Archive for December, 2012

LPX2 Operation Lone Serpent

Monday, December 31st, 2012

xcom3March 6, a small UFO is detected over Germany and an interceptor is scrambled to shoot it down. It does so, suffering only mild damage during the dogfight. With several of our experienced soldiers still Medbay, Will and Joanna will be leading this mission, with Laura H. and Duncan donning the X-Com badge for the first time in a real fire-fight.

The squad touches down near the crash-site, in a lightly forested area. The squad moves forwards, and Joanna quickly spots a pair of Sectoids, but is able to get to cover and avoid their fire, as they spot her too. Laura moves up and fires from extreme range, but misses. Duncan wings the closer alien, Joanna shoots the farther back one and claims a Double Kill! Apparently there was some kind of psychic link between the two aliens, and the feed back of the ones death kills the other!

With the immediate threat dealt with the squad slowly moves forwards, alternating who is on overwatch until the alien wreck is in view. Joanna again spots a pair of Sectoids. Laura moves up and takes the first shot putting one of them down. Joanna also fires, but her shot goes wide. Will is far enough back that he can’t quite take a shot. The alien falls back and moves out of site. Laura follows, and takes a hit getting to cover. Joanna moves up and takes another shot, but misses as well.

Laura stays behind cover and bandages herself up. Duncan’s shot goes wide, but Will is able to put one directly between it’s eyes while it’s distracted. As the squad moves closer to the alien vessel a weird energy being materializes and takes up a defensive position. Duncan manages to put a few bullets in it, and this time Will misses, however Joanna moves up and finishes it off. A few minutes of surveying the wreckage and it’s evident that’s the last of them. Excellent, two promotions and only one injury.

Watch the first step.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

This is page T1 of the Choose Your Own Damn Blog Post Adventure Story Thing, if you’re confused start at the first page of the Troll story.

You shove your emergency purse into the backpack after the laptop and slip your arms through the straps. You here a pounding on the front door and “Open up, we’ve got a warrant” from the front porch as you put your jacket on over your backpack. It’s uncomfortable but less chance of getting caught on something. A blast of could air pours over you as you climb out the window, and onto the sloping shingles of the roof. Fortunately it hasn’t rained in a few days, or you’d probably have gone right over the edge. As it is you momentarily lose your footing due to the steep incline, but grab the windowsill and steady yourself. You pull the window closed behind you.

You see movement in the back yard, and revise your plan, a few precarious steps to the right and you reach the building next door. It’s easy enough to climb to the peak of your roof once you get around the dormer. From there the laundromat’s flat roof is easily reached, with little more then a bumped shin as you climb over. You’re thankful no one is filming this, because you certainly don’t feel as graceful as all those people do on youtube. Of course they’ve probably practiced and scouted out their routes tons in advance, whereas you’ve never actually been up here before.

It only takes a minute to get to the far end of the roof when you see a major problem with your plan… the next building over is much farther  separated than you’d remembered. Even though it’s only one story, and relatively flat, you’ll definitely need a running jump to get across and maybe not even then. You need to decide quick, you can hear the cops at your window… unfortunately you weren’t able to latch it from the outside, and they’ll probably be out on the roof in moments.

What do you do?

CHOICE (T1)1 I can totally make it. Get a good running start and leap to the next building.

CHOICE (T1)2 The door down to the laundromat  probably isn’t locked, and even if it is, it’ll be a cinch to pick.

CHOICE (T1)3 There’s got to be another way, I’ll look around quickly for an alternative route of escape.

Multi-Task Drifting

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

multi track drifting

So I just got home, and I’m multi-tasking like a champ. I have all of my music on my old computer (really on the HDD from 2 computers ago) which has become Media Server. I got a couple of new CDs for xmas (Knives Don’t Have Your Back and Neon Bible) and I want to get them into my Google Play so I can listen to them wherever. And of course, being the procrastinator I am, I’ve also got a half a dozen other CDs to rip and upload. Most of this is stuff that I never re-ripped from 3 computers ago. I did mention I can be a bit of a slacker right? However, once I’ve got all of my music in Play I won’t have to worry about where it goes when a computer dies, or gets demoted to “Media Server” due to decrepitude. At least, until Google drops the “Don’t” from it’s motto. That is the third thing I am doing.

