Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Scoundrels of Skullport

Players: 2-4
Playtime: 45minutes +
Replay Value: 8/10

Scoundrels of Skullport is an expansion to Lords of Waterdeep (which I reviewed back in November). Released in 2013 it includes two different expansions, three new boards and a mountain of new Intrigue and Quest Cards, as well as new buildings and Lords.

You can use one or both of the new expansions. Using only one expansion means adding 3 buildings to the base board, but has no other effect on set-up. Using both expansions adds 6 buildings to the board, and each player gets another agent.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas in the smart-ass house

I intended to ignore Christmas. I told my partner I wasn't looking forward to the Big Day. I made him promise not to buy me a gift. I even asked him on Christmas Eve if he had bought me anything. And he said no. Liar.

A couple of weeks ago we went to see the Hunger Games, and I got all worked up over the terrible advert for NERF Rebelle. Basically generic NERF toys made 'girly'. Take three guesses what I got for Christmas.

That is the Nerf Rebelle Diamondista Blaster. Not only ignoring my request to not exchange gifts, he bought me something I had actively whinged about. Smart-ass.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Takenoko

Players: 2-4, better with more players
Playtime: 45minutes
Replay Value: 7/10

Takenoko is probably the lightest game I own. It's good to pull out every now and then to remind myself that not every games needs to have 12 layers of strategy and contingency plans. Sometimes it's gardening and feeding the roly poly fat panda.

Takenoko was released in 2011. Unlike the majority of my library it is a simple and pleasant concept, where you help build a lovely garden, grow beautiful bamboo, and then feed it to a roly poly panda.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Pandemic - On the Brink

I'm going to assume you have read my review of the base game Pandemic, or know how the gameplay is structured.

If you have played Pandemic or read my review, you know that you lose. A lot. But for some reason I decided to go out and buy the Pandemic expansion On The Brink. And now I have three new and brilliant ways to lose.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Betrayal at House on the Hill

Players: 3-6, semi co-operative - more players is always better
Playtime on the box: 60minutes
Actual playtime: Up to 2 hours
Replay Value: 7/10
Is there someone in your group who likes to read the manual cover to cover? Good, invite them over and give them the rule book. Make them read it twice while you are cooking dinner. Then keep the rule book close at hand to answer your ten thousand questions.

Betrayal at House on the Hill was released by Avalon Hill and Wizards of the Coast in 2004. You are cast as a motley assortment of characters who have stumbled into a haunted house. So, of course, you decide to go exploring.

Friday, 5 December 2014

An over-reaction, the gender binary and kids toys

I went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay last night. It was one of those rare occasion where I think the movie outshone the book, and I'm actually happy that they split one book into multiple movies. Kudos to the director/screen-writing and the rest of the production team. Anything with a female, weapon-carrying protagonist gets my attention. I especially loved the scene where Hamitch mocked they stylist for covering Katniss in an inch-thick layer of make-up. Just that little bit of recognition that it's okay not to wear make-up made me punch the air.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Pandemic

Players: 2-4 Co-operative
Playtime on the box: 45minutes
Actual playtime: Depends how quickly the game stomps you
Replay Value: 10/10 - I will never turn down a game of Pandemic

Now that the Ebola scare has quieted down (in my corner of the world at least) it seems safe to talk about Pandemic. Released in 2007 by Z-Man games, Pandemic is a devilish horror of a game where you are a Centre for Disease Control team trying to save the world. Designed by Matt Leacock, it is a beautifully balanced game where you are constantly hovering between life and death by plague.

A two-player game after set up

Friday, 28 November 2014

Why I'm not excited about Christmas

Last week I was Scrooge McDuck (the evil one from the early cartoons, not the endearing rich uncle he was re-drawn as later) and this week I'm going to be the Grinch. I'm not excited for Christmas. I don't give a toss about tinsel, I'm not excited for Santa, and I didn't watch the pageant.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas - 2000

To be fair, I wasn't always like this. Even though I knew Santa was a myth from about seven (my parents hid my gifts in my cupboard, but labelled them from Santa, I caught on) I used to love Christmas. Let me paint you a picture of my childhood Christmases.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tuesday ReviewsDay: Lords of Waterdeep

Players: 2-5 (I found it best with 3)
Playtime on the box: 60minutes
Actual playtime: 90minutes +

Lords of Waterdeep was released by Wizards of the Coast in 2012. It is based in the Dungeons and Dragons universe but you won't need any background knowledge to enjoy the game.

Reading the rulebook makes Lords of Waterdeep seem like an overcomplicated nightmare but after the first round of game play it feels ridiculously simple. After playing four games I find myself daydreaming and plotting how I can win the game next time. It's an "hours to learn, lifetime to master" kind of game and the number of people you're playing against alters game play dramatically.

Friday, 14 November 2014

"Literally I can't" has me figuratively fuming

It took a lot of editing and a lot of deep breathing to make this blog into something other than a sweary rant fest. A lot of repetitive news articles and petitions will jump up and down and tell you this song is misogynistic and offensive. But they don't tell you why.

For starters, the song is ear bleedingly bad. There has actually been research done into the complexity of music, and how catchy it is. There is also some very unscientific and damning research into SAT scores and music preferences. Your brain actually gets a kick out of decoding music, picking out the rhythm and finding the patterns. I listened to this song once and I can't get the damn thing out of my head. It's terrible. It's repetitive. It's a cheap thrill to the brain because it takes minimum effort to find the pattern.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A week ago 9% died

This time last week I was swarmed with emails about Melbourne Cup day. Did I want in on the sweep? Tickets for the sweep are selling fast! We're almost sold out! We've opened up another sweep! Race in an hour, would you like to buy a ticket?

I sent one reply naming myself a morally objecting boring person. But since I was on a generic mailing list, I kept getting them. Thankfully the person behind the emails was polite enough not to ask me in person whilst asking everyone around me. I respect that, and personally I wouldn't have bothered to unpack a mailing list and remove one name every time I sent out and update.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Why you NEED to love what you do (it's in the maths)

I spend a minimum of 8hours a day at work. (40 hours per week)
I travel roughly 2 hours each day. (10 hours per week)
I spend between 30-60minutes getting ready each morning, this includes my breakfast and everything with feathers or fur (lets say 4 hours per week)

That puts us at 54 hours.  (32%)

I also sleep for at least 7.5 hours each night. (52.5 hours per week)

I like food, it keeps me alive and takes up anywhere from 30-90 minutes for cooking and eating dinners. Plus another 45 minutes for breakfast, lunch and snacks since they're generally simpler meals. (7 hours worth of dinners. 1.5hours worth of breakfast/lunch/snacks not counting weekdays - I've already counted breakfast time above, and lunch is had at work)

Now we're up to 115 hours on working and surviving. (68%)

Friday, 31 October 2014

Coping in the now

Suicide is said to affect everyone differently. I discovered that I am very much an 'in the now' kind of person. I am devastated by the loss of my father, of his friendship and support. However in the now there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, and this has had a huge effect on my grieving process.

In the first week I was a mess. I clung pretty desperately to my partner, who did a brilliant job of preventing me from stopping and facing things. I hiked, I played board games, I snuggled my partner and my cat, and I suffered a pretty serious case of verbal diarrhea. I also broke down crying any time I stopped. Sometimes it was desperate gut-wrenching tears that made it impossible to breathe. Other times I would just sit with tears running down my face staring into the distance.

After seven days I went out and interacted with friends. My derby team gave me a care package, a bottle of booze and more hugs than I could have believed. After a ten days I went back to work. I had only told one co-worker, and I got to spend a day pretending nothing was wrong with the world.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bereavement, Befuddlement and Bafflement Pt2

This post tackles the topic I intended to cover last week regarding coping with the suicide of my father.

Something I didn't expect from my fathers suicide was how it would make me view the people around me. Before my father took his own life, I always assumed that the people who were close to me would be there for me. That everyone would grow old before they died. That the desire to live usurped everything else. Now I'm not so sure. Now I'm constantly concerned.

I used to expect that people would be there when I woke up or came home. Not just expect it, but I knew without a doubt that people would always be there. Doing regular boring everyday people things. In the mornings you expect to wake up to people in bathrobes, making hot drinks and toast. After work you expect people to be cooking, cleaning, lounging on the couch. Boring everyday things. Now I expect the opposite.

I used to assume suicide was more by accident than design. That desperation made you act, but that undeniable will to live kept you from doing it properly. That the knowledge that while you're alive things can still get better would intrude just in time. I assumed those who commit suicide had succeeded by mistake. A lot of the methods are fallible and (it seemed to me) a lot of people act rashly, without plan or design.

My father did not commit suicide accidentally.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bereavement, Befuddlement and Bafflement

This is a pretty dark theme for an opening blog, but it is also something that I really need to get off my chest. I'm sure a million successful endeavours have started this way, and a billion more unsuccessful endeavours started with a rant and were left in the dust.

I had someone close to me pass away from suicide. Almost seven months ago, my father lost his struggle with depression.

This blog isn't an obituary or an apology for the things that should have been said. I might write one of those in the future. This is about something I didn't expect as a daughter dealing with the passing of her father.

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