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30th March 2020: The Ruinous Powers

It's been a long time since I last made any wargaming terrain, so just recently I've taken a break from painting epic scale Nidz to finally get around to working on the MDF terrain I bought more than a year ago.
I know a year is a long time, but at least I've actually done it at last. That's more than what could be said for most things I start in this hobby.

Not everything went to plan during this process, but they've turned out fairly acceptable for my fairly mediocre standards.

For a start, after the first drybrush, I thought the ruins looked really good. But then when I washed them using a wash of my own design, they went really dark, so I ended up drybrushing them again quite a lot to dry and bring them back up.

Also, the bases warped a bit when I glued and painted them, something which did not happen last time I used this kind of wood for bases back in 2010. Maybe this time I just used way too much paint and glue.

And finally, no matter how I tried, I could not seem to get a nice even finish of static grass. Some of the areas on the bases are still quite thin, where it's still possible to see the undercoat, even though they've had three applications of grass. I just don't get it.

Nevermind. At least they're ready for some action.

The pieces punched and ready

The pieces punched and ready

Everything glued together

Everything glued together

After damaging the top of the walls

After damaging the top of the walls

Painting on the textured paint

Painting on the textured paint

After drybrushing and washing

After drybrushing and washing

Working on the paint for the other included terrain pieces

Working on the paint for the other included terrain pieces

Finishing the bases

Finishing the bases

The Storm Tigers and Hive Fleet Odium fight it out in the new ruins

The Storm Tigers and Hive Fleet Odium fight it out in the new ruins

8th March 2020: Getting A Hold Of The Tiny Gribblies

It's not going as fast as I'd like, but I'm still making fairly decent progress on updating and adding to the paint on my old Epic Tyranid army. I've now got one of the two boxes and a Hierodule Titan all finished and ready to base. And up next are the Trygons.

I had a thought the other day about the old Epic Tyranid models that I used to have, before I bought the new ones that came out in the Epic 40,000 era. My belief was that I'd thrown them out when I tidied out my epic spares box a couple of years ago, but I was happy to find them still skulking in the loft. When I (finally) get around to doing the Epic-S rules again, I think these bigger, older models will get their own rules, that make them a bit stronger and tougher than the newer versions.

Last stages of the Hierodule

Last stages of the Hierodule

Epic Nidz progress so far

Epic Nidz progress so far

Different generations of bugs

Different generations of bugs

A couple more 40K games have happened over the last few weeks. Like our previous games, they were between Space Marines and Orks and were both 2000pts.

In the first game, I had first turn, but hadn't really brought much long range firepower. Also, with the terrain the way it was, blocking lines of sight, little happened on turn one. On each of the three turns, the Ork Weirdboy sent a Boyz mob forward using Da' Jump to threaten my forces. Overall, Scoob's Orks easily took their left flank, while I put quite a lot of hurt onto the Orks on my left flank. Even then, I got pinned back into my left corner, despite trying to push out with a Vindicator that was getting protected and healed by a Master Of The Forge Techmarine. No doubt, that tank stayed alive far longer than it should, and absorbed a lot of damage that would have wrecked my forces otherwise.
We ended after 3 turns, agreeing to a draw.

Battle 1 Deployment

Battle 1 Deployment

Battle 1 End

Battle 1 End

In the most recent game we went a bit different and I chose the Search & Destroy deployment map. Remembering my faults from last time I took a lot more firepower, and took 4 characters all geared to either keeping me alive or buffing my shooting. As it was, the wrecked stompa prevented most shooting from Scoob's artillery to my vehicles and vice versa. For the first time this edition, I also had brought along some assassins, but the Vindicare, who I was most looking forward to using, did very little. In contrast, my 2 Eversors popped up and wrecked face, with one taking out a unit of Stormboyz, and one charging some Boyz and killing 14 of them.
I had a gret deal of luck with random amounts of shots in this game, especially the Whirlwind, while Scoob's Shokk Attack Gun and artillery didn't do as well as they normally do. But yet again, even though I was doing well with my shooting, I was still very much pegged back, and could not push out onto the map, despite attempts from Scouts, Tactical Squads, an Assault Squad and some Sternguard dropping in using a Drop Pod. So even though Scoob surrendered after his 4th turn, I was still very much languishing in my deployment zone, and I can't help but think all these games we've been playing would be much harder for me if we were using objectives.

