So, Shadowfist has a new owner. The impact of this is so slight in the interwebs that it’s not easy to find references to the new ownership company … even when I include Vetusta Games in my search.
It feels like we are some of the few players left (by players I mean people who play). Had a couple comments about missing out on the opportunity for our game company to own Shadowfist, but that was rather unlikely.
Yet, why not muse about what it would be like to own a game with a long history rather than a game we are hoping builds some history?
What would I do if I suddenly became in charge of Shadowfist?
Bring back Architects right away and get some control over effects Lotus get? Probably not. I like playing Architects (zero interest in RPG, though as a villain they are okay). Abominations are often cute. I play the goofy removal rather than the staple removal. I just don’t care nearly as much as others do.
Bring back Syndicate or 7 Masters or do more faction stuff? No.
Ban Netherworld Trickster and other ridiculous Modern cards that don’t need to exist? Hmmm …
What does Shadowfist need besides more players?
Better conclusion to games, of course. One could say that requiring two resources to play the game and being able to get stone aged on power during play is what makes games the most unpleasant, but the lack of clear endgame is something I find increasingly offputting.
Have I seen the game at its best? What is the best Shadowfist? I’ve been playing for years more often than most and I still don’t have a great sense of what the game sold itself on. Theme? What do really good players playing each other get out of games?
V:TES doesn’t sell me on theme. It sells me on the lunge. It sells me on the comebacks. On a zero intercept deck holding the Edge in a five-player game multiple turns. It sells me on winning tournaments with Ghouled Street Thug in a vote deck, Mercury’s Arrow in, uh, a Mercury’s Arrow deck, Chalice of Kinship in a vaguely !Gangrel deck.
Daughter of Nu Gua with Butterfly Knives and Blade Palm for my first tournament win. That’s what may sell me on Shadowfist. More than a game focused on WoD vampires and numerous allies, Shadowfist is open, in some ways far more open than Magic, in others not so much.
There are plenty of rarely seen cards that amuse me. I had five Cobra Clan Stalkers in play at the same time.
So, besides hoping someone comes up with a great way to market the game and run bunches of demos and tournaments across the planet (almost like every CCG needs this, almost …), I want interesting. Shadowfist is wildly diverse. Netherworld and pop up junctions can do anything. 70’s, Wild West, whatever.
I’d make “my” card. Lotus magistrate because someone needs to be the Lotus good guy. I’m not a punmaster, Baron von Pun, but I’d greenlight card ideas that sounded funny more than sounded good.
Would I adopt our house rules? Specifically, the new location cost reduction? It’s so good for the game in so many ways that I’d want to sanction it as a format and see if people could break it. Choose a FSS and non-unique foundation for opening hand? Yeah, probably.
I was talking about Traveller recently to a non-gamer. I think it’s a good game. I think you can try a variety of other games and note that there are usually problems in every CCG because CCGs are complicated and openended. Sure, Ultimate Combat! may be more fun to play than anything else, but that’s mostly out of a starter box and the card pool is rather limited and some people care that the art isn’t spectacular.
Shadowfist has Difficulty at the Beginning and Difficulty at the End of Things. Lot of the old time players want to play games that are much faster than what I want to play for multiplayer CCGs, so the game is not going to be that amazing for one or both of us.
But, I enjoy it. I even enjoy games with obnoxious cards played, like monkeys.
I think Modern doesn’t do it any favors and maybe the concept of Modern needs to be rethought. Modern has way overpowered cards in isolation with what feels like a pretty limited environment. Maybe that’s not that different from when the game was new. How often do I see the Queen of the Ice Pagoda in classic play? A lot of cards just aren’t that good in your typical CCG and players gravitate towards the best cards.
I’d try to make the Ascended more interesting. There’s just something about their characters that tends to grate on me.
I’d try to find a way to even out power because there’s just insane levels of alt power generation and … Möbius Gardens needs to be nerfed. Is Jury-Rigged Dynamo a necessary play in your meta? It’s pretty much a single card reason to play Jammers in our meta as it’s infinite power. Of course, you are also playing Monarchs so that you can Twin Thunders your Wrath of the Monarchs to double nuke Gardens.
Is Superleap fun? Just gets constant complaints in our play even though the reason it so often works is because there isn’t a lot of character/attack screw.
Should Loyalty be more common?
On the one hand, I think I’d struggle with making cards for the game as I don’t have a great sense of the mechanical balance in the game. On the other, I might design cards that aren’t intended to address a mechanical need but just ooze flavor.
Would I hose Lotus recursion yet not Dragon recursion? Maybe just reprint The Crucible with another name so that you can run ten cards that toast all demons in play.
Monarchs faction probably has the most potential for interesting cards as factions like Hand and Lotus are pretty focused on their thing. Yet, I’ve become pretty bored with Modern Monarchs characters. Actually, I’ve just generally become less enamored with Modern play, with my main way of keeping engaged with Modern decks being going multiple factions.
Shadowfist can have stories. I know stories can annoy players who don’t like their factions changing, but it is an opportunity to shake up the environment. “All apes/monkeys/gorillas have been wiped out through time, but mermaids and golems are appearing everywhere.”
I don’t know. Is there a different CCG I’d rather have control over? Well, Wheel of Time would be interesting but only if it somehow sold, which I think is unlikely at this point. I wouldn’t want to control Magic, Pokemon, or their ilk. L5R might be interesting if I could say “Forgot that unpleasant game that was put out, I’ll take the cool of the IP and come up with passable mechanics so that the game is actually fun.” But, then, would I want to hear endlessly about adding Spider or some such? I wonder if I could make the Scorpion fun in the CCG while it remains the opposite in the RPG, much like how Dominate works in V:TES or Architects in Shadowfist.
The irony of my current situation is that I have control over a card game and could, theoretically, have more, yet what I’ve always wanted with the CCGs I’ve played is influence, not control. I guess going into what it’s like to be a designer/developer/manager versus being a player would make for a good topic some day, but today is more about giving Shadowfist some exposure.
Oh, reprint Shadowfist, the card. That’s the top priority.