Spring Movie League – Player One Denied

With week eleven now in the past we are down to the final two weeks of our Spring Fantasy Movie League.

Week eleven saw the likely last of the reign of The Avengers as the summer blockbuster season looms.  After two weeks split into three days The Avengers consolidated into a single expensive pick.

Avengers           $580
Life of the Party  $225
Breaking In        $131
Overboard          $85
A Quiet Place      $50
I Feel Pretty      $33
Rampage            $26
Black Panther      $22
Tully              $21
RBG                $13
Blockers           $9
Truth or Dare      $9 
Super Troopers 2   $9
Bad Samaritan      $7
Ready Player One   $6

The Avengers still seemed to be the best anchor for the week.  Neither of the two new anchor priced titles on the scene, Life of the Party and Breaking In, seemed like they had the wherewithal to take on The Avengers and its likely $60+ million take.

Or so it seemed on Monday night, with the forecasts as they stood.  But then the week went on and people started getting more and more optimistic about Breaking In.  Originally slated in the low teens, by Thursday people were calling it closer to $18 million, with some of the more exuberant saying they wouldn’t be surprised if it passed both the $20 million mark and Life of the Party.

With its pricing, a low teens Breaking In wasn’t worth considering.  But at $18 million it was cheap enough that you could load up seven screens of it and it seemed very likely to get the best performance nod, giving it a $2 million boost per screen.

What seemed like a gamble on Monday turned into a stampede by lockout time on Friday as 440 of the top 500 cineplexes went with the lineup 7x Breaking In, 1x A Quiet Place.

I was on board with that, as were seven others in the Meta League.  It seemed to be a very good bet.

And then the weekend came and with both the Saturday and Sunday estimates had a different lineup as the perfect pick.  Both Pak and Vigo were probably feeling pretty good through the weekend as their pick of 1x The Avengers, 3x Breaking In, 4x Ready Player One was on top.

The Avengers were doing about as expected, Breaking In was up near some of the high estimates, but seemed to be good for only about $16.5 million, while Ready Player One popped up relative to its $6 pricing to loom as the best performer.  A film looking to only bring in about $850K suddenly had $2 million added to its value.

The estimates stayed there through the weekend and it wasn’t until Monday afternoon when final numbers started replacing studio estimates that the real winner began to emerge.

The Avengers rang in about as expected, Life of the Party didn’t get past the $20 million mark as was forecast, ending up at about $17.9 million, and Ready Player One managed to hold onto its best performer crown.  But Breaking In popped up almost a million dollars, finishing at $17.6 million, which was just enough to make the 7x Breaking In 1x A Quiet Place lineup the perfect pick for the week.

Spring Week Eleven – Perfect Pick

It does seem a bit odd that the winning lineup lacks the best performing picture.  I am sure it has happened before, but in checking back through this season and the previous three, I didn’t see a single occurrence.  Corr pointed out that Week 9 of the Spring 2017 season had such a case, so it seems on the order of a once a year thing maybe.

There was actually a bit of rage in the FML forums about this from somebody who didn’t seem to know what the phrases “group think” or “echo chamber” seemed to actually mean.  They had the pick that got aced out in the end.  Such is life.

Another oddity for the week was the resurgence of A Wrinkle in Time, which showed up in 1,600 more theaters for week eleven for reasons that escape me.  FML missed it as well, so while it made 11th place in the box office it had nothing to do with us.  And then there was Isle of Dogs, which was in 14th place overall.  If the pricing lineup had had perfect information, Ready Player One, in 16th overall, and Bad Samaritan, in 18th place overall, shouldn’t have even made the cut for the week.

It feels like a week where there should have been a Best of the Rest option at the bottom.

So that left the Meta League scores for the week looking like this:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $134,867,391
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $134,867,391
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $134,867,391
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $134,867,391
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $134,867,391
  6. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $134,867,391
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $134,867,391
  8. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $134,867,391
  9. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $127,217,432
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $126,539,630
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $126,539,630
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $116,022,807
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $114,083,857
  14. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $113,930,162
  15. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $107,265,819
  16. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $106,171,002
  17. Kraut Screens (T) – $104,587,829
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $103,648,088
  19. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $103,474,232
  20. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $102,894,868
  21. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $100,244,909
  22. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $81,531,546

The Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The top eight were all the same pick, followed by Aure and the theory that I Feel Pretty would get a boost from mother’s day, an idea that got crushed in the end.  Still, at least that kept it from being nine with the same pick I guess.  Then the two who got robbed when the final numbers came out, but weren’t too far behind in the end, which gets us to the halfway point of the list.

