IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff



Full disclosure: yes, I did watch the show.  But I still dont think the movie was very good.  The idea of even having a movie didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but hey whatever.  If it was good I’m sure I wouldn’t have complained.  Why isn’t it very good?  Well, the story is pretty grating, especially with how they set up the relationships of the four guys through the Piers Morgan interview.  After that they went into the same plot as almost every episode: Vince wants to make a movie, Ari runs into  some behind the scenes problems, eventually everything is resolved so it works out perfectly for everyone.

One thing that stands out like a sore thumb in the Entourage movie are the celebrity cameos.  They feel forced and pointless every time, and boy are there a lot of them.  I mean, they have Kelsey Grammar walking out of a building as they’re walking in just cause.  Its stupid.

When it comes right down to it, there’s a couple funny things and revisiting old characters always has some cinematic value, but this really wasn’t too great.




Its amazing what thirty years will do. I grew up not knowing anything about rap music. I grew up in a small farming town where my only exposure to the rap industry was the media’s criticism of it, and so that played a big part in forming my negative viewpoint towards the whole genre. I didn’t really have an understanding of race relations in the States and I had no idea that artists like NWA were providing an important voice to large groups of people. Granted I was only 10 at the time and living far away. But of course times change, I matured and opened my horizons, and though I still dont care for the hip hop music scene, I am at least able to see the value in it.

And this is where Straight Outta Compton works. The movie focuses on the importance of this particular group at this particular time and puts it up against the stereotypical criticisms that the media and the ignorant masses (of which I was a part of) that don’t really understand that. I think it works well on this level, especially in the first half of the film.

Two great scenes in particular highlight this: one in which the whole group is busted by the cops outside their recording studio, and another when they are warned not to sing Fuck the Police at their Detroit concert but do so anyways. Both of these moments highlighted their reasons for doing what they do.

Perhaps the movie’s most successful accomplishment is how it binds us to these characters on an intimate level despite them being some of the biggest names on the music scene. Jason Mitchell gives a great performances as Easy E, Corey Hawkins plays a perhaps too noble version of Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube is played by his own son in a performance which can be rather weak at moments but draws you to his character anyway. Paul Giamatti is also strong as their manager Jerry, especially in the aforementioned scene outside the studio.

However while I believe this is a very good film, I’m not convinced its great. I think it has enough potential that it could have been great mind you, but a couple subtleties prevent it from being so. The main thing is that while I feel like the first act does a good job of showing their roots and starts to build upon why their music is important, I dont feel like it goes deep enough into that. The Rodney King trial is featured in the film, but considering that was basically a vindication that their music did indeed have meaning, it wasn’t used properly in portraying that.

I also felt like the movie began to wander in the last act and the threads of the once tight plot began to loosen. The Suge Knight stuff felt like a diversion, and the telegraphed cameos by certain other famous rappers feels cheesy. Easy E’s story, while touching, also feels like a tangent. But its gotta be real hard to cut out his death scene, despite the fact that it may have resulted in a tighter narrative. I think that if they really went into NWA’s role of speaking for a generation of people facing the injustice of the King trials and the riots, that would have made a great climax for what the movie was trying to say. Instead when get into the three separate storylines of the leads which meander a bit. I also really disliked the credit sequences.

Even though I feel like there were certain flaws in the film preventing it from rising high, I’m really just splitting hairs. This is still an outstanding movie with characters you will care about, great production values, and an interesting story when it avoids being too biopic-y.



The Man with the Golden Gun


I was a little worried that I was gonna hate every Roger Moore film, but I didn’t hate this one.  I kind of liked the simple story of Bond vs. a hit-man idea.  It felt scaled back in a good way.  Though there was some ridiculous parts, like the cutting-edge, hair-brained idea of “solar” power. Like that’s a thing.

There is one moment which I really hated in this movie, which of course is the return of the Louisiana sheriff.  Honestly, he just happens to be touring China? And joins Bond for a car chase, just because?  As if car chases in general aren’t awful enough, we have to have this guy back.

But it was cool having Christopher Lee as the titular villain.  All in all, it wasn’t terrible.


