surrealcouchuniverse

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


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WWE THOUGHTS: BOOKING YOURSELF INTO A CORNER

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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AVENGERS: LITTLE MOMENTS OF GENIUS

With the nearly-awful looking Justice League just around the corner, I thought I would look back at the first ensemble film and see the little moments of genius that made it so good.

NO-ONE EVER WAITS: You go through the movie and can pay attention to the characters, you will notice people hardly ever wait. When people are walking around or walking into the shot, they are having conversations. In the action scenes, people are constantly moving around and flowing from one to the other.

FLOW OF SCENES: This seems like primary school stuff. When I was taught to write stories, I was taught the last line in a paragraph or section should link with the first line of the next section. Here, there are nearly seamless transitions at the beginning of the movie between scenes until the momentum is built up.

ABBREVIATED INTRODUCTIONS: The character introductions are done quickly and efficiently. Allot of times people talk about the world building done before the movie. However, even if you didn’t watch many previous movies, the movie efficiently and respectfully brings people up to speed on characters, relative powers, etc. while still making sure each scene contributes to the overall story.

SUBTEXT: There is a subtext in the middle of the movie where the good guys (SHIELD) want to use weapons of terror to fight terror. However, Nick Fury wants a team of heroes (the Avengers) to succeed so they don’t have to do this. It is almost like they are talking directly to the audience of which do we want to succeed- dark, gritty, gray “heroes” or bright, inspiring heroes.

TIME TO BREATHE: Despite an efficient plot, there were plenty of times the story was allowed to breathe. Things such as Coulson talking to Captain America, Banner and Stark interacting or characters contemplating things (even in the middle of the battle for New York). Every scene had a purpose, including the scenes to let the audience calm down and preventing us becoming numb to seeing how cool these heroes sharing the same screen are.

These are some of the little things I noticed that helped make Avengers stand out. There are also allot of big things they got right (the heroes treated the villains like threats, great action, good prior world-building, etc.) but these are more the unsung heroes and perhaps some of these they didn’t quite nail in Age of Ultron as well.


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THINGS I LOOK FOR IN BOARD-GAME KICKSTARTERS

So no new music has been added to the playlist. No big new kickstarters have come out. So I thought I would just talk about what I normally look for when deciding to back a Kickstarter:

History of Delivering Games- Kickstarter isn’t about companies delivering on dreams anymore. It is much more of a pre-order service. For this, I look for the history of a company delivering quality products (well reviewed games) in the past.

Good Customer Support- Similarly, I know Kickstarter’s often have first print runs. However, a company that doesn’t seem interesting in addressing issues with previous kickstarters (errors, component quality, etc.) isn’t going to get my money.

Uniqueness in the Game- Probably less important than the other two, I am looking for games that give me some advantage to getting a Kickstarter. Whether this is unique components or Kickstarter bonuses (although I hate the practice of game-affecting exclusives). I need something to justify spending the money when waiting for retail will likely be cheaper.

That is what I look for. Sometimes companies can succeed and then fail later, in which case they will have to earn my trust. As a Kickstarter backer, I am not a proto-typer or investor. Pure and simple, I give you money (including some for postage) and I should get a quality, tested game.


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Kickstarter Board Game Thoughts (10 July 2017)

Well, after the madness of May/June Kickstarter, things look a bit quieter now on here for the big projects. Instead, there seems to be a bunch of small projects around the place. Here are some quick thoughts on some new projects:

TRIPLOCK by JOSH AND ADAM CARLSON: Too Many Bones has come out to great reviews. So now, they have made a puzzle-type game that looks great. It has well-passed its funding goal. It is 1-2 players only though and abstract, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed it down. Backed.

PERDITIONS MOUTH: TRAITOR GUARD EXPANSION by ARCTIC UNION: I have the original game, and this looks like a nice little mini-expansion. Not only that, but you can bundle it with the kickstarter stuff from the original. This is a cool campaign-based dungeon crawler with an action rondel where your party gets worn down between missions and needs to rest. And the rondel also punishes you from spamming action. Backed.

GODS OF TYN HARRA: With a Dice Tower Origins preview video and gorgeous art, this game looks intriguing. Not to mention the price point seems pretty good. However, with Codex, Aventuria, Allegiance: A Realm Divided, Star Realms, etc.  in my collection, I don’t feel the need to try another dueling-type game unfortunately.  Not to mention $20 worldwide shipping seems a bit steep.  Pass.

PEPPER AND CARROT by LOYALIST GAMES: A nice little puzzle-type game. It seems quite cheap and has you modifying your goods tableau to pattern match. I have the early-bird pledge locked in but, with Century: Spice Road and Splendor (or Theseus for a more serious theme), I may not keep it. It is a decent price but shelf space is not. Backed (for now, but may pass soon).

BIO-LOGIC by ANDREW GAIA: A game about moving through the human body. It looks cool, kind-of like Mage Knight with a Carcasssone tile-placement. But, with Viral coming out soon and a previous Kickstarter game about an anatomy (not sure what the name was), the theme isn’t quite as unique as it was a year or so ago. The price point for a non-miniature Kickstarter also seems slightly high, but shipping seems low (so some base shipping costs appear to be part of the pledge).  At the moment it is a pass, but it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. With a few more reviews and playthroughs (if it relaunches) it may be backed.


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Kickstarter Board Game Thoughts (15 June)

Well, wasn’t this a busy month for boardgames on kickstarter and through retail. So here are my latest thoughts on a few boardgame kickstarters that have started up recently:

EPIC AF by AWFUL FANTASY: This game re-implements the awesome Warhammer Quest: Adventure Card Game system. Unfortunately, the theme and artwork is not serious nor cartoony, instead trying to be tongue-in-cheek. I see this struggling to get to the table, similar to Cthulhu Realms. So this will be a pass.

HUMAN INTERFACE: BE A BETTER HUMAN by POSTINDUSTRIAL GAMES: This is a stand-alone expansion to Human Interface: Nakamura Tower. It offers plastic miniatures and playing out of the box. However, the first game wasn’t anything special compared to Necromunda or similar and the rules and miniature quality were sub-par at best. A hard pass.

RONE (2nd Edition) and RONE EXPANSIONS by STEPAN STEFANOVIK: This seems like an interesting game. It takes the rotating damage idea from Blood Bowl and makes a full fledged Magic-style duel game from it. Unfortunately, the lack of any proper reviews of the first edition means that I am hesitant to pull the trigger on it. It is currently a pass but free shipping and decent reviews could turn it around.

BLOOD AND DUST by MATEUS ALBRICHT: Well, it hasn’t set the world on fire after being launched. But Exiled: Siege was really solid and good (with some poor component choices, though), and this looks like a detailed miniatures game minus the miniatures and on a grid. This looks cool, and I am hoping we get some more armies in there. A proven track record nails it for me. Backed.

METAL DAWN by EVERYTHING EPIC: So this game looks like Dead of Winter but full co-op, progressing characters and a final boss fight. Looks very cool, but the price point seems high (compared to the plethora of miniature games out there). There is also a lack of videos showing this off, which makes me hesitant. At the moment, it is a tentative backed but the heavy competition might make this a reluctant pass.

Well, wasn’t this a busy month for boardgames on kickstarter and through retail. So here are my latest thoughts on a few boardgame kickstarters that have started up recently:

EPIC AF by AWFUL FANTASY: This game re-implements the awesome Warhammer Quest: Adventure Card Game system. Unfortunately, the theme and artwork is not serious nor cartoony, instead trying to be tongue-in-cheek. I see this struggling to get to the table, similar to Cthulhu Realms. So this will be a pass.

HUMAN INTERFACE: BE A BETTER HUMAN by POSTINDUSTRIAL GAMES:  This is a stand-alone expansion to Human Interface: Nakamura Tower. It offers plastic miniatures and playing out of the box. However, the first game wasn’t anything special compared to Necromunda or similar and the rules and miniature quality were sub-par at best. A hard pass.

RONE (2nd Edition) and RONE EXPANSIONS by STEPAN STEFANOVIK: This seems like an interesting game. It takes the rotating damage idea from Blood Bowl and makes a full fledged Magic-style duel game from it. Unfortunately, the lack of any proper reviews of the first edition means that I am hesitant to pull the trigger on it. It is currently a pass but free shipping and decent reviews could turn it around.

