Thursday, June 24, 2010

review: Shutter Island

Pretty darn good. Definitely a little different for Scorsese. Well worth seeing.
(One star)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Next Board Game

I'll make this short -- since I have yet to actually play the game Carcassonne live against human opponents. So, I couldn't reasonably review it. But, I think I'm going to get it soon and I've taken it upon myself to read the admirably short rules (PDF). Then, I went a step further and found JCloisterZone, a free java version of the game which will allow you to play against your computer.

Here's what I like so far:
  • Takes from 2-5 players.
  • Isn't very long
  • Well regarded, very successful game
  • Relatively simple rules
  • Fairly complex/interesting strategy
Those last two are key. The perfect game is the one with the combination of the most simple rules and the most strategic depth. This is not "the" perfect game. But, for what appears to be a light, sociable game, it is outstanding in both of those areas.

For anyone who wants still more information, the Carcassonne page on BoardGameGeek should be helpful.

I've played the game several times now, and it is as great as it looked! It's easy to learn and easy to play. It plays pretty quickly; there's not the huge amount of computation needed that cause some games to be slowed down by a lot of thinking. A really great aspect of Carcassonne, is that it plays pretty much the same way whether you have 2 or 5 players (or 3 or 4). That's a huge, and rare, advantage for a multi-player game. There is an element of luck (in drawing good or bad tiles), but it's not as large as you'd expect and, at any rate, perfectly acceptable if you just take this as a lighter game, which can be enjoyed with non-hardcore gamers and serious gamers alike.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

review: Alice in Wonderland

Abominable. Usually, when I don't like a movie, my family will argue with me. "Oh, it wasn't that bad." But, in this case there was full agreement. My wife got up to check her email during the movie. My son -- who has defended dozens of mediocre movies to me -- simply said, "it sucked." With Tim Burton and an impressive cast, I know it's hard to believe, but it really was that bad. (negative one star)Does it say something about me that I'm more motivated to write a bad review than a good review?