Last Week’s Gaming – September 23rd, 2019

It was a video game heavy week

Well, I have put in work days every day this week. So tired. With a last minute postpone of the weekly gaming night, tabletop gaming has taken a hit.

But I still got to spend some time having fun!

Warriors of Waterdeep – Android

As per my review last week, I am still plugging away at this dungeon crawler.

I am in a position where I can’t progress in the main story, and the enemies are all 3-4 levels higher than me. I am getting owned.

Even in the player battles that unlock (after time) some great loot, I am getting hammered! That said, it’s still fun enough to play. Until I got some Epic loot.

One of my characters earned enough cards to level up some loot. Because of it’s quality, I also got about 9,000 XP if I leveled it up! The catch? It cost 7,000 gold. That meant spending 500 gems to get the gold I needed, and then spending another 1,000 ish gold on the character level up. Real cost? About $8.

So from the looks of it, getting to level 10 is going to cost serious cash

I am still giving it another month, but unless I can find a way to progress without spending about $60 from what I can see, this is definitely my last month.

Tetris 99 – Switch

There was another Grand Prix event last weekend, so you knew this was coming. Playing tired may not have been the smartest choice though. First game, I spent the entire time checking out the new Kirby theme, and just got smashed. Rank 97.

All time lowest rank entry in my Tetris career. But worth it! 5 games later, and I earned the Kirby theme 🙂

The new theme is really cute, with some nice touches. The badges are little Kirby’s, and the attack indicator is Kirby raising a star? Maybe a sword but I don’t think so. It’s cool either way 😀

It's cute but not overtly distracting. At least once you have seen all the little touches!

Once again, if you have Switch Online (which mine just renewed, so it’s been a year!) give Tetris 99 a go. You can play offline now if you just want to practice 🙂

Gears POP! – Android

I heard about this during the year, and an ad popped up for it so I thought I would give it a try.

Is it a great game? Not really. Two lane MOBA type game, with fairly standard collection and loot gathering. The tutorial is very bare bones, but I will stick with it a little longer.

The cute factor is completely over the top. When you earn a new character, the app opens the POP! box, and it’s ridiculous how happy that made me.

Played it for about an hour overall so far, and got a couple of level ups. The thing that makes me laugh the most is you can sign in with your XBox live account, so most of my gamerscore now comes from this game 😀

I will let you know if I am going to keep playing next week, but at the moment it’s a “Nice idea, needs a better game” thought from me.

Playing a game with POP! figures is surprisingly fun. I hope they do more in this style.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 16th, 2019

Gaming so light, it’s like I was in the Lockup!

Well it’s been a week! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for all the things I like that take up all of the time 🙁

Less than 25 days to PAX means a lot of extra time spent working, which cuts into my gaming time. Adulting is hard!

That said I still got a couple of games in, let me tell you about them below 🙂

Game night was mainly catching up, which is always great because that is a big part of holding the night 🙂

We got in a game of Lockup: A Roll Player Tale at maximum players, and it was a lot of fun. Teaching four different people that take in rules differently was a bit of a challenge. It’s not that Lockup is hard to teach, but there are a lot of moving parts to explain to everyone. When everyone takes in information differently, it is a challenge.

But by the third round everyone had a handle on the game, and it went down well. Expect a formal review in the next couple of weeks now I have played with more people.

Lockup: A Roll Player Tale is a hard one to describe, but a lot of fun when you are into it

Tetris 99 – Switch

Of course I logged in for a couple of roudns of Tetris 99 this week. There was one night I was absolutely wrecked, and Tetris 99 is a great way to clear my mind.

The new additions have been great, and the addition of the daily challenges gives me something to aim for. But.

I have found during the last weeks I have been logging in less and less. It’s no fault of Tetris, it’s still great and the new 2.0 additions have been challenging. It’s just I have so many other games I want to try that it seems to be knocked back a lot.

Still all in all, Tetris 99 is still a fun diversion for me 🙂

The Daily Missions are a nice addition, but I find myself logging in less

PS4 Troubleshooting and reinstallation

Now I know what you are thinking – that’s not a game! But bear with me for a minute.

Sunday afternoon, I was too sore and too tired to jump back into Astral Chain. I was a bit too tired for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I had a chance to sit on the couch and play a game with Rabbit next to me, and I thought ‘Now I can play Pheonix Wright!’

Well, no I couldn’t. What started wtih the controllers being unable to correct ended up with a complete reinstallation of the PS4, so no gaming Sunday afternoon after all.

