Laborious Day 2015

So, here it is, Labor Day Weekend.  I am boycotting both local game conventions, again.  Just had lunch with a friend who is going to one of them.  Played boardgames – Stone Age Expansion, Lords of Waterdeep, San Juan – yesterday.  May or may not do something tomorrow.

But, why the long stretch of no new posts?  China, again.  This time, I got gaming in.  No mahjong, but I found the local expatty types through meetup.com and played Cyclades’ Titan Expansion (had played base a couple of times).

Not sure where two of my opponents were from, but they both spoke German and were leaving Shanghai pretty soon.  Also played with the local meetup organizer.  One comment was that Cyclades is what Risk should be.  That’s an interesting comment, in that I am very bad at Risk type games as I am at any sort of game that requires confrontation with opponents.  In three games of Cyclades, I’ve never felt like I had a chance of winning.  It’s just too violent.

Flying back in the middle of a week is not a great idea, nevermind the throat/chest issues from pollution(?) or the food poisoning from having raw vegetables on the trip.  Yet, one must carry on and get Shadowfist done on Thursday.

We only had four players, so we did normal Shadowfist (well, with choosing two cards for opening hand and Sacred Ground/Mook rules).

Joren (Lotus horde w/ Fractured Soul) -> Don (Project Apocalypse w/ Site swarm) -> Ray (Dragon vehicle) -> Ian (Syndicate assassins)

I play lots of Salarymans and Catching Bullets.  For a time, towards the end of the game, I’m in pretty good shape, never make a bid for victory.  Joren gets to three burned for victory sites but can’t turn a bunch of power into hitters.  Don gets a bunch of sites in play and Project Apocalypse to three counters before Ray debates whether to smoke it or seize it.  Silverback proves an annoyance.  Ba-BOOM! always makes my decisions difficult.  Ray does some vehicle stuff, loses a Maverick Trucker with Hover Tank to Silverback, keeps unturning Dirk Wisely, et al, and eventually wins.

I was running both Arctic Fortress(!) and Hot Springs.  The former not only stopped Ray’s guys, but Steel Woolley was Haunted for a bit.  The latter stopped Temple of Angry Spirits, which I seized.

The game dragged some, but it also had a lot of back and forth, without an anticlimactic win.  Played differently, it could have ended much earlier.  I not only killed a bunch of dudes with Salaryman, I played Echo and Silence and Xu Mei, so I basically did what I was supposed to.

Would I try to get people in China to play Shadowfist?  V:TES?  I don’t know.  I’m unreliably there, such that trying to build anything seems unproductive.  I’ve played Magic in Shanghai and talked to a coworker on this most recent trip a bit about Magic.  Both of the CCGs I’d rather play are hard sells.  I wonder how hard Ultimate Combat! would be as a sell.

Maybe not so hard just because it’s an easy game that requires virtually no investment.  I was actually thinking about UC! decks while on the trip.  I got to thinking about very focused decks and/or more thematic decks.

Because of Shadowfist’s no deck size restrictions, I’m on a kick of really tiny decks.  I have a Shadowfist deck that is, like, 25 cards.  Not the turbo Monarch decks that I’ve played against.  I just go for minimal expenditure of resources, like I do in V:TES.  While UC! has a 50 card minimum, there are ways to burn through decks quickly.  Mantra of Power is essentially a deckthinner as well as being the best card in the game.  Oxygen Burst was something I identified as useful in theory but hard to justify based on low power to … card slot ratio (as opposed to low power:cost ratio).  That can move cards.

Off the top of my head, for the deck I was thinking:

Gold
x2 Dragon’s Fire

Black
x1 Focus
x1 Yamashita’s Belt
x2 Technique?? (1-cost)

Brown
x4 Strength 2
x4 Instep Stomp (or is it the other one)

White
x2 Gi Patch: Horse
x1 Gi Patch: Falcon
x4 Mantra of Power
x4 Strength 1
x4 Speed 1
x1 Adrenaline
x4 Oxygen Burst
x4 Move Right
x1 Technique (2-cost)
x6 Conditioning
x5 Fighting Spirit

Kind of a boring deck when written out.  Though, maybe boring deck has nothing to do with boring play.  I guess I’m just so used to hyperaggressive UC! decks (relative to the sort of decks I often build in multiplayer games, well, okay, that isn’t true of Babylon 5, where I built plenty of aggressive decks), that I think more about quick, violent play than about how to build something different.  Could easily go third foundation type to get in something like Suppress, well, easily being somewhat of a question as getting foundation/Gi Patch ratios correct for decks may be one of the most difficult things for me to eyeball.

That’s an interesting thought.  Did I somewhere along the line focus more on clever/obscure/esoteric deckbuilding at the expense of effective play?  Well, that’s obvious.  But, is that just an artifact of multiplayer play?  Is that why I miss two-player CCGs?  I built some dumb decks for two-player CCGs, like the Ax Kick deck or the creatureless Essence Drain deck, but those were still thinking about doing things to opponents rather than building decks to not have things done to me.

Still haven’t done a RPG in China, I joined a site just to try to find that and nobody got back to me.  I wonder if I should try to run a game …

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One Response to Laborious Day 2015

  1. I am reading most of your blogs even that I am not playing any V:TES or Shadowfist or Magic… but Babylon 5. And I would love if you could delve more into that game at one of your blogs and maybe analyse it – how do you perceive it, what was done well, what would you omit if the game would be relaunched some day in the future or what would you focus on? :) Would love to read something like that.

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