Author Archives: chyrondave

Top 5 Gripes of Legendary

Marvel Legendary


This past Sunday at my local game group, I brought out my copy of Legendary because another member of the group expressed interest in the game.  We had fun playing it twice (more on that later), but it was also a major frustration for me, which, naturally, made me think of all the other reasons why this game is quite frustrating.

For the record, most of the issues I have are specifically with the Marvel version of this game.  However, some of these frustations do carry over to the other games that use the Legendary system (Legendary Encounters, the Alien and Predator versions).

Initial Sorting

This is one I have brought up before, usually when I purchase a new large expansion for the game (I have yet to see this problem in the smaller expansions).  As it stands, sorting the game new out of the box is almost a game in and of itself.  Instead of cards groups together by their type (all the Wolverine cards together, all the Hulk cards together, etc.), the cards are scattered across multiple packs in the box.  Thus, when assessing whether or not you are missing any cards, it becomes that much more difficult because they are spread across multiple groups, putting a couple of cards here, a couple there, still more elsewhere, and so on.  This gets harder to sort when some cards of one type look like the cards from another type (this is especially so with the Alien version of Legendary Encounters).

Game Bloat

Currently, in addition to the base game of Legendary: Marvel (which has over 500 cards), there three big box expansions (each roughly 350 cards each), and four small box expansions (100 cards each).  This does not include the announced but not released Civil War expansion, the Villains “expansions” (which play differently enough for be to opt to keep them separate), or the 3D cards (more on those later).  That is almost 1,600 cards.  Granted, at any given time, you will not play with all of these cards, but it is still a lot.

You would think that with that number of cards, there would be a lot of different options to play in the game.  Why not, since Marvel has almost 50 years of characters to pull from, 75 if you include properties that have appeared in Comics prior to the “Marvel Age.”

Yeah, well, kind of.  Yes, there are a lot of characters to play.  But, there are some duplicates.  There are two different Wolverine sets in the game (three if you count Old Man Logan as well).  A lot of different Spider-options (Spider-Man, Symbiote Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man), and with the Captain America set that just came out, there are now five different Captain America options (since the game only plays with five heroes, it is possible to play a total Captain America set).

Upper Deck’s decision to also base not one, but two 350 expansions on the recent Secret Wars limited series also throws in a number of alternate timeline/reality characters into the mix that add in confusion, especially from those who are familiar with Marvel, but not necessarily with their recent world-rebooting series.

I have to do what now?

I mentioned the 3D cards earlier.  This is the one thing that has driven me crazy.  This is less about the game, and more about Upper Deck.

The nice thing about Legendary: Marvel is that it is a self contained deck building game.  You just need the base game to play, though the expansions add it some more flavor.  Unlike other games, particularly the collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, or Yu-Gi-Oh,  You don’t need to buy pack after pack trying to get all the cards of a set to play the game.

Oh, wait, Upper Deck changed that with the 3D cards.  Upper Deck Marvel 3D was a trading card set that was released in 2015.  As part of the card set, packs had two cards that can be played in Legendary.  The standard “hero set” in Marvel Legendary is 14 cards consisting of 2 sets of 5 “commons,” 3 “uncommons,” and 1 rare.  With five heroes added to the game this way, you had to buy 35 packs to get a playable set of each hero.  And that’s assuming that you completely luck out and get a perfect pull, just for the heroes.  Throw in another 10 packs for complete sets of the henchmen (two sets of 10), and another two for the bystanders (assuming that you just want one of each of the four bystanders), you are up to 47 packs.  A standard box break down (according to Upper Deck’s website) has a box (priced at 64 dollars) giving only 40 game cards.

Again, this is if you are extremely lucky and do not get any duplicates beyond what is needed to create a playable set.

Very not cool.

I want to play again… let’s just use this set up

As painful as the initial sorting can be, prepping for a game can be just as painful.  You need to build the “villain deck” based on the scenario you decide to play, as well as the hero deck.  If you are very organized, it can go smoothly.  If you decided to organize based on game groups, this probably will go as smoothly as it did for me (READ: not at all).

Playing the game itself is not a problem.  But, what happens if your group decides to play a second game.  You can go through the entire set up with no characters, new scheme, and new villains.  But, if you do, you run into the same issues you had with the first set up (not to mention you still have to put away the cards that you just had out).

Or, you can luck out, get defeated in the first game and have the group decide to reset that one and try and beat it again.  Thankfully, that’s what I had.  Very thankfully.

But, I still had to break down the game after playing.