The Spy Who Loved Me


The Bond producers clearly tried to win me over to the Roger Moore films early in this one by inducing a ski chase in the per-credit sequence.  Well played, Eon films, well played.    This is most definitely the best of the Moore era thus far.  I’m not sure what else is in store for me later, but Spy Who Loved Me goes into the “Bond films I like” category.

Why? Well apart from the ski chase, there’s quite a few other cool things, such as the underwater evil headquarters.  I also like Egypt as a setting.  But mostly its because the “fun” of the Bond films is present, without getting over-the-top goofy.  Moore seems to have really struck that chord just right with this one.

But its not all good.  Jaws is intimidating, but also kind of ridiculous.  I mean, he gets hooked to the magnet by his teeth.  And he bites a shark.  although, watching him rip up that van was pretty sweet.

Yet the movies biggest problem is that its simply too long.  The ending in particular really drags and takes forever to get to the point.  They could have easily trimmed a good half hour off of this.  Nonetheless, its the best I’ve seen since Secret Service (which coincidentally also had skiing).





This is one of the worst Bond flicks thus far. The story is wildly disconnected and it all ends with a garbage space battle. Let me explain.
Why is it disconnected? This story jumps all over the place and really seems to have no ties to scenes or ideas that came before it. We start with a space shuttle getting stolen, which is cool, and Bond goes to the research facility in California to investigate. So far so good, the movie is about an evil plot in space, things are making sense. Then we start taking wild diversions and end up in Venice for some reason. Actually there is a reason, so we can have a motorized gondola chase.

Then we go to Rio I guess, and we get yet another boat chase this time in the Amazon. I actually kind of liked this one. Then he starts exploring some magical garden, fights of snakes, etc. But regardless, it seemed like they just wanted Bond in as many exotic locales as possible. And that’s fine, that’s part of what Bond is, but it felt so blatant here that it didn’t work. They should have been more focused in locations that made sense for the overall story.

And by the way, when people make fun of Bond movies for having ridiculously needless plots for trying to kill him off, Moonraker is a rich source for that criticism.

Okay, then we get to the space stuff. Aside from the fact that Bond going into space is stupid just as a general idea, it gets worse. The Villain plot to kill off humans and repopulate with beautiful people is taken to seriously (as accented by the music. Then the Americans come (I can’t remember how they found it) and engage in a battle similar to the underwater battle from Thunderball. Except with way more lasers. Oh, the lasers! Honestly, what a crap scene.

And then there’s Jaws. I don’t know what they heck was with his character at the end. So, so awful.


10. Metal Gear Solid 3


An excellent addition to the Metal Gear saga, but there’s pretty much one reason its on the list: the sniper battle level.  I could play that over and over.

9. Ms. Pac Man



Our university arcade/hang-out had a ms. pac man machine, and damn did we ever play it a lot between classes.  Got pretty good at it to.  There’s a reason pac man is one of the most popular games in the world.

8. Jurassic Park


Yes, I am a huge fan of the movies, but thats not the only reason this game is on the list.  I lved the island exploration aspectt and how it turns into a Wolfenstein-style first person view when you enter the buildings.  I also like the idea of unlocking different floors depending on whose character cards you have.  Plus, raptors!

7. The Legend of Zelda


Zelda is proof that video games can be art.

6. Crystalis


One of my favourite story-driven games.  Its an RPG that still has the best parts; exploring the world, seeking for items, talking to people, buying upgrades.  But it takes out that separate screen, turn based fighting like Final fantasy and instead you can jsut fight enemies as you come to them.  This game is awesome, and the further you get the deeper and richer the story becomes.

5. Contra


The greatest of all shoot ’em up games.  Great with two players.  Plus, the spread gun!

4. Tetris


The best puzzle game of all time, as well as one of the most addictive games of all time.

3. Super Mario Bros.


The classic of all classics

2. Metal Gear Solid



I was first introduced to Metal Gear through a demo disc when I borrowed my friend’s playstation for the weekend, and I fell in love with it immediately.  It took all those stealth based games of my childhood (hide and seek, capture the flag) and put it into a video game.  The story was fully detailed and interesting, and the sneaking around gameplay style was incredible amounts of fun. I love this game, and this whole series.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3



When this game was released it was a pretty big deal, especially for a 9 year old.  Mario was certainly taken up a notch.  There were now 8 rich, full worlds to explore, each with their own distict features and each made you feel like you were going further down the rabbit whole.  There were new enemies and new abilities, the most famous of which is the flying raccoon suit.  The gameplay made you feel much more free and Mario and Luigi were able to do things they never could before.  Best game ever.


20. Micro Machines


Sorry Mario Kart fans, this is the best racing game.  It was based off of some of the best toys of the 90s, the micro machines.  This was so cooL! There were races on the kitchen table, in the garage, boat races in the bathtub!  Oh and don’t forget racecars around a pool table.

19. Bubble Bobble


Trap your enemies in a bubble, then pop ’em!  So many levels… This is a great game for two.

18. Donkey Kong Jr.


This is actually my favourite DK game.  I love the rope climbing exercise and figuring out the best way to get to the cage.  Addictive, colourful fun.

17. Metal Gear Solid 2


The Metal Gear Solid series is one based on stealth and espionage.  What a great idea.  It is also heavy on story, and this particular story is quite cool.  I love the labyrinthine levels on the ship and oil tanker.  Lots of fun.

16. Dr. Mario


It may seem like a Tetris rip-off, and I suppose it is.  But its got a cool catch to i of killing the 4 kinds of bugs.  Greta stuff, again highly addictive.

15. Ghosts ‘N Goblins


What a great game..  I’ve said before that great games create a unique tone and atmosphere, and G ‘n G certain falls into that camp.  This is also a very difficult game which will enrage you whenever a flying bat or swooping devil knocks all your armour off.

14. 1942


This WWII plane game is fantastic.  Lets face it, its fun to just shoot lots of stuff down in video games, and thats what you get to do here. Unlimited firepower, just get behind the enemy planes and shoot.  And then.. wait a minute, whats that?  That plane is huge! uh oh…

13. Blades of Steel


The greatest of all sports games. Period.
The loser of a fight is the one that gets a penalty. Nuff said.

12. Mega Man 2


The Mega Man games were such a brilliant concept.  He fights villains with different traits/powers (like woodman, flame man, airman) and gets their powers when he defeats them.  The gameplay of jumping and hooting, also lots of fun.  The power bars for his health and power, also lots of fun.  The second is probably the best, since they figured out how you can save your previous game, and the villains and levels were the best in this one.

11. Star Tropics


RPGs are pretty cool.  I love maps, so I love wandering around maps trying to find my way through the levels.  Star Tropics has an interesting story in an interesting location.  Its cooool.


30. Lego Star Wars


I love Lego.  I love Star Wars.  So why wouldn’t I love this?  I do.  Its incredible amounts of fun, I like that the lego building aspect is brought into the game, along with a unique brand of humour.  Plus, lightsabers are awesome.

29. Tecmo Bowl


I’m not really one for sports games.  I think they’re kinda dumb to be honest, they way they have to come out with a different version every bloody year for every bloody sport.  But forget Madden -07 or -08 or anything else, just go back to the classic Tecmo Bowl.

28. Super Mario 64


Mario seems to be awesome no matter what system he’s on.  Mario 64 was a pretty big step in graphics at the time, and the gameplay was a lot different than previous Mario’s but a lot of fun as well.  There’s even a slide race with a giant penguin, for some reason.

27. Twisted Metal 2


Something drew me to the idea of vehicles driving around trying to blow each other up.  Its fun.  There’s a map element of navigating the streets of various cities, like Paris and Monaco, as well as the  satisfaction of targeting that stupid clown van with a missile.

26. God of War


I am a big fan of Greek mythology, so I rather enjoyed getting into this game (and its sequel, they kind of both share this spot).  There was a puzzle aspect to most levels which I liked, and lots of characters and creatures from the stories I know popped up as well, which kept my interest more than peeked.

25. Super Mario World



The second generation of Nintendo saw a whole new Mario game, which proved that Mario wasn’t tied only to the NES.  It added cool new levels, and Yoshi, and was just a lot of fun.

24. MarioKart


I threw the DS one up here, cause that’s the version I play the most, but really it could be any Mario Kart.  They’re all awesome.  This is racing made fun, and its hard to deny that no matter how much of a wet blanket you are.

23. Super Mario Bros. 2


Yes, more Mario.  This second installment gets a lot of jeers, but I think it still has a lot of merit.  I like the idea that you can throw stuff, you can dig, and that each playable character was slightly different.  Don’t discount Mario 2 entirely, there’s a lot here to like.

22. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire


My favourite Star Wars game by far.  Its actually based off of one of the novels, but I didn’t really know that at the time.  Anyways, it has some really great stuff here, like space battle, hunting Boba Fett on a train, and of course replaying the famous Battle of Hoth as a snowspeeder.  I loved this game so much.  I wish I was playing it right now…

21. Adventures of Lolo


One of the kings of the puzzle game, each level saw Lolo trying to make it out of a room set up with various obstacles.  Sometimes you’d have to push boulders to make paths or block enemies, or whatever else needed doing.  A wonderfully challenging game.


40. Time Splitters 2


This one seems weird and rather random, but the reason is because this is the first person shooter my friends and I played a lot.  Is there a story mode to the game? Quite possibly, but I really don’t give a shit.  I just remember having a blast playing 2 on 2 matches of capture the flag with beers in hand.  Good times.

39. Dragon Warrior


A solid RPG from the old school Nintendo.  I never made it far in tihs game, but I enjoyed exploring around the map.

38. Wolfenstein 3D


What a great computer game.  Just kilin’ some nazis!  And finding hidden walls.  It set a really great atmosphere, which made it awesome.

37. The Oregon Trail


Classic.  I mean, you could put your own friends in your party and see which of them make it.  And if you died your name would be left on a tombstone for others to find when they played the game!  Genius.

36. Crosscountry Canada


This was the crown jewel in our elementary school lab’s game collection.  You could type in commands which would let you drive across Canada, stop to eat, sleep on the road, pick up hitchhikers and more.  All while learning a little Canadian geography.

35. Guitar Hero


This could really stand for the whole series, I don’t have any particular favourite.  They’re all just as good.  It was a brilliant notion; you can actually play the notes on a faux-guitar.  It was great at parties and just when hanging out in your buddy’s basement.  Even now when I hear certain songs like Blitzkrieg Bop or XYZ it takes me back to Guitar Hero.  Rock on!

34. Star Trek 25th Anniversary


This was one awesome computer game based on the original Star Trek series.  Each level was comprised of two parts.  The first took place on the bridge while engaged in a space battle.  But the second part was even better, when your crew of Kirk, Bones and Spock would have a problem to solve on the planet surface.  Each level was unique and had interesting solutions.  I never made it past the final 3 on 1 battle though…

33. Paperboy


There’s just something very cathartic about throwing those papers perfectly into the mailboxes.

32. Mario Party 4



Along with Time Splitters and Guitar Hero, Mario Party holds a special place for being part of great times with great friends.  Some evenings a group of us would make a planned evening of Mario Party.  Other times we’d play late night after the end of school summer bash.  Either way, good times.

31. Metriod


A great shoot em up game, made better by the collectible powers you were able to gather along the way.  I also liked the maze aspect to the whole game.


Okay, I wasn’t sure whether or not to do this list, but I decided why not?  Now lets be clear: this will not be your typical “best video game list”, as I am not really a video gamer.  So this may be  little unorthodox, but who knows, may be that makes it interesting? I hope so anyway.

Here we go…

50. Halo 2


When Halo 2 was released, it was quite the marketing phenomenon.  And once I played it, I sort of understood why.  It had a unique tone to it that felt like you were in that place, and the first person shooter aspect was a lot of fun, especially when playing with friends or online.  I get it, I get why these games are popular.

49. Lemmings


This game was a bit of a revelation for computer games when it came to our school.  It required a lot more puzzling out than most other games, and I really like puzzling stuff out.  I didn’t get to play it much, but when I did it was a lot of fun.

48. Toobin’


I mean, it was a game about drifting down a lazy river on a tube.  Awesome.  The river keeps going, you gotta maneuver around the obstacles.  And the whole while just chillin’ out on your tube.

47. Angry Birds



Yes, that’s right, I put an iphone game on here.  And I dont even have an iphone.  But I have to admit that this game is a lot of addictive fun.  There’s a reason its so popular.  Die, pigs, die!

46. Peasant’s Quest

DOS (sort of)


What is Peasant’s Quest you ask? Well its the mock DOS game from the makers of Homestar Runner, featuring everyone’s favourite dragon Trogdor the Burninator!  Its one of those “seek and find” games like King’s Quest and all those others, but with more ridiculous humour and lots of inside jokes for fans of the  site.  And whats also great is that your goal is to get to Trogdor, but never defeat him.  He can’t be defeated.

