After watching the latest Instagamers YouTube show, which was about card games, I decided I’d challenge myself to do my next click bait post.
This was a very very hard list to do. Card games is a large category covering LCG/CCG, set collection, drafting, deck building. Plus I do have rather a few card based games. Plus does Sun Tzu count as a card game? So while it was semi easy to name my top five. That just missed the cut list is massive and if they couldn’t be placed in that list why are they still in the collection?
So here we go my top five in no particular order card games…
Android Netrunner – I think we know how I feel about Netrunner. In fact I’m starting to get a warm fuzzy feeling now just thinking about it. I just love this cyberpunk themed game.
The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction – this has in the short time I’ve owned it become a firm favourite. It’s quick to teach and quick to play, and captures the spirit of The Manhattan Project brilliantly.
Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn – new boy on the ccg block. Such a beautiful looking game. Plus it actually brings new things to the genre that make it stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Love Letter Batman – I had to pick one version of this game. I chose this not just because I’m a big fan of the Dark Knight, but because I like the tweaks to the rules best in this version.
Star Realms – my favourite deck builder, I just love this game. With the expansions things can get really insane. This game is just full of those moments you look back on and talk about with your friends.
Close but no cigar or if you like those that nearly made the cut…
7 Wonders Duel
Magic the Gathering
Tides of Time
Valley of the Kings
Bomb Squad Academy
Council of Verona
Brewcrafters card game
Struggle for Catan
Sitting on my pile of shame waiting to be played…
Coup Rebellion G54
a Chaotic Life
Best Treehouse Ever
Blood Bowl Team Manager
So that’s my top five, the ones that missed the cut and ones waiting for me to eventually get round to them.
When I arrived at The Hobbit Hole my FLGS, a game of Spartacus was in progress.
So I introduced Brian (a fellow gamer at Chatteris Warlords and here) to The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction.
The first game Brian did well scoring a bomb worth five points. But the cards were being really kind to me. Extremely kind. I played sixteen cards in one of my early turns. I love turns like that. You are playing combos, drawing cards, and hopefully getting resources! With the card gods smiling on me I naturally went on to win the game with a personal best score of thirteen.
Our next game saw the card gods abandon me, and I fell behind in the race to get resources and build bombs. Brian just had that little edge over me. But I did have a massive turn that saw me catch up and get ahead on the uranium front. Plus I’d used up all my cards, and was drawing five new cards. A position I was happy with, because I was hoping it would give me the engineers and scientists I’d need for buying a game winning bomb.
Yep Brian didn’t know it he was on his last turn, a uranium short, and with everything to do if he was to win. And Brian played his hand perfectly. He got the one uranium he needed, and had the labour he needed to complete his bomb to grab the win.
I really really love it when the game is that close.
Brain and I followed up our couple of games of Chain Reaction with Star Realms. But it was Star Realms with the new United expansions.
Because of the share size of the trade deck with all the other expansions mixed in (just over three hundred cards I roughly calculated) I took the top third and shuffled in the new cards. That would make sure we hit some of the new cards.
Our first game was over pretty quickly, very few new cards were bought. No missions were completed. But I’d been scraping a lot, and getting some nice attacks in. It felt like if you blinked you’d missed the game. But what you wouldn’t have missed is my win.
Our second game was much more epic. We were trading blows. We bought, and used the new cards. The Faction Pairs – oh wow does that make comboing interesting. The maths working out attack, money, or even card discards etc is insane.
The new Heroes are expensive but that balances out their power nicely. CEO Shaner won me the game. It triggered enough additional authority to keep me in the game, buying me enough time to complete my three missions and grab the win.
When I won, it was close. Brian was on less than ten points, and I was less than twenty. I think less than fifteen. It could have gone either way with the right card draw.
It was funny we didn’t see any old Heroes or any events in either game. We also didn’t play gambits either. But maybe that was for the best. You can get some insane starts and purchases if the stars align just right for you.
