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    RPGs and the best of the rest, has to be interesting though these days to get a look in.
    Board games - dungeon crawlers or anything good for solo play.
    Reading history, fiction in translation, science fiction or more or less anything if stuck on the proverbial Desert Island.
    Tennis for 2 weeks a year.
    Football and in particular supporting Arsenal & Sutton Utd.

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  1. U wot mate? There is a dedicated thread with lots of rats in the title thereof...... Seriously, brilliant news, don't expect revelatory game play, just a great story and a really satisfying mechanical progression.
  2. Good news in some ways - always nice to have a HUGE autumn game. Still Pillars 2, Wasteland 3 and, hopefully, Disco Elysium for console RPG fans in the interim.
  3. Some random thoughts (apologies if already known) There are two types of scenario - those which require you to kill every monster and those which have specific objectives. Most if not all of the early ones are kill everything and these tend to take longer (in my experience). I would say allow 3 hours for one of these including set up and take down (assuming some basic prior organisation of components) because as a soloist you need to work through each move. The later ones might take much less time. You are probably running a single party of mercs ("the Gloomy Gooners" in my case) all through the game, but the composition of the party will change a lot. You may swap characters in or out of this party whenever in town between scenarios, so you can get friends to join (they won't really have missed much story wise). If playing solo that's a bit fiddly because of swapping out combat decks and equipment - it's better to stick with the same ones as they pursue a specific unique career objective, unless you really can't abide them. The career objective might be doing scenarios in a certain location, killing a number of specified enemies, collecting gold or equipment etc - once these have been completed that character formally retires and you may open a tuck box containing a new character type, or start a character of that class or of an already open class. As a soloist (or game owner for MP) you need to assign a number to each character position i.e. 1,2,3 and 4 for a 4 character party (the effect of this will become clear in due course) - I used colour coding to remember this - red, yellow, mauve and green (I don't have the skill to paint so just used some post it tabs to cover the base of the figures). The level of your characters is related to the prosperity of the city of Gloomhaven - initially you may only start new ones at level 1, but as the city prospers that level increases in tandem (you don't have to create higher level characters and in fact I preferred not to for most of the time since you need to get a feel for how to play some of the more specialist characters before knowing which higher level cards would be better). You get a certain amount of cash when you start a new character for spending on items (the number and variety of available items also increase as the town prospers). The level of the scenario is then related to the average character level divided by 2 rounded up - so you stay at level 1 until someone reaches L3. Set up time is going to be influenced by degree of organisation of the components and also gets quicker with more familiarity. I've got a bunch of nestable food containers from Morrisons and used those to separate enemy standees into broad categories and also to hold the dungeon tile overlays, enemy stands and tokens / coins. I also repurposed the main Charterstone box and Charterstone Index box to hold the dungeon tiles and small card decks (inventory, battle cards etc) respectively. You could take this further and separate everything in more detail using an appropriate container if you wanted but it's not really necessary. The fiddliest things are the enemy AI cards, 8 for each type, which tend to get mixed up if they slip out of order and that's a real pain - eventually I left them laid out around the map for my marathon session and that was ideal. I think you need to read or at least scan carefully the rules before starting out since they take you through what you need to know to play a scenario and to understand the Campaign / Casual differential (there is however lots of stuff at the back you can ignore for the moment). This is because there isn't really a tutorial mission. I think they made the first scenario fairly tricky just to get people properly awake (a bit like dying to a wolf or to the mage ambush in Baldur's gate). I know I failed it simply by burning through the more powerful one-use cards too quickly and/or getting too exposed to enemies. The best experience to carry over into this may well be from CRPGs where you encounter the same sorts of situations and the same tricks may be used. In this the enemy AI always takes them toward the nearest character, so use this to your advantage, also use the environment as best you can. There aren't any fiddly rules about damage type, line of sight, movement, inconsistent statuses etc, all of which helps a great deal (even though at times it's illogical - this is probably the only game in which you may kill a flame demon using a fireball spell) The same team roles as for CRPGs are evident here - tank, damage dealer both melee and ranged, healer, buffer and de-buffer (although not all are available initially).
