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Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
It’s Coooolin ! Hey there! Are you new to HUT? About to fire it up for the first time? Here’s a guide for you! ... and tips at the verrryyyy end!!
Knowing the Menus
There’s a bunch of things to do in HUT under different categories they are ... • HUT Central • Solo Play • Online • Auction House - sets • Team Each of these have various things underneath them, so let’s talk about them. HUT CENTRAL First off we have a scroll-through menu on what new content is out. New content; packs, and players gets released every week day at 5pm EST , unless it’s a Holiday - then we’ll get the content a day earlier. You will see when the content is out of packs by the timer and the date on the banner shown - Winterinternational Players released Monday were a week long to pull. We will see new events come into HUT bi-weekly. This event ends soon, so we will see a new Event next Friday at 5pm EST. Team of the Weeks are Wednesdays at 5pm EST. Available for the Week. HUT RUSH What else is there on HUT Central? You can go directly to HUT RUSH game mode by going to the banner using the left stick, highlighting it and clicking “X” or “A”. HUT Rush is 2 game modes , normally one is Traditional Hockey gamestyle, and other is Arcade Hockey gamestyle with “moneypuck” attached. Play games, win, get points, rank up in tiers. Get rewards - instantly. You can net 18.5k in coins, and 2 and a half gold collectables normally — or 100 Gold Players for 3 Gold Collectables, once. — willl talk about later. This is a limited time set, ending Tuesday @5pm EST. Objectives / Milestones You will also be available to see what Objectives / Milestones are close to completion. Click on this, and you will be shown the “Daily” Objectives. If you do all these, you get a Monthly Collectable, and 1,250 coins for the day. Weekly Objectives are the same thing, finish all those up within a weeks time (Friday at 5pm EST - Friday at 5pm EST) and get a cool 5k, plus an Untradable Premium Pack - worth 7,500 coins. Milestones have infinite time, do those for coins, players, packs. Do them all? Get yourself an Icon or Gold Collectable. — I’ll talk about these later.
Under Solo Play there is Squad Battles , and Challenges. What is Squad Battles? Squad Battles is playing your team against the A.I. for points. The higher difficulty; rookie, semi-pro, pro, all-star, superstar - and opponents OVR - i.e., 77 or 88 - the more points you can obtain. To get max points, score 5 goals, and have 20 shots on net. Points will increase as more people play, and get updated weekday, 5pm EST. The more games you play, and win the higher the rank you will get. Aim for at least Pro 2 , which is 4-5 games.** Squad Battles resets on Wednesday - 5pm EST and you will receive your rewards on Thursday at 5pm EST. —- some people still don’t know this, so have that memorized and you’ll know more than some people. Squad Battles affects your win-loss ratio, and Players Stats Squad Battles rewards you in Tradable Packs, Coins, and HUT Sweats CHAMPS points Challenges Challenges are a great way to earn a coin stack, and receive free packs - usually earned at the second last - last challenge in the “Event Challenges”. You will also receive Monthly Collectables throughout doing the Event Challenges.
Whats unique about this event is that by getting 3 stars, you will earn a Winterinternational collectable!! - will talk about later!
If you opt not to do these Event Challenges, there are “offline” challenges to do - Starting at Rookie, and ending in Superstar you can net a free 200k for doing them all!! It is time consuming, but it’s 200k worth! Challenge Coin Tiered
Rivals Mode What is Rivals? Rivals is playing against people online. PS+ or Xbox Membership is required in order to play online. Play your first 5 games, get entered into a Division. Do well - win lots in a row, and you’ll be able to go up in Divisions. This gives yourself better, and bigger rewards. Want to get those rewards in a higher tier, but you’re afraid you’ll lose the division? Hold off, and don’t play. Rivals resets Tuesdays at 5pm EST, Rewards available Wednesday at 5pm EST. Each game gives you points, as well. You get more points winning than losing, duh. More points will net you better rewards for the week. I normally just aim for Gold. You can choose from Tradable packs, Untradable packs (2 times the amount as tradable) or coins. Play a friend You can play your friend in HUT. They will obviously use their HUT team, and you’ll use yours. You can use expired loan players in this. Make up your own rules, and have fun!
Buy players, jerseys, logos, coaches, arenas, cellys, jersey numbers, goalie masks in the Auction House. You can also sell your own, as well. Simply click on the “Auction House” . You can change the category by clicking “X/A” and scroll over to your designated category you want to buy. - Also filter out the things if you want a specific player, or event. You will have the option to click down and sell players, view them in the next tab and see how much time is left, and also see what price they go for at the very end at the “Sell Transactions” - it will show you what you’ve sold, and by clicking “R2/RT” you will have a timestamp, going back a week, month, year, or all-time. Clicking “L2/LT” you will see your sold items, and expired items — if they didnt sell they’ll go here. • Since you are new?? There is a “Market Crash” happening right now. Load yourself up with “Base” 84+ cards for cheap - Mackinnon, Kane, McDavid - best Base player - Hedman, Vasilevskiy, etc., —- Tall goalies are “meta” , as well as “speedy” players. — I would also suggest buying TOTW Players, they will rebound in price. Sets Do your re-rolls what even is a “re-roll” ? A reroll is trading in 8 of a specific “level” to 2 of the “next level” players. For example 8 Bronze Players to 2 Silver Players. 8 Silver Players to 2 Gold Players. Lastly, we have 8 Gold Players to 2 Gold Players with one being an 80+ Player. I would not suggest doing the Gold -> Gold reroll You can also trade in Monthly Collectables you get from the Daily login for a Free Gold Collect / Icon. This costs 30 Monthly Collectables. You can also get packs, or a 80-82 player. You can get 2 per day - Daily Pack you get every 24hrs, plus doing the Daily Challenges. When a player gets 50 Gold Players, you can lock those into a Gold or Icon Collectable. Each will help your team in various ways, lets look at it. There is a set right now under “Winterinternational” where you trade in 100 Gold Players to 3 Gold Collectables, I highly suggest this, especially as a new player - redeemable twice —- The Winterinternational Collectables from the Event Challenges gives you a free Gold Collectable or helps with building a 91/92 random player, or specific player. For the free Gold Collectable you need 21 Winterinternational Collectables. — Icon Collectable - Untradable Master Icons. 1 Icon Collectable is an 85 Master Icon. There’s 84-89 OVR Master Icons available. Each one requires more and more Icon Collectables. —- Master Icons will eventually go to 99 OVR. Will require more Icons. Lower OVR Icons will need more Icons to get to Max OVR - 99. Higher Icons - Gretz / Lem. will require less. To get Lemieux / Gretzy it is 7? Icon Collectables. Gold Collectables - Tradable / Untradable Event Master Set Players (MsPs). Less Gold Collectables will net you an Untradable MSP , More Gold Collectables will net you a Tradable MSP. You can also get yourself specific 92 MsPs this event by doing their tasks. — They are Untradable. — Normally I go Tradable, and sell them for more coins. This allows you to build your favourite team the fastest.
Store Also under this is “Store” . Right now until Tuesday at 5pm EST you can get a free 90 OVR player! What a great way to start! Just pick your favourite one - THERE IS NO WRONG CHOICE!! Seriously grinds my gears seeing a post “what 90 is the best” “who should I choose?” It is YOUR GAME! What works for others , may not work for you. Pick YOUR FAVOURITE! Base & Premium Packs are always there. Base packs are 5k coins, Premium Packs are 7.5k coins. Every other weekday we will see a new pack enter the store. New Events bring more packs, containing specific stuff. One guarantees a Gold Collectable, and a Winterinternational Player. Since Boxing Day is today, there are packs out for it!! These packs end on Monday at 5pm EST. A player can also buy packs by purchasing “points” to purchase points, click the Triangle or Y button in the store. To see how much a pack is in “points” it is the Green Circle “Pucks” besides the coins. Currently the guaranteed Winterinternational and Gold Collectable pack is $25. Team Change your team players, lineups, goalies, coaches, add better players, etc., You can change your strategies by going to “Manage Lineups” and “Strategies”. Also there is the “Settings” to fix your camera, puck size, visual / audio, and controls. —- My Collection — Click on this, see every possible card you will be able to buy, and collect. Click “Triangle” to view all your players, jerseys, arenas, etc.,
Free Beginning Tips
HUT is not a race. Be patient. Better cards will be out every month , OVRs will increase.
