Tag Archive: Eldritch Horror

Gaming Catch-Up

I keep trotting out this phrase – and its variants – but post move, I’m starting to rejoin my life.  And catch up with gaming, of course.  So this blog post will be a brief catch up on games, both video and board.

First on the list: the Doomsday Heist on GTA Online.  Essentially, James Bond is in the world of GTA online.  First of all, you need to buy a “facility”, an underground bunker not entirely unlike one used by a supervillain.  But relax, you’re not the supervillain.  Once you buy the facility, you’ll be contacted by Lester who has an opportunity for you…

I won’t ruin the story should you not have indulged, it’s a pretty good one, as these things go.  There are three parts to the heist and each part has a number of missions, both a set-up and the mission itself.  Set-ups typically involved undertaking an activity on a lobby map so other players can interrupt you and make your life miserable.  Missions are undertaken independently of the main lobby.  Anyone in your organisation or motorcycle gang (you need to be a CEO or Chapter Leader) can help in the set-ups and a minimum of two players are required to do the heists missions and finale.

Sales aside, the cost of purchasing a facility is several million dollars which is a significant in-game investment but the pay offs after each part of the overall heist are very much worth it.  But perhaps the key part of the Doomsday Heist update are the new vehicles available, including (and I’m not using the in-game names) the flying DeLorean with missiles (aka Flying Troll Car), Lotus Submersible, the Jet-Pack and others.  There’s also the Avenger – a mobile flying base like the big-rig introduced in part two of the Heist.  Lots of stuff for players to indulge in.

Each Facility can be pimped out, has storage for a number of cars and has a few optional extras.  These include strike teams to target other players, a receptionist to hand out free snacks & Pegasus Concierge services and perhaps the most interesting feature, the orbital cannon.  Instadeath on another player – it costs a lot to fire but can be satisfying to get back at trolls.  There’s also the usual deathmatches and other lesser vehicles in the update but most people don’t care about them.

Next on the list: Star Trek Timelines.  Version 4 of the game was released t’other week, the main updates were around rewards in the cryovault for immortalising specific groups of characters (races, traits etc) and more options for organising your crew, making it easier to compare, see who needs upgrading etc.  For those of us playing over two years, collecting the rewards for immortalising characters was amazingly rewarding.

Nothing new with Animation Throwdown except the addition of a new category of card: animal.  Been getting back into Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus after a long hiatus.  Managed to get past the Roswell base and into the Uberkommando assassination missions.  Still refused to change from “normal” difficulty into easy although shouting at the Xbone is more the rule rather than the exception.

And in board games: I bought myself Ticket To Ride: France/Old West edition for my birthday as well as Eldritch Horror: Masks of Nyarlathoep expansion.  And P&D gave me a copy of Unstable Unicorns with the rude expansion pack. Haven’t tested any of them out though.  Gave away Scotland Yard to a work colleague and need to start putting my other games on eBay soon.  At KKOB’s yesterday, I played Power Grid for the first time and Small World with a number of expansion packs (except the Pirate one).


Relocation; a tale of blood boiling

It’s been six days – at least when I started writing this post – since I/we moved from Casa Beaufoy to Hasiera Heyford (Hasiera is Basque for home btw) and I think I’m over the traumas of the experience.  Time for a record for posterity.

Move day was Wednesday 21 February.  The packing crates arrived on the Monday and once they arrived, so began the chaos.  I think it’s fair to say that neither of us had done much sorting out of items to move the weekend before – with the exception of the clothes.  So as I was filling my crates, I also took random breaks to wrap a birthday gift for Karl, updating my scrapbook before I lost various loose items, putting photos in an album – that kind of thing.  On Monday afternoon as I was putting the books away, I felt a pain in my lower back becoming sharper…yeah, perfect timing.  From this point onwards, movement became an issue and slowed me right down.  Moving full crates out of the way was a chore.  A very painful, inconvenient chore.

But we soldiered on, dropping off a load of rubbish at the charity shop (clothes, books, DVDs) and getting ourselves inexorably ready.  As we were moving less than 100m away, we also took the time to make several advance trips armed with items to drop off at the new flat (which cut down on the number of crates we needed) and items such as glassware and crockery could be immediately put away rather than messing around later.  That evening, I went to go sit in a spa whirlpool to see if it could do anything for the pain.  It helped a little.

