Sunday, June 5, 2016 - 09:34
Day 2 of the UK Games Expo is done and dusted. It was a little less manic for me than Day 1, I didn’t really leave the Hilton tournament rooms all day; but I still didn’t get home until gone 1am this morning. Here are my highlights:
Settlers of Catan UK Championships - This was the big one, with twenty tables set aside for the tournament, and twenty fresh boxes of Catan ready to be opened. I was first to get seated at my table, and so had the pleasure of preparing the pieces for the first game. As with popping the seal on a fresh jar of coffee, or getting set loose on a pile of bubble wrap, there is a weird satisfaction that comes with pushing those cardboard game pieces free from their packaging. To be honest, that was as good as my Catan experience got this year. I played four matches getting one 3rd place, one 2nd place, and then back to back 4th... Read more
Saturday, June 4, 2016 - 00:47
Well, Day 1 of the UK Games Expo is in the bag. I’m back home, utterly exhausted, but very very happy. Here, in no particular order, are my highlights of Day 1, and games to keep an eye out for if you’re heading down over the weekend.
Wotan Games - Stopped by their table at the press previews this morning to check out War of the Nine Realms. It’s a modular tile based, tactical skirmish style board game, set in the rich setting of norse mythology. It uses cards rather than miniatures as markers, and is probably going to quickly become a gateway game to those wanting to explore miniature gaming. The gameplay can be switched between Heroic and Epic, allowing for a basic combat/dominance game, or a more tactical game with special powers and abilities coming in to play, depending on how you want to play. Brush up on your Norse Mythology for this one. Check... Read more
Friday, May 20, 2016 - 14:00
First off, any concerns that the X-Men reboot trilogy would end with a repeat of the disaster that was X3:The Last Stand have been put to bed. Apocalypse is nowhere near that bad, on the contrary in parts it's actually pretty enjoyable; it's also not the end of this run of X-Men films.
Apocalypse, the world's first mutant, reappears on the scene thousands of years after an attack on his followers leaves him buried and forgotten. He recruits four acolytes and then sets about his master plan to reset the Earth for only the strongest of mutants. Rivalries, egos and fears all need to be put aside in order to defeat him. It's a no-brainer popcorn movie at its finest.
As enjoyable as it maybe it does have a few flaws and, like ripping off a plaster, I'll get those out of the way first because there's actually a bit here to be hopeful for, as far as the future of the franchise is concerned. So, in no particular order... the special effects... Read more
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 18:29
“Who bought our last album?” asks Less Than Jake guitarist and frontman Chris Demakes, two songs into their set at the O2 Academy. The audience response is mixed, but good humoured. “Who downloaded it for free?” he follows up, this time the audience response is slightly louder.
“Who doesn’t give a shit about anything after Hello Rockview?” The audience response is overwhelming, laughter filling a packed out venue as the banter continues back and forth between the band and their fans. Despite the audience’s apparent preference for their earlier material, Less Than Jake continue on regardless with the first track off their latest album See The Light, as the horns kick in for the opening of “Good Enough”, and with that the tone for the evening is set.
Whilst ten of the eighteen songs that make up the evenings set list will come from Hello... Read more
Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 00:26
Ok, here we go...
Captain America: Civil War is a clever, tense and often emotional, rollercoaster ride of a film; charting the struggle within the Avengers as Rogers & Co. have the fallout from their actions laid out before them. Consequence is the over-riding theme of the film.
The chain of events from the previous films, added to the MCU's own version of the "Stamford Incident", leads to the Sokovia Accords, a piece of legislation that leads to a schism within the group. Stark is pro-registration and the belief that the Avengers need to be accountable to a higher power, whilst Cap is still very much for personal freedom and accountability, and fears that a higher power may send the team on missions that serve the ulterior motives of their new handlers.
The film is a slow build of simmering tension over the first hour, as these ideological clashes eventually lead to fisticuffs with the reappearance of Bucky. But, like with any good spy drama -which both... Read more
Friday, September 25, 2015 - 20:20
Castle - Season 8, Episode 1 “XY”
We spoke a lot about this show on our finale round up episode of the podcast. The season 7 finale felt like a perfect wrap up for this show, and was explicitly written to be one as the writers didn’t know whether the show was getting picked up for an 8th Season. Luckily for everyone it did, but how do they kick of a new season without the usual cliffhanger resolve... Read more
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 23:54
Wondering when the wheels would come off the Marvel movie machine? When they’d finally put out a bad film? Yeah? Yeah, well it’s not with this one buddy, this one was fantastic.
The opening set piece sets the mood for the whole movie. Frenetically paced but incredibly well balanced, it manages to both establish the fact that the Avengers have clearly been busy since Hydra’s reemergence at the end of Winter Soldier (raiding Hydra bases in search of Loki’s staff and generally kicking ass along the way); as well as providing the trigger for Stark’s single minded pursuit of the Ultron project. It does all this while also introducing us to two new players in the twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. (“He’s fast, she’s weird” as described by Maria Hill to the Cap)
Obviously things don’t go quite to Stark’s plan, and Ultron... Read more
Monday, September 29, 2014 - 00:31
Well, Doctor Who has been skirting round the edges of the romance between Clara and Danny for a while now. It was only a matter of a time, I guess, before the Doctor became nothing more than a secondary character in his own show; the writers even brought back the John Smith persona to help him disappear into the background.
The sci-fi element is rather perfunctory in this weeks story. A single robot with enough firepower to destroy the planet has turned up somewhere, and the Doctor must go undercover at Coal Hill in order to set an elaborate trap that he well then lure said robot into.
The rest of the story revolves around the relationship between Clara and Danny; Danny’s introduction to the Doctor, and his subsequent efforts to prove himself worthy of Clara in the... Read more
Friday, September 26, 2014 - 20:21
The one where the Doctor goes all Ocean’s Eleven and leads a small team to rob the most secure bank in the universe. Only, with less laughs..
Those of us of a certain age will be familiar with a phenomenon in television storytelling known as the Star Trek:TNG effect (Not a legit phenomenon, but if you’ve ever watched an episode of TNG, you know where this is going..)
The TNG effect is this: Stories had good introductions, with the plot, or major hooks, being laid out in the brief intro before the opening titles. Stories were developed, and more often than not had very strong second acts, occasionally overlapping into the third act. This... Read more
Saturday, September 20, 2014 - 17:12
“Whats that in the mirror, or the corner of your eye?
Whats that footstep following, but never passing by?”
A little late, but here are my thoughts on Episode 4 “Listen”, the one where the Doctor and Clara go to the end of the Universe chasing a nursery rhyme.
After the folly of Robot of Sherwood, I was looking forward to an episode that promised to crank up the tension; and for the most part I was pleased with “Listen”. I have a few issues with it, but they mostly lie in the how the episode was wrapped up, but we’ll get to those in a bit. Lets start with some good bits.
... Read more