Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Tabletop Simulator Fun

Over my Christmas vacation, I suddenly was struck with the urge to play a board game. But seeing all my friends and family are so far away, the only way this was going to happen was through some kind of online game.

The Steam sale was about to kick off that very afternoon, so I started browsing the board game section to see what I could see. There’s plenty of games out there like Life and Monopoly, but not all of them are multiplayer, and some don’t have the greatest of ratings – especially if you want to host a game for other people to connect to online.

At the top of the board game section in Steam is Tabletop Simulator. For whatever reason, I’d put the game on ignore and was completely overlooking it every time I did a search. After a while of picking out possibilities, I finally came back to the top ten. That’s when I mentioned to Syn that Tabletop Simulator was the number one game for this section.

She knew of it and told me it was apparently pretty cool. So I began to look into it and was blown away when I did.

There are literally hundreds of tabletop game mods in the Workshop for Tabletop Simulator!! I could not believe my eyes!

Someone is stacking up those kids! XD

When I realized exactly HOW MUCH this one game could do, and then when it went on sale for $10 during the winter sale, we quickly bought a 4 pack and gifted it to the entire Posse.

There is simply so much gaming potential here if you have friends who are into this sort of thing. I hosted several games for several people in different locations across the US, and no one had trouble connecting, playing or staying connected.

We’ve only tried two mods so far – Uno and The Game of Life. We haven’t tried anything fully scripted, though Uno had some scripts for dealing the cards that was a nice addition.

Much of the fun seems to come from the bumbling of people trying to play a board game in a virtual environment. There’s a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to interacting and controls, but that’s easily master with a little practice. Still, we had plenty of “spills” and car pile-ups during the Game of Life, which just led to a lot of hilarity.

And when an artistic-type finishes Life early on while everyone else is still playing the game, interesting things can happen to the gaming table – which allows you to draw and add text to it…

Drawing on the game board
I fibbed

So anyhow, A+ for Tabletop Simulator and all the amazing mods you can pick up for it. We had a grand time with this, and I hope we’ll be able to explore so more games going forward!

Posted in Steam Gaming

Steam Games: House Flipper Workshop Release

Not long ago, I wrote about the fun I’d been having with House Flipper. I noted that soon, Steam Workshop capabilities would be added to the game, and as of yesterday, that’s come to pass!

What this allows players to do is create their own items and upload them to the Steam Workshop, where other people can import them to their game to use in their builds.

Right now, there’s just a few items to explore since it hasn’t been out that long, but the possibilities for the House Flipper community are incredible!

The dev team included very detailed instructions on working to get your 3D objects into the Steam Workshop for House Flipper. They also made a video, which I’m posting below.

Really, they’ve taken a lot of time and effort to put these tools into the hands of the players and ensure folks understand how to use them! While I’m no 3D modeler, I surely hope to see some incredible objects I can put in my builds going forward!

Really excited about this feature and I hope it takes off!

Posted in Steam Gaming

Steam Gaming: House Flipper

A couple months back, I took my car in for an oil change. Almost without question, every time I go to the waiting room at the dealer, they’re playing some sort of house renovation show on their lounge TV. I blame that for suddenly wanting to play a house renovation game.

When looking into my options, House Flipper seemed to fit the bill of everything I was looking for. I picked it, and the DLC, up during a sale, and have put a solid 24 hours into the game at this point.

What Is House Flipper?

It’s pretty much what you’d expect — a game about buying crappy, uncared for, burned-out places and making them a desirable place to live. You invest into fixing them up however you wish, then you place them up for sale to the highest bidder.

What this game isn’t — you’re not going to be tearing down houses, building them from scratch, or even building on to the house. All you can work with is the house that’s there – you can open up the floorplan within the house, you just can’t expand to it.

Depending on the DLC that you get, you also can work on gardening and the landscaping around the house. In fact, if you spend time working towards a specific garden aesthetic, you can enter it into a contest that will increase the selling value of a home.

