Thursday, April 27, 2017

International TableTop Day 2017

This Saturday is one of the greatest holidays in the history of the universe.  Of course I am talking about International TableTop Day!  Not only is it a great excuse to play some games, but you can score some sweet promo items by playing games at a participating store.  I don't know if my FLGS is officially participating this year, but it won't stop me from playing games all day long.  When you approach something as big as International TableTop Day, you need a plan of attack so you can properly sustain yourself playing games all day long.  With two young kids at home, I can't embark on an epic game of Twilight Imperium and must come up with a specific game plan.  Below I will share my schedule for a full day of gaming fun.



Morning Games:
As we start our day of gaming, I want to make sure that everyone in my family is on the same page.  I don't want to see one of my kids start off the day with a bad loss and have it sour their entire day of gaming.  To start things off on the right foot, we are going to open the day with some light, cooperative games that will either result in a thrilling win or a team loss, which is much easier for a 7 and 9 year old to deal with.  My guess is we will start our day off with a quick game of Castle Panic, followed up with Carrotia and then wrap up the morning session with Forbidden Desert.



Midday Games:
After kicking things off as a team, a little healthy competition is in store.  Since we aren't even to the half-way point, I find it is good to play some lighter games that are fun for the whole family and a breeze to play.  Making the transition from co-op into competitive games, titles like Sushi Go, Unspeakable Words, and Cat Tower till find their way to our table.  Nothing too serious, but a nice appetizer before sinking our teeth into some more challenging games.



Pre-dinner Games:
At this point in the day my daughter will likely be gamed out and will play with toys while the rest of us pursue slightly more complicated games.  Prior to the kids going to bed and prior to the hardcore gamers arriving, I find that the early evening lends itself to gateway games.  Those games that you use to lure non-gamers over to the darkside of tabletop gaming.  My current gateway games of choice include Machi Koro, Splendor, and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.



Post-dinner Games:
Now that we've had a solid dinner and the kids are getting ready for bed, it is time to get a bit more serious and break out some of the heavier games.  My gaming crew doesn't play anything too heavy, but we definitely enjoy some of the more strategic offerings without the distraction of the kids.  For this time in the evening I find our group playing titles like Istanbul, Mystic Vale, and Stone Age.



Late night fun:
With the end of the day racing to a close and your brain cells hurting from thinking strategically, a good party game is a great way to take the edge off and finish the night with a laugh.  This is also a good way to bring in some of your friends who are checking out TableTop day but aren't too keen on learning anything complicated.  Secret Hitler, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Coup have been gracing our party table lately with great success.

Even if you stick to the roll and move games from your youth, play abstract games like chess, or go the role playing route, make sure that your Saturday is filled with plenty of games and happy gaming to you all!  May the dice rolls be ever in your favor!!

POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.

Thursday Morning Superhero

If you are in the same boat as I am then you probably felt that yesterday's San Diego Comic Con Hotelpocalypse went off without a hitch.  This year the hotel sale mimicked that of the badge sale in that individuals waited in a virtual waiting room and were then sorted at a random order to the "sale" page.  Instead of racing to fill out the form as fast as possible, forms will be accepted based on the time stamp from when the person had access to the form.  It was low stress and seemed to be a much better system.  Now we wait.



Pick of the Week:
Old Man Logan #22 - Jeff Lemire is one cruel dude.  In case you forgot, Logan is lost in the time stream per Asmodeus' trap.  This forces Wolverine to relive his past in his attempt to locate the amulet at each stop in an insane attempt to return to the present time.  Er, uh, present time after the initial shift that took him away from the wastelands that he had partnered up with Asmodeus in an attempt to return to save Baby Hulk.  Anyhoo, the first stop for Logan is his first encounter with Hulk, which isn't too bad and pretty entertaining, but that is when Lemire decides to turn on Wolverine and write this book to force Logan to witness Jean Grey's death yet again.  Ouch.  Lemire does reward Wolverine in the last stop in this book, but I won't spoil what happens.  This is must read material for any Wolverine fan and has been a lot of fun.

