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Friday, March 16, 2018

C&C Ep 112: I know why the caged bird casts.

I make a huge mistake in this episode. I thought, through hasty googling, that Maya Angelou was born in Winston Salem. She's a Saint Louis native. But she sure did die there though! Why am I proud of that? Weird.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rise and Fall Reivew: Who then, will govern?

Ok. That's a pretty sick burn, Genghis.

Rise and Fall is an expansion that is frustrating to write about. Not that I think I wasted a single dollar on it, though. Civ VI continues to be my favorite Civilization to date but it remains difficult to prove it to be the best. This had happened with V before it had it's 2 expansions. No one was particularly happy with V out of the box but Gods and Kings then Brave New World made it the definitive Civ. I'm worried VI will never get there. Rise and Fall is a fascinating new direction but it feels much more thin than the expansions that have come before.

But not in the new leader department. It's a relief to see some new faces as the cast almost doubles with 9 more stunningly well animated leaders. Robert the Bruce and Poundmaker stand out to me (and not just because I have 3 c's in my name.) I prefer to play as an ivory tower. An impenetrable economic and scientific dynamo. Before these two guys (and Civ VI, really) this was pretty hard to pull off if you weren't Babylon. Poundmaker's outgoing trade bonus will make your enemies think twice before mowing you down and Robert is a first in that he's a surprisingly pleasant neighbor. The guy hates war and particularly the AI's strategy of burning down city states. In several different games we teamed up to take down megalomaniacal jerks and they were without a doubt the most fun wars I've ever been in.
No I love you more.

Here I'll start to pull on a thread that will take us through everything new worth talking about. Cites now project influence. The more influence on a tile (the closer you are to another civ's city) the more loyalty you'll lose per turn. When you run out of loyalty, your city revolts and becomes less of a city state and more of a... pirate nest? Nassau, I guess. Back to my ivory tower style I'm loving how much more personal space the AI now gives me. Before if there was some oil juuuust out of my reach it wouldn't be long before the enemy had a new city all up in my business. This simply does not happen anymore and it. Is. Awesome. But now the race to the new world has even higher stakes because once someone gets a real foothold it's almost impossible to stretch out. Unless you have the right governor.

Over the course of your culture tree you will now earn "governor" points. You'll never guess what you spend them on. Every player has access to the same roster of 7. Each focusing on either loyalty, faith, science/culture/production, and you get the idea. Most of their skills won't tip the balance of the game either way, but they all have their uses. Though there are a handful worth bending over backwards for. 2 points into the defense guy and you have a city that cannot be put under siege. Yeah, holy sh*t.

And another from the educator, with some help from the Oracle, lets me run the table on nearly all the great people for pretty much the whole game. He can double your great person points in one city and the Oracle slaps another 20% on top of that. The AI has started 9 different wars with me over my sure to be nerfed strategy. But that's the thing. I've never had a strategy in Civ I thought needed nerfing and I love how smart Rise and Fall has made me feel.

Oh yeah, well the only thing people know your folk music from are Wes Anderson movies!

But about the whole "rising and falling" thing. It's a nice idea, carving up the game's eras into mad dashes for points. Get enough and you stay in a normal era. Get twice that and you get a golden age where your cites positively spew loyalty and you choose a passive bonus (like invulnerable trade routes eeeeeeee!!!) for the whole age. Fail to get enough points and you wind up in a dark age. Get enough points for a golden age in a dark age? You earn a heroic age where you can choose 3 golden age perks. So how do you get points? Difficult to say. Building unique districts gets you some the first time. Killing units in the company of a great general does as well. But if you're down to the wire and you're not sure how to get those last couple points to stave off the darkness... well...

It would be neat for your advisor to suggest the best way to get more points as it's hard to remember what you have and haven't done game to game. Mod community? Get on it. Until then, I say it's a good idea that is obtuse and punishing. And the golden filter over everything gets old pretty quick.

So I really enjoyed Rise and Fall. It needs some work but what Civ game doesn't? Unfortunately while most previous expansions were as great as they were necessary this is something I could see some people skipping. That's a shame, but there it is. But the changes that were made in service of the less violent civs made some of my most enjoyable games possible. Not only that, but I also hit my highest score ever and that can't be a coincidence. I cannot say whether VI will eventually receive the accolades I say it deserves but I am certain it will always be my favorite.

I want Sean Bean narrated nature docs yesterday.

I'll play myself out:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Gentlemen... Dead Cells has blown my skirt up.

Gif ID: 67900
What sweet madness.

When early access games start getting 9/10 reviews and cost less than $20 what do you have to loose? So I got it... and I played it. And I absolutely goddamn love it. After blood borne I didn't think a randomly generated souls game could work. That the level design was integral to the combat somehow. Dead Cells has spent 3 hours showing me how wrong I was. If you ever loved Castlevania this is worth your time and money.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wreck it Ralph 2.

In the wake of The Incredibles Ralph loses a bit of thunder. Both being the only two animated films I can think of that actually deserve a sequel. Getting John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman to be the leads in anything deserves sequels.

It's been 5 years, with Zootopia  by Rich Moore made in the interim. That was the first CGI Disney film that can go toe to toe with Pixar's best and while I have high hopes Ralph Breaks the Internet delivers; I'd be happy with it being just ok. But who knows? Maybe this is their Toy Story 2 moment where the laws of sequel gravity are defied. That "bunny gets the pancake" bit is f*%ing gold.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Voice of Cree Nation

I'm playing a lot of Civ VI. Which means I'm listening to a lot of Civ VI. Which means I'm still gushing over Geoff Knorr's soundtrack. Vocals are one of the most radical departures for Rise and Fall and I was wondering if actual members of the Cree sang for Poundmaker's theme. According to Knorr's Facebook, several of them were even part of the man's extended family.

It gets neater. They all refused money and insisted on a unique form of payment, Poundmaker souvenir jackets:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Who needs a pick me up?

Shaka is not a man with which one "f%$ks."

Let Shaka Zulu's atomic era theme get you through this foggy n' drizzly Tuesday. If Geof Knorr keeps this up he might get my OST of the year twice in a row.

Monday, February 19, 2018