The second thing I’m doing is updating the OS for a Wii U… yeah, I’m a sucker for Nintendo, and I picked one up, but of course, it has to update before I can play it. I really kind of hate this… I used to love that when I got a console (This was at least true for the NES, PSone, PS2, Gamecube and N64) you plugged it in, popped in a game, and then you were playing. Boom. No firmware updates. No lengthy setup process. That said, I am kind of glad, because if I could have just plugged it in and started playing I wouldn’t have gotten thing one (writing this post) or three (ripping my new music and uploading it). On the bright side, the WiiU’s cute little video controller shows the progress bar, so I can be putting Exact Audio Copy through it’s pace on my old machine, typing up this post on my current comp, and watching the DL progress ALL at the same time.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

jiro dreams

And I dream of considering $350 dollars a worthwhile investment for a single meal. That almost covers rent and utilities for a whole month. That said, this was a pretty interesting movie. The short story (SPOILERS much!) is this guy has been making Sushi since he was 10 (75 years now) … And he’s gotten pretty good at it. The movie covers everything from family dynamics (Jiro has 2 sons, but the eldest is kind of hosed, since he’s 50 and Jiro still hasn’t retired! The other son has opened a second, mirror image restaurant. ) to food selection (they taste everything they are going to make, to ensure it’s good) to environmental impact of over fishing, and much more.

I would recommend it. It’s probably not worth buying the movie, but netflix it, or borrow it from your library. Especially if you are a fan of Sushi, though knowing you’ll probably never taste the “best Sushi” might be a little depressing.

Legendary lives up to its name!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

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So one of the newest games I’ve picked up is Legendary. It’s a semi-cooperative Deck building game, set in the Marvel Universe. This is definitely very excellent. First off is the fact that it is semi-cooperative. That is to say either everyone wins (if you defeat the mastermind) or everyone loses.  In the event that you do manage to win, there are victory points for defeating villains and saving bystanders, so one person can be the clear “hero”… the biggest winner. This makes for some interesting dynamics…early on you’ll want to cooperate, work together and try ensure everyone is making progress, otherwise things can quickly get out of hand and you all lose. Later in the game though, you may find yourself wanting to try and hose the other players so you can do all the good deeds yourself.

So far we’ve played approaching a dozen games, and lost three times. All three times have been to Loki, who is admittedly the toughest of the masterminds, but even still it’s been more to bad luck… the heroes all end up being too expensive or the Scheme Twists come out too fast. The fact that almost a third of the games I’ve played have been lost actually is pretty awesome in my mind… there is little more boring then a game that you can always win… and coop games that can be even more true, even if there is an “overall winner” as is the case here.

I certainly hope we get some more copies in stock at Fun-N-Games, because I will not hesitate to recommend this game to anyone (unless they love DC and hate Marvel I guess), and no one who has played it with me has had less than a great time.

Complaints:

  • The game is a little confusing to setup/put away/store.
  • The dividers are very nice, but it’d have been sweet if they were pre-labeled.
  • Needs a “setup” app…
  • Needs expansions so bad… Where are the FF? I really want Nightcrawler (my favorite Marvel character) and Dr. Strange.
  • Doc Oc shoulda been a mastermind, not just a Spider-Foe.

Also to anyone looking to sleeve the game, I’d suggest 2 or 3 colors of sleeves. The Heroes all need to be the same color, as do the Villains, Bystanders, Twists and Master Strikes… The Schemes and Masterminds could probably stand be be a different color (and TBH, you could put each Mastermind and his 4 cards in different sleeves if you have a few extras handy.).

LPX2 Operation Flying Stallion, March 2, 2015

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Operation Flying Stallion

We’ve barely gotten the base set up. Engineering has put together some Medpacks for the likely eventuality that our soldiers get injured again, and are designing a shielded satellite to try and locate hostile aliens quicker. Our scientists are researching the weapon fragments recovered from the rooftop just yesterday, and already a report has come in of an alien abduction in progress in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Wendy will be leading Dave, Will and Joanna in to try and rescue any civilians and take out as many x-rays as possible.