Well, it wasn't the Pheonix Wright I was going to play. But getting the PS4 back up was a game in itself!

The thing is, because of the way the PlayStation site is setup, it took me 3 goes to find the correct files – and another two to get the reinstalltion file in the right folder!

So I have chalked up the experience of reinstalling the PS4 software after what I am guessing was a bad update as a game. A game with a bad manual :p

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 9th, 2019

Well, a week without board games. Need to fix that!

Between work, the site backend redesign and feeling ill, I didn’t get as much gaming in as I would have hoped.

But as usual, that doesn’t mean no gaming goodness was had!

Phoenix Point – PC

From the designer of the original XCom, Julian Gollop, comes a game I backed a while ago. And I finally had time to play it!

All of the familiar squad based turn tactics are there, as well as some new twists. Improvments over the Firaxis XCom franshise are here as well. For example, when you put a soldier in Overwatch, you get to set the Overwatch arcs. The ability for deeper planning is great, but it is still a fairly streamlined experience so far.

I am only a couple of missions in, but when I get a solid afternoon to go for it expect to hear more.

From the designer of the original XCom, Phoenix Point has some unique twists so far

Tetris 99 – Switch

Well, Nintendo dropped a huge update – and I decided to give it a spin.

Daily missions and new play modes are always appreciated, and the new Invictus mode was certainly a challenge! Invictus mode is free, but only players that have achieved a win in previous games can enter it, so it’s definitely a top tier event.

There are a bunch of new modes now including head to head play, and I can’t wait to try them all out. I am sure there will be an unofficial Tetris 99 area somewhere at PAX Aus this year, even if I have to try and start one 😀

Word of warning if you haven’t already played the new version – the update took a good 20 minutes to download – it’s a big one!

Version 2.0 of Tetris 99 comes with a lot of new features. Can't wait to try them all!

Astral Chain – Switch

Well, I heard a lot of hype, but this weekend I finally got to sit and try Astral Chain for myself.

The game just oozes Platinum Games DNA. The combat is satisfying, the animations are amazing, and almost everything clicks.

The story is fairly standard anime trope so far, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying it. It might be a week before I can sit down with it for another few hours and try and finish another file, but so far so good.

I might need to remap the controls though. That so far is my biggest issue. And the auto-assistance I found just before I finished I am going to try and turn off to see if that helps.

This cute looking little pain was confusing at first, but once you solve the puzzle are easy to take down.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 2nd, 2019

It was cold in New Zealand!

So finally back in nice warm Queensland, but while Queenstown was gorgeous it was so cold. The only thing that hurt was it was apparently warming up last week.

But travel and a work conference couldn’t stop me from getting some gaming in. On to the games!

When travelling, there is limited space to take some solo gaming. I would love to travel with Arkham Horror the Card Game or some Tiny Epic games, but size and weight are a factor.

Deep Space D-6 has a bit of size to the box, but not much weight. In the suitcase it went!

I have started branching out with other ships. This was probably the right move, as I had my rear handed to me every game. It just shows how replayable Deep Space D-6 is – same base rules, different conditions make for a unique experience when changing things up.

Every hotel room I stay in has a table. Nothing else needed!

I really enjoy playing Quacks, but I have yet to progress to the advanced rules. I need to fix that sometime.

But while I welcome a game anytime, the arrival of the Geek Bits from the BGG store prompted a game ASAP. Possibly two games 🙂

Alpal had a slow start in the first game, mainly becuase it took me a couple of turns to realise she was adding up all the potions for an explosion rather than just the blossoms. She kicked my butt the second game though 😀

A bit of fun, Quacks of Quedlinburg was a welcome session. And now it looks prettier 😀

Same classic game, but with a touch of bling!

So Alpal nabbed this game in the Roll Player universe that I didn’t even realise was a thing. And as usual, she steered me towards a real winner.

While Lockup is set in the world of Roll Player, that just means it’s set in a fairly generic fantasy setting. Lockup is specifically set in a prison, where you need to use cunning and force to set yourself up as top dog.

The amount of elements in the game are amazing, especially for a game so simple to play. There is worker placement, a small amount of hidden information, set collection and resource management all wrapped into a simple streamlined experience.

Expect to see more about Lockup in the future.

Worker placement, card counting, set collection and bluffing - Lockup is a lot of fun

Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Switch)

Way back in the before years (2015), I backed an Australian development company bringing Fighting Fantasy back in a new way. Tin Man games did something new with the genre – actual turn based tactical combat within the set story.

