[Classic] Bannings, Errata, Oh My!

January 30, 2011

Some background on this post:  First of all, it’s weird to call something classic that I just posted.  I’m using the classic tag to denote comments elsewhere that are copied here.  In truth, I’ve pretty much said all of the things below at one time or another.  Then, this V:EKN.net post was in a thread on bannings vs. errata that arose due to there being a perceived lack of ongoing management of V:TES.

If you want to call Magic’s rotation system massive bannings, I guess no one can stop you, but it’s not particularly accurate and not terribly relevant to CCGs such as this one that don’t support set-restricted formats.

Here is a link for Magic’s banned lists, btw, Magic Banned Lists.

Sure, block constructed has banned cards, unlike Standard and Extended.  Sure, like V:TES, Vintage bans ante cards, and then goes crazy with the bannings by banning a card that creates subgames (and that can be used to create infinite subgames) and a card that requires throwing a card into the air.  Legacy is a format defined by cards being banned that are restricted in Vintage.

Anyway, not that I see much point in reiterating these sorts of comments since they get ignored all the time, but errata and banning are both tools that can be used to improve games.  To think that CCGs, some of the most complex competitive games in existence are somehow lacking in flaws is a view I can’t comprehend.  The reality is that most of the cards for a given CCG at a given time are essentially banned from competitive play due to being obviously inferior to other cards.  Sure, can always play a card as a joke, but a deck gets strictly better by not playing the card.  In V:TES, this isn’t as important since the multiplayer nature serves to mitigate strength and weakness, especially in V:TES unlike, say, Babylon 5, a CCG where there was no requirement to interact with opponents.

Banning a card may, for all intents and purposes, “unban” a lot more cards that weren’t worth playing because of the banned card.  That’s probably a good thing.

Is it desirable that cards exist that can’t be played?  Nope.  Is it desirable to have to remember that the text on a card isn’t how the card plays?  Nope.

It’s also not desirable to have cards that so warp the play environment that too many strategies are nonviable.  What is too many?  Judgment call.

It’s also not desirable for a CCG to have an unfun environment.  What is an unfun environment?  Judgment call.  How do CCG managers make these judgment calls?  Player feedback.  Hopefully, good feedback, not the tirades that a tiny minority of people make on forums that most players pay no attention to.

Want to argue that no such thing as an unfun environment exists in CCGs?  I’m sure thousands more would dispute such a belief.  Want to argue no such thing exists in V:TES?  Well, I can see that argument being a lot easier.  I would argue that there are plenty of unfun things about V:TES at this moment, from Imbued to Events to the increased hoser mentality to ubiquity of far too many cards printed in the game’s earliest days, but YMMV.

Yes, a CCG, especially a multiplayer one can deal with cards that are too powerful, cards that cripple strategies, cards that do incredibly stupid things.  Metagaming is prevalent.  That doesn’t mean the game is more fun because such cards exist.  Note that we are only talking about tournament play.  People who play in tournaments should be aware of banned lists, restricted lists, and card errata.  Sure, tournament players will typically adapt their casual games to tournament rules, but they don’t actually have to if they don’t want.


January 17, 2011

So, I awoke to another game-related dream.  I woke up as I was reviewing the character sheet for a Champions game character for a new Champions campaign (probably a campaign).

Some trivia:  The player was a friend from growing up that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years.  The character’s artwork was female though we referred to the character as him.  The premise was some gadgeteer who had some sort of high-tech cables that did stuff – main attack was a huge Entangle.  I actually comment in the dream that as I got further down the list of powers I realized that the character’s powers really didn’t have any sort of theme and it was just a “I want to be able to do this and this and this” character.  I got into a discussion on the character’s +3 SPD with a -3.5 disad of [Publish], which I naturally interpreted as meaning the character had +3 SPD only while publishing (journalist job or something) as a single 3.5 disad is absurd and would need to be so narrow as to make the ability essentially useless, but my friend couldn’t remember what the disad was supposed to mean and was trying to convince me that it would increase his SPD in combat.

The other players were sitting around a table waiting for me to finish reviewing, and I was quite concerned with time and whether everyone else was ready.

Oh, by the way, for those who don’t follow such things, Cable is a Marvel mutant, Scott and Jean’s son from the future who creates X-Force.  I finally found out (this was like 15 years ago) that the name Cable was some not terribly cool reference to how he was a cable between the past and the future or two sets of mutants or something.  Still find the name okay for some reason, must roll off the tongue.

