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Spirited Away

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Q1 2016 in review

Today I am 12,000 days old. The 90 days of this year so far have been ok.


I ran 140 miles.

My pace isn’t great; my best run was probably a 7 miler where I averaged 8:30 miles. On the Bath half I crumbled over the last few miles and ended up average 9:45 miles. I’ve got the Warwick half on Sunday, it’ll be the first half that I’ve run by myself so I’ll see how it goes.

Oddly, I feel like I’ve been exercising less. I think I’ve been running for longer distances less frequently.

Days out

Warwick Castle. Charlecote. Oxford. I met a very little lamb, some giant rabbits and a turkey near York. Haven’t had many new experiences, though I’ve been generally keeping myself busy. Could do with some new adventures; I’m thinking it might be fun to round up all my little people and take them to the zoo for my birthday.


Something made Milly very anxious a couple of months ago and she licked her legs bare but the fur seems to be growing back now.

The garden is looking pretty decent, certainly ready for some planting.

I’ve neglected the stack of boxes Mum and Dad dropped off containing the contents of my bedroom at home (I’m almost certain it’s mostly stationary).


I’ve been pretty good at only watching things I want to watch (I can’t remember the last time I just put the TV on and flicked channels). I hit a bit of a wall on the reading front, Station Eleven was very clever but I found it tough to get through.

I currently have a surfeit of comics, games and films. I need to reduce spending and increase consumption.

Favourite things

  • Board with Life. The show, the podcast, the bits, the news, all of it. So funny, and charming. I’ve been spoiled in that I got to marathon through several years worth of content and now I’m waiting week on week but it’s worth it.
  • Films – Deadpool, Song of the Sea. The Hateful Eight was very good but Deadpool and Song of the Sea are some way ahead of the field for me.
  • Computer game – Tharsis – admittedly it’s the only game I’ve played, but it’s such a compelling puzzle; well worth £11.
  • Book – Magician’s Land. I was convinced I’d read more books this year but I can only really remember Magician’s Land.
  • Comics – Saga continues to impress. I was looking forward to Planet Hulk but in the end it wasn’t really my cup of tea.
  • Board games – Raiders of the North Sea is utterly brilliant. Marvel Legendary is still the game I play the most thanks to the solo rules.
  • TV – NarcosDaredevil (I haven’t finished it yet but I love it so far), I’ve also really enjoyed Lucifer.


For the next few months I think:

  • Run a sub-50 10k
  • Play at least one session of D&D
  • Book a short break
  • Get one of my game ideas to a playable prototype
Computer Games Games



Tharsis is a sci-fi survival/crisis management game on Steam with some board game inspired mechanics. Your Mars-bound vessel is struck by a meteor, killing one of your crew and destroying your food stores. Your remaining crew have to fight crises in your ship’s remaining modules to prevent loss of ship integrity, health, or system functionality.

It’s pretty hard.

Each crew member has health and dice, to manage a crisis you deploy a crew member to a module and they roll their dice. Dice can be deployed to offset the current crisis, activate the module’s function (each offers a different form of assistance), activate the crew member’s personal power (for example the doctor can improve health, the engineer can repair the ship) or contribute to a research pool which offers a set of possible bonuses.

Sounds ok so far?

Each turn your crew members lose a die. In addition some crises can cause you to lose die both generally (if not fixed all crew lose one die) or specifically (if in fixing this crisis you roll a 4 that die is gone). Die are replenished by eating food. The food you stored in the food store. The food store that got hit by a meteor.

So you need to harvest food from the greenhouse, which means spending die that could otherwise be spent fixing the problems that are going to destroy your ship, or you can cannibalise your dead crew. Which makes everyone pretty upset. And the more upset they get the worse their ideas are to save everything.

Needless to say, I’m yet to make it to Mars.

Computer Games Natural Science

Science Kombat

Coolest attack in a beat-em-up? Charles Darwin’s evolution:


More at Geek and Sundry.

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The Year in Review

Films. My favourite film I’ve watched this year might be Nausicaa. My favourites of this year’s releases… probably Fury Road and The Force Awakens (I also loved how like Nausicaa Rey’s intro scene was).

TV. Jessica Jones and Daredevil probably the picks of the year. I continue to enjoy Arrow and The Flash. Non-superhero… Umm… I still have Jonathan Strange and Wolf Hall recorded but unwatched. Ooh! Rick and Morty. Loved Rick and Morty and seriously lamenting:

– Lack of region 2 DVD
– The wait for a third series

GoT was disappointing this year, still good TV but little progression and certainly weaker than previous series with the exception of the best zombie sequence we’ve had in years.

Games. I bought too many and played too few. Of my whole collection I’ve now racked up plays for ~20-25 games now but that’s less than half.

My favourite game of the year might be Above and Below, just the right mix of eurogaming and storytelling, and easy enough for my family to pick it up on the first play. I wish I’d played Pandemic Legacy but I lack a regular enough gaming group to play the series. And I wish I’d enjoyed Codenames more, again, I think with the right group this would be a blast but on our family holiday it just didn’t really take.

(Talking of games I’ve only really played one computer game this year but I think most games would struggle to beat Fallout 4 this year)

Decisions. Joining Spa Striders is shaping up to be one of the better ones, I’m getting fitter and while I’m yet to really make friends (repeated introductions by the same people are getting a little embarrassing) I’m hoping that’ll get easier when the evenings get lighter and more pub runs are on the cards.

Worst decision? Not sure. Could’ve saved a bunch of money by not buying a host of games I haven’t played! Equally I could’ve saved even more money by not going on any dates but while nothing’s really panned out on that front yet it’s all been useful. Not sure yet. Anyway, this is supposed to be about favourite things!

Books. Really enjoying The Mistborn series thus far, Old Man’s War was really rather good, The Night Circus was nice but doesn’t quite make the top of the list. Certainly happier with how much I’ve read this year and just bagged a rake of bargains in Amazon’s 12 days of Kindle so hopefully that’ll continue on. Not sure I have a standout comic this year though I’m still catching up on a lot of what I’ve picked up.

That’ll do for now I think. More thoughts may follow between now and New Years.

Computer Games Funny

Roller Coaster Tycoon