Sunday, December 16, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 16 and .... tentacles .....

Bit confused about what monster this is today.
Bit tough to see today. I thought this was the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi ... (but apparently it's a Rathtar from Force Awakens).

And 4d sneaking in his shadow at the back there too.

Still feeling the effects of the bugs today so I've gone backwards somewhat to something I'm sure I posted a while ago ...
Can you tell what it'll be ? This was a bonus thing that came when I ordered my technic jet.
The backing and covers take shape but aren't quite attached yet.
Indistinct pages. A blank canvas ? (Yes - camera shake ! Oops)
There is little greater mystery in this world than the undiscovered contents of a book.
A polka dotted scene starts to take shape. What could it be ?
And a little more for the other side. Plus .... a name !
Finally, the finished scene. With our author narrating a tale to an entranced youngster with a park scene beside them.

More books tomorrow !

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 15 and a Rogue Trooper

I think Rose has found someone to aim that stun gun of her's at ...
We have a rogue trooper today, away from his barracks and with a Rose between him and the gun rack.

I think his future may be a bit dark.

A bit like the middle book ! It's Rogue Star by Andy Hoare. It's set in the grim dark future of the 40th millennium, yep it's another Warhammer 40k book. This one was a bit different because it wasn't looking into the Imperial Guard or the Space Marines or the Mechanicus as in Titanicus, this book was about the Rogue Traders who ply the dangerous spacelanes looking to bring good to those who will pay hefty amounts to receive them while avoiding the dangers out there.

This is another that I haven't read in a while but I remember it giving great descriptions of the worlds visited by Lucian Gerrit and his crew and the hidden dangers present. There's also a devastating space battle.

On to another rogue trooper and we have the first Mass Effect book, Revelation. This one is all about Captain Anderson and the rogue agent Saren. Saren doesn't like humans much and that's really brought home in this book. However, it's 200 and a bit pages that just expand out a few lines of dialogue in the game. If you've played it, then there isn't much extra here. You learn a bit more about characters that are fleshed out some more but there isn't much actually new.

If you're a fan of Mass Effect (and most game players are !), it's well worth it. But if you haven't played the games (please do, they are excellent) then this is one to avoid.

Best is last this time.

David Weber made his name with a character called Honor Harrington. She starts in this book as the Commander in charge of the light cruiser Fearless. The book opens with a set of training scenarios where Honor is fated to be on the losing side. She doesn't like this, so she turns the tables with some clever strategy.

Which a superior doesn't like and she finds herself semi-exiled off to the Basilisk Station (hence the name of the book !). She sets about sorting things out in the system, only for the People's Republic of Haven offer to take over and effectively annex the system.

The series of books is very definitely set up as a shifting situation with an ongoing war between the Manticore Star Kingdom (the English) and the Havenites (French revolutionaries) with the Andermani (Germans) and the bloated Solarian Empire (the Americans) looking on from the sidelines.

These are an excellent series of books, although I admit I did stop reading at Storm From The Shadows. That's the second in a spin off series and I'd read 12 of the main series.

The good - the technology that is in use for the ships is kept very consistent and (as much as scifi usually is) realistic. There are gravity drives in use which happen to get around the problem of human fragility to acceleration. The gravity drives provide the equivalent of shields but the main weaponry is a combination of long range missiles and shorter range Lasers and GRASERs (Gamma Ray lasers). The missiles are nuclear tipped and will attempt to knife their way through opposing ships by using X-Ray bomb pumped lasers. There is a lot of combat in the earlier books and it's presented extremely well.

But there's also an intelligence in the interactions of the characters. It's a series that stayed highly interesting up until the later books where too much daft politics started creeping in as well as silliness with the espionage related technologies.

I'd highly recommend this series as something to enjoy for however long you feel able to stick with it.

How's me ? I think I'm past the hump of my bugs, although they'll probably slow me down a fair bit. If I'd attempted to do anything physically then I'd have been flat on my back almost immediately.

Instead .... Stellaris. (And I probably just got the neighbours very concerned with an extended paroxysm of coughing, you know - the type where you see stars and there's a ringing in your ears.)
This is from not too for before I shut down for the evening. The Nomnivorian Raveners have already eaten (literally) 3 opposing races fairly easily. There's just been a substantial change in the game for the 2.2 update which is ... very much up and down for me.

