Friday, July 26, 2013

Best and Worst Star Wars Games of All Time

Friends know I'm a big Star Wars fan.  As such, I've played every video game that came out, until it all started to be about the Clone Wars.  And I mean every one.  Star Wars Monopoly, Star Wars Demolition, Star Wars Jedi Power Battles, Star Wars X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars Rebellion, Star Wars Force Commander, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds... there were a lot of them.  Many of them were pretty bad games, although that usually didn't stop me from loving them based on the brand alone.  Head past the jump to find the very best, and very worst, of the Star Wars games.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Analysis of the Eldar Wraithknight

The Wraithknight is a new unit to the Eldar army.  It's as big as an Apocalypse Titan.  It's 240 points, and close to $100.  It's also pretty dang ugly.  But just how does it play on the tabletop?  What role does it fill, and is it worth its massive point cost?  Let's figure it out!

DotA 2 Hero Reviews Part 3

Let's learn about some more heroes in DotA 2!

We've covered Gyrocopter, Sand King, Chaos Knight, Sven, and Rubick.  Today I'm going to talk about some Hard Carries!  Carries are, of course, those heroes that have a weak early game but a very strong late-game - the srongest out of all heroes.  They depend on getting a lot of gold and items to become that strong, though.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dota 2 Hero Reviews Part 2

I'm back with more DotA 2 hero reviews!  Let's jump right in to some more heroes, shall we

My Eldar Army Plan from the Ground Up

I'd like to explain the plan I have for my Eldar Wraith army, and how I came to it, step-by-step.  Because why not?

Dota 2 Hero Reviews Part 1

It's about time for a dedicated DotA 2 post, don't you think?

The game is officially out of beta and on Steam.  You have no excuse not to go check it out - it's totally free to play!  The only things you can buy or unlock are cosmetic and have no impact on the game.  This is how you do free-to-play, people. Pay attention.  Now, you can go read as many reviews as you like - the game currently enjoys a very high score on Metacritic in the 90s, as of this post.  But once you do try it out, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of heroes and items to learn about and try.  There's over a hundred of each!  I thought I'd go ahead and break down a few of the heroes at a time, giving my own impressions of them and how they work in the overall game.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mathhammer 40k: Which Eldar Tanks are the Best?

Which Eldar Tank truly is the best for each situation? I did the math to find out! The numbers below are averages over the long run of thousands of dice rolls. It is a study on which tank is statistically better over the long run, and which is more likely to perform better in the short run. Each tank costs very close to the same amount, especially with weapon upgrades factored in, so point-efficiency is pretty closely tied to this study. Also note that I chose what I believe to be the best, most common loadouts for Wave Serpents and Falcon. These loadouts are not the best at EVERYTHING, but they are the best at more things than any other loadouts for those vehicles. Finally, with Fire Prisms and Falcons, I did not factor in the twin-linked shuriken catapaults, because these tanks are generally long-range fire support, and will rarely if ever be within 12'' range to use those weapons on infantry. I believe this is fair.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 2013 Update

It's been a while!  Here's what I've been playing:

Dota 2

Valve's remake/sequel/whatever to the popular Warcraft 3 mod has caught me hook, line, and sinker, and shows no signs of letting go any time soon.  I have around 300 hours logged in this game and I only learn more every time I play.  With around a hundred different heroes that are all extremely unique and memorable, hundreds of items, and near infinite combinations of each to make up any individual game, I'm starting to understand just why this genre is as popular as it is!  Not to mention the incredible depth of gameplay with last hitting, denying, neutral creep manipulation, runes, trees, wards, pushing, pulling, aggro, different damage types and resistances... it's really too much!  The pro scene is hard to follow, but fun to watch, too.  And the best part?  All of this is free to play!  Nothing about the game is influenced by money except cosmetics, too.  Nothing is unlocked, there's no progressive exp system that gives you bonuses.  This is good, classic multiplayer where everybody is on equal footing from square one - something sadly rare, these days.


I haven't finished Dishonored, yet, but I really enjoy it so far.  I keep finding myself pulled away from finishing it by Dota 2.  Still, the first-person stealth gameplay works very well, the powers are fun, and the interaction with everything feels good.  Plus, the Half-Life 2-esque world is memorable and interesting.  There's really nothing wrong about the game at all, it's quite good - I just have less free time lately working full-time, and other games call at me just a little bit more most days.  One day I'll dive in and attempt to finish it all, though.

Warhammer 40k

I've been pretty obsessed with the tabletop game, videogames, books, and universe of Warhammer 40k for a while now.  It evokes how vast and colorful the expanded universe of Star Wars was for me, back in the day, but just a little more bad-ass.  There's a ton of rich backstory and different factions, lots of room for interesting stories, and a mish-mash of all the best sci-fi tropes from the last 50 years.  What's not to love?  Videogame-wise, I've been mostly playing Dawn of War 2, which is a really excellent game, although the multiplayer kicks my ass.  I also play often on Vassal40k, a free java-based computer version of the tabletop game (although it requires you to know the rules yourself, it supplies none).  I've recently gotten my first box of tabletop miniatures (Eldar!) and begun learning how to paint them.  I'm very excited at the prospect of eventually having enough money to take up this hobby.

World in Conflict

I picked this up for $2.50 on Amazon a few days ago.  It turns out patience is a good thing, because this game is impressing me greatly for a game from 2008.  It's got to be the best-looking RTS I've ever played.  The mechanics are relatively easy, compared to something like Starcraft 2, but there is still plenty of micro to be had.  The greatest thing about this game really is the atmosphere, visuals, animations, and effects that add some much needed character to the game.  It's actually very similar in gameplay to Wargame, another more recent RTS, but feels worlds better for very subtle reasons.  The constant chatter of colonels and generals over the radio give the game a frantic and demanding atmosphere.  The units all move and control very responsively, and always provide small animations when moving, turning, going over bumps, or being hit by fire, that give them a sense of life.  The physics are top-knotch, and the explosions are bright, flashy, and exciting at all times.  One of the most fun aspects of gameplay is the ability to call in off-map artillery or air-strikes, allowing you to litter the field with bursts of destruction.  The game provides some awe-inspiring displays of pyrotechnics!  The controls and scale of the battlefields are also masterfully done - buildings and cities have a ton of attention to detail, and every building can be destroyed or occupied by infantry.  I'm having a blast with this game!

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is what would happen if you mixed Grand Theft Auto with a kung fu movie.  It's brutal, story-driven, and interesting.  It also takes place in Hong Kong, a setting I haven't gotten to play around in much in games.  Driving on the other side of the street takes some practice!  The combat system works quite well, too, and is probably the highlight of the game.  All in all, a fun game that does a lot of things right.  If you don't like GTA, though, don't expect this to be a big departure.

Far Cry: Blood Dragon

I haven't played Far Cry 3.  Blood Dragon is a standalone bit of DLC that seems to be an entirely new game for a much cheaper price.  It's an homage to classic 80's scifi movies, with a lot of humor, and I have to say it's really fun.  FPSes haven't really drawn me in lately - good ones are all too rare nowadays.  The gameplay of Blood Dragon, too, feels just a little bit off, to me.  Not quite as satisfying or precise as I would like.  But it's certainly not bad, and the humor and 80's scifi references more than make up for it.  Expect to see bright neon lights everywhere, lasers, robots,'s all pretty great.


The new game by Mojang, creater of Minecraft, is in beta.  It's a really interesting mish-mash between Magic: The Gathering and tower defense/chess, I guess.  Hard to describe.  But it's a unique concept with very engaging and addicting gameplay.  I can't imagine it can top Minecraft in ubiquity, but I'm sure it will receive positive reviews and a good following.

