Thursday, May 6, 2010, 7:36 AM
Well I haven't blogged on my own page for a while (the majority of my blogging is on the mtguk community site. Go there now. I'll wait).
Last weekend we had a national holiday for the Monday and I spent a couple of days at a friend's house in Kent at an event dubbed Wright-con. The premise is simple: My friend Steve has a very nice 5 room house for him and his family. Whilst the wife and kids go off to Legoland, 20 of us 'invade' the house (complete with sleeping bags) for a whole weekend of games.
The list can be found on boardgamegeek, but if I recall correctly we played 43 unique games over the course of the weekend. Beer and snacks flowed freely and we had great fun. I hadn't met a lot of Steve's other friends (I knew about 6 or 7 prior to the weekend), but it was so easy to get to meet new people whilst trying to work out if they were a vampire, conquering Rome by brute force or working together to try and kill an invisible traitor....
I managed to happily chalk up playing the following games over the course of two and a half days:
Conquest of the Empire
Glory to Rome
Roll Through the Ages
Betrayal on House on the Hill
One of the highlights was one group playing a game of Smallworld at 2am in the morning with someone in America via webcam! And whilst there was a 7-player game of Twilight Imperium, I decided to duck out of that session...
Bring on Wrightcon 2011!
Thursday, March 4, 2010, 1:15 AM
I had a small request for my Uril EDH deck.
Well, here it is, plus comments:
Uril, the Miststalker
Focus of the deck is Uril damage 21 General Damage, so no other creatures are in the deck. Note that trample effects appear on many different cards, which is key to being able to pass through blockers.
Heartbeat of Spring
Mayael's Aria provides an alternative win condition. Heartbeat of Spring and Enchantress Presence helps the deck run better, whilst all the other enchantments hinder the opponent in various ways.
Enchantment – Auras:
Shield of the Oversoul
Scourge of the Nobilis
Runes of the Deus
Only the best auras will do for Uril!
Seize the Day
Waves of Aggression
Day of Judgement
Wrath of God
The sorceries are split as follows: Global Removal (e.g. Wrath, Shatterstorm), Uril enhancers (e.g. Tower Above, Seize the Day) and Board Domination (Razia's Purification, Dimensional Breach, Replenish) that are cast once Uril is a main threat.
Instants are varied in nature, but include a couple of spells that protect uril (Second Sunrise, Graceful Reprieve)
Ward of Bones
Shield of Kaldra
The equipment helps with Uril, whilst Ward of Bones and Crawlspace are disruptive to the opponent.
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
Hall of the Bandit Lord
Skarrg, the Rage Pits
These lands continue to aid Uril with abilities such as haste, trample etc.
Tri colored mana base! Krosan Verge is especially good in this deck.
Thursday, February 4, 2010, 4:21 AM
Last night I played what has been agreed to be the most fun game of Agricola we've had for a while.
When I first forayed into the world of board games in 2004, I would have put Puerto Rico as the game that has influenced me a lot towards the concept of 'board games are not just for kids anymore'. Nowadays Agricola is a game no one objectes to if it is bought up as a suggestion (in fact, we now define it as a light game despite the length it takes to play)
We opted to play the Through the Moors expansion with the occupation cards (Usually you play the expansion without the occupation cards, but we love them too mucy to leave them aside!).
It was 5 players, we started at 8pm and didn't finish until well past midnight. My hand of cards wasn't exactly stellar, but did contain a bricklayer (which heavily discounted my clay improvements, renovations and rooms) and the improvements weren't that great either, with only a Night Pasture (allows me and my opponents to store animals there*) and Slaughterhouse (one food whenever someone else converts animals to food) that proved valuable to my eventual strategy.
With the focus on building a clay house, I stockpiled wood to build fences and got my first pair of sheep breeding during the first harvest. During the second harvest, I renovated my house, double expanded (for a bargain of 6 clay and 4 reed) and grew my family. I thought I made a mistake when I didn't pick up a fireplace as part of the renovation and built the Night Pasture instead. Fortuneately this worked out well as my sheep population eventually outgrew the pasture capacity (and food slowly started to trickle in with a Slaughterhouse that I built later
In the end, I managed to win the game by a single point. At this point I had reached my animal capacity limit (at least one offspring couldn't be housed during breeding) and I had the optimal number of grain and vegatable. After looking over the board with one action point left, trying to locate addtional VPs, I had found my play. I took a free action to remove a tree tile from my board for 2 wood (which costs me -1 victory point for having an empty space in my farmyard), then built a stable (+1 victory point), thus doubling the capacity of one of the pastures, thus allowing my animals to safely breed (at least +1 victory point).
