What is the most notable thing to happen on March 1st, 2009?
Is it Chang’e 1 striking the moon?
I’m sure for someone who I gamed with a fair amount between 2018 KublaCon and 2019 DunDraCon, would have been the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute’s work with embryonic-like stem cells.
Now, just like I can’t probably keep straight my history, this blog’s history is a bit odd. Four posts show up for March 1st, 2009.
Ten years of blogging with every year getting more and more grand … up until the point that I slowed down playing V:TES and L5R 4e mechanics were not as relevant and I’d post less frequently and post about the same sort of things. Maybe Arrowverse reviews didn’t enthrall the multiverse.
This is my 603rd post, I believe. Does mean I average more than a post a week even if I haven’t been hitting that in the last year.
As we all know, as folks age, the mind views things differently. As we all know, when you are waiting for something to happen, your perception of time is rather different than when you are in the moments of activity.
I’ve had dreams after falling back asleep where it felt like hours passed during the dream, but, then, conk out for what seems like hardly any time and an hour is gone.
Blah, blah, blah. Stating the obvious is so cold-take.
Every 11 years, a friend of mine in China picks out a new jacket for me. The one in 2007 has worked out far better than the one in 2018, so far. Every 11 years.
For reasons I have a hard time wrapping my head around, I didn’t see my aunt and uncle for more than a decade. Sure, it’s virtually impossible to find a way to get from Midcal to the exotic frontier that is Mid-Oregon.
I’ve lived in the same house for something like 18 years. That doesn’t sound too strange to someone growing up perhaps. I lived in a former murder capital of the US (by some measurement, I suppose, as I don’t know if I have proof of this) for more than 10. While my feeble mind may be ready for retirement, my financial accounts aren’t, so it isn’t like this is the retirement play, either.
It was seven years between my working at my current job and working for the same company previously. That doesn’t change. It’s been four years since I’ve been back. I used to say “12 years ago, things worked like …”, where it’s now “14 years ago, such and such worked in …”
I had thought to do a post just about my interest level change in baseball and why I think …
Sure, MLB will probably survive five more years. I suppose.
There was a time when I clipped box scores for my favorite team because of my favorite player. If you can guess my favorite baseball player, well, if you can guess my favorite baseball player and are a smokin’ hot babe, maybe we could hang out, sometime. You know, play some Traveller CCG or whatever.
I choose not to watch baseball, anymore. While the reasons aren’t earthshattering epiphanies, I do view them as the overwhelmingly important reasons for why I’d rather hope for Australian Rules Football, darts, or cornhole (the game, oh, nevermind) on the TV.
The reason why MLB mattered back in the day and NFL/NBA didn’t was stats. Baseball’s history is a history of stats. Can only be wistful for so long about Ross Youngs’ hitting or whatever. Through stats, you appreciate stories. Some dude crushed it before being blacklisted from the game and was an all-timer statwise, therefore some dude mattered and his running around barefoot was charming.
Decade after decade of stats. Sure, racist stats. Amphetamined stats. But, record book stuff.
Any present day play was within the context of the stats. Deadball era, you aren’t going to rack up 500 wins anymore stats. Before mound lowering, after mound was moved back to 60’6″, whatever.
The Steroid Era was kind of a problem for what it did to elevate numbers, but the lasting impact is that it generally undermined caring about stats. This cripples the relevancy of what players are doing.
The true results: home run, walk, strikeout. Of course this makes baseball even more boring to watch. So, I was into baseball stats in the ’80s. Back then, dudes who walked a lot but didn’t hit 300 (see below) and, therefore, had better onbase percentages than dudes who did hit 300 but didn’t walk much had to be called out by Bill James, et al. Now, it’s all about walks and dingers. When the exception was the Human Rain Delay, then the exception was interesting. When the norm is “Take the first two, foul off a couple, take, ooh, just outside, walk to first.”, then bor-ing.
