Month: March 2015
so, it’s gradually occurred to me that a lot of my free time is spent on my iPad. Not a problem really, it’s a hobby of sorts (or several) and it doesn’t stop me interacting with the world around me (unlike a certain tunnel visioned irish woman I live with). The problem is that what I’m doing on the iPad is playing silly time consuming games with no real benefit to me, or my wellbeing or anyone else’s; instead it’s just eating into the free time and depressing me when I’m not getting other things done.
A quick overview for you of what I’ve been playing.
The simpsons tapped out and family guy the quest for stuff. Town building games based on their respective shows. A really simple comcept with a whole load of inspiration from years and years episodes. Both games start the same, the main character has destroyed the town through being himself (I won’t be doing yet another simpsons family guy comparison) and you move through levels unlocking new buildings and characters- and later skins/costumes. The Simpsons came first, and started well, moving through the main characters and locations quickly before reaching a bit of a block, with obscure characters and even original (and uninteresting) characters. It was at this bloated point, with interest in the game waning that family guy released their game. Obviously very similar but with a few refreshing changes. The biggest change for me was the sheer number of quests and missions at a time when the Simpsons had become very linear. The Simpsons responded with a clash of clans style update (because of course the best thing any big name can do is mention its main competitor right Coke?). It was at this point my interest in both game reached an all time low. More and more updates had required the investment of doughnuts or clams- or in game currency- in order to get the full experience, which I had neither the means nor the inclination to do. Had it been a normal fee (say a pound for a new character) I’d possibly have been open to picking up my favourites, yet it was a completely randomised syste, with characters costing anything from a few pounds to twenty pounds.
I kept playing, but more and more felt it was a case of going through the motions for nothing (even the dialogue was dull, the simpsons initial dialogs was witty and sharp) and one day I stopped playing, just like that.
Honourable mention at this point goes to
Sim city build it, similar but far more simplistic yet open than the others. Like the classic game you start a new town and grow from there. I did enjoy this, and regular milestones in the game unlocked new features keeping it interesting. Unfortunately it became a bit too much of a grind to keep going.
On the subject of grinding, these delightful games are let down by the simple fact that as you scale up the time required to play increases exponentially
In Star Trek trexals you build your enterprise and crew and explore space
In tiny tower you build a tower and fill it with shops and staff
In pocket planes you buy airports and operate worldwide flights.
All very enjoyable, but all essentially the same, with the same requirement of time problems.
In part two I’ll expand more upon current games, as opposed to already deleted games
so, those of you who read my blog (hundreds of you apparently) first of where are the comments? Get to it.
Second, those of you following will notice my running updates dried up. I reached a wall of sorts around the end of April and never moved on. I was on the couch to 5k and it wasn’t going all that badly, however I was ill for a week and when I went back to running I didn’t take a step back, instead moving forward. The exhaustion of that wiped me out and killed all motivation. A trip away meant I just never got going again and the summer hit and it was far too hot to run.
So now, Iv started again with a week one day one and my knees are burning, my lungs are wheezing and I’m just starting to cool down.
The plan was a brisk walk to the park (in line with the apps requirements) ahead of alternating runs and walks on the soft damp grass (60 second runs, 90 second walks) but as I reached the park I changed my mind slightly and stayed on the road, reaching the bridge over the motorway before turning back.
When the girl on the app said “2 runs left” I felt my willpower drop, I drove through the first but when I reached the final 60 second run I just couldn’t get my legs moving.
The stats don’t make a huge amount of sense to me, mostly because the stop start nature of the couch to 5k program skew everything, but it at least gives me something visual to stare at.
The next run is Wednesday (barring illness of course) but for now it’s shower time.
so, with Outlaw mimiatures Wild West Exodus Unfinished Business kickstarter running I figured it a good time to start reading the books. Having finally found a UK stockist I trust (mentioning no names) I put an order in and less than a week later the book depository have delivered the full set of books.
