Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 5: The Price of Infamy

Product-Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 5: The Price of Infamy

Producer-Paizo

Price– $ 20 here http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Adventure-Card-Game-Shackles/dp/1601256930/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1443666157&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=Pathfinder+Adventure+Card+Game%E2%80%94Skull+%26+Shackles+Adventure+Deck+5%3A+The+Price+of+Infamy

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 60 minutes per scenario (1-6 players, 5 scenarios)

Type-American

Depth-medium

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TL; DR-Fun, but a bit more of the same. 94%

Basics-It’s time to end this!  In the Price of Infamy, your constant enemy Harrigan is bringing the fight to you.  Now, you’re going to end this once and for all.  Can you gather enough friends to destroy his armada and go to his base to wipe him out in time?  This expansion uses the base rules from the pathfinder adventure card game-Skull and Shackles.

Mechanics-Much of this game will play out like the other scenarios.  You have scenarios where you have to beat bosses in an order, you have scenarios where you have fewer locations than normal, and scenarios where you have more than normal .  Overall, it’s not the most novel of the quests, but it is fun.  The major addition to this pack is the final fight where you replace every ally at any location with more monsters.  That is fun and new.  It’s good, but not much more than you’ve seen before.. 4.5/5

Theme-Theme is something the Adventure card game struggles with.  It’s hard to tell a story on less than 30 cards.  This one does add some interesting twists, but if you don’t have the cliffsnotes version of the plot, you won’t get as much as you might otherwise.  This back does have some good locations like Dagon’s Teeth.  In this location, you divide the location deck into two smaller decks-just like the islands themselves from the adventure path.  It’s the little touches that really make this a fun game. 4.25/5

Instructions– The rules for this pack are great.  I wasn’t confused at all, and I was able to assemble my  location decks quickly and easily.. 5/5

Execution-Ever since Paizo produced side opening backs, I have been in absolute love with this game.  The cards are good stock, the art is great, and the price is right. 5/5

Summary-Here is the thing with a mid-path pack-unless I tell you that this pack sets your cats on fire, you are most likely going to buy it if you’ve come this far.  If you like the Skull and Shackles path, you will like this part of it.  It’s a bit samey as the mechanics can only go so far, and I want a bit more story for the game.  But, overall it’s done well and was a blast to play.  It’s five good scenarios that play quickly and are great to run though.  It’s produced excellently, and the instruction do their job well to teach me how to play.  My only complaint is I’d like more, and of the complaints there are, that’s the best kind to have.94%

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Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Reviews of Jurassic World, Inside Out, Terminator: Genisys

Know what we haven’t done in a while?  Some movie reviews.  let’s correct that.

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Jurassic World–

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TL; DR-A good sequel to the original. 93%

Basics-It’s Jurassic Park but it works now!  Until it doesn’t!  Now a new dinosaur is loose and it’s up to Chris Pratt to stop it!

Story–Jurassic Park is an awesome cinematic experience, but as a story, it’s not top notch.  Sure it’s not bad, but this movie has tons of plot holes.  No spoilers, but you will scratch your head watching!  But is a summer blockbuster with dinosaurs!  I shut up the stupid adult Dr. Kabara with candy and let 8 year old Alan watch as T-Rex battled new iRex! 4/5

Acting–You know who’s awesome-Chris Pratt.  Take a comedian, make him buff, then give him the best lines in the movie.  He does great in his role.  The others are fine as well.  There are two kids I want to smack, but they end up becoming likeable.  Even the female lead Bryce Dallas Howard becomes likeable.  4.5/5

Cinematography–There is just enough CGI and just enough real world stuff to keep me second guessing everything.  I was never put off by some uncanny valley.  Nor, did I ever think things were not real.  It all looks beautiful. 5/5

Summary–This is a great addition to the franchise.  It might not be Jurassic Park level, but if it’s not, its the second best in the series. Chris Pratt does well. The dinosaurs are fun.  And the plot….well there plot is there.  The movie could be defeated by man gates.  Those are gates we use on dairy farms to keep cattle in a place where allow farmers to quickly get out of a place.  About two of those could easily stop all the problems of this movie.  But setting aside some obvious plot holes, the movie is a great summer movie that is fun for the little boy in us all. 93%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Inside Out–

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TL; DR-Herman’s Head for children written by Pixar. 100%

Basics-Riley is moving to a new town, dealing with new emotions, and discovering that life isn’t the simple.  Insider her head, her emotions all work together to drive her.  Each of the five emotions drive her via a console like the Starship Enterprise.  But, when Happiness and Sadness break the console and are lost in the bowels of her memory, Riley is now adrift without her emotions to guide her.  Will she be able to cope with all the changes in her world, or will she do something drastic.