45. Donkey Kong



I mean, its a classic.  But its not the best in the DK series, as we will see later…

44. Excitebike


This is one of the most classic of all racing games. Best part? Your can make your own track.  Is it the BEST of racing games? Not quite.  Its still fun. Burning out sucks though.

43. Sonic the Hedgehog


I did not have a Sega when I was a kid, but my friend did.  And the best game he had for it was good ole Sonic, Sega’s answer to a certain famous plumber.  The reason this game was so much fun was the speed.  They were able to make it feel like you were moving incredibly fast while still being about to maintain control.  And hearing the clink of collecting those coins as you’d run through a loop was good stuff.

42. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles



Its rare that a game based off of an existing property is actually awesome, but TMNT is one of those exceptions.  This is an incredibly fun game and has lots here for young Turtle fans like I was to sink their teeth into and be excited about.  Its also very challenging, especially the underwater scene where you have to swim without getting electrocuted.  And if you make it past that, you get to drive the van!

41. Donkey Kong Country


Donkey Kong is a staple of video game culture, but when Super Nintendo came around, Kong got a whole new look and style; and it actually worked!  This time the character is given a whole world and mythology, and his backstory becomes much richer.  Plus the gameplay is barrels of fun, especially, well, the barrels.



The Mission Impossible franchise has been around since 1966 and came in the wake of the Bond franchise which popularize spy stories. Yet now, after four other movies, Rogue Nation is the MI film which tries to emulate Bond the most.

Mission Impossible 5 contains a lot of elements that feel a lot like a typical ))& story, like the eccentric villain, the villain’s Henchmen (the guy in the rafters was the most Bond-ish), and of course the Bond girl whose wrapped up in everything. Not to mention that the character of Ethan Hunt becomes more and more superhuman with each passing film. He can pretty much do anything now, like another certain suave secret agent we all know.

But the franchise blending together  and Mission Impossible getting away from the cloak and dagger elements that made Tom Cruise’s first outing so great notwithstanding, this is still a solid summer action flick. One thing these MI movies know how to do is to construct exciting set pieces. Some are quite famous, like the white room break in and the Dubai tower scene. Here we get quite a few good ones as well, including an underwater facility sequence which does a great job making you feel like you are losing your breath along with Ethan.

Despite there being WAY too many car chases (I’m on the record as being bored by car chases), I was still held along through the basic spy plot, characters, and more interesting action scenes. This is a competent, well-constructed bit of fun at the movie theater. Its nothing more than that and doesn’t reach for anything more, but it doesn’t have to.




In the world of board games, the reputation of some titles just demands a certain level of respect. Agricola is one of those titles. It created a lot of hype when it was released back in 2007 before it made the transition from Europe to North America, and when it did it rose to the number one spot on BGG’s board game ranking. It has a core of very dedicated players and, as all very popular things do, has created a mob of detractors as well.
Over the years Agricola has drawn a lot of praise and criticism. Most of the praise comes from the strong thematic ties to gameplay, the deep strategies and visceral tension. The criticism comes from annoyances on feeding your family and swingy imbalances from the cards dealt to the players. However, I wonder if most of the criticisms could be fixed by one simple change: playing with the family rules rather than the complex rules. Does that actually make it a better game?


Agricola has three main activities for you to perform on your farm: planting crops, raising animals, and building your house so your family can live indoors. In order to do these things, you need to gather the right resources and do actions in the right order. However, only a certain number of action spaces are available, and in each round of the game everyone chooses their actions one at a time. Which means if Sally chooses to plow her fields, you don’t get to.
One of the biggest features of Agricola is that every few rounds you need to feed each member of your family. Therefore, you need to collect food or have some way of producing food. This is a big driver of gameplay and creates a very tense, almost stressful, atmosphere. This turns some people off, but others like myself appreciate this tension and challenge. This is a game where you simply can’t do everything you want to do, and you have to be okay with that.
Another feature of Agricola are the improvement and occupation cards. Everyone gets a hand of cards which, if played, allows them to do various things or get bonuses. However, this is only in the complex version of the game. In the family game, you focus only on building your farm without the involvement of these cards. And this is why the family version may actually make the better game…


