Transformers Dark of the Moon: A movie rant Saturday, Jul 2 2011 

I would like to start off with a positive and informative note.  Accordingly to my little knowledge and research on film making, a director is essentially the main person who oversees the tone, direction, pace, and artistic control of a film.  They basically have the final say on what goes on in the production of a film.  There are exceptions of course.  However, based on his own words and behind-the-scene footage, Michael Bay is a director who takes firm control and authority on his set.  He invests himself emotionally in his works.  In abstract and broad strokes, these are characteristics can certainly be to a director’s advantage and help make a great movie.

That being said, Michael Bay seems to take those characteristics to the negative end of the spectrum.  I have read that Michael Bay did not want to make the movie for 2011, but rather 2012.  And it kinda shows.  Not that it was underdeveloped or that it could have used more time or anything like that.  What I mean is that his contempt (for being pressured into making this movie for a time less of his choosing) clearly shows with moments tailor-made to purge the movie of anything likeable; not enjoyable, but likeable.  Although with his embittered directing, I do appreciate the complete lack of sequel-baiting in this movie.  Without spoiling much, one would have to get fairly creative to actually make a sequel for this movie.

This movie also reveals to me that I think Michael Bay is a lazy writer.  To be fair, he did not actually write the script; writing credits go to Ehren Kruger.  However, most directors (and I can only assume Mr. Bay does the same) make the final approvals of the scripts.  In other words, if the script sucks and the director doesn’t have it fixed, then it is their burden to bear as well.  How does it suck?  Well, it seems apparent that significant plot devices (let’s simply call them McGuffins for short, because they have that much meaning to Mr. Bay) from previous movies in the franchise have less meaning/importance in the following movies.  If anything, they have barely a passing purpose in the following movies.  Not sure what I mean, here are the examples:

-The first movie, the hunt is for the Cube (All-Spark).  It is what drives the plot forward.  In the second movie, what is left of it is used to bring characters back and make Shia LeBouf’s character “important” to the movie.
-In the second movie, the Matrix of Leadership is what the Autobots are searching for as it will help them in the end; which it does.  In this movie, it is relegated to bringing a character back from the dead (witnessing the start of a pattern here?) and not much else.  Its meaning and importance almost completely superfluous to the rest of the movie.

To me, this shows that the writers are clearly just making things work as they come, and not as effectively as others can.  What it shows about Michael is that he doesn’t understand how to make the material better than presented or that he didn’t even bother reading the script until it came to shooting.  I really want to point out a couple points of Bay’s incompetence by saying: he fails at science forever!  In the third act of the movie, BUILDINGS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!  He is trying to make cool action sequences, but they do not bend at those angles unless they are designed to; and those buildings weren’t!
Yes, people can glide in those body suits, but nowhere near the accuracy or lift to which those troops were going at it.  Also, even gliding in those suits and getting tremendous speeds and distance with them, they are constantly falling; they do not fly *period*.
On a subtler and less angry note, Chernobyl is mentioned in the movie and was mentioned to be completely uninhabitable for 20,000 years.  To my limited knowledge and research on the matter, this is, in fact, incorrect.  Chernobyl is actually habitable with only some concern for radiation (namely if the protective measures fail), but background radiation (the concern cited in the movie) is not a factor.  I am not upset about this, because I can’t really back it up as much as I would prefer.

After the firing of Megan Fox from the movie (bloody good thing too), I had some theories as to why exactly Michael Bay hires certain nubile, physically attractive, and unknown actresses as leading roles in these movies.  I won’t state them here simply because I will not stake what credibility I have on making any potentially wildly libelous comments.  You can draw your own conclusions at home though ^_^
On the topic of women in media, the old school stories usually weren’t too kind to women.  They tended to be objects sought after, cruel manipulators, and otherwise worthless without men.  Not only do I feel that all of those apply in Bay’s movie, but also that he actually demeans male as well.  Sam, I feel, seems worthless and adrift without a girlfriend; like his life has no value if he can’t “pick up chicks.”  Sorry, but every person can be an island.  No one needs each other intrinsically.  We want each other, but do not need;  there is a HUGE difference.

On the topic of characters, why, oh why, do we need to have so many broadly written caricatures?  Why are some of these characters so blatantly one-note?  Can no one have definition beyond annoying f*&^%-tard?  Also, why are some characters even in the movie to begin with?  There are so many superfluous characters it is aggravating.  I do not get emotionally invested in some of these part-time and non-dimensional characters who contribute nothing to the story or the overall plot; they are there, because they were paid to be there.

