31 Dec 2014

2014 in Review - part 3 Board Games

This year has been a big boom in Table Top Board Games and I've been playing quite a few. Many of these are not new releases but they were games I spent some or lots of time playing and I would do so some more.

So here is my Top 3 Board Games (that Dozer liked playing)

Number 3 Net Runner

Net Runner is not a new game. Made by the mad game designer Dr. Richard Garfield, PhD (seriously), it was originally set in the Cyberpunk 2020 setting and is owned by Wizard's of the Coast. They rent out (lease) the IP to Fantasy Flight Games who decided to apply the game to their Android setting.

Not a bad go. The main box is brilliantly balanced and many a gamer in my neck of the woods say they will only play the balanced starter and nothing to do with any of the expansions. I've been picking up the expansions and I've not adjusted any of the starters but I'm always going back and looking up another way to work and enjoy this brilliant Living Card Game.

30 Dec 2014

2014 in Review - part 2 Video Games

Video Games is a tough one this year. It's the year I crossed over into the 8th generation with my XBox: One. Money was also tight until October and most of the games listed below came out after the summer.

Top 3 Games (that Dozer had fun playing)

Number 3 - South Park: The Stick of Truth

This is not the largest or longest RPG that came out this year. It was however, lots of fun. I played through it like a mad man and loved every moment of it even when the comedy had gone to far for my own personal tastes. I've been able to put down Dragon Age: Inquisition, more than once since I picked it up.

It's easy to play and fun to explore the town of South Park. Combat was simple but rewarding and only the fart mechanic was ignored until the end of the game - which in many RPG's there are lists of game systems and mechanics that I simply didn't use through the whole game. Sporting only one unused system is a feather in this games odd paper cap.

Honorable Mention: Dragon Age: Inquisition

29 Dec 2014

2014 in Review - part 1 Movies

This year the film scene has been very surprising. There were films that had tons of risk and in many cases they did well which is nice when you think about it. Voting with the almighty dollar (or whatever currentcy you use) has failed a few times in the past but I'm glad it won more than once this year.

Top 3 Films (that Dozer thinks you should watch)

Number 3 - The Hundred Foot Journey

Helen Mirran does a brilliant job and acts as the anchor for the rest of the cast who are all also brilliant in their roles. When I think of food and movies this will be at the top of that list that includes movies like Julia and Julia, Ratatouille, Tampopo, Ramen Girl, and Romantics Anonymous.

I love me foreign foods - Indian has a huge place in the Bear house. Lady Bear had been exposed to tons of non-American food and she ran with it. Now she's showing me around foods so we're exploring the worlds of taste together... wait this is about films. Back on Track.

Hundred Foot Journey could have easly fallen into the remose trap after the reason for the family's move to Europe is given. It could have been a love story between the two young and tallented chefs. It could have been a conflict of culture... it could have been lots of things but instead its all of those things. It's made like a perfect balanced meal of salty, sweet, and savoury.

Honorable Mention: Chef, and Trip to Italy

22 Dec 2014

Tis the season ... for a break

Some of my pre-loaded posts didn't make it out... some did... some got repleaced.

I was hoping to get a whole 'tis the season...' done as a holiday themed series. Until fell apart with everything else that came up.

Infinity (N3) 3rd Edition - currently reading through that and loving the direction, even if it's missing some big chunks out of one of my two favorite factions. I hope they release the updated profiles for all the Human Spehere and Campaign: Paradiso entries soon. My Terrain is getting done and my minis are up next on the block.

Video Games - Right now I've got Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquision, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed: Rogue, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero's, and Theif on the go. Not to mention my Mass Effect run - which is ready but you'll forgive it getting pushed back after what I was reading, and I want to finish up my Dishonoured DLC.

A new home - Today this afternoon me and Lady Bear will be signing the lease on a new place to rent. A new Den for us Bears and the first step to the dream ... we snaged it on a lucky find that Lady Bear found. We move in 1 Feb... so yeah... free time is now spent on packing and getting ready to move.

... on top of all those things we've had our crazy holiday schedual which will end this coming Sunday with the Axis and Allies Global Edition.

