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Other Games / Re: Tears of the Kingdom
« on: June 05, 2023, 05:27:34 pm »
Can someone help me understand something about the story without spoilers? I have found all dragon tears, so I have basically the first 14 or so videos filled out (except I think for 1 that's missing between tear 8 and tear 9 or something). Spoilers for any story/videos that you get from that:

Ok in "A Show of Fealty", Ganondorf visits the Zonai throne room (peacefully) and talks to Rauru. After he leaves, Zelda says she doesn't trust him, and Rauru says he knows he has bad intentions, but wants to keep him close. I'm very confused by this for 2 reasons:

1) This is after "The Gerudo Assault", in which Ganondorf attempts to conquer Hyrule using Molduga. Did they not know that he was behind that attack? Although Rauru and Zelda suspect he has evil intentions, they aren't treating him or talking about him like someone who literally just attacked their kingdom.

We're sort of left to fill in the blanks here. Either yes, it's known that Ganondorf was behind the attack and his show of fealty here is essentially a way of making peace, or similar; or no, they didn't know for sure that Ganondorf was behind the attack but can sense the evil coming off of him regardless.

2) Doesn't Zelda know exactly who Ganondorf is, having come from the future? Isn't this (for Zelda) shortly after after she spent 100 years fighting Ganon and holding him at bay? I've been assuming that Calamity Ganon from BOTW was Ganondorf; is that not accurate? Zelda sure isn't acting like the evil she just spent 100 years fighting against walked into the room. Even aside from her encounter with Calamity Ganon, she met Ganondorf / The Demon King under Hyrule before she time-traveled; and she confirms in another video shortly after that she knows the evil being under Hyrule was Ganondorf.

It's shortly after she held back Ganon, and she even mentions about the name similarity, but she didn't necessarily know or realise at this point that the skeletal man they found under Hyrule Castle was Ganondorf. Bear in mind she only saw Ganondorf in the current day for like a minute before being whisked back in time several thousand years. She does eventually realise that it's definitely him, although I'm not certain she knew at that moment. Or perhaps, she did know but felt reticent to tell Rauru exactly what she knew.

As for the relationship between Ganondorf and Ganon, it's not exactly clear. They are part of the same entity, yes - but is Ganon a conscious manifestation of Ganondorf's will and attempts to escape? Is it just his malice raging uncontrollably against his shackles? That isn't really clarified.

Anyway I may not be 100% accurate. It's a Zelda game, the plot isn't usually its strong points.

Other Games / Re: Tears of the Kingdom
« on: May 30, 2023, 05:34:18 pm »
I've been playing heavily, and until I finished the main story yesterday have mostly been avoiding discussions online. I've completed all main story quests before finishing the game, and I definitely enjoyed the game a lot.

A couple of generally low/minimal spoiler thoughts:

I find it surprising just how much from BotW was reused. The only other time they've done that in a major Zelda release was Majora's Mask, which was produced in a very short timeframe (about 2 years) - and even that had a totally new world it was set in even if assets and mechanics were reused. Here, basically the entire core structure of the game has carried over from BotW. Combat is basically the same. Ground level map is broadly the same, the story structure is very similar (go to 4 main areas, which are the same four as in BotW, also find Zelda's memories through a picture based mechanic), there's still the same Shrine system and Koroks for upgrading etc. I guess we always knew the game would have a lot in common with BotW but I'm surprised just how much it is.

TotK definitely feels a lot harder than BotW to me! I think it's a combination of there being far more enemy variety and most returning enemies have more attacks, plus things like the Depths is especially tricky early on due to the temporary max health reduction. Also several more subtle things, such as Hearty food being much rarer (RIP Hearty Durian farms in Faron), armour being more expensive to upgrade - and buy, actually, since rupees are far tougher to get. With that in mind, I found myself wanting to upgrade max health far more often than I did in BotW. In BotW I'd often get max stamina before even taking a 4th heart - after all why bother when I can make a few +15 max heart meals and take minimal damage due to upgraded Hylian Armour? But here, a combination of the Depths making max health more valuable, plus stamina being less vital due to many other ways to gain height, plus less Hearty food, all make heart containers more important.

The dungeons in TotK are MUCH more fun than the BotW ones. Each has their own aesthetic, and several of them feel much more like classic Zelda dungeons with central gimmicks and a semi-linear intended path, which makes for a really enjoyable experience. I'm sure you can also just totally break the dungeons if you want, but hey, that's fun too. The bosses are also more interesting than just Xblight Ganon over and over again.

