Archive for Andrew Maloney
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Tonight my friends I am pleased to announce a special guest writer for this very special Dice Temple post — the acclaimed Dr. Emmett Brown. So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy this one of a time opportunity. As one of the greatest minds of our time, a specialist in the bending of space and time, analyzes one exciting game: Legacy Gears Of Time. Without further adieu…..Dr. Emmett Brown.
p.s. There is a Delorean with its lights on in the parking lot.
Good evening all. Tonight we will be traversing through the malleable dimension known as time. Together, exploring each age, we will marvel as other ‘time-travelers,’ as they are colloquially known, compete to adjust and influence the lineage of technology itself to their own personal gain. These Antiquitects play a dangerous game, but the rewards are great, for an eternal Legacy awaits.
In this competition Antiquitects will use several actions to achieve greatness. The first and foremost strategy to do so involves “establishing” technologies along the timeline (represented by segments on the board in the case of Legacy). This involves traveling to different segments of time, and paying through discards to place a technology from the Antiquitects hand in that segment. The catch however lies in that many technologies have prerequisites that must exist previously on the timeline to gain the Antiquitect legacy (legacy is scored as points at the end of each of the four rounds of play that make up the game). And so these time-travelers will be desperately trying to both establish advanced technologies as well as their basic predecessors.
This goal is complicated by two main factors. The first is fate cards, which are few in number but very powerful. They can undermine opponents, allow for more than the allotted number of technologies to be established in a given time segment, or do any number of other advantageous things. The second complicated factor is the use of player’s influence. As the rounds of Legacy progress, each player will gain more and more influence cubes which they may place on their or opponents technologies to take control of them. When done strategically, this can tip the scales quite heavily.
All in all Legacy: Gears of Time is a fascinated competition, even to myself as one who has time-traveled as much as the next Antiquitect. It is a fun, medium weight way to spend an hour or two, and the thrill of molding time never does lose its luster (and neither will the board or card art in this game). So if you would, join me Emmett — yes please call me Emmett — and we will travel to experiences in realms you have never dreamed. Thank you for sitting through my lecture today. Happy Traveling.
Dr. Emmett Brown
Thanks a ton to Floodgate Games for sending me a copy of this great game! Readers, check out Legacy, as well as its new expansion on Kickstarter - Legacy: Forbidden Machines. Check out the link below!
Game Designer: Ben Harkins
Artists: Shamas Demoret, Steve Maggart
Publisher: Floodgate Games
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! For more reviews visit dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, and review inquiries can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
I love cartoons. Comics, animation, graphic novels, posters — whatever. If its imaginative and intriguing I want to visually devour it, greedily examining every detail until my hunger for colorful, humorous,and often bizarre ideas is satiated. But until fairly recently I overlooked a prime source for such cool immersive art: games.
Sure, as a kid I spent countless hours organizing my MTG collection, but never did Wizards of the Coast capture my imagination with their illustrations more than Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side, or Marvel Comics.
But now, a decade long renaissance of tabletop games has introduced me to the compelling potential of game art. From FFG’s interpretation of Cosmic Encounter’s alien species, to the Poe-inspired ambiance of Betrayal at the House on the Hill, my love for captivating art has only fueled my inevitable spiral into hobbyist addiction.
This is why I was so very excited when I first laid eyes on Epic Spell Wars. With an aesthetic somewhere between Adventure Time, Superjail, and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Epic Spell Wars combines humorous violence with absurd and colorful fantasy. And builds its game mechanics around the idea that each player is involved in a ludicrous mage battle.
The rules are very simple. Every round players simultaneously and secretly choose what spell they will play this turn. Spells are built from three different types of cards — Spell beginnings, middles, and ends. Turn order is then determined when the spells are revealed by numbers on the ‘end’ cards, and everything resolves, usually ending in most wizards taking damage and yelling obscenities at their friends amidst fits of laughter.