The squad is moving slowly through the parking lot when Joanna spots not one, not two, but three pairs of the gray aliens, which the scientists have taken to calling Sectoids. Will moves up behind a red pickup-truck and takes a shot at one, but it ducks behind a cop car. Dave and Wendy move closer but can’t get clear shots, and so go into overwatch. Joanna has a clear shot, but chooses caution and dashes back into cover.

 

Dave's car is on fire

Dave takes a shot at a Sectoid as it breaks cover, but misses as it’s inside a building and pretty far off. Another Sectoid takes a shot at him, but fortunately the car he’s behind takes the brunt of the plasma fire, unfortunately it catches
fire, and could explode at any moment.  He moves away from the car to take cover inside the building, but the x-ray behind the cop car manages to take him down from nearly 100′ away.

Will puts down one of the Sectoids that was trying to flank them, while Wendy and Joanna concentrate fire on the closest threat inside the building; both connect but Wendy claims she got the killshot.

The aliens move up, and take a shot at Joanna, the red pickup takes all of it though, and catches on fire. However this puts our heroes in a sticky situation, as the vile alien that killed Dave has moved up and is covering the three soldiers using the truck for cover. If they break cover, they’ll be under fire. If they don’t, the truck will likely explode and kill them.

Will distracts it, successfully dodging three shot, sliding into cover and returning fire. His shots connect, but do not kill the hated enemy. Fortunately it is distracted enough for Wendy and Joanna to get to some cover that isn’t on fire. Wendy falls back a bit, and claims another killshot, avenging Dave.

Joanna takes a snapshot at one of the aliens inside the building but misses, it crashes through a plate glass window and dive behind the cop car; returning fire it misses, but does take out a door and a good ten foot section of wall just beside her. Another alien half a block away fires on Will, but he hunkers down and is completely unscathed. Wendy unloads on the Sectoid hiding behind the cop car and while several shots connect it doesn’t go down. These buggers are frighteningly resilient. Joanna regains her composure and finishes off the alien behind the cop car while it’s distracted from Wendy’s fire. Will, his cover compromised moves to cover and fires at the alien down the block. His shots go wide, but the alien does fall back a bit before returning fire and missing wildly. There’s still at least one alien inside the building, as evinced by the shots that hit the windowsill Joanna is crouched behind. She unloads the last of her clip, but the display rack of beer takes the brunt of the attack, spraying glass and warm beer around, but not hurting the alien.

Will’s clip is also empty and he falls back to reload. Wendy unloads on the alien down the block but the dark and distance conspire against her. The alien in the building moves closer and fires on Joanna again, bricks glow with the heat of the plasma, but her cover holds. Will fires on the alien down the block but misses, fortunately so does the x-ray’s return fire.

Will’s car catches fire under the stream of plasma shots from the alien down the street, and he’s forced to fall back where he can’t get a shot on either of them. Joanna and Wendy, having both reloaded try to hit the one in the building but neither connect. Wendy gets hit but just barely manages to stay standing. Joanna pops into the building and takes out the offending Sectoid from behind, while Wendy patches herself up.

Will takes a shot at the last Sectoid as it tries to slip out of the bar, and while he misses it, he does force it down an alley where Joanna has a clear shot on it. She hits it but doesn’t kill it, Wendy also takes a shot, but her wounds throw her aim off and she isn’t able to steal the kill.  Will sees his chance and rushes forwards, taking out the final alien while it dodges Wendy’s barrage.

A successful mission, though rather sad as we have already lost one of our own.

 

 

Make All of the Choices

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Earlier you made a choice. Did you choose right? Well, it’s not to late to change your mind. Look well, at your possible pasts, and now, choose for real!

 Barbarian

Did you pick Barbarian? Then you are Greg the Barbarian. Really though your story started earlier!

Three Hours ago!

Earlier at your performance review, when you were Greg the Accountant, the boss complimented your tie, but you suspect he was being sarcastic. And while you told him that you love your job, and it’s a joy to work here, the truth is the outdated spreadsheet software makes your skin crawl every time you have to use it. After the meeting (which is to say just a few moments ago) you were taking a little break and surfing the internet. You accidentally clicked on one of those ads that claimed you were the millionth visitor and had won.

A pop-up came up, asking what your true wish was. You tried to close the pop up but it wouldn’t go away. Finally in frustration you muttered “I wish I could just smash this. I wish I could smash everything!” Everything goes black and then there is a flash.