Whew...

Oh an I need to post up here and somewhere else (which is done minus the images...) so this year is ending with a bit of a whimper on this blog but in the rest of this dreamer's life it be busy.

Cheers

17 Dec 2014

Still My Dream

It was a bad year - because I stopped working on the things I wanted to work on.

Grey Matter my own RPG was one of those things that stopped.

I have a dream that I will be able to finish my own little project over the next year... that has been the dream for years now actually. Each year is another year where Grey Matter keeps ending up on the side lines.

When you're working solo on a game it can be hard.

I've got plenty of feedback from Charging Pun, Brother Bear, Pale Rider, Wolf and the odd duck here and there.

Today a week before this post comes online I saw this.

After a week of delays at the printer Corvus Belli the wee little game company (who had to seriously hire quite a few folks just to meet the demand for Operation: Ice Storm) is waiting for their product. The hard work and labour of hundreds of hours come to life in the form of a published copy. Because I've been trying to get published for a while now ... through comics, short stories, etc... this video really struck a cord with me.


So for all you folks working on something - don't stop. These folks didn't and they are finally getting the joy of seeing it done and ready for others to enjoy.

- Cheers.

12 Dec 2014

I'm sorry Tuğçe Albayrak - FU

Today I found something that upset me.

Want to make me mad? Show me this.

If you are unaware who Tuğçe Albayrak is allow me the honour.

She is a student teacher who heard cries for help from a McDonalds bathroom near Frankfurt, Germany. The two ladies (ages 13 and 16) were unable to escape the harassment by two men in the woman's washroom. She stopped the two young men and sent the men away.

Her reward was being confronted in the parking lot, where one man struck a blow to her head.

She hit the ground and entered into a coma.

Her parents took her off life support on her twenty-third birthday two weeks later.

On the frist of December this year she was laid to rest.

I hope she finds peace beyond the violence that claimed her.

... peace

Dozer

10 Dec 2014

Alt-J "This is all Yours " Review - Media

This is my second album review I still feel like I'm making shit up. Music is all about how someone reacts to the mix of beat and tone and this is how I feel about this album. So if you didn't like the last one see you next post.

Alt-J is a band from the UK that started making music quietly in a dorm room. Named after the Mac shortcut command to type a Delta Sign. They came out of the nothing to build a silent addictive storm with their awesome first studio album "An Awesome Wave" that went on to win the Mercury Prize. I started to even write a review of the first album, but when you win a Mercury Prize, you don't need a review - you're good. Literally good.

Their second album was bought for me by Lady Bear and it was very hard at first to listen to. As I do most of my music listening in the car I get one or two songs in before I'm done driving. Also my wee Honda Fit is not the most musical of sound systems.

It's taken me quite some time to develop a full taste of the album.

Well it's good. It just hard to wrap your head around. You have to listen to it and listen to it again - over and over to find all the flavor of hearing bliss locked away in each song. Lyric wise I've had to pull apart the words and found that each song is littered with awesome. From enchanting lyrics to soft washes of words to the music.

Hunger of the Pine is the first single and eighth song on the album. It builds from a beep and a warms to a soft voice. As the rest of the orchestra pipes in a soft jazz and low voice wraps around you. When the 'female rebel' is being decreed the beeps are gone and the jazz has taken over. Eventually the music once more transitions away from the jazz and into the more common feel of mixed sounds. It ramps ups to a melodic finish and a taste of melded sounds a the whole song comes rushing back as one whole entity right before the chant takes overs and ends the song.


Tied for my favorite song on the album is the one that has gotten the most play when I started listening to the album. The Gospel of John Hurt starts as a problem both in lyric and sound. The music is twisted and trying to unravel.When the calm echos of the vocals finally pull apart the song, it's laid out to the listener in a new tone and soft beat. The song puts itself back in place as the electornic highs and hard guitar lead the listener to a climactic end. It builds up slowly before a final push towards the silence at the cut.


