The Best of … 2011

December 31, 2014

That time of year to look back and recall some things I did years ago.  So, looking at the third year of the blog.  As I mentioned in last year’s year end post, I think I’ve given up on picking out best posts and focus more on those posts I think are the most significant.


What makes this significant?  It might have been the first time I really identified that the biggest problem with Magic is that you draw one card a turn.  It brings up how the biggest problem in the CCG world, for me, is that there’s no reason to reinvent Magic, which is what so many CCGs attempt to do.

Super Role

Maybe because this was shorter, it got a lot of comments.  It actually misses all sorts of points I think I cover elsewhere, so it doesn’t feel like all that great a post, but it does address an angle on something rather important.

Level (more than) 1

This is ramblerrific, but it should be the first time I’ve put down my idea that unlocking higher level abilities shouldn’t be unlocking them but stabilizing them.  This may not work well in a number of systems, but I can totally see this with L5R.


This is actually a really important post, though it only partially gets into what can be a very deep topic (in that the issue affects a lot of facets of designing a CCG).  I don’t know if I would have much more to say until the next time I try designing a CCG (there was the one that had a flower faction, helping Earl with his Shadowfist like fantasy game, the one based on a computer game, maybe one or two others).

Off Kilter

Not a great post, but my first analysis of Heroes of Rokugan 3, Spirit of Bushido.  The mods, anyway.


Now, we get into quite the lull in terms of posts I think have much lasting value.  There’s a bit of stuff, but where the beginning of 2011 was superslow in terms of V:TES, we ended up having our largest event locally in the Summer, and I started posting a lot more session writeups.

In general, I think the blog started slowing down in 2011, but I also see a lot more comments, probably because my readers were more focused on V:TES and Andy started following the blog more, so he made more comments.


Review – The Great Clans

My first 4e L5R review.  One thing about this blog is that my L5R posts are really much more popular.  In many ways, my V:TES experiences aren’t all that applicable to others, other than locals.  But, my L5R experiences might be much more relevant.  And, people don’t really tend to do good analysis of RPGs.  Oh, they do intense and painful analyses of aspects of RPGs, like how much time people spend going over builds for Iaijutsu duels for L5R (a largely irrelevant exercise), and I’m sure there’s plenty of D&D build analysis.

But, has anyone else ever talked about party combat tactics?  I don’t recall seeing it.  I recall people saying that shugenja aren’t broken, which means they don’t seem all that familiar with L5R 4e combat.  I constantly see people do incredibly stupid things in combat, myself included – I’m a strategist more than a tactician and realize my mistakes too late.  Remember Knockdown is a maneuver!  Remember!

I also, not with terribly rigorous data analysis but still with a lot of opinion, put forth some pretty uncommon opinions.  Sure, a lot of people realize Mirumoto Bushi is a suck school in 4e, but a lot don’t.  Kakita Bushi gets nowhere near as much hate as it deserves for sucking as a bushi, but, then, people love dueling, even when it hardly ever happens … I asked, I’ve yet to hear anyone ever say dueling was a common activity in their play.  Suzume Bushi is much better than the latter and much better than the former … at combat … except for when you are at SR-3 (well, Mirumoto spell affecting ability is hard to rate, but since they don’t get a combat ability at SR-2 and don’t get a damage bonus at SR-1, still pretty safe to state).

I don’t think it’s so much agreeing with my analysis.  I think it’s just seeing an analysis.  After all, arguing about things is why top 10 lists exist.

Lore: Doors & Knowledge: Architecture

While I don’t think L5R folks take my tier system for skills seriously, I do.  I use these articles as a basis for many thoughts around L5R 4e skills (if I played other systems more often, e.g. played Conan more recently, it would be a basis for other whining about how RPGs like to have too many skills).


Someone from a nongaming part of my life said they would read my blog more if it were more personal.  One can see how, at a certain point, I got more personal about stuff.  This post embraces a self-analytical aspect to my personality and my quest to understand inward-looking.  I get into what it is I look for in RPGs in other posts, but this is a shot at trying to distill what it is I liked most about various CCGs.

Study In Strength

I see this post being worth mentioning not for itself, as it’s not a particularly important topic but for the sort of articles that players could do for the CCGs I play (not a very long list at the time, doubled when I started playing Shadowfist).


This post both addresses some of my problems with trying to create a coherent superhero RPG world while also getting into a rare case of my going out of gaming into a potentially controversial topic, though I’m all about keeping my controversies in this blog in the realm of gaming – shugenja are gods, katana suck, Enkidu sucks, etc. – so it’s more an observation that has some minor impact on my gaming.

Playgroup Cohesion

Short!!  To the point!!  Unbelievably important IMO.  So, so very much can be explained when you get into personality differences within a playgroup.

Recent Winners 2010/2011

There’s nothing special here, so why call out this post?  Because I didn’t do one of these this year.  Goes to show how it feels like V:TES is sinking into torpor.


For a year that wasn’t very strong on my part, even getting kind of thin where I posted some Wheel of Time CCG playtest reports, I did manage to pull out 13 posts that I think deserve a bit of callout.  Playgroup Cohesion is by far the most important.  Enjoy? and Ramp-le would be next on my list.