Monday, December 31, 2018

Cavalock and The Last Post of The Year

It's the last post of the year! I'm still looking back at 2018 and I'm still heading to the gym. That's something I started back in 2017 and I'm actually kinda like doing now, to the point that I think I may have injured myself. I try to put in at least two or three visits a week and I tell myself with how much I'm paying every month, I need to get my ROI ASAP. Hah!  

2018 is also the year the Baker-at -Home became a qualified, certified and I dare say gentrified Baker. It's not one them government skills thing, but something she paid for all on her own. But that's not her day job, it's a little hobby that we all at home benefit from. 

So in an earlier post, I mentioned bout being short of one game from hitting my target of 365 games played this year. Well, I passed that target a couple days again with games like Tulip Bubble and Kill Team. Fortunate enough to slip in three games of Kill Team on Sunday afternoon. My Tyranids, those are the Alien-like creatures, went up against Deathwatch Space Marines, Nurgles and Necrons.

A few weeks ago, me Dad finally bought the no-so-new-anymore Nikon mirrorless camera. He's still waiting for the new lens to arrive. I think it's pretty neat that the camera is so user-friendly that a 85-year-old man like my Dad can take these shots with it.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Cavalock and The Top 10 Boardgame List

This was the year that I was lucky enough to receive invites to not one but two private chef sessions. Enjoyed both a lot, all wonderful food prepared by extremely talented men. The first was Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen at the chef's home over in East Coast in early November. Like what the name says, it's Cantonese food that's so popular that the place is booked solid till like, middle next year. Someone else was taking all the food pix so I really don't have any in my phone.

The second private dining experience was enjoying the handmade pasta prepared by local chef Yum Hwa. There's a pretty comprehensive article bout him here. This was for a dinner party at a friend's house that saw three distinctly different mouth-watering pasta dishes that everyone loved.

2018 was also a year of crazy health scares. Right now I got a busted tendon that has been haunting me for at least couple months now. Yup, even while I was in London. Think I did something to me foot while in the gym, I have been hoping that it would heal itself and go away but no such luck. I got an appointment at NUH Sports Centre next year. Kinda strange to have a semi-sports related accident for someone who absolutely detests organised sports. Hah! Crazier thing is me surviving a neurological attack. Fortunately I got to see a nerve specialist in time otherwise I would have ended up looking like a Batman villain for life. I was given the option to wait for an appointment at a government hospital but I decided to immediately see a private specialist that afternoon instead. That was a damn smart move. The doc said if I waited any longer the damage would had been permanent. Anyway I'm 100% cured now. Kinda makes you wonder what if someone can't afford a private consultant and waited for a government appointment. That would really be bad.

Here's my Top 10 list of favourite boardgames or tabletop games that I played this year. You can check out my Top 20 to 11 right here. Except for Santa Maria and Coffee Roaster, the other eight games were all released this year. The below Coffee Roaster is a delightful little Japanese game and it's meant for solo play. Beautiful components with excellent gameplay where you are barista trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Extremely challenging and fun.

10. Santa Maria
  9. NEOM
  8. Ganz Schon Clever
  7. Thunderstone Quest
  6. Reef
  5. Kingdomino: Age of Giants
  4. Giant Killer Robots
  3. Coffee Roaster
  2. KeyForge
  1. Kill Team

Giant Killer Robots is a Kickstarter gift from a friend. It's a huge game where the players take control of giant robots in a battle royale. Gorgeous game once you have all the buildings and colourful miniature robots spread out across the board.

The game that gave the most fun and satisfaction has got to be Kill Team or Warhammer 40K: Kill Team to be exact. Number one cos of the sheer number of hours of fun I had not just playing but painting the miniatures. I spent way more hours painting my Blood Angels Space Marines and Tyranids miniatures than I did playing the game but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Cavalock and The Top 20 Boardgame List

Happy Holidays everyone! 

It's the end to another year of ups-and-downs including some eye-opening travels for me and The Baker-at-Home. We are extremely fortunate to have time to be gallivanting to Japan not once but twice and then to the U.K. this year, as well as a jaunt to Kuala Lumpur.  If I had to pick my favourite trip or the one that was the most fun or memorable and unique, it would have to be London. Probably cos its been almost a decade since we were in the Old Country so everything was like a breath of fresh air unlike Japan. Anyway, with all the Brexit shit hitting the fan, I really don't know when we'll be heading there again.

Sea urchin snack at Borough's Market! 
Well, I kinda wish I kept a list of all the nice food I had this year but I didn't instead I kept a list of all the tabletop or boardgames I played. As of this writing, I have played 364 games this year, just one game short of my target for the year. Here are my Top 20 game titles of the year, these are the analog or tabletop games that I played this year, that I had the most fun with and want to play again.

20. Istanbul The Dice Game
19. Architects of the West Kingdom
18. Roll Player with Monsters and Minions expansion
17. Viticulture Tuscany Essential
16. Richard the Lionheart
15. Tulip Bubble
14. Orbis
13. Root
12. Sagrada
11. Gizmos

More than a few of the games like Viticulture, Richard the Lionheart and Tulip Bubble were released before 2018 but I only got to play them this year. Tulip Bubble is the only auction game on the list and it's based on the real-life speculative bubble crisis of 1637. Sagrada is perhaps the most attractive game on the list as you get to roll dozens of colourful little dice and then display them in a grid to earn points.