And those cards are in this box…

The base game box for Legendary: Marvel is very nice.  The insert is not the best in the world, but if you replace it with a nice one from various websites that offer them, you have a nice means of storing your game.  At least until you get a few expansions.  My version of Legendary has now officially outgrown its box, though it has been experiencing growing pains for quite some time now.  The game does provide dividers for organizing your cards.  But, Upper Deck does not provide enough to organize all of your cards (At least once you start expanding).  The dividers, though decent quality, are also very basic.  Scratch that, extremely basic.  They are just a mass print card that’s bigger than the regular playing cards, with nothing by way of titles for sorting, or even a place to title them yourself.

Once your version grows beyond its box, you will probably have to go the route I did and buy a cardboard box.  It holds everything, though the lid does not cover the entire box (making me a bit concerned that one bad spill and I an playing another game of Sort the Cards again.)

It would be nice for Upper Deck to release a storage box for Legendary, something like those released for Smash Up or Red Dragon Inn.  The storage box would be very sturdy, with a full side lid.  And there would be inserts for all of the released cards.  There have been rumors of something like this coming down the line.  But, that’s all they are: rumors.


Gaming Failure

For the briefest of moments, I thought I would be a game master, a newbie game master, but a game master none the less.  Sadly, I realize that this really was not to be.

For those who do not know, a game master (GM) is the person who runs a role playing game (RPG).  Most people are probably more familiar with it being called dungeon master.  But, given the nature of the RPGs that I was looking to run (READ: no dungeons), game master felt more appropriate than dungeon master.

Now, the RPG I was looking to run was Fantasy Flight’s End of the World RPG.  The series has the players assume roles as themselves facing apocalyptic situations.  I participated in one as a player at Connecticon (mentioned in a previous post), and looked to try my hand at running my own game.  In a short time, I managed to write not one, but four different scenarios (two suggested by the first book of the End of the World series, the third from the second book, and the last one using the rules).

I managed to run one of these adventures.  I had posted it on the Meetup group that I belonged to and had gotten four people to sign up to participate.  That seems great until I got to game day and only two of the four people showed up.  I ran the scenario with just the two people.

Undeterred, I planned on another gaming session, this time planning on using the Fiasco system, which is more open ended and does not require a GM.  Unfortunately, I ended up having to cancel this meetup due to low interest.

On the day I was to run that game, I posted another event, this time scheduled to be run two weeks later.  That would have been this upcoming Sunday.  Once more, I had to cancel this event, again due to low interest.  The one person who did sign up was reluctant to participate due to the low turn out.

Looking over this track record, I wonder if I am really made out to be a GM.  At least, I wonder if I’m really made out to promote events, especially ones that I set up.  The two people who signed up for that first game seemed to enjoy themselves.  At least, they said they did.  But they could just be saying that to be nice.  I really don’t know.

Regardless, I feel like running a game might not be something I am capable of.

Game Accessories I’d Like To See

I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything.  This is mostly because I’ve just not had anything to discuss.

At least, I didn’t until today.  Naturally, it’s all game related.

Going over some of my games, I realize that there are some accessories that I really wish I had for them.  It’s not a big list, but it’s one that has been slowly growing out of frustration with some of the games.

Marvel Legendary Big Box

I have had a few gripes about the Legendary games since I’ve picked up the games.  Surprisingly, none of those gripes are about the gameplay itself.  I like Marvel Legendary, and I like Legendary Encounters, I just really hate how they sort and pack the cards (I’ve seen, and experienced, by own horror stories about spending an hour to just make sure you have all the cards).

This particular gripe, however, is with storage.  Since Marvel Legendary, Upper Deck has switched to a longer rectangular box over the square box of the original game.  These boxes do have room for expansions, but mostly seem to be adopted because they started using a rubber (neoprene… whatever) mat instead of the heavy board that the original game had.  There is no room in the box for the older board, and the “divider” where the mat is stored is not secured in the box, which means there is a lot of movement in the box.  Broken Token makes an insert for these longer boxes, but there could be a better solution.

AEG released an accessory for Smash Up called the Big Geeky Box.  This box is a large sturdy box with a central divider that can hold the base game and all the expansions (and future expansions).  Also included in this set are some really nice dividers for the various factions.  Since the release of the Big Geeky Box, expansions for Smash Up has included dividers that match the ones in the box.

With several expansions for Marvel Legendary out there (not including Villains, which is practically its own game, and Fear Itself, which is more an expansion for Villains that the original game), the main box is looking a little crowded.  Even with a Broken Token insert, I get the feeling that once more large box expansion will push the game out of that original box.  Thus, it would be really cool to get a nice Big Geeky Box style storage box for Legendary with dividers designed for the various different factions in the box.  Heck, I would be happy with just the ones that originally came with the box since Upper Deck doesn’t seem to think that with all the expansions coming out that we will need dividers for them.

