Lots of Games!

Hey everybody!
I realise that my Saturday blogs have become such an institution now that you’d all be just completely lost without them, so I hope you enjoy this little missive! Some very exciting news needs to be shared, of course, but with being back in work this week, it hasn’t exactly been the most exciting of weeks, I’m afraid to say!

I want to start with this recipe, though, as it was so delightfully simple, it’s almost inspired! Just pasta with tomato passata and a teaspoonful of pesto, served with a drizzle of garlic oil. Wonderful!

I do enjoy pasta, as it’s so wonderfully versatile. Always on the lookout for more recipes, so I’m sure as the summer marches on there will be more and more coming at you!

I’ve been really enjoying The Diamond Throne, the first book in David Eddings’ Elenium trilogy, this week. A fantasy tale that I would call more low fantasy than anything, it’s actually really awesome and I can highly recommend it to anyone who might happen to be reading my blog! It’s written in quite a direct style, with a whole host of compelling characters and situations, and reminds me very strongly of the fantasy stories I read as a lad. If I were to make any criticism, it would be that it unfortunately jumps around a bit – for instance, chapter 8 ends with the characters poised to rush headlong into battle, and chapter 9 begins immediately once the battle is over. Now, I’m not that big a fan of battle scenes and often find them discombobulating, but I felt almost cheated by having no fight whatsoever! But that’s the best criticism I can level at it so far (I’m just over halfway through, so far). It’s generally an awesome read!

Also this week, I reached my 1000th tweet. That was pretty exciting for me!

1000 tweets!

On Friday I felt as if I was under some sort of avalanche of games, as a multitude of pre-orders finally came my way!

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Yes, very exciting times!

I mentioned Pathfinder recently, of course, but I’ve been feeling more and more in the mood for the RPG. Fantastical times are afoot, hopefully! So in addition to the Beginner Box and The Worldwound Campaign Setting, I had the Free RPG Day supplement Risen from the Sands, which looks like a really intriguing little bit of stuff! Free RPG Day happens in June every year, and Pathfinder has long been a supporter. Last year I got a free adventure for the FFG Star Wars RPG, Shadows of a Black Sun. That was really nice, and hopefully some day I can play that one, too!

The Pathfinder RPG is just glorious, though. Proper fantasy stuff, perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek at times, it’s really very me, I must say! I initially bought some stuff for it last year, including the very meaty Core Rulebook, but have recently begun to rediscover it in part because of my desire to do something about the fantasy stories I want to write (I’ll give you a clue as to what it’s about: Tuesday was International Fairy Day). However, in getting the books out for inspiration, I have in turn been inspired to play a game again! ARGH! It’s been about five years since I last played a RPG, and I really have the itch now!

Ahem.

For the uninitiated, Role Playing Games are actually really awesome. You need a good Games Master who is more concerned with storytelling and ensuring everyone has a good time than with the rules being correct, and you need a group of people who are somewhat invested in the story and their characters than they are in just goofing around, but all the same, when you get the right mix of folks around the table, it can be really magic. Prepare for a couple of hours of being lost in your imaginations! Ah!

Doing a quick count, I have three RPG systems right now. Well, three RPG worlds – Pathfinder, Warhammer Fantasy, and Star Wars. I actually have every RPG incarnation of Star Wars, so that’s like, six distinctive systems (WEG, WEG 2nd ed, WotC, WotC 2nd ed, WotC Saga ed, and FFG). But still, I have nobody to play with! Eurgh. It’s enough to actually volunteer to start GMing again, but I feel like I’d much rather just have my own character and play in someone else’s story for once!!

I finally got the courage to visit my local games store this week, 4th Planet Games in Wrexham. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to go in there because I feel like I’m “not geek enough” or something, but he put an ad up on facebook saying he had the latest X-Wing stuff in, and my preorder went a bit awry so I was missing out on one ship. In the event, I spent 45 minutes in there on Friday having a really good chat with the guy about gaming in general – he tried to convince me to buy Star Trek Attack Wing¬†as it’s a very similar but apparently better game than X-Wing. Well, I’ve only very recently begun to discover Star Trek (discover anew, I should say, as I did, years ago, watch TNG when it was first on, as a child), so remain unconvinced for now. Plus I’m extremely hesitant to buy into a game that I might not actually be able to play with anyone! But the tournament structure is so much better than anything I’ve seen before, though the fact that it’s published by WizKids, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast (Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons), who are themselves a subsidiary of Hasbro, it’s easy to see how they could afford that.