Dan had the most unfortunate selection, betting heavy on Life of the Party, I Feel Pretty, and RBG.  No Avengers and no Breaking In make Homer something something, and Dan was the only one without either.

That left the overall lineup looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,277,151,284
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,253,241,558
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,215,614,121
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $1,200,573,162
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $1,194,268,834
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $1,179,218,312
  7. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,171,399,575
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,170,388,468
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,162,257,297
  10. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,138,672,100
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $1,129,640,443
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $1,097,787,239
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $1,051,852,293
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $1,043,291,814
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $1,014,494,563
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $1,008,757,400
  17. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $1,002,097,397
  18. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $990,856,573
  19. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $956,663,129
  20. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $940,502,452
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $932,324,490
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $835,202,336

Now is the point in the season when I must again mention the seeming unassailable state of Ben’s lead.  Ben essentially has to stumble in the next two weeks.  But given his performance so far this season, with the perfect pick five weeks out of eleven so far, that seems a dim hope.

As for the rest of the list, when eight of us pick the same lineup, and most of those were in the top eight of the overall standings already, that doesn’t make for a lot of change.  Dan took the biggest hit, with a drop from sixth to tenth place.  A few other people changed a spot or two, but there was nothing like a shakeup.

The main competition seems to be for sixth spot overall, with four of us possibly in the running for that.

While leads us to week twelve, the penultimate week of the season and the options it provides:

Deadpool 2 FRI      $501
Deadpool 2 SAT      $452
Deadpool 2 SUN      $337
Avengers            $280
Show Dogs           $99
Book Club           $98
Life of the Party   $76 
Breaking In         $73
Overboard           $50
A Quiet Place       $45
Pope Francis        $25 
I Feel Pretty       $21 
Rampage             $19
Tully               $13
RBG                 $13

Deadpool 2 is the big dog this week, big enough to be split over three days.  In addition there is Book Club, which is literally about four women in their 60s reading Fifty Shades of Grey (Does them reading a bad book make for a bad movie?), Show Dogs, which is set in our world only dogs are sentient, and Pope Francis, which is, as you might expect, about Pope Francis.

With six slots being claimed by new films, there was a serious purge of the low end, with Blockers, Truth or Dare, Super Troopers 2, Bad Samaritan, Ready Player One, and Black Panther being dropped from the list.

Unless you have a serious counter programming inspiration here, it seems like some variation on Deadpool 2 is your anchor choice of the week, two screens preferred.  I have to imagine that The Avengers will tank all the more with another superhero flick hitting the box office.  It is just the usual decision about whether or not Friday is a mug’s game this time around.  For The Avengers FML was on the money for Friday, but underestimated Saturday and Sunday.  Will it go the other way this time around?

And then there are the changes to FML.

Go make your picks early just in case the new interface confuses you.  You now have the option to make different picks for each league you are in.  This will come into play next season when the special rules option shows up. (See Monday’s post about the options proposal.)  Once you see how to copy your picks from one league to the others it isn’t so bad, but if you want to keep all your picks in sync… and you change your mind a lot like I do… it can be annoying.

The new interface also means I can’t take the usual huge screen shot of my lineup.

The price of change.

So there we go, on to week twelve and Deadpool 2!

Age of Kings Continues to Expand

As I mentioned in the previous month in review post, I have been playing some Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings recently.

In part that has been because it is an easy game to fall back on.  I have a long history with it and it is one of the best RTS games I’ve played.  It is well balanced and the AI can be pretty good.  Finding myself without a burning interest in much else besides EVE Online of late, it is pretty natural that I end up here.

There as also a bit of achievement farming driving my return.  I don’t generally chase achievements on Steam unless I am really into a game (like Defense Grid for example).  But I was looking at the list for Age of Kings and had to ask myself things like, “Have I really never won against the Spanish?”  So I started using that as a guide for who I should face.

But mostly I am back because a few weeks ago I got a notice that the expansions for the game were on sale, so I decided to pick them up.

There are now three expansions for the game available on Steam.  These are all recent expansions, as the original 2000 expansion for the game, The Conquerors, comes with the base game now.