What I'm looking forward to

Honestly?  Not a lot.  None of the new consoles particularly appeal to me - the PS4 looks fine, but not any different, really.  I've been playing PC almost exclusively for a while now.  I'll probably just continue doing that.  The only games right now I want to get in the future are The Last of Us, which looks fantastic, and Metal Gear Rising, because I can't get enough Metal Gear.  But those two games are already out!  I should also pick up Starcraft: Heart of the Swarm, but I don't know how I can fit in both Starcraft and Dota into my already meager free time.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poker Night at the Inventory 2 Review

As a poker player, by all rights I should hate this game.  It offers very few options, and the opponent AI is pretty terrible, offering little challenge or depth.  And they couldn't even get Bruce Campbell to record the voice of Ash, making the character's inclusion rather baffling.

But you know what?  I'm enjoying it a lot so far!  This is a fun game that's WELL worth the $5 asking price. The characters and lines of banter are funny and enjoyable.  Even Bruce Campbell's sound-alike does a great job, and I frequently forgot it wasn't really him.  Even the poker is enjoyable enough.

Poker Night at the Inventory 2 takes the form of a poker tournament attended by some enjoyable characters bantering back and forth as you play.  This one features Brock Samson (Venture Bros), Claptrap (Borderlands), Ash Williams (Evil Dead), and Sam (Sam & Max).  GladDos as the insufferably hilarious dealer completes the ensemble.  Each character asks questions, makes jokes, or shares stories with the others individually, revealing hundreds of different voice lines for every conceivable situation.  I still haven't heard them all!  It's a lot of fun to hang out with these guys and playing a casual game of poker.  Just don't ever listen to their poker advice - notably, every character lambasting the "wussy" player for almost every fold (despite folding being extremely important when playing beginners).

And that's what it is: casual poker.  But from my experience, they don't really play any different than you'd expect from your average person that's not a serious poker player.  I've played with my fare share of casual players, and this game is an accurate simulation of that.  They go all in with bottom pair, they don't fold often, and if they bluff it's either obvious or badly timed.  For a decent poker player, beating these guys is a piece of cake (don't tell GladDos though!).  However, they don't want you winning every time you play.  The tournaments always start you off with about 20 big blinds, and only pay you off if you get first place.  Luck can play a bigger factor than you might be used to in a deeper tournament, and getting first place isn't always going to happen when your opponents call any bluff with ace high and you're not catching good cards.  While this structure might annoy many, and I do wish there were more options in place, the game has a good pace and just enough challenge as a result.  Finally, it's worth mentioning the all-new inclusion of one of my favorite poker games, Omaha (although it is no limit, rather than the more common pot limit).  This game is bound to cause some confusion among players and reviewers - I've already seen criticism that certain hands are not recognized correctly by GladDos, by people who don't quite understand that Omaha requires EXACTLY two cards from your hand to be used - no more, no less.  Even so, it's a very fun game, with a lot more luck involved in each individual hand, making it a great gambler's game.  There's a serious dearth of Omaha games with AI, so I was pretty happy to find this one.

I would be remiss not to mention the massive number of bugs I encountered.  Not many were serious - mostly animation glitches as characters snapped into different animations weirdly, or repeatedly some turning or leaning back animations.  And one time I pressed the fold button too quickly and the game failed to recognize the action, despite taking away the buttons - leaving me staring at Brock Samson for 5 minutes hearing about how bored he is waiting for me to make a move, before I had to restart the game.  They're a bit annoying, but don't detract seriously from the experience.

It's not a complicated game.  Play some poker against a bunch of hilarious characters, who themselves are quite casual poker players.  If you know poker, you can have some fun trying to beat them optimally.  If not, have fun gambling with them.  But for $5, there's little reason not to pick this up.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The World Needs a Warhammer 40k MOBA

Do you know what the MOBA genre really needs more of?  Sci-fi.  And also heresy.  And Space Marines.

