Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 25: MTG in Japan and Card Selling

In this episode Lilly and Alex are joined by Reza, importer and seller of Japanese and Korean Magic: The Gathering cards. He’s here to share with us his experience of the MTG community in Japan as well as a bit about being a card seller.

Check out Reza’s store on Cardmarket: DragonReikaiGames

And follow on Instagram: @reikaidragon

You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

Review: Coffee Talk

Hey everyone! Yes you may be surprised It is me on the videogame crusade lately, but for once in a really long time I’ve had spare time to play on my PC or the Switch and try out a few games out there. So today I wanted to talk to you about Coffee Talk, a nice little independent game by Toge Productions. And just as a head up, depending how much of a purist of videogames you are, you may not consider this as much as a traditional videogame but more of a visual novel or interactive story. In any case, there is currently a free demo on the Switch, and the game only cost me like £8.00, and it is also available on Steam.

The premise is that you run a café that stays open until dark where people come and gather. You find out about their personal stories; you help them out with a hot drink of their choice (sometimes just whatever you want) and so the narrative develops. It’s all 2d animation, (pixel art) but the characters are very well distinguished, the colours are rather pleasant and it all conjures a sincere sense of familiarity and tranquillity – it also comes with a super smooth jazz playlist so, there is that! The game play is very basic. All the dialogue is straight forward, and you don’t have any choices to make in there (which is perhaps the one thing I wished was different about this game). You have some main ingredients which depending how you combine them you create this or that hot beverage based on coffee, tea, green tea, chocolate, or milk products. You don’t know more than a couple of basic recipes to begin with, and depending how you combine things along the way you learn more, which is handy because sometimes the main characters of this story will come and ask you for a drink by it’s specific name in the game and if you haven’t discover it yet, you gotta wing it. And why does this matter? Well, because if you get the drink wrong, it actually has an impact in the narrative!  The cool thing abut this is that you won’t actually know how it is impacting the game unless you start a new game again and try to avoid making the same mistakes, so here is some interesting replayability value if you are the completionist type and you want to know all possible permutations of these stories, I think it is a great idea. There is also a challenge mode, to try and get you to speed up with your drink orders, and an endless loop where you can discover new drinks without the pressure of the narrative – or if you are a clumsy person like me, you can practice your latte art, so that the characters in the game don’t criticise you for it (LOL).

But, without a doubt, as much as I love the chill concept of making coffee to help people with their struggles, the narrative is the best part. Every character has a specific viewpoint or relatable issue, and actually I must say now that the topics addressed by the game are actually quite hard hitting with current social issues. I have just forgotten to tell you that the setting or the game takes place in an imaginary alternative reality where Seatle in the current time, is a fantasy city with orcs, elves, vampires, etc, so this is a multicultural modern fantasy society. I really appreciated this not just for the freshness of the concept art, but also because it brings new light to the genre of fantasy, and it utilises this so effectively to approach current subjects which us humans should be better at handling. Just to give you a few examples, there are reflections and digs about racial profiling, xenophobia, interracial/cultural relationships, dating and dating apps, the videogame and pop culture industry itself, the lives of freelancers such as artists and writers, personal trauma, fighting ones own demons, class divide… and much more.

I was playing the demo, and just a few minutes into it, I was so taken by the characters and the stories that I bought the game, no regrets. If you are a Netflix nerd like me and like watching random things, this game has a similar feel to the Midnight Diner ( which if you haven’t watch and you have played Coffee Talk, I sincerely recommend, or if you like wholesome humane stories all the same, go watch it). It was a very welcome change of pace for a few hours, away from killing people, building empires or being an absolute hero, and catching them all Pokémon. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder of all the good we can do in the world by just being ourselves, and Coffee Talk definitely achieves that with a certain feel-good vibe about it.

Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 24: Gender and Geek Culture

Today Lilly and Alex are joined by new guest Jess, and returning guest from the horror episodes Michelle!

In this episode we talk about gender in geek culture, mostly focusing on the experience of women and girls in geek communities, as well as representation in different media.

You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansions – The ACTUAL Game

Ok so now that I have clocked several countless hours on my Switch playing Pokémon Shield, I will write about this which I have been meaning to do for a while. I am, like perhaps many of you, a gen 1 Pokefan. My favourite Pokémon is Psyduck (he is the best boy SHUT UP), I used to be able to sing the whole Pokémon rap in Spanish and English, I watched the series, I went to the movies to see the film with my mum and my aunty when it came out, i bought the trading card game, I have plushies…The Whole Deal. My first Pokémon game was Pokémon Yellow, although I had played Red before in a friends Gameboy Colour, but these things were super expensive by then and we didn’t have that kind of money so by the time I had behaved well enough my parents thought this was a reasonable expense, it was Yellow. I hate Pikachu following me around EVERYWHERE. I hated grinding in the bloody tunnels to level up and I hate that my stupid Nidorino was so strong it wouldn’t listen to me because I was like 10 and I didn’t fully understand how to play a game that was actually a lot more complex than it is these days. But the struggle made it worthwhile. That’s what made the task of catching all the Pokémon fun and interesting.

