Tag Archives: board games

Researching hate

1 Nov

For just the tiniest smidgen of my novel, I needed an idea of how racist rallies work. I’ve never been to a protest of any kind (although I walked near one once; there were about five people waving placards in Southampton city centre – I think they were protesting the Iraq war) so I didn’t/don’t know how they really work. My character is hearing the protests from a distance, so that didn’t matter too much.

What I did need to know was what sort of slogan would be chanted at a protest with a racist objective. So I delved into the dark places of the internet. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find a strong urge to vomit. I found a blog with horrible jokes about Muslim people, dehumanising and disgusting, and further posts from the same blog explaining why Muslims weren’t as good as other people and violence against them was totally justified.

Then I stopped researching for the day and went to take a shower.

It absolutely horrified me that in 2014 there are people who think some people are better than other people just because of the colour of their skin or the god(s) they worship or don’t worship. For a milder example, I would probably not get to be president of the United States because I am an atheist.

Also because I am English (and female, but I think we’re getting there on that one. Slowly).

Eventually I gave up, and it’s not something I want to research again. Sometimes it would be easier to bury my head in the sand completely.

It's a threeway! ...tie for gaming victory

Kjarl and I are quite the detectives

 

Currently reading:

Harry Potter y la Cámara Secreta by J K Rowling

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The Magic in the Weaving by Tamora Pierce

The Story of the Jews  by Simon Schama*

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen*

Sagittarius Whorl by Julian May

A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

Completed since 12/3/2014 (62)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns*
Pawn by Aimée Carter*
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan*
A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After the Feast by George R R Martin*
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan*
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan*
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan*
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Hounded by Kevin Hearne*
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë*
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Hexed by Kevin Hearne*
Hammered by Kevin Hearne*
Tricked by Kevin Hearne*
The Great Cat Massacre: A History of Britain in 100 Mistakes by Gareth Rubin*
Bridget Jones’s Diary: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding*
United We Spy by Ally Carter
The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid*
Trapped by Kevin Hearne*
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë*
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Perseus Spur by Julian May
Hunted by Kevin Hearne*
Sisters by Barbara Mortimer*
The Martian by Andy Weir*
“I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.”

Orion Arm by Julian May
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch*
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë*

*First read

Busy going nowhere

17 Sep

Everything is very frustrating and up in the air these days. I was playing lots of Star Wars: The Old Republic as a distraction but my main character is stuck because Sith Lords are hard to kill, so I got frustrated with that too.

As a result, I am reading voraciously. I have finished five books since Friday, and I currently am surrounded by the eight books I am reading at the moment. I’m trying to broaden my mind a bit, so I’ve broken into reading nonfiction, and I continue my slow crawl through the classics section of the library. I’m still on Brontë, though Anne now. Why this was shelved after Charlotte is beyond me. Maybe Eastleigh Library alphabet is different to our English alphabet (Which I want to say is Hindu-Arabic but I think that’s our numeric system).

The stream of consciousness in this post is overflowing. I think I need to fetch sandbags.

Anyway, so I read a history book and now I’m reading one about nurses’ perspectives in World War II.

I’m also devouring geography quizzes and can now locate and name all the states of the US (in alphabetical order, forwards and backwards…it helps me sleep), and locate the countries of South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. My friends are getting used to being told things like ‘Eritrea is kinda shaped like a funnel’ and ‘Turkmenistan sorta looks like it’s on its way to eat Turkey, but Azerbaijan with its big nose is in the way’. They are thrilled.

I am enjoying the exciting process of being rejected for jobs that would challenge me AND jobs that I could do in my sleep. It’s a fun time. I wish I had known, when I stopped qualifying for Job Seekers Allowance, that I would still be unemployed four months later. I could have spent the time working on my own business and writing my novel instead of searching for jobs.

Anyway, I have excellent family and friends, and that’s something that should never be undervalued. I’ll be starting a marketing course on Monday, courtesy of Fairy, and I’m looking forward to it 🙂

Everybody proving equally matched at boardgames

It’s a four-way tie for second/last place!

