Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them: Theories & Speculations

I've watched this movie 3 times since its premiere on 16th November so here's some of my theories and speculations.

1) The real reason Newt came to New York is because Albus personally asked him to find Grindewald and maybe to study the Obscurus-linked incidents.
  • The Minister of Magic asked Newt if his reason coming to New York is really to get an Appaloosa Puffskein. Newt also told Jacob that the reason he came to America is to release Frank the Thunderbird in Arizona.



2) Albus gonna asked Newt to Obliviate him using Swooping Evil potion 
  • Obliviate seems to be the central theme of the movie and it even introduce Swooping Evil as the source for powerful Obliviate potion. I think Albus gonna asked Newt to Obliviate him using that potion so that he would forget the death of Ariana and the betrayal of Grindewald and that's also the reason why Albus always talked in riddles during HP period.



2) Newt is studying Obscurus because Albus asked him. Ariana is likely an Obscurus. Obscurus might also be the key to the origin of Voldemort and how he split his soul into 7 parts.
  • We didn't see what happen to Modesty or Chastity, Credence's foster siblings, either of them is likely to be the candidate to host the stolen Obscurus. Grindewald is hiding the Obscurus that Newt got from Sudan. Dunno if Credence really die in the end. Grindewald said "Will we die just a little?"



3) Queenie, a Legillimens is likely to be connected to Salazar Slytherin and Voldemort.
  • Or maybe Luna Lovegood because she acts like one.



5) The Niffler might be hiding important Horcrux candidate in his cute nest.
  • Because he's into shiny things!



6) Douglas the Demiguise might led us to the revelation of Invisibility Cloak.
  • According to the textbook, Demiguise pelts maybe spun to Invisibility Cloaks. Demiguise has invisibility and some sort of divination and probably gonna have some important roles in the next movie. 



7) Other observations:
  • The symbol that Grindewald gave to Credence is the symbol of the Deathly Hallows - Elder Wand, Sorcerer's Stone and Invisibility Cloak.


  • Some foreshadowing stuff that will puzzled the audience when they first watch the movie that only the screenplay writer know such as why would Newt asked Jacob and Queenie not to be predictable when trying to catch Douglas (because he can has some sort of prediction sighting), why Newt's wand permit application was not processed (because it turned into origami rat & fight with other origami rat), when Jacob opened Newt's suitcase the people on the street saw a hippopotamus (it's the Erumpent), why Newt asked Jacob to wear headgear and vest (Erumpent again), why Newt doesn't realized one of the Occamy missing (because one hatched during the bank scene). the Giggle Water was introduced in the opening scene after Grindewald attack.

  • We're gonna meet young Albus, Aberforth & Ariana in the next movie.

  • The sultry jazz song "Blind Pig" during the scene with Gnarlak is penned by JK Rowling herself. I love it!

Let's discuss!

Scythe 7th Solo Session Report

This is my 7th time playing solo variant of Scythe. I enjoy the solo variant more than I anticipated. The Automa cards randomize the AI actions thus more unpredictability which gives the solo variant an extra edge compares to other games. And it took less than an hour to finish a solo session.

Tonight I played as Engineering Rusviet. Rusviet because I lost terribly playing the faction before. Engineering is the random player mat I got, which gives more benefits in building structures. The Automa played as Polania. It was East against the West tonight.



I was lucky to get the secret objective that goes well with my faction ability, that is to have a Factory card and 0 upgrades (Technological Breakthrough). But first I need to build the mech that allows me to move between village that I controlled and the Factory (Township). My favourite first action is to produce, with a village and a mountain adjacent to my homebase, I got another worker and iron. Then I moved all workers to the mountain and my character, Olga to the village. Next production gave me 3 more irons to be used to deploy the mech on next turn.With the Township ability unlocked, I moved my character to the Factory and the mech brought all the workers to the desert nearby to drill some oil. 1 achievement star on board and another lucky strike at the Factory when I got the extra action to pay 2 different resources to either deploy a mech or build a structure. The next few turns were focusing on producing resources & moving around for the top-row actions while also doing upgrades, deploy some mechs & build structures. My next 3 stars came from those 3 actions: upgrades, mechs & structures. It was among the best engine I've ever built in the game.


