Finished Fire Emblem Fates


Started with the Conquest (Black) version, casual mode, normal difficulty. Breezed through and enjoyed it a lot. I like this game much better than the last one (Awakening), which I didn’t finish. The battle system especially the paring system is much more enjoyable. And you are not required to fight those annoying grinding missions, you can stick to the story missions if you like. I really like the traditional SLG style that you work with limited missions and enemies and try to maximize and balance experiences you can gain. Grinding in a SLG game seems off the point to me. I’m glad Fates fixed this part.

After Conquest I played Birthright a little bit, classic mode, lunatic difficulty. Soon realized this basically becomes a chess game and needs lots and lots of retries to figure out a feasible solution. Sometimes it can be extremely challenging and requires lots of defensive maneuver. A mission that takes 5 turns in normal can easily take 30 turns in lunatic, and classic mode means no mid-battle save. After finishing 6 missions, I’m facing the dilemma of either continue to only play the story missions to torture myself, or grind… I chose to give up that game and let Wen play Birthright..

So I bought the DLC Revelation because it reveals the “true story” and finished it now at hard difficulty and casual mode. It was very enjoyable too. Note this is a DLC that recommends to be played after you play both sides of stories, or if you don’t want to play those anymore, because apparently the “true story” made the original stories from both sides sound silly. It’s the same length as either Birthright or Conquest. The difficulty is tuned to be similar. I still stick to story missions although there are grinding options. Level design turned out to be very satisfying.

Wen played Birthright in a very different way than me.. She did grinding missions hard and was more interested in the marriage and child system in the game. I felt she was playing a breeding game…

Recommend to anyone who wants a good Japanese SLG. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a good one.



上个月为了街霸5和黑暗之魂3入了PS4。卖家附赠了个Black Ops 3于是就顺便玩一下战役模式,结果烂的简直让人要吐,bug又多还毫无新意,我都没玩完就决定卖掉了。

黑魂3开了个头过了一个boss以后意识到这游戏不仅动作难还要背版,而现在这种一周五天三四天晚上有电话会议的状态让我觉得很难commit开始玩这么high demand的一个游戏,于是反而是玩街霸5多一点。

买了一个Mad Catz的摇杆感觉很不错,比当年在鼓楼买的那种100块钱的摇杆好用太多。SF5虽然没有Arcade模式但是可以training可以网战,我觉得还可以了。玩了这几天不禁有点怀念当年读研的时候周末一堆人背着摇杆来我宿舍聚会玩格斗游戏的日子。那会儿有的晚上屋里人多得都坐不下,就开着宿舍门把椅子摆到门口,小小一间屋子里三台电视在战各种格斗游戏。我当时的宿舍还正对着楼梯口,时常引得上楼的群众驻足围观。当年玩得最多的先是KOF 97后是GGXX。下个月GGX Revelation PS4版就要出了。。应该去骚扰一下当年一起玩的战友们。



几周前去BGG看了眼排行榜突然看到了一个叫Pandemic Legacy的新游戏直接排到了第一名。立刻调查了一下,发现这是个“一次性桌游”,设计来就是只玩一次的,地图上城市沦陷是往上贴纸,各种秘密卡片和文件是在游戏中随着剧情发展才能打开,而人物死掉的话直接把人物卡撕掉。虽然调查了半天我都没搞清楚这个游戏到底能玩多久,但还是果断入手了毕竟也就50$而已。然后我和xw花了两个周末通关,总共大约玩了20多小时吧。第一天上手连续玩了10小时,确实很好玩。






Caverna: The Cave Farmers


Just realized I haven’t blogged about “Caverna: The Cave Farmers” yet, the  heaviest board game I’ve bought so far, literally. By Amazon it weights 7.8 pounds. It took me more than 20 minutes just to punch out all the tokens.

Caverna is basically an “Agricola 2.0”. If you’ve played Agricola before, you can easily find lots of similarities in Caverna. Fixed number of rounds, sowing vegetables and harvesting crops, feeding animals and turning your farm to a zoo, and of course, feeding your family and struggling on the line of starving. Hence, it’s pretty easy for Agricola players to learn Caverna despite the length of the rule book.

But after a few plays I noticed there were some obvious differences between Caverna and Agricola, which actually made a veteran Agricola player like me feel weird. It was not until almost 10 games that I started getting the hang of it.

