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Chris Groff
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This tag line is a place holder for awesome
This tag line is a place holder for awesome

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Finally got around to watching #Upgrade on the weekend and glad that I finally did. This is a solid movie. I can't say much without ruining things, but the action is solid, it's got some dark comedy bits and the acting was on point. I appreciated the pacing of the movie in that it keeps things moving without worrying about padding things out to bump the run time. This is a sleeper hit that I definitely recommend. If I had to compare it to another movie, Memento comes to mind.
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The world is full of assholes. 3 of them at least have been caught. Ride safe.

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Arkham Horror 3rd Edition

Pics from left to right show the start of the game for the board and my character vs the end state of the game. I was surprised that board itself doesn’t change all that much. The card decks though are depleted or cycled through. The game from turn to turn though has a lot of fluctuation.

TL:DR it was fun, the 5 of us all had a blast and were talking about it for a good while after it ended. This edition is good.

Now for the long version.
The rules FFG has received a lot of flak for the clarity of their rules and even more since they switched to their split rule books. I am happy to report that they did a good job with this game. The learn to play rules do give you the rules you need to actually play the game and they are well laid out and readable. The Rule Guide goes into more specific details and while we did go to it a couple times for some edge cases it was the exception not the norm.

Setup took a bit the first time out. Not horrible for this style of game, but expect to spend some time separating cards and setting up the decks. It actually makes a lot of sense and future games are faster, just be prepared first time out.

Once characters are picked and let me add that was not easy. The character choices are all really good and their special powers as well as starter gear make for some difficulty to choose between. Also the combinations can make for great strategies. There were no discernible bad choices and with 12 to choose from there are plenty to try out.

Now that you’ve chosen 1 of the 4 scenarios and chosen your characters it’s time to play. On your turn you can perform 2 actions. You will be moving around the board, gaining money, dealing with monsters, finding clues and deciphering them. Once the players go the monsters get their turn to fight back and they often hit hard. In many games that would be the end of the round, but this is Arkham. You then have an encounter, which is very catered to the space you are in. These encounters may reveal clues, give you the chance to get new items, allies or spells. Some times these are straight forward, but other times you will be presented with a choice to make. It’s recommended that another player read the encounter so the choices you make are based on unknown results.

The fun doesn’t end yet. The round ends with a Mythos phase, for Pandemic players this will feel similar to the infector phase. Players draw tokens blind that will spawn monsters spread doom, open up rifts, seed more clues and have fun news stories from around the city. Once you’ve done all that the game goes on to the next round.

Overtop of all of this is the scenario which is the why of it. Why you, as an investigator, are going to the brink of madness and death for the people of Arkham. As you solve clues, fight off the impending doom or lose ground to it the scenario evolves. You may think you are chasing simple cultists only to discover they are just a minor distraction to something more insidious. And given that this is Arkham, there is always something more insidious.

The core mechanic is based on the skill check. Which will have you roll a pool of dice and look for successes. As the skilled investigators you are though you will have many ways to mitigate your chances and while success is never a guarantee we never felt like we were entirely at the mercy of the dice or random as a whole.

Narratively speaking I found the story unfold in a logical fashion with some good surprises and synergy along the way. The event decks are cleverly set up and manipulated by the game to keep the pressure on and keep everyone invested in the game even when it wasn’t your turn.

In comparison to 2nd edition the game is a rather large departure, but for me its all in positive ways. I found the rules and gameplay to be more consistent and while we did make a couple mistakes along the way they were more simple oversights then rules problems or confusion. Turns also play more quickly, with only two actions the game goes quick with minimal downtime and since everyone is working together it was interesting to see what others were doing. I felt invested the whole game and I think everyone else was too. I was never a big fan of 2e but a couple of my friends were and they were sold on 3e. The speed of the game, the story it tells and its streamlined flow impressed them.

