I might post next week but won’t be posting for a couple of weeks after.
I don’t have anything on mind that is philosophical. I just have on mind miscellany.
We played two games Saturday after I got out of a meeting.
Chi Bomb is really annoying, much more so than I expected. It’s easy enough to work around once I remember that Jammers are being played, but I’ve gotten annihilated by it, like Thursday, when I played Crown of Thorns and lost three dudes and had sites take four damage just because I didn’t bother revealing all of my sites first.
Jenny Zheng multiattacked for the win.
In the second game, I played Purists and had three Quantum Sorcery in play at the end. I had two revealed Great Walls, an unrevealed site, played Kisa Serkov, and she got Killdeered. Then, someone ran into her until she died. We were supposed to play a quick game so that we didn’t have to move tables when the store section closed, but we can’t seem to choose to play a quick game.
Which brings me to my thought on Shadowfist. How to speed up games without making them boring? More power is not the way. Our house rule of playing sites to new columns for one less power is good for this sort of thing – opens up a lot more targets of attack. Obviously, people could play decks with less stoppage. People could play more superleap. Both of those sound not that great, in that, for the former, the average amount of stoppage isn’t that high.
I don’t know. We tend to like the amount of stuff that happens in our games, we just don’t want to play for more than 3 hours, so we rarely start a third game. Superleap does a good job of ending games, but it can often end them in not very satisfying ways.
I was mentioning how the fastest games I tend to play in are ones where one or two players get rolled over by someone, which is like the opposite of fun.
Stick with CCGs for the moment. The tournament got me thinking more about V:TES. There’s something of a discussion on vekn.net about tier one decks, which I don’t really have anything to say about since I’ve never played in an environment where you could define best decks nor am I even sure such a thing as best decks exists. Better decks, yes. My Ass SB deck is not as good as stealth plus Govern plus Conditioning. Whether that makes Malk94 more likely to win a tournament or less is not as clear, but, if Kate and I had switched decks, she would have likely had no VPs where I could have ended up with the same or more without that much difficulty. But, best? I much rather prefer playing against decks like Malk94 or Dembleed because I actually bother to put bleed defense in most of my tournament decks. They win the argument of “if a newb can win with this deck, then that makes it better than …”, but they lose often. Lot of time they lose because I think newer players are more likely to be the pilots.
Anyway, what always comes up when I play is just how many decks I’ve yet to play. It’s not always cards I haven’t played, sometimes it’s combinations of cards I haven’t played to a significant level. I still haven’t gone hardcore Preternatural Strength plus Spike-Throwers, for instance. Nor have I done casual Clan Impersonation.
I haven’t embraced my suggested variants, whether Ancilla Antics or Distinct Directive.
Type P for me is not the same thing as it is for most of the people who play it. I’ve got some new “wizards” together, and I become reminded of what actually interests me and what doesn’t.
What I’m most enthused by is a deck that has clear and limited goals. A card pool that is too strong and/or that has little you would want to change just doesn’t have much long term appeal. I have an all Journey Into Nyx wizard that looks like a lot of fun to play, but it may get boring fast because there might not be enough interesting ways to evolve it.
Meanwhile, a wizard that has good enough cards to function but no hook is forgettable. Type P wizards are a bit like RPG characters in that they have successes and failures and should have character development. Just getting your 2/2 for 2 that can’t block upgraded to a 2/2 for 1 or a 2/2 for 2 that can block just isn’t compelling character development. My Nightstalker deck can be hilarious, which makes it structurally interesting.
It’s not that I hate all of my good decks. I have a blue/red deck that is extremely oriented to how I like to play, that also comes across as quite the beating (I haven’t played it anywhere near as much as 30 or so other decks). It doesn’t have any coherent evolution plan. If anything, its distinctive cards actually run counter to what makes it good.
I’m increasingly cognizant that any new wizard needs to build around the cards I’ll enjoy building around and not just trying to be good … since I don’t aim for just being good … trying to be good at whatever falls into some middle ground of balancing being good at something specific. I really need to just pick those cards that are the most fun and really ignore whether the deck is remotely functional playing them. Well, I might play a build that can win some useful cards to make it more functional at playing them.
Of my new wizards, one has an obvious, interesting goal – become mono-red. It has some awful creatures in it even in a more viable R/U/w configuration just because I needed more creatures. It would love 2/2s for 2 that can’t block, as a huge upgrade. I know what packs I’d pity pack it with. Winning something interesting might alter its path. My dragon-collecting deck didn’t have a dragon-collecting plan until someone was fine with losing a dragon to it.
But, it’s these sorts of “this deck will be known as the deck that does …” things that makes me keep playing so many of my wizards. With everything from Alpha to Shadows Over Innistrad available as potential antes to win, can end up with creations that no one would ever see, whether it’s because constructed play would weed out to many weaker cards or any popular format of limited Magic wouldn’t have the ability to end up with cards from any set.
Heroes of Rokugan
I still have yet to play any Nightmare War module. I no longer really have any interest in trying. If people I game with want me to play, sure, whatever. But, I just don’t have enough interest to justify putting a bunch of effort into getting tables together. Then, so much time has passed at this point, that I would rather just find out what the plan is for HoR4.
I wonder if Gen Con will have any HoR event that isn’t NW. If it’s only NW, I very well may not end up doing anything L5R at Gen Con for the first time in a long time.
A format that opened up ancestors, not having to ask about kata, playing any minor or imp you wanted, any path or advanced school. That format holds some interest to me. Nonhuman PCs and guns really don’t. That’s not L5R, anymore.
I do have interest in playing L5R characters. I suppose if I were playing I’d have that much more interest. As should be obvious in my pattern of posts, whatever I’m playing at the time is what I spend most of my time thinking about.
I have my HoR4 characters planned, I just have no sense of what’s going to happen. I assume 4e will continue to be the mechanics – the buyout by FFG probably simplifies timing, though knowing that 5e isn’t around the corner in advance may have seen HoR4 follow right after HoR3.
Since L5R RPG posts are far more popular than my other posts, I could try to figure out what else I think about 4e. I’m just not sure there’s that much more to say. Do people have things they want me to opine about? They sure seem to keep looking at the same posts over and over, so I don’t know if I’ve said everything I could usefully say or not.
Things I haven’t written much or anything about: supplement mechanics – schools, paths, advantages/disads; advanced schools, in general; much about paths, in general; ancestors; kiho (because these don’t actually exist in my play); ninja stuff (might as well ask someone else who actually finds these sorts of characters interesting); and whatever.
I played a week ago as a demo on mechanics. BattleTech, in the absence of narrative, is actually a pretty not good boardgame. It really needs the story. Whether you care about your pilot who got an Awesome shot out from underneath her, so she’s stuck with a Charger or you care about your Charger that went XL with double heat sinks and Gauss (or, even dumber, stole clan tech to effectively just be a clan mech) or you care about the scenario you are playing with its ice floes and explosive decompression rules while every third round someone bombs you, the resolution system is actually kind of a weak point in that it’s rather random for attacks while movement/terrain rules kind of suck.
I kept hitting the same left arm with a single large laser against a heavier mech, taking out half the AC/10s on my opponent early on, and our one on one was just kind of dumb after that. That would make for good fiction, but it makes for a crap competitive game. Sure, with experienced players, much like a two-player CCG, just call it and start up something new, but BT requires far more setup IME than shuffling up another deck.
I read a lot of reviews of the shows I watch, most of which are superhero shows. I find criticism interesting, but I also find myself thinking “okay, it’s not perfect, maybe not even well acted, well plotted, well staged, but … did you find it entertaining?”
A big difference between young me and old me is that young me watched a lot of TV and only really cared whether he enjoyed it or didn’t, where old me thinks about wasted opportunities, plot logic, acting, dialogue, fight choreography, special effects quality, etc. On the other eye, I still decide to watch flawed shows just because they are entertaining.
I don’t know if I’d enjoy a high quality show, but, then, I don’t watch any high quality fiction.
Since pretty much all of the fiction I watch are DC superhero shows, one thing does come to mind. Look. The things that happen are often because the producers are trying to emulate comicbook logic. Sure, it’s dumb the sort of things characters decide to do or the situations they may find themselves in. Sure, a guy who can run fast enough to travel through time should never be threatened by anyone who can’t move that fast.
Yes, plenty of people will post comments along the lines of “The reason this happened this way in this show is because it’s a trope/genre feature/CW show.” So, I’m really just adding support to them rather than being all uniquely special.
Where I can see it being frustrating that time travelers with a variety of superpowers can’t take out some guy who lives a long time and has nebulous street level superpowers, I do respect that Berlanti and crew are not giving me Smallville, Lois & Clark, or whatever that felt more like a TV show with superheroes rather than a comics style superhero story on TV.
What should I write about in May?