Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thunderstone Boardgame Review

Designer Mike Elliott
Artist Jason Engle
Publisher Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)
Edge Entertainment
Pegasus Spiele
Year Published 2009
# of Players 1 − 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 3 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players
Playing Time 60 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages 12 and up

Thunderstone is a fantasy deck-building game. Fight the evils of the dungeon to prove your worth. Gain powerful weaponry and level into new and mighty hero classes. Claim the best cards and survive to take the Thunderstone.


The Game:

Thunderstone is a Deck Building Card game that is quite similar to Dominion. There are several modes of play and I just tried one last night.

Thunderstone basically is about a group adventurers entering a dungeon, fighting through a horde of monsters to get to the Thunderstone and thus ending the game. And before you can enter the dungeon, you have to be in the village to equip yourselves with the right equipment.

For anyone with collectible card gaming experience, this game will be easy to pick up. You have some cards which give you gold, some cards which give you attack points, some hero cards which attacks, some cards have additional to boost your hero's attacks, light, the monster cards have a defense you need to exceed, and more.

The game is much about deck building and card draws. Like any card game, having a consistent draw is very important, and cluttering the deck with unnecessary things is bad. To win, a clear strategy is important, and there is not a lot of luck involved as the decks can be optimized for the adventure as the game goes along.



The gameplay is pretty good actually. If you are a collectable card gamer, or you have played other card games, this game is very easy to pick up. Most of the time, a game of Thunderstone will take 30 minutes and about 15 minutes to set up, but sometimes when the randomness is bad, then it may take about 1 hour to complete.

Game is fun, and I would say great for 3 - 5 players.



The game is very replayable. It is a different game every time you play as there are many variation of cards, and even better, variation of game play.



I feel that Alderac has done a good job testing the game. It is pretty well balanced with a 30 - 45 minute game play. To be good at the game, there are a few strategies you can build and it does get challenging and entertaining.

I would say that this is a great game to buy and play with a group of friends!

-- Robin Low

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron: Legacy Review

Tron: Legacy

Joseph Kosinski

Edward Kitsis (screenplay), Adam Horowitz (screenplay)

Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde

Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.


I've read many bad reviews on Tron (2010) but since it was an outing planned weeks ahead to watch this movie in a big group at an IMax 3-D Theater.

It was a Friday night on the opening weekend. With the loads of marketing and hype behind the movie, it is easy for people to have very high expectations, but since I read some reviews and watched the original Tron Movie before watching the Tron: Legacy, my expectations were pretty much very low.


The storyline.

What storyline? Have you watched Tron? Is there a storyline?

The science.

Hey, high resolution graphics in a 1980's computer? Those computers probably would have less computational power than your smartphone!

The science is not accurate, this is a movie, so enjoy it and do not think about it.

The Effects.

There is a lot of $$$ spent on this movie, and most of it goes to the effects. There is an old Flynn and a young Flynn (Clu) which is completely computer generated. In fact, most of the movie is computer generated.

I would say that the 3-D part of the movie is not as impressive as it could have been, but there are some scenes that is absolutely beautiful! The sets really do work, and give you that awesome feeling that you are in a video game world.

For many parts of the movie, especially the animation of Clu, it sort of felt like the animation from a video game, as it does look completely fake, which is ok as it is set in a video game after all.

The music

Daft Punk did hell of a job on the movie. This may be one of the best soundtracks I've heard this year.


I would say overall, it was a pleasant experience, and much of it may be due to going with lots of friends (group of 20).

I give it a 7/10 and would recommend it for a Sunday Matinee.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens is a nifty lens. Relatively "budget" priced, it typically runs around US$80 if you get it on craigslist.

PRICE: I would say this is a great beginner lens as it is a great FAST lens for sub $100 range.

BUILD: This lens feels very plastic. The MF/AF Switch feels very fragile, and the manual focus feels like a toy. However, it is very light considering its is still a f/1.8 lens.