The Rest:
Darth Maul #3 - I have really enjoyed Cullen Bunn's take on Darth Maul, and this issue sets the stage for what should be a brutal issue #4.  This series has been a nice balance of Maul attempting to assert himself, but it is clear he has much to learn and respects the power that Darth Sidious possesses. Maul, despite being ordered to remain low by Darth Sidious, is planning on seizing a Padawan who is up for auction.  His goal is to satiate his desire to kill by having a duel with the Padawan.  Lacking the funds to outright purchase the Padawan and wanting to keep a low profile, he enlists the help of Cad Bane and Aurra Sing.  What could possibly go wrong?


X-Men Blue #2 - It is a good week when I get to read multiple titles penned by Mr. Bunn and X-Men Blue continues to be a lot of fun.  After getting sent forward in time, the original X-Men pair up Magneto, which is a surprising ally for this group.  In order to gain their trust, Magneto allows Jean Grey to read his mind to ensure that he is honest when he says he wants to help them pursue Professor X's dream of man and mutant living in peace. Things seem to be off to a good start, but as the X-Men are on a mission against Sentinels in Spain, it seems that Magneto might be up to something a bit shady.  This would be enough of a story to keep my interest, but when the Sentinels are confronted they refer to the X-men as fellow mutants.  Fellow?  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  I don't want to wait for the next issue to find out what this means.  Well played Mr. Bunn.

POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DYSTOPIAN VISIONS : Nineteen Eighty-Four



Dossier: Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four [Martin Secker & Warburg, 1949].

Filetype: Book

File Under: Statist Dystopia

Executive Summary: Winston Smith, a worker for the oppresive Oceania state, helps in the rewritting of history to support the Party's propaganda. The population is divided into the Proletariat and the Inner Party members, whose iron fist bans any rebellion or sedition, even in an individual's mind. An endless war with the other regions on earth and a constant barrage of misinformation on enemies of the state ensures loyalty to the mythical leader, Big Brother. Smith begins small acts of rebellion which psychologically-coalesce into a secret love affair with a young woman from the Junior Anti-Sex League and discovers what may be the truth behind the Party's lies. Meanwhile mysterious Party official O'Brien and the Thought Police close in...

Dystopian Visions: The Party, and, one assumes, its two counterparts in the other regions, have absolute and immortal power over society, through a perpetual police state which extends its powers to controlling our very thoughts and desires. Family members shop each other in for Thought Crimes, work is unrelenting, a pointless charade, and prevents a private life of any note, culture and fun are replaced by rallies and all jointly staring in pure hate at a face on a big screen. 


Utopian Undercurrents: Even the Inner Party officials like O'Brien enjoy no seeming freedom of thought, and although they might go off and enjoy a glass of wine behind the scenes, our only viewpoint is from a prole, and for them life offers no hope or joy (if you don't count a cheeky painting, looking at a field and a few shags before being tortured and beaten for months). Even the gin is crap. Only the human hope in small moments like Julia's note of "I love you" shines through bleakly as a flickering flame of humanity, long after the story is over. I still see Orwell's statist hell as an allegory rather than a real possibility, that humans' individual spirit will out. But then maybe I just need some gentle rat-in-a-cage educating...


Level of Hell: Sixth. Or Tenth. There are no mutants, no everyday threat to life for most, and food (albeit shite) is available. People still hang out washing in the sun. People still make coffee after (illegal) sex. But when thought itself is controlled, does it matter how nice the coffee is or how warm the sun is? Any idea of hope is crushed in the final part, forever. It's almost worse that no physical apocalypse occured, that it was all the result of power-obsessed politicians and the blind nationalism of the masses. So Tenth.

Legacy: I was ready to find a disappointment in me at the end of re-reading this, one of the more astonishingly-bleak and impressive books of my childhood years (and I have read all of William Golding, so...). I based this mainly on its legacy. Endlessly-referenced phrase like 'two and two make five' , 'freedom is slavery', and 'Big Brother is watching you', and lines such as,'imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever', had made Orwell's final novel close to a self-parody in my mind. However, the depth and detail of the discourse here, and political world-building, outshine any senses I had that perhaps its originality was buried under its own subsequent fame. Everything from V For Vendetta to The Handmaid's Tale to Children of Men in our season on Dystopian Visions owe a huge debt to this novel, and I would suggest his warning - initially praised (and indeed marketed as in the U.S.) as an anti-communist one - has influenced us all, even those who who have never read it. The fear of loss of individual thought, the fear of the loss of diversity of culture and country, the fear of dictatorial control, all were ancient notions before Orwell even began writing, yet his masterpiece raised the flag of 'where-never-to-go' over so many minds that it can only be hoped that his vision will never see the light of day.