I may not have walked out on it, but I got out as soon as I knew that I could without missing any additional footage.  I paid only $4 for this movie and I still feel like I paid too much.  My only solace: that I spent just as much supporting my favorite theater.

Your Highness: A Movie Rave Saturday, Apr 9 2011 

First and foremost, I understand that this movie was critically panned.  Many critics found the movie to be crude, vulgar, and failing on almost every level.  They hated the story, the characters, the jokes, and . . . well, everything.

It is my suspicion that few of these critics have ever been to a typical DnD night.

To clarify, no, not every game-night need be chalked full of jokes and quips of horrendous taste and humor.  Most of the time with many groups, swearing will only come up when bad dice results occur.  Since I am trying to illuminate the less-than-initiated about the benefits of gaming, it does not bode well for my talking points when I compare nights of DnD to a movie being considered the worst movie ever made.  With that out of the way . . .

For all my opinion matters, I thought this movie was hilarious!  Yes, the jokes were pretty bloody vulgar, filthy, and disgusting, the plot was fairly insipid and predictable, and the characters were basically caricatures.  Without deliberately trying to draw favorable comparisons, Shakespearean plays of old had their fill of humor strictly for the groundlings and yet those scenes are not ignored or looked down upon.  My point is that a little tasteless juvenile humor can be accomodating.

Rather than imagine a lack of effort in part of the writing, I envisioned the writers (most likely enjoying some questionable substances), playing a role-playing game, and recording their own dialogue and exposition.  The creativity in some of the sequences and the cliched plot do reek of classical role-playing campaigns.  Interjected into those “serious” story elements are the conversations of the players rather than the characters.  As an example, Franco’s Fabious reminds me of the always serius player who remains in character for as much as they can for the night’s session.  McBride’s Thadious, by contrast, is very much the “aloof” and bombastic player who, while irritating plenty of times, is still enjoyable to game with.

I would not recommend this movie for general viewing; the R-rating does help.  However, for DnD players (who enjoy moments of “low” humor) and other gamers, I do endorce watching this movie as you are the crowd that might actually appreciate the foulness of the subject without simply looking down at the movie.  To draw a deliberate comparison, it is like the movie The Gamers and its sequel; except for the part where it was all the collective imagination of the players.

Chester Cheetah is the DEVIL!! Monday, Jan 17 2011 

The title pretty much covers it: as of the latest wave ofadvertising for Cheetos, Chester Cheetah is campaigning to be this generation’s incarnation of the Devil.  Maybe the title doesn’t say that exactly, but you get the point.  Before I continue any further, I would like to clarify a few things:

1. I like Cheetos.  I am not trying to boycott them or discourage anyone from buying and enjoying Cheetos.
2. I am NOT an overly devout individual (i.e. religious nut) who proclaims the devil’s influence in works of fiction, media, or other sources to which I find questionable/objectionable.
3. I do enjoy these ads provided they don’t run everyday, every hour, every minute.  As with most things in life, moderation is the key.

So, I noticed a new wave of advertising for Chester Cheetah and Cheetos a while back.  Below is the first ad I saw of this new wave:

Holy $%^#!  Did you see that?  With but a look and a few words laced with suggestive tones, Chester Cheetah convinced this woman to partake in a banal and mundane, but no less evil act.  He encouraged this woman to give into her anger and spite someone just for her own sadistic satisfaction.  And then he vanishes, leaving her alone with the responsibility of ruining that woman’s clothes.

That might be incidental.  There is no definitive proof of his evil from that commercial alone.  But watch this:

My god!  He just convinced this woman to potentially suffocate that guy with Cheetos!  Ok, ok.  Yeah, he probably won’t die or anything, but still.  Now he is driving people to inflict possible physical harm on others!  And, and he is distracting the stewardess with a backrub; presumably so that she doesn’t see the one passenger shove Cheetos up the other passenger’s nose.

Again, pretty petty.  But watch this crazy $#@:

Flat out, there is no denying that Chester is doing something ^%%#% evil here.  He is siccing snack foods on LIVE humans, presumably wherein the Mighty Zingers will devour the people alive once cornered.  This is something truly horrible and horrific happening.

