So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.
Secondly I am a friend of David’s on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t best buds, we do interact with each other on occasion and I consider him a class person.
I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.
I am gonna get the big bit out the way first, if you listen to Edge of Empire, you will know I am not a big fan of David’s writing style. Frankly I find it difficult to process and it’s very short sentences which doesn’t give the best flow for me to read.
But he is good at weird stuff, which in Warhammer translates to stuff to do with the warp. I also think he is best when writing shorter works, such as novellas and short stories.
So let’s crack on with a review then!
What is Legend of the Five Rings
L5R as it’s often known is a fantasy setting for a series of card games and RPGs originally published by AEG, but now taken care of by Fantasy Flight.
It’s set in the empire of Rokugan which is heavily feudal Japan influenced, with a bit of other East Asian influences, like China and Korea thrown in as well.
It’s a fantasy setting with the usual fantasy trips of goblins and rat men, but also oni and kitsune too.
In the Empire there are several great clans, made up of various families, and in this novel we focus on the Crab Clan, who are considered the least cultured of all clans.
Their task in life is to guard the rest of the empire from the taint of the Shadowlands on the Carpenter Wall.
The story has two main protagonists, initially we have Haru, the heir to the castle of Striking Dawn, and frankly he is a bit of an incompetent warrior.
He discovers when leading a caravan to the castle, a hidden city outpost of the Shadowlands, and in a desperate attempt to prove himself a worthy heir, leads a disaster out expedition to purge the city.
Our second protagonist, Barako, the object of Harus desire, is a more level headed warrior, a woman who wishes only to serve the castle and protect the greater empire. She is a great character with a strong sense of duty, I really love that about her.
When Haru is returned to the castle, well then we get some bad things happening, which leads us into a horror whodunit, with a twist, which to be honest, I kinda saw a mile off.
The story has a heavy horror element, and this is something David is really good at, and yea the sentence shortness was a bit irritating, but I have to say, he is getting better as a writer, he really is.
Not that I could ever write of course, but unlike with some of his earlier work, I couldn’t put this down once I picked it up and read it over a couple of days.
The descriptions of the hidden city were really good and very much put you there in its weirdness and I got a real good feel for Striking Dawn.
He also had the characters kept very much on edge, with absolutely no time to rest, and I found myself feeling their grief, anger, despair, rage and exhaustion.
I won’t lie, I went in with low expectations, L5R was never really my bag, and as I said, David writing doesn’t usually click with me.
But I have to say, it’s an enjoyable read, very well written, very engaging and very well edited, with a nice flow to it.
I kinda want to know what happens next at Striking Dawn.
Solid 4 out of 5 stars.
The book is released on 6th October.
I will be reading The Death of Fallowhearth next by Robbie MacNivan, I had intended it to be The Head of Mimir, but that has expired in my NetGallery account.
The loss of Misty has hit me hard, she was such a big personality that our home feels, empty without her, which is unfair on Bonnie, Gandalf or Jenny, as they all have fairy big personalities themselves.
The house just feels less full, Megan was upset when she got back from her nanny’s as normal Misty would make a big fuss over her.
She was a real bright spark in our lives and we are going to be coming to terms with her loss for a while.
So the main thing I have done this week is plan my new PC! My current one cost a grand total of £150 about 4 years ago for a motherboard, processor, SSD, memory and case, with some parts scavenged from my previous PC
Those components were brand new, and so you will understand, they were massively underpowered, and now they are really struggling to do anything, and editing the podcast is getting more and more difficult with each show.
So it’s time to upgrade, but I am going to spend a bit of time and money to get one which will be capable of more and not spend my time with it getting very frustrated.
I want a PC that can handle audio editing I’m for podcasts, streaming, gaming with some video editing.
But I have to keep it affordable too, as my money situation is always precarious.
I am starting with a motherboard, I am absolutely going down the AMD Ryzen route, and if I were to buy a processor tomorrow, it would be a Ryzen 5 3400G. Simply because it means I can get it up and running quickly with graphics, and get a good graphics card later on.
So I need an AM4 board, and I want to be future proofed, so it’s gonna be an X570, so it can handle the next generation of Ryzen processors, offering me an upgrade path.
Both offer an M.2 WiFi socket, which leaves a PCIe slot free for a good soundcard, something all good podcasters need, and two M.2 slots for SSDs.
