Archives November 2020

A Game of Cat and Mouth by Exploding Kittens

A Game of Cat and Mouth

The Exploding Kittens have released another feline-centric game with A Game of Cat and Mouth.

In our house there is one species of pet that ranks higher than all others and that is the majestic feline. My son’s love for cats is so strong that if there is a cat on it or it is cat themed it is almost guaranteed to win him over. It’s no surprise that Exploding Kittens is one of his all time favorite games to play. When he learned that the team behind it were releasing another cat themed title he was more than excited. We received our copy of A Game of Cat and Mouth soon after he heard the news.

Cat and Mouth

Players rapidly use magnetic paws to launch balls through the eyes, nose or mouth holes in the divider between sides. The first player to get all white, all yellow or the single black ball on the opposing side wins. The launchers themselves make use of the most powerful magnets I’ve ever seen that didn’t have electricity amplifying their strength.

Getting the balls through the holes require a bit of skill but with a little practice and even a four year old can do well at the game. The entire family has a blast with this game. This game is so much fun it even draws the attention of one of our own cats.

Cat and Mouth

Party Hard 2 ~ a game where it pays to not party

Party Hard 2

Have you ever had a loud neighbor you couldn’t shut up? With Party Hard 2 you can live your fantasies of a permanent solution.

TinyBuild have a history of exploiting a franchise for all that it’s worth so why should Party Hard 2 be a surprise? Having never played the original and hearing that it was mediocre at best I was surprised to hear there would be a sequel. I am never one to turn down a game offered for review though and as always my opinion is never swayed by the price I had to pay to play the game.

Presumably the original Party Hard leaves off with the killer going to therapy. As no surprise the Party Hard Killer finds himself getting upset at the noise coming from the nightclub nearby and upon hitting his breaking point dons his mask and knife once again and begins a new killing spree. The game visually isn’t much to look at as the bulk of the detail is rather pixelated and feels like it is meant to capitalize on the frequent waves of pixel-based nostalgia. The story feels like it just might be trying a bit too hard to justify why you are killing all of the party-goers from one location to another- we’re adults dammit, sometimes we just want to kill random people. Controls are easy to pick up and some of the items make for some rather interesting combinations.

The game is quite difficult to play and if you aren’t careful you will be arrested by the police and must start the game over. With a bit of patience however you can capitalize on people leaving the group so you can jump them in an alley. Gameplay is quite addicting and entertaining as you find new ways to kill the party-goers, drug dealer, bikers and more. I found myself wishing I had played the original game because this game was utterly fantastic and extremely addicting. I regularly find myself saying “one more try” or “I’ll stop when I beat this map” and each time I find that one more try becomes two and three tries.

The Department of Truth

Department of Truth

“And it shall come to pass, that he who flees from the noise or the fear, shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare!” Prepare yourselves with the book of Department of Truth, chapters 1 & 2!

The Conspiracy Theorist in chief: James Tynion IV.
Propaganda designer: Martin Simmonds!

The official plot:

“Cole Turner has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn’t prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true, from the JFK assassination to flat Earth theory and reptilian shapeshifters. One organization has been covering them up for generations. What is the deep, dark secret behind the Department of Truth?”

Image Comics

That’s a great solicitation…unfortunately, it’s pretty vague. We learn early on, that it’s more like “managing” the so-called secrets. A more apt description is “the truth” is always in flux…literally.

Department of Truth
Of course Lee Harvey Oswald would be in charge!

My Impressions:

  • No doubt about it, this one is a real head-scratcher!
  • If things work the way they are saying…there is one helluva butterfly effect going on. Constantly!
  • 80’s child care abuse cases…not what I thought the first story would tackle…I’m impressed.
Department of Truth
Ladies and Gentlemen…meet out hero.

Notable Appearances/Events:

  • See the glacier at the edge of the world!
  • Witness personified evil feasting on children.
  • Meet the crack team that manages this chaos. Most of whom feel easily replicable.

Bottom Line: 3 Stars!

