A Broken Rule…

Battle Systems Core Space!

I have a rule.

Do not play games with unpainted miniatures.

This rule got in the way of our Frostgrave gaming so Mrs. GG convinced me to game with some unpainted minis. We had fun. Tired of waiting I decided to try our Core Space game, using some painted and some unpainted minis….

I had fun!

For much of my life I have had games without someone to game with. This resulted in me getting pretty good at buying and reading game rules without a actually playing many games.

Now with YouTube I can watch others play games as well as just read the rule books.

This is why I was able to decide Core Space was pretty good without actually playing it. But it was not until I played it (solo mind you) that I was able to decide just how good. And now I believe it is….

Really very good!

It was fast paced, intuitive and action packed. The AI worked well. Combat was not as shallow feeling as I expected. There is not much internal narrative, although there is a decent amount of fluff to the Core Space Universe, but the game itself creates interesting moments that help weave a narrative of its own.

There were lots of tense decision moments with gambles that sometimes paid off and other times did not. Random chance seemed to play a big part, perhaps too big at times. However I think that as characters develop it may get more tactical and less random feeling.

The event cards and hostility tracker work nicely although I expect the “loot, fight, run, rinse and repeat” format may get a bit stale eventually.

I only played the first scenario of the Perseus Arm Campaign from the Deluxe Rulebook but it was great. I am really looking forward to playing through this campaign with some of he advanced rules then I will add in all the rest of the expansions including Dangerous Days and First Born.

Which means I have a lot of painting ahead of me… and using pens to color in the edges of the cardstock terrain…

Battle Systems Cyberpunk Terrain

Speaking of terrain….I managed to finish some more assorted fantasy 28mm terrain.

Terrain destined for others….

However, this is all terrain that was started by the previous owner which I finished and have decided does not suit our collection. So these pieces are destined for other gamers.

Some of my birthday gifts were delayed and have finally arrived. Yay!

Late arrival Birthday presents…

As you can see quite a bit added to my backlog of work. However, I have been keen to get some desert buildings for quite a while. I particularly like that they have interior details.

While I prefer Core Space to Stargrave I do hope that I can repurpose things from Stargrave for both Frostgrave and Core Space. I am wondering if Stargrave could be used to help add the sci-fi themed AD&D Adventure “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks” to Felstad, the Ghost Archipelago or the Shadow Deep of the various “*grave” games.

In other news, Mrs. GG took a couple of sittings to get through the recent release of the movie “Midway”…

Midway (2019)

… typical big budget Hollywood Roland Emmerich movie. Flashy special effects laden action scenes. Lots of characters but none of them explored well enough for my taste leaving the film feeling a bit shallow. All of it a bit over the top and melodramatic. It reminded me of eating junk food, satisfy at the time but not that great afterwards. I recall liking the 1976 version a lot more but that could be my nostalgia talking.

Midway (1976)


We also started watching the TV series The Rookie with Nathan Fillion.

The Rookie

A pretty good cop show.

Fillion (of Firefly fame)plays a character I can easily identify with although he believes in the good of people more than I do. Several scenes in the first couple of episodes reminded me of incidents I experienced myself as a cop… albeit over the course of a few years rather than a few days. My age and experiences gave me a different perspective from many my younger colleagues and there were a number of senior police officers who thought I should not be there. While there are certain Hollywoodisms to the show there are also some realistic cop themes in there, so I suspect they have a decent Police technical advisor involved.

“Fear the Walking Dead” continues to be terrible this season. It has gotten as bad as season 2. The writing is terrible. Characters contradict themselves and make no sense. I keep wondering why I torture myself to watch this show. I think it is because I am so invested in the IP and I keep hoping it will get better. It certainly has been better than this season. But I have to say, despite my loyalty to IP and liking some of the characters this show has become truly awful.

Season Three of Love, Death, Robots….

Love, Death, Robots


… has not been my favorite season.

It has a couple of decent episodes but none of them are terrible. However they are all very dark, some depressingly horrific, so even more dark than previous seasons in my opinion.

Outstanding animation. Overall I did not feel like it was time wasted to watch.

