Here’s a shout out and reminder to all our Magic the Gathering players. Our Shock and Fetch Lands Modern Tournament for Magic the Gathering is fast approaching. Preregister now in-store for $55, hold your spot and save $5 off the at the door fee of $60. Click here to see complete details and check us out on Facebook.
It’s going to be Epic!!!
Greetings and salutations, party people! We have so much to cover, so let’s get down to it.
Magic players: We have been listening to your feedback, and we have implemented some changes that we think you will really like. We now have a much more fixed calendar of events, so that you’ll consistently know what to expect from us and plan accordingly. Monday will be Modern, Tuesday will be casual/StarCity Game Night, Thursday will be Standard, Friday Night Magic will be Modern and Booster Draft, Sunday will be Standard, and Saturdays will be for special events like IQs, PPTQs, Game Days, etc(there are some leftover special events that will be on Sundays for now, but going forward we’re shooting for Saturdays). The full details are on our website calendar and the in-store calendars, so please take a gander at them.
While we’re on the subject of Magic, we are also now taking preorders on Conspiracy: Take the Crown, Kaladesh, and From the Vault: Lore (see sidebar on the right), AND we have some very big tournament announcements to share:
Saturday, November 26th we will be having a Modern tournament for Shock Land and Fetch Land playsets, and Saturday, December 17th we will be having a Standard tournament for promo hotness, which will include the SDCC Exclusive 2016 Planeswalker Set! Full details will be posted soon, so keep an eye on this spot.
Our Board Game Nights have been a real crowd pleaser, so if you haven’t checked one out yet, take a Tuesday night and spend it with us and some quality cardboard! Earn points by playing featured games, enter our raffle, and get big discounts on all sorts of items. In August we’re highlighting: King of Tokyo, King of New York, Boss Monster, Legendary, Munchkin, Merchants & Marauders, Pirate’s Den, Via Nebula, Dastardly Dirigibles, Dead of Winter, and The Grizzled! Whew!
Jared, because he is hopelessly addicted to board games, is still choosing a favorite each month to demo to you all. If you are lucky enough to catch him in his natural habitat and he is not running around like a maniac, he will show you the amazing customizable deckbuilding game Mystic Vale. And you will love it as he does.
And lastly, because our robot overlords demanded it, we have expanded our social media empire to now include the Instagrams (theportalcng) and the Snapchats (ThePortalCnG). So you can find us here, there, and on the Facebooks (@theportalcomics) and Tweeters (@ThePortalComics) too! AND our store is a Pokemon Go gym!
Have a fun and safe Summer, campers. May your mini golf scores be low, may your soft serve be piled high, and may your air conditioning never fail you.
It’s almost here! Board Game Night begins Tuesday, June 28th @ 6pm. Our first night of games will include 7 Wonders and Baba Yaga. Don’t know how to play, no problem, you only need bring yourself.
Challenge other players for the honorary title of the Wizard of Board Games!
Our first Board Game Night raffle will be Twilight Imperium – tickets go on sale at our first event.
Do not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. After all, there’s so much to get all jazzed about this month, you’ll forget all about that silly existential stuff.
In the wacky world of Magic the Gathering, the amazing reprint set known as Eternal Masters hits on the 10th, and for a very limited time we will have booster packs for sale as well as a small selection of singles. On the 12th and 26th we will be having a few booster drafts with this incredible set as well. For all the spoilery goodness, click here.
In the even wackier world of roleplaying games, June 18th will be the 10th anniversary of Free RPG Day! Come on down and get your adventurer’s mitts +2 vs. wallet drain on some free intro modules and other goodies, and while you’re here learn to play something new and take advantage of our sales!
There’s also the first month of Civil War Heroclix on the 16th, a Star Wars X-Wing tournament on the 30th, a demo for the new miniature game Guild Ball on the 25th, and more! Check out our calendar for full details.
