Grawlix's recent activity

  1. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    The opacity is a problem with all the grand strategy games by Paradox, though to their credit it's something they're improving on. Battles in CK2 for instance, involve three flanks, maybe some...

    The opacity is a problem with all the grand strategy games by Paradox, though to their credit it's something they're improving on. Battles in CK2 for instance, involve three flanks, maybe some leader, different phases, morale, losses... and with a few hundred hours in the game, I still have NO CLUE about most of it. I just stack up the biggest army I can and go to town. Stellaris still has that problem, but it seems like there's more sensible information presented to the player. I don't know that I'd play it without access to the wiki, though. :p

    I definitely like the sound of Surviving Mars, and I'll pick it up eventually. The theme also reminds me of the board game Terraforming Mars, which I've wanted to play for ages, but without a regular board game group, had few opportunities.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    Yeah, it's a great game to dive into. You're right that the depth is kind of a love-it-or-hate-it thing, since it's totally valid that some people may find it more frustrating than rewarding as a...

    Yeah, it's a great game to dive into. You're right that the depth is kind of a love-it-or-hate-it thing, since it's totally valid that some people may find it more frustrating than rewarding as a matter of personal preference. For me, though, the learning curve is super rewarding. Admittedly, all my games so far in ~60 hours of play have ended with my hitting a wall, bit it always felt like there was one more aspect of gameplay for me to work on before returning. I got surprised by an empire of fanatical purifiers, so next time I'm going to bolster my frontier outposts; I ran low on credits, so I'm going to look into setting up a trade route; I overpopulated all my worlds, so I'm going to rejigger how I set up planets and giving excess pops a place to go; etc.

    On the topic of your problem finding where edicts are, I could not FOR THE LIFE OF ME find out how to tell what ethic is associated with a faction for the purposes of reforming the government, and even searching it yielded no useful results... until I accidentally found out you can tell by hovering over the faction's icon. I mean, most of the time you can guess, but it sure would have been nice to have it more visible. :p

    As for story, I would say it has tons, just not in the standard sense we think of with video games. It's not going to play like a game that has a story mode with a distinct plot and arc, but there's just a lot of emergent storytelling as the game goes on. That might be a pedantic point to make, since it's still not the kind of story you are looking for. :)

    And thanks for mentioning Surviving Mars! Just added it to my wish list.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    It seemed to work okay in my experience, but I haven't played many aggressive games. It may be difficult to outright win a war, but since you keep whatever systems and planets you occupy, you can...

    It seemed to work okay in my experience, but I haven't played many aggressive games. It may be difficult to outright win a war, but since you keep whatever systems and planets you occupy, you can still reach a productive status quo... and then try again in 10 years for more. :p

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    Yet again, Stellaris. I mentioned it last week, and it's still the main videogame I've been playing, and hooked me in a way that I'm reading and watching things about the game in addition to...

    Yet again, Stellaris. I mentioned it last week, and it's still the main videogame I've been playing, and hooked me in a way that I'm reading and watching things about the game in addition to playing it.

    I'll focus this time on the diversity of playstyles. There are a bunch of choices to make in creating your empire, and that leads to a ton of different objectives. You can be a warrior clan bent on subjugating all other sentient life, you can be robot servents that went a little haywire and want to abduct people for MANDATORY PAMPERING, or you can be... nice. I've played a lot of CK2, but you always kind of have to play a feudal lord or some other elite who inherently has to be kind of a monster, to one extent or another. With Stellaris, you can play the good guys! And win! I like that positivity right now. :)

    With RPGs, still playing Out of the Abyss in our Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and the last session was fun—again, mostly for the character stuff, and while my DM is doing a great job, I'm really getting sick and tired of the Underdark. Kind of the point of the campaign, though. :p

    ALMOST wrapping up Blood in the Chocolate using Blades in the Dark, but since a couple of people in my group work in grocery stores and are thus essential, scheduling is still a problem. If we only got past this, we could do some one-session heists, but so it goes. I might try for some one-shots, maybe one-page RPGs in the meantime.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on Have you watched Peaky Blinders yet? in ~tv

    Grawlix
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    I did end up looking it up, both the name and the show. :p I watched an episode and really enjoyed it. The only thing keeping my from watching it is the rest of my to-watch list.