 

Currently reading:

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

United We Spy by Ally Carter
‘”And…and…this is your fault.” He pointed in my direction. “You should have had the decency to die when we needed you to.”
“Sorry,” I admitted. “I’ve been going through a bit of a rebellious streak. I swear it’s almost over.”‘

Sisters by Barbara Mortimer*

The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid*

Trapped by Kevin Hearne*

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
“‘We have all the bows, Ravelle!’
‘Well, damn,’ said Locke. ‘You must have raided the weapons lockers then. I suppose I was hoping we could have one of those pleasant dancing mutinies, or maybe a singing-and-card-games mutiny, you know?'”

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë*

Completed since 12/3/2014 (45)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns*
Pawn by Aimée Carter*
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan*
A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After the Feast by George R R Martin*
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan*
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan*
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan*
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Hounded by Kevin Hearne*
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
“‘You are very near death, Master Lamora,’ said Ibelius. ‘it is foolish for you to be larking about on deck in this weather.’
‘Ibelius,’ said Jean, ‘if what Locke is doing were larking about, corpses could get jobs as acrobats.’

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë*
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
‘”You know,” I whispered, “some girls might think it’s creepy having a boy watch them sleep.”
He smirked and pointed to himself. “Spy.”
“Oh.” I nodded. “Right. So you’re a trained Peeping Tom.”
“Product of the best peeping academies in the country.”‘

Hexed by Kevin Hearne*
Hammered by Kevin Hearne*
Tricked by Kevin Hearne*
The Great Cat Massacre: A History of Britain in 100 Mistakes by Gareth Rubin*
“Singapore was supposed to be impregnable but, as a certain young mother from Bethlehem could tell you, impregnation can sometimes come from the most unexpected direction.”

Bridget Jones’s Diary: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding*

*First read

The Trouser Legs of Time

2 Sep

Sometimes I find myself caught up in ‘what-ifs’, what Terry Pratchett calls the trouser legs of time. Not necessarily in a wistful way – sometimes in a ‘whoa, that would suck’ kind of way.

Let’s start with ‘What if I had studied harder at college and got better A level grades?’ 

Oddly, this one wouldn’t make that much of a difference. I got into the university I wanted and the course I wanted.

Which leads us to ‘What if I had made more friends at uni, studied harder, and slept through less lectures?’

I could have been a teacher for seven years by now! Weird. Also, I would never have met my ex.

Which leads us to ‘What if my ex hadn’t broken up with me?’

To be fair, I would be pretty miserable. I was devastated at the time, but our particular mesh of mental illnesses did not complement each other at all. Also, as a result of our breakup, I was at my mum’s house one day when a neighbour came over to ask if any of Mum’s children would like a summer job…

‘What if I hadn’t worked for the NHS?’

Then I wouldn’t have been on a Southampton City Primary Care Trust Christmas party that collided with a Southampton University Hospitals Trust Christmas party, which was largely insignificant except that I met my fiance that night.

These are just some of the ways my mind goes. Sometimes it can get pretty dizzying, considering all the possibilities.

Like, ‘What if I’d won more games recently?’

Then the table wouldn’t look like this:

Table top games

Orphen’s been on a roll lately

Currently reading:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
“‘You wound us, Madam,’ said Calo. ‘We’re harmless as kittens.’
‘More so,’ said Galdo. ‘Kittens have claws and piss on things indiscriminately.'”

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë*

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Hexed by Kevin Hearne*

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Completed since 12/3/2014 (37)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns*
Pawn by Aimée Carter*
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan*
A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After the Feast by George R R Martin*
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan*
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan*
Mort by Terry Pratchett
“It struck Mort with sudden, terrible poignancy that Death must be the loneliest creature in the universe. In the great party of Creation, he was always in the kitchen.”

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan*
“‘Percy,’ my mom said. ‘I give you my blessing.’
‘Be safe, brother!’ Tyson pleaded.
‘Enchiladas!’ Grover said. I wasn’t sure where that came from, but it didn’t seem to help much.”

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
“The Operatives realized they were about to have a very hostile encounter with a very angry teacher- slash-possible-enemy-agent, so they utilized a number of highly recommended covert tactics.
1. Operative McHenry said, “Are you ready yet? Are you ready yet? Are you ready yet?” in rapid succession until Operative Sutton was, in fact, ready”

Hounded by Kevin Hearne*
“Monty Python is like catnip for nerds. Once you get them started quoting it, they re constitutionally incapable of feeling depressed.”

*First Read

Learning new things

5 Aug

In the face of my struggling computer, I decided it’s time to see what I can do to fix it up a bit, since buying a new one or paying for repairs is out of the question. So a few days ago I loaded up a video on Youtube and learned how to clean the fan. It was mucky but easy enough, and my computer now runs a lot more quietly and I don’t have a permanent heat rash on my left leg. Success!