I played it for a few minutes when it was in pre-release for backers, then left it alone. Because that is what happens when you don’t have much time.

Then I used my Nintendo gold to buy it on Switch, and I have finally started playing it again. It transitions well to the handheld, and all going well I will have a complete review in a few weeks.

I kickstarted this years ago. Time I finally play it, since I bought it twice!

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I finally started the latest installment of this gem of a series. I was tucked up warm in the hotel room, my switch connected to the TV, and off I went.

Did the first encounter, the tutorial if you will. Setup a few things then began the main thrust of the game.

And got Persona flashbacks. This isn’t a bad thing – Persona is a great series, it’s just one that takes 100+ hours to ‘finish’. No idea if Three Houses is like that, and I might start again with Rabbit watching. She likes watching me play games, and there is enough story being setup it could be fun.

6-7 hours in, I am enjoying it. But like all huge RPGs, I am waiting to actually start the game ‘properly’.

Luckily, power up animation doesn't take as long as Dragon Ball Z :p

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – 26th August, 2019

It was a Marvel we cracked Codenames in 5 Minutes

Last week, I hosted a Marvel themed game night. We were going to finish with Marvel Legendary Phase One, but we were having so much fun with the other two games that didn’t happen. Maybe next time!

This week I am in NZ, but I have bought a couple of games to play as well as my Switch 🙂 But in the meantime, onto what I played last week!

Codenames was an instant party hit when it came out a couple of years ago. It was such a hit I thought I had already done the review for Codenames and Codenames: Pictures, but I can’t see them on the site. I will have to fix that over the next few weeks!

But this week, we played one of the USAOpoly (Now the OP) licensed version – Marvel. One side has words, the other pictures, so you get a bit of both. You need some pretty in-depth Marvel knowledge for a lot of the characters though. I consider myself reasonably well-read when it comes to Marvel, and even I had trouble with some of them!

That didn’t stop us playing a few games and having a great time.

Our first game setup. Even with MCU fans at the table, there was a lot of Googling on who was who

Another retheme of a popular game, 5-Minute Marvel is a retheme of 5-Minute Dungeon. If you know how to play one, you know how to play the other.

The timekeeper app is J.A.R.V.I.S., complete with sassy comments. That was a nice touch that adds a bit of humour to the mix.

If you do a boss gauntlet, this takes closer to 35 minutes as you face each of the six bosses. Only one other player had played before, and everyone had an instant “Play again!” attitude to the game that makes this a favourite for my game nights.

Real time hand management at it's most hectic. But it's so easy to learn and play!

Crazy Strike Bowling Ex (Switch)

Crazy Strike was a last-second purchase I bought for something different on the plane. I have enjoyed a couple of bowling games, and I had heard of it before. So I thought, why not?

Initial impressions – I don’t think I should have bought it. As a single-player game with controllers, it’s a mobile distraction type game at best. I will play with motion controls and with some others though before I review it formally.

Biggest gripe – hidden tutorial and unclear instructions on how to play. See how I go with a bit more hands-on time.

Cutesy bowling game, but I think I prefer Wii Sports Bowling - at least for now

Tetris 99 (Switch)

Well, you knew this one was coming up. The sixth event was on last weekend, and you only need to score 100 points to win a theme.

The theme is pretty, but I think I prefer the Splatoon theme to date. It was fun playing the event though – I always enjoy playing Tetris 99.

When I have a head full of work, Tetris forces you to clear your mind in an almost meditation-like way. And the event was just another great excuse to jump on and play again 🙂

My highest win, but I have more than 100 points. The theme is mine!

Final Fantasy X (Switch)

So my plan was to power through the story and then start playing the new Fire Emblem. Then I hit the Calm Lands.

I was doing well, then realised I spent 2-3 hours grinding levels and playing the Chocobo race and collecting monsters. Oops.

So, new plan. I have one more Al Bhed primer to collect, and then I might pick it up later for a full completionist run. That is something straightforward to do with Final Fantasy X. It’s mostly linear at the start, so knowing where to go months later isn’t a real issue. Fire Emblem here I come!

Only one primer left to find!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – August 19th, 2019

When we stopped the thief, I didn’t think I would stop board games this week!

Well it has been a week for me!

This time around I really didn’t get to play any of the games I really wanted to. Between a mix of too much work and some much needed down time, the normal rapid fire mix of games didn’t happen this week.

But that’s not to say I didn’t get to play anything…

An old favourite hit the table again!