All of this starts with a simple in-game laptop. Here, you can do various things: take on odd jobs, purchase a house, or renovate according to a client’s demands.

Odd jobs are emails that come in that you can accept for a bit of cash. This is how you’ll start out. They’re usually simple things with very precise instructions (paint the wall dark blue, fix the light socket, knock down a wall, plant certain types of trees, etc). You have to meet the client’s expectations to a certain point for the job to be considered done. I always try to go the extra mile and get 100% ratings on all of my odd jobs just because.

Buying a house and fixing it up is just as it sounds. You can spend as much money as you have to put into fixing the house (you’ll always get a profit back from what I see), and design it in any way that you please.

However, there’s a potential set of buyers keeping an eye on what you do and providing feedback on whether they like or dislike the direction you’re taking. For example, the artsy lady likes lots of wall art, the old couple are fond of indoor plants, and there’s one fellow who is dead set on having a desk in his bedroom.

There’s achievements for winning over these different buyers – some are more fickle than others – so that gives you something to shoot for as you tailor a house to catch their eye. Or not. Really, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

The third type of task comes with the HGTV pack. This one feels like a blend of the odd jobs and the house buying. Your clients have a perfectly good house but they want to spruce it up a bit. You can help choose an outcome between two options that takes you renovation goals in different directions – such as the husband wants a man cave while the wife wants a sauna.

Once you make a choice, the clients direct you to the specific things you need to do to complete the task. Then, I believe once you’ve completed that house, you can choose to buy it and renovate it free-form.

What I Enjoy

Obviously, if I’ve put 24 hours into the game, I’m enjoying it. This kind of thing just appeals to me overall, though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I find the gameplay pretty chill and calming (some might find parts of it redundant).

The more that you use skills, the more points you get to unlock perks that make tasks easier to complete. For example, the more you paint walls, you earn points that allow you to use less paint when painting, paint multiple panels at once, and stuff that just speeds up the process, which is nice.

I keep learning new creative ways to approach houses the more that I play it, as well. There’s a variety if items you can purchase and place – they just released a free steampunk DLC a few weeks back! – and part of making cool builds is learning how to find items in the housing catalogue. I keep running across new things and wishing I’d know about it earlier!

The cherry on top are the before and after pictures in your portfolio that you can go back and browse on your laptop. Not only does it feel good to see how you turned a wreck of a house into a cozy home, but you can also see how your design skills have improved since your first house.

Before…
After…

So, if you’re into this sort of thing, and just want a chill gaming experience, I highly suggest it! It sounds like very soon, we’ll be getting Steam Workshop support (exciting!). There’s also a new VR version that just release not long ago, too.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Steam Gaming, Xbox Game Pass

December 2020 Gaming Goals

Happy December! Welcome to the final month of 2020, and to the Holiday season! I’ve got a bit of vacation at the end of this month to look forward to, but lots of goals on my mind as well!

In FFXIV, we have a patch incoming, which always means taking time out for story and whatever goodies the patch brings. Folks in my FC have been dabbling in Blue Mage lately, and this brings yet another level cap increase for that job.

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Warrior to 80 and do job quest
  • Level Gunbreaker via Trusts
  • Clean up quests in the First (to level tank)
  • Level BLU when patch drops
  • Cap BLU skills
  • Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon

This time around, I really want to finish leveling the last of my Trust members to 80 for the achievement. This will also coincide with leveling one of my tanks. Once Warrior and Gunbreaker are done, all I’ll have left is Paladin to have everything to 80 and the Amaro mount.

I really, really need to work on crafting relics! This next patch is going to drop an update to them yet again… ugh. Not to mention I didn’t even start on the gathering relics. I’m so behind. : /

MISC Goals

  • Continue to level Taming in UO
  • Continue playing Steam Games
  • Play Switch Games
  • Play 3DS Games
  • Play Xbox Pass Games

So I have a few very loose goals here. I do want to dabble in UO again this month. I don’t want that falling to the wayside.

I have a handful of Steam games I’ve been putting time into that I’d like to keep my momentum with, if only a little. I also need to blog about them!

I also dusted off my old 3DS system — there’s so many games there I haven’t touched/finished that it’s a shame. I need to blog about that, too! 🙂

And finally, I really want to put some time into some Switch games other than Animal Crossing. I just need to nail down which one I want to make my focus.

Oh, and Xbox Pass… I’ll… talk about that later.

That’s a lot of gaming! Thankfully I have a week off.

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Raft: Beating Bruce

Yesterday, I wrote about the new survival game that Syn and I started playing over the weekend called Raft. We mentioned it to Vix and Xaa on Sunday night, and told them we were having a good deal of fun with it.

So, last night, they also picked up the game and our crew became four. I started a new raft for the group, and was happy to see how easy it was for us all to just hop in a new hosted game. Even if someone disconnects, when they reconnect, they’re right back on the raft again.

The game still ran just fine with four of us — though the tiny raft was somewhat cramped. The only issue we ran across was a small bug where Xaa couldn’t cast his hook at first. After looking it up, I discovered that switching the hook’s inventory slot on your bar somehow fixed that, and we were up and away.

I’m glad we had more experience with the game when we came to trying to play with more people. It took a little time the first time around to figure out the water purifier and grill/fishing pole. With twice as many people needing water and food, it was a little bit of a scramble in the beginning. But by the end of our gaming session, we had three grills and purifiers, a medium plot with watermelons growing, and a large chest with a food stash started.

The final island we stopped at for the night became a place of showdown between me and Bruce the shark. I’d joked about killing the shark on Sunday, only to discover from an random post in the community section that this actually can happen.

The island we landed on had a weird shape to it with a bit of a crevice between stones on one side. Though I only had a wooden spear, I was able to lure Bruce into this crevice where he got a bit stuck, and land a few blows on him before he got free again. Some of our fighting was in water, too, but much of it was me luring him into the smaller area where I finally took him down after many hits.

This rewarded us with a shark-free zone for a short time. Also, shark meat. And most importantly — a shark head, which you can wear like a hat. I had Xaa take a few screenshots of it, though I didn’t think to screenshot the rest of our adventure last night.

We’ve mostly gotten caught up to the point where Syn and I were in our own game since we knew the ropes better the second time around. We’ll see what discoveries we can run across in this game going forward!

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steamgifts: Giving it All Away

One of the first posts I wrote when this blog was still young was about Steamgifts. This is an online community that creates a massive number of giveaways of free Steam games/keys.

I wrote about how all that works in that post, and while I haven’t been actually entering that many giveaways since then, I have recently been using it to purge my Humble Bundle library.

One of my gaming goals for this year was to play over 60% of my Steam backlog. While I’ve inched that up to 53% played this year and have played almost everything new that I’ve bought, I won’t be hitting that goal, and I pretty much know it.

However, this number is somewhat misleading because I have a ton of games from bundles I purchased that I’ve never claimed on Steam yet. The last bundle I ever bought was in 2017 when I realized I was just stacking on a bunch of games that I may never play.

This is also why I never subscribed to that Humble Choice or whatever it is now that dumps even more games on you every month. My backlog is too large to handle already. I don’t need all that!

In preparation for the new year, one goal I’d like to set is to is bring in some of these unused bundle keys into my account for the games I do want to keep. So I’ve been massively sorting through games and figuring out which ones I just wouldn’t spend time with.

These are the games I’ve been tossing out on the Steamgifts site. And I’ve had quite a number of them! Not done yet, either.

It feels good to get these keys out of my inventory and hopefully in the hands of someone who really does want to play these games. Then I can focus on claiming the keys I want and hopefully trying out some of these games. I have the whole series of oldskool Sierra adventure games, for example, that I really want to play.

