Silver Screen Smackdown-Movie review-How to Train Your Dragon 2

Movie– How to Train Your Dragon 2

TL; DR– A little rushed, but an awesome movie! 90%

Summary– What happens after the hero wins? How to Train your Dragon 2 picks up with our hero Hiccup now that his town is safe, his people live with dragons, and his dad wants to retire.  Hiccup is being offered the role of chief by his father, but he doesn’t want to lead.  So, he now explores the world trying to find other dragons and land.  As he travels, he finds that others are trapping dragons, and someone is out there protecting the dragons.  Who is this someone and can Hiccup stop the dragon trappers?

 

Story- Just like the first, this story is amazing.   The world gets a decent yet quick introduction, and moves off from there.  My only complaint is this movie doesn’t give enough background to the characters. We are almost assumed to know who they are.  Also, this story will go MUCH further and faster than you think it has a right to!  It’s well done, but a little rushed to get the story in in the run time. 4/5

 

Actors– All the actors knock this one out of the park.  I wish some of the secondary actors would get a bit more screen time as they don’t get the time they deserve to shine.  Even the new actors do amazing jobs and feel like they belong in the world.   I just wish I saw some more of the second string get to play a bit more. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– DreamWorks- you did an amazing job making this look at once beautiful, terrifying, and funny.  Monsters that can kill a man look scary one moment and friendly the next.  The fake dragons have as much personality as the people just through expressions alone. The movie has a consistent style that is phenomenal. 5/5

 

Summary– Let’s not split hairs here-This move isn’t as good as the original.  That is true, but this movie is still a great movie.  Well worth the price of admissions, and I honestly now want there to be a third movie.  I don’t often feel that way anymore about movies, but I want more from this world.  Next time, just give me a few moments to catch my breath and a few more moments with the minor characters! 90%

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Ring Side Report- Board Review of Rococo

Product– Rococo

Producer-Eagle games

Set-up/Play/Clean-Up-30-40/player (2-5 players)

Price-~$60 at http://smile.amazon.com/Rococo-Rokoko/dp/B00GYB6R7O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404149257&sr=8-1&keywords=Rococo

TL; DR-A crazy mix of mechanics that work well! 90%

 

Basics– Let’s get ready to roc(k)! In Rococo, you play a business that makes clothing for the nobles of Louis XV court as you vie for the most prestige during one of the numerous balls.  I’m going to do a simple summary, but this game has LOTS of different game mechanics.  Each turn you select three different workers from your worker deck.  These workers come in three different types: master, journeyman, and apprentice.  The remaining cards from your deck are set aside, and you have to choose next turn’s cards/actions from those.  The different workers can do different things.  Masters can do everything, while journeymen can’t hire new people and apprentices can’t make dresses, hire people, or take the first player marker.  Then, with your hand of three cards you go around the board selecting different actions with no limit to the number of times the same action can be performed.  These actions are: become the first player, buy silk/thread/linen, make a dress, hire a new employee, send employees to the king for a monetary reward, and fund decoration at the ball for points.  After taking an action, most worker cards have a second action that they get to perform as a free action like shopping again or making dresses without a type of silk.  When you make a dress, you have to spend the type of silk it requires as well as thread and/or lace.  After, you can place the dress in one of five rooms in the ball or sell the dress for money.  Each round, new workers, resources, and dresses come out and you receive a few coins to fund more dresses.  After the seventh round, you score points.  Points are scored based on each dress, decorating the hall, having the most and second most dresses in each of the five halls, having dresses in all the halls, and other card effects.  The person with the most points is the best dress maker at this ball.

