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What I’m Playing #1, posted by Derek

I find myself wanting to come to CootB, but just having random things to write about seems unlikely to produce the relevant mental discipline.

So! A series! Weekly (where Weekly exists in the universe that the Podcasts come out monthly)! Fun!

This is going to cover a range of things, with a single theme: What I’m Playing (hence the title). Whether that be board game, PC game, console game, MMO, iOS app, whatever, it’s going in here. Which makes sense for me, because I veer wildly between what I’m doing, often in a single night. It’s part reviews, part discussion, part musings on whatever I want. Which is what really drives readers!


Board games, to start. We went to the Mall of America this week, and went to Games by James (which has also just opened a store locally, but it’s very new). I picked up the expansion to the Firefly Board Game by Gale Force 9, the Dark City expansion for Legendary: The Marvel Deck Building Game, Sudden Death for Blood Bowl Team Manager, the Character Add-On Pack for the Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords Adventure Card Game (which the poddies have discussed) and Dungeon.

If you don’t know these games, they’re all freakin’ amazing.

Firefly is a *gorgeous* super-flavorful game. It’s one of my favorites right now. It’s sort of a pick up and deliver game – you’re piloting a ship, gathering a crew, getting gear, and doing jobs. It has amazing pieces – the Alliance currency is beautiful, the cards have great art, the items (sold at 5 different planets) have great travel poster art. It’s well worth getting.

The expansion is a small one, and includes 5 new jobs and 5 new gear for each planet. The jobs are interesting, and the gear is nice. I haven’t put it in play yet, but it looks nice.

Legendary is a very fun deck builder. It’s reasonably standard, in the “buy/fight” style – if you can play Ascension, you can play Legendary. But it’s a great superhero theme, and it has a game vs players style that I really like. Dark City adds a lot of new heroes (Domino, Forge, Cable, Blade, etc – Marvel Knights, XForce (iirc) and some others), some *nasty* new masterminds and schemes, and some cool bystanders. The guy I was discussing it with said that it’s basically Hardcore mode for Legendary. Also haven’t played it.

Blood Bowl Team Manager is a great take on Blood Bowl where you’re building a team out of your deck, playing them to different events, and winning games. It’s very fun, and lets you kick elves in the face!

The Character Add-On Pack has a few nice new characters for Rise of the Runelords, which is nice, but my characters are already built up. I’m considering starting a new run with a couple of the new ones, to see how it goes. All four characters play very differently, which is nice.

And now, on to video games.

I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD on the 360. It’s a very cool little iteration of AssCreed. It has the first female hero who is pretty damn awesome. She can change to three different outfits (Lady, Slave, Assassin), each of which has a different set of abilities, different interactions, and different ways and rates of gaining notoriety. The game is a lot more linear than than full sized Ass Creeds, but it’s still a lot of fun.

And my son and I discovered that there’s a free expansion for The Gunstringer, called “Ballad of Wavy Tube Man Jr.” It’s cheesy, silly, and fun.

On PC, it’s been a lot more busy.

I’m still playing League of Legends. A lot. And I’m still Bronze 5. Which is driving me mad. I’ve found that being Bronze 5 is very condusive to staying Bronze 5. Inevitably, at least one of my teammates is a rager, a quitter, or someone out of their depth. I had a guy announce this week “Hey guys, I may AFK or die, because I’m texting a lot of people.” I’m generally playing support now, because I find that I can make the most difference there, or mid. I’ve been having a lot of issues getting synced with my ADC when I’m playing with randoms – I was playing Annie support to Vayne last night. My Vayne was very timid, and when Volibear would charge in, I’d inevitably stand my ground, hit him with 2 abilities, and stun him. I would then expect my ADC to unload on the weak Volibear who couldn’t respond, and has burned his charge, but every time, he was running from the charge. I’d then run off, and he’d dive in to attack the team chasing me. And then we’d both die. 

I’m also playing a fair number of other games, though. I’m back on X-Com: Enemy Within. I gave up on my last group after losing pretty much everyone on my A team, and realizing I’d done some very stupid things. I love Enemy Within. You have to have played Enemy Unknown to appreciate it. If you have, it’s basically EU on steroids. The mechs are great, and change how you play (they have no ability to take cover, new abilities, etc).  The genetic engineering seems to be more potentially powerful, although not as flashy.  The new enemies are interesting, and change things up a bit.  And having EXALT missions, where you’re facing off against, essentially, another X-Com team, is very very different.  It did what it was supposed to do – made me want to start *yet another* game of X-Com.

I’ve been off and on with The Banner Saga.  I really like it, but I find myself jumping to other games.  I think my biggest problem is that I have several really good turn based games on my iPad and I have X-Com.  So Yet Another Turn Based is setting in.  Which is sad, because it’s a neat game.  I also don’t really like the Varl PoV character, which makes it hard to enjoy his story.

And then I’m playing a pretty good chunk of Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition.  I really wish I’d been able to get in to Blood Bowl when I had a place that I could have played it, but (heresy) I think I like having the computer do the measuring and rolling for me.  As long as it’s not cheating.  Which it seems to do a lot.  The number of times I’ve rolled two ones in a row…..  I’m mostly playing a Lizardman team right now.  They’re the perfect mix for me.  I love having giant tanky bashy bastards up front, and then incredibly mobile runners in the back.  The majority of the time, it gels for me.  My play is *very* aggressive.  My frontline is a row of 5 bashers (2 Saurus, 1 Krox, 2 Saurus) side by side by side.  Whatever lines up against us is, generally, going to be on the ground.  Then I just let my skinks run about like idiots, occasionally adding a +1 to a block or two, and occasionally getting clobbered.  And occasionally getting my poor, poor 41 SP player get killed, or -1 Agilitied (which, on a skink is as good as dead).  We’ll miss you Urquan. 

And then finally, I just finished Episode 1 of Season 2 of the Walking Dead.

This game really makes me wonder why I play it, occasionally.  It’s so unrelentingly brutal, so painful, and vicious.  I was literally covering my eyes during one interactive sequence.  I would see what I needed to do, close my eyes, then click.  But at the same time, it’s so good.  So much in the feels.  And I *have* to know what happens to Clem.  My Clem is much more jaded than the one in Season 1.  She’s a little bit bitter, and she’s tired of being a kid.  Every once in a while, she desperately hopes to be one again, but mostly, she knows that’s done.  She doesn’t have patience for idiots, and she’s a bit cold-blooded.  (A few spoilers in a follow up post).

I’ve bought Assassin’s Creed 4 for PC, but I’m waiting until I get a wireless controller adapter to play it. 

So, that’s it for me right now.  Feel free to chime in yourself, or comment, mock, or question!


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