Blog Archives

Board Games & Me: The Lost World

It's fun to look at how board games were marketed in eras past. Sadly, "3D gameboards" and "figures," rather than solid mechanics, are still determining which games appeal to the unwashed masses. Points if you know what I'm referring to.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Game, from 1996.

Here we are at the end of the road — hm, scratch that — at the end of the onramp that set me on a lifelong Board Game Highway. I’d already decided I liked at least the social aspect of board games thanks to Risk, and later that I was fascinated by their components thanks to Forbidden Bridge. I still hadn’t found the right game though, the one that was more than just a social catalyst or pretty components, that would convince me that board games were more than a once- or twice-a-year hobby. I hadn’t found the one that was good.

Sometime around 1997, I found it. If the header image is broken, read on to discover what it was.

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Board Games & Me: Forbidden Bridge

After my original was tragically lost, I won this one in a particularly intense Ebay bidding war.

Forbidden Bridge, the jewel of 1992.

After being bored out of our minds retrying Risk last week, I promised this time we would play something fun — and I’m making good on that promise with Forbidden Bridge, the first board game I ever begged my dad to get for Christmas (I think I asked for the Game of Life a few years earlier, but we’re going to pretend that never happened. We only played it twice, so it functionally didn’t).

Forbidden Bridge is amazing, despite not being that great a game. I’ll explain why.

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Board Games & Me: Risk

I wonder if 1980s politics informed the design of this box at all: Asia and South America are overrun by vicious Reds, Europe is barely hanging on, Africa is inconsequential... who can stand against the Crimson Tide? Thank heaven for the U.S. of A. and their huge cannons!

The family’s 1980s version of Risk.

Hi there, friendly reader. Today I’m inaugurating a short series about the games that instilled me with my current love of boardgaming, and about trying them again years later. Be warned that these aren’t necessarily the most interesting games, or even particularly good games — today’s article is about Risk, for instance, which is neither.

“So why talk about it then?” Good question! I have a good answer to go with it: Because Risk was the first game I ever longed to play. And when I finally did, it taught me something important about the power of board games.

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Let’s Do This, Politics: Strategery 2012

Dulé Hill and my grandpa battled over the White House?

Aw, you might almost believe they’re buds.

As I write this, there’s a political cottage meeting taking place next door. It’s about some local stuff that’s been balkanizing our typically-serene and friendly suburban neighborhood into factional compartments locked in an arms race to get up the most “Vote Yes” or “Vote No” posters. It’s a real shame, especially since both sides are motivated out of a desire to preserve our little corner of the valley that we live in, and I suspect that the divisions created these last few months will last years beyond the actual upcoming vote. I was invited, though somewhat grudgingly, and failed to attend due to a bout of ambivalence.

And then, something happy happened. Frustrated — by this local kerfuffle, by the noise around yesterday’s presidential debate, by et cetera —, I decided to get even more frustrated by playing a game that looked like it was going to be more fuel on the already-unwelcome fire.

You know what? I’ll be damned if it didn’t help. I’m feeling right as rain. Thanks, Strategery 2012: Right Makes Might. You rock.

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SB! Presents: The Staff Page

Part of the agreement was that Wee Aquinas would write a third of the alt-texts from now on. Brace yourself.

Wee Aquinas, one of the beloved SB! staff. Also the head union agitator.

Well, this has been a long time coming. I’ve been informed by the rest of the staff that I am the “attention hog” of Space-Biff! And you know what? They’re right. So I’ve caved to their demands for a Staff page. You can find it here.

Read all about it after the jump.

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A Plea from Space-Biff!

This is your chance to stand up to Rupert Murdoch. Who *doesn't* want to do that?

When I decided to start writing Space-Biff! it was for one of those “just because” reasons. It was meant as an outlet for things that interest me, and I never intended to use it as a soapbox. But you may have heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act or the Protect IP Act (the links lead to their full texts). If not, I’d recommend a couple of short reads, or a look at their respective Wikipedia pages. If that’s too much effort, then there’s a just-over-four-minute video after the jump. Please take a look.

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Gears of War: The Board Game: The Review (Part 2)

It was on XBox too? Wait, there were sequels?

Our attempt at an over-the-shoulder shot, just like from the PC game. This is, incidentally, the one moment where weenie-man Damon Baird attempts something heroic. I'm sure he missed the shot.

“C’mon Baird! A little bit of this is good for you! Builds your immune system.”
—Augustus “Cole Train” Cole, Gears of War

In part 1, I outlined the three things that stand out to me as the advantages of Gears of War: The Board Game, the latest from Corey Konieczka and Fantasy Flight Games. I’d recommend reading that first, because this is the segment where I talk about the game’s three disadvantages. Now, before I get into that, I’d like to say that for some folks these might be totally negligible. I enjoyed the game, and thought a few of the mechanics were especially smart. However, I wouldn’t recommend a purchase without a prospective buyer knowing a few things.

So here we go!

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Gears of War: The Board Game: The Review (Part 1)

Fine, here they are: 1. Colby Dauch, 2. Corey Konieczka, 3. Vlaada Chvátil, 4. Milton Bradley

Dominic Santiago finds himself swarmed by wretches in Gears of War: The Board Game.

“Yeah! Wooo! Bring it on, sucka! This is my kinda shit!”
— Augustus “Cole Train” Cole, Gears of War

Corey Konieczka is one of only four board game designers whose names I’m capable of recognizing immediately. He’s designed some of my favorite games, such as Battlestar Galactica, Runewars, and Mansions of Madness—the last of which I’ve talked about at length here on Space-Biff! before. He’s also designed some other well-received games like Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Space Hulk: Death Angel, and Starcraft. As such, when one of my friends proposed Mr Konieczka’s recent Gears of War: The Board Game for our next game night, I didn’t require much convincing.

The verdict? Find the first half after the jump.

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Christmas, Occupied

After years of not being played with, my old Star Wars toys were sick of the annual use that the Christmas crowd was getting. They’ve taken matters into their own hands. Take that, ornament fat cats!

We considered all sorts of little flourishes. Pickets. Colored signs. Army men cracking down on the protesters. Polly Pocket hostages. But it was really hard to stand up these little guys on the batting. So we decided this was good enough.

They're as mad as hell, and they're not going to take this anymore.

Disclaimer: This is what I did with my sister while everyone else was dipping chocolates. This isn’t meant as a statement of political alignment, etc, etc.

More pics after the jump, and of course, you are permitted to click any of the pics for embiggening.

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Rage: The Monocular

Adam's gorgeous subconjunctival hemorrhage. Acquired through Rage. Or because the kick of his gun smacked his monocular.

Back when I quasi-reviewed Rage, I was going to write another pair of articles. These articles would be lists, formatted along the lines of “The 5 Things Rage Got Right” and “The 5 Things Rage Got Wrong.” Very cleverly, I was planning on writing that the number one thing that id got both right and wrong was the game engine, id Tech 5. I know, herp de derp.

It’s been a great week for game releases, what with both Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third coming out and flustering my time management. Both are so immense that I doubt I’ll be able to do them justice anytime soon. So I sat down to make a little filler article. To keep up the habit, you see. I figured I’d talk about a few of my criticisms of Rage that I left unvoiced back in October.

Then I got completely sidetracked, and found myself wearing strange clothes and feeling not quite myself.

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