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20th January 2013: Fancy A Cuppa?

Turns out the Blood Bowl competition I was taking part in was a simple 8 team knockout tournament. So my next game was the semi-finals, and I was up against Necromancer team Bruendar Grimjacks. Strange things happened in this game, like their AG2 Golems dodging around all over the place, but overall I had little trouble. In the first half they could not break through my defence, and I pressured their ball carrier right back to their endzone but couldn't nick it.
In the second half I managed to punch a hole down the right wing, and thrower Chukki Snotpot snuck in to score in the last turn, which seems to be my usual tactic.

In the final, I had a tougher game. Sort of. I was against the Oldheim Ogres, which I think was the first time I'd played an Ogre team. It turned out to be pretty damn difficult trying to deal with six ST5 players on the line of scrimmage, especially when in their first turn my top SPP Black Orc, Gwapstik Snotgumz, received a broken jaw, putting him out of the game and the next game. Yet, they had to rely on their little Snotlings to carry the ball, and these proved easy meat. Half way through the first half, Draggin' blitzed, smacked the ball carrier and recovered the ball, able to break away and give me a 1-0 lead.
At the start of the second half I had a bit of luck, with the crowd throwing a rock and badly hurting one of their Ogres. Then early on their Snotlings took a battering and five got knocked out in one turn. But still their Ogres were on a mission, and this time Boffa got his jaw broken, meaning he would miss the next game as well. In revenge, Biffa took an Ogre out and broke its ribs, meaning the Ogre team now was really thin on numbers. Chukki Snotpot had got the ball, and rushed down the left wing against very little opposition, and got another last turn touchdown. The 2-0 win gave me the cup.

The next tournament looks like a much longer affair. There are 2 leagues of 8 teams each, who will all play each other to see who will go through to the knockout stages. Gonna be interesting...

The Grimjacks are forced all the way back

The Grimjacks are forced all the way back

The Ogres smack my Orcs onto their asses

The Ogres smack my Orcs onto their asses

18th January 2013: Kick Off

Easily my fave board game ever is Games Workshop's Blood Bowl. I now have a bunch of teams and star players for playing that game, but unfortunately getting opponents is a pain. So it happened that in mid 2011 I got hold of the computer game so I could play when no opponent was available for the board game. I got stuck into a campaign with a team based on my Stompers Orc team, and got 24 games into it, only losing one. Thing was, playing so many games in a short time, against an uninspired CPU at that, drained my enthusiasm, and the campaign went unfinished.
I've just decided to change that...

I'd not played the board game or computer game since late 2011, so remembering the rules was a bit of a stretch for my poor brain, and jumping back into an already developed team made it even more awkward, as I was constantly having to check who I'd upgraded with what skills. Worse than that, my first game was against Nurgle's Rotters, which to my knowledge were the only team that beat me (though it may have been a Skaven team, as I remember them being little bastards as well).

The game started with me on the back foot. I kicked it to them, and they proceeded to smack me about from the off, knocking out 4 players and hurting Chukka Snotrag who is my player with the most SPP so far. They got the ball into my half down my left wing, but I managed to knock that guy down and the ball ended up in the crowd, who threw it back in near the half way line. Then I just got even more defensive, creating a wall with my remaining players and managed to see out the half 0-0.

Only one of my knocked out players got back in the game, so all three subs were called on. But the second half started much the same, with them hurting another one of my players, and three of their players broke through to threaten my ball carrier, Chukki Snotpot. However, things started to turn, with me finally getting two casualties myself, including a death on a Rotter inflicted by Draggin' Dribblesnort. Chukki moved up and lobbed the ball to Goblin Wee Little Jimmy, but the crazy little Gobbo failed the catch. Luckily, their players were concentrated in other areas of the pitch, and Dribblesnort moved up on the next turn and managed to secure the ball. Their players could not get back, and good ol' Draggin' scored on the last turn to give me a 1-0 victory.

Rightly, Draggin' got a skill upgrade, and I gave him guard to make him even more useful against the real hard teams.

