Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - My year of gaming

The majority of my gaming over this year has shifted from board games to video games.  2011 was the first year I decided to record the plays of video games via the VideoGameGeek website.  The method I choose to record my plays was that if I played a specific video game on a particular day I would record only a single play, regardless if I played the game for 5 minutes or 5 hours.  This allows me to easily track how much I use a game on a daily basis over the full year.  

Here is a combined list of video and board games I played in 2012.

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead 58
Minecraft 42
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar 40
Battlefield 3 20
Pass the Pigs 19
Just Cause 2 11
Max Payne 3 9
Grand Theft Auto IV 8
Call of Duty: Black Ops II 5
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Pick Picknic 4
Alien Swarm 3
Diablo II 3
Die Mauer 3
PitchCar Mini 3
Sherlock 3
The aMAZEing Labyrinth 2
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 2
Gran Turismo 5 2
Haunted Castle 2
Portal 2 2
Risk Express 2
Der schwarze Pirat 2
The Settlers of Catan 2
Snorta! 2
UNO Stacko 2
ArmA II 1
Batman: Arkham Asylum 1
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers 1
Cartagena 1
Ch√Ęteau Roquefort 1
Dungeons & Dragons Online 1
Formula Motor Racing 1
Gotham City Impostors 1
Half-Life 2 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Defenders of Kinsland 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Malliddon's Prophecy 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Road to the Forgotten Forest 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Thora's Vengeance 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Ticalla Jungle 1
Heroscape Expansion Set: Utgar's Rage 1
Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie 1
Heroscape Master Set: Swarm of the Marro 1
Just Dance 2 1
Lord of the Rings 1
Microsoft Flight 1
No Thanks! 1
Samba De Amigo 1
Scrabble 1
Through the Desert 1
Tutankhamen 1
Wii Sports Resort 1

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead was certainly my most played PC video game over the course of 2012.  The main reason for this was to play the DayZ mod for this game.  DayZ is a zombie survival game which I find so much fun to play.

Minecraft was another game I spent a lot of time playing in 2012 on PC.  This game was a lot of fun playing multiplayer with my daughters Maddie and Georgia.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar or LOTRO is a great PC game that Maddie and I play together online. 

Happy New Year and good gaming to all for 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Hobbit - A Long Awaited Viewing

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released on 14 December 2012 but unfortunately here in Australia we had to wait a further 12 days until it opened on Boxing Day 26 December 2012.

Gandalf and a hobbit girl

My wife had pre-booked tickets for me and Maddie (our family's two LOTR fans) to see the first session on Boxing Day at our local cinema.  The version of The Hobbit we saw was the 3D and 48 frames per second (FPS) version.

It was wonderful to return to Peter Jackson's version of Middle-Earth after almost a decade.  We both very much enjoyed the film and can't wait for the next one in the trilogy to be released in a years time.

There were some reports in the media of people not liking the higher frame rate, however I found no problem with the 48 FPS frame rate. 

Roll on December 2013 for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gaming with Grandma - 129

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mother Sue (AKA Grandma), wife Debbie and two daughters, Maddie (11) and Georgia (6.5).

The game we played today was Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. I'm trying to introduce the girls to more grown up games and this game is recommended for 8 years and up.  As this was the first game for Maddie and Georgia, on their respective turns I explained the options and benefits for their tile placement and let them choose where to place it.  In fact we were all involved in advising on tile placement on each turn.  Maddie found the game not that interesting (despite eventually winning) and Georgia found it all a little too complex.  Grandma and Debbie picked it up fairly quickly and enjoyed the game play.

Final scores were Maddie 72, Wayne 64, Georgia 61, Grandma 58 and Debbie 40.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Gaming with Grandma - 128

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mother Sue (AKA Grandma) and two daughters, Maddie (11) and Georgia (6.5).  Our special guest today was my wife Debbie (AKA Mummy) who normally works most weekends but is currently recovering from recent surgery and was able to join us as a 5th player.

Our first game today was a game I'd been wanting to play since I received in a BoardGameGeek Math Trade back in 2008.  Die Mauer (translated as 'The Wall' in German) is a game in which each player is given a matching set of 7 wooden pieces (a tower, a gate and 5 wall pieces of different lengths) which they hold hidden in their hand.  On a turn, players secretly select a single piece and all reveal at the same time.  Depending on what type and the number of pieces revealed, as well as who is the Master Builder for that round (an orange piece that is rotated to the left player at the end of each round), determines the effect of building on that round.  There are a couple of simple building restrictions and we all picked this game up after a few quick rounds, with the exception of Georgia who at 6 years old struggled a little bit.

We played three rounds. Final scores were 1st Wayne - 16, 2nd Grandma - 17, 3rd Debbie - 26, 4th Maddie - 30 and 5th Georgia - 53.  I should point out that although I won overall, Grandma did win two of the three rounds but just missed out on taking 1st place overall when final scores were calculated.  All the adults enjoyed this game but the kids weren't that enamoured.  This would be a good pub or camping game and only needs a small flat surface.

