Sintang, Borneo, is only populated by immigrants from Asia Minor, which happen to be aristocrats.

I was casually browsing /r/gamedeals (yeah, as if I don’t already own enough games!), inspired by the latest Humble Bundle to look for a good price for chronically expensive Crusader Kings II plus expansions, when I stumbled upon this great offer by previously unknown to me BundleStars: Victoria 1 + 2, together with all expansions and DLC, for only €4,49! Steam keys and all! I only had vanilla Vicky 2 on GamersGate, where I received the review key, so I was itching to get it on Steam somehow. I got it and spent 6 hours non-stop trying to get the Netherlands into Club Great Eight. Alas, my warmongering and trying to take advantage of a surprisingly weak Prussia alerted the bouncers.

Once upon a time, I was writing here about how excited I was that Vicky 2 was announced… “Looks like it could be the best Paradox game yet”, I wrote. Heh, it was still two years too early for Crusader Kings II and three years too early for Europa Universalis IV. Paradox Development Studio has come a long way. Proud of you Swedes. ^^J

Wow. I just realised I’ve reviewed all of these games; that’s where the links go. The reviews are in Greek though. Here’s the one for Vicky 2 also.

In that last review, four years ago, I wrote that Vicky 2 was still a little bit unpolished. Two expansions and lots of patches later, it’s still not perfect, but it’s much more playable. If you also consider all of the mods that inevitably emerged, which I can’t comment on because I haven’t tried them yet, there’s a lot of stuff to discover.

Consider this, from the description of Episode 217 of podcast Three Moves Ahead:

3MA Producer Michael Hermes and GWJ editor Erik Hanson joins Rob and Tom to talk about Victoria II: Heart of Darkness. Rob is reconsidering some of his earlier, harsher views on Victoria while Tom argues that it is a towering achievement of game design that speaks to real-world politics in a way few others have ever attempted.

Victoria 2 might be a more polished gem nowadays, but it’s still notoriously difficult to understand and play, even compared to other Paradox games. Definitely one of the most complex games out there.

But don’t worry. If you buy it at this incredible discount, and I would strongly encourage you to do so if you can see yourself remotely enjoying such a game, here are a couple of videos to help you get started. Let’s play together then and carve Europe between ourselves. }:}

Steam, we’ve got to talk

And if you didn't catch today's deals, don't worry!
And if you didn’t catch today’s deals, don’t worry!

Steam’s Autumn Sale 2013.
Here we go again. Daily deals. Yesterday’s deals. Flash deals. Community picks.

There are 86 games in my account: most of them I’ve bought in different Humble Bundles or other sales, such as the ridiculous Holiday Sale of 2011. I’ve played less than half of them and even less than half of those have I “completed” –  quotes because the games that I prefer nowadays are generally speaking impossible to complete. A relatively small  fraction of those 86 games I got through Game 2.0 for reviewing. I don’t receive physical copies anymore, but I’ve long  got over the need of owning real copies of games, especially after getting stuck with boxed copies of games that are tied to Steam keys and which I therefore can’t sell – I’m looking at you, stack of Total Wars!

This time around, you threw in our faces Skyrim Legendary Edition for 13€, Bioshock Infinite for 7.5€, Spelunky for 3€ and Civilization V Gold and the expansion Brave New World for 10€ each. Of all of the above I only resisted to buying Skyrim (it sounded very enticing but I doubt I can give it the time it probably deserves at this point), and still believe I will buy more games before the deals are over (eyeing Super Hexagon and Anno 2070). Only a fool would skip on those prices… And then you’re going to have the Holiday Sale, of course you will. I hope we’ll at least have enough time to enjoy Civilization V online with Garret and Daphne who both got the game the day before during the sale – actually, I got it for Daphne because she seems to love it so much; who would have thought that the hot seat would have grown this hot?

I feel as if I’m being manipulated to no end. It’s confusing to my Fi (ethical system/inner values to you MBTI beginners!) – which dictates that I should at least be trying to avoid being exactly like women going crazy in the shopping mall – as well as it is destructive to my wallet and my time management. You’re tearing me apart, Steama!

But seriously. What gives? How can this even work? How can you have 1532 sales every year without cheating all of the producers and developers? How is this system viable at all? I mean, with these sales and the existence and dominance of Humble Bundle, combined with the ridiculous prices games have at launch only for them to be reduced in a matter of months through these offers (and given the extreme oversaturation of the market), it’s no wonder top AAA games are slowly becoming obsolete. Given of course that people just don’t have enough money to spend on consoles (most of the people I know don’t want to buy a new console, either because of lack of interest, money or both), it’s really no wonder that you, with your cheap, flexible and robust system (and your upcoming Steam Machines) and iOS with its innovation and low prices are looking like you will together dominate the industry even further. And really, what would happen if everybody eventually stopped buying games on day one or – god forbid – stopped preordering like tiny little consumeristic muppets? I’ll tell you what would happen: the entire industry would collapse. Again.

You know something? As cool and comfy as it is, deep down it makes me feel uncomfortable having all of my games in this digital vault made out of thin air. Now you look healthier than ever, but will that be the case in 10 years? 20? You had your DRM creep on us and had us get used to it, and now we bash everyone who tries to steal some of your limelight (yes, I know it’s fun to hate EA and forbidden to even slightly criticise mama Valve). Even if you have allowed offline play, you have made reselling games impossible. Why? How can I trust you, Steam? These cheap games are like a trojan horse: you’re becoming the Google of gaming – people put up with your shitty monopoly because you’re just so damn useful. What if tomorrow I have to buy your SteamMachine to play? What if I suddenly have to, say, pay a fee to access my games – even just a small one? I’d probably pay up just in order to still be able to play 90% of the games I own or play on a regular basis (most of which I certainly won’t have played even by then). Oh, maybe you’re like the other great benefactor, Facebook, which promises that it’s free and always will be. Isn’t that a role model of a company.

Maybe I’m expecting too much – or I’m too sceptical/paranoid. Maybe my thinking is a relic from a different era, when physical mattered more – was more tangible – than digital. Maybe in this Brave New World there really will be no difference between offline and online, the physical and its digital counterpart. As far as I can see, the counterpart in many ways has already replaced the original or is indistinguishable from it (or they really are the same thing). The strictly private has become public, a single thought or utterance shared with the world is immortalised and pinned to its creator forever (or at least for what the word ‘forever’ means in the beginning of the 21st century). The social as well as the commercial sphere is changing too quickly for us to figure out, and, well, honestly we’re just not that smart to understand in what ways we’re being manipulated, controlled and generally taken advantage of at this time by “free” or seemingly harmless services.  I hope you can understand, though: all these huge companies who are operating as monopolies (mostly in the digital plane) at the same time working with the secret services of the world or using us in other mostly unknown nefarious ways are just scaring me. No corporation can inspire my trust. That’s all.

I hope you can understand and won’t block me from playing Civilization V because I told you these things. You know I still love you. Right?

Pokemon TCG Cards for sale! (Looking Back Part 0.1)

It’s 2000. Every little kid and pre-teen (and some teens as well!) are heavily sick of Pokemon fever. The video games and TCG sell like crazy and you can see a Pikachu almost everywhere you go. Kind of like Dora the Explorer or Ben 10 of today. A little boy called Dimitris Hall is no exception and is sicker than most.

I caught the Pokemon bug (or should I say… the Bug Pokemon. Get it? ;p) early in 2000 and for a few years Pokemon was all I could think about. “I ate and breathed Pokemon”. Even today I can amaze my friends, who weren’t all that lesser of fans, by being able to recall almost the full roster of the 251 Pokemon of the first two generations. They have been etched in my long-term memory. Generations 3 and 4 were disappointments for me, so I recall being a big Poke-fan for around 3 years.  Yes, the special years of pre-puberty I was collecting virtual monsters and animals. Cool, isn’t it? I still like Pokemon but the game has not grown up or matured at all, unlike me.

Mum found my Pokemon TCG collection a few weeks ago which had been almost lost after numerous moves. She handed me my albums and boxfuls and back I went to my 11 and 12-year old self, rediscovering old prize pieces and decks. Yes, decks. I wasn’t just a collector, but also a trainer! I used to play in the Pokemon League in Holargos with my old friend Aldo. We’d go to the League every second weekend, sometimes every Saturday. And it was fun! We weren’t top players because we frequently missed meetings, but it was good fun. I still have the original 8 Gym Badges in some box here in Nea Smyrni.

It’s amazing what a money-sink this collection had been. I have hundreds of rare cards, which means that my collection had easily set my parents back (especially mum, who I now realise had dealed with my addiction quite marvelously) several thousand euros. Imagine: every booster pack cost 1.400-1.500 drachmas, the equivalent of ~€4,5. And I have so many cards, I must had bought a couple of hundreds of booster packs. OK, I will admit that I did combine my collection with a friend of mine’s back then. He suddenly lost interest so I got to keep all of his cards after claiming that it would be impossible to split our collections as they were before we had merged them (wow… what a jerk! Addictions can be very dangerous matters, hurting self and friend alike…)

