In the last week, I played Shadowfist, Traveller, and V:TES.
During/after each session, I had profound thoughts on some aspect of card flopping.
I think I’ve forgotten them all. Let’s see if I remember anything as I ramble …
In the Shadowfist game, because even though it went pretty quick there’s a dearth of new decks so a second game wasn’t in the cards [ha], I won.
I won with, I believe, 13 power in my pool.
For normal ‘fisters, this may sound like some crushing beatdown against my three opponents and/or I was playing Ascended and there was Bull Market nonsense going on.
In my 50 card deck, I ran 5x Möbius Gardens, 4x Pocket Demon, 2x Spirit in a Bottle, 2x Bloodlust, 5x Auramancer, and … 5x Dockyard. In other words, 5x Auramancer and 5x search for Auramancer. Of course, early on, it was Möbius Gardens that powered me through. Only later did everyone stop caring about my having two Auramancers in play to push me towards being able to dump my hand every turn (not that I did).
Btw, Dockyard to search out Fire Cadets was what gave me enough characters to swing for the win as I needed to do exactly one damage to the final site and my other two dudes could be intercepted.
This game had a high amount of recriminations. Unfortunately, that seems to be the new norm. Don’s Napalm Belchers become Brains in a Jar plan combined with Joren’s Jammer site damaging made for a lot of failed attacks as the targets ceased to be in play.
It seems harder and harder to find a game where all four players find the end result fun. Quick games are unsatisfying. Long games meant there were plenty of plays that could have changed the results. While games tend to have everyone have a chance of winning, that doesn’t mean people’s decks are doing what they want, just means you are playing Shadowfist, with its sketchy endgame possibilities.
May have heard on the interwebs that there’s a Traveller Kickstarter going on right now. The irony is that my Saturday Traveller play wasn’t a perfectly timed demo to expand awareness and to inspire backers. It was getting together with friends to play some games, including Puerto Rico, followed by Mexican food.
I keep meaning to post to travellerccg.com about what I did to create my deck for this three-player game, but there are so many things going on right now that I’m supposed to be dealing with.
I took the Empress Marava Far Trader deck, removed all of the crew, heroic actions, and a bunch of other stuff, and replaced with a vast amount of cards from our Aliens of the Imperium expansion pack.
I wanted to alien as much as possible given little time to work on deck construction.
Usually when I play Sophont Worker’s Union, I get a discount on one or two aliens, take actions to get counters, never use more counters. Let’s just say that a deck with more than 30 alien crew cards gets a wee bit more use out of the three copies I ran, helped by having Fragmentation Grenades coming in from left and right.
Three-player and four-player Traveller is certainly more … involved. Eventually, Gary switched to piracy playing my Beowulf connection deck because his son and I were so thin on cards without being that close to winning. His son got locked to where he had one card left and couldn’t deal with a complication. I could have kept playing for a bit, but the piracy would have bankrupted me in about two rounds. I was not a round away from winning.
My deck certainly was not like any sort of reasonable deck. I made no effort to have a plan for enemy ships, with pretty much just Misdirection to move an enemy ship complication away. But, it was entertaining. I got to put out aliens I don’t play all of the time. I kept wondering about which aliens to care about having in play. I kept wishing I could generate expert Social so that I could temporarily gain five VPs off of Diverse Dynamics.
How would I build decks for multiplayer play?
Less expectation that crew will remain in play. There’s just so much crewkill in the game.
Piracy seems like it would be worse with more players as that’s more cards to burn through, but Traveller isn’t V:TES. Decks naturally burn through cards really fast. Add in that there are more players to stop someone from racing towards victory, and pushing key players over the edge can, in fact, be easier.
We could have done more or done more sooner to make people aware that Traveller exists. I don’t expect everyone to love it, but it may surprise some CCG players with how much is going on.
Three games at GameKastle Santa Clara. Three fivers.
