Sunday, 22 January 2017

'40 Challenge update' - A Game, a Book and a Film

After a very busy week at work, I've made progress on all fronts this weekend, played a new game, as well as a film and have read most of a book. Here goes.

Game: Kingsburg

Gareth & Deborah came round on Friday night with a new game in the bag (actually quite an old game) - Kingsburg. This game is something of an oldie, celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year, and in the rankings it is a respectable 229 on Board Game Geek. It is a dice rolling, worker (dice) placement game. You roll three dice and then take turns placing the dice on one of the spaces of on the board (numbered 1 to 18) to gain resources, which you can then use to buy buildings that give abilities and are worth victory points. The theme of the game is that you are a noble sent by the King to govern frontier territories. The theme isn't overly important to the game, except for the end of each round when an invading army attacks and you need to have built up the strength to defend against it - otherwise it is bad news!

This is a really neat game which with four players took a couple of hours but with less chat would have been shorter. It's not too complicated - you can pick up the game quite quickly, but there's plenty of choices to think about (but not too many for analysis paralysis to set in). We played with the base game, but there's an expansion 'Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm' which we will play next time that really adds to the game.

Film: The Running Man

As we were flicking through the movies on Netflix, my wife exclaimed 'What do you mean you've never seen Running Man'. This was for her one of those classic childhood film memories, but one I'd obviously missed out on. Oh well never mind, I can make up for it now! Running man is an Arnie sci-fi action movie - Schwarzenegger is a wrongly accused prisoner forced to take part in a lethal game show. He has to run and try to get away while being chased and ultimately gruesomely killed by professional "stalkers", but in typical Arnie fashion he turns the tables and starts killing them instead. There's a nasty bad guy and a cute girl, as well as a freedom fighting resistance movement - it all adds up to easily one of the most enjoyable Arnie romps I've seen in a while.

Book: Lucky Man by Michael J Fox

Michael J Fox is one of my favourite actors, thanks mostly to his starring role in one of my favourite films of all time 'Back to the Future', and also one of my favourite 90s comedies 'Spin City'. I don't normally read celebrity autobiographies, but this one seemed a bit different, not least because of his being diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson's disease in his late 20s. The first part of the book documents his early life, then the early years of his TV and film career. The mid part of the book is his description of the 'fun house years', with quite incisive observations about the strange and dangerous world of super stardom. The latter part of the book is about his decision to put his life back on a normal footing, and also about dealing with Parkinson's disease.

I almost never read celebrity autobiographies, with good reason I think, but I really enjoyed this book. It left me with the feeling, which I'd known already, that Michael J Fox is a genuinely nice guy, one of those rare all round good guys in Hollywood. It taught me a bit about Hollywood and the life of a film star, a bit more about Parkinson's disease, but a lot about life too. A great book, full of anecdotes, laugh out loud moments, but sad moments too, and it left me with a lot to think about.

Count as at 22 Jan:

Books 2/40
Games 3/40
Films 3/40

More next week.