In the world of board games, there are those which take themselves too seriously, and others which don't take themselves seriously enough. Get Bit! takes a simple strategy game and sets out to achieve one goal: score so far off the silly end of that scale that the game will become awesome (think slapstick comedies and campy horror flicks).
In Get Bit!, each player takes on the role of one (waterproof) robot as part of a group out for a peaceful swim. When a ravenous shark begins chomping down on the robots' arms and legs, Get Bit! begins, and the robots enter a struggle for survival of the fittest. As the game's rules say, "you don't have to swim faster than the shark, you just have to swim faster than your friends!"
Just the Facts:
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes
Publisher: Mayday Games
Game Designer: Dave Chalker
Release: March 2012 (reprinting)
I wanted to open this review by trying to find some kind of connective tissue between BBC's ongoing sci-fi series featuring humans against dinosaurs Primeval and Fox's struggling humans vs. dinosaurs show Terra Nova—some way of explaining why we have two English-language TV shows about the (fictional) eternal battle between man and thunder lizard. But beyond the most basic elements of their respective pitches—i.e. dinosaurs are on the rampage for some reason, humans have to take them down—the two series couldn't be any more different, and this might explain why Primeval has done so well while Terra Nova has not.
The basics on Primeval, first: the series features a team of scientists (and in the current season military and shady business types) dubbed The ARC, dealing with the mystery of randomly-appearing portals in time that lead back to the Cretaceous era, from which spill out all manner of angry, confused, and often hungry dinosaurs. This set was actually my first exposure to the show, so you can forgive me if, after the first three or four episodes of the here had me believing that the structure would be painfully similar from show to show: a portal appears in some random, possibly odd location (like a prison-turned tourist exhibit), the team from the ARC showing up and either trying to subdue or kill the dino and close the portal.
But as the episodes here went on (this set actually containing both the fourth and fifth seasons, packaged here as the third season to be broadcast in the U.S.), all manner of interesting mysteries, conspiracies, and counter-conspiracies began to unfold around the main action, culminating in some pretty surprising twists and reversals. Without spoiling too much, the occasional rip in space and time isn't too good for the planet, and with their increasing frequency, something dire is about to happen—and not simply an invasion of ticked off raptors. The series writers keep the structure of the episodes fairly simple and allow the action to unfold simply and cleanly without too much protracted build-up.
One year ago, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer was the hot new game on the block. It used a 6-card row to present players with a limited but constantly changing selection of decisions to make, and in the process, addressed a major criticism of deckbuilding card games: a methodical play style that puts some gamers to sleep.
The dash of randomness that Ascension brought to the table has made it a success, as evidenced by the fact that this review is of its second expansion set, Ascension: Storm of Souls. But where will the series go from here, and can it keep up the momentum it has built up to this point? Read on for the full review.
Just the Facts:
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Age: 13 to adult
Publisher: Gary Games
Release: january 2012
Spy Monkey Creations Inc. is bringing an arsenal of new weaponry to your toy collections, specifically Masters of the Universe Classics! The company is no stranger to fans of MTV Geek or toy collectors thanks to their high-quality aftermarket weapons, and after temporarily shutting down their online operations, Spy Monkey is back and better than ever with a new line of Glyos-system based customizable swords, hammers, shields, and whatever your mind can think up! We were recently sent a review set of Spy Monkey's Armory Series 1 in the Bloodlust color-scheme, so we invited Hordak (evil despotic ruler of Etheria) over to gives his take on these new tools of the trade!
MTV Geek: Hello your Lordship... Majesty...errr, how would you prefer to be addressed, Hordak?
Hordak: *snort* Damn your eyes, feeble Earthling! I'd much rather have Leech drain the silly incompetence from your skull *snort* than be talked down to by a pale recluse like yourself!
Geek: Ah, this is going just as swimmingly as we figured it would! Well, we asked you here to weigh in on these weapons from Spy Monkey Creations. What are your initial thoughts?
Read on for more of what is sure to be a violent end for us all:
We almost, ALMOST wrote the entire chorus to Prince's "When Doves Cry" at the beginning of this review. For what reason? One: we love that f'n song! Two: The Hawk and Dove figures from Mattel's DC Universe Classics are totally 80s! Sure, Brightest Day helped put these two back in the spotlight, but nostalgia brings this duo to the dance! Join us as we continue our look at DC Universe Classics Wave 20-- the last of the line-- with our dual review for Hawk & Dove!
David Hasselhoff dominated syndicated TV for years thanks to re-runs of Knight Rider and Baywatch tearing up the airwaves at all hours of the night. While that is all well and good, we remember Michael Knight and KITT turboboost-ing their way in primetime on NBC more than Mitch Buchannon sweating on the beach! Man, we couldn't get enough of Knight Rider and now Diamond Select Toys has flooded our senses with leather jackets and Trans Ams thanks to the release of two new Minimates vehicles! Join us for our review of KITT, KARR, and two Minimates of The Hoff!
McFarlane Toys keeps bringing out the dead with their release of figures based on The Walking Dead TV series on AMC. While we reviewed the variant black & white Deputy Rick Grimes last week, today we’re working our way through the rest of the undead hordes in full color. Join us as Daryl Dixon takes on the Zombie Biter and Zombie Walker from The Walking Dead TV Series 1 line of figures in our quick review!
Fisto: the Heroic Warrior who holds not only the title for Best Facial Hair, but also takes the prize for Filthiest Sounding Name. Congrats, big guy! As such, it's about time Fisto has finally been immortalized in Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics line and is truly a sight to behold. He's a figure that instantly intimidates our other toys and with a hand like that, you just know he'd punch some faces off! Read on for the bio and full review of the Bearded Wonder: Fisto.
In Belfort, players are challenged to strategically collect resources and use them to build a castle. Wait, don't leave! Euro gamers have been through this routine ad nauseam, but Belfort aims to provide a fresh path through this oft-trodden ground. The surprise is that it succeeds.
Belfort takes worker placement mechanics and uses them as a means to an end in controlling an important area control competition. This can be seen as taking a page from the 2010 hit Alien Frontiers which demonstrated the power of merging two gameplay types into a unique experience. The big difference here is that Belfort strips out the dice and adds in a lighthearted fantasy theme, increasing its appeal to the Euro gamer audience. Read on for the full review, and to find out exactly how Belfort wound up impressing the gamers at my table.
Just the Facts:
Playing Time: 90-120 minutes
Age: 13 and up
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Release: November 2011
"I'm gonna go back in time and kill your mom!"
While from our mouths, this sentence would simply be an empty threat rattled off to an opponent after a defeat in Battlefield 3-- when said by Eobard Thawne, it's just a fact. The Reverse Flash (a.k.a. Professor Zoom, a.k.a. Zoom) is a time-traveling, speed force-warping, momma-killin' expert and is one of the seven figures in Mattel's final wave of DC Universe Classics. That's right, Wave 20 sees the line end at retail and be reborn (with mixed feelings by the collecting community) as DC All-Stars. This is due in large part to DC Comics wanting the New 52 looks of their main characters to start making their way onto shelves, and what better way to kick off a fond farewell to our beloved DCUC than by the in-continuity cause of the New 52, so read on for a full review of the Reverse Flash!
This Fearless Photog figure, from the 30th Anniversary sub-line of Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics, brings to life everyone's fear of waking up with a giant camera for a head! Okay, maybe that's true for a few less than "everyone", but it's creepy nonetheless! Photog has been literally decades in the making as he was the original design chosen to win the Create-A-Character contest held during the vintage heyday of Masters of the Universe. Read on as we review Fearless Photog, the Heroic Master of Cameras!
If you haven't read any of the Discworld novels, the box art for this game is worth a thousand words in describing the series' tone.
Welcome to Ankh-Morpork, the largest, smelliest, and most ‘interesting’ city on Discworld. The city’s patrician, Lord Vetinari, has disappeared, and the citizens are calling out for firm leadership. Will one of the noble families take control of the city, or will the people welcome the return of the king to restore peace? Then again, Vetinari’s absence may have been temporary and his spies could be spreading around the city, ready to start pulling the levers of power for their master.