In RetrospectIn popular understanding, this is the benchmark of dystopian fiction, and this stems partly from the unrelenting grey hell it promises us. Even as the numerical year of the title is left far behind us, the threat of a time where power wins over individuality utterly and forever is a constant fear. ' What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?'. Reading this line again in our current times of false-populism, fake news, revised history and a revival in personality politics, I shudder with that same fear. 'America First', 'Brexit means Brexit', and anything by Le Pen et al. Philosophy of almost calming horror fills the pages that Eric Blair ended his days by filling. He was writing not just from the experience of WW2, Nazism and Stalinism, but of the failure of the British Left to uphold values in the pursuit of power, and his own personal experiences of the totalitarian Soviet machine lying to the people and creating false enemies while fighting in the Spanish Civil War. 
On reflection, I discovered a Smith-esque rebellion against the authority the book's renown held over me, an authority ordering me to respect and adore it. I found fuel for this rebellion in its partial, and ultimately slight, failings as literature - the one-dimensional supporting characters, the lack of recognisable everyday human warmth in interactions (which of course is the point, but the film with Hurt and Burton did much to overcome this through the actor's eyes) and the determination in its singular purpose - the scream as hope is crushed. However, like Smith toward the end, but without the need for dials of torture, I found the last gasp of my resistance collapse under the sheer excellence in the piece. It is that rare thing - a classic that should by now bore with obviousness due to its novel ideas rendered into cliche, its fame the killer of its verve, but which flares out at you still, even decades on from your first experience of it. More than this it is greater than merely a dazzling prose exercise, or a political nightmare. It was often mocked as one of those books you 'had to' read at school here in Orwell's home country. Yet like fellow standards of the teenagers' curriculum like Lord of The Flies, it shows our darkest natures back at us and dares us to fight the hard fight to resist the darkness. This is a harsh lesson we would do well to hear loud and clear in the coming years.

Analytics

For its time: 5/5
Read today: 4/5, for it cannot help but slightly pale as history and literature catch up and overtake its ideas.
Oppressometer Readout: 9/10.


Posted by English Scribbler, who lives in hope, and in a flat, and has contributed to Nerds of A Feather since 2013.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DYSTOPIAN VISIONS: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Guest Dossier by Rob Bedford)



Dossier: Sanderson, Brandon. Mistborn: The Final Empire [Tor, 2006]

Filetype: Book.

File Under: Fantasy Dystopia.

Executive Summary: The Final Empire is the first installment in Brandon Sanderson's mega-popular, multivolume Mistborn Saga. The world presented is sugaring under the heel of the Lord Ruler, a creature believed to be evil for the power he wields over the populace on the world of Scadrial in the land known as the Final Empire. The Lord Ruler was once the Hero of Ages, a figure out of legend who became a god when he quelled an ancient evil at the mythical Well of Ascension. Of course quelling the evil force may have been the easy party. Keeping it at bay for a thousand years changed the Hero of Ages (doesn't that just sound optimistic?) into the creature who took the name Lord Ruler (less optimistic, no?). The novel begins here, as a group of rebels led by the charismatic Kelsier (the only known person to escape the Alcatraz-like Pits of Hathsin), try to break the Lord Ruler's tyrannical hold over the people he rules over as a creature just a half-step removed from being a god.


Dystopian Visions: The Hero of Ages thought he was doing the right thing by becoming a god to keep evil at bay, but now the people who know of the mythical Hero of Ages see him as an evil dictator. There are strange mists constantly floating in the shit, ash fall from the sky and the sun is blocked from view. Not exactly an uplifting setting. The Lord Ruler also has in his employee the Koloss, monstrous figures with spikes in their body who serve as the muscle as well as the policing force of the Inquisitors, imposing figures with spikes driven into their eyes. 

To put all this briefly, the Final Empire of Scadrial is oppressive to all but the most elite. 

