Author Archives: Bryan Wall

Top 5 Things of 2012: The Bryan Wall Edition!

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Just like last year to celebrate the end of this trip round the sun we got together to run down our top 5 favorite things of the year. We then presented those during part 1 of our spectacular year end podcast. In part 2 of that podcast we whittle out lists down to a Top 5 to represent the site as a whole, and then 1 singular item that is Perpetual Geek Machine’s favorite thing of 2012. Last year The Muppets was our winner. What will take the crown this year? Listen to the podcast to find out!

DUNGEON!: A game with an exclamation point in the title cannot be ignored.

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Many years ago, during the formative years of my nerdly passions, I was introduced (as many of us were), to Dungeons & Dragons. It seemed like something that I would enjoy. “Seemed,” being the operative word. It just didn’t work out. Actually, most RPG’s don’t really hold a lot of interest to me. My attention span just doesn’t work with all the rigamarole (yeah, RIGAMAROLE) involved with being told a story with description while contriving some sort of a character for the sake of being able to roll odd-shaped dice once every what-seems-like-an-hour.

The essential ideas behind D&D however, felt like they should be fun. Roll dice! Kill things! Get treasure! Awesome, right? If only there was some sort of board-type game that offered all of these great things without all the theatrics and, well, listening. Turns out there was, as the same people that released D&D also released a game called Dungeon! in 1975, which has just been reissued. Finally I’d get to see if my suspicions about a more board-gamer friendly version of the world’s most popular method of imaginary swordplay would pan out.

Shlocktober Recap: 31 Days Of The Creepy And The Corny

image00So Shlocktober has come and gone, and it went pretty well.  For those of you that aren’t in the know, this is my annual Hallowe’en film-fest that celebrates all things spooky, scary, gory, and monstery.  This year (I think it’s the sixth now), I managed to view (or attempt to view) 35 goodies over 31 days, and I was able to get through a lot of new material that I hadn’t seen before, which was nice.  

I would like to thank the HMV next to where I work for having a lot of great movies for $5.  I would also like to curse the HMV next to where I work for having a lot of great movies for $5.  I didn’t have enough money to buy all the awesomeness that they carried, but I still found a way to spend more than I should have for the sake of the season.  That being said, if it weren’t for that, this year’s festival might not have gone off as well as it did.

Frak Some Toasters With the Battlestar Galactica Board Game

battlestargalactica-reg-300x300Eight years ago, when I heard that there was a new Battlestar Galactica series on TV, I scoffed. Recent viewings of the original series made me laugh with how awesomely cornball the whole thing was, and like most television shows that I thought were wonderful when I was 5, this wasn’t making the cut anymore.

Much to my joy, the new series was far better than the original, and it remains something that I hold near and dear to my nerdy heart. I couldn’t wait to see what kind of awesome gaming opportunities would come from such a great franchise. Sure, there were some video games, but none of them really grabbed my attention. Then a board game caught my eye that looked promising, and I could only hope that it would be one of the rare games that really captured what the series was about.

I just didn’t want to risk being disappointed in something that cost as much as it did but that’s more of a statement on my economic short-comings than my unwillingness to take a chance on something new. Fortunately that ended up not mattering anyway once my friends recently got their hand on a set, and we could take on table-top skin-jobs in a quest to save humanity.

Review: The land of OZ is in a new state of Fluxx

ozfluxx1Everybody likes “The Wizard of Oz.” Everybody. They might not love it, but they, at least, enjoy it to some degree. Whether it’s the girliest of girly-girls, your grandparents, or the fry-bag dude that lived in your dorm that showed it to you with the sound off while having it synched-up to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” I don’t know anyone that has a prevailing negative feeling about this movie. Then again, if you do, I don’t really want to know you anyway.

That being said, when a “Wizard of Oz,” edition of the card game Fluxx came to my attention, I knew that it would be something that would gain a fair amount of interest in my circles, so giving it a whirl was definitely in order.

Innovation Brings Innovative Twist to an Old Theme

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How many times have we all tried to advance our civilization? How long have we striven to be the first to acquire the basic building blocks for the anthropological success that our people so sorely need? For me, it’s gotta be about two decades now. I mean, in game-form, of course. I initially got my Emperor’s feet wet with the computer game Civilization, but only because I didn’t get a chance to play the board game before that. Many, many hours spent clicking away until the sound of birds chirping let me know that the only thing I’d advanced was my insomnia. More recently, I’ve fallen for card-based games like Killer Bunnies, and Munchkin, again spending hours upon hours trying to build hands and characters that will see my way to victory. Therefore the game Innovation holds a lot of appeal to me, as it gives its players an empire-building motif in the form of a card game.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor Delivers A Dandy Rock ’N’ Roll Treaty With One Model Nation

omnheader.jpg.size-525Usually when I hear about musicians trying to expand their horizons and dip their toes into another medium’s pool, I openly reject the attempt and dismiss it as someone trying to take advantage of their fame. Whether that be to make themselves or someone else some money or to further some sort of artistic manifesto that really doesn’t mean a damn thing to me.

