some of us shave our bollocks

Dec 21st - Dec 22nd 2018 - Monster Slaughter

What's this? Another Pacmen get together? If we're not careful this could become a regular event....

Turn out was average, with two thirds of the "regulars" on hand, and I did see John before getting to Carls (thanks for the paints John, I'll try and get some miniatures painted for next time, honest). Will was already with Carl, and Chris appeared shortly after.

So there was this surprisingly old looking guy:


This guy with the scary smile:



This old codger:


And this sexy beast with the awesome Adventure Time Xmas Knitted Sweater:



First thing to do, unleash the mobile phone jail. And they thought I was joking Smile

The irony being the phones locked away meant we couldn't take any photos of the phones locked away, at least until Carl got his DSLR out.

Usual trip to Asda to stock up for the next few days (I got fruit!), though Carl and Will supplied a whole stack of sugar.

Oh and Will also picked me up some protein bars for Xmas and £10 Steam credit. How did he know? Smile

We started with a game of Monster Slaughter. I'd literally only purchased this (Late Pledge after the Kickstarter had ended) because I thought Carl would like the theme - play as a family of movie monsters and attack the party-goers in a remote log cabin. Sounded like his kind of thing. I'd not played it or read the rules, so Carl was put in charge of the manual to get to grips with the rules. There was certainly no ulterior motive on my part to stage the scene allowing us to get some photos of Old Man Carl With His Reading Glasses.


Typically with boardgames, the manual is a bit of a cluster fuck of logic and requires re-reading and a change in seating position to comprehend.


While the rest of us patiently waited for Carl....

Finally, setup!


Monster Slaughter is a good little game. Setup took us a while (as expected) but once into it, the theme working and the rules seemed OK; we'll need a few games to really get to grips with the strategies the rules appear to allow. As you're all trying to kill the party-goers for your own points, we didn't really try to thrawt each other until the very last survivor. We'd rushed through the game until then. The last kill, that was the most fun, when strategic plans were made to stop Chris getting the kill which would have given him a bundle of bonus points. We'll definitely be playing this next time (maybe with a few painted minis, probably not), this may have a good amount of life in it (pun intended).


Oh, and I won Smile


Carl's PC went on for some VR. Chris hadn't used it before, so we chucked him in to Beat Saber and Google Earth. Now there are other videos somewhere, but of course the only one to surface is where I'm playing Beat Saber like a Boss and looking remarkably like a Jedi-Master.

Alas the video isn't uploading currently. IT will be on soon Smile

With Chris's, ahem, history, we thought we could really sell him on VR with some, er, Adult Content. Now, last time I was over Carl's, the conversation went like this:

Me - "Carl, do you use your VR headset much these days?"

Carl - "Only for VR Smash!"

Me - "Oh is that any good?"

Carl - "It's amazing!"

Me - "OK I'll check that out soon."

In my head, VR Smash will be a VR Breakout game. Maybe with shooters (not like that) ala Arkanoid. But basically Breakout. In VR.

So at some later point in time, I look for VR Smash in Steam. Not there. OK maybe it's on Occulus Store. Nope. Freeware somewhere? I Google it. Yep, it's a porn site.

Now in Carl's mind, this conversation never happened. He has *nooooo* idea what VR Smash is, and seems bemused when I suggest he show it to Chris for the lolz. Consider I know, in real life, 3 people with VR headsets. Phil (not spoken to him in ages), Will ("Isn't VR porn awkward when you've finished and have to clear up your stuff?") and Carl. In a Pepsi Challenge, you'd pick Carl as "Only viable candidate to discuss VR Porn", and as I don't discuss VR with anyone else.... yeah it must have been Carl Beee

But I digress. Chris in VR headset, we then spent a wasted half hour trying to get the site to work. We gave up eventually, and thus Chris was never sold on VR. The majesty of Google Earth, scaling the Eifel Tower, flying along the Grand Canyon, for Chris this would never be enough to buy into VR. He needed those Virtual Boobies, and we let him down.

