Pokemon Go: The Eevee brothers

Hi all,

Just a quick post from me today where I will take a look at Eevee and controlling its evolution. Jolteon, Vaporeon and Flareon all evolve from the same base Pokemon, Eevee, but what if you want a specific one of these three when you evolve Eevee? Fear not you don't have to leave it to chance!

Niantic have paid homage, once again, to the original pokemon series by harking back to The Battling Eevee brothers. For those of you unaware of who these are there were 4 brothers who specialised in training Eevees. 

Mikey, the youngest, had your base Eevee. But sorry Mikey you aren't involved in today's discussions. 

His three older brothers, Sparky, Rainer and Pyro, have the three evolutions of Eevee. This is important because if you want a particular evolution all you need to do is name your Eevee after the brother who used that particular evolution. 

Pyro will evolve into Flareon, rumoured to be the evolution with the strongest attack characteristics. 

Rainer will become Vaporeon, who appears to be the most popular evolution in my local area. 

And last, but not least, is Sparky who will evolve into a Jolteon. This is the evolution I chose for my first Eevee to counter all the water Pokemon in my area, and here's the proof that it works. 

Of course you don't just have to take my word for it. Check out Niantic at the San Diego Comic Con where they confirmed it themselves!

So there you have it, your desired Eeveelution is just waiting for you to put the right nickname into the game. Don't worry, you can always change back to that funny nickname after you have evolved your Pokemon.

All the best,


Season of War Battle Report: Death vs Order (Stormcast Eternals andDwarves)

Games Workshop have set up a global campaign! Again!! And if you cannot tell from my liberal use of exclamation marks I am just a bit excited. 

Over the next few weeks, Age Of Sigmar players will determine the fate of the Mortal Realm. Fighting is split into three arenas based on geographical location. As I am based in the UK I shall be fighting in the Greywater Fastness arena. 

Early indications are that the forces of Order are very popular and therefore they are likely to win it all at the end of the day. This is also reflected in my local area where the vast majority of players are using order armies, with a smaller number playing as Chaos. Finally you have muggins here as the sole representative for the forces of Death. 

The first battle scenario is a twist on the old battle lines scenario from Warhammer Fantasy Battles but with no points values (yet) victory conditions are slightly different. Quite simply, by the end of turn 5 the player with the most units/warscrolls in their opponents final quadrant (I will explain the quadrants in a moment) wins. In the event of a tie, the player who has killed more units in their opponents half of the board wins. 

To set up the board is split into 4 sections lengthways. Each player gets two quadrants on one side of the board, with a depth of 12" each and 24" total. Any unit of 10+ models must be set up in the 12" closest to the middle of the board, anything closer goes in the second quadrant closer to your own board edge. As a final twist, any unit of 10+ models that is wiped out can re-enter play in that players next hero phase from their own table edge. 

So with that all set out we can move on to the actual battle. I am representing Death, and Chris had his forces of Order. As there are no limitations currently in Age of Sigmar our battle ended up being quite one sided in my favour, but we will return for a second round with more balanced forces in future. 

To represent the uneven balance we went with a narrative of the Supreme Lord of Undeath Nagash launching a surprise attack on an unsuspecting column of Stormcast Eternals on their way to reinforce the mortal realm. 

Nagash, being the tactical genius that he is decided to hide behind the tower to avoid the dwarves with Grudgehammer Torpedoes who could really ruin his day. 

The liberators and skeletons started off in the centre, expecting a giant melee to ensue with a group of crypt ghouls on the flank. On the far flanks the prosecutors set up opposite the skeleton horse archers while the black knight bus and dire wolves set up unopposed on the left, with Terry the Terrorgheist for support. 

In the more reserved roles the torpedo dwarves seems up in the central forest hoping to pick off any monsters that came their way while there was a liberal sprinkling of vampires across the Death side of the board and Manny lording it over everyone in the centre. The Dracothian guard set up near their lords at the front of the back quadrant. Finally, 5 hexwraiths and 4 morghast set up to support the skeleton horse archers. 

Turn one, Order gets priority. 

A desperate all out assault is launched. The liberators charge the skeletons and ghouls in the centre while the Dracothian Guard charge a second group of skeletons in the pass. On the right flank a group of Paladins lightning strike in and charge the hexwraiths while the prosecutors jump forward and attack the skeleton horse archers before they can fire. 

