Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fallout: New Vegas 9.0

There are new games coming out all the time. And every year a select group of games are picked from the flow and held above the rest. You turn these games on and you can tell that they are a result of dedication to not only the craft of making these games, but to the gamers they are created for.
Then, there are games like Fallout: New Vegas.

The Fallout franchise is not something to be taken lightly. Fallout has a cult following like few games ever see. Fallout was published by Interplay in 1997 and Fallout 2 was published just a year later by Black Isle Studios. Both were tremendous games and laid the foundation that Fallout was built on. While spin-offs were made, when Black Isle closed its doors in 2004, it looked like we would never experience the wonders of the Wasteland again. But, like a knight in shining armor, years later, Bethesda Softworks picked up where Black Isle had left off. Just over a decade after the last Fallout title had been released, Fallout 3 was released in the U.S. and life was good. Not only had Bethesda revived the franchise, they had created a masterpiece. The game won several awards and was bound for gaming greatness.

Fallout 3

Now, onto Fallout: New Vegas. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda, it's very similar to Fallout 3. It takes place on the other side of the U.S. where the devastation isn't quite a severe as it was in our nation's once capital. Much of the dreary landscape and bleak skyline that we saw in Fallout 3 is replaced with a slightly more colorful scene and mostly blue skies. Aside from some minor tweaks, it plays the same way. The open world is simply beautiful and is fulfilling in it self to explore. There are numerous Easter eggs and fun little things tucked away waiting to be found. There's even a nod to Monty Python's "Holy Grail" that had this guy grinning for quite some time. Play wise, this game, although plagued by numerous bugs, is the same that we have come to know and love.

But it's the storyline in this game that separates this masterpiece from the rest of the great games released. Most RPGs have a linear storyline. Even Fallout 3 (which had a stellar story), even with all of it's side quests, had a main story that followed a somewhat straight path. While you still had the choice of how to handle the situations, the situations still came about in the same manner and most didn't have that much impact on the overall story of the game. Fallout: New Vegas has changed that. There is no blatant "good" and "bad" when it comes to the main factions. You still have your Raiders and the Fiends and the like, but when it comes to the main story missions, you're options are vast.
There are your two main factions; The NCR and Caesar's Legion and you can fight for either side. At first glance, The NCR looks to be the Wasteland saviors while the Legion appear to be nothing more than old world thugs. But a closer look tells a different story. The NCR is helping some of those in the Wasteland by offering protection and a form of infrastructure. They have put many of their resources to providing much needed utilities like water and electricity to the citizens of the NCR. But many have a poor opinion of the new government. When they appointed themselves as the new municipality, they also laid claim to all of the Mojave Wasteland as their property. If you occupied any of their new land, you were asked to leave. If you refused, you were forced to leave, be it drug out by your shirt or drug out in a pine box. There are also many "incidents" that involve the NCR and excessive force or just outright murder. But is it for the greater good?

Then we have Caesar's Legion. Slavers? Yes. Fair? That would be a stretch. They use a lot of the same tactics that the NCR use, but brutality is honored, not covered up. It is now a world when only the strong survive. They have a code they live and die by. Part of that code is keeping yourself free from drugs and alcohol, and that sounds like something good, right? And who is this group calling themselves the New California Republic and why do they now control all of this land? And you can bet that not a single member of the Legion voted on any of this.
Now, I'm not saying either way about who really is good or bad. My point is that there are complete different directions you can take the game. The "good" or "bad" here is more of a matter of perspective. Both sides have their reasons for their actions. And it's not just between the NCR and the Legion. There is also Mr. House on the Vegas strip. He has a vision of restoring the strip to it's former glory and his plans don't always mesh well with those of the NCR or the Legion. There is also the Brotherhood of Steel, the Followers of the Apocalypse, the Great Khans, the Boomers, and even the Enclave makes an appearance.
In short, there are many different directions that you can take this game, and all give a completely different game play experience. Many developers have tried to do this before but none have succeeded like Obsidian has.