The Steamgifts site has been hosting a pretty fun holiday event where you can open 5 random gifts each day and choose whether to take up the giveaway. While I don’t really need any more games, I have entered a few that have been interesting to me. Doubtful that I’ll win, but it’s still fun to do.

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steam Games: Kind Words

I saw that Bel at Tales of the Aggronaut also wrote about this “game” today, but I haven’t read his post yet. I wanted to come at my own post with fresh thoughts first. Still, I’m glad to see other people picking it up in the blogosphere!

I first heard about this on Friday night from a Kotaku article. I don’t usually jump right out there and buy a game on impulse these days. And I even hesitated on this one before I picked it up.

Then I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did. For $5, Kind Words on Steam is totally worth it.

What Is Kind Words?

I hesitate to call it a game. It’s more of a social interaction platform for giving and receiving support and good vibes.

Everything you do is completely anonymous – interactions are only signed with the user’s first initial. And there’s no back and forth in this, so it’s not meant to be a conversation or a dialogue.

To break it down in simplest terms, you read “requests” which are short notes sent by other players. You choose whether to reply to those posts. The idea is to comfort the person, answer questions, give advice, or just let them know they’re not alone.

I’m giving advice to someone who gets overwhelmed with completing tasks.

You do all of this in a quiet, comfortable virtual environment that takes place in a single room with chill music playing in the background. Each day you participate, you unlock new songs to add to your virtual playlist.

When someone gets your response, they can thank you by sending you a collectible sticker. This sticker is an object that you can place as decoration in your room. You can also put them on your letters and share them as thanks to responses to your own requests. It’s a neat little collection meta-game, but not the central point in any way.

When you’re not reading or responding, you can chill out in your room. From time to time, paper airplanes fly across your screen that you can click on. These carry real time encouragement and messages from other players. I was surprised at how downright wholesome and thoughtful some of these could be!

A deep message from a paper airplane

You can send your own paper airplanes with quotes, good wishes, good vibes, whatever you want to say to people. It’s a nice place to find a pick-me-up if you’re feeling a bit bummed and just need to hear something pleasant.

I passed this game along to my sister and brother-in-law, and they were (as I expected) right on the ball in answering questions and sending out their own prompts. Rather than send requests about worries and concerns, I like to send questions in the disguise of looking for advice.

“When you need to concentrate on getting something done, what kind of music do you listen to? I’m open to suggestions!”

Things like that. It gets people talking and responding about something positive that they enjoy, and it actually does get a number of replies! I figure that’s within the realm of what requests can be used for, because who doesn’t get some good feelings from listing their favorite books, or music or talking about how they first started gaming?

Anyhow, I spent way more time in Kind Words over the weekend than I have any other Steam game I can think of recently. I’ve made it a point to check in for a bit every day, answer a few requests and bask in the good vibes.

I think it’s a neat little social platform, a cool experiment, and so far, I haven’t run across anyone trying to spoil things for others. If you’re curious about the game, and it sounds like something interesting in any way, give it a go and brighten someone’s day.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Steam Gaming

7D2D: Fort Moon

I know, I know. Potty humor picture. I’ll explain more about how that came to be in a bit.

So, the Posse has gotten together for at least one night each weekend to continue our current map of 7D2D. I’m not sure what it is about this particular game, but we’ve stuck with this fort longer than any other in quite a while. I think when we hung it up on Sunday, we were on Day 25.

While the game isn’t super hard by any means, we’ve seen a lot of unusual encounters and locations we’ve never experienced before. Especially for so early in the game cycle… since the concept is that the game gradually gets harder and harder as more blood moons pass.

One evening, right at sunset, I caught sight of a random horde spawn just down the street from our base. Now, hordes do spawn, and we’ve seen many different kinds – dogs, buzzards, wolves, zombies… But this one spawned a zombie bear and a handful of wolves.

Now, normal bears are no pushover in this game. But zombie bears are something to take great care with. Everyone scrambled back in the base, and with guns loaded and a careful pull, we took out the wolves, and then the bear.

