Help! I’m Too Good At Games!

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Do you feel that you’re breezing through games on hardcore and insanity? Pwning all the N00bs a bit too easily? Then this is the random assortment of words for you! The following will show you a number of ways to make your games harder so you can feel the challenge of a real difficulty curve once again! I mean, you could play blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back but where’s the fun in that?

Play Vegan

Does your game require you to eat meat etc to regain stamina? Well no more! Playing Vegan means that you can only eat items that have been lovingly given to you by the Earth/Moon/Wherever the hell you are. No meat, no cheese, no milk, no honey, no leather, no wool. This applies particularly well to Minecraft though don’t go around celebrating the fact that you finished Resident Evil playing Vegan. All they eat is Herbs. Apparently Oregano is the perfect accompaniment to zombie slaying.

The Blacksmith screwed my wife

And he over charges! I never want to see him again! Only take the weapons that the game forces upon you and never upgrade them. This means you could be taking on the final boss with the equivalent of a toothpick and you may kill it simply by making it laugh to death but at least you never have to give that Jerk Blacksmith any money.

I spent my bill money on games

Due to rising game prices and my own lack of budgeting we can now no longer afford electricity! Better play your games at minimum brightness because you don’t need to see to shoot things right? Anyone who does this playing Dead Space I want photos of your traumatised little face when playing it even darker. I need them for science (disclaimer: science may actually be my own personal collection).

 He’s ‘armless!

No really, there was a chainsaw accident. This mainly applies to Beat ‘em ups. Never use your arms in combat! Kicks and head butts only! No cheating and playing Mortal Kombat either as that has a mode that does all the hard work and removes the arms for you. Cheats!

Glass Cannon

Armour? I barely wear clothes! Go through the entire game relying on your own muscular prowess and don’t buy a single defensive item. It’s alright so long as you beat the boss to death before it breathes on you. Chain mail really chafes and helmets are for losers anyways.

 

Kii

Why the Hell Haven’t You Played This Yet? – Doom

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Every few weeks I will write an article on what I believe to be the best games you need to play before you die. These are games from all platforms and all differing in genre and gameplay, whether you play them or not is completely up to you, but I’d recommend it – Nath

Doom

Before we get started, let it be known that Doom is not the granddad of first-person shooters. Wolfenstein 3D was released over a year before Doom so this game should be considered the first first-person shooter, albeit Doom was more popular and more successful.

I can understand that most people who read this will have already played Doom or the other sequels/spin-offs that the game has spawned, however it goes on this list as I have replayed this game so many times and I still don’t get bored. It may look primitive compared to the first-person shooters of today, but you still need skill and perseverance in order to successfully navigate the levels filled with the spawn of hell.

You play a character known as “Doomguy” and his only objective is to kill all the enemies he sees in front of him and stop the invasion. Seems simple, but it is not unless you’re a pussy and playing it on the easier difficulties, and if you are, shame on you, you should play this on “hurt me plenty” or higher.

The game starts off in a room with a pistol and a bloody corpse and your aim is to find the exit whilst battling numerous monsters with a variety of weapons. New weapons can be picked up from monsters, but most of them are just lying about the levels, mainly in secret areas. They vary from shotguns to rocket launchers to chainsaws to the legendary BFG 9000. Now if you don’t know what the BFG is, it is a weapon that fires a large green plasma shot and deals large damage to the monster it hits, as well damage to other monsters you can see in view. It is considered one of the best weapons ever created.

I can imagine most of you are thinking “why should I bother playing this 90’s game”, but trust me, it is worth it. I love this game, it brings me enjoyment when I play it as well the deep satisfaction I get when completing a level on Nightmare, the hardest difficulty on the game. This difficulty doesn’t even allow you to enter cheat codes so basically you are in for a rough time. You take more damage and the monsters are faster and they respawn, a lot, like seriously loads, its ridiculous. Good news is you get double the ammo when you play on this difficulty, not that it matters because you’ll be dead before you fire the gun.

