Friday, April 29, 2011

Kindle 2.0

This little device is on the market for a while and I was never tempted by it. But well I would like to share my experience.

Well, it looks nice but it also looks rather not sturdy enough to me. So I would be cautious about where I put it. Anyway what I was afraid about is the fact that it is still an electronic device and that the screen can't mimic a paper (It makes me sick to read something on PDA, Blackberry or Palm or whatever handheld device that comes to your mind). I have to say that looking at kindle's screen is ok BUT what I don't like are the flashes in between pages. Ok if you read a page and it takes you more than a minute to read then it is quite ok. But I have to say that going through a manual on Kindle is a pain for me. That gets to a problem that you can have. Kindle is not good for searching in the book - with that I mean looking for something in particular that you know that is somewhere here in the first third of the book for example. Finding a reference or something is a pain as well. It's slow in going through the pages and it makes my eyes and stomach hurt.

Anyway Kindle is good for reading books. You can either buy books via your Amazon account (if you did not buy it from Amazon you have to register the device by entering its serial number) or you can download them from somewhere and convert them to Kindle format or PDF. Converting is done by sending the files to your account, where it gets converted and is sent back to your Kindle via internet connection (via Wi-Fi or 3G). This actually costs about 0.1USD. Or you can just convert the file into PDF. With that you might have problems as it will shrink or enlarge the page to the screen and sometimes the letters are just to small. You can use the landscape layout to read the PDF which solved my problem. (But that also means that one page is separated in three parts and that means more blinking stuff for me.)

On Kindle you can create your own categories where you store your books and the capacity of the HDD is 4GB. There's about 3GB available to the user. Well, that seems a lot for books but for some it does not need to be. You can play Audio Books or mp3s from Kindle and that's something that can be big.

Kindle has in Experimental a web browser via which you can actually browse the internet. It works quite nice.

The keyboard is ok and you can type using both thumbs. Anyway you will most of the time be using the "next page" button which is located on both sides of kindle.

What I found good about it is the dictionary. When you want something translated you see it on the same page as the word you want translated. Good thing^^.

That's about it.
It's lightweight, portable, looks great, you can put anything you like on it (no matter what book, newspaper, mp3s..), you can easily read blogs and newspapers on it, it has well done dictionary.

so if you travel a lot and read a lot this might be a solution for you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LSC Honor for Budapest Kotei

The deck that follows is the one I played in Budapest.

On day one I played the version that follows (my deck was more against military I did not expect all honor/dishonor field). On day two I made few changes (so it would be better against honor decks). I took out Hojatsu, 1x Nakai, 2x Bokuko and put in 2x Kitsuki Suiha, 1x Kitsuki Yodo and War of Dark Fire. I also put in twice Deeds and Words.

In fate I added Peaceful Discourse (took out 1x Claw and Shell) and exchanged Forewarning with Subversive Influence.

Last Step Castle Honor
Last Step Castle
1x Border Keep
1xBamboo Harvesters

Dynasty: 40
1x Traveling Peddler
3x Gold Mine
3x My Father's Shrine
1x Shrine to Hotei
2x Public Records
2x Counting House
2x Debt Collector

1x Hanayashiki
1x Winter's Embrace
1x Naoharu's Gift
1x Well-defended border

3x Kitsuki Taiko
1x Kitsuki Taiko XP
2x Kitsuki Bokuko
1x Kitsuki Hanbei
1x Togashi Satsu
2x Kitsuki Yodo
2x Mirumoto Haru
3x Kitsuki Nakai
2x Mirumoto Bokusui
1x Mirumoto Hojatsu
2x Kitsuki Yukari
1x Otomo Seimi
1x Daigotsu Oki

Fate: 40
3x Hamstrung
3x Steel on Steel
3x Impromptu Duel
3x Imperial Adjudication
3x Writ of Reprimand
3x Outer Walls
2x Forewarning
1x Subversive Influence
3x Restoring Order
2x Distractions in Court
1x Relentless Conviction
1x Ultimate Sacrifice
3x Wall of Honor
1x Ring of Fire
2x Peaceful Discourse
2x Shameful and Cowardly
3x Claw and Shell
1x Heavenly Daisho of the Dragon

Budapest Kotei Photos

There are some really strange photos, some photos of the Budapest and few from the Kotei tournament. If you'd like to see them click on the link bellow. (it's facebook grr..)

