Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Full Map – Map-It

TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization VI (at time of posting) in one Map, this time featuring the new additions of Vietnam and Portugal.

Portugal Banner. Image Credit: Firaxis Studios.

Civ 6 Mapped –

When I started making my First Map of Civilization 6 all the way back in 2017, well, I’m not sure what I would have thought when we got to this point, but here we are at the end of a very long road with what I think* is the last addition to this Map. Today we will be adding the final two civilizations of Vietnam and Portugal to the Map and bringing a long saga to a close.

*Look, I am pretty sure this is the last update for Civilization 6 unless Kevin was trolling us, and that may have been the case.  

 As always, a couple of notes before we start, first the Civilization boundaries on the Map are based more on clarity than anything else, so in most cases, they conform to their modern counterparts. We have also worked using the commonly implemented political borders, not necessarily what nations claim, and this means making some judgement calls which you will see below. Also, while all attempts have been made to ensure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple sources and map projections. As such, no matter how much you try, there might be some slight discrepancies here and there. We will be mostly going over the new additions and changes to the Map in this update. If you want to learn more about some of the location choices that we made, you can find more detail in our First Full Civilization Big Map and out Gathering Storm Update Map.  

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Ted Lasso: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – Builds upon everything that made the first season great by focussing on the character development of every kind  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode

Ted Lasso: Season 2. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Ted Lasso Review

When I came into the first season of Ted Lasso, there was so much praise and hype around the show that there was no way it could ever live up to those expectations. But not only did the show live up to them, but it also exceeded them. However, surely now with its sophomore season, it can’t strike lightning twice? Well, can I just say, in the echoes of T2: Judgement Day or Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the second helping is even better than the first.

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, things were not looking great for the English Premier League team, AFC Richmond. After a gruelling season under new coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), the team was moments away from saving themselves from relegation when a play from ex-teammate Jamie Tartt (Jeremy Swift) sealed their fate. Relegated, the team tries to fight back to the Premier League only to start their season with seven tied matches. But just when it looks like they will turn a corner, the win is stolen from them when the penalty Dani (Cristo Fernández) kicked accidentally kills the team mascot. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Foundation: The Mathematician’s Ghost – TV Review

TL;DR – We start to see the main story unfurl, but some of the more frustrating elements are still there.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.

Foundation: The Mathematician’s Ghost. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Foundation Review

‘Non-linear storytelling’ is a method of creating a narrative that does not follow the usual A->B->C->D pattern but can jump all over the place C->D->B->A. Sometimes this comes in the form of a narrative hook where they show something shocking and jump back in a week to show how they got there. Sometimes it can be used to keep an audience off-balance. Sometimes it can be a complete surprise, like in Westworld. But if you are going to employ a non-linear story, you need to make sure it improves your narrative and that you are not losing your audience in the process.

So to set the scene, at the end of Preparing to Live, we had a moment of horror as Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) is apparently murdered at the hands of his own son Raych (Alfred Enoch) while Gaal (Lou Llobell) was jettisoned out of an escape pod. This episode we open 400-years earlier when Cleon the First (Terrence Mann) is looking over the construction of the Starbridge and preparing to create the legacy of his clones. We then jump 19 years after the bombing in The Emperor’s Peace, as Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) has started his final day before becoming Brother Darkness. While 36 years after the bombing, the colonists have landed on Terminus and have been spending their time founding a colony and starting the task of softening the fall of the galactic empire.   

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Foundation: Preparing to Live – TV Review

TL;DR – While still showing promise, the follow-up does not hit as hard as the first.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.

Foundation: Preparing to Live. Image Credit Apple TV+.

Foundation Review

Adapting a work from one medium to another is a complex process. Indeed, the media landscape is lifted with the failed attempts and aborted projects. This danger is amplified further when you adapt a work that is older and does not play within modern narrative frameworks. Today we continue to explore a show that is charging through this dangerous terrain by adapting a pillar of Science Fiction’s canon.