I still need to work out how to speed the thing up though – can’t afford a new hard drive or anything. I also need a new battery and charger.

With my suddenly not-burning-with-the-heat-of-a-thousand-suns computer, I decided I would spend some time playing Star Wars: The Old Republic again. SWTOR is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) a bit like World of Warcraft, but obviously set in the Star Wars galaxy. You can play with two characters for free up to a certain

Dominion - tabletop card based games

Our layout of Dominion, complete with Kjarl and Fairlake’s hands

level, and although being a subscriber gets you extra stuff, it’s still plenty of fun. I played for two days solid and got up to about level 12, and I think you can go up to level 50 for free. You can choose your class (Jedi, trooper, empire etc) and your race (I’m human at the moment, my first time playing my main Jedi character was a Twi’lek) and whether you want to play on the side of the Republic or the Sith Empire.

I kind of want to play right now. Oh well. Stuff to do.

A couple of weeks ago the gang played Dominion for the first time – it started out seeming really difficult but then we got the hang of it and it was loads of fun. It’s a card based game where you have to …accomplish…stuff. Okay, it was a couple of weeks ago. I can’t remember how to play, just that I enjoyed myself, and that I won!

That changes the scoreboard (though just a little bit), so here goes:

Board games scoreboard

You may all admire how I forget what font I’ve used every time I update the table

Currently reading:

Mort by Terry Pratchett
“Mort tapped the stallholder in the small of the back. 
   ‘Can you see me?’ he demanded.
   The stallholder squinted critically at him.
   ‘I reckon so,’ he said. ‘or someone very much like you.'”

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan*

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
“The Operatives made contact with an asset who had firsthand knowledge of the Blackthorne Institute for Boys. The Asset was also privy to Joe Solomon’s private plans, the Circle’s secrets, and some of the most awesome-smelling soap in the world. The Operatives, therefore, tried not to trust (or smell) The Asset.”

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Completed since 12/3/2014 (32)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns*
Pawn by Aimée Carter*
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan*
“‘My fatal flaw. That’s what the sirens showed me. My fatal flaw is hubris.’
   I blinked. ‘That brown stuff they spread on veggie sandwiches?’
   She rolled her eyes. ‘No, Seaweed Brain. That’s hummus. Hubris is worse.’
   ‘What could be worse than hummus?'”

A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After the Feast by George R R Martin*
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
“Operatives Morgan, Baxter and Sutton conducted a detailed search of the Gallagher Mansion, following the textbook grid pattern of detection. (They were sure about this because Operative Sutton brought along the actual textbook.)”

Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan*
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan*
“‘Your mark was on the crates at camp. Quintus got his scorpions from you.’
   ‘Quintus . . .’Geryon mused. ‘Short grey hair, muscular, swordsman?’
   ‘Yeah.’
   ‘Never heard of him.'”

Running through tarmac

3 Jul

Time is speeding along while nothing much changes at Casa Lexicon. No job is forthcoming, and now I can add jobs I’m overqualified for to my list of jobs I’m being rejected for, having broadened my search.

Following the death of my sister-in-law in a traffic accident last year, the trial for the man who caused the accident was last week, and he was found not guilty. My fiance has really struggled with the run-up to the trial and the trial itself, and it’s impacted his mental health and job performance, which is Bad. He’s expecting a warning of some sort next week.

So, yes, basically everything continues to suck.

In nice things, however, the weather has been beautiful for most of the last few weeks, and Floydie is enjoying indulging his sundog side. I’ve been cutting myself off internet time a little bit earlier so I can read more.

I’ve discovered the Percy Jackson series thanks to Orphen’s recommendation (and lending me the books) and am hugely enjoying them so far. I’m also watching Star Trek TOS for the first time in the order it originally aired, and it’s awesome – I had no idea I’d enjoy it this much. The Naked Time, which is the fourth episode, is entirely too much fun.

The gang are hoping to start playing games again soon, and hopefully I’ll get a job one day!

This post is all over the place.

Currently reading

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Pawn by Aimée Carter*

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
‘The Operative was able to neutralise the immediate threat to the operation by feigning severe mental distress – which was easier than she’d thought, since she was feeling both distressed and mental.’