There is a lot in this box. First off are the board. There are board with all the action spaces, player boards, and even scoring boards and component storage boards. They are all excellently decorated in a pastoral setting. Then there are tiles for rooms and fields. Again, the artwork is great.
Actually, the artwork is just great period. Its got a subdued feeling which fits the farming theme, but its also friendly and inviting. You can sense there’s humour there without actually noticing any. There are also lots of small detail, like rocks and scarecrows in the fields, which add a lot. Top notch art.
The wooden components are a mix of cool and okay. The animals come in cool wooden models of sheep, cows and pigs (I understand the older copies of the game don’t include these). They add a lot thematically. However, the other resources are simply coloured wooden discs, which I’m okay with. What I wish was different though was the people, which are also just larger flat discs. I really do believe that they should have thrown in some farmer meeples to represent your family.



Agricola is a great game, but the question I propose is which is better; the family game or the complex game? I lean more towards the family game. Its simply tighter and more focused. You worry about your crops, your animals, your house. Farming in the 17th century was a simple, straightforward lifestyle (I assume, not having lived it myself mind you), and this version of the game reflects that. It just feels like a more elegant game system overall.
In contrast, using the occupation and improvement cards adds, well, a lotta stuff. What it gains in complexity and depth (yes, it does add depth), it loses in elegance. But this isn’t always a bad thing. I did say it adds depth, as you really need to find a way to make the cards work to your favour. However, using cards requires you to use actions, which you don’t have many of. If you do it right, you can make up for those lost actions, but still…
Adding the cards into the game also adds a high potential to cause large gaps between the players, especially with a group with varying experience levels. Therefore, someone with lots of Agricola experience can absolutely trounce on other players because they understand the cards, whereas in the family game that disparity is lessened since everyone has the same goals and paths.
Now, I’m not saying always play with the family game. The problem with the simpler version is the lack in diversity of gameplay, so if you play it lots, you are gonna want some more variety, and the card decks add that. However, as a game system I do think the family game is better. And if you are playing with people new to Agricola or only have a couple of plays under their felt, always choose family. Then everyone can enjoy letting their people starve.



With Antman, Marvel has decided to take the plunge into the truly ridiculous. At this point it seems like they’re trying to see how far they can push it.”Lets make a movie where the superhero shrinks and hangs out with ants!” And does their hubris payoff? Surprisingly yes.

Paul Rudd was a great casting choice for the lead of Antman as Scott Lang, the burglar chosen by legendary Marvel scientist Hank Pym to take up the Antman suit and stop his technology from going global. The story is pretty basic, lets face it. The reason this movie exists is because the hero Antman actually has a unique set of powers he haven’t really seen yet in our current swath of comic book films: he can shrink down to insect size.

The key to success for a movie like this is whether they can take that premise and utilize it well. So do they? Absolutely. They went all out with the shrinking scenes, showing us a variety of different locations for him to be small in, like a bathtub, a night club, a pipeline, and a child’s room. There’s even a cool fight scene that takes place entirely inside a suitcase. These were the scenes that make this movie cool and sets it apart from the rest.

I do have to admit however that the CGI was a little iffy. The challenge here was to create these “giant” environments and to have many ants at the same scale as Scott himself. But honestly, the animation felt rushed and while there was detail, it seemed glossy and not entirely grounded. The ants especially. There’s a scene where he gets really small that I liked and wished I was able to see things in more detail. Until the end of that scene where it became weirdly like 2001.

Antman is another notch in Marvel’s repertoire, and one which I liked. Its not amazing; the villain is again rather bland and predictable, the story is a very basic “becoming a hero, stopping a global threat’ variation. The obligatory Avengers cameo felt really tacked on too.  But the fun of this film is made up through the cool shrinking action scenes and the great humour throughout, provided mostly by Rudd and co-star Michael Pena. So somehow, Marvel pulled off this ridiculous premise and made another exciting entry in their filmography.