With not a lot of shooting to do the dwarves blast away at some skeletons and the guard chuck their hammers at their opponents. 

Combat did not go too well for Sigmar's finest. The skeleton blocks managed to bog down the attacks from the liberators and on the flank the Paladins barely touched the hexwraiths. Unfortunately for the Paladins they were also too close to the morghast who were able to pile into combat and decimate them. 

In the skeleton horse archer/prosecutor battle the true MVPs were the skeletal steeds. It is nice to see that the classic WFB trope of horses being better at fighting than their riders still stands true in AoS. 

The counter punch from the forces of Death was brutal. The dire wolves and black knights charged forward to secure their area of the Order side of the board. In the centre Manny and Nagash decided to use magic to neuter the liberators stuck in combat and wipe the dwarves from the face of existence, although they would return in the next hero phase as per the scenario rules. 

With the Dracothian guard trying to use the pass to defend their flanks enough space was left behind for the vargheist to fly past and charge them in the rear. But just in case that was not enough Terry the Terrorgheist also jumped forward and proceeded to scream away their resolve, leaving behind little but quivering wrecks waiting to be picked off. 

The morghast attempted to charge the prosecutors but a double one said that it wasn't to be their day, not that it mattered with the super skeletal steeds giving them a good kicking all on their own. 

Turn two, Order gets priority. 

With the dead pile mounting Order made one last ditch attempt to break through the droves of dead marching their way. The liberators and dwarves re-entered play and attempted to punch through the dire wolves and black Knights, with the support of their Lord Celestant on a Dracoth, but Chris' dice abandoned him. A great vampiric charge tore through the Lord and Terry once again flew forwards to feast on his enemies. 

With all hope lost the Stormcast Eternals conceded defeat and fled from the battle. Their fallen comrades to be raised and initiated into the grand army of death. 

Post game analysis. 

I'm not really sure that there is too much to say about this one. The game was unbalanced to start, although both sides were happy to agree to this in terms of the narrative, but the forces of Order were willing to make a good go of it in the middle. 

The morghast and hexwraiths were particularly impressive and the skeletons made a good tarpon for the liberators and Dracothian Guard. I may well have to get some more morghast based on this performance, their movement and combat potential are deadly, and with enough wounds and saves to absorb some hefty damage they could really prove useful going forwards. 

But for all the strength of the true combat performers it was the skeletal steeds of the horse archers who have to take MVP. Completely unheralded coming into the game they kicked, quite literally, the butt off the prosecutors who came their way at the start. I get the feeling that they would have beaten anyone in this battle and are worthy award winners for the day. 

I hope you have enjoyed this short battle report today. Please leave a comment down below and let me know what you have thought of the Season of War campaign so far. 

All the best,


Star Wars Celebration Europe

A short time ago, in an exhibition centre not too far away Star Wars Celebration returned to Europe, and more specifically London. For those of you who are unaware of it, Star Wars Celebration is the Star Wars equivalent to Comicon but there is only one show a year!

As I am sure you can imagine the show was incredibly popular with queuing for entry and access to the panels starting before 4am on the first day of the show. Dani and I were joined by my sister and brother-in-law for the day but we decided to take it at a more leisurely pace. This did mean that we missed out on the panel wristbands but fortunately there were some large screens set up so that we could see what was going on. However, we did miss out on the Rogue One trailer so there is a small part of me that would have loved to have made it into that panel!

Having turned up a little later than expected we had hoped that the entry queues would have died down somewhat, but we were still stuck in line for about 30 to 40 minutes. This gave us the opportunity to chat with some of the cosplayers and grab some quick snaps with them. The amount of effort that these guys and girls go to has to be commended as they were some of the best costumes that I have seen at an event like this. Almost every stormtrooper had a 501st Garrison quality set of armour, starting at around £2000, with a voice changer built into the helmet and there was at least one Chewbacca with an animatronic face and full sound effects. These guys inspire me to take it to the full if I ever go to a convention in costume as the effect that they have is second to none.