Tuesday was more of the same except I panicked and bought a pack of five cardboard moving boxes from Argos thinking there wouldn’t be enough crates and not enough possible trips to the new flat.  Although in hindsight, it was a very sensible move as the boxes can go into the attic with various odds and sods.  I filled two of those crates with just wine and spirits – to say nothing of my imported beers.  Dr Do(o)m remarked at the weekend that if the flat ever caught fire, we’re so screwed…

I managed to finish my packing by Tuesday evening (apart from a couple of final insignificant items) despite the lousy back and so went to the Griffin quiz.  Fortunately we didn’t win the beer.  Packed away my Xbone, went to bed.  I felt very hot under the duvet.  Very, very hot.  Very, very familiarly hot.  I was starting to run a fever.  The Catherine virus had been running around the office and had knocked out several colleagues over the last few weeks (so named after the first member of the team to succumb).  I had a horrible sensation that owing to the stresses of the move, my back etc, the obscene amount of dust and garbage flying around, it was taking advantage.

Wednesday: woke up at 4am, body overwhelmed with viruses.  Cursed my luck and lay awake for the next four hours before I made myself get up to get ready for the movers.  Tried to get ready with crates and boxes but the only way I was going to shift them was sheer force of will/bloody-mindedness which sapped what little energy I did have.  Opened the flat’s front door, looked at the lift which had a little sign saying “lift out of order”.

I swore.  Profusely.

Fortunately an hour later, it was back online.  By 11, I collapsed on the bed and lay there for an hour.  Shortly before 1, the movers arrived to assess the situation.  Think we put the fear of god into them.  Had I been fit, I could have helped but I was less than useless.  Dr Do(o)m and I did our best to spur things along but when they suggested more people (and higher prices), I immediately said yes.  It was around 3pm when the van was full so we were in overtime.  I slunk off to the park café for a late lunch – needed to get away from the dust and boxes for a bit.  By the time I got back to the new flat, the latest drama was that the bookcases wouldn’t go through the front door of the flat, they were a hair too big.  So everything was hauled up into the flat whilst the book cases lay downstairs inconveniencing our neighbours.

As my mood was steadily declining (along with my will to live), I ended up giving my remaining Star Wars toys & items to one of the removal men (he’s a huge fan and collector), I left behind the countertop freezer and decided to recycle my SNES and Megadrive.  I regret nothing.

We made a vain attempt at unpacking but there wasn’t much we could do, not without the bookcases in place as half the crate contents depended on them being in position.  After trying to get the cases through the doors ourselves, I gave up and dismantled the book cases myself, causing significant cosmetic damage to one of them in the process through my impatience and lousy mood.  We got two in the flat and assembled before quitting for the night.

Thursday: woke up feeling worse than the day before.  Sneezing like all hell (Dust? Virus?), felt like head was full of rocks and cement.  I managed to fill two shelves of one bookcase with things before returning to bed for a snooze.  Then the interweb engineer showed up so I let him in before retreating to the duvet.  Got up an hour later, did two more shelves, too tired, went back to bed.  Woke up by Amazon Prime delivery man dropping off a few odds and sods c/o the new landlords and again at 1pm by the crate hire firm who’d come to collect the crates.  I had it in my head they were coming on the Friday (and the lack of email confirmation despite chasing didn’t help) so I gave them what we had emptied (1/3 of the boxes) before going back to bed.

Around 6, I had enough energy to resume unpacking and Paul and Darren came over at 9 to help us with the other two bookcases.  Darren was in his element, Paul explained and so I let them get on with it.  Once they were in place, we could empty out most of the other crates (comic books) which helped significantly.

Friday: better than Thursday though not by much.  Nothing noteworthy happened on Friday except we’d cleared enough of the lounge to have dinner on the dining table c/o Happy Family.

Saturday: finished the kitchen and got the lounge into shape.  Fired up the tv and xbone, watched Labyrinth.

Sunday: finished my room (with the exception of the final charity shop items).  I ventured out of the flat after lunch, mainly to go shopping and to perk myself up a bit.  After a week of ordeal, it was time to get some form of reward.  I went to good old FP first; no intention to buy anything but did pick up the new expansion to Eldritch Horror (Masks of Nyarlathotep) and the Andre the Giant TPB which was on sale.  It’s fine – I’ve already done the one in-one out process.  Then onto Scribbler for early March birthday cards.  Picked up a novelty cushion which is blue, has a rainbow and some clouds and in the rainbow, it says “Get Lost”.  Says it all, really.