    I did end up looking it up, both the name and the show. :p I watched an episode and really enjoyed it. The only thing keeping my from watching it is the rest of my to-watch list.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Have you watched Peaky Blinders yet? in ~tv

    Grawlix
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    I have it on my watch list for perhaps an odd reason: it came recommended in a tabletop RPG I've been playing! I'm running Blades in the Dark, and one of the "touchstones" (recommended media as...

    I have it on my watch list for perhaps an odd reason: it came recommended in a tabletop RPG I've been playing! I'm running Blades in the Dark, and one of the "touchstones" (recommended media as inspiration for the game) includes Peaky Blinders. The game is about playing a band of criminals in a grimy city.

    I avoided it for perhaps a silly reason: the name. It just had no idea what "peaky blinders" could possibly mean. :p

    4 votes
  7. Comment on Would you look down on a normal citizen wearing an N95 mask? in ~talk

    Grawlix
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    I think blaming one person for wearing an N95 mask outside of a medical context would be blaming an individual for a completely separate systemic issue. The real problem isn't that individuals...

    I think blaming one person for wearing an N95 mask outside of a medical context would be blaming an individual for a completely separate systemic issue. The real problem isn't that individuals want N95 masks to protect themselves and others, but that we didn't have an adequate supply in case of an epidemic, and have been somewhat slow to respond to it. Ideally, we'd have enough masks to cover all medical workers, and to provide for people who need to work at or use essential services. I would WANT everyone to have an N95 mask.

    To step back a bit, you're pondering over a single mask that you would be able to use, and not a whole stack of them that you couldn't. The fact that you're concerned enough about one mask is a sign you're not being selfish about this. :)

    3 votes
  8. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    In terms of pure time spent, I'm all in on Stellaris. It's a great grand strategy game, and such a mashup of science fiction tropes that it really feels like a love letter to the genre. At ~50...

    In terms of pure time spent, I'm all in on Stellaris. It's a great grand strategy game, and such a mashup of science fiction tropes that it really feels like a love letter to the genre. At ~50 hours in, I'm still wrapping my head around some of the concepts in the game (as happens with grand strategy games) but the learning curve has actually been pretty satisfying. My other major experience in the genre is with Crusader Kings 2, which I also love, but only ever played as a sandbox; Stellaris feels much nicer as an actual game to win, and I think it would handle multiplayer much better. Absolutely recommended.

    Dabbling with Magic: the Gathering:: Arena as usual, but kind of relaxed on that. I hit the rank I wanted, and it's kind of the end-of-set-doldrums. The events are nice, I guess.

    I'm also still in a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons, where we're playing Out of the Abyss. No spoilers, but our crew ended on a major cliffhanger where there's a good chance we're not going to survive. Well, I say that, but it's modern D&D, so survival is actually assumable most of the time, I just don't see how it's going to play out. Also, my major gripe with the campaign: too much abyss. I know it's the whole theme of the campaign, but there's only so many caverns, mushrooms, and grimdark demons or whatever before they all kind of blend together. I'm having fun playing with everyone, and I'm into the characters, but I really want to shake things up.

    To that end, I've been playing more games with my other group! Quarantine has its perks, I guess (not that it's worth the whole rest of the pandemic, obviously).

    We had a partial group and played Lasers & Feelings, which was a lot of fun! A bit of a perspective shift from the kinds of games I'm used to, but in a very nice way. It's only a page, and I like light systems like this a lot; there's a lot of creativity in paring things down in any artform, and it just works so efficiently at the table. Odds are we'll play this one again.

    And we continued in Blades in the Dark, with my (somewhat slapdash) adaptation of Blood in the Chocolate. My only regret is that I'm kind of practicing the system as I go, so I may not be giving the full experience of the module. I really ought to have pushed the players harder, which I know is in the guidelines for BitD, but the risk of going TOO hard is intimidating. If I could do it again, I'd practice a bit more with the system before trying it, but I really wanted to start it when I did... because it's candy themed... and we started in October. :p Schedules were hard to manage! I'm looking forward to the climax, because we'll be more able to run the game as intended, with single-session heists, and thus play even if one player can't make it. That probably read more as a diary than a play report, but it's a great system, a great module (though a bit edgy in ways I had to tone down), and I'm having a great time. :)

    9 votes
  9. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
    Link Parent
    Hey, despite the hours I put in, CK2 still makes me feel dumb. :p And Stellaris just feels a lot more cohesive. I love that CK2 is kind of a big messy pile of stuff, but Stellaris feels like...