I am doing themed gaming nights, and last week’s was hidden movement. The idea was Stop Thief! followed by some meatier Specter Ops, but we were having so much fun we stuck to the lighter game and had a great catch up 😀

It was also great that we could play cooperatively. It was the group for it, and as usual we had a heap of fun.

If you want to know exactly what I think of Stop Thief!, check out my review here.

It had been a while since I got to play, and it was a good groop for cooperative investigating

Tetris 99 (Switch)

Speaking of Old Favourites, I finally got to play enough Tetris 99 this week to go up a level!

When it first came out, I was flying up the ranks – I was playing a heap of games though.

Now, I am closer to 5-6 rounds a week, which is enough to keep me happy and diverted. I even scored another win this week, always a happy moment!

I still really enjoy Tetris 99, and while I don’t think it’s the best thing about Switch Online, it’s definietly the perk I am using the most.

I haven't been jumping on as much as I would like lately, but another win sure felt good

Final Fantasy X (Switch)

Now by far the most gaming I did this week was Final Fantasy X. I think I got about 10-12 solid hours in this week – another thing I haven’t done for ages!

I have stopped concentrating on the early grind mini-quests to unlock celestial weapons and the like and now just jumping through the story. I will probably do another run at some time, and for once I would like a complete Al Bhed dictionary save to see what everyone says from the start! That will be my ‘completionist’ run I think.

So I got my first team wipe this run thanks to this Seymour

It’s been about 20 years, so I think spoilers are a past their spoiler date. I came up against the second fight against Maester Seymour, and hit my first game over screen for this run. I know there is a strategy to make this fight easier, I just can’t remember anything more than this fight being a pain.

Oh, and Bevelle Temple is still a pain in the butt to finish. It’s so annoying, and it seems to be more twitchy in the remaster than I remember. Not frustratingly so, but timing is a more critical in this version.

I am hoping to knock over Final Fantasy X this week, so I can start playing Fire Emblem during a business trip this week. Wish me luck!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – August 12th, 2019

One Page of the Galaxy was so Metal and Pretty, it was Twice as Clever.

So I didn’t get to play as much as I was hoping this week. A bout of illness and general tiredness got in the way (Boo!).

But as usual, I ended up playing more than I thought I did! Maybe not exactly what I wanted to play, but some great gaming in anyway 🙂

So without further waiting, let’s jump in!

This one popped up on a Solo Gaming Group on Facebook, and I grabbed it from DriveThruRPG.

One Page Dungeon: Volume 1: Fire in the Goblin Forge is a fairly straightforward solo roll and write dungeon crawl. Even if the title is a bit of a mouthful. :p Straightforward doesn’t mean boring though, and it was a fun run.

I have only played once, but I made it through so I will be trying again as a level 2 character this week. It’s the beginning of a series, and at the moment its also pay what you want from DriveThruRPG – click on the heading for the link!

I am going to level up after a successful run (yay!). Might try and condense if I keep playing though.

I have had one of those weeks with a lot of ‘I don’t want to’. Tired nights tend to lead to this sometimes.

One of the reasons I enjoy That’s Pretty Clever so much is the system becomes so mindlessly effortless while still providing you with a challenge. And yes, I am aware of how contradictory that statement is!

That doesn’t change how comfortable I am playing it though. I didn’t break any records or anything, but I had a fun few games of an old favourite.

Fill out the sections to maximise your score. Simple in premise, not so much in execution

While That’s Pretty Clever is an old favourite, Alpal pulled out her copy of Twice As Clever and walked me through a game this week.

I don’t have any excuse now to start playing Twice As Clever. I know the rules, and I know my scores will be terrible for a while 🙂

It was great playing multiplayer with Alpal as well. Just talking through and mucking about was fun, as was giving each other ‘helpful’ (i.e. terrible) advice.

There are excellent reasons this series is so popular, and I strongly suggest you try them out if you have any interest at all.

It was great playing a multiplayer 'Clever' game. Chatting and goading during the game was a lot of fun 🙂

Jordan Draper makes quite a few games that I quite enjoy. Kind of like the old school ’20 games in a box’ kit, you get a box of components and a variety of rules to make up a variety of different games.

One of the Kickstarters that arrived recently was METAL, a game where every component in the game (including packaging) is metal.

We played Not Pool, which is a mix between croquet and snooker. The three of us had fun moving around the table trying to knock a little metal ball with the small mallet into the ‘ball’.

It will be fun trying some of the other games soon.