My character was able to take 7 encounters while moving around the land! The 1st was to build my first structure on the desert in my peninsula, 2nd enlisting the recruit (the bear!) that give me power everytime I upgrade while also taking 2 combat cards as the 1-time bonus as the combat cards that I started with has low numbers, 3rd deploying another mech, 4th gaining 2 popularity because I already have al 4 mechs by the time my character took that encounter with the cow and mech, 5th enlisting my 2nd recruit and I increased my popularity with people of the land during the last 2 encounters. Only 2 encounters left by the end of the game, while the other 2 encounters were taken by the Automa.



However, the Automa's combat units were moving too close to my homebase in the middle of the game. In the only combat during the game, I used up all my power and my highest combat card (5) to protect the mountain with monument. Luckily the Automa only used 7 power and no combat card. I got my 5th star, tied with the Automa. Another lucky moment when I drew the Automa card and it didn't advance on that round, giving me an extra turn to put my final star on board! I usually ended the game by moving my mechs while dropping off the workers to spread all over the map and control more territories, but since I already did that before the last Automa's turn, I chose to produce the last worker from 1 of the village I controlled, which also cost me 1 power and 1 popularity. Thank God I already increased my popularity to the second tier before.



The game ends with me - 86 and the Automa - 77, thanks to the extra points from structure bonus. Here's some more pictures of the state of the board by the end of the game! It really was an awesome journey throughout the land, and looking back at the board after the game feels so amazing!

  
 


My Top 10 Steam Filler Games

Most of the Steam games that I downloaded and played are survival-type of games in different settings. I love unique games!

1. RIMWORLD


RimWorld, another game that reminds me of FTL: Faster Than Light, Stardew Valley and This War Of Mine that's gonna cost me my waking hours. Inspired by Dwarf Fortress, your colonists crashlanded on a planet full of threats and have to survive to escape the planet. One of my character died because of heart attack and another one died after being attacked by wild animal. There's a lot of trials and errors trying to learn how to do stuff in the game like building rooms, mining efficiently, zoning stockpile and agriculture area, getting electricity running, hunting animals, burying corpses, researching for advanced technologies. Be careful not to open a walled hidden room because it contains advanced enemies. It's a cool game and certainly has potential but the map feels too limited and tutorial are done badly. It certainly has that The Sims and Minecraft charm.
 
2.  STARDEW VALLEY



Stardew Valley is dangerously addictive! I've been playing it for several days and only seen a very tiny little bit of the game. The best amalgamation of Harvest Moon + Animal Crossing + Terraria + Minecraft!

3. FTL: FASTER THAN LIGHT


Played this casually few times before, now playing it more seriously and got to unlock the Torus, an Engi spaceship after jumping to the fifth sector yeay! It has drones system installed. The human's Kestrel is too big and the systems are far apart from each other.

4. THIS WAR OF MINE



Feels like The Sims in post-war setting. Need to feed them, put them to sleep, build beds and stove and workshop for them, repair their house, clean up their house, help them scavenging, trade with others. Each character have special ability, the 3 characters I got are good cook, skilled scavenger (extra bag slots) and fast runner.

5. PAPER, PLEASE


You're an immigration officer trying to survive by working as fast as you can, checking people's passports. Never knew checking passport is so fun!

6. GONE HOME



Done playing Gone Home, one of the best game of 2013. The note told me not to switch on all the lights but i did, was so scared if suddenly something appeared from the front/back but nothing as such. This game is like a playable movie. A story about the player named Katie, upon arriving home from travelling all over Europe (scattering postcards) in the middle of a raging storm (some sort of horror setting), found the house is empty. And after exploring the house, found out that her parents went to couple counselling (her father's book flopped while her mother got promotion) and her sister Sam in love with another girl Lonnie. From basement to secret rooms and finally, to the attic. Love the many cassettes laying around waiting to be played - alternative songs. 5 out of 5! 

