Monday, February 09, 2009


I'm glad Prince of Persia opted for a woman instead of a pig.Not feeling particularly gifted with the eloquent tongue of language this morning so instead of substantive comment I leave you random observations.

- I've turned off the 360 for a while in order to go back and play Beyond Good & Evil on the PS2. I was exactly in the mood for Metal Gear Solid meets Prince of Persia, which is, largely, this game, so I'm feeling a little silly for having had it sit on my shelf for two years without being played.

- Saw Slumdog Millionaire the other week, which is truly as good as everyone says. Danny Boyle's made some fine films in his career but to some extent I've sat through them all just wishing he'd make another Trainspotting. Now he has.

- Some boardgames that are good: Battlestar Galactica and the expansion to Race For The Galaxy. Some boardgames that are really not very good at all: Last Night On Earth, which is officially the worst of the five zombie-themed boardgames that I have played.


Talsidor said...

Beyond Good & Evil is great.
Slumdog Millionaire is great.
I want to get into this mature boardgames thing. What's the best of the five zombie-themed boardgames you've played?

Greg Tannahill said...

Mall of Horror. It's got some atrocious Engrish on the box (which is extra funny as it's an American-made game) but it plays like Pez tastes. It's basically Survivor with zombies, where you're running around a mall like headless chickens and voting each other out of the safe rooms to get eaten by zombies. I love that they made a zombie game that wasn't about shotguns but was instead about diplomacy.

Second best is maybe Zombies! if you're more excited about shooting zombies in the head than you are about well-balanced games, or otherwise Give Me The Brain which is zombies working at a fast food outlet.

Morgan said...

These board games sound intriguing.

Danny Boyle is an amazing director - Slumdog is amazing and 28 Days Later is undoubtedly the best horror movie ever.

Mall of Horror sounds very interesting. I'd love to see a zombie-survival thing with RPG elements - upgrade your safe rooms with different features, save resources to relocate to larger safe rooms... I should write this down.

Nick Novitski said...

I am appalled by your ranking Last Night on Earth below Zombies!. My ill will can only be assuaged by you posting a review of it, as negative as you like, featuring expectations and preferences you held, problems that you encountered, and untested alternatives to the choices the designers made.

To spur you to action, I'll erect a straw man: Last Night on Earthis a perennial favorite in my circle, and that I am fascinated by it as the pinnacle of evolution of the dungeon-crawling rpg-"replacing" genera (Warhammer Quest, the various D&D licensed boardgames, Arkham Horror). I've found the rules in play to be balanced, varied and genre-enforcing. Four stars.

I've only played Zombies! the one time, and I will play it more before having a full opinion, but that one experience was unexciting. If it's really that good, I look forward to when I give it another chance.

Mall of Horror sounds like a fantastic idea. I will have to check it out. I've also heard very good things about Zombie Cinema. It actually comes in a VHS cassette package, which has to count for something.

Greg Tannahill said...

Nick: I might get round to a review, I'll see how I go. My chief complaints with the game is that there are very few interesting decisions to be made on the zombie side, the rules for having two people control the zombies result in half as much fun for each player, and once you've learned a few generically strong tactics it's not a terribly dynamic game.

But I'm also not a big fan of Arkham Horror or the other dungeon crawl boardgames; I've always felt if I wanted that style of gameplay both RPGs and computer games do it better.

Nick Novitski said...

I found a name for them from your other blog: "Story-based Board Games."

I think that it's possible that what you're calling "better" is something that maps to your preference, and that of many people, but not of every people. I definitely find that LNoE is a faster and more accessible play than than D&D, and the shared space of a board and table creates a more social experience than even the most networked computer game. Not that "fast," "accessible" and "social" are always preferable to any other possible quality of a gaming experience: I just see a use for them.

I think the complaint about having two zombie players is valid, although for what it's worth, I feel like I'm trading two cards and seven zombies for a giggling conspiratorial "Us'ns 'gainst Them'ns" feel. I also find that the slow movement of the zombies requires you to think about where put put them and how to react to hero character movement...

But anyway, it's fine if you don't have the energy for a review of something you had a negative experience with. That's normal. I was just hoping to hear more of your opinion and criticism, and I suppose you've given it.

Greg Tannahill said...

This is why I don't, generally, review really bad boardgames - to really honestly take them apart I'd need at least a half dozen games, which is generally three games more than I'm going to actually enjoy. While I've got some preliminary complaints, and can say that I personally didn't enjoy it, to really take apart the mechanics I'd need to have another couple of plays.

If I get those plays, I'll do the review. In the mean time I intend to do a couple for games that I DID like.