Facebook Budapest Kotei 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Budapest Kotei

Budapest - My first Kotei

We - me, Michael Tancos, Lukas Verner and Jana Korinkova - left Prague in the morning. The trip wasn't that long but I have to say that the temperature was quite a problem - it was 30 degrees of Celsius outside. Anyway we arrived safely to Budapest. We stayed in the city for a while. First we needed cash and then we just walked around the originally Jewish part of the town. We found a game store there near the Kotei site as well so we went there to check it out^_~. At seven we were supposed to be at Aron's place. We arrived late but still managed to meet. We stayed there overnight. During the night we made the final changes in our decklists, played few games discussed some cards and then went to sleep.

The next day we got up and wanted to go buy something. We were told that it is a five minute walk and we were given the direction. But well...we did not find the store we were supposed to get to. We found a different one though but it was much further than we expected. We were simply pretty late for the kotei.

We eventually arrived to the site and there we found out that the start is not at 10am as we thought but at 11am. That was a good news^^. We pulled out our decklists, registered and waited for the first pairings. In the meantime I walked around and scouted some decks (when people were writing down their decklists). I saw 2 LSC decks, MANY Crane honor decks, several Crab decks and Scorpion dishonor decks. I did not feel well after seeing this...I decided that I would be playing Last Step Castle Honor. (I'll post the decklist later)

The TO gave us the pairings for round one but a minute later he said that we would get different pairings. So we waited for new ones...

Round 1 - Crane Honor dueling

In my first round I encountered a crane deck out of Embassy of the Crane. I did not feel well and couldn't concentrate much. I was in such a state that I would be able to forget to tap a personality to the stronghold. Hopefully my opponent was writing down my honor gain and this kept me more focused. I got Haru in play and Public Records and I did not really know what to hope for. The first personality my opponent played was Hideo XP and I did not really like that as that's additional honor gain. He also got 2 My Father Shrines and I couldn't really catch up. I made several mistakes even though not usre if I could win the game anyway. I got Yodo in play and forgot about her ability for some reason. She was also the first target to get challenged. I did not realize that getting her dishonored would most probably mean a Peaceful Discourse being played a bit later. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY, because I wanted to dishonor my opponent's personality and actually PLAY my own Peaceful Discourse which was the top card of my library..erm Fate deck. After this failure I lost the game. I would have 38 honor at the end of my turn but my opponent got 42 in my turn already. Thanks to me. I felt terrible after this self confidence was nowhere to be found...


Round 2 - Faceless Honor out of SoC
In my next round I was paired against Jana Korinkova with whom I arrived to the tournament. I knew her deck and I knew that I should most probably win. But I also knew that if she would play the deck correctly she could gain much more honor than me in her later turns (that means about 12 honor per turn). So well I just aimed to gain as much honor as possible. She got a playset of Houhous so I actually had a chance to challenge to a duel each of them once and get honor from that as well. I also dishonored one and played Peaceful Discourse on it. (I couldn't kill it at that time).


Round 3 - LSC Honor
In my third round I hoped to play against military but was paired with Nikoletta Nagy (a very nice person who let us stay in her flat for the remaining two nights). Nikoletta loves enlightment but plays Honor as well. Not a person I should expect something like Dragon Kensai or military Monk. It started to go wrong from the beginning. I was the one NOT starting to play which wasn't a good news to me. I got a better start though and managed to keep up with Nikoletta's honor gain. My only solution for this was to try to kill something dishonorable. Even with Hamstrung thrown in I should be able to out-honor her. That was my idea. She had Otomo Seimi in play and this guy would also give her additional 4 honor which I couldn't allow her to take. So I tried my luck - I dishonored that personality and challenged it to a irrefusable duel. Too bad for me... Niki showed me two hamstrungs which got her to 31 and I was at 28. Anyway I caught up with that again. But when I reached 40 Niki had 38 and I would be able to destroy a province with my little guys so she won. It was a really nice game, but I have to say that I did not really like the outcome of it. But it was a really good game and experience.


Round 4 - Outsider Keep
Finally I got to play against a military deck. I knew that two cards can make a hell for me - Tamago and Moto Chen. Tamago was played on turn two after my opponent used up his border keep but got to Blessed Herd. I wasn't really sure what to do with him so I cycled as much card as possible to get to something like Writ of Reprimand + Restoring Order. I drew Distractions at Court though and this helped me a lot to stop Tamago from attacking. When he finally managed to attack I already had Tamago dishonored and Restoring Order on my hand. So I just killed him from my first action (my opponent did not have Sneak Attack). Next Chen came, but I had Kitsuki Hanbei to make him 7F maximum which works with Outer walls even against Determined Force. This way I got a lot of time to get my 40 honor and win.


Round 5 - DGC Commanders
Playing against Daniel Nagy was really nice even though I did not like what was coming out of my provinces nor my fate cards. I knew that DGC can move freely and destroy provinces unopposed easily. Also they don't have a problem with force and usually can get to more cards than I do (sadly). I hoped to draw Hamstrung for such occasions or get some that would help with get the honor more quickly. My opponent also got slowed down because of playing Yoritomo Naizen, but even that did not really helped me. When I had two provinces left and 42 honor, my opponent turned the first card face up - Imperial Census. Too bad this card would actually mess my (already hopeless defense) so I played Forewarning. The second turned card though was New Order which just sealed my fate (Crossing the forbidden sea resolved as well but I did not care about that one). It was an interesting game and very valuable to me. Thanks to Daniel.


Round 6 - SPC Berserkers??
Um actually I don't remember this round well, I did not take notes except of my honor gain.
My opponent played Shikoujins, Ikarukani and Hida Yui (the one that bows). 1-3 personalities on my table usually ended up bowed or not being able to perform actions. But in the last battle where I had to go and defend I was able to kill all the personalities but one. I challenged two to a duel and I used Ring of Fire on another one. Ikarukani killed himself and took another two personalities with him. But hopefully I had Outer Walls for the Determined Force scenario. It happened and it was sufficient. A win for me.


After all those six exhausting rounds I ended up exactly in the middle. There were 30players and I my final standing was 15. Good for first Kotei, isn't?

Second Chance Tournament

Round 1 - SPC anti-crane, anti-LSC deck
This WAS BAD. Kuronada XP in second round, Akeno and Kuronada followed. I couldn't do much with Kuronada except try to bow him, but with SPC that does not really work well^^. So it was one province down soon and then my opponent attacked all three remaining provinces. I could try to defend one personality but had only two people for that and well...I just died and couldn't do anything.


Round 2 - bye
after being beaten so hard I got a bye ... I felt so beaten...


Round 3 - Thunder Dragon Bay
Well Moshi decks are usually slow and I did not expect many thunder actions that would raise the force of the personalities in the battle to take a LSC province down. So I won rather easily. I wasn't really happy about beating a Mantis player.


Round 4 - Hidden Moon Dojo
In the last round I also played against military deck. It was a Ninja deck. My opponent got Nishus and Suboru early. I managed to control the game though and was able to slow my opponent so much that he did not have enough force to even attack my provinces when I got to 41 honor.
But I have to note this. I felt terrible, couldn't concentrate. I had My Father's Shrine in play, Shrine to Hotei and even when I could use it as I would not simply go defend a province I did not use those holdings. I did not even realize that I have Well-defended border in play and I made few more minor mistakes during this game. Really some *face palm* plays. Not that the previous games wouldn't be similar...But it was the worse in this round.


5th place out of 20... which meant no prizes^_~
Later I will upload some photos and I might write a bit more.

Anyway, thanks everyone for making this trip possible. Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

PSP - Tales of Eternia

Several years ago I watched an anime called Tales of Eternia. I got it by accident but still watched it. In April 2006 I got a game called Tales of Eternia for PSP. I started to play the game but I did not finish it. Now five years later, also in April I decided to continue.
Anyway this is the third game in the Tales series, but well this is the only one for PSP or at least I though it was in 2006.
Reid and Farrah are witnesses to an object falling from the sky. They go investigate and come across a little blue animal that leads them to Meredy who does not seem to speak their language. They later find out that Meredy is there to investigate how to stop the two worlds - Celestia (Meredy's world) and Inferia (Reid's and Farrah's world). Reid, Farrah and Meredy embark on a journey to find out how to save their worlds. Your main task is to collect the Great Spirits (Craymels in this case).

The game looks pretty nice, nice looking graphics with anime pictures and full motion cutscenes. (it looks cute^_~) The music is fine too, I have to say that some of the music is really awesome.

The combat is in done in real time even though you can be giving commands during the battle. You can control only your main character (Reid) but still give commands to the rest of the party (you can adjust their AI - if they should be attacking or using mainly 'magic' etc. You can also disable spells they should not be using which is good when you know that a certain enemy has resistance against water - so you just disable those). The Great Craymels give you additional magical powers. The Craymels also level up and give you new spells. You can also kind of merge/melt the Craymels to get new abilities from them as well.

To win a certain battle (against bosses mainly), you'll need to use your tactical thinking and be quick^^ (use of right equipment, good formation of the characters etc can help as well). But well if you are used to play RPGs you'll figure this out easily.

No matter what, the combat system is unique and is actually pretty well done, but you'll discover this soon enough. Button-mashers won't just easily beat the game (if that exists among RPG players...)

The game has some puzzles that none of them are too difficult. But it's nice to stop and try to figure something out.

The world map is 3d and looks pretty good. It's quite big actually and it takes some time to go to all the places and get all the items you can get. (especially collecting all the Lenses). You'll be able to go anywhere you please on both worlds.
Actually the whole game gives you a lot of freedom even though the story is pretty linear and sometimes it makes it too easy for you to follow.

Perfect game for someone who wants an RPG and does not want a full 3d action on PSP.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

note: the English dubbing is not actually THAT BAD.

Leica Gallery

If you are looking for a nice cafe and a bit of photography/art I recommend you to go to Leica gallery that can be found at Školská 28, 110 00, Prague 1. It is a small cafe that serves some good coffee, excellent nettle and elderflower drinks and the best Sahlep in Prague (ok, this might be exaggerated but it is worth it anyway)^_^.

Right now you can go there and see Tereza of Davle exposition called Grandhotel.
"In her latest author's project named the Grandhotel, she has unfolded a hotel theme in the intimate nude field. Do not let be perplexed yourselves by the primarily trivial sonority of this subject matter. The hotel is an embodiment of intimate atmosphere, symbol of a quiet haven, and a welcome lovers' hideaway. The hotel is both a woman's embrace and a lap. The hotel is an analogy to any adventure, eroticism, and alluring mystique."

The photos are taken with an analog camera in black and white and then enlarged.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Xbox -Dance Evolution Kinect

Last year Konami released a dance game called Dance Evolution. This game does not use a dance pad like Dance Dance Revolution though. This games uses Kinect system, thus you don't need to use a controller to play this game.