    Hey, despite the hours I put in, CK2 still makes me feel dumb. :p

    And Stellaris just feels a lot more cohesive. I love that CK2 is kind of a big messy pile of stuff, but Stellaris feels like everything is connected in a way that makes sense, and a lot of the information is just out there in the open in an understandable way. It feels like playing a board game.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
    Link Parent
    Same here! I've been switching between CK2 and Stellaris. Currently having fun with a shattered world start to restore the Roman Empire (and restore Hellenism). Doing my usual thing, where I start...

    Same here! I've been switching between CK2 and Stellaris.

    Currently having fun with a shattered world start to restore the Roman Empire (and restore Hellenism). Doing my usual thing, where I start a new game, mess something up, and try again with a bit more knowledge of how to handle it.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
    Link Parent
    Coming from Crusader Kings 2, I get it. :p I've got most of the expansions for that, and have played for ~400 hours. So far it looks like Stellaris is going to hook me just the same. Honestly,...

    Coming from Crusader Kings 2, I get it. :p I've got most of the expansions for that, and have played for ~400 hours. So far it looks like Stellaris is going to hook me just the same. Honestly, just a few days ago, I was playing CK2, thought, "I would love a sci-fi grand strategy game," only to find out Paradox made one a few years ago. Easy buy.

    Honestly, to just figure things out, I'm playing with a tiny map, no other AIs, postponing the mid- and end-game crises, etc. Basically just playing it as an empire building sandbox. I can't wait to figure out how to build a perfect society, start a new game with more difficult settings, and immediately get wrecked.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    I just started playing! Though just the base game, and Utopia after I tried out the base game, enjoyed it, and because I couldn't resist the ability to build megastructures. Like other Paradox...

    I just started playing! Though just the base game, and Utopia after I tried out the base game, enjoyed it, and because I couldn't resist the ability to build megastructures. Like other Paradox games, I'll pick up the other DLC eventually, and probably when they're on sale. :p

    And as with all grand strategy games, my discover pattern is to stat a new game, go until I screw something up, read up about it, and start over. I'm currently wrestling with planet management.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Americans' opinions on the coronavirus are changing fast in ~health.coronavirus

    Grawlix
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    I feel the same way, but a part of me thinks, if failing to deliver on empty promises would hurt Trump, his approval numbers wouldn't be holding steady at ~43% over three years into his term. :/

    I feel the same way, but a part of me thinks, if failing to deliver on empty promises would hurt Trump, his approval numbers wouldn't be holding steady at ~43% over three years into his term. :/

    2 votes
  14. Comment on Restaurants can't survive COVID-19 without a bailout in ~food

    Grawlix
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    There's a board game cafe near me, and they had to pivot their business hard due to social distancing. No more paying for table space, but they still sell board-games and to-go items from the...

    There's a board game cafe near me, and they had to pivot their business hard due to social distancing. No more paying for table space, but they still sell board-games and to-go items from the cafe.

    On that note, I think it's going to hit game shops hard. They already have to compete with online prices, their selling point is often offering a space to play in, and they can't offer that play space during a pandemic.

    10 votes
  15. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    Crusader Kings 2! I got the itch to play it again, and went waaay down the rabbit hole. Ended up buying some DLC at full price, which I usually never do with games, but I know I'm going to get my...

    Crusader Kings 2! I got the itch to play it again, and went waaay down the rabbit hole. Ended up buying some DLC at full price, which I usually never do with games, but I know I'm going to get my money's worth with this game.

    For those who don't know, it's basically a grand strategy game mixed with a role-playing game, where you play a dynasty, one heir after another, from succession to death. It also scratches a bit of the roguelike itch for me, since it does reward skill and experience, but with random elements to deal with that can sometimes just fuck with you. Sometimes your character will just get killed in a battle, or you get assassinated via poison snake because you didn't think it was a big deal that your bed was hissing, or some HERETICS set up in your realm and spawn huge units to fuck up your entire realm. It's great!

    There's no explicit win condition (which by some snooty definitions makes it not really a game per se), but it's a wide and deep sandbox where you can play around and try different things. Want to start as a count or a duke and work your way up? Sure. Want to start as an empire? That works, too. Want to play as a subordinate and work your way towards overthrowing the monarch, or maybe fold your dynasty into theirs? Go for it!

    It's also one of the few games where you can really be a power-user. Aside from the fact that there's just... a lot going on, you get a TON of options at the beginning of the game to tailor it your liking. That includes stuff for all games (whether or not supernatural events will happen, if you want to enable gender equality globally, if you want to make vassal or personal demesne limits unlimited or more restricted, etc), options for DLC beyond turning the entire thing on and off, and mods can also take advantage in-game (and there's a LOT of mod support).

