Currently Playing: X-Wing Miniature Game

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I’ve been curious to try this game for a while. I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars, and I even tried getting toys when I had the chance. Also, I’ve been playing some classic X-Wing games recently to get my fix. Now here is the X-Wing Miniature Game that I have been wanting to try for a long time. I’ve been seeing videos of this from Shup Up and Sit Down and at TableTop. Paul of HobbyPro Central was kind enough to set aside some time to teach me how to play. The game is a tactical dog fighting game with a Star Wars theme made by Fantasy Flight Games.

I am amazed with the detail of the ships. Other than it has good detailing on the small models themselves, it’s already painted, and it looks amazing. You do have an option to paint it, but it’s an option. This is not like the Warhammer tabletop games where you have to paint it.

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I suppose the only problem that you can encounter with the look of the ships is that if you have a friend with you that has the same set of miniatures, it can get confusing. But that it a minor gripe, and it’s just because I like how it already looks.

Setting up the game takes a while though since we had to look through all the ship cards that are placed on the stand. These ship cards are specific to the ship, which details who is piloting the ship, shields, skills and others. I only borrowed a set, so there were a lot to go through. We did eventually find the cards we needed to start the game. With ship cards in place, we also get pilot cards.

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I chose to use the Imperial ships. Regardless of how weird TIE-Fighters look like, I still find them cool. Of course, Paul used the Rebel Alliance. We had only setup on a small table, so the fight will be very quick. So I thought… We setup our placement of the ships, I start from one end, and Paul starts from the other. We can position our ships almost anywhere as long as its within small range from your end.

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So the game starts by planning your moves. Pilot cards have numbers which detail on who moves first. The lower the number, moves first. Higher number moves last. You plan moves by using a move dial. This will determine if it can move forward, left or right, in high speed or in turn really quick. It can also determine if your ship will cool down or heat up depending on the move you make. You plan on your moves on the move dial and put on the table face down. What’s interesting with this first phase is that you have to plan ahead on how you want to do the attack, but you also have to second guess on what your opponent will do.

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Once everyone has made their plans, it’s now time to move the ships. Players now show up all the move dials. Lowest pilot number moves first, and highest number moves last. You use a move template to guide you on how far your ship has moved. If a ship collides with a ship or asteroid, they loose a move turn on the next turn.

Ships have moved, now its time to attack. Pilot number who has the higher value attacks first. Now you attack based on an angle that is shown on the ship card. You also use a kind of ruler that measures your hit range. Once you can determine if you can make a proper hit without anything blocking your line of sight, you use a number of attack dice determined by the ship card and your ruler. The shorter the range, the more dice that you can use. Attack dice has options to do a critical attack, a regular attack, miss or focus. Right after a ship attacks, the defender must roll a defender dice, to determine of they were able to dodge or take the hit. Focus on the other hand gives them the ability to use a special set of skills, like twisting around, or using force powers, depending on your ship and pilot skills.

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And once all the ships have attacked, it starts again with the planning phase.

The game was a lot of fun and exciting. Especially when the dog fighting starts. Although I do have to admit that starting with the basic set is very minimal because you start with only 2 TIE-Fighters and 1 X-Wing.It’s so basic that the dog fight is not that interesting to play. But if you play with a lot of ships, I started out with 4 TIE-Fighters and a TIE Advance on my first game. The more ships you have with the game, the better it gets. And when I played, I can almost image how it was all looking if I was the pilot of the ship, sound effects included.

Paul suggested, at least get 2 core sets when starting out.

Oh, by the way, they also have an app that does the dice roll and with added sound effects too. If I get the game for myself, I might not be able to stop myself from getting the app too, just for the fun of the special effects.

Special thanks to Paul Domingo of HobbtPro Central for teaching me how to play the basics. Looking forward to play with deeper rules.

Just before you leave, you have to see this expansion set of the game, the Tentative IV CR90. Here’s a review from Tom Strong Reviews.

Some images in this article come directly from Fantasy Flight Games.

Gaming News: Unreal Engine 4 is now free!

It’s one of the most successful game engines currently. So many games have come out using the Unreal Engine, it’s amazing that they are offering the game engine free of charge. Epic Games created the game engine which is highly portable to any device, The engine itself is practically new, with very famous upcoming games already using the engine like Kingdom Hearts 3, Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5, Eve Valkyrie and more.

They only ask a very little thing; which is 5% of your revenue once you reach $3,000 or higher. And considering they only get revenue once you reach a high level of sale, I think that’s a win win situation.

The engine can be used for education, business, making games and what ever you want to do with it.

This is a high contender for Unity since they also offered their older engine for free too. But Unreal Engine 4 has an advantage that it is an upcoming high end engine. Another competitive engine is CryEngine, they do have a subscription system which is relatively affordable (which is at around $10, currently around an estimated PhP450 a month).

