#DarkShadows; another movie tie in board game review

May 8, 2012

Last night I went to a preview of Dark Shadows by Tim Burton, featuring Johnny Depp. In case you don’t know, my super power is winning free movie tickets. I rather enjoyed the film and so as a tie in, similar to how I reviewed my Hulk board game for Avengers, here is my review from a few years back, of the Dark Shadows board game. Scroll down to the end to see an image of the original Barnabas and you can see how for Depp’s take they kept the hairstyle and the cane.  Enjoy.

“As part of the all week Halloween theme here at the blog, here is another game appropriate to this time of year.

This game also happens to be my most recent purchase having picked it up about a fortnight ago at the Belmont swap meet.

Allow me to introduce the Dark Shadows game.

Dark Shadows game box

Now, “Dark Shadows” is a television show that I have often heard about but never actually seen. I have heard it described as a supernatural soap opera starring a vampire so it sounds cool.

The board game upon first inspection looked to be a pretty cheap cash in. There was no board as such, just a large fold out playing sheet and some very half hearted playing pieces. For instance, you can be a candle, or a clock. Still, in Monopoly you can be a top hat so perhaps a clock is not that bad. At first I was thrown by there being no dice, which made me wonder if all the pieces were there, but a quick look at the instructions revealed that no dice was needed; just the playing cards. I haggled to have the game for $2, not expecting much, only thinking it would be good to have the game for the novelty factor.

Dark Shadows player pieces

The player pieces. Everyone wants to be the wolf…

My partner and I gave the game a quick run through. The play is interesting. All your moves are dictated by the cards that you can pick up. You have four cards dealt to you, and when it is your turn, you pick up another card from the deck. You now must discard one card to have four cards again, and hopefully with the card you throw out you use it to move. Each step along the board corresponds to an aspect of the cards. It could be the colour of the card, red or black; the symbol on the card, such as a spider or a bat, or the number on the card. Say you have a black spider card with a 1 on it. If the square in front of you is either black, has a spider on it or a number 1, then you can move. Sometimes this means that you are picking up cards and are not moving for some time, but the same can easily happen to your opponent. When we played it my partner didn’t move from the start position until she had picked up cards 5 times. Later, I lost with only a few steps to go because I could not pick up the card I needed and my partner did and just sailed right past me to win.

Dark Shadows game sheet

The sheet that your pieces go around. Note the squares; to move you must play a card that has an aspect of that square, such as colour or symbol.

I thought that the game could take hours but with two of us we raced thru it in under half an hour and never once noticed the time. We were engrossed, trying to take advantage of the shortcuts that rely on having three in a row of the same card. Do you save up for that or take a chance that you will draw those cards?

Really, it might look like a cheap game, with a ‘fold up like a road map’ type of playing sheet, but this really is a game that draws you in and provides plenty to look at, since the illustrations are great. For instance, the card symbol for the glass has a skull in the wine so my partner called it the Skulled Wine card, which I thought was pretty funny. Also the pictures for the pick up and discard pile are a treat so it is a pity that they get covered.

 Dark Shadows draw and discard pile

I’m giving this game 4 dice. It is an absorbing and fun game with unpredictable play and lots of cool visual stuff to look at.”

4 dice

Dark Shadows game collectors card of the vampire Barnabas

The playing cards contained two of these collector cards of the vampire Barnabas. I love the suggestion of putting these in your wallet.

Advertisements

Dem Bones

October 24, 2011

Halloween; a great excuse for a vinyl display. And so I have gathered together some records with a skull and bones connection for the creepy occasion.

Steppenwolf 7

 

Danse Macabre

 

Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre


All the ladies get down

November 15, 2010

I always check my stats at this blog, and consistently, time after time, the most viwed page is this one, where the vinyl triptych featured three album covers where the band in question was sitting down. Why has this page proven to be so well viewed? Is it because of the bands? Are there legions of Free followers online? Does Ten Years After have a massive online community of fans? Is Manfred Mann king of the web?

Or is it the subject matter, sitting down, which brings viewers to that page? On the odd chance that maybe, just maybe, the topic of sitting down is the lure, here is a companion piece to that vinyl display. This time the covers are all of ladies down on the ground.

Skintight by Ohio Players

Love Me Again by Rita Coolidge

Playing Possum by Carly Simon

Onto the topic of record hunting and I had a succesful visit to the Belmont Swap Meet on Sunday. Didn’t have much money to spare but what I did have got me through, with some records priced at 50cents and others for a dollar. 

