Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
 
Rage of Demons: Session 1

I am member of a local role-playing game club. As part of our club activities in December I organized a session of "5th edition Dungeons & Dragons for Beginners". That way I met a group of young (adult, but half my age) people who were very much interested to play more D&D. So I started a full regular campaign with them.

I asked them what genre of fantasy they would prefer, from the generic heroic fantasy, to less heroic dark fantasy, the gothic horror fantasy of Ravenloft, or even the steam punk fantasy of Zeitgeist. They opted for dark fantasy, which left me with not much choice based on what little material I had for that in 5E: The Rage of Demons campaign, which consists of only the Out of the Abyss campaign book. As there was already another Out of the Abyss campaign in the club (and another one based on that book in which I had participated as player before it went dormant), I preferred to use the Rage of Demons title to avoid confusion.

As I posted a few weeks ago, I had to turn a not-so-great experience as a player of Out of the Abyss into a a much better appreciation of that book by better understanding how it was supposed to be played. Once I got the basic recipe down (follow the chapters in strict linear order, but improvise as much as you can within each chapter), the campaign appeared doable. So I started preparing, and this week we played our first session.

Out of the Abyss has the least subtle start imaginable for an adventure, the much overused "you start the game near naked and in prison". As the players had played the start of Lost Mines of Phandelver with me and wanted to keep their characters, I needed to get them into that prison. (The DM I had played with had avoided that start, and that turned out to be very detrimental to the story.) As we had ended in the middle of a dungeon, the Red Brand hideout, I simply told them that in the next room they had encountered not just the boss of that hideout, the mage Glasstaff, but also a drow priestess with six elite drow bodyguards. The drow had then quickly incapacitated everybody with their poisoned hand crossbows, and carried them off as slaves. Well, they had said they wanted dark, so they got dark. :)

The reason you need to start in the prison is so that you can encounter all the wonderful NPCs there, ten fellow prisoners. There is everything from a deep gnome with a betting habit, to a Yoda-like kuo-toa pacifist hermit and a hairy monster claiming to be an elf prince. I explained to the players the basic principle of interactive story-telling in D&D: As the DM I was setting the scene, which includes some obvious story goals like in this case escaping the prison. But it was up to them to come up with a plan on how to escape, who to take with them, and what means to use. I must say that ended surprisingly well, with them showing a lot more initiative than my regular group of old timers.

I used the NPCs to give the group an overview of the locations of the Underdark. The closest town from the drow outpost is the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop. Buppido the derro told them that from there they could cross the Darklake and get to his home town of Gracklstugh, where he claimed that in a tunnel system called the Whorlstone Tunnels there was a way to the surface. That gave them a general idea on how to proceed after the escape.

Due to there being several female players, I played up the matriarchy of the drow, so the male slaves were doing laundry and kitchen duty, while the women were doing heavy manual labor. That led to one NPC, an orc named Ront, getting killed by the drow for tearing the priestess' underwear, and the warrior of the group being forced to feed Ront's remains to the giant spiders. I think I got the message across that the drow are cruel bastards.

The group's cleric had written for himself a background story where his temple had done a forbidden ritual that got most of them killed, and him with a scarred face, wearing a mask. I turned that ritual into a summoning of Juiblex, and his injury into an acid burn. And io and behold, while doing kitchen duty the cleric saw one of the elite drow with similar acid burns. Based on that connection he could persuade that drow to help, and ultimately got the key to their cell from that (although the drow clearly cared more about hurting his boss than helping them). Meanwhile the ranger managed to pickpocket the smaller key to their chains from another drow. That precipitated their attempt escape, when they heard from other drow that there would be an inspection the next day, where the missing key would be noticed.

The keys got them out of their chains and cell, but the outpost was built high up the wall of the cave with only a well-guarded elevator to connect to the floor. And they had absolutely no equipment. So they decided that part one of the plan was to attack the guard tower in front of their cells, where only one elite drow and two regular drows stood guard. They had the good idea (I might have nudged them a bit in the right direction) to use the fact that the other way to the guard tower was a hanging bridge, to try to cut the ropes of that bridge. The first rope cut made quite some noise, so the combat began with the drow looking out the far door of the guard tower to see what was happening, and one regular drow getting pushed of the ledge by the warrior rushing in through the other door.