The first game we played from Jordan Draper's METAL - Not Pool!

Roll for the Galaxy. The dice version of the modern classic Race for the Galaxy. Wow, it was fun. It had been a while since I played any of the ‘for the Galaxy’ games, but it came back quickly.

Playing with Alpal, we had a few slow starting rounds, and we forgot the two-player rule that allowed for another phase.

It didn’t take long to get back into a rhythm, and it ended up being a close game. What it did trigger in both of us is a renewed desire to try New Frontiers, the Race for the Galaxy board game, soon.

Watch out for that one between now and PAX Aus!

It has been a while since I played any of the 'for the Galaxy' games, and it hasn't lost any of it's fun

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

So I jumped on Cyberpilot to grab some screens for last weeks review.

Even including some setup for the capture, it took me less than an hour and a quarter to finish the game on normal, with one death because I was being cute.

As I said last week, if you are interested try it, but I would wait until it’s on sale. If they come out with another game like this though, I would need to know it was at least twice as long before being a day one purchase in the future.

Rockets or bullets. Why not both?

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

I got some kick back time and played a bit of Youngblood this week, and it was fun.

Initially I was a little lost as to what I should be doing, but it didn’t take too long to get back into the swing. Remembering how to throw grenades was a pain though!

But even seeing some units in a new light thanks to Cyberpilot, it just bought home everything in the VR experience I am missing. I spent almost as much time walking around exploring for secrets as I did playing missions, and it was great.

Hopefully next week I can work out a time to play online with someone, and see how it works without the computer AI.

I can't open this door yet, but that looks like a certain room from Dishonored...

Elder Sign: Omens (Android)

So looking on my phone, I realised I had installed Elder Sign: Omens a while ago but I hadn’t played it yet.  The last few times I have thought about playing it, I jumped on PC to play and ended up getting distracted.

If you haven’t played Elder Sign, calling it Lovecraft Yahtzee is kind of accurate in all the ways that count.

You have to collect a certain number of Elder Sign before an Elder God collects a certain level of Doom. You do this by rolling dice and making certain combinations to pass. And the digital version Omens does all of the housekeeping for you!

Roll the dice, get the combinations you need. Simple! And yet, strangely addictive

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – August 5th, 2019

The steps of a Pandemic: a Contagion, a Rapid Response, and hopefully The Cure.

So this weeks game night was Pandemic dice themed! OK, only 2 of the 3 games were actually dice games, but the third was still radically different from the base so I am counting it 🙂

Dice and I have a complicated relationship. If rolling 6 of a kind will kill me, you can be sure it’s a 50/50 thing that I will roll six of a kind. That kind of relationship adds to the ‘draw a card and lose’ gameplay of Pandemic.

There are a lot of ‘the Dice Game’ variants out there. Some don’t have the same feel and miss, and some become more popular than the base game. A round of Istanbul the Dice Game anyone?

I don’t think Pandemic: The Cure is quite in the latter category, but it is a version I would like to get to the table more often. If you know players that are more interested in throwing dice than playing with cards, give Pandemic: The Cure a look.

It's very close to the original Pandemic experience, but with Dice!

Second week in a row, Pandemic: Rapid Response makes it to the table.

We had another new player, so I played it the same way as last time – no timer until we did the first city card, then the timer comes into play. Also, we didn’t play with the extra crisis cards, that additional ‘oh no’ when the timer runs out.

Another new player, same result – Rapid Response was a fun game to play. Yes, it takes a couple of rounds to start to see how everything works, but that is common among a lot of games.

Maybe next round I can play with the same group, and play with timer and perhaps crisis cards from the get-go.

I am really enjoying Rapid Response

After saving the world a couple of times (alright, once – we lost The Cure), I thought it would be time to give the virus a go.

Pandemic: Contagion was the first game I am aware of in the extended Pandemic universe, and you play as viruses trying to infect as many people as possible.

Even though the game night was Dice themed, I threw Contagion on as an end of game night choice just for something different, and it worked.

I had forgotten how much fun Contagion could be. It wasn’t a game that took the game world by storm, but it has a strong base and is a fun diversion. I am glad I pulled it back out for another round 🙂

Sick of saving the world? Pandemic Contagion may be for you!

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

So something surprised me this weekend – I finished Wolfenstein Cyberpilot.
There was a bit of a story twist, but at the end of the day, it’s four levels that I think I played for about 2 hours and then saw the credits.