For a buck each, I picked up two prime examples of 70’s country rock with the debut album of Firefall and the second release by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, plus, from the same seller, Juke Joint Jump, by the always fun Elvin Bishop and a Sonny and Cher compilation. Amongst the other items from this seller was Desitively Bonnaroo by Dr John, or at least the cover was. I looked inside and that was it. I looked in the box of records hoping to see the record by itself, but no, nothing. I almost went through every other record to see if it had been put in the wrong cover, but time was getting on.

How do people lose a record? I mean, when you pick up an album, straight away you should be able to tell from the weight, or lack of, that there is something missing.  However, it was at a Belmont Swap Meet that I discovered the hard way that just because there is a record inside, that does not mean it is the right one. I remember a few years ago now, coming home with what I thought was 3+3 by the Isley Brothers; only inside it was a Jackson Browne record. Ever since I have checked before any sale that the record inside is the right one.  

I also got two Christmas albums, one by Jim Reeves with arrangements by Chet Atkins and the other a sampling of artists from the A&M label singing festive tunes. These were 50 cents each. My Christmas music collection continues to grow.  

The seller who horrified me at Halloween with his mold covered records was back again, with the same mold covered records, but the Mothers of Invention album was gone, so someone braver than me must have picked it up to give it a whirl.

There was one seller with a great box of records, including titles by Queen, Alice Cooper and Jethro Tull, and even a double live album by Dory Previn. I knelt down to have a look and asked him how much he wanted for them. He said twenty dollars. I thought he might have meant the whole box or perhaps I misheard him so I went on to ask him why he was selling them and he answered how he now had everything on CD, and he had not played these for ages and had only been storing them and so it was time to pass them on. Then I asked him again how much, and he clarified it for me; twenty dollars, each. I wonder if he sold any of them yesterday.

Also amongst my great finds was a Rod Steward biography from back in the 70’s with heaps of illustrations. From this same seller I picked up a tour programme of Rod dated 78/79. Sadly, when I got it home I discovered that many of the pages were missing. So now, not only do I check all records inside the covers I must also check all pages of second hand books.


an eerie song for a Friday

October 29, 2010

Rounding out the theme of Halloween that I have blogged about all this week, here is a song from Vincent Price.

Vincent will always be synonymous with old style horror movies for me. I taped The Bat a few weeks ago, in which he features, so maybe I will watch that this Halloween weekend, along with my old VHS copy of The Abominable Dr Phibes. I think I also have a cheap DVD copy of Shock, so I might have something of a Vincent Price movie marathon.


Dark Shadows; another Halloween game

October 28, 2010

As part of the all week Halloween theme here at the blog, here is another game appropriate to this time of year.

This game also happens to be my most recent purchase having picked it up about a fortnight ago at the Belmont swap meet.

Allow me to introduce the Dark Shadows game.

Dark Shadows game box

Now, “Dark Shadows” is a television show that I have often heard about but never actually seen. I have heard it described as a supernatural soap opera starring a vampire so it sounds cool.

The board game upon first inspection looked to be a pretty cheap cash in. There was no board as such, just a large fold out playing sheet and some very half hearted playing pieces. For instance, you can be a candle, or a clock. Still, in Monopoly you can be a top hat so perhaps a clock is not that bad. At first I was thrown by there being no dice, which made me wonder if all the pieces were there, but a quick look at the instructions revealed that no dice was needed; just the playing cards. I haggled to have the game for $2, not expecting much, only thinking it would be good to have the game for the novelty factor.

Dark Shadows player pieces

The player pieces. Everyone wants to be the wolf...

My partner and I gave the game a quick run through. The play is interesting. All your moves are dictated by the cards that you can pick up. You have four cards dealt to you, and when it is your turn, you pick up another card from the deck. You now must discard one card to have four cards again, and hopefully with the card you throw out you use it to move. Each step along the board corresponds to an aspect of the cards. It could be the colour of the card, red or black; the symbol on the card, such as a spider or a bat, or the number on the card. Say you have a black spider card with a 1 on it. If the square in front of you is either black, has a spider on it or a number 1, then you can move. Sometimes this means that you are picking up cards and are not moving for some time, but the same can easily happen to your opponent. When we played it my partner didn’t move from the start position until she had picked up cards 5 times. Later, I lost with only a few steps to go because I could not pick up the card I needed and my partner did and just sailed right past me to win.

