False Advertising

Apparently a Las Vegas bodybuilder and his wife killed their personal trainer, put the body in the trunk of a Jaguar, and set the vehicle ablaze before fleeing to Boston. I heard the story on the last night’s news.

I knew that whole “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” slogan was a bunch of crap.

Christmas Wrap-Up

The family and I spent Christmas and a few days thereafter at Ma and Pa Baldwins. Here’s the wrapup.

* * * * *

For weeks there have been signs posted around my neighborhood, urging the citizenry to get all fired up for an upcoming “Holiday Parade.” Well, last Saturday that promise was fulfilled, and it’s a good thing I happened to be standing right by the window when it happened or I would have completely missed out on the yuletide revelry.

The parade consisted of four vehicles: a fire engine adorned with tinsel in the lead; two SUVs in the middle — the first covered in Christmas lights, the second with paper snowflakes in the windows; and, as the caboose, a pickup truck with one of those motorized, wicker reindeer in its bed. They drove by at about 35 miles an hour. The only way I knew that I was watching the actual parade (as opposed to a bunch of vehicles en route to the parade) was because, every half block or so, the driver of the firetruck would ring its bell.

I was so filled with the holiday spirit that it’s remarkable I didn’t swell up like a tick on a basset hound.

* * * * *

On Christmas I made up a joke.

Q:How do you know when an owl has to go to the bathroom?

A: He says: Poo! Poo!

I ran this by a focus group consisting of my niece, and I can predict with confidence that this witticism is going to be big with the highly-coveted 5-7 year, scatology-obsessed demographic.

* * * * *

Over Christmas dinner my mother told her favorite seasonal story:

When your sister was three we took her to go see Santa at the mall. When it was our turn we started to approach Santa, but she got a little scared, stopped walking, and let go of my hand. Suddenly — and without asking me — this elf swooped down out of nowhere, picked her up, and carried her up to Santa. She was silent for a moment, but then she let out the loudest, most bloodcurdling scream I have ever heard. It just echoed and echoed inside the mall. Shoppers rushed over to see what was going on; patrons at a nearby restaurant dropped their forks in alarm and swiveled their heads to watch the spectacle.

The elf was so startled by the shriek that she hurriedly plopped your sister into Santa’s lap. And as soon as she landed she turned into a wildcat, hollering and kicking and flailing around everywhere. Santa had a handle on her for a few seconds, but then she got turned around and planted a knee right into his groin. We all watched in horror as she kneed Santa in the balls five or six more times, before squirmming loose and running back to me.

It was a horrible situation, but everyone — except Santa and the elves — was roaring with laughter. After a few seconds Santa half rose from his chair and hobbled off, sort of hunched over and moaning. An elf came out a minute later with a sign reading “Sorry, Santa is off feeding the reindeer!”

Honestly, I think all the great Christmas stories contain the phrase “kneed Santa in the balls.”

* * * * *

We felt bad about leaving the cats on their own for four days, but when we got home we discovered they had celebrated the holidays in our absence.

It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas ...

And they left us a Christmas gift as well. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but if anyone had bought me the Cuidado: V

Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

The Squirrelly’s new favorite game is “kittycat,” though he tends to leave out the “ee” part of “meow” when playing. All of the sudden he’ll leap to his feet and start marching about the living room shouting “Mao! Mao!” like he’s trying to foment his own little cultural revolution and overthrow our bourgeoisie household.

Fortunately, I think we’re safe. Lord knows we haven’t engaged in any arts or intellectualism recently. Not since the child was born, at any rate.

How To Watch Revenge Of The Sith

(See also: How To Watch The Phantom Menace, How To Watch Attack of the Clones.)

Long, long ago, in a childhood far, far away, I was a child obsessed with Star Wars. By the age of twelve I already had every available piece of Star Wars trivia crammed into my head (diameter of the Death Star? 120 kilometers), including the knowledge that there would be nine films in total. Once, after gushing about the series to my grandmother (who couldn’t have cared less), I was struck by a sudden, sorrowful realization, and blurted out “it’s too bad you won’t be alive to see them all.”

Well, Grammy got the last laugh: Lucus truncated his series to a meager six films and the matriarch is still around. But if the thought that grandma would not live to see all of the Star Wars films was a major bummer to me at the time, the truth would have been devastating: That, by the time the final film rolled around, I would be so disinterested in the whole franchise that I wouldn’t even bother to see it in a theater.