Story–This is Pixar.  Even their junk sequel are decent.  This one is a story about growing up, dealing with your emotions and feelings, and learning that the world isn’t just one dimensional.  It well told, thought provoking, and honestly an amazing experience. 5/5

Acting–I am a screamy guy.  Lewis Black is my spirit animal.  He plays the role is was designed to play-RAGE.  He’s my favorite, but he only gets second string screen time.  The main emotions are Sadness and Happiness.  Those two and all the other characters of Riley’s head are all extremely believable.  No one feels out of place. 5/5

Cinematography–It’s Pixar.  They do this movie thing well. 5/5

Summary–This movie is Herman’s Head for children.  It’s got fewer adult themes, better writing, and computer animation, but it’s Herman’s Head.  I love the movie.  The story is top notch.  The actors make the CGI come to life.  And the thing is beautiful.  This is a movie to watch with your tween to help him or her understand life a bit more.  Life is sad and happy at the same time.  New emotions and key part of our soul are being forged every day.  And this movie finally explains why you get that stupid jingle stuck in in your head as well! 100%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Terminator: Genisys

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TL; DR-Explosions, Dr. Who, and a new timey whimey time line. 83%

Basics-John Conor is about to win the war against the Machines.  But, in his moment of sending the man to save his mother back, he’s attacked.  Now the past is changed, new terminators are on the loose, and nothing is as it seems

Story–Let’s be honest here, you don’t go to Terminator movies to see Shakespeare.  You go to see robots explode. This one does have robots explode.  It’s got enough future stuff to keep you thinking.  It’s got some ham fisted commentary on people looking at their cell phones too much.  It’s got Arnold beating up younger Arnold.  It’s got enough to keep you entertained for one and a half hours and in a coherent way.  Some reviewers tend to get lost in all the time line mumbo jumbo, but honestly I followed it easily.  Going into, this is a soft reboot of the franchise.  All the movies NO LONGER COUNT! 4/5

Acting–Again, let’s be honest here, you didn’t come for some Oscar performances.  The characters are OK.  Honestly the best character in the whole film is Arnold as the terminator.  He does a good job being a pretend robot trying to fit into human society.  The other three main characters are…ok. Matt Smith is in there as well, but he’s got almost a glorified cameo.  He does well, but he doesn’t get enough time to really even build out his character.  It’s nothing to write home about, but it’s also not distracting from the story. ⅘

Cinematography–BOOM!  EXPLOSION!  That’s what you’re here for!  And you get your money’s worth for explosions.  Everything looks believable even though it’s all green screened to hell.  A fun ride with stuff exploding. 4.5/5

Summary–This is a quintessential summer brainless action movie.  The movies set up for a sequel now, which since this made lots of money it will get.  It’s got lots of action, an ok plot, and decent acting.  We won’t get our children to watch this one like we will the original Terminator, so this won’t stand the test of time.  But, for a summer movie, this is a better than average offering. This is also a soft reboot to the franchise, so take all the other movies you know and love, and throw those away, because now they NEVER HAPPENED! 83%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Mad Max: Fury Road

Movie–  Mad Max: Fury Road

TL; DR-Well that was a thing I saw… 77%

Basics- Mad Max is back!  He’s taken captive, used as a walking blood bag, and tied to the hood of a car.  Now a general for a mad man has escaped with the general’s most prized possession.  Mad Max, the general, and a supporting cast of crazy survivors all try to survive and find the green place in this action movie.

 

Story– NOPE, NOPE NOPE.  You want some cars to explode?  Go see this movie.  You want some amazing, live-action action shots?  Go see this movie!  You want a plot?  NOPE NOPE NOPE,  There are just tons of scenes that just don’t make sense in this thing.  Only Max tends to make smart choices, and at the end, even he just makes an amazingly stupid choice.  Story is just not what you came here for. 2.5/5

Acting– The actors are not that bad in this.  They act like crazy psychopaths from the desert; mad max is the consummate survivor, and abused and battered women.  Everybody does their part relatively well.  It’s not going to win an Oscar for acting, but it’s decent enough. 4/5

Cinematography– Remember when Peter Jackson did all those amazing forced perspective shots and action shots in the Lord of the Rings instead of doing the CGI crap from The Hobbit?  Do that but instead tie people to the hood of a moving car and go 90 MPH.  If you want to see some impressive, actually stunt man stunts, this is hands down the best movie of the year for that. 5/5

Summary–This is a good C grade movie.  It gets close to great, but parts of this thing just fail so badly!  The action is amazing and the people doing the action were all believable.  But, the plot is just horrible!  Every character made a decision that was just jarringly stupid!  Fix the plot, keep the same action scenes, and this would be a great movie. 77%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Movie– The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

TL;DR-What the heck is this crap? 67%

 

Basics- Remember the last chapter or two of that book you could read from cover to cover in six hours.  Here is three hours about those two chapters.  As you can tell, I’m not going to sugar coat this one.