The Steel Legends is more attractive because it has better sound capabilities from the get go, allowing me to forgo a soundcard until a bit later on, plus it has some RGB components built in which is cool.
Either way, end of the month I am buying a motherboard, it will be one of these two.
So then it’s a case of getting memory, I am gonna be a child and get RGB memory, an M.2 SSD, power supply and a case. As well as some case fans, this new computer is gonna run hot, may as well make them RGB too
With the last two the plan is to make sure I am future proofed as much as possible, so the power supply will have to be planned to be good enough to handle a decent graphic card. The case needs to have two 5.25” drive bays to house my Blu-Ray Writer and a USB front plate, because you can never have enough USB sockets. And of course it needs a transparent panel to make sure I can see all those fancy RGB lights!
The general plan is to get the motherboard first at the end of this month as I said, then the power supply.
The very last component to purchase will be the processor, as a new generation of Ryzen processors will be coming out, so it may push down the price of the processor I want, or indeed offer better options in that generation.
Once it’s all done, hopefully it will make life a little bit easier when it comes to my PC.
What I Am Modelling
I finally got Ragnar Blackmane finished. I ended up having a long painting session until 2am on Monday and got him finished, and the base was completed the next morning.
I am not the biggest Ragnar fan in the fluff, but I have always loved his model, and my Wolves belong to his Great Company, because I loved his old model.
It may have been very dated and lacking in dynamism, but there was just something about it, probably because it was the first 40K model I was ever given as a wee 12 year old boy.
I never painted him back then as Fantasy was my game as a child, but this was the single model that was left when my parents moved house about 10 or so years ago (maybe more) and thus was the only thing I had left from my boyhood collection.
I painted that model up a few years ago, and as soon as I saw the release of a new Ragnar model, I had to have it, he is so bloody awesome.
I have seen better painters than me do wonders with him, but I enjoyed painting him an awful lot, so much detail and at times I felt a little overwhelmed.
I still love the old model, and that will still be selected to play with now and then, but this one is really nice.
So anyway, that means all the SpaceWolves from Prophecy of the Wolf are now painted, not that there were many!
I then moved on to a squad of Death Korps of Krieg Infantry for Niki, and doing these I am thinking about how I am eventually going to do the ones I have sitting up stairs unbuilt.
I kinda fancy the same scheme, but I am not going to, so if I ever played Niki with mine I can distinguish whose are whose.
I have a scheme in mind, and am considering doing some test models soon.
Anyway Niki’s models got finished in Friday, I did actually do some of the painting on a Twitch stream which you can see here.
It’s difficult because I really don’t get in with David’s sentence structures, I find them too short, but so far the story is interesting.
What I Am Playing
I am pretty much all set for streaming now and plan to start doing it on a regular basis.
I did a number of test streams last week, not scheduled or anything, I just jumped on and did stuff.
The first of those was to test the HDMI Capture card, which I did by playing Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting very badly on the SNES Mini. You can watch my over view of the device and no an unboxing below.
My first stream went quite well, I played Super Mario Kart and it worked really quite well, now it’s just a case of refinement and figuring out what I am doing before putting in place a schedule.
The second stream was Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, which went very badly!
I then streamed a bit of painting to test that out, but more on that later, and I also streamed an attempt to play Super Mario World!
Sunday myself and Megan tested out the capture cards ability to do the Nintendo Switch, which it did amazingly well at, we just recorded that.
And on Monday I actually streamed from the Switch to Twitch, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the video for that will be on YouTube tomorrow.
What I Am Backing
Again nowt this week, money isn’t there and there isn’t a massive amount that is catching my eye right now, but there is one forthcoming project I can’t wait to share with you when it goes live!!!
In the meantime Calico which Lindsay backed has shipped and is due to be delivered on Tuesday from the EU distribution centre in Greece, it should be delivered tomorrow.
The thumb grips are needed because our bunny is a pain in the bum and if he ever gets near a controller, he nibbles the thumb pads, and he has now taken to eating, yes thats right, you heard me, eating thumb grips.
So I need to be more careful about where I leave the controllers.
My order from Battle Bunker arrived, Jus did me good and sorted me out with Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven for Warhammer Underworlds, a set of Escher Gang Tactics Card and Zone Mortalis Gang Tactics Cards and a pot of Leadbelcher (to get me over the free shipping limit).
