November 27, 2009

So Many Games, So Little Time

This week I started cleaning up my place in preparation for the holidays. It has nothing to do with the fact that I've been lazy and not properly cleaned it since before Halloween, honest! One of the first things I have to do when cleaning up is collect all the various gaming junk lying around on the tables, counters and even the floor, and put it all into one spot. Well this time around I realized that one spot simply isn't going to cut it anymore, unless I get a bigger spot.

So today I thought it might be an interesting bit to talk about some of these games and why I like (or don't) them so much. For today, I think I'll restrict it to card games, because otherwise this list is just going to be too damn long. Grab a cup of coffee and let's go!

VS System - If you have ever met me, or come to this blog at all it's very likely that you know of my love for the VS System card game. This was not the first collectible card game I got into, but it has certainly been the longest love affair I've had with one. This game simply has it all: my favorite comic characters, awesome team options, epic battles and everything in between. I still run the local hobby league and with some new plans in the new year, hope to keep it running for a long time to come!

GIJoe TCG - This was actually my first collectible card game. I resisted picking it up, even after seeing demos of it in San Diego the year of its release. I finally caved in to buying a starter set after seeing the how-to-play video on one of the animated DVDs. This game is quick and easy, but a LOT of fun to play. Anyone from my generation would be crazy not to enjoy an all-out battle between your favorite Joes and Cobras! I still have a half-dozen decks for this game in the closet, awaiting battle at any time.

Teen Titans CCG - This was the third card game I ever played, and it's had limited game time on my tables. It's strange engine, but its based on a hilarious cartoon. I've built a few decks for it, but it doesn't get played often.

Marvel Ultimate Battles - A failed attempt by UDE to capitalize on their Marvel license. Honestly though, this wasn't a bad game at all. Some similarities to VS, but with greater focus on your heroes (or villains) as the stars made it interesting. We only played it for a month or two after its release. I can't see breaking it out again anytime soon, if ever.

Anachronism - This is an odd one. Collin got me into this game, based on historical warriors. It's been out of print for a while, but it's a fantastic game. It plays like a miniature game more than a card game and is fast and fun! I like this game because you can teach it to non-gamers in like 5 minutes and I've never had anyone say they didn't enjoy it. Roll some dice, conquer your foes. Great stuff.

Call of Cthulhu - Another of my favorites, but this one is a tough sell to non-Cthulhu fans. The engine is solid but takes some time to get your brain wrapped around. One of the biggest selling points for this game to me initially was the artwork. The cards are absolutely beautiful! The switch by Fantasy Flight Games to make this a Living Card Game (LCG) was a great one. LCGs are inexpensive to collect, but still provide a ton of play options for interested players. I also run a bi-weekly adventure league for this game. It's still growing, but I'd welcome any suggestions to make it more fun.

Warlord - An interesting card game that I was only recently made aware of. It's a battle game, but has some elements of miniature combat in it as well. Not out of print, but a very limited release structure. I have trouble getting people to play this one. A cool engine with a focus on protecting your warlord makes it a rather deep gaming experience. The warlord characters are usually the best ones on the field, so you have to balance getting him into the fight with protecting him from getting stomped.

Warhammer: Invasion - My newest acquisition, and a definite favorite. This game is designed by the same guy who created the Call of Cthulhu game, and there are some similarities. It is a vastly different game though, with fabulous artwork and a very deep game engine. This is also a LCG, which I love. Finding a balance between developing your capital, getting units out to attack with, and just surviving provides a lot of choices and a really awesome gaming experience.

Now of course, games are no fun without people to play them with...which does pose a problem from time to time. I have a lot of gamer friends and we all have our favorite games. So when it comes around that we actually have time to get together and play, we often want to play our favorites. That's a great thing and I always look forward to out VS tournaments (Starro tonight, woohoo!), and the Cthulhu nights (insanity awaits). But with all these other games in my possession I want to play them too...maybe I'll have to start bribing people with beer or something.

Now, go out and play. Tell your moms and wives that I said it was ok. ;)

November 23, 2009

Vs System notes

Hey kids!

I just wanted to check in with all of the players and remind them to bring their team-play hats for this Friday's Giant-Size VS night. We'll be running both Galactus AND Starro multiplayer events. The Starro deck is a really interesting creation from the online community that I've play-tested a few times and feel is good enough for regular use. It's a different take on the Giant-Size idea that came to us with the Galactus set and is a lot of fun.

I also wanted everyone to think about what night would be good for them if we were to make the tournaments weekly rather than bi-weekly. Of course the prizing system would be vastly improved. Regular players would not only get to play more VS, but would be rewarded for playing on a regular basis with new cards and great new deck ideas. Please drop a comment on the site here to let me know which day is best for the majority of folks. Of course Trilogy's open-hours will affect what we're able to do, but please chime in.

You know you want to play more often.

November 18, 2009

CoC: Secrets of Arkham

Well I'm back again, and have some happy news on the Call of Cthulhu Living Card game! Most of you probably have heard about the upcoming full-size expansion for the game, entitled Secrets of Arkham. The new expansion will include 100 cards total (2 copies of 50 new cards) and be released this winter.

