Top 3 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. Astrobase Command by Jellyfish Games

As the invisible administrative hand of an Astrobase in a forgotten corner of the universe, your crew depend on you for their survival.

Funding Goal – $40,000 (Canadian) by Friday 26th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Soul’s Light by Nick Butera

Journey deep into Alina’s nightmares to find her Soul’s Light and defeat insidious Mr. Grinny, while uncovering Alina’s own dark past.

Funding Goal – $25,000 by Saturday 27th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Nova Drift by Jeffrey Neilsen

A fluid and frenetic arcade shooter. Control an endlessly adaptable bio-mechanical ship, survive enemy onslaughts, and cross the void.

Funding Goal – $6,000 by Friday 26th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Wine Review – Dr Loosen Reisling

I love a good Riesling (and most other ‘German’ types of wine) so I was very happy to recently dry Dr Loosen Bros 2015 Riesling.  It comes in at 8.5% and is from the Mosel region of Germany.

loosen-riesling

As you can seen in the picture the label is minimalist at not eye-catching but the smell of the wine is very pleasant; light with a subtle hint of fruitiness.  Trying it on its own, it was sweet (but not too sweet) and very easy to drink.  It had a slight tang at the end but overall it was a good palate cleanser.  We paired the wine with some Chinese Pork Belly and the wine complemented it perfectly.  The wine was nicer to drink with the food as it was a little bit smoother and less tangy.

 

Overall the wine was lovely and I’d recommend it to have with Asian food or as a drink on its own.

Top 3 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. Atom RPG by Atom Team

A crazy and dangerous adventure in the post-apocalyptic Soviet Russia.

Funding Goal – $15,000 by Saturday 3rd June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Fort Triumph by Fort Triumph Team

Fort Triumph is a dynamic tactical RPG featuring interactive environments and epic challenges in a world on the brink of destruction.

Funding Goal – $75,000 by Tuesday 23rd May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Hoverloop by Not A Company

Splitscreen PC/Console Arcade Arena Combat game. Fight eachother with customizable drones in an array of game modes.

Funding Goal – €15,000 by Saturday 13th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Beer Review – Gem by Bath Ales

Bath Ales is a good local favourite of mine and I have a bit of a soft spot for their beers.  They recently got taken over by the St Austell Brewery, though they also make excellent beers so that should hopefully work out well.

 

The most recognisable and widely distributed of the Bath Ales is Gem, an amber ale at 4.8%.  The label is as with all Bath Ales, distinctive and stylish.  When poured it looks like a standard bitter and the smell is subtle citrusy notes with a hint of malt.

 

The taste is quite bitter initially but it has a nice sweetness on the after taste.  It is a refreshing and easy drink; good with a BBQ or maybe as your first pint at a pub.  It isn’t the best beer in the world but Gem is one that you can’t really go wrong with.

Top 5 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. The Man Came Around by Pipette Inc

A Survival Game about moral dilemmas, hardships and the failure of democracy. Will you sacrifice your principles in order to survive?

Funding Goal – €10,000 by Thursday 11th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Hellpoint by Cradle Games

Hellpoint is an occult sci fi RPG with split-screen multiplayer. Investigate a derelict space station orbiting a mysterious black hole.

Funding Goal – $50,000 (Canadian) by Wednesday 10th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. War of Velana by Loreweaver Creativeworks

War of Velana is a tactical RPG inspired by the 16-bit era and refined through modern gameplay and system design.

Funding Goal – $15,000 by Saturday 6th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

4. Eagle Island by Nick Gregory

With your loyal owl and falconry skills, explore a procedurally generated island. An adventure platformer for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Funding Goal – £20,000 by Tuesday 16th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

5. Super Plexis by Medley Studio

Inspired by games like Tetris Attack, Puzzle League, and Meteos: a twist on the puzzle fighter formula with classic 16-bit SNES flair!

Funding Goal – $6,000 by Saturday 6th May

Kickstarter Link

Memories of Easdale

My wife and I visited the West Coast of Scotland about 18 months ago for an impromptu break away.  We stayed near Oban and explored the local area but one place that will always remain in my memory is the little island of Easdale.

(Note – I’ve sadly lost the pictures I took so the pictures below are all from Wikimedia Commons)

Easdale, as the map below shows, is about a 35 minutes drive from Oban.  Well at least it is 35 minutes to the ferry terminal.  You then have to take a small boat on a 5 minute ferry crossing to the island.

