Fake New Year’s Eve

Every year my D&D group has a tradition of gathering together for New Year’s Eve and playing games all night long until we fall asleep when the sun comes up on the New Year.

As we got older it became a little inconvenient to hold this event on New Year’s Eve itself as many of us had other parties that we wanted to go to on the coveted night of December 31st.

So we changed when we held our party to whatever was most convenient for us! This year it was on December 27th to 28th. We were unfortunately forced to choose between one of our friends from San Diego and one from San Jose in who could attend as they had opposite schedules of availability. We ended up choosing the San Diego friend as we see him less often with an additional gathering at the San Jose friend’s house on January 3rd.

After greeting each other with hugs we started the night off with a game of Pirateer where we collect treasure and booty. We moved on to a game of Brittania that lasted… 6 hours. Quite long for a game that is supposed to last 2 hours. Brittania is a Risk-like game that simulates all the invasions of Britain from the Romans to the Normans. It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes it takes FOREVER.

After that we got some pasta for dinner (at 11:30PM) and played a few fast games of Tsuro. This was a new one for me. It’s kind of like the old video game Snake where you don’t want you guy to go off the edge. You have tiles that you lay down in front of your token as you move around a 6-6 map. The tiles decide where you go and also where any of the other players go once they touch that tile. You try to get your opponents to crash off the edge of the map while keeping room for you to continue playing tiles until the board is full.

Next up was a drinking version of Liar’s Dice. That’s the game they play in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie where they bet on how many dice are underneath each person’s cup. In the movie they only play one round, but in our version we play several rounds. If you lose one round, you take a die out from your cup and roll with one less die. You lose the game if you lose all your dice. You can probably guess how we added in a drinking game aspect to Liar’s Dice. Whenever you lose a round, take a drink. When you lose all your dice, finish your drink.

We played Resistance which is a Mafia-like game. The game’s complexity isn’t in the roles like in Town of Salem, but more in how information is gathered. We had five people playing and with five people there are three Resistance members and two Spies. The Resistance wants to complete three out of five missions. I was one of the two Spies and our goal was to sabotage three out of five missions.

If a Spy goes on a mission they can choose to sabotage it or not. Everyone votes on proposed teams for each mission and the Resistance attempts to figure out who the Spies are by seeing which missions failed and who was on the missions that failed. Meanwhile, the Spies sow strife and discord amongst the Resistance by spreading misinformation and lies. I’m quite good at that so my Spy partner and I won.

At some point we played a little bit of Hearthstone and unlocked the Fireside Gathering card back. It’s awesome and I love it, even though I lost all three matches I played to get it.

We went to sleep around 4:30. I woke up at 8:30 and everyone else was up again around 10. We ate some hot breakfast and moved on to the last game of Fake New Year’s, Zombies.

Zombies attempts to simulate most zombie movies. The hordes are coming and you and your friends either have to eliminate the zombie threat or make it to a helicopter and get out of town. We play with a lot of house rules that usually result in everyone dying to the zombie hordes. This time only I died early on in the game. Four other people would have made it to the helicopter, but my Spy partner from before tripped someone to stall the zombies. The tripped person valiantly fought off the horde against his will and bought time for the other three to escape.

We ended the game extravaganza and headed back home. A great night of fun for everyone (except the San Jose friend who couldn’t make it)!

-Mister Ed

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Annie Movie Review

Annie Movie Poster

I went to see the new Annie movie recently with my wife. She’s a big fan of one of the previous movies, the 1982 Columbia Pictures version.

As my wife’s a fan of the 1982 version we spent most of our time comparing the new 2014 movie to the older one.

There’s some rather obvious changes they made to adapt the movie to the modern world.

The original was set during the Great Depression with Daddy Warbucks earning his money by selling weapons. The new movie replaces Warbucks punny name with Will Stacks and his stacks of money he earned from his mobile phone company.

Annie used to be in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. Now she lives in foster care with four other kids.

Roosevelt is removed from the movie. A political element is still present as Stacks is running for mayor. He takes over Annie’s foster care as a PR move for his campaign instead of the nonspecified reason that Warbucks does in the first movie.

A few of the songs are missing, but the originals are joined by a few new ones such as “Opportunity” which you can hear on Youtube.

The song performances themselves are good with the exception of Cameron Diaz who plays the evil foster caretaker, Miss Hannigan. “Easy Street” and “Little Girls” are much worse than their 1982 versions, but how could anybody compete with Carol Burnett and Tim Curry?

The new Rooster character is a lot creepier than how I perceived the Tim Curry’s comical performance. I’m unsure if that was a decision made by the director or just that when the character is updated for a modern audience his creepiness comes out in a way that I can appreciate.

The movie has a few problems with lip syncing which is… odd. You’d think that’d be something they could’ve worked out by now with software.

There’s tons of other new additions to update the movie, Annie has a Twitter account run by her fans for example. There are still plenty of homages and jokes to please people like me who liked the original. If you enjoyed the 1982 Annie then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this new version as well. Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx are just as cute as Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney.