My favorite was the episode with the giant monster crab… I find it fascinating that while spiders and many insects terrify me crabs intrigue me. I did not get the mind numbing fear of the giant crab, despite its monstrous behavior, that I got from the creatures in the later Swarm episode and that I get from almost every spider I see, including the hugely popular Lucas the Spider.

Lucas the Spider

Mrs GG and I were excited to see the first two episodes of the new “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series…

Ben… the old wizard beyond he Dune Sea…. Obi-Wan Kenobi

For those that do not know I used to be a huge Star Wars fan. As a kid I memorized almost all of the dialogue in the original movie. Thousands of hours were spent in my youth playing various Star Wars games of all kinds. At the time I considered myself more of a Star Wars fan than a Trekkie.

However over the years I started to favor Star Trek over Star Wars due to what I perceived as the deeper messages in Trek. This evolution continued over the years as I matured and experience taught me that I would be better off emulating Picard over Kirk or Solo.

Of late both Star Wars and Star Trek have been deeply disappointing. The Mandalorian helped restore some of my love for Star Wars but the Book of Boba Fett was ultimately disappointing. I disliked the first seasons of Star Trek Discovery and Picard so much I have not seen the follow up seasons.

Ewan MacGregor was one of the real high points of the disappointing Star Wars prequels in my opinion. He seemed to channel Sir Alec Guiness even though I thought the plot writing for his character was flawed.

But what about he new Obi-Wan Kenobi?

After watching the two episodes I was overflowing with enthusiasm.

I thought they were great.

However, after thinking about it over night and into the next day the shine began to wear off. I realized that the show was alright but not great. Do not get me wrong, there were great bits, young Princess Leia being one of the greatest bits, but overall it was only good.

Why was I so in love with it when I first watched it?

I think because after the Book of Boba Fett I had incredibly low expectations and it far exceeded those.

But it was not anywhere near the same level of awesome as the classic original Star Wars (aka #4 A New Hope).

I liked the villains more than Mrs. GG did.

Ben was more like what I expected “Old Luke” to be like, so it showed me where the later Star Wars movies could have been better. Mrs. GG is undecided about whether she likes this portrayal of Ben, believing he should be more competent than he comes across so far

But as Mrs. GG said to me in our post show discussion, much of it did. It feel like Star Wars. It looked like Star Wars but did not feel like Star Wars. Which I agreed with.

And then an idea hit me. The original Star Wars trilogy, particularly the original film, was very Pulp in the feel of it. The space combat was based on WW2 aerial combat movies. The tropes were very Pulpy. The Imperial costumes invoked Hollywood Nazi I images. It reminded me of Indiana Jones.

The Pulp feel makes the movies feel timeless rather than products of the 70’s and 80’s.

What this series of Obi-Wan and so many of the Star Wars movies/tv shows do is actively try to reflect the current world in which they were made. Too specifically topical in my opinion.From contemporary politics to costuming and set design. Taking classic Imperial Stormtroopers and intentionally updating them to look like something designed by Apple. Cyberpunk Mods on Vespas. A young female presenting drug dealer chastising Obi-Wan about how she was someone’s daughter too. The jaded cynicism of our current culture is rife in so many of the later Star Wars shows whereas originally Star Wars was so optimistic and admittedly somewhat naive.

Which is why I felt Cassian Andor was not exactly the kind of Rebel that would have fit in my vision of the original Star Wars and why I have not been looking forward to seeing the Andor tv series.

Andor

The trailer looks better than I was expecting, because it looks like it deals with a lot more than just Cassian Andor. It has a Star Wars look but both Mrs. GG and I feel that it does not have the classic Star Wars that we prefer. Instead it does come across a lot like Rogue One. Which was not terrible but was not as good as we had hoped for… again because it seemed to lack that classic Star Wars Pulp flavor.

Speaking of Pulp… and Pulpy and maybe even Campy, show making a return is Willow. I love the original Willow movie for its quirky if admittedly simplistic charm.

My concern is that this new TV show looks a lot more serious and a lot less fun than the movie. Even the music comes across as if they want to take Willow into the realm of Lord of the Rings style serious epic fantasy….

