The state of the Grid

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It’s Morphin Time! I can never heart that enough. The MMPR book from Kyle Higgins has consistantly been one of the best books on the shelf. It is a more grown up, and darker take on the classic series. As an adult now, I like that. To a point. I drifted away from full time readership of the book a year or so ago, preferring the more laid back Go Go Power Rangers. Plus the art on that book, by Dan Mora is incredible. Yet I am not here to talk about which book is better, I am here to go over the events of the last two issues of Shattered Grid. This event is sensational and way too good for a Power Ranger fan to miss. That said, the book is sold out all over the place, so there is a chance you have missed it.

The basic premise follows a story that Higgins has been building since the start of his series. It follows the evil Lord Drakkon. Drakkon is an evil Tommy Oliver from a universe where he never broke control from Rita. Together they destroyed the Rangers and conquered Earth. He then claimed it for himself. His power is the combination of the Green and White Ranger Powers. Shattered Grid follows Drakkon as he invades all the timelines, thanks to help from Ninjor (who he conned). That is where we begin my retelling. I will also be updating every week as new teams are introduced/defeated. So jump down to the bottom if you want to see how your favorite Rangers have fared against the universes greatest evil.

Drakkon Wins

As expected, full spoilers after this point. So Black Alert is active!

Shattered Grid opens with Wes and Jen of the Timefore Rangers talking about an unstable temporal opening. They expect it is quite dire and send Jen in just before it closes. They share a heart felt moment with each other, which should warm any fans heart. The issues ends with the unthinkable. Drakkon stabbing Tommy through the heart just after the conclusion of his and Kimberly’s first date. Jen attempts to stop Drakkon, but is hurt in the process. Fast Forward to the newest issue and we find out that Tommy has indeed died. WHAT?!? Clearly we know things will change for the better, but taking the greatest Ranger off the table has completely shattered the timeline. Go figure. The Rangers spend much of the issue grieving, which is something pretty foreign to Power Rangers. Including a crying Jason taking on the Dragon Crest. They have a chat with the now healed Jen, and we find out that the multiple timelines are indeed in trouble. Thanks to some quick engineering from Billy, they are able to tap into a temporal transporter. Just in time, as Drakkon invades the Samurai timeline.

Lauren is the Red Ranger of the team, so we don’t have to deal with Jayden, arguably the worst Red Ranger. The Samurai Ranges put up a good fight, but gain very little from it. In a heroic moment, Kevin throws up a shield protecting Lauren from a devastating blast. As a side note, it was a blast to see Higgins write Kevin so well. Kevin is then caught, but Lauren remains. The Rangers show up just as Drakkon and his forces are securing the Shiba home. They confront a troop of Black Ranger Sentries and rescue Lauren. The issue ends with Drakkon gaining Samurai powers, and a new costume to go with it. The Samurai Rangers are detained and their morphers confiscated.

Next week is the MMPR Annual, which looks set to feature the Rangers from RPM, Dino Thunder, Dino Charge, and the In Space Rangers. Check out next week for how everyone else fares. For now, here are the lists:

Killed in Action:
Tommy Oliver: MMPR Green Ranger

Apprehended:
Kevin: Samurai Blue Ranger
Mia Watanabe: Samurai Pink Ranger
Mike: Samurai Green Ranger
Emily: Samurai Yellow Ranger
Antonio Garcia: Samurai Gold Ranger

Active:
Jason Scott: MMPR Red Ranger
Kimberly Heart: MMPR Pink Ranger
Billy Cranston: MMPR Blue Ranger
Zach Taylor: MMPR Black Ranger
Trini Kwan: MMPR Yellow Ranger
Jen Scotts: Time Force Pink Ranger
Lauren Shiba: Samurai Red Ranger (second)

Status Unknown:
Wes Collins: Time Force Red Ranger
Lucas Kendall: Time Force Blue Ranger
Katie Walker: Time Force Yellow Ranger
Trip: Time Force Green Ranger
Eric Meyers: Time Force Quantum Ranger

Stay tuned next week, as I update on the new events and update the KIA, Apprehended, Active, and Unknown lists. Until the next time. May the Power Protect you.

