Basil II of Byzantium First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: Byzantium is coming with its horses and Religion, and not much is going to be able to stop it.

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass. This pack will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The following new Civilizations has been released so let’s dive into Byzantium.

Basil II of Byzantium Overview

Basil II of Byzantium in Civilization VI. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.
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The X-Men Movies Ranked from Best to Worst 2020 (Final) Update

Well, The New Mutants finally made it into cinemas this week, and unfortunately, that means that the X-Men cinematic universe has drawn to a close. It is a sad moment because as you will see from the list below, there were some fantastic films during its 13 film run. However, there were also a couple of stinkers along the way as well. So for the final time, we dive into the world of Adamantium claws, laser eyes, and magnetic powers with our ranking of X-Men films.  

As always with these lists, I don’t rank them 1-10 as I feel that does not adequately reflect my feeling about each of the films and where they fit concerning each other. What we do is the group the movies into categories Fantastic, GreatGood, Okay, and Trash. Fantastic are those films which get as close to perfect when it comes to its impact on me, with compelling characters, stories, and visuals. Great are those films which I thoroughly enjoyed, but they did not move me emotionally. Good are solid films that while they have some issues, they still work and are enjoyable. Okay are films that work, they have some good moments, but you can start to see some of the flaws that almost scuttle the film. Trash are those films which don’t work, whether it is the story, the characters, the visuals, or a combination of all three, they are simply letdowns. Also, within those categories, I have listed the films, not in a ranked but chronological order.

Now I’ll always be comparing the X-Men films to the X-Men Animated Series rather than to the original comics. This is because, for me, we didn’t get the comics where I lived, so this was my first and best experience with the franchise. Also, it has the best theme of the series. All of this led to it becoming my yard post to compare anything X-Men related to. So this, and the fact that personal preference is subjective means that I might have a different order than you, but that is the good thing about reviews because this is where discussion lies. Now there may be some spoilers for you in the list below, but then most of these have been out for a while, so it should not be much of a problem. 

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Map-It: The X-Men Film Series

TL;DR – We map out all the locations of the now concluded X-Men film series

X-Men Days of Future Past. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Article

With The New Mutants getting their cinematic release (finally), the entire X-Men film franchise has been brought to a close. Even though the last couple of films have not been stand out performers, this is still sad as this is twenty years of history coming to a close. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to continue to add to our Mapping Project by mapping out the franchise and its thirteen films.

Now when starting this project, I did have a view that this would be a generally straight forward task. I was wrong. This turned out to be much more complicated than I thought given to the ambiguity of some of the locations. At the same time, some like the Statue of Liberty are clearly straight forward. I spent hours trying to nail down the location of places like the Essex House for Mutant Rehabilitation.

With this in mind, I tried where possible to situate things using the locations given in the films, or when that was not possible using the original comics as a source. In some cases, neither of these options were available, so I put them in the most reasonable place I could find. In some cases, these were actually in conflict, and in that point, you have to pick one and move on.

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Map-It: Chef’s Table 2020

TL;DR – With Chef’s Table BBQ just being released we take a look back at our map

Chef’s Table: BBQ. Image Credit: Netflix.

Map-It –

If you have been reading my reviews for a long time, then you will undoubtedly know that I have a deep love for David Gelb’s striking food documentary series Chef’s Table on Netflix. It is a world full of beautiful food, fascinating stories, and in-depth exploration into a world that I don’t get to visit. Which is even more of an issue in 2020 because of [waves hands around everywhere]. Well, today the latest season Chef’s Table BBQ came out, and I thought it was an excellent time to jump back in and give the map a refresh.  

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Map-It – Let’s Get Fast and/or Furious

TL;DR – Today we chart every location visited on screen in the Fast and Furious film franchise

The Fate of the Furious. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
The Fate of the Furious. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Map

For the site last week, I went through and watched all of the Fast and Furious films from start to finish for our review. As cars were taking down Tanks, Cargo Planes, and Submarines (oh my) and they started jumping around the world from Los Angeles, I started jotting down locations, and well we all know where that is going to lead to. So once again I have mapped out a franchise (you can also see our maps for James Bond and Marvel), from the start in LA to the ice fields of Russia. Note that we are using the named locations and not where they were filmed.