    The catch is that the depth and flexibility of the game comes at the cost of a hard learning curve. Despite being generally considered one of the more accessible grand strategy games by its publisher, it's still notoriously hard to get into. I wouldn't even necessarily call it a "love it or hate it" game so much as a "love it or it's not even on your RADAR."

    Anyway, sometime between when I last played it and when I started up again, it went free to play! So go give it a try, futz around for a while, and see if it's your jam. If you don't get out of it what you're putting into it, you can just delete it. :p

    9 votes
  16. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    Did you mention that game in a previous thread? I only picked it up because I saw it mentioned before on Tildes, and I think it was on sale at the time. I had a blast. :) Still not very far...

    Did you mention that game in a previous thread? I only picked it up because I saw it mentioned before on Tildes, and I think it was on sale at the time. I had a blast. :)

    Still not very far because I got sidetracked, though.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on "Can Biden beat Trump?" in ~news

    Grawlix
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    I genuinely have no idea how people are defending the party system we have in America. The primary argument is, "Well, Biden got the most votes," which no one is denying. The point is how and why,...

    I genuinely have no idea how people are defending the party system we have in America.

    The primary argument is, "Well, Biden got the most votes," which no one is denying. The point is how and why, and that's incredibly important. There's party favoritism, media bias, "strategic voting" based on FPTP voting (and faulty premises of "electability"), voter suppression, unequal vote weight, even just the order the primaries happen...

    To simplify it to just "Biden has more votes, and that's that" is plastering over ALL the problems we have and creating this false impression that it was ultimately a fair fight.

    6 votes
  18. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Grawlix
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    Magic: the Gathering Arena is still the game I'm playing consistently, even if the rest of my video gaming is in kind of a lull. I really like the newest set! This past weekend I helped DM at a...

    Magic: the Gathering Arena is still the game I'm playing consistently, even if the rest of my video gaming is in kind of a lull. I really like the newest set!

    This past weekend I helped DM at a local shop for some young kids. Fun, but... draining. :p The kids were all preteens or younger, and there were six of them at the table, so we just barely got through a bunch of spiders (one room out of a five room dungeon I had planned; those usually go much faster). I think they had fun, but they might be a biiit young to take the game seriously. The table behind me, with kids in their preteens-early teens, seemed to actually have a proper D&D session. A good chunk of what I was doing was babysitting.

    And my entertainment budget is kind of tied up right now in the Trophy RPG Kickstarter. Spooky fantasy setting, with rules inspired by Blades in the Dark, with rules to support both campaign play and one-shot adventures. Super easy decision for me to back that one. I'm also considering the Swords & Wizardry Box Set, which is a functional reprint of Original D&D, but I don't know. I've got Old School Essentials, a functional reprint of Basic D&D, and while there are some differences between the two, there's a lot of overlap.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on An unsettling new theory: there is no "swing voter" in ~misc

    Grawlix
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    The issue is that America has a somewhat limited mainstream political spectrum, especially since being one of the two major power in the Cold War led to a long-lasting stigma against socialism....

    The issue is that America has a somewhat limited mainstream political spectrum, especially since being one of the two major power in the Cold War led to a long-lasting stigma against socialism.

    So, the Republicans are conservative/right-wing.

    The Democrats are liberal, which I believe is fairly consistent with what other parts of the world call liberal—still pro-capitalism and pro-business, but supportive of progressive taxation, regulations, and social safety programs. Also, somewhat more progressive on social issues, though typically riding the wave of public sentiment rather than leading it.

    And that was pretty much the extent of it. Very recently, social democrats have made headway into the Democratic Party, but they are the extreme end of it, and often face a ton of resistance from their own party. For instance, until he sought the Democratic nomination for president, Sanders was an independent, because he was left of the Democrats. In Europe, Sanders would be a bog-standard social democrat, just a bit left of center, but that represents a pretty significant shift in the US, to the point that some people just don't have the vocabulary for it. He's been called a full-on socialist or even a communist. To be fair, he even calls himself a democratic socialist, which is actually distinct from a social democrat, and doesn't describe his position as well as social democrat does.

    11 votes
  20. Comment on We're through the Comet Ping Pong table here, people in ~misc

    Grawlix
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    That is an extremely generous use of the term "major publication."

    That is an extremely generous use of the term "major publication."

    4 votes