RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol


I recently finished reading the trades for Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.

The Doom Patrol was originally published in My Greatest Adventure in 1963 by DC Comics. At that time it was really something very different. A band of misfit heroes consisting of a Robot with a Human Brain, A former Test Pilot attached to a Negative being, and size changing actress, all lead by a wheelchair bound genius.(two months before a certain Prof. X)

The Doom Patrol team was considered very strange and different. Also their villains broke the current mold set at that time also. They included  an immortal, a talking gorilla, a vegetable, animal and mineral man and a disembodied brain just to name a few.

The original run of the book lasted until issue 121, and again DC did something rare and different when the book concluded, they killed the entire team off.

Of course death in comics is temporary, and so the Doom Patrol returned to comics in the 70s, the only surviving original member being Robotman. However by the time they returned they seemed less strange more mainstream. That is how they remained through a couple of additional runs including one in the late 80s written by Paul Kupperberg. Over the years the team became much less weird and pretty standard for the times. That all changed when Grant Morrison took over the book with issue 19 in 1989. He not only made the book strange again but it borders on bizarre, The new team consists of Robotman again, a hermaphrodite negative being, a monkey girl with amazing mental powers and the strangest of all, Crazy Jane, a multiple personality, each having their own super powers. As an added bonus the wheelchair bound genius Niles Calder was back as the team leader.

Even stranger now are the villains of the book in Morrison’s run, The Scissormen, Red Jack, Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Da Da, the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., The Cult of the Unwritten Book, aliens at war, The Shadowy Mr. Evans, the secret of the Pentagon and the Candlemaker.

Morrison writes the book as though he is writing from a stream of consciences. The ideas come fast and furious throughout this run, almost too fast to keep up with. The ideas are so different, so complex they take time to process and you can never fully understand what is going on.

Also each main character have their own story arc during the Morrison run, and no one character is the same when it’s all done.

It is also noted that Doom Patrol started out as a regular DC book but became part of the Vertigo line along the way. So it went from standard Super-Hero fair to an edgy mature read in just a couple of years. This allowed Morrison to explore some stuff that was a little taboo for mainstream comics at the time.

I collected this book issue by issue back in the 80s and 90s. Back in those days there were only a hand full of books which I could barely wait for from month to month, Doom Patrol being one of them.

So can I recommend the book. Hell ya, although it is different from the mainstream, and the stories and the characters are so bizarre, it keeps your interest up. Although some of you might not really be up for the whole destination, you can’t help but go along for at least part of the ride.

The complete Morrison run is available to purchase in six trade paperback volumes which can be found on amazon.

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Comics

 

Tags: , , ,

Icon: October 8th 2011

Marcus and I attended our local gaming convention which is run by my friend Josh.

The first game we played was Alien Frontiers, playing was Marcus, Josh, Annette and myself.

Do you have what it takes to be a deep space colonist? An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring! This new planet will be harsh, but if you have the skills to manage your resources, build a fleet, research alien life, and settle colonies, the world can be yours.

Roll and place your dice to gain advantages over your opponent and block them out of useful areas of the board. Use Alien Tech cards to manipulate your dice rolls and territory bonuses to break the rules. Steal resources, overtake territories, and do whatever it takes to get your colonies on the map first! Don’t dream it’ll be easy, though, because the other players will be trying to do the same thing.

The second game I played was Elder Sign with Josh, Jordan, Trevor and Mr. Wheeler.

It is 1926, and the museum’s extensive collection of exotic curios and occult artifacts poses a threat to the barriers between our world and the elder evils lurking between dimensions. Gates to the beyond begin to leak open, and terrifying creatures of increasing strength steal through them. Animals, the mad, and those of more susceptible minds are driven to desperation by the supernatural forces the portals unleash. Only a handful of investigators race against time to locate the eldritch symbols necessary to seal the portals forever. Only they can stop the Ancient One beyond from finding its way to Earth and reducing humanity to cinders.

Elder Sign is a fast-paced, cooperative dice game of supernatural intrigue for one to eight players by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, the designers of Arkham Horror. Players take the roles of investigators racing against time to stave off the imminent return of the Ancient One. Armed with tools, allies, and occult knowledge, investigators must put their sanity and stamina to the test as they adventure to locate Elder Signs, the eldritch symbols used to seal away the Ancient Ones and win the game.

To locate Elder Signs, investigators must successfully endure Adventures within the museum and its environs. A countdown mechanism makes an Ancient One appear if the investigators are not quick enough. The investigators must then battle the Ancient One. A clever and thematic dice mechanism pits their exploration against monsters and the sheer difficulty of staying sane and healthy, all within the standard game duration of one to two hours.

