3D Printed Minis from LichForgedMythics

Today we bring you a review of some minis that we got from a new business on Etsy called LichForgedMythics, who are a 3dprinting company based in Lichfield (UK). You can find their shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LICHFORGEDMYTHICS.

LichForgedMythics print their miniatures from the Cast and Play range (https://www.castnplay.games/ ) and are selling different products on their Etsy. The key product are the mystery boxes, which is what we got. It is as simple and amazing as what it sounds: you order a box, it contains 4 random minis from the Cast and Play range, you open the box and BOOM, MINIS! They also offer some themed boxed and some big minis on their own like the werewolf that looks absolutely epic! In any case, you came here for a review, not to hear me rant about other stuff so, buckle up and pics will follow underneath.

First of all I must say that, from a delivery and service point of view, LichForgedMythics get a 12/10 best boys in the galaxy because the minis came in like a day, perfectly wrapped up, no post damage, all good. Here are some pics of them fresh out of the box.

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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.

Why is Valheim So Good?!

I planned to write up this review of Valheim a couple weeks earlier… but I was too busy playing valheim.

Valheim describes itself as “A brutal exploration and survival game”, and while this is true I feel like it might give you the wrong impression. Let me start with how I discovered the game. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Viking stuff, so whenever I see a game pop up on steam with a Viking theme that doesn’t fall into the usual tropes (hornet helmets etc.) I’ll wishlist it and give it a look when it releases. Most of these games don’t amount to much, and I didn’t really expect anything from Valheim either, until I checked it out on its Early Access release day and saw “overwhelmingly positive” reviews. 

So I bought the game and downloaded it, which wasn’t a big deal considering it was only £15 and a 1 GB install. I’m used to games these days costing upwards of £50 and hogging 40+ GB of my dwindling SSD space. 

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Jugando a Saqueadores del Mar Norte

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TOTAL WAR: 3 KINGDOMS

Hello peeps, it’s me again! This may come as a surprise but, I am here to talk again about videogames. And no, I haven’t swapsies with Alex! It just happens that earlier on this year, 2 big loves of mine had a love child and made me a very happy woman with the release of Total War: 3 Kingdoms. Those of you who follow us know that I am a big Wu Xia fan, and obviously the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms has a huge impact in the Wu Xia genre – that and I am a historian by trade and Chinese culture fascinates me…enough said! As it happens, the Total War series has been one of my all-time favourites, since I was introduced to it perhaps quite late in the game (7 years ago?). My first Total War was Medieval 2, which I loved and played through many times. I have particularly fond memories of my campaign as Scotland conquering the world and countless hours of hotseat campaigns with my uni friends at the games’ society. Then I went back to Rome: Total War – about the only thing my tiny laptop could run without crashing much back in the day, and a few others, up to the release of the two editions of the Warhammer games. However, and perhaps to the shock of many people, I did not enjoy the newer Total War games because of the way the diplomacy had been changed, and a few other dynamics.

You see, I loved sending my princesses and diplomats across the map and setting up merchant shenanigans and cardinals to spread religion and what not. It was an aspect of the game I did really enjoy. I also liked the dynastic element of it, which although not as in-depth as the likes of Crusader Kings, it still added to the equation. Granted, there is no point of comparison with the way the armies work, and the 2 editions of Warhammer really made me wow at how the minis I was used to see on the table top, suddenly came to life on the screen. But, in general, i didn’t enjoy much the actual run of these two games other than the military aspect, and to me that was a let-down. The Warhammer universe has so much lore and it feels by splitting it into 2 games – and the third one to come – I was cheated. So, I was a bit so-so about the new release of any Total War games. I wasn’t too keen on Rome 2 because of the diplomacy aspect either so, when I knew 3 kingdoms was coming out, I got concerned. Would they destroy something I loved so much?

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Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 7: RPGs

Another podcast coming at ya! This one is on our most beloved subject – RPGs!

Also our podcast is now on Apple HERE
This means you can easily listen in the Apple Podcasts app, or any other IOS and Android podcast tracker/app! just search ‘manaburnt’ and you’ll see us!

Alternatively, find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

Lilly and Alex are joined by Mike again in this episode. We go over some of our favourite RPGs and things we’ve played recently, before getting into some topics such as character death and combat realism. We all have a great love for RPGs, and different perspectives on many, listen and you’ll see!

There will surely be many more RPG discussions in the future. Maybe you’d like to join us? Get in touch!

A Sour Visit to Thirsty Meeples

A few weeks ago, Alex and I decided for once and for all to go to Oxford and visit Thirsty Meeples. We wanted to geek out, play some board games, and meet properly the place that seemingly set the standards of board game cafes in the UK. Well folks, the reason why it has taken me so long to write this up, is because the experience was not what I was wanting or expecting. I didn’t want to write a mean review all hot headed so, I decided to give it some time and reflect back. So, without more hesitation, here is the final report, I guess.