Sentinels of the Multiverse Big Box

Sentinels of the Multiverse has had multiple expansions, so many, in fact, that it has grown beyond the capacity of the original box to hold everything.  Currently, I have it divided into two of the larger boxes, but that means I have to lug around two boxes of cards.  A decent storage box for everything two date (and maybe more) would be cool.  And, a token box for all the various items that come with the game would be cool as well.

End of the World RPG Accessories

Lately, I’ve been toying around with The End of the World RPG series from Fantasy Flight Games.  The RG uses a simple system that allows the players to assume the roles of, well, themselves, in the face of the apocalypse.  The system is easy to teach, and the scenarios in the books (two already released, with two more planned), are open ended enough to allow for game masters to create a one and done adventure (or campaign of several sessions) incorporating the area they live in.

Now, even with the open ended style of the scenarios in the books, there are still some set rules.  Thus, a screen with some of these stats would be a nice accessory for the game.  In addition, flash card style decks for weapons and premade NPCs would be helpful for game masters who will need quick reference or to populate their world on the brink of destruction.



Con Games

As mentioned in my previous post, I attended the four days of Connecticon recently.  And though I would not call it a raving success (at least for myself, the convention itself was great), I did manage to play a lot of games over the course of the weekend.  Could I have gotten more games in?  Most certainly, but that is my own failing rather than that of the convention.  After all, they did have a game library that I did not take any advantage of.

RPG Madness

Role Playing Games (or RPGs) are a curious case for me.  I love the idea of slipping into another role for a little while and exercising my creativity.  Sadly, I usually never get the chance to really get into an RPG.  This is usually because I don’t usually have the time to get into a long running campaign, or the availability due to work to get in on a regular group.  Moreover, I would rather play as a character than as a game master, which means that I am less inclined to try and organize a gaming session.  In spite of this, there are still a number of RPGs that I would like to try.


Thursday night of the convention gave me the opportunity to try out one RPG that I have wanted to give a go since I picked up the rulebook.  End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse is published by Fantasy Flight Games is the first book in a series that has the players coming up against various end of the world scenarios.  Zombies, obviously, are the first in that series.  What makes this series stand out is that the players are pretty much playing themselves.

The group I was in Thursday consisted of five people (including myself) and the GM.  After we wrote up our characters (or rather, after we wrote up ourselves), we dove right into the scenario, which started exactly where we were, a ballroom in a hotel playing games.  Then, all Hell broke lose.  In our particular scenario, we had no survivors.  I was the first casualty, taken out be a old lady zombie with a walker and her husband.

And to think it seemed so promising after I axed a zombie earlier.

There was one thing I suspected about this RPG.  Or, at least the zombie apocalypse RPG.  The source book provides immediate scenarios (like the one run Thursday) as well as long term campaigns.  One of the things I suspected is that a one off scenario (again, like the one we ran) w0uld work well, but the game might fall apart if it extends further than that.  Granted, with our entire group dying, there was not much of a chance that we were going to run a longer campaign, but there was a feeling that a campaign would have started to fall flat.  Still, as a singular session, this RPG was actually pretty cool and I would love to try it again… and hopefully survive this time.


The other RPG I played this weekend was one I had not planned on trying out.  The Dresden Files Role Playing Game is based on the Jim Butcher book series using the Fate system.  The particular campaign I hopped into had started earlier in the convention, with that session being the second of three.  I had not planned on joining in, but ended up getting pulled into it.  Thankfully, the runners of this game (I’ll explain that in a bit) had preconstructed characters that players could slide into.  My particular character was a smooth talking con man who happened to have psychometric powers and had a voice from a powerful idol talking in his head.

Anyone who knows me will know that this is completely the opposite of who I am.

By the end of the night, I was hooked enough to rearrange my Sunday plans to take part in the third and last session.

Part of what pulled me in was the simplicity of the system.  Players role four specialized six sided dice.  The number faces are replaced with blanks, plusses and minuses.  Minuses counter plusses, and the end result is added to skills for the outcome.  It was easy for me to slide into the system as the End of the World RPG uses itself (though that system uses regular six sided dice to role for successes and stresses).

The bigger part that pulled me in was how the campaign was structured.  This was not just one table at the convention, but two tables.  Each table represented a different location in the world (the table I was at was in South America).  The two tables were able to actually communicate with each other through text messages on cell phones, allowing for both tables to share information with each other.  Sometimes it was helpful, sometimes not… much like real life.  The game left me wanting to play more, either the actual Dresden Files RPG, or the Fate system in another game.

