Note4 vs iPhone almost a year in

It’s been almost a year since I switch from the Apple iPhone to the Samsung Note.  I rarely use my iPad anymore unless I’m playing one of the board games that I have previously purchased from the Apple App store.  Many of the things I thought I would miss from the Apple ecosystem just aren’t that important to me anymore.  iPhoto has changed to Photos and the cloud integration seems less stable than Google’s photo storage.   I don’t use my phone for music anymore since I just stream from the Internet rather than cart around a large collection of .mp3 files.  The integrated Google apps (calendar, email, and hangouts) replace the iCloud programs with equivalent features.

The big difference for me is the choice.  I can choose what program is used for what function on the phone in the Android world where I’m stuck in the Apple ecosystem.  I like having the choice and the customization that can happen because of the choice.  I’m no longer really interested in the new iPhones anymore.  3D touch isn’t really that compelling feature for me yet.




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Still working with my Note4

My first attempt to leave iPhone was a move to the Sony Xperia play.  It could have been a great phone, but the Sony ecosystem is very different that Apple.  You had to purchase everything several times.  Oh, you want that movie on your PS3 cash please… Now you want it on your Sony phone, more cash please… now you want to watch in on a computer, more cash again.

The Samsung phone has worked quite well for the past few months.   Some things are still unclear (like where and when photos are shared) and there are a few apps I haven’t re-purchased from Google Play simply because I have them on my iPad.

Weirdly enough I’ve stopped using the iPad a lot as well.  The larger format phone is enough for reading and note taking.

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Migration to android

I can’t take it anymore!  The iPhone’s new user interface is just too stark and bland and thin.  I had a long chat with an Apple employee about the philosophical reasons behind the abandonment of skeuomorphics.  The newest Mac OS is sporting a flattened and bland interface as well and no theme settings or adjustments.  I’m off, I’m outta here, see ya!  I’m slowly transitioning to a Note 4 and probably back to a linux distro sooner or later.

The Note 4 does remind me of my Newton MessagePad 2100.  I think I may really enjoy this switch…

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International Tabletop Day

 I went shopping on Tapletop day and acquired a number of games at huge discounts. I won the Munchkin Dungeon of Superior Shopping promo card at Epic Loot  SJ Games marketing is brilliant  I don’t have the munchkin expansion to use the card I won so now I’m on the lookout for yet another Munchkin expansion.

 It turned into a pirate themed day by accident.  I’ve after Pirate’s Cove for years as a boardgame version of Pirates! since everyone in my house loves the Sid Meiers video game.  Louis helped play test of few of these but I didn’t open/punch them until I got home.

 Louis posing with a pile of new games 

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Games Workshop retail store

I found my way into a Games Workshop retail store last night.  I was excited to learn about the store.  I was hoping that a GW retail outlet would be something special.  The manager was friendly and knowledgeable.  He knew the games and army compositions and the lore.  He offered constructive tips on how to get air support for my Beastmen army and even gave me cost saving modelling tips.  From a customer service perspective the GW retail store met my expectations.

From a stock standpoint not so much.  There wasn’t anything in the store that I couldn’t get at a FLGS.  I was hopeful that the GW store would carry finecast models and have more rare units on the shelves.  The store merchandise focused on all the new stuff and lacked a used section or a sale price/clearance area.



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Trying out Hirst Arts molds

My first time casting parts with the Hirst Arts castlemolds. I used plaster from a craft chain store.  I wanted to try the cheap stuff first and see how the molds work.  I wanted to have some experience with the process before ordering special casting material (like dental stone or the merlin’s magic stone.)

I followed the process as described on Hirst’s web page.  I would have liked to see a mixture formula (e.g. 1 cup of water for 3 cups of powder) but after doing a few castings I realized that there is a good reason for mixing the material by eye.

Thicker plaster mixes make denser blocks but are more prone to bubbles.  Lighter mixes are less prone to bubbles in the mold but make a weaker block.


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Hirst Arts molds

I picked up a selection of Hirst Arts castlemolds at Gen Con this year.  I have wanted to find a solution for scenery for RPGs and Warhammer fantasy battles.  I looked at the pre-build walls and hallways from a few different vendors.  I wanted to have more options and be more creative with my scenes.  I went with the silicone molds and started casting plaster parts.  It’s definitely a little trial and error as you go.  I have experimented with different plaster thicknesses for casting and thicker is better.  I’ll start moving some photos of the process to the site and show off what I’ve accomplished so far.