 

Theme– The theme is pretty strong in this one and it ties pretty well with what the mechanics are.  Yes, you make dresses, but all the steps in making that dress come across pretty well.  And the fact that your lowliest workers can’t make the fancy dresses makes this seem more real than you would originally think.  I won’t lie, as this game doesn’t have a perfectly integrated theme as I don’t feel like I’m sewing a dress when I make a dress.  But, I do feel like I’m making something.  The board makes this feel like a ball and you can feel the fight develop between the players as they out maneuver one another to get the dresses to the right places for the most prestige. 4/5

 

Mechanics– There is WAY too much going on in this game, but MAN does it work.  This game is like if you took all your favorite games from the last few years, put them in a blender, and it the heavy grind button.  This game could have failed so badly on the launch pad, but the people who put this together know what they were doing.  All the different mechanics work so well together.  There is a lot going on, but it’s all moving in the right direction.  And, it’s easy to quickly get a grasp of! 5/5

 

Instructions- The instructions have a lot of ground to cover trying to explain the full concepts I briefly explained before.  That said, the instructions do it well.  For such a complicated game the rule book is only FOUR double sided pages!  Well done!  5/5

 

Execution– I like the parts of this game, with a few minor reservations.  The components are nice.  I love thick cardboard.  The dresses come with a nice bag to randomize them, but why wasn’t there a nice bad for the cloth?  It’s hard to shuffle cardboard stacks, so give me a different bag!  Also the box comes with some plastic bags, but not quite enough to separate all the parts.  And, the box is a lighter grade cardboard then the tokens, so it’s kind of flimsy.  Those are minor concerns as the game in general is well put together.   4/5

 

Summary– I played this game at Origins because I had an extra ticket and I wanted to get my fifth card for a discount on a different game by this company.  Man, am I glad I sat down and played this game even though the theme put me off at first.  It is an amazing game that just “works”.  It’s like bees-scientifically they shouldn’t have been able to fly until we found out recently how they did.   This game features lots of differing mechanics that should clutter up a game and render it an unplayable mess, but the game mechanics all work so well together.  That, to me, is one of the more amazing things I’ve seen in a while.  This is a really smart game.  If you love hard thinking board game, then give this one a try. 90 %

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Inner Sea Gods

Product– Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods

Producer-Paizo

System-Pathfinder

Price-~$30 at http://smile.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Campaign-Setting-Inner-Gods/dp/1601255977/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404137191&sr=8-1&keywords=Pathfinder+Campaign+Setting+Inner+Sea+gods

TL; DR-If you want to know about the main Golarion gods, get this book. 90%

 

Basics– Inner Sea Gods is the first hard cover book discussing Golarion in a long time from Paizo, and as the name suggests, it focuses on the gods of the inner sea region.  Chapter one discusses the big 20-the top gods of the setting.  Each god gets a few pages discussing important stats for this god and prestige classes for characters of this god, the gods beliefs, the priesthood, the church, temples and shrines, a priest’s role in the world, how adventures see the god, clothing of worshipers, holy texts, holidays, aphorisms, relations between religions, the gods realm, planar allies, and a sidebar for characters of this god for different items, archetypes and character options.  Each god also gets a picture of a worshiper and the god itself.  After the main deities’ chapter, the second string of deities gets a chapter with each deity getting half a page followed by a section on race specific pantheons.  Next is a chapter on character options including three new prestige classes, feats, traits, domains spells, and items.  The book finishes with new monsters and quick stat tables on the gods.

 

Theme or fluff– I liked and didn’t like this one.  What was here was great, but what wasn’t was what really made this disappointing.  The first chapter of the book is amazing!  The write up on each god is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn about the gods of this world.  However, I would have gladly traded any items and spells in this book for more page space on the second string deities.  That was what I really wanted from this book.  Gods like Besmara already have a deity write up that could have been copy/pasted from the Adventure Paths (AP) right in this book!  And that’s the assumed default god of the second highest selling AP! Heck, some gods don’t even get the half page as some race deities get less than a paragraph in the pantheons.  Now, I know this is kind of nit-picking as +90% of players will pick a main god and use that, but those minor god details are important to me. 4/5

 

Mechanics or Crunch-This was done well even if I wanted more fluff in the book.  Instead of making an ungodly (ha puns!) number of different prestige classes, Paizo made three, BUT each god gives different powers depending on the god the character serves.  That right there, along with CMB/CMD, is the smartest thing Paizo has added to the 3.X system!  I don’t need a book with three classes per god (basically the standard Paizo three: skill monkey, fighter, and caster); I can have two pages explaining each class and 1/2 a page per god giving each god’s specific powers for those three. That frees up page space that was much better used and solved a problem in a smart way.  The feats, items, monsters, and powers provided by the book are also well done too.  Like any large book, there are winners and losers for all the options provided, but overall it’s not bad.  I think the alters and item are far overpriced for the bonus you get though.  As above, since the non-core gods don’t get much more than half a page, you can’t out of the box play the new prestige classes with the obscured gods.  But, those are minor problems. 4.5/5

