Friday, January 27, 2012

Live D&D Session With Celebrities....That I Never Heard Of...

I, as a corporate lapdog, got this email from Wizards of the Coast's PR company, and they told me that there is a celebrity D&D live show where you can watch a bunch of celebrities play D&D live.  It's a buck to sign in to the site, which I'm sure will be BLOATED with traffic.  Here's that email:

Hi Pete -
Ever wonder how different celebrity minds, like Zach Hanks or Dan Milano, would approach a D&D adventure? Here’s your chance to find out and donate to a good cause at the same time!

On Saturday, January 28th, Wizards of the Coast, DnDMelt and Satine Phoenix are proud to host the second annual CELEBRITY CHARITY DUNGEONS & DRAGONS GAME fundraising event to raise money for the Reach Out and Read program in Los Angeles. A slew of celebrities will come together to play the same Adventure, choosing from a short list of Characters all written by Celebrity D&D Writer: Keith Baker.

Each table will be videotaped and streamed live! By donating just $1, you and your readers can join the adventure from the comfort of your own home. You can access the live feed by going to Additional information can be found in the media alert below.  



On behalf of Wizards of the Coast

  *** MEDIA ALERT ***


Wizards of the Coast hosts yearly event at Meltdown Comic’s in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 28 at 1:00 p.m.

4 tables of up to 6 celebrity gamers per table play the same D&D Adventure using Characters written by Celebrity D&D Writer/Gamer: Keith Baker.
Meltdown Comics Theater, 7522 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90046


Saturday, January 28 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


DnDMelt’s CCDD event brings together a creative cast of Actors, Musicians, Writers, Photographers and Artist.

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization promoting early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.

Donate: viewers can watch each adventure unravel via live-stream for a minimum donation of $1 from 1pm-6pm. All proceeds will be added-up at the end of the event.

Choose 1 – 4 of the celebrity tables
Make a donation (Minimum $1) and retrieve a password via email
Login with Donation Password
Enjoy the live feed!

OK, now here's what I don't get. Who the hell thinks that Dan Milano and Zack Hanks are celebrities? If it was Vin Diesel, maybe I'd be down because I have a man-crush on the dude. Yes, I'd maybe fuck Riddick if I was drunk enough. Oh, and if I was gay. But still, I had to look up who the hell those two dudes are...and when I did, I confirmed that not only are they not really celebrities, one of them is a puppeteer for the most amazing show ever, Robot Chicken, and the other is a video game voice actor. It also appears he played some cameos on some TV shows, too.

But seriously....I am only mentioning this because I haven't put anything on the blog for a minute and this might be interesting because having a Robot Chicken guy playing D&D, and IN CHARACTER, might well be funny as hell.

Plus, it's for charity.

So, if you're interested, you're officially invited. By Ms. XXXXX XXXXX from Wizards' PR company. And she sounds REALLY exotic...that name has me turned on, just a little.

If I were Robert Florence (and I wish I was, sometimes) you'd now be hearing the Ooh Zaa Ohh bit.

The Management

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Legend of Drizzt: Best Of Both Worlds? For Shizzle, My Drizzle.

I'm convinced that there is some secret order of fantasy writers, perhaps a guild, that endeavors to come up with the most absurd character names imaginable. Maybe it's a bet, akin to Trading Places, or something. I mean, even the true classic fantasy and sci-fi novels have truly bizarre names like Bilbo Baggins, Tom Bombadil, Aes Sedai and other memorable monikers. Tom Bombadil sounds like an Indian bloke you'd be connected to after calling your credit card company or something, for example. I mean, if Jim-Bob Crank carved the balls off of Sauron with nothing more than a butter knife, would he be any less heroic because he's not named Lionheart Steadfast or some such nonsense?