I actually already owned the first expansion, The Forgotten, but hadn’t had a lot of time with it.  But I picked up The African Kingdoms and Rise of the Rajas, which add empires from Africa and Southeast Asia.

I have to say I am actually pretty impressed with these expansions.  Even at their normal price of $10 they deliver quite a bit of content.  The all include four new empires to play, with structure graphic to go along with their themes.  I immediately gravitate to that.  But they also come with some new technologies, new units, new map types, new game modes, and four full on campaigns to play through.

I’ve always gone straight to the skirmish mode against the AI or friends, but with a dozen new campaigns to hand I might have to start exploring that aspect of the game.

Meanwhile, I have to say that the additions to the game are pretty good.  The new map types comes with their own biome, so rather than sheep you might have some other livestock to harvest right off.

Grabbing water buffalo on the Mangrove Swamp map

Everybody starts with the same Dark Age buildings, but once you get to the Feudal Age and beyond the buildings in the new expansions reflect the various civilizations.

Burmese in the Castle Age

The new map types have some interesting ideas.  Pictured above is the mangrove swamp map, which limits you to a modest patch of land.  The rest of the map is shallow swamp and trees.  You cannot build on the swamp, so you have to manage and hold your starting spot.  Also, additional gold and stone harvest spots, as well as all the relics, are located within the trees so you have to harvest your way to them or use a siege engine to tear out a path.

Mangrove Swamp map

This would be an interesting map to use against other players.  It certainly eliminates the whole “hide a villager and build a town center in some corner of the map” aspect of the game.  You have to stand and fight because you can’t build elsewhere.

Totally This

On the other hand, this was a map style that the AI wasn’t able to handle.  After repulsing the first attack from the AI and battling it again mid path, I arrived in the AI town to find all the villagers standing around idle.  The AI had harvested up everything on the land patch, used up those resources, and then stopped.

I suspect that the AI has something in it about being efficient, so it won’t harvest wood or mine unless it has a resource collection building close to hand.  However, since you cannot build on the water your villagers have to cross a fairly wide gap to start in on the trees around your land patch.  So despite the fact that the AI was surrounded by woods and had two exposed gold patches nearby, it ignored them as unharvestable.

Still, I have been enjoying some time back with Age of Kings, a game that launched back in 1999.  Thanks to the HD update, which itself is now past the five year mark, it is still very much playable and enjoyable after all this time.

Meanwhile I haven’t really heard anything about Age of Empires Definitive Edition that Microsoft was touting about a year back.  It was supposed to be out on February 20th of this year, a date that came and went without me noticing even a peep.  I haven’t seen any news and since I cannot even purchase it, not having Windows 10, I cannot tell how things went.  I guess it launched, according to Wikipedia, but didn’t make much of a splash.  That’s what making it a Microsoft Store exclusive gets you I guess.

Likewise, the hype around the otherwise vaguely described Age of Empires IV seems to have dissipated as no further news about it has popped up anywhere that I have seen.  So I guess I will stick with what I have.

New Fantasy Movie League Options

If you’re reading this you are probably aware that Fantasy Movie League has been a thing around here for nearly a year at this point.  Over that time it quickly became a weekly post and there is now a TAGN league you can join and all that.  It has been fun… for me at least… and has kept me more aware than I have ever really been about movie releases.

But there have been some problematic aspects to the way FML runs its seasons.  There are features that sit wrong with myself or others, things like the Friday morning lockout deadline which allows the canny to get the Thursday night preview numbers (which count towards Friday totals) and change their lineup at the last moment to account for any unexpected performance.

However, now just two weeks before the Summer blockbuster season starts up, FML has announced a big upgrade to their league features.  You will now be able to alter the parameters of the leagues you create.  The options include:

  • Lock Deadline. You can keep the lock time at the default Noon ET/9am PT Friday setting, or move it up all the way to 6pm ET/9pm PT on Monday (just an hour after new movies and prices come out!).
  • Season Length. You can keep the default 12- to 14-week long season that FML uses for the Season Showdown competitions, or you can select a shorter season length from 2 to 12 weeks.
  • Scoring Settings. You now have control over the following options:
    • Perfect Cineplex Bonus
    • Best Performer Bonus
    • Empty Screen Penalty
    • Worst Performer Penalty. This bonus category is new to FML! The Worst Performer is the Best Performer in reverse: the movie that had the worst box-office-to-FML-Bux ratio. The value can be set to whatever number is desired, or the feature turned off.