The up is that there's much more scope now in how you arrange your planets.
The down is that there's much more scope now for your planets to destroy your economy and bring your progress to a juddering halt.
(Your income can suddenly flipflop from +100 income to -100 income and it took some understanding as to why).

There is a reaction that you can do as a player, by manipulating that economy by turning off certain buildings so your workers go to the buildings that work the foundation stuff. But I'm not convinced the AI knows how to do that. One of the huge strengths of Stellaris was that it gave me a fun challenge, in the early days at least. I'm not convinced it can do that at the moment and it definitely feels like the expansion and gameplay patch has been rushed out.

Will keep an eye on it, continue this current game and then play other things when the campaign is done and the Nomnivorians have eaten the galaxy.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 14 and BB-8 is building an army

Something short today. I think bugs have decided this weekend is going to be a bugs weekend.

Today was a good day though. Lots of loot and excellent company this afternoon to raid the Xmas market with.
Click for bigger. There's a lot in there (plus some obscured that I didn't mean to obscure !)

On the left we see a new pooch, a lovely little metal thingy from the market.

Big Lego BB-8 is at the back, keeping his beady eye on 4D. He remembers what happened the last time these two shared screen time and doesn't want to be eaten again.

We have a trio of micro BB-8s dotting around the scene, including super stunts BB-8 from last year's advent buzzing around the place on his snowboard.

The advent thingy for today is a blaster rack, with Rose keeping a sharp eye on it. I think she's checking out the stun setting so she can use it on cowardly stormtroopers attempting to run away.

Nano BB-8 is taking up station over there on the right, in front of a new book : Attack of the Flickering Skeletons (and more Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of) by Stuart Ashen. I'll look forward to diving through that soon. (Currently lost in Persepolis Rising in the Expanse series).

Popz BB-8 is a new one. SHINY. And then there's a new key ring BB-8 lurking beside him.

(I had trouble getting key ring BB-8 to cooperate. Think that one's been on the funny oil or too close to the Helium stores).

But who is that on the right ?

We have found something to scare the 4D. He was ok with one BB-8. 2 BB-8s. Even 3. But an army of 7 ? He's off at a dead run, exit stage right.

See you tomorrow !

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 13 and ... I've forgotten !

Oops. I took the picture at lunchtime and I've completely forgotten what the new thing was !

Let's have a reminder.
There we go. I tried out something new today, a delayed timer shot from the phone. First time I've done that and it was so I could press the button and then quickly grab 4D so he could take his place in the shot.

Today I think it was either one of the train cars from Solo or an Imperial transport from Rebels. The train sequence was one of the inspired bits of Solo and when I watch that movie again, I'll look forward to that bit of the movie.

Today ? Game books again. Games don't give you what they used to pack in ! Long gone are the days of a big box and things inside that truly rattled. Mind you, they used to squeeze enough into some of the dvd style boxes that the box would bulge open and refuse to close up again without spilling its contents all over the place.

You don't get nearly as much now. Barely anything in fact and rarely anything that is in physical form. I was very impressed with the art book that came with Battletech but that did cost me extra.

So - what are the games today ?

In the middle is the Falcon 4 manual. This is over half an inch thick ! Plus you got a quick reference guide, a key map and a reasonably details map of the Korean subcontinent, the region you fought over in the game.

It's actually fitting for the complexity of the game and this was an incredibly complex game. It's still going actually, 20 years after its original release in 1998. It was a buggy mess when it came out but still pretty darn good. I can remember flying missions on it and flying towards a glow on the horizon that would gradually resolve into missiles and shells whizzing back and forth as you got closer.

This was an incredible game for its time and this would still look quite decent today. Flight sims can cheat, as the detail is all very far away instead of you standing right next to the wall with the dodgy texture as you would in a first person game.
Next up is the Settlers. In the days where Digital Rights Management hadn't found its way into the sneaky ways and always online of today, they had to do it via other means. Still in the software this time but for this game, it would ask you to turn to a certain page and pop in the runes on that page.

