Back to the Future

SH S5E05: Best 80s Movies

SH S5E05: Best 80s Movies
Screen Heroes

 
 
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What are the best movies of the 80s? Well, join us for a lengthy discussion covering sci-fi, fantasy, action, comedy, and more from the decade.

What are your favorite movies from the 80s? Anything we missed? Anything we noted that you hated?

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SH S5E05: Best 80s Movies

Top 12 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2016

As an avid board game enthusiast, part of the fun of this hobby is looking forward to the new and exciting games coming out soon. 2015 was a strong year for board games, and so far what little news we have from 2016 appears to be shaping up to be another exciting year. Already there are more than 150 board games that have been announced for release during 2016 with varying degrees of information available about those games at this point. Most of the board games announced look mediocre or don’t appeal to my taste, but some have me just waiting to pre-order as soon as it becomes available.

som

Before I begin my list, I should say that this list doesn’t represent the games I think will be the best this year. Some of the best board games that will come out this year won’t be announced until much later in the year. The games in this list merely represent the games I’m the most excited about. Some, I’m sure, will turn out great, others have the promise of being great, and it’s almost certain at least one of these will flop, but I’m dying to learn more about them anyway. Since this is going to be a long article, I’m going to list out my board games first, and if you’d like to see what they’re about, keep reading or just skip to the one’s you’re interested in.

Here’s the TL;DR Board Game list:

12) Apex Theropod Deck Building Game by Die-Hard Games
11) (Tied) Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past by IDW Games
10) (Tied) Legendary Encounters: Firefly and Legendary Encounters: Big Trouble in Little China by Upper Deck Entertainment
9) Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks by Gale Force Nine
8) The Networks by Formal Ferret Games
7) Campaign Trail by Cosmic Wombat Games
6) Victorian Masterminds by Space Cowboys
5) Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
4) Chronicles: Origins by Artana
3) Scythe by Stonemaier Games
2) SeaFall by Plaid Hat Games
1) Untitled Star Trek Game by Gale Force Nine

Intrigued? Keep reading, and I’ll give you my take on the most exciting games set to be released in 2016.

12)  Apex Theropod Deck Building Game by Die-Hard Games

Apex Board Game Image

The Apex Theropod Deck Building Game is a deck-building game where each player takes on the role of a dinosaur species brood mother.  As the game progresses, you use dinosaurs from your clan to hunt for food along a rotating game trail, which you use to feed new dinosaurs that can be added to your brood, or to unlock new evolutions that give your species certain powers.  Each species of dinosaur includes a custom deck of cards with very distinct playing styles that fit the type of species you are playing.  For example, Raptors need to focus on ambushing and attacking in packs, whereas Tyrannosaurus can scavenge dinosaurs that were killed by other predators in the game trail.  Occasionally, a more powerful dinosaur shows up in the game trail to challenge your brood for dominance.  The game ends when the world is destroyed by a massive meteor strike, and the player who managed to hunt the most game, including bosses, wins.

This pick is a little bit of a cheat.  The first Kickstarter edition of this game was released early in 2015, and while I played it a lot, there were some flaws.  Some dinosaur species were unbalanced, and it was a little too easy to end up in a ‘death spiral’ where your deck becomes so clogged by wounds that you can never recover.  That said, the play was really thematic, and the card artwork was amazing.  Last summer, Herschel Hoffmeyer, the game designer and artist, announced that he was releasing what amounts to a second edition of the game, even though it’s not called such.  He took a lot of the feedback, fixed some of the balance issues, and the new version of the game is set to be released in late January or February.  The game looks even better, and if you like deck-building games, this one is worth your time.

11)  Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past by IDW Games

idw

This will be the first of two ‘ties’, but it’ll make sense why I’m ranking them this way.  Last year, board games saw a glut of campaign style games, some of which were great, many of which were not.  Very few had licenses on par with Back to the Future and TMNT.  IDW is a company mostly known for their comic book lines, but in the last few years has ventured into board games.  They’ve put out a few decent games, including Machi Koro and Yedo, but they’ve been focusing recently on licensed properties, including The Godfather, X-Files, and Orphan Black.  All of those games have been largely disappointing.