On the topic of bosses, the final boss fight is really well done. There were several things in that fight that caught me off guard in a good way. MAJOR spoilers I guess here:
1: Ganondorf literally destroying heart containers. Makes perfect sense as he already did that in the Prologue, but still when I realised I wasn't just having hearts gloomed
but literally removed it was like, oh crap, I can't stall this forever
2: That health bar. It's a bit cliche maybe but it worked.
3: He flurry rushes you and even dodges during your flurry rushes. Really just highlights how much of a badass he is.
4: I somehow didn't see the demon dragon transformation coming. Final phase was mostly just for show, but works as a climactic finish far more than Dark Beast Ganon did in BotW

I'm so far not entirely sold on the Depths. I think it's a cool concept but I think two issues I've picked up are that 1: It feels unrewarding to explore (especially as it's the "hard" area to explore), and 2: it feels a bit too empty and devoid of content.
For point 1, generally I just feel like you can spend a whole lot of time there and not have much to show for it. I probably spent about 10 hours in there yesterday and today, and all I have from it is like 20 extra battery charges or so, plus a few schema stones and cosmetic items. Nice stuff, sure, but I feel like I could have gotten far more of value from the overworld or sky. As for point 2, I feel like you end up just running from key point to key point in the Depths, found from your map - or just fly across them where possible.

That said, I do like the idea. I've seen some people compare it to the ALttP Dark World, a vertically mirrored version of the BotW map (approximately) which is nastier to explore. I find that a cool concept, just I think it could have been a bit more enjoyable execution wise.

Overall though, really enjoying the game. There's a ton of stuff to do, and even though I beat the game yesterday I'm still completing Side Adventures, Quests and Shrines and expect that'll last me several more weeks yet.

Other Games / Re: Spirit Island
« on: November 14, 2022, 03:50:24 pm »
The game-length is what's so intimidating for me; really enjoyed every playthrough I've had....all 4 hours of them.

Obviously, it's permissible to set up a clock or something, and put the main focus on rushing through things, but that definitely would reduce my enjoyment.

What's the key to speeding things up without missing out on the fun?

How many players are you playing with? The more people you play with the longer the game tends to get. When I play solo, I tend to find that my games last maybe an hour or so (excluding setup/pack away time), when I play with my wife it's probably closer to 2 hours. When I've played 4 player it was definitely closer to 4 hours.

Spirit and adversary choice (and scenario) can make a big difference to game length as well. From the base game for adversaries I'd say the average length is England > Sweden > BP. England just keep building and building and the more stuff you have to destroy, the longer the game will take. Sweden don't really directly affect game length but since they try and win through heavy blighting, they're more likely to kill you quicker. Also Sweden 3 accelerates the deck 1 card. BP is all about speed, from BP 3 until BP 6 you remove one more card from the deck each time, so you have to win faster and faster. In terms of spirits, generally the more complex a spirit is the slower they probably are to resolve, because there's more to think about and consider. My games playing River and Earth tend to be very fast for instance since I can pick my powers fairly fast, while games with spirits like BoDaN are much longer as everything I do has to be planned more carefully.

Other Games / Re: Spirit Island
« on: November 13, 2022, 01:37:04 pm »
I recently picked up Jagged Earth and have been playing that a fair bit. Really enjoying it, I think it adds a lot to the experience. So far only played with 3 Aspects and 3 new Spirits, but will get through the rest eventually (and then start playing them all again and again)

Other Games / Re: Spirit Island
« on: October 08, 2022, 01:15:53 pm »
I've been having a sort of similar experience myself. First played the game back nearer release, maybe 2019? Then due to Covid had no chance to play again for ages. 2022 rolls around and my wife bought me the game for my birthday and I've been obsessed (ish) for over half a year. Was actually thinking of playing a solo game tonight!

The amount of variability and strategy in the game is great, even with just the base game. I really want to add an expansion for more spirits and adversaries though. One thing I do really like is how unique each Spirit feels. You can take every power with every spirit, but the element thresholds of unique powers and major powers encourages you to generally stick more to an elemental theme - and elements tend to be associated with different effects (e.g. defend is often Earth element, blight removal is often Water, Dahan movement is often Animal etc.) so you tend to be encouraged to stick to a theme through mechanics. But figuring out when a power is so important in the current situation that it's better to go off element is part of the fun and strategy.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: start with Wishing Well?
« on: June 20, 2022, 12:58:01 pm »
If it's S (i.e. "Golden Sombrero"), then you have the same 10 cards as in the first shuffle, so the failure rate is 4/5.