Anyway, how am I going to make use of this dream?

Champions in particular, but Hero System in general, has incredibly involved combats.  The noncombat system is actually far too simple for me, with basically it just being roll 3d6.  I also rather hate 3d6 resolution since it generates lots of average results and extreme results, like a 14, don’t feel terribly extreme.  But, I want to focus on combat.  I could focus on character building with its incredible precision and heavy accounting-like math, a system that has historically been my favorite for character creation; I once, as far as I know, owned every Champions product up through around Demons Rule.  But, I want to focus on combat.

I don’t dislike all combat.  I just dislike far more combat than a lot of people I’ve played with.  Mostly, it is because of boredom.  Often, it’s because the party is destined to win and there’s no real reason to be involved and there’s nothing terribly interesting to achieve as a personal goal in the combat.  Combats where the party looks like it’s going to lose I’m all in favor of and get enthusiastic about, at least as long as they don’t have anticlimactic endings where the party gets bailed out by something dumb.

Ultimately, I suppose, it comes down to the fact that I don’t like rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice.  I’d much rather do something creative in combat that doesn’t involve rolling dice than just roll attack/roll damage in round 1 of a 6 round fight.

So, combat length.  There’s always minimizing realtime waste.  Some systems leave people with more time to sit around and wait for others to act.  Then, there’s making quicker decisions, not looking up rules in books, etc.  Then, there’s in-combat length, reducing the number of rounds that combat lasts, which is more in my mind.  However, I’m going to address these things individually since they do connect to my greater theme [which is?].

1.  Turn Length

There are a variety of reasons why PCs might have to wait longer or shorter for their turns to come up.  Rather than try to get into every possibility, I’m going to focus on bad guys’ turns and overly involved mechanics.

I’m a big fan of all bad guys going on the same initiative, at least when GMing.  I know it’s unrealistic and takes away from some battles where the bad guys have names and are a serious threat, but as a GM, I find that I can’t focus on things like I can as a player, so it’s far easier to process as many things at once as possible and helps with enemy tactics.

Lots of bad guys equals lots of time for players to blithely ignore how they should be thinking of optimal tactics to win the fight.  Really, I hardly ever see players think about what the party should be doing once combat begins.  I am accumulating infamy for my wolf battles – I’ve run two fights at the beginning of sessions against wolves merely to setup what happens next only to find that the combats last hours longer than I wanted.  Is this entirely due to numbers of bad guys?  Of course not.  It has a lot of something to do with making the wolves too resilient.  If I ever run a game where werewolves are the bad guys, prepare for a TPK.  I’m drifting off topic.  Number of bad guys.  I’m not thrilled with having only one bad guy since it makes too many fights too easy for PCs, but I’d probably say that two tough bad dudes is good times.  Hordes are painful unless they can be abstracted – I personally hate rolling half a dozen or more attacks by dorks but don’t play with folks who seem enthusiastic about rolling for the bad guys for me; on the other hand, I don’t mind it as much as a player where there’s some suspense as to whether I get hit or not.

Then, we get to systems where individual turns take way too long.  I’m not talking about decision time which I’ll get to in a moment.  I’m talking about purely mechanically being overly involved.  Multiple attacks can greatly extend turns.  Hit location tables or, really, any sort of special tables often add virtually nothing yet draw out actions.  Now, long turns isn’t as bad as highly variable turns.  I find that a lot of the time someone will be done in under a minute and someone else will take considerably longer.  For instance, a fighter may just swing sword and hit or miss (miss really sucks when you aren’t doing much) where a spellcaster does something far more complicated.

In terms of turn length, while people play much faster the better they know the system, I’m pro L5R.  I’m going to bring up L5R often because its streamlined combat system is more what I’m looking for.  With Solomon Kane, I find that there’s a great disparity in turns, though that has something to do with having party minions and with my countering with baddie minions.  With Conan, I don’t feel like PC turns take the wrong amount of time, maybe because the massive damage save rule speeds things up, except when people are indecisive and/or don’t know what the rules are.  At least, with Conan, when someone is doing something more complicated, it’s probably more interesting to those who are observing.