Last year, Cryptozoic Entertainment released the Ghostbusters game, which primarily used artwork from the IDW Publishing Ghostbusters comics.  Ghostbusters is a game that hits the nostalgia factor hard, and has great miniatures, but the story and gameplay falls flat and feels very repetitive.  Ghostbusters was one of several games to try and add a campaign element to it that just feels underwhelming.  Now IDW is venturing on their own with TMNT and Back to the Future, and while once again the nostalgia factor is high, I’m REALLY nervous.

IDW Publishing has been putting out TMNT comics for a number of years now, which I’ve quite enjoyed.  The new TMNT game appears to let players play as one of the half-shell heroes or as Shredder (which I assume means it’s a 1-vs-All style game as opposed to purely cooperative), and will recreate stories from the comic book arcs of the last four years.  The artwork promises to be great with Kevin Eastman on the project, and the game is being designed by Kevin Wilson, who has done some great games (Descent 2nd Edition, Arkham Horror, and Fury of Dracula), but has also had some misses.  With a summer release, we should get more information soon.

Back to the Future is a more nebulous game right now.  From what we know so far, it’s a card game for 2-4 players that involves traveling back and forth between 1955, 1985, and 2015 to ensure that key events from the movies happen as they are supposed to that plays in about 30 minutes.  Each turn, players take on the role of one of the iconic characters and will be trying to maneuver other characters from the movies to their play areas to trigger key events from the movies.  It adds an interesting ‘ripple’ mechanic, where you bank cards in between the three time periods that represent positive changes that occurred because of how events in the past were changed.  While I’ll have to wait and see as more information comes out, I’m not sure I’m sold on a filler-type version of a Back to the Future game yet, but the idea is interesting.  We’ve yet to see a great game with this license, so maybe this one will be it.

10)  Legendary Encounters: Firefly and Legendary Encounters: Big Trouble in Little China by Upper Deck Entertainment

legendary

The Legendary system is one I have raved about before.  Towards the end of last year, Upper Deck announced there were two different new Legendary Encounters games being planned that would be standalone titles, but both of them had me very intrigued:  Firefly and Big Trouble in Little China.  For those unfamiliar, the Legendary System involved a Deck-Building engine with a story-driven event track of villains/challenges that the players must overcome all while trying to accomplish a set of objectives to complete the story/defeat the villain.  The Alien and Predator versions of the game are among some of my favorite games of all time, so it’s a system I like a lot.

My concern is how these two IPs will fit into that system.  Every variant of the Legendary engine so far has been focused on combat.  This gives me some concerns when it comes to the Firefly license.  The idea of a Firefly game being a cooperative effort I like a lot, but it never felt like combat lay at the heart of the show, so I’m curious/nervous to see what direction they take it in.  Big Trouble in Little China is a fantastic cult classic film (set to be remade soon as well), but my only concern here is the depth of the story.  Marvel Legendary has a billion villains available to play now, Aliens has 4 movies to recreate, Predator only has two, but you can play as either Humans or Predators, which gives effectively 4 scenarios to play (plus the Alien crossover pack which allows you to combine the two games).  Even Firefly could probably pick a couple of episodes to recreate, but there’s just the single story from Big Trouble in Little China, which is my only concern there.  I think the theming would work well in this engine since there is a lot of combat, and bosses along the way to define the story.

So, long story short, I’m excited to see what they do with both games, since both have the potential to be interesting iterations of the Legendary system, but both could just as easily turn out to not work at all.  Both look to be released by GenCon 2016, which will be in early August.

9)  Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks by Gale Force Nine

doctorwho

This has every appearance of being the game that Whovians have been waiting for, though there’s not much more than an initial press release known about the game right now.  The press blurb indicates that the Daleks appear to be waging an all out war across time and space to eliminate the Doctor, and players will step into the role of one of the various incarnations of the Doctor to try and stop their plan to erase the Doctor from history.  Promising miniatures (Dalek miniatures make me want to do a little happy dance by themselves) and interesting game play, I’m actually really excited to see where this game ends up.  Gale Force Nine, unlike IDW or Cryptozoic, has an almost flawless record for licensed IP adaptations.  Their versions of Firefly, Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, and Spartacus are all incredibly thematic, well-designed games that have received a lot of critical praise.  A great property in the hands of a solid company makes me really excited to see where this one goes.