The only reason I didn't give this game a 10 is because of the bugs. Now, when Fallout: New Vegas was given a release date, we all counted on two things: That this game was going to rock and that it would have more bugs than a by-the-hour motel. So is life, no big deal. And both expectations were met. But those of us that are veterans know the golden rule to RPG games - Save early, save often.
And be careful about trying to take a shortcut or find your way to what you think might be a secret area. There's a good chance you're going to get stuck in a permanent free fall or simply get trapped. But there are very few games that are worth playing that don't have some form of bug. Remember that little bug when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 put out their new map pack and the DLC itself made it so you couldn't play? But that's what patches are for, right. So, when a patch was put out for the Xbox360 version, everything seemed to be on track. Not only was the new patch going to fix over 200 bugs, it was prepping the world for then new DLC, "Honest Hearts". Only one problem. The patch was doing everything from causing annoying glitches in the game to crashing the system all together. I can't help but see a bit of irony in that.

Now let's take a look at the break-down for this game....

The Graphics of this game are outstanding. I couldn't imagine a post apocalyptic world any other way.

The sound is superb. From the very random noises that bring the world to life to the soothing voice of Mr. New Vegas and all of the swing and swag you can handle. The voice casting that include Wayne Newton, Matthew Perry, and Danny Trejo complete the Wasteland ambiance.

The controls are great. If you love FPS games, everything is setup for quick changes and can be very effective. If turn based is more your style, the V.A.T.S. system is for you. Your AP has to be filled for V.A.T.S. to work, so it can't be used for every shot, but it still works well.

Replay Value of this game is very high. This is one of those games that you can play over and over and over and have a different experience every time.

This game does not offer multi-player.

One thing I have to mention here is the bugs. While they have put out patches, there are still plenty of them in here. Most of the severe bugs were taken care of though.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Red Dead Redemption 9.5

Red Read Redemption was developed by Rockstar San Diego, was published by Rockstar Games, and was released on May 18, 2010. It is rated Mature for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs.

Red Dead Redemption is the long awaited spiritual sequel to the popular Red Dead Revolver released way back in May of 2004. A sandbox style game set in 1911 at the end of the wild west era, RDR has that Grand Theft Auto feel to it that has become synonymous with Rockstar Games. Many developers have tried to reproduce that feel and, in this writers opinion, have fallen very short. It can be played as a single player campaign or in online multi-player.

You start off as John Marston, an outlaw who has turned a new leaf and just trying to lead the good life at the end of the western outlaw era. He is then given a life changing ultimatum by The Bureau and this serves as his motivation for the game and leads to a very interesting storyline. As the game unfolds, you get all of the classic western gear like the classic revolvers, repeater rifles, shotguns, fire bombs (whiskey bottles with a cloth rag) and even a lasso. As the game progresses you can get some more modern weapons such as semi auto pistol and a scoped rifle.
The game has an auto aim feature, but for those looking for more of a challenge, this can be turned off. The weapons all have a different feel and are extremely fun to use, especially the lasso, which you can use to catch the bad guy and hog tie them. Or, if you don't want the trouble of tying them up, throwing them on the back of your horse (or over your shoulder) and taking them in for justice by the law, you can always just drag them behind your horse until there is nothing left.
Or, if you are feeling particularly dastardly, you can rope an unsuspecting citizen and take them to the nearest train tracks and watch them pop like a watermelon at a Gallagher show.

And what self respecting western game would be without the classic gunfights? In RDR, you will be challenged to a duel. If you choose to accept, you will enter the gun fighter mode. You will square off in the middle of the street and wait for the signal. When the town bell rings, you will go into a slow motion draw where you try to get off as many well placed shots as you can. If you are quick and accurate enough, you drop the dirty dog and gain a little respect, as well as notoriety. As you become more well known, you will gain certain perks depending on what you are know for. Save a few damsels in distress and thwart a robbery or two, and you will start getting better deal at the local merchants. It can also go the other way.

