18 May 2015

Angles on Ultron

It has been over two weeks since I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron with my brother and two sons. We made a celebration of it, as it was also Free Comic Book Day. (You can still see the pictures I tweeted on the right.) By now it's a bit late for a review. I've read a number of other people's, though, and here are some of my favorite angles. Beware major spoilers.

Where it Fits in the MCU

Emily Asher-Perrin (Tor.com) reviews the movie "as a piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe jigsaw puzzle" because it's more successful that way. That's how I've invested since the post-credits scene of Iron Man, which I saw late, after Iron Man 2 was on its way to officially, maybe awkwardly announce the MCU. The first one I saw in the theater was Avengers because the individual characters' stories hadn't won me over yet. (With the exception of Iron Man 3, I've attended every Phase Two theatrical release.) For me, the serial continuity is what's fun, so all the Easter Eggs and fan service are easy bait.

Like Asher-Perrin, I'm hopeful that we might actually get an extended cut of AoU to redeem those moments that feel tacked on. The Maximoff twins are force-fit and Quicksilver's death completely hollow. (And unnecessary? I need to see it again, but couldn't he have just rushed Hawkeye and the kid out of harm's way instead of intercepting the bullets? I guess he was fridged for Wanda's development, which at least flips the common trope.) Thor's subplot is even less coherent, and I understand that Joss Whedon was forced by Marvel to include it. Again, I like when one MCU film sets up future ones, but hopefully not by sacrificing itself. I find AoU more guilty of that than IM2. Even the closing shots of the New Avengers (Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision) struck me as cheesier than I would have hoped. Was Wanda flying, though?

18 April 2015

Dungeon Roll Review

Credit: playtmg.com
Name: Dungeon Roll (I often call it "Dungeon Dice" by accident...because, you know, alliteration.)
Developer: Tasty Minstrel Games
# of Players: 1-4 (but see below)
Time: 15-30 minutes (but see below)
Ages: 8+ (My 7-year-old has played just fine.)

I became interested in this game after viewing the Watch It Played YouTube video (which is also very helpful for understanding the rules). My kids saw it, too, and said "We have got to get that game!" To us, the appeal was a dungeon-delving experience distilled to a simple custom-sided dice game playable in less than an hour.

We enjoyed our first play-through quite a bit, but it's usually not our first choice for family game night. It works great for 1-2 players because it moves quickly and there's always something to do. After that, there will always be one or more players doing nothing but waiting for someone's dungeon delve to finish - which can take 10-15 minutes if they're slow deciding how to spend their die rolls.