By The Numbers: Week 16, 2016


Another week down, another win in the books. I’m impressed by this Packers team, and their ability to just call it “we’re gonna run the table” and get out there to do so. I really thought they’d drop the game against Seattle and then they didn’t. I expected a win against the Bears, but not for it to be so close. I expected Ty Montgomery to have an impact after his switch to running back, but didn’t expect 150+ yards and 2 touchdowns. I expected the game to go to overtime, but a 60 yard pass from Rodgers to Nelson set up the game winning field goal. It was a wild ride, but here we are at 8-6, in the drivers seat to take the division crown back and head to the playoffs for the 8th year in a row. Good times. Beating the Vikings should be easier to do than it was the first time. I suspect they’ll put up a fight to play spoiler, just as the Bears did this past week, but I think the Packers are going to the playoffs by taking the division. That’s just my two cents. Here’s my picks for the week:

Giants 27, Eagles 21
Dolphins 23, Bills 20
Falcons 21, Panthers 14
Redskins 20, Bears 10
Chargers 27, Browns 3
Packers 30, Vikings 20
Titans 20, Jags 13
Patriots 28, Jets 14
Raiders 24, Colts 21
Rams 17, 49ers 13
Buccs 23, Saints 19
Seahawks 26, Cardinals 19
Bengals 20, Texans 10
Ravens 27, Steelers 24
Chiefs 31, Broncos 20
Cowboys 30, Lions 24

On The Home Front

It’s been a while since I did a real life check in, so I thought I’d get you all up to speed. The holidays are fast approaching, and with them we’ll see a new year, bringing with it the promise of a fresh start and good things to come. 2016 has gone down as one of the strangest years in recent memory, mainly because of the rash of deaths throughout the year. This isn’t something new, but our hyper connected world has made it front page news time and again. It was also the year this country voted in a complete tool of a president, so we’ll see if 2017 can remain on par with this year, though I suspect that things will be taking a downturn from here. But I digress. I’m not here to talk politics, I’m here to talk personal, meaningless bullshit. Let’s continue.

So the girlfriend I had for the past few months is no longer with me. I won’t go into particulars, but let’s just say that she ended things rather abruptly, and now I’m back on the market. I’m no worse for wear, though it’s upsetting to think about how I was single for 5 some odd years and now I’m back to that after a short reprieve. I do enjoy being single in that I don’t have anyone to answer to and can do whatever I please — the freedom is a luxury. However, the dating game these days is a pain in the ass. Fake people are everywhere, online dating is full of scams, and finding someone worth settling down with seems to be nigh impossible. But I will continue trudging on and improve my life in whatever way I can until Ms. Right comes along.

Speaking of life improvement, I’ve received a couple of raises this year, and come February of 2017 I’ll have been at my job for a year. With that annual review I’m supposed to be getting 2 weeks paid vacation, health benefits and other assorted benefits. I got the official title already, so next year I’ll get the benefits that go along with that. It’s been moving in the right direction since I started here, and it’s nice to finally have a job where I feel appreciated. It hadn’t really happened before.

I’ve also been spending time with some of my co-workers, expanding my social circle. As much as I loved having more of a presence online, via blogging, podcasting and other avenues, it doesn’t compare to a real life social sphere. I miss some of the Internet “stuff” I used to do but at the same time I have enjoyed being more unplugged, only playing video games for entertainment instead of for research, and going out a few times a week to do things that aren’t gaming related. Though some of it could still be considered gaming, the video part is definitely absent.

Playing Magic with my friend has been a blast, but I’m sort of at a point where I’m becoming frustrated. I built a couple of decks (some of which I’ve discussed here), but then I ended up making more and I don’t know if I just spread my power too thin, or if there’s something wrong with my fundamentals of deck building, but basically my friend has a deck that is nearly impossible to beat. It’s not that he’s cheating, it’s not a netdeck, but dammit it’s been rough testing my decks against his. I had a hot streak for a while, but as of late I haven’t taken a single game off of him and it’s been pissing me off. I don’t know if I should just go back to the drawing board, of if I just need to tweak the existing decks more. What I do know is that the new set, Aether Revolt comes out on the 20th of next month and I plan to buy a booster box. Perhaps something unstoppable will come out of that. Time will tell.