Much like the gun fights, there is also the "Dead Eye" action, which lets you place shots while time is slowed. As you progress through the game, your Dead Eye will gain extra perks, such as specific shot placement. This comes in very hand when you are ambushed by a group of bandits. Or in my case, run head first into a large bandit hideout only to find that there are a lot more of them then I thought.

Another aspect of this game is hunting, which makes this game that much better for me. There are plenty of animals roaming around for you to practice your quick draw on. From vultures and hawks (I even shot down a duck!) to rattle snake and armadillos to bears and wolves, this game has all the beasts you'd expect to see in the Wild West. But these critters are for more than just target practice. Every animal you harvest can be field dressed. On most animals, you will get the pelt and occasionally you will get a little something extra, like a heart or claw. These items can then be sold in one of the towns. Pay attention to how much a merchant pays you because different towns pay different amounts for different items. These items can also sometimes be used in side quests, so keep that in mind if you have a pretty good stash of cash and acquire more animal items.

There are other money making ventures such as poker, blackjack, liars dice, and five finger fillet. Not to mention the cash rewards you get for doing the random good, and some not so good deeds.

Speaking of random deeds, the random events that occur in the game is something that really makes this game stand out from the crowd. Rockstar calls this the "dynamic event system". As you wander this vast expanse, you will see characters and the animals interact with each other. People talking, working, or even fighting. You'll even see some stuff that looks like it came strait from Fox's "When Animals Attack". Which isn't new to the free roam world. In GTA4, fights between random characters were common. But to add to the realism of the game, you can intervene if you so choose. If you do choose to, you gain notoriety and usually cash. Or instead of aiding a helpless victim, you may be ambushed by thieves, or asked to aid in the capture of some escaped prisoners from a prison transport gone bad.

The mode of transportation across these western plains are not limited to foot and a trusty steed.
While these both work, there is more. First, there are many kinds of horses to choose from. Some are faster than others while others will wear out quicker. Better horses can be purchased or, if you are up to a challenge, you can try to catch a wild horse and break him to make him your own. You also have the option of stage coach which you can either drive or ride as a passenger. And of course there is the train. While on the train, you can sit and enjoy the ride, or you can challenge your shooting skills by trying to take down animals (or people if you choose) while propelling through the hills and plains.

Multi player is another aspect of this game that can stand alone and do just fine. Instead of being John, you start off as one of the basic characters you can choose as your own with some basic weapons. Unlike the single player mode, everything is based on experience points and leveling up. As you level up, you can unlock new characters and new weapons. As you play, you will find weapons dropped by other players and by random characters, but the only ones you keep permanently are the ones that are earned. You can have your friends or even random players in the room join your posse. You can roam the free world warring with others online or do missions. Which brings me to the only part of this game that I have a big problem with. Spawn killing. It's awful. It happens in every online multi-player game. But this game gives them a big helping hand. When in free roam, it's not that bad. You do re-spawn in the relatively same area, but it is spread out. But try and do a mission, and it's a completely different ball game. While doing missions in free roam, you have specific re-spawn points. And once some d-bag finds it, you may as well stop, exit multi-player, and start over. I was doing a particular mission and one of these wonderful players that should have met their early demise in stomach acid found the spawn point. All he did was aim his shotgun at where I would spawn and it was all over. When you re-spawn, you gun is holstered, so you have no chance at defense. I was spawn killed 24 times before I gave up on the mission I had spent the last 20 minutes trying to do and had to exit multi-player. Hopefully, this is something that will be addressed in the future.

So let's take a look at the break-down of this game....

The Graphics of this game are great. You truly feel as if you are in the wild west.

The Sound is just as good. From the action scores down to the all most cheesy western music. You almost expect Clint Eastwood to walk onto the screen.

The controls are very fluid. At first you will want for a quick single button for changing weapons, but after some practice you will come to like the weapon change system.