PLAY THE GAME YOUR WAY!! BUILD YOUR OWN TEAM!! Use your favourite players for maximum fun, happiness, and enjoyment. So what if no one else uses “said player” its your team - not theres. What works for you may not work for them, vice versa.
Before hitting into a game, click R3? This pops up what Ping you wanna use. It’ll try and find a game below or at the ping you set. If you dont find an opponent within 30 seconds, you’ll be finding an opponent out of this ping zone range.
Use your 100 Gold Players for the 3 Gold Collectables.
Play up on RUSH to try and get Max Tier for the free 84 for your team. This will give you 18.5k , and the 100 Gold players needed for the 3 Gold Collectables.
If you can, try and do the 100 for 3 Gold Collectables, again. This will give you 6 Gold Collectables.
Play Squad Battles, and Rivals. Take UT (second option) for Rivals. This will ensure lots of Gold Players for Gold Collectables. (I always choose UT, even if my team is stacked. You can’t change my mind on doing anything different.)
DONT go for Lemieux or Gretzky. Yes, it is your HUT Team, but don’t go for it off the bat. I’d suggest a tradable MSP - then you can use the coins to play the market, and buy your Master Icons that you want.
Buy Base Speedy players - Doughty, Duchene, Mackinnon, Kane, etc., whoever floats your boat. All are cheap nown
Buy TOTWs for Profit.
Save on Gold Collectables. Have enough to get your first tradable MSP and sell for your coinage.
Save up coinage. Try and do Daily’s every day.
Spend coinage everywhere, one “Star Player” will not help your team.
World of Chel also gives you HUT items, every 10 items if you feel burned out.
Cross - Creases are so normal way of scoring, its no need to get mad about em now, use em to score if theyre open if you wanna play that way, too.
———————- This is my HUT Guide to you, new HUT player, or Old HUT Player reading this for fun. I hope you enjoy HUT. If you get frustrated or run down? I would suggest playing a different game-mode, game, or simply taking a break from the gaming system in general. That way you will be fired up to play again, and have fun! See you guys when new content gets released for another post! Comment down anything a new player would need to know to get their game started, and tips! • Coolin Killin It (Life is like a puzzle, you just have to find the right piece.)
The Vow of Silver Dawn Chapter 2 - English Translation
Finally had a chance to get around to the second chapter of the Chinese-exclusive High Republic novel The Vow of Silver Dawn! Since the book has ballooned to over 30 chapters now, finishing it will be a long time coming. I appreciate everyone's interest in this project and your patience during the wait. Significant portions of this translation are derived from the work of u/Art3mis4266 and u/woodledoodledoodle through our shared Google Doc of the first 10 chapters. They have done a fantastic job, and I recommend reading u/woodledoodledoodle's own individual translation of the novel as well (he's both an excellent writer and likely to be more reliable than I am at consistently posting). Consider our projects complementary takes on the same source material. Chapter 1: https://www.reddit.com/starwarscanon/comments/kg2r8v/the_vow_of_silver_dawn_chapter_1_english/ Chapter 2 Simple Solution Were it not for the tone of absolute sincerity in the boy’s voice, without even a trace of sarcasm, the Quarren would have smacked the desk with his suction-tipped hands. “You’ve met the Mythrol, then?” Mostema asked the hologram. “I have.” The Quarren couldn’t help but ask, “The Mythrol? The same Mythrol who calls himself the pastry chef of the mansion, but constantly hangs around at bars and casinos in the Lower City?” Sean laughed, “Yup, thanks to your investigative report, which made the workload much easier, I was able to pinpoint the target directly.” “That Mythrol is very cunning, and very dangerous. You must be cautious around him!” An expression of wry agreement crossed Sean’s face in response to the Quarren’s words. “Yes, very cunning indeed. It took all of two hours to find and get some answers out of him.” The Quarren wanted to say that even his best agents couldn’t get close to the Mythrol with two weeks of work, but the words died in his throat. But then, of course, the young lad was also a Jedi; all it would have taken was a mind trick, and the Mythrol would have spilled everything… However, Mostema asked, “No using the Force?” “Of course not, Master. I kept your teachings in mind.” A puzzled look came over the Quarren, as if to say Wait, what in the galaxy are you two going on about? Why wouldn’t you use the Force? Spotting the Quarren’s confusion, Mostema explained, “Sean isn’t particularly gifted in the Force. His sensitivity is below average when compared to other Padawans his age. So while he needs to work harder to strengthen his connection, he also should not form the habit of being overly dependent upon it. The Force is more than just a tool for the Jedi to wield.” Sean seemed ashamed of himself as he said, “The three pillars of being a Jedi: the Force, knowledge, and self-discipline. I’ve been lacking in the first since birth, so if I tried to rely on it to do whatever I want, I’d just be even more of a disgrace...” Okay, the Quarren thought, whatever you guys say, but without the Force, how did the Padawan make the chef talk? As if reading his mind, Sean said, “I went around to all of his favorite bars and casinos until I found him, got him drunk, and won all of his possessions by gambling. It was easy to get him to tell me everything after that.” The Quarren looked down to his own report, at the section about the Mythrol. It noted that he was “An experienced career criminal, a highly-practiced gambler, and a heavy drinker.” But, as a Republic agent, the Quarren quickly regained his composure and asked “He gave you the location of the manor?” “He told me how to make a Seven-Layered Kashyyykian Cake. I’m confident I could make one better than he does, now!” replied Sean. The Quarren frowned. What has a dessert recipe got to do with all this?! “He only worked his way into the manor with the secret recipes of his desserts. Now that I can bake them even better than he can, I can replace the Mythrol as the pastry chef in the manor at Green Dawn Hill…” Sean explained. The Quarren couldn’t help but interrupt: “Wait a moment, the president’s mansion is at Green Dawn Hill?!” “Yup, on the northeastern side. Hard to miss.” “Did the Mythrol tell you?” “I just followed him there.” “...‘Followed’ him there?!” the Quarren asked incredulously, while looking at the report files on the datapad in his hand, which, in meticulous bloody detail, described the countless elite agents who had attempted to tail the manor’s staff, and had suffered brutal deaths. “I spent a couple of days tracking the Mythrol’s whereabouts before I formally made contact with him, and found that he took a different route to the mansion every time, before suddenly disappearing. If I had tracked him any further beyond that each time, he might have noticed me.” The Quarren nodded his head; finally something that matched his kriffing report! “But these seemingly hidden pathways revealed the truth, because careful observation showed that no matter where he disappeared, the locations were always near sewers or similar underground facilities. It wasn’t hard to deduce from there that the manor has special entry routes leading directly to it via the sewage system.” Come on lad, did you really have to add “Wasn’t hard to deduce!” and rub salt in the wound? “It’s actually not an uncommon method; the ‘New Agent Handbook’ published on Corellia documented 27 similar cases in which other hidden mansions utilized similar methods to move personnel. I found the local construction company responsible for building the sewer, retrieved and analyzed all of the architectural drawings from their database, determined the structure of all the hidden passageways, and traced them to the location of the manor. All in all, these Outer Rim despots are pretty simple thinkers.” The Quarren silently deleted all the research files stored on his datapad, swearing to himself to never mention his past few years’ work to another living soul. Sean was still enthusiastically going on, “Also, according to my investigation, in five days the president will be entertaining a number of mob bosses over at the manor. I think that’d be a great opportunity to make a move!” Mostema knocked a fist on the desk, and said: “In five days? This could be our chance.” The Quarren was shaken, “Master, are you planning to execute Jamie’s entire criminal syndicate?” Both of the Jedi simultaneously gave him a bewildered look. His voice serious, Sean elaborated, “How could we? Jedi don’t seek to start