The worst part is that not only is this guild of poor name creators still alive and well, they're just getting worse. Enter Drizzt Do'Urden, which sounds to me like a phrase that the Swedish Chef, of Muppets fame, would use to describe what the Urban Dictionary calls "santorum". And yet, despite the name, our beloved Drizzt is a fantasy staple, with R.A. Salvatore crafting several amazing books about the noble dark elf's adventures. All that being said, and true, this article isn't about dumb fantasy names.  This article is about a game, and The Legend of Drizzt (LOD) is precisely that: an awesome fantasy game that happens to be about a character with a really dumb name.

I'm not going to belabor many of the details of gameplay, since I covered that ground with Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft reviews. I invite you to read those, as they're exceptionally brilliant (if I do say so myself, and I do) and explain the core mechanics of the series. In this article, I am going to talk about what makes this game different, and so much better than the both of them, and what makes the series worth owning either in part or, as I do, in whole.

What makes the D&D Fantasy Adventure System series, of which this game is the third incarnation, so brilliant is that it's infinitely replayable and totally customizable. While some people require handholding and need to be continuously led like sheep to the shears, some people have this amazing thing that only a loving God could bestow upon an entity: imagination. This underutilized gift allows some people to create incredible scenarios, fearsome adventures, and parallel worlds for brave adventurers to explore, pillage, and potentially fall to. The built-in adventures are great, no doubt, but beyond that the game series is a veritable Swiss army knife that provides the tools to develop your own adventures within the confines of the existing rule set. And it does so surprisingly well.

Ravenloft's strong points were the themed tiles, the strong, integral and cohesive theme, and the fact that many of the treasures were useful items that you could lug around to fell the evil beasts within. Everything in the game seemed to scream, "Your party is totally in a vampire's castle, hunting vampires!"

Ashardalon, on the other hand, didn't make you feel that way in some ways. It had far more of a generic theme on the surface because the room tiles were generic, but it had chits to make any room less so. Also, in retrospect, the monsters within seemed less cohesive as bears, cultists, and demons all seemed to live together in peaceful harmony, which seemed a bit weird. The monsters were certainly more interesting, they just didn't all seem to fit together. Further, the treasures were generally only situationally useful, and most were one-time use items, which kind of seemed antithetical to the idea of a dungeon crawl where you pick up items to then perpetually buff out your wee battlers.

Fortunately, Ashardalon made up for its few shortcomings by having a better system. It had a new "chamber" mechanic which allowed you to add complete rooms onto the board once the entrance was found, it supported doors, and it had a random adventure system within that allows you to create quick, fun, and mostly unique adventures on the fly without spending time authoring a "module" or campaign. Speaking of the campaigns, the true majesty of Ashardalon is that it contained a built-in campaign system complete with shops in between adventures, and all of the treasures had price tags on them. While this caused a slight conundrum because Ravenloft's items do not have price tags, not to mention that Ravenloft uses two item decks where Ashardalon uses only one, it is a minor niggle at best.

Now, what makes this iteration better than Ravenloft and Ashardalon both is that Wizards has taken some of the best features from both, namely the strong, cohesive theme in Ravenloft and the improved rules and campaign system of Ashardalon, and then mixed in its own new flavors for a wonderful game that will certainly be remembered as the best of the batch. There are some aspects that I feel they went backwards on, such as the fact that there aren't many chits that you can add to a room to make it more thematic, but they are overwhelmingly overcome by the improvements.

The first, and single most important improvement, is that the adventure book is no longer just a bunch of throw-away generic adventures. These adventures re-enact some of the great battle scenes from the R.A. Salvatore books, with some artistic license, but also have competitive, deathmatch, and "survival" mode type games. This is the biggest departure from the old formula, and it's brilliant. No longer do you have to all play do-gooders trying to win against the game; now you can attempt to race to the finish as opposing teams, and in one mission you explore the cavern until one player transforms into a disguised assassin, who then changes teams and "goes Cylon". All in all, it's great that Wizards has finally shown a little more initiative and imagination in coming up with out-of-the-box scenarios that aren't simple runs through a cave to kill a superbaddie.