Replay value of this game is high. With the sandbox style and multi-player, you will be playing this game over and over.

Multi-player is great aside from the spawnkilling.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Well, here I am, a week after my surgery and starting to heal. First off, I was wrong about the two incisions on my back. I have one four inch long incision going down my lower back with 15 staples keeping it closed tight. The procedure itself is called a Double Lumbar Discectomy. My surgery took about two hours, but 40 minutes of that was them trying to intubate me. It turns out that I am part of a small minority (4% of the world population I am told) that has a small throat and can be intubated in the normal way. Aside from that, the rest of the surgery went fine. I spent the next 48 hours in Beaumont's ICU due to my low oxygen levels.
Now, let me take a quick moment to mention care that I received at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. This was hands down the best hospital experience I have ever had. You could not ask for a friendlier and more professional heath care facility. Every measure was taken to make sure I was as comfortable and as happy as possible. Even though it is an hour away from me, Beaumont is my families new hospital of choice.
Anyways, I was only out of the hospital about 24 hours when I noticed that my feet were swollen to almost double their size. I seriously looked like Fred Flintsone. I called up my surgeon and he instructed me to get to the nearest emergency room a.s.a.p. so off I went. The nearest hospital to me is Genesys, which is about eight minutes away, but I have to be three seconds from death before I will enter that hospital as a patient. The next closest hospital was McLaren Hospital in Flint, so we headed there. When I arrived, I was greeted with "We are busy as hell and we have 40 patients back here. You aren't that bad, so you're going to have to wait.". If they are busy, that's fine. If there are people in worse condition than me, that's fine. But to make that little speech my welcome is not. The main concern was a blood clot and secondary was CHF (chronic heart failure), yet it was hours before anyone even came in to start my work-up. After many more hours, they had ruled out blood clots, but my oxygen was dropping very low, so they decided to admit me. After hours of trying to get some kind of answer as to what was going on and why I was swelling, I still knew very little, so I decided it was time to transfer down to Beaumont where I had a much better chance of survival. So, with ten new holes in my arm (does anyone at McLaren know how to start an IV???) I was taken by ambulance to wonderful Beaumont where I spent another two days. But staying at Beaumont is a step away from staying at a resort, so it wasn't that bad. Plus, my wonderful sister in law works there and kept me company when she could and brought me a late night snack (Thanks Jackie!!!).
Come to fine out that the swelling was a result of another condition I have called Angio Edema, which is another story in itself. It was triggered by the pain medication I am on, so it's kind of a catch 22. Get rid of the pain and keep the swelling or get rid of the swelling and keep the pain.

Now, the most important part of all of this is did the surgery work? Well, I don't know. After waking up after the surgery, the first thing I said was how wonderful it was to feel my foot again and have no pain. Well, the numbness is slowly coming back and the pains started again last night. Now, around my incision is very swollen, so we are thinking that the swelling might be pressing on the disks that were altered and causing the same symptoms. I won't know if it fully worked until the staples are removed and the swelling goes down. I will try to make another post when thing s start to get better.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another Stepping Stone On The Path to Recovery

For anyone who has been following my blog for some time, my path to recovery has been a long and trying. What was supposed to be a two month hiatus from the outdoors that I love has turned into a long and painful voyage that has lasted over half of a year and the end is a long way off. As I write this, I am 11 days away from having surgery on my spine to try to correct what a simple four foot fall and a little gravity has done. I will be going to Beaumont Hospital where they are going to make two incisions in my lower back. They are then going to remove a small portion from three of the disks in my back, then put me back together. This will be the first major surgery I have ever had, and I have to say I am a bit frightened. But I have high hopes that this will put me on the right path back to the outdoors. While I have enjoyed all of the new video games I have been able to play, I am looking forward to the time when I can spend hours on end deep in the woods or wadding in a marsh. After I recover from this surgery, I will be going back in to have them fix the damage to my ankles. Anyways, I just thought I would give an update as to what is happening and thanks for reading!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tropico 3

I have been awaiting Tropico 3 for the Xbox 360 for some time now. I've had it in my GameQ since the day they put out a release date. After two months of waiting, I finally got that square white envelope in the mail from GameFly, and I went straight to playing.

Tropico 3 is published by Kalypso Media and developed by Haemimont Games and was released on February 16, 2010. The ESRB is "Teen" for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

The game is set during the Cold War in the Caribbean and you have just came into power as "El Presidente" of a tropical island. It starts out just like almost every other sim game out there. You have a very small population and a very small village of some kind. You might have a farm or two, a few shacks, and a shop of some kind. It is then up to you to build your newly acquired island nation up and lead it into prosperity, using whatever means necessary. While building your empire, you must keep a balance between the happiness of your people, your economy, political and religious factions, along with trying to keep both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from coming to your shores with guns drawn. There are also the natural elements such as hurricanes and earthquakes. In these respects, it is a lot like many of the other sim games that have come before it.

What separates it from many of the others is how you go about doing many of the activities and actions. You can play any way you chose whether you want to play the "man of the people" role or Castro himself (yes, you can be Fidel Castro) or anything in between. You can bribe anyone in the game, send your military after them, or arrange for an "accident" to happen. A major portion of your score comes from you Swiss bank account, which you can siphon into from most of the monies that come through your palace. You can be very successful at either end of the spectrum, but the game makes it very easy to follow in the footsteps of Karl Marx or even Hitler, if you so chose.

They did a pretty good job at designing the islands, which there are many to choose from. You really get a tropical feel while playing. You can make it a remote tropical getaway or a five star resort filled with luxury hotels, casinos, and more.

The sounds of the island help add a tropical feel along with the music, but it's nothing you will be humming to yourself later.

The controls can be a bit frustrating at times, especially with not having the option to invert the "Y" axis. The type is a bit small and can be a bit hard to read, so if you are playing on a 32 inch screen or smaller, you will have to be right on top of the TV to know whats going on. One of the biggest fails was the road mapping system. There are many times where you will spend what seems like hours trying to get roads to line up, instead of automatically finding the best layout like many other games.

There is a campaign made with various objectives set as well as a sandbox mode for free play. At the end of a campaign, you have the option of continuing after the objectives are met, which is nice. There is also a tutorial mode which is helpful, but does not cover all aspects of the game, just the basics. But with a little online searching, I had all of my questions answered.

All in all, this is an aggravatingly fun and addictive game. You will find yourself cursing this game but unable to put the controller down, at least for a while. I would consider this to be a great "in between game" (that game you play when you've played five continuous hours of Modern Warfare 2 and you need something to refresh your brain before you kill someone because of that damn kid that wouldn't stop using a noobtube) and a good game over all with a moderate replay value.

HINT: The strategy that I have found to work the best is to establish a farm or two for food, then set up a tobacco farm and a cigar factory. This will get the money starting to flow. Then build a logging camp, a lumber mill, and a furniture factory. Follow it up with a pineapple farm and a fisherman's wharf. And you should have some cash left (or you should earn some at the end of the month from the docks) and build an oil rig (if there is one close by) or an oil refinery. Everything aside from the farms and lumber mill will put you into debt a bit, but it will start making money quickly and the farms and wharf will help to feed your population as the game progresses. Keep a close eye on your food supply as your population grows, because your people will start to starve quickly.

Something else I found helpful, if you are trying to develop as much of your island as possible, is to construct at least two more construction offices the second you start to make some money, and keep building them as the game goes on, increasing their pay as you go. The construction workers tend to be very inefficient. There is nothing you can do to help this, as it is simply how the game was programmed. This will keep your projects going.

Over all, I would give this game a 7.25 out of 10.