Mark (Ass Contract) -> Brandon (!Toreador from cube) -> Rob (Hatchling rush) -> Devin (BB w/ Vic) -> Ian (midcap Thaum w/ Create Gargoyles)
Rob brings out Alabastrom. Devin brings out Agi. Agi goes to torpor. Gets eaten. Alabastrom goes to torpor. Gets eaten. Over in my world, I Society of Leopold Mark’s fat Ass. For some reason, he blocks my bleed of one. I theft him to zero.
I bring out many a minion. Four uniques, Carlton, Create Gargoyle. The last kills me. Mark goes backwards with rush and removes my CG w/ Dominate, allowing Devin to get in a bleed of six with Walk of Caine and, then, finishing me off because my CG in torpor also has +bleed for BB card on it.
Rob is helpless and we make a food run. Mark is taken out. Brandon has a bunch of guns.
Ian (PRE/FOR/cel/pro vote) -> Brandon (Trem from cube) -> Devin (Dem w/ Tha graft) -> Mark (Guruhi vote) -> Rob (as above)
While tempting at times to try to just get Mark off the table to establish vote lock, the problem with that plan was Devin just getting two easy VPs. Brandon got to pass every vote he called while Mark constantly failed my votes, then would get me to support his KRCs 2 and 2. Eventually, Mark got vote lock because everyone let him. I thought about Banishmenting Eze with his 5 votes before that occurred, but I made a minimal effort to try to keep Devin in the game.
I suppose I should include a few notes about my game. I bring out Una. Her first action is to get Polaris Coach. At a point in the game, I bleed with Una and Brandon blocks. I don’t use any of the four counters on Polaris Coach. Gustav Breidenstein did learn Protean and super Forced March. Ubende tried to take Powerbase: Tshwane using stealth from Instantaneous Transformation but got blocked, anyway. I kept hoping someone else would fail a vote, including the Ancient Influence that gave me 7 pool or the Reins of Power that I did 6 pool damage with.
Time out with Brandon and Mark with 1.5 and me with .5.
Brandon (borrowed Valkyrie) -> Mark (Children of Stone) -> Rob (Salubri/HoS) -> Devin (Shattering) -> Ian (!Gangrel w/ Thaum)
So, amazingly enough, I tended to win combats with either Aksinya or Mimir playing a deck where my first discard was Shotgun Ritual. I also discarded Cauldron of Blood at some point. The table forgot that Mark’s Gargoyle had Armor of Terra on it and we had to roll back a 2 agg punch into diablerie which really messed things up.
Brandon Revolutionary Counciled more times than it actually resolved. I spent a lot of time at 1 pool. Through poor play of Aksinya’s ability, I went from 3 pool to zero. Devin eventually conceded to Brandon.
Common, One Might Have Said … Neutral … Ground … Back In The Day
I don’t build decks often enough. So many cards or archetypes I could play or play more of. I play V:TES and next day start writing out some deck lists. I keep having the same sort of thoughts with Shadowfist decks, one of which is building the all foundation character deck (with no Queens).
I was vague on Keyforge and became somewhat more knowledgeable. I find it funny that the whole point of the game’s existence is to not allow deck construction, which is kind of the reason CCGs are the most awesomest form of competitive gaming.
I hope I never become one of those folks who complains about deckbuilding, that I just complain about my laziness/procrastinating that causes me to not do something that’s just ultra cool. I even have interest in L5R deckbuilding and I gave up on the game in a galaxy far, far away.
Certainly, playing Traveller multiplayer brings player psychology into it. But, I think the last week was less about the commonality of play experiences between the games and more about the essence of CCGs. They (the decent ones) have depth of play, variety of deck construction, unpredictable events, and flavor text. Well, V:TES flavor text owns flavor text in the other two. I’d rate Traveller as having the best art on average. Shadowfist has the most interesting theme to me these days.
They also aren’t easy. Shadowfist may have the hardest decisions. V:TES may have the hardest to remember rules set. Traveller may be the hardest sell because it didn’t come out in 1994/1995, when CCGs were first Rage-ing and There Can Be more than One.
But, easy isn’t necessary. I’d much rather that choosing health care options or mobile phones or hotels to stay at were easy.