Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Scry Some More!

Imagine the TF2 Heavy said that. Or don't. You may not even know who he is.

So Bayfest happened at some point in the past. I grabbed a rock weekend pass but skipped out on the Scorpions because the weather sucked and I was not terribly excited to an entire set of songs that are just variations on "Rock You Like a Hurricane".

Rush was on the Friday. I was late getting there so I missed out on some of their first set. The first one being the one they played before the second one. There were no openers apparently, just Rush for about four hours. So I caught a bunch of songs from their first and then they took a little break. The sun set, I stood around wondering if Geddy Lee was my real father and, eventually, Rush made it back to the stage. The show was fantastic, the highlight for me being Neil Peart's drum solo. The man has a beautiful kit and know how to put it to good use. His reputation as one of the best drummers in the world is well earned. Another thing that interested me was that vocalist Geddy Lee is also their bassist. Huh. Rhythm and melody. That's pretty cool.

The Saturday show was headlined by Weezer and opened by Crash Karma and Sam Roberts. Crash Karma put on a good show, pulling from the members' other bands as well as their own originals. Hearing them go into songs from Our Lady Peace and the Tea Party was neat and Edwin belting out "One Last Astronaut", a song from his days in I Mother Earth was fantastic.

Sam Roberts was... Sam Roberts. I am not a big fan but he put on an alright set.

Weezer's set was exactly as expected, which is to say excellent. When comparing it to Rush, it is difficult to say which was better. Rush is something like a very good and profound movie; you just find a spot and passively let the experience wash over you. Weezer, on the other hand, encourages interaction. The 60's style poppy hooks and aggressive play style makes you want to get into the fray and get moving (the crowd actually acts as a safety mechanism, preventing you from falling over as you flail about). I am very fond of this kind of concert environment. Of special note was the first encore in which they played covers of MGMT's Kids and Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

In between the two shows was Magic 2011's Prerelease. I have played a few events with the new set and in addition to telling you my that I have generally done terrible in the new Limited environment I can also tell you that Scry is a fun mechanic.

In my first draft experience, I built something just blew through my deck with planned card draw and then recyced everything with Elixir of Immortality. I went 0-3. Perhaps I could have used some kind of finisher?

I did have some success with a red deck that ran on Goblin Balloon Brigade and Volcanic Strength. Several copies of each helped with that. The idea was to be quick out of the gate and to use the optional flying to get past blockers when I needed to.

That is all. You are dismissed.
Travis T.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Head Full of Steam

It's summertime, a time when the outside world becomes a hellish furnace and we are assailed by such dangers as bees, open water and even attacked by our light giver, the sun. But how are we to avoid the outside world?

Well, Steam's big summer sales are over, so the rest of you are probably screwed. I, however, had the foresight to capitalize on this so have eliminated most reasons to dare venture into the perilous exterior of my house. And by not letting myself buy anything that cost me over $5, I've managed not to bankrupt myself. Here is a sample of what I've gotten around to playing.


This game is a riot. Summoning up a veritable horde of minions and laying waste to all that oppose me was an appealing premise from the start. And the minions are quite the characters themselves. The game does an excellent job of conveying the absolute chaos of the horde and their squeals of delight make me feel good inside. The ability to crush friendly villager to increase your dark power is also nice. The elves are definitely going to die. Haughty buggers.

King's Bounty

I enjoy a good turn based strategy. Hexagonal tiles only seem to increase my fondness. I also like all the options the game gives you. There are a lot of quests that give you multiple means for completion hitting both the moral high and low grounds. The vast array of troops is also cool.

Beat Hazard

It's Asteroids meets Audiosurf. This concept was an instant hit. As much as I liked the way Audiosurf generated maps based on your music, I wasn't too taken with the gameplay. Incorporating it into a top down shooter somehow made sense to me. It's so easy to play this game for hours without realizing it.

That's all I've gotten to so far. Check out these games if you wish. They're not particularly mainstream so they still might be reasonably priced. The beauty of Steam is that you won't have to leave home to get them. Screw you bees!

Magic 2011 Prerelease is on the weekend so I may do a bit of a report on that. Or not. Depend how I feel.

Capriciously yours,
Travis T