice, but as it stands, Sentient is perfectly good while not being particularly close to great.


Score: Nine busted up information bots out of twelve.



21
Nov
Review: God Complex #1



God Complex #1

Review by: Anthony


With the recent release and critical success of the new Blade Runner movie, the idea of sci-fi noir is fresh in our minds. God Complex hopes to continue that trend the deliver a different but equally mesmerizing sci-fi noir story very similar in style to Blade Runner in its slow pacing but interesting dialogue and beautiful visual design. God Complex is a risky move by Top Cow, but with Image’s support and backing, God Complex has all the right components to speak to that niche but vocally supportive audience and be a great comic book to continuously fill that empty void of good sci-fi storytelling experiences only explored by comics like Descender. God Complex is a visually pleasing comic with an eye catching cover and a lot of promise, but noir is no easy genre to get correct, and as a comic book it has the especially difficult task of keeping its reader invested in a slower paced, methodical style of storytelling.




God Complex takes place in an unknown year, far into the future. It opens in a large, dark and dreary city with skyscrapers lining the roads stretching higher than the eye can see. Police have the area cut off from the public, and a dead body lies at the middle, a murder. Our main character, or who we presume to be our main character, Seneca, is a respected detective for what looks to be a very large police unit. Close by is an interesting character with a metal mask covering his head named Hermes. He is what is known as a Ruler, a seemingly non-human being with a myriad of abilities. It’s quickly revealed to us that multiple ‘Rulers’ exist, all named after Greek gods, and that Apollo is apparently their top dog. Their primary ability, or at least just one of the many unknown abilities of the Rulers is to look into the ‘Stream’ the interconnectivity of all things. It’s difficult to say whether this interconnectivity only includes technology, which plays an obviously large part in the this future-world. or if it even shows the connections between life and humanity itself, similar to The Force from Star Wars. By looking into this Steam, Hermes is able to detect an anomaly within the security parameters in the cities defense system, and quickly believes, with Seneca’s help, that the murder at hand is a part of something bigger. With the help of the mysterious Rulers and Seneca’s keen mind for detective work, it seems that it will be up to the Rulers and Seneca to track down the killers of this case before things escalate beyond their control.

God Complex has a lot of potential to be something special. The look and feel of the comic book works extremely well with what it’s trying to accomplish, and while the story so far isn’t anything special the characters and the world the creative team has built is interesting and mysterious enough to be revisited in the next issue and beyond. God Complex excels in its ‘reveal draw’ - the desire to see all the new cool stuff, in this case, the Rulers - who are definitely sweet looking characters. If God Complex can continue to expand its world in an interesting way and make its story a bit more original to complement its original characters and world, it’ll definitely be a comic worth continuing.


4/5



16
Nov
Review: This War of Mine



This War is My War

Image result for this war of mine board game

Image courtesy of https://www.polygon.com/2016/5/17/11686692/hands-on-this-war-of-mine-the-board-game

War is hell, even if you aren’t the one doing the fighting.

This War of Mine is an adaption of the similarly named video game franchise.  Set in the midst of a fictional civil war in Eastern Europe, This War of Mine puts you into the mindset of a civilian trapped in the midst of a warzone.  This War of Mine provides between 1 and two hours of gameplay to a group of players one to six players.  I specify gameplay, instead of the more exuberant noun of fun, for a reason.  This game is definitely not for everyone.  If you enjoy misery, terror, dark humour, and being thrown into the unknown, then you will have fun playing this game.  If these qualifications don’t apply to you, then I can’t guarantee that you will have fun, but I can guarantee that you will gain perspective.

This War of Mine does not have a typical rulebook.  Instead, you have what basically amounts to a players’ guide.  You play the game as you read through the book, thus learning and playing happen at the same time.  Each turn of the game consists of you building/repairing your home base, searching for other survivors and supplies, and defending your home.   Decks of cards represent the places you will go, the people you will meet, and the events that will happen.  Most cards will reference an entry in another book that comes with the game.  This book is essentially a “choose-your-own-adventure” kind of story.  Most entries give you a choice, and then a set of entries corresponding to each choice that will have the repercussions of your choice.  

This War of Mine is an easy game to play, but a hard game to conceptualize.  This feature is by design, as real wars are full of uncertainty.  In fact, this game is so realistic that people who survived the Siege of Sarejevo recommend playing this game when asked to recount what the Siege was like.

Weaknesses (Most of these weaknesses depend on your gaming inclination):

  • Strategy:  Since you learn the rules as you play, it is exceptionally hard to plan a coherent plan for the group’s path to victory.  When given a choice on what to do, each choice is a shot in the dark.  When you are out gathering supplies, it is nigh on impossible to know what to bring home, and what you can afford to leave behind until you have played the game a few times.

  • It’s a Downer:  This War of Mine is not a game that you win, it is a game that you survive.  Your characters will die.  Bad things will happen.  There is not a thing you can do about it.

  • Suddenness:  In the last game I played, we made a decision, and we lost.  I don’t mean that we made a poor choice that hindered us so much it led to us losing; the direct outcome of our decision was game over.  

Strengths:

  • Pieces:  The game has a lot of little pieces.  These pieces give you a real feel for what is going on in the world around you.

  • Story:  The storytelling in this game is insanely good.  You feel immersed in a dark and dreary world.  You gain an immense amount of perspective about the un-glorified aspects of war.

  • Replay-ability:  This game gives you endless possibilities to play.  There are infinite combinations of choices you can make to try to survive.

This War of Mine is an amazing game that I love to play.  Not everyone will enjoy playing this game, but I believe everyone should give this game a try.  


How long will you survive?


Rating: 10/10




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