We did spend a little money on the car, we got a Groupon to have the air conditioning recharged at ATS Euromaster for £38.99 rather than the £60 they normally charge.
Unfortunately during the work they found a leak in the system, so we got the money refunded, which is a shame, but looking at the options for repair, it might be uneconomical.
Didn’t actually buy this next item, but we got a new dining table from our friend Kris and Kim.
Our old one was a hand-me-down from several generations of Megan’s family, it’s really good, but annoyingly it’s very narrow. Which means most board games and miniatures games are not able to be played on it.
This is a really hard blog post to write, my beloved cat Misty has crossed the Rainbow Bridge after 17 wonderful years.
She has been with us since she was a kitten and her and I have always had a special bond, we always made time for each other and our cuddles were amazing.
She has always been a troublesome little minx, she got this reputation by being very bold about stealing food from you, especially Tuna.
When she was six months old she managed to steal my entire fish off my plate without me seeing her do it, and I couldn’t have a tuna Mayo sand which witch out sharing it with her. Megan had the joy of having Misty stick her paw in her mouth to take out chicken she had just put in there!
We all love her very deeply, she always was a sprightly active cat, to the point where when she was younger she would never keep weight on as she was far too active, meaning the vets were reluctant to spay her until she had her third litter due to her weight.
She was an awesome mother to her daughter Jenny, they often would curl up together in Lindsay’s bed, I am sure Jenny will be lost without her.
She used to love to jump on the table and interrupt our board games, and when we were in bed she would love to crawl under the covers with us to get hugs from both of us and purr her head off.
Sadly a few months ago, she developed an eye infection, we later discovered that this was because her immune system was fighting a cancerous growth under her tongue.
This made her drool a lot which was getting all matted up in her fur, so Megan and her mum made her some wonderful neckerchiefs of absorbent material for her.
She had made improvements when prescribed a painkiller and was eating properly again, although she could only manage pates.
The past couple of days she hasn’t been able to manage even that, we have fed her tuna mayo, which she struggled on to eat, but last night she couldn’t even manage that.
She wants to eat, she is hungry and wants to eat, but she was no longer capable of doing so.
My options were to feed her baby food. by syringe, which she hates, just keep trying to make her eat and she gradually starves to death, or put her to sleep.
I hate myself for having to make that decision, but it’s the right one for her, I don’t want to see her suffer to the point where she gives up.
So I called the PDSA as she is registered with them and we took her along. She had an appointment at 2:50 and they were very caring and wonderful with her.
They examined her and agreed that now was the right time, she was so wonderful and gentle with the vets, and they shed a little tear as well, it makes me realise all too well why suicide rates amongst vets are so high.
She went very peacefully being comforted by the nurse, I wasn’t allowed to be in the room with her, but I could see her through the window.
I hate myself for this, she still felt so alive, but I know if I had selfishly tried to keep her around it would have been awful for her.
The worst part of this, is that Megan, who utterly adores and loves Misty, is away so she doesn’t get to say goodbye, I know when we lost Sweep last year and I was away for the weekend, that Megan must really be hurting over this.
I am going to miss her cuddles, the sharing of tuna mayo stotties, her getting up to mischief.
She was always very special to us, and had dozens of songs sung about her antics by Lindsay and Megan.
I know we did the right thing, it hurts like crazy and I have a hole in my heart that will be impossible to fill.
Tonight I intend to eat Chinese omelette and ice cream, diabetes be damned, eat something nice for tea and watch Star Trek IV, because she always wanted to go time travelling.
I got a cheap £13.99 Video Capture with Loop from Amazon, it cost me £13.99, but will it work and is it any good??? I unboxing and give it a try playing Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES Mini. Available here from Amazon.
Weirdly I have been asked a few times, when I will be streaming some painting again, and I guess the answer is soon.
I have no idea why, but people seemed to like the 24 hour painting stream, so I am setting up to do a bit of streaming in a personal capacity.
Takes a little setting up, but I have Streamlabs OBS running about how I want it to, picked a theme and if it works I guess I will be getting a custom one made using Fiverr.
I am not aiming to be a full time professional to make money out of streaming, but it is nice to do it and I guess it will help motivate me.
And I suppose I will even stream games sometimes too!
So I spent a bit of time on Saturday sorting out the basics, set up the new webcam mount and got it more or less in the right position.
