Tuesday 30 June 2020

June 2020 Review: Back to It

Last month saw the end of isolation where I live and am now back to working in the office. Not much else to report so on to the task list...

   End 2020 with less weight (0 kg from last month, running total: +7 kg)
   Make 1 web comic page (that didn't happen)
   Make a board game (narp!)

Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms [free on Steam]
Sid Meier's Civilization VI [free from Epic Games] (done)
Fallout Shelter [free from Steam] (had enough)
+Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel [free from Epic] (done)
+Sludge Life [free from Epic] (done)
+Overcooked [free from Epic]
+Ark: Survival Evolved [free from Epic] (file size unreasonable for download)
+Samurai Shodown: Neogeo Collection [free from Epic] (had enough)
+Pathway [free from Epic] (finished)
+Hitman: Absolution [free from GOG] (finished)
+Zombie Army Trilogy [gift]
+GTFO [gift]
+AER Memories of Old [free from Epic]
+Stranger Things 3 [free from Epic]
+Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop [free from Steam]
+Dishonored 2 [gift]
+Resident Evil 2 [gift]
+Metro Exodus [gift]
+Metal Gear Survive [gift]
+Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Season Pass [gift]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague (10/11)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (3/6)


One Year Ago

I was playing Kingdom Come Deliverance and was trying out writing about mechanics rather than my usual story narration.

Five Years Ago

I was trying out the MMO Entropia Universe. Didn't get very far since free players couldn't really do much once they ran out of resources.

Most Viewed Posts last Month

Wasteland 2: Dam Choices
Wasteland 2: Wreck-It Ralphy
Wasteland 2: The Other Side

So much to do and so little time! Stay safe and be good!

Monday 29 June 2020

Farming Simulator 19

Where farming is hard!

I never knew being a modern farmer was so difficult! Clearly the most enjoyable parts are driving all the big toys across the fields to either plow, sow, harvest, and such but throw in balancing the accounts and loans, deciding on what machines/fields to buy/rent - how many staff to hire and how to build up your farm can really do your head in!

Each machine has their own set of special controls too.

Good thing you can do jobs for your neighboring farmers to get some capital but geez, I am surprised at the level of complexity involved here. Obviously a management game at heart, this one isn't for me - but with good graphics, decent controls, and obviously being the "19th" game in the series - this game knows who its audience is.

If that is you, then go for it! For everyone else I give this 2 weeds out of 5.

Insight: Cruise mode is your friend.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Offworld Trading Company

The Earth is dying. Time to make a profit!

As an employee for one of the very different factions your job is to establish a trading post on a distant planet. In fact the start feels very much like Surviving Mars, only this game makes it easier, and is basically better all around.

The very informative tutorial lets you play with all the structures available, which aren't very many - but their positioning, and how you use them is key to controlling a monopoly on the planet. Yes, you will have competitors - all of whom are willing to dip into black market tactics to get the upper hand and maybe even buy you out!

Lots of information but all of it always available.

You must also manage trade through the markets which is easily done since it is always on screen. I am really impressed at how much information they get on their functional playing space in general, and all up - I think this game is definitely one worth trying if you like competitive sim games (you can play against AI or other players too).

Not one for me, but I enjoyed my time with it. I give it 3 pleasure domes out of 5!

Insight: Scout your starting location well while keeping in mind what your faction actually uses.

Saturday 27 June 2020


Unlike any other! Well, its like those other two...

This online "card" game involves the stock standard notion of having two people duel using their potentially customized cards to deploy units and basically hurt their opponent. If this sounds like Hearthstone it sort of is, but Faeria includes a hexagonal land creation component that also somewhat steals from Magic the Gathering.

The land tiles do add some tactics though, as your forces can only spawn on tiles you generated - and in some cases can only spawn if you generated enough of a particular color. Then they have to physically march across (in turn based fashion) to take down your enemies. It's good fun!

Some levels are also just straight out puzzles.

One I can recommend for people who like this sort of game, it's just annoying that there's the online shop has such a prevalent presence on the main hub. I give it 2.5 yaks out of 5.

Insight: You can spawn land adjacent to your controlled lands OR adjacent to one of your creatures. This means get a friendly near your opponent and you can setup a spawn point to assault him from.

