surrealcouchuniverse

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


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7 Wonders- Over-rated?

I recently watched the Dice Tower list of over-rated games, and 1 game that kept showing up was 7 Wonders. They seemed to focus on the game being about card-drafting and how more card drafting games have come up. However, I feel this ignores the biggest strengths of 7 Wonders.

In effect, the card drafting is a way to keep the play time down (with simultaneous play) in order to effect the civilisation building. And this civilisation building, particularly around the escalation between ages (Age 3 cards score more points than Age 1, but Age 1 are the foundation cards). Games like Fairy Tales and Between 2 Cities use a similar card drafting but without this escalation, they tend to feel quite dry quite quickly (despite playing quickly).

Other games could learn how they can use a mechanic like card drafting to keep play-time down while still providing a full civilisation game. This includes things like tech-trees, game escalation. Instead, allot of drafting games I play tend to be doing the same things from beginning to end. In conclusion, I don’t think 7 Wonders is over-rated but is really good and appealing for what it does, appealing as a gateway game and a heavier game (especially with some of the expansions).


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Movies: 2015-2016.

Well 2015 was certainly an interesting time for movies. In allot of ways, some of the big blockbuster franchises had to prove that they still had it. For Marvel, this was in the same year that had arguably their weakest movie (Avengers: Age of Ultron). So what is there to look forward to in 2016.

The answer is allot of sequels/movie continuations. We have 2 movies where we mainly get hero vs hero (Civil War and Dawn of Justice) that are both shaping up as… well, something. The Civil War trailer is awesome, the Superman trailer looks like it is just as much of a mess as Man of Steel (Mama Kent telling Clark to not save anyone).

Beyond this, there is a bunch of other superhero movies coming out that are all slightly different genres. Deadpool looks like it will be a gag that runs far too long after 10 minutes and Age of Apocalypse looks like another step backwards since First Class (and the much more messy but still passable Days of Future Past).  Doctor Strange is unknown at the moment, but it may be an interesting divergence from the Avengers. My predictions is Strange will be fighting for an infinity gem.

Despite this, I hope all the above movies are good. The super-hero movies are all different themes (and genres as well, I think, from spy-style fugitive type movies to big hero actions bashes and comedy) that I don’t think burnout will happen soon. Beyond superheroes, Zoolander 2 I remain cautious about.

Two movies I feel much more unreservedly excited about are Jungle Book and Nice Guys. Nice Guys looks awesome, full stop. Jungle Book will either be awesome or it will fail spectacularly (in my opinion). I don’t think there is much of a middle ground for it.

Two movies I feel decidedly unexcited about are Kung Fu Panda 3 and Star Trek. Star Trek lost me at Into Darkness, perhaps for awhile again now that Star Wars looks like it has proven it knows what made the original trilogy great (mostly by just ripping off allot of elements but with subtle spins on them that will probably pay out more later on). Kung Fu Panda 3 looks like some funny gags and should be entertaining but not nearly to the level of Kung Fu Panda 1.

Those are my thoughts on the 2016 movies that are coming out. This has been just off the top of my head so I am sure I have missed a bunch of more obscure movies that I would be excited about. Now time to do 100 top 10 lists before they become irrelevant.


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New Clash of Clans Update- Quick Thoughts

So the new Clash of Clans update is here. And it seems to be primarily for high-level players and seems to be a bad thing for the way I am playing the game as I build myself up.

With the introduction of Town Hall 11 and the Grand Warden Hero and Eagle Defense, it makes powering to this level all the more attractive. They have removed ways to keep your resources safe (exposed Town Halls) to try and encourage more raiding, and now your win bonus is tied to your bonus. Although the 100% war win bonus has gone up, now I have to deploy more of my army to get the war win and will not get as high a war win bonus.

So more troops means more wait between training my army. Attacking through a shield is a good thing, so offsets this a bit. At least Supercell tried to shake up some of the Clash of Clans formula, but it is once again aimed at Gemmers (unsurprisingly). It will be awhile before I notice more than having Town Hall 11 players constantly 3-star me.


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New Songs in My Playlist

Here is a collection of some of the new songs that have made it into my playlist over the last couple of weeks:

1. Hello: Adelle’s latest song is a song I doubt I would’ve have liked from most other artists. However, this song has such a powerful contrast I can’t help but like it.

2. Downtown: Macklemore’s latest song reminds me of Thrift Shop. A good song, but reliant too much on a comedy gimmick. I like it, but I hope he follows up with another song akin to Can’t Hold Us Down which is a bit more timeless. The music video is great for this.

3. Cake by the Ocean: A song that has a nice build to a chorus. It seems to mesh several different type of pop-song together from the lyrics to the bridge to the chorus, but makes it work (barely, though). The first time I heard of DNCE though.

4. Sugar: A song I liked got remade (sort-of). I still like it and think the new version is distinct enough from the old version. Robin Schulz added a nice poppy beat to an otherwise forgettable song.

5. Lay It All On Me: Rudimental made Ed Sheeran sound nothing like Ed Sheeran. The result is quite a party beat for a love song that once again makes it much less boring.


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Board Games and Computer Games

Both computer games and board games have good things to offer. I guess the main thing is what sort of experience you are after at the time.

Board games are great to get to meet a bunch of people physically. Also, due to set-up time and actual physical components, I always found it easier to get invested in a board game where quitting is harder. And once you have a board game, you can normally play it at any time at a moments notice.

Computer games are fun to play if you are more a solitary gamer. They are also much easier to organise, often not requiring specific nights or geographic proximity to play multiplayer with friends. Extra variety is also great, with mod’s for games and custom maps often giving games new life after they have been around for awhile. And if you don’t like a game, you can switch at a moments notice.

So which one wins for me. If I have a choice, I normally go for board games. However, due to the convenience of computer games, I often play more computer games (as I don’t tend to have a choice due to availability and timeframes). Also, if I feel like trying something new, computer games make it much easier (from both a convenience and financial perspective).


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Game Themes and Lords of Waterdeep

I was recently playing the Lords of Waterdeep board game and just couldn’t find myself getting into it. I am normally big into game themes and realised that the main problem is I didn’t feel like a Lord of Waterdeep. It just felt like I was pushing cubes around instead of directing what the cubes are meant to represent- Adventurers. Also, for controlling adventurers, their is very little conflict or attacking (outside the euro-game thing of blocking actions). I would have really been more into this game if they used meeples or shaped tokens as opposed to different colours of cube for wizards, fighters, etc. Giving  the option to attack other players would have also helped. As it stands, I don’t think the mechanics or the game is strong enough and the theme not really good enough to make it a must-play for me.


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“Kenichi- The Mightiest Disciple” Anime Thought

Kenichi is a series that started well. However, due to the law of the hierarchy of bad guys, the anime does lose something towards the end that it had at the beginning.

Kenichi is a story of a bullied kid who goes to train under a bunch of crazy martial arts masters to become the strongest. His growing skills also earn the attention of the delinquents and local gangs determined to show that they are stronger or to beat him. At the beginning, you see him learning and using various techniques to beat different styles (i.e illegal moves to beat a club-fighter in a street-fight). It is done in a tongue in cheek style with the crazy masters and how they treat him providing much of the entertainment.

However, towards the end, the fights devolve into dragon-ball style most times. To show how good a new guy is, they have punches and defences just flashing around with no clear detail around technique. Also, outside of the callous masters, the serious parts with Kenichi often fall flat. There is only so many times he can man-up over the same thing that can be presented before boredom sets in.

Overall, Kenichi is good, but the early season is definitely much better than before the anime ends. Not sure if the manga has the same problem.

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