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.

06 February 2015

"Seventh Son": Book vs. Movie

Legendary Pictures
Back in early December, my family was standing in line at the movie theaters when a trailer for Seventh Son played on the lobby big screen. Intrigued, my son wanted to know more about it. I knew only a little, having noticed a while back that its release date was rescheduled several times. That night I looked it up, found out it was based on a book (naturally), and downloaded a sample for my Kindle. It hooked me right away. I purchased the full book, pictured below, and finished it that night.

The movie arrived in theaters today, but the critic consensus is not good: an embarrassing 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. (This weekend's other epic genre film, Jupiter Ascending, has a 22%. Both are far outdone by - wait for it - The SpongeBob Movie, at 74%.) Between the terrifying book it's based on, the amazing cast, and the exciting trailer, one might wonder how the film could be that bad...release date warning signs notwithstanding.

This isn't a review of the film, as I haven't seen it yet. The thing is, as soon as I compared The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (otherwise known as The Spook's Apprentice) with the trailer that exposed me to it, I knew the filmmakers had taken huge liberties. Granted, I have yet to read the other twelve books in Joseph Delaney's YA dark fantasy series, so I wouldn't know if the movie draws on them, too. While it stands to reason that an adaptation will make the story and characters its own - and watering down a book for movie audiences is practically axiomatic today - it's concerning if it repels people from the source material instead of attracting them to it. The trailer worked on me and my son, but maybe the full movie would have the opposite effect. While not meant to discourage anyone from seeing the movie (which, again, I haven't), here are three important differences hopefully proving the book is worth your time: