Monday 28 February 2022

February 2022: Russia invades Ukraine

Not the best title to follow the one from last month, but in what seems to be a live action version of the game Iron Grip: Warlord, it seems Vladimir Putin is intent on expanding the Russian borders into the "little" country that seems to be backed and resupplied by almost everyone else (except Belarus, who are very pro-Russia). Ukraine's brave President Volodymyr Zelensky is doing a good job rallying his people though, as are the tales such as the battle of Snake Island, the engineer who sacrificed himself to take out a bridge to delay a tank column, the possibly urban legends of the Ghost of Kyiv (ace) and the Ukrainian Reaper (sniper), or videos like this on twitter. 

They're also hoping St. Javelin protects them.

Meanwhile it's clear Putin underestimated the amount and quality of gear and tech the Ukrainians were getting gifted. After their early capture of Chernobyl (which has seen increased radiation since) to open a passage to Belarus and a closer attack window to Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, the reportedly "tactically clumsy" but massive Russian army continues its advance and unlike the defenders they can't (and shouldn't) take to social media to announce their movements to create bad surprises like this one.

And it's only Day 4 of the conflict. The war continues.

Most Viewed Posts in the last 30 days:
GTFO: R6D1 - Nemesis (Main)
GTFO: R6C3 - Pressure Point (Main)
Pillars of Eternity 2: Merchants Murdered

Seems fitting posts with those titles feature for this war time post. :/

Saturday 26 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Traitor

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Upon returning from Varnhold, Lander reports two time sensitive matters: sightings of Tristian the traitor and a war between the Tiger Lords barbarians and the forces of Jamandi Aldori. Siegfried rallies the troops and commands them to support House Aldori first. Since Ekun decides to ignore this command and have a pity party for himself instead, the baron publicly executes him as a deserter which gets the rest of the soldiers in line.

When being lawful good is just like being chaotic evil.

Upon arriving at the battlefield the baron then learns Amiri has gone solo to try assassinate the Tiger Lord King Armag. Two days ago. Since the battle still looks like its going to happen it's safe to say she failed (as per usual), but this doesn't bother Siegfried who has recruited a new set of allies trying to rebuild their own lands: Gerrod, Garrett, Iholikan Quinval, Ubin, Fassina and Voghiln. Just as well because Lander shows up with assassins to try kill the baron but only ends up "killing" Linzi again before being eliminated himself.

Pity the delay has let King Armag escape, but this act of cowardice breaks the remaining Tiger Lords who disband their tribe. Also broken is a tortured and abused Amiri, whose spirit is as shattered as her once giant sword. While scouts hunt down the missing Armag, Siegfried takes his team to apprehend Tristian next who is hiding in the fairy realm.

When cornered the cleric admits to being an unwilling servant of a nymph named Nyrissa, who for some reason is out to destroy Siegfried's barony. Siegfried is all but ready to pardon him until he admits to being the one who planted the seed flower which resulted in the deaths of thousands. Upon hearing that, the baron gets Jaethal to execute Tristian on the spot.

Meanwhile, Valerie is put on trial by her old pervert paladin order but proves them all wrong when her goddess heals her scars and helps her smite them all down. Since her face is now fixed, Siegfried reappoints her as regent. Months later, the now mad Armag is found just over the hill from the battlefield and is put down by the baron's forces and tiger lord deserters.

With this done Lady Jamandi Aldori proclaims Siegfried as King of his expanding lands, and offers an alliance he graciously accepts.

Friday 25 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Eye Spy Vordakai

[Part of the Cursed story line]

While the citizens of Varnhold are indeed missing, the land seems rife with barbarians of the Tiger Lords Tribe (an interesting name since they have around zero tigers) who are searching for some relic and are actually running into problems with all the undead cyclopses inhabiting the ancient structures here. Since they are generally ok people, the baron assists each of their expeditions and gets survivors to return to their main expedition camp.

This backfires somewhat after all the scouts are saved as a talking crow convinces the barbarian expedition leader to attack the baron and his allies, resulting in a difficult fight which ends up seeing every single Tiger Lord barbarian lying dead in the dirt afterwards. The crow then "invites" the survivors to the distant tomb of its master Vordakai, a clear trap but one they must walk into since he has answers about the missing Varnholdians.

As expected, the tomb is filled with zombies, traps, pressure plate mazes where you must split the party, and incredibly the poor design of hiding buttons and other important clickables in NON VIEWABLE LOCATIONS. Did the devs forget this game has a fixed camera? Also present are soul eaters who, if they know your name, can only be targeted by that character. Siegfried, Ekun and Linzi all end up dueling one with only Linzi getting "killed", but not really because she has a magic ring of cheese.

You need to mouse over the black area to see that! WTF!?

Vordakai himself is a cyclops lich and before he can use his own artifact of BS which traps people in jars for later consumption, Tristian gets it, revealing himself to be a traitor. Since it's clear he is doing this under duress, Siegfried convinces him to destroy the artifact. Unfortunately the baron can't talk Tristian into surrendering though and the cleric escapes via magic portal. After Ekun finishes the lich off, the soul pots are discovered in his treasury nearby and breaking them releases and revives all the missing Varnholdians! Hurray!

Extra hurray as Jaethal discovers one of these to be the person that actually murdered her. She agrees to spare this person in exchange for a super duper ritual that can improve her more and the idiot gives it to her. With it committed to memory she then kills her murderer with her scythe, and Siegfried just laughs.

Thursday 24 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Cursed Contagion

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The arrival of crazed beasts from portals at a cursed hill has citizens worried so new regent Lander invites delegations for a hunt! This all goes well until one of the attendants suddenly explodes into an owl bear? Upon investigation Jhod and Tristian discover this is due to portal seeds being ingested from the river and Kesten leads the investigation to a cult comprised mainly of stupid goblins intentionally spreading the contagion (because absolutely no one boils water before drinking it in fantasy realms).

Stupid contagion spreading goblins come in many forms.

His inside man goblin Nok-Nok reveals that the seeds come from high in the mountains (not the cursed hill) and are travelling down the river to the capital! They quickly rush to its defense as many citizens explode into horrible creatures that need slaying. One particularly large owlbear crushes Nok-Nok underfoot before order is restored.

While this happens Baron Siegfried leads his team to the source discovering it to be two giant plants, one blooming in a cave and the other blooming the world of fairies. To defeat it they must torch both at the same time so Siegfried, Octavia and Bouquet fight the fairy version while Valerie, Ekun and his wolf take the cave version. Alas Octavia is eaten by the fairy version of the plant but there is no time to save her as the cave team set their version on fire. The baron does the same and burns the horrible flora (and Octavia) to ash. He will never forget her screams.

With the threat ended there is some time to regroup and rebuild, until lady Jamandi Aldori tasks the baron with finding out what has happened to the neighboring land of Varnhold... whose citizens all seem to have gone missing.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Free Thinkers

Rather, free steam games that will make you think!

Only a trio of brain exercisers this time around, starting with Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle where you play as Jason Voorhees with the expected task of murdering everyone. However - Jason only moves in straight lines, so its possible to fall off the board or end up on a space that will end him. Luckily the severed head of his mother gives clues per level. Funny, violent and later on pretty tough! Definitely one that franchise fans might enjoy.

Next up is Wired, a basic platformer that actually teaches electronics. While there is some "running to make that jump" it is a very small part of the game, instead focused on wiring up machines to a power source to build or open the path ahead for you. Apart from the silly opening video which might turn off some people (just push past it, trust me), the rest of the videos are actually the highlight of the game for me with very clever lessons that you then get to use in practice to reach the next section. Excellent design!

You might end up learning something!

Lastly is a hilarious first person puzzler called Gravitas in which you use your gravity gauntlet to manipulate some cubes to get past each room, all while your robotic host tries to politely kill guide you through the gallery. It isn't very long and isn't very difficult so if you are only going to try one of these three free games, this is the one you should pick. Highly recommended, and is now one of my favorites. :)

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Trolling the Baron

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The troll threat is interesting in two ways: firstly they are allied with kobolds and secondly unlike regular trolls these ones seem to be fire resistant! An arrogant gnome alchemist Jubilost who is saved from one of their raiding parties suggests this ability comes from some sort of magical brand which is probably of dwarven make so the team immediately hunts down any dwarven ruins in the area and sure enough find their stronghold "kingdom" in the Southern end of the forest. Troll hating foreign ranger Ekun is also met here and joins the team for the purge. Like most fantasy games rangers get stronger through racism!

It takes awhile before the king kobold and troll queen are discovered at the branding forge (because of bad camera angles, if you get stuck here go to the largest room to the North West in the downstairs section and follow the wall left) and the pair prove to be a difficult fight with Regongar being pulverized by the troll queen's club before Seigfried can defeat it and Octavia counter spells the king kobold. The few remaining kobolds and trolls scatter back to the forest, ending this threat and on the way back to the capital (which was previously the Stag Lord's fortress) the team save a lizardman village from a possessed kid and help an alien spider return home.

I wonder if it can tell the time?

Bad news awaits upon arrival though - Jaethal went and killed some elves she thought murdered her previously, Tristian is spotted colluding with anti-Seigfried cultists, Valerie got into a duel with one of her exes and lost, suffering a terrible scar on her face, and Linzi was caught pilfering the treasury to try fund her dream printing press. Since she now has the face of a loser, Valerie is stripped from her regent position which goes to Lander and Linzi is giving a stern talking to (because there was no option to execute her - weak designers) with Siegfried promising that due to her actions there will NEVER be ANY printing press ANYWHERE ON HIS LAND. FOREVER.

No action is taken against Tristian who has earned the benefit of the doubt through excellent work ethic and Jaethal whom Siegfried is crushing hard on. On the plus side Jubilost's keen intellect makes him an excellent treasurer, easily replacing Shelumu from that position.

Monday 21 February 2022

Dune Monster Hunter Without Remorse

Dune (2021 - "Part One")

When the Emperor dictates the rising House Atreidies be given stewardship of the Planet Arrakis, the only world that produces the universally important "spice", it actually spells their doom as the previous stewards - the cruel house Harkonnen return to take their juicy money making planet. This film features great visuals and a decent story, well the first half of one anyway, and is well worth a watch. For all the future tech its funny all combat is close quarters though.

Monster Hunter

When a squad of US Rangers accidentally travel through a portal to a world full of giant monsters it's up to their leader (Milla Jovovich) to find a way home. While the plot doesn't go much deeper than that, the film relies on mostly non stop action to retain your attention. So much so that they forgot to put an ending. Yep, you basically get to the credits in mid fight with no decent resolution. Only recommended for action fans who don't care about plot or acting.

Oversized swords make everyone happy!

Without Remorse

This Tom Clancy movie stars Michael B. Jordan (not the basketball player), a vengeance driven Navy Seal who needs to kill some Russians, only to find he is a pawn in someone else's game. The action segments are pretty good but the plot itself is predictable. Also this protagonist has some cool abilities like "summon pickup truck" and "be at the right place at the right time" which are both inexplicable and slightly too convenient. Not recommended. If you want a Tom Clancy show, try out the Jack Ryan series instead.

Sunday 20 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Lord of the Stolen Lands

[Part of the Cursed story line]

It soon becomes clear that bandits aren't the only problem in the stolen lands as Siegfried's team also defeats foreign slavers and mad fauna, saving (and recruiting) the enslaved couple Octavia (a better trap disarmer than Linzi) and Regongar from the first and cleric pair Jhod Kavken and Tristian from the second. Using diplomacy, Siegfried also gets a small group of the Stag Lord's own disgruntled people to turn on him. Not only do they reveal the location of his fort, they actively assist in getting the entire team within the walls. Apparently no one's challenged the Stag Lord in so long that his security has become very lax!

Look out, the drunk is going to shoot his sword at us!

Unable to talk him into surrendering, a big fight breaks out which results in Harrim being mauled to death by the Stag Lord's per owlbear and Siegfried slaying the Stag Lord. All the enemy bandits are killed as are all but one of the friendly bandits. Siegfried recruits the sole  survivor, a halfling ranger named Bouquet.

With the task complete the team returns for a celebratory feast at Jamandi Aldori's mansion where she keeps her word and installs Siegfried as the new baron of the Stolen Lands. She also tries convince him to take her adopted son as his emissary but Siegfried picks young Lander  instead, who seems the only independent choice available.

And so comes the arduous task of actually governing the realm with advisors Jhod as high priest, Tristian as councilor, Valerie as regent, Shelumu as treasurer, and Amiri as general. While Siegfried non-user friendly town construction interface, Jhod goes off to rebuild a temple, Valerie deals with a vanity cult, Shelumu starts losing the realms money and while Tristian is amazing at any task set before him, General Amiri is a widespread failure. She fails to catch left over bandits (twice), fails to train guards, and fails to build a simple wall. Sheesh.

Siegfried almost jumps for joy at the news of an amassing troll army in the woods since it means he can take a break from doing all that boring stuff!

Jack Ryan, (Jack) Reacher and Blindspot

Special investigators always gets their terrorists!

Jack Ryan

In this action thriller Tom Clancy's most popular character (this time played by John Krasinki) starts out as a CIA desk jockey who gets roped into exciting field work against a variety of threats. Very cool characters and good stories, though some side plots seem to just go nowhere? Still recommended. As of this post there are two seasons, with more to come!


While traveling through a small town Ex-MP Jack Reacher (played by the towering Alan Ritchson) is arrested for a crime he didn't commit, and ends up in the middle of a conspiracy which he is happy to help take down... violently. Great story backed up with brutal action gets the thumbs up from me! Hope the second season is as solid as the first!


That must have taken hours in the make up department!

When the FBI take an amnesiac woman (Jaimie Alexander) into custody, they end up forming a special task force to "solve" all the crime related tattoos on her body which is both convenient and ridiculous. The five season show has a middling plot which includes silly episodes that are dreams and comedy ones as well as hilarious reasoning to some solves with "I know this hacker's code anywhere," being my favorite. Protip: Copy paste exists. Anyway, if you do watch it, the characters end up being why you'll stick around. Not as recommended as the two above but it's alright.

Friday 18 February 2022

Pathfinder Kingmaker - Aldori's Heroes

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Answering the call for "heroes", Siegfried Baranor finds himself attending a meeting at Jamandi Aldori's mansion who asks that the assembled group reclaim a section on the map called "the Stolen Lands" from the problematic bandits within and in addition to any loot, the victor would also be granted ruling rights over said land (which I'm not sure is a good thing but anyway). To improve odds (and to separate people via alignments) she splits the heroes into two groups with Siegfried being assigned with the happy halfling songstress Linzi (who doubles as a trap disarmer), the bloodthirsty barbarianess Amiri, and the gorgeous guardslady Valerie.

Meanwhile on the "evil" team...

Their entry point to the zone would be a small trading post where Siegfried recruits Sonya, another barbarianess, and his old boss the wizard Shelumu who was now on the run from a foreign power he challenged. Lawman Kesten Garess stops by shortly after and indicates Aldori's second squad of "heroes" (of the evil alignment variety) isn't hunting the bandits at all but going on some sort of treasure hunt making things worse in the region so the team decide to go after them first, finding them in an underground kobold burrow where they quickly come to blows.

Their gnome wizard manages to incinerate Sonya to a crisp before Amiri beheads him. His surviving allies Harrim the constantly depressed cleric and Jaethal the amnesiac undead elf are quick to surrender and join the winning side upon seeing this, but report they had already found whatever relic their leader was looking for, and the gnome threw it into a magic portal before Siegfried's team arrived.

Figuring that relic would be of little consequence anyway, the team returns to the trading post to rest up and resupply before starting their actual job here: rooting out the bandits led by the self titled Stag Lord.

Thursday 17 February 2022

Forgotten Waters: Dead or Alive

[A board game session from Forgotten Waters]

Calico Irma wasn't marooned alone for long as another crew consisting of Gunner Steelblitz, Lydia Lamore, Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham became shipwrecked on that isle. In under a week the lot were rescued by Captain Bonnie Calhoun who surprisingly looked a lot like a person wanted by the Grand Pirate Council for numerous crimes - including the theft of a tremendously fast vessel they had just stolen from the royal navy and the abduction of the pirate king's pet penguin Flip Flops.

Turning her in would make them all rich but first they'd need to find proof to convince the other sailors of her "turncoat" identity, so Rackham sneaks into her quarters and finds a hint that someone named Gizzard Jim might be able to help with that. Alas, the Gizzard's location is surrounded by storms so they sail the long way around past a reef where some of the crew go missing (Captain Calhoun claims they were eaten by a bear). They also run into royal navy ships but somehow Captain Calhouns sloop is way too fast for them!

Still, the ship is quickly deteriorating as Anne experiments with her potions on Steelblitz who in turn experiments with bombs that damage the vessel. Rackham is also quick to show off his sword skills, killing their own crew in duels! They are forced to make a pit stop at Port Hvarti which for some reason is crawling with an unusual amount of ship traffic. Docking on the far side they quickly fix up the vessel and then set sail to Gizzard Jim's hideaway who confirms Captain Bonnie isn't who she says she is. The clincher though is when Steelblitz spies Captain Calhoun playing with monkeys because everyone knows only a turncoat plays with monkeys!

I miss Black Sails.

With the crew backing them, Captain Calhoun is tied up and admits to being the wanted person. She says Flip Flops is in her safe house in Port Hvarti so after sending a pelican messenger to inform the Grand Pirate Council, the crew head back there finding even more vessels now docked there. Suddenly, Captain Calhoun manages to overpower Anne with a poison bomb grenade and escapes to a nearby vessel with Rackham and Lydia hot on her tail just as the Grand Pirate Council fleet arrives.

Rackham almost gets her blade to her when he gunned down by none other than Captain Razor who promptly also apprehends Lydia Lamore. Captain Calhoun laughs and explains she setup the perfect trap as every docked ship unfurls their sails - revealing themselves to be pirate hunters! As the massive battle between the two fleets commence, the remaining crew high tail it out of there on their fast sloop only to have Captain Calhoun somehow catch up with her man-o-war! Unfortunately for her, her new ship is no match for her old one which was prepared well before coming here and Steelblitz sends her and her crew down to Davy Jones...

But before it can sink, a bigger and even more menacing vessel smashes through it and right into the sloop, crushing Calico Irma! It is the ship of Captain Bloodsack of the Grand Pirate Council who wants vengeance on the traitors! Having two boss fights in a row is quite tough, but somehow Anne and Steelblitz manage to sink him too. Alas, Anne's "cure" for Captain Calhoun's poison is what ends up killing her, leaving Steelblitz and the remaining crew the task of raiding the Grand Pirate Council base for their now lightly guarded treasures.

Ultimately, after losing both eyebrows, a number of fingers and toes, an arm and a leg, Steelblitz retires from the pirate life and uses his share of the treasure to open a bakery. Elsewhere, Captain Razor survived the battle against the Grand Pirate Council and executes Lydia Lamore.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

1917 and The Outpost (2020)

War! What is it good for? Entertainment apparently!


A pair of soldiers are tasked with delivering an important letter to the front lines, but to get it there means going through enemy territory and more importantly - side quests!? That's what it feels like anyway when the heroes inexplicably decide to do some stupid things. Despite that, I quite enjoyed this movie - mainly for the cinematography which captures the horrors of war nicely and the magic of showing the whole thing in one take. Recommended!

They do a good job of making viewers glad they weren't there.

The Outpost (2020)

A film that shares its name with many other titles, this "based on a true story" movie focuses on PRT Kamdesh, a terribly situated US Army outpost hunting for terrorists, and the soldiers assigned to man it. While the first half is just a steady display of command stupidity for the most part which is both awkward and slow, the last bit focuses on "the big one", an attack by superior enemy numbers from their naturally superior position which is absolutely gripping viewing and makes it worth the watch. Also recommended!

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Forgotten Waters: The Witch's Heart

[A board game session from Forgotten Waters]

Unleashing the world of magic into the world of men has caused nothing but problems and Captain Okoro has set out to right these wrongs, assembling the equally magic hating crew of Calico Irma who is cursed to constantly argue, Steel who wants vengeance against an evil warlock, Wee Jojo an orphan who has visions of being a princess, and Woke Playa who... doesn't really care about magic, but just wants to be the next famous "Sea Serpent Pirate" like his mother. A magical storm made all the knives fly around in the galley and stab him in the eye though, so there's that!

Having heard tales that a witches heart could grant a wish, Captain Okoro sails to meet the Mer King who would know just how to go about getting one. After being bribed with treasures the Mer King gives the location of a magical three gemmed trident that could do the job, and even loans some mer folk crew to help dive for it. The trident's trench is guarded by a fierce megalodon who luckily proves to be an easy battle, and the mer folk retrieve said trident for the captain. The only problem now is that the three magical gems meant to be plugged in are not.

An "easy" battle? Yeah right.