Another neat change from the other games is that there are terminations and portals built right into the game's design. No longer do your maps have to be linear; now there's these "fissure" tiles which can act as portals between areas, making for more complex designs, let alone saving you table space since you can now make more compact designs rather than long, skinny hallways. The fissures also can act as "spawn points" if you want to play a survival mode type adventure, or if you want to play through an adventure where monsters are squirting out of the maw of the earth to stop you from finding the +5 MacGuffin of Great Interest. In short, there's a lot of neat tools in this toolbox that improve upon the other games in a lot of ways.

While the other games had five heroes, LOD has eight heroes to choose from. A major difference in these heroes, though, is that some have the new "stance" ability which allows them to place a marker on a card and gain an advantage during combat. It's a neat change, and adds some more strategy to the combat formula that has served the series well thus far. Two of the heroes, a mercenary and an assassin, are both playable characters as well as Villains, meaning they can be played in most games by players, but in others cannot because they're an adversary with their own Villain card who plays a role in the story the adventure tells.

Additionally, there are now "allies" which, like Ashardalon's NPC cards, can add some depth to a game. Five of the playable characters can be brought into the game as allies, complete with their own AI cards telling you how they act. Two other allies are beasts that are sidekicks in the novels, Guenhwyvar (see what I mean about dumb fantasy names?) the black panther, and Snort the warthog. Unfortunately, the rulebook literally has not a single mention of the ally cards and how these actually get played, and the Adventure Guide makes little reference to the cards as well. This is the one major oversight in this game; the allies could have been fleshed out far more in the rules, although it's pretty clear that you activate them exactly as you would monsters.

I've not actually mentioned the components yet, which I probably should at this point, so how about I do that now?  Inside the box you get a couple of hundred cards, all of which are the usual awesome production value you'd expect. As far as game terrain, there are four large 2-section tiles, one of which is a start tile and three that are destination tiles, and then 32 normal tiles, most of which are fairly plain but some which are named tiles with artwork. The newest thing here is that all of the tiles are "cavern" tiles, which look like tunnels. This, unlike its 2 predecessors, is not made up of wide open layouts. This is a much more claustrophobic game. The tiles also have their own "pile" markers for monsters to use; this time it's mushrooms that act as the bone piles did in Ravenloft. Finally, the terrain has just over twenty cavern terminations, four of which are the fissures I spoke of earlier.

As for the other bits, there's a ton of chits and markers, as usual, so I won't get into them all since most are similar to the previous games, such as trap, treasure, item, and other markers. The newbies are the "Stance" markers, which are used to place on player skill cards to indicate your character has changed his stance, as noted earlier. There are no new "Conditions" in this game, only the "Immobilized" and "Poisoned" markers, so there's nothing new to learn here. One neat new thing is the inclusion of treasure chests. These can be put into rooms to be looted, and each has text on the back that indicates what you've found. It's a bit like the coffins from Ravenloft, but it does add a bit of excitement. Of all of the new stuff, though, the single best improvement is in the models themselves.

The models in LOD are outstanding. The biggest big baddie in the box is the Balor, which is a total rip-off of the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. It's outstandingly detailed, but with many keep-out areas, it's going to be a bear to paint. More bad news: It's the Legendary Evils model that costs thirty bucks if you want to buy it. In total, there's 40 minis in the box, all of which are awesome, and some are that clear blue plastic that accepts acrylic paint perfectly to allow for a translucent look. My only complaint is that the figs come in six colors, which means that unless I prime them, it will be a pain to account for the base color. If you do decide to paint, remember to use a white, heavy primer like Armory primer, and whatever you do, DON'T FORGET TO WASH THE FIGURES FIRST! I've screwed the pooch more often than I'll admit here by forgetting the simple step of dunking this style of mini in hot soapy water and rinsing well before painting. Don't follow in my footsteps.