The fight was rather tough, a group of level 2 characters against a drow elite warrior of challenge rating 5 having two attacks each round and poisoned weapons. The warrior went down early, but got healed back up; fortunately the group has three people with healing spells, a cleric, a druid, and a ranger. The drow then outright killed one of the NPCs, the dwarven scout Eldelth, who had wisely asked the group before that in the event of her death they would carry word to her family in Gauntlgrym. During the fight the sorceress and drow NPC managed to cut the rope bridge, preventing drow reinforcements. The druid meanwhile had gone up to the store room and dropped weapons for them from there. So ultimately the group prevailed, got decently equipped (although not finding their initial equipment back), found ropes, and used those to escape from the drow outpost. We decided to stop there and play the rest of the escape and pursuit the next session.

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Monday, February 12, 2018
 
Elemental Evil: Session 12

In the previous session the heroes had finished the second keep of elemental evil and killed its boss, a wereboar. This session began with the realization that the group paladin was now infected with lycanthropy. And being just below level 5 they didn't have the necessary remove curse spell to get rid of that. So instead of directly heading for the next keep, they returned to Red Larch again, where the local priests were able to heal the paladin from his curse.

On leaving the temple the group witnessed an attack on the town by two ankheg. They were able to defend the town, but the burrowing monsters caused a sinkhole to appear in the middle of the town square. Exploring that the group found a small dungeon (the "Tomb of Moving Stones") with a temple inhabited by a priest of the earth cultists. They killed the priest and discovered evidence that he tried to convert a group of town elders, the "believers", from a harmless excuse to spend evenings among men to a far more sinister cult of elemental evil.

The Tomb of Moving Stones is normally a far lower level adventure, designed to get a level 1 group started in Red Larch. In this case I thought it would be a nice opportunity to introduce the earth cult a bit more, before the group heads into their keep. The added advantage was that the xp from that dungeon got the group to level 5, which is what the next dungeon is designed for. As level 5 is a major jump in power, I thought it was wiser to do it that way.

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Saturday, February 03, 2018
 
Unsubscribed Humble Bundle Monthly

I recently subscribed to the Humble Bundle Monthly, because the $12 for the bundle included Civilization VI with two DLCs, which was way cheaper than any other way to pick up Civ VI. Now the rest of the bundle arrived, and I must say that I am disappointed. The idea of the Humble Bundle Monthly is that it is "curated", giving you a bunch of good games. So I thought that in a curated bundle with Civilization VI I would find a few other nice strategy games. Unfortunately I was very wrong: The other games in the February bundle are all adventure games, and cheap ones at that.

To quote Steam when I open the page of one of those games: "Is this game relevant to you? This game doesn't look like other things you've played in the past. As such we don't have much information on whether or not you might be interested in it.". Steam is right. Basically I haven't played adventure games since way back when adventure games were still a thing, the days of Leisure Suit Larry or Monkey Island. I don't really like the new generation of adventure games, which is often described as "walking simulators". The only game in the Humble Bundle Monthly I might try is Snake Pass, because I've heard that it is somewhat unique with its controls, and not really an "adventure game".

Another reason to unsubscribe was that the highlight of next month's bundle is Dark Souls III plus one DLC. If you like the Dark Souls series, you might consider this, as $12 is an excellent price for something going for $75 on Steam. For me the unforgiving nature of the series has always turned me off. I don't play games to get punished for my mistakes, I have a job for that!

What I did now is change my Humble Bundle e-mail settings to send me info on future Humble Bundle Monthly offers. (I had turned that off, which resulted in me not even getting informed that there was a bundle of games waiting for me.) Getting $60 games plus DLC for $12 is interesting. The rest of the bundles probably not so.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
 
Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy is a series of games which in the past has made me buy a Playstation 2 and 3, after having played FF7 on the PC. But then I didn't like FF13 all that much, nor the MMORPG version FF14 (which might have more to do with MMO burnout and the botched first version than the quality of the final second version game). So I didn't buy a Playstation 4. Nor did I ever buy any version of XBox, which means that I never got to even try Final Fantasy XV. However that is going to change in 2018, because FF15 is coming both to PC and mobile platforms.

If I buy the PC version, I am pretty confident that I will get a pretty much identical game to the console version, with at least equal if not better graphics. The main issue with console ports of games like Final Fantasy is usually that they don't always create a new control scheme for stuff like inventory management, so you need to push a lot of buttons to go through sub-menus of sub-menus instead of using easier mouse + keyboard controls. That can be somewhat annoying, but is not really a serious downside. So I'd consider the PC version a conservative bet.