8)  The Networks by Formal Ferret Games

TheNetworks

The Networks is a game released on Kickstarter this past Fall and set to release in June 2016 about running the best TV Network.  Players compete to have the best prime-time lineup and draw the most viewers to their network.  Players must manage their lineup of shows, which may gain or lose viewers as the shows age, and fill those shows with acting talent and advertisements to keep their network in the black.  Many of the cards are very tongue-in-cheek references to existing shows (my favorite being NCISICMBOMGOMG: Scranton), actors or ads, and the humor is one of the elements that really drew me to this game and I think will help it be a hit with a lot of people.

I’ve had a chance to print out a print-and-play copy of this game to try out, and I was surprised to see how strategic the gameplay is.  The humor across all the cards really belies that fact that there’s a lot of competition to get the shows you need.  Money always feels tight, so there’s always a balance to make sure you’re able to take the right actions when you need them.  With a catchup mechanism that feels very fair, special abilities that can be gained through the game, and ways to specialize your network to your advantage, I’ve been very impressed with how solid this game is, and can’t wait to get the real thing in my hands this summer.

7)  Campaign Trail by Cosmic Wombat Games

campaignTrail

Another Kickstarter project, this one is more forward looking.  Campaign Trail ran a campaign this past fall that didn’t fund, and will be relaunching again next month.  Don’t be afraid when I say this is a game about politics, specifically running for President.  There’s actually a lot of game to like here, and while politics is the setting, this game is at its core a fairly competitive area control game, with players vying for influence in key states to make sure they maintain their edge in electoral college votes.  When my Republican candidate runs ads on, say, Gun Control, I don’t have to say what position he takes, just that he’s out campaigning on that issue, which helps avoid the ideological problems many other political games have in forcing players to argue or defend positions that they don’t agree with or (more commonly) that start out of game conflicts at the table.

Each player represents either a Republican, Democratic, or Independent candidate (and when you play with more than three, players form teams of President and Vice President candidates), and while candidates will be running ads and holding debates on a number of pressing topics, players aren’t required to actually espouse or argue a given opinion.    Using one of my favorite mechanics, players have a hand of cards with each card capable of performing most of the 6 actions available each turn.  Some cards are stronger in certain actions such a fundraising or travel, but this gives you a lot of tactical options to respond to what other players are doing.  There’s a really cool scoring track that shows who leads in each state that represents the role that polling plays in an election and gives all players at the table a real-time view of who is in the lead at any given time.  This looks to be a really strong game that fills a theme I think is really underrepresented, and one I can’t wait to back once it becomes available.

6)  Victorian Masterminds by Space Cowboys

While the game title (which is not finalized yet, apparently) doesn’t give you any real idea what the game is about, the setting from the game descriptions is as follows:

“Sherlock Holmes is dead! And with London’s greatest detective out of the way, those with villainous minds decide to wreak as much terror as possible on the populace — and you are one of those dastardly no-goodniks!  In Victorian Masterminds, you use five agents to destroy buildings, kidnap scientists, complete missions, and collect resources in order to assemble your custom death-dealing device. Don’t forget to increase your firepower, too, so that you can then put that device to good use.”

Add to that description that the game is being designed by Eric Lang (Blood Rage, XCOM: The Board Game, and Arcadia Quest among others) and Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, Takenoko, and Tokaido), and you have my attention.  It’s supposed to feature worker placement with different kinds of workers, and will likely be released towards the end of 2016.

