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