In the end, this is a game you have to play for numerous reasons, the difficulty of nightmare, the fun and simplicity of the game and a history lesson in gaming. It is one of the first first-person shooters to grace the gaming world and it made a huge impact. Also if you play the game and/or the brilliant sequel Doom 2, you will have a massive appreciation for it’s reboot Doom 3 and it’s expansion packs. On a side note, don’t watch movie based on the game. I know it has Karl Urban and The Rock in it, but it is awful, except for the 4 minutes where the film enters first person mode. Actually watch that bit, not the rest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueKhVcqQBtg

Hope you enjoyed the review, happy fragging. Also, roll on Doom 4!

Nath

Malifaux: An Introduction

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Our own wargaming expert Ben is here to introduce the exciting world of Malifaux

Malifaux is a tabletop miniatures game you may have heard of, if not, it’s a game done by Wyrd games, you can check those guys out here

A very simple summary for those that don’t know of Malifaux, it’s a skirmish based, objective driven, strange steam-punk themed game without the use of dice.

For those of you that do know about the game, you may know about me from the various Malifaux things I’m associated with.

So let’s get to the point shall we?

Actually Skirmish

A major issue a lot of people have with tabletop wargames, is the sheer amount of space it takes up.
Now admittedly Malifaux still needs a 3 foot square table to play on typically, maybe even a little more space to keep your stat cards and all those things.
This however is less than the 8*4 that some mass wargames require.

I say “actually” skirmish in reference to the amount of miniatures you need to play a game (note, you’ll want more in your collection, geeks tend to be kleptomaniacs too).

A typical “crew” (what us Malifaux folks refer to our forces as) will have around 8-10 miniatures tops in a standard game, there is the possibility to fit in around 15 miniatures, but I am yet to see it and it probably isn’t advisable.

Now 8-10 miniatures, that is probably obvious to anyone who’s seen Warhammer and the like that it’s a lot less than those games (8-10 doesn’t even make much of a unit in some cases) but actually, even in comparison to a few other skirmish games this is still the low end.

What does that mean?
Well if you’re really into the painting you have a lot less models to paint, but it means you have a lot more time you can realistically spend on them, doing your best work.
I currently am running a painting competition on twitter, each month the category has a theme but has always been single miniature(so far), now even if you only painted for this, you could get a crew done in half a year.
If you dislike painting, then the lack of models you have to bother with is great or cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it.

Transporting your crew is far simpler, no giant suit cases, smaller ones, that you can even ride the bus with, is possible.
If you don’t mind the larger cases, it’s something you are used to, then you can easily bring a lot of your collection, gives you more options and chances to show other friends.

Investment, when I say this, I don’t mean financially, but emotionally.
Each single miniature will become more important to you, the characters will have a much greater chance for you to be emotionally invested in them, growing in your mind, but that’s the next bit.

The themes and background

Now in the quick intro, I threw out “steam punk”, now where this is the strongest of themes in Malifaux and sets the time period, the characters and themes span a lot more than that.

Steam punk is your thing? Well it may be your bag, we have steam powered robots, clockwork guns, goggles and all.
You like animals? There’s a beast master, who almost has a menagerie rather than a crew, there’s hounds, there is even a master of pigs!

What about Cthulu? I know there’s a lot of geeks out there who love it, well, Malifaux has tentacle monsters like “The Nothing Beast” or even strange amphibious guys like “Silurids”.

Military? Outcasts have the Freikorps.

Ninjas? There’s an Asian themed faction the Ten Thunders.

Zombies? The Resurrectionists.

Little goblin like guys? Well there is the Gremlins.

If that wasn’t enough for you take a look, each of these factions have 7 masters.
Each with their own rich backgrounds and themes, each with their own style and minions that fit better with them.

The stories are so rich in this game, that I would even recommend buying the older books just for background.

It really is very engaging.

Back to the gaming side.

Look ma, no dice!

One of the big things you may already know about Malifaux, or are still taken back by from the intro to this blog, is that the game forgoes the use of dice completely.

Instead of dice, the game uses a deck of cards 4 full suits and 2 jokers for 54 cards.

In the briefest possible way to explain this, rather than having to roll a value on a dice to succeed in an action, the Space Marine needs a 3 or higher to hit his target, you need to flip a card.
Sometimes this is to get a certain number, but more often it’s in addition to your relevant stat vs. your opponents and their deck.
I flip an 8 with my shooting value of 6, my opponent flipped a 2 with their defense of 5.