The first impression of Caverna was everything goes faster, twice faster. In Agricola the game gets more and more going on later in the game, the Caverna the “game accelerating trajectory” is even more dramatic. For example, Slash and Burn (build a field and sow) is an end-game “power move” in Agricola, but in Caverna it’s available from the beginning. In Caverna, a high-level dwarf doing a 4-loot expedition feels like he can single-handedly turn the farm over in one day, which gives you an exciting feeling that is rarely found in Agricola. On this point, I like Caverna better.

Another great part of Caverna is it increased the strategy diversity. In Agricola almost every game and everyone aims for the same main route: building rooms and adding family members. The strategy variety in Agricola greatly depends on the career/development cards. In Caverna because of the introduction of Expedition and the general increase of action capabilities, the value of an action can be much more dramatically different, so a smaller family size is not necessarily a huge disadvantage, in some cases it could even be an advantage (your higher-level dwarf can act earlier). Scoring changes for family members also reduced the importance of having more family members. Considering a few other scoring and rule changes, I feel Caverna really enables more feasible strategies in the base framework of the game, instead of relying on a huge set of random cards.

Using a fixed set of Furnishing Tiles to replace career/development cards is a bold design. Agricola’s great replayability mainly comes from the random cards, which is a double-edge sword. A strong hand or just one or two combos can sometimes give a player unfair advantages in a game; and new players usually cannot figure out their cards well that either slow down the game or make their winning chance very dim. Therefore I definitely welcome a try for a more transparent and balanced mechanism to provide similar replayability. So far I have mixed feelings about Caverna’s Furnishing Tiles. They’re public information so when a new player is confused you can easily explain. However they don’t seem to be very well balanced as far as I can see. There are obviously strong tiles and almost useless ones. Maybe I haven’t experimented enough strategies to see more usefulness from some cards. Anyway it’s still better to have all Furnishing Tiles in a public market so any player can buy, so the imbalance introduced by drawing is eliminated.

Overall I recommend this game to people who like Agricola and would like to experience something similar and new. Have the expectation that you might be confused for a few games and won’t immediately enjoy it even if you know Agricola well. It’s a real v2.0, not a v1.1.

Games I Played in 2015


  • [Xbox One] Rise of Tomb Raider. Surprisingly good. Finished in a week. I never played through any previous Tomb Raider games and had pretty negative impressions on this series. But this one is done well: nice graphics, friendly to players, fighting is good enough. Lots of exploration makes this game fun.
  • [Xbox One] Fallout 4. Probably my choice of game of the year.  Played it through in about a month. Awesome graphic details and super flexible game system. Probably the only game I’d like to replay but may wait for a DLC upgrade.
  • [iOS] Blek. Light puzzle game. Stuck at level ~50.
  • [3DS] Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. Traditional JRPG. It was fun and nostalgic at the beginning but after 15~20 hours I gave up on it. The graphics on 3DS are just not good enough for me to enjoy it with a slow mood. Still bought Xenoblade Chronicles X Wii U version though. Hopefully will pick it up soon.
  • [iOS] Prune. Another light puzzle game featuring beautiful artwork. Finished in ~2 hours.
  • [iOS] Lifeline. Text adventure game. Basically a novel with a bit real life time flavor. Worth a try.
  • [Xbox One] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Well it’s a great game but it’s not as good as Fallout 4 or even Tomb Raider. For those 2 games I couldn’t stop playing it. MGSV made me feel stressful and want to take a rest after playing for a while. It’s more for serious gamers or people who have plenty of time for gaming I guess. I’m still at ~30% progress and hesitating whether to pick it back up.
  • [Wii U] Splatoon. Nice shooting game on Wii with lots of innovations. I highly appreciate this game and enjoyed it for a few weeks. But multi-player shooting game just doesn’t engage me for long so now it’s on shelf.
  • [Wii U] Mario Maker. I simply don’t dig this game at all… Played maybe 2 hours top.
  • [3DS] Monster Hunter 4U. My family main game from Mar to May.
  • [iOS] Terra Battle. A mobile puzzle RPG? I’m not sure how to describe its type. Spent quite a lot of time on it in Jan/Feb. It had an interesting battle system and nailed the “growth” feeling in RPG well.

As expected there are more mobile game appearances in the list compared to previous years. However if we compare playtime, mobile games are still trivial for me and console games dominate living room time. This probably won’t change in the next few years. 

It’s worth-noting to me that there was a blank period between May and Sep/Oct. Possible reasons: 1. TV show season; 2. I was very busy…