Friday 26 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: Forty Two

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

It is expensive work reshuffling and rebuilding the vault rooms, but thanks to a mysterious stranger who brings in some resources Vault 465 finally builds a fully furnished Nuka Cola bottler which provides both food and water, and a nuclear reactor which provides more power than the previous generators.

The rooms are condensed, with a weight room/dojo at the top floor for the vault defenders to increase their strength (prime stat for combat, so keep your strong guys up top) while easily thwarting the feral ghouls that occasionally wander by. While some scavenger runs continue for awhile, further losses eventually convince the populace to put a stop to them altogether.

My end state vault. Still plenty of room for actual builder players.

As the forty two remaining souls have everything they need in the vault - power, water, food, work and companionship, they take one last look outside before sealing the vault door for good. Balance is joy.

Insight: Always click on the mysterious stranger if you find him (his jingle plays to give you a heads up) as he gives caps. Sometimes, a lot of caps!

Thursday 25 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: The Raiders

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The main team assembled for exploration is Billy (Maxine's Kid), Harold (Bardo's Kid) and Wroughtfield (who has overcome his peaceful nature to use automatic weapons) and their first task is to hunt down the annoying raiders who constantly harass the vault. This goes well for the most part, as they travel far and wide - pushing back the raider territory while making new allies and even gaining a pet St. Bernard they named "Bernie" and a Mr. "Handy" robot (who clicks on things for you) in the process.

A run in with feral ghouls forces them back to base though, and it is only then they learn that a far worse threat had hit Vault 465 - a trio of deathclaws! Only 51 dwellers of the 103 survived the attack. Among those lost are Bardo, Rattlesnake, El Duce, Spikelor Bordooshio, Syn, Goliath Arp, Skrmishca and the native from Abanqueiro Ocean.

So many deathclaws...

Shell shocked by the loss, Sarah Silverlight tries convince everyone to stop sending expeditions out but only succeeds in shutting down a few rooms such as the radio room and overseers office. Billy, Harold and Wroughtfield soon depart again to hunt down the raider boss whom they eventually find, but they are unable to survive his nuke grenade attacks. Only Bernie makes it back alive.

Insight: Send a lot of health stuff with your away teams. Remember that if you don't spend a nuka cola to speed up travel, some of the health gear will get en route to the quest!

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: Vault 465

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

They didn't know what triggered the explosion, but Rattlesnake knew it was bad. With his wife Sarah Silverlight and allies, El Duce, Wroughtfield, Syn and a native from the Abanqueiro Ocean they made their way into the vault that was previously guarded by hostile robots. On the way they find a band of crashed aliens, Spikelor Bordooshio, Flixxel Gooplet and Goliath Arp being led by Bob O'Reagan who had rescued them, and himself from impending slavery (at the cost of some of his friends).

They happily take them along as the vault is spacious and quite inviting, but seemingly restricted in improvements unless they can find even more dwellers. Or make them. The arrival of a lone wanderer, Skrmischa, and two single mothers, Maxine and Bardo, and their sons Billy and Harold, is welcomed - but Rattlesnake tells them and the other women, including his wife, what was to be expected of them. They didn't have much other choice so the orgies began.

There's a lot of boom chika wow wow...

Soon with enough inbreeding, the population started to grow and a radio room was even setup to draw in more wanderers, such as Spikelor's friend, Stomachio Timeflies. Having a good base number now, Rattlesnake was happy to start sending a few people on quests out in the wasteland.

Insight: Remember to check on and recall your wasteland wanderers as they will eventually die if you forget about them.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: The Great Purge

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Unable to reach the exit due to a flanking swarm, the remaining Vault 40 survivors retreat into separate rooms and lock the doors. This of course only serves to trap them. The roaches soon invade the power station and make quick work of Smedley, Carol Black and Payday.

Totally freaking out, Shocklord uses his lightning powers and full blast - eliminating waves of the insects but at the same time hitting the power generator itself. The machine goes into overload and explodes, setting most of the vault on fire. While this does force the roaches to flee, the fires also roast alive Jane, Nicki, Lanfey, Rage Metalhead, Hawkes, Charybdis and Shocklord himself.

Everything's on fire!

Only Maxine and Bardo who managed to hide in a bathtub of water survive the event, and with the coast clear, opt to take their chances in the wasteland rather than remain in this awful and forsaken place. Eventually both women give birth to sons, and are forced to try find another place to stay away from the radiation. It is then they find a similar looking door imprinted with "Vault 465".