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan*
‘He looked like an evil male model, showing off what the fashionable college-age villain was wearing to Harvard this year.’

A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After the Feast by George R R Martin*

Completed since 12/3/2014 (24)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*
Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*
“‘I am the Mother of Monsters, the terrible Echidna!’
I stared at her. All I could think to say was: ‘Isn’t that a kind of anteater?’
She howled, her reptilian face turning brown and green with rage, ‘I hate it when people say that! I hate Australia!'”

Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns*

*First read

Underground, overground, wombling free

25 Jun

That title works equally well for what I did on most of my holiday and also for the fact that I’m watching a lot of tennis lately!

We got back from the Isle of Wight a week and a half ago, and since then I’ve been running through quicksand a bit. Last week started out with a day of panic attacks that stopped me from functioning basically for the entire week, though I did have a great meeting with my Prince’s Trust mentor on the Tuesday. He agrees that finding a job is actually the first step towards building my business, so I can stop worrying about money so much, so that takes some pressure off.

With Wimbledon going on, I’m probably not going to have time to take part in this month’s pictonaut challenge – I had an idea about an inverse fairytale but now the world shall never know!

Many games were played whilst we were on holiday – I think there was only one night where we didn’t play, and we half watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture instead. Holy homoerotic subtext, Batman!

So, here’s the table as it stands:

Now Orphen and I are lagging behind

Now Orphen and I are lagging behind

We also played several rounds of Pandemic, which is really hard. You play co-operatively against the game, trying to save humanity from four diseases, which you can name yourself. We had:

  • The Zombie Apocalypse (of course)
  • Stupidity
  • Yawning (we wanted something contagious)
  • Floyditis (After the dog. Symptoms include drooling, obsession with my fiance, excessive waggliness, awful farts, and inappropriate boners)

We played three times, and although we did get better, we never progressed past curing one disease. We got Yawning once and Stupidity once. We never eradicated it though. We must continue playing until we improve!

Currently reading

A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin*

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*

Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough*

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
“From stone’s point of view the universe is hardly created and mountain ranges are bouncing up and down like organ-stops while continents zip backwards and forwards in general high spirits, crashing into each other from the sheer joy of momentum and getting their rocks off. It is going to be quite some time before stone notices its disfiguring little skin disease and starts to scratch, which is just as well.”

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan*

Pawn by Aimée Carter* (I thought it was by Ally Carter when I picked it up, but it’s still really good!)

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Completed since 12/3/2014 (19)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett*
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie*
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Message by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Predator by K A Applegate
For the Win by Cory Doctorow*
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett*
Animorphs: The Capture by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Stranger by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Alien by K A Applegate
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
‘“Did you mail a picture of your penis?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Would it make it better if I said I was mailing pictures of someone else’s penis?”
I’ve thought about that question for fifteen years and I still don’t have a good answer.

Avengers Prime: Volume One by Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis*
“Thor, if they made a greeting card which said: congratulations to you on your army gathering skills…I would buy you one” – Tony Stark

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

*First read

Lazy Farmers

8 May Carcasonne

Sunday saw another gathering of my friends for the purpose of playing games. It started out as a plan to play tennis on Monday and somehow became a plan to play board games on Sunday. We made plans with just over an hour to spare, so commenced a spree of showering and getting dressed. My friends are like-minded, hence three of us being in pajamas at 1.30 in the afternoon.

We kicked the afternoon off with cookies, crisps, and a game of Shadows Over Camelot. Shadows is a nifty game because you play together against the game itself. This was only our second game, so we’re still taking it pretty easy on ourselves – we tell each other what cards we’ve got, and we haven’t introduced a traitor into the mix yet.

It took us maybe 20 minutes to go back over the rules. The first time we played it took about 45 minutes to read the rules, and we were still a little confused, so make sure you leave plenty of time the first time you play.

It’s an excellent game – we found the Holy Grail, retrieved Excalibur from Avalon, did…something with Lancelot’s armour, got defeated by the Black Knight, and kicked some Pict butt, all the while fighting the siege engines gathering around the walls of Camelot.

Shadows Over Camelot

Shadows Over Camelot

We then moved on to playing Carcassonne, which is a game where you build the board as you play. On your turn you place a tile, and then use little wooden people, called ‘Meeple’ to collect points.

Knights stand on cities, robbers stand on roads, and Meeple become farmers by lying down in fields. Because that’s what farmers do.

