Monday, December 30, 2019

Yearly Look Back, 2019 Edition

Let's take a look back at the past year.

I'm down 29 posts from last year. I've maintained my "at least three posts per week" average for the seventh year running.  I'm now estimating cracking 2,000 posts sometime around September of 2024.

The Central MA gaming group continued to meet this year.   We managed eleven games together, which is the most in any year since we started being a group.  I'm still dreaming of my "Game Store Grand Tour" plan to cycle through several game stores to get us in front of more people.

I managed 91 reviews this year; 9 non-building block, 12 clone bricks, 13 Mega Bloks, and 57 Lego. That comes out to an average of 7.58 per month. Which is a decrease of 1.17 reviews per month.

I hosted seven guest posts this year, which is a first.

I'm now over 850K views, which is roughly another 50K views since last year.  Thank you to everyone for the continued readership.   My Flickr stream is over 3.5 million views which I must thank everyone for as well.

I got to attend PAX East -- for the first time as a regular attendee -- and PAX Unplugged as a vendor again.  I also attended the first -- hopefully of many --  Armour Con.  I got to meet even more great MoF0s, see some old friends, hopefully make new ones, and play some really fun games.  I finally got to arrange a "tournament" game for Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack which was the high point of the year for me.

See you next year!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Purity: Mega Bloks FWP17 Inventions Tropical Booster Review

I found this -- and the prior review -- in 5Below in Philadelphia when I was there for PAX Unplugged.  As you can see I only paid $3.00 for these which would be a $0.06 Price per Piece.

Box.  MSRP is $4.99 for a $0.10 Price per Piece.



Instructions.









Parts.  Plate, Branches, Tree Trunk, Antenna, Brick, Slopes, Flowers, Cones, Large Jumper, Apollo Studs, Round Plates, Bars, Bars w/Clip, Triple Bar Holder, Spring.

Build.  Station.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  At.  (0)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +15 (A).  Another set that would be good for interesting terrain.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Purity: Mega Bloks FWP16 Inventions Aquatic Booster Review

I found this -- and the next review -- in 5Below in Philadelphia when I was there for PAX Unplugged.  As you can see I only paid $3.00 for these which would be a $0.06 Price per Piece.

Box.  MSRP is $4.99 for a $0.10 Price per Piece.



Instructions.









Parts.  Rubber Hose, Plates, Vegetation, Bricks, Flowers, Triple Bar Holder, Egg Bottom?, Jumpers, Clip Tiles, Round Plates, Cones, Clam, Crab, Starfish, Bar w/Holder, and Bars.


Build 1. Three pieces of 1 Hit Cover.




Build 2.  I took another crack at it and made a Station.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  At.  (0)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +10 (A).  Lots of useful pieces and some great colors.  It'll also add some neat looking terrain to your game table.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sales Alert

One last sales alert before Christmas.  Target is running a "20% off Select Lego Sets" sale this week.

Good hunting.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Review: 30363 Race Boat Polybag

Another set found at the Lego Discovery Center.

Bag.  I paid $6.00 for this which gives a $0.18 Price per Piece.



Instructions.









Minifig.  The Minifig Life Vest
might be good for greebles.



Parts.  Slopes, Plates, Wedge Plates, Truncated Cones, Boat Sliders, Mod. Plate w/Studs on Side, Bar Tile, Jumpers, Tiles, Round Bricks, Minifig Handlebar, Printed Tile, and Clip Tile.




Build. IO Frigate.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Above.  (-10)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No.  (-5)
Score: -5 (B-).  If I had bought this at Target or Walmart it would probably have a better score.  As it is, there's not really much here to recommend this anyway.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Review: 30573 Santa Polybag

This is the fourth(?) of three new polybags available at Target in the Seasonal section.


Bag.  $3.99 for a $0.06 Price per Piece.



Instructions.