Looking through the trophy list I saw a few things that sound like fun and will be challenging to aim for, but while I didn’t expect an epic game I did expect more.

That said, it was fun, and I enjoyed it. I might go for the platinum. I am not sure at the moment. If I can make some time with Harls maybe I will probably try more for the Youngblood platinum, but Cyberpilot could remain a fun distraction on the side.

Good Doggy. It is fun playing the as the Panzerhund.

Beat Saber (PSVR)

Here I am, firmly back on the Beat Saber train. I haven’t been able to play as much as I wanted, but I did get to play a lot more than I have been this week.

And this week I finally got to do something I have been working on for ages with the Vive version – I finished every level of the campaign!

I have come close a couple of times, but without a cloud save for the PC I have had to start again a couple of times. Ah well, just means playing more Beat Saber!

Now to platinum Beat Saber I have mainly the Expert level trophies and some time ones to get. My goal is to have the Beat Saber platinum before PAX – wish me luck!

Expert Turn Me On with a window of required hand movement. But I cleared it eventually 🙂

Blood and Truth (PSVR)

I bought Blood and Truth when it came out, but I just hadn’t had any time to give it a try. That was unfortunate, as I had a ball trying it out Saturday afternoon.

Some tracking issues took me a while to sort out, and the start of the game has you doing next to nothing for an extended period. But once you get past that, I had a great time shooting my way through a casino, laying explosives and tagging bad guys.

I even got the ‘Bogey Man’ trophy very quickly, racking up six consecutive headshot kills.

Now I have finally started playing I will give it a better run through next weekend. But if you have a PSVR and haven’t tried it out, my take right now is it looks very promising.

And... my capture messed up and I didn't catch a screenshot. Oops. Next week.

Final Fantasy X (Switch)

Flying around a fair bit this week, I got in some quality Final Fantasy X time on the plane.

Story-wise I am still in the lightning plains partially as I am grinding a bit for sphere levels, also because I am trying to remember what the glowing cactaur stones do.

One feat for this run was winning my first league in Blitz Ball. Now I can spend some more time finishing the story, which I will need to start getting a move on with.

Sometimes you get bored and let a massively overpowered summons do your work for you

Tetris 99 (Switch)

Also on the plane, I thought I would play against the CPU a bit in Tetris 99. It is a paid add on that I bought for such occasions, so why not?

I jumped into the CPU mode, and just as I started getting into a rhythm, I won the match. I was a little confused but happy. Then I saw how many foes I KO’d.

Now I have said I consider myself an above average Tetris player with plenty of room to improve. But this taught me never to look at someone’s win screen now. I knocked out 21 level 1 CPU opponents.

I cranked the level back up to 5 and started fighting for top 10 again – more what I am used to. It was a lot of fun, but if someone tells you how good they are at Tetris and won’t play in front of you, this could be the reason!

Yeah I won't be trusting a lot of these screens again

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 29th, 2019

The Pretty Clever Lords of Waterdeep had a Rapid Response to the incident in the Blue Lagoon

It was another great week of gaming! I have a lot of new games coming in via both retail orders and Kickstarters, and quite a few games launched last Friday and I got to play two of them!

Travel may interefere with my gaming this week, but with the original Doom trilogy, finihsing Final Fantasy X and waiting to start Fire Emblem: Three Houses I will have some solid replacement games waiting in the wings!

It has been far too long since I got Lords of Waterdeep to the table. It was a mix of new players and a couple of veterans, and everyone had just as good a time.

Lords of Waterdeep takes a long time to play, especially when learning. But two brand new players jumped in and played the full expanded game (to accomodate 6 players) with no issues at all.

It was a fun night, with breaks for dinner and desert making for a long but very social night. Expect to see more on this game over time, it still makes me happy to play 🙂

Lords of Waterdeep is my most 'blinged' game, hands down.

Playing solo, I am still enjoying That’s Pretty Clever on my phone. But I am thinkign of a Roll and Write night for my games night, so I pulled out the physical version again.

That was for 2 reasons. First, you quickly forget how much admin the app does for you! Secondly, playing the physical version takes longer and I wanted to get a feel for how long a game may take per player.

My biggest gripe is I was concentrating so much on those things, I made very poor decisions. Maybe I should take a bit longer and go for a much better score!

I pulled out the physical version for something different, even though I was playing solo

Another Alpal special that I would never have even thought to look for – and it’s a Reiner Knizia game!