I loved playing the new cards. The missions were cool. They have added new life to a game that for me anyway having played so many games, wasn’t screaming for a fresh injection of life. But I’ll happily play with them. Although I’d probably just play core set to teach a new player before throwing them in the deep end with the works. But I’m still loving this game so much.
After our games Brian had to return back to family life and the real world. Which meant I could watch the game of Spartacus. I’d not played the game before, and found it was interesting. Although I’m not sure it’s a game I’d place high up on my “to play” list.
After a brief chat with John, plans made, which will be revealed later in the week, it was time for me to head back to my Wolfpack and watching The Big Bang Theory for the umpteenth time. It’s one of those shows I can watch and watch.
GenCon is just a distant memory now. I never went but a friend, game designer, publisher (Ages the deck building game) and Star Realms guru Chris Shaner managed to pick me up a copy of the next Star Realms expansion United that was on sale there.
Like the Crisis expansion, United consists of four twelve card foil wrapped packs. The United expansion introduces new mechanics to the much loved game.
With missions there is now a new win condition! So instead of just crushing your opponent, now complete your three missions instead and it’s an instant win!
Sadly for your opponent they will have no idea what your missions are, because they are not revealed until you complete them. But you also have no idea what your opponents missions are. Oh the intrigue.
You are only able to complete one mission per turn, and when you do complete one you get a reward.
Missions will be something like have two bases in play from the same faction or play seven ships in a turn.
Rewards will be like get authority, but a ship of a certain value or less for free, draw a card. You get the idea.
The Covert Mission reward reminded me of a card that does something similar in Valley of the Kings. The missions reward is draw the top three cards from your deck. Put one in your hand, one in your discard, and one on top of your deck. A great ability to get that one card you need. Shame it’s a one off.
Let’s start bulking out that now enormous deck that is used to populate the trade row.
So we have new heroes which are more “powerful” to shuffle in. They also have a higher cost to match the increase in power. The humanoid heroes are based on tournament winners. Which is rather cool. You will notice my CEO Shaner card is signed. Yes CEO Shaner and Chris are the same person.
Let’s look at the two packs that bring more ships,bases and outposts to the game. These new packs bring another new mechanic to the game, Faction Pairs.
WTF?! Yep cards that are duel faction and can activate ally abilities for either of the factions they “belong” too.
Faction Pairs Pack A
I like the Coalition Messenger ship out of the four new ships. Mainly for its ally ability which allows you to choose a card of cost 5 or less in the discard pile and place that on the top of your deck. I like that a lot. The 3 cost is about right, plus its main ability gives you 2 gold to spend.
It’s the bases and outposts that really excite me about this and the other pack. Duel faction for starters. But Embassy Base, allowing you to draw two cards and have to discard one, and the Lookout Post with its draw a card ability. Awesome cards, but not cheap. Costing 8 and 7 gold respectively.
Faction Pairs Pack C
The Assault Pod at cost 2 giving 3 attack and ally ability of drawing a card is a nice cheap card that I like the look of. As is the Alliance Frigate, cost 3, 4 attack. Star Empire ally ability a further 3 attack, and a Trade Federation ally ability of gaining 5 authority.
Out of the bases and outposts I think the only one that doesn’t grab me is possibly the Alliance Landing.
Now that I have sleeves for the cards by the time you read this I should have played some games with these shuffled in to the now enormous deck for populating the trade row.
It will be interesting to see what impact on the game these new mechanics have on the game. When you play with Gambits, and all the Crisis packs, you can get some crazy first turn turns. It’s going to be fun finding out.
I close this post with a request to White Wizard “please, please, pretty please, sell a larger storage box”.
After the last couple of weeks this coming weeks new releases seems a bit disappointing. But I’m sure our Esdevium overlords have all the cool promises made at GenCon by various publishers waiting, so they can throw us the odd morsel when it suits them.
So what crumbs have been accidentally dropped this coming week?
I do like the duel decks that get released. For casual players like me they are great. I have a couple already, and enjoy playing with them. So I’m excited about this new one coming out.
Finally more tanks for Tanks, this time the Limey’s are coming. It’s nice they are giving us the chance to buy more tokens for the game, but £9 for some cardboard! Seems a tad on the expensive side.
