The Dresden Files – Cooperative Card Game

I Dresden Files

Piotrek: Last week we met with a friend of the Re-Enchantment to play a few games of Dresden Files: Cooperative Card Game, a new game I acquired through Kickstarter. It was a very nice experience and I would highly recommend the game to everyone. It looks great, it is quick – 30-minute claim from the box is not entirely unrealistic, though I’d say 45 minutes are more likely. And it’s Harry Dresden, done right. It’s not only in the art, the spirit of Harry is present in game’s mechanics, and personalities of the characters are recognizable in their decks.

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So, first things first… Dresden Files. The most famous urban fantasy series, probably, although Anita Blake might be even more influential (and almost a decade older). So, maybe the most famous urban fantasy series that does not deteriorate into were-porn ;). And Jim Butcher is a very popular figure, friendly and eager to interact with his fans. Will it stay that way, if he continues to publish mediocre distractions and not long-awaited Harry Dresden novels? Remains to be seen 😀 Right now we had two years without new Harry and I am increasingly annoyed.

Ola: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is an urban fantasy/mystery series set in contemporary Chicago, where wizards, werewolves, vampires of many rivalling courts, faeries, monsters and demons compete for power. Of course, magic is still discredited, but the underworld of the supernatural seems on the verge of bursting out in the open and threatening the current structure of societies. The series, started in 2000, is now 15 novels long, with a number of short stories, a TV series and several graphic novels on the side. The series became itself a source of geek references, as evidenced in Aaronovitch’s series ;).

Piotrek: We haven’t reviewed Butcher’s series so far, but it’s been mentioned regularly, as a standard against which other UF series are measured, and usually they fail. For me, it’s not great literature, but extremely cool read, sometimes guilty pleasure. The amount of geeky references, extremely likeable characters, humour… lots and lots to like, and written by a very able writer who usually knows when to stop. Dresden Files are everything Iron Druid Chronicles aren’t, for Butcher seems to know the value of restraint, even when (spoiler!) he sends Harry to fight on an undead dinosaur in one of the coolest showdowns of the series.

How cool is Harry? He plays table-top RPG, that’s how cool he is! Sarcastic, genre savvy part-wizard, part-noir detective that grows from novel to novel, collecting friends and enemies while the intrigues go bigger and bigger, and we slowly learn about the Big Picture. Butcher’s mastery is, for me, two-fold. First, he creates extremely readable books. Secondly, he keeps the series interesting, avoids most traps  by letting the characters, and stakes, grow. He’s a master, and Dresden Files might be the pinnacle of the genre that seems to be increasingly dominated by paranormal romance. Although everyone I know, including myself, complains about the way it start. First books were far from perfect.

Ola: Well, I admit, I had a hard time getting into the Dresden Files. It clicked for me only in the fourth book 😉 So if not for a period of several days of convalescence with limited access to books – limited to Dresden Files, exactly – I would be sorely tempted not to continue reading after the first three instalments 😉 And I would miss out a lot – for Dresden Files is a type of series that gets better with each next book (well, almost without exception ;)).

Rodzyn: Last year, following Piotrek’s recommendation, I’ve picked up on Dresden Files. Having been so far around –for most part – around “proper” fantasy genre rather than its Urban branch (apart from Gaiman’s works), Butcher’s novels seemed like a nice interlude from my usual ‘to read’ list. It seems now that I love that kind of lightweight distractions for the reasons stated above by RotW Authors :). 

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Life after Witcher

So it’s ended. The great Witcher re-read and 200+ hours gameplay of Witcher: The Wild Hunt and both major DLCs. And now – what to do? I got my life back and it’s just not as fascinating as the game. Even the trees outside, they’re not as bright and beautiful as in-game ones. Huh.

Now I guess I have to start playing Dragon Age: Inquisition 😀

And read books I could review.

Also, Dr Strange hit cinemas, Luke Cage is on Netflix, and yearly Book Fair opens in Krakow tomorrow. So, not all is bad. And all these are topics for blog posts.

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Silva rerum (5) feat. computer games

It is a very slow summer here at Re-enchantment. And now, with my new super-powerful PC I’m finally going to play Witcher 3… and Total War: Warhammer, two video games that made me spend… way too much money on a machine I don’t really need for anything else. Open Office & Firefox work on my old laptop well enough…

I experience genre fiction in several complementary forms. Books might be most important, but movies, tv series, tabletop & video games are also great. For social gatherings tabletop games are just perfect, but when I want to immerse myself in a fantasy world and influence the events (and not only let my imagination go wild with wonderful stories prepared in a static form by writers) – I go for c(omputer)RPGs and strategies.

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A Cardboard Game of Thrones

Second game, third game post, after that – I’ll stop. For a while, at least. Next week it’s back to books, I promise.

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame is one of my favourites. Another genre franchise that everybody at least recognizes, but the game itself is completely different than last week’s Battlestar: Galactica. It’s one of the backstabbing games Henry Kissinger could enjoy. I did, immensely, dozens of times.

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When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.

Famous GRRM quote sums up the game nicely.

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Battlestar Galactica – the board game.

A follow-up from last week. From time to time a short board game review will replace usual book-related post. It will not necessarily be “easy games for beginners”. But all can be played by reasonably smart people after reading the manual, all are based on popular genre franchises and can provide many evenings of group entertainment each.

I will not concentrate on new games. A board game is significantly more costly than a book and takes up more shelf space. It’s better to establish a collection of a few classics, than just buy something fashionable at the moment.

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A short introduction to board games.

I’ve wanted to add board games to the list of stuff mentioned on Re-enchantment for quite some time. I thought about the best way to do it and decided against detailed reviews. We are, after all, mainly book-oriented and only occasionally venture into other media. So – some basics for now, and a couple tested examples will follow next week (or one after that, we’ll see). If you play a lot and already have your favourite games – move along, back to boardgamegeek.com, where regular players belong. But surprisingly many people need to be pushed in the right direction – I’m speaking from experience here, I’ve (re)introduced some people to occasional gaming and most of them claim to enjoy that 😉

Board games will be understood on our blog rather broadly, as games played on board or not, as in case of some of the card games (and I don’t mean a regular deck of cards, but cards especially designed for a specific game, as in case of (in)famous Magic: The Gathering). The category obviously excludes all kinds of video games (although, interestingly, there are video versions of many board games), and role playing games (for me – the highest form of gaming, one day I’ll write an eulogy of table top RPGs…).

A photo or two are needed for the main page – so I present my games (and a few borrowed) – I’m not bragging here, and it’s not false modesty, I know a few people with vastly superior collections. I’m somewhere between casual gamer and a regular, closer to casual probably, never playing competitively and treating games mainly as a kind of social entertainment.

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