Insight: You can revive deceased dwellers for caps, just not in survival mode.

Monday 22 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: Horrors in the Dark

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

While their new accommodations were cozy and quite self sustaining, it soon became clear that Yazan's group were quite deprived of female attention much to Charybdis and Hawkes detriment. Now with "fresh meat" available they soon came to forcing themselves upon the rest of the females in the group whom they divided and "conquered".

Seeing that conflict was inevitable, Smedley began rallying his crew but a shrill scream signaled the presence of a new threat.

There in the living quarters they found Luna, decapitated by a giant radroach... and more of the vermin soon crawled out from the vents looking to feast on their new visitors! Any thoughts of fighting each other quickly vanished as both teams began battling the insectoid invaders but had to fall back against the increasing enemy numbers.

Totally heading the way of Terraformars here...

Eventually even the amazing skills of Guin are not enough as the tiger man is brought down by the horrible foe. This causes the remaining survivors to panic and flee.

Insight: Survival mode is serious business and makes everything harder! Don't jump straight into it like I did here!

Sunday 21 June 2020

Fallout Shelter: Vault 40

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

They didn't know what triggered the explosion, but Smedley knew that it was bad. He quickly took his nearby crew of Carol Black, Payday, Maxine, Nicki Law (who had escaped captivity), Bardo and Lanfey to a safe shelter he knew about that had imprinted on the entrance in large, faded letters "Vault 40". Accompanying them were also his two prized prisoners, Luna and Jane (whom Payday captured after her previous appearance).

By the time they reach there, another more colorful group - composed of Yazan Barghouti, Guin, Rage Metalhead, Shocklord and their two slaves Hawkes and Charybdis were already at the door, trying to gain entry. After a brief standoff, Smedley and Yazan agreed it would be better if both groups simply worked together and so entered the foreboding bunker as one.

What could go wrong?

Insight: Each room uses a different stat to operate, and power is most important because without power nothing else works.

Saturday 20 June 2020

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Some mysteries can only be solved by yellow lightning bunnies.

Upon hearing of his father's death Tim (Justice Smith) runs into the titular detective (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and winds up helping him solve more than one mystery, all of which are thankfully explained quite well by the end.

It's so cute!

As a world inhabited by Pokemon I was most impressed with the CG invested here. Everything is fantastic, especially the action scenes and anything with Pikachu. It must have taken ages to render all that yellow fur! The plot itself is decent too and the leads carry the acting side nicely.

The movie also cleverly skirts the whole, enslaving animals to fight each other issue by openly going there right at the start then switching scene to Ryme city where humans and pokemon live in harmony (though I suspect they eat each other on occasion).

All up, this is a surprisingly good film and one I can recommend fully. 4 mimes out of 5. Would I watch it again? You'd better believe it.

Friday 19 June 2020

Triple Threat

When one threat simply isn't enough.

Iko Uwais stars in this beat em up as the last survivor from a covert ops attack and sets out to get revenge on the team that wronged him. A team that includes the likes of Tony Jaa, Tiger Chen, Michael Jai White, Jeeja Yanin and Scott Adkins.

Definitely made for people that like their martial arts movies this story offers some fantastic fight scenes but has a very thin plot and a few too many "office scenes" filler.

Fight fight fight!

Also, all the gun play is total garbage with people not getting hit while standing in the open while dead no-name mooks seem to rain down around them - but that's to be expected since we want to see all those big names in hand to hand. It doesn't disappoint in that department!

Definitely one I'd watch again and one I can recommend to martial arts fans. I give this flick three threats out of five. See what I did there? Lol. :P

Thursday 18 June 2020

Wu Assassins

Surprise! You are now the chosen one!

One day a regular chef (Iko Uwais) randomly bumps into his destiny - granting him supernatural abilities (one of which is to make himself look like Mark Dacascos) and a quest to defeat all the elemental users known as Wu. As if dealing with the triad wasn't bad enough!

Some really good martial arts skills on display in this show.

While the triad / personal parts of this tale are passable, the whole concept of the Wu part and what they are trying to do is really flaky which they try to make up for by having some nice martial arts fight scenes. I'm almost inclined to say that it might have been better without the supernatural bit.