A quick note of interest is just how popular Rey has become as a character over such a short amount of time. While there were a few Leias and Padmes at the convention it was pretty clear from start to finish that Rey was the most popular female character now in the Star Wars universe. I think a lot of credit must go to JJ Abrams and Daisy Ridley for this as it was their hard work that has made Rey such a strong female lead in what has previously been a male dominated series. I will be interested to see if Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso develops such a strong following after Rogue One debuts in December.

 Considering the size of the Excel centre the convention took up large areas of both the North and South halls, while also having the main stage set up on the ground floor below the main convention. Taking up most of the room were exhibitors selling their wares, ranging from toys and books to artists and tattoo artists (all officially licensed by LucasArts). A particular draw for me was the work of one of the artists who had traveled over from the states. Jerry Vanderstelt had one picture that I was desperate to take home with me on the day but unfortunately I just did not have the money to buy it. You can see it below (BB-8) and what impressed me most about it was the light effect that Mr Vanderstelt had managed to generate. When I first saw the painting I was convinced that it must have LED lighting built into the picture, but it is just natural talent for painting.

  Another key component of the convention experience is meeting the actors and actresses from the films that you love. Of course you do have to pay quite a bit for the privilege of meeting them (£140+ for Mark Hamill for example) but it is a memory that you get to keep for a lifetime. I was lucky enough to meet Carrie (and Gary) Fisher on the day, although the queuing system to get to the photo opportunity left something to be desired. I must commend the staff who were working on the photo sessions for their hard work and dedication, making sure that everyone managed to get in and see Carrie, but they were really not helped by the lack of queues set up by the venue.

It was great to meet Carrie who was as lovely and charming in person as she is on TV, and Gary is thoroughly adorable and appreciative of the extra attention he received.

Lastly, it was great to see Fantasy Flight Games at the convention demonstrating all of their gaming systems, although it was Armada and X-Wing that drew most of my attention.

There was also a UK tournament final taking place on the day for all of the winners of the regional finals, but as I was the only person really interested in the games we gave these a miss. I certainly hope that I will be able to break out my miniatures again soon as seeing the games played at a big event has definitely whet my appetite to get back into gaming.

I just hope that I can make it to Star Wars Celebration 2017 over in Orlando in April!

Thanks for reading,


Pokemon Go! Back in business

So it seems that Pokemon are back in fashion and taking the world by storm. I can still remember the first time that I received a Pokemon game, and Gameboy, many years ago and there is a sense of nostalgia to seeing the little monsters back on a handheld screen. 

I must admit that my interest in Pokemon did wane a bit over my later school years, showing my age a bit here, and a number of people have raised the question of whether or not this will just prove to be another fad. On the face of it Pokemon Go is just another mobile app with micro transactions to line the pockets of the game's creators. However, where I can see it differentiating itself from the crowd is the loyal following that the world of Pokemon has built up over the years. This isn't another Candy Crush or Clash of Clans where the developers have taken a big leap into the great unknown, instead this would appear to be an evolution of a previously successful model being made available to a new generation. 

And with a number of updates and add-ons set to follow this could be only the beginning. 

So talking of beginnings let's take a look at my first steps into the world of this "new" global craze. 

When you first start out you are given the option of 3 starting Pokemon as per the classic Red and Blue games that I originally started out on... But should that really be four? Possibly the worst kept secret in Pokemon Go is that if you walk away from the starting Pokemon a number of times, I have heard this vary from as little as 3 to as many as 6 times, you can pick up a different Pokemon as your starter. 

The star of the TV series and Pokemon Yellow, Pikachu, can be yours by taking advantage of this quick trick and who doesn't want the loveable yellow, electric mouse as their starting Pokemon? This is where the first differences start to appear from the other Pokemon games. 

Levelling up. 

In previous incarnations of Pokemon you would take your starting Pokemon out and battle away against other Pokemon to boost the level of your starting Pokemon, but this is no longer the case. Now the only way to level up your Pokemon is by collecting stardust and specific Pokemon candy, Pikachu and his evolved form Raichu can only eat Pikachu candy for example. And getting that candy is difficult, especially for starting Pokemon who only have limited spawning locations. For each Pokemon you catch you gain 3 candy specific to that Pokemon evolution chain, additionally you can gain one extra candy by trading in a Pokemon to Professor Willow. 

Stardust is easier to collect and is not Pokemon specific. The easiest way to collect stardust is to go out and catch as many Pokemon as humanly possible. For each Pokemon you catch you will receive 100 stardust. Additionally you can hatch eggs which will provide you with another Pokemon and an arbitrary amount of stardust and candy. 

