25 January 2020

Spoilers, Rage, and Toxic Fandom

A section of quartz crystal, broken into two pieces, lying on asphalt ground.

Several months ago, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was released on Netflix. Obviously, I binged it the very next day. And loved it. As I'm sure you can tell from the review I wrote of it.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that I had been a member of the 'Age of Resistance Fan Group' on Facebook leading up to the release. I found it a convenient place to keep up with news, see stills and trailers in advance of the series, and geek out with fellow aficionados.

What was very disappointing to me, however, was how volatile and antagonistic that group became after the show was released.

Some people were unable or unwilling to binge the entire season in one sitting. These people asked for others to put spoiler warnings on posts that contained spoilers. And much to my surprise, there was a large and very vocal contingent of fans that absolutely and vociferously refused.

18 January 2020

Board Game Review: Blokus

The box. It is divided into four quadrants, each a different colour in red, blue, yellow, and green, with a clear window to show the white game board covered in a number of shapes (also in red, blue, yellow, and green)  made up of one to five squares arranged on the board. The title is written across the middle of the box covering part of the window.

In the midst of the revolution in which a number of amazing companies produce some amazing new games and many small companies produce many more amazing games, it's easy to scoff at the large 'mainstream' companies who continue making games which are intended to appeal to the general public instead of the board game community. But that doesn't mean that some of their games aren't really good.

This is the case with Blokus (pronounced BLOCK-us), created by Bernard Tavitian and published by Mattel. Though it bills itself as a family game, it holds a surprising level of depth and strategy. It is a refreshingly thinky game that is easy to learn and play, but contains intense tactical challenges.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves! We'll start as we always do, with the numbers:

11 January 2020

Casinos: Gambling vs Board Games

A room in a casino filled with blackjack tables, all busy with players and dealers.

An ex-girlfriend of mine once told me that I think too much. At the time, I remember thinking this was a strange complaint; thinking, after all, is how we solve problems. It's what separates us from animals; it has enabled all the progress (and, granted, a lot of the problems) that we experience today. Without thinking, we wouldn't have modern vaccines, computers, space flight, air conditioning, or any of the other modern conveniences that have made life livable.

Bear with me. This will be pertinent in a moment.

I recently went to a couple of nostalgia-based concerts. By which I mean, a couple of bands from the 70s and 80s were performing live, and the Dork Spouse or I wanted to see them, so we bought tickets and enjoyed listening to some music from our childhood.

Both concerts were performed in casinos. Aside from a short time at a family function hosted at a casino many years ago, I had never before been in a casino in my adult life. As I walked through the casinos to get to the events hall where the concerts were held, I found myself contemplating the nature of gambling and the people who play these sorts of games.

04 January 2020

Board Game Review: On Tour

The cover art. The title in a cursive font above several musicians on top of a VW bus, which is parked on a map of the United States.

Sometimes you find a game that surprises you with its depth. What appears to be a simple fluffy game with no appeal turns out to contain some hefty decisions and require intense thought. On Tour, by Chad DeShon and published by Board Game Tables Dot Com, was one of those games. When I first saw it, I was unimpressed with the theme, and didn't think much of it. But when I actually sat down to play it, I was shocked at how much fun it is.

Sure, it's not going to be a serious game for a heavy Friday night game session with the hardcore gamers. But as a party game, or a light filler, it is unexpectedly satisfying! I might not have ordered a copy for myself, but I received a voucher for a discount, and felt it was worth having at that price.

So let's take a look at this game, starting with the numbers: