Sunday, 31 May 2020

May 2020 Review: Cautious Living

Work from home continues though where I live the government is already relaxing the covid self isolation rules. This is also the first time I've heard of "succession games" where a group of people play a single player game one at a time by simply passing on the save file! What a clever idea! :)  Also, if you like Warhammer 40K, you should definitely watch this fan made video called Astartes.

On to the task list...

    End 2020 with less weight (+1 kg from last month, running total: +7 kg)
    Make 1 web comic page (more world building)
    Make a boar game (tested and not happy with mechanics, redoing)

BACKLOG
How to Survive 2 [gift] (had enough)
World War Z [free from Epic Games] (done)
Close to the Sun [free from Epic Games] (done)
Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms [free on Steam]
For the King [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Crashlands [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Amnesia: The Dark Descent [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Grand Theft Auto V [free from Epic Games] (file size too big for my download limits)
+Sid Meier's Civilization VI [free from Epic Games]
+Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Adventure [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Fallout Shelter [free from Steam]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague (10/11)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (13/13)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (0/11)

BLOG STATS

One Year Ago

I was playing Baldur's Gate... a lot!

Five Years Ago

I was participating in the Newbie Blogger Initiative, and somehow I was put in charge of the Poetry Slam due to Syl's absence that year.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
Adventures in Space
FTL: Boarding Parties
FTL: The Marauder

Top Search Terms last Month
osrs infernal cape teamviewer
osrs infernal cape difficulty
everquest

Looks like my Adventures in Space got a few views this time around, while the infernal cape searches have remained from last time - so now I know those are Runescape related!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Dumplin'

Definitely a surprise.

Being plus size, Willowdean (Danielle Macdonald) is not too popular and is often at odds with her mom (Jennifer Aniston) who is heavily involved with beauty pageants having been a past winner herself. When things reach breaking point, Willowdean opts to join the upcoming pageant herself just to spite her.

Not something I thought I'd watch...

While there certainly is a "fat girls can do it too" element to this movie, I am happy to report that it's not actually the focus of the film which sees a lot of character growth in almost every person involved. Other than some bits where Willowdean self sabotages, the plot is pretty good - backed with good acting that made us laugh and cry.

Totally unexpected that I'd enjoy this so much. I do recommend it and would definitely watch it again - I give Dumplin' 3 Dolly Partons of 5.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Marvel's Runaways (TV)

Where the heroes try to grow up (and fail).

When a group of teens realize their parents are actually a group of supervillains, they band together to fight back. Lucky for them, they also have super powers because that's a requirement on a Marvel branded show.

Why is it always a diverse cast these days? Lol.

It's hard to not like this ragtag band especially in the first season, but over the course of the next two where they deal with aliens and magic the team seems to make more and more stupid decisions and partake in ridiculous in-fighting. It's a pity since it would have been nice to see where the story would have gone next, but not even a crossover with Cloak and Dagger saved them in the end.

Still recommend it, even just for season 1, and I give it 3 dinosaurs out of 5.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Ticket to Ride (PC)

Measuring whose choo choo is longer.

In this digitized board game players (AI optional) take turns trying to build railway lines to earn more points than the others.

On your turn you can get more tickets (objectives to build rail from point A to B), collect more color coded cards, or use said cards to create a chain of trains from city to city. Available rail tracks are limited, so first come first serve.

Train assembly has to do with color coordination apparently.

Only one map is available in the base game with more set as expansions but I found this game not compelling enough to begin with. Game play is very dead and actual choices are quite limited since you will most likely be working on your own objectives than trying to block any one else.

Maybe the actual board game is more fun, but unlike Carcassone - this digital version doesn't really make me want to try it. I give it 1 caboose out of 5.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Venom

So, why does he look like evil Spiderman?

The search for truth knows no boundaries for reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), which lands him into hot water when he sticks his nose where it shouldn't be. Coincidentally this happens to be a research lab involving some very hungry extraterrestrial parasites. Any Spiderman fan will know how what happens next, but the plot is still quite engaging regardless.

Something looks off about his feet...

Having Venom "speak" also makes for quite humorous scenes when he's not decapitating or eating people. The special effects are great, acting is good, and there's not really any slow part to the show which admittedly was much better than I initially imagined. Definitely one I'll recommend, and one I will happily watch again. I give it 4 meals out of 5.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Carcassonne (PC)

It's beautiful and simple: and then you lose.

In this digital remake of the board game, up to 6 players (AI, network, or hotseat) take turns placing tiles on the board to create the landscape that is Carcassonne. The only rule when putting a tile down is that it must "make sense" to the surrounding tiles (no roads appearing from nowhere). When placing a tile, you also have the option of putting one of your five meeples down, and should the area its standing on be complete they score the length of the road or area of the city and then are returned to your hand for further use.

Clean and easy to use UI.

This leads to some strategy as having meeples wait for large zones to finish might get them stuck or blocked for most of the game, but the pay off could be worth it. The AI comes in a variety of flavors too, and I've only been able to beat the weakest. While I also think I'd prefer the tactile board game for playing this, letting the computer score stuff does speed things up. Worth trying especially if you don't have a table top gaming group. I give it 3 cloisters out of 5.

Insight: If playing with fields, don't put down your meeples too early as "farmer" meeples never return to your hand!

Monday, 25 May 2020

Jojo Rabbit

Heils everyone!

10 year old Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis) is a Nazi fanatic, to the extent that his make believe friend is Adolph Hitler himself (played by Taika Waititi, who also directed this movie)! What is he to do when he finds out that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a jew in his house? While there is a heavy emphasis on comedy, there are also suitably dark and dramatic moments in there to balance them out.

Imaginary Hitler is hilarious!

Cinematography and acting wise, everything is good though the plot does seem to slow down a lot midway prior to picking up the pace again in the third act. Still very enjoyable and one I would recommend and watch again. I give it 3.5 rabbits out of 5.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Arrow

"I'm the original vigilante!" -Oliver Queen

After being presumed dead for five years, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returns to Star City with new skills, a bow and arrow, and a secret mission to become someone else. Something else.

DC really hit the bullseye with this TV Series with good physical action pieces, nice world building and decent story lines especially early in the show when it's focused mainly on him. Over the course of 8 seasons Oliver's team expands a bit which does end up diluting the quality as more time is given to other characters and the flashbacks get more ridiculous.

I'm guessing it also made the salmon ladder more popular.

On the flip side, it also allowed for spin-offs such as the Flash and Legends of Tomorrow - later coupled with annual crossover events to include Supergirl, Batwoman and others and now proudly fly the "Arrowverse" flag. Definitely a series I recommend, though after season 2 your mileage may vary.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Irishman

A most fascinating rambling.

In this Martin Scorsese flick, the whole movie is focuses on an elderly Frank Sheeran (Robert de Niro) going on a lengthy, 3.5 hour rambling on about his past, mainly upon his time with mobster Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). While it is slow, it somehow isn't boring. 

Nothing like a bit of house painting.

The acting is superb as is the cinematography, and the tech that is used to de-age the actors (as the story covers many years) is really cool. Obviously the story has to be engaging too, otherwise we wouldn't have stuck around to the end. Highly recommend it for crime buffs, and a moderate recommend for everyone else due to the length. I quite enjoyed it, but probably won't watch it again for that very reason. All up I give the Irishman 3.5 house painters out of 5.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Love Letter

Sixteen cards of perfection.

To gain the affections of the Princess, two to four players must compete against each other by ensuring their letter makes it to her each round while thwarting everyone else. This tiny game only consists of sixteen cards, which ensures a fast game play but also rewards deduction, which is aided by all discarded cards being face up, and all players having a list of all the cards in the game.

Simple and perfect!

Each player only holds one card. On their turn they pick up one card and discard the other, using the special power of the one discarded. Discard a priest and you can see someone elses hand. Discard the king can swap your remaining card for one of your opponents. Discard a guard lets you name a card and should your target be holding that card, they are out. Discard the Princess and you are out of the round.

If there are no more cards to draw from the round ends,  whoever holds the highest value card (Princess being the highest) wins. It's simple, fast and very enjoyable. It's also not violent if that's important to your group. Due to its size and being featherweight it makes for a great trip companion and on the cheaper side of things. Highly recommend this one. I give it 5 love letters out of 5. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Bridge

Physics is wrong, until it kills you.

In this odd, pencil art platformer you are a very slow and nonathletic scientist who is clearly tripping balls as apart from being able to only walk left and right, you can also rotate the world to suit your needs - which is usually just to unlock and step through the next door.

Things get very tricky when dealing with gravity and physics, especially in the later stages when you have multiple things to keep track of that follow their own different "laws". Fortunately the stages are quite small and the game quite short because spinning the world can really bring on the headaches.

Prepare to get dizzy...

An interesting one to be sure, and one more for thinkers than for your standard platform players. I give the bridge 2.5 murder balls out of 5.

Insight: Don't go left at the start, it's a waste of time. Also in many stages, you need a light and measured touch when it comes to spinning the stage.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Neverwinter Online: The Rage of Bel

Some like it hot, but this is just confusing.

Since the hell spawn are experiencing continued failure at Vallenhas (and most likely in the Hell Pit), Zariel the lord of Avernus has sent her best general - the titular Bel - and his legions to turn the tide... which results in a ridiculous failure, not just for the demon army but for the programmed design. Every two hours you can enter a dark rift to fight his troops.

That section currently lasts around 10-20 minutes (thanks to today's patch as it was much shorter previously), afterwards it closes and you can fight Bel himself for an hour (there's a handy timer on the top right part of the Avernus map to help you plan your day). The hardest part of his fight is basically not stepping on any spot you or your team have previously stepped on. Melee centered characters need not worry too much, as the idiot will teleport to you if you move far enough away but ranged DPS will certainly have an easier time in his last phase.

Don't like a team? Bel is quite accessible for solo players too. His only "tricky" part is the catapult section, where he patiently stands still while waiting to get shot. If you have a blue flame on your head, you are the one that needs to find a magic rock and bring it to the catapult which is easy enough. If you are in a team and don't have the blue flame, your job is to keep clear of any loading zones and catapults which often means slow lazy circles while evading the sky fire.

Casually strolling with blue boulders while Bel waits patiently.

Oh well, as usual its a bit short on the story and quite heavy on the grind for the new upgradable buff item. There's also a bit of waiting thanks to somewhat moronic design but I wouldn't expect anything better from Cryptic. Thumbs up though for once again jumping straight into the boss fight. I quite like that!

Insight: Load up on some demonic overloads from your stronghold gem shop if you have it to make your life easier. Probably a good idea to have them for the hell pit too!

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Rimworld: Year One

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

It is already winter when Rattlesnake is able to return to menial duties. While hauling animal carcasses he meets Kaelun the pistoleer who is being chased by another of Vladinas Porcupine pirates. The Marauders defeat her pursuers and take her in, learning that the pirates have a base nearby. The NWH offer a bounty to whomever can take it out.

The Marauders accept and after a day or so of preparation El Duce, Syn and Kaelun head out while Silverlight, Wroughtfield and Rattlesnake defend the home base. It takes a day to reach the enemy camp, guarded by three opponents and an auto turret - but due to foggy conditions El Duce decides to hold off on attacking for a few more hours. Syn, unable to take it, has a mental break and starts wandering around in a daze.

Fortunately the fog clears soon after and El Duce and Kaelun engage the pirates - luring them out of the base. El Duce ends up killing them all with his rifle while Kaelun is severley beaten, losing a toe. El Duce quickly snipes the battery powering the auto turret which completes the mission, and then uses the pirates own base and supplies to patch up Kaelun - which takes days.

This delay means the trio suffer from starvation on their return trip as the pirates had very little food, but they make it back home safely regardless. Come spring and the anniversary of their arrival on this planet, the homestead is in good shape again and with the nearby ally tribe and colony, Silverlight knows their new home is going to be ok (and I'm giving up on it since this game is boring).

A screenshot of the actual game. Better graphics are to be desired.

Insight: Bring lots of food when you traverse the world map. Unforeseen delays can really muck things up!

Monday, 18 May 2020

Rimworld: Killer Robots

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

A call from Wroughtfield leads to a visit from friendly the colonists of the Northwest Histheberium, his old crew, who provide much needed medicines for Rattlesnake in exchange for Syn's huskies. Syn is understanding but unhappy at this. Silverlight is also feeling down as her cheating advances towards El Duce while her husband is still in recovery is rebuffed. This affects her shooting when a scout of Vladinas Porcupines attacks. Luckily, Rudy saves her with his trusty club.

Within a few days a trade caravan from the Abanqueiro of the Ocean also arrives, with more medicines and furs for the coming winter. It is a busy time at the homestead, and in that moment Rudy breaks through a mechanical wall in the nearby mine - releasing killer robots that slaughter him! The machines then advance to the settlement in an attempt to kill everyone with their blades and guns.

It's like Skynet was just waiting!

Fortunately they are severely out numbered and only manage to kill three Abanqueiro tribesmen and one of their alpacas before being destroyed. Silverlight thanks them all personally as they groups depart for the journey home. The robot scrap and gear on the corpses (lots on the alpaca) are left for the Marauders, as are the advanced meds and drugs in the robot's den. Also present are three cryocaskets. Unfortunately those only contain more corpses.

Insight: I sort of had to lure the robots into the allies for them to take part in the battle. The Marauders on their own would have had no chance.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Rimworld: Cold Snap

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

With an extra mouth to feed the Marauders attempt to hunt a mega sloth for food during a lightning storm. While they manage to slay the beast, this goes badly for Rattlesnake who went into hand to hand with the massive creature. Wroughtfield, a wanderer passing by, hears the gunfire arrives and assists without hesitation - while El Duce uses his medical skills to stabilize Rattlesnake it is Wroughtfield that gets the more mundane tasks like cooking done.

Seems mega sloths also show up in Fallout.

Subsequent expansion to the cabin during an eclipse also accidentally releases a Purple Ridge scout they had captured previously. They let her go as a cold snap then hits the region, prompting the team to stay indoors and sew some jackets. Outside, the some of the animals and crops begin dying. This is actually beneficial in clearing a few of the rice fields afflicted by blight.

A few days later they hear cries of help from outside and find a lady named Syn being chased by Purple Ridge scum. They take down her pursuers and take her and her three huskies in. It is also during this time they learn that Wroughtfield is incapable of violence (on still living things at least), making him useless in combat.

Insight: People don't like barracks style sleeping arrangements, they like individual rooms (preferable square or rectangular) that are lit with potted plants. Mood debuffs are annoying.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Rimworld: Cassandra

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

Silverlight, Rattlesnake and El Duce emerge unscathed from the escape pods on this planet designated as "Cassandra", which surprisingly is not inhabited by the Rocks who patrol its space. They get to work assembling their stockpile and shelter knowing that any inhabitants will likely come to investigate the crash. Silverlight even has the foresight to start planting a rice field. Soon enough, tribal scouts of the cannibalistic Purple Ridge Covenant do just that and attack the cabin but are thwarted with the rifle and pistol Silverlight had stowed.

Fortunately their next visitors from the Abanqueiro of the Ocean are a much friendlier tribe, having brought simple supplies to trade. The also assist when a hunting accident turns into a stampede of Ibex, which injures all three of spacefarers. With a fresh supply of meat their new friends return to their own camp a few days away, but leave a gift of a precious metal: Uranium.

"The great spirit also wants you to know we can nuke your settlement at any time."

Once they are fully recovered, El Duce begins research on how best to improve their settlement while the other two are out hunting. They return with an old, wandering wild man named Rudy. Unable to ignore someone in need of help, Silverlight had decided to take him in.

Insight: While there is some building and planning, most of this is actually an idle game.

Black Orchestra

The only way to win is to assassinate Hitler!

This five person co-operative game takes place in Nazi Germany, and as one of the members of the titular Black Orchestra you must keep the Gestapo off your scent while you plan, prepare and ultimately try to kill Hitler - not easy given his military support and his penchant of hopping around the board. It's a game of planning and dice rolling, and while turns seem to go quickly the game does run quite a while. The expanding and contracting map which follows the seven event stages (which in turn follow the war) are a nice touch, and evading his lieutenants and building a conspiracy dice pool is a fun mini-game in itself.

For our first game, the plan was to ambush him in Prague. The team had gathered there and my wife managed to lure Hitler from the Eagles Nest. It was then up to DL, who rolled 6 dice (1 for passing the mandatory requirement, 2 for all of us being there, 1 for having a key item, 2 for using a one shot card) requiring three successes (Hitler's weakest in standard mode) - we had worked hard to reduce his military support for this very event! Alas it failed and he got away while we separated to collect more gear to try again.

Near the end of the war, we regrouped in Prague to try ambush him again - luring him from the Eagles Nest once more and DL this time had 8 dice requiring 4 successes. Still failed! Being reckless I opted to try snipe him instead, having 4 dice and requiring 4 successes. My attempt was so sneaky, no one even knew there was an attempt as I completely missed. They probably thought some local was duck hunting!

DL managed to stall Hitler's departure back to Berlin with a delaying card, but was subsequently jailed by the Gestapo soon after (game over if all of us are jailed simultaneously) and with the end of the war looming (which ends in failure for the team) I had one last chance to try kill Hitler with a hidden bomb. As my mom and wife had reduced his support again I now had three dice (as the bonus items were now either used or on map areas no longer accessible as the Germans had been pushed back from there) and required three successes... and I got him. We won with 2 turns left to spare!

They have a "win" card too!

This was quite a hard game to find, but it is definitely worth it. It does run a bit long though, and is comparable to Eldrich Horror in game-play time and dice difficulty. As a bonus, you might end up learning some history too! Highly recommend it, I give Black Orchestra 5 plots out of 5.

Insight: Hitler is weakest at the very start and at the very end of the war.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Neverwinter Online: Hell Pit - Lazy Rogue Guide

Are you not entertained!?

The Hell Pit event is back as a prologue to the next module episode: the Rage of Bel. Since it seems this is going to happen quite frequently, I thought I'd put a quick guide of how I go through it as a "lazy" rogue. By that I mean my free to play build and gear is nowhere near BiS and while I'm currently at 22k iLevel, the event drops you down to 20k anyway so it shouldn't really matter. I'll just be going through the basics here which is enough for me to get by so, let's get started!

The objective in the Hell Pit is to survive a number of rounds which last 2 minutes each. To be precise 2 minutes of devil or demon mobs endlessly spawning until you can wipe them out when time is over. During the first seven days it is 5 rounds. The next set adds bonus rounds with harder enemies that literally turn most of the ground red and eventually you get boss rounds too. Every round a random power up is dropped into the arena. When invoked they each last 30 seconds (other than the Nuke which is one shot):

-Speed looks like a boot. If you don't have anything better then use it as soon as you get it. Mostly worthless, but it fills up your action points fast for daily power spam.
-HP Regen looks like a heart. Another use ASAP if you have nothing else - don't expect the regen to keep you alive.
-Nuke looks like a skull. More useful than the two above as a crowd cleaner, but takes time to channel and aim. Be in stealth when you use this.
-Invuln* is a shield. It is the best power up and one you should save for the later rounds. Feel free to use it if another shield power up shows up.

*I call it invuln as it certainly makes you feel that way. On the bonus and boss rounds though, it'll help keep you alive but you still need to be on your game.

Required "BYO" Gear: Health stones or health pots. Being lazy I don't dodge everything. If you play the game for long enough (and don't go into dungeons - I'm lazy) it gifts you with enough free health stones to have a decent supply. Health pots are cheap enough with gold but obviously aren't as good. Ideally you always want to heal early - around half health you should be spamming that quickslot heal button. And yes, I mean spam. Lag will sometimes miss a keypress that can lead to your demise. Spamming works just fine as there are cooldowns on all those items preventing you from double drinking.

My basic strategy is: kill the ranged guys. You want to drop your attacks on them or in their vicinity. If your powers are on cool down, feel free to stealth/dodge/run away without attacking to simply heal up until you are ready again. Mobility is key here - you are a fighter plane doing strafing runs. You don't want to get stuck attacking in one spot for too long.

Abilities I use (Executioner path):
Sly Flourish - used sparingly as a finisher, avoided for most of the fight as it roots you in place
Cloud of Steel - ranged "pew pew pew" attack. Useful for attacking at a distance, especially when safe inside a smoke cloud
Smoke Bomb - enemies in it cannot attack, making you safe from most melee guys. Ranged foes can shoot into it though so drop this beside the ranged scum!
Blade Flurry - decent damage to the area around you, best used when mobbed within smoke bomb
Path of Blades - AoE attack that keeps going while you move and/or are stealthed. Perfect as mobility is key.
Shocking Execution - when you want something dead, but I rarely use it in favor of...
Hateful Knives - not the best daily power for rogues but what it has greatly is RANGE. Need to get out of a melee swarm or a sea of dangerous red zones? Target the ranged dude half an arena away and watch as you effectively teleport to him and stomp on his face.

I can teleport to the furthest guy behind the mob of cultists with Hateful Knives.

That's really all there is to my method. I'm sure more "pro" players can do it without using any heals of power ups but this way suits me just fine.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Firefly Adventures: Surprise Retrieval

Today's board game session is from Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats.

The job was simple: get in, get the item and get out. The guards in the complex would be suspicious if they saw the team traveling together, but as Mal (DL) knew by now - expediency was key opting to once again go guns hot. It was a manic few minutes as the two fireteams: Mal and Jayne (mom) on one end, Wash (me) and Zoe (wifey) on the other worked their way to the center - obliterating the guards wandering out of cover.

On one of the bodies, Wash found the master key and tossed it to Mal who opened the main storage unit in awe - the item was priceless! Mal greedily tucked it under his arm only to have a loud alarm go off as soon as he turned for the door, summoning a swarm of goons onto the crew!

More weapons = more options!

Jayne was caught in the worst position, flanked in the open - taking a number of hits that nearly brought him down. The rest of the team scrambled to help him with Zoe taking down chasers, Wash doing another near point blank sniper shot through a door to kill the gunman behind it, and Mal tossing a grenade that wiped out a whole cluster of the enemy.

Jayne managed to eliminate the last bad guy personally, and with the area clear the crew was clear to make their escape and cash in big time. Mission Success! At this point the crew are rolling in $11,400 credits. :)

Alas, that is the last mission that comes with the base game which is a shame given how cool it is.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Firefly Adventures: Swifty Rescue

Today's board game session is from Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats.

Using the intel gained from the information relay, Mal (DL) and Zoe (wifey) set course for a nearby prison camp where one of their old wartime buddies was being held tortured. Being a time sensitive mission Mal decided to skip the sweet talking with the entire crew going in guns hot.

Corners and shotguns are a lovely combination.

Zoe opened by blowing away two guards with her shotgun gaining the attention of a third whom Mal shot in the back. Jayne (mom) and Wash (me) took down the remaining two at range, giving the team full run of the place for now. Unfortunately they didn't know where their compatriot was being held so it was going to be a door to door affair with the squad splitting up to cover more ground.

Zoe and Jayne only found empty buildings but Mal lucked out - finding the captive inside the largest structure along with the three goons beating him up! All three rushed the intruder and Mal knocked out the first two, but barely won against third, "the Butcher", as Wash needed to use a medkit stims to keep the captain going.

Jayne provided cover fire as more goons began arriving with Mal and Wash carrying the captive to the landing pad, but the Butcher Mal initially KO'ed got back to his feet and raced out of the building, managing to knock down Mal and almost kill the captive before getting a near point blank sniper shot from Wash - putting him down for good.

With Jayne carrying the captive and Zoe helping Mal back to his feet, Wash could finally call the Serenity for extraction. Mission success!

Monday, 11 May 2020

Firefly Adventures: Sneaky Hacks

Today's board game session is from Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats.

After a few days of surveillance, the team knew exactly how the thugs patrolled the base of their information relay. As planned, the squad arrived from three directions: Mal (DL) from the South, Zoe (wifey) and Jayne (mom) from the West and Wash (me) from the North, with each quietly taking out a patrol guard as they arrived.

This made breaching the main facility a cake walk, but hacking the actual server node was far more challenging with Wash having the most success at it. Meanwhile Jayne didn't even make an attempt, opting instead to try for a safe in the backroom. Unfortunately it too was digitally sealed.

With a good haul of sellable information on hand it was time to go, but a new goon arriving on a shift change muddled up the timing of their escape - long enough for the alarm to trigger and for the bad guy cavalry to arrive en force, right from the direction of their escape vehicle!

Time to go loud.

Having no option but to fight, the team made use of the large garage door as cover to shoot under - laying waste to the incoming line of gunmen while only taking minor injuries themselves. There was no shortage of bad people however as more thugs began pouring into the area (literally, because on this map if they "see" a dead body - remove the body and spawn a goon).

"We need to move now!" yelled Jayne as he threw a grenade into a cluster of incoming baddies - killing nearly all of them, only to have a fresh batch arrive again.

Predictably, Wash was the first one to the car and got it started while the rest fell back firing - reaching the vehicle and making their escape just in time. Mission success!

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Firefly Adventures: Misbehaving Delivery

Today's board game session is from  Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds (DL) led his team of Jayne (mom), Zoe (wifey) and Wash (me) into the shady looking town. Under the crook of his arm was a package that they needed to deliver to someone in this area, but the details of who were quite vague.

"Split up and behave," was his instruction as he trudged towards the nearest house on his own to hopefully get directions. The fat goon inside was not the easiest person to talk to, and while Mal eventually got the info he needed, it also resulted in a short brawl in which he knocked the fatty out.

Upon exiting to the street, he was greeted by mayhem. Wash had somehow set exploded a water silo AND set it on fire (in that order) and was running for his life from two angry thugs with Jayne and Zoe openly providing cover fire. Blood and numerous bodies already lay littering the roads.

There is no parlaying in the wild lands!

Picking up his pace and still trying to remain casual, Mal headed to the contact who was more than happy to receive the package - but he wasn't willing to sign for it. Mal insisted as he needed that for payment but there was no talking him into it, resulting in another brawl!

Despite this man happening to be a skilled martial artist, Mal killed him with his own sword before running back out - package still in hand. With the entire village now slaughtered, the squad returned to the ship in failure.

Fortunately, upon opening the package themselves they find enough contents to fund their next adventure!

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats

It aims to misbehave.

This 2 to 5 cooperative player game sees the crew of the Firefly undertaking planet side missions that often result in mayhem. Despite only having 10 figurines for bad guys, they do end up being quite unique when it comes to game play. In contrast each hero gets 2 figurines, one in their gun slinging "Heroic" mode and one more "Casual" which lets you slip by or even chat to enemies.

Each map takes a little bit of setup.

Unfortunately most of the non-violent options per mission aren't well executed. Negotiation is hard and not very rewarding when compared to the speed of simply blowing everyone away. Kudos for the "downed body" markers too, those really pile up! :P

Also included in the box are 10 already made buildings which are used to "decorate" the board which is really neat from a visual perspective. Alas, much like the show it is based on - this board game feels really short with only 4 missions included which is a shame given how much my group enjoys playing it. If you are a Firefly fan, I still recommend you give it a try. I give it 4 cowboys out of 5.

Also, I'd thought I'd try something different this time: a play through of one of our board game sessions which will be added below...

Session 1 - Misbehaving Delivery
Session 2 - Sneaky Hacks
Session 3 - Swifty Rescue
Session 4 - Surprise Retrieval  

Friday, 8 May 2020

The Wolf Among Us

Runs your childhood favorites through a filth bath.

In this wonderfully voice acted, five episode Telltale interactive story - Fabletown, home to characters from childhood stories, is undergoing some dark times starting with a gruesome murder. As the Sheriff Bigby Wolf it is up to you so solve the mystery and catch (or kill) the perpetrator.

Its worth mentioning the cell-shading style art is really good too as is the mystery portion of the game. I was quite happy with the amount of blood and gore too. While there are a few areas you can walk around and interact with the environment most of the time you will be selecting action or verbal responses within a time limit that can change how the story goes. More actiony bits such as combat are handled in QTE fashion.

A few awesome violent bits too.

Not so well done is the resolution, and certainly the "laws" by which Fables live. Some people can survive what seem to be surely fatal damage while others cannot. A clearer explanation would have been nice. Definitely an interesting experience and one I can recommend for people that like story-telling. I give it 3 huffs out of 5 puffs.

Insight: If you want more of these stories, the game is based on the Fables comic series.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

FTL: Flagship

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

Having destroyed the Zoltan military craft, Rick is careful to use their new long range scanner augmentation to avoid further encounters with enemy ships - easily navigating to LRB after LRB until finally... they reach the Federation Fleet and transmit the data.

"Thank you, Who the F* Cares! Now we know the weakness of the rebel flagship that is about to enter this sector! Please, you must help us defeat it."

"Hey, t-that wasn't the deal!" began Rick, but Morty forcibly took the comm unit and shouted "Definitely! You can count on us!"

"W-What are you doing Morty?" Rick shook his head and had another drink as Morty took the helm, setting a course to intercept the rebel flagship before it reached the Federation Base. "I upgraded the ship to d-deliver the message, not t-to fight the D-Deathstar!"

"But we HAVE to Rick! It's to save the UNIVERSE!"

Turns out the flagship is an absolute juggernaut!

Just then, the massive flagship came into view. "O-okay kid, go for it," Rick said as he put his feet up on the console to focus on his drinking. Morty pressed all the buttons, fired all the guns and lazers and missiles, but it was only scratching the enemy juggernaut. In exchange, the Who the F* Cares was taking massive damage with hull breaches and fires everywhere.

With no option Morty screamed and hit the FTL drive to warp out of there. "We failed Rick!" Morty said sadly. "I failed!"

"N-no you didn't!" argued Rick. "You w-wanted to deliver the m-message thingy, and you did. Case closed! You won! T-trust me kid, take the win. Besides t-there are many other universes for us to save!"

"Oh.. oookay." mulled Morty as Rick opened a portal with a hand held device. Morty walked in sullenly.

"WAIT FOR ME," cried Charlie as the rebel flagship suddenly arrived at their position.

"Nice knowing you Charlie," said Rick with a wave as he stepped through and shut the portal leaving Charlie alone on the vessel. Looking out a port window, Charlie saw the flaship somehow make an angry face as it prepared all of its many guns to finish off the tiny Kestrel once and for all. She couldn't even scream as everything became enveloped in a bright and purifying light.

MISSION FAIL. SUCCESS! -Rick

Insight: The long range scanner is super handy, but you'll need to still intentionally seek out those ships and defeat them for enough upgrades to take on the flagship!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

FTL: Space Dust

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

With the Who the F* Cares back in sparkling mint condition, Rick pulls out from the space dock and right into... a magnetic space mine which latches on with a loud clang! "Oh god, oh god!" whined Morty. "What are we going to do?"

"D-don't worry Morty, I-I got this!" Rick exclaimed while typing furiously on buttons that didn't even remotely ressemble a keyboard which launched a missile that made a lazy u-turn in space. "I-I'm going to shoot it off!"

"BUT RIIIICK!"

"Trust me Morty, t-this is how we survive!"

The missile exploded against the hull, causing massive damage while dislodging the mine that subsequently exploded with a much smaller charge. Charlie and Morty repair the breaches as they fly on and at the Grand Basilisk, Rick kicks off their rock noble passenger against their will to get some sweet, sweet scrap from the Basilisk in exchange for this hearty meal.

They then jump to Zoltan space where a familiar research vessel awaits them... claiming that the procedure Rick previously undertook isn't complete. This is enough bait for them to fall for the trap, as the research vessel is now overtaken by pirates! Rick and Morty barely win against the four boarders using their tried and true "running away while shooting behind them" method, just in time before a Zoltan military vessel arrives and powers up their weapons.

This method seems to work on every adventure!

"What the hell!? I thought the Zoltan's were your friends?" said the shocked Morty.

"I-I don't have friends Morty," Rick replied dryly. "A-at least not in this episode!"

"Besides, l-look at those f-fuckwits. They probably t-think they're a-all macho having just killed s-some girls or something."

Powering up all their own weapons, Rick exchanges salvo after salvo with the Zoltans and this time the military ship is unable to keep up with the vastly upgraded Kestrel. As the Zoltans turn to flee Rick fires one last missile, right up their ass, and vaporizes them into space dust.

Insight: The Engi Medi-Bot dispersal augment is handy in that as long as it has power, all friendly crew on your ship are constantly getting healed. Otherwise, if you need to fight, try do so at your medbay to make use of the a healing advantage.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

FTL: Really Peaceful

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

"We should be safe now!" said Morty as the Who the F* Cares entered Engi space. "I heard this race was, like, really peaceful!"

An Engi craft appeared right on cue, explaining that a virus called "Rick Sanchez" was detected aboard and thus, they had to be destroyed. With a single press of a button Rick launched a full salvo and destroyed them. "D-don't believe everything you hear Morty! W-We're gonna need to make a pit stop."

Rick parked the ship next to a nearby Zoltan research vessel and through bribery and the repayment of some undisclosed favor got a treatment to slip through any future Engi detectors. This proves really handy at their next stop, an Engi shipyard where Rick spends a lot of time upgrading the ship and loading it out with augmentations while selling the unused parts.

"There's no p-point rushing if we don't get there alive, Morty."

While in port a Mantis ship, decorated by corpses of Rocks, appears and declares its intent to hunt Charlie. Rick goads the creatures and flushes them out the airlock (he made the button look like a toilet lever) without any fanfare. Just as they are about to depart Charlie arrives with another Rock person, some sort of noble, who he says requires passage to the Grand Basilisk, which is on a planet nearby.

Morty readily agrees to help while Rick mutters "Yeah sure, whatever," while drinking more booze and simultaneously blow torching more armor onto the hull.

Insight: A bunch of the FTL races feature in the game Into the Breach, which is made by the same company.

Monday, 4 May 2020

FTL: A New Sister

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

After somehow surviving and making it to a refueling station they find the populace to be infected with some sort of disease.  Rick assures them it'll be fine and sends Summer to collect supplies they need while delivering his cure-all gel. After she loads the cargo bay Rick takes off without her, as she is infected.

"We can't just leave her!" exclaimed Morty.

"Sure we can! B-besides you... uh we... have this i-important mission to do, right?" Rick countered. He then spoke to Summer over the speaker "Just rub that cream over your whole body and l-leave it on for 2,890 minutes or y-you'll die. Take it off before 2,982 minutes or I-I'll have to come back and kill what you become."

"Wait, what?" Summer asked just as the ship jumped away.

On board, Morty was visibly on the verge of tears.

"Aww c-come on, i-it's not that bad," consoled Rick. "I-I know! Let's get you a n-new sister!"

Rick's natural state.

The mad scientist suddenly landed on a planet to pick up a rock, which he presented to Morty with a huge grin on his face.

"Uhhh... Rick, that's a rock?"

"MY NAME IS CHARLIE," the Rock said. "THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME FROM THAT DEAD PLANET."

While Morty gasped in shock Rick nodded, "Charlie that's Morty - your new brother! Morty this is your new sister Charlie!"

"I AM NOT A GIRL," Charlie complained. Without missing a beat, Rick pulled out a rod-like device with his free hand and zapped the rock in its nethers as he tossed it in the air. "You are now!"

Insight: Rock crew members move very slowly, which is terrible in all situations. Fortunately they have a lot more HP than everyone else AND are immune to fire.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

FTL: Number One

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

As soon as the Who the F* Cares left the station, Rick - drunk at the helm - flew it straight for a sun about to go supernova and catching the ship on fire. Only through Morty's timely intervention did they survive to douse the flames. Strangely, a line of ships was nearby - waiting for the rebel checkpoint to clear them to jump to safety.

Rick cut the line, bribed them rebel guards with some scrap and FTL-ed out of there before the sun exploded, taking all the others out in a beautiful inferno.

"Way to go, grandpa!"

"See that Morty? You a-always gotta look out for number one," mused Rick as he accidentally flew right into an asteroid field. To make matters worse, an auto-fighter - the same one that destroyed the Bugly Bugs - decloaked nearby and began pursuit! Morty screamed in a panic as Summer and the fighter exchanged laser fire. After another swig, Rick put the thrusters to max +11, skimming through the asteroid belt and letting the rocks destroy their pursuer.

This put them right in the middle of the rebel fleet. "RIIIIICK!" exclaimed Morty as he pressed random buttons at his console. Summer spun the guns around in amazement. "Which ones do I shoot?"

"ALL OF THEM!" barked Rick, coating the controls with saliva as began evasive maneuvers - managing to FTL to safety just in time... though by then the ship was on fire again.

Insight: Having upgraded engines and the energy to power them makes your FTL drive charge up faster.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

FTL: Who the F* Cares?

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

"What the hell, Morty! I-Is this some sort of game?" asked Rick as he fiddled with the little data cube in one hand, and a manifest datapad on the other.

"No! Come on Rick, that Charboobie lady said that we - we need to deliver the thing to the Federation to help save the universe!"

"Urgh. Fine," Rick replied with an eye-roll before tossing the data pad to a waiting droid that beeped in annoyance. "THIS SHIP REQUIRES THREE CREW."

"You!" pointing at Summer idling nearby. "Get into the gunner seat and shoot the shit I tell you to!" Rick commanded, followed by a swig of his flask.

"Cool!" she replied as she ushered her little brother Morty up into the Kestrel class vessel. Rick followed but was stopped by the droid who rolled into his way and beeped "SHIP REQUIRES NAME".

"Who the fuck cares?" Rick said angrily as he kicked the droid aside as an emphasis on the word "fuck".

Ship's name successfully registered!

With all the crew aboard the droid righted itself back up and announced "WHO THE F* CARES? CLEAR FOR LIFT OFF".

"Summer!" yelled Rick from the cockpit. She replied by firing destroying the droid with the lasers.

Insight: If it wasn't obvious yet, this game is a rogue like which means you can only save when you quit. Otherwise, what happens - happens!

Friday, 1 May 2020

FTL: Above and Beyond

[Part of the Adventures in Space journal]

As the rest of her team lifted off, Charybdis boarded the second Kestrel named "Above and Beyond", having hired two ex-military guys to help her fly it - West and Hawkes, who prove their experience by easily taking down some pirates and saving the slave O'Reagan from his asteroid prison - defeating four rebel enemies in a space dock shootout.

After restocking with the Engi and stealthing through a nebula sector they enter Zoltan space and encounter a Rock vessel attacking a science outpost. Before they destroy Rocks, the enemy manages to hit West with a terrible beam causing him to de-age rapidly into non-existence!

I don't think he even got a saving throw...

With nothing to do for him, the crew save the scientists and recruit one of them - Ferediam the Zoltan to take his place. Unfortunately they have no choice but to proceed into Rock controlled space next and run into ship after ship of hostiles in a massive asteroid field, destroying them all but taking severe damage in return.

Despite their depleted status they rush to the aid of another civilian refugee ship being attacked by a Rock cruiser, barely winning the fight. As the civilian ship moves into dock with them to assist with repairs, Charybdis gets light-headed as Hawkes, O'Reagan and Ferediam all faint. She realizes too late that their oxygen system was badly damaged in the last fight and tries to get there to repair it but her legs give way and everything goes black...

When she awakes she and her crew have been saved by the civilians who were quickly flying away from the incoming rebel / Federation war. Unfortunately the Above and Beyond could not be saved as Ferediam self destructed (as is the Zoltan way) and so was dismantled for scrap. This included the all important data cube that was in the cockpit.

MISSION FAIL.


Insight: As energy beings, Zoltans provide one extra bar of energy to whatever station they man. That's pretty cool! Just be careful if they die, because they do so explosively!