Friday, September 30, 2011

The Labyrinth: A Mansion filled with flights of Madness!

Creepy bats swooping through the darkness.
Leaves drifting to the dirt around a creepy cemetery.
Ghosts drifting between the clouds on a starry night.
Flight is the theme ladies and gentlefolk!
But creepy is the coming month...why not combine them I say?

It's a dual post today as there is an upcoming event in the store as well as a gameeeee revieeeewww!
It's a good game and an interesting event so read both!
I double dog dare you.

The event coming up is our 3rd group art show!
I already mentioned it briefly in a previous blog but we've had a few new people not involved with the last show come into the store and mention that they hadn't seen anything on the blog yet about the upcoming art show.
This, to be frank,...SHOCKED me!
Not because they hadn't noticed the post but that people read this blog ?!? :P
What's up with that?!

But no in all seriousness
The theme is Flight!
The first two I'm pleased to say were smashing successes each with larger #'s of submitted pieces than the last and a range of mediums and themes that all fell within the last themes of robots and under the sea.
This coming month in Oct. it will be Flight.

This can be literally the act of flying around amongst the sky or stars but ALSO it could be something creative concerning the word like flights of haunted stairs or flights of fancy.
The sky is actually the limit here so go wild!
We of course reserve the right to pick which submissions actually fall within the criteria of the show but so far we haven't turned anyone aside that has a creative idea or twist.
The under the sea stuff is coming down as we speak so get your submissions in fast!

All submissions should be in as of the 15th of October.
The art show opening night shall be on the 19th!
Dress to impress or just come looking cheekily casual it makes little difference as it shall be a fun evening to be sure with snacks and beverages to meet and greet the artists and sign the guest canvas with a doodle or your signature.

Now on to the game!!
As mentioned in the previous post today's pick is-

Mansions of Madness

It's a game I've played once or twice so while I've had some exposure to some of the scenarios I'm by no means an expert on the game yet and am still hungry to play it a few more times outside the store or on a games night.

But some of you who have been staring at it on the shelf or asking a buddy of yours to bring it in might want a bit of a rundown on what to expect. So here we go.

House on Haunted Hill fan? Good start!
Similar to Arkhem Horror you say? It isn't without its similarities!
In fact the characters (to my knowledge) are the same in both games.
The tile style board game leans more towards the HoHH setup as shown below.

Co-operative too you hear? Sort of... players must all cooperate to solve the challenge and fight off dreaded monsters, minus the dreaded overlord who will attempt to foil you at every turn!

Mansions of madness draws upon new and old game elements to keep the creepy cthulu and moldy mansion theme fresh and new.
Similar to both Arkhem and Haunted Hill this game sports several characters with unique stats for players to choose from before the game starts.

Each of these characters will have benefits and weaknesses.
The game has plastic detailed (yet unpainted) figures both to represent you and the monsters on the game board. Some players will be ideally suited to fighting off the beasties while other characters like the old professor or the gorgeous starlet might be better suited to collecting items or solving complex puzzles.

The fighting mechanic is nothing to marvel at as it's been used many a time before but at least it's well balanced!
You have X amount of hit points to begin with, typically ranging from about 3-8 and each time you are struck by a monster in combat you take wounds appropriately. If you reach zero you die. Items can be found that heal you or give your stats bonuses and weapons can be found to increase your combat lethality.

Scattered through the house are clues that will lead to other sections of the mansion or unlock new wings. All the while monsters of varying difficulties will spawn to impede the characters. That or senses of dread, shifting walls, or sudden power outages also can occur at the game masters discretion or through the drawing of cards that will act as interesting plot points.
Ultimately each scenario will have the party fleeing from the mansion or needing to reach a boss monster in time. I recall in our group we needed only to flee and bring every party member with us before the house sank forever into the earth. We managed to all get out save one party member which left us ending in a stalemate.

