SCREAMIN’ STEEN 11/20

SCREAMIN’ STEEN’S PICK OF THE WEEK

Munchkin!…no, eh, everyone knows about Munchkin.

I’ll go with Chicken Caeser!

A fine game of old Rome, with senators and their factions scheming and plotting for power, while tending to their empire and its borders–all set in a chicken coop. Hmmm. Foghorn Leghorn would be proud. And, standing in for Carthage and Hannibal: Sunday dinner.’

‘Netrunner’ is back, and I should have enough through Christmas. It’s a re-launch of the best CCG of the nineties—yeah, Magic, I’m talking to you—which suffered the fate of most of Magic’s competitors: belly up in the vast, fetid swamp of wannabes. With Fantasy Flight, it’s thriving in its second go-round. * Speaking of Fantasy Flight, ‘Game of Thrones Card Game’ is out, offering pretty pictures from the TV series (read the books). I also stocked up on ‘Mansions of Madness’, ‘Red November’, and ‘Merchants of Venus’—the last an oldie that seems a little goldier than I had thought.

Let’s see: I took a shot on ‘Spartacus’. I was going to pass, given that I rarely give a second look to media tie-ins, but customers and some of the staff explained that it has a fine pedigree, good designers, and is actually quite a nice little game. The same thing happened with Riskish version of Lord of the Rings. I thought it was bunk, but the odd scattering of armies at the start of the game, purely by happenstance, created a surprisingly challenging game.

Scored a few ‘Zombie Dice’ from Steve Jackson. I’ve had the Devil’s own time getting a hold of. I had one distributor who received a supply out of the blue, announced it, and they were gone in two hours. I didn’t even get the notice until the next day. Sheesh. Steve, old buddy, what the hell is goin’ on? But thanks for ‘Munchkin Deluxe’. Good to have that one back for the Holiday Season. (Or is that Christmas? There’s been a lot of guff over that in the last few years, but, really, you Christians out there: Do you really want a lot of non-believers going around tossing your savior’s name around to describe their jolly plum-pudding fun-n-games? Isn’t it sacrilegious, or something. It seems to me that you should leave ‘Happy Holidays’ to the heathen, and hold ‘Christmas’ to a more sacred standard among your fellow believers).

Back for Christmas: ‘Where the Deep One’s Are’—the charming classic of a little boy and his magical voyage to an island of marvelous monsters, all of them Elder, if you will; and ‘Clifford the Big Red God’—see above. * ‘Ghost Stories’ came back after a little printing vacation, offering up the most Hong Kong of the newish co-op games, while ‘Space Alert’ offers a ‘live action’ CD to whip along its players. * The marvelous ‘Once Upon A Time’ has returned in bigger, cuter, and more kid-friendly packaging.

You would think that Cthulhu Gloom is enough, and even kind of redundant, but now along comes ‘Unpleasant Dreams’ to drag players even farther down. * Cutthroat Caverns, from the quite appropriately named Smirk n’ Dagger Games, offers up the ‘Fresh Meat’ expansion, which comes in the Really Big Box, that could hold everyone of the previous releases. * And, though a nearly dare not say, the Reaper release: ‘Pirate Lord and Cabin Boy’. OK; now I’ll step away quietly.

‘Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards’ is back, and I don’t think I need to say more than that. * ‘3012’ may take a little more chatter: Think Dominion, with a post apocalypse setting, and little scout cards instead of puny gold cards to start with. Little piles of allies and treasures to chose from. Eh—give it a try. * And ‘Hot Rod Creeps’ which, for a ‘new’ game, has a faded old box that looks like it was printed before I was born. Hmmm. Darrell, we may have words over this one.

‘Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead’ is just such a cool idea: Standard ol’ diplomacy-and-backstab, take-over-the-world kind of game, except you have a rising plague of Zombies crashing the party. Ya know, like, ‘Germany, I would help with your backstab of Italy, but I’ve got zombies eating the citizens of Paris.’ Sounds like a real ‘beer-y’ kind of game. * ‘Iron Kingdoms RPG’ has been something of a hit for us. I underestimated how interested you folks were in seeing the world after you climbed out of them steam jacks.

‘We Didn’t Playtest This At All’ is back, with it’s sequel, ‘We Didn’t Playtest This Either’, and the new addition ‘We Didn’t Playtest This: Legacies’. But…come on guys. Legacies? You can do better than that. * ‘Wooly Bully’, my favorite sheepherding/Carcassonne variant, is back, as is both the ‘Ticket to Ride Asia Map Collection’ and the wonderful game of Sushi preparation—‘Wasabi’ (which has always sounded like some that would be fun to shout when walking into a crowded room). * Oh, and I got a clutch of Reapers: ‘Mariel Twinspar, Female Pirate’, ‘Mousling Bartender and Wench’, and ‘Jock, Chick, and Nerd’ (3 pack). … I’m afraid that I just can’t help but to picture the scene…no, it’s making my brain hurt.