Ban's Civ5

One night, while I was reading Robocraft's forum and Ban was playing Civilization 5 (with its expansions Gods & Kings and Brave New World), I heard this voice from his game saying, "Our treachery has grown."

Me: Our treachery has grown? That's 'interesting'. *imagining the backstabbing manoeuvre Ban was doing in his game*
Ban: Our treasury has grown lah.
Me: Ahhhh, that makes more sense.

Robocraft: selected screenshots

Dominant BA team

I think it was my 1m RR medic bot, Mercy, in this Battle Arena ("BA") game. Although I was at the bottom of my team, it's obvious that the team was dominant. Look at the number of kills by the top 3 scorers. Unbelievable! Anything about 20+ kills is amazing. The amount of damage done by them were astounding too

Also, look at the overclock of my team (the numbers besides the players' name at the top left). They are all more than double their counterparts in the opposing them. Game over in less than 14 mins. Normally it takes about 20 mins.

Top of team but thorough TDM loss

On the other hand, this was a dismal team performance in a Team Death Match ("TDM"). I'm 4th overall and 1st in my team but no amount of healing (I healed the most) could save the slaughter of my team. I can't remember which bot was this.

Best TDM for Doombringer

This is the best TDM performance by my 96k RR plasma bomber, Baby Forest. I was lucky that aside from one SMG tank, nobody on the opposing team was paying attention to me. Well, I did severely injure 2 of them before they could blink :) I guess it helped that I let my team's ground troops moved ahead first to draw the enemies' attention (something I learn from Lathland and Shomofo) before I sneaked in to flank them. Good team!

Lovebeam Mercy in action

My Lovebeam Mercy in action in a TDM :)

I think my team won this. It was much later I learned from Lathland that Grigerbest is a good megabot player.

I love this medic bot. I probably played with this bot more than others. Problem is that, its role is almost exclusively a support role, unlike my bomber who can solo if he wants too. Hence, it really depends on team mates, especially ground troops.

Duel of Champions: the end

It's been a long time since I blogged about this game. The last post was about my 17th Swiss win :)

Since then, I probably dueled fewer than 10 times. The community has weakened significantly due to the static nature of the game currently. There's no new content for a long time until recently. Top players have stopped playing. Streamers have left. No more 9-month long competition to keep players going.

I decided that I would actively play it again once they fix the "spectate" mode. I viewed that as a sign of commitment by the developer.

Unfortunately, more bad news came in the latest announcement "Draft Mode Deployment, and the Future".

Duel of Champions will not be receiving any additional updates after the Draft Mode. We know that this is not what many of you were hoping for. However, this does not represent the end of the game.

Oh no, you're wrong. It is definitely the beginning of the end of the game. If there's no new content, experienced players just go away. New players would eventually go away too. Lack of competition does not help either. All these in turn reduce player base and thus weaken the community. Fewer new deck ideas. Less help given.

I'm sad for the game. I love the game mechanics. Many experienced players who have played MTG and Hearthstone still say that DoC is still the best despite its shortcoming. But good game mechanics by itself cannot prop up the game for long.

Goodbye DoC. I will miss you and of course the many friendly players that I've met.

Extroverted Introvert?

Came across this recent: 6 Signs You’re An Extroverted Introvert

I was intrigued because I thought maybe I am one. However, looking at the list,

1. Likely not applicable.

2. Maybe but not for lack of time but because of laziness hahaha. I know that if I just get on with it, I will likely enjoy the outing, like many times in the past.

3. Not true because I don't think I make friends easily and also often I put much more effort in maintaining the friendship than the other party.

4. This is the one that resonates most with me, especially the word "empty". I dislike huge gathering of friends because I find that I simply do not have time to catch up properly with everyone and we're merely stucked at "how's the weather" kind of conversation. I almost always make it a point to organise a few small gatherings, rather than one huge one.

5. Hahaha nope, not at all :) However, if those people in the group are not already my friends or they converse about topics that I have no interest at all or speak in a language I do not know, then of course I just keep quiet and likely try to get out of the gathering as soon as possible.

6. No, not applicable.

So I guess I'm not one?

Yen and USD

Suddenly the plane plunged and there was nearly a disaster! The pilot somehow managed to pull up the plane in time to avoid crashing into buildings. Omg, I nearly had a heart attack!

Plane managed to arrive at an airport in Japan and (apparently) in transit to US. Since many people disembarked the plane, I followed suit to explore the airport. The first food shop I came across was McD @@ Lol, fancy that.