Agricola just feels to have a high replay value amongst our group. Add to the fact that we always come up with a stream of inappropriate innuendos and witty remarks, it is one of the few game will frequently come back to.
*Management does not accept responsibility for any hanky-panky that may arise due to animal activity (the rules say that the animals there are allowed to breed with my own and I get to keep any offsprings)
Friday, January 22, 2010, 2:10 AM
Yes I miss playing sanctioned Magic and sometimes there are bouts of inactivity that occur as a result.
Fortuneately, there are other alternatives and they always seem to come at once. Take for instance this weekend:
Tonight: World of Warcraft TCG Sealed Deck event qualifier
Saturday: Ticket to Ride regional qualifier
Sunday: MTG Reject rare draft
The RRD just involves quickly going through my personal collection and pulling out 45 rares to contribute to the event. WOW Sealed deck plays out like MTG sealed deck events: play with what you are given and make the best of it. The one that I do need to brush up on is working out a Strategy towards Ticket to Ride: I only own the basic game, but both Europe and the Marklin edition are going to be used as well. Time to hit up BoardGameGeek for some last minute metagaming...
Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 4:22 AM
So after Xmas, 2 separate snow storms and a brief bout of flu, I'm backing in the writing chair.
With so much time and many games to have potentially played, I'll focus on a couple of party games that took my fancy.
With the aim of gamers and non gamers wanting a joint positive experience in a zero-sum entertainment without either an over complicated set of rules (thus confusing the gaming newbies) nor a boring entity (over simplified for the veteran), I felt the following games achieved:
1. Cineplexity. From the same company that made Apples to Apples, it follows a similar vein. Each turn one player is the judge and thus final arbitrator of awarding the winning entry. Two categories are revealed and all the other player think of a film that most appropriately fits them. e.g. (Prop) Umbrella, Mirror or Iron + (Genre) Horror or Sci-Fi. With so many obvious and obscere movies, it is on par to be as equally good as Apples. Our thought is now how soon does Star Wars IV, A New Hope makes its way into each new game.
2. A Sure Thing. Again using a reference of Descriptions and Conditions, this is a Hot Potato game where players add a card containing a description until a player is called to name a single item fitting all the cards submitted.
A good one I was caught out with contained. 'Would be out of place in China', 'Could be used to cover your head in a storm', 'Made out of wood' and 'Bigger than a telephone booth'. With nothing in my hand that I could get away with adding, I had to challenge the last player, who then aptly named 'The Trogan Horse' as an object that fitted each description.
3. Gambit 7. One of the more budget friendly Days of Wonder games, this is a bidding game where each player submits an answer to a numerical question (e.g. In which year was Iron-Bru manufactured as a legitimate competitor to Coke Cola?). The answers are then revealed then players place bids on who they think was the closer to the correct answer without going over (a la The Price is Right). Points are scored based on who had the winning answer, who bet on that answer and how many people made that bet. Again simple in its execution, yet devious enough to put everyone on a level playing field.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 5:52 AM
I got the opportunity to play some EDH with my fellow judges at last weekend's PTQ in London.
My three way attack to win the game outright was thwarted when my Run was countered with a cycled decree of silence. Had it resolved each of my men would have got +16/+0...
After whitling Glen White's life total to two, he proceeded to generate many 1/1 tokens then off me with an Overrun.
In the next game, An early Doubling Session meant that Sorin was able to mindslave, but during the mindslaved turn, failed to notice the one kill combo in hand.
With that in mind, he proceeded to demonstrate the loop on his next turn (Revelark, Clone, Body Double and Ashnod's Altar). Though his attempt to draw 30 cards off Mind Spring was countered, he gained 10,000 life as there was a Soul Warden in an opponent's graveyard.
Fortunately, I cascaded into Lianna Vess (via Maelstorm Nexus) the next turn, reanimated all creatures in the graveyard (Doubling Season, remember?), including Magistrate Sphinx. An active Bringer of the Blue Dawn plus Rafiq meant goodbye as a 6/6 double striking trampler took care of the opponent's 10 life. All the creatures then died to the David Lyford Smith's Wrath of God on his turn...
The end of the game came when Stuffy Doll was the target of a kicked Rite of Replication, creating enough dolls to ensure enough direct damage to finish off the remaining opponents!.
