Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Do you blog or want to blog? Join Blaugust Reborn!

Belghast has revived Blaugust this year, a blogging event that I have always found handy for tips, tricks, content generation, and simply interacting with other bloggers. If you blog or are interested in blogging, I highly encourage checking it out!

I'll be signing up myself provided my home internet ever decides to reconnect. :P

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Forbidden Island

Cooperative Greed!

Inspired by my board game collection, one of our June guests decided to get Forbidden Island and got us all to try it out. In this prequel to the Forbidden Desert, players are trying to collect four treasures and escape before the island sinks completely.

It does give you that sinking feeling.

Gaining treasures feels very Pandemic-y though, as you require four matching cards to get the doo-hickey from the matching tile - and given that you can trade cards the game ensures everyone starts out separated at the beginning.

While the game plays just as fast as the Desert variety and the double sided tiles are just as pretty, it seems like a much easier game and one that will hit the "solved" stage right away. Sure, a bad draw might actually trigger a loss but a team working together should be able to mitigate most of that.

Still fun and one I can recommend to cooperative board gamers, though I feel if you are only going to get either Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert, get the latter. I give this 3 sandbags out of 5.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Chocolate (2008)

A Thai movie that states "Disabled kids kick ass. Literally."

Born from forbidden love, Zen (played by Yanin Vismitananda) is a mentally handicapped girl who happens to be a savant at physical reflexes and later on, beating the shit out of people. In her quest to get money to pay for her mom's medical fees, she basically visits various groups of random thugs (with escalating weapon types) to rob them.

She's quite dangerous.

There's a tiny bit more depth to this martial arts flick but not much so I won't go into it, lets just say the story is "ok". Instead I will focus on how nice it is to watch the awesomely choreographed fight scenes and all the poor stunt actors injuring themselves, especially in the final showdown part. Yep, gravity hurts!

If you like beat em ups, you will enjoy this though it requires some suspension of disbelief for that little girl to have so much power in her strikes. I give it two and a half smarties out of five and would definitely watch it again. Especially the part where the two autistic kids fight each other. Lol. It sounds mean, but it really is very cool.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Solved Games

Where enough experience leads to almost certain victory.

After numerous play throughs I'm finding that a few of my cooperative board games have reached a "solved" status - where repetitively using the right tactic often leads to victory. Spoilers / Tips ahead, depending on your point of view!

Police Precinct - never had a defeat in this, the team just to divide labour between keeping crime in check and finding the murderer / preferably focusing on what their character is good at but being fluid enough to adapt to the board. I still really like the "emergency" system. Score Adjustment: -1.

Pandemic / Pandemic: On the Brink - while defeat comes quickly if you go for the full epidemic card set having less than that almost makes for an easy game. The red ones of On the Brink are almost mandatory for us now as we can even win with the full green epidemic cards of the base game. Obviously the bio-terrorist option (which we haven't tried yet) might mix things up. Score Adjustment: -1.

Shadows Over Camelot - on full cooperative it is almost impossible to lose provided the team works together. Defeat only comes if everyone does their own thing and tries tackle the harder group quests solo, or keeps quest hopping. You don't have to win every quest, just be sure to win the important ones. I can see why the traitor mechanic is almost mandatory. Score Adjustment: -1.

Operation Flashpoint: Fire Rescue - while bad luck can ruin any game it can be mitigated a bit here simply through communication. Planning ahead pays well, as does not intentionally damaging the building more than necessary. Almost trivialized if you have the driver in the fire engine to provide cover. Score Adjustment: -1.

Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak - knowing your perks and staying together (more HP to share around) is the main rule here, as well as sharing the XP so that the spawns don't become overpowered ahead of your team mates. Bad things usually happen when people wander off on their own, and most scenarios later on even force the players apart because they know a team together is near unstoppable. And that's even without equipment juggling. Hot potato chainsaw is fun. Score Adjustment: -1.

D&D Adventure Boardgame System - all the ones I currently have reviewed (Ravenloft, Ashardalon, Drizzt, ToEE) fall into this category. Victory lies in finding the quest tile fast, and that usually means splitting up to burn through the tile deck quicker. Yes, this puts more monsters on the board but they are usually more manageable than the dreaded encounter cards. Score Adjustment: -1.

Xenoshyft - though it delivers a few brutal losses at the start, once you know how to manage your card hand properly (don't buy garbage), and how to position troops (weakest dudes NEVER go at the end of the lane) loss becomes a thing of rarity in this game. Just don't expect any of your troops to live through the whole thing. Score Adjustment: -1.

Forbidden Desert - PSYCH! This is the true stand out in my current collection. Despite having such a simple premise each game requires active thinking from each participant to mitigate those deadly loss conditions. Such a treasure of a little game, and one I'm going to recommend again right here: if you haven't played Forbidden Desert yet, please go do so! Score Adjustment: +1, and is now the "best" game in my collection.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Pick a Side: Bus Fare

Here's an interesting one I ran into a few days ago on the way home.

Bus Driver: Miss? Miss? Yes, you sitting beside the gentleman with the long hair. Are you going to pay your fare? Everyone else tapped on (card system), don't think I didn't notice you when you just walked in and sat down.

Woman: Hi! I have no money and I'm not going to spend three hours walking just to get home. If you single me out and just make us run late, I'm going to report you to your company for not doing your job.

Bus Driver: I -am- doing my job.

Who would you support in this situation?

Sunday, 8 July 2018

El Grande - Big Box Edition

You can't be the King, but you can rule!

I've had the El Grande - Big Box for awhile now and I think I've finally had enough plays of this territory control game to give it a decent review. The game play is simple enough, first every one places an "initiative" card if you like which determines who gets to act first. Higher numbers trump lower numbers, but lower numbers gain more troops than higher numbers.

Afterwards you pick from a small selection of actions to take to best conquer as much of Spain as you can while simultaneously blocking the other players. The King makes this interesting as you can only deploy in areas adjacent to him (or the tower) but his region itself is taboo and cannot be altered in any way.

It can have a problem of a runaway winner though, as I saw recently where I almost lapped my opponents on the scoreboard.

It's a pretty big board.

Of the expansions we've only played Grand Inquisitor and Colonies which adds France, Africa and America to the board opening up the options for points gaining and makes for a good "alternate" game play. This and the base game are good fun, and I can easily recommend them to competitive gamers.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Hacksaw Ridge

Good thing no one thought of cutting the rope ladder.

Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) grows up a man of faith who takes the commandment of not killing very seriously. This doesn't stop him from enlisting in the army for World War II as a pacifist medic and conscientious objector (one who refuses to wield a weapon or take lives).

Ofcourse he's good with ropes - he's Spiderman!

The film does a good job showing all the trials poor Desmond has to go through for being different, and also does a decent job depicting war is hell. I especially liked Hugo Weaving's portrayal of a character who already lived through the first World War in this respect.

Effects wise it's decent too with the blood,gore and explosions, though it does get a bit Hollywood at the end where the enemies can't hit a barn door and hip shots from good guys nail opponents each time. I'd still watch this inspirational flick again though, and give it three and a half Saturdays out of five.