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The video below shows a developed scene in 3 hours made out of pre-made assets using Unreal Engine 4.

This is an interesting time to be a game developer.

Check out the Unreal Engine announcement page. Learn more about Unreal Engine here.

Gaming Thoughts: Gaming Nostalgia Through Man Crates

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Nostalgia, I crave to play new games but there is always something that keeps me playing classic games. Especially now, that I do enjoy playing old games from GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games). But there is always more fascinating when playing a classic game console, it gives you a feeling that you’re back in time, it’s like being a kid again. Sure, it’s still difficult to play classic games especially with most games back in the day really required skill and patience to play. But still, the games that felt difficult, but when you get the chance to finish the game, it feels amazing. It’s rare to get that feeling from games these days.

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I got this email almost a month ago from Man Crates. At first I thought it might be some form of spam but as I researched about the site, I actually got interested in their service. The website is basically a gift service targeted to men. Their packages are contained in a wooden box, and you have to use a small tool to pry it open (the tool is also included). They have different packages like for fans of sports, hunting and other stuff. One of their fascinating packages is the retro gaming package, in which includes a retro gaming system (like a Nintendo Entertainment System or an SNES) that plays some classic games and some snacks. The box itself, opening it, makes you feel so manly. And once it’s opened, there is that sense of satisfaction of seeing a complete set of gifts. It even includes snacks.

It does make me think of how to get nostalgic when gaming. My ideal way to play some classic games is basically hooking up an NES or a FamiCom on a big CRTTV, turn off the lights. Insert a game like Mega Man 2 or Ninja Gaiden 2, which are pretty difficult but I enjoyed playing them and being able to finish it. To listen to the fascinating music of old 8bit systems and to watch the wonderful graphics artists were able to pull even with the limited color the NES can put to use in the day. Maybe eat a bit of chips and some soft drinks with a group of friends while trying to finish the game.

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I suppose for me, those 2 games stood out from the rest because, even though it was difficult, it was manageable for me, it was not impossible to finish. Although, I have to admit that my brother, even though he’s not like a gamer like me, he’s the only one I know who can finish the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. Yup, that’s not the arcade port, it’s the original RPG action game with the top down view of the city and when you get inside buildings or the sewers, it turns into a action platformer.

But I have to admit that games are better with friends. With that in mind, I love side scrolling brawlers or shooters like Double Dragon or Life Force. It’s fun to play with friends and taking turns with others so that everyone gets a chance to play. It’s how I remember playing these classic games with my siblings and cousins.

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Man Crates does have something amazing to offer. Somehow their package is not just what’s inside the box, but the experience of it. Which is more than what money can buy, in that case, these Man Crates are wonderful gifts. Of course, as gifts, it’s amazing to get these for people who know will love them. It’s a little weird to get one for yourself, but that won’t stop anyone who is nostalgic for games.

I do wonder how this service will work in the Philippines, since our customs system is ridiculously makes it almost impossible for us to enjoy stuff that are shipped coming from other countries. But if you are in the US, this is a wonderful gift to receive. Someone must really care for you.

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But, in any case, if you do receive one; I can imagine that is perfect to be opened up with a group of friends around, fascinated with what in the world is in the crate.

You can look at their packages here:

All images comes from Man Crates.

Gaming News: Final Fantasy XV Demo Footage

The game looks impressive. The video is almost 2 hours long. I’m getting curious how this game turns out.

Movie News: Zack Snyder posted a pic of Jason Momoa as Aquaman

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Zack Snyder posted a pic on Twitter. And it just caused a lot of excitement. This is absolutely cool. It’s been a while since we last heard anything about the Batman V Superman movie, We have seen Superman (Henry Cavill)  already, glimpses of Batman (Ben Affleck) and a picture of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Since they announced Jason Momoa to be Aquaman, I was excited. We was pretty good at Game of Thrones as Khal Drogo, which is so impressive regardless of how much I don’t understand the unique language they used in the series. His acting is quite good, too bad that the Conan movie reboot didn’t turn out too well, but I still am excited to see this actor in the big screen.

Gadget News: AndroidOne by Cherry Mobile and MyPhone

Yup, an official phone line from Google Philippines, AndroidOne will come out from Cherry Mobile (Cherry One) and MyPhone (MyPhone Uno).

Cherry Mobile One specs

  • 1.3GHz quad-core processor MTK6582m
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display, Asahi Glass
  • 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 5-megapixel rear camera with BSI
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM / Dual Standby
  • 3G, HSPA+, GSM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 1780mAh battery
  • Price: sub- Php 5,000

MyPhone Uno specs:

  • 4.5-inch FWVGA display
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 1.3GHz Cortex A7 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB storage
  • Expandable up to 32GB
  • 5MP rear camera
  • 2MP front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • 1700mAh battery
  • Price: sub- Php 4,599

Both phones look great. Although Cherry One seems like a better phone. Hopefully I could be able to test one when it is available. This is a great move by Google Philippines. This is looking good.