fights, and I can’t even imagine assassinating a legitimate head of state. The reason we’ve worked so hard to gather clues and evidence is so that Jamie can receive a fair trial according to the law, to show the public his criminal activities, and to encourage the ideals of peace and justice to root deeply in the hearts of Bergamore’s people. Using violence to end violence will only give birth to another dictator who violates law and discipline.” The Quarren felt ashamed. Understanding the spirit behind the rule of law had not yet taken root deeply in his own heart, either. He quickly gave voice to another question, however. “If not an execution, then what kind of opportunity does this banquet in five days present? Why do we need to wait until then to sneak in? Couldn’t we simply get in, get the evidence, and get out?” “A man this careful wouldn’t leave behind anything concrete lying around, even in his own mansion,” Sean replied. The Quarren couldn’t help but continue his questioning, “Even the existence of the mansion itself constitutes a crime! With his President’s salary, he wouldn’t have been able to acquire such an estate in a thousand years, not to mention that he always claimed back on Coruscant to never spend more than five thousand credits a year! What’s more, rumors abound of his manor’s extravagance, of it being filled with all kinds of rare treasures…” “He could easily say that the manor is owned by someone else, and that he is only living there temporarily. Actually, according to my research, the owner of the manor is a shareholder of the Bergamore Heavy Industries Corp, not the President himself.” It’s only been a few days – has he checked out everyone in the manor by now? The Quarren kept up his line of questioning. “But he’s lived in the mansion for so long, there has to be some evidence of crime, no? Skeletons in the closet, so to say…” “There is the possibility, but I believe a criminal this conniving would never let down his vigilance, even in his own home. For example, he might use code words while issuing illegal orders, which couldn’t be used as direct evidence even if the orders were recorded.” The Quarren finally grew quiet. “Also, according to some witnesses from the manor, I have reason to believe that a sufficiently cautious crime lord will carefully manage the risk involved in all the positions of his organization, so that no one person has full knowledge of the extent of illegal activity taking place, or even that he or she is complicit in a crime. This further adds to the difficulty of collecting strong evidence. At the same time, multiple layers of task management and one-way communication makes it harder to trace back to the President himself, even if we were able to penetrate a certain line of contact.” Hearing all this, the Quarren almost felt faint. “Jamie Brasen is hardly a lunatic! Who would set up such elaborate safeguards in their own mansion? Is he not afraid he’ll die from overwork?” “Jamie Brasen is a very dangerous tyrant, and they all tend to be more than a little paranoid, sometimes downright mad, which makes it safe to assume we can’t predict his actions using conventional logic. Nor can we afford to underestimate him; after all, he had elite intelligence agents of the Republic running in circles for years,” Sean pointed out. The Quarren’s eyes filled with sadness. “You make it sound as though it’s impossible to get to him! If the risk is as high as you describe, then how do you even plan to carry out the mission at all?” “Our way in is through the banquet, five days from now,” Sean replied. “He can train his underlings in the mansion to communicate using code, but with other gang leaders they will most likely have to speak in Basic or some other common language-” Mostema interrupted before Sean could finish speaking. “We can’t rule out the possibility that they make use of some form of specialized comlinks, encrypting and decrypting transmissions on the fly, and self-destructing afterward to avoid leaving evidence behind.” “Yes, Master, I had considered this as well. Which is why I will be there personally five days from now, while Jamie Brasen is stressing over his inability to rely on his codes.” Mostema nodded, “Very well, I leave it up to you.” “It’s not ‘very well’ at all!” the Quarren interjected. “Master Jedi, you mean to have Sean infiltrate the estate? It’s too risky!” Mostema replied sternly, “I know. Having a Jedi Knight perform this sort of infiltration, with the target still being a legitimate political leader, will naturally cast doubt on the outcome of the investigation. Further, it will prove especially controversial if we use the Force to coerce the thoughts of anyone involved in the investigation. Such actions would easily come under attack following scrutiny by a team of skilled lawyers. The risks in this matter still bear consideration, and you are right to remind of us them. So Sean, you must be mindful that you are not to use the Force during this operation.” “I understand, Master.” The Quarren cried out dejectedly, “I’m sorry, Master Jedi, but I don’t understand! Are we really having a conversation in Basic right now? Why do I feel like you two, master and apprentice, are always speaking a language of your own! Have you understood anything I’ve said? Jamie Brasen’s manor is an ice tiger’s den that has been kept strictly secret for so many years. The tyrannical maniac has been operating out of it for decades; who knows how heavily that place is rigged with traps, and you’re letting a 17 year-old Padawan infiltrate it, Master, without using the Force, on the day when every underworld kingpin on-planet will be there having a banquet?!” Mostema looked to the Quarren again. “So, do you have any suggestions for Sean?” Sean looked at the alien expectantly. The Quarren’s facial tentacles spread so wide in shock, he thought they might split apart. Don’t look at me like that! He thought. I really don’t understand the world of you Jedi. Priming the explosive and then asking me for advice on how to defuse it? Yes, I’ve got advice for you: go take a long walk out a short airlock! You Jedi even treat the Force like some kind of basic appliance you can unplug, and you’ve willfully blocked yourself off from it! What more was there to say? “Be careful, and stay safe,” the Quarren said dryly. Sean thanked him in earnest. “Understood! The more complex and difficult a mission is, the more one needs to focus on the fundamentals. It’s no wonder you’re an elite agent of the Republic; with so few words, you manage to say so much.” The Quarren barely managed to muster a “Yeah, sure.” “Do you have a preliminary plan for the operation, five days from now?” Mostema asked Sean. “Yes.” Sean replied, “Though I may need to improvise some of the specifics, using the resources at hand I’ve developed a rough framework. I’ll share it with you, so I’m hoping you could lend me some constructive criticism.” Following this, Sean brought up his bracelet communicator and pressed a number of keys in short succession. A stream of data began to quickly transmit as an indicator light blinked continuously. The transmission continued for quite some time. The Quarren couldn’t help but tap his screen, thinking his datapad had malfunctioned. “Has the transmission been interrupted? My end shows that the file has not been received yet.” “Rest assured, operation plan files are usually fairly large, so the transmission may take some time,” Mostema answered. The Quarren was dumbfounded. Quite large? This comm channel could transmit a full galactic encyclopedia in less than ten seconds, and five minutes had already passed. Were these two sharing a hologram of Coruscant’s global blueprint, with over five thousand levels filled with some one trillion inhabitants? As the Quarren was starting to get impatient, a green confirmation light lit up on his datapad, indicating that the transmission had completed. Fingers beginning to tremble, the Quarren opened the file. Wave upon wave of files came into view, video clips scattered about like stars in the sky, all connected together with an array of complex lines of many varying colors, forming a visually dazzling and complicated network. Inwardly, the Quarren wanted to say “You actually did send Coruscant’s global blueprint, huh? A ‘rough framework?’ Your definition of ‘rough’ is an insult to Galactic Basic as understood anywhere in the Republic!” But he bit his tongue. Of course, Mostema pondered for a moment before saying to Sean, “It is rather simple, but it’s acceptable at this stage to get its point across. I will help you tidy up the prose, so let us proceed with what you have.” “Gladly!” Mostema then looked towards the Quarren. “Mr. Squak, do you have anything more to add?” The Quarren could only give a dry, sad chuckle.