Because Georgia came last we let her choose the next game.  She chose Pick Picknic.  In this game players are dealt a hand of cards representing either fowl or foxes of differing numerical strengths.  A playing area of 6 boards is laid out representing the enclosures of 6 types of fowl.  Each round a single coloured wooden cube is randomly deposited on each board.  These cubes are in three colours of differing values (green = 1, blue = 2, and yellow = 3) and are the victory points players are attempting to acquire.  Each turn players secretly choose a card from their hand and all then reveal at the same time.  Depending on what type of card (fowl or fox), and how many are played on a specific board, determines the outcome of the round.  Foxes eat fowls and this is another way players can acquire victory points.

The mechanics of this game are similar to Die Mauer but perhaps more thematically suited to children.  That's not to say adults can't enjoy this game, and I find it's a great game for parents and children to play together.

Final scores were 1st Debbie - 58, 2nd Wayne - 36, 3rd Georgia - 35, 4th Maddie - 28 and 5th Grandma - 9.  It was great to see Deb win and Georgia so close to beating me for 2nd place.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Hobbit - It's a Wrap!

Principle photography has now finished on the set of The Hobbit films according to Peter Jackson's Facebook page.

I eagerly await the first of the two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which will be released on 14 December 2012.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The C Word

I'll never forget the moment my wife rang me at work in late April this year to tearfully tell me that she had received the results of recent medical examination - cancer had been found in her bowel.

The last couple of months have been pretty surreal for our family.  We have tried to remain positive, take one day at a time and just focus on doing what we need to do.  I've taken time off work to support my wife and look after our two children.

My wife has now had surgery to remove the specific section of her colon, she has spent time recovering in hospital and is now home with us again.  The best news of all, and such a relief, is that further tests have shown that the cancer was caught early and most importantly has not spread.

So there you go,  a little unexpected road bump on our journey through life that is now thankfully behind us.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gaming with Grandma - 127

Another Saturday gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and daughters Maddie (10) and Georgia (6).  This morning we played three board games.

Our first game was PitchCar Mini and it was chosen by Georgia.  The girls wanted to have teams so it was Maddie and Georgia vs Grandma and me.

It was an exciting 3 lap race with the lead changing several times.  We use a house rule where if a player is in last place after their flick, they can take a second flick.  We find this works well and keeps everyone in with a chance.  The final scores were 1st Georgia, 2nd Wayne, 3rd Grandma and 4th Maddie.

 PitchCar Mini

 The second game was Der schwarze Pirat (The Black Pirate).  In this game players use a rubber bellows to blow wooden ships around the board in search of golden treasure on the many islands.  This is a game we all enjoy and everyone gets to talk like a pirate.  Final scores were 1st Grandma with 13 gold, 2nd Wayne with 9 gold, 3rd Maddie with 8 gold and 4th Georgia with 6 gold.

Der schwarze Pirat

Our final game of the morning was Burg Appenzell (AKA Chateau Roquefort).  In this game players have 4 mice each to scamper under the roofs of the castle in search of cheese.  This is a game which uses action points to move, run or slide a piece of ceiling tile.  The sliding mechanic allows you to move pieces of the board horizontally and vertically which adds to the strategy.  This was the first time Georgia has played this game and she soon got the hang of it.  Both girls were leading for the majority of the time but I made a quick burst at the end to claim my 4th piece of cheese and the sweet (or should that be cheesy) victory.  Final scores were 1st Wayne with 4 pieces of cheese, 2nd Maddie and Georgia with 3 cheeses each and 4th Grandma with 1 piece of cheese.

 Burg Appenzell

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Fellowship - 1

These are plastic 25mm miniatures from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings line.  They are the Fellowship models from the Mines of Moria boxed set which was released in 2005.

These are pre-owned models that I won on eBay a couple of years ago.  I've stripped them of their previous paint jobs and cleaned off any excess mold lines that were still remaining.  I've also washed them and glued on a base of sand.  The next step will be to spray paint them with an undercoat of black paint.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Warriors of Rohan - 1

It's been over 10 months since I did any work on my miniature wargame hobby.  Back in March 2010 I stripped the paint off 13 Warriors of Rohan I'd won on eBay.  Today was a planned day off work so I bought a new CFL bulb for my desk lamp and started preparing the miniatures for painting.

These are plastic miniatures and are 25mm scale.  After washing them in soapy water and drying them off I pulled out my trusty craft blade and cleaned off any flash I could see.  I then did some minor conversions.  One of the spearmen had a broken spear so I removed the remaining shaft, cut off and repositioned his right arm, inserted an axe I'd made earlier, removed his shield, and in his left hand inserted a metal wire to be used as a banner pole.  The other conversion I did was to remove the plastic arrow from one of the archers and replace it with a thin piece of wire.

After that I dabbled some PVA glue on the surface of the bases and sprinkled some sand/gravel over the top.  I'll leave the miniatures to dry overnight and the next step will be to undercoat them with spray paint.

I find this part of the hobby relaxing and it was all the more enjoyable while listening to the Lord of the Rings movie soundtracks.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brisbane Short-necked Turtle

This is a Brisbane Short-necked Turtle that I spotted in a local creek near where I live.  I took these photos on 14 March 2009. 

The Brisbane Short-necked Turtle (Emydura signata) is a freshwater species that inhabits standing water bodies and permanent slow-moving streams.  Its carapace (upper shell) is approximately 20-23 cm long.  A distinguishing feature of this turtle is that it has a white stripe along the side of its face.

This particular turtle has its shell coated with algae, giving it excellent camouflage.