And now we’re back to the present.

The case of your computer sparks, and smoke rises around the head of your axe where it is buried inside it. Around you the rest of the cube-farmers look on in shock. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the now black screen of your monitor. Your shirt is ripped by muscles you didn’t have two seconds ago. Your tie is choking you, so you tear it off and wrap it around your head to keep the water that is now pouring from the roof out of your eyes. There is an annoying and repetitive screeching sound, and the peasants around you are milling about in panic, but mostly fleeing from your awesome might.

The Boss comes out of his office and looks around in confusion.

CHOICE B1) The Boss is a worthy foe! Charge The Boss and enter into mortal combat!

CHOICE B2) The Boss is not a worthy foe! Brush past him and search his lair for loot!

Troll

But, wait, what if you had made a different choice? Maybe you picked Troll! Then you are 23PenguinsRool23. At least you were while you were trolling random blogs on Tumblr.  We’re not going to do the time travel thing, as it’s become tedious already. Earlier this morning (really it was last night, since you haven’t been to sleep yet) you were RickRollsCrits and what you were doing was decidedly less legal then making fun of teenagers’ dumb posts.

You doubt that the sirens are really for you. Let’s be fair here, you’re really good at hacking, and you covered your tracks really well. Hell, it’ll be two or three days yet before your cut clears the off-shore accounts and gets somewhere that you can use it.

Still, it pays to be paranoid. You check that your “work” laptop is encrypted, and then hibernate it and slide it into the hiding space in the floor. It’s a good thing too, because the cops have definitely stopped close by, which a quick check of your security cameras confirms. Someone must have ratted you out, you know you didn’t make any mistakes!

You slam your “play” laptop closed and slide it into your backpack; it’ll have to do. You grab your emergency purse and a jacket. You can hear a pounding on the front door, if you don’t get out now, there’s no chance you’ll escape.

CHOICE T1) You’re on the second floor, but you’ve watched a lot of Parkour videos on youtube. Defenestration is the answer!

CHOICE T2) The cops will surely find the “work” laptop, you can practically hear the fan yourself through the floorboards. Grab it and then make a dash for it.

CHOICE T3) Down the stairs and out the back door before your dumb-ass boyfriend lets the cops in.

Wizard

Yet, you may well ask, why be satisfied with the choices given, maybe you want to make your own choices. Fine. You are after all the great wizard, Wathemet. However, that does mean we will have to go back in time.

One Hour Ago

I never said far back in time. And to be honest, maybe Great is a bit of a stretch, you are only a Level five wizard, though that is pretty great. You’ve nearly finished scribing your essay on the Use of Alchemical Fire in Subterranean Expanses Under Duress. Satisfied with your work, you cast a Spellcheck spell, to check the spelling and grammar, flip your hour glass and decide to relax a bit by reading some inferior essays by other wizards in Scryer Weekly. You settle back in your comfiest chair with your crystal ball and a fine glass of wine and begin reading.

One Hour Later. Which is right now. That is to say, we’re back at the time where we started. Oh forget it, time travel is complicated okay, and maybe not the best narrative device. I guess I was right to skip it the second time. I’ll just take my own advice next time. ANYWAY, onwards:

It is fortuitous that you finished the bottle off some minutes ago, for you have stumbled upon a most disturbing article from an upstart young rival wizard, and you’re so angry you drop your wineglass onto the floor to grip your crystal ball with both hands and stare deeply at the offending missive. It is entitled Stress Related Injuries due to Misapplication of Alchemical Fire in a Dungeon Environment. And it is an almost word for word copy of what you have written, except that (and a quick glance confirms) the  Spellcheck Spell hasn’t even finished. Yet everything is there, even your observations of a hapless halfing’s hilarious attempt to ‘fight fire with fire’ as he put it, but chucking a vial of the stuff at a Flame Bat. Oh, this is infuriating. And unjust! You can not let this stand, but how could it have happened?

CHOICE W1) How he did it matters not, Loxius Ignotus must pay, and soon! You grab your hat and staff and storm out the door.

CHOICE W2) If you can find out how Loxius Ignotus did it, your can return the favor, and discredit him in the eyes of your peers.

Choose once, choose well!