BLOOD AND DUST by MATEUS ALBRICHT: Well, it hasn’t set the world on fire after being launched. But Exiled: Siege was really solid and good (with some poor component choices, though), and this looks like a detailed miniatures game minus the miniatures and on a grid. This looks cool, and I am hoping we get some more armies in there. A proven track record nails it for me. Backed.

METAL DAWN by EVERYTHING EPIC: So this game looks like Dead of Winter but full co-op, progressing characters and a final boss fight. Looks very cool, but the price point seems high (compared to the plethora of miniature games out there). There is also a lack of videos showing this off, which makes me hesitant. At the moment, it is a tentative backed but the heavy competition might make this a reluctant pass.

Well, wasn’t this a busy month for boardgames on kickstarter and through retail. So here are my latest thoughts on a few boardgame kickstarters that have started up recently:

EPIC AF by AWFUL FANTASY: This game re-implements the awesome Warhammer Quest: Adventure Card Game system. Unfortunately, the theme and artwork is not serious nor cartoony, instead trying to be tongue-in-cheek. I see this struggling to get to the table, similar to Cthulhu Realms. So this will be a pass.

HUMAN INTERFACE: BE A BETTER HUMAN by POSTINDUSTRIAL GAMES:  This is a stand-alone expansion to Human Interface: Nakamura Tower. It offers plastic miniatures and playing out of the box. However, the first game wasn’t anything special compared to Necromunda or similar and the rules and miniature quality were sub-par at best. A hard pass.

RONE (2nd Edition) and RONE EXPANSIONS by STEPAN STEFANOVIK: This seems like an interesting game. It takes the rotating damage idea from Blood Bowl and makes a full fledged Magic-style duel game from it. Unfortunately, the lack of any proper reviews of the first edition means that I am hesitant to pull the trigger on it. It is currently a pass but free shipping and decent reviews could turn it around.

BLOOD AND DUST by MATEUS ALBRICHT: Well, it hasn’t set the world on fire after being launched. But Exiled: Siege was really solid and good (with some poor component choices, though), and this looks like a detailed miniatures game minus the miniatures and on a grid. This looks cool, and I am hoping we get some more armies in there. A proven track record nails it for me. Backed.

METAL DAWN by EVERYTHING EPIC: So this game looks like Dead of Winter but full co-op, progressing characters and a final boss fight. Looks very cool, but the price point seems high (compared to the plethora of miniature games out there). There is also a lack of videos showing this off, which makes me hesitant. At the moment, it is a tentative backed but the heavy competition might make this a reluctant pass.

Well, wasn’t this a busy month for boardgames on kickstarter and through retail. So here are my latest thoughts on a few boardgame kickstarters that have started up recently:

EPIC AF by AWFUL FANTASY: This game re-implements the awesome Warhammer Quest: Adventure Card Game system. Unfortunately, the theme and artwork is not serious nor cartoony, instead trying to be tongue-in-cheek. I see this struggling to get to the table, similar to Cthulhu Realms. So this will be a pass.

HUMAN INTERFACE: BE A BETTER HUMAN by POSTINDUSTRIAL GAMES:  This is a stand-alone expansion to Human Interface: Nakamura Tower. It offers plastic miniatures and playing out of the box. However, the first game wasn’t anything special compared to Necromunda or similar and the rules and miniature quality were sub-par at best. A hard pass.

RONE (2nd Edition) and RONE EXPANSIONS by STEPAN STEFANOVIK: This seems like an interesting game. It takes the rotating damage idea from Blood Bowl and makes a full fledged Magic-style duel game from it. Unfortunately, the lack of any proper reviews of the first edition means that I am hesitant to pull the trigger on it. It is currently a pass but free shipping and decent reviews could turn it around.

BLOOD AND DUST by MATEUS ALBRICHT: Well, it hasn’t set the world on fire after being launched. But Exiled: Siege was really solid and good (with some poor component choices, though), and this looks like a detailed miniatures game minus the miniatures and on a grid. This looks cool, and I am hoping we get some more armies in there. A proven track record nails it for me. Backed.

METAL DAWN by EVERYTHING EPIC: So this game looks like Dead of Winter but full co-op, progressing characters and a final boss fight. Looks very cool, but the price point seems high (compared to the plethora of miniature games out there). There is also a lack of videos showing this off, which makes me hesitant. At the moment, it is a tentative backed but the heavy competition might make this a reluctant pass.