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
It has been a few weeks since my last post and after having some family visit to meet the new puppy today, I was reminded by an off hand comment from my sister that I promised someone that I would write down the stories I got from my Grandfathers. Apologies for the delay but I miss them both terribly and it isn't easy to drag up just the stories and nothing else. So the fire is lit, I have a small furry foot warmer and a glass of high octane social lubricant so I'm as prepared as I am going to get to drag up the memories. This is going to be the only post of these stories, not because I am holding out but because you just couldn't get them to talk about the war, ever. I checked with my dad and Brother-in-law, neither of them have anything more than I have and I am still waiting on the official files from the national archives and War Memorial. Like the title says, it would be easier to get blood from a stone than to get them to talk. Anyway, on with the stories: Pop was the grandfather on my mums side, was in university to be a chemist but was drafted (I think) and ended up as a navigator for a liberator bomber in the RAAF. All that we could get out of him was that flying at night was lousy for finding landmarks and there was one time that he was working on a radio in the belly of the bird and he brushed a valve in the radio that was still "hot". That jolt threw him clean across the aircraft and he woke up on the floor and couldn't feel his right arm from the shoulder down for the rest of the day. He was in training to be a pilot and crashed quite badly on an attempted landing. Several injuries inc a collapsed lung means he was medically discharged pretty soon after his loss in the contest with the ground. If I remember correctly and I will edit this after I get the official files, his medals include 2 campaign medals, 2 bronze stars, 2 silver stars and a Member of the British Empire. He could give a mule a run for its money on stubborn and loved a good scotch in the evening. Mum says he had mellowed alot by the time I came along. He passed before I signed on the dotted line but he would have been very proud of me, my Nana told me so at my graduation. Grandad was on the other side of the family tree and was an Army Sapper or Combat engineer, dem ops or rapid and energetic denial of enemy infrastructure... Grandad had 2 stories that he would tell, both about his explosives training. The first was about his explosives instructor who was a genius with all things that go KaBoom. The instructor told them to work out what they needed and then double it, that way you know it is definitely going to go Kaboom. For train lines, they would set a stick of explosives and then cover it with elephant shit and set it off, it would take out a section and jump the line to the side. (Prob could have done it with just the elephant shit) The instructor took them out to drop either a crane or a high tension power line (can't remember which) and just to show he knew what he was doing, he got a stick and drew out the frame on the ground with about 2 inches to spare, set his charges and then dropped it perfectly into the outline on the ground. With the 2 inches to spare... To graduate from dem-ops, their graduation test was to go out to where some high tension lines had been taken down and flip over the concrete footing that the tower had been standing on. So you had to dig a hole under the end of the footing of concrete that was about a foot by a foot by 15 feet long, work out how much bang you needed to lift the concrete, make up your charge and when you set the charge off, the concrete had to pivot up and over the other end and it couldn't break until it hit the ground on the other side. The instructor did it first and flipped his over like a casino pit boss flipping cards, completely intact and it even held for about 2 seconds standing on end. One of the other guys screwed the maths up and when he set his charge off, he reduced his footing to concrete powder that showered every one. Grandad said it took him 2 attempts, not enough bang in the first one to get it past the tipping point. There was one night where my Dad cracked open a big bottle of Scotch and got my Grandad absolutely hammered drunk. It was the only time I got anything more out of him and it was that he remembered working with his squad sneaking up to the side of a concrete pill box, setting a charge against the side of it and running away to set it off. There was no need to clear the machine gun emplacement afterwards, it was just red mush. He looked sick to his stomach and the last thing he said on it was that you do what you have to to survive but war is a horrible business. He never repeated it to anyone else and I never brought it up with him again. I was lucky to spend time with him after I had joined. He loved to hear what I was up to while I was in and was very proud that I was doing what he used to do and getting to work with explosives even if it was in the Airforce. . If I remember correctly, his medals included 3 campaign medals, 1 bronze star, 2 silver stars and something else that I can't remember that was probably a purple heart. I remember hearing from my Dad that he was only able to drink Rum on ANZAC Day and my Grandmother would stay the night with friends. On the rum, the demons came out and everyone else became an arsehole that needed a beat down. He also loved a scotch and was deaf as a post, until he got new hearing aids and didn't tell anyone, one of my Aunties was being cheeky thinking that he couldn't hear her and then he started laughing at one of the jokes someone else said afterwards, he told her he heard every word and he would spank her one with his walking stick when she came within range. Lucky for her, he had forgotten by the time we sat down to dinner. His funeral was standing room only and was attended by nearly a dozen members of the Returned & Services League. It is a bit humbling that the military service was only for a few years for both of them but it had such a huge impact on their lives and health and mental health. You couldn't pry anything more than this from either of them and I know that the demons haunted both of them for many years until they passed. A part of me wishes that I knew more and when I was younger, there was a place like this to share the stories that weren't told, because it may have been enough of a prod to get them to unload some of those demons. In their time, you just locked the demons away in the back of your mind and drowned them in booze when they got too noisy. Atleast the small part that they shared will live on here. Lest We Forget. Thanks for reading everyone and thanks to those that share their stories.
Playing cards make the ideal gift, particularly the many beautiful custom decks available nowadays. Almost everyone can use a deck of cards at some point, so they have an instant and universal appeal, especially if a deck has some customized artwork and is packaged in an appealing tuck box. In this list I want to focus on some of my favourite decks that have come out in the past year 2020. This year has been a challenging year for many of us in light of the coronavirus that has swept across the world. But in the middle of all this darkness, there have also been some bright spots, which include the brand new crop of custom decks that have appeared in the marketplace. The suggestions I'm making are very much a matter of personal choice, and other playing card enthusiasts might make other choices. I haven't seen each and every deck that hit the market in the past year, and there are undoubtedly plenty of other worthy decks that qualify for a list like this. I've also not included any decks that have haven't yet been produced, even if they have been crowdfunded. This list strictly covers decks that you should be able to obtain from online retailers and resellers. I've also not included so-called "hype decks" that sell out almost immediately at the publisher level (e.g. Fontaines), but only those that enter retail channels and are more widely and readily available. I've also included links to where you find them at PlayingCardDecks so that you can see images of the tuck boxes and cards for each item, and because they're the retailer I personally buy playing cards from the most. But you should be able to find these decks at most online retailers.
Several series of playing cards have become brands of their own, and achieved nearly cult status from collectors. This past year has seen some great additions to the line-ups from popular series that include big names like Jerry's Nuggets, Cherry Casino, and NOC. ● Jerry's Nugget Aqua Playing Cards - Jerry's Nuggets are a modern icon in the world of playing cards, due to the cult status of this deck, which was praised by cardists around the world. It was originally printed in the early 1970s, and was so much in demand in recent decades that copies fetched over $500 in the secondary market. A very successful reprinting of the original blue and red decks happened in 2019, and in the past year we've seen multiple reprints in different colours. Among my favourites in this series are the bright colours like orange, yellow, and green, which have all appeared in the past year. But there's also something for those who prefer a more muted look, such as steel and black. For more in this series, seeJerry's Nugget decks. ● Cherry Casino Tropicana Teal Playing Cards - The Cherry Casino decks capture a retro vibe, and are a throwback to the old fruit machines from gambling halls, with their distinctive cherry artwork. For me the real appeal of this series lies in the gorgeous card backs, which have a metallic sheen making them feel instantly different from all other decks. The face cards are all quite standard, so that makes them ideal for card games or card magic. Multiple new colours continue to appear in this series, such as Flamingo Quartz Pink, and most recently McCarran Silver. For more in this series, seeCherry Casino decks. ● NOC 3000X2 Purple Playing Cards - The acronym NOC originally stood for Nothing Only Colour, and in line with this the initial decks in this series were all very minimalist. Many people like to collect and use the NOC decks, and over time the series has evolved somewhat. The most recent releases show some new splashes of creativity, and with the NOC 3000X2 deck we travel into the future, past the year 3000. Vibrant purples and pinks inhabit the landscape of the cards, for a very modern and flashy look that is particularly well suited to cardistry. This particular deck is also available in a matching pink version. For more in this series, seeNOC decks.
There are several big brands that you can count on for quality, and this year was no exception, with big companies like Theory11, Ellusionist, and Art of Play all continuing to contribute wonderful playing cards to the market. ● James Bond 007 Playing Cards - When it comes to glamorous tuck boxes, it doesn't get much better than the luxury of playing card producer Theory11. This wonderful deck is a tribute to agent 007, James Bond. I collect most of the Theory11 decks, and this one is particularly terrific, with a supreme tuck box, and Bond-inspired paraphernalia on the court cards and on the card back. Close observers will find many Bond gadgets and more. Theory11 have put out several stylish releases in the past year, another one being the Hollywood Roosevelt deck. For more, seeTheory11 decks. ● Shadow Masters Legacy v2 Playing Cards - One of the companies at the forefront of the custom playing cards movement was Ellusionist and their Black Tiger deck continues to be a modern icon. While they've since been overshadowed by the many custom decks produced in the crowd-funding era over the past decade, they continue to produce some memorable decks from time to time that are worth picking up. The Shadow Masters Legacy v2 is a black deck in the classic Ellusionist style, and represents the kind of thing that made them great to begin with. A jet black background is the chief feature of this deck, and the red and white used for the artwork and pips stands out beautifully against the inky black. This deck compares favourably with any other deck from the modern era. For more, seeEllusionist decks. ● Yellow Wheel Playing Cards - The brand Art of Play is the home of influential cardists Dan and Dave Buck. Their Red & Blue Wheel decks are among my all-time favourite decks, with gorgeous metallic inks as part of a split-pip design. The Yellow Wheel deck is their latest entry in the Wheel series, that retains the original card backs but now in yellow. But the highlight is the card faces, with the split pips employing a stunning metallic silver that complements the cards beautifully. This is a completely custom deck that is certain to impress anyone who sees it. Art of Play produces many new decks each year, and their Henry & Sally deck is a fun novelty release also worth checking out. For more, seeArt of Play decks.
They are a very select group, but there are some notable designers in the playing card industry who have developed a real name for themselves, have generated a large following of loyal fans, and continue to produce high quality custom decks on a regular basis. ● Italia Radiosa Playing Cards - Italian designer Giovanni Meroni is the man behind Thirdway Industries, and his playing cards are in high demand from collectors around the world. His signature style is immediately recognizable in each of his decks, and this one is no exception. Along with its companion Italia Segreta, it's themed around the wonders and secrets of Italy. The unique court cards are the real highlight, showcasing Giovanni's usual creativity and style. The number cards are also fully custom. These are the kinds of decks that will hold their value well in years to come. If you want even more vibrant colours, check out Modern Idols, from the same creator. For more, seeGiovanni Meroni decks. ● Postage Paid Playing Cards - Behind the brand Kings Wild Project is Jackson Robinson, who is one of the few professional designers that actually makes a living out of designing playing cards. This deck was inspired by the idea of playing cards functioning as postcards, each with its own stamp and post paid stamp. All 50 US states are represented on different cards, and everything about this deck is fully customized. This deck was produced in only limited numbers, so it will be out of stock in most places. But if you're quick, you can still grab Jackson Robinson's General Admission deck, which applies a similar concept to tickets, with each card representing a vintage ticket stub from the early 20th century. For more, seeJackson Robinson decks. ● Kodiak Playing Cards - From popular designer Jody Eklund and his Black Ink Playing Cards Company, comes this delightful deck of playing cards that is geared to the poker player and collector. The cards have a very classic look, but offer a fresh take on the designs of the court cards and pips. Jody is highly respected for his approach to graphic design, and these cards will prove an excellent choice if you like playing card games, and want to bring something stylish and attractive to the table. For more, seeJody Eklund decks.
Most magicians can perform their magic with any deck, but typically they prefer to do card magic with a deck where novelty and customization are minimal, so as not to distract from their magic. These decks are well suited to performing magic, and contain bonus gaff cards or other secrets that enable them to produce miracles not possible with ordinary decks. ● Card College Playing Cards - These decks are a tribute to the most outstanding modern teacher of the fundamentals of card magic, Roberto Giobbi. Mr Giobbi is the author of Card College, a series of best-selling books which are the modern gold standard for learning card magic. Available in red and blue, these decks are simple and practical for the working magician, and as a bonus each contains two double backer gaff cards. If you want more luxury, check out the stunning Luxury 3 Deck Set, which has even more stylish cards, individually numbered tuck boxes with unique origami style features, packaged in an attractive acrylic box - the ideal collectible or gift for magicians. ● Remedies Royal Blue Playing Cards - The Remedies decks come from popular creators Daniel Madison and Daniel Schneider, and this is a successor to the Remedies Scarlet Red deck. Many collectors love the Black Roses brand of playing cards, and collect whatever they produce. This blue Remedies deck has a classic and minimalist look with bold blue card backs, and is very functional and practical. The inclusion of a special Angle Zero gaff makes it ideal for magicians. ● DMC Elites Red v5 Playing Cards - Of all the marked decks I own, the DMC Elites is easily my first choice whenever I want a marked deck with cards that can be easily read from a distance, due to the clever and yet almost invisible marking system it uses. This deck has previously been released in several different colours, and now incorporates Tamariz's Mnemonica stack. All you need is the deck, but there is a terrific Passport book available separately, which will give you some great ideas for routines you can pull off with this great marked deck. For more, seeMarked decks.
Card flourishing has really boomed in recent years, and especially shines when cardists use a deck that has colourful and striking patterns optimized for cardistry, that enhance the visual aesthetics of cards in motion, as these decks show. ● Neon Orange Cardistry Playing Cards - This deck represents Bicycle's attempt to meet a demand for a relatively low-cost deck geared towards card flourishing. The card backs have a geometric design, and the faces are all identical and completely non-standard, showcasing the latest evolution in playing cards optimized entirely for cardistry. Bright colours ensure that the cards look visually appealing in fans, spreads, and flourishing moves. Alongside this vibrant orange deck is its blue companion, the Neon Blue Aurora deck. ● Autumn Circle Cardistry Playing Cards - Tally Ho is a classic brand that USPCC has been producing for a long time. The circle back design of the typical Tally Ho deck has become iconic, and is especially appreciated by those who enjoy card flourishing. Each year the folks at Bicycle produce some in-house decks for special occasions, and the Autumn Circle Back deck is a lovely result. The colours capture the warmth and glow of autumn leaves and the mood of harvest time, while the pattern on the card backs is perfect for cardistry. ● ArrowDynamix Cardistry Playing Cards - Given the high volume of cardistry decks appearing all the time, it can be difficult to come up with something completely original, but this minimalist deck has accomplished exactly that. Each card features a giant vertical arrow on the card backs, and a giant horizontal arrow on the faces. With carefully choreographed sequences and moves, you can create truly unique patterns and effects that you simply can't achieve with any other cardistry deck.
Do you love animals, or do you have an animal lover in your life? There are a lot of wonderful custom decks that are tributes to our four legged friends, or depict some of our favourite creatures. ● Woof and Whiskers Dog Playing Cards - The real appeal of this deck is the cute tuck box, which has cardboard ears that fold up, to complete the look of the friendly dog on the front of the box. I would have liked to see some more customization with the number cards, but it's still a very charming deck, with delightful custom artwork on the court cards and aces. This is one of two Zoo 52 decks, so if you like the Dog deck, you'll also want to pick up the Playful Paws Cat deck, which is equally cute. ● Aviary Playing Cards - There are a lot of independent creators that produce Bicycle branded playing cards with the help of industry giant USPCC, but this big name producer also releases its own in-house decks. This is my favourite of their four newest releases that hit the market at the end of 2020, and is a very classy looking deck with artwork inspired by a traditional look, but with adjustments to give it a custom feel, and the presence of several birds carefully positioned throughout the deck. Of the four new releases from Bicycle, the Sea King deck is also proving to be very popular. ● King of Tigers Playing Cards - If you're looking for a deck with bling, this is it. The card backs have a borderless tiger skin pattern, which has been printed with some of the latest technology that makes use of foil for a truly eye-catching look. The tuck box is even more glamorous. While the court cards are clearly inspired by traditional courts, the Jokers bring back the tiger theme strongly, and the tiger skin look recurs throughout the deck.
