"And you can keep the dime."
From Jim Croce's Operator, I think this is one of the saddest lyrics in music.
Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. Having always been interested in the macabre, Halloween affords me a month or so of that being expected. This year especially has been great, with Mindhunter and Stranger Things 2 hitting right at the perfect time, on top of the yearly traditions with my kids of Lonesome Ghosts and Witch Hazel, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, and Bing Crosby's take on Brom Bones.
In Black Orchestra you attempt to kill Hitler. You spend the game collecting and moving items, managing cards, choosing a plot, attempting to get everything just so for your dice-based attempt at winning the game. But just how perfect does your plan need to be?
Both of my dad’s parents are still alive, and they live in a retirement community that shares a driveway with me. So I get to see them quite a bit. And my kids, now nearing 4 and 5, have been lucky enough to get to know them. Nana and Papa, to them.
Though I'm not sold yet on the idea that Star Wars: Outer Rim is a good game, I have had a couple fun-enough sessions. In more than one instance, players had the choice expending a resource in order to improve their chances of passing a skill test. And given the 4 unique sides of the 8-sided dice, and the way skill tests work, they were a bit at a loss of what exactly that resource would be worth.
So at the risk of everyone’s first reaction being "never tell me the odds," let's do exactly that.
Of all the video games I currently enjoy, I would never have guessed that Has-Been Heroes would be the one taking over most of my limited game time. Not one to keep up with new releases (and there was no fanfare or even ad on the Xbox when it hit the digital shelves), it came out of nowhere has been my biggest gaming surprise in quite some time.
Stephen Fry once wrote: “A true thing badly expressed becomes a lie.” Readers of these posts, in the past, future, and at this precise moment in time, will be experienced with the proof of this theorem in regards to language, but I think the idea holds true when broadened to just about any other medium or craft. Including games.
A curious thing happened when I released Until Dawn into the public’s hands. Players started playing poorly on purpose. Their backs to the wall, their shotguns empty, their cabin breached, they would look down at their faithful German Shepherd, teeth bared in anticipation of ripping some zombies to dusty shreds, and say “No, Jasper. Sit. Down. Stay.”
Most people who do any amount of videogaming will be familiar with the word "grind." Wikipedia defines it as "performing repetitive tasks for gameplay advantage." It's a contentious topic.
I love to overthink simple mechanics, especially if they're a little outside of the typical die roll or card draw. Rhino Hero: Super Battle has an interesting little die roll-off system that I hadn't seen before. This is a quick and easy kids/family game, right, so why not ruin it by overthinking the hell out of it and doing some probability calculations.
Think about your favorite movies. The genre-defining movies. The movies that defined an era or pioneered a new technology. Think about the movies we still talk about a decade after their release. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey or Get Out.
Friction is a term I've stolen from a friend to describe the parts of a game that unnecessarily burden playing it. It could be an ungodly terrible rulebook, forced repetitive component manipulation, overly picky and ultimately useless rules regarding card location, or even a bizarre VP schedule broken out by the area of the board the VP comes from rather than the player allowed to earn the VP in question.
It's usually around this time each year that I've finally had a chance to play all the new games that I picked up in 2016. There's still a few I haven't had the chance to really dive into yet, but it'll be a while before those get proper playtime. So let's take a look at 2016.