I hit!

Well, it’s not quite that simple.

First off, the deck has 4 suits (face cards are 11-13), sometimes a more difficult action may require you to flip a specific one of these. Sometimes, flipping a certain suit may give you an additional bonus (a trigger we call it) and not just while attacking.

However, it isn’t just flipping cards, Malifaux, allows you to somewhat control your own fate, with the “control hand”.
Typically you start a turn with 6 cards in your hand, what these cards do is allow you to “cheat fate”.
Mechanically what this means is you can replace the card you flipped with one in your hand.
This is an important resource to use carefully, as you don’t draw a new hand until the next turn in most cases.
What “cheating” can mean though, is you can pass that test you failed, try and out do your opponent in a duel and many more things.
The totals you make matter as the degree of success or failure can sometimes effect further things, like the amount of damage you may be dishing out.

Controlling fate, simply gives you more control in the game.
You can plan a head further (strategy) or mess up your opponents plans on the fly.
Having 4 lots of 1-13 which you are drawing through, also allows you to predict luck a little, rather than just cross fingers and get superstitious.
You can’t have the game where you get only aces (which are ones, which is bad) as there is only 4.

However luck is still a factor, variance can make games fun.

Also, you still have your equivalents to criticals in the form of the Jokers.
Red is good, you will learn to love this card as it is whatever suit you want it to be and counts as a 14 plus a few more benefits, but as quick as you will learn to love the red joker, you will soon despise the Black Joker.
The Black Joker, is zero, no suit, nothing, you can’t cheat fate when it appears and at the wrong time it can mess everything up.
But hey, variance is fun right? Right?

Using cards over dice actually creates a lot more interesting mechanical interactions, but that could do with it’s own blog post one day.

Strategies, Schemes and a whole load of bluffing.

You’ll hear some Malifaux players tell you that you can win the game even if you get tabled, which to the typical wargamer would sound crazy.
I can lose all my figures yet win the game?
The reason for this madness, is actually one of Malifaux is biggest strengths.

It’s scenarios, or Strategies and Schemes.
These are randomized like many other games and give you a lot of variation regardless of how many different opponents or crews you may get to use.

The “strategies” are what you would typically see as the main mission of the game.
The big difference is only 1 of the 5 are solely about killing your opponents crew, the rest are about vying for power of areas, either quarters of the tables, the centre of the board, the typical objective based type things you may see in other games.
This is something both you and your opponent are going for, to score a maximum of 4 points from.

The “schemes” is where everything gets very cool.
First a pool of 5 schemes gets determined at the beginning of the game.
These range from, Assassinating your opponents leader, to framing your one of your opponents models for killing yours, to giving your opponents a cursed object, to planting some evidence, to
Ok I could go on for ages, there is after all, 19 different schemes.

What makes these even cooler and more exciting is two things.
First is the fact that you may have generated 5 schemes, but you are only picking 2, your opponent does not need to pick the same which gives the game some asymmetry to it.
You can pick what you think is easiest, more fun, more thematic, it is entirely up to you.
The second, is that some of the schemes are hidden, only once they are scored are they revealed to your opponent.
This means, your opponent may have to be playing a guessing game and the best bit of that.
You can bluff.

Not only in Malifaux can you bluff powerful cards in your ìcontrol handî but you can pretend to be going for one scheme you actually have no interest in at all.

The schemes themselves are worth up to 3 victory points each, meaning you can score 10 total in a game and the schemes take up the greater part of that.
Some schemes that can be hidden can achieve these higher scores by being revealed, but then, there is no bluffing that.

All in all, the way this mission system is set up, makes the game so diverse and so interesting in comparison to a lot of straight forward and kill games we have out there.

Now this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely makes it possible, that Malifaux is the best miniatures game out there and more importantly, maybe the right one for you.

Thank you for reading, what is a fairly lengthy “sales pitch” as such.
Malifaux is a fantastic game that has been growing immensely over the past couple of years.
It’s recently had a second edition launch and this has seen the game become even better and even more beginner friendly.

One part I did not mention, was how great the community is for this game.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a group of war gamers more friendly and welcoming than the Malifaux scene.

All I hope is this gives you a spark of interest, maybe just to find out more, maybe to go find your local “Henchman” to run you a demo or maybe even, just to buy some figures and try out the game with some friends.

BYEEEEE
-Ben (@psientologist)

You can find more from Ben at the Malibros or Malifools sites.

Would You Kindly Get Me Into The Gaming Industry?

Today our good friend Nathan introduces us to his first steps on the road to games design.

Since I was young enough to use a mouse and keyboard, I have always enjoyed video games. I can remember playing Doom with my dad when I was very young even though my mother didn’t approve of it. I can still remember the cheat codes and for those of you who don’t know, all weapons, ammo and keys is IDKFA, god mode is IDDQD and level select is IDCLEV (no I didn’t just look them up).I purchased my first Sony Playstation when I was 11, much to the annoyance of my mother, she thought it would be a bad idea and at the time she was probably right. What followed for the next 15 years was the usual cycle of playing games, buying new consoles, LAN parties etc. however all of the above adds up to my love of gaming, whether I am shooting down aliens, jumping across buildings or with friends beating the crap out of each other.

Eventually my love of gaming would lead me into the industry, but it didn’t happen straight away as I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to Loughborough university and studied a science and engineering foundation degree that lead me on to a a degree in mechanical engineering. Unfortunately I dropped out after the first few months as I couldn’t handle the work load and started at Loughborough college studying video game design. When I left, I had a pretty awful portfolio so made it impossible to get into the industry. I started a job as a telecommunications engineer and worked there for around 2 and a half years before I realized I wanted to leave and work in the gaming industry. I stumbled upon an article regarding a company called Train2Game and how they get people into the industry. I went to their website and read the articles and testimonials and decided to apply. I didn’t hear anything for 6 months.

I started contemplating going into Cisco networking until I received a telephone call from Train2Game and to be honest, I tried to fob them off at first but then agreed to a telephone interview. I then had a face-to-face interview with a representative from Train2Game and I explained my reservations upon starting the course. He explained that in the surrounding area, 250 people were interviewed over the phone, 15 people were selected for face-to-face interviews and 5 were selected to start the course. He explained that their greatest advertisement were the students that complete the course and obtain a job within the industry. It would’ve been stupid of me not to sign up. So here I am, studying to be a video game producer.

My first assignment was an introduction into a game engine called GameMaker. Here I created a total of 5 different games in order to further my understanding of programming, a point-and-click game, a basic scrolling shooter, a more advanced scrolling shooter, a puzzle/maze game and finally a 2D platform game. All of these allowed me to understand the basic concept of coding as well as problem solving and debugging as to why the game may not work on the first try.

My second assignment was a brief history of video games. Luckily I studied this at college and I had recently watched Charlie Brooker: Videogames Changed the World so I could skim over this chapter quickly. At the end I had a multiple choice test to complete and I am waiting on the results at the moment. When I receive them I will let you all know and hopefully continue on the path that will lead me into the industry and hopefully become one of the best video game producers in the industry.

Nathan

The Woes of a Healer

In her first article for The Lost Lighthouse Kii helps us through the essential MMO role that is The Healer! Have you ever dropped dead in the middle of a dungeon in World of Warcraft? Ganked in mid lane during Ranked on League of Legends? Who you gonna blame? The Healer! Sometimes healing is just too hard and us Support players like to take naps. Here’s a quick list of things you can do so you don’t die and make your support cry.

KiiHealerAntimony     KiiHealerSoraka     KiiHealerLulu

  • Don’t be a d**k – Trust me, nobody likes healing a player who’s spouting abuse at anything that moves. Want HP? Keep your NOOBs at home.
  • Don’t be stupid, even game lives are precious – Some of us can’t heal you fast enough if you run forward, naked and alone into the entire enemy team.
  • Do listen to OOM – When your healer declares Out Of Mana, it’s time to be careful as they can do shit all to help you now.
  • Don’t be a d**k.
  • Do cover objectives instead of just playing Deathmatch – If you’re meant to be clearing out mobs, protecting a gate or pushing some form of button then f*****g do it! If you just try and kill enemy players all the time you’ll never get anywhere. Also you’ll probably die a lot and everybody will hate you.
  • Do think of your positioning – Most games run on the design that the healer will be behind the damage dealer. If you stay behind your support then they will be in the line of fire. Healers are weaklings and will squish up and die. Then you have no support and you will squish up and die.