Settlers is a colony management wargame. It's a pretty complicated one, with basic resources combining together to make things like swords for soldiers, bread for food and gold for improvements.

It was one of the ground breaking games of its time, although deathly dreary to play a game all the way through. The strategic aspect was bolted around warrior huts ... and these caused an effect like attritional trench warfare.

It took a long time to make a dent in the other players' territory and that made games drag on a long time. But it is a game I enjoyed in its time, as I highly enjoyed losing evenings to Settlers IV.

Next one is a game called Titan Quest, which included a printed out ability tree for its widespread character class system.

Bit of a shame this one, as the game had massive potential but I never actually played much into it. One reason for that was because it coincided with a previous Windows XP install going very strange and the campfires would be so bright, they would white-out the screen. It was a very broken WinXP install.

Last one is not something I got with a game, I acquired the StarFleet Command III strategy guide later.

This was from a time before broadband (I think). A time before google searches became the thing you would do if you got stuck. Wowhead hadn't been invented back then. (The game was published in 2002).

It's a nice strategy guide too. It gives you a description of all of the missions, plus a description of the ships and the various ways they could be customised. A super manual if you like.

I was super addicted to the Starfleet Command games in their day. The nearest modern equivalent is Battlefleet Gothic, set in the Warhammer 40k world but very definitely a rip off of the Starfleet Battles rules that SFC was based on. Battlefleet Gothic 2 looks impressive though, I'll enjoy watching Enter Elysium play through that when it's released but I won't buy it.

That's it for today !

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 12 and a cunning little fighter

Day 12 ! Halfway through the boxes. What do we have today ?
A Jedi starfighter today from the prequel movies. A small, functional, pretty little fighter.

And books of movies / movies of books today. By the way there is no 4D cameo today. He took one glance at one of the books there and stomped off on disgust.

One of those books is older than I am ! I wonder if it was before decimalisation. Perhaps not.

On the right we have The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean. This one led to an all time classic World War 2 movie where the Germans had a stronghold in the Mediterranean Sea. Embedded in the mountain side, dominating the area, they had massive gun emplacements that meant the area was a no go zone for all Allied shipping. The stronghold was impregnable by land, unassailable by air and any ships that attempted to get near would be blown to bits by the gun emplacements.

Cue our heroes being sent in to infiltrate the island, penetrate the stronghold and blow up the guns. In the middle, we have intrigue amongst a varied cast of characters.

This is one of the all time classic war movies and I'd heartily recommend it.

One thing about the book and film though, I haven't read the book for a while but I remember it diverging from the movie in significant ways. And then the book that follows, Force 10 From Navarone, follows the story of the movie instead of the book.

Oh - I left the price on the book .... I acquired this one as a second hand book for 50p. That was actually more than the cost on the back ! Of all the items that have massively inflated in price, books are among the most significant. This book has a tag of 40p on the back. It was printed in April 1974 (written in something like 1957). I can't believe that it costs that much more to print a book now. Yet this book would cost £8 now. (Or £4 on Kindle). That's a 20x increase !

Crikey.

Next up, we see Firefox by Craig Thomas.

The movie was a Clint Eastwood star vehicle and the start of the book sums up the plot pretty well. It unfolds as a series of intelligence memos reporting that Russia have developed a new fighter of unprecedented speed and deadly weaponry. But what really sets it apart is that it is invisible to radar.

The book and the movie follow each other quite well here and they remind you of what things were like in Eastern Europe near the end of the 20th century before the walls came down.

I'd heartily recommend this book as well. And I'd point you to its successor as well. This one was followed by Firefox Down which I enjoyed as well. But I'm not going to say anything about that because .... spoilers.

That brings me to ... Star Trek Nemesis.

This film killed Star Trek. Or at least it did until the reboot movies started up. Star Trek Enterprise was still going ... but didn't last long after Nemesis despite improving considerably in its final season.

This is a Star Trek movie with very few redeeming features. It's very grim, dark, non Star Trek. It was very brave of them to go in this direction, perhaps beyond brave and into foolish.

The book is better than the film, it explains what's going on better and there is a minimum of humour included.

But it's a disastrous story from start to finish.