 

Execution– It’s not a bad book.  I might have problems with content, but Paizo knows how to really put a bunch in each book.  The art helps keep the reader from getting bored since you are in essence reading at least 150 pages of fake theology textbook.  Item, spell, power, class layout is as great as ever.  I find nothing to complain about here. 5/5

 

Summary– If you play Pathfinder and are a cleric, then this book is a no brainer.  If you run a Pathfinder game and will use ANY gods at all, then this book is a no brainer.  I have my problems with what didn’t make the cut for this book as opposed to what did.  However, if you are the vast majority of people out there who pretend to worship some fantasy god in this system, then this book is for you.  If you want to worship some obscure god, you have a bit of work on your hands.  Since I love clerics in my 3.5 games, this a well done book I’m glad is part of my collection but not completely what I wanted. 90%

Daily Punch 6-26-14 Chosen of Death Feat for Pathfinder

If you have a chose of life, you have to have a chosen of death, right?

 

Chosen of Death

You are chosen of a God who reaps the fallen and causes those to die in his or her wake.  You now must act according to his or her dark wishes.

Benefit: A number of times per day equal to your wisdom modifier you can cast inflict light wounds.  At fifth level, the becomes inflict moderate wounds.  At 10th level, the spell becomes inflict serious wounds.  And at 15th level, the spell becomes inflict critical wounds.  The DC of the spell is determined as if you were a cleric.

Note: If you act against your patrons wishes, you lose the ability granted by this feat.  You must atone as a cleric would.

 

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 6-25-14 Chosen of Life feat for Pathfinder

Pathfinder would handle chosen a bit different.  How about a feat today?

 

Chosen of Life

You are chosen of a God who heals the sick and cures the fallen.  You now must act according to his or her wishes.

Benefit: A number of times per day equal to your wisdom modifier you can cast cure light wounds.  At fifth level, the becomes cure moderate wounds.  At 10th level, the spell becomes cure serious wounds.  And at 15th level, the spell becomes cure critical wounds.  The DC of the spell is determined as if you were a cleric.

Note: If you act against your patrons wishes, you lose the ability granted by this feat.  You must atone as a cleric would.

 

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 6-24-14 Chosen of Life Background for DnD Next

I’ve been reading the last Sundering Book for DnD Next.  But, I haven’t seen any backgrounds for Chosen!  Let’s start to change that…

 

Chosen of Life

You come from another life, but you had to give that up to follow another path.  You’ve learned things beyond your ken, but its cost you.  You are now chosen of a God focusing on life.  Whatever his or her goals are, those are your goals now.

 

Trait- Minor Powers bestowed

You gain the cantrip Spare the dying a number of times per day equal to your wisdom modifier.

 

Proficiences

Skills: Insight, Religion, Medicine

Tools: Healer’s kit

Languages

One of your choice

 

Equipment

Choose the equipment packages of another background.   This represents your past life’s belongings.

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game

Board Game– Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game

Producer-Dice Hate Me Games

Price– ~$30 through kickstarter later at http://dicehatemegames.com/games/vivajava-dice/

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 10 min/player (1-4 players)

TL;DR– You won’t hate this dice game by Dice Hate Me Game. 88%

 

