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2022.11.29

Wingspan

Stonemaier games got famous when the owner, Jamey Stegmaier, blogged every aspect of his upcoming Kickstarter campaign. People felt confident with his struggles, thoughts and solutions.

After some success, Stonemaier created another hit. This time the game was not design by Jamey, but by the first comer Elizabeth Hargrave. Wingspan (which is currently at the high tier in BoardGameGeek) let you collect birds that provide special powers, that accumulate turn after turn. I bought it as a last year Christmas gift for my wife last year and it became one of the most played games in our collection.

Little eggs

Positives

Components and art, OMG, are all high quality and adorable. The board, the cards, the dice tower, the eggs… ohhh… don’t even mention the colorful eggs. The color do not have any gameplay meaning, but they are adorable. People always react when seeing those little eggs.

The care in creating each bird card is astonishing. The flavor text is rich of details, and most of them have a real implication in the game itself. Bird size, breeding pattern, type of food… it’s all grounded in reality!

There are objectively better birds than others, but the external objectives and bonuses may increase the usefulness of birds on each play. Considering also the large amount of cards, at least for the sake of replayability, it’s a major plus.

The core value of this game is the engine building mechanism. Each time you get a new bird, it’s powers will be used in subsequent turns. So by the end of the match, some super powerful combos will be created. It’s very satisfying to activate a multi-point machine!

Wigspan components

Negatives

This game is a multiplayer solitaire: while you can somewhat manipulates resources and face up birds a bit, it is best to be occupied to “do your best”. My nephews were hooked all the time, but mostly commenting about the birds looks and imagining their next moves.

It is very difficult to keep track of other people’s boards. So it is really hard to counter act. None will take mental notes tracking other players. But for those who actually do this, it could represent a major strategic advantage.

The abilities are fun but and require a lot of reading to understand. While the text are not long, the font is bit small.

The dice tower, despite being cute, is prone to damage over time. I already not using it in my sessions, in order to preserve it.

Wigspan components

My Rating:9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
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2022.07.08

Books From 2022 (So Far)

Every year I try to compile a list of games, books and movies I experienced. Let’s go.

I continue to read (listen in fact) almost every day for the past years. It’s in my daily routine when I walk the dogs. It’s a very different proposition from laying down and dedicate some time to read them. I have a urge of a secondary task when I am performing a no-brainier routine, just as.. walking the dogs. Otherwise, I just feel wasting my time my just walking and no thinking.

This is the list of this year’s books that I ingested. These lists are -definitively- not comprehensive ones. Since I’m not updating my GoodReads personal records nor writing about them in this blog, they are just the ones I remembered. I may edit this post if I remember other items.

  1. Piranesi (Susanna Clarke) (9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): Piranesi lives in a fantastic place. He forgets a lot, but keep detailed notes. A great mystery.
  2. The Well of Ascension
    The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
    (Brandon Sanderson) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : just after the events of the first book, the protagonists now have to maintain the power they acquired. Fascinating.
  3. Steal Like an Artist
    Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
    (Austin Kleon) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : great super-short book about creative process. He incentives people to leap forward in creative work disregarding self judgment. Get inspired and try to copy work of other in order to practice and find one own voice.
  4. Keep Going
    Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
    (Austin Kleon) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : another small but very motivational work from Austin Kleon. Do not stop creating. Do small iterative works until it’s done.
  5. Show Your Work!
    Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
    (Austin Kleon) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : another small piece of Austin. Create a blog, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok account and show people what you being working on. Even hobbies stuff, like sketches. Eventually it could become your masterpiece.
  6. Parable of the Talents (Octavia E. Butler) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): is the sequel of the excelent Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler) (9β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…), telling about the protagonist is her daughter.
  7. The President Is Missing (James Patterson, Bill Clinton) (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): modern cyber terrorism thriller. Very beliable. Tips and ckecks done by no other than Bill Clinton!
  8. The Power of Habit
    The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    (Charles Duhigg) (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : a modern classic self-helping book. It starts preaching the power of understanding and controlling habits. The it exemplify, chapter after chapter, the different facts of habits interfering in our decision making. Very good.
  9. Different
    Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd
    (Youngme Moon) (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : essay about competitive advantage of being different in the market. Curiously enough, the second half of the book she acknowledge that being different might not be important depending on the situation and market. Good book.
  10. Communication Skills Training
    Communication Skills Training: How to Talk to Anyone, Connect Effortlessly, Develop Charisma, and Become a People Person
    (James W. Williams) (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : comprehensive discussion about communication skills. Nothing fantastic. But very good.
  11. Justice
    Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
    (Michael J. Sandel) (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : several philosophical aspects, situations and approaches of what is justice. It does not, however, present definitive answers about anything.
  12. The 4-Hour Body
    The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
    (Timothy Ferriss) (5β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : several tips about proper workout, diet and routines to get the body you want.
  13. The 10x Rule
    The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
    (Grant Cardone) (4β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : sales people kinda talk. Super aggressive, alpha behavior about using all your power and willing to achieve goals and success. I tried to focus the core messages and occasional motivation in his words, but it’s hard to not get pissed with the alpha male dominant attitude.
  14. Think Sex and Grow Rich
    Think Sex and Grow Rich: How to use the power of your sex drive to succeed in business
    (Marcus El) (4β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…)
    : it tries to sell the idea that we are driven by sex and we should channel this constant desire towards business goals. It starts fun, then became very tedious.

From the second part of 2021 that was not in the mid 2021 list

  1. Dune (Frank Herbert) (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): read in 3 nights in order to watch the movie. Loved it.

For more books, you can check my online read list on GoodReads.

edited in 2022-07-14 because I forgot some books. In fact, I believe there are even more.