Their duty complete, the mer folk leave as Captain Okoro docks at a nearby pirate paradise where Irma and Jojo have a spa while Woke reunites briefly with a gay lover. Luckily Steel remains on the job, and learns the gems are hidden at a nearby volcanic island and so that is where they sail to next. A dangerous magical maelstrom of whirlpools, waterspouts and sharknados threaten to sink them en route, but they manage to sail through it and survive unlike other lesser ships (we were also those lesser ships and had to reload the game here lol).

At the volcanic isle the crew find a friendly village and Woke nabs one of the magic gems. Since it might take too long to find the other two the crew opts to simply torch the town in a raid and collect the remaining gems and plug them into to Okoro's magic trident. Now ready to kill a witch, Okoro goes directly for one he knows about: Vance's friend Esmerelda, who this time is also on a ship of her own: a giant one that fires lazers and hypnotizes crew!

While Woke does his best to steer the ship to avoid lazers, Irma returns fire, Steel recovers hypnotized crew and Jojo finds a way to get past the ships defenses and hunts down Esmerelda herself! Captain Okoro faces her down and plunges the magic trident through her, collecting her still beating heart. Then instead of wishing for an end to magic he wishes... for his wife back!? Not that it matters - doing this summons a bolt of lightning that vaporizes Captain Okoro and cuts the witch's vessel in two.

The rest of the crew scatter and end up separating with Irma being marooned alone on an island, Steel thrown into the dungeons of the evil warlock he wanted vengeance on, and Woke Playa gets captured and executed by the royal navy for the crimes of his "Sea Serpent Pirate" mother. Only Wee Jojo gets a good ending: eventually giving up on her quest of finding her family and instead settling down to start a family of her own.

Monday 14 February 2022


Giant fighting robots against giant-er fighting robots?

Because a piece of the moon fell down robotic machinery has started becoming sentient and that's no good so various competing and sometimes allied corporations make use of mercenaries to do the hard work in evil robot land. You play as one of the said mercenaries, a mute newbie, who gets to meet, fight along side, and fight against the pretty large cast of characters in the game.

Light sabers come in mecha sizes too!

While you can upgrade your mech and its weaponry, it will always be of the Japanese fighting mecha category which can fly around and carry obscenely huge guns, or even better, swords. Because naturally a huge sword would do more damage than a rocket launcher or lazer right? Also your mech is subject to stamina that depletes if you run or fly fast, which is a bit odd since I've not seen many tired robots before this.

The game play itself is quite fast, simple and fun though later enemies become HP sponges and hard to target. Also almost every single mission, despite the initial description, becomes kill x enemies. That coupled with a strange story puts this in the not recommended section for me.

Sunday 13 February 2022

Forgotten Waters: Beyond the Ocean's Edge

[A board game session from Forgotten Waters]

Old Captain Vance knew that the realm of magic lay just beyond the ocean's edge, he even had a map that said so. If only he could read it! With his crew consisting of lookout Purple Yam, gunner John, quartermaster (and thief) Yellow Belle, and assassin Nigga B, they spend some time in port preparing for the journey where Nigga B gets beaten up and thrown out of the local tavern while trying to recruit more crew.

Big hats are essential!

As soon as they set sail they run into a passenger ferry which (being pirates after all) they attack! Purple Yam convinces them to surrender but none of the others accept the terms and try combat the civilian vessel anyway - AND LOSE TERRIBLY (we don't know what we're doing)! It's only by luck they manage to escape from the ferry and back to the port they just left for repairs and resupply. They can't stay long though as they learn that the royal navy has sent pirate hunter, Captain Razor, to take them down.

Setting sail again and aptly dodging an island of ghouls Captain Vance sails West as fast as he is able (because going slow makes the crew mutiny, and we had to reload :P), only interrupted by a navy frigate to exchange cannon fire. Wrecking their enemies sails lets them through into the isle of cursed waters where the Captain's friend Esmerelda (who is possibly a witch) can decode the map - which points to some nearby caverns.

On the way there they fight a "bumble bee" delivery ship which goes much better this time, even though Yellow Belle loses a hand in the encounter. At the caverns, John and Yam locate a magical seeing stone which Esmerelda said would pierce the world of magic and so they return to the edge of the ocean only to find Captain Razor and his man-o-war waiting for them!

John steers the ship to ram it while Belle reloads guns that Yam fires. Nigga B protects Captain Vance from Captain Razor who was personally leading the boarding crew and while he does well for awhile he ultimately fails as the old captain is killed by Razor's own blade! At the same time the man-o-war is sunk so Captain Razor takes Yellow Belle hostage to make his escape. John and Yam let him go on a dinghy without making an attempt to save Belle, instead using the seeing stone to break the barrier into the realm of magic - unleashing all manner of beasts!

John is promptly killed by a dragon, and upon landing on the first island of the magical realm Purple Yam is run over by a speeding elephant. Captain Razor manages to return to navy waters and execute Yellow Belle, and Nigga B gets the hell away from the world of magic and retires from the pirating life to become a low level bouncer for a casino.

Encanto & Raya and the Last Dragon

Two CGI Disney movies with female protagonists.


Set in a magical place near Colombia, Mirabel is part of a family gifted with miraculous powers by a candle... except she doesn't get any. Soon enough the candles power begins to dwindle and it is up to the unlikely heroine to try save the day and make things worse. Lots of latin type songs in this one, so stay away if singing is not for you. Otherwise, it's a pretty nice movie and one I'd recommend.