Utopian Undercurrents: The Lord Ruler, like most “evil” antagonists think they are doing good and saving the world. By novel’s end and later in the series, what he was doing may just have been the right thing in spirit. Who doesn’t think vanquishing the force of evil and destruction is a bad thing? Unfortunately for the people who live under his rule, the execution and aftermath of the “saving moment” spiral way from the “right” thing drastically.


Level of Hell: 7th. The levels of hell embodied best in this book would be the Seventh (Violence) and Eighth (Fraud). The world is rife with violence through embodied by the Koloss and Inquisitors and Fraud by the Lord Ruler.

Legacy: Mistborn isn’t so much a dystopian work, at least the whole series, but The Final Empire runs strong with dystopic elements. In the grander Epic Fantasy field, the books are modern classics. Even though Sanderson’s first novel Elantris was a fine novel and received some nice buzz, when The Final Empire hit shelves, he took another leap. Fans of Heavy Metal music might make a parallel between Iron Maiden and Brandon Sanderson in that The Final Empire is like The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden was well-respected after two albums with lead singer Paul Di’Anno, but Bruce Dickson replaced him on The Number of the Beast, the album that launched them into the stratosphere of Heavy Metal music. Likewise, The Final Empire helped to set Sanderson on the path to one of the now elite practitioners of Epic Fantasy. As many fans of Brandon Sanderson may know, and fans of The Wheel of Time likely know, it was The Final Empire that Harriet McDougal read (Robert Jordan’s wife and owner of The Wheel of Time copyright) before agreeing with Tor publisher Tom Doherty that Brandon Sanderson was the person to finish The Wheel of Time.  

In Retrospect: In the decade since The Final Empire first published, Brandon Sanders has established himself as one of the brand-name powerhouses in epic fantasy. The venerable Adam Whitehead, purveyor of the estimable Wertzone blog, has been laboriously gathering lifetime sales numbers for SFF writers, with his initial list in 2008 and updates in 2013, 2015 and at the end of 2016. Sanderson doesn’t appear on the first list in 2008, which is not surprising since he was new to the scene with only three books on the shelves. In 2013, he ranks 48 with approximately 15 million in sales and the most recent ranking (three years later) he ranks at 40 with approximately 22 million in sales. Moving seven million books in with your name on them in three years is no small feat. Granted, three of those titles also had Robert Jordan’s name on top of them so had a built-in audience but Adam estimates nearly half of those sales (10 million) come from his solo titles. Suffice to say, a book with “Brandon Sanderson” landing on the bestseller list during its first week of publication is a safe bet. 

The series is often placed on “Best Fantasies/Series of the 21st Century” or whatever specifically the list-creator comes up with to differentiate his or her list from the three “Best of …” list the previous month. 

It is safe to say that The Final Empire is Brandon’s break out novel, the one that opened the door to The Wheel of Time for him, and led to his success. The great thing? It is only a hint of amazing novels of worldbuilding and storytelling to come from an author who will be regarded as a Master of the genre in the years to come, if he hasn’t already.


Analytics

For its time: 4/5
Read today: 4/5.
Oppressometer Readout: 8/10.





Rob Bedford lives in NJ with his wife and dog. He has been a site editor and book reviewer for SFFWorld since 2000, wrote for SF Signalfrom 2013 since it sadly closed in 2016, occasionally for Tor.com, and has a slowly dying blog about stuff. He is also, as his wife calls him, a beer snob. If you want to read random thoughts about books, beer, or his dog you can follow him on Twitter: @RobHBedford

Monday, April 24, 2017

DYSTOPIAN VISIONS: The Handmaid's Tale


Dossier: Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale [McClelland and Stewart, 1985].

Filetype: Book

File Under: Statist Dystopia

Executive Summary: Offred is a handmaid, which means she has proven fertile in a time of rampant infertility, and has therefore been deemed worthy of being assigned to one of the top officials in the Republic of Gilead, so that he might be able to reproduce. Referred to in the book as "The Commander," but ostensibly named "Fred," since Offred's name indicates that she belongs to him, her master's marriage to Serena Joy has proven childless. So once a month, in a ritual of the theocracy that is Gilead, Serena Joy holds Offred's head in her lap as The Commander attempts to impregnate Offred.

