Grimmfest 2016 – The Highlights

Grimmfest 2016 brought us tons of amazing films, with nine feature films making it onto our list of highlights! Let’s have a look at the best bits…

Well, what an interesting weekend! We spent the 6th – 9th October, pretty much camped out at the Printworks Odeon for Grimmfest 2016, Manchester’s International Festival of Fantastic Films, featuring movie premieres, genre classics and special guests.

Not that we didn’t enjoy Grimmfest 2015, but this year, was really good. Let’s have a look at the best bits….. Continue reading “Grimmfest 2016 – The Highlights”

The Positives and Negatives of Virtual Reality in Modern Gaming

Guest Post

By looking at it from a wider perspective, it’s safe to assume that virtual reality is a non-threatening influence on our lives and that it’s unlikely to initiate any troubles. However, like many other technologies that constantly develop over time, this type of tech can cause unforeseen problems that weren’t present at first. On one hand, there are physical difficulties stemming from the inadequate design and ergonomics. On the other, there are the mental aspects that separate us from actual reality far greater than we expect. Furthermore, VR even has some moral and ethical concerns, according to Virtual Reality Society, relating to human behaviour and motivations – especially in the gaming industry. Continue reading “The Positives and Negatives of Virtual Reality in Modern Gaming”

Pandemic Legacy: April – June

After surviving the first three months of Pandemic Legacy, we were about to find out that the next three months would bring us an amazing twist.

While we didn’t have too much trouble getting through the first three months of Pandemic Legacy, April to June started to get a little more complicated. With each month introducing a new aspect of gameplay, there’s a lot to keep up with!


Objective: Cure three diseases and either eradicate one disease or build a military base in each of the six areas on the board

Team Players: The Operations Expert (Arran), The Quarantine Specialist (Claire), The Dispatcher (Mark), The Researcher (Viv)

Outcome: Success!

End of Game Upgrades: Military base in Asia upgraded to starting base and Local Pressure upgrade for the quarantine specialist

April was a very interesting game, and gave us more of an insight into how Pandemic Legacy was going to be very different from the standard Pandemic games.

Our end game upgrade from March allowed us to start with an additional military base, so with four down at the very start of the game, we figured it would be much easier to complete that objective.

We stuck with the same team and made a start, but with an unlucky draw, we had two epidemics in the first two rounds, which caused a huge effect on the game.

COdA has mutated again, producing frightening results. Victims’ skin turns translucent, showing the viscera and tissue beneath. Even worse, these “Faded” often experience periods of great rage, attacking anything within sight. They are agitated and confused during these times, often hallucinating and exhibiting bizarre or abnormal behaviour. After these aggressive periods, the Faded are normal in demeanor, although horrible to behold.

img_20160712_204944Basically, we brought the zombie apocalypse upon ourselves. Osaka became our ground zero, and from now on, any red cards drawn in the infect cities phase would place a Faded figure rather than a red cube, and that city would become a faded city.

The Faded can’t be cured, but they can be quarantined, and if you start your turn in a faded city then your character receives a scar.

Despite this development, we still cured the other three diseases and won the game.

June – Attempt 1

Objective: Cure three diseases and complete two other objectives, either eradicate one disease, build a military base in each of the six areas on the board or quarantine seven faded cities.

Team Players: The Colonel (Arran), The Quarantine Specialist (Claire), The Dispatcher (Mark), The Researcher (Viv)

Outcome: Failure

End of Game Upgrades: Grizzled upgrade for the quarantine specialist and Adjacent city upgrade for the Colonel

The Faded are spreading fast, and this month we now have three objectives to complete. Our end game upgrade is to remove a faded figure from the board before we begin, but considering this is the only time a figure is going to be removed, we still have a lot of work to do to keep things under control.

In addition to the infect cities phase placing Faded figures, we also now place Faded figures when red city cards are drawn at the end of each player’s turn. These can’t cause outbreaks, but they do make keeping things under control more difficult.

We played with a new character this month, the Colonel, who can as an action remove a Faded figure from the city he is in. He can also cross road blocks (another new feature) but he needs an extra card to cure.

Roadblocks can be places as an action on a road leading out of your current city, and they prevent infection spreading in that direction. Handy if you can block all roads in and out of a highly infected area, but it takes a lot to get to this point, and can be dangerous to spend this much time in a highly infected area.

Once again we had two epidemics in the first two rounds. While we cured the yellow disease, we struggled to keep everything under control. With another epidemic following swiftly, we found ourselves fire fighting rather than aiming for the objectives. While we had the other two cures in sight, we couldn’t see which other of the objectives we should aim for.

We drew a funded event which allowed us to remove some of the black cubes. This helped, and soon after the black disease was cured. Our next epidemic caused three outbreaks and a scar for the quarantine specialist. While we cured blue quickly after this, we followed with two more outbreaks causing chain reactions until the game was lost.