IMAGE QUALITY: The photos taken can be pretty good if you do not have too much megapixels. For essentially a less than $100 lens, the bokeh is okay, and the auto-focus is relatively fast. The downside is that for low light, it does not focus well. (Not sure if it was the problem with my EOS 5D)

X-mas is here!

OVERALL: I would say that this is a great lens to get used, as US$80 on a lens is not bad, especially one at f/1.8. 50mm is a pretty standard lens, but if you have a crop sensor camera, say a Canon T2i or a EOS 60D, then you get a 80mm lens, which is a portrait lens.

It is good value for money, and I would recommend it, as you can just try it for a while, and if you like its speed, keep it. Otherwise, you can always sell it again and perhaps move on to a 35mm f/2 or a 50mm f/1.4, though these lens are about $400.

Good prime lens are hard to come by, and owning a fast prime lens is always good, especially for those indoor events where a f/1.8 lens would mean you would not need a flash in a lot of indoor situations.

-- Robin Low

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Warrior's Way Review

I watched the Warrior's Way today.

A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

Sngmoo Lee
Sngmoo Lee
Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush


When I saw the trailer, it had ninjas, cowboys, clowns?

It is set somewhere in the past, where an Asian swordsman traveled to the west to escape from his past. The setting is indeed strange and the use of color was interesting and it does bring out much of the strangeness of the movie.

Basically, this movie is very similar to Ninja assassins. It has lots of action and over the top surrealism. I mean, cowboys vs ninjas stuff. The special effects and editing strangely makes the movie enthralling and captivating.

The action and fighting scenes in the movie is great in this movie. The scenes are vivid and the is indeed enough blood and gore for all you gore loving folks. The concept and plot is kinda incredible, yet strangely entertaining.

If you enjoy the movies like Ninja Assassin, Kill Bill and other random Japanese Action flick, this Sngmoo Lee's Movie will not fail to entertain you.

-- Robin Low

Friday, December 03, 2010

Enslaved - Odyssey to the West (PS3) Review

Enslaved in the trailer, seemed like a fantastic game. The world is very detailed and pretty, the story seemed very original and interesting.

Initially, when I watch my friend play it, it seemed pretty fun and the game play looked epic! When the first robot was killed, the cut scene is amazing, however my friend started to swear more and more in the game.

Very soon, the game play got bad. The camera angles were very difficult to work with and the controls did not seem responsive. When I tried playing it a little, I felt powerless as the controls did not seem to work much at all. When multiple attackers came, your character in the game would "auto-block" and all the moves seemed to be cached, so buttons you pressed 5 seconds ago will be performed with serious lag, and it just seemed frustrating, and not really difficult and challenging.

Then again, the cut scenes seemed very well timed and pretty. It sort of made some of the frustration worthwhile with some satisfying kills in the beautiful cut scenes.

I watch my friend progressed in the game and the gameplay did go south. when you think that the camera angles and the lags were bad, it just gets worse. Some of the movements seemed pretty choppy, and the game just gets ever more buggy. Some enemies just gets stuck and not attack you, however you need to go hunt for them before this very linear game can proceed.

With my friend playing the game, the swears increase in intensity and agony increases. I find myself unable to play anymore after failing in a level 30 times, and my friend managed to pass it with a computer glitch, and it seemed to get worse level after level.

The increase in the number of enemies, with bad camera angles just increase the lag and playability of the game.

Conclusion: If there is not enough pain in your life, this game is pretty good as the cut scenes is AWESOME. Otherwise, avoid it at all cost.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Android 2.3 Gingerbread on Nexus S

Samsung’s Google Nexus S leaked again, shows off Android 2.3 Gingerbread

XDA Developers – the source of the new photos
– says the Nexus S might feature a Super AMOLED 2 display, dual-core processor, and 720p HD video recording. (More photos to be found there)

Google and Samsung has yet officially announce the Nexus S, new photos of the smartphone have appeared on the web, this time showing the Android version it’s based on.

