As a grown man I have no problem admitting that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite TV shows ever, the marvelous imagination of geek icon Joss Whedon creating something that I have cherished. I grew up watching it, and throughout the years I’ve appreciated it more and more, from being a little lad with a crush on Willow and loving the fact that it was about a badass chick killing monsters to beginning to understand how the show subverted genre norms, or the clever dialogue or the constant subtle things that were left unsaid. Of course, by today’s standards it’s cheesy and goofy…but man, is it fun, and its themes remain relevant to this day.
At the start of the year I made a resolution to review some heavier, deeper boardgames during 2017. Having played through all four eras of The Colonists in a single sitting, though, I’m beginning to regret that decision. This is no small game; in comes in a sizable box that doesn’t have any form of insert, just a whole lot of cardboard tokens and a pile of plastic bags to store it all in. The whole thing weighs over 3KG, takes up most of an average kitchen table and playing through the entire game can take up to eight hours. And oh man does it make my head hurt.
There is a type beauty to be found in so many of the huge, sprawling boardgames on the market, a type of beauty that exists within the majesty of chaos. Right now I’m playing The Colonists, a massive game that can take anywhere up to eight hours to play through all of its four eras , weighs over 3KGs and has piles of resource tokens and tiles and wooden pieces. It’s dauntingly vast, a game that sucks up brainpower and spits it out like a particularly horrid brussel sprout. There’s beauty in its webs of rules, though, in the same way I find beauty in other huge games with complex rules and systems that take hours and hours to learn. I’m looking at you Arkham Horror and your myriad of fiddly mechanics.
One of the earliest board games I reviewed when I started getting into the hobby was Arkham Horror, a gigantic, fiddly game of Lovecraftian horror and table devouring. I loved it then, and while I’d probably pick it apart much more now due to having a bit more experience I love it regardless because of its absurdity. Still, it’s a difficult game to actually play because it takes up the whole damn table, takes a while to finish and the myriad of cards, tokens and other assorted nonsense tend to put a lot of people off. On the other end of the scale lies Elder Sign, another I love that takes the Arkham theme and pummels it into some dice and cards. Now Fantasy Flight Games have decided to compress all that Lovecraft horror into another small game, a card game. A living card game. Whatever the hell that means.
One of the most famous stage illusions of all time is that of cutting a person in half, seemingly sawing or slicing straight through their body, only for them to survive the ordeal and then be put back together. The key, of course, is that the audience never gets to really take a good look at the trick because if they did it would so obviously be nothing more than a fallacy. Indeed, we know it is. We willingly suspend our own disbelief, such is the magic of magic. Trickerion puts you into the shoes of a stage magician hiring his crew, honing his craft, building his tricks and then performing them on stage in order to become famous. So let’s cut this sizable game in half, shall we, but unlike the real trick we’re going to take a long, hard look at exactly how it’s done.
Would you just look at that box art? Isn’t it just so damn pretty? In Kanagawa you’ll be taking on the role of a painter trying to make a name for himself/herself, studying under a master while working on your own ever-growing masterpiece and studio. I can’t say the game is dripping with theme, but that artwork and just the idea of it draws me in, so let’s take a look at Kanagawa, shall we?
I was practically raised on Star Trek. Not the original series where Shatner was so hammy you could have a lovely Sunday roast, but with the philosophical musings of The Next Generation, the tenacity of the Voyager crew and the wonderful characters of Deep Space Nine. What I’m attempting to say is that Star Trek is ingrained in my personality and it’s a franchise which I have quite the fondness for, so a boardgame that uses the famous Gene Roddenberry license is one that has my attention.