Wednesday, October 19, 2005

TV Wasteland--Part 2

I admit that I haven't watched everything new this season, but the truth is that most of it is dreck.
There are a few notable exceptions.

1) Everybody Hates Chris--I like this show a lot. Unfortunately, I've forgotten to watch it on at least 3 occasions. It's just not implanted itself in my psyche so that I set aside time to watch or tape it.

2) The Office--I never watched the BBC show, so I'm kind of sick of everyone comparing the two shows. Who cares that it's not as good as the original?! From where I'm standing, The Office is fantastic. There was one episode that was so over-the-top with the sex references that I almost wrote it off. They really went off the deep end with that one, but all other episodes are incredibly clever.

3)My Name is Earl--This is the kind of originality and hilarity that hasn't been duplicated since Scrubs showed up on the scene. Well-acted, clever, thoughful, and so funny that I find myself watching the entire show with a big, stupid grin on my face. Make room on your Tuesdays for this one.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Age of Steam in Korea and Revisiting Power Grid

We played Age of Steam last night, opting for the Korea map, which was a first for all playing. It was a 4-player game, and it seems that this is the ideal number for this map--room to expand at first before we start wrecking into each other. The thing I love about the Age of Steam maps is that each one isn't just different geographically--though they obviously are--but each one introduces a new twist that makes each map feel like playing a whole new game. The Korean twist is that instead of cities being a predetermined and unchanging color, each city takes on the color of the cubes contained within it. This makes long connections much harder since you're more likely to run into a city containing the color you're trying to ship. If that happens you stop and score from that city. I was able to make a couple of 5-point runs midgame, but on the last turn the best I could manage was a couple of 3-pointers since the cities were clogged with all kinds of colors. I eked out a 2-point victory...and for some reason winning at Age of Steam feels like a real accomplishment since things are so tight and it's so brutal. I love this game, and every time I play it crawls higher in my Top 10 list of games.

The AoS victory was needed because just before that we'd played Power Grid for the second week in a row, and I'd experienced a downward spiral like I'd never experienced before. In last week's game, Skippen had gotten behind early and was never able to catch up. Since it was my first time playing I wasn't prepared to say that it was the game's fault, but after experiencing the exact same thing I am rapidly losing confidence in Power Grid. So on my turn I'm pretty broke, which means I can buy a better power plant OR buy resources for my crappy power plants OR expand my network. We were playing a full 6-player game, so the power plants were being blazed through, and before I knew it I was having to pay 30+ for a decent one. Can't afford that so I buy lots of resources to power my obsolete plants just to power my pitiful 4-house network. It's a spiral I can't escape because every turn I'm making a piddly 40 bucks. If I buy a better plant I can't buy resources or get income. I'm just baffled; because this game is so adored on the Geek I was prepared to say that I'm just missing something--and that may still be true--but I fear it will be a long time before I'm prepared to give this game another go. Sitting there for 90 minutes, knowing from the 3rd turn that I would never catch up and couldn't affect the game in the slightest, was just no fun. And I game to have fun.