Next, we cracked through quite a few random local multiplayer games I've acquired. I liked some, and was ambivalent to others (including Laser League which I'd heard was amazing and which I will give more time to at a later date).


Frog Climbers just didn't work with all 4 controllers, and as having an odd control system doesn't go down well with the guys. I enjoyed the novelty and wanted more games, but was voted down.


Starwhal was great, but again a non-standard control system meant we were one game away from Carl launching his controller across the room, so it went off too quickly Instagib


Screencheat I thought had potential, but, well, you know - I was in the minority and we only had one game. Chris couldn't play this one, he's not great with first person games and gets sick playing them, which can happen to me as well.


I don't think any of the other guys were impressed with any of these games, not helped by ongoing gamepad connection issues (anyone saying PC gaming is as simple as Console gaming is lying, been extremely lucky, or has no idea what they're talking about - it's always a pain).

Except Tricky Towers, which is basically Tetris with physics. Actually, this was the only game I lost at, Carl putting together a few consequtive wins until the rest of us had worked out what was going on - turns out he has it on the PS4 or something. Good game, not enough in it for me to want to spend too long playing, but fun for half hour.

I wanted to avoid Towerfall this time, it's hard work and I fancied a change. Unfortunately nothing really gained traction.

The evening rolling in, Chris and Will headed off. Carl and I finished the day with an alarmingly long conversation on the state of the world, politics, social media, and other proper grown up things that grown ups speak about. 

Didn't like doing that one bit.

After far too much intellectual assertion it was time to Sleep on the couch!

Day Two was just Carl and I. I setup my PC today, Carl had suggested I bring it along so we could do some gamedev work. I really appreciated the offer of help and was happy he was interested. Inevitably, it was all a bit of a disaster for me - I should know better than to show the game, at this stage. From missed animation queues, the overly sensitive camera controls with clipping issues (which I don't notice as I'm accustomed to them, but for other people it flits around making the game a visual mess), to the VR integration stuff just flat out being fucked, things did not play out as I'd have liked. Carl was great, giving me ideas and pointing out issues I'd either not noticed, or had ignored.

Off to Asda for another food run, and we took a proper detour down memory lane by buying a frozen strawberry gateau, and not giving it long enough to defrost until we cut it in half and scoffed it down. There's a lot of related history here, going back to our teens when I'd live around Carl's most weekends (before Chris got his flat across the road and his couch became my bed for a year). The meals invariably relayed on Carl's deep-fat-frying culinary skills, with chips and sausages, tin of baked beans, and ending with the strawberry gateau that not once had defrosted before we ate it. I'm a nostalgiac old bastard so this made me happy, though nowadays Carl cooks me a couple of vegetarian burgers instead.

Quickly back on to Carl's PC to try some other games. Using a small portion of Will's XMas Steam gift, I picked up ShellShock Live.

This was pretty good. Worms without the movement. I liked the art style. It's not a great game, but was enjoyable enough - I think Carl's going to pick it up so we can play online.

I then fired up Towerclimb which I was really looking forward to, but it suffered from "too much to remember at the start" and didn't let us simply get into a simple game and start of simply by simply playing so we rapidly gave up as it sounded like too much hardwork. I want to return to this later, by myself, see what it's like and maybe get a 2 player game going at a later date.


EVE : Valkyrie – Warzonewas the Big One Carl picked up. I really wanted a spaceship shooter VR game, this looked to fit the bill. I went in unsure how I'd get on with the motion, and in effect I was good for maybe a 10 minute game at a time, but 3 games in and I was mentally tired (I always find VR tiring on my little brain) and also feeling uneasy. I ended up needing a nap on the couch! I'm blaming that on the game, not on my age....

Carl gets on fine with VR, but the game - it's not as shooty-shooty fun as it should be. Looks nice, but it didn't gel with either of us, so he got a refund with an hour of play.

Back to Shellshock, where we spent the rest of the evening, until I bid a fond farewell and headed back to the coast. 

It's always great to see the guys, and unlike last time I didn't have toothache so enjoyed myself far more.