Last Week’s Gaming


7 Wonders how Halo can Top This!

I needed a break this week. I am so tired, everything is catching up with me. But I got to see some friends for a little while I hadn’t seen for ages. Rabbit and I had a nice relaxing weekend. And almost as important, I got some gaming in last week!

There seems to be a connection between board games and pizza. There are plenty of gamers that would never allow pizza at their table, and there are games to replace this missing communal food. The latest such example that I got to play was Top This! with Alpal during our last gaming session.

We played a variant on the base rules, but I can’t imaging playing Top This! any other way. The idea is simple – you have a hand of orders and need to create slices of pizza for your client. This is done by flicking ingredients to a slice on the board. You need to connect with another ingredient, and you can ‘flip’ ingredient tiles to add a memory type element.

Even though it's a brand new board, there wasn't 'sticking' of the ingredient tiles which was awesome

If you are confident, you can proclaim your order by putting it face up and declaring “Top This!”. If you manage to fulfil the order that turn, you will make a tip. Complete two or more slices on a turn, and get more in tips.

The game ends when a player completes all of their orders. The player that has collected the most money wins. Nothing super special, but Top This! was a ton of fun to play and one I will keep in the memory banks as a quick fallback game in future gaming sessions.

Another regular gaming session has been on board game arena while distancing is still a good idea. I have been trying a new idea – picking games in advance and posting how to play video links. This way, hopefully, we can all jump in and play and experience new games.

The first time I did with was with 7 Wonders. Almost all of us had played before, but years ago during our game stores game night. I still enjoy 7 Wonders, but you really need bigger groups to make it shine. And it went much better than I expected.

Board Game Arena handles everything automatically that slows the game down. You are shown on top of the cards the cost of playing the card. Scoring is handled automatically and is continuously updated. Once we got the hang of the interface, we were finishing games very quickly.

You can instantly see everything that is going on, and hovering over opponents and cards give any missing info

If you enjoy 7 Wonders, I highly recommend the Board Game Arena implementation. Especially if getting people over consistently is a problem!

Halo 2 – PC/Xbox Game Pass

So last week I got my new 3080 video card. I haven’t had time to sit and play like I really want to, but I am happy my system is running well. All ready for Cyberpunk 2077 next month!

I also did a bit of drive space cleanup, and I have had the Master Chief Collection installed for a while but never played. I must have downloaded at least 60GB of updates though. So I thought I would give it a try on the new card and see how it performed before uninstalling.

Well, one of the updates I ignored has fixed my biggest issue with the game. I can now hear over the background music! I played on PC for a couple of hours and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Playing at 3440x1440 gives you a lot of on screen info. Xbox game recording was interesting to grab screens of though. Video looks fine - stills not so much.

This is excellent news for me. One of the reasons I was swayed to join Microsoft Game Pass was the chance to play Xbox games I never got to. So I turned on my Xbox One S after a couple of months of neglect and applied all the updates.

I did have one niggle – my Halo 2 progress that I tried earlier this year has reset. As I was only a mission or two in, it wasn’t the end of the world. Saves also don’t work cross-platform (boo), so I was already preparing to replay what I had played on TV.

Everything is working well, but switching to typical screen size from super ultrawide gameplay took some getting used to. I did finish the entire game on normal in two sittings. If I was one of the players looking forward to Halo 2 when it first came out, I would have been really disappointed!

Same section but on Xbox One S - even with different capture, you can see how much more ultrawide screen resolutions give you

I am also still dirty that my ‘help’ kills me more than the Covenant does! I genuinely dread seeing any mission start with marines in a Warthog – they drive over me consistently!

There is also the little benefit of Halo 2 being my 10th finished video game for 2020. One achievement down! A lot of my achievements have taken a hit this year, but it’s nice to finish one goal. My 250 board games played is getting really close as well!

Halo 3 – PC/Xbox Game Pass

The Halo games are Bungie back in their prime as far as I am concerned. The ending of Halo 2 – Continue the Fight – only led me to start Halo 3. This is another advantage of the Master Chief collection. I don’t have to wait, I can just power on through.

This first thing that took me by surprise is how ‘bad’ the graphics looked compared to Halo 2. They aren’t bad at all, just an obvious step down from Halo 2. This just goes to show how much work went into remastering Halo 2.

The graphics look great, especially remembering Halo 3 is an older game. But after comparing it to the updates from Halo 2...

Apart from that, I am loving going through the story. As I said, I think of Halo as Bungie in their prime. Every time I was going to call it a night and make some dinner, the next story portion called me.

I have infiltrated the Ark and am making pretty good progress. My teammates aren’t running me over anymore which is nice . It will be interesting to see what else Halo 3 has in store for me.

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