  4. The Isle of Cats has turned up - very impressed by Frank West's communication and project management. Let's see what sort of a game we have here. Anyone interested in Black Sonata, winner of a prestigious Cosmic Black Hole award for solo play, there is a reprint and expansion up now https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sideroomgames/black-sonata-the-fair-youth?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=black sonata
  5. Ooze are a pain. Unfortunately you can't just ignore them in that scenario. Well, I'm done and dusted for a good long while (I do have the expansion which I will treat like an entirely new game, maybe in the summer if we have a really hot spell - for now its been packed away into the main box). My stats: 76 unique scenarios completed (80%) 7 scenarios blocked via story progression 4 scenarios blocked via event cards or reputation 5 scenarios playable in casual mode 3 scenarios playable but not attempted total 95 56/74 treasures obtained 23/24 characters retired 9/13 bosses fought. Goodness knows how many hours spent - this last manic session has seen average scenario time reduce since everything has been left ready to pick up (coffee table is the right size for the map and all the enemy cards, with the tiles and shop inventory underneath (cheers Jamie for the Charterhouse index box which houses all the small card sets), main table just right for the scenario, and player mats on chairs. Weirdly, I often dream about this game! The L3 final boss fight was fine but I made life easy by selecting a special team for the run in and the final fight, having done everything I wanted to do with careers beforehand. The brute, sun keeper, scoundrel and medic are probably the easiest characters to play in any damage dealing scenario mind. One of the sub-bosses was much more intriguing to fight than the final one since you had to bait him to move to a certain spot and then hope you could get in early enough in initiative order to land a hit before he did (because he then vanished). As it happened, they all contributed to damaging the G--- and only the medic was exhausted. Just a wonderful experience - working through the specialist class unlocks, figuring out the puzzle scenarios, working out house rules for the party (wish I had included a rest / ambush one for working off adverse road card conditions), upgrading cards, creating an efficient way to complete careers. The only weakness is the story and I've long forgotten how I came to end up with a set of rather dull global achievements. Favourite (non starter) classes, items, career and cards: I found one of the stamina based classes rather a dull dog but that was the only one, not bad going really. Would like more variation in colour of cards, plain backs for combat cards and some shield tokens included (but can nab some from S&S), but that's about all. Next up I suppose will be the Frosthaven campaign and details of content which will carry over.
  6. I seem to recall being able to play individual chapters of this - does this only unlock on completion?
  7. The third item of feedback suggests this is a fake version of the game. You could argue that so long as it is functionally complete that doesnt really matter at the price. Edit. It looks as if Gloomhaven is now available for less than £90 although I've never used or heard of the retailer (Titan games), so maybe save the £20 and put it into a GH fund? There is going to be a lite version of GH (Jaws of the Lion) released at some point this year which will be a smaller box product not using dungeon tiles at all and with 4 (I think) classes only, so as to give folk a taster of the mechanics without having all the material included in the original. However, I doubt it will retail for less than £40, such are board game prices.
  8. I reckon the humble cloak of invisibility takes the nod as the single most useful item in the game. It's certainly been used often enough by various party members, particularly when opening doors. I would also nominate the rings of power and speed. Lots of tasty one off treasure items too which have their uses depending on context . Been rereading this thread in anticipation of meeting the final boss tomorrow. My thoughts on this haven't fundamentally changed from earlier much longer posts - in comparison with other dungeon crawlers it is a role model of clarity and gameplay simplicity, and almost all the characters are interesting to play with their powers coming to life vividly via their card decks. The scenarios numbered 52 onward are worth doing because they are more puzzle orientated and all the better for that. The main weakness is definitely the story and lack of consequences to anything you did or didn't do along the way, and hopefully that will be addressed in Frost haven. Anyway, final thoughts and stats tomorrow.
