Our Own Comic Book Guy Sounds off on “Guardians of the Galaxy”

*Warning: Probably Going to Offend Some People with this One

Ok, so I know I’m not the movie guy here (not trying to become one either…I like my little corner of the website here talking about comics and games), but I feel I have to take a break from my normal rantings and ravings to rage about a comic book movie issue that is driving me absolutely nuts (we’ll get back to the second half of my take on the independent comics reigning supreme over the current comicscape next time). All I have heard the last couple weeks is about how Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie yet. Are you people out of your frakkin collective minds!!??!?!? Have you been fed media crack for so long that your short term memory is that completely and utterly useless??

I even went to go see it a second time, just to be sure I wasn’t the one who was hitting the bottle here (granted, I did sleep through half of it the first time, so I really did have to make sure for myself). I will admit two things and only two things, because they are the only two things that I can truly say in a positive light about Guardians of the Galaxy. #1…Groot rocked, seriously awesome, best character in the movie hands down. Vin Diesel has always been an amazing voice actor (If you haven’t seen Iron Giant, shame on you), but the fact that he was able to convey an array of emotions with only three words was incredible, while the way the character of Groot came to perceive and respond to the world around him was genius. I will give you all that. #2…the movie was fun. The problem, though, is that it was only fun in the way that every other ‘outlaw sci-fi’ movie or television show that has ever been done before was fun (Han Solo in Star Wars, Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity, Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica etc). Thus, everyone’s ‘best Marvel movie yet’ was really just recycled, rehashed, retread special effects madness.

Also, there was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much wrong with it!!! The villains were completely and utterly flat and unbelievable with no motivation; the plot was completely (and almost insultingly) simple (good vs evil with ultimate/infinite power looming towards utter destruction), and the characters were just plain boring and rehashed (the ‘outlaw’ leader, the defector from the other side, the vengeance-seeking bruiser…ok, I will give on one more thing, Rocket did have a couple good one-liners – “Ok, so now we’re all standing…just a bunch of jackasses standing up.” That made me laugh). And don’t even get me started on the blatant sexism (the two female characters could have easily wiped the entire cast away in mere seconds. It’s what they were created/trained to do, yet they needed the males in the movie to repeatedly save/lead them..WTF?!?!?)

And need I say it…Howard the Duck?? Howard the frakkin Duck?? How in the frak can you even take that seriously?!?!?!?

Even if there weren’t all these problems with the movie, best Marvel movie yet?? Really?? Have you all really already forgotten Winter Soldier, where S.H.E.I.L.D. collapses and Cap’s best friend comes back as the villain?? Or Thor: Dark World, where Loki just straight up stole the show? Or even Avengers, where Joss Whedon actually raised the bar on comic book movies to challenge the entire world to make them better?? Even before that, Ed Norton just destroyed it as The Hulk. Even as far back as the first Iron Man, which raised questions about the morality of war and making profits of off it when we could be using the same technology for alternate energy sources, the Marvel movies that have come before have not just been ‘fun’, they raised awareness and asked questions; they made social statements. Even the ‘non-Marvel’ Marvel movies (those not done by Marvel studios) were far and above Guardians, or have you all also forgotten X-Men: First Class and The Amazing Spider-Man?

I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, folks. Sorry if I’ve challenged the status quo, but if you actually believe that Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie, you are a simpleton who has been easily led astray by a talking raccoon and a dancing plant.

2014: The Year of the Independents

Now that we’ve addressed the big guns, it’s time to talk about what’s really going down in comics. Having owned, worked, and frequented comic shops for the better part of my life, I’ve seen a definite cycle in comics. The big guns get hot, coast for a while, turn to naught, rest on their laurels for a bit and then finally get their heads back outta their comfortable ostrich holes (some of which are in the southern regions of the anatomy) and get hot again. Independent comics, however, seem to remain fairly constant but only seem to get our attention when the big guns are misfiring. Funny enough, most of the times they get back on their hot tracks is when they farm the independents. When I was a kid in high school, I was enthralled with the indies, books like “Alien Legion,” “Badger,” “Violent Messiahs” and such. I’ll never forget the one that truly got me hooked on indies: “The Crow.” I find it to be amazing, intense, breathtaking and probably the best love story ever written.

Today, the same thing is happening. As the big guns wane, the independents are hitting with full force!