I’m sure we will be given even more reasons next week to rob the elderly, take lollies from babies, sell a kidney and our souls in exchange for cardboard.
It’s been a busy week and not much gaming going on. Hence the lack of posts this week. Plus I’ve also not had much to say. Which is unusual for me I know.
Anyway last night saw Jeff, Debbie and myself at The Angel for FEG@TA. The first at its new starting time of 6pm (last weeks didn’t happen because of holidays and such, or in other words I was the only one who could make it!)
Earlier in the week Jeff and I had planned to play Tanks. But with “Calamity” Debbie (and she will kill me for just thinking that nickname up, but the poor girl has had a recent run of bad luck, which hopefully had come to an end) also coming along, Tanks was out, and our first game of the evening in.
Since arriving (a couple of weeks back now) Jonathan and I have wanted to get our Kickstarter copies of Thiefs Market to the table. However life, the universe, and the usual unexpected things that life throws at you stopped us gathering with enough people to do so.
So here I was, sitting at a table with two other people wanting to play games. We had met the minimum player count for the game.
While setting up, we had the first player discussion to see which of us had most recently stolen something. Frankly I was so disappointed by the two goodie two shoes I was playing with. Obviously I am that Han Solo lovable rogue type, and the least trustworthy one at the table. So I took the first player token.
After explains the rules as best I could, our band of thieves was ready to start splitting our ill gotten spoils, gaining notoriety, and trying to become the King of Thieves.
I have to say I enjoyed the game a lot. I love the first phase of a round where you are splitting the spoils (which are the rolled dice). That decision which dice and how many do you take, or do you steal from another player? I love the I’ll want x dice but if I take that many will I be too attractive to the other players that they will steal from me? This is a great mechanic. At one point I had a card that if I was stolen from I gained a notoriety point. So getting the first player token, then taking everything as the first player at the start of the splitting phase, forced the other players to steal from me and trigger that ability.
The buying cards phase is basically your engine building stage of the game. There is a lot of iconography. But the player aids break the symbols down, plus each card is explained on the rules sheet for further clarification if needed. And while you are learning the game things aren’t slowed down too much decoding them. The use of the cards as a means of giving the game an end and a clock is clever. So when you start being able to buy from the last deck you know that the game doesn’t have too many turns left.
During our game I thought Jeff was going to be the run away winner. But final scoring had the gap between his winning score and my second place score a lot closer than I thought it’d be. He had won by four points in the end.
For me the only main draw back is that this game is a minimum three players. I know why, I don’t think it will work with two. But it does mean to play with Nath, who I think will like this game, we will need to find a third player.
I can see that the iconography may be a problem. But I think the player aids and the rule sheet mitigate this rather well. I also like that the player aids also summarise the setup, which to be fair isn’t complicated.
One thing I do like about TMG games or the ones I have that include it, like Harbour, is the social media winner card. Wisely TMG include one in this game. It just adds that fun bit at the end, celebrating the glorious victory. Or in this games case stolen victory!
I think this is a perfect game for FEG@TA and could be a regular.
So with Jeff crowned King of Thieves we moved on to clearing out dungeons in Welcome to the Dungeon.
I’d played Welcome to the Dungeon once before. Which longtime readers will recall was a two player game with Jamie. I wasn’t too impressed with it as a two player game at the time, and if my poor memory hasn’t failed me (and I can’t be arsed to go back and read what I exactly wrote) I thought it would be better with a higher player count.
Well our play through last night confirmed my suspicion. This game is far more enjoyable with even just the one extra player (plays two to four). It even improved the two player side once a player had been eliminated.
Another game that has the potential of being a FEG@TA regular. Plus there is an expansion coming out later this year also.
Oh Jeff won this also by not scoring a single point. Despite Debbie and I both scoring a point each after successfully defeating the dungeon. Sadly we both failed to defeat the dungeon twice also.
Debbie had to go after Welcome to the Dungeon. So I introduced Jeff to the joys of building nuclear bombs in The Manhattan Project:Chain Reaction.