 

 

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End of an Era

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By the time this is posted, I will have read Action Comics 1000. However, by the time of writing this we are a day away. I have already voiced my opinions on Brian Michael Bendis and his unfortunate control over the entire Superman family. That said, as this new era for Superman begins I would like to look back at some of my favorite Superman stories of all time. I doubt that anything out of Bendis’ run comes close to challenging this list, but I might be surprised. I probably won’t. With that said, here we go.

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All Star Superman

This book is quite literally the best Superman book ever published and can challenge for best comic of all time. The animated movie failed to hit the mark (mostly because they cut 6 chapters of the book out entirely. It also is incredibly hard to translate Frank Quietly’s art into film. That isn’t really any fault of the film. This book is a master piece, that can’t really get its message across outside of the comic. That makes this book all the better. Look I could spend all day writing about this book. I really could, but give it a read for yourself if you haven’t. If you have, maybe read it once more to remind yourself the standards Bendis has in front of him.

Action 775

Action Comics 775

The inspiration for Superman vs the Elite, a surprisingly good adaption of the story. This book answers the age old question, why shouldn’t Superman kill? While several decades old at this point, the book is still relevant today. Especially with the likes of Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice, and Justice League mucking up the collective conscious of the character. This book shows us what happens if Superman does cross that line. Needless to say, it isn’t a pretty picture. Unlike the films, this book does a 180 and shows that all of this was masterfully choreographed to show why Superman does what he does. Why he is what he is. This book brings about one of my favorite things about Superman. He is inspired by people. While the non powered society looks at him as the beacon of hope, he sees that beacon right back at us. That is why he protects us. And that is why he doesn’t cross that line. A truly beautiful story.

Lara

Superman Birthright

This book absolutely deserves to be in the running for best Superman story. It tops All Star as best on several of my friend’s list.  While this book is fantastic in its own right, it is what it does different that sets it apart from the rest. Much of the Superman mythos is defined by Jor El. It wasn’t until Birthright that Lara achieved the same level of reverence that Jor gets. Turning is mom from a spectator into a bad ass in her own right. Truly something that should have done decades ago.

Final

The Final Days of Superman

A new entry onto the list, and one that has now been written out with the Superman Reborn plotline. This book came out at the right time. Just before Rebirth, Superman was made the most relevant he ever was during the New 52. He was plagued by bad writing, and inconsistent approaches. Yet Peter Tomasi knew what he wanted to do, and made a modern day All Star. Any story that has Superman die apparently has to be made into film, and an animated adaptation of this is on its way already. This story is full of heart, character, and emotion. After years of languishing as a character, Tomasi finally gave him his own voice and readied readers for better times to come. I am still sad to see him go. He is almost single handedly responsible for the multiple years of success.

Superman wallpaper

Kingdom Come

This story is famous for a lot of reasons. It ended the 90’s hyper extremism. It is another fabulous book by Mark Waid. It is impeccably crafted by Alex Ross. It also asks the question of what happens in a world with Superman. What happens if he just gives up. That answer is nothing good. This book explores Clark as he attempts to come to sense with the changing world. It demonstrates just what Superman means to the world, and manages to do so without killing him. I always point this book out to people who like an ‘edgier Superman’. This is as close as you get, and he still never once crosses the line. This book is just a masterpiece from top to bottom. Especially good, as it showcases an insane amount of DC’s pantheon of heroes.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall: Scotland Pt 2

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Time to recap what ended up being a very busy Classical Era. For part 1 you can read here. Once again, this is on a Europe TSL Map. I am on Prince, as I attempt to navigate Robert the Bruce to victory. On my to do list for this era was to settle Ireland, make a Golden Age, and develop my cities. Some of those worked out.