It's like - with most franchises, especially Star Trek, I'd recommend you watch all of it, even if just to experience it. But not Nemesis. Avoid this one like the plague.

(PS All that said, this book was another present from a friend which I enjoyed and definitely appreciated it when it was received .... and then the movie happened)

More tomorrow !

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 11 and something short ....

Day 11 ! Almost half way through and I think I need more books.

You always need more books.
Today is a short Jedi who I thought was Anakin for a bit (apparently it's a character from one of the animated series, the same series as the ship next to him). Before I move on to the books, I need to give a big shout out to someone ...

I have my first Christmas card of the year ! It's over there on the left with the Santa. It's from the ever wonderful Margaret Krohn, who I've followed for quite a few years so far. And will continue to, especially after meeting this wonderful person at the Roll4it con over the weekend. Let's see, she's :

The inspiration of the Vanu Sovereignty (Planetside 1+2);
(This is how I first became aware of the Maggie)
Layla the Vampire Slayer (watch out for groin punches);
Possessed of a wonderful voice and heavenly smile;
Staff Sergeant Khang of the Stargate programme;
Keeper of incredible Beasts;
Co founder of Roll4It;
MagMom and inspiration for more than a good few of my creative ideas :
(that's a recolour from a lovely Ilse original)
Ace stream broadcaster and producer;
An oh so skilled player of games;
(I could have grabbed an Iain M. Banks there !)
Short of stature and far larger than life;

And Queen of the Space Vikings leading a community of oh so lovely people.
(2 communities with Roll4it)

And I've missed so many things out there. Link's on the right in the Lovely Gaming People section.

To the books !

Something of a theme today. On the left is Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Discworld does Christmas and in fine style too. This one felt rather different to the usual Discworld books. It felt like it had a certain urgency that wasn't there in the other books. There was also far more mystery involved with what precisely had happened overnight to the Hogfather.

Great book, thoroughly recommended.

Next up is the Game Players of Titan by Philip K. Dick. Another enjoyable book, set mostly on Earth in a future where aliens from the moon of Titan are exerting a perhaps not so benevolent oversight of the human race. Gotta admit that I don't remember this one so much ! A highly appreciated present from another lovely little lady.

(and I'm rushing now because I hear the dinner bell).

The last one is one of the best books I have read. It's Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein.

However, this wasn't a favourite book when I started, in fact I rather loathed the central character, Lazarus Long mostly because of the impression I got from another book, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls. The story picks up with this nigh on immortal character on the verge of death from old age (at about 3000+ years old). He is refusing rejuvenation therapy due to pretty much giving up on life and love.

But then as his memoirs are taken, he steadily remembers that whole hearted love for life, people and living and the character gets stronger and stronger. And there are some amazing, dramatic, heartbreaking vignettes all the way through the book.

Especially Bert the intelligent Mule. And the growing realisation that he would not age while the little girl he rescues matures, falls in love with him, starts a new family and grows old. There is so much emotion and heartbreak running through this one.

I think I need to read this one again some time soon.

I better get that dinner !

With that first card coming through, it's a happy christmas to you all. Every one of you who has hung in there up to this point. And please do check out the wonderful Maggie K.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 10 - a Cannon of Niven

Day 10 today and I thought I'd focus on just one author !
Looks like a cannon and a mean aimer there in the indomitable Rose.

Larry Niven and cohorts today.

First up is The Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steve Barnes. It's set on a distant colony world, indeed the first colony dispatched from Earth arriving at Tau Ceti after 100 years of travel.

The colonists arrive at their new planet Avalon and set up a base on an island, isolated from the mainland. Start somewhere defensible, then spread out later as colony growth demands. However, there is an immediate problem. The imperfect suspended animation technology has caused a phenomenon they call "Ice on their mind", where their once top of their field intelligence has been damaged by ice crystals forming during their unprecedented period of coldsleep. Some are more affected by others and the colonists battle to overcome their new disabilities and isolated position to build up the colony.

And then all hell breaks loose as super crocodiles find the colony and attempt to adopt it as their new food source. It so happens to be breeding season for these Grendels too and the humans are in the nest.