Battle 2 Deployment

Battle 2 Deployment

Battle 2 End

Battle 2 End

<Old Stuff>

Finally got around to completing my transfer of all the old battle reports from the old site to this one, something I started a few months back. As there are so many of these battles, they are stored on their own pages, which can be found below:

Warhammer 40K Battle Report Archive Epic Space Marine Battle Report Archive

7th March 2020: Musical Misadventures

<Old Stuff>

I was fairly late getting into music, as I didn't pick up my first guitar until I was leaving college in the mid-late 90s. Since then, I've flip-flopped in and out of the subject every few years.

Initially, I started jamming and writing simple songs with my mate Craig, before joining a band called Cruiser with work colleague Chris. The only gigs I've ever played were with Cruiser in 2000 and 2001, unless you count 2 songs Craig and I performed during a Sixth Form Variety Show when I was working at a high school in December 2002, about a year after I left Cruiser.

Over the next couple of years, Craig and I tried recording some of our songs, along with a few jams with the former Cruiser lads, but after this I dropped out of making music for the next 6 or 7 years.

For a few years, starting in 2011, I got the bug again when Chris asked if I wanted to help him work on some of his songs. While we were jamming and recording Chris's stuff, in the background I revisited my own songs, and tried to record some of them to the best of my ability. However, the very long process of recording and mixing those songs, only to have them come out sounding nowhere near as good as I wanted them to, absolutely burnt me out. Soon after their completion, I threw all my music stuff in the loft, where it has remained for nearly 4 years.

When I started writing songs again in the early 2010s, most of my inspiration came from the computer game League Of Legends, which I was playing a lot of at the time. Here are the songs I completed that are based on the game's setting and characters:

Not All Angels
Not All Angels

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed October 2014. Updated May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Never wanted sibling rivalry. Never foresaw such a tragedy. They never paused to explain why, they just ripped her from the sky. Branded fallen for her life, and now it's her purpose to kill again and again at the rift. Shattered wings and immortality. Keeps her hands warm though it's sinfully. Tormented soil, she's breaking waves. She will bind their souls someday. Kinda likes how she behaves, 'Cause now it's her purpose to kill again and again at the rift. Her graceful time was stolen from. All she wanted was some fun. Now exposed, the scars of war. Her world enslaved, it seems so far. Fractured by tyrannic lies. If they'd just seen things through her eyes. Missed the chance for sense to see. She'll never welcome back her kin. When they stripped her chance to soar, they made her seek forbidden lore. Blackest thorns, death on command, in this land of Valoran. Never mind her skin so fair, as all her torment she will share. When it's time she'll spill their blood, because not all angels are good.

The Chosen Two: Diana Vs. Leona
The Chosen Two: Diana Vs. Leona

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
CHOSEN OF THE MOON: Let night steal away the sun. By the moon let fools be frozen. Now your end it has begun. Say goodbye to your kind's chosen. Traitors. Miscreants. Fakers. Ignorants. Heed the night. Embrace the dark. Or a crescent blade will still your heart. Power imbued beneath the silver light bathing the ground. Blind to the truth - denying lunar might will bring you down. You say revere the sun but we are lied to. You say it lights the way instead it blinds you. You can't face the scorn, can't save them all, can't stave your fall. It's time to shatter the dawn. CHOSEN OF THE SUN: Rise. Here comes the sun. Skin warmed by the golden rays that show with daybreak. Stand strong behind shield and blade, and glow, radiate. When first light comes show no fear when the heat of battle calls because here comes the sun, to save everyone. Here comes the sun. The night's on the run. Live life upon mountain high and show devotion. Inspire all to stand up and bestow protection. It's poetic - the chosen will clash and the heretic will know.

Crowd Control
Crowd Control

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Initiate. Make a dive for the middle. Pick a mark, get involved, give 'em trouble. Move out to the flank, prep 'em for a gank all the lanes. Bring the hurt floor the carry. Make them wish that they weren't adversaries. Time to hard engage. Time to make 'em rage. Gonna bring the pain. Gonna change the game. Team needs aggression. Objectives first. Foes need a lesson. Prepare the burst. So bring perfection. Set up the show with crowd control. Achieve the goal with crowd control. Rock and roll with crowd control. Retaliate. Make 'em pay for their trouble. They think they're gonna bring the pain? Give 'em double. Gonna stamp around. Gonna shut 'em down on the rift. Play it calm, turn to savage. Gotta counter swift prevent all their damage. Block 'em with a wall. And then stun them all. Gonna lock 'em up. Gonna land a hook. Team needs protecting. With crescendo. Skill interrupting. Weakness exposed. Offense deflecting. Now bring them low with crowd control. Now dominate. Serve them up on an arrow. Tidal wave leaves them all feeling sorrow. And with a nether grasp, put em on their assassinate, apprehend, slow with zephyr. Land a bind, terrify, taunt their effort. See hatred in their eyes. When you pulverize. Gonna score an ace. Gonna wreck their face. Team fight injection. It's time to shine. To bring conclusion. Support divine. Such an obsession. The world will know your crowd control.

Evelynn
Evelynn

A parody of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, written by Dave Grohl.
Evelynn lyrics written by Stebloke.
Performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link

Lyrics:
Shadows, she's sneaking up on through. Evelynn. Delight, she throws herself into. Her prey's up ahead. Rage will be fed. They're damned. Come now. Embrace the agony. Time to feed. Run now, but it won't help to flee. Hate spike through the leg. Soon they'll be dead. They're damned. It's all over. She loves when they scream on cue. There's no escape when she impales them for her pleasure. There's no escaping and her frenzy brings the end. And she won't stop until they're torn in two. They'll find no solace when she lets her fun begin. They're damned. Scream out. It wakes her beast within. Death begins. Ends now she draws their essence in. Ground painted red. Now they are dead. They're damned.

In addition to the songs I wrote about League Of Legends, I also updated and re-recorded two of the songs Craig and I originally wrote in the late 90s and early 2000s. Those two songs are here:

With A View Of A World
With A View Of A World

Written by Stebloke and Craig Williamson.
Performed by Stebloke.
Completed May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
ALIENS: Look at this world, this beautiful world. A miracle. A paradise. But under the sun their damage is done. If only they'd just open their eyes. So they can see their majesty, potentially. All over this world, cries can be heard, littering all of history. Is it too late to rid them of hate, as making a change could set them free? It's theirs to lose, so can we choose? Are they all fools? Will the last hope for this planet come from their own? Will their actions be organic? Will they atone? Will time and space bring their amends? Or will they face their bitter end? Is this the one? What can be done with a view of a world? HUMAN: The stars say so much. What's so wrong? Longing to feel I belong. I fear all hope's in vain. So tired of all this pain, because I can't find peace of mind. I need to leave this world behind. 'Cause I'm crying, trying, needing, bleeding, as I'm watching, waiting for a sign of redemption. I live my life, waiting for an intervention. What can be done with a view of a world?

Fantasy World
Fantasy World

Written and performed by Stebloke.
Completed July 2011. Updated May 2016.

