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Messages - Kuildeous

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General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: December 10, 2018, 10:17:40 am »
I finished up Jessica Jones Season 2 this weekend.

It's pretty decent. The appeal of JJ is that she's super, but she so very human. I've known people that perpetually depressed, and they are certainly exhausting. It's understandable how her friends could get exhausted dealing with her. And then there's the added burden of people near her possibly getting in the line of fire.

As usual, the entire season is a giant downer. Even the victories are tainted or short-lived. For example, Jeri's revenge against Inez and Shane was satisfying to watch, but it's a guilty joy at cheering on someone who is pretty much a rotten person anyway turning to a darkness that ultimately ends two people.

I was a little bit incredulous at the reveal that Jessica's mother not only lived but was also a super, but I found the explanation episode to be sufficient. By the end of that episode, I was accepting of the incredible reveal.

The saddest moment, I felt, was with the replacement head of security. She was respectful of Alisa's boundaries and even did her a favor by ensuring the television was within sight. And it was that act of kindness that ultimately cost her her life (or possibly crippled her). No good deed goes unpunished in this show.

I found the Trish storyline to be pretty good. She has some demons within her, and I feel they did a decent job of presenting them. She recovered pretty quickly after going into a system collapse and nearly dying in the hospital, but then we see a teaser that the process did enhance her after all, and that is a reasonable explanation

The story of Oscar seemed a little forced, but that's probably because it's hard to tell how much time has passed. Some corners may have seemed to have been turned too quickly due to the show's format. I was accepting of it, but I could see where it seemed chaotic to some people. His inclusion was also a little too convenient for what was needed later on in the season.

The thing that bothers me the most is Cheng. His inclusion as a nemesis really seemed forced. He feels the need to muscle in on another PI's territory. Does he do this to all PIs, so did he just have a hard-on for Jessica? And then there's the fact that he was positioned for a perfect shot to take out Alisa, and he failed. Yet, Trish took her out with a handgun against a moving target. I suppose one could argue that the Ferris wheel provided a predictable pattern vs. her moving around in the apartment. And Cheng was a PI, not a combatant; hell, Trish probably has more time on the firing range than Cheng. So maybe my complaint isn't quite as solid, but it's still there.

And Kilgrave's return felt gratuitous. Like, hey, we know you love David Tenant, so he's back! On the other hand, his scenes put into words Jessica's inner struggles. They say you should show and not tell, but those feelings can be difficult to show, so they copped out and brought in Kilgrave to spell it all out for us. It wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but it's ham-fisted.

Great performances though, and the story actually kept me interested a lot more than Season 1, which had a rubber-banding effect that kept the episodes running long after I stopped caring about the cat-and-mouse game between Jessica and Kilgrave.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: December 04, 2018, 08:54:34 am »
Damn, I just read on wikipedia that

According to Bloomberg L.P., the fifth series [of Black Mirror] is expected to be released in December 2018

I'm super ready for more Black Mirror. It still drawfs all but a hand full of others shows in my book. And I was always wondering why they'd stop after four seasons, given that it's a) successful and b) can obviously be continued with no inherent disadvantage to earlier seasons given the episodic format.

And I don't think there was any quality decline throughout the first fours easons, so season 5 ought to be just as good.

While I would have loved to get more Black Mirror sooner, I am perfectly happy with them working on getting the new season right. How many times do we complain about a show going downhill after so many seasons? Usually that happens because writers are in a hurry. The benefit of the Netflix format is that they aren't trying to pop out weekly episodes to the point where their resources are strained. Basically they're filming a giant movie. But with Black Mirror, it's a bunch of little movies. Looking forward to this.

I also started Jessica Jones Season 2. I had heard good things about Daredevil Season 3, but I thought I would finish up JJ first. Maybe Luke Cage.

Other Games / Re: Dungeons and Dragons
« on: November 18, 2018, 09:27:37 pm »
The combat can be quite the grind, and it is worse if that is how players perceive it as necessary to advance.

Back in the D&D3 days, a friend of mine started up a Midnight campaign. I had been playing Pathfinder Society, which gives 1 XP per adventure, win or lose. I suggested to the GM that we don't track XP. Instead, he tells us when he feels we've done enough to justify leveling. Turned out to be a really rewarding system. We didn't have to worry if we would get dinged on XP for doing an encounter wrong. You play out the encounter as it makes sense. If there's violence, then you resolve it. If it involves stealth or diplomacy, then you resolve it that way instead.

And that model is showing up in more D&D games now. Pathfinder's adventure paths provide XP, but they also advise what levels the PCs should be at certain points, so the GM can gauge milestone leveling. It's actually canon in 13th Age.

It's a weird feeling because in the old days, the GM would reward or punish the players based on how they reacted to the encounters. Feel that the PCs were being cowardly by sneaking past the guards? Give them zero XP--or only a quarter to half if you're feeling generous. Accidentally kill the hostage? Reduced XP. And so on. With milestone, the group gets the same XP whether they choose to fight in every encounter or if they talk their way to the boss. You reward the play style that the players want.

Other Games / Re: Keyforge
« on: November 17, 2018, 10:50:22 pm »
I'm intrigued. I bought 5 packs for my niblings. I introduced them to Magic, but they may dig on this game that doesn't require building a deck. That won't stop my little future engineer from trying to build one though. I'll give them their decks over Thanksgiving. I figure if it looks fun enough for my wife and me, we may buy some decks for ourselves.

Other Games / Re: Dungeons and Dragons
« on: November 15, 2018, 10:00:39 am »
Not my RPG of choice, but I'm all for talking about RPGs in general.

As a GM, you're the storyteller. The other players are also storytellers, but they typically have less agency than you do when bending the rules. That depends on the type of game you're running though. Some GMs prefer running things strictly out of the box while others are cool with players suggesting narrative changes and roll with it.

My weekly Torg game is on the heroic, freeform side. I have an idea for stories, but Torg allows players to add drama with subplot cards. There might be a wandering monster, an unrealized trap, a new minion, or an unexpected hostage. Actually, I highly suggest using subplot cards in general. Torg has a very specific deck of cards for this, but you could also look up Whimsy Cards or Storypath Cards. They allow players to add some zest to a game, but the GM has to be very flexible. Maybe you intended for the group to simply invade the orc camp, but thanks to that interloper card that someone played, there's also a group of drow spies sneaking around that may abscond with a mysterious scroll if they aren't stopped.

Don't be afraid to say yes. If a player asks if there's a chandelier hanging nearby, then the player is contemplating doing something cool. Let it happen. Obviously not every suggestion is feasible, so don't be afraid to say no. The rules of improv are in play here. Embrace the "Yes and…" but also provide some outputs with "No but…" No, this tavern is too short for a chandelier, but a stick of dynamite did fall out of someone's pack and is rolling toward one of the floor lamps.

One of my pet peeves in RPGs is needless rolling. Make every die roll count. A not-so-exaggerated example is knocking down a door with no danger looming over it. The GM says to roll Strength. Nope, that 8 isn't going to do it. Roll again. Nope, not on 12 either. Keep on rolling. Oh, good, after 15 rolls, you finally beat the 19 needed to break down the door. The room is empty. Ugh, bad GM!

Instead, if the PC has the means to eventually succeed, hand-wave it if there's not a threat. There's a door, and with some great effort you break it down. Beyond is an empty room. Move on to the next action.

But dice-rolling has its place. If there is a threat on the other side, then they are aware of the PCs trying to break down the door and can prepare for the attack. Each failed roll gives them more time to prepare.

You could also use 13th Age's fail-forward mechanic. You don't roll a bunch of times. You roll once. And you succeed. But if you don't beat a certain number, that success may come at a price. You didn't beat 19 on the Strength test, so you slam into the door several times before it breaks apart but now you're facing some very prepared and buffed enemies. If you had rolled 19+ on that roll, then you kick in the door and descend upon the enemies while they're scrambling to draw their weapons.

I'm a little curious about the recently Kickstarted Over the Edge reprint. From what I read, the player rolls once to determine success or failure. It sounds like it'll be very narrative-based.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: November 09, 2018, 03:36:08 pm »
Really, that's the other person's fault for using "impossible" incorrectly. What's impossible is buying a Gold in the first two turns of a base game. But when you have a crap-ton of curses and ruins, then it's not impossible to get the 8 coins for the final Province. It's just improbable.

But if you have a crap-ton of Curses and Ruins and you still hit the 8 coins for the final Province while your opponent keeps hitting $7 despite not having any Curses or Ruins, then he is absolutely correct that it's impossible to win against your shuffle luck.

Well, yes, when you impose conditions, then you are able to declare certain scenarios as impossible.

But in general, it's not impossible to win with a bloated, inefficient deck. Just really improbable.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: November 09, 2018, 01:33:31 pm »
I guess I'm against the term because it's so often used as something that is actively working for or against you. "It's impossible to win against that luck" as my opponent stated.

Really, that's the other person's fault for using "impossible" incorrectly. What's impossible is buying a Gold in the first two turns of a base game. But when you have a crap-ton of curses and ruins, then it's not impossible to get the 8 coins for the final Province. It's just improbable.

But then I think that people use "impossible" hyperbolically to express their frustration. I might see a huge traffic jam and say, "It's going to be impossible to get home," but that is not technically true, and I know better.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: November 07, 2018, 11:26:45 am »
I get a warm feeling when we discuss random chance in the Random Stuff thread.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: November 06, 2018, 04:25:38 pm »
Part of the fun is weathering the luck.

General Discussion / Re: Movies: Any movie buffs?
« on: October 31, 2018, 12:21:59 pm »
A couple friends of mine were talking about Irreversible. Since he left midway through the movie, one guy was uncertain if he should classify it as a horror movie. I thought I'd share my response, considering how infamous this movie is.

I would not classify Irreversible as a horror movie. It does, however, qualify as a movie to endure. Most of that is due to how it was shot. Some good and some bad.

What makes this movie stand out—aside from its reversed chronology—is that I understand that each scene was filled with a single take. I haven't scrutinized it with a magnifying glass, but that sounds right to me. But that means that the improv scenes really stand out—and not in a good way. You can tell the points where the actors are just filling in gaps while waiting for something to happen. It was more awkward than horrifying.

The film opener is especially uncomfortable because of how they filmed it. They used subsonic pulses in the background that instigate nausea. Combined with shaky-cam in a twisting labyrinth, this scene is discombobulating and uncomfortable. There's also some FX that is sickening as well, even for gore aficionados. It wasn't the grossest thing to see, but combined with the lights and sounds of the movie, it was particularly nauseating. I'll give the director props on making this scene literally gut-wrenching.

The scene of infamy is also really uncomfortable. I mean, it's a terrible topic anyway, but the continuous take makes this even more uncomfortable to watch. But it wasn't just the act itself. There are a couple of things happening in the background which adds to the atrocity. Kudos to the cast and crew for being brave enough to tackle this, but I imagine they felt just as awful as the audience afterwards.

I'm not certain that it's a great movie, but it does take a vile and uncomfortable topic and shoves it in the audience's face. It forces us to look at it, and the fact that it's shown in reverse causes a huge sense of sorrow because it starts off really bad and then progresses to more innocent scenes. It reminds us that even on our best days we're only one tragic confluence of events away from being irreversibly damaged. It does make you think, but it is definitely a movie to endure.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: October 29, 2018, 11:00:44 am »
So I finished my game of S2 and posted my thoughts here:

Or if you know you're not going to play and don't mind spoilers. Your call. I'm not the Morality Police.

But I had a blast. Kind of sad that it's gone. I mean, I could buy a new copy and play again. It could be an interesting exercise in trying to win the first time in each month since I know where exactly to beeline. And it would be interesting to revisit the strategy of Box 6, which as a Dominion fan, I simply loved. Playing anew with this information means I would make the route from Utopia to Kolkata much more efficient.

Maybe if I get a copy of S2 for cheap (or a partially started one from someone who gave up), it would be a fun little exercise. Otherwise, I don't really want to buy a game with the intent of playing it as little as possible.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 23, 2018, 11:24:42 am »
Is anyone watching the new season of Daredevil? Did anyone notice (episode 4, not really a spoiler) an 11-minute scene with no cuts? That has to be the most impressive scene out of any TV show ever.

I haven't gotten that far yet, but I remember Season 1 had an impressive scene like that, though not like that. Wow!

I kind of enjoy seeing directors taking such risks. While I wasn't a huge fan of Irreversible, I really appreciated the risks the director took.

General Discussion / Re: Replacing battery in mobile phone
« on: October 22, 2018, 09:15:42 am »
Well, in case anyone cares about this for the future, I found out more about the battery in an S6 Active.

I called a phone repair place that seemed reputable online. I asked about my situation. The guy said that with the Active, the only way to get at the battery is to remove the screen, and that requires breaking and replacing the screen, which would cost about $200-$300. He suggested that I'd get more value for my money by replacing the phone.

So sadly I have to say good-bye to my S6 Active. It really was still in tip-top shape otherwise. I probably could've tried to milk it for longer by replacing the battery anyway, but the problem with these phones is that they aren't designed to last very long. We had just replaced my wife's S6 a couple months back because the GPS was going out. Fortunately, that makes it suitable for a back-up phone if anything should happen to our current phones. I was able to turn in my dead Active for $30—doubled to $60 due to a promotion on the S9. So there's a little something.

General Discussion / Replacing battery in mobile phone
« on: October 18, 2018, 01:32:58 pm »
So my Galaxy S6 is pooping out. It dropped from 100% battery to 45% within an hour. And when it reaches the 40% range, it shuts off completely as if it were drained. Clearly my phone has issues.

I don't really want to get a new phone though. I know these phones are not designed for longevity, but I have to think that there are people who specialize in fixing up old phones, including installing a new battery. Has anybody done this? Is it a viable option? Or should I just accept that I'm going to go buy a new phone this weekend?

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 11, 2018, 08:49:34 am »
I finished up the current season of Better Call Saul. Wow, Michael's story at the end was a goddamn punch to the face. Really well done. Now I regret removing it from my DVR because I think it may be worthwhile to compare that scene to the scene in Breaking Bad where Walter is pleading for his life and is placed on the phone to Jesse. And while there's an inclination to root for Michael to let Werner go, you know that he won't because you know his role in Breaking Bad.

And Jimmy's story was good too. You got to see how he's willing to use his brother's memory to get what he wants, and Kim is seeing that dark side of him. You know that Kim leaves the picture at some point since she's not in Breaking Bad, and it seems likely to be the result of greatly disagreeing with Jimmy's ethics. I originally thought she'd get too wrapped up in his schemes and take a huge fall for it, but this finale looks to me like she's more likely to get sick of his shit.

In a sense, it's a blessing and curse that Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad. There are some characters you know are invincible, so you have some spoilers there, yet it doesn't diminish the tension because part of the thrill is watching how those characters get to where they are.

There's great potential for a prequel to fail to live up to the source material (*cough* Star Wars, not including Rogue One), but Better Call Saul is handling this masterfully.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 11, 2018, 08:36:22 am »
I didn't say Lost's ending was disappointing. In fact, I said the opposite. But you can't help how people feel about the ending. Does it taint a newbie's experience? Likely. After all, I haven't started Dexter yet, and part of the reason is because people generally feel that one of the seasons is particularly stinky. Maybe someday I'll watch it, but I have plenty in my queue, so Dexter is perpetually falling down the ladder for me.

One reason I wasn't disappointed with the ending of Lost was that I didn't interpret them as being dead this whole time. I took the events as literal.

As I said before, I forgot the specifics of that season to lead me to that conclusion, so I'm not in a good position to be able to defend my stance. I can only tell you how I felt after watching that episode, and that feeling doesn't jive with the general consensus. And I'm okay with that because my takeaway is more satisfying to me.

Though honestly, even if I do follow the general consensus, I don't think that would've bothered me either. Being disappointed with this would be like being disappointed with (different movie spoiler time) Jacob's Ladder's ending, which I highly regarded. Or any other story which happens as people are dying/dead. That just doesn't bother me as much.

Peer-reviewed movies and shows are how we sort out which entertainment we want to go with. I've followed up on some good suggestions on here and other groups of like-minded people. And even if a show has a disappointing ending (*cough* Seinfeld), the journey is still pretty damn fun. I'd sit through another finale of Lost that's as disappointing as most people make it out to be in order to sit through everything else.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: October 10, 2018, 03:49:48 pm »
My job duties have switched to being the resource coordinator. I assign training programs to certain rooms and qualified trainers. It's an interesting jigsaw puzzle, especially when I have multiple programs vying for the same trainers. But I do fairly well at it.

The new manager of the trainers was astounded at how I was able to move swaths of training around to accommodate these requests. I was about to tell her it's what I do in my spare time, but I stopped myself because that seemed weird to say.

Then I realized why I wanted to say it. It literally is what I do in my spare time because I'll play resource-management games a lot. And worker placement, though that is not quite as relevant as the name suggests. All those nights maximizing my points in Terraforming Mars and Power Grid have prepared me for my current job. Thanks, board games!

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 10, 2018, 02:42:08 pm »
is a pretty huge spoiler.

You really think so? It's like Chekov's gun. You have people stranded on an island. That's kind of a foregone conclusion. I know it's not like that for classic shows like Gilligan's Island and Lost in Space, but those shows don't rely on an overarching plotline. In fact, those shows only work because they don't point in a specific direction. Lost did.

But in any case, I'll relent. Perhaps my definition of what is spoilerific is part of the minority.

Though if anything, I think the kinda is a bigger spoiler.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 10, 2018, 11:58:46 am »
I made sure to avoid spoilers, but I'll capitulate.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: October 10, 2018, 09:40:39 am »
So I've started watching Lost. It's pretty addicting.

Lost had some pretty solid storytelling. I think what made it stand out was that each character had fleshed-out stories prior to the crash. Then they changed it up and showed what happened to people after they were rescued. Kind of. That gets kind of weird.

I'm a little disappointed to learn that they didn't plan out the series. On the one hand, it's really cool that they were able to tell these stories while flying by the seats of their pants, but it also meant that they didn't plan for a lot of things, and it shows in some spots.

I'm also one of the few people who was not bothered by the ending. But sadly now I cannot remember the details of the finale, so I am no longer in a state to defend it (or at least offer up reasonable explanations). I'd have to rewatch it and see if I can remember everything that season.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: September 19, 2018, 02:52:41 pm »
How come "which Star Trek were you most into growing up" doesn't make the list?

That's another good option. Plenty of good options out there, especially when you have to rule out certain lists because someone hasn't been involved with that (such as Bond). Could also include first Stephen King movie, first Disney cartoon, and first time being excited about the Super Bowl.

Though now looking at the answers, I feel kind of old because my list is more like:
Star Wars: A New Hope
Batman: Adam West
Bond: Roger Moore
Doctor: Matt Smith
Curry: Annie, technically, though I didn't know him until Rocky Horror
Star Trek: Kirk
Stephen King: The Shining
Disney cartoon: Harder than I thought; probably Sleeping Beauty

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: September 19, 2018, 09:28:24 am »
Had a talk with someone about how in a couple of decades, people will be able to fairly accurately guess someone's age by which Star Wars films they saw first.

This got us talking about other benchmarks to measure someone's age.

First Batman
First James Bond
First Doctor
First Tim Currey character

Though my measure of Doctor is a bit off because I didn't start watching until Matt Smith. If I had watched Doctor Who as a youth, I'm sure Tom Baker would be my first. Doctor Who isn't quite as mainstream as the other benchmarks.

General Discussion / Re: Movies: Any movie buffs?
« on: September 18, 2018, 09:53:12 am »
I followed up on a recommendation to watch Train to Busan, and I'm glad I did. It was a pretty good movie.

I think the zombie theme is getting really overplayed lately, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this movie was well done. There are little subplots going on, but mostly the story is about a man and his strained relationship with his daughter and zombies. The movie was expertly made in a technical sense, and I felt a fondness for some of the characters. And there's a real shithead of a character that you're going to hate.

You may think this is a mix of 28 Days Later and Snowpiercer, though it really has more in common with the former. What it has in common with the latter is that they both take place on trains, though this movie does address the class gap.

The only gripe I have is that there's one scene that is more action-oriented than I expected. And it's not much of a gripe really. And I can't tell if modern trains just aren't that pitch black in tunnels like they were when I rode in the '80s, or if they pulled back on the darkness in order to show what's happening. But I remember tunnels being pitch black.

But pretty good movie. There's talks of a sequel, though it's supposed to be different characters in a different region. In that case, I'm not sure that Train to Busan 2 would be an accurate title. It may have a different title when it's released though.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: September 06, 2018, 09:07:15 am »
I finished watching Disenchantment on Netflix. It's rather pedestrian for a Matt Groening product, but it's still better than most shows out there.

It had some amusing nuggets, but the overall story didn't seem to know what it wanted to do. As a result, you have these weird moments where the show wanted to be episode-driven and then where it wanted to have a serial plot.

The mythology of the world was fun to behold, and I felt an attachment to Princess Bean. Luci obviously would be compared to Bender, and for good reason. He's the jerk of the story, but he's not as in-your-face as Bender, which I appreciated. And Elfo would be compared to Fry. Unfortunately, aside from the obsession with his elfhood, there's very little to differentiate him from Fry.

I wanted the show to be a lot more, but I'm content with what I got. My biggest gripe is the season finale. I can appreciate a good cliffhanger here and there, but this one felt less like a cliffhanger and more like the recording cut out in the middle of the episode. I would definitely choose to rewrite that over anything else.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (spoiler-free zone)
« on: September 04, 2018, 04:23:24 pm »
People have said it's not as good as S1, but that's like saying lobster is not as good as filet mignon.
That reference is lost on me... but I actually enjoy S2 more than I did S1 so far (and I did enjoy S1 a lot). We're in October of S2.

Just saying that S2 is pretty good. People saying it's worse than S1, which is already a highly acclaimed game, is not indicative of S2 being a bad game.

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