Learn To Play…

A majority of the board games I played through the weekend were in Learn to Play situations.  Games were presented for those who were unfamiliar with the particular games, or at least that particular version of the game.



The biggest of these (at least for me) was Mansions of Madness.  This is a game that I have had sitting in my collection, but have never brought to the table because of the long set up time.  Thus, it is a game that I never really got a chance to try out.

At least, not until the convention.

The learn to play set up made it easy for those of us playing to get into the game better since there was one person explaining the rules but not part of the game itself (mostly because there were too many people interested in playing).

Now, having played the game once with guidance, I am more inclined to try it again, possibly even running as the adversary if I needed two.  And I can mark it off as one of my games in my collection that I have played.



Also fitting into the games I own but not played was Sentinel Tactics.  Sentinel Tactics is based on the Sentinels of the Multiverse card game, bringing many of the card game’s characters to a miniatures game.  I was able to run through one quick scenario (it was pretty late when we started), but got an idea how the game is played.  It was interesting, but I got the feeling that if there were more characters in the game, it would be a bit more interesting.



I also had a chance to learn Eclipse during the convention.  This is a game of space exploration, planetary conquest, and resource management.  This is not a short game, but still quite interesting.  Unfortunately for me, it is also one of those games in which if you make a mistake in the game, you can pretty much consider yourself out of the running for victory

It also was a bit marred by a player who withdrew from a combat situation without even trying to fight.  This player eventually ended up winning the battle once we allowed him to take back his withdrawal and fight the fight.



Belfort was a game of worker placement set in a Medieval town with some area control mixed in as well.  It was pretty straight forward once we got into the game, but it seemed to lack something for me that other worker placement games have.  I would play it again, but I’m not sure I would buy it for my collection.



I also sat in on a learn to play Red Dragon Inn, which was a bit of a misnomer since just about everyone at the table knew how to play the game.  It also fell short because the copy at the convention was only Red Dragon Inn 2, which meant we had only the four characters that were in that set, limiting how many players could actually play the game that day.


The last game of the convention was also my last learn to play.  Even that, though, was a bit of a misnomer because Small World Realms does not really change all that much from the Small World parent game except replacing the board with modular hex tiles that were set up according to a scenario.  Small World is needed to play the game.  Still, it was fun to learn a different way of playing Small World, even if I did not win.

Demos, Demos, Demos

A lot of the other games I played were demonstrations.  Many of these were set up by people working for the companies who make the games (ZMan Games, Steve Jackson Games, etc.)  Many of these games were new to me, and were interesting to try out.


The biggest surprise was Munchkin Legends.  Anyone who has read my blog knows how I have felt about Munchkin, especially after a particularly disasterous first (and up to the convention, only) time playing it.  So, I was a bit surprised that I was willing to give it another go.  Fortunately, this time through was no where near as painful as that dreaded first play.  The massive run up of levels that multiple players had in that first game was not present, which made this time through a lot more enjoyable.  It may have also been because we were not playing a six person game, but a four person game which cut down on the back stabbing that usually comes with Munchkin games.


I also got the chance to try out Flick ‘Em Up at the ZMan Games table.  This is a dexterity game that will not see its official release until Gencon (so… soon).  Up to ten players take the roles of wild West lawmen and outlaws.  Players flick discs to move their pieces, then flick “bullets” to shoot their targets.  If your shot knocks over the target, that target loses a health (or “dies” if it has lost enough).

It was an interesting game.  The pieces are nice wooden pieces that should hold up for multiple plays, though the “bullets” might get lost easily.  I’m not really big on dexterity games, mostly because I’m not all that dexterous.  But, it was actually kind of fun to play.  I might not buy it, but I would probably play it again if it came to the table.


I also was able to try out Merchants and Marauders, also my ZMan Games.  This game is set in the days of the Spanish Main.  The nice thing about this game is that it is completely possible to take one of multiple approaches to winning the glory points that are needed to win the game.  You want to be a pirate, you can.  You want to play it straight and just be a merchant, you can win that way as well.  And, while set up takes a bit of time, the pieces look nice.  I would consider adding this to my collection.



I also got the chance to try out the deck building game Tanto Cuore, or, as Wil Wheaton refers to it as, Felicia Day’s pervy maid game.  I am not sure if I would ever buy this game, but it was fun to have played it at least once.

Unfortunately, not every game can be a success.  I did manage to play two that just did nothing for me.


Maze Racers was a demo game that is going to be released later this year.  Players build a maze using magnetic walls on a tablet.  Once the mazes are built, the tablets are exchanged and the players race to try and make it through each others maze.

