Yet again, slow to post. Last weekend was KublaCon – www.kublacon.com.
Friday, I got to the con later than I wanted but earlier than I needed. Once upon a time, at local cons (I still do this at Gen Con), I signed up for lots of scheduled events and I was busy all of the time. Then, I started hanging around the same people all of the time, people who have minimal agendas. We talk about doing things but do very little. I do like just seeing and talking to people I see only/mostly at cons, but talking about what to do for hours is terribly unproductive.
With nothing in particular to do, as the V:TES demo wasn’t going to happen Friday night, I played in the Alara block, Magic sealed deck tournament. I wasn’t too happy with my deck build and it was trying to be tricky – I maximized my removal at the expense of reasonable creatures. Tricky was not a good idea when I hadn’t played competitively forever and hadn’t played with any of the new sets before. I made one obvious mistake in playing a creature I thought had flying but doesn’t. Another mistake I noticed later seemed to be putting in the wrong 2 casting cost black enchantment. I lost badly to my first opponent, didn’t help that I played horribly in using my removal. I beat three other players who were very inexperienced to win a pack of Conflux and a pack Alara Reborn.
I forgot to bring any Type P Magic decks. Type P is an open, sealed league format for Magic that sprung up in the area and has only seemed to be exported to the Northern Virginia area by a friend of mine. I should do a dissertation on P sometime. Anyway, without P decks and without time to make my sealed product into one, I had nothing else to do except get dinner. A pattern at the con was to forget to bring food from home. I did eat lunch late, so I wasn’t starved like I was Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, I wasn’t clear on what I needed to be ready for. I’ve been trying to run the Solomon Kane RPG at local cons to have more to do, but my primary player had tentative wargaming plans. I tried to be ready for SK, for our Conan campaign, and for V:TES while bringing Type P decks. I hung out for a bit in the morning until my main P partner (these days) showed up in the afternoon and played some P.
I brought some of my more interesting decks. First game of first match, I got the Urzatron!! (you have to understand P to understand that no one else has even tried to get all of the Urza lands for one of their decks) out on turn 3!!! but couldn’t get it in games 2 or 3 and lost the match. I turned my sealed product into a P deck and lost a couple of games only to sweep the next match I played. I played my samurai rat deck in its Myojin of Cleansing Fire configuration, winning one game off of rat tokens and getting crushed in the others. That might have been it for Saturday.
Saturday night, after we went to one of my favorite restaurants on Broadway in Millbrae, we played our Conan campaign. The campaign was in a story arc I cared a lot about (I try not to care about what the party is usually involved in because it’s too frustrating when the party starts doing random, stupid stuff). We blew through a lot of resources – I was perfectly winning to get my 14th level character killed to achieve some level of success and it could have happened – and had one of those “at the time” strange ways for things to turn out that actually had some long term value. I was happy almost entirely due to the results as things worked out the way I was hoping for the most part. We talked about whether we wanted to continue on with the 5 year old campaign and decided we still had unfinished business.
Didn’t get home too late, but still, commuting was annoying and I was short on sleep. Sunday morning, I had failed to try to get into a game I was interested in so decided to assist our Conan GM with his Conan game that he was running as a scheduled event. I ended up playing. It worked out well. Maybe, I did too much explaining of tactics, but having spent years and years watching players ignore sound tactics, I couldn’t help it. I did create all of the PCs, so it was more useful for me to explain things about them than the GM. One PC died saving my PC, and the ending was funny and useful with one of the PCs betraying the rest of the party to escape the demon-infested isle. Very much a successful event.
Sunday night was my V:TES “tournament”. One person had been told it had been cancelled, probably because the person doing the demos Friday and Saturday flaked both days. I was annoyed by the lack of caring, but then, none of the local cons give a damn about CCGs anymore. We had 7 different people, three 5 player games. I was really tired and impatient in the first game I played (game 2) but got better for game 3 and had fun. Guy who never gets to play, coming from Monterey, “won”.
Monday morning, I had signed up for Stormbringer. I had never played Stormbringer before, I don’t think. I did run a couple of adventures when I was in junior high school of first edition (this was fifth). The adventure was based on The Fortress of the Pearl, a book only the GM and I had read. The adventure unfolded very linearly. It was good but not great. One of the players did a great job playing a beggar. Too many players. I’m a believer that more than 5 is too many and find 3 to be best.
The GM thought that this particular book would make for a good RPG adventure. Could be. But, I do think that adapting stories to adventures requires some extra effort of thinking about how a party can do things differently from the characters in the story so that one doesn’t feel railroaded.
Friends were around after I was done, so I played some more Type P. I played some of my better decks and whooped ass. The first game of the match where I played my squirrel deck was one of those highly unsual Magic games – an interesting one. I love Magic. I love CCGs. I find Magic to have only one flaw: it’s rarely fun to play. Far too many games are blowouts. Now, CCGs typically have lots of bad games. It took me years of playing the Babylon 5 CCG to realize just how many games sucked. But, Magic’s percentage of fun games is just so low. Sure, the bad ones can go quickly, but a fair number don’t, and it just feels so hollow playing the game. At least in comparison to thinking about the game, as the analysis for Magic is awesome, which is why I read daily articles about it even though I don’t normally play the game.
Anyway, my opponent’s deck was full of removal, so I would play something strong and he’d nuke it. He almost got control of the game between his annoying creatures and his removal, but I kept playing threats and getting small amounts of damage through until I could burn him out. Game 2 was a blowout as I sided in land destruction and cut two of his colors while he had manascrew. In the next match, my Mirari Madness deck got Mirari in play both games … and used it, which pretty much blows opponents away.
A fair con. I did stuff I wanted to do. It just felt like nothing great happened and playing that much Magic was suboptimal. I just wasn’t into things as much as I’ve been in the past, which could have been a function of not being better prepared for the con.