Parts.  Plates, Round Plates, Large Jumpers,
Mod. 1x2x1.3 Bricks, Bricks, Slopes, Log
Bricks, Slopes w/Cutout, Clip Plate, 1x1
Bracket, Cone, New Headlight Bricks,
Printed Round Tiles, and Minifig Wrench.



Build.  I'm sure DarkSyntax could do better.


The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  Good pricing and parts quantity but lacking in the type of parts we really want.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Review: 30410 Mia's Water Fun Polybag

This is the second of three new polybags that can be found at Target in the Seasonal section.

Bag.  $3.99 for a $0.14 Price per Piece.



Instructions.










Minidoll.  The Minidoll Life Vests
might be good for greebles.


Parts.  Slopes, Quarter Round Plates, Minifig Clam, Bar Plate, Leaf, Plate, Bracket, Minifig Handlebar, Round Plates, Door Rail Plates,
Water Spouts, Mechanical Arms.





Build. Station.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Above.  (-10)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No.  (-5)
Score: -5 (B-).  Either more parts or a cheaper price are needed for this to be a better set.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sales Alert

Target is running a "20% off Select City, Super Hero, Friends, and Ninjago Sets" sale this week.  Along with a "20% off two Star Wars sets" sale.

I was in my local Target last night and the main Lego aisle was pretty wiped out.  So if you want something and know it's in stock, jump on it.  Good hunting.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: 30451 Spiderman's Spider Crawler Polybag

Let's finish up some reviews before the new year gets here!  This is the second of three new polybags that can be found at Target -- or possibly Walmart -- in the Seasonal section.

Bag.  $3.99 for a $0.06 Price per Piece.

Instructions.










Minifig.

Parts.   Dishes, Plates, Boat Bumper, Large
Round Jumpers, Round Plates, Brick w/Studs
on Both Sides, Padlocks, Levers & Bases,
Clip Plates, Bar Plates, and Slopes.








Build. It's functional but I'm
not really happy with it.



Build 2.  I'm much happier
with this one.




The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  A Frame-in-a-bag and a great parts set -- eight padlocks! -- I'm not sure if it was underproduced or re-sellers have been getting a hold of it but, I've only been able to find it in one out of a potential seven stores near me.  So grab it if you see it.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Battle Report: Ice 9 @ PAX Unplugged 2019

Every year I try to organize a full size game at PAX Unplugged to go along with all the demos I do.  This year wasn't looking promising beforehand as only one person besides myself had committed to playing.  Saturday rolled around and a couple of people asked to join in.  This is what happened next.

Micah (4 Frames & 13 Systems) = (7 Points per Asset) * (6 assets) = 42 points.  (Friday's Freebooters)
   Captain Friday -- 2Rd/1B/2Y/2W.
   #1 -- 2Rd+d8/1B/2W + SSR.
   #2 -- 2Rd/2Ra/1B/2W +SSR.
   #3 -- 2Ra+d8/1B/2W +SSR.

Ed (4 Frames & 16 Systems) = (6 Points per Asset) * (6 assets) = 36 points.  (Amazonians)
   Sniper -- 2Rd+d8/1B/1Y/2W + SSR.
   Thumper -- 2Ra+d8/2B/2W.
   Chop -- 2Rh+d8/1B/1Gd8/1Y/2W.
   Scope -- 2Rd/1B/2Y/2W + SSR (x2).

Joe (5 Frames & 16 Systems) = (4 Points per Asset) * (7 assets) = 28 points.  (Autobots)
   Ratchet -- 2Rd/2Rh/1B/2W.
   Ironhide -- 2Rd/1B/2W + SSR.
   Optimus Prime -- 2Rd/2Ra/1B/1Y/2W + SSR.
   Jazz -- 
2Rd/2Ra/1B/1Y/2W.
   Bumblebee -- 
2Rd/1B/1Y/2W + SSR.