TV Rumor: Thea Queen may turn out to be Artemis

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This is currently a rumor, that in the TV show Arrow (based on the DC Comic’s Green Arrow), the character Thea Queen (Played by Willa Holland), the sister of Oliver Queen (Green Arrow played by Amell) may turn out to be Artemis.

Fascinating news, I like the idea. 3 seasons in the series and episodes has been just getting better and better.

Movie News: Bryan Singer’s Instagram Image. Oh yeah, it involves X-Men Apocalypse

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What does this image tell you? This is Bryan Singer’s Instagram account. It says:

Some production art. #XmenApocalypse #GrantMajor I was a little busy but will continue to snap more.

At the moment, I have no idea, but it is exciting to see some progress in the movie. It looks like some kind of ship. I wasn’t really impressed with the after credits scene in Days of Future Past. But I do look forward to how they are going to make this story work. The character Apocalypse is supposed to be the known first mutant, born 5000 years. if you’ve seen the end credits scene, he’s the one with the blue skin, raising his hands. He’s supposed to be making the Pyramids. The new movie is supposed to be set in the 1980s.

X-Men Apocalypse is scheduled to be shown on May 27, 2016.

Currently Playing: COUP (Card game)

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I was able to get a chance to play a card game on some little time I had. A few friends of mine introduced me to COUP. The game started out as a Kickstarter project. The game is very interesting, because it’s a game of bluff and deception. What amazed me is how simple the concept is.

At first I saw instruction card, I thought it might be hard to understand. But after one play through, the rules are easy enough to understand. And it’s surprisingly easy that anyone can get into the game in just a few minutes. You just have to remember the cards that you can declare which is what the instruction card does.

You hold 2 cards (which also works as your life), and a couple of coins. You can declare that you can a specific card (with some additional instructions like assassinate, steal, get coins, exchange cards and others). Either players follow what you said or, anyone can call it a bluff. If you do have the card, the one who called the bluff looses a card. If you don’t have the card, you loose a card. The game can be played from 2 to 6 players.

There are only 5 cards to consider. The Duke, you take 3 coins. The Captain, you steal coins from another player. The Assassin, can remove any card from another player. The Ambassador, you can exchange any one card that you have. And the Contessa, you can block an assassination.

If you get 7 coins or more, you can declare a COUP. Which forces one player of your choice to loose a card. If you get 10 coins or more, you are forced to declare a COUP.

Regardless of how simple the game is, the artwork is incredible. Even with just 5 cards, it shows that there is love for this game.

It’s a fascinating game. It’s simple, fast and fun. And I can’t stress how simple it is when you get the hang of it. I mean, you can finish a game in just a couple of minutes if you wanted to. But if you really take your time to get in the game, it can be tense trying to figure out if you if you need to lie or tell the truth or trying to figure out if your opponents are bluffing or not. If you have a few minutes to kill, or long hours of fun with friends, I think this is a game that you can enjoy. It gets better with a lot of friends too.

Image by Scott King. You can also check out the official website here.

Gaming News: Datablitz has the new 3DXL

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Details from their Facebook page:

THE LONG WAIT IS FINALLY OVER!

The NEW Nintendo 3DS XL [Black/Red] will be available today at Datablitz!

• Face-tracking 3D – Games leap to life with super-stable 3D. The face-tracking feature uses the system’s inner cameras to adjust images based on your viewing angle, so you can enjoy total immersion in your games.

• New controls – The C stick brings new control possibilities (like intuitive camera control) to compatible games.
And, new ZL and ZR buttons give you more options than ever.

• Built-in amiibo support – Tap an amiibo™ figure to the near-field communication (NFC) reader on the lower screen to enjoy amiibo features in compatible games.
Get bonus items and content, customize your character, and more when you use amiibo figures (like Mario!) with amiibo-compatible games.

• More power – Improved CPU performance means faster loading times, so you spend more time playing. Many games will look and play better than ever—and several upcoming games will be built from the ground up to take advantage of this power boost.

• Play even more games – You can still play all Nintendo 3DS games and nearly all games from previous systems such as Nintendo DS and DSi. And, some future titles will be exclusively playable on the New Nintendo 3DS XL.

• Easy data sharing – You can transfer your photos, music, and other files between a PC and your system’s microSDHC** card via a wireless network. No need to remove the microSDHC card!

• Better browsing – The new-and-improved Internet browser lets you watch videos and surf the Web with ease. You can even use the ZL/ZR buttons to switch tabs or zoom in with the C stick.

• Improved camera – Enjoy better results when you take photos in low-light situations.

SRP: P11,995

Includes:
– One free game.*
– 220v Charger

*Title included is subject to our discretion and would vary per branch.