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April 24, 2013

Game Day: Ghost Stories and Bahn Mi

by Michael Langlois

What a pretty village.  I wonder why those monks are crying…

Ghost Stories is both amazing and amazingly hard.  Basically, you get a fancy robe and the mandate to save a village from Wu-Feng, who is not only a complete bastard, but is bringing an army of demons and monsters to his end of the world party.  The bad guys are relentless, and they pretty much only need a toehold in the village to end life as we know it.

Fortunately, you are a complete badass.  The Taoist monks can do things like slow down time to double their number of actions, pull resources out of thin air, fly to any place on the board at will, and yawn in the face of the most potent curses.  But as powerful as they are, the forces arrayed against them can sweep them aside at the first misstep.

Which is, of course, the brilliant thing about it.  It’s a co-op game that requires real thought and teamwork to win, which is frankly kind of a rarity.  The theme is strong, the art gorgeous, and the replay value high.  It’s much more of a strategic puzzle than what you would normally think of as a theme game, but that only strengthens the long term playability of it.

It’s not a new game, having been introduced in 2008, but this was my first chance to play it.  I have to say, it lives up to its reputation.  If you haven’t tried it, do so.  Trust me on this one.

Now, on to serious business.  Most game days we order pizza to go with our mountains of cookies and chips and what-have-you, but this time we were able to order from a new Vietnamese place down the road.  I had high hopes, but what they delivered totally blew me away.  The pho was as deeply flavored as anything I’ve ever had, with a complex blend of sweet/spicy/earthy notes that worked together in perfect harmony.  The broth was otherworldly, the noodles perfectly balanced between tender and firm, and the veggies fresh and crisp.  Every bite was a flawless composition of texture, taste, and heat.

GET IN MY MOUTH!

Also, see that sammich in the background there, next to the Galaxy Trucker board?  That’s a grilled pork bahn mi, and it was easily as good as the pho.  I probably shouldn’t have eaten both of them at the same time, since one is pretty much a whole meal by itself, but I lacked the superhuman will necessary to stop.

I regret nothing.

As usual, I leave you with the soothing vocalizations of Tom Vasel as he raves about this very tough game:

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