Star Wars Potpourri

I have a couple of articles that ended with “to be continued”. A�While I, myself, hate the traditional cliffhanger, in this case it was unavoidable. A�”Okay, Buddy, that’s the argument that every hack writer makes.” A�You’re probably thinking at this point. A�”I really hate this hacky writing device, but I had no choice.” A�First, I won’t argue that I’m a hack. A�Second, you must understand. A�It is the end of the semester and things are insane right now. A�I am actually impressed that I’ve more or less kept up with my schedule as I can’t do that even during the best of weeks. A�So, while it was avoidable, I did not exert the extra effort to avoid it. A�Therefore, without further ado, I present the thrilling conclusion to 2 Generations Gaming Star Wars week.

Lego The Force Awakens

I have no update on this game because I haven’t been able to play it. A�Both our Wii U is not fond of the television in the playroom (it is an old tube TV, so doesn’t play well with the new fangled HD gaming systems) and the disc is behaving funny. A�I did watch some gameplay videos on YouTube to be able to discuss it shortly on the podcast, but I can’t report on my own experience right now.

I know, Chewy. Believe me, I’m disappointed, too.

Star Wars Battlefront

I’ve only loaded this one up once or twice since the original article, but I’m here to report that I still enjoy the game very much. A�I’ve gotten over my initial skepticism about the tutorial level that was only an FPS and the seemingly overly long X-Wing level to settle on a mostly positive impression of the game.

I played through some of the speeder level and it is even cooler than the Lego level. A�You don’t have the secrets (at least I didn’t find any secrets during my run) that you do in the Lego level, but the graphics are top notch and it really feels like you are in the movie. A�I want to play some more to try to finish the level as I was terrible at controlling the speeder and kept running into trees. A�So, I suppose, it was more or less canon.

The game does not mince words when you are bad.

I also did a bit of the escort mission to take the AT-AT to take over the rebel base in order to wait for Darth Vader. A�So, I guess I played those levels out of order. A�Oops. A�Well, really, who among us wouldn’t have done the same. A�You get to play as Vader or you get to escort an AT-AT? A�Really, that’s a no brainer. A�Regardless, I didn’t get very far in this level because the computer couldn’t handle the graphics. A� Wait, let me see if I can tune down the settings. A�Why didn’t I think of that earlier? A�And, nope, at the lowest level and only pulling 10 FPS. A�Well, this computer was never meant for gaming. A�Just a happy accident that some games are not as graphic intensive. A�Well, maybe if I get a full time job, I can pick up yet another gaming PC for myself. A�In the meantime, I’ll stick to what works on this computer.

X-Wing Miniatures

Of the games that I promised an update, I have played this one the most. A�First, I played against Liam to prepare for the podcast. A�Then, Chris and I played a game last Friday during our latest abbreviated nerd night. A�Even so, I might yet have to do another quick update on the game in the near future. A�You see, both games were played without the advanced rules because both times I was introducing the game to them. A�We may have been able to use the advanced rules in the game against Chris, but more on that in a minute.

When playing against Liam, the first thing he asked was how long a game might take. A�I found this a bit odd, as it’s not like he would have a hot date that night. A�He clarified by saying, “It’s just some games take a long time to play like Monopoly.” A�This time, I found his choice of simile odd. A�We almost never play Monopoly in this house. A�Perhaps he was trying to Muhammad Ali me with a bit of rope a dope.

Actual footage of my brain as Liam played his mind games on me.

If that was in intention, it worked. A�He beat me pretty handily. A�Maybe I just stink at the game and I’m making excuses. A�Granted, there is precedent for me being terrible at games. A�However, and this is the important part, I’m not one to make excuses. A�If i stink, I will fully admit that I stink. A�Besides, I beat Chris the next day, so if I stink, he’s even worse.

Speaking of Chris, I mentioned earlier that we probably could have played with the advanced rules. A�That’s because during our game, I found myself referring to the rulebook often to look up what a particular symbol meant. A�More often than not, my response was, “Oh, that makes sense” or “Yeah, I can see how that fits into the flow of the game.” A�So, while the basic game is fun, I think we’re ready to move on to the next level.

 

Saving My Galaxy?

(Editor’s Note: A�Yes, this headline is one of our soon to be famous lame “dad joke” double meaning ones. A�Not only that, I will “mom joke” it and explain the punchline! A�First, the game is called “Galaxy of Heroes”. A�Secondly, I actually was playing it on a Galaxy and Samsung batteries are known to explode/catch on fire! A�Thank you, I’ll be here all week. A�Tip your servers.)