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

Another transitionary period post where no major events really happen, but there’s plenty of minor events! The Bwarloran Dwarves are kicked out of Halusho Forest, but they haven’t been a major player since they created the Hobgoblins. We do have the creation of Proaxium which will come to play a large role in future events (The Profiteers play a role in those events as well). I was the one who had the idea for Proaxium because previously there was no single location identified as a center of knowledge. Najar and its associated cities have a good school system, but Proaxium is the place to go for advanced education. And of course the Hykman League is growing.

Another thing to notice in this post is the drastic reduction in time scale. I’m only able to cover a 5 year period in the post because events get closer together in the third age of Dawn of Worlds and because we started to have more interesting events to fill those years.

699 NA: Trade relations expanded over the new human world. Allies and enemies were quickly made and lost as every city and organization vied for control of the old Empire. A new organization splintered off from the shadowy Brotherhood of the Living Immolation. This new organization, the Frugal Profiteers, sought to control all wealth within the Maw. They no longer cared about the resurrection of Navillus or the Najar Empire. All that mattered to the Profiteers was power. The Profiteers secretly bought up many of the mercenary companies used in the wars between the human cities. They installed Profiteer members as the leaders of the mercenaries and awaited the right time to strike.

The Merfolk and Bwarlor dominated the sea trade network that established itself across the Maw while the Hykmans controlled the Eastern Maw’s land trade and slowly worked their way into the sea trade.

700 NA: The Metal Dwarves sensed that the Shadow Lord had been shut away in his tomb. They read through the Books once more, searching for what they must do. Perhaps now the world was ripe for civilization. The Dwarves edited portions of the Book to recognize threats from outside the normal cycle. They would have to do things differently this time and they hoped for better luck in the next cycle.

The Metal Dwarves set up an outpost to teach the world the Dwarven way. Using their vast ingenuity, they built a stone island paradise in the mouth of the Maw, south of Cyflenwi. The Kenracktopar resurfaced from their ancient isolation and built schools, roads, and aqueducts aplenty upon the new land. The island and the city of great learning built upon it were known as Proaxium.

The Merfolk, upset by this brazen annexation of their land in the Maw, sent delegates to the Dwarves to resolve the matter peacefully. The Dwarves stalled the delegates with regulation, fanciful tours of Proaxium, and, if all else failed, bribes.

In the Upper Maw, the wars between the cities continued with Syluk often gaining the upper hand.

701 NA: The Hobgoblin population constantly grew. There was no real organization, only constant pressure outwards. Ancient magic protected Crodolan, The Homestone Bridge was warded, and the sea and the mountains surrounded the Hobgoblin tribes. The only open place to destroy was Shianosoth. More and more Hobgoblins began congregating around the city and eventually they came smashing down upon it. The Bwarloran Dwarves attempted to control the Hobgoblins with pleas of fraternity and alliance against the Metal Dwarves, but their cries went unheeded. The city was burned and looted. Few Bwarloran Dwarves escaped the destruction.

703 NA: After seeing the mercantile benefits of the Hykman League firsthand, the Elves of Rotandean joined the League. They built a beautiful forest garden paradise within Hykma to celebrate their new friends. The Elven Gardens became the center of commerce and politics within Hykma and by extension for all the Eastern Maw. However, this was only for the upper class. The lower class cultural center remained in Domicilius. Class tensions heightened after the building of the Gardens. The poor saw the picturesque trees and waterfalls as a symbol of wealthy oppression.

Despite repeated requests from Hykma to join the League, Farpoint continued to remain independent of the Hykman League, maintaining their own laws, culture, and army.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 22

GVG Latest Cards

After playing with the new Goblins Vs. Gnomes cards in Arena I’ve determined some of the better ones.

First up! Bomb Lobber!

Bomb Lobber

While the Bomb Lobber has absurdly low stats for its cost, the battlecry is just insane. In Arena the 4 damage is basically guaranteed to kill a minion.

And after the battlecry the Bomb Lobber can still trade with most 2 or 3 cost minions.

So let’s say you play the Bomb Lobber. His battlecry destroys something. Then next turn you attack and he takes out a 2/3 minion of your opponent’s. THEN you hit him with the Recombobulator!

Recombobulator

This one’s kind of complicated, but the Recombobulator changes a Bomb Lobber into any other 5 mana cost minion card. Could be a Spectral Knight. Could be a Stranglethorn Tiger. It can even be class minions such as a the towering colossus that is the Shaman’s EARTH ELEMENTAL! Now the Bomb Lobber that already created a card advantage of two for you is a 7/8 with taunt.

Recombobulator is insane in decks with strong battlecries. I suspect a nerf incoming on the Recombobulator so that his target is random like Tinkmaster Overspark. If he’s kept as is… People might start playing Nerub’ar Weblord to counter the battlecries.

And the final card I’d like to talk about isn’t necessarily good in Arena, but it is hilarious. I present to you, Fel Reaver!

Fel Reaver

So 5 mana for an 8/8 puts it in competition with the other giant cards. Fel Reaver is different because it’s ALWAYS discounted.

