Game diaries

Game diaries are not AARs (after action reports). AARs are boring and often tedious, because they're just about what happened in the game. You know, like when some dude is telling you about his D&D campaign. Instead, a game diary is about our ongoing experience with a game. They were Let's Plays before Let's Plays were even a thing! They're arguably just as much about us as whatever game we're writing about. If you're interested in contributing a game diary to this site, we'd love to work with you! Please send an email to [email protected]

Latest Game diaries

Bomber Crew: mission 21

, | Game diaries

Mission 21: Operation Chastise (critical mission). I’m really proud of fishpockets. He used his star-navigation skills perfectly, and got us to the target without ever having to go to low altitude. I’m also proud of RichVR. He got in the ventral turret once we got up high, and even though he was wearing plimsolls so that he could scoot around the plane faster as the engineer, he never complained, even as I’m sure his feet froze at that altitude. I sure am proud of Miguk: he had just gotten to level 6 and learned how to auto-tag fighters, which relieved us of the need to watch radar and track them manually when things got really hairy. I think he truly felt like a contributing part of the team, now. I can’t say enough about Juan_Raigada and MrCoffee, who kept the fighters off us so effectively that we could afford to make a run in with the experimental bomb without being bothered by anything worse than some paltry small arms fire.

But I’m really most proud of…

Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: missions 19 and 20

, | Game diaries

Mission 19: Bouncing Bomb Test Run. We’re out of special bonuses, so we decide it’s time for the test mission. There shouldn’t be any enemy fighters over Cornwall, but because we have a protocol in place, the gunners without ammo feeds still got up just after takeoff and grabbed an extra ammo box each. This turned out to be a great move when Forgetful Biggins routed us to some splashed-down fighter pilots in the Channel. We just had to spot them, which wasn’t too hard, since their fancy pants were so shiny and all. Then we took a detour and photographed some recon sites, because we were feeling a bit fancy, ourselves.

The good news I guess is that the experimental bomb works. The bad news is that it means they’re almost certainly gonna make us use it.

Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: missions 16-18

, | Game diaries

Mission 16: Ammo Dump at Bruges: I have been told that in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. I suspect this is a small taste of that, since we are going to bomb Bruges again when we just did it not too long ago. Practice must make perfect, though, because it is the smoothest flight we’ve had in days. We even manage to pick up two recon opportunities. That’ll come in handy for our plane upgrades! I suspect the “enemy armor down” and “enemy flak down” that are both in effect for this mission have something to do with this. We also earn an “enemy damage down,” so our next mission will have both enemy armor and damage reduced. It would be great to have these both up for the critical mission, which is Operation Chastise against the Ruhr dams, but I can’t fly that until I fly the test mission to see if the bomb works. Since I have two awesome bonuses in effect, I think we should go for another tough mission. The crew is not of the same opinion, but I’m the boss.

Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: missions 12-15

, | Game diaries

Mission 12: Operation Hydra (the second critical mission) is the second outright failure of the campaign. We knew something was up when Biggins walked into the briefing hut with a stern look on his face, even though we hadn’t done anything wrong recently. We figured he might cut us some slack for a little longer since we had, you know, just shot down an ace, but all he said was, “Operation Hydra is a critical mission. We need you to knock out these oil farms deep in enemy territory. The enemy is Germany, in case you were confused by the oblique game references to nationalities. Anything else?” We, of course, had nothing else. Turns out we should have been the ones asking him if he had anything else, because halfway into the mission, he comes on the radio and tells us to intercept a V2 rocket while it is taking off, and shoot it down, before continuing with our mission. Of course, that’s impossible, so we don’t do it, and then we try to get fancy and bomb the oil farms from medium altitude to stay above all the flak, but get confused by the cloud cover and hit one out of three. After confirming on all our fingers that “one” is not the same as “three,” we bolt for high altitude and scoot back over the clouds, with some nice dead reckoning by fishpockets getting us most of the way home. We get no money, but do keep our 4500 XP that we got for shooting down a lot of fighters.

Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: missions 8-11

, | Game diaries

Mission 8: Doodlebug Blitz brings us our first outright failure. The mission, as stated by Wing Commander Biggins, was to bomb five V1 rocket launch sites before eight V1 rockets had been launched. He even counted the objectives out on his fingers so we’d get it. Unfortunately, Left_Empty didn’t get it, because he kind of spazzed out as we passed over the second site and dropped a rack of bombs on the AA emplacement just before the launch pad passed into his bombsight. To his credit, he quickly selected another rack and dispatched the launch site anyway, but when he took off his glove to count his fingers, he realized he still had three sites to bomb, but there were only two racks of bombs left. Boy, was Biggins going to let him have it back at the base! He sheepishly turned to Pilot Officer Brooski and told him the bad news, staying off the intercom so that RichVR, who was becoming known on board as kind of the wiseacre of the crew, didn’t make up some awful play on words involving his name. “I guess you sure left that bomb bay empty, eh Left_Empty!” He could at least wait until they got back to the barracks to hear it.