Isn't it 5/6? Or have I missed something that raises the odds compared to normal?

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Prosperity 2E Preview 3
« on: June 01, 2022, 04:20:23 am »
I don't know if it's just me but I don't like Hoard's new wording. I understand the rules confusion it was trying to fix, but it sounds very clunky to me.

It also removes the interaction with Trader where you could play Hoard, buy Estate and reveal Trader, to gain Silver and a Gold, which was maybe not the strongest thing ever but quite a fun little interaction.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Seaside 2E Preview 1
« on: May 16, 2022, 04:08:07 pm »
Seems like Blockade would pair dangerously with Swamp Hag - you lock them out of buying a card unless they want to gain the remaining 9 curses.

In that case Watchtower would be great because you can trash all of the Curses at once so you donít have to deal with them any more.

I realised there's an even more obvious Blockade combo: Blockade.

First you Blockade all the cards you want them to not gain. Then, you Blockade a Curse. If they gain any of the cards you blockade, they gain a Curse, then Blockade on Curse triggers and they gain a Curse, then Blockade on Curse triggers and they gain a Curse and so on.

That's true, but you can only Blockade cards costing up to $4 and only n-1 different ones where n is the number of Blockades you're able to play on a given turn. Most likely you'll just end up gaining the Curse for almost no benefit as the opponent just buys something else.

Oh yeah, I'm not saying it's a strong synergy, just an obvious one. Somehow I overlooked that it can work with itself, albeit in a somewhat limited way, to potentially threaten to dump the curse pile on an opponent.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Seaside 2E Preview 1
« on: May 16, 2022, 03:54:35 pm »
Seems like Blockade would pair dangerously with Swamp Hag - you lock them out of buying a card unless they want to gain the remaining 9 curses.

In that case Watchtower would be great because you can trash all of the Curses at once so you donít have to deal with them any more.

I realised there's an even more obvious Blockade combo: Blockade.

First you Blockade all the cards you want them to not gain. Then, you Blockade a Curse. If they gain any of the cards you blockade, they gain a Curse, then Blockade on Curse triggers and they gain a Curse, then Blockade on Curse triggers and they gain a Curse and so on.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Seaside 2E Preview 1
« on: May 16, 2022, 01:44:32 pm »
So if I blockade Curses, and an opponent does something to gain a Curse on their own turn, they would trigger a cascade of gaining the entire Curse pile. Is that correct?

If it is... are there any interesting edge cases where this (either Blockading curses, or gaining a curse when they're blockaded) is something that might strategically make sense? The latter I think is believable enough if it lets you 3 pile, but what about cases where the opponent wasn't just being stupid by Blockading Curses and you still want to gain all the curses anyway?

Other Games / Re: Cookie Clicker?
« on: April 04, 2022, 05:14:36 pm »
I have been really into Antimatter Dimensions recently (mobile link on play store is the recommended way to play, also available in a less updated version online). It's probably the best idle game I've played yet. For those unfamiliar it's a free to play idle (optional ads/purchases on the app but the game is totally balanced around never using them) inspired by idles such as Universal Paperclips and Derivative Clicker. It has many prestige layers, ever evolving mechanics and some very large numbers. There's a lot of reasons I like it:

* Allows built in automation of tedious tasks, gradually unlocking more and more automation as you progress

* It's not a clicker game. Mashing isn't going to help you here. Much, at least, there's a very small number of places it might get you an achievement early.

* Keeps things fresh by introducing new mechanics fairly frequently, without those new mechanics then completely dominating and taking over the game. Previous mechanics keep being relevant pretty much forever to some degree, and everything builds on it.

* Is more than just a "numbers go up" simulator at many points. You have to keep making changes to your setups to progress at a reasonable pace, and to fully optimise things you have to have a good understanding of the game's mechanics. There are always choices to make, without being overwhelming in how many things you have to do.

* For the most part, the game supports both an idle and an active playstyle. Just want to leave the game AFK for the most part and check like once or twice a day? You can do that. Want to constantly micromanage to maximise progress? Yep, that's often rewarded with faster progression. Some parts of the game are always more idle and others are always more active but most stages give a good mix.

* Surprisingly active Discord community for an idle game, with tons of help if you get stuck - or just wanna chat about the game.