Somewhere in a small closet Nara starts before the band breaks out and gives the listener a mix of soft guitar, piano, and drum. The beat mixes and changes step on you while the lyrics, if you listen closely to love poem, lead you away to a second song. Alt-J proves the its name by once more twisting the delta or change into a song and making it seem like it fits. The magic culminates over some roaring small bells, organ music, and choral support as Hallelujah repeats through to the end of the song.



Tied for my favorite song on the album is Every Other Freckle. A gentil follow up to Nara with a soft voice. The quiet is chased by the drums who quickly catch up to the sounds and forces the songs into a musical hunt. The lyrics are the target as the instrumental tries to cage the music. Soothingly the vocals are a source of freedom and escape. The game is one of cat and mouse emphasized by the bardic choral and pipes midway in the song providing a breather for both parties. The curtain parts when the guitar and the lyrics start to meld into a single predator leaping between sounds before pouncing on the listener with a repeating chorus that winds down for the final kill.



Alt-J brings it with its 70's rock inspired Left Hand Free bouncing from the guitar and mic. The crooning Pusher is a an odd mix of lyrics and quiet resolve. Bloodflood Pt II is a return of an old sound from the previous album reminding the audience that this is, no matter what, Alt-J.




Each song is a mix of loud and quiet with blends of colour that reaches into places that Alt-J has determined with their music to be good places. They lift you, or drag you, and sometimes they do both at the same time. The echos and languid vocals marry well with the electric sounds framed by guitars and drums.

Alt-J is here to stay.

Enjoty the ride.

- Cheers

PS. Here is the Male video (they made two - one boy, one girl) for Every Other Freckle.



8 Dec 2014

Tis the season... to gather

This holiday season, which pretty much is socially accepted as the entire month of December, is a busy one for me and the Lady Bear.

This weekend past I had work at my second job that took me out of town to Kingston Ontario while Lady Bear visited friends Bee and JRex, from my Thanksgiving post. Friends were needed and while I was going to be out of town from Friday evening on - Lady Bear left for Toronto.

Next weekend is also busy, I see a doctor about my face... no really, seriously my face. Afterwards Lady Bear and I will be off to the company fancy dancy Christmas party along side Ontos and his wife (Nickname pending sorry Ontos). Then on Sunday we have Pale Rider's event: Cooking and Playing where a few of us show the rest how to cook something, we make it, eat it and play games... start at breakfast repeat as needed until super.

Then it's followed by a family weekend: Christmas with Lady Bear's family and Vinyl Cafe with mine. Whew... wait is Christmas the next Thurs? Heck yeah it is! That means off to work for the morning while the food cooks (recipe to be posted later...), get home pack car, off to spend the eve with the Bear family. Leave the next day sometime after lunch.

That Saturday me and Lady Bear will probably be chilling open house style, playing it by ear and if folks come over hell they come over. Hot Chocolate and the Pot Belly (Our fake wood stove heater) will be on all day. That Sunday before Papa Bear leaves the following weekend will be joined by Brother Bear, Ontos, Pale Rider and myself for a massive game of Axis and Allies 'Global Edition', which is combining the second edition of Axis and Allies 1940 Europe and Axis and Allies 1940 Pacific. You get a second rule book in the Axis and Allies 1940 Europe which allows you to merge the two games together.
The combined boards of Axis and Allies 1940 Europe and Axis and Allies 1940 Pacific
close to 180cm (5.9ft) x 80cm (2.6ft)
by Wizards of the Coast 
Then we have New Years - which hopefully will be at Rocko's cottage in Quebec.

Yeah this season is for gatherings... but why am I trying to add more?

5 Dec 2014

Mass Effect 2 Journal - 06

Plot wise, Horizon is the last threshold before Mass Effect 2 is fully open to the player. All of the DLC is now open and all but one companion is available. Halfway through Act 2 (and the game) as it's referenced online, there is a sudden break before leading up to the start of Act 3 followed by the end game. This is where some of the bigger choices will start showing up as well as some of the results of choices made from the last game.

Illium

Illium Nos Astra Skyline
by Bioware
The Gateway between the Asari Republic and the Terminus Systems. Home to all manner of corporate traders, political agents, and travelers pausing between places.

