King of Cats Peglin to the Quarry but the Parable is Waterdeep

I made it through another financial year! Yay! Normally last weekend I would be recovering, but a few other things reared their heads. So long term tidy-up gaming took a bit of a dive, but I ended up playing a lot more than I thought I would!

Games with Alpal and Rabbit on Saturday as always lifted my spirits. Work kept poking its head in and throwing any form of relaxation though.

Saturday afternoon I did put some more time into testing my Retro setup for streaming. Well, that was the idea. I ended up simply playing a lot of Tekken Tag Tournament. I justify it to myself that I am working towards unlocking Tekken Bowl. Yes, I am more excited about a mini-game than the original Tekken Tag!

20220704 - Tekken Tag Tournament - Trying to work out best way to capture video consistently ended up just finishing arcade mode a few times
Trying to work out the best way to capture video consistently ended up just finishing arcade mode a few times

Hopefully mid-July I will have a little more to talk about retro gaming-wise other than teasing screenshots. But for now, let’s talk about what helped me through the last crunch period!

Isle of Cats

We tried The Isle of Cats last week, and we basically agreed to try again this week and see how we went with it. Alpal, Rabbit and I all agree we enjoy Isle of Cats, but it looks like we all enjoy it for very different reasons.

Alpal has been enjoying the variable goal mechanics. In the same vein as Race for the Galaxy, Isle of Cats lets you build from an almost random starting point. There is no optimal strategy for Isle of Cats because no one will have the same goals and scoring bonuses game between games.

Rabbit is having a great time rescuing cats. She isn’t concerned with optimising strategies or looking for patterns. A good game to Rabbit is collecting heaps of cats, pure and simple.

20220704 - Isle of Cats - Second game I am managing fish and cards better
Second game I am managing fish and cards better

For myself, I am firmly in the middle. Alpal has been getting back into Race for the Galaxy, but my preference has been for Roll for the Galaxy. Both games are very similar, the only real difference being Roll is the dice game. Same concepts, but streamlined.

Isle of Cats feels like Roll for the Galaxy to me. There is a lot going on, but not too much. Even though I was tired and had a lot on my mind, I could still follow what was happening during the game.

That said, if you wanted to play Isle of Cats as a solitaire multiplayer and not look for patterns and scoring paths, you absolutely can. That is how Rabbit is having such a fun time!

20220704 - Isle of Cats - Started being comfortable enough to watch everyones board while playing
Started being comfortable enough to watch everyone’s board while playing

I am looking forward to playing Isle of Cats again, but I don’t know when that will be. It’s long enough that I haven’t felt the urge to play two games in a row.

Now we know we have a handle on it there are other games we have been putting off. The Crew for example is something I want to get back to finishing. But I am glad we got the chance to give Isle of Cats a good try on Board Game Arena. I won’t be rushing to add a copy to my collection, but I know where to play it when the urge hits me.

King of Tokyo

I needed a non-thinking game to end the game session this week. Normally Incan Gold would be my call, but Board Game Arena has a new King of Tokyo event. I am rarely against a game of King of Tokyo, so in we jumped.

Right now there is a new monster available each week. This week, it was Quetzalcoatl. If you wanted to play as the epic lizard, jump in quick because it’s gone next week!

There was another new creature that I assumed was part of the event, and that is Lollybot. This could be my new favourite up there with Oogie Boogie and Jack Skellington. Well, there legally distinct versions in King of Tokyo anyway. Lollybot and its mini-gun full of what looks like jellybeans appeal to me.

20220704 - King of Tokyo - Brutal Win
Everyone thought they were safe, but they forgot my power cards

I managed a pretty mean win during our first game. I managed to take out both Alpal and Rabbit in one go, while not even in Tokyo.

We changed it up to add the curse cards for a couple more games. The curse threw me for a loop when we first played them but adds enough mayhem now that I am very much enjoying the twist.

I am a little disappointed King of New York isn’t on Board Game Arena. I would like to play that again with Alpal, and having the system maintain the extra setup would make gameplay quick.

20220704 - King of Tokyo - Curse shenanigans returned
The trash talk and jibes the curse die adds makes for a silly game time

Until then, there are plenty of other modules to try in King of Tokyo!

Lords of Waterdeep

July 1st. I had finally gotten past the financial year. There was a few work fires to put out, and I was hoping I could monitor that everything was still running. Well, that didn’t work out. But while I was holding out hope, I tried to squeeze in a cheeky game of Lords of Waterdeep.

There is a good chance if I ever did a top 10 list of my favourite games ever, Lords of Waterdeep would be on the list. It’s guaranteed going to be in my top 20. But Lords of Waterdeep isn’t for everybody, for a few reasons.

Lords of Waterdeep has been around for quite some time. I am not saying ‘old’ games are bad, but there are newer games that refine the game mechanics. Then there are the mechanics themselves – not everyone likes secret points allocation. Not knowing how you are scoring compared to your opponents can frustrate players.

Then there is the theme. I hear the argument that Lords of Waterdeep shouldn’t be a Dungeons and Dragons game, because “it has nothing to do with D&D”. To me, that is an argument by people that don’t play D&D themselves.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Intruiging
gather people to complete quests for you, dabble in intrigue or buy buildings – Waterdeep has many things for you to do

But what is Lords of Waterdeep? Players are given a secret Lord character. These give players secret objectives that affect end-game scoring. During the game, players (the Lords) send their agents to collect money and/or resources. Why should a Lord dirty their own hands, after all?

