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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

Villages of Valeria
Designed by Rick Holzgrafe and Isaias Vallejo
Art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Published by Daily Magic Games

Villages+of+Valeria

The Skinny – A richly illustrated, strategic Tableau building card game that is quick to learn and fast paced.

Villages of Valeria is a great little card game. Players each take the role of a Duke, competing to make their town the capital of a fantasy kingdom. Using hands of cards drawn from a central area, players gain resources, build up their towns, and recruit a variety of citizens, from butchers to arch-mages in order to have the best town.
The game is easy to learn and strategic without being overly complicated. It is played with one to five players, even including a solitaire variant. A more open take on deck building games like Dominion, players build their towns up in the open, so everyone can see what everybody else has. The really interesting mechanic, though, is follow actions. Each turn, one player decides what action they are going to take, such as building by playing a card or paying cards to gain more resources. The trick is, after that player goes, his opponents can follow up with the same action. There is usually a benefit to going first, such as a cheaper cost or a better reward, but this still adds a nice layer to the gameplay, and you have to consider your opponents’ potential action as well as your own. This also keeps the gameplay fast paced, involving players even when it isn’t their turn. A typical game usually only lasts about 20-25 minutes.
The art on the cards is also great, with a nice use of the fantasy theme, including five gorgeous player staring cards of castles in different seasons.
Villages of Valeria is a quick, fun strategy card game that doesn’t require a PHD to play, with exciting fantasy art. You can find it online at dailymagicgames.com, or ask for it at your local game store!

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Hugh Likes Comics – Ghost in the Shell FCBD 2018

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Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network Free Comic Book Day sapmple
Written by Max Gladstone
Art by David Lopez
Colors by Nayoung Kim
Published by Kodansha Comics

The Skinny: This single issue adventure gets a lot right in this Free Comic Book Day release.

When I first heard of “Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network,” I was skeptical. Western reinterpretations of manga and anime have a tendency to lose something in the translation, and the less said about the live-action film, the better. But I was pleasantly surprised by this single-issue story, distributed as a teaser for an upcoming anthology for Free Comic Book Day.
Gladstone’s story could be a slice of Masamune’s original manga, or a single-episode story of Stand Alone Complex. The Major accompanies Director Aramaki to a trade conference, where he immediately gets kidnapped, and she runs into an old war buddy while tracking him down. The characterization is spot-on from the two old spies philosophically discussing their natures to Aramaki glibly critiquing his interrogator’s technique.
The art is a bit rougher, and the only real flaw of the issue. Lopez’s technical art is spot on, reproducing the Masamune’s design elements and the 90’s cyberpunk aesthetic of the original comic. The character art is lacking, however. His faces in particular feel dated, as though he were copying off a circa-1990’s model sheet. Kim’s grimy colors are atmospheric and serve the story well.
Free Comic Book Day may be past, but if you can find a copy of this one-and-done story, and the character designs don’t throw you, this is a fun little cyberpunk tidbit.

Hugh Likes Fiction: Gluttony Bay

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gluttony bay.jpg

Sin Du Jour: Gluttony Bay
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor

The Skinny: Matt Wallace returns for the sixth installment of his Sin Du Jour series, and the penultimate volume is just as nasty, brutal, and short as you’d expect. And that’s why it’s great.

After building tension over the course of five novellas, Matt Wallace’s “Sin Du Jour” Series is reaching the end of its rope, and it’s been one hell of a climb. Focusing on the misadventures of a supernatural catering service, the series has had a solid thematic line of making deals with the devil. The first novel involved a celebratory dinner for a whole tribe of demons, in fact. And the consequences of those decisions are finally coming home to roost for Wallace’s huge cast of characters.
As the crew of Sin Du Jour’s relationship with government contact and string-puller Allensworth continues to sour, he reveals to them his most closely guarded secret: Gluttony Bay, a combination black site prison/five star dinning experience for his most discerning supernatural contacts. I’ll leave you to guess what’s on the menu, but Bronko, Lena and the rest will have to make a difficult choice, and hopefully live with the consequences.
We’re nearly at the end of Wallace’s masterfully crafted rollercoaster ride, and the tension is so thick you can cut it with the finest of chef’s knives. Wallace doesn’t pull any punches with this one, and he leaves us with more of a statement than a question. The supernatural catering company has always danced around the question of how do you serve monsters without becoming one. And the answer is, simply, that you don’t. He makes his characters face an impossible choice, and the writing is as juicy and delicious as a perfectly prepared steak.
SIn Du Jour book six, “Gluttony Bay” is available from amazon.com, or your preferred ebook retailer. If my previous six reviews haven’t swayed you, don’t sleep on this one.

Thanks for reading this review! If you liked it, please share it! Visit my Patreon for more content and to help me keep the lights on!

Podcast: CCR41-Revenge of the Zombies

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, must use a hidden ritual to survive this truly revolting film.

Click HERE to listen!

And if you must, click HERE to watch this dreadful movie.

This podcast was originally posted on 12/5/2017 at Skinner.FM.

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review us on your favorite podcatcher!

Hugh Likes Fiction: Killing Is My Business

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Killing Is My Business

Written by Adam Christopher

Published by Tor

The Skinny: Christopher’s follow-up to Made To Kill is another rollicking robot noir set in 1960’s L.A.

Ray Electromatic is the last functioning robot in1960’s Los Angeles, and he’s the world’s only robot private detective. At least, that’s what his business cards say. His real job is assassination. With his trusty computer/business partner Ada, he finds his target and gets the job done. But when Rays targets start turning up dead or missing before he can complete the job, he starts to wonder who he can really trust.

Christopher returns to his post-robotics Los Angeles for a second novel that is as much of a noire delight as the first. Like all good detective novels, it doesn’t rely on having read Made To Kill, while pushing Ray’s story forward in some fun and interesting ways. The author has a knack for voice, and he balances the 60’s sci-fi and noire elements superbly. Ray’s momento-like limitation, the fact that his memory tape only lasts 24 hours, is used to good effect in this story, and requires Ray to engage in a fair amount of trust, something that always goes awry in a noire world.

Killing Is My Business is a cracking read, and you can pick it up from your local bookstore, or download a copy from Amazon.

Thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon if you don’t mind paying a ludicrous extra fee!

Hugh Likes Comics: Fence

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Fence #1
Written by C. S. Pacat
Drawn by Joanna The Mad
Colored by Joana Lafuente
Published by Boom Studios

Fance

The Skinny: The by the numbers sports comic calls to mind “Yuri On Ice,” but is coy in the first issue.

Fence is the story of scrappy young fencer Nicholas Cox. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks and hasn’t had the best training, but he’s got raw talent. He also has the luck to face fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama in his first tournament bout.
“Fence” is a teen sports comic about, obviously, fencing, that dutifully hits the story beats it needs to in the first issue without much fanfare. We get a lot of the main character’s back story, a very nice competition sequence, and a last page setup for the series, and it all works. The comic has a very pure shonen sports manga vibe to it. It reminded me most strongly of “Yuri on Ice,” but the text doesn’t feel completely committed to the idea yet. Although based on the queer fantasy trilogy that are C. S. Pacat’s breakout work, one shouldn’t be surprised.
Fans of this subgenre will find plenty to like, though, and Joanna The Mad’s art is clean and expressive, lingering on emotional scenes notes. Her figures are fluid and dynamic, and Joana Lafuente’s colors bring them out well.
Fence #1 is now available from Comixology or your local comics shop. Time will tell if this sports manga inspired book will stand out from the crowd, but this is a solid, if not surprising, introduction.

Podcast: Nostalgia Pilots Bonus 02

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Bonus Episode 2: Gundam Versus

Hugh and Jason take a break from regular Nostalgia Pilots duties to discuss the latest PS4 Gundam offering: Gundam Versus! Get their reviews, impressions, and what they felt was missing in the game. Hint: it’s a horse piloting a horse mobile suit.

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