Youtube link
Soundcloud link

Lyrics:
Don't pull me out from where I hide. I'm lost in thought where I confide. I'll dream away, this place I'll stay, until this world decides to pay. My head's full of what should be. A dreamscape home made just for me. Sun shines warm but rays don't burn. And you keep all of what you earn. Living, living, living in a fantasy world, where everyone is happy now. Living, living, living in a fantasy world. People lie chilled on their backs. No politicians feed their crap. Crime is down, dance music's dead. If only this was not my head. I stay at home and dream of you. A dream I know that can't come true. The people out give me a miss, 'cause where I go does not exist.

Chris's Songs

And for completion, here are the recordings of Chris's songs that I played bass on, all on Chris's Youtube channel:

Tangle With The Dead Everlasting Show Us Your Scars Go To Sleep Softly Softly Burn Up Go Go Fantastico

Back when I used to play guitar, most of the time I played along to professional songs, rather than work on my own stuff. Often, I had to work out how to play the songs I liked, as I found a lot of the tabs I found on the internet were completely crap and sounded nothing like the song they were supposed to be. Some of these tabs, I typed up for posterity, and I've decided to re-upload them here.

These tabs are all downloadable pdf files. Right click the tab(s) of your choice, and select the relevant download option.

When We Stand Together, by Nickelback. Tabbed April 2015.

Get Jinxed, from League Of Legends, by Riot Games. Tabbed April 2014. I play my Get Jinxed tab (Youtube).

Collecting Casualties, by Running The Risk. Tabbed March 2014.

Here Comes Vi, from League Of Legends, by Riot Games. Tabbed December 2013. I play my Here Comes Vi tab (Youtube).

Fly On The Wall, by Thunder. Tabbed August 2013.

Burn It To The Ground, by Nickelback. Tabbed October 2011.

Ring Of Fire, by Def Leppard. Tabbed January 2010.

Too Much To Dream, from California Dreams. Tabbed October 2008.

Low Life In High Places, by Thunder. Tabbed September 2007. Note this is the intro only.

Four Letter Word, by Def Leppard. Tabbed August 2007.

26th January 2020: You're Gonna Need A Bigger Shark

Over the last couple of weeks we've managed to play the new Jaws board game twice. Gotta say that, while it's got its flaws, everyone seems to quite like it. Inspired by its source material, though much more the film than the book, the game is split into two acts.

In the first act, the shark player uses hidden movement to swim around Amity Island and eat swimmers, while the human hunters search for the shark and try and stick it with barrels, as well as rescuing swimmers. Once the shark has eaten its fill, or once it has enough barrels attached to it, the game progresses to the second act.
The final confrontation plays out in the second act, as the shark tries to sink the Orca and kill the crew, while the crew attack back with their rifles, machetes and other equipment.

I'd read online before playing this that it is quite difficult for the shark to win, as the second act heavily favours the crew. While we've only played two games, this has certainly proven true so far, with the shark struggling to do enough damage to the boat before the crew bludgeon it to death with their hammers and baseball bats. I'm seriously thinking of tweaking the gameplay with some house rules, and maybe even making some custom resurface cards or ability cards that give the shark a bit more punch near the end.

The people of Amity attempt to survive the shark

The people of Amity attempt to survive the shark

A tense struggle on the water

A tense struggle on the water

The sequel begins

The sequel begins

The Orca takes some punishment

The Orca takes some punishment

Stupid Deaths is another board game we got to try recently. This is a short true or false game where players have to answer correctly in order to run away from the Grim Reaper who is stalking them around the board.

And also, I'm wondering how many more versions of Monopoly I will recieve as gifts? Seriously got to think of a way to combine them all into a faster and more entertaining mess of chaos and shenanigans.

Fearing the Reaper in Stupid Deaths

Fearing the Reaper in Stupid Deaths

Stebloke's many Monopolies

Stebloke's many Monopolies

21st January 2020: One L Of An Adventure

I'm still not sure how or why, but just recently my brain remembered very hazy details about a text adventure game I played with one of my class mates when we were at junior school, all the way back in the late 1980s. This was played on what was probably the school's only computer at that time, and was probably six or seven years before my family even had any kind of PC.