2.  Decision/Rules Time

Some people just aren’t sufficiently engaged in what is going on.  That isn’t a system issue.  What is a system issue is when a system offers too many options or when the options are too complicated and require either adjudication or, more likely, looking up rules.

Feng Shui is supposed to be fast-paced Hong Kong Movie style adventuring.  I’m a big fan of it but not its combat.  Combat, rather than being quick and exciting, is often incredibly mechanical and slow.  Part of the slowness can come from players trying to get into the spirit and do heavily descriptive things, which is fine.  It’s more how tedious it is to either gun down a bunch of mooks or how hard it is to put something named down.  Then, the shot system, much like the Speed system in Hero, is extremely mechanical.  I find shot management even more accountingish than Speed management as, usually, in Hero, you do stuff on your phase where shots are often used for things like aiming or get pushed down with active dodge.  Is FS a good example for this section?  Probably not.  Reason it came to mind was that players I play with often don’t grok the shot system and how long their abilities take, which causes indecision and greatly slows down play.  For me, once I got it and understand what my character does (which was harder, of course, in one-shots than when I ran a gambler in a campaign), my shots were pretty much aim or attack with deciding whether to active dodge coming down to what shot number I was on.

Conan is a case where things work okay only because the players don’t know what they are doing.  I built an alt character (who promptly died because he was heroic and the party wasn’t) who took advantage of my experience-gained knowledge of what was effective in Conan.  I was constantly paralyzed by indecision as he had simply too many combat options:  how much to Power Attack for; whether to Improved Feint to do Sneak Attack damage; which playmat square to occupy to maximize effectiveness of attacks; whether to fight defensively; how much Combat Expertise to use; etc.  While that was an extreme case, our players simply don’t think of all of the options available to them or plan ahead for when there are decisions like Power Attack.  And, I’m just talking about basic combat.  Add in maneuvers and our players are inept tactically.  I constantly forgot to use the Aid Another option to help our barbarian kill everything since my attacks were ineffectual, and that’s one of the most basic maneuvers.  We don’t even remember maneuvers in the main book, let alone maneuvers in anything else.  Is that bad?  No!!  If we used everything available to us, while it might make combat more interesting, it would be insane in terms of figuring out what goodies or baddies should do.  I came to the conclusion at one point that a PC can pretty much only recall using one special maneuver.  If that maneuver is too effective, then the GM counters and the PC moves on to the next maneuver.  Whichever maneuver the PC is on is the PC’s schtick.

Another comment on Conan – I despise the grapple rules.  We end up looking them up constantly even though we’ve looked them up so many times that one would think we would know them by heart.  Some on the forum thought they were simple to remember.  Um, only if you do basic things.  What happens when you have multiple grapplers?  What happens when a monster can grapple in addition to doing other things?  We couldn’t even remember how to move a grapple or how it worked to give up attacks to break a grapple, which are basic things.  Simply way overcomplicated rules for something that doesn’t interest me at all.  But, since they are a good way to inflict pain on PCs, they are a key element to the GM’s arsenal.

I’ve played a lot of systems where there were far too many choices.  Someone just asked about the Oz RPG, I assumed the Oz: Dark and Terrible RPG.  I remember that combat was incredibly frustrating when I demoed it in 2009 because it was so counterintuitive and had too many phases.  Too hard to think of others off the top of my head as too many systems blur.

Again, I like the number of options in L5R.  Sure, I don’t use knockdown, disarm, feint as often as they should be used, but I don’t find that there’s an endless list of maneuvers like Conan or too few to where a character bad at normal stuff is useless.  Though, I am against the extra stances in 4e, which I don’t think added anything besides making Defense Stancing shugenja way better in combat than they should be.

3.  Kill!  Kill!  Kill!

I seek combat that lasts 3 rounds max (well, see below).  I don’t want 3 rounds of “I punch/slice/shoot”.  But, people should go down … fast.  Those wolf battles were supposed to be of the 3 round type.  I’m often engaged in 3 round L5R fights where, in contrast, I’ve become bored with the attrition wars that I’m finding to be too often the case when running HoR2 mods with 4e rules and minimal bad guy stat changes.

By the way, if you ever consider comic book fights, they are quite interesting when translated into RPGs because they don’t work like how one might expect.  Comic book fights last a long time, but most of the panels are taken up with someone thinking to oneself or with soliloquy or conversation or being out of the line of fire.  When someone gets hit by an attack, it’s often ineffective or takes them out in one-shot.