Warhammer 40k is the perfect fit for this genre!  The game is rife with larger-than-life heroes, crazy special abilities, and a rich mythos.  It's not hard to imagine heroes of the 40k universe coming together to push waves of Ork, Guardsmen, Guardians, Hormagaunts, or Cultist creeps down futuristic lanes to destroy giant skull-towers.  Or some-such thing.  Each hero could have very easily-imagined special abilities and witty one-liners.  Items fit the universe as well.  Ok, modders, get out there and make some of this stuff come true, please!

Off the top of my head, here's a few characters that would work in this game, and a dota-like roster of skills for each:

Space Marine Captain - I imagine a hero with abilities that let him change up his loadout on the fly.  Captains are known for being versatile characters with a wide range of wargear.  I'm imagining something like Troll Warlord, where he can change between boltgun and lightning claws on the fly (with a cooldown, naturally), and having some sort of AOE or global buffs to damage or attack speed for his allies.

Space Marine Librarian/Ork Weirdboy/Eldar Warlock/Chaos Sorcerer - Anything goes for these guys.  They're psykers, they can have a variety of magic-type attacks.  Teleporting, debuffs on enemies, stuns, nukes, they can do it.

Assault Marine Sargeant - Well, this would be a melee hero with a jump pack, probably a chainsword.  Could potentially have melta bombs and be able to use his jump pack to leap around cliffs or escape/initiate. I bet he'd be fun as hell to play.

Ork Warboss - Big, tanky melee hero.  Some abilities that represent his luv o' fightin'.  Maybe some combination of Tiny (where he gets larger as he gets stronger and levels up), Huskar (does more damage the more hurt he is), and Bristleback (he wants to get into the thick of it!).  He'd have some good health regen and armor.

Necron Overlord - This guy's a no-brainer, with the ability to come back to life if killed, plus a temporary mind-control of an enemy and potentially a banishment spell, he would be a real force to be reckoned with.  No doubt a carry!

Space Marine Devestator/Imperial Guard Weapons Team - this type of hero would be the ranged specialist with all sorts of missiles and plasma weapons and lascannons.

Dreadnought/Killa Kan/Wraithlord/Carnifex - The giant monsters!  I suppose each one would have unique abilities, but they'd all likely be pretty tanky and hard to kill.  The Dreadnought ought to have some kind of ranged abilities, while the Kan and Fex might not.

Marbo - This elite Guardsman would have stealth abilities along with traps and explosives to plant.

You could have a ton of named characters from every Codex, along with these more generic heroes, and you'd be coming around to the number of heroes in conventional MOBAs, with all the variety and different playstyles you could ask for.  Seriously, this has to happen!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Warhammer 40k Battle Report: Eldar vs Space Wolves - 1850 Points



Eldrad Ulthran
The Avatar of Khaine
10 Wraithguard with Spiritseer
10 Guardians with Scatterlaser platform, Embolden Warlock
11 Guardians with Scatterlaser platform, Embolden Warlock
10 Dire Avengers with Exarch, Bladestorm, double Avenger Catapaults
3 War Walkers with Scatterlasers
2 Wraithlords, each with Bright Lance, Scatterlaser, and 2 Flamers

1654 Points

This was supposed to be an 1850 point list, but you'll notice I'm actually missing 196 points.  That's because the list ACTUALLY contained 6 Warp Spiders plus an Exarch.  I completely forgot about adding them to this game.  So Eldar are actually playing at a deficit in this game.

Space Wolves

Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf Mount, with Runic Armor and the Belt of Russ
4 Thunderwolf Cavalry
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Melta Guns, Power Sword, Mark of the Wolfen, with a Drop Pod
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Melta Guns, Power Sword, Mark of the Wolfen, with a Drop Pod
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Plasma Guns, Power Sword, Mark of the Wolfen, with a Drop Pod
5 Wolf Guard in Terminator Armor, 3 with Wolf Claws, 1 with Thunder Hammer, 1 with Melta Bomb, 1 with Mark of the Wolfen
Land Raider Crusader
Land Speeder with Typhoon Missile Launcher and Multi-Melta
Predator with Twin-Linked Lascannon

1850 Points