I tried to psyche myself up Revenge of the Sith by rewatching the first two films in the trilogy — and, as an aide to readers who wanted to do likewise, I even gave tips on how to fast-forward through the boring and stupid parts. (See: How To Watch The Phantom Menace and How To Watch Attack Of The Clones.) And it actually worked — for a few days, there, I was vaguely fired up to see Episode III, especially since everyone kept raving about how it was “the best in the series since The Empire Strikes Back” (pretty faint praise, when you think about it). But when The Queen and I found ourselves with an evening free we had to choose between Revenge Of The Sith and Batman Begins, and we opted for the latter. I like to think that my twelve year-old self would have taken some comfort in the fact that we still saw a movie about an awesomely cool awesome guy in a black cape and mask, albeit one unable to choke people to death with his mind.

Anyway, last weekend I finally watched Revenge of the Sith. And yes, it was quite a bit better than the other two, although that’s akin to saying “Moe was the funniest Stooge.”

My two previous “How To Watch” guides were so people could cram in anticipation of Sith without having to endure the full 4+ hours of Episodes I & II, so doing breakdown of this film might be pointless. On the other hand, I’m sure there’s someone out there who, like me, wants to watch Episode III just to get the whole thing over, and wouldn’t mind being steered away from the superfluous stuff. And so, here we go again: How To Watch Revenge Of The Sith:

Start FF time End FF time Elapsed Time What you’re missing Why you might want to watch it
9:16 11:22 2:06 How many times have we seen this in the prequels? Heroes need to get from point A to point B, but Lucus can’t just have them exit stage left and then arrive at their destination a moment later, noooooo. Instead there has to be a “travel” scene, full of sound and fury and signifying absolutely nothing in the overall narrative. If these films were resumes, this is what we would call “padding.” In this instance, Anikan and Obi Wan need to get from the hanger of a Federation Cruiser to another floor, and en route there’s an extended sequence of assorted elevator trouble, which includes this scintillating exchange:

Obi Wan: Did you press the stop button?

Anikan: No, did you?

Obi wan: No.

Who says Lucas can’t do dialog?

At one point we learn that R2-D2 has tenacle-like prehensile appendages that he can use like hands to catch and minipulate things. In Clones, you’ll recall, it was revealed that R2-DT could MOTHERFUCKING FLY! So you might want to watch this sequence and then fantasize about what Episodes IV-VI would have been like if they had continued to give R2-D2 Astounding New Abilities in each film. Return Of The Jedi probably would have ended with R2-D2 killing young Anikan with his hitherto unrevealed time-travelling lasers.
15:23 23:36 8:13 Another “travelling” scene with more elevator zaniness (memo to Lucus: Please. Stop); the Federation Cruiser crash lands on the surface of Coruscant. If you want to watch any of the later General Grievous scenes, you’ll need watch this one to see his escape. Personally, I found Grievous to be an unsatisfying and ultimately unneeded character, and wouldn’t have minded if he’d just died here. With Count Dooku dead, Lucus basically needs a stopgap Bad Guy until Anakin’s conversion to the Dark Side (sorry — total spoiler, there!) so that he can intersperse the plot with fight scenes.
29:10 30:28 1:18 People told me that Lucus had mercifully kept the romance stuff to a minimum in Sith; they didn’t warn me that he accomplishes this by condensing all the cheese from Attack of the Clones into this single, one minute scene. When Lucus goes back and re-edits Sith (because you know he’s going to be tinkering with these things until the moment he dies), let’s hope he takes the opportunity to delete this sequence entirely and replace it some shots of teens doing some totally radical skateboard tricks or something. If the action scenes have you worried that you might die from testosterone poisoning, this will serve as a perfect antidote.
42:17 42:37 0:20 By this point it’s clear that even Lucus knows that the audience is sick of his “romantic” “dialogue,” because he now apparently feels the need to suckerpunch the viewer with it. This scene starts out as a fairly interesting political discussion between Anakin and Padme, but then, just when you let your guard down: bam! “Hold me,” Padme blurts out, while you scramble to raise your defensive shields. “Like you did on Naboo.” Lucus, you sneaky little bastard. It’s the most mock-worthy scene in the film.
46:23 46:40 0:17 One of the goal of these fast-forwards guides has been to rid the prequels of any and all mention of midichlorians. I was kind of taking a gamble in doing this in the first two guides, since it was still remotely possible that Lucus might shed enough light on them in episode III to make them retroactively not-stupid. But I’m here to tell you now (and will explicate further in “Analysis,” below), that he does not. So if you want to skip the only mention of them in Sith, you’ll need to lose these 17 seconds. Unlike most edits, this falls right in the middle of a scene. But it’s a small sacrifice to make for a midichlorians-free film.
45:43 1:00:51 14:08 This is the first half of the climatic Obi Wan Kanobi v. General Grevious showdown, which involves (of course), a lightsaber duel. As I mentioned above, I think Grevious should have been junked in the first half an hour, and this scene does nothing to change my mind. I mean, seriously: how many lightsaber battles have we seen now over the course of the six films? And you already know there’s going to be at least one more at the end of this one. Lucus tries to keep them interesting by continually upping the ante — Darth Maul had a double-ended lightsaber, Clones ended with Yoda going all Spider-Man on Count Dooku’s ass, and now Grevious employs four — count ’em, four! — lightsabers at once. But the whole thing is starting to remind me of the “number of blades in the disposable razor” arms race. The fight is actually pretty cool, unnecessary thought it may be.
1:05:21 1:07:36 2:15 Second half of Kanobi v. Grevious showdown See above.
1:09:02 1:10:36 DON’T CUT THIS SCENE! In fact, watch it twice. It involves Anakin and Padme, in different parts of the galaxy, each looking out windows and presumably thinking about each other. It’s the only segment in all three prequels that actually works as far of the romance goes — presumably because (a) neither actor opens their mouth and ruins things by emoting, and (b) Christensen and Portman aren’t in close proximity, so their astounding lack of chemistry isn’t glaringly obvious. Because against all odds, it’s good.
1:19:42 1:20:23 0:41 If you’re ditching the General Grevious tangent, you’ll need to cut out the first 40 seconds of this scene to have a clean subplot-ectomy. Again: not bad, just superfluous.
2:13:39 2:20:00 6:21 End Credits. You want to savor the fact that, at long last, the Star Wars saga is over. Sweet, sweet closure.

Total time saved: 35:39.

Analysis: Yeah, not bad. It would be considered a fairly mediocre movie if it didn’t have the whole Star Wars cachet going for it, but it certainly hurdles over the bar that was set so low with Phantom Menace.

Many people told me that Sith was all action, with little plot. I didn’t find this to be the case. There was plenty of story in there, but, unlike Phantom and Clones, it all served to move things forward (instead of, as was often the case in the prior two films, plot being introduced via infodump, where one character halts the action and launches into a soliloquy wherein he explains some long and convoluted aspect of galactic history or politics).

The midichlorians ultimately amounted to nothing. It seemed as if Lucus introduced them in Episode I to explain something that didn’t need explaining (The Force), but wound up generating more questions than he answered. So Anakin didn’t have a father? And he was maybeconceived by the midichlorians, somehow? And Darth Sidious’ former master may or may not have had something to do with that? I did a little poking around on the web to see if maybe all this stuff was addressed in the novelization or something, but, alas, no. Thanks to the midichlorians these prequels have more loose ends than a yarn store, and Lucus makes no attempt to tie them up.

But while I was researching the midichlorians, I looked up a couple of other questions I had about the story. Here are the answers.

Why, of all the Jedi, did only Obi Wan and Yoda disappear when they died? I got my Revenge of the Sith DVD from NetFlix, which means it came sans bonus disc. If I had all the extra goodies, though, apparently I could have watched a deleted scene that made sense of this. You know how, at the end of the film, Yoda tells Obi Wan about “one who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me, your old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn”? Well, there was a scene before that where Yoda explains that Qui-Gon Jinn had contacted him from Beyond, and revealed, among other things, that he had learned how to become so attuned with the Force that one could actually merge with it upon his death. This imformation is imparted to Yoda and, somewhere between episode II and IV, on to Obi Wan as well. That seems like a fairly significant plot point to omit, if you ask me.

What was the “Prophecy” again, and why didn’t Anakin fulfill it? The Prophecy is mentioned often in the prequels, but nobody ever tells us exactly what it says. The closest we get is this exchange:

OBI-WAN: With all due respect, Master, is [Anakin] not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?

MACE: So the prophecy says.

YODA: A prophecy . . . that misread could have been.

Later, after defeating Anakin in combat, Obi Wan shouts “You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would, destroy the Sith, not join them!”

My interpretation was that Anakin does fulfill the prophecy — three films later when he kills the Emperor and himself in the process, thereby reducing the number of card-carrying Sith in the universe to zero. But in searching USENET for other people’s opinions, I found many arguing that Anakin fulfilled the “balance to the Force” part of the prophecy in Sith by setting into motion the events which left an equal number of Sith (Vader and Sidious) and Jedi (Obi Wan and Yoda) alive.

The problem is that The Prophecy is never clearly stated anywhere — not in the films, not in the novelizations, not in the voluminous additional Star Wars material that exists, and not in any interviews with Lucus. And the two things we know about The Prophecy — that the Sith get destroyed and the Force gets balanced — seem contradictory (how is the Force “balanced” if all the Dark Side guys are dead?) My conclusion: The Prophecy is just a plot device, and only a fool would waste any time trying to figure it out. WISH I’D KNOWN THAT 15 MINUTES AGO!!

Jumpin’ jehosephat, are those actually Hayden Christensen abs?! At at 31:08, Anakin saunters out of his bedroom shirtless adorned with abs rarely seen outside of a Captain America comic book. Frankly they looked a little too perfect to be true, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Lucus had added a little computer-generated definition. Unfortunately, this proved rather difficult to research, as searching Google for “Hayden Christensen shirtless” returned about 218,000 websites aimed at teenage girls and gay men. Switching to Google Images verified that Christensen is a pretty buff guy, though. One thing id for certain: if he had devoted the time he spent doing sit-ups to acting classes, these last two films woulda been a lot more bearable.

Okay, these movies weren’t so great, but did get me marginally excited about Star Wars again. Are there any good books in the series? I trolled through a bunch of Amazon reviews and lists, and consensus seems to be that the creme de la Star Wars creme is: The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir To The Throne, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command), set five years after Return of the Jedi (and the very first non-novelizations Star Wars books ever written); the Han Solo Trilogy (The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn), set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope; and Shatterpoint, a Mace Windu novel set during the Clone Wars.

I’m A-Start Some Drama

I walked into the kitchen this morning to find The Queen groggily gathering coffee-making accoutrements.

“Wha’cha gonna do wit all dat junk?” I asked her. “All dat junk inside yo trunk?”

She scowled at me as a reminder of the household’s “no conversation before caffeine” rule, but then asked, “What are you saying?”

“No no, that was all wrong” I said, disappointed. “You are supposed to reply …” — I switched to falsetto — “… I

Play Canada!

Hello Canucks! There’s a rumor going around that I might be on CBC’s Morning Edition tomorrow morning doing my boardgame spiel. They’ll be calling me at the unholy hour of 5:30 AM for a phone interview, so it’s likely that, at this time tomorrow, I’ll have no recollection whatsoever as to whether or not this actually happened. If someone in a more Northerly nation and Easterly time zone could listen and let me know, that would be swell.

This marks the third form of media that The Good Gift Games Guide has appeared in this year (hypertext, radio, Canadian). Is there any doubt that I will be on The O’Reilly Factor by next Tuesday? “No Bill, you shut up,” I shall say. “I sank your battleship fair and square!”

If you happen to work for a major media outlet and are wondering whether or not to book me for your talk show / news program / Ab-alizer 1200 infomercial / public service annoucement about the dangers of ferret-taunting (“… for more information, please visit slenderfury.org …”), allow me to cite credentials:

  • Can speak eloquently and extemporaneously on any of the half dozen or so subject that I actually care about, including board games, my wife, the works of Infocom, fatherhood, silver era DC supeheroes, that one clip on America’s Funniest Home Videos where the dog is running around on a frozen lake and his owner calls him and the dog runs at the owner as fast as he can and the owner realizes what is going to happen and starts yelling “No, no! Stop!” but the dog can’t stop because he’s on ice and he crashes into the owner and the owner does an entire flip and lands on his bottom, and beer.
  • Heard that song “My Humps” by The Black Eyed Peas on the radio today (this isn’t strictly a “credential” but, omigod, have you heard that song? It’s so! bad!)
  • Moderately not unattractive.

Media inquiries should be directed to my publicist who, by sheer coincidence, has exactly the same email address as me: matthew@defectiveyeti.com. I’m angling for the Tony Danza show here, obviously, but will take anything.

Update: Canadian and awesome (but I repeat myself) reader Kyle actually heard me this morning, and sent me the link to the segment. I just listened to it, and I think it went pretty well. My favorite part is where I run roughshod over the host, like, three times in a row, not allowing her to get a word in edgewise. Typical American / Canadian interaction. On a scale of 1 to jerk, I reckon I scored about a seven.

On the upside, that does allow me to add another item to my list of credentials: “Fluent in bullying, boorish discourse, perfect for political programs.”

Hola, Amigos

At 7:30 this morning, there was a knock at our front door. No one ever knocks on our door at 7:30 in the morning.

I opened it to find a scruffy looking young man, perhaps 18, clad in sweatshirt, a black stretch cap, and what was presumably going to be a mustache when it grew up. My first thought was: Jim Anchower.

“Hey do you guys have a gas can I can borrow or a lift to the gas station I could maybe give you a few bucks,” he muttered without preamble.

I looked over his shoulder. We live on a narrow street with no shoulders, and an late-80s vehicle was stopped in the middle of it, completely blocking the far lane. Already traffic was backing up as drivers coming from either direction adopted a first-you-go-and-then-I’ll-go stratagem for navigating what had abruptly become a single-lane road.

“Sure,” I said. “I have a can full of gas for my lawnmower out in the garage — you can have that. Why don’t you come in and I’ll go grab it.”

Jim stepped inside. For the first time I noticed he was wearing slippers and pajama bottoms covered with candy canes.

I returned a moment later with the gas can. “All right,” he said as he took it, and left. A few moments later he brought it back and, handing it to me, said “here ya go do you want me to maybe pay a few bucks?” I told him no, that was fine, and shut the door.

At 7:45 there was a second knock on our front door. “Hey do you think I could get a lift to the gas station?” Jim muttered when I opened it.

“What happened to the gas I just gave you?” I asked, craning my neck to see if the car was still there. It was.

“I put it in the car but is still won’t start I guess it wasn’t enough,” he murmured with a shrug.

“There was, like, a gallon and a half in the can,” said I. “If you’re car’s still not starting, you might have a bigger problem.”

“The needle was way below E,” explained Jim, as if he had run the vehicle beyond “empty” and actually managed to create a quantity of anti-gasoline in the tank, which my fuel had only served to negate.

“Well, I got this kid, so I can’t really …” I began. But, against all odds, I was starting to feel sorry for the dope. So I said, “all right, let’s go.”

I threw The Squirrelly in his car seat and the two of us piled in the car. As we started to pull out of the driveway a kid of about seven rode by, slowing down and looking at the stopped car in curiosity. Jim suddenly mumbled “Hang on I should lock my car that kid looks like a punk.” I stopped. Jim clambered out and made a big show of opening and locking all his car doors, scowling at the kid on the bike all the while.

While he was doing that I realized the obvious. It was as if Jim was enveloped in a cloud of Dumb, and as soon as he was out of his presence I was able to think clearly again. I reparked the car in the driveway, got out, and told the returning Jim, “Look: why don’t you put your cart in neutral and we’ll push it into my driveway, get it out of the road. That way it won’t be blocking traffic while we’re at the gas station.”

“Oh hey yeah,” said Jim. “That’s a good idea I’ll go and …”

There was a pause.

“Fuck,” Jim added.

I knew even before he told me.

“I just locked my keys in my car,” he said.

“You’re screwed now,” I announced. “Come on inside.”

The three of us reentered the house. “Okay,” I said. “Do you have a spare key?”

He looked confused and said “no,” clearly thinking, “under what bizarre circumstances would I ever need a spare key to my car?”

“Well, then I think we should just call the cops,” I said. “They’ll probably hassle you a bit, but they are going to want to get this car out of the road as much as you do, and will probably pop the lock for free.”

“Yeah ..” Jim said, but I could tell that he wasn’t really enthused about this plan. “Except the other thing is that I don’t really have a you know drivers license.”

“Of course you don’t,” I sighed. “So, you can call a tow truck company — they’ll come and get your car open.”

“Is that going to cost like a lot of money?”

“In my experience, yes.”

“Yeah …” he said, noncommittally.

“But unless you know anyone else with a key to the car, it’s pretty much your only option.”

“Oh hey yeah I think my housemate Gary has a key to the car,” Jim said with the closest thing to not-total-dejection I’d heard in his voice yet this morning.

“Well, why don’t you call Gary, and see if he can come by with the key,” I suggested.

He sagged. “I would but I left my cell phone at home,” he said sadly, as if it were a million-to-one longshot that I might have a telephone inside my house.

I brought him our cordless phone. Incredibly, he remembered his own phone number and dialed it. “Yeah I ran out of gas and then my dumbass self locked the keys in the car could you bring me the spare?” he mumbled into the receiver. He handed the phone back to me when he was done and said, “all right.”

He took up station next to the window, waiting for Gary. I went about my business. The soundtrack to “Piglet’s Big Adventure” played in the background, which seemed appropiate. “He should be here any sec I live right around the corner,” Jim said after about 10 minutes; I said fine, whatever.

At one point Jim got tired of looking out the window and looked at The Squirrelly doing a puzzle instead. “Is that your kid?” He asked. I averred that yes, the child in my living room playing with the Elmo Rockin’ Guitar at eight o’clock in the morning was, in fact, mine. “How old is he?”

“Almost two,” I replied.

Jim sized The Squirrelly up for a moment and then rendered his verdict. “He’s tall,” he said, and went back to looking out the window. Here endeth the chit-chat.

After another 10 minutes Gary showed up in a mammoth truck and parked it right behind Jim’s car, thereby occluding even more of the road. Jim left without saying a word to me. Through the window I could see Gary giving Jim some grief, and then finally handing over a car key. Jim tried it on all the doors of his vehicle without success and handed it back to Gary, who scratched his head, climbed back into his Ford Kraken, and departed.

Jim stood forlornly by his car. I went out and asked him what had happened. “Wrong key,” he told me.

“Well, feel free to come back inside,” I said.

“Nah its okay I live right around the corner he’ll be right back,” Jim said. After having listened to me read “Go, Dog. Go!” to The Squirrelly in its entirely, I guess he’d decided that standing around in the 35-degree weather in his PJs wasn’t so bad.

“Suit yourself,” I said, and retreated indoors.

Everytime I looked out the window for the next 15 minutes I could see Jim glumly trying to open one of his doors, perhaps in the hope that he’s just neglected to try this particular one the previous 400 times he had attempted to gain entry to his vehicle. Eventually Gary returned, but apparently there was no spare key, because after a brief discussion they both climbed into the monster truck — still parked behind Jim’s car, still blocking more than half the road — closed the doors, and just started shooting the shit.

When it came time to take The Squirrelly to daycare half an hour later, they were still there. I walked up to the truck and Gary rolled down his window. I could feel warm air roll out of the vehicle and hear rock music blaring. “Everything under control?” I asked.

“Oh hey, totally, man,” said Gary. “We got a lock popper on the way. Thanks, bro!”

When I got to work, I called up The Queen and related the whole, sordid tale. “So,” I said in summary, “he ran out of gas, he didn’t have a gas can, he forgot his cell phone, he locked his keys in his car, he didn’t have a spare, he didn’t know anyone with another key, he didn’t have a driver’s license, and he wasn’t wearing any pants.”

“Oh my God,” gasped The Queen. “These knuckleheads live around the corner from us?!”

Good Gift Games On The Beat

I will be live on KOUW’s The Beat tomorrow at 2:00 talking about my picks for the best gift games of the year.

Update: You can now listen to the show online at http://www.kuow.org/thebeat.asp?Archive=12-13. Here are the games I mention by name:

  • For Sale: The game I likened to Monopoly.
  • Poison: The game I likened to Hearts.
  • China: The game I likened to Risk. I neglected to mention on the show that both For Sale and China are put out by the Seattle game company Uberplay. Buy good games, support local business — it’s a two-fer.
  • Diamant: The game I likened to poker.
  • Shadows Over Camelot: The “unlike anything you’ve ever played” game. You can find my review of SoC here

The full 2005 Good Gift Game Guide is available here and a bunch of additional information (runners-up, older games, etc.) can be found over yonder.

If you live in Seattle, you can find local game stores and places to order these game online here. And if you have any question, feel free to send ’em my way.