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Traditional Gaming

Kickstarter Highlight – Muffin Time: The Random Card Game by Big Potato

Not going to lie, I have to blame Joel entirely for finding out about this. Asdfmovie is a series of random comedy skits by YouTuber, TomSka. Last month, they released the latest asdfmovie, asdfmovie12. These short animated clips always get a chuckle out of us and admittedly, there’s little I can do to support the guy except maybe buy some merch. Until I watched asdfmovie 12, that is, as I’ve now seen that he’s been working on his own card game – and considering as of the time of writing there’s only 7 days left (6 by the time you read this), I figured it’d be good to share it with you all.

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Magic: the Gathering – Different Win Conditions

“How To” videos for Magic are in high demand right now, with Arena being featured as a sponsor for a lot of YouTube series right now. Well here’s one I’ve yet to see, one we’ve yet to address, and one that’s actually quite interesting.

The basic rules of Magic are astonishingly easy to learn. Your opponent(s) and you have a life total, and from your deck you draw the resources and tools you need to get rid of the opponents’ life and keep your own, and the last of you with anything left to fight with, wins. For most people that works fine, but some of us have opened a booster or perused set lists and noticed a card along these lines:

Except without a date attached to it, thanks MTG Goldfish… I guess.

Doesn’t matter that your health is firmly in the single digits, your field is practically empty, and your opponents are about to clear you out of the way so they can start the real fight… you just beat them all. How did you get there? Why weren’t they paying attention to where your Hedrons were going? There are dozens of these cards, meaning that there are masses of different ways to win that circumvent the need to pay attention to your life total.

Many of these require you to build your entire deck around them, or offer a backup plan to your major tactic. Take Hedron Alignment as an example, how does it work and how does it help:

It’s a blue card with a simple blue mechanic, Scry which allows you limited control over what card you draw next.

With it in hand, and two untapped mana on the field, your opponent will always wonder if you’re about to counter their next spell, or dismiss one of their creatures, destroying a valuable play; a cruel but valuable psychological tactic that also contributes to the alignment.

Blue decks are very well suited to manipulating the cards, including ways that allow you to discard cards to power better spells, or take some of your deck, remove unwanted cards to the graveyard, and leave the cards you want on top. With these cards somewhere in your deck, it’s not all that hard to put them where you want them.

And with all of those abilities to move and shift cards around with only a handful of cards, you can also create a deck that does other things. Cards that play from exile, feed from graveyard content, or benefit from controlling the content of your hand, which brings me to the card I found recently:

More manipulation of cards, another possible win condition… actually the two could really bounce off one another… I think I need to be building a deck.

These are not the only paths to victory. Some cards function as countdown timers, relying on a certain number of counters being placed on them, others rely on achieving certain states of play, like having twice your starting health total, being able to pay certain mana combinations, or running out of cards altogether.

Finally, there’s one more win conditions that requires no single card to tell you that you’ve won. Nevertheless it still requires a deck dedicated to it. If a player’s deck runs out of cards, that’s (usually) it.

The term Milling refers to a card called Millstone, but has come to refer to any card tat forces players to put cards from library to graveyard, but thanks to far more vicious cards like Traumatise and Consuming Aberration, the tactic has become a viable, if risky thing to attempt. Most players suffer greatly as their best cards pour from their deck and out of reach, while some only grow stronger and gain more options with a swollen graveyard. And if your primary goal is to see your player cardless, it can leave you open to faster, more aggressive tactics, or vulnerable to the bigger creatures amassing on the other side of the field.

That, and no one likes a mill deck. If you enjoy painting a massive target on your back then go ahead.


Gencon 2019 – In Brief

Oh boy do I have a lot to talk about, but I’m going to try and keep my week of experiences brief, which means I’ll only be talking about it for a couple of weeks*, and for this article in particular I’ll be painting in broad strokes.

Getting to Indianapolis was a saga in its own right, a screw up with booking the flight cost me a grand more than it should have done, I missed out on a couple of the opportunities I’d have liked, and learned a few other lessons about how Gencon works differently to other conventions, but I’ll save a lot of that for another article. For now here’s a quick summary of my experiences. (more…)


The History of Monopoly

Many geeks groan at the board game Monopoly; it’s a friendship killer, it’s a poorly designed game, you name it. I’ve heard people say all sorts about it, but that doesn’t stop the fact it’s been around the block. Over the years, Monopoly went from the de facto board game for families to one that doesn’t get any recognition at all. However the history of Monopoly is pretty interesting, especially considering it was designed to be educational in its own weird way. So how did the property buying game come to be and let’s also have a look at some of the variants out there.

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Dubious Double | A Magic: the Gathering Discussion

(Foreword: Thanks to Joel for hearing me out on this idea one night and helping develop it. These theoretical card designs were created using mtg.design)

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Endless Character Sheets

Today’s article is late, that is a fact. Which is not to say that I’m sat staring at a blank page in desperation trying to reach a deadline, no I’m being quite productive. Folder after folder is filling up with 5e character sheets ready for this Summer’s Insomnia, at which I will again play ten games in four days, and as each session is only two hours long, better to get the character sheets ready than to have people prepare their characters at the table.

