"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin

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Current WWE mainstream programming (Raw and Smackdown, and the PPV’s) have effectively booked themselves into a corner. This isn’t a big problem when the execution is great (such as Omega vs Jericho), but the execution here is also incredibly poor. It is like going to see a predictable movie that is acted poorly and has poor special effects.

For examples of this, we can just look at the ever popular Roman Reigns. For the last year, everyone knew he was going to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. This led to Brock going from an unpredictable beast to having formulaic matches burying Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman. If WWE gave up on the dream of having Roman dethrone the beast, then they could have used Brock to build other people’s stars up. It is similar with Reigns pointless intercontinental title reign devaluing the belt.

Away from Reigns, it is no better. Did people ever think that we would be put in a situation where people like Nakamura, Balor, and Owens would actually need to be built up. Zayn and Owens have won barely any matches since becoming a duo, so what was the point of that. Nakamura has been damaged by the Jinder Mahal experiment and being fed into RKO’s. And Balor has been buried and should seek a release from the company to build his star up somewhere else.

It is all the same. It is either 50:50 booking, predictable bookings, or things being done illogically and with no thoughts beyond getting ratings for the night. Asuka vs Jax is coming up and, instead of being there first match with a feud around it, it is a repeat of a match they gave away. Similar, Jax was shoved into a love-tryst-thing with Enzo as a knee-jerk reaction to the body-shaming rumors. Oh, and Triple H is part of the Shield despite a blood feud with Seth Rollins.

All up, WWE seem to have set themselves up in a corner. Wins and losses don’t really mean anything anymore, they devalue their major stars and championships, and seem to do things as knee-jerk reactions. They have a roster and talent that is the best in the world, and yet NXT consistently outdoes them with a roster of nobodies. Yet even that talent which is built up is wasted, but that is another issue.


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Solo Board Gaming vs Solo Activities

I have recently been playing more solo board games. In fact, I have even brought games with the purpose of playing them solo. For the most part, they have been good. However, I do enjoy solo gaming, and one of the key features of this is a win/loss condition.

Solo activities, on the other hand, I find boring quickly. Some games I have tried recently (such as La Granja and Feast for Odin) were definitely more on the activity side. I have no interest in constantly trying to better my score, instead wanting a clear goal and some antagonistic AI to fight against.

On the other hand, games that give an AI to play against, good choices and clear win/loss conditions have been very fun to play. In particular, games such as Adventuria. I also like a game that you can set-up and pack-up in a short time by yourself, as it highlights one of the strengths of solo play (low downtime and faster pace, normally).

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Pokemon: XY Thoughts

So I have been binge-watching a fair bit of Pokemon: XY lately. This has been a combination of me getting back into the game and trying to see what is happening with the Pokemon series. All in all, it was not impressive.

The thing that stood out most for me is how much the battles have fallen. It seems like it is so easy to command a Pokemon to “dodge” incoming attacks that it reduces allot of the tension in the show. It also makes Pokemon battles a chore to sit through, as rather than smart tactics you just having people yelling dodge several times an episode.

I also feel that they should let Ash go as a main character. After all his battle experiences and things he has achieved, it is hard to believe that random people can challenge him anymore. Not only that, but people who have only trained hard for a month or so.

The final bad point is that is a feel good show now. People don’t lose or take losses seriously. People may train for a bit and then they will be the equal of a gym leader or Ash. Team Rocket is the same: they do some really bad things and nearly kill allot of people but they just blast off and take no consequences. And it is grating to see them show up and interrupt the story.

All in all, it feels like the Pokemon series needs a bit of an overhaul. Not so much the concept, but maybe a new character, less Team Rocket, and more interesting points. But hey, at least it isn’t dark and gritty.

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Here are some recent songs that I have added onto my playlist:

All of the Lights (Kayne West)- I generally like duets and I like the powerful beat on this one. I also love the part where he just starts listing off different types of lights, although it has nothing to do with anything.

Green Light (Lorde)- I remember this song being everywhere and I really liked it. THen I kind-of forgot about it. Now it is definitely on my list and benefits greatly from the hiatus.

Whatever it Takes (Imagine Dragons)- They added some rap verses to there main songs. Although the lyrics are a bit preachy, it still is a song that hits the right notes for me.

Dusk Til Dawn (Zayn and Sia)- Sia adds just enough flavor to Zayn to make it feel much better than his normal songs. Otherwise this feels like just another love song, except when it jumps between genres (pop-opera, soprano, etc.) in the chorus’.

I Want You Back (Jackson 5)- An oldie but a goodie. I think this is the only song of the Jackson 5 that I like. A catchy tune with some good vocals means this comes back onto my list.

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Favorite Foods: Dumplings

Here are a few reasons why dumplings are one of my favorite foods:

Variety: Dumplings come in allot of variety. Different fillings as well as different types of cooking give different tastes. Not to mention the addition of sauces.

Cheese: Most dumplings are only made better with some melted cheese, either in them or on top of them.