This game just did not do anything for me.  It might be cute for children (I’m thinking 6 to 10 years old), but I just did not get any sort of thrill from it.  It did not help that the maze that I was handed to complete actually did not allow for my marble to get through.


The other game I played that was a dud for me was Incursion.  This scenario based miniatures game is set in an alternate reality which pits power armor wielding Americans against Nazi zombies.  The scenario in question was a simple point A to point B march, complicated by swarming zombies.  Parts of the game seemed too simple (as the Americans, I was killing a lot of zombies), and the card play seemed a bit overwhelming for the particular scenario.  I’m not sure if this runs as a campaign or not, but then, I was not all that thrilled with the game itself to care if it did.



The last game I’ll mention that I played at the convention was one that I had brought with me.  Rumpelstiltskin is a small two player card game from AEG.  Each player gets a deck of ten cards and a mission: find out the name of their opponent.  Players then play cards from their hands trying to keep their opponent from guessing the last card in their deck.  If they run out of cards, the player loses.  If their opponent guesses what the last card of the deck is, the player loses.  It is a quick and simple card game that works well as a filler game.


Naturally, if you go to a convention, you are most likely going to hit up the dealers’ room.  I was no exception.

From one place I managed to pick up both Dominant Species: The Card Game and Dungeons and Dragons: Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth for ten dollars each.  As it turned out, this particular dealer had reserved the booth the year before then went out of business.  Thus, he was selling off whatever he had left dirt cheap.

I also managed to pick up what I call my convention grail game: Machine of Death (with expansion).  I had played this game based on the Machine of Death anthology series a while ago and have been trying to find it since.  Amazon had it, but I never took the plunge there, preferring to purchase locally if I could.

On the last day, I also picked up my own set of Fate dice (having to borrow dice during the Saturday night and part of Sunday’s sessions of Dresden), a dice bag for them, and Monster of the Week, an RPG that sounded interesting for me.  I figured that even if I don’t get a chance to play it, it might provide some source material for a future National Novel Writing Month project.


Con Observations

This past weekend, I attended my first legitimate convention.  Not San Diego Comic Con, but Connecticon.

I say my first legitimate convention because I had attended smaller shows before.  But, really, those events were more dealer shows than conventions.  Connecticon is a legitimate convention.  Four days of games, events, panels, and dealers.  I went with the full weekend pass, which was Thursday through Sunday, though Friday through Sunday were the main days of the convention.

The convention itself was great.  Even with San Diego happening the same weekend, there were still some great guests and some cool panels.  And while I did manage to have a lot of fun at the convention, I am not entirely sure that I was the best convention guest.  It was a bit of an eye opener, and I know that there were a lot of things I could have done to make my personal experience better.

First and foremost, I should have realized that could have gotten more involved in the events.  Yes, I did attend some panels and played a lot of games.  But, there was one thing I could have done to make my experience a lot more enjoyable: I would have been a lot more outgoing.  I had always considered myself socially awkward (a “sheepish people” as Pair of Dice Paradise’s Chaz Marler calls them).  The convention seemed to push all of that to the forefront.  I was not a just socially awkward.  No, somehow, I had managed to push that well beyond that.  The best way I can describe it would be “socially inept.”  My personal experience would have been so much better if I was willing to just break out of my shell and say something like, “Hey, you’re just getting started and I wanted to learn this game, do you mind if I sit in?” or “Hey, that’s an awesome costume, do you mind if I take a picture?”  or even something as simple as, “Hey, my name’s Dave.”

This became such a problem that I actually considered sitting in on a panel dealing with social anxiety and conventions, except that I was too self conscious to attend the panel.

My social ineptitude was so strong that I am pretty sure I missed out on a few cool things about the convention, like the Nerd Prom (which I waffled a while about signing up for it until it was too late to do anything about it), or the informal dances (which I managed to convince myself that someone of my age would not really could take part in).

Which brings me to my next point: organization.  I do not mean the convention’s organization.  They did a fairly good job with it, even printing out a program for attendees with nearly all events listed (I say nearly because, like any event, there are always updates cancellations and changes).  But, even looking online prior to the convention, I still did not have an absolute game plan about what I wanted to check out.  I had a few ideas, but nothing solid.