In short, all of the bits in this game are outstanding, as usual. I especially like, or maybe dread, the big purple spider creature.  The model is just plain creepy. But I love it. The parts all punch out of the sprues perfectly, with no tearing at all, and they bag up quite easily if you sort them by size and shape. It took me maybe twenty minutes to tag and bag them all, in fact. I wonder at what point I'll just get a big Plano box to contain all of the bits for all of my D&D Adventure System games, since 75 percent of the bits are common to each set.

So here we are, at the end of my article. I usually get into the rules and the feel of the game, but because this is simply the next iteration in an astonishingly good series, I'm just going to pass on that. This game plays identically to Ravenloft and Ashardalon in virtually every way, with the only real differences coming in the form of the "Stance" mechanic and the new competitive, race, and hidden traitor adventures.

I simply cannot wait until I get the chance to draft a huge campaign that starts with my nizzle Drizzle escaping the clutches of Glitterdoom the Purple Dragon (no, Glitterdoom isn't actually a purple dragon, but in this game, he's made of purple plastic) only to have to defeat Ashardalon and his horde of Cultists in order to obtain both the map to the hidden entrance to Count Strahd's keep and the Sun Sword, the only artifact known to be able to defeat the fiend.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: LODis good in its own right, as was Ravenloft and Ashardalon, but you have to look at all of these sets as an ever-expanding toolkit to craft your own epic adventures. It's D&D light, to be sure, and my only singular complaint is that I truly wish that Peter Lee, head designer of this series, would have had the foresight to design some level four and five player cards for each of the eighteen characters that are playable in the series. Being limited to level two when the game now has campaign rules just feels a little cheap.

If I play through ten adventures in a campaign, I'd like to be a little more meaty than what amounts to a squire being upgraded to a foot soldier. I understand that the games are not meant to be "Dungeons and Dragons", but even games like Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel that have been around for twenty years have the ability to buff your characters with more experience.

I'm hoping that Wizards will eventually start releasing small, twenty or thirty dollar supplemental expansions to this, complete with new characters, new monsters, and maybe even some campaign books to be used with the series, sort of like what Days of Wonder did with Memoir '44 or, perhaps more apropos, like FFG did with Descent. The biggest barrier to entry for these games rests on the fact that not everyone is looking for a toolkit.

Some people want a game that can be played fifty times, right out of the box, and they're not looking to have to invent their own scenarios.  While there are always scenarios up at the Wizards site, I'd really like to see a fifteen to twenty dollar perfect-bound Player's Guide type book that has a bunch of cross-game campaigns. All of the tools are there, it's just up to them to put it into use. 

What Makes Legend Of Drizzt Legendary:
- The theme is entirely cohesive this time, and the models are outstanding
- Varying scenarios make for greater replay value
- New, exciting mechanics really spice up the series and make this the best of the bunch

Why The "Swedish Chef Theory" May Be Right:
- I'd have liked more 'named tiles' or room markers to vary the Underdark more
- Too many one-time use items like wands water down the campaign "buy options"

This is absolutely the best in the series from every perspective except theme, and that may be because I'm not a Drizzt fanboi. I think Ravenloft still feels the most thematic, but the fact is that this game stands on its own as a dark adventure through the tunnels of an underworld city. Great bits, great theme, and truly innovative design of the adventure book make this a must-buy for fans of the series as well as a solid choice for a newcomer to the series.

I'd almost recommend Ravenloft over this due to the fact I love how well the theme fits the gameplay and the bestiary for that game, but this gives you so many options on how to play that this is clearly the best in the series as far as value. All that being said, if you hated Ashardalon or Ravenloft, I wouldn't expect you to like this. I can't see how you couldn't like the series, but if you don't, then this isn't for you.

4.75/5 Stars

Check out the game here, at Wizards of the Coast's site:

I'd also like to point out that before this article, I knew little about Drizzt Do'Urden (hurnde hurnde hurnde) so I obtained a copy of the latest book from R.A. Salvatore, Neverwinter. Wizards sent it to me along with this game.  From the perspective of a guy whose only forays into fantasy novels, meaning swords 'n sandals versus spaceships and ray guns, I have to admit that the guy can write. It's a really interesting book, and I've subsequently gotten the previous book in the series as I've kind-of gotten into it. Still, I sure wish there's be a Jack Whittaker as a hero sometimes, because trying to pronounce some of these absurd fantasy names can get old really, really fast.