7. REDSHIRT


Third's time the charm! Finally nailed Redshirt Game. First game was a mess and I died in the second game during an away mission. Fulfilling career requirements to get job promotions to Rank 6and  mastering them were exhausting but very worthy indeed. Balancing the need for happiness and health, while socializing with Spacebook friends and gaining the compulsory 30000 karmacreds to buy the shuttle ticket. Invite only the yellow-colored invitees for an event. Never invite the same invitee more than once for the same event in a day. Never accept a relationship request because maintaining a relationship proved to be very difficult. The limited actions together with the mandatory sleep doesn't make it any easier. So is the aftermath after an away mission that will always resulted with the death of fellow colleagues. Make sure to set holodoctor and away mission on low frequency before starting the game. Basically The Sims in space. A game to remember... 

8. SHOVEL KNIGHT




Playing Shovel Knight, the latest and hottest game in town! Yeay, successfully defeated the first boss, Black Knight by using jumping attack. Jumping between trenches is a bit tricky though. 

9. RYMDKAPSEL



Rymdkapsel - my new addiction! Darwinia + Tetris! My first attempt and I failed to build the last and very-needed extractor to pave the corridor to the final monolith! Balancing the ever-decreasing resources, prioritizing what to build, hiring more staff, segregating tasks between staff and enough weapons to defense yourself from rival. Perfect for a perfectionist like me! Simple, elegant and flavorful game design.

10. BRAID


I love the puzzles in Braid!


NEXT: Starbound, 60Seconds!, Youtuber's Life

Scythe the Boardgame Review

Scythe is the most anticipated game of the year 2016. Fun fact: scythe is used for both farming and war. Personally for me Scythe is an alternative to Terra Mystica, both are great games.

Mechanism and Heaviness:
It's basically an action-selection game with resource management and engine building. Solid mechanic. Multiple paths to victory. Very similar to The Gallerist, each turn you choose 1 out of 4 sections with 2 actions available. You can do the top-row action, or bottom-row action, or both (top-row first), or neither. In summary: move, produce, bolster power/ popularity, build structures, deploy mechs, upgrade and enlist recruits. There's no rounds or phases. It's medium heavy. It's thinky. If you like thinky Euro games like Terra Mystica, you'll like this game. Straightforward and intuitive gameplay. The depth of the game relies on the strategies players apply during the game. Almost no downtime, the turns can go very fast between players as resources are limited. Clear iconography. The actions you do are quite similar to the 4 main order tokens in Forbidden Stars/ Game of Thrones though GoT order tokens are more war-based (march, defend, support, raid, consolidate): Deploy (units and structures), Dominate (exploit for resources), Strategize (combat cards), Advance (move units). However, I like Scythe better because there's no destroyed units/ structures.

Theme
It's alternate-history Eastern Europa circa 1920s. Building your small empire on the map. The factions, the miniatures and encounter cards gives more thematic feeling. The encounters provide more options to get more resources, and if you spend more time to read the flavor text on the encounter cards, you get to immerse yourself into the worldbuilding, similar like Arkham Horror game. Can be retheme as Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings if you want.


Components and Setup
The components are superb and top notch, so many different shapes of tokens, different types of cards, the character and mech miniatures looks great on the board! The setup feels very much like Terra Mystica with starting resources (military, combat cards, objective cards, popularity, money) and units + buildings on personal player boards. Wooden token management on the mats like in Terra Mystica and Eclipse. There are several decks like combat, encounter, objective (just need to complete one per game) and factory cards (extra action space, gained when visited The Factory for the 1st time).

pictures courtesy of https://geekdad.com/2015/10/scythe/
pictures courtesy of https://geekdad.com/2015/10/scythe/

Factions and Replayability
Well-balanced asymmetry faction and mech abilities like in Terra Mystica. 3 out of 4 mech abilities are to improve mechs' and character's movement, while the other 1 is to improve combat. Variability created by random pairings of faction mat and player mat for each player. Terra Mystica base game has 14 different factions, with Fire and Ice expansion has another 6 factions (10 different coloured boards), Scythe base game has 5 faction boards and 5 player boards, with 25 different combinations. With the Invaders from Afar expansion, there's gonna be 49 combinations! The replayability is high. Different faction, different starting available terrains, different strategies. You've got to adapt to your surrounding.





