Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 29th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 29th, 2010: "Well, there are a few titles from last week that I didn’t fit in, I’ll try to squeeze them in next week. For the most part, all the major t..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Comic Book Review–Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #2...

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Comic Book Review–Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #2...: "Script by Jim Shooter, Art by Roger Robinson, Colorist Wes Dzioba, Lettering by Blambot!, Cover Art by Michael Komarck. Published by Dark ..."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 27th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 27th, 2010: "Titans #27 – Written by Eric Wallace and Art by Fabrizio Fiorentino & Cliff Richards. Another journey into the land of Deathstroke’s Titans..."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 25th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 25th, 2010: "5 Quick Reviews for today, but this is a rarity as all five are winners today! And that’s not an easy feat, but I was surprised with these ..."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 24th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 24th, 2010: "10, count em, 10 titles all reviewed today! One of my biggest posts EVER! Will it be epic? What will I think of the awesome titles in tod..."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Sunday Board Game Fun!

Well, we had another great Sunday of board games.  Didn't get in a
ton, but having three kids to juggle makes it harder.  We did get in
three good games though and I introduced my friend from work to our
wonderful boardgame world.

The first game we played was World Without End by Michael Rieneck and Stefan Sadler and published by Mayfair Games.  World Without End is based on the bestselling novel by Ken Follett.  And boy, this is a nasty little game, but very innovative.  The way you win is by scoring victory points.  The best way to score those is to help build different projects in the town by donating building materials to them.  Also, half-way through the game, the plague hits and you have to help save people from it for more points.

gaming and museum 001 fixed
A lot of wool early on meant no money problems late in the game.

The best part of this game is the first thing you do every turn.  You draw a card read the event and deal with it.  Sometimes it can be quite nasty and cause you much grief.  There are also four icons of different things you can get off this card and an arrow.  You orient the card with the item you want pointing at your seated location and then everyone else gets what's on the icon pointed at them.  Pretty neat mechanic there.  But you also have to pay attention to that arrow, because there's a track at the bottom of the board and the pawn there will move the number of spaces that the arrow is pointing to on the card.  There are 4 numbers where you place the card.  It will be 0 to 3 spaces and then you get the bonus or negative of the space the pawn moves to.  You really have to be careful with this, because there are outlaws on the bottom track that will otherwise take your money. So you may take something you don't want as much, but you avoid losing money.

gaming and museum 110
Mike is quite the charmer, I assure you!

This game was pretty close and I thought for sure my wife was going to
win as she had gotten a ton of points curing people.  However, Karen
balanced it all out very well and was able to make some key donations
at the right time.  There's tons of other interesting mechanics in this game, but I won't go into them.  I didn't do too well at the game, but I didn't do too terrible either.  Like I said, a pretty close and evenly matched game here.

Mike, Karen and I would then go on to play Caylus.  I had to break this game out as I hadn't played it in a long time and I love it for some odd reason.  I can't remember when the last time was that I won. Heck, have I ever won?  I had to teach Karen the rules real quick and we're off.  Supposedly there are multiple paths to victory in this game, but I always end up going in different directions and not doing any of them well.  I always tell myself what I'm going to focus on and then suddenly, oh crap, I need to build part of the castle of lose two
points.  Is losing two points that much of a disadvantage?  If I took a strategy and stuck to it, I might do fine.

gaming and museum 008fix
Early on in the game.  I just love pictures of Caylus even.  Great game!

In this one, Mike was a bit nasty during the first turn with the provost and I'm going to claim that it caused me to lose.  But really, building the place where you can buy gold and then letting Mike have the first turn that round and him buying two gold pretty much caused the tide to turn.  I thought I should do it, but reality isn't a street on which I travel.  I really thought he might ignore it and I could put my money into this thing, net six more points and potentially win.  Didn't happen, stupid move, but Mike played well.  I still love this game a ton!  Other people don't like it as much, but it has some painful, but important decisions to make.  I love building things, collecting resources, the pink "meat" cubes, and just the feel of it.  Still the best worker placement game there is.