I was torn between starting with the first book- the Jesse James chronicles honour among Outlaws- and the first chronological book – Bastion, in the end settling for Bastion. This being focused around the holy order of man meant it would provide a background on the overall story as well as giving me an insight that I haven’t been too bothered about so far. Whilst I like the models the bulky armour hasnt grabbed me. This actually has been a recurring theme in my interest in WWX as if favoured the more ‘realistic’ elements such as the Cowboys and Indians with less interest in the aliens and mysterious warriors, but the more I play and the more I learn the other races are becoming more and more interesting to me- which can only enhance my enjoyment of the game even if it does come at a quite literal cost.
The book starts immediately with discord and disagreement between key members of the mysterious Etta of the holy order with arguments over prophecies and chosen ones etc etc, which initially had me worried it would be a standard ‘chosen one’ style story, but it quickly moved away from that into the rest of the continent and the major players within the book.
The tale was split between three major storylines (which didn’t seem to be linked even tenuously yet interlocked nicely in their pace and felt as though there were setting up a much larger story in the near future)
The primary story is regarding giovanni Varro, a street fighter down on his luck and in the wrong place at the wrong time (this would be the potential chosen one). He ends up in training to potentially join the holy order after crossing paths with an agent of the dark council.
Second to this is another down on his luck character, a railhead crew leader who’s trainline ends up massively delayed resulting in him working construction in a new town. Meanwhile the local populace is being slaughtered by something mysterious and savage.
Finally, a focus on the active agents of the holy order as they seek an audience with Abraham Lincoln. This story held the most potential (it was also the least resolved) and also provided details on why the Ulysses S. Grant model looks like this-
Overall the book was a good read with my worries of a standard prophecy plot being resolved with the alternate stories and a broad depth of detailing over so many elements of the holy order.
The book also served to resolve my issues with the holy order as a gaming faction, I love an underdog so alls good.
Next up will be the Jesse James book, which is slightly more intriguing following a small cameo appearance in bastion.
so, annoyingly the Royal Mail (again) delivered my post during the school run- the ten minutes I wasn’t in the house yesterday- and I missed delivery of this months geek box.
A quick run into town this morning and I’ve picked it up from the sorting office and torn it open.
I’d heard a few grumblings this month that the box wasn’t very good, especially considering it was an anniversary box, but tried to look at it with an open mind
The customary tshirt, very cool ghpstbusters/pacman design I like this a lot and will likely wear it tonight at the wee man club.
A doctor who novel, not that fussed but I can add it to the pile and see how it reads.
My vinyl pops so far have all made it straight onto ebay (not risking wanting to collect so many) and this one will likely follow, it’s not a vinyl pop but is essentially the same thing, except you can decorate your own.
Some kind of Spiderman action figure. One of the complaints I’d heard about this months was that it seemed they’d raided home bargains- to be honest this is exactly the kind of toy I’d expect to pick up in home bargains.
Sweets, YAY. Last months didn’t have any so double sweets this time is cool.
A doctor who birthday card, it’s marginally cooler as it has a mini comic inside, but nothing all that great really.
Everything from the box.
As I mentioned, I’d not heard great things about the box and whilst it could have been a lot worse, I kind of have to agree, it’s a little underwhelming for an ‘anniversary’ themed box. Next months the final month of my six month subscription and it’ll need to be an awesome box to convince me to renew.
So, it happened again. I didn’t finish a book. This time it wasn’t so much the book or the writing but rather the shift in approach midway through.
The problem with the story presented in The Perfect Storm by Sebastien Junger is that he’s avoided fictionalising the events after final contact with the Andrea Gail to maintain a serious piece of writing (something the film chose not to do). I have no issue with this approach, it makes a lot of sense and is also far more respectful and honest than many books written about similar disasters, the problem for me was that I really enjoyed the first hand accounts and interviews interspersed with historical events which had an impact or were similar to the events in the story. When the personal approach was lost it left a strictly academic work interspersed with hypotheticals and guesswork. Again, not in accurate or even speculative, but it became a little more a of chore to continue.
Had I been sensible and kept going then it is of course possible (or even likely) the reintroduction of actual events and witness accounts of the search efforts and aftermath of the storm would have returned again to the level o the first segment of the book, unfortunately I just couldn’t stick with the reading to get through the more laborious parts.
So, I’ve been covering the Wild West exodus kickstarter by outlaw miniatures and at the time of writing some cool stretch goals have already been hit.
The full list is here
It’s all looking good to be honest, there’s nothing there that I’m not interested in in some form. I’m a little disappointed not to see the ‘heavy’ models included in the potential plastic models, but it’s understandable given the size of them.
At the current time the following stretch goals have been reached
the first four are included free within their respective bundles, whilst Poncho Villa is the first add on.
And this is the current ‘easily’ reachable models that will be available given the current speed of funding.
So, as you may be aware I’ve been unable to avoid starting series’ of books whilst leaving others unfinished. It’s now at a point where I want to get them finished in order to move on to even more books.
These are the next in line of the series of books Iv got in my pile at the moment.
Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe. Dark Angels. One do my favourite chapters of space marines, partly because they’re clearly not as ‘good’ as they’d suggest but also because of the secrecy in which they operate as nobody knows anything until they reach trusted levels and a closely monitored revealing of the truth is allowed to them. It’s a real reminder of working for games workshop. I read the first book of the trilogy Ravenwing about 18 months ago and whilst the story has largely gone from my memory I do remember the focus being on a new member of the Dark Angels vanguard force dealing with the revelations his new position has revealed to him, whilst having to hunt down chaos marine forces and fighting Orks. I also remember a cool vision of bikes racing around a space station as the mysterious dark angel Cypher evades capture or lays a trail depending on point of view.
Men from the Boys by Tony Parsons. If you read my previous posts on Tony Parsons books you’ll know that whilst i empathised slightly with being a new dad I was outraged by the characters attitudes and bitterness. The second book was worse than the first and honestly I have low expectations of the third. I do however have a curiosity as time has moved on faster than my life has so there may be some insights for me to prepare for.
Nagash the Unbroken by Mike Lee. Warhammer fantasy books about the undead invariably follow the same plot- undead army devastates all before them before the leader is destroyed or incapacitated and everything crumbles. The first in the Nagash trilogy wasn’t much different yet I know Nagash becomes more powerful than at any point previously. Again it’s curiosity that means I’ll be reading this one soon.
The Doom of Dragonback by Gav Thorpe. Another origin of the Warhammer world, this one isn’t strictly speaking part of a series (aside from the large time of legends books) but it ties in very closely with the war of vengeance books of which Iv read two and am waiting for the third and final one later this year. These books establish the reasons for the hatred between the dwarves and elves and so are an important background to the major races of the Warhammer world.
Gotrek and Felix book 2 by William King. I’m actually halfway through this one so I suppose I should really list book 3, but as the pair have a big hand in the end times I feel it’s one of those series I need to get through sooner rather than later.
Lord of ruin by Dan abnett and Mike Lee. A Malus Darkblade book- the last of the series. Except it’s not, the end times has added a sixth (and potentially final) darkblade book, so I’m going to need to get to this one in order to read that one. So far alls gone Malus’ way- not at all as planned but he’s recovering what he needs to and has killed off a good number of his enemies at the same time, so this one will be interesting as a conclusion (even if it’s no longer the conclusion.
The Devils Graveyard by Anonymous. The anonymous books so far have been really enjoyable- the first was theBook with No Name followed by The Eye of the Moon. Known as the Bourbon Kid series there are now four books and I have the third to read. The books aren’t linked beyond a few crossover characters and locations but they’re really enjoyable.
Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton. This is the short story anthology I got from the in laws at Christmas, you’ll have seen previously Iv been working through it and have been enjoying them. I think because he’s keeping it simple by using the current world and changing minor things before exploring what that would do to society rather than attempting to create a whole new world.
Tales of the Old World by various authors. A fairly old anthology of Warhammer fantasy stories from a variety of settings. Being a large collection from a variety of authors the stories vary in content and quality but there have been some good reads in there so far. It’s interesting to read them because they’re from a time before there was any concerted effort to link stories and establish a timeline so it becomes something of a free for all with regards the themes and settings.
The Fall of Altdorf by Chris Wraight. The End Times books were a series I was resisting but I finally gave in and read the first one after seeing a few spoilers as well as knowing that the new edition of Warhammer fantasy this summer will require me to know what’s been going on if I’m to have any hope of continuing to read the books, let alone collect a new army. The first book The Return of Nagash was intense ade major characters started dying and major events in the future were alluded to, such as the fall of the imperial city of Altdorf, so the name of this book suggests we’ll be seeing some of this events first hand.