You know how I feel about this game. I’m not going to waste your time with more glowing platitudes about this game. All you need to know is that I won breaking Jeffs winning streak for the evening.
A great evenings gaming (that was finished off with that meaty pig out of a kebab). I’m planning to take Thiefs Market and The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction to The Hobbit Hole (my FLGS) this coming Bank Holiday Monday. So if you’d like to try the games hit me up there. I’ll also have the new Star Realms United expansions with me.
I've not had a rant for a little while, well at least a couple of days. So it was timely that iello games would ignite that inner rage within me yesterday with the announcement of a competition.
A competition to win a copy of the new King of New York Power Up! expansion. Look at that Mega Shark monster. Doesn't it look awesome?
Yeah wow, who wouldn't want to win that?
Well if you live out side of North America basically you can keep wanting, because with the following:
“we will select and announce one random winner with a US or Canadian address.“
iello have said you can stand out side in the cold and look into the shop through the window, because you ain't welcome here.
But cutting comments aside, this sort of region crippled competition winds me up.
Why? Sometimes, especially if it is a youtuber/blogger doing it, the excuse is “the postage is too expensive”. Not really, I've sent games internationally and if I can afford it (I'm not rolling in money for sure) living in rip off Britain. And our postage costs in the UK are not known for being cheap. Plus I've had friends send packages from the US to me, and funny enough they manage to do it for a very reasonable price. So I'm not buying it.
Maybe it's not wanting to step on the toes of a local publisher? But with iello I don't think this is the case. But even so it's one copy of the game. I can't see that being a real problem.
Maybe it's seen as being more effort to post it? But really if it's that much of a problem why not just not have a competition. Then you won't have to do anything.
I think making your competitions region specific does not make your customers/fans in the regions excluded feel all fuzzy and nice about you. I kind of resent you. Ok resent is a bit weak. I hate you with every bit of my black little heart.
Yep the Asmodee/Esdevium Borg Collective are unleashing the Soviet war machine on us next week with the release of some Soviet tanks for the skirmish game Tanks.
Which is lucky because if any thing will work in the Dead of Winter (see what I did there?) it’s Soviet tanks. Which is handy because we will need them to survive The Long Night (oh yeah I went there). Yes the stand alone expansion for Dead of Winter, Dead of Winter The Long Night brings us more hidden traitor, surviving against the odds set against a zombie apocalypse backdrop magic. Plus you can integrate it into the original game too.
Your FLGS will also get a chance to restock the second expansion for Seasons, Seasons Path of Destiny. Along with the Spiel des Jahres nominee Karuba. I’m sure they will feel really lucky and blessed that they have been given this opportunity.
Finally the dungeon building card game Boss Monster gets an expansion allowing 5-6 players to play with the expansion called Crash Landing.
So that’s it for another week. It still feels relatively like the lull before the GenCon releases storm. It’s just going to get busier in the run up to that big holiday at the end of the year.
That's what I'm naming Tom's run of eleven back to back wins at Ashes against me.
Oh let me back up a little so you have a clue to what I'm talking about.
Last Thursday Tom and I met up at The Angel to play some pre-tournament Ashes. While Tom played a couple of decks, I played mainly a Dimona deck I had built and then “tweaked” between our games.
I like to at least play a couple of games with a deck I've built to get a feel for what works and what doesn't before making changes. It's how I roll in Netrunner. And I don't see a reason to change that with Ashes or even Epic (if I was constructing a deck in that also).
I got my butt handed to me that evening. My attempt at creating big creatures to swing in and do lots of damage didn't really work.
I have to admit my relative inexperience at the game does come through. I haven't nearly played enough games or know the cards well enough. Luckily this is an easier task to achieve than it is in Netrunner. But now I have a regular playing partner this will improve. Sadly, spoiler alert for the rest of the post, not quick enough for the tournament.
Tom and I both had friends that had planned to come to today's Ashes tournament. But due to illness and such were not going to be able to make it. That left just Tom and myself playing in the tournament. A replay of Thursday evening then, at least we were guaranteed one of the prizes!