I am still wary of mobile games. A�Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still worry that I’m going to download a game and its going to be some random match-3 with an IP slapped on it or, possibly worse, a terrible Chinese card A�battle rip off game. A�I mean, come on, Hearthstone is on mobile now. A�I just downloaded MKX on my phone. A�Granted, the gameplay of that one is pretty terrible and it is mostly just a treadmill game. A�Still, the graphics are great and the treadmill is enough to keep me logging in. A�So, I’m not entirely sure why I can’t let go of that bias. A�Old prejudice die hard.

I think the most recent election proved that. Damn, this just got way too real.

And, back to the main topic of the article. A�I’ve covered a PC Star Wars game (2 if you count the Minecraft mod), a console game, and a tabletop miniature game. A�All that’s left is mobile to cover all of the bases. A�Once upon a time, I played the Commander game, which is a clone of Clash of Clans. A�Honestly, I’m not that big of a flan of Clash and the Star Wars coating wasn’t enough to make it worth my time. A�So, I went on the search for a different mobile game.

Enter both an ad and an “Editor’s Choice” designation for Star Wars: A�Galaxy of Heroes and maybe my earlier rant starts to make sense. A�Having been burned by my previous experience, I worried that a similar disappointment awaited me in this game. A�”But, Editor’s Choice!” You might say. A�Honestly, that’s the only reason that I downloaded it. A�Score another one for the capitalist pigs!

Well, not really, since the game is free to play. A�But, you get the point. A�I’m honestly glad that I did end up downloading it. A�The game does introduce “cards”–one of the things that I worried about–but it is an honest to goodness turn based strategy game. A�Granted, it isn’t as in depth as some other games. A�Also, there is literally no story.

I think if ever there was an appropriate time to test this theory, it would be in writing the story for a Star Wars video game. A�Don’t they literally write themselves?

That’s the most disappointing part of the game. A�As someone who plays games mostly for the story, it can be difficult to enjoy a game that eschews story for no good reason. A�Besides, even Candy Crush has a coherent story. A�There’s certainly no excuse for a Star Wars game to not have at least some story of story. A�It’s unforgivable! A�Sure, they attempt to put a face on it like there’s a story by pretending some nonsense or another, but it is barely worth mentioning.

However, if you either don’t care about story or can ignore the utter lack of one, you will be rewarded with a mostly positive game experience. A�I mean, it isn’t any more than tap gameplay of most mobile games. A�However, some game types and genres fit better than others. A�Others, as evidenced by Mortal Kombat, suffer greatly.

I know that I can sometimes exaggerate things, but the graphics of this game are damn good, right? I know they couldn’t do a full port of the game, but *tap* *tap* *tap* for punch, punch kick?

The aforementioned “match 3” game is obviously some of the best, er, match for this style. A�It shows in the sheer numbers of those games. A�As is to be expected, most are crap. A�Don’t get me wrong. A�I actually enjoy some of them. A�The Puzzle Quest series, for instance, are great games.

Thankfully, though, this isn’t that. A�It also is not one of those lame “card battlers” that have come out of Chinese game studios. A�There are “cards” in the game, but they aren’t integral to the actual gameplay. A�The game revolves around turn based combat. A�Initially, I almost fell into the habit of calling it a turn based RPG. A�Other than the combat, though, there is nothing here that I’d even remotely call an RPG.

As already mentioned, it is severely lacking in any type of story. A�After having played it a bit more, the weird thing about that is that they actually lump your “missions” into clumps on similar planets. A�That fact lends itself to developing a reason why your party is on that planet, objectives that your party needs to accomplish (other than just killing dudes), and you got yourself a story.

I mean, seriously. I can’t promise that I come as cheap as them or could write as well as them, but that was just off the top of my head.

So far, it has been very easy to level my player level and each level you get a bag full of goodies from it. A�You use those goodies to level your characters, rinse, and repeat. A�I haven’t been tempted to spend real cash on the game yet, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t often spend a ton of money on these games, so maybe I’m not the best barometer in that case. A�Then again, if you are like me and you like to squeeze as much as you can out of these free to play games and let the whales throw around their money to support your habit, then this seems like a game that will let you do that.