Finally my friend Noah came over.  He, my wife, Mike and I played
Stone Age.  I figured that Stone Age would be a great intro game for
Noah to play.  I think he really liked it too.  The rules explanation took a little bit longer than I thought it would, but we dove in with much gusto.

My favorite thing about this game is the dice rolling to collect resources based on the amount of people you have there.  It kind of
makes sense, but some bad dice rolls can make things tough.  That's
why I usually invest heavily in tools.  This game I took the card strategy route and focused specifically on the ones that gave you
points for your food production and the amount of tools you had.  Then
I collected the different sets of items as well.  I really found that just collecting any card that comes up isn't the greatest idea unless it's cheap.  I really focused on just those particular cards and improving in those particular areas.  I scored 200 points and left everyone in the dust.

gaming and museum 016fix
We’re both very deep in thought.  Can you tell?

To be honest, some of it fell into my lap.  Some people weren't focusing on increasing their food production and I would usually get the cards early that allow you to roll the dice to get a random item and improving tools and cultivation that way as well.  Noah went towards more of a construct huts area and did pretty decent at that. My wife had to put the boys to bed so she had Karen take over for her. To say that Becca left Karen in a bit of a car wreck was an understatement.  Mike had some decent points in the end, but not
enough to counter my insane point run.  I think it got Noah interested
in the type of board games I play, which is good.

After that Mike and Karen left.  Noah and I went through some Heroclix
duplicates he brought and sold me some on the dirt cheap side of
things.  Now I can amass some decent themed teams.  I was pretty
excited to get Black Flash and Flash from the Justice League set.  I
love my speedsters!  Beta Ray Bill is definitely sweet as well.  The
next day my awesome wife who is getting out of scrapbooking cleared
out her scrapbook cart for me to use for my Clix.  They sit in there
pretty well.  So thanks to my wife for helping out there!  How awesome
is that?

So Sunday was a pretty excellent day for fun and gaming.  I, at least,
won a game.  I'm hoping to get Noah addicted to gaming in general so I
can add more people to this excellent hobby.  Now I just need to hook
more new people.


Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 22nd, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 22nd, 2010: "This installment, we find a hidden gem and a horrible new title that will make you throw-up in your mouth a little bit. Brightest Day fina..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 20th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews - August 20th, 2010: "The Amazing Spider-Man #642 – Written by Mark Waid and Art by Paul Azaceta. Finally, One Moment in Time is done and we go on with our lives..."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Accolades for Yours Truly

Apparently, in Sioux City, IA, I am King of Nerdom.  The Sioux City Journal recently did an interview with me that you can read by clicking this link.  It captures me in all my glory with my stash of board games behind me.  It was a semi-proud moment I guess.

My only complaints are a) my wife never said that because my football card collection consists of one binder of Bears cards and b) a lot of the quotes are more like paraphrasing, so they aren’t actual quotes, but that’s not a big deal.  The worst mistake, to me, was that the website address is wrong.  If you add the www part, you won’t get to my site.  Tis a shame!

I’m kind of wish that my board game advocacy would have been covered a bit more, but I guess I’ll just be saving that for another interview.  I’ve got plenty of interviews left in me as long as I can promote being a nerd.  Good day all!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 19th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 19th, 2010: "Huge set of reviews here folks! I’ve got plenty more stuff I’m reading, but boy, having a third kid under the age of 4 really takes away mo..."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Comic Movie Review–Batman: Under the Red Hood

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Comic Movie Review–Batman: Under the Red Hood: "I first read the story of Jason Todd (the 2nd Robin) years ago. I found a Batman issue at my local pharmacy in the small town I grew up in...."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Board Game Review: Forbidden Island