Then I played 7 Wonders with Josh, Mike, Lee Ann, and Marcus

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player, as in Fairy Tale or a Magic: the Gathering booster draft. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided as in Bauza’s Ghost Stories.) Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.

In essence 7 Wonders is a card development game along the lines of Race for the Galaxy or Dominion. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbors and others give nothing but victory points. Unlike Magic or Fairy Tale, however, each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you’ll know which cards your neighbor is receiving and how his choices might affect what you’ve already built up. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbors in both directions.

Though the box is listed as being for 3-7 players, there is an official 2-player variant included in the instructions.

The next game was Cold War with Brian.

World War II has left the world in upheaval, and many nations’ futures are filled with uncertainty. The USA and the USSR are the only Superpowers who can lead the world toward a better future.

Cold War: CIA vs. KGB puts you in charge of a spy network during the post-war era. Your purpose: to “persuade” foreign governments to embrace the “proper” ideology, by any means necessary. Manipulate local factions of influence to get your coup d’etat up and running. Double-cross and eliminate your opponent’s leaders. Gain prestige for your side by winning the Space Race, dominating the Olympic Games, or ensuring that one of your countrymen wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

In this decades-long conflict, victory will go to the side with the resources, conviction, and commitment necessary to ensure that their world view shapes the future.

Finally I finished up with a Game of Blood Bowl: Team Manager with Jordan, Trevor and Mr. Wheeler.

Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game is a bone-breaking, breathtaking standalone card game of violence and outright cheating for two to four players. Chaos, Dwarf, Wood Elf, Human, Orc, and Skaven teams compete against each other over the course of a brutal season. Customize your team by drafting Star Players, hiring staff, upgrading facilities, and cheating like mad. Lead your gang of misfits and miscreants to glory over your rivals all to become Spike! Magazine’s Manager of the Year!

Once a manager has chosen one of the six teams, he has five weeks to groom them into the best in the league, culminating with the Blood Bowl tournament. He does this by competing at highlights, collecting payouts, upgrading his personnel, and drafting Star Players.

Managers begin the season with a starting team deck full of basic scrub players. These players are none too bright and have limited talents, but a clever manager can play to their strengths by carefully positioning them to excel on the pitch.

Is your team ready to compete against other teams in head-to-head highlights? Highlights are the randomly determined matchups over which players compete. The more highlights a team wins, the more it improves and the more fans it accumulates.

The season culminates with the Blood Bowl tournament. After the Blood Bowl, the season ends. Players then tally up their total fans and the manager with the most fans wins the game.

While I was playing Cold War and Blood Bowl, Marcus played Black Gold.

The year is 1922 and the Texas Oil Boom is in full swing. Prepare to head West, surveying the Permian Basin for profitable gushers and gaining more wealth than your fellow prospectors. Are you part of a burgeoning oil family fixed on becoming a dynasty, or a shrewd yankee, tired of watching southerners making their fortune? Whatever your reasons, join the race to become the wealthiest son of a gun in West Texas.

Black Gold is a board game of drilling and discovery for 2-5 prospectors, and play can last from 1-2 hours. Competitors attempt to claim the best wells, bid wisely against their neighbors, and sell their oil at the highest price in order to finish the game with the most money when the Oil Baron’s train reaches the last track.

To secure wealth, players explore the terrain of the provided map tiles for oil wells, and they survey and build their derricks. Map tiles are double-sided and modular, ensuring a unique experience every time. Money is made if a player can transport his oil to one of three oil companies, and win the right to sell at auction. The Oil Baron’s train moves nearer every turn, counting down the rounds of the game’s thrilling ride; all the while it begs you and your fellow prospectors to ask the question: Am I making enough money?

The landscape of the Texas Oil business can be fickle and lonely as it is arid. Players can strategize against their opponents, and upset their play through special actions. During auctions, players can even lie about the value of their Sales Licenses in order to force their neighbors to bid more! But careful, you future tycoons – if you’re caught bluffing, you’re penalized.

Although Black Gold is a satisfying bidding game, it is also an exciting contest of strategy and exploration. Every game variable can offer an advantage or variation in play each round. The round’s starting player has the first choice for powerful Action cards, which dictate his options for that round. Subsequent prospectors can be savvy and alter their exploration based on other players’ surveying, or the last player could choose to sell his oil at a different company than his neighbors and find an easier auction at which to bid.