The Rotters make short work of my left wing

The Rotters make short work of my left wing

Somehow they are contained

Somehow they are contained

Draggin' kills a little Rotter

Draggin' kills a little Rotter

Wee Little Jimmy can not claim the pass

Wee Little Jimmy can not claim the pass

Draggin' wins the game for the Stompers

Draggin' wins the game for the Stompers

As much as I love the game, it really isn't great playing the CPU, so I'm really hoping my attention can be kept long enough to win the Blood Bowl Cup. I currently have no idea how many games or tournaments that will take. Hopefully not too many.
Oh well.

13th January 2013: Settling Down

With my brand new PC having yet more issues in the shape of a dead hard drive, it fell to my good old Mac and laptop to help entertain me and my bro today. We slapped on our first game of Settlers 3 in a very long time. The game was a 4v4 involving 6 AI teams. As usual, our allies did very little, leaving us to fight the four enemy teams pretty much on our own.

The game started with us on the defensive while we were trying to get our economies up and running, with the blues attacking JIK's oranges, and my blacks being targetted by the pinks, greens and yellows. Luckily the pinks had to go through JIK's territory to get to me, and he was able to cut off most of their soldiers as they tried to pass through. I had mostly been waiting to upgrade my soldiers before recruiting any new ones, and when the greens and yellows swarmed into my settlement I lost several towers as my defenses struggled to cope, but luckily only lost a few woodcutters. Thankfully at this time, one of our allies, the cyans, chose this time to charge out and attack the enemy blue team. The cyan army crossed the path that the yellows and greens were taking to get to me, and stopped their reinforcements, giving my guys a breather and chance to regain all the ground I'd lost. The cyans battered the blues and pinned them back, giving JIK the opportunity to concentrate on the pinks and annihilate them.

By now I'd rebuilt my forces, and my soldiers joined JIK's, creating an army of blacks and oranges several hundred strong. We marched into yellow and green lands and wiped them out easily. The cyans had stopped to sunbathe or something after their single attack, and we had to finish their job of taking out the blues. Though at least they had done something. Our red allies sat up in the top corner of the map, and did not take part in a single battle in nearly 5 hours. Thanks guys.

My guys march into green territory to get revenge

My guys march into green territory to get revenge

The yellows counter attack as their lands fall to our advance

The yellows counter attack as their lands fall to our advance

The yellows are mopped up in short order

The yellows are mopped up in short order

29th December 2012: Recounting The Fantasies

For many months I've been meaning to waffle on about my travels through the different Final Fantasy games I've played over the years, much like I did with WoW a while ago. And finally, I've got my ass together and sorted it out. For no reason whatsoever. Don't ask how I remember all this shit.

I originally got Final Fantasy VII for Christmas 1997 from my folks. They had originally bought me Soulblade, but a few days before Christmas they discovered I'd already got that one, and FF7 was their last minute replacement on the advice of someone who worked in the store. Good on that bloke, whoever it was.
Now at the time I knew absolutely nothing about Final Fantasy. I'd never even heard the name. All previous games had been on Nintendo, and back then, much like now, I felt (somewhat irrational I'll admit) hatred towards those consoles. I always felt their marketing strategy and their games were skewed too young for me.
The first time I tried to play it I got to the first scorpion boss and got slaughtered. I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on. A few days later when the whole Christmas stuff had stopped stuffing, I gave it another go and soon got quite into it.

In February my work mate had a week off and finished the game. When he came back he proceeded to give me loads of spoilers. Twat. Learning these spoilers did not help me at all, as my attention was already waning as I tried to get through the bloody annoying Northern continent, which I hated that first time through. I pretty much went off the game until another workmate picked it up a while later. The guy who'd finished it reckoned this other guy would finish it before me, so I got stuck back in. I finally made it passed that icy wasteland and wouldn't you know, I started liking it again. Maybe it was because Aerith was no longer in it (she annoyed me back then, even though I find her quite adorable now). Even after that, it took me quite a while to finish it. But it was ace to play, and I absolutely loved the story. Still do.