The program was a great tool.  It did list a lot of the events with descriptions, times and even a time table with locations.  It was great, but it did haze problems.  Because of the shear number of events, panels, games, and everything, things were sectioned off.  Main events were shown in one part, game events in another, RPGs in a third.  Because of this, it was sometimes a bit difficult to keep track of what was when especially when there were changes to the schedules.  Thankfully, Friday, someone mentioned there was an app called Guidebook that has the convention program available.  The app, available on iTunes and Google Play (the person who told me about it said he had an Android phone), took the convention program and made it available on any device, even offline.  This program allowed me to see all the events available (updating when needed), and allowed me to make a schedule of the events I wanted to see and let me know if there were conflicts with other events I wanted to take in.

Which made me realize one other thing:  There was no way I would be able to take in everything I wanted to see.  In any convention (and I am pretty sure that San Diego is the same way),  you will find that some of the events you want to attend or participate might just conflict with other events you want to take in.  I soon learned that I just needed to prioritize what I wanted to see more.  Doing that, both the program and the Guidebook were a great help.  For me, there were events I absolutely wanted to take in.  There was The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse RPG on Thursday, which did conflict with the Nerd Prom (that I had not signed up for anyway), and the voice actor movie reading on Friday (definitely worth it), and a Learn to Play Mansions of Madness session later that night.

I also learned that flexibility is very important, especially when you are dealing with games at conventions.  I becomes a good rule of thumb to assume that a game will always take longer than whatever the box says it will take  Since a lot of the game presentations were “learn to play,” there was a lot of explanation about the games as well as set up.  I always needed to keep that in mind just in case I started a game session what was very close in time to another.

Still, I learned that I needed to be flexible with what I picked, especially when I get actually got involved in something I did not expect to, like a Dresden Files RPG session… or two.  This was Saturday night and Sunday morning, which threw my Sunday schedule into a tizzy.  I had planned on attending a panel of fighting with Medieval weapons that morning (it was research for writing).  But, the previous night had been so much fun (which had me playing so much out of character), that I had to come back to see how it ended.  I was worth it to know that I ended up talking a monster into unconsciousness, and discovered a new RPG that I wanted to play.

This was probably the most outgoing I had been that weekend.  And, sadly, that was because it was the character that was outgoing and not me.  Maybe it’s something I need to work on if I go next year.

In Defense of 1

A recent post on the Board Game Geek Facebook group got me thinking about this, and I thought I would share a few thoughts on it.

The post was from a board game designer who balked at a 1 out of 10 rating on  It turned out that the person who had posted the low rating was basing it more on the fact that the game was on Kickstarter rather than how the game itself played.  In spite of the fact that the rater was more than likely a troll than an actual reviewer, the comments about the post, and the reaction of the game creator got me thinking about the whole idea of the “1” rating.

Now, this is not a defense of people who use poor ratings to more or less mess with people.  Or worse, people who use poor ratings to make some sort of personal political statement.  I have seen someone on Amazon review a G.I. Joe figure poorly because they felt G.I. Joe was promoting war and blah blah blah.  Political statements should not be made in toy reviews.  Well, most times they shouldn’t be.

When it comes to games, I have yet to rate something a 1 out of 10.  The lowest I have come has been a “3” rating on three games.  That is not to say that I would not consider giving a game a “1” rating.  When it comes to books, there are a few that I have given the dreaded “1 out of 5 stars” rating.  Actually, quite a few… well, thirteen.  And, if you ask me about any of them, I would defend my choice, backing each one up with reasons why I gave them that rating.

Still, for the most part, I tend not to fall onto giving that dreaded “1” unless I feel it necessary.  A rating that low is a nuclear option.  Something has to be so disastrously bad for me to even consider giving it a rating that low.  It’s probably why I have given bad ratings to books more than I have come close to giving them to games.

As amateur reviewers (which, let’s face it, most of us who post on websites like Boardgamegeek and Goodreads), we do need to think carefully about how we rate games.  It is very easy to simply rate good games as 10’s or bad games as 1’s.  But, ratings like that deserve, no, demand an explanation as to why they got that low or high rating.  And you need to be able to back up.  If you ask me why I have the book One Second After a 1 star, I will tell you.  You may regret getting me started as to why I hate that book (yes, I used the word “hate”), but you will know why I gave it that rating.  Vengeance ratings (“I hate Kickstarter so I give this game a 1”) are never acceptable.

And game creators, you do need to realize that your game will not jibe with every player.  You may have created the best deck building game in the universe, but someone who does not like deck builders will most likely not like your game, no matter how good it is.  If you get a bad rating that is backed up by legitimate reasons, you just need to accept that and move on.  Dwelling on two bad reviews among a hundred good reviews is not going to help your game.  If your game is really that good, the law of averages will take over and the handful of bad reviews will be more than balanced out by the good ones.

And, if a bad review is just a troll in disguise, your supporters will make sure that those who need to know will know.  At least, that’s what happened when someone used a product review for a toy as a soapbox for his own political view.