That’s it. It doesn’t get any more complicated. Winner is essentially last person standing (although you have to be last person standing twice). And so free of schlepping your friends through a slew of new rules, this game is perfectly paired with drinking, or revelry of any kind, and allows for almost instantaneous fun.
That being said there’s one glaring flaw to Epic Spell Wars, and that’s that the game doesn’t really stand up to large groups as advertised, which somewhat limits its seemingly intended use as a party game. The fact of the matter is that games with over four people become very dragged out and bogged down, and I found that people tend to lose interest before someone actually wins and kills everyone else twice. Fortunately, this is easily remedied by playing just one fight to the death.
So if your looking for a good humored party game, with awesome art, and laughs abound, Epic Spell Wars is a good pick. Don’t expect any strategy or depth from this game though. All that’s in that box is a strong dose of smiles and chicken thigh projectiles.
Thanks for reading Dice Temple. More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, comments, and inquiries about me reviewing your game (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
In the midst of my busy life, Thursdays are hallowed ground. Aside from employment, pretty much nothing keeps me from jumping in my car Thursday afternoon and driving the forty minutes to Storrs, CT for an evening filled to the brim with gaming. Last night, ready for hours chocked full of wizard battles and futuristic political coups, I learned a lesson however: sometimes new people come to game night, and sometimes those people love light games.
At first this had me worried — “No Rex?…NOOOOOO.” — but soon I realized that once in a while its nice to just sit back, relax, and play some mindless games for a good laugh.
Now these newbie culprits brought two games with them, and one I am about to review for you here, while the second was a load of horse dung baked into a cake, eaten by Danny Devito along with four pounds of bad Chinese food, and then spat out again by his hairy #*&. This second game was called Mad Gab, which pretty much boiled down to saying nonsense words fast, guessing the common phrase which they resembled, and then realizing the game included yet another product placement. Boring after five minutes. No questions.
BUT the other game they brought is the game you see above this minor rant: Creationary! One great thing about Creationary is that it is easy to explain, to play, and its still fun — the game is essentially charades with legos. A second great thing is that — LEGOS. You and your friends will roll a die which gives you a category, then you will draw a card and see what you need to build. Then you will build it. Engineers of all ages will toil and produce beautiful replicas, artists will bring abstraction to their masterpieces, and everyone else will have fun along the way. Because its simple, you build something with legos, other people guess what it is, there is scoring and eventually someone wins, but the real point of the game is simply to have fun with those lovable Danish plastic blocks and steep in nostalgia.
Now if you don’t like legos, or charades, or you forgot the kinds of games that non-gamers play, or you choose to avoid them, don’t consider this game. Obviously its a quick and light way to pass some times with family and friends. But if you are a parent, a gamer looking for something to play with family or non-gamers, or just like to have a beer and build legos while everyone laughs at you (including yourself) because your elephant looks more like a chimichanga than a large biped, then check this game out, you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, and inquires about me reviewing your game (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com
Take it from me — the first time you experience space travel is above and beyond the human imagination. Coming out of stasis, shaking the jelly from your legs, and then that first gaze out the porthole into that infinite black ocean…it’d take anyone’s breath away. Sure did mine in good.
Now I’ve been up more than a few times, mainly on exploratory missions. I ain’t no rookie. I thought I’d seen everything I was going to see before I came home to that starry void for the last time. But orders from above are becoming more and more cryptic, and the rumors of impending war have reached even us, here on this remote military station.
Seems the old treaties have disintegrated. Trade is the only thing that’s keeping each and every regime in the galaxy from bleeding the lifeblood out the others — and so I’m writing you.
You’re political and military prowess far precedes you, and I have been ordered on behalf of my superiors to call upon your skill and beseech you to follow flag and country for what will prove to be the final determinant in this longstanding conflict for control of the Imperium. The Twilight Imperium.
Playing Twilight Imperium is kind of like gazing on Zues. In all likelihoods it will incinerate you, but if you survive to tell the tale of your adventure, oh what an adventure it will be. Clocking in at a massive 6-8 hours a game, this isn’t something you just whip out at game night. But if you and your pals can put aside an afternoon, then its a great pick.