They were curious, happy and care-free times. Nostalgia has been singing in my ears after I re-discovered my cards, just as if it was some siren I fell in love with long ago. But the sirens’ song is captivating… dangerous and… tranquilizing in a bad way…. 10 years later, I no longer am 11 but 21, and in a state of acceptance, reconciliation and introspection about my past life and current personality. Holding on to my collection has no point at this time. I will keep some worthless cards so that I may play with friends sometime, it is a very enjoyable game after all, but the wise decision to take is to sell the good ones; let go of this collection that brings out emotions in me not at all unlike those Gollum felt when he craved the One Ring. But better yet, I can use the money I get from the cards to buy something that suits my current needs and dreams…

So. This is my collection. I have only listed my Holos, Promos and special cards. I have not listed any of my Non-Holo Rares (I’ve got loads!) or Uncommon/Common 1st Edition ones, although some of them might be more valuable than some of the holos. If I see that selling my holos is paying off, I’ll put them up as well. Comment on this post or e-mail me at dimitrishall (duckling) hotmail (dot) com if you’re interested in any of the cards.

For a better fomatted and more readable version of the below, download this.



Cubilone’s Pokemon TCG Valuable Card Price List

Last Availability Update: 26/07/2010

Μy condition standards:
Mint (M): New, best condition available. No visible scratches or blemishes.
Near Mint (NM): Card has been handled very briefly. Has some extremely faint scratches, but is similar to Mint condition.
Very Good (VG): A few scratches, but generally looks good and is quite acceptable.
Good (G)
: Condition worse than Very Good, but still not too bad. Usually has dirt and creases, perhaps the first signs of black spots.
OK: The card has been played slightly, will have some creases, black spots and edge wear.
Played (P): The card has been fairly played and looks it. Many creases and scratches and lots of black spots.
Heavily Played (HP): This card’s condition is poor. Will have large creases, dirt, discoloration and scratches (and worse!).


Cards with a (1st) next to their condition are 1st Edition.

Double conditions, ex. G-VG, may be deemed either, depending on the collector’s condition requirements.