Anyway, I’m tangenting.

The other big news this week, as I briefly mentioned, is wave four of X-Wing has been released. FFG, you might remember, has already announced wave five, so while I had originally been under the impression four was due in September, it all seems to have been somewhat rushed!

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#XWing wave 4

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The ships do look really nice. The E-Wing was a nice addition, but the TIE Defender is perhaps my absolute favourite, just because it’s such a ridiculously fun design! I mean, look at it! The bold transition to waves of EU ships has me wondering just what on earth will come next in this game. Maybe we’ll finally see the Black Fleet Crisis’ K-Wing? Hm.

The only other game news that has got me excited this week is that finally the latest expansion for Lord of the Rings LCG, The Dunland Trap, has been released. Though it’ll be sometime next week when it arrives this side of the pond, apparently.

That leads me on to something that has me almost swooning with delight, I’ve been asked to be a playtester for the next cycle! Don’t expect any spoilers, of course, but I’m really excited about this opportunity!

Exciting times (for a Tuesday)

Exciting times, indeed!

While I’m still woefully behind on the essay (though I’ve managed to churn out 65 words of introduction, so that’s nearly 4% of the work done already!), I’m here again because I have some exciting times that I want to share!

First of all, I took delivery of the nightmare decks for Lord of the Rings LCG, part two of the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. This is a card game that I will talk about at length soon, because it’s probably my favourite card game in the whole world. Yes, that’s right folks! So unless you know the game already, this whole paragraph probably won’t mean very much to you, but I want to share it anyways. The decks arrived yesterday, though I was entertaining so couldn’t really check them out until today, and my goodness, they’re looking good!

Let the nightmares begin!
Let the nightmares begin!

I probably want to try out Hills of Emyn Muil first, because that’s my favourite quest of all time (spoiler alert!), but from looking at the previews already released on FFG’s website, Dead Marshes looks absolutely wonderful! There are some pretty vicious cards in these decks, so I’m going to look forward to trying these out soon!

I bought a back issue of Star Wars Insider magazine last week – remember me talking about the short story Heist, by Tim Zahn? Well I checked through my stack of magazines and was horrified to discover I didn’t have it! So off I trundled to the Titan Magazines website, ordered it, and they’ve sent me the wrong issue! Dammit. I was hoping to be able to read more Zahn goodness, but clearly not.

I haven’t made it to any more Star Wars novels since finishing Choices of One at the weekend, but I’m hoping to get a couple of short stories read this week, so I’ll talk about them further down the line. Yeah, you can go ahead and get excited about that!

Back to exciting times, though! I have decided that it’s high time I made good on a sort-of promise I made to myself a good many years ago now, and try my hand once again at creative writing. And where better to showcase it than here, on my very own blog! So that’s something else for you to get excited about!

Basically, when I was in college I decided I wanted to try writing some Star Wars stories, because while I enjoyed all the stuff I could lay my hands on, I felt like there weren’t enough of the kinds of stories that I wanted to read out there and available. So I gave it a go, never getting very far, and real life always got in the way of course. But I’ve always enjoyed writing (that’s one of the reasons I started this blog), so whether it’s good stuff or bad stuff, I’m going to do it anyway, and then share it with you guys!

And procrastination over the essay is absolutely not the reason I’m going to be doing this!

So I’ll give you a sneak preview. I’m currently writing a short story based in the Star Wars universe, set around 3 years before the events of A New Hope. I’ve pretty much got it planned out now (in fact, I’ve planned a small series’ worth!), but have yet to actually start typing. With luck, I’ll do that at the weekend. But once it’s done, I’ll post it up for your enjoyment! As I’ve said, I’ve got vague ideas for about half a dozen stories in a kinda series, so I hope to pursue this over the summer, and for better or worse, we’ll see where it goes!

That’s all for now, anyway! Stay tuned for more geekiness to come, soon!