As expected, the Nexus S runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread – which should be released in the next few weeks.

Here are some specs of the Nexus S:

* ArmV7 CPU – Could be Dual Core
* Open GL ES Supported
* 512 or 328MB Ram (Not 100% known)
* 1GB or 2GB Internal Memory (Not 100% known)
* 800×480 Screen Resolution
* 4″ Screen Size
* SuperAmoled2 – Possibly
* 720P HD Video

If you are planning to get a new phone season, you may need to wait a little longer, and get the phone with Gingerbread.

-- Robin Low

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Battle of the buses. Boston - New York

Fung Wah vs. Lucky Star vs. Megabus vs. Bolt
Boston: All buses leave and arrive at South Station.
The trip takes 4 hours - 5 hours and has a 10 min break in between.

Traveling between New York to Boston is simple and relatively cheap. Now there are multiple buses to get you there.

From Boston, you can get on any of these buses at the bus terminal at South Station. Depending on where you need to get to in New York will cost around $15 to $25 one way.

Bolt bus

New York
Number of Stops: 3
New York 33rd and 7th by Sbarro (To DC or Balt.)
33 St. & 7 Ave NY, NY 10018

Description: This is an outdoor stop at the northeast corner of the intersection. The bus will stop in the designated bus stop area on 33rd Street in front of a Sbarro’s Italian restaurant.
Connections: MTA subway lines A, C, E (8 Ave), 1,2,3 (7 Ave), B,D, F, V (6 Ave)
New York 34th and 8th by Tick Tock (Phil. or Bos.)
34 St. & 8 Ave NY, NY 10001

Description: This is an outdoor stop at the northwest corner of the intersection. The primary landmark is the New Yorker hotel and the Tick Tock Diner. Along 34th there are designated bus stops from the Tick Tock to the entrance of the Manhattan Center. This is where our bus will pickup.
Connections: MTA subway lines A, C, E (8 Ave), 1,2,3 (7 Ave)
New York 6th Between Grand & Watts (To DC or Phil)
Canal St. & 6 Av. NY, NY 10014

Description: This is an outdoor stop at the northeast corner of the intersection a little north on 6th.
Connections: MTA subway lines A, C, 2, 3

Price sort of varies between $15 - $23.00 or more, and though there are a lot of buses running, they tend to sell out. This is a good way to get to B&H in New York, but otherwise, its main cost is the Wifi and Plug in. If you don't need to plug in, why pay extra?

I don't feel the service any better than the others.

Pros: Wifi, Electric Plug In
Cons: Pricey

Fung Wah Bus

Your old school Chinatown - Chinatown bus.

Maps : Location

Fung Wah runs regularly with very solid schedule every hour. In fact Fung Wah Bus service is running every 15mins during the rush hour on Nov 24 and Nov 28.

It is always $15 (except the 2am bus) and it seemed fantastically fast!

There are lots of news about Fung Wah getting into accidents though, but heh, accidents do happen right...

Pros: $15 most of the time, every 30 mins during peak hours, can book at the boarding area. FAST!

Cons: May get into accident?


The Megabus offers Free Wifi,

Leaving New York, NW Corner of 9th Ave and 31st St.
Arriving New York, 7th Ave & 28th St.

I feel that this leaving and arriving does get confusing at times, and I've been on this bus twice back from New York, and as it always pass by Yankees Stadium, the traffic jam sometimes makes traveling time unbelievably long! (I was stuck at a location there for 1 hour before)

The Megabus is also pricey. Costing $13 - $25 online, it costs $25 at the bus stop.

This bus stop is great for leaving B&H as it is just across the road from it.

Pros: Free Wifi
Cons: Expensive and slowest. Confusing stop locations in New York.

Lucky Star

Lucky Star is yet another Chinatown - Chinatown bus.

Location: 55-59 Chrystie Street (Chinatown)

Strangely, this $15 bus also offer free wifi, and the wifi feels pretty fast compared to Bolt and Megabus. It just feels like Fung Wah, less fast (less dangerous?) and with free wifi.