Definitely not the conspiracy theory story I thought it would be. It will be interesting to see exactly how it plays out. On the positive side, this set-up definitely leaves the book open to incorporating just about anything. Ultimately, the jury is out on if this is a long term title for me.

Poetry for Neanderthals a game by Exploding Kittens

Poetry for Neanderthals

Poetry for Neanderthals is another family fun game created by the team at Exploding Kittens.

The Exploding Kittens team are back with another insane concept for a family game in Poetry for Neanderthals. Since it’s inception Exploding Kittens has been a staple in our household and the team of the same name was responsible for several of our favorite family games. Conceptually the game is quite simple, dividing into two teams players will take turns describing a word or phrase but must do so using only single syllable words. If at any point they gesture, use more than one syllable, use the word they are trying to describe or a few other instances or rule breaking then they will get hit with the inflatable club. Not going to lie but I felt like Captain Caveman while wielding it over my daughter’s head.

Every player during our games end up getting hit at least once or twice, most of us for gesturing. I was really bad at giving clues without moving because I am naturally very animated when I talk.

The game is a great exercise for the old noggin because you have to be a quick thinker to score points and avoid losing them at the same time. First game was parent’s versus the kids and some of the kids got bored early on (one was watching a movie and the other was too distracted to play) and so we started over for a round of boys versus girls. It was a close game but us boys won by only a couple points. Everyone that played to the end loved the game (4 of 6 members of the household) and the other two had fun until pulled away by the call of the children’s film on tv. We are all looking forward to the next game night we get to spend on this game.

The Suicide of Rachel Foster game review

Suicide of Rachel Foster

Suicide is never a good thing but what makes the Suicide of Rachel Foster particularly noteworthy?

The Suicide of Rachel Foster by Daedelic Entertainment is a video game that focuses on investigating not only her final moments but how it affected Nicole and her family. Immediately upon starting the game you learn that Rachel Foster was you father’s mistress and soon after the breakup between them she had committed suicide. Nicole, our protagonist in this story, reads about this briefly in a letter sent to her by her dying mother, asking her to close the story and sell the family hotel.

If investigating a suicide from years ago while trying to sell a hotel wasn’t enough you arrive during one of the worst storms hitting Montana in decades. When I heard about this game I was told it would be an investigation based narrative and based on that description sounded like it would be quite dull. Playing through the first few minutes after arriving at the hotel it feels suspiciously like it was hiding a horror game under it’s mundane dressing. The music and effects add a bit of tension (or perhaps that’s my lack of sleep after working the graveyard shift) but is offset by the slow movements and bored dialogue- Nicole sounds dreadfully bored.

The visuals of the game are quite detailed but many of the more interesting sites cannot be interacted with in any way. Gameplay is maddeningly dull and tedious. Movements slow without any options to speed them up (it seriously needed a jog option while navigating the hall of the hotel. Playing over an hour I am no closer to unraveling the secret of the suicide and wonder if perhaps she played her own game. I expected much better from Daedelic and unless it is a free title I would avoid this one, of course if you need help going to sleep at night playing this before bed just might help.

Batman: Three Jokers #2

Three Jokers

And Batman asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Joker, for we are many!” Delve into the insanity in Batman: Three Jokers, chapter 2, verses 1-54!

This is the word according to the infamous Geoff Johns
As envisioned by Jason Fabok

The official plot:

“As Batman and Batgirl follow an unexpected thread linking the three Jokers with someone from the Dark Knight’s past, Red Hood dives headfirst into trouble and finds himself struggling to stay afloat without the aid of his allies. Batman: Three Jokers continues its trajectory as the ultimate examination of The Joker and his never-ending conflict with Batman. Prepare yourselves for the second chapter of one of the most terrifying and personal mysteries Batman has ever faced!”

DC Comics

“Terrifying” feels a little over the top, unless you’re Jason Todd, but aside from that, this is a really spot on synopsis.

Three Jokers
That’s the second time he’s alluded to Jason being one of the bad guys.