On Kids and Gaming

Recently I read a post on Boardgame Geek’s Facebook group that got me thinking.  The poster had gone to a local game shop with his two young kids (11 and 12) and felt left out because no other players made any real attempt to include them in any of the games being played.  The post ended with the poster telling people to be mindful of others and to be less “cliquey.”

Which, naturally got me thinking.

Now, I have to admit that my personal experience with children and game groups is very limited.  When I was more into X-Wing, we had two kids come in with their father who were probably a little bit other than the ones in the original post.  Both were okay for the usual 100 point dog fights.  But, when we tried to tackle something a bit larger (on one occasion it was a 300 point huge ship battle, and another it was a second Death Star run scenario), their interest in the games fell off to the point where the remaining adults ended up planning and playing all of their ships in addition to their own.  Based on what I read in the original post, this happened to the two kids there as well (though I can’t be sure if it was from not being included or just being kids).  It is slightly aggravating when a grown up mind starts to wander from the game, and it was a bit annoying when it happened in the games I’ve played as well.

Again, I like kids, but I can understand why some gamer groups might not want to start a game where one of the participants a pre-teen.  For some, this may be their night out away from their own kids.  They managed to get a sitter, or their wives are watching the young’uns, and they are looking to have a little bit of fun.  Probably the last thing they would want is to, well, deal with a kid after taking steps so they don’t have to.  For others, it is their time to just be themselves, something they might feel they can’t do if there is a child around.  And there are a few people who might feel a little bad if they do play a game and the kid lost, even if the kid does handle it will.

Now, I don’t want this to be just a bunch of excuses for excluding children from games or anything like that.  Children introduced to games will be the next generation to carry on gaming.  They will be the ones as adults who will say, “Hey, remember that game Smash Up?  That was a cool game,” just as many of us fondly remember games like Dark Tower or Fireball Island.  So, how do we fix this problem?

First, parents need to realize that there are going to be some gamers who do not want to play with children.  It’s not about being “cliquey” or anything, they just want to play games with people closer to their own age.  Your child may be a prodigy and know the rules of Catan inside and out, but there will be some people who do not feel comfortable playing games with an eleven year old.

Gamers need to realize that there are some people who probably won’t make the first move when it comes to games.  Hell, I often have that problem with new people and I’m actually in a Meetup group for games.  Some people, no matter what age they are, just really need that one person to say to them, “Hey, we’re just getting started, want in?”

And back to the parents.  There are a lot of FLGS’s out there who do try to be kid-friendly.  I know a couple of the stores near me will try to maintain that by warning players if they get too loud or too inappropriate (one even has a “swear jar”).  The original post mentioned it was a game night, and from the sound of it, his two kids were the only ones there.  It seems to be quite logical that he could have approached the store owner and asked if there was a child friendly game day scheduled, possibly even offer to help set one up if there was not one.  Again, I know there are a whole ton of safety things that may come into play.

If setting up a child game day doesn’t work, there is always Meetup and other sites that allow people to find other like-minded people.  Start a “Gamers with Children” group.  I would even suggest a cute gaming title like “Meeples with Mini-Meeples” or something to that effect (if you want to use that, be my guest, I don’t mind).  Members can set up “events” where the children can play games together and the grown ups can join in if they want, or possibly set up their own game while the kids have fun.

On Comic Collecting

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I can really consider myself a comic collector anymore.  It isn’t something new, but something that’s been lingering for a while now.  But I have been noticing a growing shift in my interests away from comics to other interests, like board games.  In thinking about this, I realize there are a number of reasons why I might not consider myself a collector anymore.

  1. Expense – Granted, the costs of comics has been relatively stable lately (as opposed to the massive inflation in the 1980s and 1990s).  But, comics are still running roughly three to four dollars a book, and that doesn’t include annuals, mini-series, and special expanded issues which generally run much higher than the usual fare.
  2. Quality – I will admit this is strictly subjective, but the comics that have been coming out just have not been thrilling me.  There are fewer and fewer books that just have me eager to read the next issue… consistently.  Over the course of the previous year, I have seen the number of books I pick up each month drop more and more to the point that I now pick up one Marvel title (Silver Surfer, which knowing my luck will be cancelled sometime in the next year).  I will still check out newer titles, but usually do not stay with them past the second or third issue.
  3. Event Fatigue – I’m just getting tired of all the event books that the publishers have been putting out.  I was not entirely thrilled with Convergence, especially since it was coming off Multiversity, which was coming off Forever Evil, which was… well you get the point.  And I’m not trying to single out DC Comics here, because I’ve been event fatigued from Marvel much longer.  Secret Wars is the only Marvel event in the last two years that I have picked up more than the first issue.  And, to be completely honest, I get the feeling that because I’m not reading all the spawned titles for Secret Wars, I am completely lost.  Sadly, that’s been par for the course for me with the Marvel events, which is probably why the Marvel titles have been the ones that have gone by the wayside first.
  4. Lack of Rereadability – This ties into quality, but there are not a lot of titles that I want to reread once, let alone multiple times.  I look at it this way:  why should I buy a bunch of comics that I will read once and say, “Meh,” when I could pick up one board or card game and get a ton of replay out of it.  There is also the social aspect that board games provide, something which I admit I need help with.