There are plenty more commercials like the ones above.  How about the time he colluded with a humble office worker to pointlessly deface another worker’s cubicle?  (Skip to 33 seconds):

There is no end to his evil!  Oh, but you may have seen his latest commercials.  The ones where he is seemingly nice.  He is just trying to throw you off; think of him as a misunderstood good trickster.  I will not be tempted by his lies!  I mean, look at him!  The aesthetic change gives him devil horns out of his hair and ears!  His eyes are totally shrouded by his sunglasses.  And he has the awesome devil goatee to top things off.  Ladies and gentlemen, this it the new face of the modern devil:

I Have Seen One of the Dumbest Things Ever . . . Friday, May 28 2010 

I should be explaining why I haven’t been particularly active lately.  I should even write up a schedule of future articles I intent to write for my blog to share; I really should.  Instead, I feel compelled to bring to your attention one of the single stupidest things I have ever seen in my life.
I just saw a commercial for Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, the video game.  Because that begs the question, “why is that so stupid?”, please allow me to explain.  Prince of Persia is a video game (which I played many years ago) that has seen something of a revival (in my opinion anyways) over the last few years.  Of the titles for the game was Prince of Perisa: the Sands of Time.  Then, Jerry Bruckheimer got it in his head to make a movie based on this game.  Now, I won’t say this is a bad idea; I haven’t played the game, so I have no basis for saying that the story wouldn’t translate to screen that well of anything; and on the topic of the movie itself, I am somewhat ambiguous as to whether it will be any good on its own merits or not.  Anyways, back on topic, let me show you how this is dumb: this new game is based on a movie that is based on a video game.  It is nothing more than a blatant and shameless attempt to make more money, at best.  At worst, it might be an attempt to obfuscate the fact that the movie was based on a game in the first place!

You know what the really dumb thing is of course: people will buy this game.  Oh yeah; rather than buy a game, apparently good enough to be made into a movie, they will buy a shameless movie tie-in game.  I feel dumbfounded by the existance of this game; it absolutely confounds me.

Clash of the Titans: A movie rant Thursday, Apr 8 2010 

So after giving into gentle pressure from a fan of my blog, I am going to let y’all know what I felt about the remake of The Clash of Titans.  First, a little background information.  I love Greek myth;  I love the evocative images and the creative tales.  I really enjoy the characters and the concepts; and I have a deep appreciation for the themes, motifs, and characteristics of the great Greek heroes (some more than others, as expected).  By the way, it is out of this that I have such a great respect and love for the book series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  I grew up watching and knowing the original Clash of the Titans.  When I saw the trailers for this remake, I was not excited; it just didn’t strike me as something impressive.  However, to my knowledge, myths are designed to be malleable; they can be retold in such unique ways so that they can fit whatever moral, story, or situation the teller/audience needs.  So, I expected changes to be made and I needed to bear that in mind when watching.  Even with an open mind, it was not exactly compelling cinema.

Before I start fuming over what I loathed about this movie, let me start with what I liked.  The very start of the movie was exposition to the Greek myth surrounding the titans, set with the backdrop of the constellations and stars in the sky; awesome!  Liam Nieson as Zeus was beyond great!  He looks great with a beard and, in my opinion, carries the weight and authority befitting the lord of Olympus and king of the gods.  Also, the design for the Kraken was truly titanic.  It was immense and frightening and truly put the original Kraken to shame.  Sadly, the list is not that long.

My complaints with this movie are not all about how weak it seems compared to the original; in fact, I think none of the problems I saw with the movie had to do with the original being better or anything like that.  First things first: the title.  WHERE ARE THE FRAKKING TITANS?!  By the movie’s own admission at the very beginning, the titans were defeated long before the events of the movie and done with; the Kraken doesn’t count due to its origin in this movie.  So, there are no titans clashing at all and therefore doesn’t really live up to its own name.
Grievance the second, Perseus is not a hero.  I’m sorry, but he isn’t.  He’s a stubborn modern American male with low self-esteem artificially transplanted into a Greek myth.  He does not want any help from the gods, he doesn’t even want to pray to them.  He does this because “he’s a man!”  Oh, and despite his impious attitude, none of the gods decide to smite him for it; in fact, he is rewarded with goodies from Olympus, of which he turns down because “he’s a man!”  This is not Perseus; he isn’t even a hero!  The other soldiers who accompany him are more heroic than Perseus!  I guess my problem is that he is far too human for me to see him as the archetypal Greek hero.  Like I said, he has modern American views and beliefs that clash with the setting.
Speaking of conflicting views, why is everyone trying to overthrow the gods?  Also, why were the gods such wussies about this?  The gods were not simply managers of reality, they were bad-asses who didn’t take anybody’s (ANYBODY’S!) guff.  If any mortal so much as sneezed on a holy site of the gods with malevolent intent, that person would be a smoking crater seconds later.  Now, I will admit that is a comparison to the original myths, but not the original Clash of the Titans.  However, it is an appeal to the logic of the movie; they are gods who ask for worship from humanity.  When they get uppity, are there no miracles to bolster the morale?  Part of the reason why there were demigods, besides the gods being incredibly horny and adulterous, was because they could inspire mortals to perform great deeds.  I just do not like seeing the great Greek gods of old being reduced to a bunch of inept and passive observers wringing their hands in the hopes that everything will turn out right.