We’re also proud to announce that board games are about to get even more love from the newly expanded crew at The Portal! As always, Jared will continue to pick new favorites every month, and if you get a demo of one of them from him you’ll get 20% off your very own copy. For June it’s:
World’s Fair 1893
It’s thematic, it’s educational, and it’s fun! With great mechanics and a ton of replayability, this is going to be a serious contender for top games of the year! Click for more info
This lovely little city-building game is all about drafting buildings and other features, and then strategically placing them to score the most points. Plus, it has acrylic meeples! Click for more info
It’s all-out war between pantheons of ancient gods! You summon them to the board and set them loose on your opponent, and all the stats are kept track of using a very cool ringchip system! And the minis look fantastic, too. Click for more info
In addition, beginning at the end of this month we will have a special Board Game Night on Tuesdays, where our new recruits will be running demos, holding raffles, and more!
All this is leading up to our Summer of Tabletop event on July 9th, which will feature demos, contests, sales, podcasts, and all sorts of gaming madness!
So enjoy that air conditioning, grab a frosty beverage, and spend Summer the right way: Indoors, away from the deadly day-moon, with a comic book in hand and a game set up on the table.
If you are a lover of comic books, or are even merely curious about them, this is going to be a very special week for you. First of all, this Wednesday, May 4th, The Portal is proud to announce our very first comics author appearance and signing! Local artist and creator of the webcomic Snarlbear, Natalie Riess, will be with us from our opening at 11am, signing copies of her new Oni Press book, SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME! This 8-issue miniseries is all about an intergalactic cooking competition that Peony, a baker from Earth, finds herself taking part in, and it’s awesome! So stop on by, grab a copy of your very own and get it signed. Natalie will also be doing sketches in-store as well- how cool is that?
Then this Saturday, from 9am to 9pm, it’s Free Comic Book Day, where you can pick up a few neat promo comic books and take advantage of our huge 25% OFF SALE! All of our back issues, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels will be discounted, so don’t miss it!
It truly is the best time to be a comic book fan. Need some suggestions? The next time you’re in the shop just ask Jared or Lexx, and they will regale you endlessly with entirely-too-enthusiastic reviews of titles like Saga, The Wicked + The Divine, Letter 44, Clean Room, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Hellboy. You won’t be sorry.
Greetings, one and all! The best two Saturdays of our year are almost upon us, and I have the honor of unloading all of the juicy details for you. Let’s get to it:
INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY 2016/SATURDAY, APRIL 30TH
For those of you who are not familiar with the awesomeness that is TTD, it is simply a day to get together and enjoy some tabletop games with the community, which is what we are all about. From 9AM to 9PM we will have the doors to our demo copy cabinets open, so that all may partake of the cardboard and plastic meeplery contained within. Borrow any of our OVER 600 GAMES and give them a try with others who are hanging out in the shop. Then play another. And another. It’s just that simple. Well, there’s a bit more to it. Like…
SALES! All of our games (accessories/singles/hobby supplies excluded) will be 20% OFF!(cannot be combined with other discounts-register takes highest) In addition, we will have select games on special sale at an even higher discount!
REFRESHMENTS! We will have an assortment of food and beverage snacky treats on hand, because we know better than most that slaying dragons, annihilating opposing armies, bluffing out your friends, and placing workers is serious business which requires a steady influx of fuel.
THEMED DEMO SESSIONS! I’ve just returned from PAX East, and I scoured the aisles for the most amazing new games from indie creators and developers, and I will be showing you how to play my favorites, as well as offering them for sale!
9AM-11AM: PIRATE DEN (3-5 players) A fast-paced bluffing game about grabbing as much loot as possible and then burying it so that your rivals can’t do the same to you. For more info, click here.
11:30AM-1:30PM: ALCHEMY! (2-5 players) It’s a test of magical mixing, as you race to make the best potions, both to show off for points and to drink for funsies. For more info, click here.
2PM-4PM: GRUFF (2-4 players) A tactical card game about battles between mutated monster goats! For more info, click here.
