Sunday, 17 February 2013

Risk Part Three

Damn it Will!

So, our idea for having one risk game a week has pretty much fallen apart as we have been swamped by Uni work for the past couple of weeks meaning we have to have the games as and when we have time.
 Surprise surprise Will won again.
Third win in a row

We changed the rules up slightly this time, by instead of randomizing the territories, we each picked one fortress and then got another random fortress. Once this was done, we each took turns choosing where to place our troops. This made the game not only a lot more strategic, but also a lot harder.

Once again I started in Rohan, with Helms Deep as my first fort, and luckily got Isenggard as my second fort, I then started placing my units almost solely inside the region of Rohimerin. However, Price put a sudden end to this by claiming the very last tile of the region. This was going to be an interesting battle.

Will had pretty much all of the top right of the map under his control, with Aaron H claiming most of the middle left, and then randomly placing a few units about just to cause tension. I had most of the bottom left in my power, and Price was stuck with the middle again. Which he frequently made a point of.

I had claimed three rather major areas of the map, as my power-cards granted me a hefty dose of troops when I played them. That was my first turn sorted. But as the game intensified, those units I had added at the beginning quickly counted for squat. Will, once again, took a very early lead claiming two regions out of the three he needed, all the while the rest of us were still fighting for control of one.

 (I have been informed that my last story contained some problems with my definition of 'territories' and 'regions', a territory is a single map tile, whereas a region is a collection of territories. My bad)

I sadly lacked the strength to take even the simple region of Rohan as Price bolstered up his troops in my top tile, and all along my eastern flank, meaning my armies were well and truly split. When I finally tried to make a push into The last tile. Will came sweeping through all of the south West with the force of a thousand suns literally destroying everything in his path.

While the rest of us were trying to figure out what just happened, Will led a second attack via the sea to pincer the north west, leaving Poor Aaron H trapped and stranded as Price and I tried our best to give him strategic advice. But there is only so much advice you can give to an ant fighting a landslide.

There were some moment of hope, which to us were 'Balls grippingly tense', however trying to depict them here will be a bit of a challenge.

Here goes.
Will had Ten units poised to attack one of Aaron H's many territories. This territory only had three units defending it, meaning that this was a pretty clear cut moment from the outset. However by some divine intervention, Aaron H managed to throw back wave after wave of attacks, with Will losing a total of seven units against Aaron's three brave defenders. 
There really could be hope.
Sadly all this was in vain.
We blinked, and Will had taken the very last tile he needed securing his three regions and winning the game.
Damnit it Will.


This is 40

(spoiler warning)

'This is 40'
Is a sequel to 'Knocked Up' that follows the side story of Pete (Played by Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Played by Leslie Mann) as they not only come to terms with life after the big 40, but also with the decisions that have led them to this point in their relationship.

I'll be honest, I went into this film not really expecting great things. I personally loved 'Knocked up', but I find that sequels of this nature usually fall short of the mark left by the original film, as they try to recreate certain moments that made the first so great. 

This is why I was so pleased with 'This is 40', as in my opinion it managed to avoid this trap spectacularly, creating some real moments where I felt a genuine connection to the characters. Another trap that I feel this film managed to bypass, is the mistake of showing all the important scenes in the trailer. While this seems like an easy thing to avoid, many good films have fallen right into it, tricking audiences into thinking it will be a brilliant 'laugh-a-minute' experience, when really, they have already seen the best moments for free.

The plot revolves largely around 'Paul' and 'Debbie' as their relationship deteriorates, with brief moments of respite, and even slight recovery, before descending into chaos once again. This is juggled nicely with a subplot that 'Pete's' new record company is losing money at an alarming rate, teetering on the chasm of bankrupsy.

There are a few more sub's thrown in for good measure, but I shall leave those out of this, to keep an air of mystery, and so you don't feel that I have given the whole film away. 

The film manages to balance comedy and dramatic misfortune very well, providing a lot of laughs with a lot of 'them feels man' . This was quite a surprise as I was expecting the film to be primarily comedic in value, but it did have some beautiful moments.

Other moments however, did not hit quite as hard as they should. A personal favorite of mine, is when 'Debbie' asks 'Pete' "Why am I crying like this", but there were no tears in sight, this was only emphasized when she tried to wipe away her nonexistent tears. This took me right out of the moment that they were trying to create, which is a shame, as if it were done correctly, it would have been perfect.

The final point I have to make of the film, is that it lacks an emotional climax to end on. While some have hated this, I personally like this, as I feel it's the message that the film has been trying to convey. Nothing really ends, it just keeps going, life is not full of emotional climaxes, it usually just trudges on and on while you try and keep your head above the water.



A Real Website

We have some brilliant news, we are currently in the process of getting an actual website made for SnyKeel, which will hopefully look a lot more professional than the blog currently does.

Our friend is currently in his third year of University, and has asked if he can make us a website for one of his projects. So naturally we jumped straight on board, as hopefully it will draw a few more readers to us. Well that's the theory anyway.

