Next Game – Mystic Vale [EN]

This is one of the first popular card crafting games. Similar to dice crafting games, where you change faces of your dice to make them better. First of all, i have only played a digital version of Mystic Vale on Yucata, but i feel that physical aspect of dealing with sleeves and sliding upgrades in (and out at the end of the game) would annoy me. So because of that i would rank it lower. But is it worth it dealing with sleeves. This game lacks excitement. Maybe new game with this mechanisms that AEG plans to make will have more things to do. In this one you essentially get mana, buy upgrades to get more mana, get more mana and buy more upgrades to get more mana. Some upgrades have points printed on them. There are also special symbols, which allow you to buy special cards, but in general they just give more points and i was able to do well not even paying attention to what special symbols i already have. So, it feels repetitive and a bit dull. Long build up only adds to that feeling. For a good chunk of a game you can’t do anything special. You get a few drops of mana and can only buy a regular or very cheap upgrade and this repeats on and on. After a while you accumulate a bit more mana and more interesting choices can be made. But it takes a while. There is an option to push your luck and try to get more mana on your turn risking to burn your turn. And it is not worth it. I tried this strategy a few times and it failed. There are just too many corruption icons on your cards in the beginning. So you are better to just slowly build up (it feels like the game could be better if you would get better cards with more mana in your starting hand). You can even burn automatically without pushing your luck! It is in the game mechanisms and it happened to me a few times. This is just dumb. All in all, there are some unique aspects to this game and in general it feels like deck building game and i like this genre. But the gameplay is dull, repetitive, with a too slow build up and random burning mechanism. Also physical aspect would drive me away. So, only 6/10.

WSUS – Windows 10 April 2018 Update [EN]

A while ago i have posted about how i plan to deal with big feature updates for Windows 10 via WSUS. Now the April 2018 Update (1803) is out. Nothing has changed about the issues with Cumulative Update after the upgrade. Windows 10 still can’t see the latest Cumulative Update on WSUS after the upgrade. I have searched on this topic and read at some site, that it was a known bug for 1607 version. I guess it will never be fixed..

Last time i have explained how i was going to work with feature updates for Windows 10 further, which would involve lots of manual checking and fixing. I was also hesitant to do scripting, as it was hard to make a good and error prone script. But i have finally decided to try it with scripting, because it would just be very time consuming to do the old way for hundreds of PCs twice a year. Read More

Next game – Zooloretto: The Dice Game [EN]

Another older game. I have only played the bigger game on my PC and it felt a bit too big and too long. The dice version seems as a perfect fit to me. And this is most probably the most played game for me (partly because of it being available on Yucata). It’s a dice game, so you can’t really have a long term strategy (well you can, kind of). So it is a highly tactical game. You have to constantly accommodate to dice rolls, your opponent moves. And that’s what attracts me in this game the most. It’s a fairly simple game. You take turns to roll two dice and then select where to put them. There are 3 trucks with 3 spots on each one. You can put all dice on one or split them. Then you opponents choose which truck to take and put selected dice into they area. You collect different species of animals and get points for that. You also try to be the first to get all animals of every specie to get bonus points. But if you already have one category filled, you get foul points for getting too many animals of that kind. So it’s a balance seeking game. Should you only take a few animals at once and try to always have all categories with empty spots to not get foul points (but on the other hand, not getting the bonuses)? Or should you at some point rush to complete categories to get those precious bonus points and force the game end (it ends when one player has only one kind of animals not filled). You can also force opponents to take too many animals by making one truck too tempting, so they would be afraid to leave it for you. And there are coins also to mitigate foul points and to give a bit of additional points. The game is very quick, yet it has a sweet spot on being quick and providing enough tactical choices (sometimes even brainburny). Of course, there is a bit of luck involved with dice rolling, but i don’t mind it in this game that much. This is also only a two players game for me (it can be played with 4), because with more players it gets too chaotic and tactical choices diminish quickly. So i will rate it a tad lower because of this limitation, but it is still a great game. 8/10

Windows 10 no status in WSUS after KB4056892 [EN]

Short post this time. After all the mess that happened after the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities disclosure and a frenzy of patching (i think Microsoft has released updates 5-6 times in January) a few machines in our network have stopped updating their status in WSUS. Although, they were still able to check for updates. It happened after a failed installation of KB4056892 update. Which then installed correctly, but since then no status updates were sent. The solution is as per usual: stop the Windows Update service, wipe C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder, start the service and run the check for updates.

Blog annual stats (v2017) [EN]

Same as last year putting here a bit of stats about my blog.

  • Posted 139 entries (+61 compared to last year):
    • Technology – 74 (+55, mainly because i started covering every Windows 10 Insider build and Office 365);
    • Board Games – 53 (+10, this combines both news and reviews and a few other posts);
    • Board Games News – 27;
    • Next Game – 16 (+2);
    • Movies – 8 (-4, i have slowed down on watching lots of movies during spring festival);
    • Top 10 – 4 (-6; ran out of ideas);
    • TV series – 2 (new category);
    • Books – 1 (-, i still read 3-4 books per year, but not always post about them 🙂 );
    • General – 1 (-2, i guess i’m getting more focused);
    • Artwork – 0 (-2, drawing less, posting them even less often);
    • Live Session – 0 (-2, having less big gaming events);
    • Yes-No – 0 (-5, ran out of ideas and interest to do such posts, for now).
  • Received 12 comments (not counting my replies this time 🙂 +10, mainly because someone mentioned one of my posts on some mailing list).