Anyway, this is squarely aimed at die hard martial arts (or Iko Uwais) fans - everyone else should probably just stay away. I give it 1.5 turtle shells out of 5.

Wednesday 17 June 2020


Can you change the fate of the Aztecs?

In this mostly black an white game with stylized art, you play as the Aztecs who are trying to change their fate against the Spanish invaders. Interestingly, there are two parts to the game.

The overland map plays much like a board game, where you are trying to strategically expand the empire to earn more resources that provide boons that can nullify negative events that pop up. Lose the capital and it's game over.

You can trap the conquistadors forever with some luck and some ruins!

The second part is a side scrolling brawler where you can send your chosen warrior(s) - the titular Aztez - to sort stuff out; Violently. This part is much harder and losing all your Aztez also results in a game over.

This makes for an interesting blend of strategy and action, and thankfully the game provides a training arena where you can practice your brawling skills against any enemy you've encountered. Some are really tough and none of them ever come alone.

It took a bit for me to get into this, and I did need to practice a bit in the arena but it is a pretty fun little game to occupy a day or afternoon. Just want to point out it's also rogue like, so don't think you can load a save game when things don't go your way. I give Aztez 3 festivals out of 5.

Insight: Always check the price of losing  a mission as warriors are not very easy to replenish.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Watchmen (Movie)

Where 35 minutes makes a pretty big difference.

The death of an ex-masked hero prompts one of the few remaining active vigilantes to investigate - culminating in an insidious plot to save the world... from themselves.

They've got some pretty cool outfits too.

With a good sound track and epic and violent slow motion fight scenes, this is sure to please any action buff while the plot itself is a refreshing change from the more standard superhero railroad. Not giving anything else away here for those who might have not yet experienced it.

I would happily rewatch this again and give it 4 comedians out of 5. Also, I recommend this film over the recent series of the same name as this is far superior.

Monday 15 June 2020

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

There's no such thing as too much spider man!

When teenager Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider he becomes another spider man and soon meets others like him due to a dangerous dimensional rift.

Easily likeable and won me over pretty quick.

Sporting great art, animation, and voice acting, this movie was quite a nice surprise - hitting the right notes for comedy and drama alike, strangely making the cool fight sequences the more boring parts of the show.

Marvel made the most of the opportunity to get many other spiderman variants in here too which is fantastic. Not going to say much else other than, I highly recommend this and would definitely watch it again. It gets 4 thwips out of 5.

Saturday 13 June 2020

Watchmen (TV)

Everyone wears a mask.

In this world where alien squid fall from the sky, Angela Abar (Regina King) is one of many masked police officers hunting down violent masked white supremacists. Things just get stranger from there.

Wow, where do I start? The acting, sets, music selection and even the effects are good. The story is a bit wonky sure, but I think its the delivery or pacing where it actually falls down. For example I like Jeremy Irons in this, but his segments didn't need to really be floating around piece meal especially in the earlier episodes.

Most of the best scenes include this guy.

Also, I was expecting a superhero show and while there are super powered individuals they are few and far between. It's still passable TV, but if you want a superhero show without super powers I suggest trying seasons 1 and 2 of Arrow or some other Arrowverse show instead. 

Friday 12 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Incandescent

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The scorpion bot is no match for the combined firepower of the Rangers, but as they fight through more and more checkpoints they too suffer casualties. By the time the squad reaches the interior it is only them and Vargas left in a showdown against Matthias and his numerous robot body guards. Ignoring self preservation - Vagras charges blows Matthias away with his desert eagle. Night Terror tries to protect Vagras from the retaliatory bullets but even he cannot withstand the high-ex grenade that follows.

Seeing both get vaporized, Pizepi panics and runs into the open where she takes a bullet to the leg. Scotchmo and Takayuki try to save her with Takayuki's axe destroying two bots before he is hit by a hail of bullets and collapses. Vulture's Cry - covering them - manages to snipe a few before being out sniped herself and taking a round through the brain. Scotchmo does better but once his guns require reloading the robots reach his position and twist his head off his body. Alone a pool of her own urine, Pizepi fights back poorly before her mutant face is stomped and squished into and through the metal grating.