I fear it will lose the charm of the original doing this.

But hey, I am a Grumpy Gnome… perhaps I am being overly pessimistic.

Tell me what you think about all this in the comments below! I want to hear what you have to say.

20 comments

  1. I backed off from Star Wars and haven’t regretted it.

    I’ll give you a spare “License to Ignore” so you can spare yourself more Walking Dead. Someone will let you know if it actually gets worth coming back at some point. Spend the next episodes painting or playing instead. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah but then you are missing the Mandalorian, which is pretty good.

      I only watch tv when I am too tired to paint or game… but yeah I should probably give up on Walking Dead as there Are plenty of other things to watch right now. More shows than I have time to see really.

      Like

  2. Gosh, too much for me to take in! 🙂 Some people say rules are there to be broken, so good for you having a game with unpainted figures and enjoying it. I’m way behind on Star Wars I’m afraid but good to hear you liked the Obi Wan series so far. As for films, I liked the recent Midway film because of the special effects and the nice CGI warships (don’t often see Kongo class battleships in films)!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How dare you break the sacred rule of only using painted minis! 😉 In all seriousness, I’m really glad that you like Core Space! I’ve heard good things about it and I wouldn’t mind seeing some pictures when you do get stuff painted up because I don’t know a lot about it truthfully. The new batch of terrain looks great to me and more stuff in the backlog sounds good too. Some of that Stargrave stuff should look awesome painted up as well!

    I’m starting to feel like Disney is losing me with Marvel and Star Wars. For me, it isn’t the bad content that is the killer, it is the sheer volume of it all. I’m struggling to keep up with it all and they keep making things that I’m lukewarm about. For Star Wars specifically, they keep making shows that I don’t really want as well. Conceptually, Book of Boba Fett wasn’t something I was excited about and I fear that the Obi Wan show is not really something that I want either. I’m starting to feel like it would be easier for me if I stop trying to keep up with all of these shows and just watch what people are really excited about or what gets good reviews (because hopefully then I will actually like it). This is just an idea that is growing on me lately and truthfully, I spend more time playing video games than I do watching TV or movies so that might be partially why I’m feeling overwhelmed and am tempted to drift away from Disney’s content. I look forward to seeing what you think about the rest of Obi Wan. Thank you for avoiding spoilers in your reviews too. I love hearing your thoughts without feeling like I know what happens in a given show or movie. Too many reviews don’t do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It helps that I did finish painting the first two crews so my eyes focus on those during the games. I have gotten games 2 and 3 in and will talk about them in the next blog post. The game keeps getting better as I grow more familiar with the rules. I really look forward to adding the more advanced rules and expansions.

      I do not try to consume all of the Star Trek, Marvel and Star Wars products. There just is way too much. Sometimes I feel like I am missing some things in the recent Star Wars tv shows because I have not watched the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series but even without pc gaming anymore I just do not have enough time for it all.

      My reviews are a bit thin I realize but hopefully they are somewhat helpful. Bret convinced me to watch “We are all Dead” and it was worth my time. And I started watching the animated “Cowboy Bebop” because of your suggestion. So if we help each other out we can save each other some time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I look forward to seeing how your future games look and hearing how they go too!

        I think Star Wars is becoming too insular with the references to past series like Clone Wars and Rebels personally. I don’t care about those characters because I didn’t watch the original series and quite frankly, you can’t watch everything like you’ve said too. It is something that is a turn off to me about the current Disney shows. I guess I’m the grumpy one today as it turns out!

        While you’re able to catch a lot of stuff that I’m not familiar with, I enjoy reading your thoughts whenever you watch something that is on my radar! I hope you’re enjoy Cowboy Bebop as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Especially with how much the shows like to reference characters in other movies and shows in Marvel and Star Wars! We can only do our best in the face of this entertainment onslaught 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • And yet, that cross referencing does help weave a tapestry of suspended disbelief. I try to console myself with the knowledge that I do not know what happens to everyone all the time in real life as well as on the screen.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. The Core Space game looks interesting, is it easy to keep track of all those components while playing? I think cardboard walls work great on games like that, are they durable? Questions aside, it looks like a great game!