Very similar in a lot of respects to games like Through the Desert, Blue Lagoon has players exploring land and collecting resources. A lot of players start turning away at such a description, but Blue Lagoon is surpricingly accessible for all players.

Want to claim a chunk of land as yours? Have more people on it. Want to have explored the most? Have people on every island. Add set collection for the resources, and you have the trademark ‘everything gives you points somehow’ of a Knizia game.

Another Reiner Knizia classic - simple yet deep, with the top 3 spots within 6 points of each other

We had a four player game, and even on the very first game almost everything clicked quickly for everyone. You play in two stages, and there are slight placement changes between the two, but it’s a game you can teach and be playing wihtin five minutes every time.

I have been looking forward to this since it’s announcement. Rapid Response is the latest addition to the Pandemic universe, and is designed by Kane Klenko of Fuse, Flatline and Flipships fame.

A real time turn based race against the clock, players have to strategise, carry out their turn and hope luck is with them against an unstoppable force – the timer :p

Instead of using cards like normal Pandemic, players roll dice and use worker placement type mechanics to create enough supplies to save a town after an unnamed disaster.

I was worried this would have the same initial 'huh' factor as Fuse and Flatline. There was nothing to be worried about.

Every time the timer runs out (every 2 minutes), you lose a token and a new city has a disaster you must deal with. Every time you save a city, you get a token back, so there is no downtime in this game!

We played until we cleared the first card without a timer to make sure we had the mechanics and the like nailed down. We also played without the crisis cards – extra machanics to increase the challenge!

Unlike explaining Fuse and Flatline to new players, Pandemic: Rapid Response seemed to click a lot better and work a lot smoother out of the gate. Look forward to a formal review in the next few weeks!

Gloomhaven (Steam)

You knew I was going to give this another go. Or thirty.

Nothing has changed since I played last week, but I am still really enjoying the ability to jump in and just clear a dungeon.

I am thinking of resetting and playing with all 4 available characters, but that will be in a week or so. I am having fun just finding my feet with the systems again.

One thing I did do differently was move Gloomhaven to my ultrawide screen, and I am glad I did. The extra screen real estate works nicely, and it the UI doesn’t feel strange like some other games.

It's a little thing, but I really love the little touches already present - like the adventure 'map'

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PSVR)

Both games coming out Friday interested me for very different reasons.

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has you strapped to a chair and using the move controllers as virtual control sticks – both in and out of the game.

The first level has you controlling a panzerhoung – a giant robot dog with a flamethrower, and the second level has you controlling a drone with a cloak and short range zap.

I only finished two levels, but I have played enough to know I want to finish it. I don’t know if I want to platinum it, but we will see.

Flying a drone through an enemy office. That guard is about to get a shock :p

Fair warning though – in the drone level, I got my first case of VR motion sickness in a very long time. It may have been because I was playing standing while my ‘body’ was seated, but it defninitely happened. I will let you know how that goes as I play more.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

The other Wolfenstein game, Youngblood, had me as a co-op shooter I could play with Rabbit. Thanks to the buddy system, I only need to buy one copy of the game, and I can play with any of my friends – with some restrictions. I will talk more about that during the week.

Playing at the moment in offline mode myself, I am surprised how much Wolfenstein: Youngblood has drawn me in. I can stealth almost every area, but the run and gun gunplay is satisfying when things go wrong.

If all zeppelins had nightclub casinos, I am sure they would be a lot more popular!

Developed with Arkane Studios, the Dishonoured and Prey mechanics are very much present and fit right in. Stealth, collectables, great level pacing – it’s all here.

If I can setup a regular game partner session time, I think this might be my first Arkane platinum – I am enjoying it that much!

Horizon Chase Turbo (PS4)

Back in the day, I could mostly fit in the arcade Out Run machine at my local shopping center – the one with the car you sat in and moved as you steered. It was different, it was fun, but I never quite had the drive (hah puns!) to finish it.

Last weekend, I sat on my couch and had the exact same experience, minus the moving chair.

You can grab Horizon Chase Turbo on PlayStation Plus for July still (for a few days anyway), and if you would like to kick back with an OK racer with nostalgia feels, it works? Personally, I will just fire out Burnout Paradise again next time I want a race.

This is very much old school racing - even down to the graphics

Beat Saber (PSVR)

Yep, switched back to the goold old PSVR for a bit this week after playing the Vive for a couple of weeks.

Beat Saber is still excellent, and you should definitely play it. That hasn’t changed.

