surrealcouchuniverse

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


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Orcs Must Die Board Game- Initial Impressions

So I finally had a chance to sit down with Orcs Must Die to play through it a couple of times. So far my first impressions have been pretty positive but there are definitely some negative things that temper it.

I have only played the vanilla game so far so haven’t had a chance to use Bosses or the Critter Pack, but the game is pretty fun. You have to balance immediate defense with long-term gain and more expensive upgrades. Your heroes progress with their upgrades, attacks and special abilities while minions pour in. Everything is scaled, with Tier 1/2/3 cards all being separated…

… Except for the army cards. The army cards are all random so you are at the mercy of these. For a 20-30 minute game (like Pandemic), not a problem. However, if you don’t get enough minions early and  large minions later, you don’t earn enough to upgrade and kill them. I am not sure how this didn’t come up in playtesting, but having scaled army cards or at least even cards would be good (as the minions auto-scale between rounds). My solution would be having them even, and then draw 1 on Round 1, 2 on Round 2, then shuffle and 3 on Round 3 (so you know what is coming). Or just have them as Tier 1/2/3 as per the items and traps.

The other thing is that most the abilities and traps are simply ‘boost damage/dice rolled for damage’. There are not many wacky, out there abilities to play around with. The monsters have some good variety although they have this same problem, so I am hoping adding in Bosses and the Hero Pack and Critter Pack may improve this. Also it looks like a missed opportunity to have different Critters in each pack (and then, instead of a separate critter pack, you can combine these for more variety).

Overall, I am still happy with the purchase. However, I think the extra’s are going to add the variety (particularly Bosses, Heroes and Critter pack) that will really give this game legs. I guess it is similar to Cthulhu Wars in that regard, which is potentially worrying trend with Peterson Games.


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Newest Songs on Playlist

This is just a quick rundown of the 5 newest releases I have added to my regular Spotify playlist. I have a bunch of older songs that I have also cycled in between these.

Closer by Chainsmokers- I have no idea why this is my most played song. I just love the lyrics. I like the story it tells, particularly if you see the first verse as their relationship (and why they broke up) and the second verse of them meeting again. I know it makes no story-telling sense. The whole song comes together as greater than the sum of its parts.

Bad Things by Machine Gun Kelly/Camila Cabello- My latest song that has been getting allot of plays. Once again, I am a sucker for having rap-type sections offset by traditional singing (probably made famous by Dido/Eminem), and it also tells the story of unrequited love that they know isn’t healthy.

Rockabye by Clean Bandit/Sean Paul- I just like the beat here. Although it beats the tired trope of a working girl with a heart of gold, I think Sean Paul’s part really ties it together. I hate that part, but without it the song would feel bland. And the hook and chorus just feels like it is worded perfectly.

Take Your Time by Sam Hunt- A song that doesn’t tell the story about treating people better or how she should be with him, but instead is about having a short fling. And once again the contrast between the singing parts and the rapping parts emphasizes the right parts of the story for me.

Cold Water by Major Lazer/Justin Bieber- Justin Bieber has been doing good stuff lately (in my opinion). After Sorry started to drag him up, we then got What Do You Mean and then a bunch of very nice dance beats with some good songs over the top.


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WWE PROBLEMS

After watching Roadblock, I thought I would try to summarise my main problems with WWE currently compared to previous eras:

  1. Matches are Booked Before Rivalry: The matches are booked, and then the rivalry is built up. This means that wrestlers are mostly thrown randomly into number 1 contenders match and then they try to build a rivalry. For example, why is Dolph Ziggler a number 1 contender for AJ Styles. Is it because he lost so much….
  2. Throw-away matches: Matches don’t mean anything. Losses don’t mean anything. Dolph hasn’t won anything for ages before his number 1 contender match. At least Corbin had a reason to be there. And he did this by….
  3. Trilogies: Every feud needs to now be a trilogy. Corbin vs Kalisto had so many matches until a blow-off match. Why does every feud need to have so many matches? Maybe because they are scared of leaving their golden boys…
  4. Losing Clean (or Never Being Allowed To):Everything has to be a trilogy. And the baby faces are never allowed to lose clean. How many times did the Bullet Club have to help AJ Styles win? Bray Wyatt should be a terrifying force, but no match of his happens without Luke Harper interfering these days. And Rusev isn’t getting a clean win these days, because stopping perverts from banging his wife somehow makes him a ….
  5. Confusing Heels: How is Rusev a heel? If Enzo doesn’t try to take advantage of Lana, then nothing bad happens to him. Of course Cass has to come out and bully Rusev now, relying on Enzo hitting on Lana while Rusev is in a fight. Similarly, why is Cena trying to keep talent out of the top (AJ Styles) as a gatekeeper means he is a babyface? Seth Rollins whining that Triple H helped Owens instead of him makes him a hero?

