Monday, May 30, 2016

Back Issues: Inquest Gamer 101

This issue released in September 2003.

Dragon Ball Z:
"Energy Empowered Piccolo" Deck
Note- this game has since been re-printed, but some people still do play with the old cards, so I'll include the deck here on the chance someone is interested.

Main Personality:
Piccolo, the Trained (Level 1)
Piccolo, the Mentor (Level 2)
Piccolo, Earth's Protector (Level 3)

Orange Style Mastery (Cell Saga)
South Kai Sensei

Sensei Deck:
3 Breakthrough Drill

Physical Combat:
3 Gohan's Kick
3 Hidden Power Level
1 Nappa's Physical Resistance
3 Orange Car Push
1 Vegeta's Physical Stance

Energy Combat:
3 Krillin's Solar Flare
1 Nappa's Energy Aura
3 Orange 5-Finger Focus
3 Orange Energy Discharge
3 Orange Energy Setup
3 Orange Mouth Shot
3 Orange Sneak Attack
3 Orange Stare Down
3 Orange Trick Shot
3 Tien's Tri-Beam
3 Vegeta's Jolting Slash
3 Yamcha's Skillfull Defense

1 Android 14

3 Brothers in Training
1 Goku's Dragon Ball Quest
1 Super Saiyan Effect
1 Time Is A Warrior's Tool
3 Trunks Energy Sphere

3 Android 20 Absorbing Drill
3 Energy Empowerment Drill
1 Expectant Trunks
1 Frieza is Ready
1 Orange Destruction Drill
2 Orange Focusing Drill
1 Orange Lifting Drill
3 Tien's Mental Conditioning

Dragon Ball:
1 Dende Dragon Ball 1
1 Dende Dragon Ball 2
1 Dende Dragon Ball 3
1 Dende Dragon Ball 4
1 Dende Dragon Ball 5
1 Dende Dragon Ball 6
1 Dende Dragon Ball 7

2 Winter Countryside
1 Z Sword Plateau

My own thoughts: A deck like this wouldn't be legal now, I think- how are all these Named cards in the deck? Must have been a different world back then.

Legend of the Five Rings:
"Crane on the Brain" Deck

Kosaten Shiro/Tsudao

1 Imperial Gift
1 Welcome Home

2 Campsite

1 Daidoji Rekai (Exp. 2)
3 Doji Okakura
1 Doji Reju (Exp. 2)
3 Doji Kurohito
1 Doji Kurohito (Exp.)
3 Doji Yasuyo
1 Kakita Rensei
1 Konetsu
3 Yasuki Hachi
1 Yasuki Hachi (Exp.)

1 Gifts and Favors
3 Hiruma Dojo
3 Jade Works
3 Market Place
2 Poorly Placed Garden
2 Sanctified Temple
1 Shrine Of The Sun
3 Silk Works

1 Ring of Earth
1 Ring of the Void

1 Blade of Truths
1 Celestial Sword of the Crane
1 Imperial Standard

1 Doji House Guard
1 Empress' Guard

3 Block Supply Lines
2 Corruption's Price
3 Deeds, Not Words
3 Flattery
2 For the Empire
3 Iaijutsu Duel
2 Imperial Edicts
3 In Search of the Future
2 Outmaneuvered By Force
3 Overwhelmed
2 Return For Training
2 Superior Tactics
3 To Do What We Must

My own thoughts: This looks to be a deck legal in the Four Winds environment, although I think this would still be legal and play correctly in the current Fortress of the Obsidian Hand Legacy rules.  Also, seeing Yasuki in a Crane deck brings me back.  Ahh, the good old days.

Lord of the Rings TCG:
A deck based around Ents!

Starting Fellowship:
1 Frodo, Courteous Halfling
1 The One Ring, The Ruling Ring
1 Merry, Learned Guide
1 Pippin, Wooly-Footed Rascal
1 Quickbeam, Bregalad

Free Peoples:
2 Birchseed, Tall Statesman
1 Ent Horde
4 Ent Moot
4 Forest Guardian
3 Hobbit Sword
2 Host of Fangorn
2 Long Slow Wrath
2 Mind Your Own Affairs
4 Roused
2 Severed His Bonds
1 Treebeard, Earthborn

2 Arrow From the South
2 Desert Spearman
4 Elite Archer
4 Mumak
3 On The March
4 Southron Bowman
2 Southron Invaders
3 Southron Traveler
3 Southron Wanderer
3 Whirling Strike

Adventure Deck:
Western Emyn Muil
Fangorn Forest
Golden Hall
White Rocks
Helm's Gate
Hornburg Armory
Cavern Entrance
Nan Curunir
Saruman's Laboratory

My own thoughts: I really need to play this game.  I have an opponent lined up, so maybe after playing some games I can throw this together.