Easdale

 

The island has no roads (which is a joy) and a population of approximately 60.  Facilities on the island include a development trust, folk museum and an excellent cafe/bar – the Puffer.  It is most famous for the World Skimming Championships due to the massive amounts of slate on the island, as well as the pools that have been formed by quarrying in the past.

Flooded_slate_quarry_on_Easdale_-_geograph.org.uk_-_140356

We were lucky enough to visit on a sunny day and it made it one of the most delightful and peaceful little trips I’ve ever been on.  We had a quick wander around the village before having an excellent couple of sandwiches at the Puffer.  Considering it’s relative remoteness the Puffer is an excellent establishment and needs to be visited if you are on the island.  We then visited the folk museum which was very pleasant and it was interesting to understand how the island has changed and developed over time.  What really struck us was how incredibly friendly everyone was in the village.

The_Puffer_Easdale_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1509239

Although we enjoyed the village, the highlight of the trip was exploring out to the rest of the island where the slate quarrying used to happen.  The area is full of overgrown foliage, abandoned houses and a number of huge pools formed by the quarrying and filled in by the sea.  There was a real sense of melancholy with it all, but also a peacefulness that was very refreshing.  Best of all was the views we had to the north and the west to Mull, particularly it’s mountains.

Ellenabeich_-_geograph.org.uk_-_95384

Although small, Easdale is perfectly formed and a delightful place to visit.  If you find yourself on the west coast of Scotland, take a bit of time to visit this peaceful island.

Beer Review – Wild Beer Company – Millionaire

The Wild Beer Company from Somerset are an exiting young brewery with some excellent beers.  They are also not afraid to do things a little bit differently, as evidenced by their use of crowdfunding – as evidenced here.

 

I picked up one of their beers last month – Millionaire, a slated caramel, chocolate and vanilla stout.  Now I like the odd stout but they can be too heavy; also the edition of the interesting flavours both intrigued and slightly scared me!

 

millionaire-low

 

First of all the bottle – all of their bottles have the wild/angry deer on them and are nicely colour coded for each beer.  It is quite a simple look but I think very stylish.  When I poured the beer it unsurprisingly looked like a stout but the smell was more caramel than chocolate, though that was still in evidence.  As for the taste…it was fantastic!  It was initially quite fizzy but then was very rich and smooth; I could definitely taste the slated caramel.

 

Overall the Millionaire by the Wild Beer Company is one of the best stouts I’ve ever had I will definitely buy again, as well as trying out the rest of their range.

My Favourite Whiskies

I lived in Scotland for a couple of years and became rather a fan of whisky.  I know it is a bit of a cliche to do so but once you’ve found the type of whisky you like, there really is no going back.  My favourites (in no particular order) are:

 

Old Pulteney

 

The 12-year old Old Pulteney was the first whisky I ever tried that I really enjoyed – it thus is a very special whisky for me and I often indulge in a dram on a Friday night.  It was whilst on holiday a few years ago in Edinburgh and we had stopped by for a little drink at the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile.  It had a slightly salty/sea taste that I love and have looked for ever since in whiskies.  Last year I tried the 17-year old which is even better, if significantly pricier.  My only regret with Old Pulteney is that I haven’t been up to do a distillery tour yet.

Old Pultney

The 12 year-old usually retails for approximately £35 and the 17-year old at £75.

For more info check out http://www.oldpulteney.com

 

Highland Park

I stumbled across Highland park at a food show in London a few years ago.  There was an opportunity to do a guided tasting and we were there so early that we had one all to ourselves.  I’m glad we did as the various ones we tried were all excellent, including the ‘basic’ 12-year old.  It combines the maritime taste I like so much with a lightly peated taste; something else I’ve begun to look for in whiskies.  I was also lucky enough to go on a tour at the distillery last year when I visited Orkney and that was an excellent experience.

highland-park-12-year-scotch-28

The 12-year usually retails for around £35

For more info check out https://www.highlandparkwhisky.com/

 

Oban

Discovering the Oban whisky was a chance encounter as we happened to be on holiday in the Oban area on a very rainy day.  What do you do on a rainy day in Scotland?…Go to a distillery obviously!  The tour was very well done but most importantly the dram at the end was fantastic.  For me it was a halfway-house between Old Pulteney and Highland Park.

whisky-oban-14-y-70-cl-distilled-beverage

The core range 14-year retails for approximately £40

For more info check out https://www.discovering-distilleries.com/oban/

 

Talisker

I love Talisker and have done ever since I first tried it in a bar in Edinburgh.  Against it has the maritime taste but it is more heavily peated than the those above.  More often that note it is my whisky of choice, either at home or when out.  I first tried the 10-year old which if fantastic, but I also treated myself to a bottle of the Distiller’s edition which is a much richer flavour.  Whilst on Skye last year we also did the distillery tour (on another rainy day) and that was excellent.

talisker-10-year-old-whisky

 

The 10-year old usually retails for around £35 and the Distiller’s edition (if you can find it) at £50-£60.