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The beastmen ready for war.

The doombull Stomrugah has bellowed his horrid war cry and the herd assembles in the forests of Arden in the north of Bretonnia.

Roaming one night from his lair Stomrugah happened upon a caravan of dwarf traders. Enraged by their intrusion the doombull slaughtered the dwarfs and laid waste to their camp. The wagons were sacked and much of the ale drank. The drunken beastman took the wagon train’s mules and ponies back to his lair as consorts and future meals and slept for days satisfied with the carnage.

Fond memories of the taste of beer and dwarf flesh haunt Stomrugah. The dwarfs rarely venture north east of the Athel Loren and have so far avoided direct clashes with the knights of Bretonnia. This has made the want of ale grow in the doombull stomach and he again thirsts for the blood of Karak Norn.

Horrible noises have been heard in the Bretonnian villages at night. A long foreboding call. Not wolf howl nor ram bleet nor bear growl but something more guttural, more beastly, and most assuredly more lethal. For several nights the call is in the wind. A sour stink filled wind. As summer draws to a close the men of Bretonnia fear this harvest season will be fraught with peril and fear to tend their fields without the protection of their lords knights. The foul wind rustles the leaves of Athel Loren and gives the elves an unsettled feeling and dis quiets the forest animals. Word of the attack as made its way back to Karak Norn and he book of grudges contains the name of Stomrugah. The doombull’s growing army will be met with axe and cannon. The only thing unknown is when the battle will take place…

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Last Night on Earth first impressions

We finally got around to playing the Last Night on Earth game. I’m not a big zombie fan, but I found that I liked the game. I’m a huge fan of Mansions of Madness; the one thing that causes trouble with Mansions is the long setup time. If you setup a card stack wrong or in the wrong place you can really mess up the whole game. LNoE has the same horror feel of Mansions without the 45 minute setup time.

We played the suggested first game of kill 15 zombies in 15 turns with four players (two zombies and four heroes.) The heroes were: Jenny, Sally, Billy, and Jake.

The zombies changed strategies at the start of the game and started running away from the heroes, congregating in the barn and hospital far away from the high school where the heroes decided to meet up and form a solid group (Don’t split the party, right?)

By the time the heroes armed up through searching and started to chase down zombies the time had run out. The heroes only managed to take down six zombies. Mostly accomplished by Billy and his meat cleaver and Sally and her baseball bat, which she broken. Jake’s shotgun skills were terrible.

The gameplay was fairly quick and fun. There is a little down time for people between turns but with a lot more fighting (i.e. less chicken zombies) the would be even less time waiting for something to do.

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Red Dragon Inn play test


For longer than I can recall I’ve wanted to play the Red Dragon Inn. For one reason or another it was on my short list, but something else always came out or was the new hotness and I never got around to buying a copy.  Also, I was skeptical about the theme.  My gaming group includes my teenage kids and a drinking themed game might encourage or desensitize them to bad choices.

Red Dragon Inn #4 is pirate themed so that was the hook that got me.  I grabbed a copy and Louis and I spent an evening testing it out.

The basic idea is that each player is a member of an adventuring party and they are in the inn after their day of adventure.  They are “relaxing” by enjoying libation and gamble their loot for “fun”.

Each player gets a board and a fortitude counter and an alcohol counter.  When your alcohol level exceeds your fortitude you pass out and lose the game.  You start the game with a sum of money.  If you run out of cash you’re out.

There are two decks.  A drinks deck that everyone shares and a player deck.

When a player takes her turn, she plays a card from her player deck.  These cards help the player take money from other people, hurt other people (reduce their fortitude),  force others to drink more, or start a round of gambling.  After you play your card you then buy a drink for someone else.  Finally you have to take the top card off your drink pile.

Some of the player cards are defensive in nature and can be played out of turn to help you thwart another player’s attempt to take your money or make you drink.

This game will be a great deal of fun with the right group.  It has a Munchkin feel of silly mixed with screw your neighbor.  Over-competitive players are going to get ganged up on by the group and tossed out early.  There is enough randomness between the strength of the drinks that come out of the drink deck and the cards you draw from your deck so I don’t see a specific strategy that will win every time.  Of course I’ve only played twice and against Louis, who cheats, a lot.




Red Dragon Inn 4

New From: $27.52 USD In Stock

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