The Lost Reviews – Governor of Poker 2

18 10 2016

GOP29

If you like board and card games as much as me, you may have a huge stack of games. Lots of games you enjoy, some probably more than others, and maybe some you have yet to play, but the one thing that is probably more true than most is that, you probably don’t get to play many of them all that often. There maybe a few for instance that you have not played in a while. This is definitely true of me; some of the time I play more of than others, while games like Munchkin for example I don’t get to play as often as I would prefer, because sometimes they are hard to bring to the table. Some of the time when you play games, it’s best to play ones other people have experience of just so everyone can have a good time, and don’t need to learn a lot of new details. This can be true of other games too, and in my experience I can go long periods of time not playing a basic card game like Poker.

GOP23

I was introduced to Poker over a decade ago, but it can be hard to get a game of it in. I can watch it on TV, like I used to during the good old days of the William Hill Poker Grand Prix, but there is nothing like actually playing it, which is why it’s a good thing that there are many video games out there that allow me the opportunity to play a game of poker in the meantime, whenever I want to, and in my experience, there is none finer than Governor of Poker.

GOP24

I originally used to play this games predecessor on Kongregate, but then it was more of a demo, never got to play the original in its full form, however when I noticed this sequel on Steam; I near leapt at the opportunity. In Governor of Poker 2 (by Youda Games), much like the original, you are a wannabe poker champion living in Texas, and you spend your days go from town to town, competing in games, acquiring enough to take over the entire town, before moving onto the next. Purchasing buildings provides you with an income, while competing in tournaments and cash games provides you with an opportunity to acquire more money much more quickly while also building up your reputation. As you progress, you will encounter star NPC players, taking them on in the hope of becoming the number one poker man in the whole of Texas.

GOP22

The games main piece though comes to its Poker games, which thanks to the Wild West theme, mean that you and everyone else are represented at the table via hats and hands. This part of the game really does come down to the core gameplay of most Poker games, and there can be tells, there can be bluffing, while all the time still creating tension and panic as you watch the chips build up, change colour or reduce in quick fashion. From there on it comes down to how good of a poker player you are, and how far you are willing to go to get the table win.

GOP28

The game is nicely designed, even if the designs themselves have not changed much since its predecessor. The animation is nicely implemented, from walking, to cut scenes, to even the flicking of chips at the poker table. The only issue I really have with the design side is that the maps are rather static. The only person moving around is you, while everyone else stands mega still not moving before or after you enter a saloon; it does not carry much in the way of life. The game’s soundtrack is nicely designed as it comes more down to a couple of pieces of music, but leaves everything else to the stiffening sound a bliss of silence, with a little bit of noise coming from other characters and of course the dealer. While the original definitely still carries the best theme tune, the game’s soundtrack is at it’s best when there is virtually no sound at all. The gameplay is nicely mixed up, and the differences between games, hats, and even the allowance to buy houses and make an income is rather good, I just don’t think there is really any need for a story in this game, it does not adapt or change over time, it just sort of pops up when you reach a goal, even if reaching that goal requires you to play for several hours before you reach the next one. The only thing you really feel, is the disappointment and crunch as you begin to lose money and property, and wonder how you are going to get back onto your feet. There is a lot to like, and a lot to enjoy, but there is a lot of crowding and a lot of wasted bonuses which just don’t work or appeal, it brings a down note to what is actually a pretty competent and thoroughly enjoyable game.

GOP27

Don’t get me wrong, I really do like this game; I just think it provides you with things you don’t need or even want. At heart, its basic charm is how this game succeeds, it’s not because you want to free poker from the corrupt hands of those who would rather not play it, but because you want an environment that allows you to play Poker, as close to real as possible. At the tables, you get a real sense of dread, passion and emotion as you win or lose, and as you strive to believe that you can win, and know when it’s time to push or pull back. Everything is there, the poker side works, and the other gameplay pieces included continue to enhance your experience. That’s all this game in the end needs to provide, it does not need a story, just a sense that you are awesome at poker……….at least when you are.

