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

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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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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.

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The Brisbane Broncos have bounced back with a big win against a the struggling Rabbitohs. Once again, a win against a struggling team means nothing. But the Broncos went from world-beaters to losing games left, right and centre (by often embarrassing scorelines).

I believe that this is because of a couple of close losses when the Broncos were flying high. I believe that they just lost against the Cowboys followed by the Sharks. This must have had a huge impact on their confidence. If, while at their best and everything was going well, they couldn’t beat the best.

So there systems weren’t working against the best teams, so they lose faith or confidence in what they are doing. And when you are expected to go one better than last year, you need your confidence. So now the losses have piled up and we are left wondering if they will even be contenders come finals time?

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So Queensland took out the State of Origin series for 10 out of the last 11 years. Queensland are a great side but 10 years ago, who would’ve thought Smith, Cronk, Thurston, etc. would be so good. These days, people go on about this champion Queensland team neglecting how they were moulded.

New South Wales, for the most part, were their own worst enemies. After having conditions match them, they still lost Game One. Then, for some reason, they continue to show loyalty to allot of players that have lost them so many series now. People like Gallen, Farah, Bird, etc. seem to always put in a good effort but they continue to lose, The solution- keep picking them of course. Why not pick Tedesco (your Game One choice before injury) after the replacement was part of a losing team?

This makes Game Three sort of interesting. Will the Queenslanders make it a white wash to put an exclamation point on their dominance during the twilight years of their spine (Slater, Smith, Thurston)? Will the Blues continue to show undeserved loyalty to the players who continue to bring an Origin losing culture to their team? Or will just no-one care?