Actions
TOP: move/ gain money (by moving, there can be combat/ encounter/ factory), bolster military power/ gain combat cards, trade resources/ gain popularity or produce on tiles (different tile different resource, resources stay on board with worker: wood, oil, metal, food or worker); BOTTOM (pay with resources): upgrade (move cube from top row to bottom row for discount), deploy mechs (special faction abilities), build structures (mine/ monument/ armory/ mill) or enlist recruits (1-time bonus and unlock action-reaction). Dual benefits of the upgrade system - increase top-row action benefit and decrease bottom-row action cost. Some small reminders: mechs share abilities with character, not workers, which include riverwalk; mech and workers can transport resources; mill is an extra territory for production; enlist ongoing bonus include activation from active player and immediate neighbours.

Combat
Threat of combat is constant, but not mandatory. Deterministic combat systemu sing power dial and combat cards like in Dune/ Rex (also Game of Thrones, Forbidden Stars, Cosmic Encounters). Add numbers on power dial (up to military power to spend) and numbers on combat cards (2 - 5, depend on number of units on tile except worker). The combat resolved fast, unlike those other games. Sometimes a game can be without combat. Each faction need only to win 2 combats to put 2 achievement stars on triumph track except the Saxony. Combat will lower attacker's popularity if there is any retreating workers from the opposition faction. There are no units/ structures destroyed, only retreating to home base.

Endgame
Endgame condition triggers when 1 player put 6 stars on the triumph track after fulfilling various requirements. The stars will come out very fast towards the end of the game. Unique endgame condition, very similar to console gaming with the achievement stars on triumph track. Most money win - popularity (love) reminiscent to Euphoria's morale track affect how much money collected for each stars, territories controlled (The Factory counts as 3 territories) and resources controlled. Plus random structure bonus scoring tile.


 
Solo Variant - Automa
There are 4 levels of difficulty, Autometta for easy, Automa for normal, Automaszyna for hard and Ultimaszyna for hardcore. The Automa cards make the solo variant plays very smoothly. Mostly the Automa units would aim to reach The Factory. The Automa actually use a different type of movement with "neighbourhood" concept in which the Automa's unit can teleport to adjacent hex of his other unit, it's a bit tricky to implement at first. The solo variant is as good as The Gallerist and Castles of Mad King Ludwig. A good challenging solo AI indeed and true to the spirit of the game, there's always a threat of war breaking out & I have to be in constant vigilance, prepping my power, mechs & combat cards.




Final Thoughts
Scythe is a keeper. Fans of optimization games like Terra Mystica, The Gallerist, Eclipse, Game of Thrones and Forbidden Stars will be at home with this game, with extra ability to play solo, more streamlined and smoother gamelay plus more backstory during gameplay which adds the thematic feels. Reputable designer of Viticulture and Euphoria fame. Watch Rodney's Watch It Played video before playing the game really helps you understand how the game flows.

picture courtesy of Boarders Tabletop Games Cafe

Expansion
The expansion with extra 2 factions is a must, the board just scream for epic 7-players game! With the base game, it's War of the Five Kings, with the expansion, it's gonna be Battle of the Seven Kingdoms! I think with few more plays, Scythe opening moves will be a bit repetitive, compares to Terra Mystica because the latter has round bonus tile that gives points for different stuff every round that players can aim for. Hope the Invader From Afar expansion has some modules like Tuscany for Viticulture that can be played with the base game. You can play it online at https://beta.tabletopia.com/playground/play/scythe/ though it's abit fiddly there.
 