My Impressions:

  • This story delves into the metal injuries Joker inflicted on Jason and Barbara…and how they handled the lasting impacts. Heavy stuff that most comics don’t handle to this depth.
  • Without a doubt, this is the Empire Strikes Back of the series. The good guys lose and lick their wounds while the bad guys end with the upper hand. I like it!
  • Jason really needs to understand that he was DEAD, so he can’t blame people for burying him!
  • Was it really necessary to make Jason naked?
Three Jokers
I feel that there’s a big reveal coming…or a retcon.

Notable Appearances/Events:

  • Batman (Bruce Wayne)
  • Joker
  • Joker
  • Red Hood (Jason Todd)
  • Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
  • Joe Chill

Bottom Line: 4 Stars!

At least this time it’s not Batman’s fault that Jason is beaten to death (almost). Kidding aside, this is a pretty haunting issue…especially the revealing scenes in Barbara’s apartment. All of that evidence of her rehabilitation after being paralyzed…the evidence of how it changed her life. Just how much Jason’s death affected him. It’s a great story. I can’t decide if I want to see Jason embrace the Joker route, or hold true as a hero. Perhaps DC should have set up a phone number and let the fans decide!

Stillwater #2, “The Greatest Burden”


Lazarus came forth out of the grave! If you live in Stillwater…you will too! Learn how in the book of Stillwater, chapter 2, verses 1-32!

Hey look, it’s written by that Howard the Duck guy, Chip Zdarsky. (Yes, I pointed it out last time too…I haven’t forgiven him yet.)
Brought to life (pun intended) by the one and only Ramon K Perez!

The official plot:

“Daniel West has returned to Stillwater, but his homecoming is anything but happy! What secret is the town hiding from the outside world? And can Daniel save his mother from meeting her fate within The Park?”

Image Comics

NOPE NOPE NOPE! IF Daniel ever left Stillwater, it was as an infant…so this hardly counts as a “homecoming.” We already know the secret, so that’s a rhetorical question…and lastly, how does burying an immortal person for two weeks count as “meeting her fate?” This solicitation writer really earned their pay on this one.

My Impressions:

  • Ah – The Judge! I knew there had to be someone in a seat of power.
  • If the deputies are shooting each other, I can’t wait to meet the sheriff.
  • Who’s the boy scout hiking that kid out of Stillwater…and is that kid even Daniel? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you can’t die…what is it like to be buried alive for two weeks?

Notable Appearances/Events:

  • We get to meet the Judge!
  • See…I told you Tony didn’t matter.
  • Punishment in a small, immortal, town is on display!

Bottom Line: 3 Stars!

Stillwater feels like a CW television show. The writer essentially did a mash-up of Riverdale and The Old Guard, and it works. I don’t see this being a long series if they don’t start introducing additional elements soon. So far so good, but I’m not hooked for the long haul.

Stillwater #1, “I Can’t Protect You, No One Can”


“For the living know that they will die, and the dead know nothing” except in Stillwater, where all those rules are out the window! Perhaps you too can live forever, if you study the book of Stillwater, chapter 1, verses 1-32!

The tale as told by Chip Zdarsky. Okay…hold on…he wrote Howard the Duck! He can’t possibly write horror, can he?
Illustrated by the somewhat untried Ramon K Perez?

The official plot:

“SERIES PREMIERE! Nobody dies. In the town of Stillwater, that’s not just a promise. It’s a threat.”

Image Comics

The original solicitation for Stillwater was quite a bit longer, but I removed the name dropping and award mentions. Seems what we were left with was a couple short sentences. Not sure if it’s good that they hype takes up more space than the actual issue description.

That kid…just fell from the roof of a four story building.

My Impressions:

  • Never grow old, never die…where have I heard that before?
  • I seriously watched an episode of Scooby-Doo last night, that started the same exact way! “You inherited money! Go to a backwater town to get it!”
  • Just enough questions without answers to bring me back for another issue. (Kind of like they planned it that way.)
Well this looks serious.

Notable Appearances/Events:

  • Daniel West (The protagonist)
  • Ted (Deputy Asshole)
  • No one else really matters…especially Tony.

Bottom Line: 3 Stars!