I’ve also played some Dominoes with some of the guys from work. It’s a game I used to play quite often about a decade ago, but hadn’t really touched any for at least 5 years. I still have the skill though, and managed to play several games that I won or was close to winning. It’s been a fun little distraction and something out of the ordinary.

On the video gaming front, it’s mostly been SMITE on my PS4. On PC, I’ve jumped around between a few titles, but I’m not making real progress anywhere. I’m not really buying anything either, though I might make a splash in the Steam Winter Sale if there’s something worth grabbing. I’m unsure at this point if there’s anything I even really want. On my phone, I’ve continued to play Clash Royale and Tiny Tower. My Tower is nearly 70 floors high now, and progress is starting to slow. I check on it a few times a day but it’s mostly just maintenance mode. Clash Royale is sort of more of the same, in that the timed chests mean waiting before playing again. I have managed to get my rating up to where I’m playing in the 2nd arena, and I have a decently leveled card collection considering the low amount of time put into the game.

Really, that’s all that’s been going on. I’ll be back again when I have something substantial to report. Until then, happy gaming, where ever you find yourself!

By The Numbers: Week 15, 2016


For once this season, the Packers had a game I didn’t think they were going to win, and ended up winning very convincingly. It’s like opposites day around here… usually I pick them to win what I would consider and easy victory, and then they lose by a point or a handful of them. Annoying as that can be, having little faith that the team would pull out a victory against the Seahawks and then seeing them trounce the opposition was a great boost of morale — for me, and I’m sure for the team.

This week it’s us against the ailing Bears. They’ve managed more wins than the Browns and 49ers this year, but they are still a lousy 3-10 squad. However, division games are always important, and we can’t afford to lose another game, period. The Bears have nothing to play for but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to play spoiler and keep the Packers out of the post season. In this case, I feel like Aaron’s “run the table” commentary a few weeks ago is coming true, and if everything aligns just right, we might be looking at our what, 9th season in the playoffs in a row? I think that’s right. Anyway, here’s my picks for the week:

Rams 27, Seahawks 13
Dolphins 24, Jets 14
Ravens 28, Eagles 21
Bills 30, Browns 7
Packers 26, Bears 10
Steelers 23, Bengals 21
Texans 20, Jags 10
Chiefs 21, Titans 13
Colts 27, Vikings 20
Giants 26, Lions 24
Saints 30, Cardinals 20
Falcons 35, 49ers 3
Patriots 27, Broncos 24
Raiders 24, Chargers 20
Cowboys 21, Buccs 20
Redskins 23, Panthers 16

Minion Masters vs. Clash Royale

This month’s Humble Monthly bundle was met with mixed results. Looking at the titles on offer, I already owned a copy of Dragon’s Dogma (for PS3, though this is a copy of the recent PC port) and Mordheim. The other indie games packaged in the bundle looked pretty lackluster as well, but one game stood out to be something I was potentially interested in.


The subtext should be a little clue, apparently this title comes from the makers of Forced, which was a quaint little action-RPG from a few years back. There was a sequel of sorts, and now Minion Masters, which is more of an arena duel, but there are layers of depth there — think easy to learn, hard to master. The game is currently in early access, and is likely going to be a free to play title. You can buy premium access now that provides some freebies and in-game currency. That was included in the Humble Monthly package, so I could start off the game with a little leg up, which is appreciated.


This is the playing field. Essentially you get a Master, a deck of cards that make up your minions, and can customize your side of the arena. I’m sure there will be other modes of customization or “fluff” to spend money on, but it seems that the cards are all available by winning games. You get currencies periodically, but it seems that the in-game currency is useable for most cards, whereas some of the other paid for currencies are used for the fluff. You can pay to speed up your deckbuilding, or you can just play the game — typical free to play model. Leveling up provides some of the basic minions, and also provides periodic power cells that you can open to spin for various boosts — be it monetary or cards.