So to set the scene, Trantor is a planet still reeling from the terrorist attack in The Emperor’s Peace that destroyed the Starbridge sending the space elevator plummeting towards the planet, killing hundreds of millions on the ground. In the opening, Eto Demerzel (Laura Birn) leads a task force to Dwarf Planet Aethra to hunt down whoever financed the attack, but no clues could be found. But while the Empire reals, the Foundation is making the slow 5-year journey to the outer rim, but for all their training, projections still show that 30% of the colonists will still die in the first year. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Ted Lasso: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – Heart-warming and sincere without ever being saccharine.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.

The Media Conference in Ted Lasso. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Ted Lasso Review

When I first got Apple TV+ for Foundation, I knew that I would probably take the chance to check out what else was there because nothing had called me before. Well, if I was going to start somewhere, I thought I might as well go with the series that just obliterated the Emmys. However, I went in with a thought that it could never live up to all the hype … I was wrong, it could, and it did.

So to set the scene, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is working as an NFL coach in America. He led the Wichita State Shockers to a Division II NCAA championship, an impressive feat. While that win put him on the radar of several NFL clubs in America, an offer right out of left field caught his attention. Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) was the new owner of AFC Richmond, an English Premier League Football club, and she offered him the job of team manager. Ted jumps at the chance and brings along his coaching partner, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), all the way over to London only to get thrown in the deep end and demolished by the press like Trent Crimm for The Independent (James Lance). However, he soon finds his feet. Unfortunately for Ted, Rebecca got the team from her ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head) in the divorce, but she has no intention of letting it thrive. She wanted the one thing her husband truly cared about to go down in flames. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Sex Education: Season 3 – TV Review

TL;DR – This show keeps going from strength to strength with more in-depth storytelling.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this show

Sex Education. Image Credit: Netflix.

Sex Education Review

If there is one show that constantly surprises me at how honest and explorative they will be, it would be Sex Education. Every episode is designed to both shock the viewer but then also be filled with deeply heartfelt stories. The combination creates a show that should be jarring, but rather than that, it just works. As we dive into the third season, there was always a chance that the steam would run out, that the juxtaposition would falter. While it might do that one day, this season still holds the line.

So to set the scene, at the end of Season Two, there was a lot of drama that befell the small town of Moredale. Otis (Asa Butterfield) finally expressed his love for Maeve (Emma Mackey) through a voicemail message, which would have been amazing if Isaac (George Robinson) had not deleted it. Jean (Gillian Anderson) discovered that she is pregnant with her ex-partner Jakob’s (Mikael Persbrandt) baby, and the hierarchy of Moredale Secondary School came crashing down when Michael’s (Alistair Petrie) plan to discredit Jean blew up in his face. Well, over summer, everything shifted, with Otis dating Ruby (Mimi Keene) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) is starting a new relationship with Adam (Connor Swindells), But none of them are ready for the new headmistress Hope (Jemima Kirke), that is about to change all of their worlds. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Foundation: The Emperor’s Peace – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a good foundation for a series that moves everything into place and hints at much more.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.

Foundation: The Emperor’s Peace. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Foundation Review

For a while now, I have been wondering just what would make me up and give Apple TV+ a go. Sure, I’ll probably watch Ted Lasso at some point and cry a lot, but I needed something to grab me. Well, I have made my position about Sci-Fi quite clear, and if you are going to hook me with something, adapting a series from one of the greats, well, that will do it. Isaac Asimov is up there with Arthur C Clarke, Ursula K Le Guin, Philip K Dick, Frank Herbert, Mary Shelly, and HG Wells and to see his masterwork brought to the screen, well count me in.