This seems to allow a league to be setup to cover all the various objections that people, including myself, have about the default way FML seasons are run.  There is enough there to make for some interesting scenarios.  What if, for example, you gave people a reverse “worst performer” penalty, that is to say, a worst performer bonus?  I am not sure you can do that, but that might shake things up.

Anyway I am going to propose a change to the TAGN league for the summer season.  This is what I am thinking of:

  • Earlier Lock Deadline

This is the obvious one.  Make people pick and lock their choices before Thursday night previews.  The question is how early is early enough but not too early.  Part of me would like to see a really early lock, before previews or theater counts are out, which would be Wednesday morning at the latest.

However, I wouldn’t want to lock too early as that makes it more likely that people will forget to pick.  As fun/funny as a Tuesday morning lock would be, I wouldn’t want to do it before my weekly post goes up to remind people that the game is on and that they need to pick.  So I think the earliest optimal time is Wednesday night.  (Or I could move the post to Tuesday, which might not be a bad idea anyway.  I generally have it done Monday night.

Anyway, if you’re interested, I’d like to hear what time you think it ought to lock.

Then the second thing I am considering:

  • No Bonuses

This is something that triggers a bit of my inner Bernie I think.  Giving a bonus to the person who got the best score strikes me a bit as the rich getting richer.  You already beat everybody and now you want more?  As a DM once said to me, “Gold is its own reward!” when explaining why he wasn’t dishing out xp with gold the way it said he was supposed to back in the era of AD&D 1.0.  Winning is its own reward.  You don’t need a bonus to extend your lead.

Or such are my thoughts.  I’d be good with other people’s input on this.  I’ll put up a poll about this in case you just want to click a radio button rather than write a comment.

There is a poll between this line and the word “comment” above.  If you do not see it AdBlock may be hiding it or you are using Firefox as your browser.

There are also some complications.  If you are in multiple leagues, as I am, you will need to make multiple cineplexes, since each may have to conform to different rule.  Fortunately, that is now supported as well.  If you’re only in the TAGN league I don’t think you will have to change anything, but we shall see.

Something Missing in Scarlet Gorge

Yes, I am still playing Rift Prime, though I haven’t spent much time there over the last few of weeks.  I’ve made a bit of progress, but events in New Eden and a growing sense of ennui has dominated my play time.

Tiger racing through the sticks, trumped by spaceship politics

While I was caught up in levels… or so I felt… I did linger about Stonefield for a bit longer to wrap up a few achievements.  Alas, I could not find two more quests to get the achievement for that, but I did find the torch up on the rocks above Granite Falls for the Dancing with Squirrels.

Stop… Squirrel Time

From there I headed into Scarlet Gorge, the next zone up the chain.

Looking into Scarlet Gorge

I did notice that, as I passed into the zone there was a quest giver standing off to one side who gave me passage through the portal into Iron Pine Peaks.  That was nice, and I filed that away for later, because in my head, IPP was a higher level zone and not something I would bother with at that point.

Scarlet Gorge started as I remembered and I ran through the initial quest chain and followed it northward up the valley until it sort of stopped at about the mid point.  It felt like I missed a chain or a turn somewhere.  I rode further up and ended in mobs that were four and more levels above me.  That wasn’t playing.  My brain seemed to insist that there was more to do, but wasn’t pointing me at anything viable.

I did recalled that I needed to go up the sky tram at the starting hub to an encampment up on one of the peaks.  There I found myself just within the right level range, but that quickly led me into Scarwood Reach.  I was still just level 27 so that did not bode well.

In looking at the map however, I noticed that I had another option.

Map of my area

I can still find references to Iron Pine Peak starting at level 41, but that appears to have been revamped somewhere along the way and was now right in the level range for me.  I took a side trip up there into the snow and ice.

So I headed through the local portal and went to play in the snow.

The quest chain in IPP seemed familiar in that way things do when you’re been away for five years but still have bits and pieces of bouncing around in your head.  IPP was not one of my favorite zones, but I hauled around there through level 28 and into level 29.

Level 29 in the snow

That done, I actually hit the portal at the west end of IPP and headed back to Scarwood Reach where I started in on the quest line there.  For some reason Scarwood Reach is another zone that I remember pretty well, so I have been following the chain of tasks there.