The mobile version, called the "pocket edition" is going to be released next week, February 9, and is conceptually much more interesting. Because in this pocket version they tried to reproduce the game as faithfully as possible on a platform which is both much less graphically powerful, and has a much more different control scheme. But people who saw the beta version were astounded how faithful to the original at least the start of the game is. Basically you see the same scenes, but with new graphics which are far better suited to the lower resolution and capabilities of the platform.

There have been a number of games in the past that were re-released with improved graphics, due to the constant increase of computer graphics quality. The reverse process, down-grading graphics to lower resolution, hasn't been used that much. But of course the concept is very interesting if you think of porting games from the PC and console to tablets and phones. So I am definitely going to check out the Final Fantasy XV pocket edition. Especially since I don't need to buy the full game to do so: You get the first chapter for free, and can buy the rest of the game chapter by chapter. Now that is an innovation I wish would apply to console games.



Sunday, January 28, 2018
 
Netgear Orbi RBK50

Fiddling around with technology that doesn't work makes me very nervous. On the plus side I am then mighty pleased when I finally get everything working. And so I am happy to report that after fiddling I managed to dramatically improve the WiFi reception in my home by installing a Netgear Orbi RBK50.

For the last few years I have been using a Linksys EA7500 WiFi router. That worked, but in spite of the promises on the box about covering a "medium household", WiFi reception in my den was always feeble. The den is only two rooms away from the office with the router, but the room between is the bathroom, and so there is one tiled wall without an opening in the way. That appears to block the signal quite drastically, so it takes the long way around. It was okay for web surfing, but not ideal for things like Netflix streaming. And then I bought the Switch. The Switch has one major drawback regarding Wifi, in that it has the world worst WiFi antenna. When your tablet shows 2 bars instead of 3, the Switch already can't find any signal at all any more. So I had to move the Switch next to the base station every time I wanted to download something. Time for an upgrade.

I surfed the internet for recommendations (which also told me that Linksys routers aren't considered to be very good) and found that a lot of people liked the Netgear Orbi. Just to make sure I took the RBK50 system, which has both a base station and one satellite for range extension. I had tried a Linksys extender, which had worked to some degree, but failed to use the same SSID as the base station as promised on the box. With Netgear Orbi there was no problem. I could put the satellite in the den, and it would still get a good signal from the base station and then enhance it. So now I have 75 Mbit/s WiFi connection everywhere in my home! Even the Switch shows three bars of WiFi connection.

The fiddling was necessary to get my printers working, which didn't like the Orbi switching to a completely new IP gateway address. So I had to change the Orbi to access point mode, which then mysteriously messed up everything and I had to factory reset my main router as well as the Orbi system to get everything working again. It is still a mystery to me why everything goes fast on a computer, except for network connections: Every time you reset a router or network card, it takes several minutes to establish a network.

Anyway, everything is working now, and at 15 times the speed necessary for Netflix HD streaming (or 3 times the speed for Netflix Ultra HD streaming, which I don't have the Netflix streaming plan for). Which means that both me and my wife can stream video without a download on the computer slowing down by much. Nice!

Friday, January 26, 2018
 
A question of consent and confusion

I would like to ask my American readers to leave now, as I am going to discuss some thoughts about sex which might offend the puritan.

I am very happy that I am over 50 and married, because if I was a young man I would be very much confused by now. According to polls a lot of young people in America these days believe that complimenting a woman or asking her for a date is sexual harassment. And you can't read the news these days without reading some report on there being a "rape culture", with an implied or even outspoken presumption that all men are rapists.

Fact is that the overwhelming majority of men are not rapists, by any reasonable definition of the term including all forms of non-consensual sex. While it is certainly true that rape is under-reported as a crime, even if you consider a 90% rate of under-reporting, that would raise the rape rate in the USA from 30 per 100,000 population to 300 per 100,000 population. Which still leaves over 99% of men being not rapists. In Germany some time ago there were some cases of sexual harassment committed by immigrants, which led to the far right claiming things like "all Muslim men are rapists". The liberal left loudly protested against such a sweeping and obviously untrue statement. I'm still waiting for the same reasoning to be applied to the defense of white, non-immigrant men.