A day at the beach in Tropico

You have to appreciate the detail in this game. It truly gives you that "Havana" feel

Here is a list of the achievements you can earn in the game -

El Prez 101
Learn how to run a Banana Republic - 5gp

Presidente for life
Prove your governing skills on 15 different islands in Campaign mode - 50gp

Frequent Flier
Build an Airport - 10gp

Call me Tropifeller
Build a Skyscraper Hotel - 5gp

License to Kill
Issue 5 kill orders in one game - 5gp

Generous Leader
Bribe 10 citizens in one game - 10gp

You Saw Nothing
Arrange 15 "Accidents" in one game - 15gp

A little something
Have over $20 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 10gp

Pension Fund
Have over $50 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 20gp

Filthy Rich
Have over $100 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 30gp

Tropican Fiesta
Finish a game with overall Happiness of your citizens above 70% - 40gp

Viva la Revolution!
Finish a "Rebel Yell" Sandbox game. - 10gp

Tropico Tycoon
Construct 3 different industry buildings in one game - 20gp

Issue 200 edicts - 30gp

My People Love Me
Win 80% of the votes in Elections - 20gp

Nephew Sam
Make an alliance with the US - 10gp

Comrade Presidente
Make an alliance with the USSR - 10gp

Curse of the Llama
Survive 10 Hurricanes and Earthquakes - 40gp

Coup de Grace
Suppress a Military Coup - 20gp

Red Wire, Green Wire
Deal with a bomb threat - 20gp

The Negotiator
Resolve a hostage situation - 10gp

Agent 00
Establish Secret Police - 10gp

It's Just a Flesh Wound
Survive an assassination attempt - 20gp

In the Ivory Tower
Address the people from the balcony of your Palace - 10gp

Honest Politician
Fulfill an Election Promise - 20gp

Black Gold
Earn $100 000 from Oil export - 35gp

Fruitas LTD CEO
Become a leading exporter of tropical fruits - 10gp

El Commandante
Finish your mandate on 5 different islands in Campaign mode - 30gp

Let There Be Light
Build a Power Plant - 10gp

Homes for Everyone
Have population of over 250 and no Shacks - 30gp

Maximum Security
Arrest 20 citizens in one game - 20gp

Man of the People
Finish a game with respect of all factions above 70 - 40gp

Accomplished Dictator
Lead 10 different islands to prosperity in Campaign mode - 40gp

Tropican Utopia
Finish a Sandbox game in God mode - 5gp

Tropico and Beyond
Finish an online Challenge - 20gp

Free Elections
Finish a "Free Elections" Sandbox game - 10gp

Construct 1337 buildings - 50gp

Top Exporter
Earn $1 000 000 from industry in a single game - 30gp

Viva El Presidente!
Win a battle against the Rebels - 20gp

Iron Fist
Suppress an uprising - 30gp

Rush the construction of 5 buildings - 10gp

Guest of Honor
Make 10 official visits to buildings - 15gp

High Praise
Praise yourself in an Election Speech - 10gp

Heavy Traffic
Construct at least 1000 meters of roads and 4 Garages - 30gp

Distinguished Service
Decorate a soldier with a medal - 10gp

Construct 200 buildings on one island - 25gp

Have more than 20 soldiers and generals in one game - 20gp

Paradise Island
Earn $1 000 000 from tourism profits in a single game - 40gp

Tourist Resort
Build all Tourist Attractions on one island - 10gp

If you play games like I do, GameFly is for you. Follow the link and get a 2 game free trial!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bring On The ICE!!!!!

Well, it's that time of year again! The chill is gone from the air and has been replaced by the bitter cold breath old man winter. And that can only mean one thing... ICE FISHING!!!! There is nothing quite like sitting on the ice first thing in the morning with a hot coffee and a wet line. And it can't happened quick enough.

I have been out to a few lakes here locally to check ice conditions and my findings are good. We have had nice cold temperatures and very little snow, so the ice is coming along nicely. One of my favorite early season spots was about 2 1/2 inches thick, clear as could be, and hardly any snow on the lake. And with conditions like we are supposed to be having for the next week, we should have good ice.