The most exciting thing in baseball was never a home run. It was a shot in the gap or down the line with the hitter streaking around the bases. If anything, a home run is a rally killer, even if it does get runs in. String together a bunch of singles and doubles and you go crazy like a cucumber. Maybe baseball can be saved by moving the fences out to force more players to deal with doubles and triples. Not because we hate home runs but because the incentive to focus so much on them needs to be changed. Even in the playoffs, what has more drama, more tension – took the lead off a solo/two-run shot or hit a double and see if the run can get in?
It has been said ad nauseam that soccer isn’t more popular with Statespeople because we like scoring. Actually, barring a major change in the way futbol is played everywhere, it’s not more scoring that I’m interested in, it’s more scoring chances. Putting a crooked number on the board isn’t dramatic. Hitting the crossbar when the score is 1-0 is dramatic. Some baseball fans enjoy the pitcher’s duel. I’m not so sure I’ve ever enjoyed a pitcher’s duel, but the principle is similar. “Well, it’s 7-3, we need a couple dudes to walk, three-run dinger, then hope for a solo shot.” – not exactly what I think of when I think of Ye Olde Pastime.
Finally, reason three for how I can’t watch baseball anymore is … the best thing about MLB once upon a time. I should have been a sabermetrician. Perfect. Numbers. Sports (without being all that athletic, er, ladies). Growing industry, maybe they score the big bucks. Don’t end up in accounting.
Sabermetrics has been poisoning baseball. Whereas in days of yore, you could focus on hitting 300, 100 ribs, 30/40/50 dingers. Now, it’s not just WAR, which in and of itself is only mildly toxic, it’s the plethora of exotic metrics that just removes anyone from tracking what’s actually going on. Sure, papers – I mean – newsfeeds/microblogs/YouTube/podcasts could report how someone’s 0 for 3 with a walk affects their in season WAR ranking vs. other players in their position, but who cares?
Oh, look, I ranted about a sport, rather than a game for quite a while there.
Interests change. Actually, quite a few of my gaming interests haven’t changed at all, at least in a general sense. I still enjoy creating characters and envisioning campaign ideas or PC adventures. I may look down on systems I used to enjoy creating characters for, but that seems a minor change as I started being interested in different systems from D&D almost as soon as I picked up other RPGs.
It’s more that lifestyles change. I haven’t played V:TES since, I think, DunDraCon. I don’t feel like I have time to organize. Given that others haven’t, either, imagine their time feels similarly impacted.
I notice that my BattleTech Scenario Building post still gets more views than most. I have a hard time imagining having the time to put into even something like that. I used to play RPGs on Friday nights, even in those odd times when I had a job, and I view Friday nights as crash time, now.
20 years ago, I went to Origins and Gen Con as a Precedence volunteer. I had midnight shifts for demoing B5. 20 years ago. I was able to stay up after 10:30PM without being useless the next day.
I mentioned no longer providing the wisdom of an UC! pack. It occurred to me that I was forgetting the wisdom of The Ancient Fighting Arts of China!
Ultimate Combat! essentially lasted from 1995 to 1997. 22 years ago was the last tournament I can recall playing in.
22 years ago, one could get such wisdom as:
Seize your opponent’s advantage and make it your own.
This is a laughably bad gold belt card in that I’ve never seen someone put it into a deck. Sure, you would run it in limited play just in case. But, weapons were never as good as not running weapons, not even when they never went away and only gained one counter when used.
Let your mind absorb his attack.
Again, in a modern CCG, I’d imagine the wording would be “her” attack or possibly even “their attacks” or something. This card is terrible, as well. This probably wouldn’t even make the cut in limited play. Would have to be metagaming against psychic damage decks, which I’ve built but were never an important part of the oh-so-well-established metagame.
The more you attack, the more damage you deal.
Can see what putting flavor text on every card does – leads to rather insipid flavor text. On the other hand, this is kind of ironic in that it isn’t for the fighting style that has built in combination attacks and it’s for a technique you would pretty much never play due to how expensive it is and, thus, would be attacking more often with some technique that didn’t suck.