Hammer and bolter volume 2 by various authors. Similar to the Tales of the Old Times anthology this gives a selection of stories from both the Warhammer World and the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but from a slightly more recent selection meaning the stories aren’t so loose and are (mostly) written within a framework.
So I’m interested in your opinion, what should I read next?
Because of course Iv got these to get through too
So, alongside a variety of books (I have three or four on the go at the moment) and in between the various series I want to finish Iv been reading more short stories too
Night too long by James Wallis Fantasy
A really enjoyable half mystery half adventure as two detective style individuals investigate a bombing in a tavern whilst the majority of the city of Altdorf prepare for witches night. Whilst they hunt the culprits they become aware that far more gunpowder has been snuck into the city than has been used so far.
I liked this a lot, similar to some previous ones, it’s nice to see almost normal events occurring in the warhammer world, not just huge wars and daemonic incursions (though those are of course frequent too).
Grunnson’s Marauders by Andy Jones . Fantasy
After my last short story summary Gav Thorpe of games workshop fame tweeted me to inform me of the background of Grunnson’s marauders- they were the testing group for warhammer quest, so now I can read the stories with a little more understanding. The group get a quest to recover an ancient relic in exchange for all the gold they can carry. Too good to be true? Maybe.
This was an ok read, if a little formulaic- get quest, go on quest, have trouble, resolve.
the man who stabbed Luther van groot by sandy Mitchell Fantasy
This was a strange one, the man famed for killing the owner of a protection racket hires a halfling detective after recieving threatening letters. The halfling is then nearly assassinated and hunts for various criminals.
It was strange not because of the story, more for the use of a halfling, it just didn’t feel necessary or add anything to the story.
Additionally the story didn’t really go anywhere until the final page when the attempt for a twist was a bit overdone and wasted
Watching trees grow by Peter F Hamilton. Science fiction
This was a weird one- part of a short story compilation (by the same author) gifted to me at christmas by my mother in law I finally got around to it. The stories odd, it started out well with a murder in 1832. Except that it’s not 1832. It’s 1832 with the Roman Empire not having disappeared. Times moved on as has progress and technology with phones, cars and medical Labs in existence- it’s essentially modern times but with less crime and more social structure. The next few pages are dialogue- summarised transcripts of suspect interviews with some enjoyable introspection before the story jumps forward a few decades. At this point I was a little lost, but as the time jumped a few decades with each segment (and technology advancing) I just settled to enjoying the commentary on a technological society.
The ending of the story was a bit of a disappointment as a decent mystery became an aside from inventive technological advances. I did however like the creation of the world (Iv written about the trouble with this before) and the jumps allowed for a far broader setting of scenes. Additionally the use of a first person thoughtful character allowed for explanations where ordinarily there would be none.
The Talon of Khorne by Frank Cavallo. Warhammer fantasy
A bit of a background story for Scyla Anfingrimm, a Chaos army arrives in a village to recruit some marauders only to find the men away on raids in Bretonnia. The citizens of the village stand up to them and predicable are slaughtered before a single survivor informs them of the location of the legendary Scyla, a legend who has disappeared. Quite enjoyable as I knew nothing of Scyla but because I’d seen the model there was a little bit of predictability in the story.
Footvote by Peter F Hamilton. Science fiction
Another from the Christmas present from the in laws, And it was an interesting one. A genius has opened a wormhole to an earth equivalent planet and is allowing people to join him there based on certain rules and restrictions. Meanwhile a divorced couple are getting on with their lives, one struggling, the other planning to move to the new earth. The problem with one mans rules is that they inevitably are exclusivist and essentially bigoted and racist. Whilst reading the restrictions they initially made sense before becoming ridiculously over controlling, but we’re a good alternate to political processes.
A Mug of Recaff by Sandy Mitchell. 40k
A very short (two pages) story focusing on Jurgen of Ciaphus Cain fame. The chaos that normally follows the duo around has passed over Jurgens head and he’s just looking for a drink for the Commissar when he encounters a dangerous psyker. Luckily his ‘special skills’ kick in and he doesn’t need to worry. The stories not really long enough to judge but it was a good quick reminder of how obliviously useful Jurgen is.