For the past three weeks, I have been getting my equipment out from it's hiding spots and ready for the first ice that will be here soon. My rods are ready, my gear is clean and ready, and the "Bucket of Wonder and Awe" is ready for another season. Now, all that is left is the wait....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometimes, It's a Long Hard Hunt

This hunting season has been very slow for me. With my injury that happened just three days before early goose season, getting out and about has been quite the chore. But it is always worth it. I have never had a hunt where I said "I wish I would have just stayed home". But, this past week, I came very close.

A friend of mine made his way up from North Carolina to do some Michigan duck hunting. He moved away from Michigan a few years back, but the waterfowl hunting out by him just isn't the same as it is here in Michigan. So, a couple of months ago he called me up and said he wanted to make a trip up here and told me to keep an eye out on the duck reports so we could have an awesome hunt. I was pumped when the time grew near.

He arrived in Michigan and took a quick power nap, then called me up for an evening hunt. He had always wanted to hunt the Holloway Reservoir, a place where he grew up fishing. I had never been there, but from what he described, it sounded like a duck haven. After a little research, I found a few forums that talked about the hunting out there, and there were a few success stories. Game on.

We got to the primitive launch site and dropped the boat in. It was pretty rocky, so we walked the boat the first 50 or so yards. After that it was smooth sailing. We reached the other side of the reservoir and found our spot, but the water level was very low. Time to test out the Mudd Buddy. We zipped across the remaining water until we got within 30 yards of where we were going to set up, then the mud changed. It went from sloppy mud to thick clay-like mud. So we got out again and pulled the rest of the way. We set up on a little point surrounded by cattails and a nice cross wind. After setting out a small spread, we brushed up the boat and got ready. everything was perfect and in place. But one thing was missing. Ducks. It was two hours before we saw our first birds, and they we a faint vision on the horizon. Every duck from then on followed the same flight path.

I was scanning the horizon when my buddy said to me "Hey. Wasn't that cinder block over there under water when we were setting decoys?". "I hope not" I replied. There was only about 30 minutes of shooting light left, so we watched to see if the water dropped any more. Then, he said he needed to use the little boys room. Now, anyone that has any experience hunting knows that the second you go to relieve yourself, whatever you are hunting will come out at that exact moment, stick out it's tongue and wave, then make it's way back out of sight. I told him that the second he stepped out of the boat, the ducks would come in. But he really had to go. Sure enough, the second his foot hit the water, a pair of woodies came in from behind. He scrambled back into the boat, but we were made and the pair got out of there. And that was the extend of our action. Last light came and our hunting was over.

But the story does not end there. Oh no, not at all. As we looked out of the boat, we noticed that more of the cinder block was indeed showing. The reservoir was being drained while we were in it. And when we stepped out of the boat, our boots hit ground and not water. It took almost 30 minutes to get the boat moved over to water that was float-able. As we made our way to our spread, we noticed that some of our decoys we actuality starting to tip because the keels were touching the bottom. Not good. Now for the trip out. Now, keep in mind that I am freshly out of a cast and am not supposed to be walking without a brace, let alone walking through a marsh dragging a boat. we wound up dragging (not floating) the boat probably around 100 yards or so. We finally reached float-able water and jumped in. We are now home free. Well not quite. We made our way back through the canals looking for our launch. But it was no where to be found. We drove up and down those canals, but just could not find it. Then it hit us. We had to drag the boat when we put it in because it was too shallow. And since the water had dropped, that canal was probably land locked. After some searching, we found another primitive boat launch and parked the boat. My friend then had a nice little walk to try to find the other boat launch and his truck. What a night. Then, to top it off, we were standing on the back of his tilt trailer to get the boat loaded and I stepped on one of the tail lights instead of the frame. The light had no chance against me and instantly broke.

All in all, I was glad to get out and hunt somewhere new. But, I was real close to saying those eight little words....