Pros: $15 bus. Wifi
Cons: No plug in.

After trying out all the services, I feel that Lucky Star is the way to go if I want to get to Chinatown and move from there. It has a short rest stop in Connecticut for 10 mins, and the wifi seemed great.

I was on the Megabus and Bolt, and the NYC staff seemed uninterested and I feel that they do not really answer your question, and the locations to board are pretty "questionable" off the street.

Fung Wah and Lucky Star has a store in Chinatown where you buy tickets and board. And since they are very near each other, if a bus is full, you can always get on the next.

Compared to flying, this is a much cheaper way, and you don't need to be at the airport 2 hour in advance.

-- Robin Low

Friday, November 12, 2010

China Eastern Airlines (SIN - JFK)

Flight: MU 568 Singapore - Pudong (Shanghai)
Flight: MU 587 Pudong - New York (JFK)

At a glance, this is the cheapest flight form Singapore - New York. The cost is about US$1400 which is about $400 cheaper than the other flights. As I was saving up for a camera lens, I decided to fly this as I have enough miles on China Eastern to upgrade to business class on the latter flight.

Initially, I booked at several other webpages, and all of the bookings seemed to be cancelled. I wanted to book with Singapore webpages, Zuji and Asiatravels.sg, however for the same (cheapest flight) the cost is S$150 more than the US sites. Hence, I decided to try the other sites, and eventually, with Orbitz, the order got through.

The flight was however far from satisfactory, but at $400 cheaper, I decided to try. Firstly there was a 14 hour stop over at Shanghai, this allowed me to meet a friend and go around the EXPO area again.

It was strange how many passengers on the airlines are just so eager to get on board, from the beginning, this flight to JFK (New York) seemed to be a nightmare. The flight attendants of China Eastern cannot seem to control the crowd. The boarding was very chaotic, and everyone seemed to be fighting to get on board. On the plane, the passengers do not seem to know where to sit. I had a person in my seat because there was someone in his seat, and someone else in his seat...

Nonetheless, the flight took off on time. On the flight, I requested for water after 30 minutes in the air, and the air stewardess was no where to be found. 30 minutes later, they started serving water, and for the initial few people in front, they seem to get beer and other beverages, however, when they came to me, there was no more beer and orange juice, just apple juice and coke.

Then dinner came, and again beef rice was out, and chicken noodles was what's left, and indeed, it is inedible. The fruits are soggy and food is simply nasty. They ran out of beverages, and they only have water and tea. I requested for playing cards, and they are out of that too. This is simply insane!

When I arrived in Shanghai, I met my friend for dinner and we travelled around the EXPO site and had dinner, later I checked into a motel. It was a decent motel for $60, but there is no internet access. I was quite glad to have this break in my flight for a nap, and it may prove to be very good. 2 showers amd a breakfast, it may seem all worthwhile.

The second leg of my flight is from Shanghai to New York. The plane is much bigger and the business class is much more spacious compared to economy. In business class, the food however is as miserable as before, and what I can simply call NASTY, hence I decided on my liquid meals, 6 beers, and they have only Bud light, but still, its better than crappy food. Surprisingly, in business class, the "China" people who fly seemed to be similar. As I was sitting near the toilet, I could say that 1 out of 2 people flush, and about 2 out of 3 knows how to lock the door. It was a very sad seat indeed when you hear people from the toilet trying to have a conversation with their friend outside.

I usually get a lot of sleep on flights, but this bunch of people are extremely noisy, the "real estate tycoon" beside me who boasts of 7 digit income per month and several mistresses around seemed very eager to share too much information, and show me his keys to the different cars he own, and one of them was a limited edition E63 AMG with Swarvoski Crystals embedded in the key. He also talked about his Cadalliac and his Audi R8 in Manhattan, I wonder where is there space to own a supercar?