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Top 10 Best games (v2017) [EN]

As usual as the year comes to an end i present a renewed list of my all time favorite games. Though Top 10 hasn’t changed that much, but the list of played games grows every year. This time i gave a try to Pub Meeple’s board games rating system. Which shows you a few games from your list and you have to pick which of two is your favorite and it slowly builds your list this way. This year there was 91 game on the list. Maybe next year i will be able to do Top 100 🙂

10. Santiago de Cuba (new) – i’ve been playing this game for maybe 5 years, but only recently i started to appreciate it more, so it managed for the first time get to Top 10. Simple euro style game, in which you constantly have to decide whether to benefit you or harm your opponent 🙂

9. Cacao (+1) – last year it has dropped one step and now it is back to 9th place. Mostly because of new expansions that have appeared in Yucata. Which was a refreshing wind for this simple, but pleasant euro game.

8. Guildhall (new) – new game i have experienced this year and already managed to get its spot in Top 10. Unique and interesting card game with some interaction and often unexpected ending.

7. Carcassonne (-3) – an old classic on my list, dropped a bit as i haven’t played it that much this year. But i remember the last play of it, when i managed to steal a win with a huge farms score 🙂

6. Ticket to Ride (-) – the thing that it hasn’t changed it spot only shows that this game will always has a place in my collection and will be high on the list. One of the best “gateway” games to introduce new players to the hobby and lure them into modern board gaming world.

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Best new games (v2017) [EN]

I have changed the title as this year i wasn’t able to try out enough games. But i won’t change the picture because of that 🙂 Still, i have tried out 7 new games, which is still a lot for not a very active gamer. Again, this is just new to me games i have tried this year. Not necessary released during 2017, though there are 2 such games on the list. Here we go.

7. Imhotep – wanted to try this games since it was nominated for Spiel des Jahres awards. But it didn’t live up to my expectations. There is little room for strategy and planning ahead and too much depends on luck.

6. Cat Box – one of a few Kickstarters i have backed. Cute little game. A bit too simplistic, but beautiful art makes it popular among my female friends. This has become the most popular game lended from me 🙂

5. Legendary Inventors – haven’t tried it enough times to review it, but it is a pleasant resource allocation, engine building game. Although it is a very simple game, i would still remove one part from it (runs of numbers) to make it even more polished and streamlined.

4. Jump Drive – one of my most favorite games, Race for the Galaxy, is a bit overwhelming for new gamers with all the actions and various icons. Jump Drive is a simplified version of an older game, but also unique on its own. Quick, simple engine building game which also scratches itch to play its bigger brother.

3. Avenue – my first Roll and Write game (well, in this one cards replaced dice). I wanted something similar for family nights as it is very simple and reminds bingo games that are popular here. But this has more choices, which makes it actually a game. Very simple, but takes almost no space, very fast and has that pleasant tactile feeling of drawing paths on a paper. Also, clever scoring system.

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Dealing with Windows 10 feature updates via WSUS [EN]

Based on a few last updates in this post i had to adjust my Windows 10 management via WSUS. It will involve manual checking and fixing, so if one has thousands of clients – tough luck. It is possible to make a script to do everything. A complex, error prone and hard to test. I don’t want to end up with some PCs running with WU service disabled for a prolonged period of time. If someone can come up with a sophisticated script for this (possible to do everything on a single run during a startup, with pauses, etc.) feel free to share, though sometimes it just doesn’t allow to delete SoftwareDistribution folder after stopping WU service and you must to reboot the system or even disable WU and then reboot. What other options there are? SCCM uses the same method and i think i’ve read comments about people having similar problems. Not to mention it costs a lot. Intune won’t let you manage updates the way WSUS does. It is just a set of policies you apply to your PCs. Just like Windows Update for Business. You set how and what updates should it get and hope it is working. There is no GUI or a list of PCs to see if they are updating or not. In the world of WannaCry outbreaks it is crucial to have a tool to make sure your network is updated. WSUS is outdated and has its own flaws, but it was working fine until Windows 10 came. Microsoft needs to do something about it. Read More

Office 365 – The case of an incomplete chain [EN]

We have migrated to Office 365 and Exchange Online a while ago. It was working fine on our mobile phones (email, Skype for Business, etc.). But a few months ago we had to update SSL certificate on our website, which is the same domain name we use for our email. Its DNS also hosts a few Office 365 related records. And after updating certificate to a new one problems started appearing on mobile. Already setup clients were fine. But adding fresh Exchange account on a new phone resulted in weird SSL errors. Sometimes it somehow magically worked, but most of the time it was showing a warning for less than a second and then an error. That’s on Android. iOS simply showed an error that it can’t check the cert and that’s it. Skype for Business was also showing a warning, but at least there was a checkbox to accept it anyway. I was puzzled as website was working fine in browsers, no complains about it being not trusted. OWA and Outlook on PC also worked fine. This time we have purchased a wildcard certificate, so i thought maybe this is related. Lastly i had an idea, that maybe our certificate is new and phones don’t have some intermediate certificate to be able to check it. Although updating phones to latest updates didn’t help. I was going to file a support request with Microsoft. Until..

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