Monday, December 14, 2009, 6:14 AM
6. Hunted Dragon (Ravnica)
Flying, haste. When Hunted Dragon comes into play, put three 2/2 white Knight creature tokens with first strike into play under target opponent's control. 6/6
For when the opponent needs a family to celebrate with
5. Mogg Infestation (Stronghold)
Destroy all creatures target player controls. For each creature put into a graveyard this way, put two 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield under that player's control.
For when the opponent needs a more appropriate and loving family
4. Furnace of Rath (Tempest)
If a source would deal damage to a creature or player, it deals double that damage to that creature or player instead.
For when the 'family' has a thick skin (high toughness)...
3. Vicious Shadows (Shards of Alara)
Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may have Vicious Shadows deal damage to target player equal to the number of cards in that player's hand.
For when the opponent needs to feel the consequences of a family argument...
2. Radiate (Torment)
Choose target instant or sorcery spell that targets only a single permanent or player. Copy that spell for each other permanent or player the spell could target. Each copy targets a different one of those permanents and players.
For when everyone needs to get involved....
1. Repercussion (Urza's Destiny)
Whenever a creature is dealt damage, Repercussion deals that much damage to that creature's controller.
For when not to beat about the bush...
Monday, December 14, 2009, 4:01 AM
I finally managed to obtain a copy of the 3rd Ed. of Through the Ages. Having played the 2nd Ed. a couple of times, enjoyed it and then the gaming group moving onto a fresh batch of new games, I still had an itchy finger to indulge in it more.
So we played a couple of 3 player games on Saturday, with a player who was new to the game. But with him being a current Oxford post grad et al. it didn't take long for him to grasp the mechanics and delve right into the strategy of moving yellow and blue tokens around your game board in an effort to represent growth of Petronia/Earth Mark 2/Rayville.
With surplus opporturnities to make game altering mistakes and an equal number to capitalize likewise on the opponent's I lost the 1st game and won the 2nd (despite technically losing two wars...)
Wars are certainly beneficial, but require a hellva lot of planning (plus drawing the right cards). Whereas aggressions are risk free (but still a loss of a political action plus military points if it's unsuccessful), you need to be damn sure of winning a war. The mechanics are in favor of the defender, so sucumbing this with a guaranteed superior force is a must. More so is having enough of an army leftover if someone else decides you are suddenly a good target afterwards....
Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 4:42 AM
I logged onto the MIRC chat #mtgjudge last week for the first time in about four years.
For those unfamilar, #mtgjudge is an internet chatroom on EFNET and is open to anyone, judge certified or not.
Anyways, things haven't changed a bit whilst I'm been absent. Flame- still moderates and generally stirs up trouble as and when she can. Letter chains are still vibrant and the higher Level judges are as chatty as always. Sheldon Menery inquired about who started the funny hats that judges seemed to end up wearing off duty and ended up as yet *another* thing we can blame fellow L5 judge Toby Elliot on....
Topics vary from prize split discussions/debates/shout offs to getting Nordic judge Andreas Jespen into outer space (there is already a 50+ strong facebook group dedicated to this initiative...)
Friday, November 27, 2009, 3:06 AM
When it comes to events that gives me a nice giddy feeling, nothing beats the annual shanangans that Jason Howlett of the London Games Club puts on near Xmas.
At the risk of slightly tarnishing the clean crew cut image of the game I love, I'm going to talk a bit about these two events.
For a start, neither of these are sanctioned, meaning that as a WOTC employee I can continue to participate in these events, though likely in a more 'professional' and 'reserved' manner.
Ironman is a single elimination event, not only for the players, but the cards themselves. As soon as a card would go to the graveyard, it is unceremonially destroyed...physically. Yes, this means for Zendikar, using Fetchlands is strictly a one time offer only, creatures fight for their survival and reanimation spells are a waste of time. Winners of each match absorbs their opponent's remaining cards and can rebuild their deck (and trust me, a rebuild is indeed in order here)
The Keith Lovey event takes place later in the evening does invoke the use of alcohol alongside the playing of Magic Cards. That will be all I have to say on the topic in order to keep this site a friendly PG rating and to avoid any negative endorsement. Keith Lovey was a MTG player that passed away in 2003 and I had to honor of meeting and playing him. His outlook on life was reserved and laid back; basically the characteristics of a true gamer on not taking games too seriously.
For more on these events, visit www.thegamesclub.org. They take place in London on the 19th December. I think there is a 'serious' Grand Prix Trial event as well on the day.
Hope to see you there, (once I do my penance for suggesting Ante and Alcohol is remotely a good idea to mix with Magic...)