This can be simulated in Champions by people taking phases to recover or get away rather than just keep attacking, but normally, I find that people only recover or evade when they feel they need to.  What doesn’t work so well in Champions is the idea that one attack will take someone out (or be completely ineffective, as both extremes produce balance problems).

Not every single combat should be quick, but really, a lot of combats are combat for combat’s sake and not terribly important to the story.  While I’m quite fond of how quick 3e L5R combats went in HoR, the combats typically felt tacked on to give bushi a chance to show off, so they shouldn’t have lasted longer than 3 rounds.  An epic battle, however, that decides how the story will go or whether PCs survive, I can see going on longer – wars of attrition are fine when they are the climax to the adventure.

However, the option to make any battle quick should be available.  This is where I’m having a lot of trouble with Solomon Kane.  I made it way more brutal by making raises openended for damage, yet, it still often bogs down for me into round after round of “When are things going to go down?”  I’m not sure how I can make it nastier, but then, I haven’t thought too much about the details yet.

The Theme

The point of this post was to comment on how I want combat to be fast and brutal as, everything else being equal, that makes them more interesting.  L5R 3e was great for this sort of thing, with one exception – characters could die way too easily.

Sure, L5R 3e wasn’t perfect as a fight might be over before your initiative even came up and one’s attack and damage rolls might mean that any attack was an auto-kill, but I found that there were plenty of subtle tactics to make combat more than just “I swing, you die”.  There needed to be an extended way to avoid death to prevent GMs from having to not keep high dice to keep characters alive.

At the rate things are going, I have no idea whether I’ll ever end up running SK again, but if I do, I want to figure out a way to make combat more brutal but also more interesting to the PCs who don’t have armies of minions.

For game designers out there who give a fig what I want:  don’t give characters too many options; don’t have wildly disparate combat builds, such as one dude with one attack and another with five; don’t use a bunch of tables or special cases; don’t make it too hard to take something down; don’t overuse mooks who are a complete bore most of the time to nuke; don’t require that PCs be smart in their decisions to be successful; don’t have combat feel like accounting; make things go down fast so that we can spend more time on role-playing and less on roll-playing.


January 9, 2011

I had a dream recently where I was playing a card game at a big table with a bunch of other players.  I had a strong hand that consisted of a forest, snow, polar bears (no gnus!!, though), and something I’ve forgotten (I think it was interior decorations) strategy.  This game, of course, doesn’t exist.  Or, if it does, hopefully, someone lets me know so that I have further proof that I’m psychic (but, then, so is everyone else, so it hardly matters).

It got me to thinking about how I would approach CCG design these days.  The more I thought about writing a post about how I’d step by step approach designing a CCG, the more I thought of two things:  one, I don’t know that I could design one step by step; two, there’s no point in designing one.

Why the latter?

Magic is the industry standard for mechanics even if other CCGs outsell it.  There are plenty of ways to do CCGs differently – see hundreds of CCGs that have been printed (and probably died).  But, many designs lack the elegance that Magic has.

For instance, one of the most defining elements to a particular CCG is one’s faction.  Whether race in B5, clan in V:TES, side in Star Wars, and on and on and on – factions provide structure.  What of Magic’s factions?  That would be colors.  Mark Rosewater often comments that the most important thing in Magic’s mechanics is the color pie.  Numerous games have identifiable factions and can expand the game with additional factions, providing important hooks for fans of the genre/source material, magic has its 5 colors (and some colorless “factions” like land and artifacts).

Why is the latter so much better?  Elegance.  Control over mechanics.  It’s not strictly better, of course, as I don’t find strong attachments to the colors (“I play green!”) in the same way that we see strong attachments to various CCGs’ more specific factions.

Elegant in that it’s both consistent and simple, with a lot of natural ways to build into greater complexity.  With just 5 colors, you get 10 two-color combinations, 10 three-color combinations.  Ultimate Combat!, with its 4 foundation types, loses a lot of variety in potential cards, yet still has a much more coherent structure around which to build a game.