Nice quality art and animation as to be expected.

Raya and the Last Dragon

Set on a huge continent that somehow looks like a dragon, Raya's misplaced trust sees a horrible evil let loose once more so she takes it upon herself to seek out the last dragon whose race perished stopping said evil the last time. No singing this time around as it instead uses cool martial arts action sequences and very funny, if improbable, characters. But hey, isn't Disney full of those? Also recommended!

Not sure which of these win for me, because I enjoyed them both! :)

Saturday 12 February 2022

Forgotten Waters

Another pirate themed board game!

In this three to seven player cooperative / semi-competitive everyone is a pirate. Each mission you all fill out a mad-lib's style character sheet and during the course of the adventure are encouraged to fill in as many dots on your unique constellation (when actions permit) so that you get a good or legendary ending. Doing so often means not helping the actual mission though!

It's a crazy game.

Everyone is also assigned roles on the ship, though the roles are almost easy enough for one person to man them all. Lastly there's an ocean map to lay hex tiles on and an adventure book, but the most important thing you need is a tablet to run the digital app to select / setup / and play each mission which are all fully voice acted (at least in the base game)! These stories are usually incredibly humorous but some go really dark really fast. As it is on the lengthier side, each mission is also split into two parts so you can "save the game" to continue later which is great.

I didn't think I'd enjoy this one as much as I am, so I'll definitely be sharing stories of our play throughs soon enough. If you don't mind the technology side to play a board game and have a friendly crew to play with, I highly recommend this one!

Play through chapters:
Beyond the Ocean's Edge
The Witch's Heart
Dead or Alive
Spoils of the Damned
Nature's Splendor

Thursday 10 February 2022

Prey (2017)

Illusions everywhere.

In this gorgeous first person shooter you must pit your wits and skill against an alien threat, and the brilliant part you often can choose how you want to handle every situation. Stealth, fight or use the terrain to avoid / defeat your enemies. Crafting is a decent part of the game too as you can disassemble AND assemble so many things in the game (even corpses). Don't like that pacifist foam launcher? Recycle it into a shotgun. Shotgun too loud? Recycle it into a silenced pistol.

You need to be close with a shotgun, but maybe not that close.

You can also gain out of this world abilities if you so choose, or be like me and go for mundane things like hacking, engineering, and bonus to sneak attacks (you can tell how I played it). On top of this the maps are fun to explore with zero gravity areas being both scary and beautiful. Good voice acting and a solid story tie everything together to make a complete package. Very awesome game, highly recommended!

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Arcane Dragons Blood Supercrooks

A trio of animated Netflix series.

Arcane (aka Arcane: League of Legends)

I don't know much about League of Legends other than it's my type of game. That said this (currently one season) action adventure show is amazing in every aspect. The art, voice acting, world building and most importantly storylines are fantastic, immediately making it one of my favorite shows! Highly recommended, and can't wait for season two.

Excellent show.

Dota: Dragon's Blood

I don't know much about Dota other than it's my type of game. That said this (currently two season) fantasy adventure is pretty good, and features a lot of dragons which always gets a thumbs up from me. I do question how they choose accents for the various races though, why there are odd short "filler" scenes peppered around the place, and why some people are WAY overpowered. Not as good as Arcane in any aspect but still an entertaining enough show and looking forward to season three (if it gets one).


Ahha! A cartoon based in the world of Jupiter's Legacy which is "so good" they're making a live action version of it? Ok, sign me up! All my excitement faded away while watching the first episode and a half. This show is garbage. Well, maybe it gets epic in the next few episodes or whatever but I'm sorry. Your entire first episode was basically filler that could have been condensed down to 10 minutes. NOTHING IS HAPPENING. Not really a fan of the art either so I'm definitely giving this one a miss and recommend you do the same.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Dead Men Tell no Tales

Get out with the treasure or die!

In this 2-5 player cooperative game, you all take roles of various pirates who are boarding a ship that is both on fire AND crawling with skeletal undead with the pure goal of finding treasure chests (more if you have more players) and getting them off the vessel (unless you do hard mode in which case you must ensure the skeleton captain is not on the board too). Dice rolling combat to claim these treasures is mandatory, as is pulling out the treasure/guard token from the bag in the first place which means there's a fair amount of luck involved here. There are steps to mitigate the rolling somewhat, but if you don't dice well or the treasures just don't appear till the end then it's almost impossible to win.

Leaving 5's and 4's will probably end the game pretty quick.

On top of that, each turn a new tile is explored and attached to the current map (starts with four and first turn opens 2 tiles) which "builds" the interior of the ship and each of them is on FIRE (you didn't forget about the fire did you)! These are all tracked via yellow and red D6s, and should the bad guy "revenge" card pulled at the end of each players turn dictate it, all matching dice shown on that card go up by one. If a dice gets to six the room explodes causing a chain reaction and forcing all nearby rooms to go up by one as well. This fire mechanic really reminds me of Flashpoint: Fire Rescue and is quite cool.

Other than the fire you might also be getting swarms of skeleton crew coming out. These little fellas are easy to beat (simply use and action to remove one) but if you run out of them when you need to put more the game ends in defeat! On top of juggling all that, you need to keep an eye on your stamina which takes damage if you run, move into a room with higher fire (or any room with fire if you are carrying treasure), or lose combats. You can rest to recover some of that, but do you really have the time to?