I totally applaud the movement of outing pigs like Harvey Weinstein up to and including the point where they should go to prison for any rapes they committed. However I do think there are important values enshrined in our justice system, like people being considered innocent until proven guilty, which I see somewhat in danger in some of the cases. There have been cases where the falsehood of a rape accusation could be proved in court, although of course that takes years and by the time the media career of the accused is long dead. Thus a presumption that all men are rapists is not only unfair, but actually a danger to the rule of law.

What must be confusing for young people is that at the same time harmless flirting is being criminalized, the access to sexual images and even sex has never been easier. Doubly confusing if you hear that the changes to laws about prostitution in many European countries are called "liberalization", while the puritans in the media complaining about men's sexual advances are also called "liberals". You end up with a view of the world where there are "good girls" which you better even don't look at, better not talk to other than professionally, and certainly never touch, and there are "bad girls" on porn sites, webcam broadcasts, Tinder, in strip clubs or brothels (NSFW). I'm sure some people concluded that the crime of the Presidents Club was to have invited the wrong kind of girl to their party.

There is a strong correlation of that with economic inequality. The "good girls" are generally richer than the "bad girls". In other words, they are the same girls, they are just on different levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and so they differ in the relative importance they place on money and on being treated like a lady. Instead of blaming all men and starting a gender war, maybe we could come a lot closer to universal respectful interactions between men and women by introducing universal basic income.

Thursday, January 25, 2018
 
Buying a console for a single game

I bought a Nintendo Switch mostly because I wanted to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I don't regret that decision: I already had 165 hours of fun with Zelda, and there is still some DLC content I haven't done; I can even imagine playing it again with a different approach. And I have already a small library of games for the Switch that I might enjoy as well. However, as a general approach, buying a console because you want to play one specific game on it has its limitations. And this week I'm pondering these limitations due to the release of Monster Hunter: World.

Monster Hunter: World looks like a game I would like to play. In many aspects it is quite similar to Zelda, being an action-adventure open world game. However this week it comes out only on the Playstation 4 and the XBox One, neither of which I own. A release on the PC is only foreseen in "late 2018", with not even a date fixed.

The most likely scenario is that I will just wait. And if I wait until late 2018, I might also wait until 2019+ for some Steam sale. There are a bunch of reasons why I don't really consider buying a PS4 or XBox One to play Monster Hunter: World or any game: First of all I simply don't have the room for several consoles in my den / man cave; I have an enclosed TV cabinet, which already holds the TV, the Switch, a BlueRay player, the cable box, and a Chromecast. All of which pretty much fills the enclosed space *and* the available HDMI connections on the TV. Second I already think that console games are rather expensive on their own, so adding the price tag of a console to one or few games makes them feel excessively expensive, even if I could afford that excess. And third both the PS4 and the XBox One are closer to the end of their cycle than to the beginning. Next year or so the PS5 and "XBox Two" or whatever it will be called will come out. If I haven't felt the need to buy one of the current consoles in the last 5 years, now might be a bit too late. Especially when I know that Monster Hunter: World will be eventually released on the PC (and will look better there). Anyway, I already got far too many games and far too little time to play them all.

So, yeah, buying *one* console for a single game I am okay with. But I balk at repeating that for a second or third console, because that feels like a slippery slope into a bottomless money hole for me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
 
Combat optional

One of the comments on my previous post on Zelda about combat feeling optional got me thinking. Role-playing games evolved from war games: The full name of TSR, the company that first made Dungeons & Dragons, was "Tactical Studies Rules"; and the game evolved out of a squad-based war game with heroes fighting monsters. Since then combat against monsters has been very much at the heart of role-playing games of all sorts. Frequently you gained experience points, and thus levels, and thus power, by killing monsters. In MMORPGs that even led to players thinking about monsters as being a resource, with other players being a nuisance for "killstealing" or otherwise taking that monster resource away from you.

In Zelda - Breath of the Wild the monster is back where it belongs: In the role of an obstacle. There are no xp to gain, killing monsters doesn't increase your power. Yes, you might earn a nice weapon in a treasure, but you could also break your weapon while killing the monsters and then find a worse replacement in their treasure chest. Monsters drop monster parts, which can be combined with stuff like insects to cook elixirs (which sell for much more than the monster parts). There is even a special trader in the game that allows you to trade monster parts for another currency with which you can buy special items like monster disguises. But in the long run, killing monsters frequently just isn't worth it. When exploring in the mountains and getting attacked by a monster, I'd try to punt it over a ledge and got rid of it, even if that meant I wouldn't loot it.