From a more technical/marketing standpoint, I highly recommend to NOT see this movie in 3-D.  Why?  It was pointless; no, scratch that, the point was to be more expensive to the audience.  There were no gimmicks that were worth the extra money and the environment was not that immersive.  Don’t be mistaken, the visuals of the Greecian landscape was breathtakingly beautiful, but that can be accomplished just as easily with higher quaility digital film, instead of utilizing a tired (in my opinion) gimmick.

I am going to stop here.  Please leave any recommendations for future game reviews, or anything else for that matter, in the comments section of any entry.  Thank you for listening.

Review- Morton’s List: the End to Boredom Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

Genre: live-action adventure
Number of players: any number of players (recommended against exactly 13 players)
Objective: to complete a random activity with a group

It might be a decent starting point to explain what Morton’s List (or the List) isn’t and then explain what it is.  What Morton’s List isn’t, is a role-playing game or a live-action role-playing game.  Most gamers are not used to a game that actually has you the player do something in the real world beyond the game itself; in a weird way, Morton’s List is more analogous to a sport than most other games.  What Morton’s List is, is a game that opens up the world to the players as a place of endless adventure and possibilities.  The players run around having fun and adventure in the real world, as opposed to playing on a foldable cardboard surface or scribbling notes on paper chronicling the life and times of a fictional entity.

Morton’s List has a storied history of coincidence and bad press; which is not my intent here in my retelling of said history.  The company’s founding was back in 2001 on September 11th; so their 1-year and subsequent anniversaries were quite mixed and unfortunate due to the infamy of the day.  Anyways, the creators took their game out to the convention-scene and tried to market Morton’s List to the wider public.  After initially registering a few events at GenCon, the event coordinators decided to cancel the events on the creators and subsequently banned the game from the con!  Why? A few reasons were given in a letter that boil down to a misunderstanding of the precepts and expectations of the game.  To be perfectly blunt and honest, the letter is hilarious given the fact that the company in charge of GenCon, Wizards of the Coast, produces games like Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, even back then.  Without getting into specifics of the letter, basically, the game was accused of “encouraging witchcraft and real-life spellcasting” and was not considered “family friendly;”  ironic since D&D has its own misunderstood history and Magic is almost blatant in its use of the occult and magic.  However, as I alluded to earlier, I am not speaking maliciously of Wizards or of Morton’s List; I just find the situation at the time frakking hilarious!

The intent of the game was to alleviate the endless boredom of indecision.  Imagine if you will the following situation:

Friend A: I’m bored!
Friend B: So am I! Well, what do you want to do?
Friend A: I don’t know.  What do you want to do?
Friend B: I don’t know . . .

Add in as many friends to that typcial conversation and you have the premise behind the List: to end boredom.  How is this accomplished?  First the group promises (the book says swears, just so you know) to put forth an honest hours effort to completing the task that the group generates from Morton’s List.  After that, a table master (basically a leader position) is randomly determined and then that person makes a series of D30 rolls to generate a quest result.  The group discusses how they will complete said quest and then they go about completing the quest.  Because of the variability within any given group, the randomness of dice results, and any number of real-world factors, the game has an infinite play-back potential; no two games of Morton’s List can be exactly alike.  So, in itself, you are probably never going to get bored playing the game.

What does Morton’s List teach us?  How to let go and just go with the flow of events as they unfold.  Also, unlike other games, this game puts you directly into the real-world and so you put your skills to practical use (technically speaking).  The book itself is filled with useful information and interesting facts.  In some entries, namely the incredibly hard to reach quests that will take longer than 1 hour to complete, there is a copious amount of information concerning cultural history and mythology.  Also, the game encourages the players to be active and not merely passively sitting around waiting for something to happen; the players shape the outcome of their game.  What players bring to the game is what they take out of it, and often more.  The game also enforces respect towards the views of others through the rules of abiding by one’s moral codes; basically, no one can force you to do something that you don’t want to do and likewise you can’t force anybody to do something that they find taboo.  To be honest, I can probably keep going with an ever increasing list of what players learn through the game, but I am getting kinda tired and I will just leave it up for discussion.

