Saturday, 21 July 2018

Review of Air Supplies

Since I review almost everything else on this blog, I figured why not some of the actual products that helped us get through last June when we squeezed 8 (sometimes 9) more people in the house? My previous knowledge of airbeds was that they were bulky an inefficient to use, requiring hours to manually get air into them.

Because I didn't have one of these before!

The four we got from Kmart's camping section had no such issue and I found them quite comfy too, especially the Active & Co Comfort Cell (Queen Size) air mattress which was our bed for the whole last month. Durability - check! They did need a top up each week to retain firmness though. Also, the little air pump is fantastic, inflating said beds in under 5 minutes each. Not so ideal in camping situations as it  is cord powered (there is an alternate battery operated model), but this one was perfect for our needs.

The "Flocked" versions were also of similar good quality.

The pump also has a "deflate" setting but I must admit we didn't use that. It was simply easier, and more fun, to open the seal and literally roll on the bed to flatten it. Surprisingly good, and ones I would definitely recommend given the low price. :)

Friday, 20 July 2018

Ong Bak

Aka, this is Tony Jaa.

The plot of this Thai film is much a fetch quest: A small village sends their best fighter (Tony Jaa) to retrieve a part of a relic that was stolen from them by some random goon. Luckily, said random goon works for a crime syndicate which prolongs the quest and makes it violently entertaining.

Some really good sequences here.

Definitely one for martial arts fans, the strongest parts are the thrilling action sequences and while the climax isn't that spectacular, the road getting there is. Plot wise everything works fine and the funny bits are decent. There are many scenes that could be shortened or cut though (the gambling one in particular) and the main female lead has a shrill voice for me (nails on chalkboard type).

Only minor issues for an otherwise extremely entertaining film. If you are not an martial arts or action movie fan, stay away as there's not much here for you. If you enjoy watching people get beaten up spectacularly then this is not one to miss. I give it three flying knee pile divers out of five.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Lords of Waterdeep VS El Grande

Who is the Grandest Lord?

In the battle between these two board games the similarities are plenty: both are competitive, both require tactics, both play the same number of players, both take a similar amount of time to play, and both have some really nice components and mechanics. Their methods vary though as El Grande is pure territory control while Waterdeep uses worker placement in a bid to finish more quests than your opponents.

En garde!

For me, the deciding factor is the "long game". El Grande's action cards (base game and Grand Inquisitor and Colonies anyway) are cool, but are quite limiting as you can't really plan too far ahead - meaning at best you only need to worry about this round and maybe the next.

In Waterdeep the long game is alive and well, where you can pull of Batman Gambits and must constantly be revising your strategy as people block your plans intentionally or not. It's because of this that Lords of Waterdeep is the winner in this match up, which is sad because I tend to always lose Lords of Waterdeep (my wife is too good), while I tend to always win El Grande. ;p

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.