After some hunting around on the internet, I rediscovered the name of this game, which was L: A Mathemagical Adventure. As far as I can remember, I really enjoyed playing it and figuring out its puzzles, but looking back it was probably just because it got me out of lessons every now and then.
Thinking back, this was probably the first game I ever really got stuck into writing about, as I put together a file of maps and solutions as I went through the game. I'd probably still have that paperwork, or at least scans of it, if it hadn't been for one of my friends throwing it all away on one of the very rare days I was sick and off school, which just happened to be the day that the teacher had told everyone to tidy their desk drawers. I was absolutely gutted when I found out all my hard work had been in vain, and it could very well be one of the reasons why I've always been so protective and possessive about my shit as an adult.

To my initial delight I found that not only was this game available on an emulator, but that it was also playable online in a browser on the bbcmicro website. Seeing a chance to revisit my youth and recreate my maps I quickly grabbed some note paper, pressed play and got stuck in.

Like pretty much every game I revisit many years later, this one quickly proved itself to be a chore, being awkward, clunky and full of filler and puzzles that just aren't necessary to experience in order to finish the game. Also, the game is meant to help kids learn about mathematics, but as far as I can tell there is only one truly mathematics-based puzzle in the whole game. All the others are about patterns or observation that can mostly be brute-forced with trial and error. There are also some word-based puzzles, as well as a healthy sprinkling of moon logic that would seem right at home in your average 1990s point-and-click.

I started off pretty sure that I had completed the game back in the 80s, but as I was going through it, there were huge chunks of the game that did not seem familiar at all, so I started to think I was mistaken. Yet, I could fairly clearly remember tackling the "spider puzzle", and could still remember the principle of it. As it turns out, that puzzle is literally the last one in the game, so my initial assumption must have been correct.

However, there was no way I finished this game without some form of help. Even as an adult, this thing had me scratching my head. For most of the game I didn't actually search for any of the answers directly, but I did have to look for some clues as to what certain puzzles were about, as well as looking for aid concerning the strange quirks of the game.
However, the aforementioned spider puzzle defeated me. First, I started doodling attempts to solve it on some paper. Then I started to use photoshop so I didn't have to keep erasing. Then I spent the better part of a free Sunday writing some Javascript code. I limited the script to a few hundred loops of stepping forward and back through the path of the puzzle, thinking that would be plenty, and ran the script. But a bunch of attempts later and even that didn't get further than about three quarters of the way through.

By this time I gave up, deleted my script, and went looking for the answer. When I found it, I discovered there are 48 correct paths through the puzzle, which seemed like a lot until I also read there are more than 8 million incorrect paths! No wonder a few hundred loops through the script didn't get near to an answer. It now makes me wonder if my script would have eventually solved it if I had allowed it several thousand loops or more. But there's no way I'm writing all of that again to find out.

My original intention had been to create a really nice new set of maps and solutions to replace the ones I lost years ago. But by the end of it I just couldn't be bothered, especially as the end of the game was such a let down.

Behold the awesome graphics of the BBC Micro

Behold the awesome graphics of the BBC Micro

What is this? Modern day Hollywood?

What is this? Modern day Hollywood?

This was the puzzle I had the clearest recollections about

This was the puzzle I had the clearest recollections about

Well, they weren't lying

Well, they weren't lying

One of my many attempts to solve the spider puzzle

One of my many attempts to solve the spider puzzle

My map scribbles

My map scribbles

Managed a spare few minutes recently to have another little go on Sensible Soccer. In one of the games I smashed 12 goals passed the Annoying Gits team, but still couldn't keep a clean sheet as Robbie Williams had to go and poke one home.

The game is so cheesy and goofy, but it's one of the rare old games I seem happy to play on quite often.

Keeper literally jumps out of the way of the ball

Keeper literally jumps out of the way of the ball

Keeper dives when the ball is already in the net

Keeper dives when the ball is already in the net

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