Black Gold is easy to learn, but offers an abundance of intriguing game play choices. Black Gold also provides players with optional rules that can shorten or extend game play, increase the challenge, give inexperienced players a handicap, or even reduce the randomness of well distribution. With all of these options players will discover that Black Gold is a new experience every time, even offering unique variation depending on player number, map tile setup, and well placement.

Had lots of fun and met a few new people. All in all, most of the new games I tried were really great, except Cold War, both Brian and I thought it was not really a good game and I would probably not play it ever again.

Icon is a great little gaming convention which takes place twice a year and is run by Josh Wheeler, I have not attended in a while but I was really glad I did this time.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Games

 

Game Night: October 6th, 2011

It was a very busy night, we had to split up into two groups.

Brandi, Anna, Brian, Allison and myself played Carcassonne.

A clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters and in the fields. The skill of the players to best develop the area will determine who is victorious.

It was Brian and Allison’s first time playing this game. Brian and Brandi tied the game with Allison coming second.

The second game our group played that evening was Coloretto. Brian had never played before. I won that game.

This game should not be confused with Coloretto, another game of the same name published in 1993.
Draw a card to play to a row, or take a row — it’s that easy! You score points for collecting cards of the same color.

 

 

The other group consisted of Dannis, Heidi, Brett, Sadie, Marcus and Alan. This group decided to play Power Grid.

Power Grid is the updated release of the Friedemann Friese crayon game Funkenschlag. It removes the crayon aspect from network building in the original edition, while retaining the fluctuating commodities market like Crude: The Oil Game and an auction round intensity reminiscent of The Princes of Florence.
The object of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a predetermined size. In this new edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities.
However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment.
Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power said plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.
The game ran kinda long, and they did not finish till late. Dannis won the game, but pretty much everyone agreed that a six player game of Power Grid is not that great.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Games

 

Tags:

Game Night: September 29th 2011

We split up into different groups at the start of the night.

Anna, Sadie, Brandi and Marta played Monty Phython Flux.

Monty Python themed version of Fluxx. The random and chaotic nature of the Fluxx engine makes it a perfect vehicle for the crazy world of Monty Python!

The card mix focuses on Holy Grail with other references added from Flying Circus and other Python material.

Part of the Fluxx series.

I don’t know who won the game.

Alan, Dannis, Brett and myself played Puerto Rico.

The players are plantation owners in Puerto Rico in the days when ships had sails. Growing up to five different kind of crops—corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco, and coffee—they must try to run their business more efficiently than their close competitors: growing crops and storing them efficiently, developing San Juan with useful buildings, deploying their colonists to best effect, selling crops at the right time, and, most importantly, shipping their goods back to Europe for maximum benefit.

The game system lets players choose the order of the phases in each turn by allowing each player to choose a role from those remaining when it is their turn. No role can be selected twice in the same round. The player who selects the best roles to advance their position during the game will win.

Dannis Won the game with a large lead, Brett was second, Alan third and I of course was dead last.

Brandi, Alan, Sadi and Marta left, and then Ted showed up.  So Brett, Anna, Ted and I played 7 Wonders.

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player, as in Fairy Tale or a Magic: the Gathering booster draft. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided as in Bauza’s Ghost Stories.) Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.

In essence 7 Wonders is a card development game along the lines of Race for the Galaxy or Dominion. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbors and others give nothing but victory points. Unlike Magic or Fairy Tale, however, each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you’ll know which cards your neighbor is receiving and how his choices might affect what you’ve already built up. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbors in both directions.

Though the box is listed as being for 3-7 players, there is an official 2-player variant included in the instructions.

Ted had recently purchased this game because of the Scott Nicholson MIT lecture.

This is a very light civilization card game. Yes a civilization building game using cards. Each player starts with a wonder in front of them which provides at least one resource as well as providing benefits as each stage is completed. There are three ages during the game, each age is a card hand. On each turn a player may do on action, build a building, burn a card for three coin, or use a resource towards their wonder. The unique mechanic is once your turn is done you pass the remainder of your hand to the adjacent player.

The rules are very easy, and the game is extremely quick. However it does give you a very satisfying feel of building your civilization.  I’m a big fan of civilization game because you get to see it grow during the course of the game and as you build it you get additional benefits. This game provides that is 30 minutes or less.

I won the game with 57 points, Anna game in second with 55, Brett was third and Ted was last.

I have to say that we all found it so much fun and we all want to play again.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2011 in Games

 
 
%d bloggers like this: