Indie Darlings: Renowned Explorers: International Society

Hey, people! I know that it’s been a while and I’ve been busy as of late, but I’m back with an Indie Darling! I present to you a fun little strategy game developed by Abbey Games that not only has a surprising level of depth but, a litany of interesting characters. All with their own unique skills and stats that are integral to exploring the world and becoming renowned explorers.


How do you measure the skill of an adventurer? Is it the physical strength that you can use to dominate your foes and take ancient treasures with force. Maybe you’d rather be devious, lying and stealing your way to greatness. Or perhaps, you’d rather make friends with everyone. Here you can do any or all of those options on your way to glory. In fact, I’d recommend a varied approach, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, let’s get into the adventurers that will form your intrepid band of adventurers.


The screen above is where the tactical depth of the game starts to take shape. Your perspective team members are broken down into four classes scientist, scout, fighter, and speakers. Up above, we have Dolores Garcia in the captain’s role. Here the team gets a bonus from her being a wrestling star. You will gain status tokens from the money tokens you make. So, in later parts of the game where you can increase the worth of certain tokens, or have to chose one over the other you can work towards a goal. Underneath the captain, there is room for two other members. Despite Dolores being a fighter, she also has a devious mindset. Not only do you need to pay attention to the various ways in which a character excels in, you also have to pay attention to their skills. Dolores is an athlete who already comes with a red skill and the quick thinker perk. She can handle physical challenges, but can she fix a steam engine in order to escape a collapsed cave? Not really. Maybe you might need a scientist to take care of that, or a speaker to make nice with those natives.  Once you think you have a good mix for a team, then you can head out into the world.


You’ll be spending quite a bit of time here on a screen that resembles a board game. Here you can see a number of tokens you have and the two precious resources you need to continue on adventuring. The exclamation is your resolve. You can use it to revive fallen comrades, but when it reaches zero, your team won’t die. They will just give up their adventure.  Across from that is your supplies icon. You really need to focus on this particular resource, due to the fact that for every space you move without food, you will take negative effects which will make it even harder to hold on to your resolve. The good thing is you can see where you need to go, the tokens you will get to moving to a space, and whether or not you’ll face a specific challenge. The bottom right has an encounter. But, there’s gold and campaign tokens. Doesn’t Dolores get a bonus? Off we go then.


This is where you’ll fight. The hexagonal based grid will have certain spaces that offer benefits, but that’s not the most important thing. You see the top red sign that reads “Hostile” that’s the mood. Our team has gone all out physically and now has a bonus to devious abilities. Each encounter will give you benefits based on what type of mood you’ve used. Here we get bonus campaign token for knocking the blocks off of these Scotsman.  Certain abilities can be used to change the moods of not only enemies but teammates. This can cause you enemies to be susceptible to the damage that your team excels in or, the damage that you currently have a buff too. This is probably the most distinct part of the game, calculating what you can do to change either your team or the opponents moods to best win the encounter.


That’s not all though. Before I talked about athleticism and the perks that you might want on your side. Well in order to gain certain rewards you will have to pass certain challenges. Above a Saxon, the druid has challenged us to pass a test. We have three options. Push the statue of Tyr. pass the trial in the monastery’s basement, or intimidate the man. Since Dolores has a red ability, she might just excel in the physical.


Wheel, wheel, wheel, turn turn turn please let Dolores not get burned.  With the trial passed, we receive the gift from the druid. Despite having an advantage in this challenge, there is still a chance of getting a skull and failing. This is what makes Renowned Explorers fun game. You could pass a challenge and gain the treasure you need to become the best or fail and need to pull yourself together and attempt to manage your resources adequately. Hopefully, you enjoyed this little spotlight on an indie darling. Renowned Explorers: International Society is available on Steam for twenty dollars.




Suicide Squad: Spoilers and Thoughts



Can’t believe I’m about to type this out. First and foremost, I liked this movie. You can check out my first thoughts recorded after seeing The Suicide Squad a few days ago.

Now that I’ve gotten this out of the way I’ll talk a bit about what I thought was great and what bothers me.


Something Different


I’ve read numerous reviews on sites like rotten tomatoes and listened to some online, where people were upset by the lack of Joker. See title of the movie. The joker does play a role. He doesn’t just show up for fifteen seconds and disappear. Was he the central villain? No, he wasn’t. That’s disappointing for a lot of people, but does it require him to be the big bad at the end of the proverbial dungeon to be a good movie? For a lot of people, that was a deal breaker. There is however, a consolation prize that I thought was enough to tide me over to the inevitable Batman vs Joker movie we will see. That was my favorite super villains actually like their comic book counterparts.


True To The Source Material


The Suicide Squad is a group of villains pulled together by Amanda Waller to run covert operations for the United States Government. Their assassins, thieves, and all around crazy people. So, why do I empathize with them so much? Because that’s what the Suicide Squad is about for me. The shift in perspective. Deadshot is an assassin who kills people. He’s a professional, a smart ass, and a devoted father. That’s a really interesting combination. It’s why I like the character. From the comics, through a few cartoons, and into this movie Deadshot is a character that at times you sympathize with. Captain Boomerang is the guy you love to hate. He tricks a guy into attempting to escape, he runs away at the slightest provocation, and is an overall jerk, but when he dashes out of that bar in the teambuilding scene, I couldn’t help but laugh. HarleyQuinn was also fantastic. The New York accent, that was so pronounced and fun in the animated series was there. Her humor and insane charm were also there. We saw how happy she was when she reunited with her “puddin” and how devastated she was when he was ripped away from her. The Suicide Squad comic book was fun for me because we see another side to horrible people.


Joker And Harley


Speaking of their relationship, I know some people aren’t happy with how their relationship was depicted. In the animated series as well as the comic books, the two have a rather abusive relationship. A one-sided abusive relationship. Harley loves Joker, she hangs onto him, clinging like a lost little puppy. Until he kicks it and tosses it outside. Is it slightly heretical to change this relationship? Yeah, but it’s kind of nice to see Harley Quinn actually get some reciprocation. This relationship had the two of them in a twisted love. We got scenes of the Joker meeting her, a scene before he tortured her, and multiple scenes of him caring about her. The scene at what I’m assuming at ace chemicals was a show of caring. The Joker asks Dr.Quinzel what she would do for him. She wound up in a vat of chemicals, that was most likely responsible for his own change. She sunk like a stone and he dove in to save her. Things weren’t all lovey dovey though. There was a scene with Commons character Monster T, where he complimented Joker on his choice in women. Harley comes over and begins playing with Monster. He declines her advances. “No disrespect” The joker gets in his face asking him what was wrong with her. Harley echoes the words. The monster eventually got shot, but the way that this scene played out has me asking a lot of questions about their relationship. (Is that like a thing that they do? Before they go back to their bed at home? Just get a dude to rub up on Harley, then merc him?)



screen shot 2015-02-17 at 3.27.39 pm

Yeah, go figure. There is less blood than Deadpool and the “Villains” aren’t killing everyone in sight. This is where I think the movie lost people. Does some of the lack of violence attribute itself to the rating? Probably. Should Katana have actually cut up a bunch of people? Yep. Would it have been nice to see actual blood? No doubt about it. But would it have made the plot better? Sadly, I don’t really think so.





The weakest part of the movie by far. Enchantress escapes and proceeds to release her brother. Then they team up to attack the world, and become gods again??? This is the issue. Amanda Waller caused her own issue. Enchantress was way too powerful and put together a plan that was kind of obvious. What’s the statue that’s identical to the one enchantress popped out of? “Nothing of course,” a government agent said as he filed it away. “Magic doesn’t exist!” Why couldn’t Incubus (enchantresses brother) have been released by accident and then tried to get his sister back? Squad needed her power, and eventually, Enchantress took over and bailed. Not sure why this is the direction the movie went. Maybe to make the threat seem bigger? Or they could have just made Incubus more powerful to offset Enchantress not being the main villain. Regardless that was the weakest point of the movie. That along with the lack of a lot of “villainy”, probably pushed most people away.


Lack Of Screen Time



No surprise to anyone, Will Smith got a lot of screen time! Will Smith as Deadshot was great, but I could have gone for some more Captain Boomerang shenanigans. Katana, having issues with El Diablo’s lack of effort, would have been nice. Perhaps Killer Croc showing his sensitive side? We didn’t get a lot of them. I hope another Suicide Squad does get another movie! Here’s why!


It made me Feel


I’m not a fan of the DC movie universe. I’m not. I hated Man of Steel! In all, it’s neck snapping glory! Ok, since you got him, why not give Lex an hour long tour of the bottom of the ocean?  No one would ever find him, except for Aquaman. He wouldn’t give a fuck! I never knew who El Diablo was before this movie, but I got the character and found myself liking him by the end of the film. I personally think Deadshot realized he wanted to die, so he ordered Flagg to let him do just that. Watching Harley loses the Joker was more devastating than I thought it would be. Most likely, because he doesn’t beat her like in the comics and animated series. It’s a mutual relationship, that you kinda grow to like. That’s why I liked this movie. The plot wasn’t great. Character interaction was excellent and it was an ode to the comic book characters. Did some people not want that? Yeah, they wanted the Joker as the big bad. They wanted more blood, more violence,  a tighter plot that wouldn’t have been stopped by encasing possible magic artifacts in an anti-magic room. But, seeing true incarnations of some DC characters I love making it onto the big screen and be themselves was worth my Imax ticket. Not to mention the soundtrack. Heathens and Sucker For Pain are the greatest tracks on it!