For info go to https://www.discovering-distilleries.com/talisker/

 

Blair Athol

One of my favourite places in Scotland is lovely Pitlochry in Perthshire.  This small town boasts two distilleries, though the only one I have been to is Blair Athol, the home of Bell’s, but also of the splendid Blair Athol single malt.  The single malt is a delicate and floral whisky, much unlike any of the other whiskies I like.  However it is very pleasant and drinkable on its own.  Getting hold of the single malt is difficult though and easiest if you are at the distillery shop or one of the other Diageo discovering distilleries sites (e.g. Oban).  I would also highly recommend the distillery tour.

blairathol_singlemalt_12year

 

If you do manage to get a bottle it will cost you approximately £40-£50

For more info visit here https://www.discovering-distilleries.com/blairathol/

Top 5 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. The Watchmaker by Micropsia Games

Alexander lost control over time itself, which makes him grow older by every second. Help him solve the mystery of his clock tower.

Funding Goal – $30,000 by Friday 5th May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Bebop and Tempo by Brandon Dominguez

A challenging retro arcade platforming game with a focus on skill and competition. Matching difficulty, art, and music from NES games.

Funding Goal – $1,000 by Sunday 30th April

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Sol Ni Koro by Nostalgia Hound

Sol Ni Koro is an epic 3D RPG mixed with 2D pixel sprites. Inspired by the golden era of video games, designed for the modern era.

Funding Goal – £50 by Monday 1st May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

4. Outbuddies by Julian Laufer

An otherworldly retro inspired Metroidvania about a lost scientist and a forgotten droid on their way home. Made by one kid of the 80s.

Funding Goal – €5,000 by Tuesday 2nd May

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

5. Futurust by Fanotherpg

A twisted and mesmerising take on the Point & Click adventure genre, with watercoloured graphics and a multi-ending story.

Funding Goal – £500 by Friday 7th April

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Pro Cycling – March 2017

March is one of the busiest months in professional cycling, so it has taken a long time to get all the data together! It has been worth it though hand some interesting patterns are starting to emerge.

 

For those who didn’t see last month’s editions, I count all races in my stats, including National Championships, Continental Championships and .2 ranked events.  I have data on most possible things you could want in my database so if you want to know anything that isn’t below, please let me know.  As ever the main source for my data (about 95%) comes from http://www.procyclingstats.com/

 

Men – March

Number of races:

  • Stage Races – 13, including three World Tour Races – Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Catalunya
  • Stages – 75
  • One Day Races – 25, including 5 World Tour Races – Strade Bianche, Milano-San Remo, Dwars Door Vlaanderan, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem

 

Individual Rider Achievements:

  • Most One-Day Wins – Joint on two wins – Michael Kwiatkowski, Sean Lake, Greg van Avermaet and Laurent Pichon
  • Most Stage Wins – Alejandro Valverde with 3 wins, all at the Volta Catalunya
  • Most Wins Overall – Tied on three wins – Alejandro Valverde and Laurent Pichon
  • Most Days in Lead – Anthony Delaplace with 6 Days in the Lead at the Tour of Normandy
  • Most Distance Won – Alejandro Valverde with 509km

 

Team Achievements

  • Most Stage Races – Movistar with two – Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Catalunya
  • Most One-Day Wins – Tied on two between five teams
  • Most Stage Wins – Quick-Step Floors with five
  • Most Wins Overall – Quick-Step Floors and BMC tied on six
  • Most Days in Lead – Fortuneo – Vital Concept with seven
  • Most Distance Won – Quick-Step Floors with 825.4km

 

Country Achievements

  • Most Stage Races – Colombia, France and Spain tied on two
  • Most One-Day Wins – France with five
  • Most Stage Wins – France with 12
  • Most Wins Overall – France with 17
  • Most Days in Lead – France with 16
  • Most Distance Won – France with 2611.2