The story takes place early in the time of the Republic of Gilead, which overthrew the U.S. Government and instituted a Protestant theocracy in which women's bodies are not simply politicized, they are literally the property of the state. Women have no essential personhood in this "republic." Offred is paired with Ofglen, the handmaid of another official, to do the daily shopping and whatnot, and Ofglen slowly lets Offred into her confidence, revealing that there is an underground resistance attempting to overthrow Gilead. Offred also gets an inside seat for some of the other off-books types of activities that take place for the well-placed in Gildead when The Commander sends for her on a night that is not set aside for the monthly ritual. The Commander allows Offred to read old magazines, the kind that have now been banned and burned, and play Scrabble with him. Over time, he even sneaks her to a brothel run by and for the higher-ups in society. Serena Joy, for her part, worries that The Commander may not have the...spunk...to get Offred pregnant (something which, officially, can't happen because men don't shoot blanks and any failure to conceive is always the woman's fault), so she arranges for Offred to have a side-relationship with The Commander's driver, Nick. As Offred's entanglements with The Commander, Serena Joy, Nick, and the Mayday resistance become more complex and interwoven, she reaches a point where the center can no longer hold, and some drastic, potentially deadly, upheaval is increasingly certain.

Dystopian Visions: This is a pretty grim vision. One of the things that makes it worse in reading about it, though, is the thought that there are probably a lot of people out there in the real world right now who think this is actually pretty close to how things "ought to be." Women are denied any agency, not permitted to read, let alone have jobs or bank accounts. They are told explicitly what they may and may not do with their bodies. They exist for the pleasure of men and the propagation of the species...or, a certain part of the species. Racial and religious minorities are sent "away," ostensibly to places where they are segregated and "can be together," but it is strongly implied that they are either in concentration camps or killed. 


Utopian Undercurrents: There's not much, unless you're a well-connected, wealthy white guy. In that case, you get a big house, cushy position, a wife, a state-sanctioned concubine, trips to the brothel, and if any of that bores you, you can cash it all in for new models by insinuating that whomever displeases you may not be entirely faithful to the ideals of Gilead. That is, of course, unless someone suspects you of somehow transgressing, in which case it's all forfeit. 
The lower-status men must serve time in some type of dangerous military occupation before "earning" the right to an Econowife, so even the wide latitude and openly accepted hypocrisy afforded The Commander is a luxury.

Level of Hell: Ninth. While this isn't the cannibalistic wasteland of McCarthy's The Road, there are no doubt ways to argue about which society, particularly as a woman, you'd rather be a part of. This book combines the paranoia of 1984 or Arthur Miller's The Crucible with the dead-eyed violence of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, and mixes it with abominable gender subjugation. 

Legacy: I understand that people go both ways on Atwood, and this book in particular. Perhaps because The Handmaid's Tale exists at a nexus between speculative fiction, social commentary, satire, and feminism, there are a lot of very strong opinions about it, both positive and negative. Although none of what's included in the book is far-fetched on its face, one might argue about its likelihood of occurring in this place or that place. It has all occurred, and is occurring right now in some form somewhere on Earth.

In Retrospect
The details within the book, both big and small, are closely observed, and for this reader, at least, powerful. The idea of secreting butter away from dinner in one's shoe in order to apply it like lotion later on in one's room — in a world that still has Scrabble and has had Avon parties and fashion magazines — is hard-hitting, and the idea of religious fundamentalists who have built a society around the sanctity of fornication without lust in order to make acceptable babies also maintaining and visiting brothels reads as revolting but fundamentally true to human nature. So too, the characters by-and-large hover in the vicinity of archetypes, but their relationships read as true, and very recognizable. The resentment the women on the household staff display for the handmaids, for instance, feels painful but probably right. This is a book that takes and has taken its lumps, but as a piece of speculative fiction, is well rendered.

Analytics

For its time: 4/5
Read today: 4/5.
Oppressometer Readout: 8/10.


Posted by Vance K — cult-film reviewer, sometime book reviewer, and co-editor of nerds of a feather, flock together since 2012.