On the flip side, games with factions often get out of control with the number of factions.  Though B5 limited its playable races, it still added Psi Corps, home factions, Drakh, corporate (well, would have if our set got published).  V:TES has over 30 clans.  Other games, such as VS, had to keep adding factions.  I even sort of forget how many allegiances Wheel of Time got up to.  Not only is this a headache for things like maintaining balance, but it’s a disaster when trying to sell sets.  With only five factions, you will build decks of every faction and every card is theoretically useful to you, but with some indeterminate/expanding number of factions, most players will get cards that are UOA (useless on arrival, ignoring that there’s such things as trading and selling singles).

As to controlling mechanics, one of the more frequent complaints of players of CCGs is that the distinctions between factions blur as more cards get made.  I heard this all of the time when I talked to Shadowfist players.  I get this a lot with V:TES even though my top suggestion is to open up a mechanic to everybody (and not just two discipline “factions” and an underpowered disciplineless card).  Naturally, the larger the number of factions, the less specialties each should have.  Overlap becomes inevitable as more and more cards see print.

So, Magic is it?  No, for the reason I often comment upon, even Friday when I had lunch with an old gaming buddy at work – Magic is not fun to play, not in comparison to other CCGs at any rate.  I’d so much rather play B5, which I often had terrible games of, Wheel of Time, which had virtually no playerbase and severe balance problems initially, and, of course, Ultimate Combat!  Hell, I’d probably rather play Dragon Dice.

Where does Magic go wrong?

I can bring up previous comments about strength of permanents and whatever, but I think I narrowed it down to one overwhelming factor, and it’s not lands/mana (which UC! also has).  Drawing one card a turn, while incredibly intuitive and quite elegant, is amazingly bad design for a CCG.  Drawing two cards a turn seems pretty bad as well, but it’s worlds better.  With such a low replenishment rate, card advantage simply becomes too important and playing off the top is too prevalent.  More than anything else, this is why Ultimate Combat! is so much more fun an experience (on average).

I have a hundred or so Type P Magic decks and I pull them out at times and goldfish them, though I don’t think about how I want to evolve them like I once did.  I tried playing some of them with a mechanic of refilling the hand every turn.  Of course, it was a problematic experience – Magic wasn’t designed to work that way, so the costing of cards would be way off.  Decks with more cheap cards would just overwhelm slower decks automatically.  Now that I think about it, maybe I should try playing them with a draw 2 mechanic to see how that would work.

So, yes, I think a much better CCG can be made than anything currently being played.  Unfortunately, I’d go with something akin to Magic’s five colors, something akin to Magic’s turn order, something akin to how a lot of Magic cards work (though very possibly without a land mechanic), etc.  I would just start with the concept that either the normal draw in a turn was refill, immediate replacement a la V:TES, or multidraw of some sort of fixed number, probably starting at 3 cards a turn and tuning from there.

This theoretical game fails on two obvious accounts.  The first is that it wouldn’t survive because people like Magic and there are simply not enough people who want to play a better version of Magic.  The second is that it would infringe upon intellectual property rights.

Sad.  What makes this more sad than just the fact that the attempt wouldn’t work because of economics and legal reasons is that there’s no chance that a sufficiently established CCG will reboot itself to fix fundamental problems.  Magic reboots itself constantly to fix short term problems, a major help for keeping it lively for the long term, but the fundamental flaw of drawing one card a turn just isn’t going to be addressed, nevermind that most CCGers wouldn’t even consider it important to be addressed.  For V:TES, sure, Nights of Reckoning could be banned, Dominate cards could get nerfed, bounce could be opened up to a far greater percentage of decks, etc., but there’s no feasible way to reboot the game as it invalidates so much effort that was put into the game over the years by existing players while offering nothing special to new players even if the game could be radically simplified to be more appealing to new players.

Sure, L5R rebooted a significant number of years down the line and other CCGs have done reboots, but such occurrences threaten a DOA game when they come back online.  I could see Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! being able to survive a reboot, but where’s the impetus for it with those games?  When you are actually making a lot of money, are you going to remake your product?  For RPGs, which admittedly don’t make a lot of money, sure, as you need to have something new to sell always.  For CCGs, where a reboot eliminates all value of previous purchases, a painful sell.