 

Story– If you’re a big Tolkien person like my wife is, you won’t want to see this.  In the book, Bilbo’s awake for about an hour and then he’s completely knocked out.  This movie adds in all kinds of crap that wasn’t in the books.  That would be ok, but some of it is completely crazy like orc tacticians, giant worm monsters that never get mentioned again, and armies of troll enforcers.  This is just one long fight scene that is way too long and make war boring. 2/5

 

Acting– Let’s start with NO back story at all!  Just throw some people in, then have them run around a bit.  About half way through, you might catch some names, figure out some of the background plot, and finally understand who is who.  I know a ton of things happen, but if you don’t remember people from movies you saw two years ago, you’ll be pretty lost.  Heck, some of the heavy hitters for the Lord of the Rings movies only get a name drop once. 3/5

 

Cinematography– There is a crap ton of CGI in this one.  It looks really cool.  This is the one saving grace of the whole movie. 5/5

 

Summary– Save your money and read the book.  Honestly, this is a mess.  From key parts of the book being left out or altered for no good reason at all, to a fabrication of two hours of movie that had nothing to do with Tolkien, this will only piss you off if you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings.  If you just want to watch people die for two hours, then this won’t be a bad one.  But that comes with the caveat that you have to watch the previous two movies.  This movie doesn’t give enough background to really fill you in on what the heck happened before.  Ok, there’s a dragon, now here are people in some ruins, now there’s elves, hay here come some more dwarves, and then there is orcs!  Unless you have a vested interest, this starts a little to en media rez for the casual viewer.  Honestly despite the number of explosions in this one, this is by far the low point of the series.  Save you money.  Eventually this will be on cable some Saturday afternoon when some TV filler time is needed and you can tape/DVR it then.  This is a sad conclusion to the LotR movies as a whole.  67%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Dark Dungeons

Movie– Dark Dungeons

TL;DR– Is and isn’t a parody 90%

Basics-Its the classic Chick Track brought to life.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Read it here: http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.ASP

 

DISCLAIMER!!!-I am a Roman Catholic who avidly plays several RPGs as well as several board games.  I attend church nearly weekly and married a pagan woman.  I am a ball of religious contradictions.

 

Story– For as bad as the Chick Track is, this movie turns out well.  The movie is FULL of hidden little RPG gems and call backs to other RPG movies.  That makes it awesome.  The movie also plays the plot completely straight-NO CHEAP SHOTS ARE TAKEN AT THE RELIGION.  If you, like me, saw all kinds of boarder line creepy movies full of strange logic applied to why we shouldn’t read book x or do thing y, then this movie will completely remind you of your childhood religious education films a little too much.  The movie is equally as welcome at a RPG convention as it would be in an extremely religious church afterschool program.  It’s not perfect as a few things do detract from its completely walking the line between both its tasks and a few things are added that obviously pan to the modern gamer audience, but overall it’s a damn fine story. 4.5/5

 

Acting– This was done pretty well.  It’s full of all kinds of faces that are pretty famous in the RPG film community.  The same people who did an excellent job making The Gamers as well as a ton of different Youtube series all do a great job on this project.  Also, this movie adds a bunch of people I’ve never seen before who do excellent jobs in their parts.  But, it’s not perfect, but it’s acted well. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– This movie was made for less than $30K, but it doesn’t show that often.  It uses the same sets several times, but it’s fresh enough to keep you engaged.  There is a strange scene in the steam tunnels that somewhat cheap, but overall the movie is well done and looks great. 4.5/5

 

Summary– This is Reefer Madness for the modern RPG audience.  I could honestly see this back to back at a convention with Mazes and Monsters as a double feature.  Dark Dungeons is only 40 minutes long, but that time fits the plot well.  The original comic is something you can read in less than five minutes, so this movie doesn’t over stay its welcome.  I does deviate from the plot a few times by adding Cthulhu in with just to panders to the crowd, but overall this is a short, well done movie that works on an amazing number of levels.  If taken straight, it’s a cautionary tale of how RPGs ruin lives and drive you away from God.  If taken as the comedy it is, it’s a look at how some crazy, fringe groups view a hobby they completely don’t understand. 90%