Add in the occasional “Wow, cool!” moment when you open up a familiar character from one of the movies and you have a pretty decent game. A�It isn’t high on my rotation. A�Also, it remains to be seen if I continue to log in every day. A�But, for right now, it has become a part of my daily routine.

Tiny Pilots

(Editor’s Note: A�Not very long ago in a teeny, tiny galaxy very near…)

More specifically, about a year ago and right here in this town, my friend introduced me to the X-Wing miniatures game. A�Long time readers know that I’ve been trying to get into miniatures for a couple of years. A�I even went as far as taking a painting class to try to jump start the process. A�It got me to purchase some of the models and even prime them. A�Then, I got no farther. A�Maybe this is finally the year that I branch out into the world of Hordes/War Machine. A�I have been reading the magazine quite a lot lately.

I also finally purchased my own copy of the X-Wing miniatures game. A�So, I am currently at the point in the process where I play prepainted miniatures and try to find the time to paint some of my own. A�It remains to be seen if I ever take the next step, but I am anxious to do so. A�We currently have nothing planned for the webpage and podcasts for August, so there’s a chance to motivate me to get the models ready for then.

While my friend had models from the original trilogy, the set that I ordered from Amazon because it was on sale has models from The Force Awakens. A�That doesn’t make a difference unless I go crazy and decide that I want to collect the various models. A�I don’t anticipate that happening because I’m a cheap ass gamer.

I was talking to Chris about the game and he texted me from one of the gaming stores, “They have Slave I!” There are a ton of ships for it, so maybe I won’t be able to keep that promise of not going crazy.

The reason that it doesn’t ultimately matter which set I got is that both sets come with the same types of ship models. A�There are two tie fighters and one X-wing. A�The box also comes with attack/defense dice, tokens, movement cards, and a rule book. A�You know, everything you’d expect in the box. A�It also has a learn to play book and a mission book. A�The game is very noob friendly and has a ton right out of the box to keep you playing even without spending money on the expansion ships. A�That’s good because those can get expensive.

Before we move on to the actual gameplay, I have a humorous (at least to me) story about my unboxing of the game. A�I’ve already told you most of what’s in the box. A�As I took each piece out, I gave it the obligatory “cool” or “neat” and the appropriate amount of attention. A�Look over the models for a few minutes after putting the tokens off to the side. A�Set aside the directions to read after inspecting the models. A�Then, “Oh wait, what’s this?” A�A book containing many of the other Fantasy Flight games? A�That’s interesting.

Interesting? A�I’ll say. A�I spent more time thumbing through the catalog and mentally making a list than anything else, the instructions included. A�I even texted Chris how excited I was to look through the catalog. A�I felt like a poor kid going window shopping at Christmas.

It’s almost as if they include the catalog intentionally to get people to buy more games….nah!

Okay, so maybe the story wasn’t that humorous, but you have to admit that it’s a bit silly that I spent money on this game and the thing that excited me most was the prospect of spending more money. A�Score one for the capitalist pigs!

Now, we’ve covered my background with the game and what’s in the box. A�All we have left to discuss is the actual gameplay. A�As mentioned, I don’t have extensive experience playing miniature games. A�Therefore, I don’t have anything to directly compare to the experience. A�However, I have read the rules to Hordes several times over, so I can more or less give an indirect comparison for those who have played those games. A�That will hopefully give you enough information to decide if the game is for you.

It is my understanding that X-Wing is a simpler and more streamlined version of a miniature game. A�I’m not sure how true that is becaues both Warhammer and Hordes have been working to simplify their rules. A�Still, there are only 4 defined phases in X-Wing and each of them requires only one or maybe 2 actions to resolve. A�Even when compared to an easier Hordes or Warhammer, X-Wing seems to be the more straight forward rules set. A�I know that we were able to finish two games in a half an hour to 45 minutes. A�I don’t think you can complete even one of those other games, let alone two in that time frame. A�I’m not saying that’s good or bad. A�I’m just trying to give an idea of what to expect. A�If you only have time for a quick game, X-Wing is the obvious choice.

I mean, look at that battlefield. It would take a half an hour simply to get through the move phase of all those troops!

So, the games are quick. A�But, are they fun? A�Spoiler alert: A�yes. A�that spoiled conclusion should come as no surprise. A�I liked the game enough to play it twice and then order it for myself and the boys. A�Yes, this game is a ton of fun.