To quote Kjarl, after one of his Meeple fell down: “Can’t stand! Too lazy! Must…become…farmer!”

There’s an odd sort of psychology to how people keep their playing pieces when not in use:

meeple

 

Carcasonne

A very tidy game of Carcasonne

Our first game resulted in a very tidy map, and I won! It was very exciting. I like to win. A little more than I’m proud of.

Pride comes before a fall, as they say, and my fall was in our second game of Carcasonne, where I dramatically came last. Fairlake took the lead by one or two spaces, with Kjarl and Orphen right behind, and Fairy and I way, way back.

We moved onto playing Settlers of Catan, and the game was pretty even most of the way through, then all of a sudden Fairy had a bunch of cities. We carried on battling for some time, but then Fairy built a road, took the longest road card, gained two victory points, and won.

The thing is, she wasn’t actually just trying for the longest road. In her own words: “I want to make it long but also have something come out of it.”

There may have been some giggling. Some very mature giggling.

So, here are the scores on the doors:

Kjarl needs to up his game

Kjarl needs to up his game

The next time I post will be a short story I’ve written with a picture prompt; I’ll link back and stuff at the bottom.

Currently reading

For the Win by Cory Doctorow

A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin

Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Animorphs: The Encounter by K A Applegate

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Completed since 12/3/2014

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate
Animorphs: The Visitor by K A Applegate

The Catan Munchkin Wars

16 Apr

Last Saturday (the 5th) was International Tabletop Day, a movement spearheaded by the folks at Geek and Sundry to get people to play more table top/board games.

My friends apparently didn’t need an excuse, as without thinking about it we organised a dinner and games session on the Sunday. Then we retconned it so it was for Tabletop Day.

It was nice to see other people on my Facebook timeline playing games as well. I really want to give Cards Against Humanity a try sometime. It sounds…wrong. But in a good way.

First, I have decided to start a table! Because I am exciting like that.

Let me introduce the players:Me

Me! It’s pretty clear from this blog who I am, so I’ll just show you my nice image and move on.

 

fairy
Fairy
likes a lot of things, including me and sci-fi/fantasy books and TV shows. She is convinced that dice hate her, and over our many years of friendship I’ve seen little to disprove this.

ORPHEN

 

Orphen is Fairy’s husband. He likes gaming of all sorts, and is my regular Risk opponent as well as the person I am most likely to play video games with.

fairlake

 

Fairlake is my biggest TV show geeksquee companion, and we have spent many a happy hour talking about TV shows such as Buffy, Firefly, and Doctor Who in high pitched voices.

Kjarl

 

Kjarl is Fairlake’s boyfriend and is very smart, which is annoying of him. He too likes many things, some of which are penguins, hence his penguin picture.

We kicked our evening off with a round of Munchkin, which is a card based roleplaying game that’s a parody of more traditional RPGs. You’re prowling through a dungeon, fighting wacky monsters and stealing their treasure. You want to be the first one to reach level 10, which usually involves a lot of being really unkind to your friends until somebody wins because everybody’s used up their helpful cards.

Our first game of Munchkin was weird, in that nothing very interesting happened. I made the foolish mistake of picking up a duck (never pick up a duck in a dungeon) and dropped two levels early on, which effectively took me out of the running. Fairy dramatically failed to draw a monster to fight most of the way through the game, apart from a Level 20 Plutonium Dragon that she had no chance against so tamed it and made it into her steed. This meant that she didn’t level up very much, but since she was riding a dragon she looked way cooler.

The final battle came down to Fairlake, Orphen and Kjarl, and when it came for Fairlake to fight a monster for the victory, nobody had a single helpful card to beat her. This was actually pretty handy because dinner was ready.

After a delicious vegetable curry made by Fairy, we played another game of Munchkin as we hadn’t fulfilled our backstabbing quotient for the evening. This one was more traditional and lasted longer, and while I didn’t do very well for myself, I was able to set two level 20 wandering monsters on Fairy and stop her from winning. I am the best best friend ever.

In Munchkin you have cards that you can use as armour and weapons to boost your basic fight score. In both games I had Bear Feet, which gave me +2 to combat, and any time I drew a curse card trying to take my footwear away I could point down and say ‘But I have bear feet!’ and keep them. This made me happy both times I got to say it. In the end Orphen took the second game.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan – I was red, Fairlake orange, Fairy green, Orphen brown, Kjarl blue

Next we went to play Settlers of Catan, and we rolled to see who would go first.

