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Author Archives: Costas Taliadoros

About Costas Taliadoros

Slighly bored, confused, in pain and desperately need some exercise.

Board games – September highlights

Nemo’s War – sold

I had heard so many good things about the game that when i heard VPG launched a kickstarter for a wonderful 2nd edition i was all in. Jules Verne was a big part of my early teenage years. It promised a wonderful theme, art and solo gameplay.

Alas, it delivered only on the art. Once again, a VPG game has left me very disappointed. There are simply too many dice rolls involved and the push your luck betting of crew, Nemo and hull are usually straightforward decisions.

The motives of Nemo can change the final scoring but without affecting the actual gameplay so much. Also, because sinking ships constantly is a necessity having a science or exploration motive does not make narrative sense. There is a serious disconnect.

The final time i was  playing it i found myself asking, why? This game is boring you. I have too many great/good solo games already. It’s a competitive genre at the moment so i really don’t need to own this one, let alone play it.

The Big Book of Madness – finally played it co-op

Coop games are on a high at the moment for me. Partly because of Spirit Island and partly because i can play them solo as well.

The Big Book of Madness was a game i had only played solo until last month. I enjoyed the puzzle aspect quite a bit. However, it felt that the game would shine with more players. It did. We played a 3 player game on a Thursday Game Night with 2 new to the game. The victory came with the last draw of a card which gave us the final element we needed to defeat the final curse of the last boss.

I believe this is the most interactive coop game that i’ve ever played. Interactive because each player can greatly affect what other players are doing. You are constantly engaged whether it’s your turn or not. I love that.

Viticulture Essential Edition (+ Tuscany E.E) – efficient use of workers

One thing that always annoys me with many worker placement games is that in order to win you need to get more workers than you started with.

Not so it seems in Viticulture. I managed to scrape a win against the player with the most workers. I enjoyed that and my respect for the game increased too.

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Posted by on October 3, 2018 in Board games

 

Board games – 3rd Quarter 2018 review

Total plays: 76

Distinct games: 23

New-to-me games: 6

Sid Meier’s Civilization: New Dawn, Grand Austria Hotel, Kitchen Rush, Cataclysm: A Second World War, Trains, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Out of the 6 new games only 1 belonged to me. I am very reluctant to introduce new games lately. 

Ten+ times: 2

The Mind (15), Shadowrift (12)

I managed to play Shadowrift with a friend and it’s better than solo. Helps with the fiddlyness of the game to have another person around. 

Five+ times: 3

Spirit Island (6), Kitchen Rush (6), Legends of Andor (5)

Spirit Island continues to see a lot of play time. The Legends of Andor scenarios are proving to be better than i expected. A hit with my Tuesday Night coop group.

Collection
Acquired: 3
Magic Maze: Maximum Security expansion, FF: Fortress, 878: Vikings

Removed:  8
Nemo’s War, Tyrants of the Underdark, TotU expansion, Forbidden Desert, Railways of the World, RotW: Europe, Traxx, Diamant,

Owned: N/A

Unplayed: N/A

Best New to me:

I am not too keen on any of the 6 games i played. The most intriguing was Cataclysm: A Second World War but we don’t have the group necessary to explore a game like this one so i don’t see me playing it again.

New 10s: n/a

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2018 in Board games

 

TV Shows – Only Enthousiastic

Maniac (Netflix) –  So much to love in this one. My favourite Netflix show yet? Maybe. Probably. Enthousiastic!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2018 in TV & Documentaries

 

TV Shows – From Enthousiastic to Avoid (cont’d)

Sharp Objects (HBO)

Wow! I completely forgot about this one. In spite of a sour taste it left once i learned that there is some explanation of what happened after the credits rolled on the final episode in my mind this was an Enthousiastic. But then why did i forget about it? – Enthousiastic (?)

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2018 in TV & Documentaries

 

TV shows – From Enthousiastic to Avoid

The past few months have been a mixed affair.

Barry (HBO) 

What a superb black comedy this is. Full of great characters and crazy situations. – Enthousiastic

Forever (Amazon)

This came out of nowhere for me after reading a review in the FT. Great characters and acting. I especially enjoyed the actor who played Oscar, Fred Armisen. I don’t remember seeing him in anything before. – Enthousiastic

Succession (HBO) 

This is a pretty inconsistent series. But it’s more suggest than indifferent because of its particular kind of humour which won’t be to everyone’s liking. – Suggest

Deadwind (Netflix) 

Not bad, but it’s just another solid crime thriller.  The Scandinavians have mastered the genre. – Indifferent

Jack Ryan (Amazon) 

I really wanted to like this one. I was a Tom Clancy fan in my teenage years and Jack Ryan was always a favourite character of mine. Also, this series features Bunk!!! But everything felt shallow. The plot, characters, script, moral decisions. Maybe i am also misremembering the quality of the novels. – Avoid

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2018 in TV & Documentaries

 

Board games – Still fun?

It all started with Catan on XBLA back in 2007. Ever since then, board games have been a big part of my life. Over the years my playing time has increased, i met many new people, i had a hand in organising the local community and the hobby has helped/forced me to get out of my comfort zone.

Recently though i think the way i feel about the hobby has changed. It’s not as enjoyable and carefree as it used to be. I’ve also come to associate board games with a certain negative experience in my personal life which does not help.

At its peak my board game collection reached to almost 400 games. I purchased games on a weekly basis. I had run out of space in my flat. There were piles of board games in the living room, study and closets. I spent more time buying and reading rule books than actually playing.

Seeing all those unplayed games on my shelves was stressful to me. For the past 1.5 years I’ve gone all out to change all that. After a considerable effort, the collection now stands at less than 200. Better, but there is still a long way to go. I want to be able to pick up a game and know how to play it instead of having to relearn it.

However, it’s clear to me that my attitude towards the hobby has changed. Previously i would read rule books for the “fun” of it. I simply enjoyed the process. Now i don’t see the point.

The same applies to teaching board games. I used to prepare before hand in order to better explain games to others. I took pride in my teaching. Now i rush through the explanation. My reasoning is that it’s rare that i will replay the same game with the same people so spending the time to learn and teach a game is no longer worth doing. Similarly to reading rule books there was a phase where the process was rewarding enough for me. No longer.

All these coincide with a sort of crisis i have with the board game community. I stopped attending the weekly meetings and it has affected my sense of belonging. There are now more and more people who I’ve never met, let alone played games with. There’s a distance. It’s also because the community has grown but also because i didn’t feel being part of the weekly meetings was worth my time. I still had at least 2 nights a week dedicated to board games so I didn’t see the point in attending.

“I didn’t see the point”. There is a trend.

I’ve struggled with depression over the years and i sense that now i am going through another episode. A milder one. But it has affected my enjoyment of board games much like it had affected my video games time 10 years ago. I see many similarities between the two. There is one important difference. Board games are by their very nature a lot more socially oriented which is good for me.

So, for now at least, i sense that board games are not as fun as they used to be. But they are as helpful and important to me as before, if not more so.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2018 in Board games

 

Video games – currently playing

Into the Breach (Switch)

Currently, my main game. This is a really, really good strategy game. I started on Easy, switched to Normal but after a few setbacks i reverted back to Easy. It’s not that difficult but after Hand of Fate 2 (post to follow soon) i want something less stressful to play.

One thing i need to improve on is my mindset when playing. I am always just trying to beat the game but i should also be more conscious of the achievements. Focusing more on getting the achievements and less on winning is not a mindset i am good at.

Guns, Gore and Canoli 2 (Switch)

After finishing the first one playing couch co-op with a friend we dived into the 2nd installment. This is fun and mindless. It is quite repetitive though and usually our sessions are few and long which isn’t the best way to play this.

We completed it last night but because it was late and we were both exhausted we switched to Easy difficulty to beat the finally boss. We agreed to follow it up soon with a session to beat him on Normal.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS)

Public had a 50% sale on several good 3DS games and I picked this up mostly because of nostalgia. I played it a lot when it came out on the PS2 but never managed to finish it. It looks and feels great. The voice acting is superb and so are the characters. I enjoy the bright coloured world in Dragon Quest.

Having said this i’m not sure how long i will continue playing it as it needs a lot of time investment and at the moment i prefer playing games on the Switch.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2018 in Video games