The strategy element comes in right from the beginning of the turn because you have to anticipate your opponent’s movement and try to plan accordingly. A�Usually the first few turns are getting a feel for what the other player wants to do and use that to build your own plan. A�It is a game of cat and mouse that captures the feeling of discovering an enemy and initiating battle very well.

Once the feeling out process is completed and you settle into the main game, it is time to put that hard earned intel to the test. A�For the most part, I did well. A�There were a couple of times, though, that I made the wrong move. A�Being so new at the game, though, I can’t say which were mistakes on my part or whether my friend outmaneuvered me. A�I’m going to play again with the boys and try to keep track of the games better and the next game report will be more complete.

Until then, rest assured that the game is quick. A�It is fun. A�It is easy to pick up and play. A�It doesn’t require a huge time or money commitment simply to get all of the models set up. A�In short, it is the perfect way to get started in the hobby or take a break from the more grindy games.

Mine Wars

(Editor’s Note #1: A�We are reviewingA�Parzi’s Star Wars ModA�for this article. A�What? A�A genuine Editor’s note and not a lame joke? A�Well, they asked to be given credit in any article/video, so here it is.)

(Editor’s Note #2: A�You got Star Wars in my Minecraft. A�You got Minecraft in my Star Wars! A�Two great tastes that go great together? A�Ah, there’s the lame joke.)

This article will serve as a bridge between our current topic of Star Wars and our main topic of May, which is Minecraft. A�I wish that I could take credit for doing that on purpose. A�However, the truth is that it is a happy accident. A�I was simply looking for another Star Wars game to write an article to support the podcast and I remembered that I downloaded a Star Wars mod for Minecraft last year, but never played it. A�Well, as Bob Ross says, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

This accident certainly was happy. A�I made the same stupid joke in the editor’s note of my Lego Star Wars article as I did in this one. A�Sometimes a “mash up” of two different good things is a disaster. A�I’m looking at you, Glee. A�Most of the time, though, as long as the two things complement each other and care is taken to integrate the best of those things into the final product, the mash up can succeed and maybe even surpass the quality of the originals.

Seriously, Thriller is just about the perfect song. A�You dishonor your family by attempting to remix it.

As you read this review, bear in mind that I have only made it about an hour into playing through the mod. A�It’s been enough to discover two new types of dust, fuse them together, and smelt them into a new kind of ingot. A�Other than than, though, the rest of what I’ve done is normal Minecraft things. A�I haven’t even been able to use the new metal to craft any other new material. A�So, no, this mod has not enhanced Minecraft to a level beyond yet. A�It certainly is not something I’d play over Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront, or even any of the Lego games.

I’m not saying that it won’t. A�I’m not even saying that it can’t A�In fact, I did a bit of searching to see if I could find any tips or hints for the mod to get me started. A�”Hey!” A�You might protest, “Minecraft is about exploration!” A�True. A�However, and my defense is two fold. A�First, I was exploring the Google Machine for assistance. A�Secondly, the console version has a tutorial to introduce you to the game. A�So, I feel vindicated from my Googling shame.

Besides, it’s not like I found anything. I think I need to take my phone to the Apple genius bar to get it checked out. The Google doesn’t work right.

So, while I have a life line out at the mod forum, I loaded it up in creative. A�The main problem is that I need a ship to use my hyperdrive in order to get to other planets. A�I’m not sure if I have to craft the ship or if I will find one that has spawned randomly. A�So, I created my own ship, used the hyperdrive, and went to Tatooine.

Okay, now this is more like it! A�There are sand people (and their signature roar!), Bantha, and pig men (not of the zombie variety)! A�That guy over there wants to make me a storm trooper! A�This guy doesn’t like me, either! A�That dude is selling ships! A�Wow, this is awesome! A�For the record, both Aiden and Quinn agree.

This is awesome!

I didn’t want to spoil too much of the mod before I’m able to do a video capture, so I shut down the game after that. A�However, I have an update on my forum inquiry. A�Apparently the first hyperdrive, the one that takes you to Tatooine, does not require a ship. A�Therefore, I am free to continue my exploration to find obsidian to make a nether portal and get a blaze rod. A�Because, the hyperdrive requires an Eye of Ender. A�I already have the Ender Pearl (because eff those creepy thieving freaks) and the ore (found a use for it!), so it’s diamond hunting time. A�Should be no problem because I usually have an uncanny ability to find diamonds. A�As with my Lego The Force Awakens Update, look for more of my adventures in the mod in a couple of weeks when we talk about Minecraft.

Happy little accident.