20161204220506_1 20161204220438_1

The cash shop seems reasonably priced, but as of right now it doesn’t feel like there’s a need to pay for the currency. I’d rather just play the game to level up and earn more cards. There are single player trials that help you get a feel for the game, but really it’s just placing minions when you have the mana to place them, and picking a master who’s perks suit your playstyle. I spent most of my time playing with the archer fellow, who through xp gain (which is gained by controlling the bridges on the top/bottom of the arena) gains perks that allow him to shoot arrows all the way across the level. Each master has different pros and cons and different perks that can be pretty helpful. Cards come in a large variety of minion types and costs. It’s pretty fast paced and most rounds last 5 minutes or less.


Playing against players provides you a rank. Starting with wood, you’ll soon move up to the stone tier. That’s where I left off as I finished up my session, but I look forward to returning to the game as it develops! Somewhere along the line I read that someone compared this game to the mobile game Clash Royale, made by Supercell, the creators of Clash of Clans (I’m sure you’ve all heard of those games by now). Out of curiosity I thought I’d check out that mobile game to see how they compare.


It’s true, the two games are very similar. Clash is set up vertically rather than horizontally, and you don’t really get to pick a different master in this game. So the perks and abilities provided by a master don’t apply, though your king/castle level over time, gaining strength to defend themselves along with HP. Also, in Clash there are two towers that defend each bridge, along with your main castle, whereas in Minion Masters there are just the masters in their castle, though there are cards that are buildings and can be placed, so slight difference. Otherwise, the two games are basically the same, so having the option to play a game I rather enjoy while on the go is a nice bonus.

screenshot_2016-12-08-00-21-50 screenshot_2016-12-08-00-21-17

As you can see, the objective gameplay is still very much the same. Units change, but the goal is the same. One major difference is the fact that cards upgrade over time in Clash Royale. As you complete matches and get daily bonus chests, you’ll get copies of cards you already own. They start at level 1, and to advance levels you meld the cards together. So to gain level 2 with a card, you’ll need 3 total. For level 3, you’ll need 4 more, and so on.

screenshot_2016-12-08-00-24-05 screenshot_2016-12-08-00-27-00 screenshot_2016-12-08-00-27-08

Overall both games compare and contrast in different ways. I enjoy both of them and I would recommend you give the other a shot if you have played one, or just try out either. It’s a fun little real time strategy experience, with some deckbuilding on the side. Plus games don’t take long, so you won’t be out much time if you don’t enjoy it. Personally, I plan to put more time into both.

By The Numbers: Week 14, 2016


The Packers win streak continues, but a huge challenge lies ahead. The Seahawks are coming to town, and for the past few years they have been a thorn in the team’s side. Having a home game in December when it could potentially snow could be advantageous — it was against the Texans last week. But the Seahawks are a good team and I find it hard to pick my Packers against them. However, us winning out is still needed to win the division (and I think Detroit has to lose one other game besides the game against us near the end of the season) so this is still a must-win game. Dropping this game will mean needing help from other teams to either win the division or magically squeak in as a wild card. I don’t want to even think about that after so many years in a row heading to the playoffs. Here’s my picks for the week.

Raiders 27, Chiefs 24
Steelers 28, Bills 20
Chargers 24, Panthers 17
Bengals 21, Browns 7
Bears 24, Lions 20
Colts 30, Texans 20
Vikings 31, Jags 13
Cardinals 26, Dolphins 14
Redskins 23, Eagles 19
Broncos 28, Titans 16
Jets 17, 49ers 14
Packers 24, Seahawks 20
Falcons 23, Rams 17
Saints 21, Buccs 20
Cowboys 30, Giants 23
Ravens 27, Patriots 24