So I was playing Brennen. I'd created two deck lists before hand. Both around the same idea but with different implementations. I had created these lists on the official PlaidHat Ashes deckbuilder. Which was a pleasant experience. I liked that once you have built your deck it will suggest the dice to use with it. Tom had said he found that it wasn't perfect and for him just off. Which very well may be the case, but it makes a starting point to work from.
I started off with the following deck:
x2 Chant of Revenge
x3 Chant of the Dead
x2 Summon Blood Puppet
x1 Summon Butterfly Monk
x2 Final Cry
x2 Hidden Power
x3 Blackcloud Ninja
x2 Blood Archer
x1 Crimson Bomber
x2 Fire Archer
x1 Hammer Knight
x2 Leech Warrior
I found the Hypnotise wasn't used, and was swapped out. Can't remember what with. Yes this was a very casual tournament. Just an extension of last Thursday's match up really.
After four loses I declared Tom the worthy winner of our “tournament” and let him choose between the prizes. As the photo above shows, he chose the beautiful looking playmat. A wise choice. So my second place prize was the alt art Phoenixborn cards for Brennen and Rin. Then we split the alt art mist spirits between the two of us.
My other Brennen deck I played with for the remainder of the event was the following:
x2 Chant of Revenge
x1 Chant of the Dead
x1 Summon Butterfly Monk
x1 Summon Gilder
x1 Summon Mist Spirit
x2 Deep Freeze
x2 Final Cry
x2 Hidden Power
x3 Ice Trap
x2 Massive Growth
x2 Molten Gold
x1 Sympathy Pain
x2 Blackcloud Ninja
x1 Crimson Bomber
x2 Fire Archer
x2 Leech Warrior
Oh boy did we laugh when I went to play the Hidden Power card and I realised there was only one charm die! Which was fine playing the summon gilder card. But useless for Hidden Power. How could the Ashes deck builder suggest only one die, when two were needed? Oops think there is a bug there. It was so funny it bought tears to my eyes. Obviously the first tweak between games was to replace the Hidden Power card. Can't remember what I went with instead.
At best I think Tom found these decks annoying, and delayed the inevitable. In the first deck the blood puppets were being used to try and keep his battlefield clogged up, which can be irksome. That worked to some extent. It was cool when I got a combo to work such as when an ally died and triggered two or three things, or/and allowed me to play Final Cry. I love Brennen's ability but his three slot Spellboard was a bit of a handicap. I'd love it to be five. But then that might make him a bit overpowered.
So that's eleven and oh for Tom at the moment. I think that sort of record in a CCG/LCG game deserves to be given the same awe and respect as The Undertakers winning streak at Wrestlemania. So hence why I'm just calling it The Streak.
It's great to have found someone localish to play against. I'm learning a lot from playing against Tom. It really shows that this is his main CCG/LCG, while this is my secondary one. But it's about having fun for me. When the game stops being fun then I'm out. So yes Tom currently has his Streak, which I'm sure I will break sooner than later (I hope). I just hope in the meantime Tom doesn't get bored with winning.
We also need to grow our local meta, ie find/attract more players. I thought having a tournament might do that. However I can honestly say that failed this time. I promoted the event on the major online Ashes communities (Facebook,Reddit, and BGG), plus the event was listed on the PlaidHat events system. Before I crack open the second OP kit I have for a tournament, I need to have grown the local Ashes community first. I'm open to ideas. I have plenty of the promo Dimona and Lulu Phoenixborn to give away to new players! Maybe I should use these as part of some sort of “learn Ashes” event.
Finally unrelated to Ashes, Chris has finished assembling, painting and adding decals (something I don't have the skill set to do) my tanks in the base set of Tanks.
Or why I'm not going to back CMoN on Kickstarter ever ever ever again.
So the other day CMoN sent out an update for The Others, which gave the news that the EU shipments would be hitting the shores of Germany one lot on the 13th September and the other on the 22nd September.
Add in time to clear customs, and then getting to the distributor, by the time that second shipment lands the first one might actually be in the process of being sent out. So we might start seeing copies arriving at the start of October.