Magic: The Gathering:
This issue included a ranking of all the sets from Alpha/Beta/Unlimited up through Eighth Edition, all rated on a 1-5 scale.  The fives were Alpha/Beta/Unlimited and Arabian Nights.  The ones?  The Dark, Chronicles, Homelands, Fifth Edition, and Weatherlight.

Killer Deck: Grave Robbers
4 Doomed Necromancer
1 Undead Gladiator
1 Visara, the Dreadful
3 Buried Alive
4 Duress
3 Entomb
3 Innocent Blood
4 Smother
2 Stitch Together
3 Zombify
1 Arcanis, the Omnipotent
1 Phantom Nishoba
1 Anger
4 Burning Wish
4 Barren Moor
4 Bloodstained Mire
7 Mountain
10 Swamp
1 Aven Cloudchaser
1 Buried Alive
3 Cabal Therapy
1 Chainer's Edict
1 Demolish
1 Haunting Echoes
3 Recoup
1 Sickening Dreams
1 Symbiotic Wurm
1 Zombify

Apparently this placed 2nd at the German Nationals one year.  Drop stuff into the Graveyard, cheat it into play, win.

Cheap Magic Deck: Forest Fire
4 Birchlore Rangers
4 Bloodline Shaman
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Seeker of Skybreak
1 Taunting Elf
4 Timberwatch Elf
4 Wellwisher
4 Wirewood Herald
4 Wirewood Hivemaster
3 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Wirewood Pride
16 Forest
4 Wirewood Lodge

Throw out elves, beat down.  Seems easy enough.

"Turning Trash Into Treasure": Risky Move
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Explosive Vegetation
3 Fertile Ground
4 Moment's Peace
4 Squirrel Nest
2 Arcane Teachings
4 Firebolt
3 Risky Move
4 Shock
4 Spark Spray
9 Forest
4 Forgotten Cave
7 Mountain
4 Tranquil Thicket

Top 10 Magic Cards at the time:
  1. Sliver Overlord
  2. Forgotten Ancient
  3. Eternal Dragon
  4. Birds of Paradise
  5. Stifle
  6. Force of Will
  7. Sliver Queen
  8. Akroma, Angel of Wrath
  9. Call to the Grave
  10. Raven Guild Master
Top Ten CCGs:
  1. Yu-Gi-Oh!
  2. Magic: The Gathering
  3. Lord of the Rings
  4. Legend of the Five Rings
  5. Pokemon
  6. Dragon Ball Z CCG
  7. WWE Raw Deal
  8. Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
  9. Warlord
  10. Warcry
Final Thoughts:
This issue was focused a bunch on the new version of Mage Knight coming out, as well as the release of the 8th Edition set for Magic, but we still got a few decks for other games, as well as the typical things you'd come to expect from Inquest- random humor, news, price guides, etc.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

So wait, what games do you play?

Good question!  It's also a tad difficult to answer.  See, in theory, I will play any card game except for a few.  Mostly, it's a matter of "have I played this yet?"  If not, I'll definitely play.  If so... likely I keep playing.

For reference, here is what I played last year (2015), and how often:

Anachronism - 2
Android: Netrunner - 81
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn - 1
Babylon 5 - 2
Battleground Fantasy/Historical Warfare - 1
Call of Cthulhu LCG - 3
City of Heroes CCG - 2
Doomtown: Reloaded - 27
Dragon Ball Z - 17
Elemental Clash - 2
Epic Card Game - 7
Frontline General: Spearpoint - 3
Galactic Empires - 1
Game of Thrones 1st Edition - 1
Game of Thrones 2nd Edition - 6
Gridiron Fantasy Football - 1
High Command - 1
Legend of the Five Rings - 59
Lord of the Rings LCG - 16
Lord of the Rings CCG - 1
Magic: The Gathering - 12
Marvel VS 2PCG - 1
Middle-Earth CCG - 1
My Little Pony CCG - 1
Ophidian 2350 - 1
Romance of the Nine Empires - 1
Shadowfist - 5
Siege Warfare - 3
Star Trek CCG 1E - 2
Star Trek CCG 2E - 5
Star Trek Card Game - 1
Star Wars CCG - 1
Star Wars LCG - 10
Tomb Raider - 1
Warhammer 40K: Conquest - 38
Warhammer: Invasion - 1
Weis Schwarz - 3
Wheel of Time CCG - 2
X-Files CCG - 1

Quite a list, eh?  This year, I'll likely play most of these again... in addition to other games.  Also, you may disagree with my classification of some of these as card games. Well, perhaps I can convince you at a later date.

