Sorry guys, we have been on holiday! But don’t despair: to compensate we bring you a very special edition of our podcast. We had the infinite luck and pleasure of speaking with Rikki from Dice, the board game cafe in Portsmouth.
Rikki explained to us the concept behind their business, how it all came to fruition and their hopes and struggles. We also talked about a few board games.
We would like to send a massive thank you to the entire crew at Dice for their time and hard work. And we hope you guys come down there for a good geeky time!
On the 2nd of February (2019), some of my friends and I ended up in Portsmouth with the intention to go to the game fest at the Guildhall… but our plans changed, and there are 0 regrets because our visit to DICE: Board Game Lounge in Portsmouth was more than pleasant! I am gonna make a very strong statement here guys, but i wholeheartedly believe this establishment is the best of its kind in the South of England – granted we haven’t been to All board game venues, but, hear me out. I will use points of comparison with our local BITC in Southampton and the big name in London – Draughts. Having been to either of these several times, and knowing that of course their audiences are slightly different, I think DICE have actually managed to find a very happy medium which makes their success apparent.
For starters, DICE has several aspects of the business which we approve of: you have the facilities to play board games, they have a bar, a shop, and seemingly a good set of activities throughout the week. We were stupid enough to not book a table – plans! Silly! I know – so please if you are reading this make sure that you book through their page or Facebook which is: https://en-gb.facebook.com/diceportsmouth/ And you will think reserving a table sounds pretentious, but nuh huh! It gets so busy! particularly during the weekend. And you can understand why very easily.
Greetings humans! Today I bring you an update about something I never thought I would find myself writing about, but as we all know, those who venture into the warp end up suffering from both insanity and corruption! In any case, look, I am just now playing regularly (and with this I mean daily!) this silly game. It is called Love Nikki, done by Elex games and you can download the app from the Google Play store free of charge. So yeah, it is a phone game, alright? I have never before been interested in one of these things. I found they were money grabs and just time-consuming, unnecessary things. But oh boy, all it took was a couple of my friends talking over it and a very, very dull and boring day at my previous job where I literally had nothing to do all day and had next to 0 customers for finding myself in need of some cheap and easy entertainment. That’s how it started. Then I found that I could kill some time in my super tedious train journey in the morning and on my back from work in the afternoon. And to this day, since roughly the end of October 2018, here I am, checking on my Nikki shenanigans in the bus and during my break.
So what is this game about? Well, to its credit, it is a very pretty fashion game. The art style is anime like, and in comparison with some other games of the same genre, I must say the graphics are Simply So Much Better – it doesn’t look cheesy or cheaply made. There has clearly been a lot of effort and dedication put into this and it shows with beautiful clothes, models and backgrounds. The user interface is very well done too, the game hardly ever crashes and it is idiot proof. What else do you want? But the thing that surprises me most, as much as i don’t actually pay much attention to it, is that there is a whole lore written behind the world in which Nikki goes on a quest to become the best stylist in Miraland. There are different realms, all with very specific fashion styles and thoroughly developed characters with personalities and background that take Nikki through this journey. I had never seen a game of these characteristics invest that much on this aspect. And, as much as like with all these games, there is a component of micro transactions and memberships to obtain more resources, I found that without spending 0 money, I advance in the game without any issues. I do not feel hindered by the fact that I am not spending, because the game is balance! They have weekly and monthly special events where simply by taking part – and logging in daily – you get special rewards, being this in-game currency or more clothes and accessories. the fact that you do not have unlimited resources makes it easy to put down the game, and dedicate to it a limited amount of time so that it is still enjoyable without it taking over your life. And even if you wanted to carry on playing forever, there is a free dress up section where – without advancing the story or your quests – you can try out and design different outfits for your gameplay.
Now, I must tell you – without wanting to brag – I am pretty good at this game. And I think it all has to do with the fact that, at the end of the day, as much as this is a fashion game and you should be looking at making cute little outfits for Nikki whilst acquiring experience, it all comes down to identifying patterns and establishing combos. All the pieces of clothing have different aspects that are rated accordingly to make them suitable within certain trends or styles. Therefore, by looking up and considering these details, scoring high is relatively easy. I must admit, that sometimes, particularly if it is a difficult mission – like a specific names outfit you need to pout together, or a combo that isn’t easily accessible – I don’t even care if Nikki looks like something out of a series B horror movie. If the items score on the right categories and she looks like a collage of my drawings when I was 4 years old (…or you know, 27. years old too, haven’t improved that much!) That Is Okay.