* People speedrun it. No seriously, there's a guy on the discord who has "finished" the game in under 7 days. I say "finished" because the current endgame is e4000 EP and all achievements, and one achievement requires you to play for 8 days, which... yeah. But there's a few people who really try and push the game to its limits. Most people will take around 60+ days without guides on a first time through, and over a year isn't unusual if you're not very active.

* Lots of humour in the achievements and newsticker.

So yeah, if you've not played Antimatter Dimensions IMO it's worth a shot.

General Discussion / Re: Movies: Any movie buffs?
« on: March 11, 2022, 06:10:55 pm »
My partner and I have recently watched all 9 main series star war films, in release order. There will be some spoilers throughout. Here are our rough opinions on them:

* IV: A New Hope - Incredible film, slightly soured by Lucas' insistence on "improving" things with mostly awkward edits (why do we need the exact same Han Solo scene to play out twice, with Jabba and Greedo?). Action scenes are a little awkward at times, but the story is great. My 2nd favourite in the franchise.

* V: The Empire Strikes Back - Even better than the original, which it builds on well. We of course knew the big reveal with Vader at the end but it's still so well done. Action scenes and lightsaber duels are better done than the original. My favourite of the nine.

* VI: Return of the Jedi - Not as good as the first two, I feel like the Leia is Luke's sister reveal is just a little... forced in the context of the first two films. Like they wanted to replicate the success of the Vader reveal but couldn't quite do it right. Otherwise it's a really great film. My 4th favourite.

* I: The Phantom Menace - It's prequel memes time! Qui-gon and Obi-Wan are the real strength of this film, Anakin and everything around him is the biggest issue. Bigger than Jar-Jar. Like... little 9 year old slave boy, somehow able to build his own pod racer, using... what money? How does he afford to do this? And his ship is somehow able to compete with all these competitive (and cheating) racing experts with ships built by adults. Simultaneously along with his magic slave money tree he also builds a droid. What kind of droid? One to help him and his mum as they are destitute... nah just kidding he builds a translator droid, of course. And somehow little 9 year old Anakin convinces a teenage queen to semi-fall in love with him, not creepy at all. Yeah, there's issues here. On the plus side, from this point on the lightsaber duels tend to be much better, which is cool.

* II: Attack of the Clones - More memes. Despite watching this less than a month ago I honestly barely remember the overall plot. Teenage Anakin is arrogant, creepy and angsty, which honestly is exactly how he should be portrayed. His dialogue maybe could have been improved but he's well acted I feel. Obi-Wan carries the film again, though.

* III: Revenge of the Sith - I remember saying to my partner of this one, it feels like they ran out of plot to write and so substituted in more action packed lightsaber duels. I lost count of how many there are, at least 6 I think (Dooku, Obi vs Grievous, Anakin vs Grievous, Windu + Anakin + Palpatine, Yoda vs Palpatine, Obi vs Anakin). Anakin's switch in the Windu and Palpatine scene feels very sudden. Like he was building up to betrayal at that point but he just switches from "he should stand trial" to "Ima kill all Jedi now" in about 3 seconds. The Padme birth scene at the end is hilariously bad. Overall not good.

* VII: The Force Awakens - It feels somewhat generic. I don't really like the way Kylo Ren acts in this one, it feels like they're trying to force another Vader character but without it building up the respect it needs. And in general Ray and her situation feels quite contrived, with how it builds up. The map macguffin plot also feels quite weak, like... can you really not identify that area of space? But somehow R2D2 had a near perfect map of everything else and that's what you needed? The Han death scene was excellently done, and I feel like that really helped sell Ren's character as something good.

* VIII: The Last Jedi - Okay, controversial opinion time. This is the 3rd best Star Wars film. I went in with low expectations and I was blown away. The plot was constantly unpredictable with little twists and surprises throughout, yet they rarely felt random or just thrown in for the sake of it. After most of these twists I immediately went, "Ah, that's what was being foreshadowed". Luke's character I feel was done very well, and fits what you'd expect of someone who had huge burdens and expectations placed upon them which they catastrophically failed to reach. Kylo manages to become a truly interesting character and Rey develops alongside him, and I loved the reveal about Rey's parents. And the final Luke vs Ren fight scene was done so well, with a great twist reveal - there was hinting he wasn't really there, and that's why he was dodging everything, as well you can't interact through space. The film wasn't perfect, the Leia floating into the airlock scene in particular was dumb. But overall, it was a great film with a few dumb moments.

* IX: The Rise of Skywalker - I had heard lots of bad things about this film, even more than VIII so again went in with low expectations, and it managed to drop below them in about the first 5 minutes. Bringing back Palpatine was dumb. Changing Ray's lineage to try and pull a "Vader" moment was VERY dumb and just cheapened the big reveal from The Last Jedi. Ray and Ren suddenly being able to physically interact through a distance felt super dumb and inconsistent after VIII, where it was a pretty plot point that you CAN'T do that. And while I know Force Healing is a thing in the extended Star Wars universe, Rey suddenly being able to use it here felt pretty ridiculous as well. The entire plot was built around a silly macguffin as well. The Leia scenes all felt very fake, they did not do Carrie Fisher justice. Still, some of the lightsaber duels were great, and the moment that Rey handed Ren the lightsaber was at least internally consistent, which made for a pretty cool scene. Overall, it was a dumb film with a few great moments.

Overall, the original series was the best, the Prequels are badly written but have cool worlds and stories, the sequels, watch 7+8 and just don't bother with 9.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: February 05, 2022, 04:30:25 pm »
Something I realised the other day about all three seasons of Pandemic Legacy is how it fixes an issue that regular 2 player Pandemic has. This contains minor spoilers for season 1 (if you've played January you're safe), and a few minor ones for season 2 (one of which I'll spoiler as it relates to a late game mechanic)

Specifically, in regular 2 player pandemic, one of the uncommon but extremely annoying things that can kill you is hand space limit. With only 14 cards between two players, you can end up in situations where you each have 3/4 cards of different colours, unable to make a cure, and until you get lucky with draw order, it's tough to get out of - you end up discarding or using lots of cards that could have gone towards cures.

In Season 1, this is quickly solved by one disease no longer needing to be cured. With only three colours to collect, you can safely discard one colour and not need to worry about it ruining a cure.

In Season 2, there are only three colours. On top of that, the mandatory build 3 supply centre objective you have at the start of the game doesn't require three in different colours - and this makes things even easier as the deck in Season 2 isn't just a fixed set of cards of each colour, you'll be adding more cards into it and potentially even removing some. Later in the game you do add a fourth colour, and need to collect some sets of that fourth colour, but the game also gives you far more control over your hands, and more ways to trade cards around. The awkward card split issue can still happen here, though.

Season 0 has only three affiliations on cards, so the issue is completely circumvented from the start. In exchange there's quite a bit of other info on cards that can be relevant at different times (region, and that mysterious number in the corner), but I feel like this plays more into deciding how you utilise cards rather than difficulty collecting sets.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Bane
« on: January 07, 2022, 04:22:27 pm »
Hi me from the past.  I literally just googled "dominion bane" because I am playing in real life at Magfest, and found the answer here.  rrenaud, such a homey.

I've had that happen to myself on occasion several times.

Hmm, what's the EXP formula in this game. *googles* - ah, here it is. "This information kindly provided by Tables" Oh, okay then, at least I know it's not trustworthy I guess.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: January 05, 2022, 06:22:04 pm »
In a Pandemic: On the Brink game two days ago, I came across an unusual and incredibly specific combo, whose benefit is pretty minor.

For reference:
Troubleshooter - looks at the top infection cards at the start of their turn, reveals cities to direct fly there
One Quiet Night - skips the infection phase this turn

We were playing Bioterrorism challenge, and it was the troubleshooters turn. I saw the top two cards of the deck, and there was a problem I couldn't fix, a big one. So I used One Quiet Night. In the course of the turn, I ran into the Bioterrorist, and with one somewhat spare action captured him.

Then it's the Bioterrorist's turn, and suddenly they've got a pretty weird choice to make. Do they draw one and escape - but I know that top card is possibly bad for me if I draw it considering I OQN'd it. So maybe they pass instead? If they do draw it, I also know the next top card, so the probably just want to escape. But maybe I saw that the city they would escape to is awkward, so they might draw twice... And I know the second card as well.

Ultimately the mind games sound far more complex than they are, but it's definitely an unusual way to deal with a problem as the troubleshooter. "Yeah, so there's a big issue with Shanghai, looks like we may have an outbreak there soon. So to prevent it I'm going to drive to Cairo and capture a Bioterrorist."

Feedback / F.DS could benefit from a clean up
« on: December 27, 2021, 09:33:13 am »
Right now, looking around the forums, there are many, many ancient and now completely disused subforums, often nested in ways that made for a quick and easy solution at the time but now makes the forum look messy. I feel like a bit of time moving things around, perhaps making an archive section and archiving a number of old subforums that haven't been used in years, could help make the forum look fresher and more modern.

I'm thinking things like:

  • The nested previews of old Dominion Previews could be organised into a single sub-forum in general, or even just all put into an archive as mentioned above
  • Several child boards in places like Tournaments and Events are now many years old and haven't been posted in since e.g. 2016
  • Forum Game Awards haven't been used in over 3 years
  • The entire Innovation section of the forum was last used two years ago

I think a bit of a clean up could really help make the forum look a lot nicer and cleaner.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Crestfallen Turn 3 hands
« on: December 17, 2021, 01:16:02 pm »
Moneylender, Silver, 3 Estates.

Unless your opponent drew a Militia or something turn 3, seems okay enough. Guaranteed $5 turn 4, even if you don't get to use the Moneylender that deck cycle.

That isn't okay enough, that's awful. It's the equivalent of getting a Golden Sombrero except your turn 5 hand has two Coppers instead of two good cards. While you bought only one $5 t3-4, your opponent probably bought a $5 and a $3-4 (or even another $5 if they were lucky) and trashed a Copper, which puts you at least one turn behind if not more.

Golden Sombrero doesn't guarantee you get a $5 though. It's only a 1/6 chance of it I believe. This still seems better than that, honestly - I'd probably rather have the guaranteed $5 and draw my ML/S on turn 5+. I think I overestimated the chance of not getting a $5 hand in my head T3/4 with a Moneylender/Silver opening, now I think that through slightly more it seems fairly rare. Asides from drawing both S/M turn 5, and the situation above you can also draw one of them turn 5 and draw MCCEE/CCCCE or SCCEE/CCCCE turns 3/4 - I think those are the only situations that don't involve getting attacked or involve other things that modify hands. So yeah, it's pretty bad overall.

That said I'm not sure how much it puts you behind. Obviously compared to the ideal scenario of drawing them turns 4/5 and getting $5 both times (or potentially even $5/$6), while trashing a copper it's a lot worse. That's a somewhat uncommon situation though I think. More often you'll be down a copper and/or up a $3/$4 card, which isn't good but it's also not totally awful.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Crestfallen Turn 3 hands
« on: December 16, 2021, 12:11:00 pm »
Moneylender, Silver, 3 Estates.

Unless your opponent drew a Militia or something turn 3, seems okay enough. Guaranteed $5 turn 4, even if you don't get to use the Moneylender that deck cycle.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: November 24, 2021, 03:51:57 pm »
I've reached a weird point where when I play old games, I sometimes look online for info about them - strategy stuff, formulae and so on. And I find a good post giving the kind of detail I'm after, only to realise it was posted my myself, 5-10 years ago. It's a strange feeling.

Other Games / Re: Metroid Dread
« on: November 03, 2021, 03:44:51 am »
Not sure if you've seen this, but it talks a lot about the whole "locking you in" thing.

In short it seems to be a way to prevent the player getting completely lost in the large game world, which has advantages and disadvantages. Outside of these times though the game feels fairly open, I would say, and there's plenty of sequence break tricks that exist.

I've played Dread only once so far but probably will do another playthrough sometime soon. It's a fun game, I don't think the best Metroid game ever but it's a solid, although short, game.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: October 29, 2021, 03:52:24 am »
I recently started planning out a perfect Season 2 playthrough, seeing just how far you can push the score if you get perfect luck, and it seemed like the kind of thing some of you guys might be interested in. Massive, massive spoilers however, even from the start:

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: October 10, 2021, 05:01:17 pm »
Just finished our final game of Pandemic Legacy Season 0, and with that, we have completed all three seasons! We got a very good score in Season 0, with 9 Succeeding and 3 Adequate evaluations (i.e. 9 total wins, 3 partial wins), leading to getting the best possible evaluation.

Overall I'm not sure which season I'd say is best. Season 2 has the whole exploring and more non-linear design, which is REALLY cool, but balance wise that makes it a bit lacking - it can become massively easier if you manage things well, or massively harder if you fall behind. Season 1 is a bit rough around the edges in a few places but otherwise does the concept really well. It's the only one that really plays like regular Pandemic, to begin with at least. Season 0 is a bit different, but it feels like it self balances the best out of all of them, at least from what I can tell, and that's nice. The way objectives work is REALLY fun, and keeps things quite fresh and different compared to S1 and S2. However its Incident mechanic (equivalent to Outbreaks) is very chaotic and kind of un-fun, two of our Adequates were because incidents decided to kick us hard and just stack up 2-3 at a time after Escalations, with little we could do to stop them. I would say play Season 1>2>0 personally, and if you can only play one, play S1.

I think you could definitely build a (non Legacy) Pandemic spinoff with many of the mechanics from Season 0. Random objective cards that you draw each game, with an assigned difficulty. Perhaps each card having an easy and hard version, so you can fine tune the difficulty (e.g. a known city objective might have an easy version needing 1 team, and a hard version needing 2 teams). Possibly randomly drawing and adding restriction cards to increase difficulty, maybe even as a way to bring the difficulty back down slightly, an option to shuffle and pick 1-2 assets per player with a reduction in difficulty per asset chosen? I'm sure you could fine tune something out of it, especially considering the multiple different types of objectives that eventually get revealed.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: September 26, 2021, 05:17:13 pm »
We've just finished November in our S0 playthrough. Since our August game things have been going much better. We found ourselves in a slightly strange situation really where (minor spoilers) we knew less about Sabik's motivation than we'd like, failing objectives relating to him often due to poor luck, but we knew a lot about most other things going on. Things have definitely been good fun since then, some of the aliases we've created are real monsters. The most notable one being (October asset & a lategame objective spoiler) a Soviet Alias with Dr Roberts in Novosbirik, and the night vision goggles, and a visa to Novosbirik. Basically, start each turn in Novosbirik with 6 actions, 8 actions if you are infiltrating PEARL. And if you don't need that many actions, you can bank them for later. I did discover after the game we missed a rule about having a max of 3 time tokens at the end of your turn, we had up to 6 saved at one point - but I don't think this would have affected the outcome as the way we spent them was basically "there's no point doing that action right now when you can do it next turn".

(Minor spoilers for S1 and S2 lategame) November felt like a turning point in the story in both S1 and S2, with objectives and story massively shifting towards the endgame objective. But in S0, we hit November and (MAJOR S0 spoilers) Sabik asks us to join him, causing a split story depending on which way you go. We decided to side with Sabik, despite the objectives about him often being incomplete! This gave us a completely different legacy deck for the final two months, which was almost as big of a surprise as the fake bottom of the box. I'm keeping all the cards at this point as I want to compare to the original legacy deck at the end, see how different everything plays out if you choose to reject his offer. We actually found this to be a relatively easy month to complete overall, oddly, though part of that might be due to playing 2P and how our characters are set up, as well as just good luck with draws (we had two very early Escalations but quickly cleaned them up, leaving us with little threat for several turns)

Really looking forward to playing December, hopefully next weekend or the weekend after.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: May 31, 2021, 05:28:35 am »
We've just had another annoying Season 0 game. August, but I can describe it without spoilers quite easily. Though for reference if you want to know what this month's objectives were: Stop the 4th trial in Asia (Baghdad (S), Karachi (N), Shanghai (S), Bangkok (N)), Infiltrate Sabik's HQ in Leningrad, bug the 5th control centre in North America (Toronto)

Things were pretty rough early on - turn 1 Escalation, and 1st card in 2nd pile was also an Escalation, leading to 3 early Incidents in Buenos Aries (2) and Tokyo. We managed to clean up okay from this, by around the 4th pile of cards I think there were about 10 agents left on the board in total, no city with more than 2, with two Escalations left. We had completed one objective, had enough teams out (or cards in hand) for the final two, so just had to position everything and win.

We drew the 4th Escalation around this point, but were able to move one spare team to the city (Algiers) which got three agents. So I took my turn, and at the end of that it was clear  we could win with all three objectives complete by my next turn. A few cities got a third agent added - Warsaw and Lima, and Tokyo got a 2nd. Partner took her turn and completed the 2nd objective. Then she drew the first card of the final pile... and drew the 5th escalation. Now all of a sudden we had gone from no danger hotspots, to having three of them, in about 2 turns. Infection card draw, and we get an incident immediately, adding an extra agent to Tokyo. Then Tokyo came up, causing another Incident. Then Warsaw, causing an incident there, adding another agent in Warsaw, causing a 7th incident there, then adding a third agent in Buenos Aries. Then Lima was drawn, ending the game on incidents.