Mashed in a Skin: The filling all blends together in a nice mash-up of different flavors. It is kind of like a taste explosion after you get through the skin.

Portability: Unused dumplings can easily be taken with you as leftovers. The caveat here is that they lose some taste being reheated.

Cooked, Not Premade: Most good dumplings are made and cooked (to some degree). This makes them nice and not having allot of preservatives.

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Anticipated Board Games (2018)

To round out the 2018 list-a-thon, here are some of the games that I am anticipating in 2018:

Mythic Battles: Pantheon- Technically this is cheating as it arrived a few days ago and looks great. There are a bunch of different play-modes from skirmish to co-operative one-vs-all type scenarios.

Founders of Gloomhaven- Based sorely on Gloomhaven, I am hoping a more straightforward euro-type game with a story will highlight a few less weaknesses of the system.

The City of Kings- This looks like Gloomhaven, but based more on a Total War style formula as opposed to Diablo-esque campaign. Sign me up (and it is another big box, sigh).

Sine Tempore- I didn’t end up backing this, but it looks cool (taking the time action system from Dragon and Flagon and adding in a co-operative scenario-based game around it.

Clash of Rage- Similar to Sine Tempore, I really love the customising of your units in a war game. I didn’t back it but am hoping it is good (and I have so many wargames I don’t play already).

Swords and Sorcery Expansions- Probably my favorite pure dungeon crawl at the moment, this should add more variety and different missions.

Scythe: Rise of Fenris- Well, of course. There are also other expansions (Millenium Blades, etc.) that should be good.

Empyreal: Spells and Steam- This has me with the theme alone (magic railroads). Level 99 has never left me down.

Too Many Bones- The Kickstarter should be coming along with the Undertow expansion. Really looking forward to this one. Similar to Roll Player as well.

Rise of Tribes- This game looks really pretty and has some neat dice-play. It has also piqued the interest of my partner so should be easy to get to the table.

Cavern Tavern/Rise of Nobility- Arriving as a Kickstarter package, these look really good ameri-thrash euro games.

Hand of Fate Ordeals/Smiths of Winterforge- More for the company (Rule and Make) than the actual games, these are the first big-box type games I am getting from them. I think Smiths will be fine but Hands of Fate looks a bit concerning.

The Kings Guild- A Kickstarter that I grabbed an early bird and then forgot to look into it too much more, I am curious about this game and think it may be fortune that I kept it (as I was going to probably cancel it with the plethora of Kickstarters).

So they are the games I am looking forward to the most. I have noticed allot of them are Kickstarters. This is because they seem to care about hyping and promoting games allot more than publishers (probably because they rely on hype allot). There are some other games I am anticipating but I don’t have much hope of them actually releasing in 2018.

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10×10 Board Game Challenge

So this year I have decided to do a 10×10 board game challenge. I set the rules for myself that the game has to have been played 3 or less times and it is at least 30 minutes in length. I also thought it felt like cheating if I put games on that I know I will play 10 times (Gloomhaven, Kingdom Death Monster, etc.) as I think this list should encourage me to play games that I have struggled to get to the table.

The games I have decided to put on the list are as follows:

  1. Vikings Gone Wild- A deckbuilder that mixes a fixed market with a sliding market as well as including attacking that is only beneficial for you (unless your opponent also hoards resources). It is also has a solo-able mode which should make it easy to play if it doesn’t get to the table.
  2. Order of the Gilded Compass- It is like if Las Vegas got some worker-placement mechanics. Only played this once but really enjoyed it. Have also taken it to game nights constantly but never makes it to the table, so it might be tough.
  3. Vengeance- A new game about a revenge-flick that is dice drafting and tactical movement. It also has a solo variant which is meant to be quite good.
  4. Flatline! A Fuse Aftershock Game- A timed dice allocation game. I played this once at the end of 2017 solo and it was really fun (although it just makes the 30 minute time allocation). I am hoping it is a hit at games nights.
  5. Asking for Trobils- Another game that I have yet to play a full game at and seems to have trouble getting out at game nights. It has recieved high accolades and it is easy to understand so it should be easy to push.
  6. Seasons- One of my grail games that I finally got. Now I just have to relearn the rules and get it to the table.
  7. Islebound- A Red Raven game that seems simple. Picked it up at a good price but never had a chance to play it. It has also recieved high accolades.
  8. Mistfall- A game I plan on playing mostly solo, especially with the expansions (as they change the game allot). I really like the hand management aspect but it is always so long between plays I always have to relearn the rules.
  9. Cry Havoc- A game that just fit in to my play limit. I am also getting the expansion soon so am looking forward to some of the changed. Narrowly beat out Kemet and Cyclades for this spot.
  10. Millenium Blades (for now)- It narrowly beat out Exodus as I already have a NSKN game on it. The expansion is solo-able, which helps. This may be beaten out by some incoming Kickstarters, though (Kitchen Rush, Legendary Creatures, Empires of the Void 2). However, it is also more unique than any of those games. And knowing Kickstarters, they may come late enough to be for next years list.