Zombie Bears still get caught on barbedwire

That was pretty interesting!

We also discovered that the pig farm, which I talked about in a previous post, and the boss mob Grace, both respawn regularly. This has been a huge boon to us because it’s basically a place we can go to stock up on tons of meat, rather than trying to hunt the almost non-existent game.

The funnel system I built into our base seems to work overall. And after experimenting with the iron upgraded spikes, I have to say they are a good substitute for the old wood log spikes that the devs removed. Overall, our base has withstood up to the day 21 horde, with irradiated zombies and all slews of stuff coming for us.

Night 21 Horde – Bright green zombies

Oh, and before I forget to mention, we now have upgraded to motorcycles rather than pedal bikes. These are super nice, and even have spikes on the front that do the dirty work if you run up against any wayward zombies on your travel.

We’ve yet to upgrade to any of the larger vehicles, and we completely skipped the mini-bike phase since the crafters among us said it just wasn’t worth the materials to make those anymore. You may as well put a bit more into a full motorcycle.

Fort Moon

So, I promised you the story behind the sign in at the top of this piece, and I’m going to deliver. Sunday, our zombie team was down to three people at the time – Xaa, Amoon and myself.

Xaa and I needed to go AFK for a short bit, and I joked that Amoon would have to hold down the fort. Then I added that by the time we returned, he would have rebranded it.

A little while later, after we’d returned to the game, I hear Xaa remark about the sign I made at the front door that said “Fort Moon.”

I was like, “Wait a minute. That wasn’t me!”

Amoon started laughing, and I knew exactly what happened. He had run with my joke and actually rebranded the fort!

Well, then the suggestion popped up that we needed to put some graffiti on there and make it an official moon. After trying (and failing) at finding a good text representation of said moon (the font wasn’t working with things like CC ) I Googled a text butt and added to the sign what you see above.

Glorious? Not really. But it only happens in a sandbox building game like this, huh? 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge, Steam Gaming

Steam Challenge: Guild of Dungeoneering

Game: Guild of Dungeoneering
Time: 40 Mins (But Will Play More!)

One of my goals for this month is to get back to trying one new Steam game from my backlog each week. I started this month with this game – Guild of Dungeoneering. I think I picked this up in a bundle somewhere, but it looked interesting, so I gave it a try.

I really wanted to put more time into it before I wrote a post about it, but I feel like I have enough of the gist of all the major ideas and systems in the game. Actually, the whole game is a set of inter-working systems. But it’s easy to look past that because it’s just so darn charming.

I mean, just check out this intro song:

What is it?

The game’s Steam page describes itself as this:

Guild of Dungeoneering is a turn-based dungeon crawler with a twist: instead of controlling the hero you build the dungeon around him. Using cards drawn from your Guild decks you lay down rooms, monsters, traps and of course loot!

This does a good job of describing the game at a high level, but I want to go a little deeper into it than that.

The first thing I noticed was the cute, hand drawn art style and the fun tavern-song music. These tavern songs are woven between scenarios, usually on a loading screen, and are often quite amusing. I knew I was in for a quirky ride with this game from the get-go, and it didn’t disappoint.

So, the story begins as you decide to break away from the official Guild to make your own. I mean… you can do it better, right? This includes building up a guild hall of various rooms, and hiring adventurers to do your dirty work for you.

20180302180747_1

You then send your hired hands out into dungeons. These dungeons have objectives to fill.

20180302180823_1

Sadly, poor Mervin didn’t get very far before he met his end. It took me a few hirelings to realize that bats (which can sap life) are not a choice enemy in the beginning.

20180302181100_1

But all is not lost — when one dies, another immediately takes their place. Also, the gold the first adventurer brought home remains, and you can use that to build up your guild hall like so:

20180308074538_1 There’s even a nice little grave yard to remember them by…

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Building up your hall unlocks new types of hirelings…

20180302183902_1

And also increases the loot pool for each fight you win.