My PC seems capable of streaming painting which is good, I am only streaming in 720p at 30 fps as I don’t think it could do 1080p however.
The biggest thing I need to work out is a schedule, because there are things I do that happen on certain days, although not every week.
Currently, Tuesdays is Durham Raiders, Wednesday we have a mini quiz with Megan’s parents, Thursday is a reciting night for Edge or Empire and RPG night.
So this leaves, Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday. I had considered streaming for two hours on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays, but Megan is concerned that this leaves little time for me to spend with her and Lindsay in the evenings.
Although I would point out that not every one of those nights I will actually do the things set aside for.
So right now I am thinking Monday and Friday to start off with, and see how that works, probably from 8pm to 10pm.
I have decided that I am going to go in with the aim of eventually becoming a Twitch Affiliate, might as well aim high, so I am going to live stream only on Twitch and upload the videos to YouTube 24 hours later.
My PC long term is in need to an upgrade, when I bought it, I got the cheapest components possible and sadly it can barely run Football Manager, so if I want to stream PC game’s, that’s gonna need an upgrade.
But a new PC has been in the horizon for a while now and I think I am gonna start assembling the parts for that in the next few months.
I will have to do it on a budget, but I will be aiming to make it ok on a mid level budget. Get it up and running first before later adding better components.
In the meantime I think I will do some console streaming and I have purchased a cheap HDMI capture card to help with this.
As part of getting things set up I did some reorganisation in the office to match what the girls did whilst I was in London, they basically relocated the stuff on top of my unit to place Lindsay’s printer there.
So I moved the new office Echo next to there, simply because it’s a much more central location and it’s going to have a much better reach around the room.
I also installed the BT Premium Whole Home Disc as well, the plan is to get that fully set up in the next couple of days, but for now I have it installed and ready to be hooked up and set up.
We have had these discs quite a while now as I was testing some firmware updating ability for BT and how it worked with Sky Broadand.
The bloody bunny however decided to munch through the cable for the second disc, luckily I had a universal power adaptor sitting in my wires drawer (every man has one) and I was able to use this to power the second disc.
I was gonna wait until Monday to get it all set up, but in the end decided to just crack on, took a couple of hours but pretty much every device in the house is now online with it.
The exceptions being the Ring doorbell, the AppKettle and the Switch Lite, as none of these devices actually wanted to connect to the Whole Home system.
What I Am Modelling
I started the week by building my remaining Titans, two Warhounds, and got them fully magnetised.
I also built my UCM starter fleet, which was built as two Madrid’s, a New Cairo, two Toulon’s and two Taipei’s, plus I built the Saratoga, the six Santiago’s, and two Kiev’s.
Because I have been busy sorting out the office and tinkering round the house, I haven’t got much painted this week, but today I did manage to finish the Primaris Rune Priest I have for Kill Team.
Origianly when I was builfing the Fangs of Ulfrich as my main Kill Team, I decided I would keep them seperate from my full size 40k and base them differently, and this carried through to the Rune Priest that came in the Astartes Commander Pack.
I do kinda regret this now, because I have since started adding a few Primaris units to the Space Wolves.
I am going to focus and tomorrow I am going to put some real effort into painting Ragnar Blackmane and getting him finished.
So heading into next week what’s my painting queue look like?
Zone Mortalis Terrain
Death Korps of Krieg Infantry Squad x 10
Secret Heresy Project Unit
T’au Strike Team x 10, Cadre Fireblade & Devilfish
Mortarion x 2
Nighthaunt Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed, Spirit Torment, Guardian of Souls, & Lord Executioner
Adeptus Titanicus Titans (Warhounds x 2, Reavers x 2 & Nemesis Warbringer)
Myself, and the three Mills brothers played a session of Star Trek Adventures by Modipus over Roll20.
Because Megan’s signal was awful she wasn’t able to join us as planned, so I took on her role, and Lindsay sadly was not feeling up to joining us either.
Was a great session in which we took part in the last battle of the Dominion War, abs now we are on our way to assist a distant Cardassian colony which is being massacred by the Jen’Hadar.
I played the intro mission for Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus earlier in the week, but since then Lindsay has been monopolising the Switch Lite, and Megan is away down south with the full Switch, so I haven’t had a chance to pay any of it since.
As an aside, I have set changed my bullet points at the bottom of my articles, and now have split Last Game Played into Last Tabletop Game Played and Last Video Game Played, just because I am trying to play more video games and I think this will help motivate me.