Viticulture is a sprawling worker placement game about producing wine in Italy. Each player only has a limited number of workers to use every turn and has to make sure he or she puts them out at the right spots, like building structures, planting vines or fulfilling wine orders. Make and sell the most wine, to be the first to hit 20 points wins the game.

Root is a rather complex but cute-looking game as we are adorable little forest animals fighting to gain control of the wilderness. The gameplay is asymmetric as in every player plays differently, each player is a different animal and follows a unique set of rules. It's not easy and can be pretty cutthroat.

I don't own all those games but the ones I have like Viticulture and Sagrada are always ready to hit the table. I realise that all this game stuff may be too much for non-gamers so I'll continue my Top 10 list in my next post. :)

Oh, and speaking of games and London, here are game-related pix I took outside The National Gallery in London. You got folks scribbling and drawing on the wide open steps outside the Gallery every day. Sometimes you'll spot beautifully drawn chalk portraits, other days you'll get intrinsic puzzles that'll stop you in your tracks, and make you almost miss your dinner reservation.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Cavalock and The Indulgence Shortage

Yikes! I am so running out of me U.K. supplies that we bought from London couple months ago. Biscuits are almost gone, ham and cheese heartily consumed, and me favourite Molton Brown body wash down the drain literally. One of the first to vanish from me home was the Spiced Butter Rum. That early morning boozy pick-me-up is so additive that I went and bought me a tub of Waitrose's Christmas Brandy Butter. Hah!

Some Gardens by The Bay pix that me 85-year-old Dad took last month. Reckon he took a few hundred shots at least. The last pix has got to be everyone's favourite.... I think. I mean, why shouldn't it not be?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Cavalock and The Secret Sake Shakedown

So the Baker-at-Home has been hitting Kamoshita, an Izakaya along Neil Road at least once a month for the last three months now but this is the first time I got to tag along for the ride. So they got this thing going on every 14th of the month, they crack open a bottle of rare Juyondai or "14th Generation" sake. And you only get one shot at it. No doubles, no seconds, only one glass if you know when and how to ask for it.

Probably one of the most honest menus I have ever seen. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately we didn't order the 'Gout' Kaisendon but everything else we had was pretty good and hearty. The joint isn't too rowdy for an Izakaya. I mean the Japanese customers were quiet that night, was the long table of locals that were too boisterous.

So I was reading the Eggs book I bought in London. Didja know that spaghetti carbonara was 'created' at the end of the Second World War when Italian cooks in Italy had to make use of supplies brought in by American troops. They used the powdered eggs and bacon, and combined them with pasta to create the now popular dish. I thought that was rather fascinating.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Cavalock and The Obligatory London Food Collage

Time for the obligatory food collage, all the way from London this time. Last London post cos I think I posted more than enough vacation pix for this trip. Lots of good food but I think we ate less in London than in Tokyo. In Japan, we definitely had more carbo, drank way more coffee than tea, stuffed ourselves with more sugary desserts. Although I think we took just as much subway rides in London as in Tokyo counting both Japan holidays this year.

With such beautiful parks and rare sunny weather throughout the entire trip, we couldn't possibility spend every minute just shopping indoors, could we? I suppose if you are a planning a vacation to London, you gotta come at the right time otherwise you are gonna be greeted by the all-too-familiar dreary sucky London weather.

Final shoutout to SQ for having this in their London Heathrow Airport lounge. I didn't try it cos I wasn't exactly in the mood for ice-cream that morning but still, it's something worth checking out if anyone reading this is there next time. Wonder if they are in SQ's other airport lounges too.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Cavalock and The London Geek Haul

Thank gawd for ramen joint Ippudo or to be exact, the one along Villiers Street behind where we were staying in London. There was this chilly night when we had a sudden immediate craving for soupy Asian fare and this was just around the corner. Anyway one thing I noticed bout London is there are a lot of joggers and cyclists in the city. I mean, if you are not dodging joggers on the pavements, then you are looking out for cyclists zipping pass you. But they were all extremely polite. 

Taking a geek break, here is part of my haul of games and Lego packs. I say 'part of my haul' cos the Warhammer shop in Tottenham Court Road (not to be confused with Warhammer World in Nottingham) ships back your stuff if it's over 100 quid (I can't find the pound icon on me Mac and I'm too lazy to search online!). The last pix with the Kill Team box below came in the mail about a week after we got back home. 

Got those boardgames below from two different stores, Orcs Nest and Dark Sphere. Nice that all three shops are not that far apart. Just a short bus ride to reach Dark Sphere from Trafalgar Square. Now, Orcs Nest and Dark Sphere couldn't be more different from each other. I wish I visited Dark Sphere first instead of my second last day there cos it's huge and almost everything there is a lot cheaper too. It's big cos it's like a warehouse with shelves on the sides and gaming tables in the centre of the a massive hall. Wish I took pix of the place but I didn't.

Now Orcs Nest is quite the opposite. Meaning it's really small and still packed with games, didn't see any gaming tables though. Two floors with the upper floor mostly RPG and miniatures. Well, the boardgames I bought back are all pretty causal games. Easy to teach and lots of fun. Glad to say that I have played and enjoyed all three of them except the Moor Visitors Expansion which is a little expansion to Viticulture, a heavy Euro worker-placement game that I already own. If anyone reading this wants a game or two with any of the games here, let me know.