Like it or not, I have compared consecutive Pokémon games to the originals, and every single time it gets EASIER…to the point it stinks. I haven’t bought many of the latest ones – Lucky enough my sister has and I have borrowed and paid some attention to them – but when I bought the Switch right the Christmas before lockdown started, I have given a voucher from work I couldn’t spend anywhere else I could care about other than PC World, so I bought Zelda (OBVS!) and Pokémon – it was free money after all. I must say, I really like the aesthetic of the game, I love the customisation and the fact that the Pokémon are from different generations and what not. I also ADORE the fact that I can play with my pokefriends and make them curries (which I am awesome at btw, no bragging just a fact) and just have that different element to the game. What I don’t appreciate so much is the fact that I finished the game originally in a little less than a week…And then I find out there are supposed to be some expansions?! WTH? Surely the unfinished game business hasn’t caught up with Nintendo? I thought to myself.

Continue reading “Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansions – The ACTUAL Game”

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut – First Impressions

In case you missed it, we did a livestream of Disco Elysium! Watch the vod below!

Disco Elysium is an RPG unlike any other I’ve played. It would take a while to put into writing how good it is, so instead I decided to record a new playthrough of the Final Cut edition of the game, which updates the game with more content, and most importantly full voice acting!

This is also Lilly’s first time actually seeing the game herself after hearing me go on about it for over a year now. Join us on our first impressions as we play the start of the game!

Becoming God: An RPG noob now GM

If I was to recall one regret in life, one of them would be not getting involved in RPGs earlier. I’ve played RPG video games like Skyrim, and The Witcher, to name a couple, but the RPG style of pen and paper, or even with miniatures was an unexplored realm to me; even when I started playing tabletop wargaming, it was still something other people did – not me. I think I was worried, that would inevitably be playing with a group that always included “that guy” – the person who would literally believe they are a wizard and criticise me because I wasn’t embracing my character properly or because I was making an action that wasn’t optimal to the meta…or some shit. This was until a couple of years ago, when my best mate said that he, his partner and a couple of their friends had played a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and asked if I’d like to join too. I said yes, simply because I thought if my mate is enjoying it (who has never been much of a role-player himself), then, at the lest, I’ll have a laugh with him anyway. His partner has organised a house party, but which had turned into an evening long DnD session… and you know what – I love it! I was playing a socially awkward Dwarve with poor social etiquette (suited me perfectly), who happened to fart every time things got awkward or stressful. I was also a healer for the party. It was brilliant fun, very laid back, and far easier for me to imagine my Dwarve and engage with him as a character than I ever thought it would.

Skip ahead to now, and I have been involved in a nice little range of DnD games now; currently, I’m nearing the end of a The Lord of the Rings RPG campaign as a Rider of Rohan (mostly me riding around shouting DEATH!), will soon be starting a Warhammer 40,000 campaign as a Dark Angel (the best chapter), and the GM for a fortnightly session within the Witcher universe.

Continue reading “Becoming God: An RPG noob now GM”

Shadow War:Armageddon Campaign Report

So, I decided to treat myself to some new plastic crack only with the condition that I would paint it and play with it. And of course with the lockdowns, I thought, no way in hell I’m playing Warhammer 40000 properly any time soon. (Plus I don’t like the new rules, sorry). Then, my friend mentioned Kill Team and Shadow War, and it picked my interest. You see, when I started playing Warhammer nearly 20 years ago, the main difference between 40k and Fantasy was that 40k was more skirmishy like whilst Fantasy was more about big ass battles. And that’s what i liked about Shadow War: Armageddon, that is all about small missions. With just a few models (depending on the army of course) you can have a real fun game, and rather quick! (And without the fear of getting tabled on turn 2 – you 40k competitive players know what I am talking about, Damn meta!). And I must say this is being really fun. Don’t get me wrong, I am still deeply frustrated that, despite my tactic and strategic abilities the dice kill me time and time again, but hey, it’s a goood laugh and the character developments (or advances) from each model are super fun. Let me tell you how it’s going so far…

The Ork bois need name tags cause they are many and we forget who’s shooting. My fav is Shoot’ms.

It’s three of us playing: me with my sisters of battle, James who you’d know from our podcasts with his Space marines (allegedly Dark Angels although the book isn’t technically including them as a chapter but whatever), and Fergus with da Orks and I would love to say all da Dakka…but half his bois don’t even have guns (lol!) numbers are more important than boom booms and pew pew). You get to name your squad and all your characters, so let me introduce you to my list and my kick ass girls:

SISTERS OF ETERNAL FIRE

Continue reading “Shadow War:Armageddon Campaign Report”