Check out the book I read here, because it's pretty awesome:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Board Games: Commodity Trading Vs. Hobby Vs. Addiction

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about games as they sit on the shelf, collecting dust, as less of a  "durable good" or "commodity" as much as "collector's item". What I mean by this is that, as I'm sure you know, most games have a short lifespan of "buzz" on the Internet, then appear to ride off into the sunset. I'm not sure that they end up being shelved indefinitely, but they certainly don't command the attention as they did when they were all fresh and new. Maybe that's just human nature, to want to play with the new, shiny toy even though the one you got last week is still in perfect working order and just as awesome as it was when you clicked "buy it now" two weeks back. But maybe it's not. Maybe it's because the allure isn't a "new game to play" as much as "getting something new" and having something to look forward to.

But let's start with the original thought: What is the useful lifespan of a board game?  I used to think, probably in a minority opinion, that games are to be kept and played often rather than played a lot for a short period and then shelved, only to be re-investigated sparingly to quench a particular hankering. But now that I'm laid up, and my friends are pretty much out of action or disinterested, I'm starting to see things from the perspective of someone who doesn't value the idea of getting new games often, but from someone who wants to play games that I have, and enjoy, more often. Because I've been playing video games more often, I've started comparing board games to other types of interactive entertainment, and the realization has been pretty eye opening.

When you look at a video game, especially an RPG game, for instance, there's maybe one or two "plays to completion" in the game. That said, with each play consuming 20 hours or more, and 100 hours or more in some cases, the fifty bones you drop on a video game may be better spent than the fifty you spent on a boardgame that will be played an average of 10 times before shelving it, with each play being two hours. The difference is that with video games, you generally play the hell out of them until completion, whereas with a board game, you'll likely play it four or five times in rapid succession, then sporadically, and then rarely after, if ever again. I'm not even sure that this has to do with the quality of a game as much as the human condition, especially when it comes to collectors and OCD completists.

Then look at a first person shooter, like Halo was or like Battlefield 3 or COD: Black Ops is. People spend hundreds of hours a MONTH playing those games, and honestly, I'd say it's more in line with a boardgame since they're both forms of entertainment that require other people to utilize. So, when looked at under that lens, you can see that board games are not nearly the value, when looked at from a use perspective, as some of these games might be. I mean, even the most die-hard Heroscape guy can't say that he plays Heroscape as much as a FPS enthusiast plays online shooters. Thus, it's certainly arguable that the board game hobby itself isn't about the actual play value as much as the collecting aspect, and certainly not about the lifespan of a board game as a durable good.

Let's go back and take a look at board games when viewed as a durable good. What is the lifespan of a game? And should it be judged by that? At what point does one accept that they will never play a game again and the only reason it's still sitting on the shelf is sentimentality? I'm not very sentimental or nostalgic in this regard, so as a pragmatist, it's a very, very short time for most of my games. Some games, though, such as El Grande or Space Hulk, have such a high probability of being played that I cannot envision arbitrarily dismissing them.

By that rationale, I'd have to say that for most games, their viable lifespan is not all that long. As noted, this doesn't include a very few games, arguably "the classics" or games you particularly love, that may see use for years and years. And in my research for this article, which was comprised of talking to a great many folks without telling them why I was asking the question, it appears that I am correct in assuming that "value" isn't the real motivator, and that people hold onto games not primarily based on their interest in playing the game a lot. Primarily, the motivation they almost universally offered was that they wanted the 'experience' of playing the new game.