  9. Yes, April or so. Pleasantly surprised to see it included here.
  10. Fables 1 and 2 are great games, really interesting ideas and bucketfuls of charm. It felt so good at the time playing something not US or Japanese centred. Also, there still aren't too many games where your character morphs appearance and prompts different reactions from the crowd depending what he/she has been up to. Both are recommended, albeit making allowances for age. 3 had some good ideas but, as is well known, development time was severely curtailed which leads to odd pacing and the BC version at least has a load of technical problems.
  11. in the middle of an up to 8 day Gloomhaven marathon - i'll post in that thread when I surface.....
  12. That new stand looks the biz. 11k attendence too. Only one to go down this year from L2 but Stevenage could be that one. You are welcome to receive Yeovil Town in exchange, but it could be Barrow or several others, impossible to predict National League results.
  13. One of those years when pretty much everything played gets on the list. GotD are rock solid and only include games finished, usually multiple times. I put Prey as number one because it is probably the single most enjoyable and clever game I've played, at least for ages. All the others have their moments too, particularly playing the great Infinite Engine RPGs on your favourite console and the novelty of having a 5 CD game downloaded onto a tablet is something I still have to pinch myself about from time to time (but apparently it's not allowed to include Baldur's gate on iOS which is odd given it's a revised version). The vote for Witcher 3 is as much for the world as the quests and story line - there is nothing which comes close to replicating the detailed activity and the inclusion of children helps greatly too with this. Game of the Year A1. A Plague Tale: Innocence A2. Greedfall A3. Control A4. Outward A5. The Outer Worlds Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else) Z1. Anthem Z2. Z3. Z4. Z5. Sound Design of the Year S1. A Plague Tale: Innocence S2. Control S3. Greedfall Visual Design of the Year V1. Greedfall V2. V3. Writing of the Year W1. Greedfall W2. W3. Gaming Format (System) of the Year F1. Xbox Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Focus Home Interactive Best Supported Game (released pre 2019) of the Year B1. Sea of Thieves Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2018 or earlier) X1. Sniper Elite 4 Best game character of the year C1. Amicia de Rune C2. de Sardet C3. Jesse Faden And the big one: Game of the Decade D1. Prey D2. Witcher 3 D3. Skyrim D4. Mass Effect 2 D5. Dishonored 2 D6. Assassins Creed Odyssey D7. Forza Horizon 3 D8. Divinity Original Sin enhanced edition D9. Inside D10. Dragon Age Inquiisition
  14. Sutton Utd 3: Yeovil Town 2 Don't know how this came across on the box but very pleasing indeed on the ground. Both Yeovil fans and players were well mouthy. Team of giants playing industrial football, frankly the Fl are welcome if they are successful. Time wasting cheats. We on the other hand are on something of a roll at the moment - I make it 7 undefeated in the league. Also in that run at least a couple of GOTY contenders in recent matches - check out Bugiel's volley from outside the area in the first minute v Woking on Boxing day as well as the flowing team move v Wrexham. Nothing special about our goals today though. I think there were even a few ground hopping neutrals there today - not a common sighting - I stood next to a man with a decoy duck for a time. Next up the return v Woking and then a long gap before the next home game.
  15. I'm not sure, partly because segregation was dropped and many of the reduced Wrexham contingent retreated to the bar before full time. However, we played extremely well for once - you helped us to do so by also playing or trying to play good football and not disrupting play with industrial tackles and feigning injury, and we didn't concede that all important first goal. We lost Harry Beautyman and our skipper to the aftereffects of a mid week car crash (not serious thankfully) but we seem to have found a good upfront combination at long last in Omar Bugiel and Tommy Wright. It was an open game and easy on the eye. Our second goal was a real team one and needs to be seen again - from defending we made 5 or 6 passes upfield and scored. The penalty was a bit rash and it perhaps put a gloss to the score, although in the first half your keeper kept you in it with several good saves.
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