Throughout this epic you will develop technology, wage space war with entire fleets, conquer planets, negotiate trade routes, participate in senate, and do a myriad of other things that culminate in a personal space opera played out right before your eyes. How you will do these things, as far as mechanics go, I will not begin to describe, as you would be reading this far to long (and you already put up with my unnecessary introduction). But let me just say that gameplay is deeply involved as far as choices go (it is an eight hour game…), the board is remade every game and based in hexes for extended replayability, factions are diverse and well developed, and turns are taken in rounds to keep everyone involved at every turn! (Although the first time you play you won’t always know what’s going on.)
So if you are interested in getting involved in a deeply rewarding but time consuming game. A game that will have you recounting epic battles and political climax for days to come. A game that allows you to discover, war, and conquer space and the wonders that it holds. Get Twilight Imperium. Now.
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Comments, concerns, and info on games you want me to review (review copies are appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com
Distant from from the insignificant scope of human exploration, immeasurably removed past galaxies and wonders faintly burning within Earth’s night sky, elusive to even the vast confines of the human imagination lies the rusting husk of a war torn empire. Once great and spanning an entire galaxy, this silent grave, long abandoned, holds history turned to legend in its sleeping vaults. And rests on little known stories long forgotten.
But now, Fantasy Flight, the great collective that discovered and excavated this realm, has captured one moment in this imperium’s life, and preserved it to be experienced by our own simple race in the most coveted of artistic forms to be found here on Earth: the board game.
In Rex, players play multiple factions vying both politically and militarily for the capitol world of a failing empire. An urban juggernaut, a cityscape sprawled unending over an entire continent, this final battle takes place amoung twenty or so regions across this land, and each player — either as the old empire vainly attempting to keep order, the rebel faction ready for new rule, a barony attempting a coup, or one of three other sects — works to mine influence points (in the form of tokens) that appear randomly throughout the game in different regions. This influence acts as currency for every facet of the game. Bidding for strategy cards that help in combat (yes an economic component!), hiring and placing troops, this influence is the key to fueling your strategy to meet your particular victory conditions.
Paired with this basic game design are several features that really make gameplay varied and interesting. The first and most obvious is the bombardment mechanic. The entire time the game ensues, there is a fleet of rebel space ships (depicted through fantastic miniatures) that circles the board and destroys everything in its path (both troops and influence). This imparts great apocalyptic atmosphere to the entire game, as well as provides another element players must constantly be weary of when making decisions throughout Rex.
The second aspect of this game that really leaps out at you is how both balanced and varied each playable faction is. With vastly different abilities, ranging from avoiding bombardment, to gaining influence paid by others for strategy cards, each group, while seeming overpowered for its unique advantages, is extremely balanced by the others, despite being completely different. This makes immersion all the more effective, and adds tons of varying strategy, as well as flavor to gameplay.
Now Rex can’t be mentioned without saying that its based on the classic Avalon Hill production Dune. And while Fantasy Flight has tweaked Rex’s game design, as far as I can tell by what lies deep in nerdrealm on the internet, the games are comparable Whether this is completely true I do not know first hand, but lucky for you (and me) I recently got my hands on a copy of Dune, and considering it was designed by the creators of Cosmic Encounter, and is DUNE THEMED, I’m ridiculously excited to play it and tell you readers all about it.
What I can tell you is that the political and thematic essence of the Dune saga was kept intact in the remake of this game. Despite being placed within the Twilight Imperium universe, the intrigue that gave the classic sci-fi novel cult status is there. And Fantasy Flight really did do a great job at tailoring this atmosphere to the universe in which they placed it.
So abridged thoughts on Rex — stats: 3-6 players, but really 4-6; medium-heavy gameplay, averaging 3 hours and requiring much thought; great components and art.