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Explore It – Out For A Day In Brisbane

TL;DR – Today I got out of the house and just went for a walk for the first time since March

Article

Since March, life has been a state of being at home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, unless you had some specific event to go to. After a while, that starts to put a drain on your mental fortitude. Also, the lack of exercise plus stress eating has not helped either. Well, yesterday I had the day off and given the good situation that Queensland was in (when I left my door that morning, but we will get into that later) I thought it was time to get out of the house and go for a wander. So I packed my bag with hand sanitiser and a mask, left after peak hour, as recommended, and started my walk.    

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Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Ethiopia Pack

TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization VI (at time of posting) in one map, this time featuring the new addition Ethiopia.

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Today we got the latest update to Civilization VI with the newest addition to the New Frontier Pass, and next pit stop into Africa with Ethiopia. So once again, we are going to dive back into the world of Cartography plus Video Games. If you want more detailed information on anything that appears on the map, you can find it at our  Civilization VI Cartographic Educational Database.

 Now 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 make sure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple different 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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Civilization VI Cartographic Educational Database

TL;DR – Links to every geographical feature mentioned in Civilization 6 so you can explore them if interested

Over the last several years we have been building our map of Civilization 6’s features, starting with our first attempt at mapping the base game back in 2017 to our latest work with the New Frontier Pass. During that time, I have waded through countless Wikipedia articles, websites, history textbooks, and Journal Articles to try and put together everything you see.

With all of this, I accumulated a lot of data on the various parts of the game, which was fun in its own way as I got to learn more about the world we live in. However, I have been trying to find a way to allow others that same joy of exploring this world. I have tried a version of this at the bottom of my maps in my past attempts. But in practice, they always felt clunky and limited.

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Article – Seatbelts, Bringing a Little Bit of That Cowboy Bebop Joy Back into the World

TL;DR – The Seatbelts are doing live versions of classic Cowboy bebop songs and they slap

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu). Image Credit: Madman.

I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone to say that I have been finding the last few months to be quite difficult. Indeed, I think it has been hard for most people and it is only increasing as the days, weeks, and months go on. I have been trying to find something to spark my joy, and while binge-watching old shows like The Nanny and Scrubs has helped, and having a watch list that might be 90% Bon Appétit videos is just the nature of the times. Nothing has really brought that smile to my world, well nothing until now.  

At the end of last year, I talked a lot about how much I loved Cowboy Bebop, an anime out of Japan that might be many of my generation’s first introduction into that art style but it is still something resonates in my heart today. One of the core components of that series that may even outlast the show is its music. It was a show that deeply wove its music into the tapestry of the show, nothing was just dumped in as filler. At the core of this musical work was composer and instrumentalist Yoko Kanno and her band the Seatbelts which has gone by シートベルツ, Shītoberutsu, Seat Belts or SEATBELTS depending on which version of the soundtrack you got. It was the smashing together of so many genres of music from jazz to pop to rock to even country and all in-between that stuck in my mind for decades.  

Well in the age of COVID and Zoom meetings, shudders Zoom meetings, there has been one ray of joy, as the SEATBELTS came back together perform songs from the soundtrack and it is just a sheer delight and everyone can listen to it here.

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Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Maya and Gran Colombia Pack

TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization VI (at time of posting) in one map, this time featuring the new additions of the Maya and Gran Colombia

Civilization VI. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Article


This week we got the latest update to Civilization VI with the New Frontier Pass, a name with both a metaphorical and literal meaning because this is some new ground for the developer, the fans, and the game itself. Instead of one big expansion pack, there will be several smaller packs out during the next year, which means we get a whole bunch of new civilizations, city-states, and wonders to add to the map. The first pack focused on The Maya and Gran Colombia, so this is where we will delve today.

 Now 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 make sure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple different sources, and map projections, and 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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