Board Game Review: Steve Jackson Triple Threat!

A photo of the outer wall of the Steve Jackson Games booth at Gen Con 2016, with the mural consisting of a banner for the Simon's Cat Card Game.For my last entry about Gen Con, I’m going to do three board game reviews in one article. Why? Partly because the games are all short and simple. Partly because they’re all from Steve Jackson Games. Partly because it’s time to finish up the Gen Con posts and get on to something else! So we’re going to look at the three games they demoed at their ‘Play New Releases’ table: Simon’s Cat Card Game, I Hate Zombies, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Board Game.
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ZOE (Zombie Orpheus Entertainment) – A Great Little Company

The ZOE logo: a white circle with five hands rising up from the bottom in silhouette, as if they were the hands of zombies erupting up out of the ground. A short arc, about a quarter the circumference of the white circle, concentric with the white circle, runs along the bottom edge of the circle, bisecting three dots. This logo is white on a background of dark blue fading to black in gradient, is the inverse of the normal colours: a black logo on a white background.One of the booths I stopped at whilst I was at Gen Con was the Zombie Orpheus Entertainment booth. I knew I wanted to see what they had, because I’d enjoyed Dark Dungeons so much. ZOE was the company that had produced that particular film. So I stopped by and talked to one of the representatives for a moment, This is what they had to say.

Before we hear about their projects

Here’s a little background on ZOE. Back around the turn of the century, a group of friends from Washington released a couple of low-budget indie horror films called Demon Hunters. They later formed a company called Dead Gentlemen Productions, and subsequently created a humorous short film called The Gamers. This film was wildly popular, so they made a sequel: The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising. Despite the popularity of the sequel, the company had issues with distribution, and most of the members decided to take a hiatus to deal with feelings of burnout.

But one of the members from Dead Gentlemen decided to keep working on films. So, with a new vision of how the company should be run, he formed Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. A big part of his vision was to make ZOE a fan-driven venture. He hoped that this would help alleviate the issues they’d had that caused burnout for Dead Gentlemen. Continue Reading →

MetaArcade: A New Frontier in Roleplaying Games

The MetaArcade Logo: The word MetaArcade in stylized letters, the first four in blue and the rest in red.One of the more interesting things that I got to see at Gen Con was the MetaArcade booth. They’re working on an interesting new concept: digital roleplaying. That sounds like computer or console-based RPGs, like the Final Fantasy series or Secret of Mana. But it’s not. Here, let me explain. In order to explain, we’ll need to go back in time to 1975, in Phoenix, Arizona. Continue Reading →

Diversity Panel at Gen Con 2016: A Review

The official illustration of Shardra, the first trans character in Pathfinder, an excellent representation of diversity in gaming. She is a dwarven female in elaborate shaman clothing, holding a large mace, with a fantastical lizard-like creature on her shoulder.One of the panels I attended at Gen Con was ‘Diversity in Gaming.’ I expected it to be about ensuring an inclusive environment for all people in the games industry. Instead, it was three staffers from Paizo, the company that publishes the Pathfinder roleplaying game, discussing their company’s policies on inclusiveness.

Not what I expected, but still worthwhile. Continue Reading →

Crossplay: A New Adventure in Geekdom

A young man demonstrating crossplay, dressed as Jinx, a character from League of Legends. with a blue wig with long ponytail braids, pink shorts, a bikini top, and a large fake multi-barrel firearm.Gender identity is a hot topic at the moment. With issues like the current assault on the rights of transgender individuals in Texas, the nature of gender is at the forefront of socio-political discourse at the moment. This points to a current major trend in modern culture, with gender at the centre of that trend. Many people still firmly believe that sex and gender are binaries, and equivalent binaries at that. However, others realise that sex and gender are spectra which do not always correspond to one another. One of the more fascinating phenomena resulting from this is the concept of crossplay. Continue Reading →

Gen Con: An Overview of an Awesome Convention

A view of the exhibit hall at Gen Con, with people walking amongst the booths, which have a variety of signs both on the booth itself and hanging from the ceiling, including a giant inflatable Pikachu visible in the background.As most of you know, I was able to attend Gen Con last week. It was my first time ever to attend a convention (apart from the small local one that doesn’t really count). I had no idea what to expect from conventions in general, nor from Gen Con in particular. Needless to say, I had ridiculous amounts of fun. I got to play lots of games, see lots of panels, learn lots of things, and of course, buy lots of games. I have a lot of ideas for articles about my time at Gen Con, so look for those in upcoming weeks. Just a small sample of some of the entries I’ll be writing include:

  • An interview with Emily Whitehouse of On the Lamb Games
  • An article about crossplay and genderbending
  • Reviews of some new release games that debuted at the con
  • A discussion of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

And more! So this space is going to be pretty busy over the next couple of months. Be sure to check back weekly to see if I’ve managed to get something new up.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d start out with an overview of the convention itself. This is going to take the form of two sections: a description of the convention in general, and a guide to what to expect for people who’ve never been to a con. Continue Reading →