Getting started with Rock Climbing

After completing my rock climbing taster session, we signed up for a beginner’s course, and are now four weeks into independent climbing!

It’s been two months since I had my first rock climbing experience with the Woman Climb event at Manchester Climb Centre. During this taster session, I discovered that I wasn’t very good at rock climbing, but I did really enjoy it, and I wanted to get better.

So, I signed myself and my other half up for a Beginner’s course, thinking it would be something nice we could do together. Continue reading “Getting started with Rock Climbing”

Game Review – T.I.M.E Stories Asylum

T.I.M.E Stories Asylum is the tabletop equivalent of a 90’s RPG video game with a timer.. You only get 3 run throughs of the game, so is it worth it?

We’ve waited a long time (no pun intended) to get our hands on a copy of T.I.M.E Stories Asylum. Introducing a new way of playing a game, and limiting replayability, we were intrigued to see how this concept would work.

T.I.M.E Stories Asylum is a cooperative, dice rolling, role playing board game. The base set provides the game board, and the first scenario. Your scenario is played through three times for completion, and then you will never be able to play the game in the same way again. So. The question is, is it worth it for a three time deal? Continue reading “Game Review – T.I.M.E Stories Asylum”

Game Review – Dead of Winter: The Long Night

Dead of Winter the Long Night is a stand alone expansion for Dead of Winter a Crossroads game. A complex game which challenges the players in many ways.

We seem to be coming across a common theme with new games we try that have really awkward rule books causing us set up issues or to play games wrong a few times until we get the hang of things. The best thing about this game is that it’s totally worth it in the end. Dead of Winter the Long Night is a stand alone expansion for Dead of Winter a Crossroads game. A complex game which challenges the players in many ways.

Now, bear in mind, we have never played the original Dead of Winter game, so we won’t be comparing this expansion to the original. The Long Night is a stand alone expansion, and our first experience of the Dead of Winter games.

Continue reading “Game Review – Dead of Winter: The Long Night”

Gauntlet Games 2016 – Gladiators Ready!

Gauntlet Games is a fun packed obstacle course race, perfect for an OCR newbie to try their hand at some classic and some more ‘bouncy’ challenges.

After my 2014 Colour Run, and 2015 Mud Run, this year, I decided to give a slightly different obstacle course race a go. Gauntlet Games is an OCR race with a combination of inflatable, water and climbing obstacles. Not so much mud, but lots of water and bubbles!

The race was again held at Heaton Park, which seems to be the hot spot for Manchester’s 5/10k races. Once you’re there, you can see why. After 3 different 5k routes I still see beautiful areas of the park which are new to me each time.

Continue reading “Gauntlet Games 2016 – Gladiators Ready!”

Game Review – Legendary: Civil War

Legendary Civil War is a stand alone expansion for the Legendary Marvel deck building game. With some interesting new twists, which side are you on?

After really enjoying my first experience of a deck building game with Legendary Marvel, we took the plunge and moved on to one of the expansions, Legendary Civil War. If you’re not familiar with the base game, you might first want to read my review of Legendary Marvel here.

Legendary Civil War is, in many ways, a very different game to the original. While still very obviously a Legendary game, players of the base game will not need to relearn any major game mechanics, but there is enough new content to make it feel like a game in its own right.

The basic setup, player turns, and aims are the same, but the specifics of certain aspects of the game are quite different.

Continue reading “Game Review – Legendary: Civil War”

Urban Exploration – Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham

Selly Oak Hospital closed in 2012, and we visited as the main part of the building has already been demolished for a new housing estate.

It’s been a while since I last went exploring, although quite some time back, a friend and I discussed the possibility of visiting Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. After spending the weekend at EMF Camp near Guildford last month, the journey home would provide the perfect opportunity to stop off at our chosen location. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Urban Exploration, you can read my guide, here.

The first buildings on the site of Selly Oak Hospital were those of the King’s Norton Union Workhouse, built in 1834. Over the years the site was expanded, and the hospital continued to grow, until its closure in 2012.

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Via Lux Birmingham – My Third Ingress Anomaly

Via Lux Birmingham was our first experience at a hybrid anomaly, and this time as well as clusters we had shards to contend with.

Another year has passed and a few more Ingress Anomalies have come and gone, but August 2016 saw a return to the UK with the latest installment, Via Lux Birmingham.

Having once again spent the last year pretty much forgetting that Ingress existed, having an anomaly we can attend again brought us back out of the woodwork and into this amazing community. Since Niantic separated from Google, anomalies have seen many changes. Firstly, they run a lot more often, and in the past year we have seen Abbadon, Obsidian and Aegis Nova coming and going, we were now ready for the next installment, Via Lux. Secondly, the anomalies themselves are changing, and Via Lux would have us take part in our first ever hybrid anomaly.

Continue reading “Via Lux Birmingham – My Third Ingress Anomaly”