Recent years have seen some wonderful novelty decks themed around different kinds of food. These are always a great way to whet your appetite for a card game, or to show off to family or friends, and have proved a real hit with collectors. ● Squeezers V3 Playing Cards - Good luck getting your hands on decks from this extremely popular series from Organic Playing Cards, because they sell out quickly. These fruit inspired decks have delightful tuck boxes, and this grapefruit themed deck even comes in a tuck box that looks like a juice box, and is actually scented like grapefruit. The cards themselves are quite practical, but add humorous grapefruit themed elements to the court cards, and new bold colours. OPC's 2020 releases also included the watermelon-themed Carvers deck, while their current release sees the brand go in a slightly new direction with the corn-themed Shuckers. ● Noodlers Chicken Playing Cards - If you like the concept behind the Organic Playing Cards series, you'll probably also enjoy this deck, which has a similarly styled tuck box to the Squeezers decks, but represents a packet of ramen noodles. The orange colour on the card backs and pips has also been inspired by the noodles theme. The artwork on the court cards has a quaint and cute style, with each character depicted in a light hearted style quite different from standard courts, and all holding a bowl of noodles. For a final laugh, the Jokers provide us with the necessary packet of "chicken seasoning" to add to our noodles. ● Citrus Playing Cards - Created by Flaminko, the Deliciousness series has been somewhat overshadowed by the more successful fruit inspired cards from Organic Playing Cards. But I love the Flaminko decks, because they apply customization to all elements of the cards, including the pips. This novelty deck is well suited for card flourishing, card games, and collectors, and cleverly captures all that is juicy and wonderful about citrus fruit.
Music is another evergreen theme, and there's a solid range of lovely decks for the music lover, whether your taste is classical or more contemporary rock-and-roll. ● Composers Mozart Playing Cards - This deck is part of a series that also includes other composers like Bach. These decks are true collector pieces, and make a wonderful tribute to some of the greatest composers of all time. The tuck boxes have a very classical look, and metallic ink enhances the gorgeous card backs. Meanwhile completely custom artwork on the faces emphasizes a vintage and classical feel. They are great for music lovers and collectors, but if classical music isn't your thing, then check out the Rock and Roll deck. ● Piano Player Playing Cards - If the piano is your instrument of choice, this is a deck for you. The creative tuck box is available in two styles, one with two black keys and the other with three black keys, which means you can place two decks alongside each other to create a larger keyboard. Fully custom characters inhabit the court cards, with the keyboard motif returning in the details of the artwork. Small touches like this really make this creative deck a thing of unique beauty. ● Soundboards v3 Midnight Playing Cards - Remember the old walk-man cassette players? In the 1980s these revolutionary electronic devices were among the first to make your personal music collection portable. The Soundboards deck replicates the look of a classic walk-man, and the Jokers complete the look by bringing the cassette tape look into the box. This Midnight edition has a dark look, so you might also want to consider the red deck if you prefer a more traditional colour.
Fiction & Film themed Decks
Most of us love a good story, whether it's in the pages of a novel or on our screens. Here are some great custom decks that are loving tributes to some of the best from the worlds of fiction and film. ● Jane Austen Playing Cards - Fans of the classic novel will appreciate the loving treatment that Jane Austen's famous novels have received in this delightful tribute from the Art of Play label. Each suit represents a different novel, with the court cards featuring the lead characters in the story. The design of the characters is inspired by period costumes and reflects the fashions from the time in which the stories are set. The classy tuck case ensures that everything is nicely packaged and well presented. ● Star Wars Playing Cards - Theory11 achieved a real coup by acquiring the rights to bring the Star Wars brand to playing cards. They were the perfect company to ensure that the result was a classy deck that did justice to the world of the films. This pair of Light Side and Dark Side decks begins with a top quality and highly attractive tuck case, as we've come to expect from Theory11. The court cards all feature different characters from the movies, and the design is the perfect blend of customization and playability, making this a practical deck you can bring out for your favourite card game, or to give to the Star Wars fan in your life. A similar pair of decks was produced later in the year in White and Black. ● King Arthur Playing Cards - The result of a collaboration between Riffle Shuffle and Studio Muti, this pair of red and green decks tell the story of the famous Arthurian legend. For me it's a personal and nostalgic childhood favourite, in light of the adventure and imagination it evokes. But as impressive as these decks are, they pale besides the King Arthur Gold deck, which has gold metallic ink on the faces, and gold foil on the card backs, for a truly extravagant look. Inside and out, this is a stunning tribute to a timeless classic from the world of fiction.
So I cheated. I already have a section devoted to cardistry, so I figured I'd sneak in a second category, by including some cardistry decks that all have a space theme. These decks all feature colourful visuals that work well for flourishing, but can also be enjoyed by collectors who appreciate their vibrant colours and exuberant designs. ● Solokid Constellation Playing Cards - This set of twelve decks captures the twelve different star signs. It was produced by Bocopo, a company well known for producing colourful custom decks that appeal especially to cardists and collectors. These decks are typical Bocopo offerings, with evocative colours that are unique to each different deck, to help capture a different feeling for each and every constellation. If you like vibrant colour, you'll certainly find something to enjoy here. ● Stargazer New Moon Playing Cards - Several different decks have now appeared in the Stargazer series, but the recent New Moon deck is probably my favourite. The circular moon that appears on all the card backs makes it an ideal deck for card flourishing moves like spins and twirls. The face cards have some truly vibrant colours, and capture well the feel of a night sky bursting with colour and life. ● Sirius B v3 Playing Cards - I fell in love with the style of the original Sirius B deck, so this third edition was always going to win me over. The court cards consist of a blur of colours that look like paints mixed together, and this style has also been applied to the pips. The colours are the real appeal here, and the signature design of the card backs also looks very nice in card flourishes.
I personally adore transformation cards, and consider them to be one of the most fascinating and memorable types of playing cards there is. The idea is that you take the pips and incorporate them into a larger picture that forms a unique work of art, for each and every card in the deck. ● Cotta's Almanac #1 Reproduction Playing Cards - This historic deck was first created in 1805 by J.C. Cotta, and was the very first of its kind. Themed on the "Joan of Arc" play by Schiller, the beauty and creativity of these cards will still win over collectors today. Lovingly produced in a high quality modern edition, this recreation is the first of the entire series of Cotta transformation decks that is being reproduced by PCD. ● 5th Kingdom Playing Cards - This deck is possibly my favourite original release from PCD in the past year. It is an outstanding example of the creativity and originality of a semi-transformation deck, where the pips have been cleverly incorporated into the artwork. Each suit represents a different culture, turning each individual card into a work of art that can be admired and enjoyed. ● Pack of Dogs V2 Playing Cards - This transformation deck is the work of John Littleboy, who has produced a number of such decks in his inimitable style, including Pack of Dogs, Kitten Club, Mermaid Queen, and Bag of Bones. The number cards are my favourites, and in this deck each of these represents a larger art piece with a dog. Each suit has a progressive image, so they don't feel totally unique from each other. It's more like a series of consecutive snapshots, and you can use flip animation to tell the story. Littleboy's Kitten Club V2 deck applies a similar concept to cats.
PlayingCardDecks doesn't just sell playing cards, but Will Roya also uses his wealth of experience to team up with designers and graphic artists to produce high quality custom decks under the PCD label. Here are some great custom decks that were published in-house over the course of 2020. ● Astronaut Playing Cards - This novelty deck is a delightful creation that will please anyone who has an interest in space and space travel, in light of its unique theme. The Kings are all depicted as astronauts, while the Queens and Jacks represent space travellers. The card backs have a futuristic look with neon lights, and this look carries over to the number cards, which are highly customized with unique red and blue pips. ● Beekeeper Playing Cards - There are plenty of bee themed playing cards already on the market, but the artwork style gives this one a truly unique feel. Two decks were produced, one with light card backs and the other with dark card backs. This is a great novelty deck for the collector, because there's especially some delightful creativity to be found with the bee-inspired pips, and the detailed custom artwork on the court cards. ● Testament Classic Playing Cards - This is a Biblical themed deck created by artist Ben Green. It's intended as an art deck, with the images on the cards depicting Biblical characters from well-known narratives. Representing a dual love for playing cards and a love for Bible-inspired art, this deck will especially appeal to the collector.
