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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in wyldcard's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
12:11 pm
Hydra Recap
Another weekend of LARPing, another weekend where I was left sad and angry and disappointed. There were either issues with the character, or issues with the game, or both. Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
12:47 pm
Fixed it...
Finally found the setting causing all the problems.
12:41 pm
Things that annoy me about LJ
Hey, first post in ages... again.

Why is my Friends page centre formatted? I find it irritating to read...
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
3:10 pm
Consumption of Media
As you probably know, I’m a big consumer when it comes to media, be it TV, books, or more recently podcasts. I’m something of an addict. I’m the guy who stays up to 2am after having watched “just one more” episode of a favourite TV show several times.

Here’s what I’ve been watching / reading / listening to, and what I’m planning.


Okay, so I was late to the podcast party. Mainly because it’s just listening, and I often struggle to work out what to do with my eyes while listening. However, the two Podcasts I regularly listen to are: The BS Report by Bill Simmons (focuses on US pop culture, particularly sports and TV, two of my favourite subjects); and Harmontown by Dan Harmon (former and current show runner of Community). My podcast listening waxes and wanes – Harmontown got old for me, just for too many “I f***ed your Mama” raps. The BS report is tough, because it’s hard to winnow out the podcasts you want to listen to (for me, those on basketball, NFL, and TV shows I watch) from those you don’t (those on baseball, hockey, and TV shows I don’t watch).


I’ve been trying to re-read the Wheel of Time from start to finish. Well, I haven’t read the finish, I got up to about The Tower of Midnight or something and lost interest. But now that it’s finished, I want to know what happened. So I’m reading it.

Of course, I found holes in my collection of books (I think I borrowed various volumes from people). So I’m stalled at book 11, Knife of Dreams (looking to go purchase a 2nd hand copy today).

So in the mean time, I’m on to the second book of The Dresden Files, Full Moon. I read the first book in the series a few months ago. For those not familiar with The Dresden Files, it’s basically noir detective meets Harry Potter (Harry Dresden, the protagonist, is a modern day wizard for hire).


So, I’m up to speed on Castle (or, I should say, up to speed with where TV in NZ is showing it, which is mid season 5). I’m happy to watch it at TV pace. I’m also watching Elementary and Arrow when they show. And Game of Thrones (season 2, episode 3) – having read the books, I’m not in a ‘I must know what happens next’ mindset. Just started to watch Breaking Bad again (from the beginning) as I look to push through to new material (I’ve only watched up to end of season 2).

In terms of the future, I’m feeling like I should go back and watch The Sopranos. I mean, I caught odd episodes while it was on – I know who Tony, Big Pussy, Uncle Junior, Christopher, etc are. But I feel like I should watch it from start to finish. Everyone always gushes about it. Also, I’ve heard good things about The Shield.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
10:38 am
Eclipse: 9 player game recap
I thought I’d share a game recap of the 9 player game of Eclipse we played.

The Set upCollapse )

1st Turn, All your actions are belong to usCollapse )

2nd Turn, Big badda boomCollapse )

3rd Turn, Big trouble in little star systemCollapse )

4th Turn, Get that ship moving!Collapse )

5th Turn, Continued conquestCollapse )

6th Turn, StagnationCollapse )

7th turn, Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!Collapse )

8th Turn, Game Over ManCollapse )

In hindsight I should possibly have allied with the Humans, and gone to take on the Space Pirates, leaving a Dreadnaught to hold that border. But really, the Eridani need a bit of luck to do well in the game. Losing the interceptor in the turn 2 meant not only the loss of the ship, but loss of the income from those 2 worlds for a turn, which would have really helped. I also suffered from not being able to pick up the tech I wanted early on – I think I could have afforded Advanced Robotics in Turn 3, but couldn’t get it until turn 5, and could afford Quantum Grid in turn 5 but couldn’t get it until turn 7. Also, despite the Eridani having less actions than everyone else I only ended up as the first player on one or two occasions – a couple of times a guy on the other side of the table getting screwed over (he was wiped out in about turn 5 or 6) passed early, meaning the tech I wanted was gone by the time I got a chance to research.

The 9 player game seemed particularly brutal. This is the first game I’ve ever seen a player completely eliminated prior to the end of the game (and in this case, 2 players). I think 6 of the 9 players held the Traitor card (one of them twice).
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
4:16 pm
Eclipse: Eridani Empire
The Eridani have to be one of the toughest races to play in Eclipse. They’re meant to represent a civilisation in decline or stagnation, probably something like the Centauri in Babylon 5.

They have a few benefits: they start with a huge resource of cash, as well as 2 battle victory tokens, plus several technologies already researched (Plasma Cannons, Gauss Shields, Fusion Drives). Their ships are generally of standard design, although their Dreadnaught does have +1 power source.

The downside, though, is huge. They start with 2 less influence discs than the other races. That means that while the other races might normally have 3-4 actions a turn, once your cash runs out you’re down to 1-2.

Read more...Collapse )

All in all I think the downside of the Eridani is just too much to overcome. I found myself spending a lot of energy trying turn around my economy, which ended up meaning my military was underpowered.
11:36 am
Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients expansion
We played a 9 player game of Eclipse on Sunday, using the expansion. I’ll attempt to provide my insight into the new developments.

Read more...Collapse )

So all in all – a lot to absorb. As you no doubt gathered from my summary above, I certainly didn’t manage to absorb it all (I had to use the internet while writing this to work out some of the things). My first reaction is that I don’t really like it. Part of the elegance of Eclipse was its simplicity, and the expansion has done away with that.
10:49 am
Eclipse: The Hydran Progress
So far I’ve played a few games as the Hydran Progress. I identified them early on as a potential favourite. Their big bonus is that they get to take two technologies for every research action they do. Given there are 24 different technologies and only 9 turns of the game, having that ability to get two at once seems to make sense for me. I can fill up my technology tracks with only 11 actions, while other races will need 21 actions! Win the Science! Have the most scientifically advanced (and therefore best) fleet on the board!

Read more...Collapse )

So, the lessons I guess I learned in terms of playing the Hydran are:
1) Try to get lots of Science production early.
2) You don’t need to research too much early on, you are probably better exploring to get more resources, knowing that you can “catch up” on technology later more easily with your racial ability. Money will let you explore faster, and minerals can be converted to money or science once you unlock the Orbital technology, so explore!

The lessons I learned overall are:
1) Science is a tool, not a legitimate path to victory. You are better off saving your Science and buying a few key technologies, and maybe trying to complete 1 tree rather than all 3.
2) Battle Early, battle often. Fights will get you victory points, plus the system you claim will get you victory points, plus (if it’s ancient ships) the discovery tile will earn you victory points. Move, battle, claim the system and you could get 5-6 victory points in a turn. As all the battle VP are drawn from the same pool (and excess discarded), you have the best chance of getting a high number early (as other people will not discard the high numbers).
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
8:03 am
Eclipse Board Game
So, since probably pre-Christmas a lot of my close friends have been playing the Eclipse board game. No, not the one with sparkling Vampires. This one: http://www.dmfiat.com/reviews/board-game-reviews/game-review-eclipse

In Eclipse you take on the role of one race in the galaxy as you attempt to achieve galactic superiority.

Do you want to know MORE?Collapse )

More in future entries.

It’s a lot of fun!
Friday, August 31st, 2012
3:31 pm
I feel like...

...I'm losing touch with reality...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Monday, February 20th, 2012
4:33 pm
Because it's playing on my iPhone
The skies were pure and the fields were green
The sun was brighter than it's ever been
When I grew up with my best friend Kenny
We were close as any brothers than you ever knew

It was always summer and the future called
We were ready for adventures and we wanted them all
There was so much left to dream
And so much time to make it real

But I can still recall the sting of all the tears when he was gone
They said he crashed and burned
I know I'll never learn why any boy should die so young
We were racing, we were soldiers of fortune
We got in trouble but we sure got around
There are times I think I see him peeling out of the dark
I think he's right behind me now and he's gaining ground

But it was long ago and it was far away, oh God it seems so very far
And if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...they are...

And when the sun descended and the night arose
I heard my father cursing everyone he knows
He was dangerous and drunk and defeated
And corroded by failure and envy and hate

There were endless winters and the dreams would freeze
Nowhere to hide and no leaves on the trees
And my father's eyes were blank as he hit me again and again and again
I know I still believe he'd never let me leave, I had to run away alone
So many threats and fears, so many wasted years before my life became my own
And though the nightmares should be over
Some of the terrors are still intact
I'll hear that ugly coarse and violent voice
And then he grabs me from behind and then he pulls me back

But it was long ago and it was far away, oh God it seems so very far
And if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...

There was a beauty living on the edge of town
She always put the top up and the hammer down
And she taught me everything I'll ever know
About the mystery and the muscle of love

The stars would glimmer and the moon would glow
I'm in the back seat with my Julie like a Romeo
And the signs along the highway all said, "Caution! Kids At Play!"
Those were the rights of spring and we did everything
There was salvation every night
We got our dreams reborn and our upholstery torn
But everything we tried was right
She used her body just like a bandage, she used my body just like a wound
I'll probably never know where she disappeared
But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
Just like an angel rising up from a tomb

But it was long ago and it was far away, oh God it seems so very far
And if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
Monday, February 13th, 2012
11:08 am
More Skyrim thoughts
Okay, so I've been playing a lot. My character is currently 42nd level.

Biggest frustration with the game so far is loading time. Often when you transition between locations (i.e. open the main gate to leave a city) there is a transition screen, which normally has a picture from the game (like an Axe or something) and some game information ("Skyrim was initially colonised by blah"; "Holding down the power button will make your shouts more powerful"). My computer is a few years old, and so it might be that my hardware isn't up to scratch, but you can sometimes end up sitting there for 40 seconds while the new environment loads. I've taken to using this time to go and get snacks / boil the jug / hang out washing etc.

It just becomes particularly frustrating when there are two of these transitions side by side. For example, when I leave my house in Markath (Vintrel Hall), there is a transition (into Markath). Then if I want to fast travel to somewhere there's another transition. So two transitions within a few seconds of each other, meaning I can be waiting for a couple of minutes.

Fast Travel is useful though. The idea is that if you'e already discovered a location, you can simply open up your map and click on that location to travel there. Time passes in game, but it saves you to boredom of having to actually spend 20 minutes travelling normally. I find I spend a lot of time fast travelling between the main cities (all of which you can initially discover by catching a coach).

The other think that I've found is that there are just so many quests! It's at the point where I am actively avoiding getting given any more quests, as my journal is so full. Some Orc stronghold wanted me to bring them a couple of ingredients to help break their curse. Okay, no problem, I'll keep my eye open for them. But then they want me to help them go to a cave and beat up some monsters... bugger off, I've got better things to do with my time than solve all your problems.

Skills cap out at 100. I got my Blacksmithing up to that by basically making all the armour in the world. I'd go out of my way to kill animals, take their hides, tan them, and make them into armour, which I'd then sell. Blacksmithing skill increases and I get money. Win!

I also found that it starts to take way longer to level up, mainly because the skills you use the most get really high, and then you need to do so much more to increase them. With Blacksmithing already capped out, my other main skills (One Handed Weapons 89, Heavy Armour 87, Block 71) require me to hit or be hit maybe 100 times to go up. Given I normally kill opponents in two hits, it's about 25 fights to increase one of these. The temptation is to dilute my characters focus and start working to increase my lower skills. Already I've fought some easier fights using a two handed weapon (skill currently at 25) just to get some quick increases to get me closer to leveling up.

But, despite all this, I'm still loving it. I'm sure I'll get back to the main quest eventually, once I've learned a few more Dragon Shouts...
Thursday, February 9th, 2012
10:24 am
Superbowl XLVI
So, the football season is over for another year, with the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots in the Superbowl.

I was supporting the Patriots, partly because my friend Brad is a fan of them, and partly because I don’t like the Giants.

My dislike of the Giants goes all the way back to the early 90’s. Back then Brad re-introduced me to football. He was a fan of the Washington Redskins at the time, so it was natural I gravitated towards his team. I remember borrowing Mike Ditka’s Ultimate Football, a computer game, and playing it a lot. I remember that Brad had adjusted the stats / names of the Washington players to accurately reflect their roster (Art Monk was slow, but a good receiver... that’s about all I remember).

So naturally I opposed the other teams in the Redskins division – the hated “America’s team” Dallas Cowboys (with their “triplets” of Troy Aikman, Emmett Smith and Michael Irvin), and similarly the Giants and Eagles. I think back then there were actually 5 teams in the division (the Phoenix / Arizona Cardinals), but they were awful so I didn’t hate them quite as much.

But now my hatred is dimming. I mean, I am a huge fan of one of the Giants players (JPP!).

So I left the Superbowl with a bit of a ho-hum feeling. When you have a team and they’re not there it’s just not the same.
Monday, January 16th, 2012
12:18 pm
So close, no matter how far...
And so another season ends with a loss.

The Saints dug themselves a huge hole by turning the ball over 4 times in the 1st quarter (and 5 overall). They somehow managed to claw their way back into the game (thanks to SF not taking advantage of the TO's). Down by 5 (29-24) with a couple of minutes to go in the 4th quarter, they scored a touchdown (Jimmy Graham!) and a two point conversion to take a 32-29 lead with 1:40 remaining. But then the 49ers drive down the field, and score a TD with 9 seconds remaining. Game over, Saints lose 36-32.

Now our defensive co-ordinator Greg Williams is leaving. To be expected, he almost left last season, but didn't due to the sour taste in his mouth from the Seattle loss. And I think the team has tuned him out a bit. I mean, in 2009 our defence scared people because we forced turnovers. Heck, one of the most memoriable plays of that Superbowl was the Tracey Porter interception. Lately it seems our D focuses on stopping abig play rather than making one.

Still, we finished in the top 8, meaning one of the top 25% of the league. And our future looks bright with Sproles and Graham. I just feel like our D needs to step up.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
10:54 am
More Skyrim
Okay, so I’ve been playing for a while now. My character is 16th level.

I went for a "tank" build – focus on having lots of health, heavy armour, and "board and sword" – shield and one handed weapon. I chose Redguard for his race, based almost entirely on how they look. In hindsight, I should probably have gone with Nord – they’re similarly physically focused, but the Nords have a Speech bonus which could have been very useful. For those who haven’t played, Redguard are kind of brown skinned dark haired, while Nords are Viking-esque.

More on gameplay: I struggled for a while to get use to the Left mouse button being my right hand (weapon), and the right mouse button being my left hand (shield). I can understand the logic (left mouse is the more frequently used click for right handed people, and all characters in Skyrim and right handed, so dominant hand = dominant command), but my brain took a while to click. Still, it wasn’t a bad thing that I kept blocking when I meant to swing...

The detail in the game world continues to astound me. Not only do they have food, but it’s nothing like simple "rations – stuff you find is carrots, potatoes, cabbages, leeks, etc. You can go out and hunt deer, rabbit, or kill domestic chickens and cows (although watch out if they belong to someone else, you’ll end up in trouble with the law) for their meat. Then you find a cooking pot, mingle your ingredients to get new food. As I mentioned to people on the weekend, I care far more about cooking in Skyrim than I do in real life. Food doubles as a source of healing (with traditional healing potions). Give me some Vegetable soup any day (restores 720 health over 720 seconds).

Of course, with all that detail you become much more picky. No longer are loot drops a case of "grab everything", now you have to be selective. Yes, I’ll take his armour, but I won’t bother with his 2gp shoes or his 1gp hat. I’ve taken to applying a 10:1 ration in terms of value to weight. So, I’ll take someone’s Hide Bracers (10gp, 1lb), but leave their Iron Axe (15gp, 14lbs). Otherwise you just get weighed down too quickly – each enemy would have at least 50lbs of gear, and you can only carry ~300lbs (including your own stuff). Travel back to the cities would just take forever.

Finally, the skill system is pretty interesting. You only increase your skills when you use them, and your skill increases drive your level increases. I’m not sure how many you need, but for example at 1st level you might need to increase 3 skills by 1, while at later levels you might need to increase 16. You can increase a skill multiple times per level. And when you level you get perks (similar to feats / powers) as well as a choice of health, magika or stamina increase. You can pay for training as well to help you level.

So I’m in a situation where my 1 handed weapon skill is pretty high (51), far outstripping most of my other skills (mid 30’s for other combat skills, mid 20’s for other non-magic skills, teens for magic skills), purely because I practise the old mantra that the best defence is a good offence.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
12:31 pm
Skyrim (beginning)
So, I picked up Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim today (for the PC). And I figure I'll share my thoughts as I play through it.

I've played about an hour at this point. My first thoughts are it's very pretty.

However, I find the controls are a little jerky - I find it difficult to turn left and right using the mouse but move forward using the keyboard (having come from Dragon Age, where you turn and move with the keyboard).