Just to set the scene, we went at the end of June on a Saturday at midday, and it was pretty hot and busy in Oxford itself. The total crew was us two and 2 of our friends, seasoned geeks with knowledge of board game cafes here and abroad. In fact, one of our friends has been working as a games master for different projects since 2017 so, we’d like to think we had some pretty decent background.

The first thing that struck me was how uninviting the space was, although that’s not completely their fault. I understand rent prices in the city centre are demanding and you do the best you can with what you get. However, I had this issue as well when I went to Snakes & Ladders (Bristol). The games for sale are right there as you come in, the space left between them and the first set of gaming tables is of one person, and this is the only way in and out. Needless to say it is tight. In Bristol this is even worse: the playing games are right in front of the bar which is at the entrance and gaming area at the back so, if there’s a queue you have to go through people. If it’s busy, you can’t afford to take your time to have a look in either of these locations, not without getting in the way of the staff and the other customers. I could have got past it in Thirsty Meeples, but then, you ha e the same problem with the actual playing board games. The shelves run along the walls, okay, cool, but then there are playing tables, big ones as well, right by them. And the section that is most heavily impacted by this is strategy games so, what, 70% of the playing collection? If I wanted to play something as simple and iconic as ticket to ride or catan, or even long game like scythe, I would have had to disturb a table of 6. Not great. Never mind though, because there’s no chance I’d have liked to play a long game there. Not only is the gaming space on the tables limited – an issue we had addressed for other places like draughts, though, mind you at least the have the trays under the tables which is useful – it’s so bloody noisy!! Continue reading “A Sour Visit to Thirsty Meeples”

Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail

Rockstar’s latest and greatest open world masterpiece came out just a few weeks ago, and like many people who picked it up straight away, I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. So seeing as I haven’t managed to play or do anything else lately, I guess it makes sense to write something about it!

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The game is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It’s a huge, yet deep open world that contains an excellent main plot, great characters, tons to do without being grindy, and it looks, feels and practically smells fantastic. There’s so much going on that I don’t think I’ll be able to properly review it, even the professional games media’s coverage of the game ended up being more rambling chats about various aspects rather than structured reviews. So instead for now I’m going to focus on my favourite thing about the game; its details. Continue reading “Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail”

My Thoughts on the Stand Alone Naomi Novik Novels – Uprooted & Spinning Silver

Alright people, I had been on holiday most of September, so apologies for the lack of posts from me since, but I am back. And whilst away I have been doing a lot of reading which is what I am sharing with you today. So, fantasy novels lovers, today is your day, because here I bring you my 2p on two novels from Naomi Novik: Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Most of you, I suspect, would know this author for the series Temeraire, so let me tell you this: my first experience of reading anything from Novik was Uprooted, therefore I didn’t come to it with any baggage or expectations. In fact, I had never heard of her series and work before. It was only that because of secret Santa at work, one of my colleagues gifted me the book and I decided to give it a shot. So if you are expecting me to do comparisons between the 9 volume series and these two…Well, not gonna happen. Sorry. In fact, I can tell you already, that, as much as I am a historian and a fantasy nerd, and by proxy Temeraire should totally be my thing; I am not interested. The Napoleonic Wars have never appealed all that much to me…and I am not sure if I am willing to invest into 9 books of this stuff to figure out what is going on. 

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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look

Recently the latest edition of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG was released, and with this being one of the two RPGs I’ve been looking forward to in recent years, I had to pick it up and have a look! I fully intend to play and perhaps run a game of this at some point in the future, but for now instead of a solid review I will share some of my initial thoughts and impressions.

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Now I’m not the most hardcore of Warhammer fans, I’ve never actually played Warhammer or any of the previous editions of the RPG, but since getting into a few of the videogames I’ve become more interested in the lore of Warhammer Fantasy. I say this because clearly this is an RPG based on previous versions. This 4th edition seems to have been based more heavily on the 1st and 2nd editions of the game, while clearly making many improvements. This is something of a revival for the system, as the 3rd edition made by Fantasy Flight Games was a complete departure from the mechanics of the previous two.

Having been published by Cubicle 7, a company I have grown very fond of, especially due to The One Ring RPG, I fully expected this book to have a great presentation and artwork. I wasn’t wrong, the layout is very clear, all the tables and little info boxes are easy to interpret. The book is crammed full of brilliant art, with something every few pages at least, but it doesn’t make things look messy or take over from the text too much. The art direction and some of the art is done by C7’s own Jon Hodgson whose style im very familiar with from the excellent art in The One Ring, and he does a similarly great job here even with such a different tone of fantasy aesthetic. In particular I love the character art done for each of the 64 careers you can choose from, all done in a suitably gritty and grimy style for Warhammer. I also like how the cover art for the book is clearly a callback to the cover of the first edition of the game from 1986. Overall the presentation really makes this a pleasure to read through. Continue reading “Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look”