Combat isn't completely optional however. At the very least you will need to kill 5 different incarnations of Ganon, the big evil guy, before reaching the closing credits. If you want to do all shrines, about 10% of them consist of a combat trial, and some others have lesser guardian monsters mixed with puzzles. You might also want at some point in time farm certain monster parts to upgrade armor with. But what I like is that you can wander the landscape and decide to circumvent a monster camp if you don't feel like attacking it. Because you don't have to fight everything.

Sunday, January 21, 2018
 
I finished The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild

Of course you can't actually finish an open world game. Even if you used the game's internal 100% completion counter, that still doesn't cover all the content there is. So when I say I "finished" the game, I'm using the goals that I set for myself: Do all 120 shrines and kill the end boss to get to the closing credits. I did a lot of other content, but for example not all Korok seeds, of which there are far more than you actually need.

I still think Zelda - Breath of the Wild is one of the greatest games ever. I really liked all the discoveries, the open world without invisible walls made possible by the ability to climb vertical surfaces, and the numerous puzzles everywhere. I would have preferred a less action-centric combat system, but I appreciated that it wasn't so hard that I would have needed more skills than I have in button-mashing. My biggest gripe with the game is that the sensor you get at some point to find shrines or resources you have previously photographed is terribly imprecise and unclear. Some of the shrines I could only find by looking them up on the internet, for example because they were in a cave half way up on a cliff face hidden behind a breakable wall, with no quest giving you any hint that they were there. But then you don't actually need all 120 shrines to finish the game, so that is hardly a big problem.

My biggest mistake in this playthrough was keeping all my gems. Yes, there is a quest rather late in the game where you can sell gems for more money than usual. And yes, you can use some gems to upgrade some armor. But the gem-selling quest pays only like 10% extra, and you don't really need to upgrade all your armor to maximum. I only upgraded the ancient armor to maximum, which both gives very good defense and even adds to offense when using ancient or guardian weapons. Most other armor sets need only to be upgraded twice to get the added set bonus. The armor class is mostly irrelevant for armor that you wear for other bonuses, e.g. for faster climbing or swimming. If I had sold all gems found earlier, I would have spent less hours farming materials which I only used to make elixirs which I then sold.

Ending the game produces an automatically saved game marked with a star, which has some added features like the completion counter I mentioned. Besides that some DLC content unlocks only after having done the four divine beasts, so I haven't done that yet. However I'm not yet convinced that this DLC content is worth doing, as a lot of it appears to be somewhat grindy in nature, like the gauntlet of 45 levels of the Trial of the Sword. I think I will at least try some of that stuff before stopping to play. And I do consider that I might want to play the game again from the start after a while. However I won't play in Master Mode, because I tried that and it just made combat incredibly hard, which isn't what I am looking for.

I don't regret having bought a Switch to play Zelda, but now it might be time to give some other Switch games a chance.

Sunday, January 14, 2018
 
Skill vs. Gear in Zelda - Breath of the Wild

I have played 120 hours of Zelda - Breath of the Wild now, and my main game character is advancing very nicely; I'm now able to kill boss mobs and tough mini bosses with relative ease or even farm them when required. More because I was interested in the technology than because I needed the boost I bought a couple of amiibo, which are Nintendo's "toys-to-life" figurines: You can scan them with your controller and have the amiibo appear in your game, or trigger some sort of bonus effect. But because I was relatively advanced in the game already when I got them, they didn't really change much.

So I was wondering how much of an impact it would make if one had those amiibo right from the start of a game. Now normally you can have only one save game in normal mode and one save game in master mode for Zelda. But that is per "profile", so you can easily just create another profile and start a new game from scratch without affecting your main game. I did that, and it turned out you can't use amiibo at the very start. You need to play until finishing the first shrine, and then you can turn the amiibos on in the options. And at that time the treasure chests you get from amiibo contain stuff like rusty or travelers weapons; which are still useful that early in the game compared to tree branches and bokoblin weapons, but certainly not game breaking. You need to finish the whole "tutorial", that is all four shrines and get the paraglider, before the amiibo result in the "normal" treasures, e.g. the guardian amiibo drops guardian weapons and shields.

So while I was testing that, I had another idea: You can finish the tutorial in well under 1 hour, so how does a new character in an 1-hour old game compare to a character that has been played for 120 hours? If your first character was lost and weak, was that because you were still learning the game, or was that simply that he didn't have the stats and gear you get from playing a long time?