That's a two month delay from when the US and Australia started getting theirs!
The thing is CMoN have given bs reasons for the delay. Ours in the EU had to be delayed because
“For the European packages, we ran into an issue with the August holidays, which means our distribution center would be closed if the packages arrived in August as expected. Unfortunately that means we are going to have to delay the European shipment a little bit, so that the distribution hub can send them out in September. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
This statement smelt so bad even I could smell it was rotten, and I have no sense of smell. a distribution centre closed for a month as implied by their statement! I call shenanigans, “liar, liar, pants on fire”.
But CMoN buried their heads in the sand and ignored the furore that this announcement caused this side of the pond.
One poster on the comments section of the Kickstarter page suggested an interesting conspiracy theory that maybe the original shipment for the EU was directed to the US so that CMoN could sell the game at GenCon. The timings certainly fit.
Looking at the timings of the arrivals that CMoN gave in the latest update, I suspect that possibly the EU shipment may have been delayed deliberately to save them shipping costs so they have product to sell at a certain large event in October in Essen.
The initial delays for the game from its original March delivery were down to production delays and the Chinese New Year. Basically bad project management. They new they had production problems with the Zombicide:Black Plague stuff, and that there had been long delays from that having a knock on affect.
Ok I was disappointed with that, but could live with it. What I can't take is the lying to cover up what I think is a combination of my theory and the GenCon conspiracy theory.
What really grates is that CMoN seem to have got a corporate shill to sing their praises on line to say what nice, salt of the earth guys they are. Apparently they will move the earth to help you, nothing is too much for them. That maybe so if you are part of the most popular Boardgaming YouTube network with a reach of tens of thousands. But further down the food chain, they are more than happy to screw you over.
Now some posters on the comments section of the Kickstarter page point out the CMoN small print:
“Please note that while we do our best to get you your rewards in a timely manner, you may not necessarily receive your rewards before the product makes it into distribution in your own country or before it's made available in conventions and special promotion opportunities. We hope that the special price and exclusive items you will get during the Kickstarter will make up for any such possible lag. However, if this is something that is not acceptable to you, please do not back this project, and instead wait for the retail release. Thank you for your understanding.”
Firstly as others point out, these aren't rewards, we are buying a product. If it was a reward that means it's a gift and should be marked as so when shipped. However CMoN won't do that.
CMoN like others use Kickstarter as a pre-order system to fund their up and coming games. The money raised pays for the production, it's a risk free route for CMoN. They don't have to put their own cash up to make a game that might not sell. The risk is all on the backers.
So CMoN should be doing everything to make sure that game is in the hands of backers before anyone else. Without them there would be no game. TMG have delayed the release of Thiefs Market by a couple of weeks to the mass market so that backers can get their copies first.
As for the exclusive content being compensation for any possible lag! That exclusive content, that is the reward for backing the project. Not the game itself. I think Kickstarter exclusive content is wrong. If it was timed exclusive, fine I'm down with that. But only able to get it if you back the project is wrong. It means that last line of you have to wait until it hits the shops if you don't like it, is basically saying “take it or lump it”. I'd happily wait for the shop release if they also made the exclusives also available at a later date. But CMoN do like to prop up the eBay scalpers.
Until people start to not back the CMoN kickstarters (which will never happen in significant enough numbers to make a noticeable difference) CMoN will continue to treat their backers like an inconvience, and like dirt.
As you can see this whole CMoN Kickstarter experience hasn't been a pleasant one. Their disregard for EU backers, and I would argue backers in general is leaving a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. Personally if I was Eric Lang I'd be wondering if I had partnered with the right company. They are tarnishing the image of his game and name.
Wow that was a long rant, and it might even be coherent too in places. But as you may have detected I'm a tad upset about this. I think my tag line for them is so true, “CMoN cool games, crap company”. They won't respond to this, they don't respond to the comments on the Kickstarter page. But at least I feel better having vented.
Oh wait it's just clicked if you say CMoN it sounds almost like you are saying … That explains a lot.