4:30PM-6:30PM: HIGH HEAVENS (2-4 players) A strategic miniature combat game with great looking figures and brilliant mechanics where one pantheon of ancient gods battles against another for cosmic supremacy! For more info, click here.
7PM-9PM: EVIL GENIUS DEATHRAY (2-6 players) In this card game play as an evil genius bent on world domination and build your own deathray while sabotaging others! For more info, click here.
SPECIAL GUESTS! Local game designer Anthony Rando from Devious Devices will be stopping by to beta test the prototype of their latest creation, and you are all invited to weigh in on:
That’s right, the officially licensed tabletop game of the cult-hit franchise, this is a cooperative, scenario-based game for 1 to 4 players, ages 15 and up. Players assume the roles of brave citizens of a coastal city, working together to battle hordes of man-eating sharks as they attempt to thwart the ultimate weather phenomenon! *Chainsaw sold separately.*
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016
Just as the name implies, for FCBD you stop into the shop between 9AM and 9PM, and we let you pick out up to 5 free comics that you get to take home and enjoy and share with all the people in your life who are desperately in need of cool things. We will also have lots of other neat promos available, and our entire stock of comics will be 25% OFF! (Cannot be combined with other discounts- register takes highest) And speaking of 25% discounts, you can get that year-round by signing up for our pull list service, nudge nudge wink wink. For a full list of the available titles, click here.
There you have it. We’ll see you crazy kids soon! Do us a solid and help spread the word, won’t you?
Hello once again, my geeks, nerds, dorks, and assorted hobbyists and ne’er-do-wells! I have SO much to share with you. So, without further ado, may I present:
NEW AND EXCITING STUFF AND THINGS FOR MARCH AND BEYOND!
#1. BOARD GAMING WITH THE COLONY MEADERY
It’s our first gaming and beverage collaboration! Every Sunday at 1pm join Jared as he teaches folks to play some of his favorite board games, all while trying extra hard not to imbibe too much. Speaking of, this event is open to everyone, but of course you must be 21 years or older to enjoy the many yummy flavors of mead available on tap or in bottles to go. Big thanks to Dave and all of the amazing guys and gals at The Colony Meadery and The Moravian Book Shop for helping make this a thing!
#2. FINE ART NOW FEATURED IN THE SHOP
It’s also our first time featuring customer art in the store! Starting off with our good friend Tyrone Webb and his amazing Sci-Fi landscape paintings, we will be featuring local artists in our game room. It’s a win-win: We get a game room that looks awesome, and you have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Lehigh Valley’s creative community. All pieces are available for sale, BTW, so by all means slap down some cash. And if you’re a local artist who’d like some exposure, particularly if you work in fantasy/sci-fi/comics, contact us and we’ll hook you up with some wall space!
#3. MAGIC. SO MUCH MAGIC
Where to begin? Magic players, there has never been a better time to play at The Portal. Why? Well, let’s see…
-We have added regular Commander and Pauper events to the schedule!
-We will be having FOUR Prerelease events for Shadows over Innistrad (And we’re now taking preorders on boxes and fat packs, as well as preregistration for these events, so get on that)!
-We will be having special Sunday tournaments all month long with EXPEDITION LANDS as prizes (See the events calendar for more info)!
-We continue to offer some of the best trade-in prices in the area, and we’re once again buying collections for cash, so we’re well-stocked in singles!
-Now through the end of May we are having our first ever STORE CHAMPIONSHIP, and here’s how it works:
Beginning this Sunday, March 6th, through May 31st, every single Magic the Gathering event you play in at the shop will give you Championship points. The top 4 players with the best overall points totals at the end of that period will win some ridiculous prizes! We’ll start with the points. You get:
+1 point for every event you play in
+2 points for every event you win (or get 1st place in by tie breakers)
+1 point for every event you get 2nd-4th place in (by tie breakers if necessary)
that total multiplied by x2 during Prereleases, Grand Prix Trials, and Game Days
that total multiplied by x3 during Star City Invitational Qualifiers
And now the prizes (Are you sitting down?):
1st place overall will get a SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2015 BLACK PLANESWALKER SET (complete in original box) AND a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
2nd place overall will get a sealed DUEL DECKS ANTHOLOGY AND a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
3rd and 4th place overall will get a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
The Eternal Masters will be available for pickup on June 10th. Prizes are non-transferable. In the event of ties, we will set up special events to determine the winner. These events will most likely be a silly format, because Jared enjoys torturing you.