Shepard has heard of Illium, two more dossiers have been dropped off at his desk: an Assassin and a Justicar can be found here. One is a killer - one of the best killers. The Justicar is the stranger dossier. Justicars are some sort of roving ancient agents of law for an old traditional Asari legal system. Shepard is hoping this Justicar, who is also a powerful Biotic, will be able to work with Cerberus or even provide a support when Cerberus turns on Shepard. Shepard is interested in filling the crew with members who will not owe loyalty to Cerberus and be willing to fight back against them once Cerberus is done with Shepard and his team.

He knows they will betray him. Two years ago he witnessed too many of the Cerberus projects that led to too many deaths. After Horizon, Shepard trusts the Illusive Man even less.

Illium also has something else...

Liara.

Right now her picture is on Shepard's desk and she is always in his thoughts. She and Shepard grew up two years ago. Both were sheltered in their respective fields, unaware of the rest of the galaxy. Together they found dark places and saw the dirt that rested outside of view. They shared a bond that grew into something else... Liara was the one who understood Shepard. She stood beside him in fire and fury. She fought her mother beside him - she lost her mother beside him.

Liara was on Illium and Shepard has been gone for two years. For him it was only a blink of time for her it will have been much longer.

So the Normandy landed on Illuim and Shepard with the assault team was greated by an Asari.

Liara has waved the docking fees and rushed access to Illium for Shepard and asked to see Shepard when he was free.

3 Dec 2014

What fun I found Today #7 - Magic

By the time this post comes up Commander 2014 will have dropped over a month ago. At the moment of writing this post I'm brain deep in a Orzhov deck. My theme is linking and mixing Deathrouch and First Strike and/or Double Strike. Winning fights by getting first and final hits. With that in mind I've come across quite a few neat cards in my search.

Also I've started to draft more - wtf is drafting?

Drafting as per Wikipedia: "In a booster draft, several players (usually eight) are seated around a table and each player is given three booster packs.[1] Each player opens a pack, selects a card from it and passes the remaining cards to his or her left. Each player then selects one of the 14 remaining cards from the pack that was just passed to him or her, and passes the remaining cards to the left again. This continues until all of the cards are depleted. The process is repeated with the second and third packs, except that the cards are passed to the right in the second pack.[1] Players then build decks out of any cards that they selected during the drafting and add as many basic lands as they choose. Each deck built this way must have a minimum of 40 cards, including basic lands."

As such I hope to be ripping open my Conspiracy box for a friendly draft and start building a Cube. A Cube is when you take you collection of cards and organize them to be drafted. You take one of each card in your collection (via a few simple formulas) put them together and mix them all up to create home made 15 card sets (like a booster pack). You then draft these packs as you would a normal draft and enjoy the night. It's a great way to put those cards of yours back into play and it gives your collection a bit of extra life.

Anyways more cards after the break -

1 Dec 2014

Tis the season...for gifts?

Today starts the season of giving - a term of which I disagree yet I've for once fallen into for the first time in a long time.

You see when I get gifts for folks I do it all year round. I find something they like and I give it to them. i.e. Julia of the Weather Vane Sisterhood is a writer and she running over the last year in a effort to become more physically healthy and happy. After reading this post I sent her a copy of Murakami's book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. He is a favorite author of mine and I've read his stuff in both English and (albeit only short stuff) in Japanese (which I'm very bad at - damn lack of practice).

I think if we find stuff we should pick it up and give it to folks when we feel the time is right. I picked up a book for CP aka Ben (Julia's Husband) a while back... over fifteen months ago. It's a gift that I hope he will like. I've yet to give it to him... it's in a postage box that I never sent. I want to give it to wanker in person and as such I've held on to it for over a year.

Second Sargeant anotehr mate of mine got me a random gift a Johnson HOT SHOT Laser Mouse - Laser Level. It's great for table top games where Line of Sight (Line of Fire) is important. I asked him about it since he is one of three tool experts I call on for tool advice (Ferrus Manus and Brother Bear are the other two). He simply bought it for me - I help him out with Computer issues, Electrical Work, AV stuff so he picked it up for me on a whim.

That's how I do buisness, I don't need a 'season'.

The Holiday season is a excuse for gifts and I don't like it.