Ticket to Ride seems to have found a solid strategy for staying viable within the gaming community through their Map Expansion collection. These new maps give long-time gamers, who may have gotten sick of the modern board game classic after so long, a fresh chance to rejuvenate such a beloved game.
The second in the series, India, actually contains two maps by including the Switzerland (from a previous, now defunct, expansion) map. Even though those two countries seem about as different as two countries could be, they were still put together for some reason. While it makes not a lot of thematic sense for the paring, gameplay-wise it does for both of these expansions work well with smaller numbers of players. Let’s look closer.


1 India Map – The India map plays with 2-4 players. It is full of tin routes all over the place, only a few of which are doubles. There are ferries around the edges. Its quite a cutthroat map.

2 Mandala – One interesting, and difficult, thing about the India map is the new end game bonuses. What you need to do to get rewarded at the end is link up as many o the destination cites on your tickets not just once, but twice (with not routes shared). The more you do that, the more bonus points you win. This makes the game quite a lot deeper, more complicated, and more stressful.

3 Switzerland Map – The Swiss map is meant for only 2 or 3 players. It has a lot of small and medium routes and is loaded with tunnels. One thing to note is that the wild rainbow cards have to be used only for tunnel routes.

4 Country Routes – The Swiss map also has some different types of destination tickets. There are certain cards where you aren’t trying to connect cities, but instead surrounding countries (France, Austria, etc.). On these cards you have a choice of which to go for, some are easier but less points and so on. Having that choice is really quite nice.



Best Feature: I love the Switzerland map, especially the country to country connections. It’s a small addition that just excites me for some reason.

When to use: This is a great expansion for when you only have 2 players. Even with 3 it’s a great one to choose. So when you have lower player counts (of TtR veterans though, India would be tough for newbies) and want some train traveling action, this is a great option.

Does it fit?:
No you’re not going to be able to fit a whole new map in the original box. It’ll have to be stored separately.

What type:
It’s a “different scenario” expansion with two new maps that you don’t play with every time, but just to switch it up.

Overall: A really great option for 2 or 3 (but especially 2) players. If you want a challenge try out India, if you want a more relaxed but very fun game try Switzerland, which may be my favourite of all the maps.



I guess the way I would sum up Genisys is a sort of admirable mess. Its hard to explain what I mean by that though. Its sort of like someone took all the previous 4 terminator movies, threw them into a blender and poured it into an amplifier? Okay, I’m mixing similes now, but I guess that’s basically it. Terminator 5 feels like a very enthusiastically made fan film when if comes right down to it.

When the movie started, it managed to grab me. Now the dialogue in this film is awful, right from the get go. Its cheesy, ham-fisted, and lacks subtlety. But I was intrigued with being able to see how the whole saga is kicked off with the time machine at the end of the war. But again, this ties back into the fan film idea. Nonetheless, it was interesting, though it would have been nice if we also saw how the T2 origins happened as well. Oh well.

So after that, we get Kyle Reese returning to 1984. What follows is a retread of the original film with many scenes and shots recreated. This is actually inherently interesting, sort of in the same vein as returning to 1955 in Back to the Future 2. but then everything changes as we find out that Sarah Conner has had a Terminator protector since childhood. Now all the timelines are messed up, and they’ve gotta figure out what to do to stop Skynet this time.

The more the movie continues, the more muddled the story becomes, the more generic the sets look, the more uninteresting the action sequences. The dialogue is bad throughout, but especially when they are arguing after Kyle finds out he’s John’s father. But the real kicker here is that the big mystery which sets off this whole plot, the fact that a Terminator was sent back to Sarah’s childhood, the who reason this movie is different from the others, is never resolved. Its never revealed who sent him back or why. I mean, c’mon!!

Perhaps the biggest draw of this movie is Schwarzenegger. It was really nice having Arnold back in the mix. Things felt grounded when he was on screen. Deanerys had the look down as Sarah Conner and was engaging, but was missing something. Jai Courtney was also missing something; personality. And the whole John Conner plot device was a huge misstep.

The idea of the operating system Genisys becoming Skynet and the media blitz around that was interesting. But there’s too much junk around it to completely pull you in. Some really award moments like these are the Ramones song going while they are loading clips. Wha?? Or that awkward conversation with John and Milee Dyson’s son about Time Travel.”Boom1″ Who are these people?? I also thought that the decision to actually personify Skynet was big mistake. Skynet is much more terrifying as a faceless, shapeless force that is everywhere.

