2016.04.20

Bro weekend

Bachelor party shirt

We went to Austin for Ty's bachelor weekend. The shirts were absolutely top notch.

Austin Texas La Barbecue ribs

La Barbecue was phenomenal. Smokey perfection.

Austin Texas Stubbs panorama gospel brunch

We did Gospel (Music) Brunch at Stubb's. More insane deliciousness in the stormy April heat.


It seemed serendipitous that J introduced me to Broforce just before the extremely bro weekend. Four player mayhem was a decent way to fill the gaps between expeditions to Rainey, 6th, and Wall - oops Walsh - Street.


We rotated players in and out, so there were a fair number of embarrassing deaths, especially at on the boss stages.
Firewatch

Firewatch game tower

So when Rob was down he was kind enough to buy Firewatch for my PS4. I think he intended on a playthrough but never got around to it. Having heard good things I gave it a go on a mellow weeknight.

The prologue is unlike anything I'd played before. I'm not sure if this is for the better or worse, but it introduces a backstory that gives you a massive case of the feels. I think it's about giving you some buyin to your character, but it's not particularly subtle.

After the prologue you're dropped into the main game, which is basically a short story in a 3d sandbox. And that's really the best way to describe it. The game is an exploration of a modest but interesting mystery advanced primarily through dialogue with your Forestry Service boss. The script is nearly perfect - it's clever and funny, it feels human, and it never drags like even Bioware and Bethesda conversations will.


The plot gets creepy at times, but you quickly realize there's no dying in this game; no shooting, not jumping puzzles. It means you're not distracted from the story, but it also means there isn't much traditional gaming tension. And, well, you end up zigzagging across an unnecessarily large map of indie production quality.

As I said, it's like a short story - it's over after about four hours. That's pretty ideal, too much more running around and activating rope anchors might get tiresome.

Solid experience, absolutely worth it for the tight, enthralling script. Could use an autopilot mode, call it FireWATCH.

The Division

The Division Tom Clancy suppression mechanic biohazard shooting

Ubi dropped its first big patch for The Division. The reception has not been great but without too much firsthand experience I won't get into it.


The Division Shaftway beer pong table

What would level design be without sophomoric humor.
Nations

Board games Nations poker table

On the boardgaming front, I recently picked up Nations. It's basically Civilization on the tabletop, except that there's (regrettably?) no concept of geography. You build and improve armies, buildings, and wonders to gain resources and victory points.

The main action is a round robin selection of buildings, advisers, wars, and so forth. There are events like a lightweight Twilight Struggle and a progression of historical ages that up the stakes.

The interplay of players' improvement mats and available cards really keeps things fresh and interesting. We finished a 4up game in about three and a half hours. I could totally see a marathon session where you add a round or two to each age.