So perhaps the easier thing will be to describe which games I don't play, and won't play again.  The list isn't long.
  • Powercardz/Spawn Powercardz - I played this quite a bit as a kid.  It's mechanics, I recognize now, were terrible.  Simple, and not really much of a game.
  • Hyborian Gates - Was this even a game?  I think purchasing this really was just enjoying the great art (and awful cropping).  The game itself (yes, I managed to figure out the rules) was just awful.
  • Spellfire - I haven't played this in a LOOOOONG time, but I have no positive memories of having done so.  I believe some of my complaints were actually addressed, but this still wasn't enjoyable enough to bother with.
  • Weis Schwarz (new addition to this list for 2016) - Cas and I gave this a shot this past year, but the game was extremely weak. The climax cards add an unpleasant level of variance to the game, and although part of the mechanics are meant to address the Runaway Leader syndrome, it doesn't do quite enough to make up the gap.  If I manage to get enough pieces together to swing for the fence, and I hit a climax card, I'm annoyed.  If I don't... that's tough to recover from.  It was far too simple for us, even without this.
  • Gridiron Fantasy Football (new addition to this list for 2016) - The mechanics of this game weren't particularly bad, but the game dragged unbearably, and at some point, I'd rather just play something else. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Card Gaming, Week Ending 5/28/2016

Games played:
  • Netrunner - 2 games.  League match against BK.  Played Cybernetics Division against his Edward Kim deck, and got crushed.  We switched, and I beat him with his Edward Kim deck.  My first attempt at Cybernetics Division... not so good.
  • WARS TCG - 1 game with Joey, playing out of the 1st set starters.  Got a feel for some strategy, and also had a good time (I also ended up winning)
  • L5R - 1 game.  Taught the game to Ben J, using the Phoenix starter against the Mantis starter.  It's not a very good matchup, but I did put up a fight until the end, and I think the game has captured his interest.
  • Pok√©mon - 2 games.  I took a starter deck against Joey who was running some deck using cards from previous expansions.  It was not close at all.
  • Epic Card Game - 5 games.  Trying my hand at constructing some decks, so played some games against myself.  One of my decks seems to be working pretty well.  The other one... not so much.  I may need to grab some of the new packs (I only own one of each so far).
  • Magic: The Gathering - 11 games.  Played a lot of games of Commander with E.
New acquisitions:
  • Two starter decks for Blood Wars.
  • Two starter decks for the Shadowrun CCG.
  • True Steel (Game of Thrones LCG).
  • Legions of Death (Warhammer 40K: Conquest LCG)
  • The Liberated Mind (Netrunner LCG)
Good mix of purchasing and playing.  Have a Conquest tournament this upcoming Tuesday, so wish me luck!

Upcoming series of articles (Back Issues)

Starting Monday, I am going to put up a series of articles covering an important piece of the card game hobby's history: Gaming Magazines.

Soon after I got into Magic, I discovered Inquest (later Inquest Gamer), and was hooked.  Not only was it generally an entertaining read, but the strategies contained inside the covers of each issue were invaluable to improving the quality of my play and deck building.

In today's world with easy internet access, this sort of publication is not particularly needed.  Magic has many communities that cover every aspect of the game with daily updates.  Many of FFG's LCGs have very active online communities, and would not be properly served by this format.

However, for dead CCGs, such communities do not particularly exist.  And although I don't expect this to change, I think having some access to the information that was printed on these pages would be a great service to people interested in getting into various older card games.

Therefore, I will be going through issues of various magazines, writing a few notes about what was in each issue, putting most of the decks included on this blog, and with luck, somebody other than myself finds some value in these articles.  Note that I will not post scans of the issues themselves (I don't believe that to be legal), but the deck lists and perhaps various other things will make their way onto the blog.

I do not expect I will include much of the content from Magic: The Gathering articles on the blog- as I said, Magic has plenty of content producers out there, for all formats, even the formats that would be legal at the time of these magazines' publication.  If something particularly noteworthy shows up, however, I will make sure it's included.

I will start with Inquest Gamer and Scrye magazines.  In a similar vein to the previous paragraph, I don't expect I'll have much reason to put Duelist articles on here- there's so much MTG info out there, I'm not really adding anything by copying that stuff on here. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My Card Gaming, Week Ending 5/21/16

Games played:
Netrunner - 9 games.  Played a lot of this during the week.  Think I won all games  I played, and will likely never use HB: EtF, Whizzard, Palana Foods, and The Professor.
Doomtown: Reloaded - 2 games.  Both using Abram's Crusaders (1 win, 1 loss).