I chose Monumentality as my age dedication, and it paid dividends. My Campus’ were immediately finished after the age started. I followed it up with a Harbor in London. I then finished building the Temple of Artemis in 1160. I set my tech track to make sure I got to embarking as fast as I could. I built a few of the early Galley’s and found Ireland. To my surprise, the island was littered with local tribes. I would have to fight them for control of it. It proved to be a daunting task. The army I used to conquer London, was no match for the Irish. I tucked my tail between my legs and retreated. I had to look elsewhere for my expansion. It was at this time that my navy found Poland and Norway. It was 500 BC. Not a turn later, they both launched a joint war with me. To no surprise, nothing happened, and I ended up peacing out with both of them to a benefit of some money in 75 BC. Also of note, was what I called the French/Spanish Cold War. The War started in 725 BC, and was still going at the conclusion of the age. I was the first to unlock new governments, and chose Classical Republic. The boost in Great Person points boosted me to the Great Prophet Siddhartha Guatama. I chose to found the custom Religion of Scotch. I chose Work Ethic (+1 Production per follower) and Meeting Houses (+3 Faith, +2 Production). This will bolster my production from my unique benefits, and will help me better secure my planned science victory.

Scotch

Stirling’s population was so excellent that I was able to put up a +3 Theatre Square which triggered an historic moment. To keep Food up, I assigned Magnus there to ensure I would have enough population to build an Industrial Zone. Fortunately for me, a few turns later I triggered another historic moment for having the worlds most populous city. The era score from this guaranteed I would end up in a Golden Age. Adding to my score was the help of Several Great People. I recruited the Great Scientists, Aryabhata, Hypatia, Euclid, and Omara Kayyam. Joining these great folks were The Great Admiral Gaiaus Dilius, and the Great Writer Byasan. The latter of which would be the cause of some problems in the future.

With the Golden Age secured, I set about expanding my borders. What better way to do that than by settling Ireland. I sent out the army that defeated Victoria to claim the land for myself. I was met with hostilities by the natives, and their overwhelming numbers destroyed most of my forces. It was clear that I would need better units, and more of them, if I was to conquer them. Instead, I turned towards Europe. Peter the Great was not in the game, and that left Russia wide open. I sent the Settlers who I thought would home on Ireland that way. The pilgrimage to a new land was on its way. As the Era winded to a close, I took care of a few more things. Haddington was able to build a fishery and get food back on track thanks to a promotion to Liang. I also finished up an Encampment District in London. However, I purchased a tile in France to do so. If we ever came to blows, I would have a small foothold to aide me.

Golden Age

I ended the Era with an Era Score of 47, surpassing the needed number 44 to secure my Golden Age. My Golden Age Dedication was Free Inquiry, turning my Eureka and Civic boosts by 10%. It also increased the Gold from Harbors and Commercial Hubs. This was not the focus, at the rate I was churning out Great Scientists, it seemed only fair to pair them with this ability. With that in mind I had a few goals for the next round. Expand the Empire, Defend against my enemies, and continue developing internally. If the chance arose, I would also like to build a new army so that I could bring Ireland to heel.

That was my age. I hope you are enjoying my coverage, and more importantly that you are enjoying Civ 6 Rise and Fall.

Star Trek Adventures: To Boldy Go

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Most readers of mine should know by now that I am a huge fan of Star Trek. As such, I have really enjoyed playing Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures Role playing Game. It is a refreshingly different system from what I am used too. It is also about the only universe that I can creatively come up with new campaign ideas for. That or a DCU RPG. I recently started a new campaign with a new crew (mostly) and have made a new setting for it.

The setting. I have the game set in 2498. Roughly 20 years after the Dominion War. I am rejecting the Star Trek Online timeline, and am not treating the events of the Kelvin Universe movies (thus Romulus is fine). Additionally, I am skipping over most of Nemesis. I recognize the Reman’s as existing, but will not be using them in any of my currently planned sessions. The state of the Galaxy is still one of fragility. The Alpha Quadrant is in a state of rebuilding. The Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Star Empire are in a state of mutual cooperation for the first time in their history. The Klingon’s and Federation particularly enjoying prosperity. With Emperor Martok and Ambassador Worf, the two governments are close friends. After spending two decades teetering between pro and anti Federation leanings, the new Romulan Praetor N’ral is very much pro UFP. The Breen have taken advantage of much of this rebuilding phase, taking away much of what was formerly Cardassian space. The Cardassian’s are firmly under Federation protection, devastated by the Dominion. They are still a proud people, and vow to regain their territory in time. The Bajoran’s have joined the Federation officially. The Orion’s are up to their normal selves, while the Nausicaan’s have appeared more organized than in the past. The Ferengi remain themselves, selling to the highest bidder and engaging in small level piracy. The Gorn Hegemony have been moving away from isolationism to expansionism. Their ultimate goal is not yet known.

