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Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 21: Upgrades

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, we did unto the aliens as they would do unto us. How do you like those UFO defense missions now, ADVENT? You mess with the XCOM, you better prepare for the Menace.

The UFO offense mission did show us that the alien tech level isn’t exactly static either. Another new heavily armed and armored enemy very nearly took out two of my operatives. We’re doing good, tech-wise, but we could be doing better. There’s no reason to sit on our mag rifle and plated armor laurels when there are higher, loftier plateaus to be reached.

One of those new plateaus is, in fact, being scaled as we speak…

After the break: It’s time for my first adventures into <i>tier 3</i>.

Torment Thursday 13 – Failing to Find

YouTube Link

My plan to aggressively pursue the main plot and try to reach the end of the beta hasn’t worked out too well. It turns out the next step is to find a particular cast off, and the people that I know can help me with that will not do so unless I first find information about a cast off they haven’t heard of before. So I have to find a cast off before I can find a cast off. It is enough to drive you to drink.

With that in mind it is time to explore and try to finish off various minor loose ends as we encounter them. There was that strange building near the cliff’s edge I didn’t enter before. Turns out it is a pub, how convenient…

The Star Realms Diaries 4 – Ranneko vs RebelliousUno

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It has been too long since Star Realms graced the face of this site. You would think Jarenth and I would talk about it more given that we are still consistently playing each other and others (if you want to send me a Challenge go ahead, as may be pretty clear from the video I am Ranneko on there). I meant to do another one of these videos just after the previous expansion arrived, but unfortunately there were some problems during the recording step.

In the opponent seat today is RebelliousUno, all around cool guy and occasional twitch streamer, you may also recognize him from the LoadingReadyRun Minecraft Agrarian Skies LRRPlay series. He is one of the stable of players I regularly play against and due to his streaming I knew he was able to easily record his half of the game without a time consuming configuration process.

The game itself… could have gone better. I really need to try to deny my opponents access to too many Star Empire cards because discard is extremely powerful in this game and the number of cards that enable it has only increased as the expansions have come out. Having to discard one or even two cards is often only an inconvenience but any instance of forcing 3+ discards is pretty crippling to your opponent’s next turn and there isn’t any way to block discard effects beyond card denial. I have only ever been able to force my opponent to discard their entire hand a couple of times, but I am always tempted to push it and see how far I can go only the knowledge I am dealing with a human on the other end stops me.

With respect to the addition of the new expansions I am pretty happy with both events and bases and battleships. I like the new bases and ships, they don’t fundamentally alter the game or anything but they do continue to increase the variety in the trade row which is always nice in a game that I have literally played hundreds of times. My feelings on events are a little more mixed, they can really swing a game and they can’t be directly planned for but the effects are mostly symmetrical and what I really like is that they force you to treat every turn carefully. It is almost always better to trigger an event at the start of your turn than at the end and it leads to me holding cards in my hand until I want to use them rather than just hitting play all and then making decisions. On the other hand the more expansions we get the rarer events will become which will probably bring the Play All button back intro prominence.

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Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 20: What Goes Around…

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, the aliens defied established conventions when they came after us, shooting the Avenger from the sky. I mean, it got better. But still. Their, er, let’s say marginally provoked attack shook us out of a state of complacent reverie. We’ve been feeling too invincible for too long, I think. That feeling is definitely gone now.

I do wish there was something we could do to get back at the aliens over this. I mean, more so than we usually ‘get back’ at them. Stealing their unique psionic powers is nice from a ‘screw you’ perspective, but some more direct counter-strike would be good for morale, if nothing else…

After the break: Revenge is a dish best served from the business end of a mag rifle.

Indie Notification Land

Heya, readers.

No Indie Wonderland today, as you might have intuited. In fact, if you read last week’s review really carefully, you might even have seen the announcement in the footer on page 2! Go check, it’s right there! In order of time-claiming importance, my last week consisted of a lot of things denying me the time to play and review:

1) Work stress
2) Illness
3) Wrapping up XCOM 2
4) Curing cardboard diseases
5) Dark Souls 3
6) I was out of milk that one time

Regular service resumes next week.

And speaking of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2:

Good news is, I finished the gameplay parts of this Let’s Play. We’re looking at about 27 episodes right now, plus intro and epilogue. So expect this series to run about a month longer. ‘Bad’ news is, I’m afraid I didn’t get to all of you on the sign-up sheet. Sorry! I just… didn’t lose enough soldiers. You’ll still see a handful of new faces make their debut, but all in all, I’m guessing I got to about half of the names on the list.

Obviously I don’t want to leave anyone empty-handed who had the wherewithal and the fortitude to enlist in the first place. So one thing I will do, at the end of this Let’s Play, is add everyone who didn’t already show up to my character pool. And then that character pool will be made available for download right here — probably in the epilogue. That way, everyone can have their own Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 adventures! See if you are better than I at keeping this colour-uncoordinated group of schmucks alive.

