Thursday thoughts

Hey everybody!
It’s Thursday, and I’m going to share some thoughts with you all, so spent ages thinking of a cunning title for such a blog before coming up with this one. I’m sure you all love it.

This week I was going to go to Durham. Well, I did, but things didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped. I mean, I went up there, all was well, aside from the fact that I forgot to bring my camera. I managed to get some pictures with my phone, but sadly not many. The room I had in the hotel had a pretty bad smell to it, and within about an hour I had a terrible headache. I mean, really, really bad. I tried to ignore it, I sprayed some deodorant, but it didn’t work, and after about three hours I felt like I was going to be sick. So I came home. Wednesday was, therefore, a crazy day…

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St Paul’s Monastery, Jarrow; and Marsden Bay, South Shields

Anyway! I’ve been to Durham lots of times before, so I’ll share some pictures with you soon.

On Monday, my friend Tony came round for the first time since he moved house earlier in the summer, and brought a new game he’d got called Naruto Shippuden. It’s a deck-building game that uses the Cerberus engine, the same as Street Fighter and DC, but with some new mechanics and twists. Based on the successful anime of the same name, it was really very enjoyable. It’s nice to see how the engine has evolved, from DC through Street Fighter to Naruto. I actually considered getting myself a copy, but decided against it. I am, however, considering investigating the show upon which it is based.

On Tuesday I had the Skull & Shackles game delivered, the next box set in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game series. However, it came without a rulebook, so that isn’t exactly ideal – fortunately, Paizo are an awesome company and will be sending me a replacement book in the next shipment of my subscription! Fabulous.

The game looks interesting enough, anyway – there are ships added to this one, almost like a new type of location it seems. Some of the characters seem familiar, not sure what’s up with that, but anyway, it’s not a bad game, so when I get the book delivered I might take it out for a spin, despite only being partway through the first adventure deck of the Rise of the Runelords box!

I’ve had a fairly quiet day today, anyway, partially to help recover from this headache and all the driving yesterday. After sleeping late, I spent pretty much the whole afternoon building Necron warriors – well, I’d say about four hours, all told. They look pretty damn good, so I’m looking forward to painting them tomorrow!

Necrons

This has got me thinking, though, about things like the recently-developed obsession with Warhammer, and just why I like it so much, why I spent my entire bonus money in July/August getting into the hobby and so on.

I find the whole process of building and painting these miniatures quite relaxing, almost therapeutic really. It’s always gratifying to see something take shape, from odd bits of plastic to a recognisable thing. I’m still very new to all of this, of course – it’s nearly seven weeks since I walked into Games Workshop and built that Beast of Nurgle – but whether I’m good at it or not, I’m enjoying myself all the same. That’s the most important thing here. I’m enjoying the process, and I’m enjoying learning new stuff and building up some level of skill. With these Necrons in particular, it’s going to be interesting to see how this second batch turns out, nearly a month after I painted the first group of guys.

Necron Lychguard

 

Moving away from Necrons now, I’ve also been developing an interest in Tyranids, those delightful space bugs that simultaneously fascinate and repulse me. I picked up Space Hulk, of course, and have since been looking at the parent bugs for inspiration for how to paint them. I’m not a big Alien fan, just thought I’d get that out there to start with. However, it does seem to be quite strongly modelled on the xenomorph thing.

Some almost-repulsive stuff is available from these chaps, I have to say.

I don’t know if they’ll be enough to take me away from my beloved Necrons, of course… but you never know!

Have an excellent rest-of-Thursday!

Dark Forces

Hey everybody!
So I’ve been reading something new lately – new, that is, for me – the Dark Forces saga. Released back in the late 90s, the trilogy was written by William C Dietz and featured full-page illustrations along with the text. The novellas are a bit of a departure from Dark Horse in this way.

Dark Forces

A tie-in to the 1995 FPS video game of the same name, the most important thing about this series is the introduction of Kyle Katarn, who has become something of a legend in the expanded universe.

Dark Forces

There is a whole slew of new characters introduced in this series, including the rebel Jan Ors, and the Dark Jedi Sariss, Yun, and of course, Jerec.

Dark Forces

The story follows Kyle as he moves from training in the Imperial Academy to joining the rebellion when the Empire kills his father. The rebels don’t entirely trust him, however, and assign Jan Ors to ensure he does the job he is assigned – steal the plans to the Death Star. Weird, right? Why would they send him on such an important mission if they didn’t trust him? I don’t know, but anyway.

The next book, Rebel Agent, sees him on another mission, to discover the Valley of the Jedi, the purported location of great power. Again, the rebel hierarchy doesn’t trust him, though Luke appears to have some degree of belief in him, but anyway. Lots more dashing about and whatnot, and Kyle and Jan begin their awkward romance. Whatever.

The finale, Jedi Knight, continues directly from the last, with Kyle and Jan racing Jerec to the Valley. After some shenanigans with the locals, Kyle and Jerec face off in the Valley.

An iconic series in the lore, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by this series. Dietz has some annoying habits in his prose, the most annoying being the fact he changes POV characters very quickly, which can be really very disorientating. Something else that was hard to cope with was his use of “the agent/the rebel” instead of character names, which is too confusing when he’s referring to both Kyle and Jan with “the agent” in the same sequence. It was just annoying.

The story itself was actually quite disappointing. I mean, it was quite fun to see some classic Star Wars once more. There was definitely that sense of the original series of Star Wars here, and I must say, it was really nice to finally read all about the Kyle Katarn origin story. And Kyle is a pretty good character, really. Okay, so he’s a bit like Corran Horn in that there’s the whole “he’s just a regular guy no wait he’s a Jedi” thing going on, but it’s not as obnoxious as that. The awkward romance with Jan was a bit, well, awkward, but it’s nothing too major so it’s not much to moan about.

Jerec was a bit underwhelming, I thought. He seemed to be all mouth and very little substance. I wasn’t particularly impressed, I have to say, but I suppose he wasn’t all that bad as an opposing force. But still, not exactly a three-dimensional villain.

Dark Forces

To read the Dark Forces storyline, after all these years, was a bit of a disappointment if I’m honest. I suppose this is because of the iconic stature it has taken on within the EU. I get the impression that I would perhaps have enjoyed it a lot more if I’d have played the video game back in the 90s, but I didn’t. So, yeah…

Currently, the Dark Forces novellas are really hard to find, and some places have them priced ridiculously highly. Hopefully, Marvel will reprint them in due course.

Anyway, such are my thoughts on this…