    My first thought when seeing the picture of the terrain was that I didn’t think those pieces looked like something you would be using, glad to see you’re putting them up to be sold. They’re nice, just not something that would fit in what I’m used to seeing what you usually have in your games.

    I agree on you about Star Wars / Star Trek, I’m firmly in the believe of pulp/camp in enjoying a movie of certain genres. My wife and I have seen every Wars/Trek movies in the theater, we had watched every Superman until the boss fight was the last thirty minutes and destroyed everything in sight. Same with Batman movies until they went dark.

    I equate the changes with Stormtroopers with the US Army changing their uniforms, I just feel sorry for the Stormtroopers uniform allowance.

    Watched Obi Wan, it was kinda meh for me. Knowing that Obi Wan / Leia / Uncle Owen were all safe took some of the drama out of the story for me. Still don’t understand what all those people do wandering down the street do, and why they just stayed there when they saw the Inquisitor’s ship land. Will watch but expectations aren’t high for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The components are a bit overwhelming at first, especially doing the random secret allotment to the crates but it gets easier with time and pulling the physical tokens from the crates feels more viscerally rewarding than pulling from the pouch when you get to a crate. Normally I hate tokens like these but they seem to work ok for this game.

      The cardstock terrain is not as robust as I would like. It works well enough if you are gentle and do not try to force anything. It breaks down and stores away nicely. It is a lot less effort than painting terrain to cover the same table space. I love the aesthetics of it but yeah you have to treat it tenderly.

      I have not been able to deal with Batman or Superman since the whole Batman versus Superman debacle. Actually it was before that. What ruined them for me was making Zod so sympathetic. Superman is just too human and Zod makes too much sense if you look at it from his perspective. I keep trying to work up enthusiasm to give the shows another go with Mrs. GG to see what she thinks but we always find something we would rather watch first. We did like Aquaman and Wonderwoman. So we are tempted to work our way through the grim to try to get to Justice League.

      Changing the Stormtrooper look itself was not the issue for me. It was what they changed it to. Like in Star Trek Discovery changing the control panels to be touch screen like Next Generation rather than analog like TOS. I can think of reasons to use analog buttons even though they appear outdated compared to contemporary tech, ie Starfleet psychologists determined having a physical response to control input reduces stress in combat or something like that. Making the Stormtroopers look more “modern” was a mistake in my opinion. Change the aesthetics the way the Clone Troopers look different from he Stormtroopers, ok, but no need to involve Steve Jobs.

      Prequels with established characters are always going to struggle with creating tension using threats to those characters.

      I completely agree with the odd behavior of the people in the towns of Tattooine. The world building seems a bit off. A Jedi on the run for 10 years acting like a rookie fugitive? What? The more I think about the show the more plot holes I find, which makes the sweater start to unravel. Deborah Chow is a decent director but I feel like there is something missing in the overall world building that ties it all together. Like the timeline is not fleshed out and adhered to enough.

      The Tattooine of the Prequels/Mandolorian/Obi-Wan Kenobi does not seem like the sleepy backwater portrayed by Luke in A New Hope. I hate contradictions like that within canon lore. It messes with my suspension of disbelief.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel I’m watching the Disney Star Wars series like you’re watching the Walking Dead series, if they didn’t have the legacy (?) behind the titles, would I be watching it after the first few episodes?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice to find a bit of time to look at your blog, Missed core space , which I know is a shame, and do like the ship crew boxes and robots and the card buildings the icing on the cake. Netflix, The Umbrella Acadamy, Stranger Things 4, Lock and key. Black Summer, wow so many, to watch. Brought Black Powder Red Earth, it comes today by Amazon, looks amazing will give you a report . Hope you are all well, carry on the excellent work, best wishes Geoff and Eileen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never enough time to do everything we want. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Black Powder Red Earth. Thank you for taking the time to both read the blog and post here. Time is a precious commodity and the time readers spend writing feedback helps me justify the time I put into the blog! I appreciate the kind words and wish both you and Eileen the very best.

      Like

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