What this exercise has shown me is that my original view that a board game is really not that different from other forms of entertainment as I once thought. You go out and buy a DVD not because you plan to watch it four hundred times, but because you believe that you will watch it enough times in the long-term to justify its price, and you want it to always be available to you. You buy video games going into it for the experience as well, not really taking into consideration how long the game will last, or how much value-per-hour you're going to receive for your money.

So it's not really about the value of the game as far as how many times you will play it, it's about feeding your desire to have something available to you, on demand, and the experience. Boil that down, and it appears to be about instant gratification. But with board games, it seems, the mental justification often is there for the purpose of allowing the purchase rather than justifying it based on value terms. In other words, the person getting the game has no real anticipation of playing it so many times that it would justify the purchase, but simply owning it is justification and reward in and of itself.

What I find interesting about board game collecting, or should I say collectors, are the parallels to substance addiction. I've talked to, and read Internet forum posts from, ample people who brag about ordering something online and how the waiting is unbearable; how they look outside at the post box, praying their wee parcel of goodness will appear. It's akin to the guy who calls his dealer up looking to score, and how he can't wait for the black-on-black Maxima with 20" rims to appear in his driveway. Continuing with the corollary, the game will most certainly prove to be a short-term fix, like that eight ball of coke, because before long, the "new game smell" will have worn thin, and the guy will be back at BGG researching the next purchase to ease their need for a new game. If you then pair that with the desire for the "experience", irrespective of the value received or the cost, it really starts looking like an addiction.

I'd point out that there's nothing wrong with this in and of itself for many people. People tend to need something to do with their time, and collecting boardgames is certainly far less destructive than drug use, or at least to one's health. But what I am saying is that, like drug use, the enjoyment tends to manifest more in the researching and collecting than the playing. Sure, playing the game is great fun, but the fact that the game gets stale so quickly and becomes perpetually shelved so soon after purchase would support the idea that "having something to look forward to" vis-a-vis waiting for a parcel to arrive is the real draw. Sort of like a kid's anticipation before Christmas, waiting for the special day that they can open the presents. It's not so much the present as the anticipation and the act of opening it.

So, the question then becomes, does the quality of the game really matter all that much, in the long run? There are some truly great games out there, but there's far more games being churned out by the Euromills that are simply re-themed versions of other games with almost identical mechanics, or worse, the nebulously themed mash-up games. Yet, these games seem to be consistent sellers just as the great games are, although their buzz dies on the vine far sooner than a good game's buzz would.

If the draw is in the collecting, and the anticipation, then the answer becomes clear: a great game will see the table more often, but in the grand scheme of things, mediocre games that are played 5 times and then sent to the bench are just as intrinsically valuable because they feed the need to collect, or the need to perpetually anticipate an inbound game. Maybe the "bragging rights" of having a great game on your shelf is nice, but were it the primary motivator, people would have nothing but the greats, with the chaff being sold or donated off, which is simply not the case with many, many board gamers.

But let's get back to the idea of collection versus playability...if a game is poor or average, and so many games are superior, why keep them? Why have a collection in the mid hundreds if the games will very likely never see a table again? This is the one thing I just can't seem to figure out. Maybe it's the pain of having to sell and ship games, maybe it's the unappealing idea of spending money on something and then selling it for less shortly thereafter.

Maybe it's because the only viable alternative is BoardGameExchange, where you can rent them. There simply is no "Gamestop" for Board Games as of yet. Some FLGS stores provide a buy-back service, but again, this isn't utilized often because every FLGS I've been to, and there have been a great many of them, there is almost never much "used game" inventory with respect to board games. A lot of Magic cards and miniatures, but very few boardgames. Thus, I'm let to believe that the demand for such a service doesn't truly exist, or all FLGS would be doing it, and it would be the norm.

This is compounded by the fact that unlike video games, boardgames are far more expensive to dispose of via the same means normally available to other entertainment venues. Shipping them is expensive, which is hampered by the fact that most online sellers offer free freight upon initial purchase, and therefore upon sale, the price must generally be exponentially decreased in order to attract buyers.  It's a real pisser, in short. Sure, few games will actually appreciate, but those games are generally the ones that the original purchaser is most inclined to keep.

