Saturday, December 26, 2020

Cavalock and The Pixie Cup Reveal

Merry Christmas Everybody! 

We finished opening our Nespresso Advert Calendar on Christmas Eve, with two metal Pixie espresso cups in the final slot! Yah, we already knew what's in the final Christmas Eve slot back in October but we just didn't know what colour the cups were gonna be.  Too bad I had to pass on the decaf capsules cos I kinda react badly to them, if you know what I mean. 

Well, it's that time of the year again when do a look back at some of the new games that I played and loved in 2020! Granted I haven't played as many new games as I wanted to since the Lockdown earlier this year prevented me and my friends from meeting up. Most of the games were released this year but there are a couple that were released in 2019 and 2018 but they are all new to me. I don't own every single game here but I have played them all and enjoyed every single one immensely. If anyone is interested, here's my 2019 list. So this year, we'll be going from left to right, top to bottom. 

Top left corner, number 10 was released last year, it's Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein which I have already mentioned briefly here. I haven't played it for several months now so that's why it's at number 10. Still a good worker placement game with a truly unique and rather macabre theme where you are gathering body parts across Paris to build another Frankenstein's monster. 

Number 9 is The Search For Planet X. A pure logic deduction game. We are all astronomers looking through our telescopes, searching for Planet X. You'll need to download an app that'll give you all the clues as to where it is, like it's in one of the 12 sectors on the board and each sector has different conditions that you need to use logic and clues to find out where Planet X is. This is one of those where if you can't find out where the Planet X is but someone else can, it simply means you are STUPID OR AT LEAST DUMBER THAN YOUR FRIENDS! Hah! At least that's how I usually end up feeling cos everyone more or less gets the same clues after awhile but they managed to utilise their superior brain powers to solve it but you can't! This is a real brain burner. But it's still fun and that's why it's in the Top 10 for the year.

Number 8 is Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This is kinda like a smaller or shorter sequel to the mega hit of 2017, Gloomhaven. Me and my friends played that one and it's a co-operative tactical fantasy game of storytelling and killing monsters using miniatures as well as card management. That original game took us a whole year to finish it and we played it every week for that entire freakin' year. Anyway, this is shorter but just as fun sequel with lots of co-operative play. Like the first one, there's quite a bit of book-keeping involved which is why it's not higher up on my list. 

Number 7 is one of the most complex games in my collection, Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun. The players are all Pharaohs (yes, I suppose for the sake of this game, there's more than one Pharaoh ruling the same time period) in ancient Egypt, and we are building temples, statures and workshops as well as organising festivals across the land. And everything you do, earns you points. You decide what you want to do by drafting dice in the middle of the board but every turn the dice changes, so it's all about making the right decisions, maximising your actions and getting the most points. The huge play board is really eye-catching especially with an actual obelisk in the middle and the dice surrounding it, and lots of components all over the board.

Number 6 and 5 are pretty much the same and could be in either position. Call to Adventure was released last year and comes in at number 6. The game lets you create a fantasy hero and then decide on his or her destiny by drawing, playing cards and tossing runes! Yes, you toss ancient runes instead of rolling dice, like in most other games. Every game is remarkably different as there are just so many different challenges as your hero grows in ability and experience. Plus amazing fantasy art on each card.

Gosh, I just wanna say 'thank you' if you have come this far reading about me and my boardgames. Sorta figured most folks would stop reading them walls of gaming text by now cos not many people in this here parts play boardgames. Philistines! :)

Dwellings of Eldervale is at number 5, another fantasy adventure game using worker placement and area control mechanics. Depending on your unique fantasy race, your worker units come with an array of different abilities to choose from, and you start placing your workers such as wizards and knights in areas around the board to complete quests or control the realms. Like Call to Adventure, this is another game with so many story or ability choices that I have to play and I'm really looking forward to seeing what else is in the box.

At number 4 is Parks, one of the most beautiful games I have seen this year. The game features unique art from Fifty-Nine Parks depicting the US National Parks. This is a set collection game where players are hikers trekking through the many different National Parks and collecting 'memories' of them by trading in resource tokens you collect along the way.

Number 3 is Durian, a very little Japanese fun party game. Yes, even though we don't get to go to Tokyo this year, I still managed to sneak in a game form Japan. Another game that I have already mentioned here. Simple rules that you can explain in a minute or two. Brought it to house party couple days ago and it was really fun. 

The game system of Unmatched comes in at number 2. There are already several expansions to this game and although it was released last year, I only got into the game this year and I pretty much bought every expansion set once I fell in love with it. So this is an asymmetrical miniature fighting game for two or four players. Each hero is represented by a unique card deck designed to evoke their style and legend. Says 'legends' cos the characters or heroes in each boxed set are drawn from pop culture, mythologies, literature etc. You got guys like Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, Big Foot, Dracula, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even Bruce Lee! Every expansion adds two to four new heroes and the art is simply gorgeous too.

The number 1 game of the year is Carpe Diem which came out in 2018. Heard bout how great it was but only bought it this year when it was super cheap on Amazon. This is another strategy game that I have blogged about before and the reason it's my favourite game of the year is cos I played it solo at least 8 times already. Had so much fun playing it, with friends as well as with the solo variant rules. The rules aren't that complicated so I can play solo without having to refer to the rules every 10 seconds. 