Build Your Own Dungeon

Let’s take a moment to talk about the dungeon building aspect of this game. It’s pretty cool! And in the end, if your hireling loses the fight, you’ve only got yourself to blame. You built it for them, after all! 😉

So, when you enter a dungeon, it’s only half built like this:

20180308074635_1

The random cards you get in the bottom corner are what you use to build the dungeon, and connect the parts. Usually the goal of the dungeon is on the part that you can’t reach yet. You can place up to 3 cards per turn, or end the turn early.

You can also place treasure cards (if you have one) and enemy cards in the rooms. So, really, you pick your own encounters to a certain extent.

When your hireling goes to battle, it’s a different sort of card game.

20180308074700_1

The cards you can get in your hand are directly related to the gear that your hireling is wearing (I’ll show that in a moment). The blue cards at the top are your pool – you get to play one card per turn.

The outcome of the cards are indicated by the icons. For example: the red fist is an attack that will take away one enemy heart. There are cards that cast magic, that restore health, that block enemy attacks… all sorts of things.

When you beat an enemy, you get your choice of loot:

20180308074743_1

Each of these items will add a new kind of card to your deck, influencing the skills you can use. If you don’t like any of your choices, you can take gold instead.

Again, as you build up your guild hall, you can purchase an expanded loot pool that gives better drops each time you beat an enemy.

So, basically, you send a hireling in. You build a dungeon, place risks and rewards, and choose the loot that will help them beat the quest. Then you take the gold they earned back, build up your guild hall, and repeat.

It’s a neat little set of systems, and the dungeons are short. So you can pick up and play in spurts if needed. It has a quick tutorial, and eases you into the game without too much of a learning curve. However, seeing that my first few adventurers died on the first dungeon (darn bats), it’s not a total pushover, either.

Recommended: 

yes

Give it a shot if this sounds like something you’d enjoy. I’m sure you can get it at a good price during a Steam sale, if nothing else.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo Switch, Steam Gaming

November Gaming Goals

It’s hard to believe this year is almost coming to a close! November is here, and I’m trying to set a wider variety of gaming goals this month.

I know I’ll have a couple of snags in November — the Sims 4: Cats & Dogs expansion drops next week, and later in the month, the new Animal Crossing app releases. I know these will demand some of my time. But aside from that, here’s what I’d like to do this month!

FFXIV

  • Level Paladin (Beast Tribes/Quests/Hunts) ✓
  • Level Machinist (Alliance Raid Roulette) ✓
  • Level Crafters
  • Clean up Stormblood quests ✓

This month, rather than spread my attention across different characters, I want to focus on leveling a few different jobs on my main. I also want to mop up some of those unfinished Stormblood quests because they are seriously cramping the map with all those icons at this point!

Switch

  • Play Mario Odyssey ✓
  • Beat 3rd Divine Beast in BotW
  • Complete Octopath Traveller demo

I’m making these goals in order to remind myself to stick to my Switch games. I picked up Mario for a short time last week, but I don’t want it to fall by the wayside. I also want to start to progress in Zelda: BotW again. I lost momentum in this game back when I had to send my Switch dock for repairs, and haven’t played it a whole lot since. Finally, I downloaded the Octopath Traveller demo back when it first launched, but haven’t played it. Need to fix that!

Steam

  • Try 1 Steam game from my backlog each week ✓

A conversation that fell on Steam gaming and backlogs from the other night reminded me that I’m falling behind on backlog clearing yet again. I actually picked up a couple of bundles lately (mostly because I just wanted one game from them), but I haven’t entered any of the keys into my Steam account out of shame. XD

Interestingly, I’ve noticed a trend where I’ll hear of a game on my Steam wishlist releasing for the Switch, and I’ll drop it from Steam for the Switch version. But this means my Switch is starting to see a tiny backlog beginning to build up, too. Noooo!