Luckily it's pretty fast to set up and take down so it's a challenging game that you can call upon rather quickly if your group is into that sort of thing. To be crystal clear this game is tough and you will lose a lot. Only recommended for crews that can take the punishment!

Monday 7 February 2022

Point Break (1991 and 2015)

Original vs Remake!

Newbie FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves in 1991 and Luke Bracey in 2015) is tasked with investigating a bunch of robberies by infiltrating the suspected group (surfers in 1991 and extreme athletes in 2015) to take them down but ends up making friends with them. Will he stick to his job and arrest them at the end? This question makes for some nice viewing and while the 1991 version lacks the super cool extreme sport videos in the 2015 remake, the 1991 original makes up for that with the heavier use of gun play.

A lot of things are copied.

Ultimately I believe the original still wins out here, since the remake is forced to shoehorn a really odd motive for the extreme athlete crew. Both are still worth a watch if you have nothing better to see, but I would think it would be easy to find better movies than either.

Sunday 6 February 2022

Suboptimal Six

Six games from Epic that didn't do it for me.

Prison Architect - features art like the Escapists but this time instead of working out escapes, you must manage facility construction and management. Trying to mix these two worlds together is just an absolute fail.

theHunter: Call of the Wild - in this first person shooter you go into well rendered reservations and kill defenseless animals which boasts awesome graphics, good voice overs and pretty decent systems. If you enjoy spending hours following tracks and getting absolutely lost in huge wilderness zones then this might be for you. Definitely not for me though. In my simulations I kinda like prey that fights back.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair - an improvement from the last game since most of the levels are now of the fixed 2D platforming variety removing the terrible camera issue. It even has a better story, where you must rescue a "beetalion" of bees who act as a shield to help you when you attempt the titular impossible lair (or if you are that good, you are free to attempt it with zero shields). Might interest the younger generation but otherwise its just a standard platformer.

Relicta - an interesting story which quickly degrades into first person box puzzling. What absolute shit. Not recommended to anyone.

Gods will Fall - another interesting premise where you get a handful of random vikings to try defeat ten or so gods, with the quirk that your heroes only enter dungeons one at a time and if they fail they are stuck in there until one of their compatriots wins the level. That's not too bad. Unfortunately said dungeons are really long, and shitty camera angles and instadeath falls just make it feel like an absolute chore. If it was 11 immediate boss fights that would have improved this game immensely, but for some reason developers love grind.

Mages of Mystralia - another game that suffers from grind AND respawning enemies. Otherwise it's a pretty light Diablo style game where you fight goblins as an apprentice mage. Oddly enough, none of your abilities have any range which is a bit odd as you basically have to bash your enemies on the head with your wand. Maybe later on you can actually shoot stuff but the devs want you to grind for that privilege. Stupid game design and not recommended.

Friday 4 February 2022

Free Shorts (short games that is)

Time for another batch of freebies on Steam, and these all fall squarely into the "short story" category without being visual novels. Ugh, there are so many of those on steam! While these are certainly more "gamey" than those they still are narrative focused and they can all be finished in under an hour.

Starting with the silly ones: Gravity Bone is a first person game with light platforming where you are a private contractor who does odd jobs. If jumping is too much for you then Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald - a Whirlwind Heist might be the humorous experience for you. In a surprise addition, Square Enix has a free game in this category - The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, where you play as a very imaginative little boy who loves talking to himself (so that might be a turn off, good thing the voice acting is ok).

Captain Spirit has decent graphics.

Onto an excellent example of telling a short story is the gun slinging western Dead Horizon, and if you want to go into the "wordless feels" territory I can highly recommend When the Past was Around - Prologue, a short puzzler with awesome art and music, as well as A Raven Monologue, a one to two minute experience by the same group that I think purely exists to rip your soul from your body. Those last three are some of my favorites now. Hope you give them a try, and more importantly I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday 3 February 2022

Legends of Andor - The Star Shield?

[A board game session from The Legends of Andor]

Having saved the kingdom from the dragon the heroes are relaxing at the nearby tavern when the alarm sounds as a new threat rises to attack the castle! This time around they have three (out of four) magic artifacts that can activate once a day to assist them: Rose the tracker has the flute of willpower (all heroes on same space or adjacent gain d6 willpower). Juris the wizard has the horned eagle (aka "horny bird") that can be used like a regular eagle or help in any battle by reducing the number of dice an enemy gets to roll. Lastly, Joe the guardian has an hourglass that can retrieve 3 hours from the time track.

DL the warrior and Mom the archer round out the team and everyone mobilizes quickly against the sudden invasion. Since this expansion relies on lots of randomness, in addition to defending the castle the prince-now-king asks that lumber be brought in to fix the still damaged portcullis so Juris goes and does that, while picking up some shrooms to help buy witches brew and works out with the remaining elven bodybuilders in the forest because your strength determines which / how many logs you can carry. Can't believe they added grinding! 

All about the gains brah.

While he does that the remaining heroes are hard pressed pushing back the enemy army. Suddenly from high in the mountains their boss appears - a troll pushing a siege tower? This guy must be on steroids because he moves a space for every monster on the board, making him even faster than the dragon as he ends up beside the castle in two days (if it reaches castle insta-game-over)!

