Tag Archives: shezcrafti

Checking out Funko’s Batman Vs. Joker Throwdown, or Smurfwreck Vs. Shezcrafti…

So, being that the site is called BRANDED in the 80s, it should be pretty evident that branding and package design is something that’s pretty close to my heart. I mean, easily, 50% of the nostalgia I have for 80s is (if you’ll pardon the pun) literally wrapped up in the food packaging, toy card/box art and VHS cover art. So I try and stay pretty hyper aware of what’s on store shelves these days to see if I can spot the stuff that I know I’ll have wistful feelings for down the road. Sometimes I’ll pick stuff up based purely on the design aesthetic alone, especially if I think the company really did something interesting or novel. So I was pretty excited when I saw the reveal of Funko’s new Batman Vs. Joker Throwdown board game during SDCC this year. I’ve been picking up a number of the company’s nostalgic vinyl Pop figures over the past couple years, so they’ve already won me over with their arty interpretation of pop culture characters. Add to this the idea of mashing up a board game with collectable figures and some really awesome packaging and I was hooked.

Batman

So when I had the opportunity to check out Funko’s new game I jumped at the chance. This first game/set centers on DC Comic’s Dark Knight, and is packaged in a giant foot tall hollow Batman. I’m really intrigued by the idea of making the game packaging into a display piece. Not only does it look rad on the shelf, but it ensures that it’ll be sitting out in view instead of ending up being stacked in a dusty closet, sandwiched between old hand-me-down copies of Monopoly and Clue. It’s sort of like bringing the idea of those old Darth Vader action figure carrying cases to the world of board games.

2 small

So what about the game itself? Well, I got the chance to sit down and do some play testing with my BFF Jaime Hood during a trip to the beach this past Labor day. We cracked open the packaging (i.e. ripped off Batman’s head) to get at the game pieces inside. The set up is pretty simple and consists of a game board, two vinyl character figures (Batman and the Joker, but I noticed that expansion packs are planned for a later release), 4 battle dice, some combat cards (including 4 character specific cards for both Batman and the Joker and 8 community mystery cards), and a handful of power-up coins. The general idea is taking turns attacking and defending. Each player starts with 10 life, and whoever can dish out 10 points of damage the quickest wins.

Batman 2

Though each character has their own specific hand of cards (that they can play after they’ve collected 3 power up coins), the function of the cards is identical for each player consisting of two attack and two defense cards. The only difference is in the theming. The game is designed to be quick and relatively balanced, so it’s more akin to tic tac toe than chess, but there is an element of strategy in when to utilize the limited character attack and defense cards. The wording of some of the cards and rules could be a little more clear, as there where points concerning when one could and couldn’t defend against damage that were a bit murky, but overall it’s pretty easy to pick up and play.

bj

With all of the pop culture properties that Funko is currently licensing I’m really curious to see if there are more editions of the board game on the horizon. I’d love to see a General Mills Monster Cereal edition packaged in a giant Franken Berry or better yet, a Gremlins edition complete with a little Gizmo and Stripe packaged in a giant Mogwai.

Also, as far as the play-testing went, and for the record, Jaime slaughtered me both times we threw down.

Saving Branded…

I wanted to take a second and let everyone know that I’m not like dead or anything. There’s just a lot of life junk going on in the background that’s kept me from Branded lately. That being said, and you may or may not have already noticed, but Branded recently had a sort of makeover. Actually, to be honest, the site was sort of on life support with the host I was using for the past seven years. When I first started this project it was as a podcast and thus I did my homework and found the best podcasting/website hosting option available for my needs and at the time Libsyn was the answer. But slowly the urge to solo-podcast diminished and the need to write increased. So I did my best with my limited html skills to almost literally take a hammer to the code and I banged the site into a shape that I was happy with. But if there is one thing that Libsyn is not known for, it’s their blogging platform. Pretty much, well, it sucked. The comment system sucked, the archive platform blew chunks, and it was seriously buggy as all hell. But I kept dealing with it year after year because as the site grew it became increasingly harder and harder to think about moving it. Besides, I did enjoy the freedom of having unlimited bandwidth for my audio files.

Recently though I sort of came to an impasse with the shittyness of the platform, the comments were almost totally broken, and honestly I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to save the site. Enter two supremely awesome folks, Ben Rollier and Jaime Hood. Having a twitter conversation with them one day about my lame comments section issues Ben suggested a way that I could port all of my posts pretty easily into a WordPress environment. Playing off of that Jaime took it upon herself to basically save Branded in the 80s from the trash bin. Over the last couple of months she’s been working tirelessly in her free time to rebuild my site from the ground up and has made it a fully functional big boy’s website where I can, like, work with a platform that makes sense and a comment system that’s actually geared towards conversations. Pretty much everything I always wanted out of the site. The site might look largely the same (by design), but it’s way cooler in the functionality department, and to be honest it sort of has me pretty darn stoked to be writing again. If only I can get past this speed bump in the real world.

Anyway, huge shout out to Ben, and especially Jaime who channeled all of her Ninja Turtle inspired craftiness to save my damn website. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out her site, do it. It’s one of my favorite places on the internet to hang out and learn about pretty damn awesome movies, music, and all the other stuff that runs through her mind.

This Chick Saved My Site

Blame it on the Kraang! Talking Turtles on the Saturday Morning Central Podcast!

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on the first episode of the Saturday Morning Central podcast with host Tommy Day of Top Hat Sasquatch and Jaime Hood of Shezcrafti.com!  We had a great conversation about the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, including the awesome toys that have been hitting the shelves as well as some other fun nerdery…

I’m a regular listener to the podcasts on the Bubble Pipe Podcasting Network, so it was really cool to get a chance to participate in the launch of Saturday Morning Central.  To listen in just click on the SMC banner above, or you can download the episode here.  Thanks for listening and I hope to be a guest on some future episodes!