How much do I remember of this book ? Perhaps a little bit of a slog to get to its end but it was good enough to spawn a sequel where the colonists have expanded enough to start a foot hold on the mainland where they discover .... something that eats the near invulnerable highly intelligent Grendels.

Next up - Neutron Star.

This one is a series of short stories set in the Known Space universe that Larry Niven is probably most famous for. This is the universe of the Ringworld. Yes. The original proper stellar class Rimworld and not the idea stolen for a game. This is the universe that the Kzinti live in, bipedal sentient cats with opposing thumbs and an appetite for any sentient race not their own. There are also the Pierson's Puppeteers, a race of introverted tripedal cowards who's defense mechanism is to turn, tuck their two heads between their legs and kick backwards.

Neutron Star opens with a short story about an investigator who is hired by the Puppeteers to covertly find out why two researchers have died while performing a close fly by of a Neutron star in a Puppeteer ship that should be invulnerable to all attack. They didn't just die though, they were ripped apart.

People who know lots of physics have probably guessed what happened to them ! Lots of gravitational stresses when you go that close to something heavy. After all, Neutron Stars are stars that exploded with not quite the mass to compress down and become a black hole. The rest of the book has a series of short stories that circle back to the start again.

Recommended. As are the Man-Kzinti Wars novels and very definitely, Ringworld and its sequels Ringworld Engineers, Ringworld Throne and Ringworld's Children.

Last up - Lucifer's Hammer. This one is a collaboration between Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

This one tells the story of the end of civilisation.

An asteroid is heading our way. At the start of the book, the chance to hit is very low. But then an unexpected collision tips the asteroid just enough to nudge it a little. As the book goes on through its first act, the chance to hit gets higher and higher as the impact day approaches.

But it's worse than that. Instead of staying as one big object, the asteroid calves (breaks up) into many smaller but still devastating lumps.

The first act sets up quite a large cast and a couple of important locations. You then have the inevitable calamity as bits of asteroid pepper the Earth with devastation. One of the scenes that sticks in my mind is the tsunami that hits the West Coast of the USA. Surfers are waiting for it, believing that if they are skillful enough, their best chance to survive is to surf the 100 foot high tsunami. One by one they fall.

A decent end of the world book. Perhaps a bit depressing as it portrays that middle act of the calamity and then goes a bit silly as an army develops to threaten where our protagonists are heading to.

A great start and middle but I'm not convinced they knew how to end it ...

That's it for today ! Who knows who it will be tomorrow :-D.

Oh ! One last thing - honourable mentions to :
The Mote in Gods Eye - what happens when we find a race of superlative engineers who can see what we have ... dismantle it and then build something far better. Can our people escape with the secrets of Earth ? Great book. There is a follow up to this one as well which I haven't read.
Footfall - aliens invade the Earth and are very confused by the Earthlings. This one has a stunning concluding act which I won't spoil here.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 9 - Taxi for the Emperor

Back to books today !
I may have gotten myself distracted in Stellaris this weekend .... The new expansion is out (haven't bought it yet, waiting for discounts) but there's a fairly hefty rejigging of the core game with the planets being completely redone. I'm not convinced to be honest, it's very easy for the game to do a massive shift in your economy as the planets redo their priority lists when you build stuff. You can very quickly run out of the basics by going for the end products that go towards ship building. Maybe a refinement in the strategies ....

But my Nomnivorian Ravagers are way ahead of the second placed normal race (the Fallen Empires stay out in front) so I must be doing something right. I'll be launching the conquest as soon as I have 3 fleets together.

I first thought today's Lego was a taxi or the car that Senator Organa used on Coruscant but apparently it's General Grievous' fighter ...

Today's books are on an Empire theme.

The one on the left is Mutineer's Moon by David Weber. It's the first in a loose series of 3 and follows an astronaut heading off to the Moon. Or at least, what he thinks is the moon .... It's actually a long dormant battleship called Dahak.

Yep. This is scifi.

Turns out there was a mutiny quite some time ago and the ship managed to get rid of the mutineers who left in still dangerous but unable to go faster than light parasite craft that usually go on board the full battlemoon. The narrative trick of having an unknowledgeable person act as the protagonist is fully in play here too as the central character is rapidly brought up to speed by Dahak and given his mission, to defeat the mutineers before they cause chaos on Earth.