GOP25

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Warhammer Armies

12 10 2016

Warhammer Rule Book (Games Workshop - 2010)

During the last week of August, just after coming back from holiday, I was thinking about a game I received off my brother about a year ago called Dreadfleet. It’s a game by Games Workshop, the company that produces the tabletop games Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Tabletop Games. Now while it may not be produced anymore, Dreadfleet is a game I fully intend to make and play at some point, as I really want to, but while thinking about it out of the blue, I decided to have a look at Warhammer 40,000 (40K) as I have collected Tau on and off for a number of years. When reading about it on Wikipedia, I decided to compare the dates of when 40k was released in comparison to the Warhammer Fantasy game series. I did not find out in the end as I became fixated on a more important issue: The Warhammer Fantasy Game; is no more!

Dreadfleet

Yes somewhat strangely and bizarrely; after about 3 decades of production, Games Workshop had decided to stop producing the Warhammer Fantasy game without any real reason provided as to why? This made me rather sad, as though while I have not collected that one for about 10 years now, the Fantasy Warhammer game has been an important part of my life. While I did not get to play Warhammer as much as I would have liked to, I have always considered myself as a fan. OK, maybe more a casual fan than anything else, but, no matter what form it came, Warhammer was an interest of mine. While I am more of a 40K player than the fantasy variant (and thankfully 40K is still going…..for now), I can still remember how much enjoyment the original Warhammer had brought me. It was my older brother who first got me involved in it, and I can remember all those Lizardmen I had bought through the years, as well as my brief period when I bought Dogs of War alongside Lizardmen including the purchase of a rather impressive Dragon. While in the end the fantasy battle game was probably not completely for me as I much rather fancied 40K, those memories are with me still to this day, remembering my first battle, my time painting my models with Mam and Dad, my soldiers, my hopes and dreams for the future as I looked into what I could maybe buy some day. I always pondered whether or not I would get back into it, but now it seems that I was too late.

Games Workshop Logo

While the Fantasy game has now passed on and been replaced with something called Age of Sigma (whatever that involves); the memories of Warhammer will always be with me, and as my way of a tribute, I have decided to make a post about my favourite armies in Warhammer. Now, just to be clear; this post is in regards to the fantasy game, and the number that each army is listed by represents more than just what they are like in combat, it’s more what they mean to me rather than which is generally the best army. Sadly, much like war itself, there are some casualties in this list as I decided to base the armies on what they meant to me, rather than just who looks cool. So, just to provide a quick mention, armies not in the Top 5 include: Wood Elves, Beastmen and Warriors of Chaos. So yes, I now present to you, my Warhammer Fantasy game Tribute, and walk down memory lane as I let you in on who were my Top 5 Favourite Armies from Warhammer (in a philosophical sense).

Skaven

5. Skaven and Ogre Kingdoms –Even though I never once did collect them, or even got to play with them, these two armies were for a long time my two favourite picks, if I ever decided to A: Stop collecting Lizardmen and collect something else, or B: Collect one of them if I ever got back into it. Skaven were always something of a mini favourite of mine, I just liked the idea of an army made of rats. They were sort of like Lizardmen, (but Rats) and I just found the idea of them, and their look to be rather cool. I thought that in the case of me having ever decided to stop collecting Lizardmen, Skaven would be the ideal army for me to collect instead.

Ogre Kingdoms

As for the Ogre Kingdoms, they came in pretty late as the whole scene went, but when I first spotted them, I immediately grew to like them, and I even put them ahead of Skaven if it was the case that I ever got back into it. I like these armies both equally, and while I never really got to experience either (except possibly Skaven in Blood Bowl on Steam); they were definitely fore-core-favourites of mine.

Orcs and Goblins

4. Orcs and Goblins – (Not to be confused with the above paragraph, this is just one army) For me, Orcs and Goblins served sort of two purposes in my memories of Warhammer. The first is that, every time I had an intro game, every time I learned to play, and every time I learned to paint models in Warhammer, it was always done with Orcs. I don’t why, but maybe because they were just big and simple to learn from. I remember painting Orcs in the shop in Preston; I even remember having a battle with them during a Warhammer day in Preston when I was about 13/14. While it was never my intention to collect them, I was introduced a great deal to them originally. The other reason I remember them is that my brother collected them quite enthusiastically for a great many years, even at one point having several legions of these metal faced Black Orcs and a good number of trolls to back them up. There is also a third memory: when I was first introduced to the Blood Bowl Tabletop game, I played with Orcs. It’s more just memories, and fond memories at that for me when it comes to Orcs (and Goblins); but the thing is, in Warhammer you cannot go far without running into at least one Orc.

High Elves

3. High Elves – Much like the above, High Elves was not an army I collected, however they did serve a very important moment for me in the history of playing/collecting Warhammer, as it was with High Elves that I had my first battle. Basically, after months of collecting Saurus and not really getting anywhere, I really wanted to play a game, but I could not until I had a commander, but had no idea of how I did that either. Anyway to cut a long story short, my brother had his friends round to play a big game, a sort of triple threat match if you like. Cannot remember who won, but after the game I asked if I could have a quick game, and asked if I could play with the High Elf army. Not wanting to do a full-blown game, my brother’s friends, gave me a small game, me playing with a small group of High Elves, one of his friends playing with 3 trolls, and I can’t remember what the other army group was (maybe Goblins). Anyway, I spent the early part of the match taking down the Trolls only then to get massacred by the other army. I can still remember that game fondly when I think of High Elves, and that is why they come third, because without them, it would have been years before I actually got to play a game of Warhammer, instead just collecting it the whole time.

Asarnil the Dragonlord

2. Dogs of War – While I had been collecting Lizardmen at the time, I fancied changing tact and collect something else for a bit. While I wanted to collect Undead, my Parents did not think it was a good idea. My brother suggested Dogs of War. Originally I did not like the sound of it, because I did not fancy collecting an army made of Dogs, eventually I came round to the idea, and saw that it was not an army of dogs, but an army of Mercenaries, one which was pretty much made up of lots of armies within the Warhammer Fantasy universe. While this collection did not really go anywhere (I got 3 kits in the end), during my mini collection of Dogs of War I managed one of my first major purchases within Warhammer, that of Asarnil the Dragonlord. While I did not get him finished, nor get to play with him (I have no idea if he is still around or not), he still remains one of my all-time favourite Warhammer Purchases.

Lizardmen

1. Lizardmen – From the start of my Warhammer journey, to the last memorable point, Lizardmen have always remained a major part of the experience to me. From the early days of painting basic Saurus, to collecting the new and improved Saurus and starting my first real army in Warhammer; to begin with it was just a fun little thing, but many years later it became a major hobby for me and Lizardmen have always remained a part. I can remember when I first collected them, and had dreams about specific units to collect including Salamanders, Kroxigors and of course the mighty Stegadon. I did get a Kroxigor and Salamander (I think), and at one point had a commander riding on the back of a big lizard creature. While I may not have managed to get units I specifically wanted such as Tichi-Huichi’s Raiders, or more of course the mighty Stegadon or Carnosaur: Lizardmen were the corner-stone of my hopes and dreams for the future of my Warhammer collecting Hobby, and while it all sadly ended before I really ever got going with them, they will always be a proud and fond memory, quite possibly my favourite army in all of Warhammer, not just fantasy, but all versions.

Stegadon

GENEPOOL (OK; the recent depictions of the Stegadon weren’t as good-looking as the original Triceratops creature; that thing could terrify a Mumak).





Top 5 Weapons I Would Choose In The Hunger Games

18 05 2016

Katniss Everdeen

I love The Hunger Games, by that I of course mean the combination of the Film and the Book, not necessarily the setting of jumping into an arena and having to kill people. A few years ago, after the release of the first one, I remember an interview that was conducted on some of the cast members who were asked how they would act inside the arena. Now for me, I would more than likely just hide in the corner, and cry my eyes out until I was either dead, or just go mad and become some kind of psychopath. In my head though, it’s a completely different story as I would see myself being like Blade and just be invincible going round killing everyone, but that is very unlikely. Anyway I thought I would do a post on what my ideal weapon choices would be in the arena.

M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer

Now I decided to sort of be semi-realistic in my choices. For one, I know I cannot bring anything in to the ring, so it prevents my 3 main options: Godzilla, a M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer and Lisbeth Salander; although fair point, Lisbeth Salander would receive double points for having access to a cool leather jacket.

Lisbeth Salander

It’s certainly better than wearing those swimming outfits in Catching fire. I mean, what would you prefer; the swimming costumes from Catching Fire, or a Cool Leather Jacket?

Anyway, under the point that I can’t necessarily take anything in, this list is made up of choices I would choose if they became available in the arena themselves. Now, I do realise that this list may seem a little bit rushed. I have had these dreams for a while of what I would choose, but have only just decided to do this as a post, and in the end, I don’t think I have used my imagination all that much, and this list is made up of more practical stuff mixed with things from Movies, and so I may eventually regret my choices (apart from the leather jacket), and do another one of these in the future with either some additional thought, a selection of weapons from the films/books, things I just made up. Anyway, here are my choices of what I was able to simple cobble together.

Mortis

5. Mortis – What could be better than if one of the choices was the robot Mortis from Robot Wars? What could be better than Mortis, the best robot in all of Robot Wars? Now he would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for the case of a remote-controlled robot being relatively impractical as you would spend most of your time behind the robot directing it rather than looking out for the girl from district 6 creeping up on you. But forgetting that bit, its axe would be so deadly an attack, you don’t necessarily need to kill anybody, just puncture them and let them bleed out. It’s a grim idea, but it might be easier on your conscience.

M4A1

4. M4A1 Assault Rifle – Ok, this one is mostly based on what fun I could get out of MW2 Multiplayer, but yeah. Why not choose a Gun? It makes complete and total sense; you can get it over with good and quick as long as your aim is good and true. Why not add the attachable grenade launcher, then that way you can set fire to any forestry around you and force people out before shooting them. Ok, it relies on you not wasting ammo; but why on earth would the Capitol only give you one clip?

Crossbow

3. CrossbowKatniss Everdeen had her bow and arrows; I would have my Crossbow (even though I should point out this is all hypothetical and I don’t actually own one). It’s similar to the above mentioned Gun, but this time it’s a bit more quiet and lethal. Yes, I can see a Crossbow coming quite handy in the Hunger Games, and I don’t mean just some old relic of a device, no! I mean a proper modern beast of a weapon, similar to the one used in Brainiac: Science Abuse for testing armour in a modern civil war, or like at the end of Reign of Fire when Christian Bale’s character kills the Big Dragon.

Quarriors

2. Quarriors Dice – If you have no idea what those 2 words mixed together mean, it’s obvious you have not played my Favourite Board Game. In Quarriors (using a similar sort of game play to Dominion, if you know what that is), you roll and collect dice to attack other people. Dice can be used to summon spells, and summon monsters. Just imagine it, you roll the dice, and in a similar vein to Yu-Gi-Oh, Monsters and Spells come out of the dice to attack your enemies.

Heimdall

1. Equipment from Thor – When I think about me being in The Hunger Games, one thing that always comes to mind is the film Thor, quite possibly because the night on the day that I first saw The Hunger Games, I went home and watched some scenes from Thor. Anyway, I have decided to call this bit Equipment of Thor (I know it does not sound all that exciting), because there are 3 things I can think of that would be quite useful to have in The Hunger Games. As to how you would get them is relatively obvious, basically you will be covered in lightning like Thor and receive the equipment as it is bonded to your body. Anyway, the items in question; Heimdall’s Armour, Heimdall’s Sword, and Thor’s Hammer. It’s all you really need isn’t it, just the basics, and the hammer could prove to be a useful escape route as you could just plough through a wall or the roof, or better yet, send the hammer flying and destroy the Capitol, end of The Hunger Games, everyone is free, let’s go home. Basically, all this time, I just see myself becoming Thor while also receiving some equipment from the mighty Heimdall too.

GENEPOOL





Sleeping Queens

11 11 2015

Sleeping Queens

Sleeping Queens is a card game for between 2 – 5 players released by Gamewright and designed by Miranda Evarts. In Sleeping Queens, players have to wake up Queens who are currently in a long slumber using a variety of different cards. The first player to wake up the required number of queens (dependent on how many people are playing) or score the required number of points, Wins. In the middle of the table, there are 12 queen cards laid faced down. Each Queen has a different name and picture. Some are worth more points than others.

Sleeping Queens Setup

On a turn, a player plays a card onto the table. There a number of cards and options that they can do. Some of the cards they have in their hands are action cards, and have different effects. If a player plays a King card, then they can wake up one of the queen in the centre of the table. If they play a Knight card, then they can steal a queen from another player, however, if that player has a Dragon card, they can play that dragon to prevent the knight from stealing the queen. If a player has a Sleeping Potion card, then they can put another players Queen back to sleep, unless that player however has a Magical Wand card, which prevents the potion from taking effect. In the pack there are also some Number cards. These don’t have much of an effect other than allowing players to get rid of them to draw more and hopefully better cards. Players can discard these number cards in one of 3 ways. One, they can just discard a single number card. Two, they can discard two number cards of the same number. Three, they can sell 3 cards that make up an addition equation, so for instance they can discard a 2, 5 and a 7 because 2+5=7. Once the number of cards have been discarded (so 1, 2 or 3 cards) the player then immediately picks up that many cards.

Sleeping Queens Number Cards

There is also another card of mention, the Jester card. Jester’s work like chance cards. Basically, a player can play a Jester into the playing area, doing this they immediately draw a new card. If that card is an action card, then the player keeps that card and has another go. If however the card is a number card, then starting from themselves, the player counts each player around the table the number of times it says on the card. The player that the final number lands on immediately gets to wake up a queen. At the end of their turn players draw back up to the hand size and play passes round to the next player.

Sleeping Queens Jester

As far as the rules of the game goes, that’s it. Although there is some special rules regarding some of the other Queen’s. If a player picks up the Rose Queen, then that player immediately gets to pick up another. The other Queen rule is that there is a Dog Queen and Cat Queen, and much like both cats and dogs, these two don’t like each other, so no player can have both these Queens. But apart from that, that’s the rules, nice and simple.

Sleeping Queens Action Cards

Sleeping Queens is a nice fun little game. It is easy to play, and can be relatively straightforward the first time you play it. It has been nicely created with an assortment of colourful cards with lovely pictures on them. The Kings and Queens themselves have nicely been created too by having not just some generic King or Queen, but have names like Sunflower Queen, Starfish Queen, Bubble-gum King or Turtle King. The number cards too have nice little pictures on as well, maintaining that they are not just numbers, but all cards have their own special little extras. It doesn’t get bogged down neither with lots of little extra rules, it really is a game where you can simply just take your turn and instantly know what to do. Altogether, Sleeping Queens is a nice fun little game. It’s easy to understand, play and has been nicely created to bring as much fun to the table as is possible.