If you’re curious to know more, here’s an interview with Eric Lang discussing the prototype at BGG.CON 2015:

5)  Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games

rebellion1

Reminiscent of the PC Game of the same name released in 1998, Star Wars: Rebellion is a game of galactic conquest for 2-4 players developed by Fantasy Flight Games.  They’ve done pretty amazing work with the Star Wars license, though almost all of that work has been either in card or miniature games.  This appears to be their first ‘pure’ board game effort with the license, and I couldn’t be more excited.  This game appears to be the first to try and take the full galactic view of the conflict, and players will have to manage system morale, ground and space combat, and either find or protect the Rebel Alliance Headquarters to win.

rebellion2

With 170 miniatures, custom dice, cards, and a massive board, it promises to be an engaging experience, though the retail MSRP appears to be set at $100, which is a little steep for my liking.  What remains to be seen is whether the game will be a great game for Star Wars fans, or just a great game period.  With an estimated release in Spring of 2016, Fantasy Flight Games should soon start releasing teaser content to give us a better taste of what this game will involve, so keep an eye out for that in the next few months if this sounds interesting to you.

4)  Chronicles: Origins by Artana

This game is one of the hardest to get my head around, but could end up as one of the most unique gaming experiences of the year, assuming it gets released during 2016.  Set to launch on Kickstarter next month, Chronicles: Origins is the first in a planned series of Chronicle games that attempts to take the Legacy game concept to places it’s never been before.  It seems like the goal of this game is to take the legacy experience you get from playing through a single arc, then apply the concept used in some video game franchises of taking your saved data to inform the next game, except in this case, you’re filling out the breadth of civilization.

Hard to get your head around?  Sure.  This video may help.

I’m really, REALLY excited by the idea of a series of Legacy games all linked together, with the big advantage being that you can change up the game style between Ages.  Really interesting idea, and one I’ve definitely got my eye on.

3)  Scythe by Stonemaier Games

scythe

This is another game that’s a little hard to summarize, so I’ll simply fall back to the Kickstarter video to explain:

Did I mention this game raised $1.8 million on Kickstarter?  It’s fair to say a lot of people are looking forward to this one.  A 4X, alternate history, area control and resource management game with Mechs with beautiful artwork and custom miniature Mechs?  Yeah, I’m pretty excited.  Did I mention Mechs?

2)  SeaFall by Plaid Hat Games

seafall

SeaFall has been seemingly stuck in development hell for a long time now, which proves just how hard it is to actually balance a Legacy style game.  SeaFall is a 4X game (I guess I just really like that genre) set in the age of exploration, where each player plays a world power beginning to establish their naval supremacy.  From the brief game description:

“In SeaFall, the world is starting to claw its way out of a dark age and has begun to rediscover seafaring technology. Players take on the role of a mainland empire that consults with a consortium of advisors to discover new islands, explore those islands, develop trade, send out raiding parties, take part in ship-to-ship combat, and more. As in Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy, co-designed by Rob Daviau, SeaFall evolves as the game is played, setting their grudges into the history of the game and building a different narrative at every table as players open up the world.”

This game has been kept under rather tight wraps as development has progressed.  Unlike Pandemic: Legacy, it would seem that individual games will tend towards 120 minutes instead of 45 – 60 minutes, which I’m totally fine with.  What I’ve been able to see of the game reminds me of the Uncharted Waters video game series for the SNES/Genesis that I spent hours playing when I was younger.  I think a lot of people are eagerly waiting for a release date to be put out there for this one, but all indications are that it will come out this year.

1)  Untitled Star Trek Game by Gale Force Nine

While there’s been a glut of good Star Wars board and video games, there hasn’t been a great Star Trek game in quite a while.  Mayfair’s most recent attempt (Star Trek:  Five Year Mission) was just not good.  I happen to enjoy Star Trek: Fleet Captains a fair amount, though the rules are so dense and the setup time pretty intimidating to the point it almost never hits the table anymore.  The X-Wing Miniatures game is superior in all aspects to WizKids Attack Wing.  That’s why when I heard last month that a new game was being developed, and by Gale Force Nine (see my earlier gushing over them about Doctor Who), my ears perked up.  There are actually two new Trek-themed games coming out: one a reskinning of an existing game called Mage Knight by WizKids, who doesn’t have the best track record in my book, and this game.

What we know right now is pretty slim.  Planned to be released in time for the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek during the summer (read GenCon 2016 I would think), this currently untitled game is meant to be a giant 4X style game in the Star Trek Universe.  (I just realized my top 3 games are all 4X style games.  Hmm…)  Rather than play characters, you play as an empire (in what I REALLY hope feels closer to the old Birth of the Federation PC game released nearly 20 years ago) starting at the discovery of warp travel.  The game is currently in alpha testing, and has been kept largely under wraps, so we don’t know a lot yet, but the promise of a good, big, meaty Star Trek game has me the most excited of any game that’s been announced to this point.  Here’s a video from BGG.CON with about as much information as is available yet.

If it’s at GenCon this year, it’ll be my number one acquisition.  I want this to be good so badly, yet I fear for my wallet if it is.

So, that’s my list for the most anticipated board games of 2016.  If something caught your eye here, or there’s something you’re excited for this year, let me know down in the comments below.

Top 12 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2016

Grid Talk: 02 – Back to the Future

Today marks the day Marty and Doc traveled to in the future in the 1989 sequel, Back to the Future Part II. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Back to the Future trilogy and franchise. To honor the franchise, we sit down to talk about the characters, cast, story lines, and future tech we’ve all grown to love over the years. We take a special interest in the 2015 Back to the Future Part II envisioned, comparing it to what we got… still wondering where our hoverboards are. But, while the shark still looks fake, it’s still part of one of our most beloved trilogies. So sit back, grab some plutonium and don’t let anyone call you chicken. It’s time for Grid Talk.

Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Timothy Jackson
Zachary Story

Special Guests
David Hill
Ryan Couture

Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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Grid Talk: 02 – Back to the Future

Rick and Morty, analysis of a habituate

Intro

Rick and Morty is well into its second season. Its essential ingredients are off the shelf, found in many sci fi shows. Start by adding three parts Back to the Future. The wild eyed Doc Brown and his young sidekick Marty have no business associating, this tangy flavor will give it some kick. Next important ingredient in the mix is some good old Doctor Who. The whimsicalness, flamboyance, and adventure will be needed to tantalize the taste buds. Mix with tidbits of various other sci-fi elements and serve chilled.   Rick Morty Gif

This inebriating drink isn’t for the faint of heart. Lesser sci-fi flicks like The Purge and Inception just can’t stomach the stiff cocktail that Rick and Morty serves. Taking every opportunity to point a critical finger at them and many others are what makes the show so great. Fresh topics in sci-fi are also covered with a satirical drunken glazed eyed approach that comes off as hilarious. All while never sacrificing the improvisational approach that this show has.

Rick

Standing head and shoulders above all else in the galaxy in terms of intelligence is Rick Sanchez. This is matched only by Rick’s corrupted Rick Listens Rick Mortymorals and aloofness with everyday society’s sense of right and wrong. While common virtue would say that it’s wrong to use your family to commit crimes, such as intergalactic smuggling, Rick thinks otherwise. He not only does this without hesitation, but shows nothing but disdain when his grandson is only the slightest bit hesitant to place … certain, uncomfortable …  said smuggled items into unmentionable orifices.

Voiced by Justin Roiland, Rick is a functional drunk that is always above the rules of morality and law. Stumbling and staggering at times while at others indulging in hedonistic tendencies. Rick is only interested in one thing, Rick. All else is a means to a end. The juxtaposition between Rick’s sloppiness and his alarmingly powerful intellect is the show’s main source of comedy. Roiland serves this up frothy, with Rick mumbling and micro-burping mid sentence as he tries to convince his simple grandson, Morty, to help do things no other sober person would do. Rick abandons Morty GIFIt’s Rick’s character that is the focal point of the show. There’s just something about having the whole thing revolve around an overpowered, immoral drunk, with a devil-may-care attitude. It’s just too hard not to chuckle at; imagine Dr. Who as a reckless threat to those around him.