I am not bringing you something exotic today, but rather sharing my experience of how I have come to terms that I am for good – or at least until the game changes and Wizards rethinks its strategy…so probably eternities from now – getting rid of my Magic: The Gathering collection. Sad as it is, the truth is I am not really invested in the hobby any more: I have pretty much ignored the last 2 sets of the game, and even before that, I was mostly making decks that I wanted to play with and nothing to do with whether they’d be tournament legal or not. Plus, after a while cards take a fair amount of space, so I needed to clear some of this. In addition, the sudden turn of events for Netrunner earlier on this year has also meant I am saying bye-bye to most o my cardboard crack.
Today I bring something that I thought may be of use/interest for the wargammer and minis collectors. I don’t know about you guys but I am not the greatest painter – I have been accused of being a crime against painting brushes and paints alike. Back in the day, I used to take the lids of Pringle boxes and use those as my pallets for mixing and thinning paint. These days Games Workshop, and the likes, have made their own pallets where you pour your paint and there you go. BUT! As you may know, this has a slight issue: your paint will eventually go dry. Also, it is a bloody pain in the rear trying to get that Citadel paint out of the pallets…Well some nice chaps on the internet decided that they were gonna put a solution to this by creating an everlasting wet pallet. This project started out as a Kickstarter, and after successful backing, here I can show you the results.
Hoy os traigo algo de interés para aquellos que os dedicáis a los juegos de miniaturas, tipo Warhammer y demás. No se vosotros, pero yo la verdad es que no soy la mejor pintando, y se me acusa de forma abundante de no tratar mis materiales de buena forma. Cuando era mas joven y pintaba con mi mama, utilizaba las tapas de los botes de Pringles para mezclar colores, y sin embargo la juventud de hoy dia puede ir a la Games Workshop y comprarse lo que ellos llaman una paleta de pintura apropiada para este hobby (márquetin, Ejem!). En cualquier caso, el problema con tanto mi DIY como el producto licenciado es que la pintura se seca – y bueno no se si habéis intentando limpiar pintura Citadel seca de cualquier cosa pero vamos, que ni el Cillit Bang! En fin, que a algún genio en internet se le ilumino la bombilla y decidió empezar un Kickstarter para solucionar este problema. Y aquí están los resultados: La Everlasting Wet Pallete.
For the last few years I have been thinking to myself that I was very much done with my trading card games – mostly Magic: The Gathering, to be honest. You have probably heard me rant before regarding the way the game has changed and how Wizards of the Coast’s strategy of milking their customers and destroying the game through their exhausting power creep and extensive new releases that to be frank do not seem to add anything other than rather lame hype to the whole thing. I also find it rather annoying that every set requires a new random ability that tends to create a new set of rule issues that force you to play with new cards constantly. Same problem that we have these days with Yu-Gi-Oh, right? Like how ridiculous it is that for those of you who wanna play competitively, unless you play 3 very specific variant of a deck, you are essentially done and dusted. I am fed up of having to spending a fairly copious amount of money fetching cards, the same cards everyone else is after. I am done having with new sets every 3 months that unless purchased will make me an obsolete gamer, so on and so forth. Instead, I have decided to give a go to LCG’s: living card games as the cool kids in the industry like to call them. Why have I opted for this approach? Well, probably for the same reasons than many other people, but here are my thoughts.
If you’re ever stepped away from your favourite competitive or collectable game for a while, only to be demolished by the new expansion content when you return, then you’ve felt the sting of power creep. Or maybe you were always bad at the game? But for today we’re going to assume it was power creep.
So what are we talking about when we use these dreaded words? For many the term has simply become a way of accusing developers for not keeping an eye on game balance, frequently seen between Massively Multiplayer Online games (and more recently, the MOBA epidemic) and more traditional card games. Is it really just every new axe that’s better than your old axe? Is it every card in a block that uses that broken new mechanic? Actually before it became a catch-all term the phenomena of Power Creep warned of a very specific problem that occurred usually over years of development on a particular game. The idea that as time goes on the ‘power curve’ that carefully maps out the value of something with its power will skew higher and higher, making low-cost tools even stronger and completely negating the more balanced content that came before. Continue reading “Power Creep – Why MMOs, MOBAs and TCGs Die Early”→