While riddled with randomness, all controlled through card draws, there still is a large amount of decisions and strategy to be had in this game. As long as you are not a strict eurogamer you should be more than satisfied with the many decisions available. If you are a fan of theme (which I am), you will be happy. this story is laid on thick, and atmosphere is apocalyptic. Political intrigue, bombs, apocalypse…really what’s not to like?
Designers: Bill Eberle, John Goodenough, Jack Kittredge, Corey Konieczka, Peter Olotka, Christian Peterson.
Publisher: Fantasy Flight
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, and possible review inquires (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
Once upon a time I made a joke that so many others have made. And although I only vaguely remember this moment, I am sure this particular cliche had something to do with English majors working at Starbucks. Many moons have passed since that fleeting quip, and now I find myself a college graduate. And having studied the admirable subjects of Political Science and English, working hard to develop skills of analysis and text that are vital to a liberal arts education, I find myself reaping just rewards…at Starbucks.
Now all in all working this minimum wage job is actually pretty enjoyable. My co-workers are fun and have great sense of humor. I get a 401K, and have access to other benefits. But at the end of the day a minimum wage job means one thing that not even free caffeine and a carefree work atmosphere can soothe: no money for board games.
I know. I know. You’re thinking that this must be a farce. A sick joke. But let me assure you. You will not dispel this waking nightmare. Although it may pain you to hear this, its true, I must survive on collecting such amenities only during times of gift-giving (birthdays, Santa Day, Channukah, etc.). But recently, to curb my ever-growing thirst for tokens, custom dice, and the like, I’ve taken to trying out different board game apps on my iPhone.
One I’ve been particularly impressed with is Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer. Designed by Magic The Gathering Pros Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler, Ascension was originally a physical deck building game that adapts the ever so popular card drafting mechanic into a fast moving, quick thinking experience. Now adapted to iOS, this game deserves merit for two reasons. First, its an awesome game. And second, the app’s design is wonderfully intuitive and streamlined.
In Ascension, players use resources in their own identical base decks to acquire cards from nine available choices, three static cards (basic cards that are always available and provide more resources), and six rotating cards randomized from the shuffled play deck. The main objective of the game is to gain victory points, which are obtained in a variety of ways. As players build their decks, they develop and utilize combinations of cards they have acquired to accelerate their obtaining victory points.
Much like many other deck building games, drawing cards, gaining static effects through ‘constructs’ (cards that continually stay in play under your control), and building resources to purchase available cards are important strategies throughout the game. But to Ascension’s merit, another mechanic is introduced; While some resource cards contribute to buying cards in the draft pool, some resources contribute to a combat number used to destroy monsters that appear in place of purchasable cards. Killing these monsters obviously endows rewards, which gives further dimension and strategy to the classic deck building model.
Ok. So now that you’ve waded through the dry technical bull, I will say one last thing in Ascensions favor, which is that its interface on iOS is great. Its easy to figure out without reading many of the rules (which is great ‘cause I just bought the app to kill time on my tens at work anyways). It doesn’t seem buggy, there are multiple AI difficulties and avatars to choose from, and there’s even cheesy epic fantasy music to pair with the theme of the game. (Which, lets be honest, doesn’t matter. Its a deck building game. But the effort is appreciated.)
So If you are like me. Short on extra cash, spoiled enough to have an iPhone, and can’t seem to satisfy your gaming fix with one night a week of rolling dice, then check out the Ascension iOS game. Besides the fact that you have to pay extra for in-game expansions (which I have not done and I still enjoy the game), and that Magic The Gathering is the greatest card game ever and everyone else should seriously just give up, this is a great buy, and one that I am glad I picked up.
Game Designers: Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler
Game Publishers: Arclight, Asmodee, Stone Blade Entertainment
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, comments, and review inquiries (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com
For over six months now I have labored in my own quest, as so many others before me, to discover a game my significant other actually enjoys playing. After schlepping us both through pretty much everything in my collection, I am pleased to tell the world that after suffering many dark days of disappointment, I have finally found the answer to my hobbyist wanderings. And the game I’ve been searching for was so obvious. All I had to do was pick up a copy of Munchkin.