Publisher: Gamewright
Designer:  Matt Leacock
Number of Players: 2-4
Approx. Minutes to Play: 30 minutes
Suggested Ages: 8 & Up
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Forbidden Island is a game in which cooperation and working together is the key to victory.  It is very much you and your friends or family against the game as you try and get ancient artifacts off an island before it is completely submerged underwater.  You move about randomly placed tiles that make up the board attempting to do this and get on the helicopter before the island sinks.
The game plays very simple.  On your turn you can do up to 3 actions.  Some of the things you can do are move 1 space (up & down, left or right), shore up the island (to help prevent it from flooding), give a treasure card (to another player on the same space as you), or capture a treasure (via discarding 4 cards of an artifact at a matching location).  Then you draw two treasure cards (you can have only up to 5) and hope you don’t draw a nasty Waters Rise card.  Then once you’ve done that, you draw flood cards to see what tiles flood an then it’s the next player’s turn.
Photo from Mike Hulsebus from the website
Now there are some extra things to this.  Namely, if you draw a Waters Rise card, you move the water level up 1 tick and shuffle the flood pile discards and place them on TOP of the flood card deck.  That means that the tiles that have started sinking first are going to keep sinking and you know you don’t have much time left.  If a tile is flooded (meaning you drew the flood card and flipped the location tile to the flooded side), if you draw the flood location card again, it will sink into the ocean floor, leaving you with nothing but water.  If you’re on that tile, you are going to have to swim for safety.
There are some special action cards that add a bit of spice and can really save your butt from time-to-time.  Everyone also has a special ability based on what color they get assigned and that adds some good flavor. You win if you have all 4 treasures captured and everyone is at the helicopter tile and somebody in your group has a Helicopter Lift card. You lose if the water level reaches the skull and crossbones level or if it becomes impossible to complete the objectives.  It’s really about that easy.  So what did I think of it:
Replayability: StarStarStarStar out of 5.  If you lose, you’ll want to play it again and again until you finally win.  And you can adjust the level of difficulty.  You can play with a different ability than you have last time.  Really, you can get a decent amount of replayability because the island changes every time.  You might get bored of it after awhile, but it might take awhile.
Theme: StarStarStarStar out of 5. This game feels like you’re running around and trying to get the treasure before the island sinks.  You know you’re in a race against time and the sinking island thing is kind of a fun idea.  Nothing ground-breaking, but the theme really works quite well for this game.
Price: StarStarStarStarStar out of 5.  Talk about bang for the buck!  You can pick this up for $14.99 or less!  With the amount of replayability, this is truly a spectacular deal!  Simply put, you can’t beat it.  For the price of taking two people to a movie, you can have many evenings of entertainment out of this!
Mechanics/Rules: StarStarStarStar out of 5.  While there is nothing groundbreaking here, the rules are well put together and thought out and easy to understand.  The mechanics aren’t anything really new, but work well given the theme.  Pretty solid overall job here.  Not too difficult at all to learn and get younger kids in the game.
Components: StarStarStarStar out of 5.  Pretty decent tiles, the artifacts look pretty cool.  I hate the tin box, but it’ll last longer than the typical boardgame boxes, so who can complain?  I can because the tin boxes don’t seem to fit on my shelves quite as well.  Card stock might be a tad flimsy, but not any worse than any other Gamewright game.
Overall: StarStarStarStar out of 5.  As far as a game goes, I give it 4 out of 5.  As a FAMILY game, I would give it 5 stars.  The reason is, it’s easily accessible for adults and kids alike.  The theme is pretty decent and working together as a family is going to be a LOT of fun.  Since it’s a cooperative game, you don’t have to compete with each other.  You can all discuss you strategy and find the best paths to victory.  Sure, there’s a good amount of random element here, but that doesn’t hurt.  Being unsure of what is going to happen really ads to the fun.  For $14.99 or less, this NEEDS to be on your game shelf.  And the fact that it came from Gamewright (who usually makes below average games) amazes me and gives me hope that they’ll continue on the path.  Buy it folks, show Gamewright that we appreciate games like this, ones that actually require us to use our brains!
For more information on boardgames like this one, please visit


Monday, September 13, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 13th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 13th, 2010: "More catching up and more fun today! This time around we have some pretty good stuff and only a few duds. Also, in Friday’s Sioux City Jou..."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Racism is Replaced by Speciesism Thanks to American Food Chain

We are in a different day and age folks.  I was watching a movie, The Losers, and I noticed that they featured a scene with cock-fighting.  I didn’t think anything of it at first, but now I’m noticing a disturbing trend.