I remember it was about 2am when I first finished it. I intended to get near the end and save it, but I went a bit too far and stumbled into the very long end fight, leaving me no choice but to push through it or I'd lose a lot of work I'd already done. Was a bit tired.

In July 99 I started playing it again after buying the big strategy book. I got through it loads faster and easier and really enjoyed the game and story even more, and did loads of work on the mini games in the Gold Saucer picking up extra shite.

In Feb 2000 I ventured into my 2nd Final Fantasy game when I bought #8 for the PC. I guess like any game there were some things that were better than the one before and some things that were worse. I liked being able to junction different GFs (summons) on different characters to create different combos, but I hated having to draw magics and the boost system was a bore. Story wise it was ok, but I generally dislike anything that deals with any kind of time travel. And this game was full of it, in its own way.

I remember I got to the fight with Adel on disc 4, but couldn't beat her due to not having enough magic drawn and being a little underlevelled. So in August I started again with more determination, and finished it pretty easily in October. Really got a good feeling at the end.

In Jan 2001 I picked up FF7 again, this time for the PC. It was so much better going through it this time, with better graphics and much faster load times. Though I remember there was a weird upside-down graphics bug that needed fixing first. Odd. I was intending to really build up the characters to try a pop at one or both of the big two WEAPONs, but like a tit I missed the vital ribbon from the Temple Of The Ancients, so I never really tried the WEAPON fights and just finished it again.

I decided not to get FF9 as it was not going to be released on PC, and I had enjoyed 7 & 8 so much more on PC than on the PS1. However, in May 2002 I borrowed it from the Scoob. It took a lot of getting into and I struggled through disc 1. This game started toying with what seems to be the current trend of completely limiting what you can do in the game compared to 7 & 8. In this one, they stopped you from customising the party magics and summons the way you could before, as only certain spells and summons could be used by certain characters, and I didn't really like that. Still, it's nowhere near as restrictive as the current games.

I didn't touch it again til early 03 when I started to get into it a bit more. As I was nearing the end of this game in March I got into a chat with Mr. Krig about number 8, as he could remember all the weird names I'd called my GFs. I couldn't help but reload my #8 late game save and finish it again.

In April I finished number 9, not long after finally starting to get really into it. The ending was pretty cool and long, but I would have liked to have seen more of it fully rendered rather than with in game graphics. I did not however grasp the point of Necron's arrival out of the blue at the end. Sure, why not just throw in a big bad guy who up to that point had had absolutely no mention in the entire rest of the game? Sounds like a completely obvious plan. Not. I also didn't like how getting onto the last disc stopped you from going into all the towns around the world for some reason. Strange decisions.

At some point in late 2004 I once more started playing number 8, again with the intent of taking on the big bad WEAPON. I'd got all my junctions worked out in advance and was gonna level up to full, draw all the magics in the world, and nail that big bastard. I think I'd just got onto disc 2 when I had to reformat my computer for some reason. I don't know why, but I've never re-installed the game. I still have the saves, but just have not touched them since. I'm weird.

Over the next couple of years I borrowed number 10 from the Scoob twice, but both times I only played it for about 20 mins. I just did not like it at all for some reason.

I did not touch the franchise again until Jan 2011 when I bought number 13 dirt cheap. I played this for a while, until the point where I escaped Cocoon and made it down to the other planet. It was at this time I decided to throw the damn thing out of the window. The game up to that point had been extremely linear, and I'd been hoping the new planet would bring more freedom, exploration, and a world map or something, but I got none of that. I just didn't like it at all. Other problems were the paradigm system, which pissed me off no end, having to constantly switch just to throw a couple of heals in, and the fact you had to build up the chain bar thing, in order to stagger an enemy and do any real damage. Switching paradigms would often upset your rhythm as you tried to build that gauge, making battles last loads longer than necessary. Also, you couldn't select or even control your whole party. Fracking rediculous. It's just too far removed from the first couple of games I played and really liked.
I watched the rest of the story on the Youtubes, and pretty much gave up on the series.

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