Oh and there's a time limit .... a race of alien invaders who sweep across the galaxy every few aeons destroying everything in their path. But that's for another book.

I quite enjoyed this book, although there is gratuitous weaponry effect descriptions in which are not for the squeamish.

Next up, set in the Imperium of Man in Rynn's World by Steve Parker. It tells the story of the Crimson Fists Space Marines, genetically enhanced elite warriors of the Adeptus Astartes and the defence of their homeworld from an immense incursion of Orks.

(Yep. The Warhammer 40k has elves, orcs, dwarves, ogres and other nasty things to give it the variation.)

Quite early on, the battlefleet is destroyed and an errant missile wipes out their home base. The mission then turns into a battle for survival.

To be honest, can't remember that much of this one although I think it held the attention all the way through.

Last up, is another one by Timothy Zahn. It's Heir To The Empire and it's set around 5 years after Return of the Jedi.

There is a fledging New Galactic Republic that is rebuilding after the end of the war with the Empire. Well, almost. The Empire collapsed after Return of the Jedi but there are still sizeable continents of ex Imperial ships, fighters, military and planets. This book is part of a trilogy that sees the emergence of brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn as he aims to sweep away the Republic and rebuild the galaxy as he sees fit.

It's a great book, showing off the talents of Timothy Zahn as he plays in the existing galaxy of Star Wars and he even adds a bit of his own lore to the telling as well.

I'd highly recommend this one, although it is part of the old Expanded Universe so it has no bearing on the new films. (Some may say that's a good thing !)

That's it for today ! Shoulders and neck are sore again so I think I need to give Stellaris a rest for .... weeks maybe !

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Star Wars Advent Day 8 and a Rogering of the Rogers

Oh my, what a title.
No books today. The books will be back tomorrow.

Yesterday saw me head up to road to Chester and a meet up of the Roll4it community. They're led by some of the Lovely Gaming People over on the right and for this meet up, we were hosted by :

Enter Elysium who is mostly Youtube (link) and also streams (link) and does the Roll4Its.
Mangledpork aka Bentham of the Youtubes (link).

With special guests :
Margaret Krohn of vlogs (link), gaming videos (link) and streaming (more link). (also admin and major organiser for the Roll4its)
FuzzyFreaks of streaming (link)
RandomTuesday of streaming (link), videos (link), amazing cosplay (more link) and great DM'ing.
And finally the wonderfully voiced Josh of streaming (link) and videos (link)

They're a lovely mob and as charming in person as they are on screen.

The meet up is continuing for the cast over this weekend, with more streams coming soon on the Roll4it channel. I can't watch all of the content that appears over there (mostly because of time !) but I have been hugely enjoying the Stargate Horizons stream that has been playing on Sundays lately.

There may have been a series of posters appear in Goa'uld controlled territory as a result of actions that happened in a previous episode.
It's good to be engaged enough in what's going on to have the ideas spark for daft pictures to make. And I do very much like to do nice things for lovely people.

Oh ! What's in the picture ! Today's advent selection was a Battle Droid from the prequel movies joining the rest of the advent thingys. And then we have :

A selection of sweeties, our American friends are being introduced to some of the British sweetie things. I'm wondering what Maggie K and Fuzzy will make of their special teacakes.
A gorgeous dice bag and lovely purple dice within.
Two Roll4it special badges and ...
I picked up a Spider Friend as well.
(There may well have been tastings of the bonbons and the kola kubes too)

I'm super tired now and chilling out to videos, music and writing of the posts. Definitely looking forward to more Roll4it stuff later.

It was fantastic meeting the organisers and the rest of the cast and definitely a highlight saying hello to the rest of this lovely community.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Star Wars Advent 2018 Day 7 and I need to fly !

Quick one today.

Today's advent box sees a starfighter arrive :
A pretty little Naboo starfighter. A design going more for the looks than the capability perhaps. But they were nicely shiny.

Gotta get up to road now to a meet up of role playing games people. How many of the games can you recognise above ?

How many have you played ?

Laters :-).