I’ve been here before… I know where the artifacts spawn

Scarwood Reach as a zone is pretty good and I have move through it well enough.

Overall however, momentum in Rift Prime has clearly slowed down.  The guild I am in, which was semi-active, with everybody playing at least a bit each week, has now pretty much dragged to a halt.  I may be the only one who has logged into the game in the last two weeks.

As I mentioned at the top of the post, activity in EVE Online has been eating up a good portion of my gaming time.  But the ennui bit is also a factor too.  I’ve probably played more Age of Empires II in the last week than Rift Prime in the last two weeks.  I also had a good game of Civilization II going over the weekend, though that has reached a bit of a “me vs. the world” stalemate… which I still played for a while rather than log into Rift.

I’m not calling it yet, but my nostalgia time here seems to be in peril.

MER – Fruitful Farms and Fallow Fields

CCP has their monthly New Eden economic report out for April 2018 so it is time once again to see where the various regions rank.

I started doing posts about the monthly economic report (MER) in part to watch how Delve, the home region of the Imperium, was doing compared to that of competing coalitions.  By that sort of measure the whole things has gotten a bit dull with the repetition of “Delve wins again…” when it comes to various metrics, such as mining output.

One of the responses I figured would come in time would be the rise of some competitor, some group set to vie with the economic power of Delve.  Every month I look again for a challenger, but every month I seem to see much of the same instead, and April’s numbers seem true to form, starting with mining output.

April 2018 – Mining Value by Region

Once again Delve is at the top of the list, a point yet again accentuated by the accompanying bar graph. (As always, you can click in the charts to see them in full, or at least more legible, size.)

April 2018 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

The region held steady it total value mined, though with a further dip in overall mineral prices, that may mean more actual ore, as measures by volume, was actually extracted from the region.

April 2018 – Economic Indices

Delve remains a happy place for those tending the asteroid fields, farming them for their ore, as this actual picture from Delve indicates.

Literally the Delve Standing Fleet

Perhaps more interesting these days is where mining output is going down.  Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein, where we have been fighting a guerilla war against Guardians of the Galaxy, saw another down turn.  Deklein was especially hard hit, with output dropping from 1.36 trillion ISK in value in March to just 455 billion ISK in April.

But other places of recent conflict have been down as well.  Cobalt Edge, in the process of changing hands, saw a large drop.  Providence remains suppressed as part of the PL invasion of the region.  And even Querious, a holding of the Imperium, is down, likely due to NCDot deploying to Gehi to spur fights around there.

NPC bounties show a similar pattern.

April 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

As the bar chart clearly indicates, Delve remains out in front on this measure as well.

April 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

While Pure Blind and Deklein both continue to decline due to our adventures in the north, Fade held steady though the number was small.  Branch, on the other hand, remained on par with last month.  Branch is the one GotG region outside of the reach of our deployment, so remains a safe(r) place for them to rat.

Meanwhile high sec saw a slight increase in its piece of the bounty pie.

April 2018 – Bounties by Space Sec Rating

In April high sec had 7.2% of the bounties, up from 6.3% in March.  That boost seems to have come as a dip in the overall amount of bounties as April wrapped up.

April 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

High sec activity, as measured by agent mission rewards, remains a constant while bounty payments fluctuate.

On trade value The Forge, home of Jita, remains the leader.

April 2018 – Trade Value by Region

It continues of dominate so hard that the bar graph is only worth looking at when you remove it.

April 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

With The Forge excluded Domain, with the Amarr trade hub, continues to rule. (Domain is also pretty strong for high sec mining, coming in fourth place overall and ahead of The Forge.)  Delve is behind that, but pretty strong for a null sec region.

When it comes to contracts though, The Forge’s lead dwindles.

April 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

The strength of Delve when it comes to contracts seems likely tied to production, as selling fully equipped ships (common for doctrine ships or when you order a capital or a super capital) boosts that.

April 2018 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

For whatever reason there was only a bar graph for production this month, so actual values are missing.  Delve stands out in front, though I suspect that if we were able to add up the regions around Jita, which include Lonetrek and The Citadel in addition to The Forge, we would find that those together out-produced Delve. (I could find this in the raw data, but I’m not feeling motivated enough to go download that.)