Quickly going back to catching Pokemon, the mechanism for this has been vastly simplified and now only requires you to throw Pokéballs at the Pokemon until they finally relent and stay in the ball. No more battles, just a simple flick of your finger and the Pokemon is caught. I must admit that I miss the old battle mechanic for levelling up and catching new Pokemon as this was a key part of the game. I can only imagine limited resources held this back as there are no micro transactions available to boost it. 

In addition to levelling up your Pokemon you also have to level yourself up via XP. This is generated by catching Pokemon, hatching eggs and adding new Pokemon to your Pokedex. It is also possible to pick up XP from visiting pokestops and gyms but this appears to be somewhat limited in effectiveness. 

Once you hit level 5 you can pick one of three teams. Red, blue and yellow/Valour, Mystic and Instinct. It is nice to see this small homage paid to the original games with the choice of colour but apart from gym battles it has negligible impact on your gaming experience. As a side note, there has been talk about the teams causing divisions and arguments as friends pick different teams but I am yet to experience this. 

Gym battles. 

Gyms are currently the only place where you can do battle with your Pokemon. There are rumours that we will see some more player interaction in future updates, including trading and battling on an individual basis, but as far as I am aware these are currently unconfirmed. It would be a nice addition as playing against friends and family would increase the longevity of the game, and gym battles are somewhat limited as you cannot play as the defender. 

So far I am yet to really figure out a strategy for winning gym battles and generally resort to tapping away at my screen like a woodpecker until I have built up enough charge for my special attack. 

If you take a look at Kingler you can see that he has two attacks, Mud Shot and X-Scissor. Mud shot is the basic attack which can be done repeatedly and without charging up. If you take a look at X-scissor you will see that there are 3 blue bars next to it. In a battle you have to charge up these bars by making normal attacks, and usually they are worth it as the special attacks deal more damage, especially if they are of a type that has bonuses against the Pokemon you are fighting. Once the bars are charged you can initiate a special attack by pressing, and holding, your finger on your Pokemon rather than tapping.


These will prove to be some of the most popular hangouts in the game. Not only can you collect additional items here, such as more Pokéballs and believe me you'll want more Pokéballs, but you can also attach a lure to pokestops to draw in more Pokemon to catch. 

Those little blue cubes are the pokestops, once you get close enough you can click on them and spin the coin in the centre of your screen to collect your items. To know if you're close enough keep an eye on the expanding purple circle around your avatar as you walk about on screen. If the pokestop is within the range of this circle then you can access it. 

And there you have it really, the basics of Pokemon Go. I think I will keep an eye on this for a while just to see if they add in some of the rumoured features which I feel would really add to the game. Oh, and I will keep playing it, making those long commutes a little more interesting is something anyone who has to travel into work will appreciate. 

Before I go here are a few of the Pokemon I have caught so far:

And what even is this?

Why not share your exploits and favourite Pokemon in the comments below? Or leave any questions and I will be happy to help. 

All the best,


It's been a while... The second attempt

Back in February I said that I planned to write more articles on here, then real life became difficult and I started to make excuses and before I knew it months had passed and I had made no meaningful contribution to the site.

I've decided to turn this around.

I enjoy writing, it is somewhat cathartic and helps me to put myself out there when I could otherwise retreat more deeply inside of myself. There has always been that nagging thought at the back of my mind that needs affirmation. I need to be good enough, I need to know I am good enough before I make the jump. Although I enjoy writing, I have always worried about sharing it just in case someone else thinks that it is awful, so I would keep it to myself. Better safe than sorry, but looking back that has only held me back, and let's face it there will always be someone who criticises your work regardless of its quality.

I have spent a good many years being cautious when really to live is to take risks, not crazy risks but calculated, the sort that help you grow. I sat down with someone, many people, who have told me this and I think it is time to start believing them!

I will get out and write more, I will share it more often, I pledge it to myself more than anyone else as ultimately I am the person who will hold me most accountable.

I guess that this doesn't really fit in with anything else on this website, a rambling stream of consciousness unrelated to games or events. But I needed to put something in writing, so that I don't just push it aside when it comes down to actually writing. No more excuses.