So I took my new character without even exchanging the first 4 spirit orbs to the toughest place in the game, Hyrule castle; dressed in the starting shirt and trousers, and equipped with nothing more than can be found in the tutorial. And I am happy to report that I was doing quite well there: I basically cleaned out the place, except for the game end boss of course. I got the complete royal guard armor, which involves getting three pieces from the bottom, middle, and top of Hyrule castle. And I didn't just sneak through the castle, but actually killed even tough mobs like moblins and guardians. Of course then I found lots of awesome weapons, so my new character now has a very impressive armory, much better than anything you can get from the amiibo.

In short, knowing the game helps a lot, and the best way to get great gear early is using that knowledge to loot the toughest places in the game. I probably won't play that second character much, because doing the same 120 shrines again isn't going to be all that fun, but it is interesting to know that in Zelda - Breath of the Wild skill beats gear.

Thursday, January 11, 2018
 
Elemental Evil: Session 11

In the previous session the group entered Rivergard Keep, the second of the elemental evil surface keeps. More by chance than by design they had managed to enter directly into the main building where the boss resided. However the boss was described in the adventure as being a wereboar who was out hunting at night. So the group ended up looting his room without having killed the boss. But that only got them treasure, and not the elemental key they were after.

Searching the building further resulted in them finding a group of commoners sleeping in a dormitory next to the kitchen. They carefully abducted one without waking up the others and questioned him. That gave them a bit more information about the keep and the boss, including the fact that he was out hunting and would return later in the night. But first they searched the great hall and found a letter in which somebody from Red Larch warned about a group of troublemakers, giving the description of the group. They also found a secret door, leading to a staircase downwards.

They followed the staircase and ended up at a landing of an underground river, complete with two rowboats. So they boarded those and followed the river further. However the river was guarded by a group of aquatic ghouls, who managed to topple one of the boats, which made the combat somewhat more interesting. Poppée the wild magic sorceress tried to save herself with magic, which resulted in a wild magic surge that ended up randomly summoning a unicorn. The unicorn was understandably confused by being summoned into water, and decided to "save" Poppée by teleporting her and itself out. But of course the others didn't know what happened, only that Poppée had disappeared. After killing the ghouls it turned out that the way was blocked anyway, by the same sort of portal they had already encountered near Feathergale Spire, requiring the 4 elemental keys to open. (An addition of mine to the adventure to prevent them from randomly wandering into a dungeon of 4 levels higher than the surface keep).

The group went back up into the keep and in the courtyard also found back Poppée. However in preparation of the adventure I had decided to randomize the time of return of the keep boss by letting the group roll for an encounter every time they crossed the way the boss would take home. And by chance this encounter now took place. As the boss had an entourage the fight was challenging, with a priest of the water cult casting sleet storm on the group. The group managed to kill the opponents without waking the rest of the keep up, but the paladin got bitten by the wereboar.

As the boss had the elemental key on him, the group decided to flee and leave the rest of the water keep be. On the one hand that was understandable and consistent with their actions in the air keep. But technically they are skipping a bunch of combat encounters and thus xp. I think I need to make sure that they don't kill the boss of the next keeps too early and rush through the adventure, the adventure isn't designed for that.

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Sunday, January 07, 2018
 
Civilization VI

I haven't played Civilization VI yet. I am a fan of the series. But I have too many games and too little time, and I didn't want to pay full price for yet another iteration of the same game. I was still waiting for the price to come down below $30 when I got the news that the full Civ 6 game has been ported to iOS. Yes, you need a newer iPad to play and it is battery-hungry, but it is the *full* Civ 6, not a toned down mobile version. That is pretty remarkable. So I downloaded the game for free, which lets you play 60 turns with the Chinese empire to see how it works. And then I balked at buying the full version for $60. I didn't even want to pay that for the PC version, and for an iOS game that is very expensive.

So while I was still pondering what to do, I got another piece of news: You can this month get Civilization VI (PC version) plus 2 expansions plus a collection of other games in the Humble Bundle Monthly for $12. That is basically a subscription service where you pay $12 per month to get a bundle of games every month. But if you only want Civ 6 you can of course unsubscribe after 1 month. As this is the lowest I have ever seen Civ 6 go for, I ended up buying the game that way.

Not sure when I will get around to actually play it, I am still very busy with Zelda - Breath of the Wild. But as an opportunity to get Civ 6 cheap this is certainly worth mentioning. The offer is available until the end of the month.

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