With majority of the enemy still active, it falls to Pump's heavy machine gun and Malice's auto rifle to slowly and methodically take them out - which they do through good use of corners and ambushing. After the battle Takayuki somehow manages to get to his feet and the trio descend to the storage hangar where they find another operational helicopter and the nuke!

Unfortunately the nuke can only be activated by a dead man switch which Takayuki, who probably wouldn't survive his current injuries, volunteers to use. Malice and Pump pat him on the back, get to the chopper and escape to a safe distance before the whole place explodes in an incandescent, radioactive blast.

It was the only way to be sure.

And so the wasteland is saved... for now.

Insight: If you don't have high leadership (or have your high leadership characters killed), expect all the NPCs to do their own thing half the time. It's annoying.

Wasteland 2: Going Offensive

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The coordinates where God's militia sends pilgrims to "evolve" prove to be the correct base, as the remnants of Angela Deth's chopper are found nearby. Not wanting to pussy-foot around, Malice takes the team on a full offensive strike - blowing away the weak minded pilgrims and the swarms of robots within. Their boss proves a bit trickier with rockets that knock down Malice and Scotchmo, but Brother Thomas also turns out to be a good doctor.

I'm sure getting to use this picture a lot!

Once cleared, they receive a transmission from Matthias, the leader of God's Militia, who reveals he is the one behind the robot threat and that he is already attacking Vargas at the old Ranger HQ! Worse - he's deploying a virus over the radio that will somehow turn people into synths (uh, sure)! The team scrambles on the convenient, functional helicopter left behind which Malice flies it right back home over the mountains.

Landing outside the HQ the team meet up with Vargas and the few remaining rangers. Matthias and his bots have already taken the base, but Vargas has a plan. They just need to get in and arm the nuke kept in the storage hangar below. It's the only way to be sure the virus doesn't get unleashed on the world. The Rangers grimly load up on ammo one last time before marching back into the breach. A breach guarded by a scorpion bot!

Insight: Reload your weapons after every fight. All of them!

Thursday 11 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Show Business

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Hollywood is a massive place, and while the Rangers help out in menial matters such as clearing out animals from the graveyard and stopping a slaver ring there is a more political power struggle here - that between the city's leaders and God's militia. As the current madam mayor is pushing for a more violent resolution to leave her control of the armed forces, Frances tries to find a more moderate approach.

Who needs moderation when it comes to sexy bridges?

An opportunity presents itself in the form of one of the church leaders who is questioning his organization's righteousness as he has fallen in love with the madam mayor's assistant. Positioning him to take overall control is a simple matter of assassinating the other, easily manipulated leaders. Takayuki's energy axe makes short work of them in isolated areas of their base.

Getting the mayor's assistant enough votes to become mayor herself is more challenging as it involves a bit more footwork and some blackmail. Securing the final vote involves tracking down who is stealing weapons from the gun shop, and as the team is split up for the stakeout it is Frances who spots the store clerk selling arms to a synth! She tries to stop the deal without waiting for backup and is mercilessly gunned down in a filthy back alley before her team can deal with her attackers (violently).

Being the most veteran squadie, Malice takes charge and oversees the mayor get over thrown and a tentative peace treaty formed between the quarreling factions. He then follows up on the possible locations of the robot threat and is given the coordinates of a base by the ocean... their next destination.

Insight: There's a not-so-secret path near Matthias' TV which saves a lot of time in reaching the militia base.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Nearing the Source

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With the microscope in hand, the doctor at Rodia confirms Pizepi's poisoned water theory. In fact, a trip down in the well even finds the source - a synth corpse. While he works on the cure, the Rangers are tasked by the mercs with stopping a nearby synth attack - from a giant scorpion bot! It takes most of their saved explosive ordinance to take down the monstrosity, but it also manages to down Takayuki - who is bleeding to death.

Pizepi staring down the scorpionbot.

Scotchmo then surprises everyone with his surgical knowledge to save the miner, and upon returning to Rodia expel the exploitative mercs and cure the town. Hailed as heroes, they are joined by Pistol Pete, Adrian the fanboy, Ertan the satanist and Brother Thomas a priest who has left his cult of body modifying zealots known as "God's Militia" based to the North.