The beers for each meal kept me going on, no food and simply light beer seemed to work so far. I'm really looking forward to meet my friends, and all the pain endured, and more pain to come (Metro, and probably bus from NYC to Boston) will be rewarded with good company.

Overall, the trip was indeed "Budget" and it feels like it, the meals are poor, and experience rather bad, but it felt safe and ok when you arrive. Do you think it is worth it?

-- Robin Low

Sunday, November 07, 2010


This is the first time I booked with CheapoAir.com

Its $1 cheaper than Orbitz and much cheaper than Travelocity and Kayak.

I've tried Orbitz before, and it was plenty of FAIL, and so because of price. (And saving up for that stupid lens) I've decided to try CHEAP, and fly this stupid airlines.

Initially, when I saw the above ad, I was pretty happy, but when there is no way of entering the "coupon" during checkout, I realized that it was a FAIL and a ploy again.

Then checking on AsiaTravels.com and Zuji.com.sg, the prices are $120 higher, and I decided that since it was the same flight, I'll trust the Kayak Price comparison, and go with CheapoAir.

By The Way, Singaporeans without a US Credit need not even try as they need a US / Canada Billing address. So go pay your $120 more with AsiaTravels.

I am going to earn some miles, and get lots of pain! (I've got China Air miles eligible for upgrade!)

I booked the tickets and got this reply.

(For any changes to your itinerary, please call us at 866-636-9088 )
Booking Receipt
Please print and keep this receipt.
Please do not respond to this e-mail! This email is intended for notification purposes.

Customer Information
Traveler:Robin LowEmail:robinxxx@yahoo.comPhone:1-xxx-xxx-xxxx
Booking Number:XXXXXXBooked on:Mon, Nov 08, 2010

Trip Summary
Flight Summary
Singapore Changi, SG (SIN) 

New York Kennedy, US (JFK)
Thu, Nov 11, 2010
4:35 pm - 1:25 pm (+1 day) (1 Stop)

Wed, Jan 19, 2011
3:35 pm - 5:00 am (+2 day) (1 Stop)
 Traveler NameTicket NumberSeat RequestMeal PreferenceSpecial Request
 Low, Robin (Adult)-Any seatAny meal-

Disclaimer: All special requests, meal preferences, seat requests are not guaranteed. You must contact your airline to reconfirm that they have received this request and confirmed it.

Booking Number:5755755
Departing Flight - Thursday, Nov 11, 2010
China Eastern Airlines 
Flight 568 
Airbus 600 Series E Jet

Singapore Changi (SIN)
04:35pm -Nov 11, Thu
Shanghai Pu Dong (PVG)
10:00pm -Nov 11, Thu

China Eastern Airlines 
Flight 587 

Shanghai Pu Dong (PVG)
12:00pm -Nov 12, Fri
New York Kennedy (JFK)
01:25pm -Nov 12, Fri

Flight Duration: 19hr 50minLayover Time: 14hr 0minTotal Trip Time: 33hr 50min
Return Flight - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011
China Eastern Airlines 
Flight 588 

New York Kennedy (JFK)
03:35pm -Jan 19, Wed
Shanghai Pu Dong (PVG)
07:30pm -Jan 20, Thu

China Eastern Airlines 
Flight 543 
Airbus 600 Series E Jet

Shanghai Pu Dong (PVG)
11:55pm -Jan 20, Thu
Singapore Changi (SIN)
05:00am -Jan 21, Fri

Flight Duration: 20hr 00minLayover Time: 4hr 25minTotal Trip Time: 24hr 25min
Please note: As Airlines have frequent schedule changes, please call the Airline 24 hours before departure to reconfirm your flight details. Airline Phone Numbers 

Your ticket is NON-REFUNDABLE . For any changes to dates or routing, please call our Customer Service. These changes may have airline penalty and our fees. Some flights may be completely NON CHANGEABLE even with an airline penalty.