Basics– Want a cup a Joe?  Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game is a reimagined version of the popular eurostyle coffee game that came out from Dice Hate Me Games a few years ago.  In this game, you roll dice and try to get multiple same colored beans in a simple poker mechanic.  Each turn, if you have a brew in front of you, you score points.  If not, you roll five dice.  From these dice, you decide to either make a brew or research.  Making a brew and over taking the current brew is determined by how many of one bean type you have with more being better and then the type of bean ranked one to six.  It’s simple poker with just flushes ie. four rank three beans beating three rank six beans.  You can also get a rainbow brew if you have five beans of different colors.  If you can’t beat the current coffee brews out there, you research.  When you research you choose which beans you want to research, and mark them on a score sheet.  You can only research one bean type each turn.  When you research to certain level for each bean type, you gain some powers like reroll, upgrade one bean, downgrade one bean, or extra dice.  You can also complete a research track, lose the ability the track gave you, and gain points.  There are five different powers each game with the sixth being flavor dice.  Flavor dice are extra dice for your turn, but each time a player rolls, you can roll too.  If the other player uses your flavor dice in their brew, you gain one point hence the semi-coop nature of the game.  If you still have flavor dice on your turn, you must roll them, and those dice leave at the end of your turn.  What keeps a player from winning easily is that the current winning brew degrades over time.  Each turn, the person who scores points for that brew must remove one dice from that brew ie. six rank four bean brew becomes a five rank four bean brew.  That player then chooses to either press their luck by hoping no other player beats their brew or roll the remaining dice.  Since you have to have five dice to make a brew, it’s almost impossible for a player to go from a winning brew to a new brew.  Player continues around the table like this until the first person to get 21 points wins.

 

Mechanics– This is an interesting mix of your standard American style and euro style games.  I won’t call this a eurogame, but there are elements of a eurogame in it.  The games randomness from the dice really do hamper full, hard core thinking potential of any eurogame, but that’s also part of this game’s charm.  Yes, playing this game you will be amazingly screwed by the dice since they are random.  But, that’s part of the fun, chance nature of this game.  As for the upgrades, they provide a lot of replay value as you now get random new boards that keep the game fresh as well as adding that eurogame element.  There is even a solo version if you just want to have some fun and roll some dice quick.  I also wanted to say any game that can fix the runaway winner problem is an elegantly designed game!  I wouldn’t necessarily call this semi-coop eurogame, but that doesn’t mean I won’t call this fun, well designed game. 4/5

 

Theme– Quick dice games are hard to have an immersive theme.  Since the game has a short run time, it’s hard to get deep into anything.  I like this game a lot, and I feel like I’m building “something”.  But, that “something” is nebulous.  I don’t necessarily feel like I am a coffee shop owner against all the odds tinkering to find the best flavored brew out there.  I feel the coffee theme is a bit added on.  You get some theme, but this game is one of those that you have to drag yourself in deeper to really be in the theme of the game.  The game’s theme is not bad by any means, but don’t expect to forget who you are for several hours as you carefully plan your coffee empire.  But then again, in several hours, you could play this game at least 10 times.  I thing a bit more flavor text would have made this game on part with other dice games in the same vain ie. Elder Sign. 3.5/5

 

Instructions– Well done through and through.  I was able to get going really fast and felt like I didn’t screw up anything.  I didn’t even have to run off to Board Game Geek and plead with random strangers to understand what the heck is going on.  So, top marks for that!  I don’t know how I feel about having the research powers on cards as opposed to being the rule book or a printout sheet.  But, that is just me.  The cards are well done and explain the rules really well.  Best part of all this is that one cards is a QR code that links to the Dice Hate Me Games website that will have FAQs and new rules.  That is phenomenal and ALL game need to start doing that NOW! 5/5

 

Execution– Overall, I liked how this game came out.  It’s got some great, little additions like how all the play boards look like coasters and the burlap coffee bag the come with the game.  The dice are good quality along with all the cards and art.  One point that annoyed me was that I felt like I never had enough tokens.  5/5

 

Summary– I love this game.  It’s quick, easy, and fun.  My wife and I learned this is 15 minutes, and I spend a weekend playing this while camping.  It was a blast and even non-gamers picked it up with ease.  Like any quick dice game, it’s got some problems with theme.  Also, I don’t really think this should have been billed as a semi-co-op eurogame.  It’s got elements of those two game styles, but not enough to completely bill the game as those things in my opinion.  But, the game itself is rock solid fun.  Lots of different ways to play (and win!) keep this game very fresh.  The game even comes with three cards that can be added to the base Viva Java: the Coffee Game, so now, based on this game, I have to go buy a new game!  If you get a chance, give this one a buy if you want some quick, fun, dice rolling with some deep thinking.  88%