So, is this just me growing out of the hobby?  Or has this happened to other people?  Please leave your comments below.

Quest To Play Them All

As you may have seen in previous posts, I have been on a quest to play the games I have in my collection that I have not yet played.  And, I have to admit, I have made great progress on this.  Currently, I have 58 games in my collection that I have not yet played and still want to play.  I add that caveat because there are a few games I have that I am pretty sure I will never play for one reason or another.  I’ve also made a conscious attempt to not add too many more games to my list of owned and unplayed, which is difficult since there are a lot of cool looking games out there that I do want to try.

As usual, there are a few games that I’m looking to try and get to the table sooner than others.  Some of these just look pretty cool.  Others are just easier to explain to other people, which makes it easier for me to get to the table as well.

Thus, there are five that I am looking to fast track to the game table and tick them off my list.

1) Kahuna – A two player area control game.  Two players compete against each other, playing cards to build bridges between the islands of a South Pacific archipelago.  Control the most bridges to the island, and control the island.  But, players can play cards to take away bridges.

2) Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous – The newest of the Pathfinder adventure card games, and the newest game in my collection.  This one I have a better chance to get to the table since it can be played solo.

3) Sail To India – A small card game for three to four players.  The goal is to find the way to India while scoring gold and victory points along the way.

4) Carcassonne South Seas – This one looked more interesting to be than the original Carcassonne game (also unplayed in my collection, but not listed because of a missing tile).  This version adds in a trade feature that makes the game look more active than the original.  I want to bring this to the table once I read through the rules enough to feel comfortable teaching it.

5) We Didn’t Playtest This Either – It is hard to believe that there is a card game out there that is more chaotic than Fluxx, but there is the We Didn’t Playtest This series.  Games can literally be won or lost with the turn of one card.  So far, I have played the original and the themes version of this game, which leaves two left.  We Didn’t Playtest This Either is the easier to bring to the table since the other version takes on the Legacy aspects that are featured in Risk Legacy and the upcoming Pandemic Legacy.


I decided that I needed to take the plunge and get a box insert for a couple of my games.  I decided on this for a few different reasons.  My first attempts at making my own ended in less than stellar results.  I ended up with three awkwardly shaped bottom trays for either Eldritch Horror or Arkham Horror and a nasty cut on my finger.  I had used various storage items for pieces with some mixed results.  They worked okay, but they did not work the best.

2015-05-14 00.19.28So, I decided on picking up three inserts from Broken Token.  I picked inserts for Dead of Winter, King of Tokyo and Legendary Encounters.  Legendary Encounters was an easy pick because I really hate how the box is set up.. or rather the total lack of set up in the box.  Dead of Winter I picked because the insert looked like it helped with set up and break down.  And King of Tokyo was picked because it was inexpensive.

The inserts ship unassembled, which was the one thing I was concerned about, especially given my first attempts at home made inserts.  But the items are scored to allow for easy separation, and the pieces are labeled on the instructions so you can tell which piece is which.  The pieces fit together quite well and did not require glue (though they do recommend using tape on the corners of the inserts) and fit the boxes quite snugly.

2015-05-14 00.22.25 As it turned out, my copy of King of Tokyo, which includes the two expansions, really needed an insert.  The box itself had everything tossed in, some of it in bags, other items just thrown in haphazardly.

Now, the insert organized everything, including the expansions.2015-05-14 00.42.28  Furthermore, the tray for the energy cubes and the markers is removable, allowing for it to be removed and used for play.

The Dead of Winter insert is probably the best of the three.  It has three removable trays, allowing for the player markers, the tokens and the dice to be pulled out and used for play.  Furthermore, everything is marked, allowing for easier sorting in the box.

If I had any complaint about the three inserts, it is that there was not enough dividers for the Legendary Encounters cards.  But, since it is possible to order more inserts, I will just have to remember to order some when I get around to ordering an insert for my Marvel Legendary Villains set.


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