But it comes with a penalty. A pretty significant one at that. Usually within two or three turns of playing him you will be out of cards.

Fortunately, Fel Reaver does not actually draw you cards, so the activation of its effect by itself will not deal you fatigue damage, but it does put you on a timer with just the cards in your hand to beat your opponent with.

The card has mixed performances. I put together a deck to try it out and uploaded the games to Youtube with the title Fel Reaver Concept. You can check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. I like the card a lot, but is it competitive? We’ll have to wait and see.

-Mister Ed

Goblins vs. Gnomes

With Bouncy, Flouncy, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun!
With Bouncy, Flouncy, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun!

The new Hearthstone expansion, Goblins Vs. Gnomes, comes out on Monday and I’m super excited!

If you’ve been keeping up with Hearthstone news then I’m sure you heard that the new expansion has two themes, mechs and randomness.

Blizzard has been releasing preview cards over the last few weeks such as these beauties:

Blingtron 3000Mechwarper

 

Blizzard is also giving everyone a free test run of the cards in Hearthstone’s Arena format. Everyone gets a free Arena run! The GVG cards are mixed in with the older cards, just like they did with Naxxramas.

I did my free run today and drafted a rush style mech warlock deck. The Mechwarper up there was a key part of the deck.

In one match I went up against a Priest. I coined out Mechwarper on my first turn along with another 1 mana cost mech that was reduced to 0 mana. The next turn I dropped a Harvest Golem for only 2 mana. Then I dropped this bad boy on turn 3:

Piloted Shredder

And after Turn 4 my opponent surrendered. Mechs are crazy!

The GVG set is also introducing a few new cards for the pirate, demon, and beast tribes such as:

Ship's CannonMal'Ganis

The new warlock legendary looks insane. I’m not sure it will be enough to make demon decks viable, but there were a few other demon cards that might make it work. You can check the cards out for yourself at Hearthstone Gamepedia

Before you get all excited to play on Monday I should remind/warn you. Blizzard has a tendency to announce that an expansion will come out on a specific date and then release it at 11:59PM Pacific time on that day and still claim they released it on time. This is technically true but it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Anyways! Lots of new cards to try out! Fun to be had! Even a new game board to mess with which includes an aimable lazer gun that you can shoot your opponent with, a rocket, bombs, and a transmogrifier! Sweet!

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

And the new world begins taking shape. Hykma becomes a commercial center, the Najar Empire officially disintegrates, and the Dwarven Curse on the Bwarlor wears out. The Bwalor are finally able to start a civilization that could rival other nations in power. This is symbolized by the expansion of the previously small city of Balkus into a large port stop in The Maw.

We also see the Hykman League forming which will become similar to the Delian League of ancient Greek history. Cities will join, but then be forcibly prevented from leaving.

652 NA: The Twins, Alixria and Alrdia, the wiliest of the old Najaran Quintet, saw their chance for prosperity alongside Cynelle. In the days of old Najar they had been shining jewels reduced to a dull glean by long centuries of toil, war, and occupation. Now, they too renounced Navillus and declared themselves free of the old ways.

664 NA: The flame of Najar had been extinguished but many of her people yearned for the days of comfort beneath an imperial banner. An exodus from the great valley and the cities of Old Najar began, traveling east, then south down the Lower Maw towards the majestic city of Hykma, untouched by war and turmoil. With her help, refugees settled in the fork north of the Tonsil and build a new city, The Hearth, to house the culture and history of old Najar. Battered by centuries of turmoil, they too embraced peace and extended an olive branch to the mixed city of Farpoint where, removed from the turmoil of the great valley, Najaran and Dwarven kind had melded into a peaceful order.

666 NA: The Rana, almost overwhelmed by the influx of battered and tired refugees into their region, rose to the occasion. First, they constructed a place to house their great sages and the great spawning pools from whence all Rana come. On their great lake they built Pulchrito, an amphibious city of immense beauty, peace, and serenity. With their own affairs in order and under the guidance of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, the Rana built another city, Domicilius, to the northeast, where the river splits. It was a good place, a bastion for all folk fleeing the horrors of the north and the monsters of the southern jungles.

679 NA: The city of Hykma, a refuge for the princes of old Najar and those that could sail to her shore, swollen by an influx of wealth, history, knowledge, and culture, expanded in extravagant majesty. Long friends with the Rana and happy to welcome their neighbors, both Elven and Najaran, she became a radiant gem on the coast of the Lower Maw, and in time, the capital of a new alliance between her, The Hearth, Pulchrito, and Domicilius. The new alliance was bestowed with the name, The Hykman League. Invitations were extended to Rotandean and Farpoint as well.

691 NA: The Dwarven Curse upon the Bwarlor finally ended. Only a few Bwarlor still gave birth to Dwarven children. The Bwarlor rejoiced. With trade revived on the Maw and an end to much of the turmoil of the previous wars, the Bwarlor looked to their own isle. New wealth began to congeal and soon a new city grew up from the towns. Balkus was born, a mighty port and a safe haven for those crossing the treacherous Maw.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21