New acquisitions:
Starters for World of Warcraft CCG, Fantasy Adventures, and Magi-Nation

Played more than I purchased for once!  I really need to get some non-Netrunner games in.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Brief Netrunner Tournament Report from 5/5/16

On May 5th, I played in a Netrunner tournament at Cardboard Gaming in Odenton. We were playing with the Spring Kit (whichever one had the full-art Leela Patel card as a prize), which I had already won a tournament for a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to go for something different.

For the Runner, I tried to build a Professor deck. I had hoped to take advantage of all the new tools available for Shaper, and tried to build around Brahman and the Cerberus icebreakers, thinking I could use Brahman to reset them at will, and then use a card like John Masanori to redraw them, and maybe Savor-Faire to replay them as needed. Of course, a strategy like this is expensive, but I hoped that running every type of economy possible would help make it doable.

On the Corp side, I attempted to run Palana Foods: Sustainable Growth. The goal here was to build a lot of servers, force the Runner to draw a lot of cards, get a SanSan out, and try to fast advance agendas. Occasionally, I would try to sneak out a Chronos Project and score it after the Runner had filled up his heap.

The tournament ended up having 12 players, I think. Pretty good turnout.

Round one, I played against Joey, who I had beaten in the finals of the last tournament. He swore to get his revenge, and... well, I let him. He was using Harmony Medtech as his Corp, and I really could get nothing going (I did not draw any icebreakers, or any cards to go get icebreakers the entire game), and he was able to win easily (6-0, I think). We switched, and I took my Corp deck against Ken "Express" Tenma. He installed Desperado early, and ran ever server I installed. He quickly found the key cards I needed to leave out there, trashed them, and hit me with three account siphons, ensuring he had money. I believe I managed to get an agenda scored, but he easily took the rest of them. I end round one 0-2.

Round two, I played Rob, who is the person I have played Netrunner against the most (and it's not even close). I started playing as Corp against his Hayley deck (Hayley is his favorite Runner, so I have seen many different styles of Hayley deck from him). I keep him drawing a lot of cards; I set up from time to time, scoring one or two agendas in spurts until he gets in to trash my SanSans. I manage to score a Chronos Project mid-game, hurting his potential use of Levy to maintain any sort of momentum, and end up taking the game from him.

We switch sides, and I play Professor against his Foundry deck. Once again, I do not draw icebreakers I need, and he takes the game easily. Just could not get the Professor going! I am down to 1-3 after two rounds.

As an aside- in all three rounds of this tournament, I was the first player done- so at this point Rob and I played another game using my Professor deck, he could not draw ice he needed, and I scored a bunch of agendas off of R&D. So I did manage a win, but in the least skilled way possible.

Round three, I am matched against Cas, who was flush from winning his FIRST EVER game of Netrunner (go Cas! Whooo!). I start with the Professor, and he ran Argus Security. Here, I actually get things up and running- I get two dogs out along with Brahman, and get through his servers (eventually making decent R&D runs) and take the win.

Switching, I face off against his Gabe deck. He immediately Account Siphons me turn one. Then again on Turn 2. Then manages to score a couple points of agendas from my hand, and then I start getting set up, starting to score a few agendas of my own. I am down 6-4 when time is finally called, so I get a modified loss. I was actually starting to get in good position, but Cas was doing a good job keeping me from getting too much momentum. It could have gone either way, but really, any small misstep would have cost me the game at this point, so taking that loss was not too hard a pill to swallow.

I ended the tournament 2-4, which is perfectly fine, given that I was not bringing my top stuff. Unfortunately, I do not recall who won. I am confident I will never bother playing the Professor again (I tried him quite a bit when he originally came out as well). Just too little consistency to be fun. Other than that, it was a good time, and I look forward to the next tournament.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

My Card Gaming, Week Ending 5/14/16

Games played:
Force of Will (2 games using the Valentina starter)

New acquisitions:
Singles for Star Wars: CCG and Star Trek CCG 2nd Edition
Starters for Shadowrun CCG
Starters for Blood Wars CCG
Boosters Boxes for WARS, .hack//enemy, Star Trek CCG (1st and 2nd Edition)
Press the Attack (Star Wars LCG)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Card Gaming, Week Ending 5/7/16