Akira Class

It is far from the bleak future that Star Trek Online presents. The main ship is the USS Challenger. An Akira class ship that is serving as the flagship of the Beta Quadrant. It will address concerns of both the Federation, Romulan’s, and Klingon’s. It is the first symbol of unified peace between the three powers. The Captain is a recently promoted Captain Jonah’Thann Athruin. An Andorian who was serving as the X-0 of the USS Phoenix and patrolling the borders of the Breen. He was instrumental in protecting N’Ral from an assassination plot and ensuring he was elected Praetor. He also heroically saved not only his ship on multiple occasions but the members of Space Station Delta 3. The commander of whom is Jonah’s older brother, Captain Rihan

His Executive Officer is Lily Zhang a veteran by the book human. She specifically chose this assignment to monitor and guide the new Captain. She has an interesting family life. Married to a Tellarite who is a member of the crew (and her subordinate). The Lieutenant Commander is Jianna Izo. A peaceful Betazoid. She is very protective of all life, and very quick to help out her allies and enemies. Her goal is the preservation of all life. At security is Lieutenant Soran. A Vulcan who is very concerned about the safety of the crew. Like most Vulcan’s he is methodical and strives to keep the Captain honest. Finally the helmsman is Ensign Lesley Nusher. A young human who is a particularly deft pilot. He is no slouch on the Comm’s either.

I have lots in store for this crew and am looking forward to seeing where they journey. We have several sessions already finished, and I can’t wait to share with you. Let me know if you have gotten your chance on Star Trek Adventures. If anyone would like me to provide them with more information about my campaign setting, I would be more than happy to do so for a small fee.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall: Scotland Playthrough Pt 1

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Hi there everyone. I will admit this is not the account of my first foray into Rise and Fall. I launched a game just after the expansion dropped. Unfortunately, I was unable to play for several months. Mostly due to work and trying to get the several Fantasy Baseball league’s I’m in up and running. Finally I was able to sit down and put some time into playing the game. I will be reporting on all upcoming Civ 6 games in terms of era’s. So this post will focus on the Ancient Era, and so on. So let’s get to it.

First, the set up. As the title suggests, I am playing Scotland which I previewed months ago. Finally, I decided to play on one of the new maps, TSL Europe. This not only makes Europe much larger, but gave me some extra land mass before bumping into England, which was vital. I am playing on Prince as I am still a novice to all the mechanics that this game has going on. Plus it has been so long since I have gotten a chance to play. TSLE comes set with a standard list of 8 civs, all of which based out of Europe. To add a little extra difficulty, I made sure that one of them was England.

So lets get to it. My first city of Stirling is towards the Northern end of the England land mass. As was expected. I churned out a slinger before moving on to a builder to start the game. I then met England, and was determined to take her out before the era was up. After that, I developed another Warrior and another Slinger. I then turned right around into a Settler. I then settled Haddington on the central coast of the landmass. This ensured that I choked England off from a meaningful settlement. I then locked into another Warrior in that city, while plotting another builder in Stirling. Finally after Archery was discovered. I upgraded the southern most slinger into an Archer, while saving my money and not developing the other one. It hung out up North and dealt with an English Scout and Slinger.

England fell fairly swiftly. I moved both warriors past the river to avoid a combat penalty. While my archer remained north of it to act as an extra defense. The archer took shots at the city while my warriors took turns attacking the city and healing. My goal was to pre-occupy Victoria while my other warrior finished. Once done, it moved south and finished the job. Not only was it fully healed, but it moved in and secured a siege. This prevented London from healing. The next turn the warrior was able to move in and secure the capture. Victoria was no ore. Score one for Scotland. The English continent was under Scottish control in 2500 BC. I then set developing my infrastructure.