Price Details (USD)
Flight Price Details

 Traveler TypeTicket PriceTax & Fee Breakdown 
(incl. Traveler Assist)

 1 Adult/s$ 852.00$ 470.78$ 1,322.78
   Insurance Fee:$ 0
Charged on Credit Card - Visa - 4802**29Subtotal:$ 1,322.78

Total Cost:$ 1,322.78

Please Note: Your credit card may be billed in multiple charges totaling the above amount. 
Terms & Conditions
Flight Booking Terms & Conditions
IMPORTANT NOTE: All Tickets will be automatically issued and are non-refundable, if you do not receive an email with ticket # information, please contact us to get the Ticket #s or call the Airline to receive ticket # information, IN NO CASE WILL TICKETS BE REFUNDABLE , even if not utilized.

NOTE: If it is a third party credit card, you may receive a phone call and email from our customer service department asking to verify this transaction before the tickets can be issued. A Third party credit card is when the Traveler is not the Card Holder.
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Charge Authorization, Your Electronic Signature Copy
I, ROBIN B LOW , have read the Terms and Conditions and I understand that this fare is non-refundable. I agree to pay a total amount of USD 1,322.78 (Credit Card :4802**29) for this purchase. This will serve as my Electronic Signature.


I have a feeling that this service may suck as well, and there may be verification calls to add on the pain. Nonetheless, I hope that returning to Boston to meet my friends for the holidays will make it all worth while!

-- Robin Low

Monday, November 01, 2010

Moist+ 2 Review.

Moist+ 2 Facial Masks.

Moist+™ 2 is a relaxing at-home facial treatment for vibrant, soft and silky-smooth skin. The soft Eco-cotton facial mask will give you the moisturizing and relaxing benefits of a spa-quality facial in your own home. Each mask is pre-cut and pre-moistened with a relaxing mix of rose hip extract, marine collagen, Hyaluronic acid, Mulberry Bark Extract and Matricaria extract, to moisturize your skin and boost its radiance.

From the packaging, it looks like a simple Facial mask, but after opening it up, I was pleasantly surprised.

The Unique Facial Mask has a very nice pattern, and the grey parts contain Eco-fabric which helps absorption of nutrients.

It looks very interesting and the mask, backed with a piece of plastic is easy to open and apply to the face.

The nutrients are also very thick, and pretty much odourless, with just a tinge of faint refreshing smell. The thick nutrients feel good when applied, and the mask fits rather well to my face.

Wash face thoroughly.
Open packet, take out pre-moistened mask and unfold.
Apply mask to face and press lightly with finger-tips to set in place.
Relax for 15 minutes and remove mask.
Discard mask after use.

After 15 minutes, I rinsed my face and my face does feel softer and refreshed. The short 15 minutes of relaxation also calms me down after a long day at work.

This is simply Genius!

Ingredients:Rose Hip Oil , Marine collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Extracts of Matricaria, Bamboo Charcoal, Mulberry bark, Sea Weed Extract, Perilla Extract, Carbopol, Butylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Distilled water.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

The masks feels top quality, and compared with the top brands like SK-II, it actually feels similar, but the masks looks more interesting.

Many people were afraid of Methylparaben, but I did some research, and found that top brands are using them, and though Paraben is banned in Japan, SK-II and Moist+ 2 are sold in Japan and according to many credible websites, MethylParaben seems completely safe.

Wikipedia Entry.

I would totally recommend this product.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Facebook Group Test - Singapore Social Media

I've started a Group on Singapore Social Media, and I invited my friends who are on Twitter and Facebook to join.

Within a few seconds, I realized that I actually have a lot of friends on Facebook whom I'm not following on Twitter, and I would like to add my friends on Twitter to Facebook as well.

I have a Singapore Twitter list. Where I listed a lots of interesting Singaporean Tweeps to follow.

I hope this helps businesses in Singapore to look for influencers in Singapore as I believe a lot of them are indeed very influencial!

I'm still testing out how Groups work on Facebook, and I will share more information soon.

-- Robin Low