Tag Archives: boardgames

Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary

star-trek-original-series-season-2This month, one of the world’s most beloved science fiction franchises is celebrating its 50th anniversary. On September 8th, 1966, NBC aired “The Man Trap” and audiences were introduced to Captain Kirk, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and the rest of the crew on a five-year mission aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek was immediately popular, and, despite only three initial seasons, soon developed a cult following during the years of syndication, since evolving into a pillar of popular culture as well as the preeminent sci-fi saga of our era (sorry, Star Wars fans). In the five decades since Star Trek premiered, Roddenberry’s vision of our future has expanded into six television series (with a seventh forthcoming), thirteen feature films, and hundreds of novels, comic books, and games, as well as countless fan-driven celebrations ranging from conventions to stage plays and drag shows. There are plenty of ways to get in on the anniversary action. Here are five of the items on my to-do list.

flos_one_sheet_fm2_for-printingTake in a movie.  
J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin’s Star Trek: Beyond isn’t the only Trek movie in theaters this year (although it may be the only one worth springing for IMAX 3D). Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy, started working with his father several years ago on a documentary that would explore the character for whom Leonard is universally recognized – the Enterprise’s first officer, Spock. When Leonard passed away last year, the film shifted focus slightly, and began to incorporate more biographical background on the man behind the pointy ears, including an incredible perspective on mid-century Hollywood. The resulting film, For the Love of Spock, is a touching tribute to Adam’s father, as well as a love letter from a planet of Trek fans to that most endearing of Roddenberry’s creations.
Continue reading Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary

Board Games I Have Loved and Lost

Growing up, winter break meant candy and soda-fueled all-nighters at my cousins’ house in Marin playing Nintendo, reading comics, and covering every available surface with gameboards, cards, and plastic tokens. Today I have boardgame boxes occupying major real estate in three different closets, and I’ve spent significant time of late burning the midnight oil over lengthy Descent and Talisman sessions. But you never forget your first… Or your fifth, for that matter. Mom cleans out closets like nobody’s business, and if it seemed old, underused, or even slightly neglected, out it went.

Before I set up another fleet of Rebel starships in an Armada showdown, I feel the need to reflect upon five games that I haven’t owned or even seen in decades… but that still tug at my heart.

kings and thingsKings & Things ca. 1987
I was a Games Workshop junkie in middle school. I bought White Dwarf regularly, cut-and-pasting together my own Warhammer cards from its glossy pages, and maintaining a tackle box full of (poorly) painted lead miniatures. I wanted to play every new boardgame that hit the shelves of Gamemasters on Clement St., but after blowing most of my saved allowance on comics and baseball cards, I was too often relegated to the back-of-the-store sale section. This turned over some turds like Judge Dredd and Blood Royale (which may have been fun, in retrospect, but far too complex for a teenager). Then came the day when this little gem fell into my lap.

An old Games Workshop Boardgame, where players fight for supremacy using rag-tag armies made up of Every little thing

Kings & Things declared itself a “Fantasy Boardgame with Everything,” and it wasn’t kidding. This box was FULL of cards, pieces, board tiles, and those tiny square pain-in-the-ass cardstock tokens that GW used to love. But the greatest thing about the game, for me, was discovering the ever-changing playing surface generated from random hexagonal tiles. I don’t know if this was the first time this mechanic was employed, but it was certainly my first experience. And I loved it.

Current fate: Unknown, presumably disposed of during one of the off-to-college purges.
Play it again: There are a few sellers on eBay, including this bloke in Delaware who has a near-mint copy for fifty bucks.
Similar current game: Although Kings & Things was reprinted by a European publisher, that version is also out of print. Luckily there are many fine modern games that employ the random tile-generated board. My favorite? Carcassone. Continue reading Board Games I Have Loved and Lost