Dead Victoria

Thanks to a recently captured London, I founded a Pantheon in the English Holy Site. I chose City Patron Goddess. This would increase production on my first Districts built in each city. I had this planned out to help me boost era score the next age. I recruited Liang the Surveyor as governor of Haddington. I had my eyes on getting a fishery, which would help with food production drastically. I also recruited Reyna the Financier to make London my financial hub. I also built the Hanging Gardens in 1700 BC

That was it. I failed to make a Golden Age, but I did manage 18 of of 22 towards a Golden Age. This put me firmly in a normal age and within striking distance of a Golden Age the next era. I chose Monumentality, to give me era score per District built. Now that London was mine, that would be my next focus. With a booming population in Stirling, it would be easy to do. The era ended at 1220 BC. And as planned, I had a Campus in Stirling and Haddngton close to finishing at the time the age passed. Just before the end of the era I met both Spain and France. Meaning half of the Civilizations had been discovered.

Pretty eventful as far as Ancient era’s go. I am normally a very passive player, but I refused to allow London to develop any more. And spawning on such a tiny landmass, it was vital that I take Victoria out. My basic plan was to move to Ireland next. Given the updated size for the map, I expect two cities can co-habitate there really well. Look for part two in the next few days.

Pokemon Omega Ruby Nuzlocke Part 1

Omega Ruby

Hey there! In my free time I recently decided to play the one Pokemon game I never put much time into. Omega Ruby. I restarted the campaign and full on embraced the Nuzlocke run. So I figured I would recap my experience. This would be my second time doing this type of run, and my first time through broke me emotionally. So I am doing things a little different this time around. Here is the rule set I am running with.

No items. I am only using berries as I can get them naturally. I do not use in Poke’mart items.
Only the first Pokemon in each area can be caught and used. Nothing else.
No Experience Share. It really is a huge handicap, and playing without it is nostalgic.
I am using Wonder Trades, which is generally a no go, but it adds an element of fun to the game. My rule set is a roulette one. I can trade a Pokemon I catch on Wonder Trade, and then trade the received Pokemon up until the 6th Pokemon. Then I am locked in to that Pokemon.
And, as standard, any Pokemon that faints for any reason is released. It’s where the true challenge comes in.

I started off transferring a couple Pokemon to start my team off with. A level 1 Eevee and a level 1 Ryhorn. I then selected Mudkip as my starter. The first catch of the game was a Poochyena with Fire Fang. Things were starting off well. I caught a Taillow and Seedot to round out my team. My first loss came on route 116. Lass April’s Marill felled my level 10 Poochyena (Nicknamed Shade). I replaced her on my party with Saizo the Nincada, and figured if I could get him up to level 20 I would end up with an additional Pokemon to use (or just Wonder Trade Shedinja). I breezed through the first two gyms.

Lass

Why April, why?!?

Saizo was felled on route 103 by Twins Liz and Amy. He was level 16. I wonder traded the Wingul I had caught and on try 4 I got a Charmander. Score! Yet after this loss, I spent several days just grinding experience. After my grind session I blew past the Western half of the Hoenn region and I suffered no setbacks. I realized I was in a whole new ballpark when I landed on the Eastern half of the region. This is where I traded in Talon the Swellow, for the free Latios that the game gives you. The psychic/dragon was too much for me to resist. With my Ryhorn I was easily able to defeat Wynona. I now walk the long walk to Lilycove.

My team so far is this
Mr Kitty. The Level 36 Leafion (he evolved at level 8 in Petalberg Woods).
Apollo the Level 36 Latios.
Flora the Level 36 Nuzlocke (it seems fitting).
Ishmael the Level 37 Swampert.
Rihan the Level 37 Ryhorn.
And my level 38 Charizard (came with no nickname).

I am hoping to make this a two part series, but if I suffer significant setbacks I may make a third part.

Let me know what you think, and any horror stories you might have from your own personal Nuzlocke runs.

