Marvel Dice Masters: Age of Ultron

Dice Masters: Age of Ultron

Dice Masters: Age of Ultron

I’ve never played Marvel Dice Masters, but I’m the proud owner of the copy pictured above. How? Read on …

This summer my wife and I hosted our second annual Gaviola Game Night for our daughter and her friends. We have plenty of game nights throughout the year, but this one is special because it’s for our daughter’s close friends. They had such a good time last that one of the first things our daughter requested after studying abroad was another game night for her crew.

Of course, we couldn’t resist.

I planned on barbecuing and trying out some new recipes, but the thought of sweating outdoors next to a hot grill didn’t appeal to me, so I bought pre-marinated chicken and beef fajitas from our local Mexican market. All I had to do was cook the meat on the stovetop, serve it with fresh tortillas, salsa, and guacamole and everyone would be well-fed for a night of gaming.

Our daughter and her friends played games and chatted throughout the Saturday night. They’ve all been friends since high school and it’s great to see them continue their friendships as they go to college. Most have stayed in state, but some are studying in other parts of the country. Most have travelled or studied abroad and they’re all intelligent young people.

As my wife and I say, smart people who like to play board games are always welcome in our home.

Games played that night included Word on the Street, King of Tokyo, Codenames, Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Dr. Eureka, For Sale, Timeline, Zombie Dice, and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.

My wife and I were content to sit back and let them enjoy the night, but did manage to play a few games with them (our favorite as a group was Escape: The Curse of the Temple). There was plenty of laughter and they stuffed themselves silly all through the evening.

A few weeks later and our mailbox had a thank-you note from one of our guests, along with a copy of Dice Masters: Age of Ultron. What a sweet and thoughtful gesture!

Dice Masters is one of those games that’s been on my must-play list for some time. I love rolling dice, I love the Marvel Universe, and I love games by Eric Lang; why have I not played this yet?!

Thanks to the kindness of our daughter’s friend, I’ll be able to finally play it. We’ll see if this is the only Dice Masters title in our game library by the time we all get together again. I doubt it.

Day 310: Daredevil

Daredevil on Netflix.

Daredevil on Netflix.

I recently posted about how much my wife and I are enjoying Gotham. After a few episodes, I decided to start watching Daredevil on Netflix.

Needless to say, the rest of Gotham has been put on hold.

I’m three-quarters of the way into the first season and so far Daredevil has been superb. He’s one of my favorite superheroes, but I put off starting the series because I was scarred from the Ben Affleck version. It was okay, but nowhere near as gritty as I thought it should be. And Affleck didn’t do it for me as a superhero (which is why I’m sure I’ll put off watching Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice).

I grew up on Frank Miller’s version of The Man Without Fear, which was gritty before gritty was cool. The Born Again storyline, along with The Big Three (Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight Returns) changed the way I looked at comic books.

The Netflix series has been everything I wanted from Daredevil. It’s not about a superhero saving the world, but rather the story of a city, Hell’s Kitchen in New York, and the people trying to control it/save it. It’s more like The Wire, which is only the greatest TV show ever. There are no corny one-liners or sly nods to the audience. The fight scenes aren’t over-the-top, and the fight in episode two where Daredevil goes into the heart of bad guys’ sanctuary was an all-time great.

Yes, a show produced for the small (and mobile) screen has an all-time superhero scene. Television, or what we call TV these days, has come a long way and mostly for the better.

Day 269: Batman Day

Batman Day

Batman Day

I didn’t plan on watching my first episode of Gotham last night, the eve of Batman Day. It was one of those funny coincidences; after I finished watching, I checked social media and the first thing I read was about Batman Day. So, of course, I had to find a way to celebrate and luckily I was able to drag my wife to the local comic book store, where we did some window shopping and took a photo with a Joker cosplayer.

When I was a kid devouring comic books, I was all about Marvel. My closest friends who liked comic books were also Marvel geeks, so it was easier to relate to everybody since we all operated in the same comic book universe. We weren’t into the cheesy Superman and Justice League; they just weren’t as cool as Spiderman or the Avengers.

But I always loved Batman. I’ll never forget the oversized Batman annual that my dad bought for me. I read that thing until cover fell off. I don’t recall the particular details of the stories, but I do remember how frightening the Scarecrow and Two-Face seemed. Batman was scary, too; he did not resemble the Adam West version that I’d watched on TV every week.

Of course, I was fortunate that I was a teenager during the release of the Big Three: Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight Returns. While I wouldn’t read Maus or Watchmen until a few years later, The Dark Knight changed the way we would see Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego.

And that’s what I love about all of the comic book universes: they’re constantly up for re-examination and re-interpretation by each generation. I’ve seen several versions of the Batman and enjoy each one (for the record, Frank Miller’s Year One is probably my favorite).

So, even though Gotham is not focused on Batman, it is set in his world, with Bruce Wayne at the pivotal moment of the first episode. It’s another re-imagining of the myth; one that continues to entertain and enlighten.

Day 200: Ant-Man

  • Ant-Man


It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the movies, so I was excited to see Ant-Man. He wasn’t a major character in the Marvel Universe comics, but he proved to be a worthy addition to the Marvel Universe films.

I didn’t think Paul Rudd could be a superhero. I loved him in Anchorman, I Love You Man, and Knocked Up (one of my favorite lines ever: “I got Matsui”). He didn’t strike me as an actor that could carry a comic-book-turned-movie.

Thankfully, Rudd plays it just right. He doesn’t take things too seriously nor does he overdo the snarkiness and strikes the right balance between both. There are a few winks to the audience about the silliness of the whole thing, but it never feels patronizing or demeaning.

I didn’t find out until the credits rolled that Edgar Wright had a hand in the screenplay and realized that’s why I liked Ant-Man so much. Wright’s a master at this type of pop-culture fare.

It’s the perfect summer blockbuster. Yes, it’s silly and predictable, but it’s also a lot of fun and likable.

And it’s got me fired up to get back into my AFI Top 100 challenge.