The website will probably take some time to create, so in the meantime, we'll be trying to up our post count as we've let it slip a bit, which we are sorry for.

Please post in the comments what sort of features you would like on the site.

Also please tell us what sort of content you would like posted as we're doing this to entertain you, so if we're not quite hitting the nail right, we want to change that!

Thank you
SnyKeel Team

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Django Unchained.

'Django Unchained', is like taking 10 espresso shots, then diving into a frozen lake. It starts relatively calm, but quickly explodes into full blown anarchy with guns, guts and garters flying everywhere. The balance of comedy, action and the dash of romance makes this a must see.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dwarf Fortress

I figured I would take this time, to tell you about my favorite game.
Dwarf Fortress.

For those of you that have not played this game, it is a masterfully crafted piece of artwork. The graphics may not be much to look at, as it uses ACSII in place of sprites, but it's the coding that really makes this game what it is. There are various texture packs available which make the game a lot easier to follow, I would highly recommend acquiring one of these as soon as possible.

You start off with seven dwarfs. Each one has their own name, personality, stretching from what Gods they follow and their political party they are associated with, right down to their preference in food, and even what type of weather they prefer. 

You are not in direct control of these little guys though, instead you give work orders and the dwarfs get around to it as and when they feel like it. Sometimes starting work off of their own accord if their God decides to give them an order. This is known as a 'strange mood', the God in question has given them an image of something that they need to build, and that is the only thing they will do until the task is complete. This can cause problems if you do not have the right materials for the job as the dwarf can go crazy and attempt to kill everything in the fort.

This brings me onto my next point about the military. At first, the military seems like an incredibly complicated mess of options... which is exactly what it is. However, once you get the hang of it, the simplicity of it all shines through, you can create areas for the Dwarven military to patrol, train, sleep and eat. You can also set specific areas that activate during enemy attacks, which can be as simple as a thief trying to break in, or a whole siege consisting of a full army complete with war dogs, bears, rhinos and even elephants.

These areas will 'herd' your dwarfs into them, making it impossible for them to leave till the alert has been lifted. You can set a zone specific for your peasants to flee to during an attack, and a separate one for your military, meaning that your non-combat dwarfs are well out of harms reach. You can even set different zones for each of your squads meaning you can have different sections of your fort defended by different squads and so on and so forth.

The main thing you will take away from this game, is that losing is fun.

It's a strange concept, but losing a fort is not the end of the world. For you can chose to start a new fort, somewhere else in the game world, (which is completely randomly generated when you start a new game) or, you can take a squad of highly trained soldiers in an attempt to retake your old fort.

I once tried to reclaim an old fort, (which had been killed by a goblin raid.) only to find out a 'Forgotten Beast' had taken it as it's home. There are the usual types of enemies, goblins, wild animals, Dragons...
Dragons fall under the 'legendary' category, meaning that your fort probably isn't their first rodeo. 'Legendary' creatures can be anything that has killed a lot of things throughout it's very, very long life. Everything from Minotaur's, to a really really pissed semi immortal bear. 'Forgotten Beasts' though, fall under a whole different class, these things have been dwelling under the earth since the dawn of time, and are generally just there to fuck your shit up.

The beast that had claimed my fort, had no eyes, and muscle pretty much everywhere... it was pretty much a walking muscle, covered in rock, and spikes. Why? Because fuck you that's why.

Needless to say, the fort still belongs to the beast.

Fortress mode is not the only option available. there is also 'Adventure' mode, where you can chose to play as a character from one of the many kingdoms that populate the game, you can be a dwarf, elf or a human. Each comes with their own pro's and con's. 

The object of being an adventurer is to travel around killing things for towns folk, getting gold and building a bad-ass crew of monster killers. you can also visit your forts in adventure mode, which I plan to do once I get a large enough team together to kill that bloody 'Rock Muscle' thing.

Once you have got the hang of this beautiful game, you will find yourself sinking quite a few hours into it without even realizing. The level of micromanagement that is available is astonishing, and quite overwhelming for a new player. Hell it's even overwhelming for me. I tried creating a fancy defense system that would pump lava to the top of my fort cutting off any attackers from reaching my peasants. 

Sadly this did not go to plan and I ended up drowning my entire populace in a fiery cocktail of Lava and Alcohol.

For those of you that wish to play, I have included some links in the description, provided by a helpful chap on the /VG/ section of 4Chan.

Helpful beginner material •>The game. Current version is Dwarf Fortress 2012 (34.11) •>The official forums. •>Wiki for all your dwarfly needs, down to every last mineral. •>The fastest way to get ready to strike the earth. Concise and simple text + images. and •>Great tutorial/LP. Hugely entertaining, and very informative, highly recommended for someone wanting to get into Dwarf Fortress. one of the most useful downloads you can get, this has the entire game, complete with a set of texture packs to chose from, and a handy set of utilities to help you run your fort. Highly recommended.

Strike the earth!