I suppose we should give the Vertigo line at least a nod, even though it is technically a DC project. It has always been their ‘indie’ side, propelled by Sandman. Currently they have a couple sweet things available. Coffin Hill is the sweet story of a backwoods family of witches and a daughter’s return to her truly haunted past after being a cop and an FBI agent. The art is stunning and the story is fun. Royals: Masters of War is an intriguing look into the royal families of the world (specifically during WW2) possessing super powers but still demanding the ‘peasants’ still fight their wars. One of them has rejected this idea and is now fighting alongside the ‘peasants’ and none of the super-powered royal families are very happy about that. Read the comic to find out the rest. Perhaps the sweetest of sweet that Vertigo has to offer currently is The Wake. Written by now famous Scott Snyder and brilliantly illustrated by Sean Murphy, one of the sleekest and most original artists out there, The Wake is a killer sci-fi/horror-thriller that grabs you by the gonads and propels you through a water-based monster adventure that makes “Jaws” look like “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Another leader in indies is Dark Horse. While they admittedly have done some fun things with licensed properties, like “Star Wars” and “Serenity,” the only original stuff they’ve come out with that’s really grabbed me are rehashed properties of earlier released titles: Ghost & X. Of the two, X is definitely superior, following the exploits of the underworld enforcer gone anti-hero, X, as he ‘cleans up’ Arcadia in his best Quentin Tarantino over-the-top violence kind of way.

One of my favorite indie companies is Avatar. They’ve collected some of the best writers of our time, including Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Kieron Gillen and Jonathan Hickman, and combined them with some of the most “in your face” brutal macabre artists around to create things of wonderment and beauty. The two that really stand forward above the others are Ennis’ Rover Red Charlie & Gillen’s Uber. Rover Red Charlie is one of the most unique end of the world scenarios I’ve seen, from the perspective of three dogs that pal around & can’t understand what happened to all the ‘feeders’ and why they’ve gone crazy. Their adventures lead them out of the city into a world they never even knew existed. I don’t know how he did it, but Ennis managed to make a most macabre and disturbing story into something also cute and fluffy…can’t get much more original than that. Gillen’s Uber is a killer version of the WW2 arms race using super-powered individuals as the weapons. Started by Nazis, the other countries counter with their own super-powers and what ensues is just what you would think, mass, mass killing and wanton destruction…and what about the casualties?

Join us next time as we finish off with the Kings of the indie comics, Valiant and Image.

Bear Wolf owns and operates the New Game in Town shops in DeKalb and Dixon, Illinois.

Last Year in Comics: DC Comics

Last Year in Comics

So, here we are in 2014.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of the awesomeness that we saw in 2013’s comic books, as some seriously cool stuff came out.  However, there is always the other side to things; some companies made some horrible errors and some obvious ‘money grabs’.  Let’s take a gander, shall we?

DC Comics: 

Oh DC…it was going so right, where did it go wrong??  Last year saw the reboot of DC with the New 52, which was pretty damn awesome.  As with most reboots, all the industry’s best writers and artists were invited to the party, including Jim Lee re-envisioning the “Justice League,” which was hands down one of the most fun books to read at the time (and I never really liked the “Justice League”).  All of the Bat-Books that came out were so good that I actually didn’t mind having to read multiple books about the same character (something that started in the 80s & exploded in the 90s and has been a major annoyance for me ever since…at one time I remember there being something like seven or eight “Spider-Man” books and the same number of X-Books, all coming out at the same time…ugh, there’s only so much story people).  I was even getting excited about “Action Comics” and “Supergirl” for a few issues, and I absolutely hate the “Superman” family of books!!

But alas, it all came crashing down.  First, they did the unthinkable.  They turned three or four of their most hidden gems, the Coup-de-Villes at the bottom of the Cracker Jacks box, over to Rob Liefeld.  WHAT???  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  DON’T YOU REMEMBER WHO THIS GUY IS??  So, what were once gritty, hard-hitting titles, like “Deathstroke,”  “Hawk & Dove,”  “Hawkman” and “Grifter,” which were all fun reads with outstanding art, became Liefeld strokefests and turned to utter crap, just like everything he’s ever done!!  History repeats itself…duh!  Then they pulled some of their better writers and artists off of the minor books, such as “Voodoo,”  “Stormwatch” and “Captain Atom,” all higher-brow reading with compelling stories that actually made you think about life and existence and such, because they were minor books (even though they were becoming majorly awesome because of those creators) to play shuffle around with the bigger books.  Cliché alert…if it ain’t broke…!!!

And then came the “Villain Month” money grab…I’m sorry, I mean crossover…which was the downfall of the New 52.  Half of the books were just horrible re-hashings of origins, some of the villains were in books that they weren’t even the villains of (such as the Ventriloquist in “Dark Knight,” even though they had just revamped the character and introduced her in “Batgirl”).  What could have been amazing fun (all the heroes are gone, let the villains play), became the biggest let down in comics of the time.  Even the best villain ever, The Joker, was just craptastic.  Instead of letting him run rampant, which would have been amazing, they retold an old campy story about his pet gorilla, even though they had just finished one of the darkest “Joker” storylines ever, including a Joker who was running around with his “face” as a flesh mask that barely hung from his head!!  And I won’t even mention the hologram covers and all the supposed shortages that happened…

Then the “Zero Year” debacle happened, forcing all of the Bat-books to tell the story that the editor wanted told.  By this point, there were so many crossovers happening that creators were walking away from the books that they once made incredible because they were being restrained by editorial whims.  Once again…REALLY DC??  REALLY??  HIRE BOB HARRAS, THE GUY WHO SINGLE HANDEDLY WRECKED THE X-UNIVERSE IN THE 90S???  Again, DC…don’t you remember these people and what they did.  Why hire them when you were doing just fine?!?!

It wasn’t all bad though!!  Thankfully, we did see some incredible stuff come out of DC.  Scott Snider’s “Batman” stories continue to enthrall readers.  Batgirl was truly wonderful as she became a renegade running from her own father, Commissioner Gordon.  “Batwoman”  was awe-inspiring with beautiful illustrations by JH Williams III and killer stories about supernatural villains and dark family secrets.  “Swamp Thing,”  “Aquaman” and “Earth 2” continue to be the most consistent and well-written stories with killer art and brilliant subtle humor.

To come full circle, DC did produce perhaps the best comic story I’ve read in years, “Injustice: Gods Among Us.”  Just simply & truly amazing.  Superman goes from a helpless lovesick fool who has no idea how to deal with the Joker (who tricks him into then killing Lois Lane) to a killer and militant totalitarian leader of the world, and Wonder Woman couldn’t be happier.  In her own words, “I was waiting for this.”  Of course, Batman is leading the resistance.  With twists and turns that rock the entire DC universe, including a Harley Quinn who acquires powers, this book is just simply brilliant!!

Next time, the ‘Independents’ and how they are currently ruling the comic industry.

Last Year in Comics

So, here we are in 2014. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the awesomeness that we saw in 2013 in comic books, as some seriously cool stuff came out. However, there is always the other side to things; some companies made some horrible errors and some obvious ‘money grabs’. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

DC Comics:

Oh DC…it was going so right, where did it go wrong?? Last year saw the reboot of DC with the New 52, which was pretty damn awesome. As with most reboots, all the industry’s best writers and artists were invited to the party, including Jim Lee re-envisioning the Justice League, which was hands down one of the most fun books to read at the time (and I never really liked the Justice League). All of the Bat-Books that came out were so good that I actually didn’t mind having to read multiple books about the same character (something that started in the 80s & exploded in the 90s and has been a major annoyance for me ever since…at one time I remember there being something like 7 or 8 Spider-Man books and the same number of X-Books all coming out at the same time…ugh, there’s only so much story people). I was even getting excited about Action Comics and Supergirl for a few issues, and I absolutely hate the Superman family of books!!

But alas, it all came crashing down. First, they did the unthinkable. They turned 3 or 4 of their most hidden gems, the Coup-de-Villes at the bottom of the Cracker Jacks box, over to Rob Liefeld. WHAT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? DON’T YOU REMEMBER WHO THIS GUY IS?? So, what were once gritty and hard-hitting titles, like “Deathstroke,” “Hawk & Dove,” “Hawkman” and Grifter… all fun reads with outstanding art, became Liefeld strokefests and turned to utter crap, just like everything he’s ever done!! History repeats itself…duh! Then they pulled some of their better writers and artists off of the minor books, such as “Voodoo,” “Stormwatch” and “Captain Atom,” all higher-brow reading with compelling stories that actually made you think about life and existence and such, because they were minor books (even though they were becoming majorly awesome because of those creators) to play shuffle around with the bigger books. Cliché alert…if it ain’t broke…!!!

And then came the villain month money grab…I’m sorry, I mean crossover…which was the downfall of the New 52. Half of the books were just horrible re-hashings of origins, some of the villains were in books that they weren’t even the villains of (such as Ventriloquist in “Dark Knight,” even though they had just revamped the character and introduced her in “Batgirl”). What could have been amazing fun (all the heroes are gone, let the villains play), became the biggest let down in comics of the time. Even the best villain ever, The Joker, was just craptastic. Instead of letting him run rampant, which would have been amazing, they retold an old campy story about his pet gorilla, even though they had just finished one of the darkest Joker storylines ever, including a Joker who was running around with his “face” as a flesh mask that barely hung from his head!! And I won’t even mention the hologram covers and all the supposed shortages that happened…

Then the Zero Year debacle happened, forcing all of the Bat-books to tell the story that the editor wanted told. By this point, there were so many crossovers happening that creators were walking away from the books that they were making incredible because they were being restrained by editorial whims. Once again…REALLY DC?? REALLY?? HIRE BOB HARRAS,THE GUY WHO SINGLE HANDEDLY WRECKED THE X-UNIVERSE IN THE 90S??? Again, DC…don’t you remember these people and what they did. Why hire them when you were doing just fine?!?!

It wasn’t all bad though!! Thankfully, we did see some incredible stuff come out of DC. Scott Snider’s “Batman” stories continue to enthrall readers. “Batgirl” was truly wonderful as she became a renegade running from her own father, Commissioner Gordon. “Batwoman” was awe-inspiring with beautiful illustrations by JH Williams III and killer stories about supernatural villains and dark family secrets. “Swamp Thing,” “Aquaman” and “Earth 2” continue to be the most consistent and well-written stories with killer art and brilliant subtle humor.

To come full circle, DC did produce perhaps the best comic story I’ve read in years, “Injustice: Gods Among Us.” Just simply & truly amazing. Superman goes from a helpless lovesick fool who has no idea how to deal with the Joker (who tricks him into then killing Lois Lane) to a killer and militant totalitarian leader of the world, and Wonder Woman couldn’t be happier. In herown words, “I was waiting for this.” Of course, Batman is leading the resistance. With twists and turns that rock the entire DC universe, including a Harley Quinn who acquires powers, this book is just simply brilliant!!

Next time, the ‘Independents’ and how they are currently ruling the comic industry.

Bear Wolf owns and operates the New Game in Town stores in Kekalb and Dixon, Illinois

2013: The Year in Comics

So, here we are in 2014. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the awesomeness that we saw in 2013 in comic books, as some seriously cool stuff came out. However, there is always the other side to things; some companies made some horrible errors and some obvious ‘money grabs’. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Marvel Comics

Let’s start with the big boys. Their restart of various comics, like Avengers, Hulk, and various X-Men books was truly entertaining and inspiring. Using some of the top writers and artists in the industry, they made a huge push to revamp their books with a more ‘mature’ audience in mind, while also keeping true to the origins of the characters (unlike DC’s New 52, which attempted to re-write the universe after events in Flashpoint—which we’ll be exploring next time). With such amazing plot lines as the Avengers having to destroy an alternate Earth in order to save this one, Bruce Banner basically blackmailing S.H.E.I.L.D. so he can go back to being a scientist instead of just a green rage monster, and the original X-Men being stuck in the current time period and none too happy about what the current X-Men are up to, especially Scott Summers, I find myself repeatedly saying things like, “Wow, it’s fun to read X-Books again,” (which hasn’t been the case since the 90’s), and “Well, I never read the Avengers before, but it’s pretty awesome now.” Even side books like Thunderbolts & Savage Wolverine have been a bunch of fun. Without a doubt, the single best book Marvel put out the last year was Thor, God of Thunder. Full of consistently epic storytelling by Jason Aaron, spanning plotlines like a serial killer of the gods and the most evil dark elf the realms have ever seen, and exquisitely illustrated by Esad Rubic & Ron Garney, Thor most definitely gets my vote for best Marvel book of 2013.

Which brings us to where they messed up…Wolverine. Can it be that perhaps one of the most amazing characters ever written has become ‘kid friendly.’ NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!! This is not why we fell in love with this character!! That’s not WHAT HE DOES BEST! While Savage Wolverine comes close, his other titles have failed miserably. If you want to read a real Wolverine story, read X-Force: Sex & Violence. Seriously epic & classic, with passages like:

Wolverine: “I’ve been here once before.”
Domino: “Oh yeah, what happened?”
Wolverine: “Had to kill everyone.”
Domino: “Of course.”

That, my friends, is what he does best! Old Man Logan is also pretty awe inspiring, but that’s from a few years ago at this point. Also, while starting out with amazing potential, the Avengers’ big summer crossover, Infinity, took a quick nosedive somewhere in the middle. So much went on that I didn’t even care about the characters or what they were up to anymore, not to mention it went on at least 3-4 issues too long in three different titles! Perhaps the biggest mistake Marvel made in 2013 was the sissification of one of the greatest Marvel villains ever, Thanos. In preparation of the movies Avengers 3 (yup…rumor has it that he doesn’t actually show up until the 3rd one) & Guardians of the Galaxy, we saw a bit more of Thanos in the Marvel universe, and quite frankly it was more than I wanted to see. Not only does he get easily and simply defeated at the end of the (far too long) Infinity storyline by his son turning him into a statue (Really? After 4-6 months of a massive crossover, one of the most powerful entities in the universe gets turned to stone? Really?? Vomit much?), but we get an origin story, which was brilliantly and beautifully illustrated by Simone Bionchi, that pretty much shows us a Thanos growing up & ‘trying to fit in’ with the cool kids, but then turning evil because of mommy issues & falling in love with Death. Once again…NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!! Thanos is simply pure evil; that’s the point. He would never have been a child trying to fit in with the cool kids. Nice attempt to relate to us nerds, Marvel, but…EPIC FAIL.

One final note on Marvel’s good/bad: The “Ultimate” universe was such a fun and refreshing change from established comic book norms. With the longest running consistent books Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men, we got so see such heart-wrenching events as the death of Peter Parker (for realz…the actual death… not the I’m back, but really really gone. Some of the scenes with Gwen Stacey, Aunt May & Mary Jane were enough to make any of us weep) and such mind-blowing events as Colossus crushing a prison guard’s head like a grape after being constantly tortured in a death camp (I was sold immediately after that scene.). But alas, with the good must come the bad: an “Ultimate” universe crossover with Galactus destroying it all. Way to cripple one of your best comic lines in ages.

Well, that’s all for now…next time DC gets theirs!

Top Board Games for your Christmas List!

Still not sure what to get that hardcore board gamer in your family for a present? Don’t want to just go the impersonal gift card route? Well, here’s my top four for the person who is really into board games:

#4: Well, I suppose I should have called this my top five, because four is a tie between “Alien Frontiers” (Game Salute) and “Star Trek Catan” (Mayday Games).

Both are what we call ‘resource building’ games and depend on your resources to build up your settlements. “Alien Frontiers” uses dice as the actual ships, and you place them in various builder positions based on your rolls, while “Star Trek Catan” uses the dice rolls to correspond to randomly placed tiles that make up the game board which you them place on to determine what resources you get. Both games end in victory points based on what you’ve built, and both have strategies that not only allow you to find better/faster ways to build, but also allow for some blocking of other players. “Alien Encounters” does this more so as you can place your dice where you want, as opposed to “Star Trek Catan,” where blocking is based on random dice rolls. While both are space exploration/expansion games, “Alien Frontiers” gets a bit of an edge in that you have more control over what happens since you have more control of what you do with the dice rolls, but “Star Trek Catan” also gets an edge because, well come on…it’s “Star Trek”!! You get to build starships and space stations and even use the original crew members for their special abilities that help you throughout the game.

#3: “Pathfinder Adventure” Cardgame (Paizo Publishing)

This game is very well done!! It combines so many elements of other games while being quite original and exceptionally versatile. The game is essentially a dungeon crawl game, but unlike other dungeon crawl game, there are no little miniatures or card board-cut outs to move around on a dungeon/game board. Instead, it’s all cards. Imagine “Dungeons & Dragons” as a card game. This is truly a cooperative game, the party has to work together to defeat the scenarios, but you also get to customize your character/deck to start and then continuously build your character/deck as you go through different adventures/scenarios/campaigns. The greatest part of this game is you can play a short 45-minute scenario, a 3-hour adventure, or an entire campaign that can last a week, a month, a year…etc. Not only that, but you can play with different play groups and keep your character along with the deck you’ve created by printing out a card/deck list off of the Paizo website, or play a completely different character, yet still save that one for later with a different deck list. Future expansion will probably keep this game fresh for years to come.