What I Am Backing
Not backing anything at the moment, but my BackerKit for Car Wars Sixth Edition was completed and I ended up adding Miniatures Set 2 and 4 to compete the collection plus the wreaks.
I have serious thought to getting the 2nd neoprene mat, but I am already getting the 1st and 2nd mat in my pledge and those link together quite well already.
I did make some slow cooked beans on Thursday, they weren’t much, just a couple of tins of baked beans, some sliced mushrooms, smoked sausage, half an onion, a bit of pancetta and a splash of Kansas City BBQ sauce.
They were nice, and would have been great with toast, but my bread was mouldy 🙁
Didn’t get a photo as I was in a hurry to get to our game of Star Trek Adventures!
On Saturday I made some Indian Spiced Chicken Wings, served with pilau rice, naan bread, and garlic and salt purple sprouting broccoli and fine beans made by Lindsay.
These were really simple to make, they were just tossed in oil, then tossed in a spice mix and then baked in the oven for 40 minutes.
Utterly delicious and will be getting made again, but I may make a tamarind dipping sauce to go with them next time.
I ended up cooking again tonight, but that was less involved and was just some quarter-pounders from Sainburys baked in the oven, with some Emmental melted on top and a side of french fries made in the air firer.
I think I have operation of the air-firer down, and soon will start branching out beyond chips, I have a desire to make southern fried chicken in it!
I was so impressed with it, I ordered a second one with a slightly different QC 3.0 plug for my other bedside. This plug is white and has a PD port on it, its the same listing as the first one, just different configuration. So I got a USB-C to USB-C cable to power it from the PD port, and now I can use the other two QC 3.0 ports to charge my power bank, and my iPad Mini
The order I made with TT Combat last week arrived, so now I have some Command Cards for the Scourge fleet, a Saratoga Light Cruiser and a Pungari Thresher.
I won a £250 voucher for Canary Wharf earlier in the year and finally was able to use it, but calling up Canary Wharf and asking them to extend it, they suggested contacting Curry’s PC World to see if they would let me order over the phone.
And well they did, they swapped out the generic Canary Wharf voucher for a Curry’s PC World one, which allowed me to make a big purchase online.
I bought myself some Apple EarPods, some games for the Nintendo Switch, Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus, Borderlands Legendary Collection, The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening and Bioshock The Collection.
I also got a new Dolce Guato coffee maker for Lindsay and Professor Layton’s Mystery Journal on Switch for Megan.
I also got round to picking up my Snotling Dice from Battle Bunker, and ended up ordering a few more bits, specifically the Escher Gang Tactics Cards, Zone Mortalis Gang Tactics Cards, some Leadbelcher and Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven, so I expect I will get those next week at some point.
The 1st Gen Echo Dot in the office is kinda rubbish and listening to music and podcasts on it isn’t a fun experience as the speaker is so small and tinny. So we ordered an Echo speaker, seeing as it was on offer, and this arrived on Sunday and now lives next to Lindsay’s printer.
This 99p Echo Dot is going to go to Megan’s parents house, as Geoff really wants one, and will be joined by the 1st Gen Echo Dot which will be set up next to Geoff’s PC.
This way Jane can easily get in touch with Geoff and he has no longer got an excuse to say he didn’t hear her calling him down for tea!
And being a sucker for a bargain, I noticed that Half Moon Bay were offering a Warhammer Mystery Box with £50 worth of stuff for £25, plus I had a 20% off voucher and thus got it for £20.
In this I got a Space Wolves Tankard Mug, a glass tankard, a tin plate, a Stormcast Eternals fridge magnet bottle opener, a metallic bowl, a Stormcast Eternals coaster, and a Stormcast Eternals pin badge.
Value worked out to be roughly £65!
I also did an unboxing video for it, which you can see here below.
I have also purchased a super cheap HDMI video capture card, I went for the slight more expensive one that has a loop, this way I can hook up whatever console I am using and output it to a screen and thus avoid any latency issues.
I also figure if I try to go back to a three monitor setup on the desk I share with Megan, she may have serious objections, and so I have gone and bought a dirt cheap HDMI switch so I can hook up my monitor to console and still capture the footage without any latency.
I just hope my PC can support it all, otherwise I will have to borrow one of the girls laptops if I want to do that.