#4. THE FUTURE
Things start to really get sick next month, with the addition of STAR WARS NIGHT and LIVING CARD GAME NIGHT, as well as the upcoming INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY 2016 and FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! We will also be making appearances at the next MEPACon and some local comic book and gaming conventions. Whew!
So there you go. We’re back and at full freaking power. The events calendar has returned, so please take a moment to check it out. More and more people are signing up for our comic book pull list (The best in the area at a monstrous 25% off, in our humble and not-at-all-biased opinion), so if you’re a fan please check that out as well. And we’ll see you all in roughly thirty days.
Welcome to the future, fellow nerdlings! The hospitals are full of hoverboard injuries, Crystal Pepsi is coming back, and you all probably got one of these cute little buggers for Christmas:
It’s a new year, and we get to do all of our favorite stuff all over again! Just picture it: Another Free Comic Book Day, and Tabletop Day, and all the various tournaments and events we love to put on for you, including:
Magic the Gathering: Oath of the Gatewatch Prereleases- Three events, one Sealed Deck at midnight on the 16th(the night of the 15th), a Two-Headed Giant Sealed on the 16th, and a final Sealed Deck on the 17th! Preregister today to reserve your spot and save five bucks!
Magic the Gathering: StarCity Games Invitational Qualifier- For those who enjoy an event with tougher competition and a bigger payout, we have a Standard format event on the 31st!
Warmachine/Hordes Steamroller tournament- There’s a 50 point event coming your way on the 23rd!
Malifaux Henchman Hardcore tournament- The meetups and leagues have been growing in size; now it’s to time to take it to the next level on the 30th!
Kings of War campaign league- It’s time to bring the awesomeness of large fantasy battles back to the shop, courtesy of Mantic’s great new 2nd edition!
This and tons more! Full details are available in the Events Calendar, which is now fully updated for this month. Please, for the love of everything good and decent in this world, take a look at it. I work hard on these things. It will answer pretty much any event question you have. Don’t make me cry. I do that ugly cry, and it’s quite unseemly.
Guess what’s back? Featured demo games! This month we’ve chosen a few of our current favorites to highlight, and if you come in and get a demo from one of us or check out our store copies on your own, you’ll get your very own copy for 20% off! Here’s the new hotness:
It’s not often that you see a good dedicated two player game, or one with rampaging dinosaur action. This new game from Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti has BOTH, and it’s glorious. More info
THE BLOODY INN
A macabre little card game all about opening an inn and luring in visitors, for the sole purpose of murdering them and looting their corpses before the authorities catch on. Lovely art, addictive gameplay, and a theme that would make Edward Gorey squeal from his grave. More info
As the name implies, in this game you roll a bunch of dice to gather up resources, which will allow you to build a thriving city and a military which can charge out and be a jerk to your opponents. Great all-ages fun for fans of games like Imperial Settlers. More info
Further into the future there’s all kinds of goodness awaiting. Trust us. No big spoilers yet, but you can be assured some of it involves cramming more comics, more games, more events, and more of everything that makes us rad into our shop and webstore. Until next month:
Okay, this will be the last update for the year. Totes for reals this time.
First up, and back because your poor planning demanded it: The Portal Last Minute Holiday Sale!
From 12/21 to 5pm 12/24, we’re having our final sale of the year, and here’s the breakdown:
ALL BOARD GAMES, CARD GAMES, WAR GAMES, & RPGS WILL BE 20% OFF!(excludes singles used items, paints, tools, dice, and supplies)
ALL COMICS, TRADE PAPERBACKS, & GRAPHIC NOVELS WILL BE 20% OFF!(excludes supplies)
ALL MY LITTLE PONY, WEISS SCHWARZ, & FORCE OF WILL CARDS WILL BE 40% OFF!
AGE OF SIGMAR & HORUS HERESY BOX SETS WILL BE 50% OFF!
PLEASE NOTE: Discounts do not combine- register takes the highest one.
Next, a reminder about our holiday hours at the shop:
WE WILL BE CLOSING AT 5PM ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24TH & THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31ST.
WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25TH & FRIDAY, JANUARY 1ST.
And finally, we wanted our beloved Magic the Gathering fiends to know that we are now taking preorders for Oath of the Gatewatch booster boxes and fat packs, and preregistration for the Oath of the Gatewatch Prerelease events on January 16th & 17th(see the sidebar for more info—–>).
So stay safe out there, have fun, and from all of us here at The Portal:
Here it is, because everyone else is doing it this time of year, and we don’t want to be left behind. Enjoy!
2015 has gone by with alarming swiftness, but there’s never been a better time for comics and tabletop games! There’s something for just about everybody at this point, no matter your tastes. I just so happen to be a weirdo so here are my top picks of the past year for weirdos.
10. WEIRD LOVE from Yoe Comics/IDW – A bi-monthly curated collection of the ‘best of the worst’ of romance comic stories from the 1950’s onward. Full of both hilarious and cringe-worthy tales of falling for communists and how your husband truly knows what’s best for you despite your womanly hysteria. That was sarcasm but this comic is great.
Honorable mention: Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro and Robert Wilson IV from Image
9. HEAD LOPPER by Andrew MacLean from Image – IT’S ABOUT A BIG DUDE WHO CHOPS OFF HEADS AND CARRIES AROUND A TALKING WITCH HEAD AND A BIG SWORD AND IT’S PRETTY COOL OKAY. Caps lock aside, this book has awesome art with a Hellboy kind of feel, and builds an interesting world that I can’t wait to learn more about.
Honorable mention: Birthright by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan from Image
8. TOIL & TROUBLE by Mairghread Scott, Kelly & Nichole Matthews from Archaia/Boom – The beautifully illustrated political and sometimes physical conflicts between three witches over the throne of Scotland, this is Macbeth told from a very different and fascinating perspective.
Honorable mention: The Spire by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely from Boom
7. CAPTAIN AMERICA, SAM WILSON by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna from Marvel – Marvel’s recent character changes have been controversial, but they’ve gotten me interested in so many heroes and titles I’ve never cared about before. Sam is no exception. This book is fresh, topical, relevant and relatable as heck.
Honorable mention – Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona from Marvel
6. THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL by Ryan North and Erica Henderson from Marvel – SPEAKING OF MARVEL’S DASTARDLY PLAN TO GET ME TO READ A BUNCH OF CAPE BOOKS oh my god you guys Squirrel Girl. It’s a stupid name. Doreen Green is even worse. But once you read it you won’t care, it’s so funny and clever and will make you so hype about a goofy D-list hero that you’ll write run-on sentences without a care.
Honorable mention – Howard the Duck by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones from Marvel
5. LIMBO by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard from Image – Though there are only two issues of this out by the time of this writing, it’s quickly become a favourite. Luchador drug kingpins, VHS-dwelling technoshamans, girls summoning voodoo Loa with cassette tapes, oh my! Not to mention Lovecraftian fish-men and a lone gumshoe with amnesia. I’m a sucker for pop culture remixes with classic mysticism, and this book has it.
Honorable mention: Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender, Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth from Image
4. THE AUTUMNLANDS: TOOTH & CLAW by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire from Image – Autumnlands has some of the most gorgeous art I’ve seen in my last few years of comics obsession, and great characters to boot. Magic, violence, intrigue and a coyote lady riding a giant cockroach. You heard me.