That being said, when I heard that Dandy Warhols lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor had written the graphic novel, One Model Nation, I was definitely intrigued. I’m a big enough fan of the band The Dandy Warhols to know that Taylor-Taylor is a bit of a weirdo, so I figured if he’s taken a stab at writing a graphic novel, it would definitely be worth a read.

It’s Time You Had Someone Teach You, Tichu.

tichu21It’s been a while since I hunkered down with a good “traditional,” card game. Outside of losing a few games of Euchre during the summer, I haven’t sat and played Crazy Eights or Rummi for quite some time, so I was looking forward to getting into the game Tichu, from Rio Grande Games.

After some quick Wikipedia research, I find out the game looks like a variant of two Chinese card games: Choi Dai Di, which is Hong Kong slang that means “Step On the Little Guy,” (nice!); and Da Lao Er, Mandarin slang for, and I’m not making this up…”Big Penis.” With a lineage like that, this game should be big fun.

Belfort: Dwarves and Elves Working Together For Your Enjoyment

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Historically, I don’t like games that don’t have dice. Back in the day, I used to “play” Dungeons and Dragons and the Marvel Super Heroes RPG…but by “play,” I mean “make characters and then not use them,” because the generation process consisted mostly of rolling dice. Whether or not that points to some sort of innate gambling problem or what, I don’t know, but that was definitely the case. The last year or two has significantly changed my feelings on this, with my introduction to, and love of, Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne.

When looking at the Tasty Minstrel Games release Belfort, I got the feeling that it might be similar to those other games I had come to love, and since other TMG games (Eminent Domain, Martian Dice, Train of Thought, Jab), had received very good reviews on this site, I was pretty psyched to give it a whirl. My anticipation did not go unrewarded.

The Simpsons Paradox (Treehouse of Horror or Simpsons Clue?)

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Over the last couple of weeks, I have had two very different encounters with the world’s greatest animated family. With it being Hallowe’en (side note: I still spell Hallowe’en with the apostrophe. I’m a purist), I allowed myself to look past my increasing apathy towards the Simpsons, and give my favorite yellow characters (except That Yellow Bastard, from Sin City), another try and check out the latest Hallowe’en “Treehouse of Horror,” episode.

Consequently, while preparing for another board-game broo-ha-ha with some of my local besties, I grabbed The Simpsons’ Clue, because one of our group has Clue on the short list of games she will actually play. Besides, since it’s the Simpson’s version of a classic board game, it’s inherently fun, right? I just didn’t realize how much more I’d enjoy the board game than the show.

Walking Dead Board Game: A Game With This Many Dice Should Be More Fun.

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I’m not going to lie: I’m still not sick of zombies. Even with all the video games, comics, movies, and TV Series, I’m still not sick of them. Not even Zombieland put me off them. And I really hated that movie. For whatever reason though, I’ve never read a single word of “The Walking Dead,” and I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the TV series (which I loved), but I was really excited when presented with the opportunity to play the new “Walking Dead,” board game, I jumped at the chance. It’s a board game based on the most successful modern zombie franchise out there, so what could go wrong?

QWIRKLE: Like Scrabble, but without all the arguments & fun for everybody

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Every year at the beginning of October, I go up to my friend’s cottage with a few of my nearest and dearest to unwind and gorge ourselves stupid. A big part of the unwinding process generally settles around playing a serious amount of board games. Big winners of the past cottage weekends have included Sequence, The Settlers of Catan, and Apples to Apples. This year, my friend Ash announced that he had brought up this new game Qwirkle, mostly due to the fact that it had also won the German Game of the Year award that had previously been given to Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. That was more than a good enough reason for me to give Qwirkle a whirl, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Bendis shows us his full moon in the comic “Moon Knight”

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I’m not going to lie; Brian Michael Bendis is definitely responsible for a percentage of my economic instability. After 10 years of not buying comics, I bought the first couple of issues of his run writing Daredevil in 2001, and I was hooked. From there I tried to buy as much of his stuff as my meager means would allow. I wasn’t reading a ton of comics, but more often than not when I did, they had the Bendis name on them. Then I got a car, and that was the end of that. Fortune however, is on my side, since my car is now paid for and Bendis has just started writing Marvel’s new Moon Knight series.

Now, there’s going to be a some comic readers that aren’t going to be too familiar with the Moon Knight character. That makes perfect sense. To be honest, neither am I. Moon Knight is like, a third level Avenger. Let me put it this way: If the Avengers were the Peanuts gang, Moon Knight would be Shermy. He would be playing a shepherd in the Avengers’ Christmas Pageant. He has had previous series and whenever he’s popped up with cameo appearances or whatever he has always been kind of a cool character that was intriguing to me. That could be because of the basic similarities to Batman, I don’t know; but it has been a very long time since he’s had any kind of spotlight thrown his way.