Star Wars Legion Battle Report

Legion 1

Hey all, in honor of the official release of Star Wars Legion, I will briefly share my experience playing the demo copy we received a few weeks ago. I will apologize for any misplays, as I was simply trying to learn the game. I also don’t know the names of several different upgrades, so I will be using just loose descriptions of them. Despite all of that, I had a great deal of fun with the game.

The set up. I played the Empire. The base Imperial army includes Darth Vader, a unit of Speeder Bikes (2), and 2 units of Stormtroopers (5 each). I added 1 each of the specialty Trooper upgrade to both Trooper units. One wielding a cumbersome weapon capable of piercing through armored units. The other was a specialty sniper trooper that rolled two of the best attack dice. It also could ignore one armor when attacking.

My opponent was the filthy Rebellion. The base games comes with Luke, an AT-RT, and two units of rebels. Like me, both unique Trooper upgrades were used in each unit. The Ion unit which shuts down vehicles. Then they have a trooper that throws down 5 of the weakest dice, but are very good at suppressive fire. The board featured a large structure in the middle (They looked like Tatooine structures). With two smaller structures diagonal to that. Both sides had two of the included barriers right around their deployment zones. The first turn my opponent played the My Ally is the Force Command card. I countered with Standing Orders. This meant that the Rebels went first, and activating Trooper units close to Luke got Dodge tokens (something they really like). He also played down two activation tokens on those Trooper units. I simply put them on my Speeder Bikes (note they did not have long range comm links, we realized after the game they went way out of formation). The first turn saw both Rebel units hunker down behind the barriers while Luke and the AT RT advanced on the line. Vader moved his measly one, while both of my Trooper units advanced toward their barriers. Unlike the Rebels, their sniper weapon allowed me to fire shots at the Rebels. I was able to do a point of damage to the AT RT’s, but the Rebels shook off the damage. Then the Speeders moved and were able to deal an additional one damge to the AT RT.

The next turn I used Ambush while my opponent used Strike. This allowed me to once again prioritize the Speeders and gain first advantage, I sped in to the flank of one of the Rebel units and laid down fire. I was able to pick off a unit, and more importantly lay down a point of suppression. This ended up imobilizing that Rebel unit, which was of great effect that turn. The other rebel unit turned and took shots at the speeders. Taking out one of the Speeder bikes. AT RT ended up moving and firing, but to no advantage. Luke also ran into the thick of it, which would be regretted the next turn.

I don’t remember precisely which card my opponent activated but I used new ways to motivate. Which allowed me to take an extra action if I killed off a Trooper unit. The turn saw my right most trooper unit take heavy fire at Luke, leaving him heavily damaged. As he had not activated, he had not gotten a chance at a Dodge token. He then used his Rebel unit to Ionize my speeder bike. Dealing one point of damage and limiting what it could do the next turn. Next my other trooper unit took fire at Luke, and successfully killed him. They took a casualty to take an extra action. My remaining speeder moved around and took a shot at the AT RT doing an additional point of damage there.

The next turn saw the right most rebel unit finishing off the Speeder bike. The other rebel unit laid down a large amount of fire on the exposed Stormtrooper unit on the left. They killed most of that unit, and left them suppressed. They were able to pass the test and dealt more damage to the AT RT. Then my defended Stormtroopers were able to destroy the massive vehicle. With Darth Vader in pursuit of the other Rebel unit, my opponent had not choice but to retreat. He called the game, as Darth Vader and a full unit of Stormtroopers could out gun his two remaining Trooper units. Victory for the Empire!

Legion 2

We did not play with the objectives, we instead were just trying to learn the mechanics of the game. I have played several miniatures games and this stands out as being a very excellent one. Fantasy Flight uses traditional specialty dice for this game, so there isn’t a need to break out a bunch of D6’s. That said, you could definitely stand to get another set. We were constantly re-rolling dice. Star Wars Legion is in a Hobby Store near you, and all of the first wave of expansions are out as well. Meaning you can expand to add additional Trooper units, speeder bikes, AT RT’s, or add the two new units. The Rebels get the air speeder while the Empire gets to wield the devastating AT ST. I hope you enjoyed this very condensed version of the game. Let me know which side you will be taking when you pick up Star Wars Legion.