As they may have more intel on the robot menace, Frances leads her team there next but are surrounded and ambushed at a farm by the vengeful mercs and the robots who paid them. Despite the Night Terror's great tanking, this is a hard fight with Frances, Pizepi, and Pump going down - saved only by Scotchmo. There is nothing he can do for Adrian, Ertan and Pistol Pete who are KIA.

The squad then pushes on to the massive city guarded by God's Militia... Hollywood.

Insight: In the farm ambush, push left into the field where there are less baddies.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Poor Execution

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Angel Oracle is a strange town controlled by the Mannerites, a group that prioritizes good manners. They get along very well with the squad and are none the wiser when Scotchmo steals the microscope from their clininc, however the guards still stop the team for a different reason: a death-row convict of theirs has escaped and naturally they suspect the Rangers had a hand in it.

Frances argues that it wasn't them, and the Mannerites give them an opportunity to prove it - leave one of their own members on the execution block and retrieve the convict alive. Either way, an execution will happen. To prevent an all out battle, Glenda steps forward and volunteers to stay as she has faith in her team.

They immediately begin the hunt in the nearby area and run into a nest of giant honey badgers who rip Provost to shreds! Fortunately Vulture's Cry finds tracks to follow that lead to a nearby house but a squad of gun-bots are already there firing into it. The Rangers destroy all of them but are too late to save the convict.

Returning in defeat, there is nothing they can do as the execution is carried out via twin tractors mounting chainsaws. The cries of despair are drowned out by the Mannerites cheering as the caged and chained Glenda is eviscerated, and then her meat gathered for a celebratory feast. Turns out the Mannerites are cannibals. Short of starting a war, there's nothing to do but refocus back on the task at hand, so the Rangers depart for Rodia.

What remains from the execution.

Insight: Should be obvious but stay away from honey badgers. And chainsaws.

Monday 8 June 2020

Wasteland 2: The Other Side

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Since his last air unit was lost, Vargas naturally puts Frances' squad on the next chopper and sends them across the mountains which to no one's surprise is shot down too. Fortunately Malice can land the bird with only minor injury to the squad who opt to establish an away base at a nearby abandoned reservoir, fortifying the place from the wild beasts who for some reason are much stronger here.

People can actually survive this?

Once secure they try expand to a nearby industrial scrapyard too but find powerful robot workers guarding the place, and while the bots are unarmed, they still manage to knock out Glenda and Scotchmo. Luckily Provost shows up inexplicably and saves them with his heavy caliber pistol. While he opts to join the team, his foreign language makes it unclear as to why or even how he got there.

The Rangers soon meet a group of traveling merchants led by Pistol Pete who ask them to help cure a sickness spreading in the nearby town of Rodia, which seems to have been taken over by mercs who protect the town from attack by murderous Synths (robot guys) while bullying and extorting the sick residents. Pizepi works out right away that the water is the problem, but without a working microscope the local doctor can't create a cure. Fortunately, he knows the clinic in the town of Angel Oracle has one so that's where the team head next.

Insight: You will need larger caliber and harder hitting weapons on this side of the map which are easy enough to get through combat, but for the first few fights you'll need to be more cautious against the beefed up and better armed baddies here.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Grave of Airplanes

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Damonta is a town in the middle of an airplane graveyard. When the squad arrives it is also being turned into a robot base with most of the residents killed or trapped indoors and the old warehouse having been turned into a machine factory. The Rangers rescue those they can but while pushing forward to the factory, Red is filled with holes from a surprise turret. Glenda is unable to save him.

Damn robots!

Inside the factory they encounter the robot leader "Tinker" who unleashes an ambush on the squad. Pump's heavy machine gun keeps them at bay while the rest throw grenades to clinch victory. With Damonta saved, the team install the final repeater relay on the local radio tower so that HQ can start triangulating the source of these robots. Their job done, they descend from the mountain - finding that the Canyon of Titan has gone to hell, now controlled by the forces of chaos.

Frances decides to let them wipe themselves out while they revisit the Red Skorpion prison. This time, armed with better gear and having enough robot parts and know how to build a one shot attack droid that destroys the gate turrets - the squad storms the prison and eradicates the last of the Red Skorpion gang and reclaiming their territory.

The victorious unit then marches back to the Ranger HQ with heads held high, and are immediately called to the situation room by General Vargas. On the radio they hear Angela Deth and her new squad already airborne and scouting towards the ocean on the other side of the mountains. "We found them," Angela says through the static. "A whole army!"