Games played:
Star Wars CCG - 1 game (basically played with the decks in the Empire Strikes Back 2-Player Intro Box)
Legend of the Five Rings - 1 game (Arc, trying out my Dragon Clan Oni deck).
Netrunner - 11 games (used Sync, Industrial Genomics, Leela, and Jesminder, The Professor, and Palana Foods).  6 of these games were in a small tournament

New acquisitions:
Few boosters of Shadows Over Innistrad (got a second Arlinn Kord)
A booster of DBZ: Perfection
A starter and a booster of Force of Will.
A ton of Middle-Earth cards
Flight of the Stormcaller (Lord of the Rings LCG)
The Final Gambit (Warhammer 40K: Conquest)


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Current Card Games on Kickstarter 5/4/16

Any good card games currently on Kickstarter?

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game looks like a sure bet for me to grab.  It's not my 'style' of card game, from what I can tell (I don't build decks pre-game), but the theme is a big plus for me, and it looks like it'll be a really enjoyable game.

9DKP Trading Card Game.  Three different starters (one for each faction).  Rules are posted, plenty of images of cards are posted, and the product looks pretty decent.  It seems like it might be a little simple for my taste.  Additionally, as a TCG, the Booster Packs are kind of the core business model.  It looks like at the highest likely tier anyone would pay, I would get three (in addition to the three starters)?  Why not have additional boosters as an add-on, at the very least?

Gringo-Gaijin's: Dawn of the Aerogirls.  There's a lot wrong here.  First, the title of the product.  Should a possessive go before the colon?  That feels really awkward.  The video of the product even misspells it (as Areogirls).  That's really bad.  Anyway, the game looks to be a CCG with women as the main combatants in some alternate reality World War II.  However, not enough information about the rules or the cards is really given.  I guess they are hoping that anime girls will sell a product by itself?

I keep an eye on Kickstarter from time to time, looking for anything that looks like a card game of my particular taste (separate decks, pre-built before the game).  I have found some decent new games this way- but I do miss a few.  If you come across any, please let me know!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dragon Clan Oni [L5R]

Ever since the release of Evil Portents last year, I have been dying to try to play more Legend of the Five Rings, mainly so I could try to use the new Ikikashi Sensei.  As a primarily Spider Clan player, having access to all the tools of the Shadowlands without having to end my own game (through dishonor) sounded like an absolute blast.

The first decision was which Stronghold to take in my deck.  Even though I can't dishonor myself, I can be dishonored, and I've been on the receiving end of that often enough that I wanted to at least give myself some buffer.  Playing as the Spider would start me at -8 honor, only 12 honor loss actions away from losing the game.  Starting from the high honor clans and working down, I decided to go with the Dragon Clan stronghold.  This starts me at -3 honor and has the additional benefit of giving me a ring in play- I have been using Earth or Air, usually.

Here is what I am running in my Dynasty Deck:

1 Severed from the Emperor

1 Forgotten Legacy
2 Fudoist Temple
2 Gold Mine
1 House of Disgrace
3 Lane of Immorality
3 Suana Dojo
1 Temple of Destiny
3 The Feeding Hills
2 Traveling Market

3 Akuma no Obake
2 Fushiki no Oni
3 Gekido no Oni
2 Hatsu Suru no Oni
2 Keppo
3 Minikui no Oni
3 Patairaku no Oni
1 Umikaiju
3 Voitagi

None of this feels particularly surprising- run a lot of the honor loss Holdings, since they do not affect me, and fit in several Shadowlands personalities.  I'm still tweaking the various counts of the Oni in between games, but that's what I'm currently at (if I'd ever draw a Umikaiju in-game, I can figure out if I like him in here or not).

My Fate Deck:

1 Ring of Air
1 Ring of Earth
1 Ring of the Void
1 Ring of Water

3 Oni Familiar
3 Skeletal Troops
3 The Desiccated
1 The Unquiet Moto
3 Zombie Troops

1 A New Alliance
1 Ambush
3 Another Time
2 Back to the Front
3 Blind Honor
1 Brazen Disregard
2 Breaking the Rhythm
1 Calculated Risk
2 Corrupted Ground
2 Strength in Subtlety
3 The Looming Darkness
2 Victory Through Deference
2 Wedge
3 Your True Nature

Again, I am trying out a few things.  I want to have some anti-dueling help, but Another Time ends up getting on my nerves.  I may switch to Kharmic Strike.  I may consider dropping it altogether and up my numbers of A New Alliance and Brazen Disregard.  I am still testing, and still trying to figure out what I like.

Does anyone have any success, or any thoughts?