The start of spring and the warmth that it brings also signals the commencement of my convention season. Admittedly, its a small season, with only three conventions on the list, but it’s something I look forward to every year as I get to see friends I only see a few times a year while traveling across the country.

The Convention season has always started, for me, with the ECR.

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It is truer each Monday that it was the prior.

XCOM is hard.

Now, though, It has settled into my bones and I have become weary. Not of the game itself, but of the endless repetition of starting over, of each tortured revolution back to whence it came in order to slam down with its full and awesome might upon my battered and broken soul, screaming in anguish that I once again have to suffer the lessons of introduction.

Yet I continuously fail, the fault of which lies at no ones feat but my own. Where I should learn, instead, i continue to make mistakes, so many of which send the game into an inevitable spiral that reaches its terminus not at a final destination, but at the beginning, where I start uphill again.

Be warned, there are spoilers. 

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On the top of the attributes that makes XCOM the pinnacle of my gaming joy, is its unforgiving, relentless, mercilessness. Those who have been reading a bit will get this as a simple truism about how my gaming career went, but games like Megaman, Dark Souls, and XCOM are exactly where I like the punishment scale to lie – maybe a little rough. I say that as I head into starting my seventh C/I Game in XCOM2, still playing a month after purchase, give or take a few days. I have yet to see the end of the game and it has been glorious!

And I am learning, becoming more deadly and more confident each time. Each game I start and play to the end I absorb a little more, I see more cracks appear in the alien infrastructure. It may not be this day, It may not be this week, but the aliens, their days are numbered.

Warning – Extremely Likely Spoiler Content

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I don’t get to go to many tournaments. Its not a problem for me, just a statement. When I go, though, I often fret for a while on what I am going take, what I can do to cover match-ups, and how I am going to avoid being curb stomped. Saturday I made it to my first tournament in a rather long time (December?), and my first one back with Cryx. I had a great time, played three insane games, and walked away with my head held high!

This one is long, bear with me! Three awesome games!

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Its not often that I feel like the game is starting to favor me, and each time It does, I get gently smashed into bits for my arrogance. Its starting to come back to me, though, and I can only guess the retribution that will be laid upon me. I’ve made it into May. My operatives have new weapons, new armors, and powerful technology. I have a core of experienced soldiers who are gritty, dirty and veterans of a half dozen or more combats.The Avenger is becoming a flying fortress, equipped with the strongest facilities that enable a lively resistance.

As I said before, though, I fear it will not be enough.

As always: Likely spoilers ahead, though I am not far into the story, there are many game play options explored. 

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Broken, Beaten, Scared

It has been a long, long time since I’ve had my ass beat as badly as it has been beat while trying to worry through Deneghra 3. Taking my deserved beatings, though, doesn’t feel good, and It’s illuminating two aspects that I don’t find that I am very experienced with: List Pairing and List innovation. I don’t think that either of these are skills I cannot try and bring to wield as a deadly weapon, but it may yet take a number of years.

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It is not roses and rainbows as we fight against our alien overlords. I’ve lost many of my favorite solider, but Xcom2 has not broken my spirit. It has bent it, and I am not taking it kindly. My resolve has doubled, and am committed to defeating the alien menace, Even if there are no people left on the planet to enjoy their new found freedom because I keep getting them all killed. But we will soldier on and I will continue to write those tragic letters home.

Remember, Beyond here, Spoilers may be had. Ye be warned!

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Darkest Before the Dawn

Sometimes, the hardest part of this game is hitting the reset button. Every once in a while, seeing that you have put work into making a list function, put thought and time into setting up what you think is a formidable and powerful set of synergies, and played a number of games that were, good, but not good enough, you have bow your head and admit defeat. At that point, You’ve reached the hardest part of a list. The daylight is in view. Seize it. I have recently hit that point with Deneghra 3

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