Bought a few comic book boxes to tidy up my collection,  shouted at two people – one a black cab driver for failing to stop at a junction when I wanted to cross (he ignored the give way sign).  And another was a woman who blocked the street by randomly stopping in it.  Really narrow Soho street so those behind were forced to stop too.  Dummy.and then headed home.  Didn’t realise it was 6 when I came back (time just flew by yesterday) so settled in for a quiet evening at the flat and cooked my first meal.

Monday evening, we emptied out the final crate (just some power extensions and other miscellaneous tat) and relocated a few boxes & items into the attic.  The remaining crates get picked up Tuesday afternoon.  And I think that then, Hasiera Heyford is open for business.  Bring on the games.  We’re definitely doing a house warming event this time.  Not least as there’s enough liquor in the house to fill a barrel.

A difficult week to get through, on a personal level that is.  Glass half full: I can rejoin my life, so much has been deferred until this point.  And I can make an attempt at saving again now monthly expenses are down.  I just wish I felt more positive overall.


Nope, not the flat number, nor my lucky number.  But the number of successful orbits of the sun whilst maintaining my status as a passenger on planet Earf.

Like most people, I’ve taken the opportunity to bunk off work (read: taken  a couple of days off) to mark the event.  And  it’s been a quiet old day so far, noise from the street excepted.  The last two days were spent in Dublin with work.  I had a quiet, pleasant stay although the rain felt quite incessant at times.  There was allegedly some snow on Tuesday morning but it had melted by the time I emerged from my hotel room.

So what’s been new, hip and happening?  Answer: not much.  More of the same, really.  Am I in a rut?  Perhaps, though I’m not rushing out to embrace the new.  Is there anything that’s truly new?  Apart from picking up a new mobile last weekend, no.  Letting February slide by as quickly as possible, I guess.

Continuing to enjoy Star Trek Timelines and the recent events have given my inventory a chance to rest and rebuild following a succession of missions which have drained them dry of all the really useful stuff.   And finally have a couple of friends playing it although they are not quite as into it as I.  Still, good times.

On the Xbone,  I downloaded the free copy of The Force Unleashed and replayed that, forgetting how much fun it was to throw Felucians into Rancors.  And to fry that bitch  Shaak Ti.  GTA continues to be my most played game although I’ve been trying to get into Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts again.  It’s just hard to like it.

Board games: lots of 7 Wonders, finally got around to breaking in “Under the Pyramids” expansion for Eldritch Horror and whilst in Dublin, I treated myself to “The Dreamlands” as it was cheaper there thanks to the collapse in GBP. I was particularly proud of this game with Joey and Scott:


Finally folks, I was doing a YouTube crawl and stumbled across this parody music video.  I almost wet myself cackling as I think I’ve experienced every one of these deaths:

So that’s your lot, just a quick update before my second coffee of the day and hopefully, a decision about what to do with the rest of my time today.  And if anyone else is celebrating a birthday today (Ron Howard, Harry Belafonte,  Dirk Benedict, George Eads, Doris Hare and of course, Frederich Chopin), PISCEANS ROOL!

A tale of two shopping trips: 

Saturday I decided to try and find the board game shop (Leisure Games) in Finchley. The shop is near Finchley Central station which is zone 4 but being a cheapskate, I got off at East Finchley which is zone 3 and walked twenty minutes up the road to save myself about 40p. Pleased at my choice as I passed by the continental market which tours London on a semi-regular basis which was nice to see, all the familiar stalls were there. Was tempted to stop off at most of the stalls, particularly the Charcuterie willpower won out and slipped past without buying anything.

After walking through the leafy suburbs, arrived at my destination. Leisure Games is nicely stocked and large windows let in a goodly amount of natural light which can only be a good thing. Definitely a geek’s paradise (albeit out of the way) with plenty of supplies for RPGs, War Gamers and a vast range of card, board and other types of games. Definitely better stocked than Orc’s Nest but more floor space can generally do that for ya. I bought one Batman Fluxx (The Animated Series) and Expansion Packs for The Good, The Bad and The Munchkin & Eldritch Horror (Strange Relics). I’m probably going to go back – though maybe drag someone with me. And then call in to the Baskin Robbins on the way home. All in all, a most successful day.

Sunday was…well, I went out with one goal in mind. To find a shirt that fits that I like, ideally denim to supplement (and eventually replace my 16 year old Levis shirt). I went in to many clothes shops between home and Oxford Street (and back again), I tried on what…well over a dozen shirts and the only ones that fit me in my size were those made by Ralph Lauren. The pricing of the shirts didn’t faze me but the styles did which is why I left them on the hangar (think golfing retiree). Almost all of the other XL shirts I tried on were too tight in the chest – two I couldn’t even get my arms in. And when I tried some XXL shirts in comparison, just to be sure I hadn’t ballooned or wasn’t deluding myself, it was like a five year old wearing his dad’s jumper for a laugh. Except the Rag and Bone shirt I tried on in XXL which again, couldn’t squeeze arms into. WTF is wrong with the state of clothing these days? Does globalisation mean sending the work to third world countries and slapping any old label on them just in the ruthless pursuit of a bargain? I don’t want a life of wearing nothing but sweaters and hoodies and t-shirts. I need some nice stuff too.

Anyway, the experience took most of the day and the only thing I went home with was a bag full of salad items for dinner.


T’other day, I was reading on TVTropes the comments/page relating to the Sega/Nintendo wars of the early 90s. Of course we in the UK missed out on a lot of it – except perhaps in the pages of the computer media where Sega and Nintendo fan boys (and girls too) would just trash each other, chiefly to no other avail than to prove Freud correct. Did it ultimately matter though in the development of 4th Generation consoles? On paper, it was no-contest. The Megadrive (or Genesis to the rest of the world) was a lousy console compared with the SNES; weaker processes, lousy RAM, poor colour palette and yet it was more than able to hold its own against Nintendo’s offering. Of course, Sega’s winning strategy was superior marketing, particularly in North America. They didn’t so much promote themselves so much as reassure existing owners that their product was the superior one. Nintendo appeared to use the power of momentum to help their cause and when Streetfighter 2 was released…no contest. But those days feel wholly removed from today’s “Console Wars” are more than about the machine and the games but what multimedia experiences are on offer.

It’s still fun to speculate what would have happened had Commodore not run out of money for the CD32 or had the judge in the case not barred the console from being shipped to North America over allegations of infringements. Perhaps it’s more partisan of me but I think it would have kept up with the Playstation as games such as GTA would have had a simultaneous release and Commodore was still backed by many developers – or at least those who hadn’t been gobbled up by Sony (like Psygnosis). Would a three-way war with Sega have helped the Saturn? Not impossible I guess. More competition means more opportunity for software houses. Would it have also kept Commodore in the PC market? Say an “Amiga 10K” powered by Intel or AMD? Who can say?I finally reached the now infamous torture scene in GTA V and having played through it, I admit I was left thoroughly uncomfortable by it all. I should acknowledge the creativity and design of Rockstar for making this scene so realistic and awkward – it’s difficult to invest emotion into a video game character, particularly an NPC. But conversely, it was OTT, even for the world of GTA which is an exercise in hyperbole. All in all, I was pleased when the victim of the torture was helped to escape in a cut scene and I hope that if there is a GTA VI, we learn his character has a better time of it outside of Los Santos.

Dr Do(o)m and I played a game of Eldritch Horror on Saturday, chiefly as I wanted to relearn the rules ahead of Thursday. I was Chun-Li and he was the Shaman (as opposed to Ebenezeer Goode’s Shamen). We lasted one hour and a giant spider consumed the world. So sorry folks. Still, I think the nuances are sorted out so bring on the challenge. It’s been what – four months but I finally broke out the Talisman Woodlands expansion pack with Dr Do(o)m and Brendan and we just didn’t finish the game. It plays a little differently compared with the other three board-adding expansion packs as the use of fate has been overhauled whilst the new characters have special abilities involving the use of tokens (I was the ancient oak and I could get stronger as the game progressed). Also, as one progressed through the woodlands, there were game-changing effects in play with a different goal for each player. That said, progress seemed to be slow and measured. It’s not a region in Talisman you can just blindly enter and expect to progress through like the Highlands or the Dungeon for example but you need to build up a little before wandering around blithely. I also feel that this expansion needs to be played with one of the other boards – no other reason than a gut instinct. Using the card-only expansions wasn’t enough.

I also downloaded a copy of Picross 6 for the 3DS, I think the first major purchase (major???) for that console in six months. I was also pleased at the number of free puzzles unlocked as I own titles 1-5 (they give freebies). It’ll keep me busy for a while at least. My oft-repeated rant to Nintendo still stands however – release more damn games through the Virtual Console Service! I don’t care about independent titles being squeezed out third party developers, I want to play the games of yesteryear either for the first time or on a nostalgia trip. And if they can put some Master System games on there too…perfect.