Whew! That's it for now although I do have a few more thoughts bout analog gaming this year. Thanks again for reading till the end! 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Cavalock and That Overdue Supermarket Run

Gamey crisps! The Baker-at-Home's interested was piqued by the sight of these new crisps from the UK at Great World City Meidi-Ya. I thought the wild boar flavour would be reminiscent of pork rinds. But she was more intrigued by the promises of smoked pheasant flavoured British potato crisps, and I guess the wild mushrooms sounded tasty too. Went with the smoked pheasant and hopefully it'll live up to expectations. 

Another Japanese supermarket run had us at Don Don over at Tanjong Pagar. And here's something familiar, as in I spotted this two two-litre whiskey bottle back in Tokyo five years ago. It's finally here and boy, did they ever jacked up the price! $200 for it but it's 40% alcohol so maybe there's a market for it? Then there's this, a very eye-catching Peanuts Snoopy themed range of soy sauce. I can understand how popular Snoppy and gang are in Japan, so this doesn't come as big a surprise. No, I'm kidding, this is a surprise. 

Some more bird pix from Seletar earlier this month by me 87-year-old Dad. He was extremely pleased when the eagle flew down to the lower branch for the close-up.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Cavalock and The Winter Menu Absentee

Oh geez, this was like the most gruelling nature walk yet. We talked about doing the MacRitchie Nature Trail since that day after we did the one last month from Lakeside to Bukit Timah and that was only 11km. This time we pumped it up to 15km, plus it was over "difficult terrain" with "-2 movement". That's gamer talk for how treacherous the muddy trail was especially when we were moving down slope. I ain't young no more and I think next time if we are ever gonna be doing this shit again, I'll need to carry one them hiking sticks.

Anyway we started early at 7am from Adam Road Food Centre, then we made our way to MacRitchie from there. First surprise of the day was that we had to walk through Bukit Brown cemetery, something we were not expecting to do. We definitely did not expect to be that close to all them tombstones, some were only inches away from the sidewalk and the main road. At that point, we were all very glad to have planned this hike in the morning.

Well, sweating it out in MacRitchie certainly brought back some schooldaze memories. Rather surprised to learn that the schools don't do their cross-country runs here anymore. Seems like they do it along the west coast now? Another surprise was how crowded MacRitchie was on a weekday morning. Alright, not as crowded as Orchard Road these days (pandemic? what pandemic?) but still you got large groups of students engaging in water sports and older folks out and about.

Speaking of water, I got hit by a minor bout of water retention toward the end of the our walk. That was quite unexpected. I could feel my feet swelling and when I started clenching my fists, they felt real tight and ... dare I say, looked chubby. Fortunately things were back to normal after lunch.

As much as I would have loved to experience their winter menu this year, I sat this one out as the Baker-at-Home and her friends headed to Esora for dinner last week. I think she's already been there like, five or six times at least. We were just there last month for their autumn menu. You can see they got a real pretty Christmasy theme going on. I thought that's kinda creative as well as cute.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Cavalock and The Maiden Spotify Download

The rain stopped just as we finished our hotpot dinner at Raffles Place and the Baker-at-Home suggested we take a little brisk stroll through Marina Bay, the floating platform before reaching Millenia Walk. Check out how the occupied rooms at Marina Bay Sands! Anyway, this here is actually part of her evening jogging route. There were the random dating couples and joggers along the way, but other than that it was a pretty quiet stretch to our destination. No nasty crowds like the ones in Orchard. I like it like that. Phase 3 be damn!

Yah, I know we need the Christmas shoppers to keep the economy going. Speaking of Christmas, it seems like I have finally got on the Spotify bandwagon after my list of Christmas songs got wiped outta my phone. No idea how that happened but I just spent the last half hour looking for Christmas songs on Spotify, including my fav politically-incorrect Christmas song Dean Martin's Baby, It's Cold Outside. Hah!

Almost forgot! Last month ended on a scrumptious note as we finally got to visit Lucky House Cantonese Private Dining again post Lockdown. Been over a year since I was here. Most memorable dish of the night has got to be the glutinous rice wrapped in crispy pork and I'm glad to see my favourite duck is still on the menu. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Cavalock and Friends' Dinner Odyssey

Been like two years since my last visit with the Baker-at-Home but me and the guys finally got to Kamoshita along Neil Road for dinner. Been meaning to visit the joint since the lockdown ended but never found the time till now. The food is still as good as I remembered and we tried some dished that's new to me, like the oyster shots and "Gout" Kaisendon, that's egg york rice topped with tuna, sea urchin, crab meat and crab butter. Sounds kinda decadence I know.


Knowing us guys and how we roll, a full 7-dish dinner at Kamoshita was never meant to satisfy us. Next stop was a couple blocks away to a popular late night porridge stall around Chinatown. Let's see if I can remember... that's two claypots of frog legs, one with porridge, another claypot with just liver and the fourth claypot of fish head bee hoon. Oh yah, and a plate of fried innards. Hah!  

So anayway me 87-year-old Dad spent a couple days at Seletar last week and here are some pix out of over a thousand that he took.