Last week, Phil Reed mentioned on Twitter and Tumblr that he’d been thinking about the Battletech CCG from the mid-90s. I recall it perfectly well; I was working at Hobbytown USA at the time and sold it, as well as played it a bit. I like Battletech a lot, and I agree that the CCG was a fun way to engage in the game without the need to have minis and terrain and all that. But then as now, I greatly disliked the collectible aspect. So my reply to Phil on Twitter was, “That’s one game I’d like to see in a complete set, not collectible. Maybe deckbuilding?”
Deckbuilding is a type of card game that appeared recently with the game Dominion. In it, instead of starting with a deck of cards and then playing, the object of the game is to build your deck from a common pool. Effects and exceptions make up the rest of the basic idea of this type of game. I played Dominion a couple of times last Gen Con and overall liked it. Since then, there’s been a few more deckbuilding games published and now the deckbuilding idea is being applied to dice and other bits as well.
As I said, I liked Dominion just well, but it left me wanting more. When I heard “deckbuilding,” the impression that I got was that we’d build the deck then fight it out. Not the case. Dominion, at least the version we played that night, had very little interaction between the players, if at all. It was like a game of 3-way solitaire. I want more. I want conflict in my deckbuilding game.
My buddy Josh (Hoade, if you’ve been following the Gen Con pics and reports) came over today and we recorded our Gen Con Wrap-up episode for The Gamer Traveler/The Digital Front. It took us forever! We had phones ring, phones vibrate, people knocking at the door, twice… I mean, seriously. The one I thought could be a problem, my cat Pip, was actually none at all.
After recording (and saving) we played a game of Monsterpocalypse with the review material Privateer Press sent me last week (completely awesome of you guys, thanks). The game is a ton of fun. Giant monsters and mecha bashing each other senseless and throwing each other against buildings and hazards? FUN! If this game wasn’t collectible, this could be a humongous hit. As it is, I really think it has potential to be big.
After we picked up my wife at her work, we got a pizza and had that over six games of Zombie Fluxx, a favorite at this house and a fantastic and fun-filled game. Let it be known that my wife is the Zombie Queen; she just seems to win every single game of Zombie Fluxx we play. And when she doesn’t, it only takes a rematch for her to claim the title again.
Lots of fun games, pizza, my wife and my best friend. What more can one ask for?
My friend Josh (who will be going to Gen Con with me, woohoo!) came over last night to prove that he was indeed still alive, and after dinner we busted out our newest game, Gloom. I had been after this game for months, and a few weeks back I popped into one of the local game stores for a quick look and found it. My wife and I have played a few games already, but fun as it was with 2 people, we knew it would be better with 3 or 4. Last night we confirmed it.
Gloom is a quirky, odd, weird, tragic and gothic little card game where the objective is to make your characters suffer as much as possible, thus accumulating Pathos points, and then kill them off. It takes a special kind of humor to appreciate it, and we revel in it. You can play the game straight up, but you can also do a storytelling version where you try to narrate the card effects as part of a little story of woe and tragedy that is also freaking hilarious. Also, the card design is just amazing: the cards are transparent with certain areas painted in, so that you stack all the modifiers on top of the character card, and whatever is showing at the top is what counts.
We played three games, and each of us won one, so it was all cool. I am already looking forward to getting the expansions, which bring more tragedies to foist upon your characters (or wonderful events to gift your opponents with), more dark and hilarious ways to kill a character, and new families (meaning more players). Kudos to Keith Baker for a great and quick party game. If you get the dark humor of Tim Burton and agree with the artistic sensitivities of Edward Gorey, Gloom is a great game to have.
O-M-G! Just like that, this becomes THE must-get gaming product of the year for me.
Anachronism Set 7 – Tribes of Israel
Plus there’s a promotional Barak warrior pack as well…
It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.
I’ve put up my collection of Arcadia: The Wyld Hunt CCG up for sale on eBay. You can see the listing here.
This game was published in the early- to mid-90′s by White Wolf tied to their Changeling: The Dreaming roleplaying game. It features adventures played in the fae realm of Arcadia. The game was sold in booster packs divided into Character Packs and Story Packs. To play, you select a character card, then customize it with options from the Character Pack. Once that’s done, you create a playing field by laying down terrain cards. A Quest is selected, enemies and traps are laid down under various terrain cards, and off you go to complete the Quest.
Included in this lot are two card boxes, one all Character Pack cards (including the nifty, stand-up cardboard characters), and one all Story Pack cards. These cards were used in games, but are all in excellent shape. All cards are from the Wyld Hunt set.
This was cool game, but suffered from the way it was marketed. White Wolf tried to ride the CCG train, but this game would have done so much better if packaged as a boardgame with regular expansions. Even today, if I could get it complete in one box, it would be a brilliant little game.
I am not a Magic fan by any stretch of the imagination. I used to play back in the day, but (except for three games when I went to Puerto Rico a couple weeks ago) I haven’t touched a Magic deck in 5 or 6 years unless it was to search for a Rebecca Guay card for my collection. I state this caveat to make clear I am not a Magic fan, afficionado, or even a casual interested party and that my statements from now on are not those of a crazed card flopper.
RAVNICA looks awesome!!!
The first I read about it stated that Ravnica was set in a world that had been overrun by one huge metropolis (Ravnica); a world where nature had been incorporated into the architectural landscape, pushed underground or erradicated; a world ruled by ten world-spanning guilds that had been locked in a strained peace for the last ten thousand years. The copy sounded like the world was either very interesting or very lame. I followed the link in the story back to Magic’s website and I beheld the artwork for one of the basic lands, the Ravnica Forest:
I was hooked. The art for the basic lands alone told me tons about this world, and gave me a dozen ideas in a second, more than any recent RPG product has done. (Top to bottom: Plains, Mountain, Island, Swamp – click on each to see a larger version, it’s worth it.)
The artwork is incredibly evocative, and truly captures something I’ve always wanted to see/do in a game, a fantasy megapolis of truly epic proportions. The more I read about the setting, especially about the ten guilds, the more I’ve gotten hooked on the setting (heck, I’m even enjoying the articles on the design of the set!). Though I don’t see myself buying cases and cases, I might buy a deck or two and then steal all the flavor from the online card database for this and the next two sets in the block. This is a world where I would like to run a game, where I can see myself developing stuff to fit the setting; in short, the first time I wish WotC would do a cross-over and release a D&D setting of their Magic material.
I invite everyone to check out the various articles on Ravnica at www.MagicTheGathering.com (both the Archives and the Ravnica section), if only to see the awesome artwork and the ideas they can spawn.