I thought we had gotten past the point of dogs and cats feuding with each other.  But there is a much larger threat secretly being funded right now by a particular company.  I will reveal this company in a few moments.  First, let’s catch up on what has been happening.

In the 1960’s a controversial book was released that forever changed the way people would view cats and dogs.  The book was entitled The Incredible Journey, written by Sheila Burnford.  This groundbreaking book showed that two dogs were able to co-exist with a cat.  Both the dogs and cat all had prejudices against each other and used typical Specieist remarks, such as, “cats rule and dogs drool.”  However, they found that each species was not that different and both had many good qualities which helped them both survive.

Peace may only be achieved through understanding and occasionally sniffing each other in very awkward spots.

While the release of the book in the ‘60’s and an eventual movie release by Disney in 1963 would bring about awareness of this large and looming problem, it wasn’t until 1993 when Walt Disney once again brought back the movie.  This time entitled, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.  Disney was able to utilize the drawing power and species equality advocates Michael J. Fox and Sally Field.  The movie was viewed as a success and is currently a staple in many school across America when it comes to dealing with this subject.

During the late 1990’s, dog lovers and cat lovers had all but declared a truce.  More families than ever had both a cat and a dog and there was much harmony, not only in America, but in most places where they don’t actually eat cats and dogs.  It seemed that an age old problem had been put aside.  Sure, stereotypes were still thrown around, but really, when you sniffing butts and licking your own privates, you tend not to care that much.

In 1986, a food chain launched it’s first eatery to help undermine a movement started in the 1960’s.  During the 90’s it grew quietly without much fanfare.  It kept it’s tones low key and undetected for several years, but it always had a certain phrase associated with it.  That phrase of “Eat Mor Chikin” has since become synonymous with a deep hatred and inter-species rivalry between cows and chickens.  Yes, Chik-Fil-A has also touted a strong anti-work on Sunday policy due to that being the day cows need the most sleep.

Chik-Fil-A’s mascot create a friendly pro-cow atmosphere in it’s establishments, while maintaining a hostile anti-chicken environment.

This ad campaign has been the cause of much grief and pain in the chicken community, as cow advocates try to stir up more hatred.  There has been speculation that cows were the cause of the recent egg recall as they planted salmonella at those plants in order to create mass anti-chicken hysteria.  Have no doubt, cows and chickens are not finding peace with one another and it’s time to raise awareness about this growing issue.

Major businesses like Luxury Auto Sales have taken a pro-chicken approach and found business booming.  They have tripled customers from 1 person a month to 3.

So what side of the farm fence do you sit on?  Do you consider yourself pro-chicken?  Recently debate is stirring by people being called anti-cow and that it gives the wrong impression.  Do you agree with this, or is the pro-chicken crowd really anti-cow?  The time for ignorance is at an end, let your voices be herd!

This entire article is satirical in nature and information here is likely inaccurate at best.  Please take anything in this with a grain of salt.  Good day!


Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 12th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 12th, 2010: "Still playing a game of catch-up! But I’m getting there! This batch we have some hits and two major league misses. The New Avengers #3 – W..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 10th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–August 10th, 2010: "Working on catching up, about a month behind on some titles, but I’m getting there. Should have another set of reviews out tomorrow and hop..."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Are Bid Cactus and Penny Auctions a Scam?

I ran across several sites one day when I was looking for some clearanced out items.  Who isn’t looking for a great deal these days?  But then I came across the idea of penny bid auctions.  Well what the heck are those?