"We've been spotted - incoming!" yells another voice just prior to an explosion.

"Mayday, maday, we're going down! I repeat we're going down! We're ... aaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! *static*"

This the last they hear of Angela Deth.

Insight: Spread out when fighting the spider-bots, they have area attacks and can leap over your formations / cover.

Saturday 6 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Mutually Assured Destruction

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With Red's upgraded radsuits the team continues East and while crossing an abandoned railway are attacked by wheeled, tracked and spider-legged robots! The mechs are quite bullet resistant and cause a bit of damage before being destroyed. Fortunately it's nothing Glenda can't fix. Upon reporting this, Vagras summons Angela Deth back to base for reassignment while the rest of Frances' team pushes on to the Canyon of Titan.

A soldier from the Diamondback Militia meets them early on and asks for their help in removing the mad zealots who control the region with their "god" - a nuke. Frances agrees but knows the Diamondbacks will likely be just as bad if they had such a weapon at their disposal. As such, they play nice with the polite monks first, despite each of them being strapped with a high explosive vest. Monks of mutually assured destruction.

They wear nuke S-Vests.

Their system of requiring a suicider escort keeps everyone in check, but is really inconvenient when trying to sneak into their temple so Malice shoots their assigned monk in the back of the head for a clean kill once they get close. Pizepi then manages to hack their back door code which lets the squad inside - and ensuring to kill patrols at a distance.

Eventually the team reaches the nuke silo and Pump opens the panel to deactivate it only to find...

"It's a fake," comes a voice from behind. A priest with a large group of shooters.

He then cuts the tension by asking the team for help in retrieving a live nuke from a not so nearby silo so that their god becomes "real". They are the only ones he can ask as they are among the few who know the truth. Rather than risk a firefight where they are in the open and out numbered, Frances agrees.

Reaching it is easy thanks to Vulture's Cry's tracking and inside is a single monk, the one who found the place. He is conflicted - not really wanting this weapon in the hands of his cult. Frances agrees for real this time and Pump disarms it. They then tell the monk to spread the truth before leaving and pushing onto Damonta.

Insight: A high outdoorsman skill can save you the annoyance of random encounters.

Thursday 4 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Side-Tracked

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

On the return trip from Darwin, the squad runs into more farms affected by the Ag Center virus and cleanses them and upon gaining official confirmation that the virus is no longer spreading, both Angela and Frances take the cure just in time before transformation into a pod person is irreversible!

They also clear out a nest of honey badgers from a local mine, saving a few miners and gaining another Ranger Cadet - Takayuki the bruiser. While restocking ammo and water at the Ranger HQ Vagras tells Frances of another radio tower at Damonta up on the Eastern mountains, but getting there would be tricky due to the high radiation.

Vicious critters!

Vulture's Cry knows someone who might be able to help with this, a tinkerer named Red of the Red Skorpion gang. The team travels to the outskirts of their prison base and while Red himself is rather helpful and joins the team, the Red Skorpions are clearly scum bag slavers. Finding a whorehouse of slaves is the tipping point which leads to all out warfare against the Skorps.

A slow and steady advance wins the day for the Rangers, pushing the slavers back to the prison itself. Massive auto-turrets at the gate prevent any further advancement though, and Frances is forced to leave the enemy survivors to recuperate while her squad gets back on mission.

Insight: After the first timer for Pod Infection runs out it moves to a second "Acute Pod Infection" stage that can't be cured. If you have spare cure vials, make sure to use them before that second lethal stage occurs. I believe you get more if, like me, you save Highpool instead of the Ag Center.

Wasteland 2: Darwin

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

After braving an irradiated valley the squad reaches Darwin City only to find it inhabited by zombie like ghoul-mutants! Slow but sturdy, these take a lot of bullets to put down - even with Provost's extra gun. Luckily Angela finds a small side street for the team to dodge most of the horde, and are led by Provost into a strange bunker. Inside, another ghoul - this one still friendly - stands among the remains of a robot man.

The ghoul says the robot deployed some sort of device on the lower floors, causing his kind to go mad and asks the Rangers to switch it off. Frances agrees. The basement is crawling with more zombie types though whom the team avoids via use of air ducts, but still have a shoot out against automated defense turrets guarding the cage of one peculiar green mutant dubbed "the Night Terror". Frances sets it free and it childishly decides to tag along.