In DDR you had scrolling arrows on the screen and you had to step to a corresponding panel on the dance mat. In this game you see dancers dance a certain routine. Your task is to follow the routine. In DDR you have to step in time and you get a grade for it. Here you have to follow the movements (arrows show the movement), be in the correct pose at the right time or have your hands at the right place at the right time.

There are different styles of music and routines. You can choose from pop music, r&b or para para for example. The difficulty of the routines ranges from simple to complex dance routines. You can either follow the routines and try to learn them that way or you can just watch them and when feeling comfortable try them. There is a camera that scans you and you can see your picture on the screen dancing with the other dancers as well. The quality is poor but it is nice to see you there especially when you can really sync with them (I tripled Aed para para routines and it looked nice as far as I was able to see.)

There are several difficulty modes. Harder modes just grade more movements, otherwise you dance to the same routines. You can also play on stealth mode where it won't show you the moves, poses and places where it grades you. This is good if you know the routines and want to just enjoy looking at you and the dancers dancing.

It does screenshots of you, takes a video so you can get it and post it online if you wish.

The graphics is pretty good and the dancers' moves are well captured as well. It looks well good (if the last dance moves you saw were from other DDR games^_~)

The game will have downloadable content later so look forward for new routines.

Nice game overall but I can understand that if you don't like dance music and following dance routines is nothing you would like to do...then just don't play the game^^. Also for most people the music in the game might feel alien. There are j-pop tracks, konami originals and eurobeat songs, so you might check these out first to know if that's something you would like to listen to/dance to.

Personal Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Crane decks

Two days ago I was alone in our shop and I was wondering what to do. I always wanted to try some Crane decks so I started searching for Crane personalities as I new this would be quite a difficult task.

At first I wanted to create a deck that would run for honor victory. I decided to try artisan honor deck but it ended up having also duelists in it (hideo, hideo xp, yosuga, kado..uniques). I ran also Exotic Goods for some control and honor gain. In fate I tried running Favor of the Artisans among many other cards. All this was nice but I realized that the cards I have sometimes let me gain honor and sometimes let opponent lose honor. Also my artisan set up wasn't really meant for battles. Duelists and Discourses and bowing tech did not seem enough. The deck seemed to work well but as I run LSC with duelists I decided to try something else. The first deck was run from Embassy of the Crane and I used the dockside market/smuggler's port gold scheme and it seemed to work well.

My second attempt was more about courtiers. Bukita, Senta, Gisei are a nice squad. I wasn't really sure what the deck was about but it was both gaining a lot of honor and letting my opponent lose honor. I put there few magistrates as well but this did not really work well(not at all). I ran it also from Embassy of the Crane. After this I tried to think a bit about what I want to play and ended up with Dishonor that can get to the cards it needs. That's why I decided to forget about Embassy of the Crane and play Seven Fold Palace.

So Seven Fold Palace and personalities that rather DO something.
I might still work on this deck and see if I can get it to work and play it well.

Crane Dishonor?
Seven Fold Palace
1x border keep
1x bamboo harvesters

1x ignoble demise
1x doji's guidance

2x public records
1x traveling peddler
2x counting house
3x marketplace
2x corrupt governor
3x barley farm
2x deeds and words

1x doji ayano xp
1x yogo kazunori
3x doji senta
3x doji nenkai
3x doji shikishi
3x doji shikatsu
3x kakita idzuki
1x asahina ekei
1x asahina beniha xp
3x agasha kokiden
1x doji odaka
1x otome seimi

3x Taxing the scum
3x Words have strength
3x Veiled Menace
3x Pull the string
3x Shadow Court
3x Infamous Strike
3x Restoring Order
1x relentless conviction
3x arranged guilt
3x shameful and cowardly
3x writ of reprimand
3x distractions at court
1x scouting far afield (trying what it can do...I doubt that it would work..)
2x game of sincerity
3x deceit and subterfuge

cards that I'm not really fan of are infamous strike, scouting far afield, oppression. So I might be looking for something else.