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2022.01.31

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order was mouth-full sub-titled titled title. I don’t particularly like this cascading naming convention, but it’s rather common in big franchises. Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, PokΓ©mon all suffer from.

So, EA publishing another Star Wars game. The default expectation is TRASH game loop with micro transactions and paid loot. Battlefront 2 and FIFA will not let me lie…

But this one was… really good!

I got it “for free” in Amazon Prime deal. My original intention was to get both “free” shipping and streaming service for a fixed and low monthly fee. But they do give some video games for free too. And they are eventually good games. After activation in the yet-another-game-launcher Origin launcher, I decided to give it a try.

TLDR: it has all the mediocre elements of recent games. But visuals and gameplay hooked me in. I liked it very much.

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Characters

The main protagonist is bland. Another white impetuous generic dude. The amnesia trope was also employed here. The guy, once fully skilled, now have to relearn everything.

The companions, however, are much more varied. They never are very relevant to the plot, nor we participate in their own journeys, but they add a great flavor to the story. Particularly the pilot Greez: funny, warm hearted but scared little creature. And, of course, your droid companion. The villains are good. Some visually memorable like the Ninth Sister. Some are, like Malicos, from those type that appears, brags and dies. Next.

The general assortment of goons are the stars of the show. From low rank troopers, big machines, monsters and fallen Jedis, the list is varied throughout the whole game. They provoke fear and anxiety and relaxation. They generally do not talk or express any particular personality, but all portrait a very specific role.

The appearance of iconic characters is definitively a high point to mention. But not spoilers here.

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Visuals

No much to add beyond you can see in screenshots and trailers. The game is gorgeous. EA at least have to praised in this regard: despite being bad games, all recent SW games are visually stunning. Squadrons, another Amazon free game that I’m still playing, is also amazing.

Gameplay

The main core loop is great. In the Metrovania style, maps are presented but inaccessible until the player acquire some special ability. It implies that, when acquired, the player must revisit the same areas over and over again. There is a kind of fast travel mechanism, but the travel points are sparse and will still require some time traversing.

The combat is challenging. Being a Jedi presupposes being god-like fighter. The game gives the player enough abilities to make one feel powerful but not overpowered. Even on late levels it’s possible to lose health fighting goons. Health that is important in order to face bosses and harder enemies.

Boss encounter do not change the general gameplay substantially, which is a plus. You fight using the same muscle memory developed until it. There are always the annoying pre-cutscene that will be played over and over if you die a lot on these fights.

Visiting 5 different planets gives the scenery a great variation, even to being particular different regarding the traversal challenges. Ice planet, fire planet, vegetation planet, futurist planet/installation, underground… And all are beautiful to look at.

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Final

I got it for free, but I would pay for it if necessary. The game is fun, front and foremost. The story is a bit lacking, the protagonist is definitively lacking but when I finished, I even tried to complete some extra objectives to extend the experience.

My Rating:8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Metacritic: 81
2021.12.31

Game List 2021

Last year I published a post of my played games but the title was mistakenly name Media List 2020. It was a games list so this year it was properly named. This year I wrote much less about each individual game, so I dedicated a small space to comment each entry.

By far, the most important game I played was Cyberpunk 2077. At least, it was supposed to be the most loved and commented game. Whatever, here is a list of games of all games I played this year.

2021-01-13: Totally forgot to include both Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1.

Finished

Not finished yet (for a reason or another)

Most of them I barely started. Just to check the general flow or if it was working at all. Some It’s WIP. Few are collecting dust.

Not finished yet (still from previous years)

Yet, there are some games that I did not quit definitively, but they are still to be played (therefor, not yet rated). A few are event still installed.

Continuous playing

I play them eventually. Most of them, strategy games.

Next games in my radar

Finally, here a list of games that I already have in my collection that I plan to play in the next months.

  • Hitman: I’ve never finished Contracts, but just because I was obsessed for being perfect. I hope to play more relaxed this one.
  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: hope to be better then the 3.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (7β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): liked the first title, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…). I hope to like this one too.
  • We Are There Together: I bought to play with my wife using family feature on Steam (she shares all my games). HOWEVER, it is not included in the Play Together, so I am required to buy twice. :/ Trying to convince another soul to play with me.
  • Heavy Rain : I will play this critically acclaimed story-driven games from Quantic Dream with my wife.
  • Beyond: Two Souls (8β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…): another story to play accompanied.
2021.12.31

Movie List 2021

Just a list of movies that I’ve seen this pandemic year.

  1. Be Kind Rewind
  2. Best in Show
  3. Borat
  4. Borat Subsequent Movie
  5. Bridesmaids
  6. Coming 2 America
  7. Cruela
  8. Don’t Look Up
  9. Enola Holmes
  10. I Care a Log
  11. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  12. Incendies
  13. Judas and the Black Messiah
  14. Lady and the Tramp
  15. Last Knights
  16. Live Twice, Love Once
  17. Mank
  18. Minari
  19. News of the World
  20. Okja
  21. Radioactive
  22. Roma
  23. Shadow
  24. Sound of Metal
  25. Sound of Silence
  26. The Chamber
  27. The Dig
  28. The Father
  29. The Informer
  30. The King
  31. The Midnight Sky
  32. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  33. Us
  34. Wasp Network
  35. White Tiger

Documentary

  1. American Factory
  2. Honeyland

Animations

  1. A Cat in Paris
  2. Luca
  3. Soul
  4. Your name

Shows

  1. Loki (S1)
  2. Mandalorian (S1, S2)
  3. Morning Show (S1)
  4. Queen’s Gambit (S1)
  5. Ted Lasso (S1 S2)
  6. The Spy (S1)
  7. This is Us (S1)
  8. Tiger King (S1)
Bruno π•„π”Έπ•Šπ•Šπ”Έ