There’s something bold about the balls-to-the-wall approach taken here to bring everything about the franchise thusfar together. At times we get cool homages to the films we love. But at other times the movie seems to be stepping all over it with muddy shoes, such as when John Conner recites the “he cannot be reasoned with…” speech that was one of the best moments of the first film and turns it into something cheesy and awful. But I dont know… ultimately the movie was terrible, but it almost worked there for a while.




Cosmic Encounter is a game that has had many versions and may expansions over its 37 year history. However Fantasy Flight’s latest version really seems to be the definitive edition, which has up to five expansions thus far. The first to be released was the excellent Cosmic Incursion Expansion. Today I will be looking at the second, titled Cosmic Conflict.


1Seventh Player – New black ships and planets are added to the game in case you want to play with 7 players (if you also have the orange ships from the first expansion). The ships look sleek. A seven player game is crazy, but Cosmic is one of those games that feeds off of crazy.

2Hazard Deck – There is a new deck added to the game which is one of those “everything is affected by the same change” things. Every once in a while, the hazard deck is triggered and a card comes into play. Some of these can be crazy, like the entropy beast which removes planets from play.

3 New Aliens – And of course, new alien races are added to an already insane amount of aliens. Some notable races are the saboteur who can lay out traps, the prophet who tries to predict who will win encounters, the changeling who can swap powers, and The Claw which lets you steal someone’s entire planet!



Best Feature: Having new alien races is probably the best feature for this one, as its always nice to have more variety and more chances for alien power wackiness! I mean, 14 of the 20 new races are either red or yellow level powers.

When to use: The new aliens can of course be thrown into the mix. The hazard deck isn’t an “always use” though. Only use it once in a while to switch things up, sort of like the tech cards from the base game.

Does it fit?: Yes, it fits with Cosmic Incursion as well, but its pretty full. I had to stick all the planets underneath the insert. I’m not sure I can fit a third expansion in there.

What type: This is a more of the same expansion, but the hazard deck could be considered a variant expansion.

Overall: Its alright, but I wouldn’t say its an essential Cosmic add-on. The hazard deck is cool every once in a while, and the aliens are great, but no real stand outs (except maybe the claw)



Let’s face it, De-ranged is just another Munchkin expansion like any other. T adds a bunch of new cards and that’s pretty much it. The previous expansion, Need for Steed, added in steed cards which were a great addition, but otherwise these expansions are pretty much just more of the same.
And that’s alright I guess. It gives some fresh puns to the players, for as long as those last, and more of a sense of “who knows what I’ll pull from the deck this time”. This won’t be a long review since this isn’t an expansion that warrants one, so let’s just get into it.


1Rangers – The new class of rangers are the biggest addition to the game. Rangers have the ability to tame monsters and make them steeds. I like this for a couple reasons. First, I really like that they are expanding upon the new steed cards introduced in the last expansion. I really love steeds. Secondly, this provides for some very fun and imaginative imagery, like riding the floating nose.

2New Door Cards – Other than the rangers, there’s a bunch of new monsters, my favourites being the poultrygeist and the oxymoron. They also add some more cards of other races and classes to equal out the balance of so many more cards, which Is good cause having no class sucks.
And again, they are piggybacking off of the last expansion and providing a couple new steeds, which I am very happy to see. This also includes a steed with a clever Monty Python reference.

3New Treasures – Again, more of the same. There appears to be a lot of Go Up A Level cards, but there are also a lot of Lose a Level curses to balance it out. Still those cards are kinda annoying. But they also include some steed enhancers, which are awesome. And of course, all these cards feature the fun and lovable artwork from John Kovalic.


Best Feature: The rangers, mostly for adding more to the steed mechanic from Munchkin 4.

When to use
: Well first off, don’t bother buying this unless you already have Munchkin 4: The need for steed, otherwise all the new steed stuff in here will be wasted. (though if you are buying Munchkin 5, you probably already have 4). But pending that prerequisite, these can just be thrown into every game.

Does it fit?: I have the Munchkin Deluxe box, and yeah, the cards will fit with the other 3 expansions. I am not sure about the regular box.

What type
: This is really a “more of the same” expansion.

Overall: Honestly, there’s not much to this expansion. Its just more Munchkin cards. But because it adds some new stuff to one of my favourite parts of the game, the steeds, I am giving it a recommendation.