With such efforts comes practice, and better yet comes an abundance of other characters from which I can copy and paste important content like class features that require a certain amount of abridging to be made palatable to new players who might be daunted by enormous blocks of text. It’s now very little effort to actually fill in the basics, but with that comes a freedom to get experimental, and at I65, I’ll be bringing a few experiments, because we’re playing a few Plane Shift games. And so as not to give away too much, I’ll only be introducing you to one team…

Khef Crop: Amonkhet

Welcome one and all to the trial of strength! Pulling a few rules from the guidelines set out in Plane Shift: Amonkhet article, the group will step into the sandals of the surviving members of Khef Crop, each bearing the cartouches of both the trials of solidarity and knowledge, now they fight their way along the Luxa river, the mighty god Rhonas looming nearby as a beatific tutor and pitiless judge. For these heroes, there is only one class, Initiate, but in each case I have multiclassed like mad and modified a hell of a lot. I’ve also been going by a slightly more old-school approach to character creation, rolling stats in order having already decided on the race. Here are some of the characters I’ve come up with…

The Naga: A mixture of the cleric of strength and a worshipper of Rhonas himself, and a fighter battle-master. The character has spells to lend a degree of utility outside of combat, much of which is healing but still potentially useful, and I added the maneuvre Sidewind, which allows the Naga to make a heavy hitting attack and immediately disengage from combat, allowing him or her to evade the worst of retaliation, or perhaps land somewhere to threaten someone new. The cleric elements reflect the Naga’s ability to overcome the trials that came before, but here is where he or she is most desperate to shine.

The Devotee: Revering the God Pharaoh first and foremost (hey, it’s not their fault he’s a manipulative dragon planeswalker), and borrowing some inspiration from these warlock invocations that I absolutely adore, this character uses the one listed as Blades of Demogorgon and makes it Horns of the God Pharaoh. I also added Torment of Scarabs because this pdf doesn’t have invocations for Xanathar’s Guide to Everything cantrips, this makes Infestation a concentration spell that consumes your bonus action to maintain. The Devotee has a little bit of rogue in them to add greater potency to their weapon attacks, and lend a bit of evasiveness to the famous glass-cannon.

The Khenra: Khenra come in pairs, it is very rare for the jackal-headed folk to be born as anything other than twins, so hey, let’s stay in-lore shall we? Both are a classic blend of barbarian and fighter, and I added an element of an Amonkhet card I liked and threw in some mechanics I knew would work. Consuming Fervour (fervor in the American spelling) steals a little from the Scourge Aasimar, upping the damage of the barbarian Rage, and taking some extra damage back in kind. Well that’s fine, right? You can just end the Rage whenever? Well not if you’ve got a mean spirited DM who decided to make it impossible to end a rage unless your doused in water.

I might change one of these two subtly, possibly lending a complimentary variation of Rage, or perhaps shifting the balance of classes more in favour of fighter than barbarian… TBD.

The Aven: The Aven might end up as the only pure-class character in the crop, but lately I have been making a lot of wizard subclasses, so expect some homebrew materials no matter what. Having an Aven in the Crop makes my designs a lot more three-dimensional, so there should be a few options to make other people fly in there as well so that everyone can enjoy.

And that makes five… leaving one more. So far I have characters reflecting four colours, leaving only white to go…

Well I have to leave something a surprise for the day. And I still have two more planes to work on.


Board Game Review: The Quacks of Quedlinburg (Quacks)

Being introduced to this game purely as ‘Quacks’, I was expecting a game about ducks. Turns out this is actually all about quack doctors; quackery, as per the Wikipedia term, is in regards to “fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill“. Now that your duck-based expectations are out of the way, The Quacks of Quedlinburg is an entertaining, simple, easy to play little romp through potion creation. If you’ve ever wanted to make some of the strangest potions imaginable in board game form, then this may be the game for you. Are you interested in how making potions translates to a board game? Read on to find out more!

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Top 10 – Druid-Type Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

To be one with nature is the way of the druid; whether it’s to be one with their more animalistic side, or unleashing a plant-based frenzy. Druids are a huge archetype in gaming, but today we’re not going to look at whether a character is called a druid. Instead, we’re going to check out and celebrate the idea of a druid. In this week’s Top 10, there’ll be some strange entries, as you may not have thought of them as druids, or they may be a perfect fit to the term. (more…)


TDSM XI – Wake Up World

So these are exciting times. Three people today have sent me an article about other professional DMs around the world (many of whom charge a damnsite more than I do), and this hobby that was just barely sticking its nose out from its niche back in the mid 2000’s when I was learning to play is suddenly an industry that’s riding the growing e-sports and game-streaming trend to prosperity and greatness, spurred on by the likes of us who dare to charge the uninitiated into the ranks of character creators and story tellers.

And it’s not just Bloomberg who have sat up and taken notice. (more…)


UKGE Kickstarter Roundup – Part 2

Here we are again, several weeks after UK Games Expo and I finially got round to fulfilling that promise of a second roundup of Kickstarter projects from UKGE 2019. All of these projects are in various states but as far as we know the Kickstarter has not been launched as yet but they certainly interested us.

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