I can’t compare it much to Eldritch Horror as I’ve only played it once briefly when it first came out, but found it dull. I didn’t find this dull. My previous favourite Arkham Horror game was the LCG. It tells a fantastic story and mechanically creates some fantastic choices. 3rd edition to me has a lot of what I love about the LCG but also simplifies it and in doing so makes it more approachable and hey 1-6 players... Also 3rd ed is not a collectible game so my pocket book is happier. Admittedly I recently sold off the LCG because while I enjoyed it, getting it to the table was difficult and I was losing interest in expanding rules and and cost.

Ok, so Arkham Horror 3e was a big win for us despite narrowly losing our first game. I bought into some hype and it definitely paid off.

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11/4/18
4 Photos - View album
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Arkham Horror 3rd Edition

Pics from left to right show the start of the game for the board and my character vs the end state of the game. I was surprised that board itself doesn’t change all that much. The card decks though are depleted or cycled through. The game from turn to turn though has a lot of fluctuation.

TL:DR it was fun, the 5 of us all had a blast and were talking about it for a good while after it ended. This edition is good.

Now for the long version.
The rules FFG has received a lot of flak for the clarity of their rules and even more since they switched to their split rule books. I am happy to report that they did a good job with this game. The learn to play rules do give you the rules you need to actually play the game and they are well laid out and readable. The Rule Guide goes into more specific details and while we did go to it a couple times for some edge cases it was the exception not the norm.

Setup took a bit the first time out. Not horrible for this style of game, but expect to spend some time separating cards and setting up the decks. It actually makes a lot of sense and future games are faster, just be prepared first time out.

Once characters are picked and let me add that was not easy. The character choices are all really good and their special powers as well as starter gear make for some difficulty to choose between. Also the combinations can make for great strategies. There were no discernible bad choices and with 12 to choose from there are plenty to try out.

Now that you’ve chosen 1 of the 4 scenarios and chosen your characters it’s time to play. On your turn you can perform 2 actions. You will be moving around the board, gaining money, dealing with monsters, finding clues and deciphering them. Once the players go the monsters get their turn to fight back and they often hit hard. In many games that would be the end of the round, but this is Arkham. You then have an encounter, which is very catered to the space you are in. These encounters may reveal clues, give you the chance to get new items, allies or spells. Some times these are straight forward, but other times you will be presented with a choice to make. It’s recommended that another player read the encounter so the choices you make are based on unknown results.

The fun doesn’t end yet. The round ends with a Mythos phase, for Pandemic players this will feel similar to the infector phase. Players draw tokens blind that will spawn monsters spread doom, open up rifts, seed more clues and have fun news stories from around the city. Once you’ve done all that the game goes on to the next round.

Overtop of all of this is the scenario which is the why of it. Why you, as an investigator, are going to the brink of madness and death for the people of Arkham. As you solve clues, fight off the impending doom or lose ground to it the scenario evolves. You may think you are chasing simple cultists only to discover they are just a minor distraction to something more insidious. And given that this is Arkham, there is always something more insidious.

The core mechanic is based on the skill check. Which will have you roll a pool of dice and look for successes. As the skilled investigators you are though you will have many ways to mitigate your chances and while success is never a guarantee we never felt like we were entirely at the mercy of the dice or random as a whole.

Narratively speaking I found the story unfold in a logical fashion with some good surprises and synergy along the way. The event decks are cleverly set up and manipulated by the game to keep the pressure on and keep everyone invested in the game even when it wasn’t your turn.

In comparison to 2nd edition the game is a rather large departure, but for me its all in positive ways. I found the rules and gameplay to be more consistent and while we did make a couple mistakes along the way they were more simple oversights then rules problems or confusion. Turns also play more quickly, with only two actions the game goes quick with minimal downtime and since everyone is working together it was interesting to see what others were doing. I felt invested the whole game and I think everyone else was too. I was never a big fan of 2e but a couple of my friends were and they were sold on 3e. The speed of the game, the story it tells and its streamlined flow impressed them.