Munchkin is a card game that combines two things, continuous D&D parody (in the original version, lots of other themes for those who need a break from elves!), and endless middle fingers from one loving friend to another. Plus, it’s all wrapped up in a cartoony, family-friendly package. This means continuous smirks and chuckles from all involved game nerds, and fun for everyone else no matter what age, because who doesn’t like to taunt and try their friends and family?
The entire game is built around one mechanic: killing monsters to gain levels. And the first to ten levels wins. It’s got little enough meat to the rules that you can teach most willing victims, and the entire thing is purposefully goofy and self-aware, sidestepping the usual anti-nerd snobbery that has ruined so many a potential impromptu game night.
The genius of this game really lies in the fact that there are only two types of cards used throughout: ones that boost the power of your character, and ones that hurt other players. Everything is black and white, with no strategy, and barely any synergy to be heard of. And the best part is, those cards that hurt your opponents? The fun ones, where they think they are about to defeat that level 362 Trogdor, and you pull the rug out from under them so fast they never saw it coming? There are a lot of those. In fact, the only thing that keeps this game from ending in under 20 minutes is the fact that players almost never defeat a monster without having to deal with road blocks flung from all around the table.
And so that’s Munchkin in a nutshell. It’s accessible, simple, randomized (through card draws), yet allows for constant player decision without need of long-term strategy. It’s perfect for people looking for a fun party game, and throws a bone to more serious gamers with plenty of jokes and references that at least provide the illusion of a gaming fix for the time being. And you can play it with all those family members you love to spend time with but don’t care for complicated rules and countless tokens. At under thirty bucks this one is well worth having in your collection.
Game Designer: Steve Jackson
Game Publisher: Steve Jackson Games (and many others)
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com Questions, concerns, comments, and potential review inquiries (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com
For days this battle has raged, on the marsh-ridden border at the base of the mountains. On the edge of their lands the undead of the Fallen Kingdom seem to regenerate with an uncanny vigor only their dark magic would allow. The Mountain Vargath, the Ram-men of the North, strong in stock and strength, peer down from their chilled homeland at these atrocities and ready themselves for one last fierce encounter for preservation. The Summoner War ends here.
There are few games I’ve played that are simultaneously as stripped down and impressive as Summoner Wars. The rules can be learned in a matter of minutes, and yet the gameplay seems to offer much more than you would expect from such a straightforward production. In fact, unit movement and combat, and the objective of the game (to kill the other player’s summoner) almost seems too simple. But the magic in this game’s design lies in the variety of strategy each faction within the game allows their controller.
In Summoner Wars, players face off on a gridded map (see picture up top). Each space in the grid can be occupied by a unit. You are given the chance to move up to three units a turn a maximum of two spaces, and the chance to attack with three units. Summoning, or playing new units, is payed for by discarding cards out of your ‘magic pile.’ You are given a phase each turn to put cards from your hand into this pile, and any enemy units you destroy go to this pile as well (another clever mechanic). Turns are also augmented with the use of event cards which do a number of things depending on faction, including damaging enemy units, healing your own units, and giving your summoner special abilities temporarily. This is the entire game. That’s it. And yet within Summoner Wars’ simplicity there is a compelling core, all revolving around how well diversified and balanced the factions are.
From the Phoenix Elves, who concentrate on steady damage, to the Fallen Kingdom who balance self-destruction for power, each faction feels a completely different way when played. This is achieved through several points of design. The first, and my favorite, is that every single unit in the game, no matter how weak or powerful, has a special ability. There are no pawns in this game, every card has the potential to be used in a way that your opponent does not have access too. (Unless you were playing the same faction I suppose, but that’s lame.) The second way this is achieved is that no two factions are given the same event cards. Which means that trump card in your hand you’ve been saving for the final blow isn’t going to jump out at you from your opponent’s hand. Although they might have something unbeknownst to you, that will mash your goblins into paste.