– Jarenth

Ranonauts 39 – Just Need To Not Get Uno Killed

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I really like the way that even fairly limited engagements in Xenonauts still result in some stat improvements for your soldiers, generally strength and time units, but that is what I really need. Some of my soldiers, like Uno and Narmio have survived long enough for me to become pretty attached to them. They can cover a lot of ground and still take down the aliens and I need more of these awesome soldiers as we reach the end game, unfortunately they do have a tendency to end up a little bit dead, probably because I am more likely to have them run ahead and let them get cut off from assistance when things go wrong.

Also as much as I want to finish Xenonauts at this point, there is a while to go yet, as I note in the start of the video there is another enemy and ship type that need to turn up yet, once they start showing up we will then get to do a little more research before the game is over. I think we are only at about the two thirds mark right now. At the time this episode was recorded I was definitely riding the high of progress at last, mixed with success and a fair amount of recording time as my partner was away. It lead to a nice buffer and a desire to get on with things.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Kate with the quick close range snipe of an Andron to save her own life
  • Guila with an usually well thrown grenade, better than it could have been if it hadn’t scattered
  • RebelliousUno for reaching the rank of Commander

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 6 days
  • lost 45 soldiers
  • killed 408 aliens in 46 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 93 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding

Choosing the Next Game

There comes a point in time when the games are done and one has to make the tough decisions, like what game to play next. Being a naturally indecisive person I would like to involve you the reader (and hopefully watcher). What game would you like to see me tackle next?

For a bit of background on how I try to operate things on Ranneko Plays, I mentally think of the channel as having two main slots, a primary and a secondary. The primary generally runs on Mondays and Fridays and works well for longer affairs like the current Xenonauts playthrough, but obviously I am also quite happy to tackle shorter games here, but if I do the rotation is a bit higher. The secondary slot runs on Wednesdays, generally I try to keep to shorter games or even just brief one shot tries for games I don’t see as being fun to record for a long series.

Right now I need to pick new games for both of these slots, MouseCraft obviously finished up a couple of weeks ago,  I do have more material for Wednesdays lined up but all one-shots arther than a multipart series. In the primary role Xenonauts will run for… a fair while longer yet but I did wrap up recording that very recently so any feedback would be very welcome.

In general feedback is the most important thing, as a small-time creator one of the biggest problems I run into is apathy and the sense that what I am mostly doing is feeding bits to the algorithms rather than actually providing any entertainment to anyone. I would love to know what you like and dislike about the videos I make and the posts I write. I really want to know what you would like to see more of.

Especially if it involves jamming the first syllable of my handle awkwardly into the titles of the games I am playing.

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Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 19: You Come Into MY House

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, a squad trip to New Brazil uncovered us more of the aliens’ secrets. They… they were weird secrets. Purple plants, and a giant stargate, and a floating robot space orb that wasn’t a robot and that could resurrect the dead and also Mimic Beacons… And that’s before the new Chryssalids even came in. Why do the aliens still have Chryssalids? And why use exclusively Chryssalids to guard an important place like that? We’d have been golden if we’d have managed to keep one hover SHIV from the previous war.

‘Worst’ part is, though, that we can’t even get to prodding our findings yet! Partially because it’s going to take some… adjustments to the Shadow Chamber to accommodate this giant gate. But also partially because we were busy studying our previous mystery item first…

After the break: I plan for a few days of quiet, uninterrupted scientific study. This plan is rudely interrupted.

Ranonauts – A Quick Trip to Australia

YouTube Link

It is getting surprisingly difficult to track the number of ships shot down for my Ranonauts statline, I am pretty sure I am shooting down every single craft generated each time and you can see the forecast funding change in kind. If I had been better at doing this from the start I could have avoided this whole jackal armour mod which is draining my manufacturing capacity. On the other hand I also would have to play significantly more of the combats I am seeing right now and this series would be even longer.

For that matter I am really pleased that scouts continue to generate regardless of the invasion timer, there is always one or two “safe” fights that you can cherrypick on any given week, a place to start rookies off even if the crew of them have steadily become more dangerous as the game continues. It is nice to have some relatively quick combats as the bigger the ship the longer the time commitment to safely finish them off.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • The tank crew for taking out half of the alien force single handedly

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 6 days
  • lost 45 soldiers
  • killed 395 aliens in 45 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 93 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding

Torment Thursday – Faster than Anticipated

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I’m kind of burning out on Torment Thursdays, there is just so much reading and so many characters, why did I try to give each a different voice? As a result I have decided it is time to try and finish up the section of the game found in the beta rather than my normal approach of doing every single sidequest and chatting to every single character I can find. Therefore it is time to return… to the reef! We have a ship to explore.

The epic quest continues after the break