What Other Reviewers Says So Far:

"The game reminds me of a less overwhelming Clash of Cultures, with thematic choices like Above and Below, with the resource management like an easier version of Eclipse." - ZombieDad2

"The stakes are raised immensely nearing the end. Once those stars start hitting the board they come fast and furious .. and before you know it the game is over!" - rorschach9

"Absolutely beautiful art. Great Production Value. HUGE amounts of variation make for lots of replayability. Simple gameplay with deep strategy. Quick turns with very little downtime. Well integrated theme. Great sense of development and building. It took economy and asymmetry from Terra Mystica, combat from Blood Rage, and "cool parts" from Viticulture." - mavericklancer

"A game with simple rules, but one that lets you use those rules in a diverse and interesting array of ways will stand head and shoulder above the rest." - IronSyndicate

"You're never punished for making "poor choices", only rewarded for making good ones. There's no mechanism that sets you back, no random penalties, and nothing to prevent you from doing whatever you want to do with your faction. You have complete freedom, limited only by the fact that somebody will eventually end the game" -  jayahre

"Recognize that this is a Euro game, much more than it is a war game. Battles are a key element of the game, but they're not the focus. To me it's a perfect blend of minis and meeples, but if you're a hardcore Euro fan who dislikes anything that's not a wooden cube, or conversely, a die-hard Ameri-gamer who wants to move armies of minis across the map and wipe out his enemies, know that Scythe is neither of those games." - powerhouse

"For us, this game is awesome - it allows us to try to build an engine, to produce and harvest resources, to do so under duress and threat of conquest, and it requires that we be aware of what each other player is doing - very aware - so that our own plans can adjust to compensate. Every decision has a tension to it that builds and grows throughout the game. You can develop a strategy, based on your Faction/starting location and your player mat that you can follow throughout the game, but you will have to use good tactical decision making if you want your engine to click into gear before someone triggers the end of the game." - clbroad

"The game is more about the threat of conflict rather than the actual act of exterminating everything that stands in your way." - hazelnutman

"So throughout Scythe, players will be using their action boards as efficiently as they can to send out workers to produce goods, they’ll be spending goods to do things like deploy mechs, build structures, and upgrade actions, they’ll be adventuring with characters to interact with the setting via encounters, and they’ll be occasionally skirmishing—or trying to look tough to keep anyone else from messing with them." - http://www.phdgames.com/scythe-farming-mechs-factory/

"Scythe is a hybrid that leans more toward the euro side, is more complex than Blood Rage, but more “fun” than Terra Mystica, with a decision space similar to games like Dominant Species, and has less combat than Kemet, but more of a buildup to combat similar to Cyclades. Scythe is a complex game, but it is not complicated. It is simple enough to learn and play, but playing well is an entirely different matter. It is certainly a medium to medium-heavy game, and has immense breadth of decision" - pacman88k

"Unsurprisingly, first-timers might find it mind-boggling and unfocused until they finally navigate a path to stomp forward. After that first time, however, Scythe is one of the most interesting games of the year. This is game design at its most rewarding, offering meaningful interaction on the map alongside the fiddle of fine-tuning your faction board, not to mention the balance of powerful mechs alongside alternate strategies for neutering their effectiveness, geography that both matters and can be circumvented, and an entire host of interesting decisions every step of the way." https://thurot.com/2016/07/26/scythe/

"Scythe is a game about efficiency, and your player board is essentially an efficiency puzzle with results that play out on the main board. There's something so satisfying about building your faction up from nothing and seeing your production chain turn into a well-oiled machine. When you're able to plan ahead to set up a string of perfect turns, you feel like an unstoppable genius." http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/07/scythe-the-most-hyped-board-game-of-2016-delivers/

"Scythe is a game of puzzles and efficiency with a strong spatial planning element and it is gorgeous! It makes me feel like an adventuring economist, planning to take over the world with my numbers and books and resources and clever planning. I love the multi-layered race and the puzzles generated by the variable action boards and player powers." - milenaguberinic

"Balance is a joy of Scythe. Scythe is a well-timed, evenly paced game that rewards thoughtful examination of the board state and consistently timely action selection. Timing is everything. Combat is incredibly rewarding, while not essential to the game. You cannot warmonger, but the advantage to spread out is too great to turtle. By end game, our small plots of land have filled with war, stolen resources, terrified civilians, and one player who managed to make himself seem less tyrannical than the rest of us. This once empty board is now full of the tales and the legends of how we shaped the history of our game. Action selection and engine building is very exciting and leaves players thinking about how they could have played differently to become more efficient" - http://www.geeksundergrace.com/gaming/tabletop/review-scythe/