The most interesting thing for me was that many of the key clues and the in game mechanic to get past locked doors, to unseal a crypt, or to get water circulating / the power back on. Based off your characters intelligence statistic you will be presented with a physical puzzle. Perhaps a series of tiles to arrange and twist about or coloured rings to be assembled. If your intelligence stat is lets say... 4. Then on your turn you can move the tiles about 4 times. This limits how fast you solve the puzzle but since they are still brain teasers there is your OWN intelligence that comes into play because you might not immediately see the solution and no one can help you solve it.

I found it a refreshing adventure game since so many others of late have left me feeling unsatisfied. I'd rank it a 7.5 out of 10 with my vote increasing to an 8/10 if all the other scenarios are as engaging as the 1s one I played.

This has been the labyrinth, and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Labyrinth: The Hallow is nearly upon us!

That wonderful time of the year every Oct. 31st when children, youths, and sometimes deranged and sugar-deprived adults dress up and roam the streets in search of candy!!
Or brains...brains that taste like candy are the best IMO.
MmmmMMhhh brainnnnns!

For the most part the costumes are meant to be scary...but from time to time we do see the odd fairy, princess, or purple lovable huggable dinosaur costume.
It remains our solemn duty, to this day as a timeheld tradition, to beat those pink and fluffy critters black and blue with our true monstrous appendages and dastardly weaponry.

Know your enemy...
Study it's movements and behaviour patterns carefully.
Sometimes they travel in packs, aim your strikes on straglers or sickly specimens.
Pick the perfect time to strike when it's most vulnerable.
Always approach from the shadows and make sure to aim for their green underbellies or flowery wings...only when you are certain of the kill can we all breath a little easier.

If we manage to cull enough of these 'adorable' critters then we can reinforce our scary superiority and remind them that the POINT of the holiday is to scare off the real demons and monsters that lurk in the dark.

Well...or to get ridiculously drunk and forget everything associated with the holiday.

On that note, avoid downtown princess street on the weekend beforehand. The 29th and 30th are most likely going to the herald the arrival of armies of wannabe-strippers, playboy bunny girls, and drunken cheer things. Covorting about until theyre just sort of lounging about and hurling on everything in sight...

I personally feel we should all be on high alert this time of year!
Not drinking ourselves into oblivion.
Halloween is the one time of year that we are most likely to get caught off guard by an authentic zombie apocalypse and for what?
Nowadays when you run around and get candy it's almost always crap candy anyways...erm. Least that's what i hear...not like I still go door to door at my age.
Or rough up purple dinosaurs and take their candy...

In my neighbourhood they strove each year to put the junk in junkfood.

(Such a handy graph! :P and oh so true.)

But enough...those that are crafty will make it to November and those that aren't well...they shall bolster the undead's numbers for the following year. We'll just have to go Shaun of the Dead on them and chose our very worst vinyls to hurl at them! Best scene...EVER.

Shaun: NO! That's the second album i ever bought!! Some of these are limited... AHH what was that??
Ed: Blue Monday...
Shaun: That was an original pressing!!
Ed: Purple Rain?
Shaun: No.
Ed: Sign O' The Times?
Shaun: Definitely Not...
Ed: The Batman Suondtrack?
Shaun: Throw it!

Because any crisis should be handled as such...with a very british sort of air of calm and collected no-nonsense logic!

Now the question of the day!


A valid question indeed...
One that I'd be overjoyed to answer if it wasn't for the fact that zombies are assaulting the front AS WE SPEAK!
I shit you not...luckily we have an extensive costume section in the back these days!

I'll just run back throw on one of our creepy capes snatch myself one of our sharp swords and
equip an eypatch and viola I have a perfectly piratey outfit!
Which, as we all know, is one of zombie's true weaknesses. Acts of piracy!

OR i could use the mountain of makeup in the back and blood packets to dress up like an undead zombie or vampire and mingle right in and save myself!
Our halloween section ALSO has catalogues so...if i can baracade myself in and spend a few weeks waiting for a delivery i could order in anything my heart desires costume wise!

This all also ties in with next weeks game review of Mansion of Madnessssss!
Since tis the season we decided it would be appropriate to talk up the creepy crawly game.
Till then stay safe and keep a wary eye peeled!

This has been the Labyrinth and I'm HenryMcCulloch. Game on!