DYSTOPIAN VISIONS: Dishonored


Dossier: Arkane Studios. Dishonored. [Bethesda Softworks, 2012]

Filetype: Video Game


File Under: Statist Dystopia

Executive Summary: You are Corvo Attano, royal protector, and you've just witnessed your empress murdered by assassins and the heiress kidnapped. You're arrested for her murder and locked in Coldridge Prison. During your interrogation, the Lord Regent reveals that he's framed you for the murder and orchestrated the assassination to further his own agenda. However, before you're execution, you're visted by The Outsider, a mystical being who brands you and grants supernatural powers. Using these powers, and with the support of Loyalists to the heiress, you escape Coldridge Prison and start unraveling the conspiracy and rooting out the corruption the infects the city of Dunwall. Or you can get bloody revenge and murder every single person who ever wronged you, contributing to the rivers of blood that drive an infectious disease that's ravaging the poorer parts of the city.

Dystopian Visions: The world of Dishonored, specifically the city of Dunwall, is a city divided deeply by class. The poor are being wiped out by disease, while the upper classes plot against each other. It's also an industrial world, where whale oil powers everything. This morbid cycle of finding great living things, and literally flaying them alive for the oil that powers everything in the city contributes to the atmosphere of death and decay throughout Dunwall.


Utopian Undercurrents: Dunwall is a city past its prime. The technological advances of the alternate industrial age it exists in are still there, but they're used to suppress underclasses. Parts of the city still reflect the opulence of the peak, and the upper classes are still enjoying the benefits.


Level of Hell: Sixth. You can heal your injuries with a drink if you can afford it, but you'll need those health elixirs whether you're part of the elite or working for one of the many gangs that control the slums.

Legacy: Dishonored took the stealth gameplay of Thief and combined it with the open-ended level design of Deus Ex to create something great. It generally skews towards stealth, no-kill playthroughs or violent, murder-everything playthroughs because it has two endings based on how much murderin' you do, but the gameplay is extremely flexible. It's both an excellent stealth game that nails all of the tools you could want to be sneaky, and a robust action game that gives you dozens of options for killing.


In Retrospect: Dishonored got two pieces of downloadable content that expanded upon the story, which showed the point of view of the Empress's assassins. It also got a recent sequel that received a generally positive if mixed reception. But Dishonored is a fantastic game for all of its world-building. It's beautifully realized in a dark way, and utterly filled with little stories and characters that give it life.

Analytics

For its time: 4/5
Read today: 4/5.
Oppressometer Readout: 8/10.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tabletop Pile of Shame: New Year's Resolution Update

Welcome to the first entry in my attempt to play through my pile of shame.  With International Tabletop Day right around the corner, I thought it would be good to starting working on one of my resolutions.  For those who don't know what this is, I am happy to explain.  A lot of people in the board game hobby tend to purchase games at a quicker rate then they play them.  I often fall victim to this trap as I am prone to purchase games and then struggle to get my group together to play.  One problem with a pile of shame is that as soon as you take a game off of the pile, another one or two find their way to the bottom (this happened to me as I added Clank! to my pile of shame earlier this week).

One of the New Year's Resolutions I set for myself in 2017 was to play 10 games from my pile of shame and that journey started last week as I played both Abyss by Asmodee and Colt Express from Ludonaute.  These two games were both published in 2014 and were huge hits.  Colt Express even won the Spiel des Jahres as the Game of the Year.



Abyss by Asmodee - Abyss is a simple set collection game that is wrapped up in some of the most impressive packaging I have ever seen.  A clever game from famed designer Bruno Cathala, players find themselves acquiring various allied race cards in order to gain the favor of important Lords who help you control key locations in the kingdom.  On the surface this clever little game feels like it could be created for half the cost, but the over the top production value fully immerses you in this underwater world.  From the pearls that you use as currency, to the stunning unique artwork, and the custom molded clam shell bowls, Abyss is a game that will catch people's eye when you set it up for a quick game.  Really looking forward to getting this to the table again.



Colt Express by Ludonaute - In Colt Express players are bandits attempting to pull off a daring train heist.  Complete with 3-dimensional train and adorable outlaw meeples, this programmed movement game is less strategy and more semi-planned chaotic fun.  Each round players will play cards in order to establish their movement for the round.  Sometimes you see what your opponents are planning, but if you are going through a tunnel the cards are played face down.  I tested this out a second time with my son and it is a fun game as long as you aren't too competitive.  You will be shooting your opponent and sending the deputy after them as well.  I could see some people getting pretty frustrated, but it is a fun little game that looks great on the table.



POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.