I’ve spent the entirety of March (plus the latter part of February) poorly, which has sucked. I don’t think I’ve ever been sick for so long before, but I think after a whole handful of doctors appointments and a trip to the hospital, that I am (just about) on the mend. I had to miss a lot of work as a result, which was frustrating because there were projects I wanted to put some time into that I haven’t been able to do. Before and after the worst of it, however, I did manage to squeeze in some great plans:
Reading in March…
I picked up Stephen King’s The Gunslinger in March, figuring it was about time I gave a King novel a go. I think the concepts are strong, but I just have some issues with the way it is written… I am enjoying the story, but there is this but that I don’t know how to articulate yet. Luckily, the chapters are short so I can stop and start easily enough without losing too much continuity, which is good as no matter how long it takes, I really want to find out what happens.
Gaming in March…
I have played a lot of board games so far this year. After watching a speed run of Bloodborne in January’s Games Done Quick event, I was really excited to play the board game. Unlike its video game counterpart, the board game is fairly easy to play in terms of mechanics. Players work together to bring down monsters and bosses, whilst competing for the most blood points. It is simple but certainly one of my favourite card games now.
In March, Neil and I discovered Key Forge, which I can safely say has become our newest card game obsession. Having dabbled in Yu-Gi-Oh! before, and playing against a friend who had spent a lot of money creating very powerful decks, I was disillusioned with an experience that felt on the verge of rigged. The nature of Key Forge, however, with its pre-built but unique decks of a mixture of three randomised houses, felt refreshing as a result. I love the art style, the level of focus required in playing what feels like three games at once, as you can only control one house at a time. It is fun and so far, playing several decks between a couple of friends, has shown that no one deck seems to be necessarily any stronger than another.
I also bought my first ever deck box to store my Key Forge decks. Embarrassing levels of happiness ensued – I’ve never had the need for a deck box before, so this feels like a special landmark in my history of tabletop gaming.
I was introduced to Dice Masters today (on a slightly sticky pub table!), and knew I couldn’t leave it out of my month’s wrap-up. A deck-building game where instead of a hand of cards you have a collection of dice? Yes please. There are a number of different decks – DC, Marvel, D&D – but I have my eye on the Warhammer starter set with the stunning artwork. I may not be able to afford to play Warhammer 40,000, but I can live vicariously through this amazing game of luck and strategy instead.
March was also the month where we started a new PC game, Divinity: Original Sin. This game is exactly the kind of immersive RPG experience that I have been craving. The graphics are stunning, I love the turn-based style of combat, and it is refreshing to have so much control over my character, able to distribute skill points to suit my style of play. I have been told the game is a long one, so I am excited to know I still have months of gameplay left with this one…
I Am Setsuna was on sale this month in the Nintendo Store, so I bought it for my Switch. It had been on my Steam wishlist for so long that I had forgotten what had even intrigued me about it in the first place. Realising it is a fully fledged JRPG – the likes of which I haven’t played since Eternal Sonata – has quickly made it my Switch obsession. Little Dragon Cafe and Knights of Pen and Paper have taken a backseat while I enjoy this indulgence.
Life in March…
So, technically the next couple of activities took place at the end of February, but I’m far too buzzed about them to leave them out here. On the last weekend of February, I visited Bristol with my friend to see one of my long-time favourite bands, Mayday Parade. There is no experience quite like being at a gig with your best friend and singing the lyrics to your favourite songs at the top of your lungs. Like usual, the show was incredible, and I was energised for days after seeing them!
Whilst in Bristol, we took the opportunity to visit Bristol Aquarium, and spent two hours checking out some fun sea life, like this sassy starfish here.
By the time I was heading to Birmingham the following week, I was already starting to feel quite ill, but was determined not to miss out on what I knew would be a totally special concert experience (plus, we’d already paid out for tickets and a hotel, so there was no way I wasn’t going!). We saw Twenty One Pilots in Genting Arena (now Resort World Arena), which is the biggest capacity venue I have ever attended! We had standing tickets, and I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about getting squashed in the middle of thousands of people, but it was actually one of the chillest gigs I had ever been to.
The band were just as good live as they are recorded, with Tyler hitting all of his crazy notes. It was a good show in terms of fire and confetti, all the usual fun stuff, but I was most impressed with how two men could create a performance that captivated such a large audience. Usually, I see bands in much smaller venues, and there is a certain intimacy in a crowd of one thousand or less which often helps the band to build a rapport with the room. Twenty One Pilots managed to accomplish this with a room of fifteen thousand… amazing!
At the end of March I visited Bristol again for literally one purpose: to eat at Za Za Bazaar. We committed to a morning and evening of driving just for the sheer joy of that all-you-can-eat goodness, featuring Indian, Italian, Chinese, American, British, Mexican, (and more), plus various desserts including a chocolate fountain and the most delicious sticky toffee pudding I have ever eaten. We had a nosy around the city before we went in, saw this amazing busker with his recycled drum kit, went into the biggest Forbidden Planet store I have ever seen (and bought a sneaky Key Forge deck which happened to feature my three favourite houses), and visited Castle Park to take part in the afternoon’s Pokemon GO Community Day.
My sister taught me how to wash a hedgehog this month too. That was certainly an experience!
The last six weeks have been full of challenges – I’m definitely looking forward to feeling 100% again soon – but full of some of the most special moments of 2019 so far too. Roll on April!
How was your March?