Well, I thought why not try Japan's McD. I know OZ's McD's burger tasted a little different to that in Malaysia and Singapore. However, there was a long queue and to my surprise, I didn't have any Yen and not even USD which would be needed at my final destination.

Then it occurred to me that this may not be real! I could be dreaming. I said this to a fellow passenger and (I think) she looked at me strangely. She did, however, urged me to try McD.

Out of the blue, a "friend" lent his phone to pay for it. Wow, McD in Japan's airport accept phone credit as payment? Incidentally, the phone didn't look "smart" at all. So strange.

Oh, I sheepishly told the "friend" that I couldn't remember who he was. He laughed, saying that he was Jerry, Alex's friend. Still didn't ring a bell but I didn't want to risk more embarrassment and so I just smiled and nodded my head hehehe.

Later, I discovered how strange the airplane's toilet was: it was large with a common urinal area plus a few cubicles @@

All this made so much sense later...when I woke up :)

Investment: short update Oct 2015

Share market has been going down for past few months. STI is down by about 10%. Some of my shares are down much more than that. The Great Singapore Share Sale is on! Lol.

Unfortunately, I run out of warchest. I took the opportunity to sell some SBS Transit shares (it was significantly in the black for some time). Its dividend yield has been below 5% for years already and that's more than enough time I've given them to turn around. Yes, I reinvested the proceed into some other shares.

Then came some bad news: my tenant, due to family health issue, has to move out (with my consent as otherwise he is bound by agreement to run the course of the lease). So now my agent is looking for a new tenant. He said that rental market is bad now. Some units took 6 months to rent out :( Hopefully I'll get a good tenant soon.

Wish me good luck!

Franco @The Curve

Spotted this restaurant after a dinner at Tappers. Ban agreed with my suggestion to dine here one day, which we did after gym on a Sunday.

Franco 1

Franco 2

I had their Lobster Basque Pasta. I wouldn't have ordered it if I had known it was tomato based. Oh well :) Luckily the sauce was mixed with cream as well and so it wasn't as "sour". In fact, it was quite delicious.

There was only one piece of tiger prawn (but it was good) and no other meat. Stingier than the normal stingy seafood meal, in my opinion. As expected, I got hungry sooner than usual.

I can't remember what Ban had but it tasted better than mine and even he liked him. However, the portion was a little small for him and he too got hungry soon.

Will we go there again? I'm willing to try a non-seafood there but it seems that Ban isn't that keen. Let's see whether I can persuade him to do so one a good day :)

Public phone charger

Saw this at lower ground floor of Tropicana City Mall. Interesting.

Public phone charging service

Flat fee of RM1.50 and so I guess it's best to charge an almost-drained battery unless time is an issue. I don't think "5 to 20 mins" duration can be called "Instant" :)

If you have tried it, please let me know how well it does.

Robocraft: Lovebeam Mercy

After honing my medic skill with Mercy for quite some time, I decided it was time to build a MK10 version of it. I had planned to follow someone's build but changed my mind because I believed my build might be better.

Here it is, at Robo Ranking 34m:

Lovebeam Mercy 1

Lovebeam Mercy 2

Lovebeam Mercy 3

Based on an earlier estimation, there was no way to simply upgrade Mercy (which now has an extra gun, at the expense of the 2 side small shields) with MK10 parts because of CPU limit. So at the outset, I decided to forgo 2 sets of MK10.7 shields on the sides. That gave me more than enough CPU space to upgrade the guns. To compensate, I made use of MK10.1 and MK10.2 shields to protect the sides as much as possible. I also used MK10.1 shields to protect the top and bottom guns, although it's arguable whether they're needed for the latter or not.

After I was done, I still had like 30+ spare CPU. I was surprised. Aside from the shields I forgo, the more compact size (a little puzzled how I did it hahaha) of the build probably contributed to excess CPU. So I tried to put a jammer but alas, there was simply no space for it. I guess you can't have it all. Also, since I'm following team mates by default and trying not to solo, radar and jammer are not as crucial as for, say, a plasma bomber.

I love this upgraded version. It's more compact and better at taking down towers. It is, however, best use to heal team mates. Below is a video (with notation) of a good match I was in. Both teams started with full team but later, we lost 1 member and I suspect the opposing team probably did too.

Crusader Kings 2: Ironman Francia

After the last glorious campaign, I started another campaign but this time on ironman mode! Yes, no save scumming. No take-back. Every decision is final.