For the first time in my fifteen year career, I have received the top box marking on my annual report. The cynic in me says that it’ll be another fifteen years before I get another one but for now, I’m happy with the result. Of course, there’s the financial reward to go with it which I sheepishly confess to starting to spend. As a reward for going to bed early and avoiding the junk food, I went to Forbidden Planet and thought I’d treat myself to the new Star Wars Risk. Somehow, I ended up walking out with that, Eldritch Horror and the Expansion – I blame Joey entirely – nothing to do with me guv’nor.

I dunno what I’m having for lunch/dinner today but it will NOT be Quorn related as I’ve eaten that every day for the past six. Need some variety! Tempted to throw together a salad this evening and source something vaguely interesting after twelve. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the versatility Quorn (and similar products) allow you in the kitchen but you can get fed up of variations along a theme after a while. It’s one of the few things I actually miss about Casa Trevelyan, the large kitchen where I could store loads of food rather than a small pantry.

So, Vlad the Mad will be attending the D-Day anniversary today – don’t know why. Despite Stalin begging the Allies to open up a second front against Germany, the first thing they did was to attack Finland. Guess some things never change.

Speaking of the D-Day landings, I’m surprised EA or Activision haven’t bothered to (re)release another stinking WW2 title in an attempt to cash in but I suppose that the World Cup spin off games take priority this month. Still would like to see a decent WW1 type game; although most of the combat was fairly static on the Western Front, the Eastern Front and the Middle East were a little more fluid – or just have an Alternative History type game where the player can re-write history by winning battles (including stopping the looting of a Belgian Chateau by a Bavarian regiment which among its ranks included one Private Hitler…)

Played a game of Civ IV last night as Peter the Great (random choice). Got totally pwned on Science for some reason, probably the fact I only churned out seven cities compared with my rivals and was locked in quite a lengthy struggle with the Incans in a stalemate. Finally chased them out though and declared war on them several turns later after they squandered their resources, forcing them into a submission. Ultimately came out top in the Space Race ahead of the Portuguese programme. Tried a quick Rhye’s as Mali, failed the first UHV so gave up.

It’s the board games afternoon/day at the Vauxhall Griffin tomorrow. Despite drumming up a fair amount of interest, no teams have actually registered for the competition. Plan B is to just play games. My fear is that a hundred people turn up (well, a lot of people) expecting to take part in a competition which we’re just not ready for. And the weather is going to be utterly lousy. Otherwise – another quiet one.

Yog Sothoth

Another 6 day delay…

Sorry people but the world was destroyed last night. Yog- Sothoth wasn’t stopped in time by our plucky band of investigators in Eldritch Horror. We were ready to solve the final mystery and take him/her/it on but he awoke from his slumber and the other-worldly gates opened en masse. My stupid musician was devoured having taken on a Dark Pact and Jad’s expedition leader was killed by one of his allies part way through the game.

Tuesday: Thorpe Park Day. Although I worried about making the right train, getting breakfast and the like, I needn’t have bothered as Xian and Daniel missed the planned train and we had to wait thirty minutes for the next one. Starbucks got my name wrong not once but twice over coffee orders. I’m thinking of calling myself something really boring and generic like Tony just so they can’t bugger that one up (probably will spell it Toni…). I don’t know how they shovelled away so much food on the train out there but I think it caught up with them by the time we got to the park.

The park was not as busy as anticipated – many of the rides had queues of around five minutes so as a result, we felt safe in only buying one set of queue-jump tickets and that was only to get on Colossus and Nemesis. We tried the new rides of Swarm and the water slide – not bad but not up to the hype either. Daniel got soaked on the ride (so did I to be fair – he just made more noise) and bought himself a new outfit at the shop. We had a Pizza Hut lunch (big mistake) and went on more rides. Unfortunately, the queues meant that the rides lasted that little bit longer and I swear when I went on Samurai, they sent the ride backwards as well as forward.

I’m not young any more, it played merry hell with my equilibrium and a stomach stuffed full of pizza.


Missed the bowl the second time.

No instant recovery either – felt very feverish, hot then cold then hot again and autopilot kicked in, demanding to be taken home to rest. The others were feeling similarly wiped out so we left the park and headed for home. Two hours on my bed reading/finishing off the third instalment of the Moneypenny Diaries and I was about recovered enough to head over to the quiz. Of course we lost – kept messing up between choices of two answers where we were uncertain but the food was good and we stuffed our faces on Haribo. Then home to bed early and eight hours sleep.