I was going to write about how I would have booked Roadblock, but WWE makes me sad these days. Allot of these things they got right in the Attitude Era. But then people think it was only due to swearing and blood.


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Survivor Series: What Happened?

What happened at Survivor Series? This pay-per-view will surely go down as exceptionally bad for allot of reasons. The obvious one is the Goldberg-Lesnar squash match at the end of the night.

Here you have someone built up as a monster for the last couple of years only to be squashed by a part-timer with zero-offense. It almost feels like they were punishing Lesnar for something. If you wanted that, just book Rusev in. I mean, he was buried by Goldberg on television. Just save it for the main event and have Rusev blindside Goldberg on his return for the set-up. But lets not let that overshadow the rest of the out-of-touch booking.

Nia Jax, someone who has been building as a monster, ends up tapping out. In the middle of the ring. Which makes total sense. Have your monster tap clean after being bested with absolutely no build.

Then we had Shane-o-Mac. He was shown  getting the better of two of the top wrestlers and championship contenders. An old, greying, non-wrestler who inserted himself into the match the McMahon ego. And then he books himself so prominently and dominantly, keeping all the crowd-pleasing spots to himself.

In the preshow, we had Kane beat Luke Harper, because we like looking after the future. The Miz beating Zayn was at least the right call, but the cruiserweights stay on Raw and are wasted with no story. I mean, with 3 plodding hours of television to fill you give 2 guys of a whole division exactly one story. Just to have more time with authority figures.

People may call this good as a throwback to Goldberg dominating or even that it was unpredictable. But at the end of the day, this was perhaps worse than Boo-tista’s rumble win. Unfortunately, there are not going to be #cancelwwenetworks.


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Clash Royale: State for Free-To-Play

Clash Royale has just released the final card of its 4 card update: The Graveyard Spell. So I guess now it is time to give my thoughts on the state of the game from a free-to-play player.

Free to play is at a huge disadvantage. From the high gold costs to upgrade cards to the low drop rate of legendary cards, you are constantly on the back foot. Progress slows to a crawl at around Level 8/Level 9 and cards you find very hard to get are there to make your life difficult.

The problem with this is that you can outplay your opponent but they could win because the legendary cards are devastating if you mistime anything. You start with an uphill battle from the start (for example: a miner is a footmen that can deploy anywhere, archer queen is archers with splash damage and really high range) as the legendary cards are normally much more efficient than the cards you have.

It isn’t all bad, however. Recently there have been good moves towards balancing and making some lesser used cards viable. This makes you have more choices and more viable alternatives, eventhough the legendary cards are still mostly a blight on the game. It doesn’t help that legendary cards always seem to get buffed when they are not being used eventhough a Level 2 Legendary card is very hard to deal with if you don’t have your own Legendary to spam (Log, Lava Hound and Lumberjack have been given buffs over time for low use rates although they were already very powerful when used correctly).

So overall, I am still having fun with it. It is still annoying to have to scratch out a draw against a player worse than you just because they spam legendary cards. The updates have made more strategies viable. However, I am concerned that it is just a matter of time until the greater number of Legendary’s and the rate they get buffed means that all Free to Play players will be out.

I did uninstall this for several months until the last balance update meant I could see some alternate strategies in play. And at the end of the day, if everyone I play uses the same deck, it is very boring. If everyone uses the same deck again (Giant and Lumberjack), I will uninstall again.


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Dry Board Games

My last few forays into longer board games have been decidedly dry, unfortunately. I wasn’t quite sure what made them that way. The games I played were solid and things I would normally enjoy, but for some reason they didn’t quite excite me.

I was wondering why that is. It started with In The Name of Odin. This is a nice game but very non-confrontational, solitaire-like. Then I moved onto games like San Juan and Explorers of the North Sea. All these games have the lack of dice as something in common, but I think it may have more to do with playing them all together.

I think that between games I need a good ameri-trash or fast-paced game. Otherwise, the games just feel very samey and slow paced (compared to the alternatives of computer games, etc.)


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CARD GAME: CTHULHU REALMS

Cthulhu Realms is a game I really like. Similar to Star Realms, it feels a bit less swingy. However, one of the things that really bothers me about this is the artwork. The artwork is horrendous. Choosing to go with a satirical-cartoony style (compared to how Star Realms make space lobsters look serious.

Which is a shame. It comes with enough cards for four players (as well as rules) and decent scoring tracks. However, the bad artwork makes me shy away from this game. In my opinion, this was a really poor design choice for this game and takes me out of the game too much. Which is a same: this could have been a real winner.