Accepting risk is part of battle.
I suppose I could squeeze some time to show pictures of these cards if I was more motivated to provide visual presentation with my ramblings. I tried a browser search and couldn’t find this card’s art. While I mostly don’t care about how unappealing most UC! art is, this card could easily be called out for how it would not get younguns or most others to embrace the best two-player CCG of all time. The mechanics are also unplayable.
Which brings up an actual important point and highlights that as much as I facetiously tout the wisdom of the flavor text in this game, one of the common features of CCG expansion is to come up with useless mechanics. Sure, Wheel of Time did wonders with its first expansion of not making a bunch of coasters, and WoT even made some coasters playable later, but just because a mechanic is possible in a game doesn’t mean it should be utilized. Jeff and I often question the playability of cards (Jeff usually asks whether something is playable, then I conclude it isn’t after thinking a bit about it).
The power of the beast foils the threat.
This could be on a Magic beast creature, though unlikely. What makes this funnier in context is this card is Gi Patch: Rhino. I summon my rhino totem to foil … some of the most broken sounding cards in the game. Mental Domination, aka Mindslaver (well, actually, Worst Fears is a closer analogy). Suppress, probably a better version of Mental Domination. Of course, would probably run …
Grasp an extra moment to prepare yourself.
Psychic Delay was my choice for second best card in the game with TAFAoC included in the cardpool. Yet, curiously, I don’t autorun 4x in every deck as I run 4x Mantra of Power in every deck. Of course, I don’t have any real opponents besides me, myself, and I, anyway (you know, a smokin’ hot babe who wants to play Ultimate Combat! is probably someone I could make an effort to hang out with, just sayin’). This is more playable than Gi Patch: Rhino while Mental Agility is about as playable as the Rhino.
I don’t want to quote every card in this pack, but I feel I have to call out:
If you turn your back on your opponent, do so quickly.
This is a cool card with decent flavor text. No, really, UC! had cool cards besides Mindslaver before Mindslaver. Torque is just funny. My Torque deck was one of those cases of just having fun with a CCG in a way that CCGs were meant to be fun. It wasn’t trying to make a stupid card functional even though Torque is borderline stupid. It was trying to make an esoteric play less esoteric. Actually, +2 damage for one power is not a terrible ratio for a single attack. It’s just far better to have +8 (overkill) damage on a Favorite Technique with, even better, a Coach Card in play to maximize rotation rate.
Fast and agile, the wyvern strikes.
If you know anything about UC!, you can assume that this is on Gi Patch: Wyvern. You may also know that the creator of the Wyvern CCG is on this card. If you didn’t, there you go. The industry was a lot more fun back in 1995. One hopes that if you know that Mike Fitzgerald is on this card you know that Richard Garfield is on Touch of Magic.
Finally, there are two cards in this pack, Alter Destiny and Clear Vision, that have flavor text but, more importantly, bring us back to the idea that just because you can make an effect doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.
Both have the same cost (the “wisdom” cost of Knowledge and Experience). One lets you look at the top card of an opponent’s deck and the other rearrange the top four cards of a deck. These are Magicish mechanics that are way less meaningful in a game where you may draw four cards on your turn and discard seven to draw seven more without needing a special card in play. I’m sure powered up versions might be relevant. A “Look at the top 10 cards and rearrange them.” card would be worth playing and be incredibly annoying to someone who can’t get a power engine going to burn through cards, nevermind that it would set up your Adrenaline combos to some degree.
No, I’m not going to stop blogging. While I don’t like to announce travel plans, anyone reading my blog should know I plan on being at Origins next week. My abode protected by relatives and a needy cat.
I hope to blog for another decade. I hope to have my friend pick out a new jacket for me in 10 more years. I hope next year is more like 10 years ago rather than 20 years ago. I hope that future episodes of Doctor Who are better.
While highly unlikely I make it to the VTES EC this year, sadfaces, it feels so so long ago that I went to Berlin. Got to figure out a way to mentally slow down or will turn around and …