These resources are better known in Dungeons & Dragons as players. Fighters, Clerics, Mages and Rogues. They are collected to go on adventures on the Lord’s behalf. This is where I disagree that Lords of Waterdeep has nothing to do with D&D. Instead of being the player character going on adventures, in Waterdeep you are the unseen force that sends those players on their way. It’s all in how you look at the setting.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Nearing the end of the game and I am getting worried
Playing distracted over a couple of hours meant I was missing what my opponents were doing

Is it a strong narrative motivation? It depends on how you look at it as well. Ultimately you are just collecting cubes and fulfilling requirements for points. However, if you are one of the high and mighty Lords of Waterdeep, then would you see adventurers as disposable fodder?

I only got the one game in, and that was very delayed as work intruded. Well, that is what happens when you try for a cheeky game during work hours! One thing is for sure, I will be giving Lords of Waterdeep another go in the near future. It’s been far too long since I played it in any form.

20220704 - Lords of Waterdeep - Final Scores
Not a terrible score, but well below my average

Peglin

Saturday morning I found myself tired but unable to go back to sleep. I wanted to watch something, but I was having trouble focusing. It’s a state I am sure we all know well – the mind wants to do something, but the body wants to rest. Or the other way around. It can be a very frustrating state to be in.

So while some YouTube played, I decided to see what games I could play. It was then I noticed that Peglin had an update. What better time to give it another go!

There are some new orbs to play with, as well as new encounters and little bug fixes. I have been stuck on Cruciball level 3 for a while, and I was hoping some of the new orbs might help.

20220704 - Peglin - Bombs away
Sure, I can beat everyone up. Or I can release a ton of bombs!

Short version, Peglin managed to tease progress but dash my hopes. The increased health and multiple mini-boss battles have taken their toll. I don’t think I have managed to get to the third area since reaching Cruciball level 3. And yet, it didn’t take much of a push to fire Peglin back up again.

One thing that crossed my mind while writing this is I could just drop the level and not hit a wall of enemies. I don’t know why I haven’t done this already. The only ‘penalty’ is I couldn’t push into more levels of Cruciball. Peglin itself would still be a fun experience and one that I could walk away from mid-game and come back to easily.

20220704 - Peglin - Criciball Level 3
Somehow I am seeing completing this circle as a challenge

The one thing that will keep me coming back to Peglin apart from updates is what challenges await. I don’t know why I feel the need to prove to myself that I need to bend pachinko to my will. But Peglin has set itself up to be a fun diversion that keeps calling me back to do just that.

The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe

I managed to get in Stanley Parable Tuesday this week. I didn’t play too much, but I did get some game time in! Once again I am simply exploring the office and trying to get as many different endings as I can.

Every time I think I have discovered all of the endings, the Stanley Parable throws me down a new path. Sometimes it’s because I thought I had already done a passage. Other times you need to do something in a slightly different order for a drastically different outcome!

I have been spending more time than I expected trying to get into offices and other areas I can see. Is this riveting action? Nope. But it is relaxing and how I intend to build up my Tuesday hours for the trophy!

20220704 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - Why cant I get in the office
I want to get into this office. The PC is on, something must be in there!

There was one ending that was almost the same as I expected but with one exception. I won’t go into details, because the Stanley Parable is best experienced yourself. I will say that it did lead me to a surprisingly emotional ending in the best possible way.

Happy endings in the Stanley Parable are rare. It’s not that the endings are all bad for Stanley, it’s a case of most endings are not what I can call joyful. But this one was, and I didn’t expect it at all.

20220704 - Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe - Surprisingly the most emotinal happy ending
Now do I have to go looking for droids?

I should have been keeping a log on how many hours I have been playing though. I need to play 24 hours on a Tuesday, and I have no idea how close I am to accomplishing this. So it might be quite a few more Stanley Tuesdays!

The Quarry

I didn’t get to play as much of The Quarry as I hoped this week, but I did make my way through two more chapters. The plot continues to follow the classic B movie horror formula, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Some of my decisions have started to show their consequences. I have lost a character in a swift (and graphic) manner, where it looks like it was all the choices I made. I didn’t die because I messed up some quick time events, but because I made specific decisions. Similar to Until Dawn, The Quarry seems to be leaving the player with a false sense of security because you just watch things play out then boom – character death!

One thing that surprised me was I got a screen offering me a chance to go back and try and save them. I know this is something you unlock after you complete the story, but this is my first playthrough. Maybe it’s part of The Quarry Deluxe? I should have paid more attention. I only grabbed deluxe by mistake but kept it for the PS4 version as well.

20220704 - The Quarry - All choices are important and have consequences
The Quarry plays on the importance of choices. Funny I don’t remember all of mine.

Anyway, as I said the formulaic nature of the story is progressing well. I spoke that the enemies had revealed themselves. We know what our protagonists are facing, even if they don’t.

The elements of the story are all coming together, even though the group is starting to fall apart. The trick now is going to be keeping them together and calm. A little hard when one of their group literally lost their head.

Luckily, the owners of Hacketts Quarry and the surrounding land will surely help our heroes. Everyone seems so friendly after all!

20220704 - The Quarry - The locals are very friendly
The locals are very friendly

With luck, I can have one solid final push and finish the last three chapters in one sitting. That’s something to aim for this week.

I know any Platinum considerations for The Quarry will be put off for quite some time. I need to clear the gaming schedule for Stray!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,

JohnHQLD