In the most unlikely of pairings, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork takes the off-beat satirical works of author Terry Pratchett and puts them in the hands of Euro-style board game designer Martin Wallace. For those not familiar with Wallace, know that he is most famous for economic games such as Automobile and London, deep-thinking strategic experiences that are not for the faint of heart.
Having those examples in mind, I was a bit skeptical when first looking at Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, but the game is actually fantastic. Read on for the full review to find out how Wallace pulled it off.
Just the Facts:
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Age: 11 and up
Publisher: Mayfair Games
Release: October 2011
Strange as it may sound, as a kid, I found the concept of Peter Pan kind of unnerving—not scary, I just didn't trust the boy. There was something too manic, too sincerely anarchic about the character. Chalk it up to my first experience with the idea of Peter Pan and his Lost Boys being, well, The Lost Boys, maybe? Perhaps I was just an uptight kid (entirely possible). In any event, the thought of Peter flying through my window offering to take me on a grand adventure... well, I'd probably have a little hesitation in my response.
The basic pitch for writer/artist Royden Lepp's Rust: Visitor In the Field would appear to be a sepia-toned tale of robots and jetpacks set in the aftermath of a mechanized version of All Quiet On the Western Front. The story, involving the mysterious Jet Jones and the rural family whose life he disrupts when he comes flying in while being chased by a killer robot fuses sci-fi with family drama, taking its time to tell its tale. In fact, I would have to say that to enjoy what is apparently the first volume in a series of stories set in this world, you would have to be prepared to accept that Lepp is content to draw out the plot at his own particular pace.
Lepp sets his story somewhere around the 1960's or so, nearly 50 years in the aftermath of what looks like their version of the first World War which was waged using robots of escalating sophistication. A quick digression here—Lepp shows the robots initially in direct conflict with humans on the battlefield and later simply fighting amongst themselves which begs the question, is it really a war at that point when the participants are all automatons and no threat against human life appears to be present? The absence of any lives or territory being in peril makes the stakes feel weird.
In the "present," our hero isn't our mysterious boy with the jetpack, Jet Jones, but instead farmer Roman Taylor, responsible for maintaining the family homestead with his father away. Roman's not alone: he tends for his younger siblings Amy and Oswald as well as his mom, and with his younger brother preparing to go to school in the fall, Roman is looking to automate some of the farm work with scrap robot parts. When the seemingly impossible-to-kill Jet comes crashing into Roman's life, pursued by a towering robot bent on killing the rocket-propelled boy, the duo fend off the machine and Jet temporarily joins the Taylors on their farm as thanks and by way of apology for smashing a hole in their barn.
I almost feel like I could just cheat right now and write this whole review from the easy way out place of "man, isn't Japan weird? Didn't they make a weird Transformers show?" And I suppose at this point, I could pretend I'm taking the high-minded way out—that I think too highly of you, our loyal readers to pull that kind of noise. But the truth is, the three series that make up these Toei-produced continuations of the Transformers franchise in Japan are just too danged interesting to not write about.
The three series here—The Headmasters, the elaborately-titled Super-God Masterforce, and Victory—see Toei joined by toy manufacturer Takara in taking the franchise spawned by Hasbro's toy line and just hacking away at the material until it represents something Japanese kids of the late 80's might be into at the time. And while keeping the core elements that kids would be familiar with or care about—good robots and the humans that befriend them against vicious, evil robots—Toei would add all kinds of embellishments that would be recognizable to anyone familiar with tonkatsu-style series, bringing the Transformers in line with superhero fiction in their own particular way.
Let me try to wade through the history here without doing it too much of a disservice: while in the U.S. Transformers was getting a fourth season in the wake of the feature film, The Headmasters was Japan's exclusive take on the series, introducing the new line of characters from the Headmasters line of toys—of you don't recall these guys, they were Transformers with detachable heads which would in turn become smaller, human-sized robots. You'll actually be introduced to a whole raft of new characters as well as preexisting character redesigns based on the post-Movie toy line and honestly, there is a lot to keep track of.