Alakazam 1/102 P €1 OK-G €1 OK-G €1 G-VG €2

Blastoise 2/102 G-VG €3 OK €2 OK €2 G €2

Chansey 3/102 P €1 G-VG €2

Charizard 4/102 HP €4

Clefairy 5/102 G €2

Gyarados 6/102 G €2 OK €1

Hitmonchan 7/102 VG-NM €4 VG €3 G €2 OK €2

Machamp 8/102 G (1st) €1 OK (1st) €1 OK (1st) €1

Magneton 9/102 OK €1 G €2

Mewtwo 10/102 OK €1 VG €3 G €2 G €2

Nidoking 11/102 OK €2 OK €2 OK €2 G €2

Ninetales 12/102 VG €4 VG €4

Poliwrath 13/102 OK-G €2 OK €2 OK €2 G €3

Raichu 14/102 G-VG €3 VG €4 G €2 G-VG €3

Venusaur 15/102 VG-NM €4 HP €1 G-VG €3 G €2

Zapdos 16/102 G-VG €3 VG €3 HP €1


Clefable 1/64 G-VG €3 VG €4

Electrode 2/64 G €3 OK-G €2

Flareon 3/64 VG €3

Jolteon 4/64 G-VG €3 OK €1

Kangaskhan 5/64 G-VG €3 VG €4 G €3 HP €1

Mr. Mime 6/64 G €2 G-VG €3

Nidoqueen 7/64 G €2

Pidgeot 8/64 VG €3 G-VG €2

Pinsir 9/64 OK-G €2 G €3

Snorlax 11/64 OK-G €2 HP €1

Vaporeon 12/64 G-VG €3 G €2

Venomoth 13/64 VG €3 G €2

Victreebel 14/64 G-VG €3

Vileplume 15/64 VG €3 G-VG €3

Wigglytuff 16/64 VG-NM €5 VG €4


Aerodactyl 1/62 VG (1st) €7 VG €3 OK €1 VG €3

Articuno 2/62 G €3 VG €4 HP €1 P(1st) €3

Ditto 3/62 NM €5

Dragonite 4/62 G-VG €3 VG €3

Gengar 5/62 G-VG €2

Haunter 6/62 VG €3 OK €1

Hitmonlee 7/62 G €2

Hypno 8/62 G €2 VG €3

Kabutops 9/62 VG €3 OK-G €1

Lapras 10/62 G-VG €3 OK €1 G €2 G €2

Magneton 11/62 G-VG €3

Moltres 12/62 NM €5

Muk 13/62 OK-G €1 G-VG €2

Raichu 14/62 G-VG €3

Zapdos 15/62 NM-M €4 VG €3 G-VG €2


Blastoise 2/130 NM €8

Chansey 3/130 VG-NM €5 VG €4

Clefable 5/130 VG €3 VG-NM €4

Clefairy 6/130 G €2

Hitmonchan 8/130 G-VG €3

Poliwrath 15/130 OK €2

Scyther 17/130 VG-NM €6 VG €5

Venusaur 18/130 VG €5

Wigglytuff 19/130 VG €4 NM €5


Dk Alakazam 1/82 VG €7

Dk Arbok 2/82 G-VG €5 VG €6

Dk Blastoise 3/82 VG-NM €8 VG-NM €8

Dk Charizard 4/82 P-OK €5

Dk Dugtrio 6/82 G-VG €4

Dk Gyarados 8/82 G-VG €6 NM €8

Dk Machamp 10/82 NM €7

Dk Magneton 11/82 OK-G €4 VG-NM €7

Dk Slowbro 12/82 HP-P €2 P €3

Dk Vileplume 13/82 NM €7

Dk Weezing 14/82 VG-NM €5 G €3

Here Comes Team Rocket 15/82 G-VG €6

Dk Raichu 83/82 NM-M €15


Blaine’s Moltres 1/132 P €3

Erika’s Dragonair 2/132 NM €5

Erika’s Vileplume 5/132 NM-M €6 VG-NM €4

Lt. Surge’s Fearow 7/132 NM-M €6

Lt. Surge’s Magneton 8/132 OK €3

Misty’s Seadra 9/132 NM-M €7

Misty’s Tentacruel 10/132 NM-M €7

Sabrina’s Gengar 14/132 NM-M €7

Erika 16/132 VG-NM €5

Lt. Surge 17/132 M €7


Blaine’s Arcanine 1/132 M 12€

Brock’s Ninetales 3/132 OK €4

Giovanni’s Gyarados 5/132 VG €5 VG €5

Giovanni’s Machamp 6/132 M €7

Giovanni’s Persian 8/132 VG-NM €5 NM €6

Misty’s Golduck 12/132 VG €6

Rocket’s Zapdos 15/132 NM-M €9 VG €7

Sabrina’s Alakazam 16/132 M €9

Sabrina 20/132 M €6


Ampharos 1/111 NM(1st) €11

Azumarill 2/111 NM €11 VG €7 VG €7

Bellossom 3/111 VG-NM(1st) €7

Feraligatr 4/111 HP(1st) €5

Feraligatr 5/111 NM-M(1st) €14 NM(1st) €12

Heracross 6/111 NM €8 M €9

Jumpluff 7/111 NM-M(1st) €8

Kingdra 8/111 M €6

Meganium 10/111 VG-NM €6

Meganium 11/111 NM €7 VG-NM(1st) €12 NM €7

Pichu 12/111 NM-M €10

Skarmory 13/111 NM(1st) €9

Slowking 14/111 VG €7

Steelix 15/111 VG-NM €7

Togetic 16/111 M(1st) €12 M €8


Espeon 1/75 NM(1st) €10

Foretress 2/75 OK €3

Hitmontop 3/75 M €7

Houndoom 4/75 M €9

Magnemite 7/75 M €7

Poliwrath 9/75 M €7

Scizor 10/75 NM-M €6

Tyranitar 12/75 M €9 M €9

Umbreon 13/75 NM €8

Unown A 14/75 M(1st) €8

Wobbuffet 16/75 M €6


Ampharos 1/64 M €7

Blissey 2/64 M €9

Delibird 5/64 NM €6

Entei 6/64 M €7 VG-NM €5

Ho-oh 7/64 M €12

Houndoom 8/64 NM €8

Magneton 10/64 M €7 M €7

Porygon 2 12/64 M €8

Raikou 13/64 M €8

Suicune 14/64 M €9

Shining Magikarp 66/64 VG-NM €8


Dark Donphan 3/105 NM €5

Dark Gengar 6/105 NM €6 VG-NM €5


Pikachu 1 G-VG €5 NM €6 G €4 VG €5

Electabuzz 2 G €1 VG €2

Mewtwo 3 OK-G €2 G €3

Pikachu 4 OK €1 G €1

Dragonite 5 G €1

Arcanine 6 G €1 NM €2

Mew 8 VG €2

Mew 9 NM €4

Meowth 10 NM €3 M €4

Eevee 11 VG-NM €1 NM € VG €1

Sabrina’s Abra 19 G-VG €3 NM-M €5

Pikachu 26 NM €3 VG €2

Pikachu 27 G-VG €3


Ancient Mew M €5 M €5 VG €3

Aerodactyl Pre-release 1st G €3 G €3 NM €5 NM €5

Error Nidoqueen G €5