The only thing we got out of this mission was 2000 experience points, which was enough to level RichVR up on his pilot secondary skill and teach him how to Corkscrew. He’ll probably be bragging about that back at the barracks as well.
Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: missions 1-7

, | Game diaries

Mission 1: Motor Factory at Zeebrugge. This almost ends in disaster as both the electrical and hydraulic systems go out pretty much on takeoff, then I get so absorbed in fixing them that I tag the first wave of fighters late, and then I compound it by not getting Left_Empty into the bombardier’s station fast enough to open the bomb bay doors in time to hit the target on the first pass. Plus, the port outboard engine gets set on fire. Fortunately, I get things together fast enough to swing back and hit the target, and RichVR does stellar work fixing the engine once the fire dies down and makes the engine kaput (shown). But we don’t get the optional recon photo, which I think is essential to building up your bomber quickly. I satisfy myself with woolen gloves and leather boots for everybody. I also protect everyone by buying Armored Fuselage 1 for the whole plane, because I’m a mensch.

One trick is to select each gunner (tail gunner, mid-upper turret, and nose gunner) and hit “R” right as you are taking off from England, as this will immediately send them to the ammo bay to get an extra ammo box while you’re still over Wessex. Er, Sussex? Whatevs. Continue reading →

Bomber Crew: meet the crew

, | Game diaries

The Avro Lancaster had seven crew. The Boeing B-17 had ten. Keep this in mind when anticipating the price point of the inevitable B-17 DLC or standalone expansion. Since I’m flying this crate, I am the pilot (Brooski), but that leaves me with six crewmembers to assign. I am going to randomly choose names from the Quarter to Three thread about the game, entitled “Bomber Crew – FTL + WWII,” even though it is totally not like FTL in any way except that in both games you are running from the Galactic Federation. RichVR was kind enough to gift me the game, so he gets to be the next crew member on the list, which is the engineer. Going down the list of crew members from there, we get fishpockets as the navigator, Eric_Majkut as my radioman, Mr_Bismarck as the tail gunner, Dan_Theman as the top turret gunner, and Left_Empty as the bombardier. Crewmembers who don’t, er… progress through a mission will be, um…subbed for by another random selection from the thread.

Continue reading →

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: that waifu that you do

, | Game diaries

The last Xenoblade Chronicles — it was numbered X, but it was really number 2, which makes this number 3, although it’s technically number 2 — built up to and was eventually based on a simple idea: wouldn’t it be cool if you could get into a giant robot and fuck shit up? There’s even a Japanese word for this concept: “mech”.

This Xenoblade Chronicles is also built on a simple idea: sexy dolls are supposedly sexy. And of course there’s a Japanese word for this concept: “waifu”.

Continue reading →

Vietnam 1965-1975: building a history

, | Game diaries

(This is the third entry in a weekly (or so) game diary by Bruce Geryk and Patrick Mullen about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

For this American former fourteen-year old boy, invoking the Lens of History (the game seen through a historical lensas an alternate history) while playing Vietnam 1965-1975 begins the moment I start thinking about set up.

After the jump, starting at the beginning Continue reading →

Vietnam 1965-1975: definitive cardboard expressions

, | Game diaries

(This is the second entry in a weekly (or so) game diary about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

A few years ago, I wrote a game diary on this site that turned into an ongoing series that eventually became one of my favorite things I had written. The reason was that as I wrote, I found myself following the gameplay to my bookshelf, chasing the assumptions behind the mouseclicks, and turning my thoughts inside out to look at exactly how and why I was enjoying the game, the subject matter, and the very hobby I was embracing. It was completely unplanned, but also unstoppable.

One of the things that made this such a special project was the subject. Continue reading →

Brogue: appetite for destruction

, | Game diaries

Previously, in the Brogue game diary…Brian’s monkey has burned to death, he’s found a ring of stealth, and he’s gone blind from drinking a darkness potion.

I head back down to depth 5, sticking close to the walls, until I find a shadowy alcove to hide in until my vision slowly recovers enough to venture onward. I find a potion that turns out to be Fire Immunity. I have not seen any fire on this level yet, though.

After the jump, say hello to my little ogre Continue reading →

Brogue: what you don’t know can kill you

, | Game diaries

My name is Tony, and I’m an information addict.

I always knew I had these tendencies. It’s why I declared Invisible, Inc. the best game of 2015. Times are tough for people like me. If you ask Bruce Geryk, wargaming expert, for a computer wargame recommendation, he’ll ask to get back to you later. There aren’t any good computer wargames, because computer wargames are in the business of concealing information. (The discussion of why they do this is for another time, but it’s either because of “immersion,” “giving the computer a fighting chance by making the rules not-human-readable,” or both.)

After the jump, I can quit any time Continue reading →

Brogue: monkey, monkey, burning bright

, | Game diaries

The first level presents little challenge. At this point, I’ve led enough doomed adventurers into the dungeon that I know there’s not much that can kill you here except inexperience and poor judgment. I’m taking a more cautious approach than usual, though. I’m deliberating over each choice, rather than barrelling through the early levels.

After the jump, the monkey business commences Continue reading →

Brogue: welcome to the dungeons of doom!

, | Game diaries

In Brogue, gold means nothing. There are no shops. Gold has no weight and no value. And yet gold is in there. It’s in there because, for the 99.99999% of Brogue players who will never win the game, and that includes me, the amount of gold you have when you die is the sole determinant of what your final score will be, and where your nameless, classless, raceless character will end up on the high score list.

In Brogue, gold means everything. Continue reading →