It likes "candy"...

Eventually they find the corrupted generator and destroy it, freeing the zombies from their madness. One of the ghouls, Pizepi Joren, is so grateful she offers to join the team! She is accepted, as Provost stays behind to search for whatever it is he is looking for. With their task here complete, the squad heads back from the valley towards the Ranger HQ to rest and re-arm.

Insight: The Night Terror is an excellent bullet sponge, but doesn't help in any other way.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Wreck-It Ralphy

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

As the radio tower in the Ag Center had been crushed by a mutated tree, the team journeys elsewhere to find another tower - stopping by a diseased farm to cleanse and cure it. Eventually they reach the Rail Nomads camp, and save the boy Ralphy from drowning. Both he and the local drunk Scotchmo are interested in joining the Rangers, and are accepted.

It turns out the Rail Nomads are in the midst of a civil war with the track laborers using dirty guerilla tactics and mines against the oppressive and powerful train engineers whom Ralphy is a member of. Unfortunately Frances deems the engineers to be in the wrong and during a heated discussion between the two leaders, gets Scotchmo to lob a grenade at the engineer representatives  while the Rangers gun the rest down, basically winning the war for the laborers.

What every peace talk needs... a grenade thrown into the middle! HELL YEAH!

Ralphy cannot accept this and tries to then solo the entire team. Pump breaks his neck and stomps on his face. While the situation is resolved, the fighting destroyed the radio tower. Cursing under her breath, Frances consults her map again when a strange man called Provost approaches the team and talks at them in strange tongues. Glenda works out he is asking for an escort to some place called Darwin. Provost nods and points a finger at the map.

Insight: Giant Toads can eat the weapon you are holding. This can be annoying if you don't have a backup one ready.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Dam Choices

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The squad finds Highpool under attack by a crew of Wreckers led by a woman with cybernetics. Despite the Wreckers holding superior numbers they are no match for the rangers as Malice kills the lead Wrecker with his auto rifle. Just for good measure, they also wipe out the Wreckers at their nearby camp to ensure no enemy reinforcements will arrive. Deth nearly takes down the whole place by herself!

Unfortunately explosives used during the battle have damaged the dam, so the team is sent in for quick pressure repairs while fighting off the overgrown roaches living within and once secure, they are allowed to install the repeater on the radio tower in town. Seeing the good they did, Vulture's Cry, a scout sniper offers to join the team. They accept.

Yuck! Those things grow big down here!

Frances then leads the team immediately to the Ag Center to find that a plague has been released causing the plants and fauna here have mutated into horrible man-eaters while other staff have been turned into monstrous and violent pod people. There are no civilian survivors. In a bid to contain the threat the Rangers cleanse the place with gun fire, finding and killing the cybernetic saboteur behind this outbreak and retrieving a few vials of "the cure" to put into the irrigation system.

Alas, during the fighting both Angela and Frances were infected by spores and in a few weeks will no doubt turn into pod people themselves if they don't drink the cure. Both refuse to until the outbreak is confirmed to be contained.

Insight: "Ambush" is like over watch. If an enemy walks into range you will fire - very handy!

Monday 1 June 2020

Wasteland 2: Re-Activation

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

A few years have passed since the defeat of the Calculator and since that time the Brotherhood expanded greatly, with Frances seceding to the younger General Vargas who renamed the Brotherhood to "the Desert Rangers" while she retired to animal husbandry. Despite his talent the Rangers began losing their footing in the region during his command and a recent gruesome death of one of their scouts has led Vargas to request Frances back onto the field once more, as it seemed this man was killed by a robot!

Squad assembly commence!

So Frances reassembled her robot killing team of Pump and Malice. Glenda, having trained in medicine joins too, as does Angela Deth - the dead scouts lover. Their primary mission is to install repeater relays on the radio towers that have gone dark, starting with the one the scout was killed at. A metal leg found at the site confirms their worst fears, but where are the machines coming from?

Installing the relay the squad immediately receives distress calls from two locations: the Ag Center that provides most of the regions food, or Highpool which distributes most of the water. Frances opts to head to Highpool first.

Insight: When making characters, put some points into the AP generating stats or you will feel like a turtle in combat (as I did)!