DON’T BE A D**K. Kii

Review: Rampage

Channel your inner Kaiju

Now, I enjoy a good Euro game, say, about the intricate sewer system of foggy old London town. Who wouldn’t? But sometimes it’s nice to be able to kick your shoes off, sink a beer and play a boardgame about trying to destroy a little city and eat as many helpless people as monsterly possible.

In Rampage you and up to 3 others (7 others if you have two copies), control a single King Lizard-style character and try to destroy buildings and eat meeples.

So how do you move about this city? You flick a little wooden disk that represents your monster’s feet. To destroy a building you simply pick up your monster and drop him on a building. Other things you can do include: throwing trucks at each other’s monsters and, my favourite, using your monster breath, which consist of you placing YOUR chin on your monster and using your own breath to blow down buildings. After you’ve taken two of these actions you then eat people who have landed in your “neighbourhood”. Each person also has their own special power and a super secret power they can only use once a game.

The game ends once all the buildings have been destroyed or if a certain amount of meeple have landed off the table – which they will, I assure you they will.

If you only like “serious” games then is one probably isn’t for you but I love it. Rampage averages around half an hour and has me laughing through it all. Watching your significant other get angry because they didn’t manage to blow down a building will bring a smile to your face for sure. If you want a light-hearted monster romp then I wholeheartedly suggest this game and I haven’t even mentioned the great cartoony art. If you want to restart the apocalypse then give it a go.

Gary

A Golden Age For Boardgames

So, board gaming, what’s it all about? Isn’t that just Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders or Clue?  Not at all. If you are just getting into the hobby then you are extremely lucky. We are currently amidst a golden age for board gaming. There’s so much on offer. Whether you are an RPG nut or fog of war fanatic there’s lots to sink your teeth into and in upcoming articles we are going to be showing you some of our favourites.

I know what you’re thinking: why do I want to pick up a board game, which average around £40, when I can buy a video game for the same price? Well put down your ergonomic controller and let me explain my top 5 reasons why I prefer board games.

  • Social gaming. While it’s fun to shout loudly down your headset at someone 2000 miles away calling him a d@@k, I find board games a lot more social. I have several groups of friends that enjoy kicking back with a board game and a few beers – ok more than a few. You can still call your best friend a d@@k when he takes the game piece you so desperately need!
  • Replay-ability. I would say I’ve replayed my board games ten times over then any of my video games. Most board games play differently depending on the players. New strategies are found which are pure game-changers.
  • Versatility. I honestly believe there is a board game out there for everyone. I’m not sure the same can be said for video games. Bear in mind, as you furiously type in the comment section after that last statement, I love video games. I really do. But if I had to choose between the two it would be board games every time. There’s a board game for the grandparents, parents, friends and children.
  • Themes. There are thousands of games on the market that could cover pretty much anyone’s favourite themes: zombies, railway building, spy hunting and even electoral campaign races! Not all in one game admittedly. Want a fantasy game in which your characters “level up” as you play? Easy! Descent’s your game. How about building an empire in space with cruiser battles? You’ve got two great choices: Eclipse or Twilight Imperium. Zombies? Well there are lots of choices there! My favourite being Zombicide.
  • Cost effective. Sure, ignore this point if you are buying them all by yourself but have you considered starting a games group? You and 3 other friends could spread the cost out. A large amount of games are up to 4-players so why not give it a bash? If you only play it once and decide board gaming’s not your thing then you’ve only wasted a tenner. But please try it more than once and ease yourself into the vibe.

So there you have it. The reasons I prefer board gaming. There’s so much on offer and it’s a great time to get into the hobby. The ones I’d try out first are Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island and Small World. All easy enough to learn after a few turns and, even if the themes aren’t up your street, they have great core mechanics that keep you coming back for more.

Board gamers, what games do you suggest to get people into the hobby?

See you soon cockers.