Sunday, February 28, 2016

Champions of the Galaxy Wrestling Card Game

Back in the olden days, I ate, drank, and slept professional wrestling.  For years, I noticed ads for Champions of the Galaxy, a pro-wrestling game using cards, charts, and dice with characters straight out comic books.  I think I was fifteen when I finally plunked down my precious thirteen bucks and gave it a shot.  My world was changed forever.

Before I knew it, I was running a wrestling federation, recognizing my own titles, and basically nerding it up hardcore.  With the dawn of the internet, it became a snap to share your results with other promoters and nerdification reached unheard of levels.  As time drew on, my focus shifted to things less likely to keep me from getting laid, although I still occasionally bust out the dice, cards, and charts and play a few shows.

The game features easy to learn mechanics.  It takes minutes to learn but the simplicity is what has kept the game going for the better part of three decades.  Couple that with great art and memorable characters and you've got a winner on your hands.

These days, Champions of the Galaxy is 30 years old and Filsinger Games, the parent company, now features an online version and other card games featuring the same engine, like Legends of Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and 80's Mania Wrestling.  There's also a documentary chronicling the game and a live event DVD featuring real world wrestlers portraying characters from the game!

Several years ago, Tom Filsinger and company decided to revisit the original edition with new, full color art by Darryl Banks.  Take a gander at these!

To fans of professional wrestling and comic books, I cannot stress the fun factor and replay value of Champions of the Galaxy.  I have countless fond memories of spending an evening building feuds, booking title matches, and recording results.  Five out of five stars.

Fender Lizards

Fender LizardsFender Lizards by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

High school dropout Dot Sherman's life was going nowhere, working at the Dairy Bob and living with her mother, grandmother, and siblings, until her uncle started living in a van in the front yard. Now, she's forming a roller derby team and searching for her long lost father...

As I've said many times before, Joe Lansdale is one of top five favorite authors. He brings the usual mojo to the table in this one.

Fender Lizards is the story of a roller-skating waitress trying to get her shit together before she ends up like her mother and her older sister. Dot plasters her older sister's no good drunk boyfriend with a 2x4 pretty early in the proceedings, setting off an interesting chain of events.

I liken Joe Lansdale's writing to sitting on tailgate having a conversation with the man and this tale is no different. However, I felt like I've read it before. It felt like pieces of other Lansdale books at times. Hell, the man writes books as often as a dog licks its asshole so it's no wonder he treads familiar territory a time or two.

I've got some mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's par for the course Joe Lansdale, prominently featuring interesting characters, white trash awesomeness, hilarity, and Joe's trademark front porch wisdom. On the other hand, I feel like it's nothing new. How many coming of age tales does Joe need to write? 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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