In light of this news, I think it will be a great jumping-on point for players interested in joining our current Adventure League play. Currently all players have purchased a starter set and added cards from purchased Asylum packs to it. We'll continue with that format until I have news of a release date for the new expansion. At that point we'll have a round-robin tournament event for everyone to finish off the current league.

After the release of Secrets of Arkham we'll begin a new cycle with new rules, to be decided at that time. There will be a new Adventure League kit to co-incide with this and should spark another cycle of deckbuilding, insanity and fun.

November 06, 2009

The Ancient Ones Devour All...

Well we had another night of demons vs investigators last night at Trilogy. Our Call of Cthulhu league is starting to gain a decent player base which I'm really happy to see. Four players came on Thursday to battle it out over story card and drive their opponents insane.

Sebastien is probably the bravest (or most insane) of us all, as he has not yet added any Asylum Packs to his original Syndicate / Cthulhu deck. The scary thing is that he's still winning a good portion of his games! Jason has built two decks, and is probably the farthest along into integrating Asylum Pack cards into both of them. They fought each other to a standstill over two games, each declaring a single victory and adding to their currency pools accordingly.

I was also able to play two games, one versus Sebastien and another against our newest player Cameron. Prior to last night's gaming I had set out to improve my deck further, after having been sorely disappointed by its performance thus far. It had some good cards in it, but I just couldn't seem to bring it all together.

After flipping through some of the cards in the sets I had already added cards from, I stumbled onto the Rope and Anchor Tavern, which lets you reduce the cost to play a card with a given sub-type by TWO! Nice. I also saw that a large number of my lower cost cards were Cultists, and began wondering if there was a way I could make use of that somehow. Well, I found my answer in a single copy of a 5-cost generic card that boosted all of my cultists by 1 skill and a terror icon. This fellow also happened to have the Ancient One subtype! Things were starting to take shape.

And take shape they did. In both games I was able to get that character (unfortunately I can't remember the name of it) out on turn three or four. Being able to sacrifice my one-cost cultists to destroy my opponent's unattached characters is EXTREMELY powerful. I was able to claim victory in two games in a row to close out my evening undefeated. I'll post up a deck list before the next tournament.

We still haven't determined a way to cap off this phase of the Adventure League, so if you have some suggestions please let me know!

November 02, 2009

Marvel Legends Draft Report

We had a smaller turn out than I expected, but travel plans, wives and colds kept some of our regular players away. The six of us who were able to make it out each grabbed our three packs and the draft was on!

I set up two pods of three players to draft, but in retrospect I think that we should have all drafted together. Since draft is a format we don't play all that often I hadn't really thought about the team availability being a little easier in groups of three, but it didn't seem to affect things adversely...just something to note for next time.

Harry, Vern and Scott made up pod 1, Dustin, William and I made up pod 2. In my first pack I noticed a large number of Marvel Knights cards and started filling out my curve early on. A lot of the more team-specific cards were coming back to me, so I started grabbing them. After all three packs were done I had ended up with an almost complete MK build, only using two Doom characters and an X-Men 6-drop to round things out. It was also a mini Punisher legend deck, as I had been able to grab two copies of the 2-drop, one of the 4-drop AND a copy of the 7-drop Angel of Death, all to go along with some Desert Eagles, an M-60 and a copy of Sniper Shot.

In the first game William had relatively poor draw against me, but was able to make it a very close game into turn seven. I had to pay a fair amount of endurance to survive with cards like White Dragon, and after the dust cleared I was only barely able to pull out a TWO endurance!

Game two saw me up against Harry, who was also playing an MK-heavy deck. He started burning me early with some Random Punks and had me pretty scared when he dropped his 3-cost Juggernaut down. I wasn't able to play a visible character until turn five, and opted to play Iron Fist over Vengeance due to his large defense value. In the end that was my demise, as when turn 7 came around and I had to attack into Harry's board, his Vengeance ended up burning me for an extra five, resulting in his victory...once again by TWO endurance!

My final match was up against Dustin, who hadn't played in quite a while and was struggling a little bit. Even with that against him, he was able to hit almost every drop through out the game. Similar to my second game, I was hampered by having hidden characters until turn five, and then sadly missed my six completely. With only a 1-drop on the visible area of the board it was all over for me.

In all three of my games I only got to use my Punisher stuff in the second game. I had one pathetic sniper counter and that's it. Definitely not the terrifying sequence of events I had planned to unleash upon my opponents. The only thing that got punished was my pride. :P

After 3-rounds of play we had our top three players. In a three way tie with 2 victories each, the final standings determined by tie-breakers (Mantis does all the work there) as Scott, Vern and Harry.

We tossed all the rares in a pile and set to drafting them out. If I recall correctly Scott went home with the Angel of Death and an accompanying Sniper Shot, and I think Vern snagged a copy of Three-Ton Boulder (don't ask me why). The box didn't have a Mobilize in it like our Legion draft box did, but it was still a lot of fun for everyone. Thanks for coming out to play guys!

Next up: Bring Your Own Two Teams