The Best of … 2012

December 31, 2015

It’s that time of year, again, where we look back three years and see what was worth highlighting.

Old Time Fan

Timely, in how mahjong seems to be something I’m getting back into.  Whether people care for more non-gaming info about what I do, I don’t know.


As an analyst, I’m concerned with what’s wrong with things.  Negativity is my roti and korma.  Not only was I trying to be positive, I wish I was inspired to write more of these sorts of posts.  I’m also not writing much about V:TES these days, when there’s always something that could be written.  Not building decks as often has a lot to do with that.  Well, and not playing as often.

You There, In The Woods

I’m still in January.  Interesting thing about 2012 – I had a lot of time as I was between office jobs.  This post came from working on designing a CCG and realizing a key aspect of having CCGs be fun.

Barsoom Or Bust

Good post?  Not necessarily.  Sometimes, I just like to call out things.  I’ve reread the John Carter books (again, half of them don’t even have JC do anything) many a time.  As a reader of the Extended Universe of Star Wars, let’s just say I was more finer with The Force Awakens than in watching a questionable effort to bring John Carter into the 21st Century.

Page Of Myth

I’m certainly not going for good posts, anymore, with these Best Of … posts.  I seem to be going for tying the present into the past.  I found an Indian Mythology game and am running it.  Progress.

Egalitarian Experiment #1 – First Thoughts

I should do more of this sort of stuff.  What does it hurt?  I just add variance to my CCG play.

Ultimate Techniques

I often feel like I haven’t played a lot of the in games, these days.  Maybe there are systems that manage this topic, but I don’t see them.  Don’t need to model fiction to have cool stuff happen, but it’s possible that doing something to model fiction better will have cool stuff happen, ironically, more often.

Decision: 3r or 4e or 3.5

I will occasionally use this as a reminder of what I miss from L5R’s previous edition.


Just your typical CCG tournament report.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the one post to read for that year.  Though, if you don’t know V:TES, you won’t understand a lot …  Note that the follow up post for the other three tournaments depends significantly on this one.


A major theme of 2012 for me was trying to explain a variety of different things about how I engage with V:TES.  People drone on and on about building decks, but that’s not what multiplayer CCGs are about.  Wait, this post was all about building decks – doh!!  Even though 2012 had our largest local tournament, I so often see frustration from my fellow players (also true of other CCGs).  Games, people.  Have some fun.  … and build more decks.

Riddle Me This …

The player cares little for combat, but the GM loves it?!?

L5R Combat Guide

This was likely the point when my blog really became a L5R 4e blog with some other posts about who knows what.  Indefatigable is still the post to read for the year … because so many people have already read this one.  It seems obvious that there’s a massive call for RPG analysis in the blogosphere, as this shows up in my stats as a top read post.


Tricky topic.  Another theme of 2012 was my trying to figure out how to be better at GMing.

Annual TWDA 2012

I no longer have the motivation to generate these sorts of posts.  I miss how much The Lasombra kept data for the game.  One would think a database wouldn’t be that hard, but did Precedence CCGs or Shadowfist ever come anywhere close to what was done with V:TES in terms of data collection and display?


The most important post was, of course, the L5R Combat Guide, no matter how much more the topic could have used (fortunately, I followed up with a party combat guide in the past’s future).  While I don’t know about brilliant posts during the year, there were a lot of thoughtful posts, reflecting both that I was designing a CCG during the year and had lots of gaming time.


The Best Of … 2009?!?

December 31, 2012

I always find it weird that this blog started in 2009.  In some ways, it feels much older.  In others, it feels odd how long ago certain posts were made.

This 2012 year-ending post is about my best post of 2009.  Why 2009?  Because of several things.  One, I used to do more double posting on single days to where I don’t think certain posts got as much visibility.  Two, I’m constantly surprised by how many of my “these are quintessential ideas” posts were made right away for this blog, even if that makes perfect sense – pent up supply as it were.  Three, if I’m going to do an annual review, I don’t want to skip any years.

I went through and rated all of my 2009 posts.  I don’t feel compelled to inflict those ratings upon my readers.  Nor, do I have much confidence in my first pass ratings.  Ignoring a “classic” post (Durga Syn), I rated 10 of my posts with the highest rating.

Oh, I should explain my system just to give a better idea of what’s normal.  Unlike how I rate cards, with the InQuest system of average being two stars, I went with a more even distribution of:

* Sucks
** Poor
*** Average
**** Superior
***** Great

With “Great” not meaning perfect or life-changing, but in theory, clearly better than “Superior”.

The 10 are:

What Makes A RPG Campaign Work?

Deck Stats

Review – The Warrior’s Companion

Ebony Kingdoms Ratings – Library

Dead CCGs – Ultimate Combat!

RPG Balance

Bleeding, at stealth

Ultimate Combat! – Basic Deck Construction

2009 NAC, No, But …


Two are RPG play theory.  One is going back and looking at my own V:TES history.  Two are reviews of new products for games I have played a great deal – Conan RPG and V:TES, respectively.  Two are about Ultimate Combat!  It’s interesting just how many posts I had about Ultimate Combat! in 2009; obviously, as I never got to playing regularly again, there hasn’t been much material for subsequent posts.  One about how to play V:TES better.  One on metagaming for major tournament play.  And, the last on what I wanted to see and not see out of Heirs to the Blood.

To determine the best, I have to put great weight on gravitas.  The two reviews are light fare for me, even if The Warrior’s Companion review is quite dense.  Of the remaining posts, the only one that doesn’t have as timeless a quality is “2009 NAC, No, But …”, even though “Inheritance” was also a product of its age.  “Bleeding, at stealth” had a lot more that could be said, or it could have been said cleaner – I still believe that it’s an important topic because 16 years of playing V:TES has shown me that a lot of people just don’t get how to play stealth bleed, supposedly the most basic of decks.  “Inheritance” can’t keep up with the graviton generating powers of some of the RPG theory.

“Deck Stats” could use an update, technically, but there’s something much more enlightening about taking a look at my own tournament winning decks before more recent wins, and I doubt there’s a lot to be learned by revisiting more than I have already done so in other posts.  As self-aggrandizing as it may seem, I find it to be possibly the most elegant post I’ve ever made, lacking the verbosity of many of my posts, analyzing data in a way that was intriguing to me.  For all that, it doesn’t have as much to say.

That leaves two Ultimate Combat! posts and two RPG theory posts.  “RPG Balance” is not as important to me as a concept as the idea of getting RPGers on the same page.  Meanwhile, while I believe I have two of the most important articles on Ultimate Combat! ever published, that’s not saying a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.  The deck construction one is better written, methinks of the two.

Which just leaves, “What Makes A RPG Campaign Work?”

I think I have had* important things to say about gaming, but it is hard to conceive of a more enduring philosophy than being on the same page when it comes to RPGs.

*  I may still have, though, in noticing how many philosophies of mine I touched upon in year one of this blog, I must say I do repeat certain themes much more than I expected.

I welcome thoughts on which of my posts were better *or* worse.  For any year.