Bonuses for PSVR – the screen noticably doesn’t have the ‘screen door’ effect like the Vive does. The headset is more comfortable to wear overall, but it still has the annoying cable that must lead in front of you.

Well that was a terrible cut - but it was a cut!

Bonuses for Vive (w/ wireless adaptor) – No cable, except for a small cable to a battery pack. Obvious increase in precision tracking. Level Editor on PC which I will be messing with in a couple of weeks 🙂

Basically, I don’t think I will ever get sick of playing Beat Saber. I am giving serious thought to finally doing a semi-concentrated platinum run on PSVR though.

What about your week? I hope you had a great one!

What games did you get in? Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Do you have a Gen Con wish list?

Shout out in the comments, on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – July 22nd, 2019

The Pelaton on a Danger Circuit may not be Pretty Clever

The games started strong this week. Then I got to spend a few hours in VR. It was a great week of gaming 🙂 Looking forward to a slightly heavier game next week!

Starting things off was Flamme Rouge, and by including the Pelaton expansion all six players could have fun!

We played one of the original tracks, which worked well enough. I knew there would be more grouping and blocking than normal, but with new players I also thought this would help simplify what they needed to try and keep track of.

Flamme Rouge once again demonstrated to me why it’s such a fun and interesting game, with a surprisingly deep strategy element that is easily accessible.

A lot of racers on a little track. Keeps the group count low and positioning tight!

If we are talking racing games though, readers will know how much I enjoy Downforce. We had again a mix of veteran and new players this game, and once again a fun game was had by all.

I love the simplicity of teaching Downforce, and how quickly everyone can click with the rules. It took only a couple of player turns to see why the movement order is just as important as which cars move further, and blocking in players quickly became an objective instead of an option.

Go on. Move Green 8 squares right now. Mwahahahah!

Still plugging away at this one, but this week I made a personal best – 316!

Like I spoke about Friday with the Pandemic Digital games, there are some games I like to keep playing at on the phone, and true quick solo games like That’s Pretty Clever are right up there.

My average score is now 200 after 137 games, so it might be time to dip my toes into Twice As Clever/Doppelt So Clever soon!

Personal Best! Always something satisfying - beating your record 🙂

Gloomhaven (Steam Early Access)

It’s finally here! Gloomhaven has hit Steam Early Access.  I have already written about my intial thoughts, which you can read here.

Short version though, right now it’s not for everyone – but not because it’s a bad implementation. It’s a solid base that I am sure will be built on over the coming months, but it’s not the complete game just yet.

If you want a fun dungeon crawl experience, then the Early Access version will be a good buy for you. Like so many other games though, I hope a Switch version is planned as well!

Choose your path, and see what adventures wait for you

Beat Saber (Steam/Vive)

Setting myself in with the new rig, I have discovered 2 things very different from the PS4 version of Beat Saber.

  1. No Cloud Saves. That’s twice I have had to reinstall, and twice all my progress was lost. Ah well, I guess I just have to play more Beat Saber!
  2. No Steam Achievements. While not a big deal, the fact that the PS4 version has trophies but nothing on Steam surprised me – I thought they would port over?

Either way, while I didn’t get as much Beat Saber in as I would like, I made up for it Saturday with about 2 hours worth (spread out of course). My shoulders are going to feel it Monday!

One of the Monstercat levels - Riot Overkill. It's Rabbit's favourite, mine is still Angel Voices 🙂

Operation Warcade (Steam/Vive)

I have mentioned Operation Warcade, but it was a LONG time ago. Essentially an updated version of Operation Wolf from mid 80’s arcades, you play a soldier armed with an Uzi and some grenades, and strafe over different areas to complete missions. Well, by missions, it’s really shoot everyone. But you have different objectives to do it different ways.

Playing in VR, not only are you standing in an arcade where you get a crowd as you do better at the game, but you can trigger ‘Immersion Points’ where you actually go inside the game, to the point you can see yourself playing!

A silly bit of fun, but it’s still holding up a couple of years later.

Operation Warcade goes in the 'silly bit of fun' category for me.

Superhot VR

I have had Superhot for a couple of years now, but becuase of different space limitations I haven’t actually started playing it. Until Saturday night.

I started playing the intro section that many of us have watched over time. But I couldn’t throw anything to save my life – it was very frustrating.

Giving up, I jumped online to see what was wrong. There are no instructions in game, so holding the trigger (which closes your hand) picks things up, so letting go of the trigger should drop it?

Nope. And their ‘instructional’ video that you can only see by searching for it outside the game is scary for very different reasons :p

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD