Last weekend at Arisia I got to teach some 504 (the modular board game by Friedemann Friese, the creator of Power Grid). Although I was prepared to teach any of the 504 different games, or “worlds”, I ended up teaching the introductory world, 123, three times instead. On the upside, everyone seemed to enjoy 123, and not once did we get anything wrong—a perpetual problem with 504.
As part of my preparations (setup is one of the most time-consuming parts of 504, especially once rules-scrying has been eliminated by 504rules), I did a bit of pimping of my copy of 504. Here it is with a deck box made out of an old chocolate box, 5 dollar-store screw organizers for player pieces, and one bead organizer for the remaining bits:
Also this week, Peter decided he wanted to see Rogue One. (Minor spoilers ahead!) I went in with the dim impression that the movie was going to provide some back story for Rey—the butt-kicking, Force-overclocked Mary Sue character from the last movie (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” for those no longer keeping track). So I spent much of the movie uncertain about which Death Star it was this time, and which original Star Wars character was going to pop out of the woodwork next.
In particular, I knew nothing about the Grand Moff Tarkin controversy going in, and in fact spent some time on our way out next to an original Star Wars poster trying to figure out whether Peter Cushing had played Governor Tarkin or one of the other characters, and trying to convince Peter that it wasn’t possible for the same actor to have played both Governor Tarkins, regardless of how young (and, in Peter’s theory, made up to look old) he might have been 40 years ago. Needless to say, we were completely taken in by the CGI.
In the end, I thought Rogue One was a good movie, marred mainly by the unsuccessful attempt to make the Rebellion seem morally questionable. I don’t think you can do that with one throwaway line from Cassian about how his crowd of friends have all done dark stuff like he has, though maybe the otherwise irrational thread in which no one could possibly believe Jyn without the holographic evidence she didn’t think to save was a good start. It was still too jarring for an immediate prequel to the original set of movies in which rebels didn’t fall to the moral level of the enemy because war.
Jyn, while also unnecessarily dark, was a much more believable and sympathetic character than Rey, but I think I’m not alone in liking Chirrut the best of them all. As for the ending, I didn’t find it nearly as jarring as the attempts at moral ambiguity.