Morty

Rick’s grandson, and many ways, polar opposite is Morty. Also voiced by Roiland and served up just right. Where Rick is confident, Morty is shaky. If Rick is sure about breaking an outdated moralistic rule, Morty is steadfast in keeping it. Voiced as a teenager who is forever on the cusp of his voice change into that of a man’s, Morty’s screechy voice hints at so many things to the listener. Innocence, inexperience, naivety, all play into Rick’s hands. When this twisted version of Doc Brown isn’t duping the exaggerated version of Marty McFly into doing risky things, he is either taking advantage of him or just plain poking fun at him. Morty, ultimately, is the voice of the audience objecting to Rick’s unhinged ideas and is our representative in this animated intervention of sorts. And guess what, Rick ain’t buying it.Rick Morty Butter Pass Bot

Rick’s Family

Rick’s other family members serve only to slow him down or annoy him as he gives them his derision. His daughter, voiced by Sarah Chalke (Roseanne and Scrubs), is a headstrong confident woman. Beth won’t stand for you looking down on her for Bethbeing just an horse doctor; it’s just as important as a people doctor. Her only mistake in life would be her husband, Jerry Smith, voiced by Chris Parnell (SNL). The only good thing Jerry’s done in life was knocking up Beth back in high school. Jerry is uhmmm …… a bit of a failure.Jerry Rick and Morty When he isn’t busy being unemployed, he’s fowling up Rick’s schemes. Just think of the failures of a habitual drunk with out the excuse of actually being drunk. He is the clown, the buffoon, a target for Rick to drop snarky comments down at from his ivory tower. Jeff and the rest Rick’s family are great garnish that makes the whole concoction come together.

Rick and Morty’s Sci-Fi Influences

Putting these characters in outer space adventures is hilarious nod to Dr. Who. Rick gallivanting Rick Morty Replacement scene GIFaround the universe without a care in the world, his companions following him around, using extreme technology, all the while making Rick come off as cooler and smarter by comparison.  But where the good Doctor has compassion and is a good person, Rick is the opposite. Rick shows his companions nothing but contempt and points out their flaws and foibles; he is negative and tears them down. For those who love Dr. Who or space adventure shows in general, this is a excellent satire. Admittedly Whovians, at one time or another, have wanted tell one of the Doctor’s companions that they’re acting
stupid, Rick is this voice.

Rick and Morty references other sci-fi greats such as Twilight Zone in the episode “Something Ricked Comes this Way”,Snow Ball Gif one while also basing it on the 1902 literary source by W. W. Jacobs. Rick goes about debunking the notion of good and evil in the world, matching his chaotic alignment. By the end its much more modern tale, an objective science vs. superstition argument episode. At every turn Rick and Morty find ways to spin sci-fi ideas around and make them relevant.  It’s this fresh comedic approach that makes this an intoxicatingly funny show.

 

Satire of Pop Sci Fi

Rick Morty GIG inception

Big time motion pictures are subjects for Rick to trash as well. Modern films such as The Purge and Inception are poked fun at in Rick’s drunken stupor. The ridiculousness of the plot of Inception is given a stiff chaser by Rick as he comments:

It’s been six hours. Dreams move one… one-hundredth the speed of reality, and dog time is one-seventh human time. So y’know, every day here is like a minute. It’s like Inception, Morty, so if it’s confusing and stupid, then so is everyone’s favorite movie.  

While in the another episode, “Look who’s Purging Now, Rick reveals just how unoriginal the plot is for the film by showing it’s been done before (see Star Trek’s “Return of the Archons”). Aside from this The Purge doesn’t have much else to offer. The conclusion is that The Purge is shallow . Mumbling Rick casually mentions:

No, no, but I’ve been to a few planets with the same gimmick. Y’know, sometimes it’s called the Cleansing or the Red Time. There was this one world that called it just Murder Night. I-It’s a purge planet. They’re peaceful and then, y’know, they just purge.”

Rick is like that drunken relative that always speaks the truth but you just don’t know how he does it; this is sharp and hilarious entertainment.

Closing

Simpsons Rick Morty Resized

Rick and Morty is a welcome addition to Adult Swim and stands among the great animation shows like The Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy. It can be seen on Cartoon Network and on various streaming services such as Amazon and Hulu. It has some excellent characters that are voiced so perfectly that it’s hard not to enjoy. It’s a great source of satire; ripping down shallow, mainstream lesser sci-fi flicks and poking a little fun at the classics. So sit down, relax, drink a warm chaser of some Rick and Morty to go along with your other sci-fi.

giphy (4)

Do you watch Rick and Morty? Comment below with your thoughts on the series.

Rick and Morty, analysis of a habituate