And just to make it clear, nothing I say is beyond reproach or to be taken as some form of gospil truth and indisputable.  if anything, I prefer it to be disputable because without discourse, we really can’t learn anything beyond what is already said.  So, as always, feel free to comment on this or any other post I make/made.

Next time: I am not really sure.  I will come up with something soon . . . hopefully.

Reports on Marmalade Dog-Day 2 & 3 Tuesday, Mar 30 2010 

Yeah, can’t really claim that I am “reporting from Marmie Dog” since it ended on Sunday.  Anyways, here’s the play-by-play of my time at Marmalade Dog.

Day 2:
I ended up going to that game store and I picked up a unit booster pack for Monsterpocalypse (Series 1); I got me an Office Building and a couple of more units for some variety and duplicity.  My event was posted on the website and had a sign-up sheet, but was not put in the registration book for some reason.  Unfortunately, I ended up with no players;  just a few curious and then interested passerbys.  I ended up spending my time helping a friend who was a vendor organize a few things, chatted with friends, and then we all got into a game of Dominion.  Afterwards, I spent time painting one of my figures and making some good progress too.

Day 3:
Unlike on Saturday, I ended up with a few players for my event on Sunday.  It was fun for everyone involved.  I picked up a copy of Dark Inheritance, a campaign setting for D20 Modern (published by an independent company), and a game called Battlestations; it’s a board/roleplaying game designed to have a nostalgic sci-fi feel (i.e. cheesy uniforms and equipment that looks like kitchen utensils).

All in all, I really enjoyed myself and I would gladly go next year; in fact, I am already looking forward to it.

Reporting from Marmalade Dog: Day 1 Saturday, Mar 27 2010 

So, I feel like adding a new segment to the blog.  It’s simple: I am reporting my time at a gaming convention.  The convention is called Marmalade Dog 15 (as in this is their fifteenth year) and it is organized by the West Michigan Gamer’s Guild at Western Michigan University.  I have attended Marmie Dog for a number of years and it is one of my favorite cons to attend.  It has as much of the fun as any bigger con, without the crushing masses or greater expense.  This year, I have gotten in for free as I am running an event everyday of the con; this is actually standard compensation that they have repeatedly done over the years.

Enough with the brief, brief history, onto my day!  The drive was fairly uneventful and I got in with plenty of check-in time for my hotel room and the GM registry.  I got a chance to chat with a few good long-time friends.  I managed to find a new (to me) gaming store that is within walking distance to campus.  It looks promising; it’s well stocked, organized, with gaming space, and a variety of products, both in genre and in materials.  I have every intention of checking it out further tomorrow when I have time and to pick something up, if anything strikes my interest.

As for the con, well, I didn’t have as much as I was hoping.  My event ran longer than I thought, because no one was familiar with the system.  Also, I was concerned about keeping the pace fast, and the game fun/interesting.  One player was concerned about game balance, while another assured me that the scenario was balanced and that the other player is a chronic whiner.  I don’t take solice in that, as I feel that the “whining” player had some valid points and that I could improve upon my scenario for future events.  The biggest issue was adding variety to the game in the form of terrain; I did not have as much as anybody liked and that would be the number one change. I agree and I intend to add more detailed terrain for future events.  Other than that, everyone involved seemed to have fun.

Well, I can’t think of much else at this moment.  So, goodnight all ^_^

Review- Monsterpocalypse Thursday, Mar 18 2010 

Genre: miniature, collectable
Number of players: 2
Objective: to destroy your opponent’s monster(s) in both forms

A little confession: I love monster movies.  Even when they are dumb with cheesy special effects and story lines used to induce vomiting to prevent choking, they are still awesome for me to watch.  Why?  Honestly, its cause I enjoy the rampage and wanton destruction.  Yeah, I admit to enjoy violent media; I don’t act on it, just watch it.  Other than that, I do enjoy the creative designs for the monsters; the actual execution of said giant critters is another thing.
Another, bigger confession: I love Privateer Press.  This company enjoys taking risks with their games and succeed at making their games bigger and badder than many other games.  Also, they design their games with the intention of giving the active/aggressive player the advantage.  This goes against other games where being passive/defensive is a more optimal strategy.  With Privateer, it encourages you to actually play the game and not just sit back and wait out your opponents.

