Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching up with Althea and Company

I don't know if you caught my small blog post fest last year about Dungeons and Dragons, but I tried to start up a new blog about it, and it kinda died: Althea and Company.

Writing out our adventures to that level of detail and trying to remember everything that happened (and finding the time and passion to do it), was a bit ambitious.  Anyway, we continue to run through our adventures, and I actually started hosting my own game with the same "Althea and Company" crew -- only this time Jeff Toney is the player, and I'm the DM . . . AND . . . Uber wife is also playing with us. yay!

Instead of working through an official Wizards of the Coast production like the Lost Mine of Phandelver, I'm using a lot of one-shot dungeons strung together with narrative. The first two we've run were Giantslayer and King of the Cats by MT Black. Both were excellent, and I think everyone had a great time . . . they slayed the giant and they rescued the King of the Cats. yay!

So next I have my group set to do one of two things. Either they will take on another MT Black one-shot, Wizard in a Bottle, or they will head down an adventure of my very own make. I'm interested in seeing which they take on and how they do. I definitely don't want to kill my friends and family in a dungeon, and I know I typically build things too difficult, but this is a party of five I'm dealing with here, and they actually have the potential to really dish out the damage . . . or really have a bad day with bad dice rolls . . . or, as we found out last week, get completely distracted and not hear that the bad guy just cast the shield spell and start using magic missile.

The Giant adventure was fun, but the only thing that gave them any real challenge were giant crabs. Oh man they struggled on that one.

The King of Cats final battle was pretty fun, and I think I scared 'em a bit when they discovered their weapons were pretty ineffective vs. a wererat, which you need silver weapons or spells to fight.  They were never really intended to fight the wererat anyway. I may have to bring her back at sometime to torment the party, so they can finish her off (especially if they spend the 100 gold it takes to silver their weapons).

Anyway, instead of scribbled notes for my dungeon, I've been typing it out like it's a one-shot, and if all goes well with the group, and they survive the adventure and have fun with it, I may actually try to publish it on a site like Dungeon Masters Guild and see what happens!

I'm not going to type much about my adventure I have planned for them just yet in case one of 'em stumbles upon this blog post, but . . . it's got a couple nasty surprises waiting for them.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friendly Necro vs. the Dub Wars

Back in December 2016 I was on vacation for a bit and purchased myself a Christmas gift from Steam's discount aisle. Do you ever just see a game and think, oh yeah, that's something I'd probably like? Dub Wars was one of those purchases that just kind of checked all the right boxes from the get go . . . dubstep (check).  What?  You thought there would be more check boxes than dubstep? (Actually a lot of the music isn't really pure dubstep, but I digress, and it doesn't matter -- great music is great music.)

Honestly I'm not really a 2-D, top down, shooter kind of a guy; although as I was playing the game I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if Mark Bussler from Classic Gameroom has tried this game? He's totally a 2-D, top down shooter kind of a guy. He lives for this kind of game. Then again, I don't know if he's an electronic music loving type of a dude.

Anyway, the thing that makes this game different is that you don't fire the gun, the music fires the gun, which makes for a very "non-mashy" experience where you just move your ship around and aim your weapons as you visually see the music fire off beautiful lasers of death.

The tempo of the game naturally moves along with the tempo of the music, and when you hear the bass drop is the same moment where you are wrecking enemies with your most powerful weapons fired off in rapid succession. It's actually the quiet moments in the game that can be the most stressful as your weapons are just firing occasionally and you're running away from things thinking, can this song just drop the bass already?

At first when I bought this game I was thinking, this would be super fun to stream, but I did a test video of me playing and it was pretty funny how focused I was at dodging. Just look at this face:


Later in the video it doesn't change much.


Yeah!  I don't think I even moved my head to the music lol.

So I don't know about streaming this game, but it might be a different experience with an audience to react to and entertain.  I kind of turn into a different person when I stream.  :)

The game suffers a touch from replayability problems. There are 10 levels (songs), and while the music is absolutely great, it's 10 songs that you hear over and over. Did I say playing over and over? You end up playing levels over and over a lot to power up your ship, and this is because the first time you enter a level, you will get wrecked -- power ups help so much with surviving.


You play games over and over and collect "wubs," which are then spent to improve your health and weapons.  Probably the coolest part of this feature is that your weapons can get massively upgraded and not only become more powerful, more more outlandish . . . whereas you can have little exhaust lasers shooting out of your side at 0 wubs, 1000 wubs will sometimes cause those exhaust lasers to become giant lightsabers of death, which is fun.

There are over 40 achievements to earn, which help replayability, but some achievements are like . . . really? That's crazy. Who would do that? *cough* I may or may not have the achievement for playing a level 25 times in a row. *cough* I may have just boosted my health up and put myself in the corner of the screen and walked away from the game to do that.

So there you have it.  Dub Wars!  Pretty fun little game, and a pretty great discount rack buy for me over Christmas.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fire Emblem Heroes -- Blue Crow Ursula & Other Thoughts

Heya all! With Spring Break headed our way, I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog a bit more in the morning. Not having to get the kids ready for school might actually give me some time this week. :)

I'll talk a bit over the next week about some games I'm playing currently, but for now I want to talk a bit about a mobile game that came out early last month, Fire Emblem Heroes (FEH). Let me get it out of the way: It's a combination of Summoner's War and Puzzles and Dragons with that old familiar Fire Emblem touch.

If you're looking to play, you might want to read over this "Wish I would have known" list from Kotaku. When I started, I didn't do the whole "re-rolling" thing and therefore do not have everyone's favorite character, Takumi. He's insanely strong, and anytime I hit the Arena, I groan every time I see him pop up; although if I can get him separated from the pack, my Marth hero can take him down, so it's not necessarily the end of the world.

So far I've cleared the entire Story part of the game on Normal, Hard, and all I have left is the final battle on Lunatic. (I figure I just need a couple Light's Blessing, and I'll be good to go -- I'm not spending any orbs to revive, that's just crazy talk).


Sorry, Veronica. Btw, I love your style.


yeah I still play miitomo . . . don't judge.

In FEH, things typically boil down to getting 5-Star heroes and leveling them up to 40th level, and as of this week I now have four 5-Star heroes: Marth, Chrom, Hinoka, and Catria.

NOTE, I have spent zero money on this game. I'm a dirty casual free-to-play, and I don't mind that at all. I've had a lot of fun with the game and not spent a dime. But as i've said before on this article about one of Nintendo's other games, I usually ante' up at some point to tell them thanks for all the fun.

Now occasionally, FEH will throw out a challenge that's diabolical. For my usual batch of readers that aren't familiar with FEH and typically are familiar with KingsIsle's games . . . this would be like a battle in Pirate101 where if you lose one companion in a combat, you lose the entire match, and the battleboard is designed to work against you.

The recent battle like this is to win Ursula. Before you read my strategy, you should probably look at this guy's strategy because he beat lunatic mode and made it look easy.


With my current group of heroes, I found it to be pretty challenging . . . ON HARD . . . I'd have to dedicate some time to leveling up another hero to take this down on Lunatic.

First things first, my team was Chrom, Marth, Clarine (my four-star healer), and Hinoka (who really didn't even need to be there . . . I should have switched her out for someone that gives a buff)


This is how we start out.


As seen above, my first round was spent re-arranging my team into this block with my healer (on the horse) in the back.



The game then moves at me like this, lured in by the thought of destroying Chrom. I take a little damage from the ninja down in the left hand corner, and his mounted buddy dragged him back a square.


Now I take Chrom and have him take out that Armored Green fella.


Very important, I use my healer Clarine to heal Marth.


Marth moves forward and blocks the exit. so that mounted blue wizard can't wreck Clarine in one shot.


At this point the game goes nuts on Chrom trying to kill him and he's left with one hitpoint.


Chrom attacks the ninja above him, and in doing so uses his special ability to heal back a little health. Clarine rushes forward and heals Marth again.


Marth moves down and defeats that pesky blue mounted wizard.



At this point the ninja sidesteps and attacks Marth at a diagonal. and the mounted red swordsman sacrifices himself on Marth.  Marth and Chrom heal up . . . all that's left is that ninja.


Clarine once again heals marth for funsies.


Marth wrecks the ninja.


Profit.


I hope that guide helped someone somewhere . . . uh . . . probably not, but hey! I was happy about it and excited to share and happy to put out another blog post. It's been FAR too long. Sorry about that. I think I have a build up of new and interesting thoughts I can share with you all again.

Thanks for reading and . . . happy dueling!!


Monday, August 22, 2016

How do I Log into a Second Wizard101 Account?

Hello all,

I have a great question from Elizabeth. She asks this:

"how do you log into your second wizard 101 account."

Great question, and it's really quite simple. There are actually two parts to running Wizard101. You first run the "game launcher," which is the little window showing RavenWood News and has a place to log in.


This is the game launcher

When the bars have finished loading, you press the red "Play!" button, and this closes the launcher and opens the actual Wizard101 program. (You know, where you see your wizards sitting at their desks.)

If you try to run two Wizard101 Game Launchers at the same time, you'll get the message "Wizard101 is already running on your computer" and it won't let you start. So what you need to do is let the Game Launcher complete, close, and bring up the actual Wizard101 program, and then you can run the Game Launcher again!

This time you'll enter your second account information into the Game Launcher and wait for it to load.

I actually own about five or six accounts myself and occasionally (although it is rare these days) will set the game resolution down to 800x600 and run four accounts at once using this method.

Thanks for the question and have fun!

Happy Dueling

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What's that Beanie Hat in Wizard101?

Hey all!

I just got a question from sir "big goof"!

"Do you know what the beanie is called from christmas? ive been looking for the name everywhere and just cant find it."

I do!  Um, or at least I think I do. Those beanies come from the Winterland Pack and are the hairstyles (which you can stitch to hats) known as The Fakie Ollie and The Halfpipe.



OH YEAH!  I kind of dig that look while riding the Road Warrior's Chopper!  Although some kind of snowboard mount would be amazing.

Great choice of hat there.  Probably Christmas in July is what recently brought these hats to your attention, amiright? They're a pretty great looking for sure.

Thanks for the question, Big Goof!  If that isn't the hat you're looking for, leave me a comment with more description, and I'll see if I can track it down.

Happy Dueling

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A ninja pig of a different bacon

So, I've fallen into a bit of a gaming slump lately.

  • I'm at the final battle for Kane in Valencia 2, and I just need to find some time and mental space to give it a shot.
  • Morgrim and I have only been playing Wizard101 every other week lately.
  • I'm stuck in Terraria, so I'm a bit stand offish from it right now
  • Pokemon Go won't work on my phone.
  • I'm too poor to go buy a new game.
  • D&D play is a special occasion.
  • I'm on a hiatus from my Sunday night game group.
  • I'm also on a hiatus from DDO -- kinda got bored there.
  • All the other hundreds of games or so in my collection just aren't calling to me.
Where does that leave me?  That leaves me stumbling through the free to play games on Steam, where I found a ninja pig of a different bacon: Iron Snout.

HIYA! (I'm pretty sure that's ketchup on the ground there)

So you're a pig with some pretty sweet ninja skills. You've got low kicks, high kicks, double flips . . . you can cut off the heads of your enemies and then use them as projectile weapons . . . but you aren't much for moving around or being stealthy.  No, you're a pig, in the middle of the screen, and this horde of wolves have you marked as enemy number one.


COME AT ME BRO . . . and, yes, they'll come at you wielding axes, cleavers, rockets, chainsaws, and baskets of baked goods . . . and I'm sure as you survive longer, they'll have other nefarious ways to try and take you down.

I wouldn't say this is the most enlightening of game experiences I've ever had, nor the most fun, but when it comes to filling the void . . . thank you Iron Snout!

It even comes with a two-player mode where you can bounce a ball at a pig-friend and try to score points by getting the ball past them air-hockey-style with no animated violence whatsoever! I'm not going to say I beat my kids 2 games out of 3, but . . . ok, I already said it.

If you give Iron Snout a shot or are already familiar with this mayhem, gimme a shout in the comments below with your high score!  I just happened to score this . . .


It's a good number, and I got an achievement! (Look at those stupid chuckling wolves.)

Happy Dueling

Monday, July 11, 2016

Finally Tried (and fell in love with) Terraria!

I'm very late to the party.  Terraria has been around since 2011, and I'm just barely getting to it, but let's just say it kind of consumed the past couple weeks of my life, and I had a blast playing it, which is surprising since upon first play a year ago when I won the game from participating in Blaugust, I wasn't initially all that impressed.

My little town

Terraria had been sitting on my desktop this whole time, and I thought . . . you know what? I'm giving it a fair handshake because I made the mistake as discounting it as a 2D Minecraft, which apparently is a common misconception, and I didn't see the attraction.

There are plenty of reviews online that talk about how Terraria isn't just a 2D Minecraft, so I probably don't need to go into the details too much, but I think it's best summed up by a review from Fuzzbot I saw in Steam on the game:

"Itsa sandbox game.
Itsa sandbox 2d game.
Itsa sandbox exploration 2d game.
Itsa sandbox exploration 2d RPG game.
Itsa sandbox exploration 2d RPG Shooter game.
Itsa sandbox exploration 2d RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot game.
Itsa sandbox exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot game.
Itsa sandbox survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot game.
Itsa sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot game.
Itsa sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Clickfest game.
Itsa class-building sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Clickfest game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Clickfest game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Griefing Clickfest game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Griefing Multiplayer Clickfest game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like sword-fighting survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Griefing Multiplayer Clickfest game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like sword-fighting spell-casting survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Griefing Multiplayer Clickfest crafting game.
Itsa economic class-building sandbox rogue-like sword-fighting spell-casting survival exploration 2d hardmode RPG Shoot-And-Hoard-Loot Griefing Multiplayer Clickfest crafting game that ISN'T a Minecraft clone.

Just buy it. What ELSE do you want? A SEQUEL!?
Well, its apparently getting that, too.

10/10, would waste time googling adjectives and taking adjectives from the comment section again."

That's possibly the greatest review ever written because the game plays like that.  You start to play the game and once you get beyond the "sandbox" "2D" "RPG" "Shooter" aspect of the game, you're good to go and the layers keep peeling back.

If I was to mashup games to tell you what it feels like to me, it'd be this


All games that I've thoroughly enjoyed in my life.


Now . . . all that said, I'm kind of to the point in the game where I've crafted some pretty awesome armor, have fairy wings to fly, have an amazing yo-yo of death, a stockpile of potions, a town full of helpful NPCs, and to progress further into the game I have to kill three bosses that randomly appear, but only at nighttime . . . and I'm stuck.

The hardmode bosses kick my butt, and I'm imagining I have to either sync up and actually play the game with friends to progress or really learn how to avoid taking damage from the bosses (either by bashing my head against it several more times or watching a few spoilery YouTube videos).

If you've got $10 to spare or happen to find Terraria for sale on the Steam store, I'd recommend giving it a go, but when you do . . . just know you may need to give it some time until the layers of the game start to peel back and reveal itself.

Let me know when you've beat the Wall of Flesh! Two words . . . water bolt. ;)

Happy Dueling!