I can’t compare it much to Eldritch Horror as I’ve only played it once briefly when it first came out, but found it dull. I didn’t find this dull. My previous favourite Arkham Horror game was the LCG. It tells a fantastic story and mechanically creates some fantastic choices. 3rd edition to me has a lot of what I love about the LCG but also simplifies it and in doing so makes it more approachable and hey 1-6 players... Also 3rd ed is not a collectible game so my pocket book is happier. Admittedly I recently sold off the LCG because while I enjoyed it, getting it to the table was difficult and I was losing interest in expanding rules and and cost.

Ok, so Arkham Horror 3e was a big win for us despite narrowly losing our first game. I bought into some hype and it definitely paid off.

PhotoPhotoPhotoPhoto
11/4/18
4 Photos - View album

Things that should go unsaid.

Lady beside me ordered a Poutine.

She then asked if that comes with cheese and gravy.
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Love watching this style of riding.

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I've seen a couple other posts about this, but realized I hadn't yet.

#Breakout Con is coming back to Toronto March 15-17, 2019.
This con is only a few years old now but it's so far proving to be one of the best gaming cons I've been too. It won't rival GenCon in terms of scale or vendors but easily rivals it in terms of quality play experiences. The organizers are fantastic and the crowd, in my experience, are very friendly. I've played scheduled games, pick up games and last year ran a game and have always had a blast.

If you are into RPG's or Board Games there is absolutely something for you to do all weekend long.
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Took my first crack at the Dark Souls Card Game last night. This was our friends game and he was the only one who had played it before.

Setup was pretty good, not much more then placing the various decks that represent the upgrades, treasures and monsters you are fighting. Each player then picks one of the 4 available characters, which gives you your starting deck. Each character has their own special abilities and starting equipment. The base game comes with the Knight, Assassin, Sorcerer and Herald (think cleric).

Characters start out at a bonfire and then have to explore the map which is made up of different locals. The locals have a map that shows how they connect so you can’t just go to whatever one you want. But much like the video game they do have multiple paths you can take. The premise of the game is to explore various locations to power up and then defeat the two bosses. You will want to reset at the bonfire to heal and upgrade your characters and you have 4 chances to rest before the game ends.

You start out by going to an area of the map and revealing the zone, which will now be locked down for the rest of the game. When you enter the zone monsters will spawn. Combat is set up like an old school grid with monsters on one side in rows and columns and players on the other. Attacks will target specific spots on the grid so you need to maneuver around strategically for the best results. Combat is deck based by playing actions from your hand and powering them up. Taking damage means discarding cards also. If any player runs out of cards you die, which means everyone resting at a bonfire.

Winning nets you treasure and souls which you can later use to upgrade your characters when you rest at a bonfire. Once you clear an encounter that area is cleared and you can push on to another one. Resting at a bonfire though, like in the video game, resets the encounters so cleared areas are no longer cleared.

Typically we would complete two areas before resting, though as we got better we managed to clear three. Boss battles have their own individual AI decks that do a good job of duplicating the feeling the bosses have in the game.

The box says 60 mins, it took us about 3hrs though. The rulebook is a bit of a mess so we fumbled a bit and we also chatted a lot. If we remove that I think 2 hrs is realistic for a 4 player game I think you’d be very hard pressed to pull it off in 60.

I think they did a good job of thematically capturing the video game. In many ways it reminded me of the Warhammer Adventure Quest Card game. Replacing dice with a draw deck. I also think WAQCG does tell more of a story but Dark Souls has more strategic combat.

Dark Souls Card Game definitely gets the thumbs up from me and I look forward to playing it again.

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10/28/18
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I recently started watching Gary and His Demons I'm only a few episodes in but I'm enjoying it. It's kind of like Ash vs Evil dead but through a Rick and Morty filter. It's Canadian as well so bonus points for that.
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Dude in front of me at Starbucks orders and Extra Hot London Fog.

They make it for him, he takes a sip then he asks them to put ice cubes in it.
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