Honorable mention – Wild’s End: The Enemy Within by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard from Boom
3. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jaime McKelvie from Image – The gods return to us every 90 years, and by 2 years they will be dead. They’re also all fabulous pop stars and have a mess of problems that are one heck of an enjoyable trip to follow.
Honorable mention – Phonogram: the Immaterial Girl by… well, these guys again.
2. SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour from Image – Football, BBQ and awful people being awful to each other, often with large sticks. If you like your bloody crime stories with some Alabama grit(s) and a little hot sauce, give these bastards a look.
Honorable mention – Ringside by Joe Keatinge, Nick Barber and Simon Gough from Image
1. SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky from Image – I make no apologies that my top 5 picks are all from Image Comics, they have been absolutely killin’ it when it comes to great stories for weirdos. This one’s REALLY weird; when our darling protagonists Jon and Suzie have sex, they can freeze time. It gets weirder from there. This is a predictable #1 choice for me, because I can never shut up about how much I enjoy this comic. It’s touching, personal, kinky, bizarre, funny as hell and explores a lot of aspects of human nature, psychology and sexuality that I find both fascinating and important. BOARD GAMES:
6. RAIDERS OF THE NORTH SEA – I wasn’t going to include this one because a) who makes a top SIX? and b) it’s only from Kickstarter at the moment and I can’t take your sweet, sweet money for it. However, it’s really really really good so I wanted to include it anyway. This game is worker placement (probably my favourite style of game) done to perfection, with a delicious viking flavour and some creative twists on an old genre.
5. THREE CHEERS FOR MASTER – A card game about adorable and wicked little minions stacking themselves up into a comically exploding victory tower for their evil overlord. I love the look and flavour of the game, as well as sabotaging opponent’s towers so they collapse into gory little piles of goons.
4. BULLFROGS – Place lily pad tiles and cute little wooden frogs AND THEN GET READY TO RUMBLE. I came for the “bullfrog with a battleaxe” meeple and stayed for the depth of strategy.
3. MOUSE GUARD: SWORDS & STRONGHOLDS – Firstly, Mouse Guard is the best and despite not including it in my comic countdown, it’s one of my favourites. Secondly, this game is wonderfully simple but provides lots of brain-straining thought over each move of your four little carved mice across the chess-like board. A deck of cards brings a great random element into the mix, too!
2. THE BLOODY INN – I only just played this game a few days ago, but I’m in love. I’d like to announce my engagement to this game, we’re setting up a gift registry next week. Okay, maybe not, but this card game has the best premise: you own a shady rural inn, and must play your cards right to build new rooms, bribe some accomplices, murder your guests for their cash and find places to bury the bodies.
1. PANDEMIC LEGACY – Co-operative games are my jam, and this is the king of them all. I really enjoy the base Pandemic game and all of it’s various expansions and spin-offs, but this brings a whole new level of crazy goodness. You’re still working together to contain and cure deadly diseases, but now with each game it evolves depending on your actions. I’m currently half-way through the contents of the game and we have the Kaiju Flu almost under control, but Moscow is not much better than a smoking crater crawling with.. well, I’ll let you find out for yourself.
I’ll preface this by saying that despite my best efforts, I didn’t get to play every new game and read every new comic book. But here are the ones that impressed and delighted me the most, filtered through my biases and whatnot. Give ’em a try; You won’t be disappointed.
10. OH, KILLSTRIKE by Max Bemis and Logan Faerber, from Boom! Studios – More and more, the nostalgia of my generation is ruining everything around me, and that’s basically what this mini-series is about. The main character, guided by a living Rob Liefeld-esque superhero, takes a trip down 90s comics lane, unfortunately for his wife and child. Funny and poignant stuff.
9. LITTLE NEMO: RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND by Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez, from IDW – This was a lovely little surprise. Just page after page of wonder and whimsy, even if you’ve never heard of Winsor McKay and the adventures of his dream-traversing little scamp. Great for all ages.