Partial reboot?  Something more along the lines of Magic’s rotating formats?  I think the two are still fairly far apart.  Suppose, for instance, we partial reboot V:TES.  V:TES 21st Century has Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, Ventrue and so forth with no Govern, no Conditioning, Deflection being disciplineless, etc.  You can still play any copies of the old game that got printed in the new; over time, the percentage will greatly increase.  Game expands to cover more clans/disciplines but not everything.  There’s never any sterile rule, scarce rule, events, Imbued, Red List/Trophy – the game contains mechanics to a much greater degree, has real timing rules, changes a bunch of wordings to make interactions clearer, rebalances cards.  In other words, it’s sort of a mass bannings/errata with some “you will eventually be able to play this, just not right now” thrown in to really irritate people.  In what way could this possibly sell to the numerous people who have kept the game alive by buying boxes of every expansion?  Even when many of the cards were reprints?  Who replaces those who leave?

… 2011

January 1, 2011

So, following up from the look back at 2010, might as well throw out some thoughts on 2011.


I don’t foresee major changes.  Boring?  Sure.  I’m sure something inconvenient will happen, like computer issues or a shake up in what sort of gaming I end up doing or having convention plans not work out quite right for Gen Con or, if I’m feeling frisky, Origins.

I don’t foresee picking up any major new game.  … boring.

Need to predict something.

V:TES will see a continued emphasis on storyline play, meaning something this year.  No new set in 2011.  A continued problem with coherent conversation on the game.  The lack of material compensation should see fewer out of country participants in the NAC, so it’s likely a NorAmer will win.  Columbus group should do well, even ignoring that it’s in their backyard, but we might see another Canadian coup.

L5R 4e will put out broken schools/paths.  One CCG that isn’t Magic, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh! will hold people’s attention briefly.  Self published RPGs will continue to take marketshare from established companies and the e-ification of RPGs will grow to the levels that they should have already.  Boardgames (and non-collectible card games) will continue to be where the hobby gaming money is.  The expandability concept built into many recent games will continue towards becoming the standard, just as Hollywood loves its franchises.  On average, EuroGame complexity will rise (falling when the boardgame bubble bursts next year).  Online gaming, of course, has an impact on tabletop, but I think most of the damage has already been done.


I am concerned with the smooth sailing of HoR.  Even if I don’t have any troubles getting mods in and the campaign doesn’t have a major problem in 2011, I imagine that an increase in players will put stress on how things are currently done.  Also in the realm of HoR, my plan to run mods at local cons may not work to get more players or even work so well as one-shots.

While my planning for major cons is superb, I can’t control everything in ways that are rather important, so there’s always the concern of keeping the cost of Gen Con under control.

I don’t know that Origins or Gen Con will fare all that well, which might not be a big deal this year but may be a problem for next.  Both appear to be struggling mightily, possibly due to online gaming’s hold on the mainstream.  I expect ConQuest will have its last year near my house, possibly its last year.


I hope that the local cons are better experiences than in recent years.  But, I might as well keep expectations low so that I’ll be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.

I hope that V:TES’s management doesn’t try too hard and end up making some decision that reduces the fun of playing the game.  I hope that some site replaces the newsgroup and much of the fragmented discussion on various forums as a central place for discussion of the game.  I hope that players stick with the game and don’t try to come up with house rules.

I hope to find some new product that is inspiring.  Unfortunately, I think the ship has sailed on a two-player CCG being that product.

I hope to find the magic mix of time and money to make it to more interesting events.  And, for those that I do attend, I hope that they work out a bit better than the last couple of years.

Hope to correct any of my mistaken theories on how games, the industry, or whatever works.


My intention is to continue to try to find a mechanism for generating decks that amuse me to play and to eschew reactionary concepts.  I might have to break down and play some of my tournament concepts in casual play, though, if I manage to get to Origins, that won’t be necessary.

My intention is to tighten up my RPG schedule, as I hope to be busy enough with other things that I need to manage things more wisely.  Hopefully, Conan will be more consistent.  Hopefully, I’ll figure out what to do, if anything, with Solomon Kane.

My intention is to get some of my fictions done that I’ve intended for ages.  I can hope to get some non-gaming writing done, but that’s asking a lot.

Look to finish off one of my blog series and expand on the Card of the Weak series.

Look to put away all of these loose piles of cards, even if it only lasts briefly.  Will need to switch to bigger boxes, though, as I can’t even fit Serpentis in its box.

Try to be even more chill on public forums and avoid using this podium to unfairly criticize.

Is 2011 the year to consolidate lessons of the past and move forward more wisely?  Or, will it be surprising?  Or, will it be much the same?