Pasta – and more!

Hey everybody!
I bet you’re all thrilled to learn that I bought new saucepans last week – and they work! My old ones had begun to rust, alarmingly – so much for non-stick, hey! Well, anyhow. I’ve made two very exciting pasta dishes over the past couple of days, so thought I’d entertain you all with some thoughts right now.

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Chicken and pesto pasta #100happydays

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This is similar to something I made a whiles back…back when it was still summer, as I remember. Here, I’ve just done some pasta with passata and pesto, topped with strips of chicken that I’ve shallow fried on a griddle pan to give that barbecue-stripe look. It was actually really good! (I used farfallette, the soup pasta, just in case you were thinking I have enormous strips of chicken here!)

The second dish is this little beauty:

I’ve made this one before, I’m sure you’ll remember. Not as complex as the last incarnation, I just did some pasta, and simmered four falafel balls in some tomato passata with some cayenne pepper and a lot of garlic. Magnificent!

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I had a small delivery of new games today, which I had decided to treat myself to last week. So we have expansions for Smash Up, Red Dragon Inn and Android: Netrunner, along with the four Star Wars dice bags. Quite a good haul! The two new characters for Red Dragon Inn fit nicely with the established game, so I imagine they’ll go well. The Monster Smash expansion for Smash Up looks pretty hilarious, which is also to be expected, so I’m hoping to get to try this one out soon, too. We have classic vampires, classic Frankenstein’s Monster stuff, classic werewolves, and classic giant insects. B-movie awesome!

Things have been a bit meh of late, which is largely the reason for the splurge here. Work has suddenly become insane, and while I have yet to do any real work, re-starting the degree is once more eating up time. Which I suppose also goes to explain why blogs have been sparing of late. I’m still intending to do at least one game blog per week, as well as one of these inane rambling things, so don’t worry!

I also received the rulebook for Skull & Shackles, so I’m now prepared for a second foray into Golarion! While I haven’t played Rise of the Runelords for what seems like months (early July, so yeah…), I do seem to like this game, and I’m looking forward to seeing how S&S differs, how it’s similar, and whatnot.

I’ve started to read this little beauty lately, too:

The Star Wars

It’s the adaptation of the original draft screenplay by George Lucas (or one of them, anyway), back when Luke Skywalker was a grizzled old war veteran – and, weirdly, looks a lot like Uncle George does now. I’ll get round to writing up a blog with some thoughts when I’ve finished it – so you have that to look forward to, as well! But suffice it to say, it’s pretty good. Die-hard fans will most likely know the story of these draft screenplays anyway, so it’s nice to “see” that as a realised product, which I suppose is the main draw here. Anyway, a full review will come soon. Until then – happy weekend!

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!