Anyway, production continues in Delve sufficient to outpace any null sec aspirant.

Then there is the regional summary chart, which I like because it stacks up a number of key items into one picture.

April 2018 – Regional Summary Stats

Last month I ended on some questions, which I guess I should try to answer.  They were:

  • Will Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein remain down?
  • Will the Space Violence SIG showing up in the north push them down further?
  • Will the “Bee Control” attacks on Delve suppress its numbers?
  • Will the Locust Fleet boost Querious mining?
  • Will Delve production remain this high?
  • Am I going to have to bring up Fountain at some point?

I am going to call it, “Yes, yes, no, no, yes, maybe.”

And so it goes.  Another month and not much real change in who is doing what and where.

As usual, the actual monthly economic report contains more charts and all the raw data.

Kickstarter – One Day Left for Empires of EVE Vol II

The eventual success of Andrew Groen’s Kickstarter campaign for Empires of EVE Vol II was never really in doubt.  The original was a success, selling more than 15,000 copies, so there was little in the way of surprise when the project funded quickly, making the modest $12,500 goal in just a few hours.

Fully Funded

Currently the total pledged has passed the $150K mark.

As the campaign went on, new tiers were added, including an option to get the original and the second volume as one package.  The latest update announced that backers would be getting a digital art book titled A History of the Great Memes of EVE Online as part of the deal.

However, the campaign is coming to an end.  So if you want to support the project and secure a first run copy of the next chapter in Andrew Groen’s history of EVE Online, the time to act is now.

It will be for sale through Amazon eventually, but to get it soonest, to support the project, and to get the book of EVE Online memes, you have to back the project before it ends.

Go here to pledge now.

Addendum:  The campaign is now closed, having exceeded the campaign for the first book by bringing in $169,160 from 2,643 backers.

The first book brought in $95,729, though it had more backers, the number landing at 3,116.  I guess we were willing to spend more this time around.

The promised release date for Empires of EVE Vol II is May 2019, so call it August 2019 at least before it is done.

Spring Movie League – Troopers Filling In

Week ten of the Spring Fantasy Movie League is done and gone now.

It was another big weekend for The Avengers: Infinity War as expected, with the film spending a second week split into three days.  The lineup for week ten looked like this:

Avengers SAT       $560
Avengers SUN       $418
Avengers FRI       $335
Overboard          $167
A Quiet Place      $94
I Feel Pretty      $63
Tully              $56
Rampage            $52
Black Panther      $42
Bad Samaritan      $40
Blockers           $21
Truth or Dare      $18
Super Troopers 2   $17
Ready Player One   $16
Traffik            $10

The anchor choices for the week were again limited to a few variations on a theme with The Avengers.  To get the most Avengers for your budget you could get, with Saturday projected to be the big day, the option was really only Sat/Fri.  The Sat/Sun combo required much faith and a pile of empty screens.  Sun/Sun could have been possible, maybe, but Sat/Fri seemed much more likely to be a winner.

That was if you believed The Avengers were the only way to go.  If you saw upside in some of the new films hitting theaters, like Overboard or Tully, you could always trim back on the big fish to rely on cheaper choices.

Personally I wasn’t buying that.  I went big on The Avengers with the Saturday/Friday combo as my anchor, a pair that allowed me fill my remaining screens with low cost filler.  With $105 left over to spend, or about $18 a screen for my six remaining screens, I actually had a few choices.  I could mix and match a combo made up of the last five films on the price list.  But which to pick.

After dropping 75% in its second week I put Super Troopers 2 off my list.  I fiddled around a bit with different options, but ended up with 1x Sat, 1x Fri, 1x Blockers, and 5x Ready Player One.

Spring Week Ten – My Picks

My thoughts were that Blockers still seemed to have some life left in it and Ready Player One, which I actually went to see the previous week, seemed to be falling more slowly than Super Troopers 2 was.  Plus this combo spent my entire $1,000 budget which, as I have said before, if pricing was accurate ought to net me the best result.  I know that isn’t necessarily true in practice, but something in my brain likes spending my whole budget.

And then when picks locked on Friday morning I began to feel like I might have made an error.  Almost everybody in the MCats league was heavy on Super Troopers 2 as filler, as were key players in the TAGN league.  And the report that comes out that tracks the Top 500 FML players each week reported that 271 of them had gone with 1x Sat, 1x Fri, 6x Super Troopers 2, making it the most popular pick by far in that group.

