24 September 2016

Board Game Review: Hot Tin Roof

The cover of Hot Tin Roof: Three cartoon cats on the roofs of buildings in a city landscape. One appears to be dancing to a cartoon-style song.
Leo Colovini is the creator of one of my very favourite games: Clans. Hot Tin Roof has a very different feel. Instead of neolithic settlers coming together to form the first villages, players of Hot Tin Roof are moving cats around the neighbourhood, over buildings, across clothes lines and telephone wires, and through patios to collect the most fish.

I first played this game as a 'Mammoth' version at Gen Con. I thought it was cute, so I bought it as a gift for the Dork Spouse. Of course, it's a bit different when you're moving wooden cat meeples around a board, instead of adorable fluffy plush kittens on a carpet with the game board printed on it.

Still, it was a fun game, so I shall review it now. Starting, of course, with the numbers.

18 September 2016

What is a Hero?

Most modern adventure games, including both roleplaying games and video games, tend to gravitate towards the concept of heroism. Players are often looking for a chance to be the hero, and use games to vicariously experience the thrill of being the hero.

But what does it mean to be a hero?

The concept of heroism has changed over the years. Beowulf, for example, was considered a hero not only because of his strength and courage, but also his honour, loyalty, generosity, and hospitality. Compare that with many of today's heroes. John Wayne is often considered a hero by many Americans, due in large part to his integrity, his unwillingness to compromise his ideals. The Frankish hero of Roland was idolised for his bravery; he refused to sound the call for reinforcements until his army was nearly defeated and there was no hope of rescue. The Babylonian hero Gilgamesh went in search of the secret of immortality, only to have it stolen by a snake whilst he slept.

10 September 2016

Star Trek: Beyond

Back in October, I published my ranking of the Star Trek films. As I'm sure you know, a new Star Trek film was released almost two months ago. I really don't want this blog to turn into a movie review site, but I just have to express what I thought of the new one.

Be warned: This review contains spoilers. If you haven't seen this film and don't want it spoiled, DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE.

In fact, I'm going to put this behind a cut just to make sure. Because


There. Now let's continue.

04 September 2016

Board Game Review: Imhotep

A friend of mine recently acquired a copy of Imhotep. He brought it to game night, and I got to play it. Now I shall review it for you.

As you may remember, last time I did a board game review, I added some categories based on the Quantic Foundry board gamer motivation profile tool. I have codified those into my ratings system. Here is the new one:
Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.

Strategy: 5
Randomness: 1
Complexity: 2
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Gameplay: 45 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
   Strategy: High
   Conflict: Medium
   Social Manipulation: Low
   Fantasy: Medium