surrealcouchuniverse

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


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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.


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Thoughts On Some Board Game Kickstarters

The following is a list of a few board game Kickstarters that I feel like talking about and my thoughts on them:

GLOOMHAVEN – BACKING: After the Dice Tower’s glowing review, I am kicking myself I missed the first Kickstarter. But the second, updated printing is coming and I have no shortage of games to play until then.

RISE TO NOBILITY – BACKING: I backed this at the deluxe level because of free shipping (actually making it cheaper then the tier below) and because it looks like a Stone Age/Castles of Burgundy hybrid. It also is from a proven publisher, and Cavern Tavern has good reviews from what I have gathered.

VILLAGE ATTACKS- CANCELLED: I jumped on the early bird pledge, but cancelled. I love the theme, but Endure the Stars was a broken mess where the designer didn’t bother with proper blind testing. That and it just kept trying to sell add-ons.

CITY OF KINGS- BACKED: This looks like Mage Knight but you have workers to go gather resources. I really like the art and the Rahdo run-through so am really looking forwards to this.

PETRICHOR- UNDECIDED: This looks pretty with a compelling theme. However, it also looks very take-that and the shipping is expensive. But I love Great Dinosaur Rush so may jump back in before the end.

BARBARIANS THE INVASION- WAIT FOR RETAIL: The Rondel looks cool, but I will wait for retail. Nothing in the Kickstarter looks like it will bother me not having it as retail, so I can probably pick it up cheaper. If the expansion map unlocks (which is KS exclusive), I may look into it a bit more.


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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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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.