I'm a sucker for highly unusual decks with a high degree of novelty, and even though these are not ones I'd typically use for playing card games, they have very unique features that make them stand out from your average custom deck. ● Starry Night Puzzle Playing Cards - Fancy a deck that doubles as a jigsaw puzzle? This clever deck takes its inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, The Starry Night. The artwork on the card faces is all taken from the painting, and all the cards can be pieced together to make a single giant picture, thus effectively functioning as a large puzzle. Yet each card has clear indices so it's still something you can use for card games too. Definitely unique and out of the ordinary, this set of playing cards is a perfect choice for fans of classic art and paintings. ● Falcon Razors Deluxe Throwing Playing Cards - Rick Smith Jr has made multiple world records in throwing playing cards. His baseball background holds him in good stead, but anybody can learn to throw playing cards if you use the techniques Rick teaches. These throwing cards were a collaboration with legendary flourisher De'vo, and were featured in one of this year's viral videos from Dude Perfect, which featured Rick and his amazing card throwing. The cards are slightly thicker than standard Bicycle stock, to ensure extra durability and performance for card throwing. ● AQUA Invisible Plastic Playing Cards - If you're looking for something completely different, this might hit the mark. This is a ground-breaking deck that is the closest thing to being invisible. All the cards are made out of completely transparent plastic, after which a high gloss transparent printing is applied to selected areas of the cards to produce the designs and pips. So each card is effectively completely transparent, and yet you can see its unique artwork and determine its value and suit. The handling is surprisingly better than you'd expect for a completely plastic deck, and it's certainly something unique.
Other Gift Ideas
Do you want to let your gift recipient make their own decision about what to get, or are you not quite sure what to buy? Here are a couple of special gift ideas that might help out, even if it is to give your family or friends a convenient way to enable you to select your own gift! Firstly, there's a wide range of accessories available for playing cards, like card clips, card cases, and more. Alternatively, consider a gift card, which is available in amounts of $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. There's also the popular Pip Box Club, which has been around for over two years. Subscribers get a selection of decks and goodies shipped to them each month, and offers great value with each box. Boxing Day Sale: Right now you can take advantage of a special sale at PlayingCardDecks, and save $10 off any order over $30 by using the code box20. This coupon is valid from Boxing Day until the end of 2020. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!
Tldr: my wife saw almost 500 new movies this year. Hello movies, it’s been a crazy year hasn’t it... Theaters are closed, production has (for the most part) ground to a halt and what was scheduled for release has moved to a streaming service or was delayed to next year or both. With the initial quarantine back in March starting I decided to take this unprecedented opportunity to give my wife the catch-up she desperately needed since she didn’t watch very many movies growing up. A little backstory, she grew up in a home where many movies were forbidden for religious reasons and as a result just never became a cinephile. She saw many Disney movies and a few random others but missed a vast majority of cinemas best (and worst). On the flip side I grew up near a regular theater and a dollar theater and saw a ton of films as a kid and teen, I’d regularly go on weekends or skip school for a triple feature or catch the last showing of something every night of the week. We’ve been together for almost 11 years now and she would go see anything and everything with me. All the Marvel movies, action comedies, sci fi, animation, whatever... but her movie knowledge is fairly contained within the last decade. So when I got laid off and she began working from home we decided to see how many new movies we could see during this Covid mess. We defined “New” as anything we had both never seen or anything she had never seen and I hadn’t seen in 10+ years since we met. Since mid March we have managed to watch 500 movies and in the process learn a few things about her individual tastes and the kinds of movies we enjoy watching as a couple the most. I’m going to drop a list of everything we saw, after the list I’ll highlight a few hidden gems we both loved... Dr No. - From Russia With Love - Thunderball - You Only Live Twice - Goldfinger - On Her Majesty’s Secret Service - Diamonds Are Forever Never Say Never Again - Live and Let Die - The Man With the Golden Gun - For Your Eyes Only - The Spy Who Loved Me - Moonraker - Octopussy - A View to a Kill - The living Daylights - License to Kill - Goldeneye - Tomorrow Never Dies - The World Is Not Enough - Die Another Day - Casino Royale - Quantum of Solace - Skyfall - Spectre - Enter the Dragon - Way of the Dragon - The Big Boss - Fist of Fury - Game of Death - Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth - Bruce Lee: The Legend - The Birds - Dora and the Lost City of Gold - The Brady Bunch Movie - A Very Brady Sequel - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - Kingpin - Leave It To Beaver - Speed - Cuban Fury - Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Weird Science - Keeping Up With the Joneses - Blades of Glory - Zoolander - Semi-Pro - So I Married An Axe Murderer - Disaster Movie - Oceans 11 - Dude, Where’s My Car? - Undercover Brother - Superstar - Zombieland - Men In Black: International - Snatch - Earth Girls Are Easy - Mystery Team - Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - Rush Hour - Miss Congeniality - Pitch Perfect 3 - There’s Something About Mary - Gone in 60 Seconds - Young Frankenstein - 300 - Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse - Wayne’s World - Wayne’s World 2 - Rocketman - Beverly Hills Ninja - Murder on the Orient Express - Friday - 9 to 5 - Drunken Master - The Naked Gun - Baywatch - Forbidden Planet - Baseketball - Hot Shots - Hot Shots: Part Deux - Anchors Aweigh - Mamma Mia - Tommy Boy - Clue - Dumb and Dumber - Monty Python’s Meaning of Life - Monty Python’s Life of Brian - Rango - Sausage Party - Broken Lizard’s Club Dredd - Flintstones - A Knights Tale - Stuck on You - Coneheads - Land of the Lost - Police Academy - Police Academy 2: The First Mission - A Night At the Roxbury - Holmes and Watson - Anchorman - Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - Talladega Nights: Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Osmosis Jones - Venom - Sherlock Gnomes - Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery - Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me - Austin Powers 3: Goldmember - Mystery Men - Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker - Escape From New York - Escape From LA - Napoleon Dynamite - Total Recall - Major Payne - Mars Attacks - Shaolin Soccer - Let’s Be Cops - The Great Outdoors - Smokey and the Bandit - Smokey and the Bandit - Kicking and Screaming - Kiss Me Kate - The Spy Who Dumped Me - The House - The Wiz - Shaolin vs Lama - Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Kung Fu Gold - Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 - Saturday Night Fever - 48 Hrs - Another 48 Hrs - Enter the Invincible Hero - Ip Man - Shaolin Drunk Fighter - The Great Wall - Smokin’ Aces - Down Periscope - The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear - Hero - The Towering Inferno - The Sitter - Isn’t It Romantic - Jackie Chan’s First Strike - The Dead Don’t Die - Shallow Hal - Kiss of the Dragon - Rapid Fire - The Invincible Armour - Innerspace - Date Movie - The Lost World (1960) - It Came From Outer Space (1953) - The Body Snatcher (1954) - Time Bandits - Bad Times at the El Royale - The Shadow - A Fantastic Fear of Everything - The Ladykillers - Flash Gordon - Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult - Robin Hood (2018) - Enemy of the State - Kill Bill Vol 1 - Kill Bill Vol 2 - Some Like It Hot - She’s Working Her Way Through College - Stir Crazy - Zombieland: Double Tap - Mystery House - Jet Li’s Fearless - Desperado - Ed TV - Ready Player One - Shaolin Kung Fu Mystagogue - Back to the Future - Back to the Future II - Back to the Future III - Tango & Cash - The Burbs - Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night - Casablanca - Circle of Iron - Beavis and Butt-Head Do America - Missing in Action - Missing in Action 2: The Beginning - National Treasure - Shaolin Fighters Vs Ninja - Fast Times at Ridgemont High - The Running Man - Little Cigars - Legion of Iron - Green Dragon Inn - The Warriors - High Anxiety - Joe Versus the Volcano - Chinese Hercules - Predator - Predator 2 - Coming To America - Legend - Five Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes - Pretty In Pink - Timecop - The Castle of Fu Manchu - Gator - The Mystery of Mr Wong - Robocop - Double Teamed - The Forbidden Kingdom - Sharknado - Sharknado 2: The Second One - Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! - Meatballs - Young Guns - The Addams Family (2019) - I Come In Peace - Masters of the Universe - Conan the Barbarian - Demolition Man - Sudden Death - The Heat - I’m Gonna Git You Sucka - Mortal Kombat - Unleashed - Curse of the Swamp Creature - The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - Messages from Space - John Carpenter’s The Thing - Stroker Ace - Dragnet - Of Cooks and Kung Fu - To Be Or Not To Be - Silver Streak - The Hustle - Sixteen Candles - Young Tiger - The Spy Next Door - Half Baked - Funny Girl - Phase IV - Point Break - Tank Girl - Universal Soldier - Conan the Destroyer - Lethal Weapon - Gojira - The Deadly Silver Spear - Car Wash - Hard Target - Big Trouble in Little China - Blade - Looper - Five Fingers of Steel - Clash of the Titans (1981) - Blade II: Bloodhunt - Showdown in Little Tokyo - Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons - Enter the Fat Dragon - UHF - The Falcon in Danger - Roadhouse - The Falcon Strikes Back - The Falcon and the Co-Eds - The Falcon Out West - Jumanji: The Next Level - Cyborg - Masterminds -?The Falcon in Mexico - The Falcon in Hollywood - The Falcon in San Francisco - Blade: Trinity - The Falcon’s Alibi - The Falcon’s Adventure - Dick Tracy, Detective - The Ape - Big - What We Do In The Shadows - The Departed - Gemini Man - Crippled Avengers - Camp Takota - Dick Tracy vs Cueball - Brightburn - Kickboxer - The Five Venoms - The Weird Man - Hellbound - Assassins Creed - The Flag of Iron - Trolls: World Tour - Masked Avengers - Dick Tracy’s Dilemma - Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome - Upgrade - The Cabin in the Woods - True Lies - The Maltese Falcon - Last Action Hero - Espionage in Tangiers - The Man From U.N.C.L.E - Saving Silverman - Dead End - Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Showtime - The Dark Tower - Tomb Raider - Five Elements Ninjas - Cherry 2000 - Johnny Cool - Freaks - Phantom Raiders - Wonder Park - Running Scared - The Bad News Bears - Cat People - The Happytime Murders - Double Impact - Murder, My Sweet - Tammy and the T-Rex - The House With a Clock in Its Walls - War - Street Fighter - Ex Machina - Attack The Block - The Avenging Eagle - Jexi - Ghost - Bad Girls From Mars - Cook Off! - Alita: Battle Angel - The Blob - Invasion U.S.A. - Journey Into Fear - Sharknado: The Fourth Awakens - Barb Wire - Cloverfield - Searching - Death Warrant - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (‘78) - Critical Condition - Stan & Ollie - Mystery in Mexico - Slaughterhouse Rulez - The Adventures of Prince Achmed - The Crawling Eye - Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - Chinatown - The Fly - Stagecoach - The Replacement Killers - Ishtar - The Jesus Rolls - The Getaway - Sky Murder - Action Jackson - Snake Eyes - Sharknado 5: Global Swarming - The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time - G.I. Joe: The Movie - Bad Boys - Bad Boys II - Bad Boys For Life - Movie Struck - Bohemian Rhapsody - Spies in Disguise - Blacula - Zis Boom Bah - Rock ‘n’ Roll High School - Hong Kong Confidential - Judge Dredd - Dick Tracy (1990) - The Cool and The Crazy - Die Hard - Queen of Outer Space - In Bruges - Armored Car Robbery - Fargo - Not So Dumb - Old Dracula - Creature From the Black Lagoon - The Invisible Man - The Green Slime - Don’t Breathe - Tenet - Vampyr - The Haunting - Scream Blacula Scream - The Monster Squad - The Cat and the Canary - Halloweentown - Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge - Scoob - The Mummy (1959) - A Quiet Place - The Haunted Mansion - Halloweentown High - Mom’s Got A Date With A Vampire - Plan 9 From Outer Space - Trick ‘r’ Treat - Lemora: The Lady Dracula - Under Wraps - The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) - The Mad Monster (1942) - Carnival of Souls - Happy Death Day - The Craft - Scream - Rear Window - Yongary, Monster From the Deep - Snakes On A Plane - Cosmic Monsters - The Comedy of Terrors - Killers From Space - Friday the 13th - House on Haunted Hill - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension - Roald Dahl’s The Witches - The Lost Boys - Attack of the Puppet People - Ready or Not - Return to Halloweentown - Mr. Boogedy - Early Man - Howard the Duck - Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine - Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot - Good Boys - Sky High - We Bare Bears the Movie - Raising Arizona - Book Club - Ferdinand - Police Story - The Wolf of Wall Street - Casino Royale (‘67) - CB4 - Xanadu - Johnny Mnemonic - Slumber Party Massacre - Regular Show: The Movie - Our Man Flint - Psycho - Saturday the 14th - Journey to the Center of Time - Playing With Fire - Stuber - In Like Flint - Bill & Ted Face the Music - The Birdcage - The Big Sleep - Sonic the Hedgehog - Life Stinks - Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs - Happy Death Day 2 U - Freejack - The Brain that Wouldn’t Die - Collision Course - Almost Heroes - The Trouble With Spies - North By Northwest - Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn - The Man Who Knew Too Much - Jingle All the Way - Mexican Spitfire - The 6th Day - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Deck the Halls - Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town - The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold - The Iron Giant - Elf - It Happened on 5th Avenue - Jack Frost - The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow - The Year Without a Santa Claus - Pinocchio’s Christmas - Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer - The Shop Around The Corner - Snow Day - Frozen 2 - Scrooged - The Polar Express - Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July - Rise of the Guardians - Trapped in Paradise - Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas - Jack Frost (‘98) - Christmas with the Kranks - Nestor, The Long Eared Christmas Donkey - Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians - Wonder Woman 1984 - The Wizard - Small Foot - Mom and Dad Save the World I’ve noticed that my wife seems to prefer old movies to new ones (overall). Some Like It Hot became an instant favorite for her... She also loved seeing things like Freaks or the Hitchcock films that get referenced a lot. She’s like Captain America pointing out all the references she gets now. We also found out she loves James Bond (mostly older ones), she doesn’t hate Will Farrell as much as she thought (or at all really), she loves bad/old/obscure movies, scary movies aren’t as scary as she thought they’d be, and that she’s basically Jennifer Anniston’s character from Office Space with her crazy love for old Kung Fu. As far as random recommendations my wife wanted to shout out all the Falcon films, Our Man Flint and In Like Flint, and Tammy & The T-Rex. I wanted to shout out The Forbidden Kingdom, Dr Goldfoot and The Bikini Girls & Dr Goldfoot and The Girl Bombs, and Old Dracula. If anybody wants to just talk movies I always welcome I can’t wait to expand her movie history in this coming year, there’s always plenty of bad obscure movies but now that she is into it it’s time to bring out the heavy hitters. Godfather, Jaws, Alien, Citizen Cane, Clockwork Orange, 2001 A Space Odyssey and more are still in the pipeline... If you’re still with me here I want to sincerely thank you for reading about our journey this year. I love you movies, and I hope y’all have a wonderfully cinematic 2021.
[H] A Ton of Bundle Games (IndieGala, Humble, and Fanatical) [W] Nov. Humble Monthly Games (Not Darksiders III or Yakuza Kiwami)
I already own Darksiders III and Yakuza Kiwami 2, so I figured I'd just skip this month and trade for the other games on here. I haven't updated my list in a long time, so there may be one or two games that I don't have anymore, but I still own most of them. So far, the games I'm looking for are: Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition Crying Suns Darksburg Little Misfortune Smile for Me Darkwood Tsioque Rover Mechanic Simulator Youropa Townsmen - A Kingdom Rebuilt The ones that I have for trade are: Humble Gift Link - The Uncertain: Last Quiet Day Knights of Pen and Paper 1+2 Collection Road Redemption This War of Mine Throne of Lies The Online Game of Deceit Torchlight Torchlight II The First Tree One Deck Dungeon Skybolt Zack Golf With Your Friends - OST Codex of Victory Conglomerate 451 Deep Sky Derelicts Gift of Parthax Haimrik Quantum Replica Re-Legion Shiny Through the Woods The Inner World Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic Safety First! 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