Sleeping Queens Kings and Queens

GENEPOOL





In An Attempt To Cure Writer’s Block

8 07 2015

Pen and Paper

Since finishing University a few weeks ago (and while waiting for Graduation in just over a week’s time), I have been trying to do a number of things to keep myself productive and busy. I have been looking for work, trying to come up with a career plan, writing weekly blog posts, coming up with ideas for stories and board games, reading when I can, playing games, baking cakes, volunteering at Barnardo’s and at The Dukes play in the park again. One thing though that I have wanted to continue since finishing, I have found rather hard, and that is writing stories. I like writing stories, I like all kinds of writing, and when I am in the zone, I just can’t stop. Starting is an entirely different matter however.

Darkmouth (Harper Collins - 2015)

I have kept up with my blog writing, and right now am writing a series of film reviews to be shown in a few weeks’ time, but writing large pieces of work is proving to be rather difficult. Writing big projects at University (in hindsight) was easier, as I was motivated to get the work done as best as I could, but now I need to find new motivation and am finding it hard. I am constantly coming up with ideas for projects, either it be stories, blog posts or board games, but getting round to actually doing them is what I am struggling with. Writing short stories shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a problem as they are small, quick stories to write, however, starting them is as difficult as any other project. Ideas for them are hard as they need to be concise, small, and not necessarily involve big incidents, or big things happening……….which is kind of what I like. Back in May I even came up with a plan to write at least one short story a month, but in June I (technically) did not write one.

A Cake and some Cake Pops I made recently.

I say technically; basically, last month I entered Preston’s first Short Story Slam. A writing/performing contest where writers write short stories to then read out. Writer’s need to write 3 stories of no more than 200 words that can be read in 4 minutes or less. It’s a head to head sort of thing (as far as I understand it) and I need to write 3 short stories for it. A week ago I wrote one story for it, I still have another 2 to write (at time of writing) but coming up with ideas for such a small word count I am finding tough, and even when I do have an idea, simply sitting down behind my laptop to write it is proving tricky. It was only when I had a voice going through my head telling me to write the first story that I finally did it (The Slam is at the end of July, so I still have some time). Even when it isn’t that though, writing in general (when it is not for my blog) I am finding tough. I can develop ideas quite nicely, (I prefer to do it in my head where I can visualise it, while find that writing it down can usually mean I end up leaving and forgetting about it), but that’s still not writing it.

Rory's Story Cubes: Prehistoria

In an attempt to cure what I think is writer’s block; I have started doing little exercises to get me writing again. While my mind wanders onto other ideas of approaching it, for now, this one is working. I have had Rory’s Story Cubes for over a year now. First I got a small expansion in the form of Rory’s Story Cubes: Prehistoria, but discovered using them rather hard, so I bought a copy of the base set, and was able to get going with them. To begin with I just used them as a little game to play with friends and at the Writer’s Society at University. Basically, the base set is a box of 9 dice, with each side on all the dice being a different image (54 images in total). You roll them, and then use the 9 images to make a story. It has to start with “Once Upon A Time” and can either be done as one continuous story as a group, or several stories. There are other versions of the base set and several expansions, all of which can be mixed and matched to create a diverse range of stories. Recently, I decided to use them to help me write some short stories. I use them in the same way as you normally would play with them; roll them and look at the pictures rolled (sometimes re-rolling if I can’t think of anything). Instead of telling the story to someone though, I would instead write my story in a Word Document.

Story Dice 1

I have been taking the pictures of the images I have rolled, considering possibly putting my stories online at a later date (with a photo of the dice to show what images I have to work with). I actually rather enjoy coming up with stories this way; they can be about anything and there are no restrictions as to the length of the story, nor the genre it is in. It really does help me to get back into writing short stories. While I have not done one for about a week (due to being busy with my current weekly schedule), I look forward to writing another one, and hopefully with time, be able to write some without assistance, possibly even bigger ones. Right now though, I have a Short Story Slam to enter.

Story Dice 2

GENEPOOL








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