#2: “Thunderstone” (AEG)

This game just squeaks ahead of Pathfinder based on its pure addictiveness. It’s a deck building game with a High Fantasy (and somewhat Sci-Fi) taste to it, where every player starts with the same cards in his/her deck, but then builds their own unique decks based on decisions throughout the game. You gain heroes, weapons, equipment, spells, etc, to defeat monsters and gain victory points. The best part of this game is that each game you play is randomized, so you never have the same game choices. Each game is completely different in what it has to offer based on what random cards are used in that particular game. My playgroup seriously played this game for three days straight when we first got it. So much fun!!

#1: “Lords of Waterdeep” (Wizards of the Coast/Avalon/Hasbro)

Why #1? Simply because this is the game I play the most. It’s like one of your favorite band’s CDs, you just keep coming back to it after trying something else. Another resource building game (this one placed in High Fantasy “Dungeons & Dragons” settings), in this game each player collects different resources for different quests to gain victory points based on completed quests. Different from most resource building games, each player isn’t trying to collect the same items, as each quest has different requirements. To make it even more fun, you get bonus points at the end of the game based on which random ‘Lord’ you are for the game, so players have a chance to jump ahead in points at the end of the game. Again, a different game every time because of the random set up of Lords & quests, it keeps anyone with a short attention span entertained. I was introduced to this game at GenCon (nerdom’s annual amazing gaming convention), and I haven’t looked back since.

Next time…COMICS!!

Bear Wolf operates the New Game in Town shops in Dekalb and Dixon, Illinois
Visit them at www.newgame-intown.com

Meet Our New Game and Comics Guy

Media Mikes welcomes Bear Wolf to the fold. Enjoy!

Being the first review for the web site, I felt the best introduction would be one of an overall view of board games. One thing I absolutely love about board games: there are so, so many out there that we should be able to find something for everyone.

Starting out, almost everyone has heard about the new rage “Cards Against Humanity” sweeping game parties everywhere. While this game is wonderful to draw out the ‘Family Guy humor’ in all of us, there is a major problem with this game. The creators seem like they don’t like money in the fact that they will simply not allow any distributors access to their game. Therefore, the only two ways to get this game are from their own web site or sometimes Amazon.com, so it’s not always available. The game itself is really just a variation of “Apples to Apples,” but having played them both, I actually feel they are too limited in the fact that one can only use the cards in hand to answer. As a much more creative alternative, I strongly suggest a game called “Say Anything.” The game play is almost the same in that a question is asked, answers are given, and people are scored based on which question/answer combo is chosen. However, what makes “Say Anything” superior over the other two is that the players have whiteboards and dry erase markers, so they can give their own answers. Let me tell you, if you like the risqué and crude feel of “Cards Against Humanity,” this is far better. From experience, myself and a friend played this game with a couple ‘dancer’ friends of ours, and…well…let’s just say we had a blast.

A step beyond party games, I have two suggestions for games the whole family can play. “King of Tokyo” is most definitely a front runner. Lovingly nicknamed ‘Rampage: the Board Game’, it is quite literally “Yahtzee” with monsters. I have yet to play this game with someone who hasn’t loved it. By rolling the dice you can fight other monsters, make your monster stronger, heal from earlier damage or earn victory points. The winner is the first to 20 VP or the last monster standing; seriously awesome fun!! Another great family game with light strategy is Kill Dr. Lucky, quite literally “Clue’s” mirror image, where you are actually trying to get away with the murder instead of solving it. The game board itself even looks like “Clue,” and it even includes a version with the Doctor’s dog that is so cute he calms you down and your less likely to want to kill the poor doctor. Great fun!

For the midrange gamers, I find “Boss Monster” to be a blast. A fairly simple card game based on the old 16-bit dungeon crawl games, this is just a whole lotta fun. 2-4 players play boss monsters trying to lure adventures into their lairs in order to kill them. Who wouldn’t want to play this? For a cooperative experience that will test how well you can work together as a group, “Pandemic” is an outstanding game to play. With a look and feel similar to “Risk,” instead of fighting against each other to take over the world, you’re working together to save it. The most challenging part of the game…there is only one way to win, but four ways to lose! I can’t recommend this game strongly enough!

Join me next time when I do an overview of my top four games for the hardcore board gamers. Until then, have fun!

Bear Wolf operates the New Game in Town shops in Dekalb and Dixon, Illinois
Visit them at www.newgame-intown.com