 

My Rider of the Month – Michael Kwiatkowski with his wins at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo

 

Women – March

Number of races:

  • Stage Races – 2 that started in March (one of these finished in April)
  • Stages – 6
  • One Day Races – 10, including four Women’s World Tour Races – Strade Bianche, Ronde van Drenthe, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Gent-Wevelgem

 

Individual Rider Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – Lotta Lepisto with wins at Dwars Door Vlaanderan and Gent-Wevelgem
  • Most Stage Wins – Ruth Winder with two at the Joe Martin Stage Race
  • Most Wins Overall – the above both on two
  • Most Days in Lead – Ruth Winder and Cecilie Ludwig, both on two
  • Most Distance Won – Lepisto with 260.4km

 

Team Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – three teams on two each
  • Most Stage Wins – United Healthcare with two
  • Most Wins Overall – four teams on two each
  • Most Days in Lead – Cervelo-Bigla and United Healthcare with two each
  • Most Distance Won – Cervelo-Bigla with 260.4km

 

Country Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – Australia with four
  • Most Stage Wins – USA with two
  • Most Wins Overall – Australia with four
  • Most Days in Lead – Denmark and USA with two each
  • Most Distance Won – Australia with 410.5km

 

My Rider of the Month – Lepisto with her two excellent wins in the Belgian Classics

 

Men – Seasons-to Date

Individual Rider Achievements:

  • Most One-Day Wins – Greg van Avermeat with three
  • Most Stage Wins – Kristoff, Ewan and Kittel with five each
  • Most Wins Overall – the three above plus Valverde on five each
  • Most Days in Lead – Nava, Delaplace and Gibbons on six
  • Most Distance Won – Kristoff with 770.6km
  • Most Stage Races Won – Calemanje, Quintana and Valverde with two each
  • Most Individual Time Trials Won – Rohan Dennis with two

 

Team Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – BMC Racing with five
  • Most Stage Wins – Quick-Step Floors with 16
  • Most Wins Overall – Quick-Step Floors with 18
  • Most Days in Lead – BMC Racing with 18
  • Most Distance Won – Quick-Step Floors with 2594.8km
  • Most Stage Races Won – Movistar with five
  • Most Team Time Trials Won – BMC Racings with two

 

Country Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – Belgium with eight
  • Most Stage Wins – France with 24
  • Most Wins Overall – France with 31
  • Most Days in Lead – France with 21
  • Most Distance Won – France with 4584.2km
  • Most Stage Races Won – Australia and France with five

 

My Rider of the Season so far – Joint at the moment with Valverde and Van Avermaet

 

Women – Seasons-to Date

Individual Rider Achievements:

  • Most One-Day Wins – Multiple riders on two each
  • Most Stage Wins – Multiple riders on two each
  • Most Wins Overall – Multiple riders on two each
  • Most Days in Lead – Amanda Spratt with three
  • Most Distance Won – Lepisto with 260.4km

 

Team Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – Multiple teams on two each
  • Most Stage Wins – Multiple teams on three each
  • Most Wins Overall – Multiple teams on two each
  • Most Days in Lead – Orica-Scott with three
  • Most Distance Won – Wiggle-High5 with 376km

 

Country Achievements

  • Most One-Day Wins – Australia with six
  • Most Stage Wins – Australia with four
  • Most Wins Overall – Australia with 10
  • Most Days in Lead – Australia with three
  • Most Distance Won – Australia with 774.1km

 

My Rider of the Season so far – Lepisto with her two Belgian Classic wins

 

Thoughts and Analysis

In men’s cycling, no one individual rider has begun to dominate the seasons so far, though Valverde and Van Avermaet have come close.  In terms of teams, the high fliers are:

  • Quick-Step Floors with their usual haul of wins, though unusually a high proportion of these are from stages
  • BMC Racing who are really picking off the one-day races, as well as Richie Porte winning stages earlier in the season
  • Movistar who are the premier stage racing team at the moment

In terms of nations, it is no surprise that France is dominating, particularly as there have been a lot of French races in March.

 

For women, there still haven’t really been enough races for any patterns to emerge.  Although Australia is dominating in terms of nations, bear in mind that the Australian nationals and the Tour Down Under make up a high proportion of the races so far.  From April onwards there are a lot more racing days and we will see a much clearer picture emerge.