Fairlake rolled 4.
I rolled 4.
Orphen rolled 4.
Fairy rolled 4.
Kjarl rolled 4.
Fairlake rolled 4 again.
I rolled 4 again.

We all stared suspiciously at the die. Orphen rolled again, and it came up 5. We still eyed the die. Seven times in a row? Really?

It showed no sign of favouring 4 throughout the actual game, so we just hit some crazy odds.

In the game, Fairlake and Fairy got into The Battle of the Massive Winding Roads, as the longest road is worth 2 victory points. They got in everybody’s way, including each other’s. I did something mean to everybody at the start of the game (not sure what) which meant I got a plentiful supply of bad things for the rest of the game.

I built five settlements to secure my best yet score in Catan, and was very pleased with myself. People kept rolling 7, which means the robber moves and steals stuff. In the words of Wil Wheaton, the robber is a dick.

At the last moment, Fairy wrestled the title of Longest Road from Fairlake, and with it won the game. Even though there were dice involved. It could just be because she didn’t necessarily have to roll the dice herself to get things. Or maybe the dice felt sorry for her this time. Or maybe it was skill. Who knows?

table

I demonstrated my confusion with the world by calling Orphen both my fiance’s and my dog’s names during the course of the evening.

But the other day my Mum called me ‘Bella – No, William!’ which is her cat and my brother, so clearly it’s hereditary.

Currently reading

For the Win by Cory Doctorow

A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin

Terrier by Tamora Pierce

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling

Animorphs: The Invasion by K A Applegate

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Completed since 12/3/2014

Snuff by Terry Pratchett

Persuasion by Jane Austen

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

A Risky Situation

14 Mar

So this afternoon my friend John came round to play. I acknowledge this makes me sound like an eight year old, but that’s what happened! This was booked about a week in advance and was much anticipated (by me, not sure about John).

We got snacks, and then sat and played Spartan Ops on Halo IV for about an hour and a half. This involved a lot of swearing (although not quite as much as usual for either of us), a lot of dying, and I lot of me saying ‘Heh, killed HIS ass’ which is sort of a misquote from one of the Southern Vampire Mysteries books.

Halo’s one of my favourite games, although as with all video games, my performance is patchy. Very patchy. I win matchmaking games (where I’m playing against people I don’t know) sometimes, and then another day I’ll lose so thoroughly that some twelve year old kid will send me a kindly message saying “Get the fuck off Xbox and never come back” which is, y’know, flattering. Twelve year old gamers are Lovely, y’all.

Star Wars Risk: Clone Wars Edition

Star Wars Risk: Clone Wars Edition

After a period of Spartan Ops, where we played together, we were now ready for something a bit competitive, so we broke out the Star Wars Risk (hence the post title – see what I did there?). I ended up playing as the Republic, while John took control of the Separatist armies.

We set out slowly, each taking one or two territories from each other per turn, and then I slowly started to make inroads into his territories. I built ships and used them to capture vast sections of the galaxy from the Separatist Scum, while trying to ignore the steady progress of Darth Sidius up the Order 66 trail.

When it seemed like three quarters of the galaxy was mine, disaster struck – Darth Sidius reached the top of the trail, and John declared Order 66. Sidius came out of the closet of evil, and announced that the Jedi had betrayed the Republic. What followed was a massacre. John rolled an eight sided die for each of my territories, and if he rolled two or higher, he got the territory and the troops on it.

I ended up with two territories. Down from about 25.

Nonetheless, my two territories, side by side in the Colonies, fought back. Dathomir and…somewhere else…managed to retrieve three more territories before being attacked by a massive onslaught of Imperial forces. After all, all it takes for evil to conquer is for good women to roll snake eyes.

All in all, it was a great afternoon, even if I did lose catastrophically.

All three of my books are still ongoing, plus one more. I’m going to add in random quotes I picked out, because I like quotes. Ask my friends. They’ll be all ‘archaic form of Big Brother!’ and then you’ll know.

Ongoing Books:

A Dance With Dragons: Part I by George R. R. Martin

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
“He heard the voice of Feeney saying, more frantically this time, ‘What are we going to do commander?’
And Vimes blinked and said, ‘Everything!‘”

For The Win by Cory Doctorow

Terrier by Tamora Pierce