Since this is my first foray into ironman mode, I decided to play an Irish count again as I'm most familiar with that setting.

Ok, results first:

Crusader Kings ironman 5

Crusader Kings ironman 6

Crusader Kings ironman 7

16 rulers in total, including 2 female rulers. A score of 83k, much lower than my previous 2 campaigns :( Still, I consider this to be a good achievement given that it was on ironman mode and the immense difficulty posed by the Wigeriche dynasty (elaborated below).

I started using Elective Monarchy as soon as I formed a duchy. Yes, that meant that at one point, there were only female family members available as successors and therefore they suffered negative opinion penalty with vassals.

It was in this game I realised one major disadvantage of Elective Monarchy: slow expansion. It was difficult to expand wildly via inheritance (a common strategy when using Primogeniture). I couldn't wage holy wars against the southern Muslim realms, for some reasons. It was painfully slow expanding via fabrication. Perhaps I should have tried to fabricate claims on more than 1 county and wage war to claim these at once (rather than waiting out the 10 year truce). Hmmm.

Crusader Kings ironman 1

Crusader Kings ironman 2

Crusader Kings ironman 3

Crusader Kings ironman 4

Francia was (once again) split into its 3-kingdom components: France, Brittany and Aquitane. HRE managed to get a slice of Aquitaine. At one point (and the only time it happened in this campaign), I was allied with HRE and so I seized the chance to press a kinsman claim to the Kingdom of France.

However, huge headache came after that triumph: there was -30 opinion penalty with the vassals of the new land due to 'foreign conqueror'. Gah. It took me ages, and gold, to convert them to Irish via assignment of their heirs to Irish guardians. Note that I did convert population of some French counties to Irish but certainly not as widely as the Germans (by HRE).

My plan was to slowly fabricate my way through Britanny and Aquitaine and thereby creating the Empire of Francia. The huge problem was HRE, specifically the Wigeriche dynasty.

As seen above, Wigeriche controlled HRE, Byzantine Empire, England and Andalusia. They totally surrounded me! Somehow an HRE emperor managed to marry the Byzantine's empress and thereby sealing their allied relationship forever. Fortunately, they didn't unite but still, the situation was sufficiently dangerous. Note that, as a first for me in CK 2, Byzantine was of Catholic faith!

To further compound the danger, HRE managed to press a claim to England, conquered it and destroyed the title! They also joined the crusade (they ignored the first few for Jerusalem though) for Andalusia but strangely, not only did HRE retain the kingdom title but it was awarded to a kinsman, thereby creating a powerful king as a vassal.

That turned out to be a mistake for HRE. Years later, there was a faction for independence. Around the same time, HRE attacked me to claim a county. Byzantine was my ally via marriage tie and shockingly they sided with me despite their dynastic connection with HRE. That was very fortunate indeed because they helped me turn around a -40+ war score to a victory.

It was during this war that I noticed the difference in quality of armies. Somehow, HRE's army beat mine even when mine was slightly larger and neither army was in defensive terrain. Gosh, I was shocked and disheartened.

Fortunately, Andalusia and a duchy in Italy managed to win the independence war but the Andalusian king was still of the same dynastic family as HRE and Byzantine. Later, the Muslim realm successfully conquered Andalusia via jihad. I stupidly joined the crusade in reclaiming it because it was returned to a Wigeriche. Arrggghhh!

Fortunately, HRE was almost always busy with something else and so that gave me opportunity to press a kinsman claim over the formerly-HRE duchy in Italy and to go forward my claim to take over Aquitaine. Unfortunately, HRE had similiar idea and it was a race to see who got the most of Aquitaine.

Due to judicious timing, I managed to create the Kingdom of Aquitaine. Yay! I needed one more county to create the Empire of Francia but only HRE-held counties were available. Gahhhhh! The chance came when there was a major revolt in HRE. I called up my allies and managed to wrest a county from HRE. It took a while and careful tactical moves to gain victory :)

Oh, before that, I helped to press a kinsman's claim to Kingdom of Leon (now Kingdom of Galicia) and helped propped up his rule since he didn't have any land in that kingdom @@. Also, a duke vassal managed to press and won some land in Russia. It was short of miracle that he managed to hold on to them until end of the game, given those were bordering the Mongol Empire.

Once I created Empire of Francia, all I hoped for was be left alone by HRE until end of game and that did happen. Phew!

Clear, the MVP dynasty was Wigeriche. Such a powerful family!