jl8e: (d7)
Here are the card sets from this year's Dominion tournament at Dexcon. (Which I won.) I'm interested in how other people would have played them. (I didn't record the kingdom in the qualifying round, but could probably recall most of it if anybody cares; it was all-Intrigue. (Great Hall?, Masquerade, Shanty Town, Wishing Well, Bridge, Coppersmith, Duke, Torturer, Tribute, Harem.))

They were not fully random; the organizers at least filtered them for interestingness, and I believe the finals set was actually constructed, or at least adjusted from a random set.

Card texts behind a cut, because some of you don't care.

All games are four players.

I'll explain how I played and why in the comments, if anybody wants me to.

The semifinals were Intrigue and Seaside )
The finals potentially drew from everything, or possibly everything not used in previous rounds )
jl8e: (Default)
Here's the setup for the finals of the Dexcon tournament.

How would you plan to play them with a 3-4 money split?

(And yes, there's inevitably some things you do to react to your opponents and your actual draws. I'm just looking for general plans.)
card texts hidden to spare those of you who don't care... )
Bonus points if you can guess which one of these ten cards was never bought by anybody at the table.
jl8e: (Default)
I'm selling off my Magic cards next week, (I have about 10,000 cards by my rough estimates), and the process of sorting all my cards left me feeling somewhat nostalgic.

I played for about ten years, from Beta in 1993 to Scourge in 2003. For the last couple of years, I was only playing in prerelease tournaments, due to the combination of the decline of the regular Sunday tournament at my local store and the fact that I wasn't buying many cards any more made it hard to stay competitive. I was also working on Shadowfist at the time, which required the same sort of mental energy that Magic does.

I don't regret the time or money I spent. (It's even possible I'll make a profit selling my cards, but I doubt it, and can't really tell anyway.) I had fun. I was good, but not great. The fact that I was never spending that much money on cards and refused to buy singles made me an eccentric deckbuilder, never playing the standard archetypes of the time. I like to think that if I'd gotten serious about it, I could've competed at high levels. That might've happened if I'd stayed in Pittsburgh, where I was friends with somebody who later became a regular on the pro tour. Then again, it might not have; I wasn't that active a player back then, and didn't play Magic with Erik much.

Most importantly, if I hadn't played Magic, I'd likely never have played Shadowfist, and that would have been a huge change. Through Fist, I met [livejournal.com profile] mnemex, and through him, directly or indirectly, I met most of the people on my friends list here.
more reminiscence behind the cut... )
jl8e: (Default)
It's been more than twenty years since my first GenCon.

(1989, IIRC.)
jl8e: (Default)
So, it came out on Monday, my copy arrived Friday, and I played it some Friday and a lot today. I haven't seen all the cards in action yet, but I can give an opinion.

It's very good, better than Intrigue so far.

The primary new mechanic is "Action - Duration": an action card that sticks around and does something for you at the start of your next turn as well. They're not as immediately strong as a one-off Action card, but they give your deck consistency. It adds some bookkeeping load, but not much once you get used to it.

The overall theme of the set has been described as setting up your next turn, and it does that fairly well. In addition to the Duration cards, there's quite a few cards to manipulate the top of the deck.

None of the cards looks useless or overly specialized. (I'm sure there's another Thief in the set, but I don't see any Coppersmiths.) Treasury sticks out as likely overpowered, but it may actually be that Market is underpowered. Still, it feels like I'd be willing to pay six for it.

It plays very well. The games felt closer to plain Dominion than to Dominion plus Intrigue -- more straightforward constructive play, less screwing the other players. (Although there was still plenty of that, especially in the game with Throne Room, Cutpurse, and Sea Hag.) Things seemed to move faster, and I'd say the set is more friendly to new players than Intrigue -- there are fewer effects that are complex or require decisions once played.

It also make Intrigue better, just by diluting it. (Don't get me wrong; I like Intrigue, but it's better in smaller doses.)

The production values remain high: the art is better overall than Intrigue, though perhaps not as consistent as the original set. The tokens and play mats provided for some of the card effects are solid, and the mats are small enough to pack in my card boxes with no trouble.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it's getting heavy. I've condensed the sets down from their huge (but nicely-designed) boxes into 400-count trading-card boxes. (Three sleeved sets plus four players' worth of money and VP takes four boxes.)
jl8e: (Default)
I've been playing a lot of Dominion lately. (Shocking, I know.)

We've been playing locally with a variant where, when the game ends, you still finish the round, so everybody gets the same number of turns. This reduces the advantage of going first.

Another idea to make things fairer is to mandate the 3-4 money split in the first two rounds. The 5-2 is usually way stronger, and it's pure luck.

(It would also be a handicapping method -- give the stronger players 3-4s, and the weaker 5-2s.)
jl8e: (Default)
Been a while since I posted here. I blame Facebook. It's so much easier to toss out a quick status update than to write something that feels worth posting to LJ.

Anyway, Origins )

All in all, a good con, with no significant low points other than my inability to operate the Board Room. I spent more time in the Looney Labs room this year, and played no Shadowfist. (The only event I was willing to play and had a deck for clashed with Icehouse.)

Post-LARP

Mar. 7th, 2009 02:09 am
jl8e: (Default)
The game ran. There were some bumps, it could have used at least another week to write it.

But it was good. Not as good as Ghost Fu, but good. We had good players and a solid foundation. We know a lot of what we did wrong, and it's fixable.
jl8e: (south park)
We'll be at Intercon in a week, where we're running two LARPs.

One of them isn't yet written. Yeah; it's mostly written, but I don't think it's as finished as Ghost Fu was at this point last year, and that one was finished at close to the last minute. (Though, to be fair, Ghost Fu had a lot more components to generate.)

Sniff

Dec. 26th, 2008 05:35 pm
jl8e: (Default)
I was just in Neutral Ground for what's likely the last time. (Tomorrow's their last day.)

I've been going there for about thirteen years. A huge portion of my friends, including everybody reading this, are people I met due to events that went on there. (Mostly indirectly, through Shadowfist or meeting [livejournal.com profile] mnemex playing Shadowfist.)

They're apparantly hoping to reopen, but I have no high hopes.
jl8e: (Default)
Neutral Ground are shutting their doors at the end of the month.

It was always easy to complain about them, but a game store with publicly usable play space in Manhattan was a good thing.
jl8e: (Default)
Picked it up today, and played some with [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen and [livejournal.com profile] akawil.

Really, it's Rock Band 1.5. Most of the rough edges are smoothed out, and there are 84 new songs in the package. (With an additional free 20-song download coming "soon".)

My biggest complaint is that it can't import your RB1 characters. On the other hand, clearer hammer-ons, bands not locked to a character, characters not locked to an instrument, the ability to pick fill-in characters so you don't get the psycho lumberjack singing, instrument-level difficulty visible while picking songs, random setlists that are restricted by difficulty (so nobody has to go through what [livejournal.com profile] lordess did, and have to tackle a top-level drum song on their second attempt), and a bunch of other improvements that I forget or haven't yet noticed.

I think it's well worth it if you like this type of game. And supposedly the instruments are better, especially the drums, which won't leave a trail of broken kick pedals wherever they go anymore. (I'm not buying new instruments unless the old ones die.)

Of course, I think everybody else who reads this and might get the game has a PS3, so you all have to wait a month. (Except for [livejournal.com profile] zrealm, who got to play before I did.)
jl8e: (south park)
Harmonix just announced which songs from Rock Band won't be able to be exported to be played in Rock Band 2. I'm sure they could have ended up with a worse set of choices from my perspective, but it wouldn't be easy:

Iron Maiden, "Run to the Hills"
Metallica, "Enter Sandman"

Both of these are songs I like quite a lot, and can sing reasonably well. (For me, at least.)

Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"

This is just my favorite song ever, and the only song I've been able to manage to sing consistently on hard. (Not that I've tried many.)
jl8e: (south park)
For the first time in about a month, I'm planning to buy some of the downloadable songs for Rock Band.

And it's Duran Duran.
jl8e: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] mnemex picked it up today, and I spent some time opening a can of whupass on him.

My first impressions:

This is longish and likely of limited interest to most of my friends list )

All in all, it's more Soul Calibur. I can't judge the main change to the mechanics very well, but it doesn't feel like an improvement.

If SC3 were available for the Xbox, I'd probably get that and pass on this. As it is, I don't know if I'll get it, but I suspect I will.
jl8e: (Default)
I'm home.

'twas a good, if not perfect, con. Had a couple of RPG events that could've been better, one of which was a pretty bad misfire, all things considered. (Probably an acceptable game, run competently, but not for me at all.)

I'd been hoping to get a chance to plat D&D 4, but there were only a couple of events, and the session on Sunday afternoon that I signed up for got canceled, and I'm not in the least bit sad about that. :)
jl8e: (south park)
Polaris isnlt exactly a role-playing game -- it's more a negotiated storytelling game. Normally, it's the game of tragically doomed prettyboys at the North Pole. (More accurately, knights fighting to defend society from the encroachment of the demons of summer, ultimately doomed to either die or betray their people.)

For this session, we were instead in a science fiction setting, eventually defined as a posthuman society, living in Dyson Spheres, and fighting against an incursion from dark matter beings from another dimension, absorbing the galaxy into a black hole.

This exchange probably best sums up the way things went:

"I'll take over all the AIs, replacing their minds with my own."

"But only if the enemy (who had provided some of the tools needed) end up with a back door into your mind."

"You ask far too much."

"OK. How about: but only if, during the takeover, life support fails throughout civilization, kiling 95% of the biological population."

"Sounds good."
jl8e: (sidekick)
I will return to reality on Sunday night.

Maybe.

For once, I got every event I signed up for. Except for the one I thought I was signing up for, but instead signed up for a D&D 3.5 game from midnight to 4 on Saturday. Apparantly I can't tell the difference between 209 and 296.

I also seem to have managed to sign up for two events simultaneously. Oops. I think I can manage to play in both of those, though.
jl8e: (Default)
They've just announced the Rock Band 2 setlist and feature list.

The feature list is nice -- it looks to fix all of the non-hardware annoyances of the first game.

The set list doesn't look as good as the first one, although I don't know a lot of the bands, and even when I do know the band, I don't always know the song. And it's got Jane's Addiction, which is always a bad thing.

It's still rather low on female singers, but for some reason, I usually seem to be the one who ends up singing, (And it's not because of my leet skillz.)

Still, there's no question I'm buying it when it comes out.
jl8e: (Default)
This was my first Origins ever where I wasn't running anything. It was weird having the opportunity to plan my schedule in advance. (Not that I did, but it's the principle of the thing.)

I think this may have been more tiring, but also more fun.

Long )

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