Category Archives: General

Present State of My Digital Card Game Playing

I’ve spoken before of the Digital LCGs, TCGs and the like that I’m wanting to play. A small update on some of those.

I am still not in the Hearthstone beta. Can’t comment too much on it outside of what I’ve seen. For the moment I’m digging Infinity Wars and Card Hunter until I can get in.

I actually got in the Infinity Wars beta after all. Very good game. However I’m stuck on one of the early missions (Warpath Campaign 2 for anyone interested in helping… if I’m still stuck when help comes). Here I am playing the game (the screen cap may say Offline Now, because I likely am offline from Twitch at the moment, but it was recorded there and rather than export it to YouTube I’ll leave it there for now, anyhow the video should work.):
Continue reading Present State of My Digital Card Game Playing

Digtial LCGs, TCGs and the Like of the Next Generation That I Want to Play

I’ve never been a Magic the Gathering player. I’ve had decks, but never really played.

Recently I’ve really gotten into Android Netrunner. In my opinion it is one of the best games for two people out there… but it isn’t digital… well not officially, you can play on a client called OCTGN, but for the most part you really need to be able to get to your local FLGS (favorite local game store) and play. My local FLGS in Akron, Underhill’s Games, has a weekly Netrunner event, but my car situation keeps me from making it like I would like…

Meanwhile I also have Lord of the Rings: LCG, which can be played solo… but again, not available digitally officially yet…

So digital card games are what I’ve been looking into.

The big one at the moment is Hearthstone, but that is in closed beta and I’m not in it yet, once I’m in I’ll report more and post up some videos. There are plenty of videos of it on YouTube and Twitch. Check it out. Blizzard, who made World of Warcraft, Diablo and the StarCraft (I need to get those for Ari) made this one. It seems very well done as one would expect from a first level developer like Blizzard… (Side note, I can’t wait to see Blizzard All Stars and Titan.) This is perhaps the big boy on the block, at least in the general public eye.

Infinity Wars is another big one out there in beta. I downloaded the client a few days ago, but didn’t make an account until today (Sept 1st), and sadly they just shut down beta invites… like had I signed up when I downloaded I probably could have got in, but now I’m on a 2-3 week wait. Again plenty of videos on YouTube and Twitch… to which I’ll be adding to for sure. As of the writing, they shut down new beta invites for 2-3 weeks. Had I tried to get in when I downloaded the client I probably would have been in already and making content for it…

Hex: Shards of Fate is perhaps one of the ones I’m most interested in seeing. It seems to be combining an MMO with a TCG. Yet again, closed alpha (not even beta yet). This one you can buy your way in, but I don’t know if I’m sold on the idea of buying in… I’m not clear yet on the MMO elements… what little I’ve seen seems to be just a next generation digital TCG, but I haven’t seen any of the PvE stuff yet. I’m very interested in the concept here at the very least.

SolForge I have on my iPad… I haven’t really used it yet though. I know lots of people are playing this while waiting to get in on the above.

There are a few others on the iPad that I’m not going to link to directly, but there’s Summoner Wars, Nightfall, and Ascension…

Of course Magic has its own digital version…

My Dream Business

If I could make a business of my own it would be a build a shopping plaza… okay that isn’t the dream, the plaza is there to support the primary business which is a Hybrid Family Entertainment Center. As to why a plaza I’ll get to after talking about the center itself.

What is a FEC? Imagine a bowling center, with a something like a Dave & Busters (large arcade area and dinning area, aimed at a slightly older audience than the next one), and a Chuck E. Cheese’s… some add indoor go carts, miniature golf, bumper cars, rock walls and more.

The bowling center is the centerpiece. 24-32+ lanes, plus some private lanes as well for smaller events. Continue reading My Dream Business

What I Would Have Done for the New Superman/Batman Movie

The way I imagined The Superman/Batman movie. Lex Luther (Bryan Cranston) reaches across the bay to Gothem’s richest citizen Bruce Wayne (now cast as Ben Affleck, though I didn’t have a casting choice in yet and I’m fine now with Affleck) in a voice of concern about this new caped crusader that nearly destroyed Metropolis in his battle with Zod (I didn’t mind the end of Man of Steel, Superman 2 had the same result, and in that one they laughed it off rather than Superman being upset about it). Batman comes over, they have a fight but they realize they are on the same time. Meanwhile Joker (no casting choices yet, I though about seeing if Mark Hamill would unretire his Joker, but this isn’t voice acting and Mark’s acting itself is what the question would be) along with my beloved Harley Quinn (also my beloved Katee Sackhoff ever since she started campaigning for it, though I might hold her off for a part in Justice League) starts causing havoc across both cities. Batman and Superman, not friends exactly, but working on the same side fight their common enemy, in the end finding that Luthor is the one pulling the strings and encouraged Joker, Luthor has something bigger planned… roll credits, tease Justice League (which is where Katee might be better cast as Wonder Woman, a tough roll to cast, Eliza Dushku would be possible, but doesn’t really fit the role as well physically, but perhaps that would be more the point).

This Is Water – Your Must Watch Video of the Moment

If you watch only one video anytime soon, then this is perhaps the one.

From the video description: In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie).
-The Glossary

Pondering Android Netrunner Must Haves

For people coming from a link to help, feel free to skip the intro, which is more for regular readers or those not familiar with Netrunner as much…

So I’ve been wanting to play Android Netrunner Living Card Game… I’ve played a couple times with Ari, but not any real serious games yet. I’ve listened to a couple of the Agenda 7 Podcast and a couple of the Breaking News Podcast, along with some of Team Covenant’s excellent video commentary series, and I’m ready to start playing some more serious games (if I can find people in my local area to play that is). I’ve got the following Data Packs (expansions for the game) so far, What Lies Ahead, Trace Amount, Cyber Exodus and A Study in Static, which are all there are at this point.

The challenge for me is that I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering, the original Netrunner game (on which this one is based), or any other games like it… my card game experience (beyond those using a regular deck of cards) is limited to games like Dominion and Elder Sign, both of which are far from the same category. Continue reading Pondering Android Netrunner Must Haves

The Hobbit At 48 FPS

I finally got to see The Hobbit today at the local theater in the High Frame Rate, 48fps 3D the way Peter Jackson filmed it and intended it to be seen. A bit about the movie… it’s a great movie and a must see, I’ll speak more about the movie in a bit.

The big news about the movie is that Peter Jackson filmed the movie at 48 frames per second…
Continue reading The Hobbit At 48 FPS

Christmas Wishlists Updating

I am going through the wishlists and updating them… In all cases remember to sort them by priority…

There is my Amazon Wishlist for Brian A. Thomas. Things not on that list include an iPad (prefer one with the Retina display, and prefer one with the new A6 processor, though a Mini or an older iPad 2 would do as well)… and obviously things that nobody could realistically afford, a place to live close to the boys, a new car (Volt would be first choice, then Subaru Outback, Honda Civic…) 🙂

Ari’s Wishlist is under heavy construction at the moment… missing from the list are some things he would like to have like Lego Technic kits…

Sidd’s Wishlist is also under heavy construction at the moment… but he’s 3, so fairly easy to please…

For both boys, figures for Spryo’s Skylanders or Skylanders Giants on the XBox 360 (the figures for the game should work on all platforms anyhow) could also be good since they got the main game coming to them…

Insane Amount of Video Game Posts

Looking over all my old posts, there have been an insane amount of video game posts… of course there hasn’t been much else going on in my life really, and most of my friends/family are on my Facebook anyhow for the more random odd things… I keep saying I should update this more often and never get to it… 🙂

I Hated Gym Class

Like many geeky non athletic type people, I hated gym. Add social awkwardness, thanks Aspergers, thanks, being shy to go with that lack of athletic ability and the schoolyard pick really diminishes one’s self esteem. I hated dodge ball the most, but that is another topic for another day.

Today I am going to raise my suggestion for an alternative to gym at the high school level, or at least somebody do a good video series (more on that later). I think it is important to keep gym part of the daily routine in primary/elementary school and middle school, more on those later, but in high school where you should only need 2 years worth to graduate, I think it is time to add alternatives beyond the regular gym that everyone can take. You can take 2 years of regular gym, or 3 years of the coming suggested alternate classes, or split it, 1 year of regular gym and 2 of the alternates, so there is a bonus to taking regular gym in that it takes less time.
Continue reading I Hated Gym Class

Birthday Wishlists Updated

With my birthday just a little over a week away, both my main birthday wishlists at Amazon have been updated… In both cases, remember to arrange by priority then pick from there…

My main wishlist has a large variety of items. Brian’s Wishlist

My boargame wishlist was broken from the main list as to allow me to manage expansions at the like better. Brian’s Boardgame Wishlist

The real big ticket item that would probably require teamwork from all potential gift buyers is the iPad… I would prefer a 32GB iPad 3 (they dropped the number, but it has the new Retina display)… but on the wishlist it lists a 16GB iPad 2… I have nearly 50 apps for it already, and I think it would help provide a great distraction for the kids at various times…
After that comes some PC and XBox 360 games, some board games on the boardgame list and then some books which is probably more along the normal price range…

Hopefully in SWTOR Friday

Well, not that they fixed my pre-order registration issues (I still can’t post to the official forums, but that is a fairly minor annoyance at least until I get in for early access and won’t be a “real issue” until the game launches), I can look forward to Early Access. There was official word posted about the remaining Early Access times:

 Posted by: Stephen Reid
A quick update on today’s invites, and a little preview of tomorrow.

Today, we invited people who had pre-ordered up to the very beginning of October (roughly). Tomorrow, we’re going to be inviting the same number of people again; that will take us up to the last week or so of November. On Friday, we’ll be inviting even more, and we’ll give you an update on that tomorrow.

You’ll see more servers coming online tomorrow, and almost certainly there will be some queuing. That was always expected. As a reminder, our plan here is to maintain healthy server populations post launch, and during the excitement of launch that will mean queues. That said, we’ll be working hard to keep those queues reasonable.

We’ll check back in tomorrow with another update.

So people who ordered up through November should be in today (Thursday, 15 November 2011) and those of us who ordered after that should be in Friday (assuming that the invites go out the same day you can get in)… of course work will cut into that time a great deal, but Sunday I am largely free.

SWTOR – After Launch

Like most MMOs, Star Wars: The Old Republic will need new content after launch to keep players in the game. World of Warcraft regularly adds Content Patches. These expand the content of the game… sort of mini-expansions, and at least in the case of WoW, adds up to nearly a full expansion by the time they do release a new expansion the players have to pay for. Seems SWTOR is going down the same path, which is good news.

 Posted by: James Ohlen
I think so. Right now, we have a legacy system in place to encourage and reward players for trying out new classes and seeing new storylines. So there’s a lot of content there to entertain those players who like to play the “level-up game.” On the other hand, there are high-level players who are focused on bringing one character to level 50, and those guys are going to be our main focus for new content. We’re going to be producing new flashpoints, new operations, new warzones, and even new single-player content for our highest leveled characters. We already have multiple teams working on that as we speak, and they’ve got a bunch of flashpoints and operations in the can.

We’re also not shrinking the content team at all, and we have a huge content team. Our content team is essentially bigger than… well… I’ll just say we have a big content team, how about that! [laughs] We have a very big content team and those guys will continue to work on delivering a regular cadence of high-level content. I can’t talk exactly about our delivery schedule, but I can say that within a month of shipping the game, we want to have more high-level content being delivered into the game. We’re going to continue to deliver high-level content after that and for the foreseeable future, basically. It’s obviously important to us. We want to keep people playing the game, so it’s in our best interest to keep doing that.

Of course I’ll likely not be a high level character myself by that point as I tend to be an altoholic and level several characters up to a point then do another and another, switching “mains” and never getting any up to any high levels… Hopefully that changes this time. 🙂

SWTOR Legacy Names

So now serious thought has to be given to a Legacy name.

 Posted by: James Ohlen
“This build has our first iteration of the Legacy System! At its core the Legacy system is about allowing players to create a family tree of characters. Family is pretty important to the Star Wars universe, with the Skywalker family having one of the most interesting dynamics in movie history.This version is just the foundational components that we will use to build upon in the future. Here are the features of this iteration:

Once your character has completed their Chapter 1 storyline, they will be able to choose a Legacy Last Name. This Legacy Last Name must be unique and is shared across all characters on that server – so choose carefully!

Once you have unlocked your Legacy, any and all characters on that server will now contribute to that player’s Legacy Experience Points. Much like normal experience points, when you reach certain Legacy thresholds, you will increase your Legacy Level.

We already have plans for how we will expand the functionality of the Legacy System in one of our major post-ship patches. This will include being able to shape your Legacy’s family tree, and give you a reward for all those Legacy Levels.”

So all your characters on a given server will earn the Legacy name. The issue is more that it isn’t race restricted, or even faction restricted. Not being faction restricted is okay, after all, some people fall to the Dark Side, and some are redeemed from it, so that doesn’t seem odd. In WoW, I typically kept my Horde characters on one server and my Alliance characters on another, and originally was planning on doing the same here. The Legacy system has no bearing on that decision for me. Heck, look at the Skywalker family and the ups and downs of them, with two of them earning the Darth title.
What strikes me as odd is being cross species. A human Jedi and a Sith Pureblood Sith Inquisitor both having the same Legacy just doesn’t fit. It is more a clan then than a Legacy. Even if cross species mating is possible in the Star Wars Universe (given that Twi’lek’s are sexualized there must be at least some… compatibility… but that doesn’t mean there would be viable offspring), it really just doesn’t seem to fit the idea of Legacy.
Still I like the idea of building a Legacy, but I think they really need to restrict the cross species to certain limits… what those limits are I don’t know. Humans and Cyborgs could be part of a Legacy, Twi’lek and Human or Chiss, possibly, but the Sith Pureblood and Human… no…

EDIT: Seems the same basic idea is shared by Republic Trooper which wrote Always In Motion Is The Future – The Legacy System: One More Reason To Alt, a very good take on the whole thing.

Game Moments that Stick with You – Zaalbar kills Mission

Back on the old original XBox is where I played the predecessor to Star Wars: The Old Republic came out, the original Knights of the Old Republic. It was a great game that would help setup (or at least popularize with the non-comic Star Wars fans) a regular Star Wars era that is super popular to this day, and the era the new game takes place in. Your character could go down a light sided path or a dark sided path, and my character went down the dark sided path. You have a couple of companions through the game, Zaalbar, a Wookiee, and his best friend, Mission Vao, a young Twi’lek. They help you through many missions, but near the end of the game, you can force Zaalbar to kill Mission, which I did… got lots of dark side points for it as one would expect… and that moment would stick with me years later. I sometimes feel guilt over going that far overboard. And that is the hallmark of a great game, that moments from the game will stick with you years later, that you make an emotional connection to the game that deeply.

Wishlists Updating for the Holidays

It is nearly Christmas (and soon after the kid’s birthdays) and time to start updating the wishlists. Remember, if you buy something on this list, buy it online from the links here, not at the local big-box store. You save money this way, and it removes the item from the list (I won’t see stuff coming off my personal list until after the holidays so it is a surprise for me, which may make for myself off the list, so hold onto all receipts in the event I need to trade in)… also Amazon kicks back some… so even if you are buying for others from Amazon, use the Amazon link on the right (on the main home page) and buy your stuff. 🙂
Recall with all lists to arrange by priority as the default listing method is by when it was added which has zero baring on how much it was wanted. Even within a priority they are by time added, which again might not be fully where they would be if there was an ability to slide them around personally…

My personal list is presently split between two primary lists:
My primary list: Brian’s Wishlist

My Board Game list which was separated from the main list so I could manage the list better: Brian’s Boardgame List

Ari’s list: Ari’s Wishlist
Mostly Ari is wanting Halo Mega Blocks. I put a lot of them up as examples, but not all of them. He has also started liking Goosebumps books, but I didn’t put any on the list.

Sidd has a list, but it doesn’t have much yet: Sidd’s Wishlist
He loves hotwheels at the moment, but he has a TON of cars already, so no more cars. Boardbooks would be good as he likes looking at those… Movies and TV shows. Usual Pixar/Disney stuff (on dual disc Blu-ray please, so the Blu-ray for my home, the DVD can stay with them at their mom’s). For shows he likes Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the most… of course Thomas stuff would also be good. He likes trains overall, but Thomas especially, and we don’t have room for an HO scale set, if we did I’d pull my stuff out from my moms….

The Critical Thinking list are books and the like dealing with critical thinking skills and related topics mostly for the kids, especially Ari since he likes science and stuff: Critical Thinking List

Farewell Old Friend

Today I said goodbye to one of my oldest and dearest of friends, Lisa Kohn. I’ve known Lisa since somewhere around ’95/96. We became really good friends, eventually she was one of my first loves… She wasn’t the first girl I was attracted to, nor the first girl I ever went out with, and we were never really a fully official couple so far as I know, but she was a very vital part of my life, and I am the better for her being in my life. I remember fondly a great many times together, running around having a good time, going to her parent’s home, or my parent’s home and on one occasion even taking her with me to Minerva for the extended family.
Just days before she passed, we had exchanged messages on how we would see each other again soon. I was looking forward to hanging out on occasion, seeing her friends and family again, and just remembering the good times together. She has been robbed from me… us… and perhaps this says a lot, not that she is simply gone, but robbed from us and that spot in my heart and mind that she occupied will now have to be content with just the memories, but they are good memories and they shall be cherished forever.
This was perhaps the second biggest loss of my life. Losing my sister was number one, and now this. It is sad to lose a grandparent or aunt/uncle, but when they have had such a rich full life, I don’t know, the loss doesn’t seem the same. Perhaps the fact that all those earlier losses were when I was much younger also accounts for it.
My dear Lisa, I hope you are happy and at peace and I thank you for every moment we had together. For all those fond memories. For helping change me into a better person and being a light for me at a dark time of my life. You will always have a very dear and special place, not only in my mind, but my heart as well. I morn your loss and celebrate your life. And while it pains me to think that we’ll never be able to hang out again, or I won’t hear your laugh, I will cherish all those times we did have together, and remember there once was a girl, a very special girl who forever changed me.

Crazy Mashup

Crazy mashup. I had two songs stuck in my head at the same time while at work today, The mariner’s revenge song by The Decmeberist and Danger! High Voltage! by The Electric Six. My brain kept trying to mash them up… I don’t know how well that would work in real life. Here they are just for reference (if the video’s don’t load just refresh the page they should load then):

… and Danger! High Voltage may be considered Not Safe for Work…

Would be interesting if somebody actually did make a working mashup.