So to set the scene, we open in on the planet of Terminus, where on a promenade looking over the small colony is ‘the Vault’. It is a floating repository with a null field forcing you to turn away from it if you dare approach, as some local kids find out the hard way. 35-years earlier, we land on the planet of Synnax, a water world surrounded by rings. Here a young Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) is making a final trip from her planet. She is going to the centre of the galaxy, the home of Emperor Cleon (Lee Pace, Cassian Bilton & Terrence Mann), and where she will meet Hari Seldon (Jared Harris), the great man of mathematics and the founder of psychohistory. But little does Gaal know that the Empire’s peace is being tested and that she might just be arriving for her trial and execution. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A DLC that is full of exciting ideas but also some missed opportunities and frustrations.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for this DLC

Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond Review –

Over the years, one of the games I come back to once in a while has been Surviving Mars. This is a strategy game/ city builder about constructing the first human colony on Mars with drones, domes, and danger, oh my. While it was full of promise, it hit its stride with the Green Planet DLC, allowing you to terraform Mars into an oasis gradually. For a long time, this looked like it would be the final stop for the game, but recently there was a surprise announcement of a new DLC Below and Beyond, which we will look at today.

The essential overview of this new DLC is that while exploring the surface of Mars, you have come across these vents under the surface. Here there are large tunnels, old lava tubes, so large that you could both explore and even colonise them. The one big drawback is that they are very dangerous as cave falls can crush rovers and cut off passageways. You can use technologies found in the new Recon and Expansion tech tree to make exploring safer. Still, if you want to colonise down below, you will need sturdier materials, which is good because it just so happens that several asteroids are coming close to Mars’ orbit with Exotic Minerals just perfect for the new task.

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Humankind – Video Game Review

TL;DR – Here, we have a beautiful game with a lot of promise but is not quite there yet.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for this game.

Humankind. Image Credit: Amplitude Studios.

Humankind  Review –

One genre of Video Games just clicks with me more than others, like on a deep physiological level. That genre is the strategy game, well, more than that. It is the particular 4X genre of strategy game where you eXplore, eXploit, eXpand, & eXterminate, and if it is turn-based, even better. I can spend hundreds of hours exploring the mechanics of each game, hitting each of those four X’s. In the realm of the historical-empire-builder 4X world, there has been one crown, Civilization.  Well, today, we take a look at a game that is coming for that title, and while it doesn’t quite get there, it does come close.

The first thing I want to mention is just how beautiful this game is. When you first jump into the game and see a river crashing over the cliffs into a valley full of lush jungle and red earth, Well, it will take your breath away. A lot of care has gone into everything feeling as if it is a natural part of this world. Part of what helps is a mountain of terrain features that make even areas that could be dull, like the frozen poles, still feel interesting to explore. I also like how they have introduced height to the game, making the world feel more grounded. You can see the legacy of Endless Legend throughout this game in the design of the terrain, but it has been tailored to be like Earth but stylized, and I think they get that balance right. To add to this, while watching this stunning game, you also get to hear a soundtrack that I have yet to get sick over these[redacted] hours that I have played, and I am listening to it now as I write this review. If I had to pick my favourite track from the game, it would be Mercury, but they are all great.

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Explore It – Gladstone

TL;DR – Today, I take a wander around Gladstone and its many surroundings.  

Disclosure – I was not paid to visit any of the locations shown here, and all Queensland Government COVID requirements were followed, including the use of masks.

Exploring Gladstone

In this Covid world, one of the hardest parts has been the isolation from friends and family, I know people have had it worse, but I have had to cancel family get-togethers five times because of surprise lockdowns. To the point that it has become a running joke with my friends every time there is a lockdown. Well, there was a moment of stability (not that there wasn’t a scare the week before that made me think it would all unravel again). So, when you have the chance, you take it, and with that came the exploration of the many faces of Gladstone.

From Brisbane, Gladstone is about a six to ten-hour drive depending on the time of day, whether you get stuck behind a caravan/boat that only gets up to speed in the overtaking lane, and how many stops you can make. For safety, you should be making stops to rest, and our first one was at the town of Tiaro. We stopped here because you can get a mean burger, but also because their butcher is known all up the highway for its bacon, which will become important later. It also has the oddness of having a pedestrian crossing over the main northern highway in Queensland, the Bruce.   

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