The Faithful Servant by Gav Thorpe. Fantasy
A warrior priest awakens as the only survivor of a battle against the forces of chaos and calls out for help. It arrived in the form of a Chaos warrior who isn’t planning to kill him but to subvert his soul to the gods of chaos. This was a really good insight into a warrior priests faith as well as giving some character and voice to a chaos warrior beyond mindless destruction.
Lords of the Marsh by Josh Reynolds. Fantasy
Erkhart Dubnitz appears again in a fantasy short story escorting some trade merchants to a trade deal before pirate ambush on the Reikland river endangers them. But all is not as it seems as the most seems to be hiding something truly awful. Pretty good story, yet it felt a little too easily finished and there was no real surprise to the plot.
If at First… By Peter F Hamilton. Science fiction
A patterns establishing, Hamilton throws advanced technology into the real world and develops the themes. In this one a police detective investigates a stalking only to be told the stalked is a time traveller constantly going back in time to enhance his own knowledge. This felt like a more serious rewrite of a red dwarf episode but was still enjoyable.
so, for some reason everything went mental as I tried to use a quote box and I had to cut it short, but now I can expand upon the outlaws miniatures kickstarter: unfinished business project.
As previously mentioned it funded very quickly (being very popular) as the four new factions were unveiled.
The confederate rebellion
The Confederate Rebellion army has seen death and destruction ravage their states. Beaten by the Union during the Civil War, the leaders of the Confederate States of America have abolished slavery and joined forces with all men and women of the South. Their fight against a stronger and more advanced enemy has ignited a strong love of state and government. The CSA generals fight side by side with their men and want nothing but the complete destruction of the Union army. They use surprise assaults and gorilla warfare to even the odds against much more powerful foes. Their men and women are supplied by Dr. Carpathian Industries allowing access to deadly and corrupt weapons. Rumors of Voodoo magic and the undead fighting alongside Rebel troops have been whispered about for years.
So the beaten confederate army has become an insurgent force as well as being smart and abolishing slavery
The dark nation
Once a proud and spiritual people, the Warrior Nation has fought long and hard to keep technology out of their lands. However, the pull on its people has consumed many of their warriors, and the Dark Council has influenced even the strongest of their leaders. With the corruption spreading like a virus, the shape shifting Warrior Nation men and women become trapped in a half animal half human form left to walk the land as deformed creatures with no home. Once these proud warriors leave the guiding light of the great spirit, they are doomed to a blood thirsty life of war. Their beast and human form aide them in their battles against anyone who would dare oppose them. With weapons and technology at their side, these beasts may never be stopped.
The Golden Army
The once famous explorer Ponce de Leon and his conquistadors were subjected to a mix of Watcher blood and tropical jungle water. What they call the fountain of youth has now kept them alive for hundreds of years endlessly searching for the source. Their influence over the Mexican people and robust army has pushed them to the door step of the country’s boarder. The men of the Golden Army know of only one thing. Fight until dead or until the enemy is destroyed. This horde faction sends endless supply of men to battle. They are led and protected by the destructive weapons of the conquistadors directing them from the rear. They will soon push across the border ready to destroy any army that stands in their way.
As the portals once again open on earth, mankind has no idea what is coming. The destructive power of the Watchers will completely strip the land of all living things. The Watchers use their Alpha leaders to guide and advance their many species of aliens. Each and every member of the Watchers knows his role in their society and follow orders without question. As their enemies attempt to stop the Watchers, the Betas drain the life energy from their bodies and transport it to their Alpha leader. This transforms the Alpha during the course of any battle into an enemy that knows every move you will make before you even make it. With inhuman weapons and a thirst for human blood, they plan to wipe mankind off the planet once and for all.
What’s great about this kickstarter is that the higher the funding the more you get. The faction images here show the boss and basic troops of each force, but as the kickstarter stretch goals are reached more models will be added.
so, outlaw miniatures have finally released their second kickstarter ‘unfinished business’ which promises to add some amazing models and factions to their game.
I realise I’m a little out of order (I always am) having not done any actual game coverage beyond a couple of painting posts and a battle report but I’m so excited about this one that I couldn’t wait.
It’s funded already to stretch goals are starting to flow too
Here’s what they have to say