Now is a good time to mention that the siege engine also ran over some hapless researcher in the mountains looking for the legendary Star Shield, around the same time some evil dude starts looking for it too. Some random wolves also start appearing to try make a mess of things (easier for weak heroes to fight, and they all move on a randomly chosen hero hour). None of that matters though as Juris completes the log task while Mom, Rose, DL and Joe eliminate the siege tower who is nowhere near as tough as the dragon ending the game in victory... without ever seeing the titular Star Shield! LOL.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Legends of Andor - Legend 5 - The Dragon's Wrath

[A board game session from The Legends of Andor]

Emerging from the mines, the heroes discover that during their absence monsters have made it into the castle and killed the king! While Mom the archer and Rose the tracker, with assistance from white mage Joe, retake the castle (at range only) - DL the warrior goes on farmer saving mode, hiding the ones in the fields with the dwarves until danger passes. One unfortunate soul nearer the castle still gets eaten by a speedy wardrak though. Meanwhile Juris the wizard searches through the mist and finds the kidnapped prince, defeating the gor holding him captive.

While this is happening the evil black dragon emerges from its lair in the mountains and destroys the stone bridge to the south. The dwarves offer assistance but since the price of that is putting more monsters on the board their aid is rejected as the dragon then flies to the giant tree of the elves and burns it to ash. It then starts hunting for the witch due to her helping the king before but luckily it cannot locate the wise old woman, despite her being right beside the elves tree!

"Excuse me, have you seen a witch around here?"

This works out well for the heroes as she supplies them with the potions they need for battle (double a heroes roll). With one day left (before the castle gets over run again) the entire team faces off with the dragon at the ash tree while the prince counters its rider, the black herald, and in five combat rounds the dragon is beaten slain by some fortunate dice rolling! Mission complete with half a day to spare!

Tuesday 1 February 2022

GTFO: R6C3 - Pressure Point (Main)

While there's no boss this time around, this mission is centered around a Warden Scan where you have 2 minutes to prep followed by 30 minutes of chaotic survival and no, you can't stay put. Keeping the team together and getting them behind doors to mine as waves come is also essential as mines do a lot of work here - that's why two of the team brought them this time. Any time there's a regular door you are going through as a team, just close it and mine it behind you. Loadouts today were:

Me: Pistol/Shotgun/Burst Sentry/Spear
Archer: Carbine/Scatter Gun/Mines/Hammer
Jim: Hel Revolver/Shotgun/Burst Sentry/Hammer
DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Bat

Knowing the map will help a lot so expect a few "learning" runs. While I will list out the general directions to travel, please note to always look out for extra supplies while moving or you will not survive. Also worth noting there are NO SLEEPERS at the start, so throw caution to the wind to loot stuff. Our first hold was the very first normal door to the NE of the drop point.

After that's done it's running time, exit back to the main room and head North down some stairs, up a ramp and a bit North East when you get to a room with small bridges. In the NE corner is a regular team scan door. Push straight through to the big door (North) nearby and then NW for a smaller door. You should be in a twisty corridor that leads to a blood door. Mine it, turret it, and team scan it but before opening make sure you've handled the wave behind you.

Hybrids are among the swarm when the door opens so take them out and push forward up some stairs. Take note to your right is a bulkhead door to Zone 172 - you'll be coming back here later. For now go through the NW door and mine it (there is a second door downstairs which should also be mined). The next regular team scan door is pretty obvious from here and you'll want to open that up and head west into Zone 171. This is a long corridor room so put sentries down covering the path you just came from.

Loot as you like but you MUST push further west past the another door to mine and into a smaller room which holds the bulkhead key. Once you grab it, wait for a wave to die against the mine then SPRINT out of there, retracing your steps East and down the staircase near the Zone 172 bulkhead. As you take the stairs down you'll see a small door to the left which is your destination. This tiny room contains the bulkhead control team scan and you will likely need to fight a wave of scum in here. Turrets facing the ladder is a good fallback.

Once done, go back up the stairs again and turn right to open the Bulkhead to Zone 172 (team scan) and push East as fast as you can. Note: from this point on there ARE sleepers. You can also jump from one corner of the pit to the other here if you want to save time. The next team scan door is behind a little door to the SE. Note: it might not be powered yet (powers up at 20 mins!) so setup defenses and hold until you can open that security door.

You will then be in a large room with walkways, head East. Now to "kill" time / use doors we detoured North here, and around a long corridor which leads back to the big room (see map below) and through the security door to the East which just has more gear and more doors to use. I think we only ended up using one before charging back out to the main room then through the South door which leads to a level III alarm scan / checkpoint scan (this door only powers up at 14 mins!) so defend until you can open it.

The white path was the jist of our successful run.

Important note with the Checkpoint: Eliminate the Wave completely before completing the checkpoint portion of the scan. If not, it might bug where you have endless waves with no break when you reload.

Once done go up the stairs and through the door East. You then want to go SE (more South than East). If you find yourself in a corridor with a "secondary" security door to the East you are in the wrong spot! Head through the South door from there to find a team scan security door you can already activate. You'll be in Zone 178 now, so keep pushing South until you find the security door to Zone 179. This only opens once the time has expired so setup defenses and in between waves scavenge what you can. Most of the time the baddies will arrive from the North. Expect hybrids at this point too.

At OO:OO the last security door will open on its own but the enemies won't stop. Run for the extraction scan while mining whatever doors you can behind you. It's a bit of a slow scan so fight to the last until it fills and you can finally GTFO!