Sometimes, Season 0 just kicks you while you're down. As mentioned we had the game pretty much under control, most cities with no agents, just a few on 2, incident cities on 1 agent, and a guaranteed win on my next turn. Then the game just casually goes from that pretty good position to a loss in three infection phases, with almost nothing we could have done to prevent it. Still, we completed two objectives and so got the adequate rating, and while a few cities got added surveillance we avoided losing any cover for the game. If you want to know exactly how we did for the objectives (obviously major spoilers): We ended up with Baghdad getting exposed and bugging the lab, I had the cards to get through Sabik's HQ through the harder route, and 3 neutrals to use in the basement. Just needed one more turn to do it. And while I didn't read it, the debrief entry for this number was clearly extremely long, so I feel like I missed a lot of potentially juicy information by failing this objective :(.

Other Games / Re: Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: December 29, 2020, 06:32:43 am »
Season 0 mini playlog. My partner and I have played the Prologue and January, I'll list some highlights here. Will spoiler tag everything except the Prologue.

Prologue game: 2 objectives - An unknown city in Europe, and a known city Novosbirik

Basically an introduction game, it went smoothly enough. We played the Dispatcher like (move another pawn or team up to 3 spaces for an action) and Scientist (form teams with only 4 cards). We weren't able to form teams for a while, but once we did, things started going smoothly. We formed a Neutral team midgame, a Soviet team a little later and an Allied team towards the end. The unknown city ended up being Rome, I believe, which was allied, and we opted for just waiting until there were few enough cities that we could place teams in all of them, since we didn't quite have enough Europe cards or a Safe House in Europe to aquire targets.

What we learned from this first game is that forming the right types of team and aquiring targets is hard - you need a safehouse in the right allegiance or the right continent respectively, and while getting 5 cards is potentially easier than in regular Pandemic, being at the right location with that safehouse adds an extra complexity to it.

January game 1: 2 objectives - Known targets in Sao Paolo and Santiago, and unknown city in Asia

Unsurprisingly, no new mechanics at the start of this game, and no new ones midway through. We played the Dispatcher like again, but I switched to playing the Operations Expert. We had a very rough start - my partner went first and couldn't treat anywhere important, so we opted to move us both to Mexico City and she would take the card for 4 Neutral cards (as we need 2 neutral teams). Then a turn 1 Escalation lead to 3 incidents by the end of turn 2, with nothing we could have done about it. We got one more incident soon after which might have been preventable but only just.

From there the game progressed reasonably smoothly - we got the incidents under control, and with our early neutral team was able to mop up all of the neutral hotspots. Next we formed an allied team, and I was able to acquire targets in Asia, identifying Soviet city Peking. Unfortunately we hadn't drawn many Soviet cards by this point. IIRC at 3/5s of the way through the player deck we had drawn 5, with 1 under the objective card, meaning 8/14 were still in the deck. And I'd just used 2 to identify the target city.

We had the board fairly clean except for three cities with 3 agents before the final escalation was drawn, so we were confident about not losing to incidents - it was just time that was the question. Or so we thought. I moved a team to mop up one of the final 3 agent cities before the final escalation was drawn, as we got me positioned so I would be able to form the final team and finish the second objective on my final turn. Then we drew that final escalation, placing 3 agents in Leopoldville. I removed one of the 3 agent cards with Resilient Population equivalent. And then infected Leopoldville, causing the 5th incident. The incident effect? Add an agent to all cities with an incident in Africa, causing the 6th incident immediately. Drawing another incident effect, add an agent to all cities with an incident in Africa. So we went straight from 4 incidents to 7 in a completely impossible to prevent situation, lovely. Partner's final turn finished one objective, and just needed to not draw the one remaining city which could have an incident and we would win!

She of course drew that city, giving us a pretty frustrating loss that felt rather unfair - 6 incidents out of 8 were completely unpreventable, the remaining 2 potentially we could have dealt with but it'd have meant other sacrifices. Bad draws also left most events in the 2nd half of the deck, along with most of the Soviet cards - and we had a lot of hotspot Soviet cities that had come up from the infection deck. Technically it was an "Adequate" pass, we move on to February - but it still felt pretty annoying. I reckon that we probably could have won the game with slightly more optimised play, it's hard to say though.

We decided to spend our 2 upgrade points giving the Politician to the Operations Expert (eventually I'll remember their new names... think this one is Hospital Administrator?), target city Washington. As a character who can get around quite easily, having the option to go back to Washington for 2 actions and a card at most at any time, and then give a card to someone else, feels pretty strong.

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