Friday, May 31, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts about Sentinels of the Multiverse

So, in a recent post, I mentioned that I've been playing a lot of Sentinels of the Multiverse lately, at least when out and about playing board games.  As you may already know, I particularly like cooperative games, but I thought that I'd mention here a few things that have been running through my brain lately. 

I like that characters aren't completely useless after they die are defeated.  This is actually common among modern board gamers:  Player elimination is generally considered a bad thing.  I do like one particular game series - The Red Dragon Inn - that requires player elimination, since it's last man standing, but, in my experience, by the time that one player is finally eliminated, the game isn't terribly far from the end.  In Sentinels, since the game-wide lose condition (some villains have additional ways to defeat the heroes) is the defeat of all of the heroes, there must be some threat that one of the heroes will go down; unless a single hero's defeat meant a loss - which wouldn't work thematically - this would have to happen.  While it doesn't seem to be a perfect solution, I can't think of anything better automatically, and it works thematically. 

I like that all villains flip, and flip differently.  They did this cool thing where every villain basically has two "forms" that (can) both come up during battle.  However, what I like even more is that each villain has a different way to flip.  In the base game alone, the four villains have either three or four (depending on how picky you are) different ways to flip:  Omnitron flips every turn (spending half the game in each form), Baron Blade flips when he's "defeated" the first time (as he jumps into his power armor), and Citizen Dawn and Grand Warlord Voss each flip when the heroes have fought their way through their mooks.  I also had a chance recently to fight against a promotional villain who flips when he gets his cloaking device out of his deck, and flips back when he loses it. 

Fanatic and Visionary:  Challenging or Underpowered?  These are two of the heroes in the base game (out of ten), and the two that have given me the most chagrin.  Visionary just dies at the slightest provocation:  Since she has no healing or damage reduction, she basically has to luck into either of two rather flimsy defenses:  One that takes a very small amount of damage for her, and another that makes her invulnerable, but prevents her from doing anything at the same time.  Fanatic, on the other hand, has a teeny bit of healing, but deals herself so much damage during the game that it's very negated.  In both cases, I'm trying to decide whether the hero is just challenging to play, or should just be played by someone who doesn't mind being defeated a third of the way in. 

Those are just a few thoughts that I thought that I'd share.  Overall, is good times. 

General Update May 2013

I figure that I should give you guys a general update on what's going on in my life.  Here's a quick rundown: 
  • New Job:  I forget whether I've mentioned that I've got a (comparatively) new job.  I've also gotten past the initial trial period thingy.  Also, work's good.  
  • Minecraft:  I haven't gotten around to playing Minecraft much in the past ... awhile.  I'm still liking Thaumcraft, though. 
  • Board Games:  Sentinels of the Multiverse is quite fun!  Also other games, but there's already quite a lot of replay value in Sentinels.  
  • Tabletop RPGs:  Where the frak is everybody?  I has no friends.  :(
  • Sleep:  What's that?  
  • Reading:  working on The King in Yellow
  • Webcomics:  I've fallen way behind, and it's really really really hard to catch up.  
  • Western Print Comics:  I might see if I can get my friendly local comic shop to start carrying Mouse Guard.  
 I was going to say more, but this bulleted list is actually pretty good for a quick rundown. 
Maybe more details next time?  

Sudden Short Story 49

"-- joins us for our discussion.  Mr. Fontaine, let me start with you.  You've been quick to dismiss theories that the weapon was Israeli in origin, but where do you think that it originated?" 
"Well, first off, I'd like to clarify that I only said that if it was an antimatter weapon, then it's not Israeli.  While it would make a certain degree of strategic sense, to keep surrounding militaries at bay, remember that Israel's advanced weaponry still comes mostly from the United States, who, to the best of anyone's understanding, have yet to develop the technology to weaponize antimatter." 
"An interesting point, Mr. Fontaine, and I'd like to return to it, but first, let's see what our other guests have to say.  Ms. Andersen, what are your thoughts on this." 
"The weapon, whatever it is, is obviously Russian in origin.  While I don't personally believe that it was an antimatter bomb, the fact is that a weapon of such magnitude could only be developed by an economic superpower.  Among them, only Russia would have even a chance of performing the entire project in secret.  While China is a significant cybersecurity threat, their power is in their numbers; they're good at hacking, but even then they're always caught out." 
"Very good points as well, but before we continue, let us hear from Prof. Sauveterre.  Prof. Sauveterre, what are your thoughts on this?" 
"Let me begin by saying that all of this talk of whether it is an antimatter weapon is a waste of time.  --" 
"You think that it's safe to assume that we are not, in fact, dealing with an antimatter weapon?" interrupted the host. 
"No, I think that it's safe to assume that it is.  The radiation signature, scale, and seismic patterns were all consistent with the release of a large quantity of antimatter at or near the Earth's surface." 
"You don't suppose that the Russians used it, though, do you?" chimed in Fontaine.  "It runs entirely against their global geo-political self-interest." 
"But they're the only ones who could have," proclaimed Andersen.  "Neither China nor the U.S. could have kept it under wraps for so long." 
"Since you two seem so keen on politics," began Sauveterre, "I'll ask you:  Is Russia's investigation into the origin of this weapon so extensive as to make you suspect that they doth protest too much?"
For once, the talking heads were silent. 
"The fact is that nobody - not even the superpowers - has any idea who made or used this antimatter bomb.  ...  And that should scare the hell out of you."