With those two admittances in mind, let’s get into Monsterpocalypse!
After the success of their two major miniature lines (WARMACHINE and HORDES), Privateer decided to try something new; in their own words: The Next Big Thing.  And that was Monsterpocalypse, a collectible miniature game based around kaiju, or monster movie genre.  Currently, there are 4 released sets, one soon to be released, and 12 different factions to play, each representing one of six agendas (think alignment from DnD); and each is guaranteed to hearken to either a classic monster movie or to other famous monsters from popular culture or anime.

Each player controls at least one monster, a number of units, and fields a number of buildings on a battle map; each of which is a different model type.  Models are moved on the battle map by spending Action dice (A-dice); naturally, buildings don’t move . . . yet.  A-dice can also be used to initiate attacks and perform actions.  When A-dice are spent they go from one pool (starting in the Unit) to the other (the Monster Dice Pool); this means that players typically will alternate activating units and monsters between turns.  Units function as a means to gather Power dice (P-dice) which the monster can use to bolster their attacks, make a special type of attack (Power Attack) that is limited to monsters only, or allow a monster to transform into a more powerful form: their Hyper Form.  Units gather P-dice by securing buildings or strategic points on the map.  Game play continues until a monster is destroyed in both forms (Alpha a.k.a. starting form, and Hyper).  When building a force, units can be of any faction, but many units’ abilities function best when they are the same faction/agenda as their monster.  Oh, don’t worry about losing units during the course of the game; you can respawn them at spawn points on the map.  You have an infinite supply of the units at your disposal, but limited to the actual number of models you have . . . hopefully that made sense.

One obvious bit of education from the game is learning about pop culture, anime, and the kaiju movie genre.  As with most miniature games, you learn resource management via your units, except that you don’t have to worry about not being able to use those units once they die; you can respawn them.  Also, you learn to strategize via the way you construct your force; mostly utilizing the synergy between units and monsters or other units or between the buildings and the units/monsters in your force.  Also, you learn to coordinate your efforts between your units and your monster.  Finally, you need to get use to the symbols used to depict special abilities that models possess; some are logical, others intuitive, and others you just need to get use to.

Next time: Morton’s List-The End to Boredom

Review-Dominion: Seaside Tuesday, Mar 2 2010 

For details regarding genre, number of players, and objective see Dominion Review.

The latest expansion to Dominion, Seaside does break from the pattern of the previous two box sets.  While Seaside can be a stand alone game, just like Intrigue, it does not actually have the Treasure cards or the Victory cards needed for game play.  This means that you will have to use one of the other sets in order to play Seaside; either by itself or combined with another set.  I am not sure why the company decided to do this, although my suspicions are either: to keep production costs down (which doesn’t actually make sense as the game costs as much as the other sets) or to simply make more money because you need to buy two sets in order to play one.  This is the only problem I really see with the game, and that is just a marketing/production issue and not an actual mechanical problem.  So the game!

Before I get into exactly what Seaside adds, I need to go over an element I did not previously cover in either Intrigue or the base set.  I had mentioned that there are Action cards; what I neglected to mention the first time around is that there are two sub-types of Action cards: Reactions and Attacks.  Attack cards usually have a detrimental effect that takes place, but only works on other players.  Reactions are cards that, well, react to the actions of others.  In Dominion, the Moat is the basic Reaction wherein it prevents the effects of Attack cards.  With Intrigue, there are new Reactions and new Attacks; some of the Attacks have options (like many of the cards in the set) that are not necessarily “attacks.”
I mention this because in Seaside, we are introduced to a new type of Action subtype: Duration cards.  These are cards that affect your current and your next turn.  Also, Duration cards don’t actually go into your discard pile until your next turn; this is a very subtle aspect, but it is noteworthy in my opinion.  Duration cards allow for more long term benefits and strategies.

The other new change to the game is the introduction of realia (teacher-speak for props).  In this case, tokens and cut-outs to keep track of cumulative effects in the game.  From a production stand-point, these are of good quality; and maybe even useful in other games when needed.

So, as an expansion, Seaside adds the ability to not just plan ahead but to act ahead.  Your long term strategies do not have to be just in passive deck design and good shuffling.  Instead, you can actually manipulate your turns ahead of time; laying the foundation for a productive next turn.  When you get the right cards, not only do you make a good combination within a turn, but you can established a great combination of turns!

Next-time: Monsterpocalypse 

P.S.  I am still looking for suggestions/recommendations to future reviews.

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