Stillwater is more of a psychological horror than the “zombie” story I thought it would be. There is no doubt that it has some real potential. A town full of essentially immortal people are bound to have some really messed up interactions. Hopefully the writers can play up that component.

Talisman Batman: Super Villains Edition

Talisman Batman

Have you ever wanted to take on the role of your favorite villains from Gotham? In Talisman Batman: Super Villains Edition you can!

USAOpoly brings us a new take on the classic game Talisman with Talisman Batman. Having never played a Talisman game I didn’t know what to expect but loving Batman’s rogues I knew that this game would be right up my alley so when The Op Games offered me a review copy I jumped at the chance.

The goal of the game is to play as one of the various villains (what game let’s you do this, honestly?) and sneak your way through Arkham Asylum until you reach the security tower. Finding the exit isn’t simply the end though, you must also face down the greatest detective himself- Batman! Each turn your villain performs two actions, movement and encounters. In terms of movement your dice determine what happens and as always a roll of 1 is a failure, meaning Batman is moving as well. When you finish your movement you must resolve your encounter with the space you are on. Encounters will vary based on the space itself or if you share that space with either another player of Batman himself.

I loved the theme of the game and was honestly surprised there wasn’t an option where you could have someone play as Batman himself. Doing a larger group would have been quite fun if one person was playing the bat and everyone else had to either avoid him, work with each other to escape or face him directly. The mechanics worked well for the game and having to roll for your movement (instead of a default setting) added some stress inducing variables that made for some tense moments. If you’ve ever wanted to play the villain this game is a must for you but leaves a bit to be desired for those uninterested in the role.

Detective Comics #1027, Compilation Tome!

Detective Comics

Brethren! Seek not to ponder the Batman himself, instead, feast yourself on this massive volume of his stories! Behold the book of Detective Comics, chapter 1027, verses 1-144!

This is the scripture according to: Peter J. Tomasi, Scott Snyder, Greg Rucka, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, James Tynion IV, Mariko Tamaki, Marv Wolfman, Grant Morrison, Dan Jurgens, Kelly Sue DeConnick
(Queue a dramatic inhale!) Illustrated by: Eduardo Risso, Lee Bermejo, Walter Simonson, David Marquez, Jim Cheung, José Luis García-López, Olivier Coipel, Riley Rossmo, Dan Mora, Chip Zdarsky, Jamal Campbell, Chris Burnham, Dan Jurgens

The official plot:

“Light the Bat-Signal, because Detective Comics #1027 is here! In honor of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27, this special, book-size celebration brings you the biggest names in comics as they chronicle the most epic Batman adventures Gotham City and the DC Universe have ever seen! The World’s Greatest Detective has a mountain of cases to crack: Who murdered Gotham’s most corrupt police officer? What does The Joker’s annual visit mean for Bruce Wayne? And most importantly, what WayneTech mystery will sow the seeds of the next epic Batman event? All this and more await you within the pages of the biggest Batman issue of them all!”

DC Comics

“Most epic Batman adventures…?” Not so much. “Seeds of the next epic Batman event?” Sure, I’ll give them that one. Look, it’s a collection of short stories, some good, some bad, mostly adequate. It all depends on your personal flavor.

Detective Comics
The obligatory supernatural Batman story!

My Impressions:

  • Be careful where you set this issue down, it’s so heavy it could cause some damage
  • Exactly what you would expect from a Batman anniversary issue…a collage of art and words. A chance for some folks to try new styles etc.
  • Initially intimidating…but it should be, it’s lighter fare. Easily skipped if you don’t want to invest the time.
Detective Comics
The obligatory period piece!

Notable Appearances/Events:

  • I am not even going to attempt to list everyone appearing in this thing!
  • The Silver Ghost (Detective #26) – We will probably never see him again, but I liked him!

Bottom Line: 3 Stars!

This thing is a BEAST to get through…144 pages. Seriously a multi-session read. In addition, it’s one of the better milestone compilation issues I’ve seen recently, including some sections that tie into currently running story lines. Of course there are those that go for the “deep” or “shock” stories as well, though none are specifically memorable.