The Saturday estimates had that lineup as the perfect pick.  Sunday reinforced it.  And while there was a little bit of anxiety that a change in the final numbers might upset that trend, in the end it was the perfect pick, chosen 1,426 player, including five from the Meta League.

Spring Week Ten – Perfect Pick

Clearly I had not been paying attention to the right signs.

So that turn of events left the weekly scores looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $106,358,272
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $106,358,272
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $106,358,272
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $106,358,272
  5. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $106,358,272
  6. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $100,866,896
  7. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $99,088,766
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $92,430,509
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $90,186,882
  10. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $88,954,446
  11. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $86,532,009
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $86,301,883
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $85,795,344
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $83,860,998
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $82,817,241
  16. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $82,437,360
  17. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $81,809,352
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $78,459,313
  19. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $71,321,061 (did not pick)
  20. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $69,654,975
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $65,008,538 (did not pick)
  22. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $56,098,105 (did not pick)

The Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The big winners this week were Corr, Ben, Dan, Biyondios, and Goat Water Picture Palace, all of who got the perfect pick.

The rest of the lineup stratified pretty much based on which days of The Avengers they chose and how many screens of Super Troopers they had.  Then there were the mid-pack players who had no screens of ST2, followed by those who skimped on The Avengers and/or bet heavily on one of the week’s new titles.

Heartbreak of the week probably goes to Po Huit whose line up of 1x Sat, 7x Tully was beat by Bean Movie Burrito, the latter who forgot to pick so just rolled over his previous week’s pick with 1x Sat and 1x Sun of The Avengers.

That left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,142,283,893
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,118,374,167
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,080,746,730
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $1,065,705,771
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $1,059,401,443
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,057,140,554
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $1,044,350,921
  8. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,044,182,143
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,035,717,667
  10. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,035,521,077
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $1,026,745,575
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $962,919,848
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $938,703,985
  14. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $925,312,663
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $911,020,331
  16. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $901,852,488
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $894,673,543
  18. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $874,833,766
  19. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $853,015,041
  20. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $834,331,450
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $825,058,671
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $721,272,174

Despite the range of scores for week ten there was not a lot of movement in the overall rankings.  Aure, Goat, and Dan all moved up, but otherwise the weight of the previous nine weeks of scores held most people in place.  It just wasn’t a big enough week to shake things up this late in the game.

Which leads us to week eleven, which also seems like a modest week in the making, with the pricing looking like:

Avengers           $580
Life of the Party  $225
Breaking In        $131
Overboard          $85
A Quiet Place      $50
I Feel Pretty      $33
Rampage            $26
Black Panther      $22
Tully              $21
RBG                $13
Blockers           $9
Truth or Dare      $9 
Super Troopers 2   $9
Bad Samaritan      $7
Ready Player One   $6

New on the list are Life of the Party, Breaking In, and RBGLife of the Party is a vehicle for Melissa McCarthy antics and, great character actor though she is, I am not sure is going to be a huge draw.  It will be on a lot of screens, but I am not sure I’d throw over The Avengers for it.  Long range forecasts have it passing $20 million, which is good for that sort of film, but not a blockbuster.

Breaking In is a action adventure crime drama with no big names as a draw and a long range forecast putting it in the low teens.

And then there is RBG, a feature looking at the life and career of supreme court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  It did very well last week on a per screen dollar basis, but was only at 34 venues nationwide.  It feels like a very niche title to me, something I’d watch on a Sunday afternoon, but not something I’m going to schlep over to the local art house cinema to catch.  How it does probably depends greatly on how many more screens it gets this week.

Because of The Avengers collapsing down to one pick this week, the only film from last week bumped off the list is Traffik.

But the all-in-one package of The Avengers still seems like the starting place for lineups, with estimates in the $60 million range, unless Life of the Party starts getting a lot of buzz.  Meanwhile, the filler pricing is at an all time low for the season, with Ready Player One just six bucks a screen.

My Monday night gut pick was 1x The Avengers, 2x Overboard, and 6x A Quiet Place, but that is not a line up I am wed to in anyway and I expect to change that up once some mid-week forecasts show up along with theater counts.

This might not be a big week, but after this we face the openings of Deadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story.   Mistakes on those weeks could shake up the final standings.