Dark Shadows game sheet

The sheet that your pieces go around. Note the squares; to move you must play a card that has an aspect of that square, such as colour or symbol.

I thought that the game could take hours but with two of us we raced thru it in under half an hour and never once noticed the time. We were engrossed, trying to take advantage of the shortcuts that rely on having three in a row of the same card. Do you save up for that or take a chance that you will draw those cards?

Really, it might look like a cheap game, with a ‘fold up like a road map’ type of playing sheet, but this really is a game that draws you in and provides plenty to look at, since the illustrations are great. For instance, the card symbol for the glass has a skull in the wine so my partner called it the Skulled Wine card, which I thought was pretty funny. Also the pictures for the pick up and discard pile are a treat so it is a pity that they get covered.

 Dark Shadows draw and discard pile

I’m giving this game 4 dice. It is an absorbing and fun game with unpredictable play and lots of cool visual stuff to look at.

4 dice

Dark Shadows game collectors card of the vampire Barnabas

The playing cards contained two of these collector cards of the vampire Barnabas. I love the suggestion of putting these in your wallet.


Ewww, You can’t put that on a cover

October 27, 2010

Continuing the Halloween theme that I have got going this week, and taking a small break from the Doctors and Nurses book covers of the last two Lost Library Thing entries, here is a cover that stunned even me when I saw it.

Horror At Fontenay by Alexandre Dumas

Well, this is one book I don’t intend reading on the bus to work, but if I did I would surely always have the seat next to me unoccupied.

The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult is a series that I have come across now and then and have bought a few in the series. Dennis, being something of a horror/occult writer (and a writer of adventure and plenty else) had an extensive knowledge of lost masters of the field and selected somewhat obscure works and authors for this series. Not that Alexandre Dumas is one of the obscure authors; he is the man behind the Three (and Four) Mustketeers and The Man In The Iron Mask after all, but who knew he did horror?

Back cover of Horror At Fontenay by Alexandre Dumas

In defence of the cover, at least the back blurb indicates that the image is relevant to the story. Still, the remains of an earlier price tag suggests that this book was a hard sell.


Board Game Review: It’s Funky Phantom Time

October 26, 2010

I don’t post any where near enough game reviews and with one recent Halloween inspired post, why not another?  So here is a game that would be suitable to play on Halloween. It is the Funky Phantom.

Funky Phantom board game box

Now, me, I cannot every say the title of this game without grunting it like James Brown intoning “it’s the funky drummer, the funky drummer”. All of which goes to show I really do like music too much.

But who is The Funky Phantom? He is the titular character from an early 1970’s cartoon from Hanna-Barbera. However, this was one cartoon that I had never heard of until I came across this game in an op-shop. Turning to Wikipedia reveals that the show was produced by an Australian company. The premise had overtones of Scooby-Doo with teenage characters solving mysteries, aided by the Funky Phantom and his ghost cat Boo. They even had a green coloured vehicle with a name painted on the side; theirs was the Looney Duney. Significantly, for the game that I am about to talk about, the kids originally unleashed the Funky Phantom when they set an old clock to midnight.

Looney Duney from the Funky Phantom board game

The copy of the game that I found for $2 at an op-shop is in very good condition. It had all the cards and playing pieces and was only missing the dice.

Funky Phantom board game

The action is pretty straightforward; you go round the board clockwise hoping to land on ghost squares. When you do you can pick up a card. The objective is to be the first player to get enough cards with numbers that add up to 12. This is in reference to the Funky Phantom being released from his clock when the hands were set to midnight. Adding to the game play is the condition that other players can steal your cards if they land on the same square as you. Also, amongst the cards are cards of Boo the cat, which allow you to change direction. So say it was 6 spaces back to a ghost square and you just threw a 6, play a Boo card and you can go back and pick up a card. The cards themselves only have numbers ranging from 1 to 4 so you need to have collected at least 3 cards before you can claim victory. A word on the cards however; they are little squares and when piled up are very hard to pick up.

Close up of Funky Phantom board game with instructions

The game is designed for the younger player but that is no detriment to enjoying this simple and effective game which is fun and quick to play. Bigger cards which are easier to pick up would have been good.

Rating 3 Dice

3 dice

Funky Phantom board game instructions