One final detail I found interesting about this game is that you almost always burn through your entire deck in any given game. You won’t be sitting around hoping you pull your restricted Arcbound Ravager, or that last City Of Brass to complete your deadly combo, because your going to see every last card in your deck. Every. Single. One. *sigh of satisfaction*
So final thoughts on Summoner Wars: Its an easy to learn game, with high variety in gameplay. Its theme is well developed, and its duration isn’t overwhelming by any means, averaging about a half an hour. If your looking for a game for adolescent gamers to further lure them to the dark side of hobbyist obsession, this is a good pick. If you yourself just need a fast-paced, medium-light game to get a fix in, also a great pick. So check it out, Plaid Hat Games and designer Colby Dauch are to be commended for this one.
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, comments, and potential review inquiries (much appreciated) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
Last Night On Earth is a zombie apocalypse board game, which these days are as common as rotting appendages in a limbs bin. Lucky for Flying Frog Productions, that’s more or less the aesthetic they were going for. In Last Night On Earth, players will attempt to survive a seemingly never-ending onslaught of zombies, searching abandoned buildings for useful items and traversing dark landscape, hoping not to get owned by a slimy dead guy. Or many slimy dead guys.
Now since so many zombie-themed games are on the market at the moment, and I’m not enough of an undead enthusiast to play them all, I am uncertain as what makes this game different from the rest mechanically. Regardless, there are a few cool aspects this game that I think are worth mentioning, even if they happen to be shared by Last Night’s siblings.
The first thing that comes to mind is that the game revolves around scenarios, which means it’s a completely different kind of game than I am used to playing, and one that I initially thought would stunt replayability. What I found is that this is quite an incomplete understanding of this fact. The positive side of a zombie apocalypse game being based in scenarios is that atmosphere is highly enhanced in a completely different way every time you play a different set up. Players will get to relive trope happenstance from all of their favorite zombie movies and stories; From throwing gasoline on your mindless enemies, to searching desperately for the keys to the last working pickup in town, each scenario really sets the stage in a way that is much more immersive than I expected. And whats more, because the base mechanics are designed at their core to allow for the imprint of a number of different scenarios, it seems to me that the game is just itching for expansions, which may cost more coin, but also balances the possibility of this game becoming stale.
Another thing I liked about this game is that not everyone playing plays as a hero. At least one person always controls the zombies, adding a twist in gameplay, and creating a high amount of direct confrontation between players, which is something I always find enhances a gaming experience. Shotgunning a zombie in the family jewels, or using your teeth to rip the scalp off a terrified human is something that is always made infinitely more enjoyable when you get to throw it in a friend’s face and gloat.
That being said, the main fault I found also revolved around this zombie mechanic. Both heroes’ and zombies’ turns are mainly enhanced beyond basic action by cards that are drawn from a hero and zombie deck respectively. But while heroes get weapons, and other items of static enhancement along with their action cards, zombies do not. I realize that this can mainly be attributed to theme, zombies are not usually depicted as intelligent or even intentional beings. But this makes the zombie player feel, in my own experience, like they are simply controlling zombie spawns that might as well have been built into the game without the touch of player control. As the zombies, I watched on jealously as my friends grew excited over discovering Molotov cocktails, and while I had some cool action cards that provided variance in my turns, the amount of special actions and effects the zombie cards allow appear limited to the many cards in the hero deck.
All in all, this is the only negative thing I have to say about the game, which I think is easily overlooked depending on what you are trying to get out of Last Night On Earth. If its a thematic and amusing gaming session, you and your friends are sure to be pleased. Last Night is a great game to play with light gamers and friends at get-togethers because of this; The theme is accessible, fun, and obviously popular, which motivates those less-than-attentive folks to learn the rules, despite being more complicated than the average party gamer can endure. And if your one of the many fans of zombie board games, movies, etc, than you will undoubtedly enjoy this game time and time again.
Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, comments, and potential review inquiries (much appreciated!) can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
The new year has come, and we are now met with the saddest part of Christmas, the 365 days of the year leading to the next. I know this to be true, because my girlfriend has boxed all of our decorations, and the signs of mundane life have returned, always weighing us down with fatigue from work and muddy snow in the gutter.
But the sparkle of echoing bells is still fleetingly heard here in Hartford, CT. So gather around the fire. It’s time for me to relay to you another warm Christmas tale. And for all of us to forget for a soothing moment that Santa has left us for the time being.
My story begins one cold winter’s eve, in a quaint little cabin far north into lands even the bravest of men will not venture. There in his home, Santa sits on his custom La-Z-Boy, complete with cup holders, back massager and butt warmer. Pondering by the fire, his mind tosses and turns, he takes a sip of Mrs. Clause’s special hot cocao (her secret ingredient is bourbon), and he sighs, “It’s almost Christmas and I’ve yet to come up with the perfect present for my Secret Satan this year, I want it to be special…I am Santa after all…oh whatever will I do!?”
For hours he sits pensively, passing the time by watching his favorite movies, hoping, as most procrastinators do (why else do you think he always has to deliver all those presents in one night?) that inspiration will strike under pressure. After burning through several of his favorite Christmas movies —- Die Hard, Home Alone, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol —- Santa decides to watch his favorite movie of all: Robocop.
Sure enough, before Alex Murphy can get his ugly mug mashed and covered in metal, it comes to him. “Aha! There must be a Robocop game I could get my dear friend from Fortress Ameritrash!” he bellows. And as jolly as can be, Santa frolics to his iPad, opens his Ebay ap, finds the game, and soon is cursing as he can’t remember his paypal password. “Why do all of these cockininny sites have different password requirements?!” Santa grumbles, “They’ll surely all get coal this year!” And with that, Santa touched one delicate obese finger to his cute button nose, and with a wink of his eye bought his buddy the greatest gift of all. The Robocop VHS Board Game.
Now I know what you’re wondering. ‘Why haven’t I heard of this obviously incredible board game?’ Well, lucky for you Santa let me borrow it before he sent it out to his Secret Satan, so I can tell you EXACTLY why you’ve never heard of this potentially fantastic game; Because it sucks. Bad. As a Christmas experience it’s maybe better than getting your hair pulled in a retail brawl by a middle aged mother trying to get her kid the last Tickle Me Elmo, of Furby, or Call Of Duty 27. Maybe.
NOOOOOO WHYYYYY?! You ask. Well, to explain, I’d have to give you a brief overview of the game. So here I go.
In Robocop The VHS Board Game, players will each get to control their own Robocop clone. They will roll a die, move their patrol car that many spaces, probably land on an empty space and end their turn, and sometimes land on a space that prompts them to search through the accompanying VHS for a ten second clip that will end in instructions like, “take one damage,” or, “arrest criminal.” When the latter occurs, you might assume it would be exciting and fun, but you’d be wrong. Because just in case you forgot (it is 2013), rifling through back to back video clips on a VHS can be clumsy and annoying. Very very annoying.
That being said there are other things that happen in the game to give it more depth. Some board spaces prompt players to draw a card, which can do a variety of things, like make your fellow police officers strike while you do all their work for them and they eat infinuts (they’re like the Mobius Strips of donuts). In this case you cannot return to the police station space to heal until the strike ends. Great right?
But the existence of these cards is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that using the limited technology of a bygone era has limited the fun factor of this game almost entirely. My friends and I were in fact so distraught by having to waste more time on the VHS than playing the game that we made it through one and a half rounds before calling it quits. But frankly that was more than plenty of time to derive a basic understanding of this simple game. Which turned out to be irrelevant anyhow since I’ll almost certainly never play it again.
So why am I reviewing this game if it’s not really worth playing? And why is Santa so excited for his Secret Satan? Find out next time on…..Dice Temple!
Psych. It’s because its the Robocop VHS Game fool.
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