8. MIRACLEMAN by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham, from Marvel – The original run of this book by Alan Moore is one of THE best deconstructionist superhero stories ever told, and now that the legal quagmire is behind us, it’s awesome to see Gaiman picking up where the original left off, with Miracleman leading humanity into a Golden Age, where nearly anything is possible.
7. PHONOGRAM: THE IMMATERIAL GIRL by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, from Image – I am a huge music nut, and thus this latest tale of audio magic, with its non-stop 80s references and too-cool-for-school attitude, speaks to me like few other books ever have.
6. COPPERHEAD by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski, from Image – Science fiction has been making a huge comeback, primarily at Image, and this story of a war-ravaged backwater planet and the foreigner who steps in to take over as sheriff is among the very best. All the swagger and grit you can handle.
5. LETTER 44 by Charles Soule and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, from Oni Press – I was late to this one, but better late than never and all that. This one is sci-fi and political drama in equal measure, bouncing between the newest American president, who has knowledge of life beyond our planet, and the team that the previous administration dispatched to see just what these mysterious visitors are really up to.
4. SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, from Image – I’m sure that you’ve heard of this one by now. There’s a reason for that. It somehow manages to be a heartfelt examination of adulthood and relationships, a menagerie of wacky space opera aliens, AND hilariously vulgar, all at the same time.
3. INJECTION by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, from Image – There are, to me, two things that define the quintessential Ellis story: The ability to unflinchingly look into the future, and characters who are violently cantankerous. In this comic there are copious amounts of both, as a team of reckless specialists twists reality, with disastrous consequences.
2. MANIFEST DESTINY by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts, from Image – It’s a concept so devilishly simple that I’m amazed it hasn’t been done before: What if Lewis and Clark’s expedition revealed that North America was a wild land full of monsters, though none so deadly and cruel as the interlopers themselves? This historical fiction is absolutely enthralling.
1. PREZ by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell, from DC – MORE OF THIS PLEASE. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a narrative so in touch with the zeitgeist of its period before. It’s politics, it’s satire, IT’S MEMES. It’s what happens when a teenage girl sort of accidentally becomes an American president, and decides to actually fix her country’s many problems.
5. THE VOYAGES OF MARCO POLO by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini, from Z-Man – There are certain things that I am a complete sucker for in board games: Historical themes, worker placement, and nifty uses for dice. This game squishes them all into one five-round brain burner, and it’s the best thing in its genre since Euphoria.
4. SYLVION by Shadi Torbey and Elise Plessis, from Z-Man – A good single player experience is extremely rare in gaming, and so is unique artwork. The second entry in the line of games known as the ‘Oniverse’, this card game is all about doing your best to keep fire elementals from burning the forests of a dream world away. Beautiful, tense, and addictive.
3. ELYSIUM by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, from Space Cowboys/Asmodee- Card drafting has worked its way into lots of games recently, but few have put a new spin on the mechanic quite like this one did. There’s so much to enjoy in this Greek Mythology-themed set collection game, and a great deal of replayability, too.
2. THE WORLD OF SMOG: ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE by Yohan Lemmonier, from Cool Mini or Not – Yes, the name is ridiculously long, and yes, it’s a steampunk theme. That does not matter in the slightest. This gorgeous beastie has a board full of clockwork gears and creepy miniatures to contend with, as players race against each other to fulfill their secret win condition first.
1. BLOOD RAGE by Eric Lang, from Cool Mini or Not – Vikings, they are the new ninjas. There are a bazillion games about them now, because if there’s one thing we like more than assassinating things with throwing stars, it’s sacking villages and dying gloriously in battle. You could play this area control game without the sweet figures, but why would you? There’s card drafting, there’s brutal battles that fill up Valhalla, and there’s a little something new to the strategy that you pick up on with each play.
There you have it. What geekery made your year a little better? Stop on by and nerd out with us!