Even when you consider trading games online, there are significant barriers as you are losing the price of the initial purchase, the initial shipping price, and then the price to ship the game to another person, all of which adds up to a snowballing financial loss for each game that is traded. There are obvious deterrents to buying mediocre games, available for all to see, yet people for some reason are compelled to continue buying crap games by the bushel, only to perpetually store them.

Whatever the case may be, it surely appears to an outside observer that boardgame collecting is just as addictive as crack or tobacco, and provide the same fix as a junkie gets with virtually the same cycle: the continual craving for more, the anticipation of the arrival, the use which results in euphoria, and then, finally, the crave hits again and the 'user' goes back out 'doctor shopping' on BGG to find their next fix.

But, the question remains: If it's not an addiction or mental issue, why would one continually buy mediocre games and shelve them, knowing they'll be hard to sell and thus will cause financial loss? Why not simply buy only the best games, and forgo the poor ones? The only conclusion I can come up with is that it is indeed either an addiction or mental disorder along the lines of 'hoarding'. I'm sure there's a minority of aficionados who want, for idealistic reasons, to collect every single boardgame ever made, but I'd argue that it's a very, very small and quiet minority. The majority just seem to want more and more, and it doesn't matter how much the games get played or how fun they are.

This idea is cemented by the fact that I cannot tell you how many people I know that have bought hundreds of dollars in games that are sitting, right now, on their shelves with the shrink wrap still on them. And it's likely that they will ALWAYS sit there, with the shrink on. So, what purpose could that serve? If you buy something and haven't even bothered to open it a year later, let alone actually use it, it's a good bet that you might have an addiction. Now, I'm not saying that EVERYONE is like this. I know plenty of people that use weed or drink a lot, and are productive people that aren't addicted. What I am saying is that there's a definite subculture of addicts, or at least those who exhibit addictive behavior. I think it's fair to say that this is the core constituency of "The Cult Of The New".

My conclusion really comes down to the idea that boardgames, more so than video games, are not actually a durable good or commodity. They are, for many hobby gamers, a consumable item prone to few uses before being discarded, but that happens to be collectible. Sort of like a Pez dispenser, really; they're used several times, then set aside as a decoration. But for other folks, the game will sit on a shelf for many, many moons, maybe even in the shrink wrap having never been played, because the goal may never have been to play the game at all; that was the simply subtext to justify the purchase. The real goal was to have something 'precious' sit on your doorstep when you come home. In both cases, though, the useful lifespan of virtually all boardgames is incredibly short, and the fact that the game sits eternally on a shelf makes it no less discarded, it simply redefines the garbage bin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you, well, unless you're Chinese. If so, then I'll reserve my elation until the 22nd or so. I've always liked dragons, so this year is especially exciting.  Oh, and if you're Jewish, well, I'll reserve my Rosh Hashannah greetings until September.

Anyhow, I'm sure you're wondering where I've been. Where is this Drizzt review? Where is ANY review? Well, I'd love to tell you that I've been busy having an assload of fun, frolicking naked in the dandelions and whatnot. Well, no. I was in the ER on Christmas, and then again on the 27th. I even got to stay overnight! I've been stuck with shitloads of needles, irradiated both in and out, and subjected to the worst thing imaginable, a no-caffeine diet.

Good news is that the medical establishment has certified that my heart is as strong as an 18 year old linebacker's, my lungs are as clear as a non-smokers (which I now am, as of Christmas, which is coincidental, not reactionary to my internment at the ER; my present to myself this year was to quit pissing my money away on cigarettes), and my brain is hemorrhage free.

Yet, I am still sick as fuck, and they have no idea why. No, I'm not blaming vaccines.

So, that's why there has been no update to the site in the past week or so; it's that I've been sick as a fucking dog. A sick dog, too.

But, I'm committed to getting some reviews out shortly, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Pete (The Management)