Basically, these sites offer you the chance to buy “bids”, and prices vary from site to site, and you use those bids on merchandise in an attempt to win it.  Time runs out on these bids, but as soon as someone bids on an auction, it adds time back on.  Kind of like a bidding war.

Not this kind of war!  Crazy Canucks!

Now while this seems good in theory, sites like this are raking it in.  You see, the bids can cost about 75 cents each and then you pay whatever price the auctions get up to on top of it.  So if I’m watching a “penny bid” auction and it goes for $1.00, that means the winning bidder pays $1.00.  The site, however, made 75 dollars for the bids alone.

True, the site could take a loss on items, but unlikely.  These auctions see furious amounts of bidding in the last few seconds, which add time back on, and then repeat ad nauseam.  Truly, patience is the virtue we are looking for here.  And for patient people, this could pay off quite well.  Me, I would just get ticked off and say forget it.

So are these sites scams?  In a way yes, but not like most scams.  They have a way that they know they’ll make their money back on the items.  However, if you pay $75 for 100 bids and don’t win an auctions, you just threw away $75 bucks.  And that is a distinct possibility unless you’re really patient.  You could also run out of most of those bids in one auction.  So there is an inherent risk/reward system going on here.

Once again, the Bid Cactus trucks make off with another haul!

In my brief study, I found that the most “tenacious” bidders usually won out.  That means you aren’t going to “sneak one by” on anybody.  Those who try, automatically fail as the “tenacious” bidder quickly outbids them.  So the hit and score system does not work at all.  Like I stated before, patience seems to win out.

To further my study, I saw a $50 Target gift card that nobody had won yet at $3.00.  That means the site made $225 on bidding for a $50 gift card.  And the same guy kept bidding back in.  Tenacious eh?  Seem like a scam to you?  You decide there.

Is it worth it?  Probably not.  There may be some people who do fairly well, but those people have to be pretty dedicated to that site.  So, unless you’re going to be the “tenacious” and “dedicated” type, don’t even bother.  The odds just aren’t stacked in your favor.

Let’s chalk one up for for the Hobo Shame Award for the Week!



Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–September 6th, 2010

Mark's Comic Book Review Center: Quick Comic Book Reviews–September 6th, 2010: "Wow, I’m even more behind than usual with my supposedly quick reviews. But we just had a new baby born and leading up that I didn’t have as..."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Things you Forget About Babies

You would think that after having my third child, I would remember more about them.  The one thing I forgot the most has to be the lack of sleep at night.  You really start taking certain things for granted.

My other boys are 2 and 3.  At this point they pretty much sleep through the night and the 3 year old might visit us once a night to inform us of a bad dream and to attempt to sleep in our bed.  Almost makes one feel spoiled with so few interruptions.

Clark pics Sept. 3rd 001
At least somebody is getting his sleep!

Now there’s a whole new level of adjustment again.  Being woken up several times a night is something nobody who’s sane looks forward to.  Yet, I seem to have forgotten that this is a vital part of having a newborn.  Lack of sleep is truly a fundamental part of being a parent.

The whole commodity of sleep can be underrated until one becomes a parent.  Sure, before that you have a whole lot of late night partying when you have to get up early the next day.  So maybe you do understand.  Let me put it like this, when you have a newborn, it’s like staying up most of the night partying, getting up early and dealing with a hangover the next day. 

I know, I’m not painting the prettiest of pictures.  I’m sure at this point, though, my wife could paint a much worse picture.  But despite that, there’s a bit of adventure all over again. 

You forget just how small and delicate they can be.  How different it is to change their diaper versus that of a 2 year old.  Changing his clothes was even something I had to relearn all over.  Once again, with a 2 year old you don’t have to be delicate in changing them.  But you marvel at the daily changes as well.  It’s a pretty special adventure and the boys love their new brother.

Here’s to new adventures!  No matter how familiar those adventures feel.