Also I'm not convinced I've actually hit anything in combat yet.

Plenty of loot early on though - I seem to be loaded to the gills.
Friday, November 11th, 2011
2:48 pm
Remembering Aliens LARPs (part 3)
The series concluded with Aliens: Apocalypse in 1999. The game occurred at Trentham Racecourse, with interior and exterior usage. Finally set on Earth, the game reflected the world after Aliens had been introduced and the apocalypse that caused. The players took on the role of survivors, heeding a call to come to Sanctuary to try and create a new society.

On the Friday night we had people arriving at the complex in character. We had set up a defendable perimeter, and had some army guys standing there checking people as they came in. I had set up a scanner device (a cardboard tube with a torch inside and a slit cut down it so it glowed, attached to a laptop) where we were checking people as they arrived to ensure they weren’t “infected”.

We had set up an awesome set piece where Vic Johns had a chest-burster start to erupt. I hit a button on the laptop, and the scan result changed from a “clean” result to an ‘infected” one. Vic was ushered aside, getting several odd looks from people and whispered concerns. Then she started to convulse, and her white top was suddenly stained with blood. The army guys (who, aside from me, where unaware this was meant to be happening) raced to “put her down” – in the process one of the wooden palettes that we were using as part of the barricade fell in Vic (and we were very lucky she wasn’t badly injured!). I remember Leon being a smartgunner, and standing somewhere with a good line of fire that would allow him to mow down the entire crowd if necessary.

There were patrols that people had to help out with, generally involving one army guy and a bunch of volunteers. I recall that we had a bunch of Aliens masks, and at some point aliens started to grab people on patrol. Then they started to get closer to the compound.

The rules were that if an Alien grabbed you, you were dead. Which, to be fair, was fairly in line with the movies. I remember someone opening a door at one stage, sticking their head out to check for aliens, and an Alien behind the door grabbing them and dragging them out. Some really great scary moments!

The finale of the game involved a new type of alien, a huge tentacled blob that commanded the Aliens and was trying to negotiate a truce of sorts with the humans. I recall that it was effectively a huge puppet of some sort, with a person each working the arms.

The old website is still up, but the attached files don’t seem to work:
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
12:13 pm
Remembering Aliens LARPs (part 2)
Aliens: Fury (1997) was the second in the trilogy, and the first to incorporate elements of LARP.

It was played at the Tory Street flat above the Tile Warehouse, which Matt White lived in at the time. It had a huge long warehouse-esque living room, which we somehow partitioned off with black fabric into areas.

The setting was a space station again maybe? Or a moon base or something. I recall there were scientists and prisoners – I think it was some type of scientific research place that was experimenting on humans, particularly with regards to breeding Aliens. Anyone who saw the movie Aliens: Resurrection, let’s just say mr_orgue thought of it first.

I was GM’ing the station support guys – from memory a bunch of security guards, a corporate boss, and a janitor (played by Leon I think, based liberally on Willy the Janitor from the Simpsons). I think there were two groups of scientists, the prisoners, and a secret group of eco-terrorists. I remember the eco-terroists gathered at a different location on the Friday night and roleplayed their ship approaching the station. I recall taking great pleasure in terrorising James Goldsmith.

As mentioned in the comments to my previous post, there were only a few surviros who (I think) fled on the Eco-terrorists spaceship. Potentially with an alien on board?
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
3:03 pm
Remembering Aliens LARPs
Thinking about a Warhammer 40k LARP got me thinking about the other Sci-Fi LARP’s I had been involved with in the past.

During the 90’s mr_orgue (and co) ran a trilogy of very successful Aliens weekends.

The first was called Aliens: Gametime. It was played out at Campbell’s flat in Mirimar and might have had 30 players? I recall it was more tabletop than LARP. Set on a space station orbiting above a distant planet, I remember that the station mined water from the planet below by cutting huge chunks of ice from the polar caps and catapulting them into space. I remember svendlemaus coming up with that concept, as it was something he had read somewhere. I remember jarrattgray played a racecar driver of some sort. I remember I played a black synthetic called Washington, who was eventually reprogrammed to overcome his inability to kill. I have a vague recollection that the game ended with the last 3 living survivors trying to kill each other on an escaping ship.

(To be continued)
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
1:16 pm
Better late than never...
The poster I put together for "Junk" is now up at www.makemymovie.co.nz.
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