So there you have it, all three stories that could have been chosen. However the story will only continue on a single thread, so ONLY the most voted for choice will continue (at least until we die or live happily ever after). To vote just comment below (the first time you comment it’ll be moderated, but after that it should show up instantly). Bonus points for justifying why your choice is the best possible choice in all possible universes, and anyone who chooses otherwise is silly.

Votes must be submitted before noon on Monday so that I have time to write up the next chapter!

Did I make things too complicated?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

I didn’t think I did. Maybe everyone thought that I was asking them to be creative. What am I talking about? Well, the Friday Choose Your Own Damn Blog Post Adventure thing I’m trying to get started. Part of the appeal of this experiment, is that I don’t have full control over the story. I’m putting some of it in my readers’ hands. Of course, that does require at least one person to pay attention (Thanks Highcove, you rule!) I put the “option 3” there so that folks could get creative IF THEY WANTED TO… not to make everyone feel that they had to be creative and then become paralyzed with indecision.

So here’s what’s going to happen tomorrow (well, in about 12 hours really) all three* options will be published simultaneously. Each possible story has 2-3 options for where to go. Your comment can be as simple as “#9!” or if you want you can post “Choice 9 is the best choice because robots are awesome and elves and beer are both dumb, as is anyone who picks any choices not having anything to do with robots.”

Or you know… whatever. None of the stories currently actually have anything to do with robots, but I’m sure that will be rectified at some point down the line, or maybe once one of the three dies we’ll start over with an awesome robot doing awesome things.

So yeah, that’s my rant for the day.

It was an Honest Mistake

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

.

Just finished watching Brave. It was nice. Not great, but not bad either. This is one of those movies that is basically just mediocre enough. That is to say, it’d have had to have been considerably worse or better to really merit a review under my old system of only occasionally reviewing anything, and then only if it was extremely. Anyways, the movie’s got a few funny bits, some cute little bears,  a fairly simple moral, and an empowered female lead, who to my mind really is pretty empowered (or at least becomes so over the course of the movie). Okay, so in the fights basically no one accomplishes anything ever. It is a kids movie, so death and injury isn’t exactly to be expected though.

If you’ve got a couple of hours, and need something light hearted, check it out. The movie isn’t overly heavy handed with it’s message.

Also, the Witch’s answering machine is possibly the best thing ever. I’m certainly going to have to steal that for one of my D&D games the first chance I get.

Get Bit

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

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So I got in several new games this week: Get Bit, Legendary (a cooperative Deck Building game set in the Marvel Universe), and 7 Wonders: Leaders, but we ended up only playing Get Bit of my new games. We had several people who hadn’t played 7 Wonders at all, and I didn’t want to toss them into the middle of a big expansion w/out them knowing how to play. We did get a game of 7 Wonders in, and a little bit of Dominion as well, but the highlight was probably the game we spent the least amount of time playing, namely Get Bit.

So here’s the deal, each person takes control of a brightly colored robot, and you’re all out for a leisurely swim when a shark, excited by the electrical signals in your metal bodies decides to try and eat you. Each player gets a hand of 7 cards numbered 1-7.  Each turn everyone plays one card face down, and then all the cards are revealed at the same time. The objective is to pick a card no one else picks. Everyone who plays a unique card moves to the front of the line (low numbers first, so high numbers are generally better) and everyone who ties, stays were they are … effectively falling behind due to all the people who move forward.

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Cards you play stay visible, so if you can tell that everyone else has already played their 4, then you know it’s a safe play. On the other hand, if you can tie with someone who is behind you, they’re more likely to get bit … so that can be a strategy as well. Each round (excepting the first) whoever is in last place gets bit and loses a limb. They then go to the front of the line and pick up all the cards they’ve played. I haven’t won a game yet, but I’ve enjoyed all of the games of it I’ve played. Plus it’s exceptionally quick. Expect it to be 20 minutes if people haven’t played before, but more like 10 if everyone knows how to play and stays “on task”. I could certainly see playing this to see who gets to go first when we play some other game where turn order might be important.

I’m also pretty sure that younger kids could have fun with this game, even if they don’t understand the exact strategy of the game. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend you pick it up!

We also played Shadows over Camelot, but that really deserves it’s own post, so I’ll cover it next week!