Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 9: Sci-Fi

The podcast returns! This time it’s all about Sci-Fi!

You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

In this episode we are joined by our friends and frequent guests Mike and Jaq to have an impromptu chat, at the behest of Lilly, all about Science Fiction in its various forms!

The discussion goes down some unexpected paths and gets very interesting! Spoiler: it gets slightly political 😛

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TOTAL WAR: 3 KINGDOMS

Hello peeps, it’s me again! This may come as a surprise but, I am here to talk again about videogames. And no, I haven’t swapsies with Alex! It just happens that earlier on this year, 2 big loves of mine had a love child and made me a very happy woman with the release of Total War: 3 Kingdoms. Those of you who follow us know that I am a big Wu Xia fan, and obviously the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms has a huge impact in the Wu Xia genre – that and I am a historian by trade and Chinese culture fascinates me…enough said! As it happens, the Total War series has been one of my all-time favourites, since I was introduced to it perhaps quite late in the game (7 years ago?). My first Total War was Medieval 2, which I loved and played through many times. I have particularly fond memories of my campaign as Scotland conquering the world and countless hours of hotseat campaigns with my uni friends at the games’ society. Then I went back to Rome: Total War – about the only thing my tiny laptop could run without crashing much back in the day, and a few others, up to the release of the two editions of the Warhammer games. However, and perhaps to the shock of many people, I did not enjoy the newer Total War games because of the way the diplomacy had been changed, and a few other dynamics.

You see, I loved sending my princesses and diplomats across the map and setting up merchant shenanigans and cardinals to spread religion and what not. It was an aspect of the game I did really enjoy. I also liked the dynastic element of it, which although not as in-depth as the likes of Crusader Kings, it still added to the equation. Granted, there is no point of comparison with the way the armies work, and the 2 editions of Warhammer really made me wow at how the minis I was used to see on the table top, suddenly came to life on the screen. But, in general, i didn’t enjoy much the actual run of these two games other than the military aspect, and to me that was a let-down. The Warhammer universe has so much lore and it feels by splitting it into 2 games – and the third one to come – I was cheated. So, I was a bit so-so about the new release of any Total War games. I wasn’t too keen on Rome 2 because of the diplomacy aspect either so, when I knew 3 kingdoms was coming out, I got concerned. Would they destroy something I loved so much?

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Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 7: RPGs

Another podcast coming at ya! This one is on our most beloved subject – RPGs!

Also our podcast is now on Apple HERE
This means you can easily listen in the Apple Podcasts app, or any other IOS and Android podcast tracker/app! just search ‘manaburnt’ and you’ll see us!

Alternatively, find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

Lilly and Alex are joined by Mike again in this episode. We go over some of our favourite RPGs and things we’ve played recently, before getting into some topics such as character death and combat realism. We all have a great love for RPGs, and different perspectives on many, listen and you’ll see!

There will surely be many more RPG discussions in the future. Maybe you’d like to join us? Get in touch!

A Sour Visit to Thirsty Meeples

A few weeks ago, Alex and I decided for once and for all to go to Oxford and visit Thirsty Meeples. We wanted to geek out, play some board games, and meet properly the place that seemingly set the standards of board game cafes in the UK. Well folks, the reason why it has taken me so long to write this up, is because the experience was not what I was wanting or expecting. I didn’t want to write a mean review all hot headed so, I decided to give it some time and reflect back. So, without more hesitation, here is the final report, I guess.

Just to set the scene, we went at the end of June on a Saturday at midday, and it was pretty hot and busy in Oxford itself. The total crew was us two and 2 of our friends, seasoned geeks with knowledge of board game cafes here and abroad. In fact, one of our friends has been working as a games master for different projects since 2017 so, we’d like to think we had some pretty decent background.

The first thing that struck me was how uninviting the space was, although that’s not completely their fault. I understand rent prices in the city centre are demanding and you do the best you can with what you get. However, I had this issue as well when I went to Snakes & Ladders (Bristol). The games for sale are right there as you come in, the space left between them and the first set of gaming tables is of one person, and this is the only way in and out. Needless to say it is tight. In Bristol this is even worse: the playing games are right in front of the bar which is at the entrance and gaming area at the back so, if there’s a queue you have to go through people. If it’s busy, you can’t afford to take your time to have a look in either of these locations, not without getting in the way of the staff and the other customers. I could have got past it in Thirsty Meeples, but then, you ha e the same problem with the actual playing board games. The shelves run along the walls, okay, cool, but then there are playing tables, big ones as well, right by them. And the section that is most heavily impacted by this is strategy games so, what, 70% of the playing collection? If I wanted to play something as simple and iconic as ticket to ride or catan, or even long game like scythe, I would have had to disturb a table of 6. Not great. Never mind though, because there’s no chance I’d have liked to play a long game there. Not only is the gaming space on the tables limited – an issue we had addressed for other places like draughts, though, mind you at least the have the trays under the tables which is useful – it’s so bloody noisy!! Continue reading “A Sour Visit to Thirsty Meeples”

Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 6: Comics

We are back again with the podcast! And the podcast now has a new home at anchor.fm/manaburnt

You can also follow the podcast on Spotify here, and we should soon have pages on Apple and Google podcasts!

In this latest episode we finally talk about comics. We are joined by our friends Diptarup Ghosh Dastidar and Jaq Greenspon. Both, along with Lilly are comics experts and scholars! … Alex is here too.

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ManaBurnt Timba

Hello guys! How you doin’? We hope you’re having a blast! Now you may have heard that we were on holiday recently, but worry not, we were not lazy. As part of our little adventure in Spain we did a special edition of the Cespedes – Gonzalez household renowned timba: games party bby!!

We cracked open the board games and have a full on day (from lunch time until midnight) on geekery. There was much banter and fun had, and a few crazy moments and sore loses. So here is a quick report of what we played and a few thoughts on a couple of games.

GAME LIST

Straw
Kerala
Mauna Kea
Black Sheep
Marrakesh
Family Business
Piko Piko

Camel Up

STRAW – this is a great game and family favourite for a warm up. It has little to no rules, and it holds up to 5 players. You play one round per player so it goes pretty quick. And all that there is involved here is a little maths: you have to add or take weight from the camel’s back. I failed big time. For 4 rounds I scored nothing 😐 My dad got a clear victory with no possible competition. This was not a very usual game of Straw in that regards. But the game has a high luck component which needs to be taken into consideration.

KERALA – relatively new game for the family; certainly a first for me. It is a game of area control, under the premise that you are building a trading platform for your elephant. You score more points for each colour you incorporate into your platform, you score more points. It’s a fairly simple dynamic of time placement, and has a luck component similar to Azul. Surprisingly, I won! Well, it was a tie with my dad, BUT it still counts as victory!

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