Me (5 Frames & 20 Systems) = (3 Points per Asset) * (7 assets) = 21 points. (Goblins)
   Brown Armored Spotter -- 1B/1Gd8/2Y/2W + SSR.
   Lime Soldier -- 2Rd/1B/1G/1Y/2W + SSR.
   Blue Soldier -- 2Rd/1B/1G/1Y/2W + SSR.
   Yellow Recon by Fire -- 2Ra+d8/2Y/2W.
   Red Brawler -- 2Rh+d8/2B/1Gd8/2W.

This is what the table looked like at the start of the game.






Events of Turn 1 (DDC @ 11): #3 hits my Red frame for 4.  Optimus Prime moves into cover behind the big building then hits the cover in front of #1 for 1, destroying it.  My Blue frame advances towards the Freebooters' position then hits #2 for 2 and the cover in front of it for 1.  Thumper hits #1 for 1.  Sniper hits Bumblebee for 1 and the cover in front of it for 1.  Chop leaps over the building between it and Bumblebee and slices Bumblebee for 1.  Bumblebee tries to move away.  My Yellow frame hits #2 for 2.  My Lime frame advances on the Freebooters' position then hits #2 for 1, destroying them.

Ed: 36 points.
Micah: 35 points.
Joe: 28 points.
Me: 21 points.



Events of Turn 2 (DDC @ 8): My Blue frame hits the cover in front of Cpt. Friday for 2 and advances beside the Freebooters' Station.  Thumper hits the cover for 1 and Cpt. Friday for 1.  #1 hits Jazz for 1.  Jazz hits Sniper for 1 then advances toward the Freebooters' position.  Optimus Prime hits Sniper for 2.  Ratchet hits Sniper for 1.  Ironhide hits Chop for 2 and the cover in front of it for 1.  My Yellow frame hits Cpt. Friday for 3.  My Lime frame hits Cpt. Friday for 2, Station Dance.  My Blue frame captures the Freebooters' Station.


Ed: 36 points.
Micah: 28 points.
Joe: 28 points.
Me: 24 points.


Events of Turn 3 (DDC @ 5): My Blue frame hits #1 for 3.  #3 hits my Red frame for 1 in retaliation.  Ironhide hits Chop for 2.  Ratchet moves towards Sniper then hits with a thunderous strike for 5, destroying them.  My Brown frame hits Cpt. Friday for 2 with a SSR, destroying them.  My Yellow frame moves towards the Amazonians and hits Chop for 3, destroying them.  My Lime frame moves deeper into Freebooter territory and hits #1 for 2, destroying them.


Joe: 28 points.
Ed: 24 points.
Me: 24 points.
Micah: 14 points.


Events of Turn 4 (DDC @ 1): Bumblebee captures the Station that Sniper was defending.  Thumper hits Ratchet for 3.  #3 hits Ratchet for 3, destroying them.  My Blue frame moves towards Ironhide and hits them for 2.  My Yellow frame hits Ironhide for 3, destroying them.

Joe: 24 points.
Me: 24 points.
Ed: 18 points.
Micah: 14 points.



Here are several aftermath pictures.




















Thoughts & Observations:
  • This was a fun game.
  • It was my first time at PAX Unplugged playing against a table full of strangers.
  • The lead, and the balance of power, shifted several times during this game.
  • It was fun seeing the Autobots on the table,

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

PAX Unplugged 2019 Pictures

I took a lot more pictures this time around.

Day 0
Dessert!














Day 1
The booth








Demo table day 1



















Hotel room ceiling











Day 2










Demo table day 2







Made by Micah Harless




New kicks














Day 3










Demo table day 3













Curtain call

Day 4 (pictures taken at home)
Inside con haul
Outside con haul














Some Flickr photos I found, and these.

Instagram photos.

More random thoughts about the con:
  • Secure a PAX t-shirt before the hall opens on Friday next time, if possible.  This is the second time I've missed out on a shirt I've liked because it sold out.