Monthly Archives: June 2018

Against the odds

On a hot day like today there is only one thing to do. Yep spend the day indoors playing MtG. Not only was it Open House at my FLGS, but it was also holding a PPTQ or Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier for the more serious and competitive MtG player (hence why I wasn’t taking part, I’m rarely serious about anything).

I hit Chatteris just about the right time. Any later and I’d have been caught up in the town fete/parade that sees the high street closed and makes getting to the car park at the back of the store impossible until it’s over. I must remember it’s Wisbech’s turn next week to be this annoying.

In side the buzzing FLGS I quickly grabbed some of my favourite card sleeves (Dragon Shields Matt) to sleeve up the remaining 3 decks in the Second Commander Anthology. I also succumbed to buying 3 boosters from Conspiracy 2. They would have been from BattleBond if there had been any left. But apparently they sold out at FNM.

The hardest choice at an Open House for me is which pack to go for. In an ideal greedy world I’d have one each of the red, black and green decks. But we don’t live in that world, so I had to make a choice. So I decided to go big green stompy.

I think with the 2 new how to play cards in the Welcome packs, WotC have knocked it out of the park. I think these are a big improvement over the folding leaflet that was in the old ones.

I’m really glad I went with green. Look at these 2 lovely big green creatures plus there was a Colossal Dreadmaw. I just want to start building a big green stompy Commander deck. I love the art on Loxodon Line Breaker. The flavour text is so me too.

The white side of the Welcome deck really made me happy, 2 new angels that could be used in my Angel Tribal Commander deck. Which I happened to have with me. Plus Take Vengeance whose art is graphically thematic for the deck.

My first couple of games with my Welcome deck were against an ex-student. It was my green/white deck against his blue/red deck. Both games that we played I felt that I made a good flying start, but ran out of steam. Unable to make the allusive killing blow to get a win.

My third game was against the nephew of a store regular. I thought it was going to be a mirror match up. But it wasn’t he had green but instead of white had red. It was a match up that once again saw me get close but unable to get over the finishing line. We traded blows, except my opponent was able to land more of them than I was.

My final game to qualify for the promo was against the uncle who had blue/white. This time it wasn’t my deck that was misfiring. But unlike the previous 3 games I was able to deliver the finishing blow and grab that all important win to avoid a complete whitewash.

After claiming our reward for having a good time playing MtG, my ex-student and I caught up, and talked decks.

We took part in a 5 player game of Commander. One of the 5 was Mr McSalty from last week. He started to get a bit salty again when I destroyed his artifact that gave him unlimited hand size. Couldn’t have that, even if the nephew (playing a super powered up version of the Dragon 2017 Commander Deck) did have some also attractive targets.

The uncle then played an enchantment that was a slow painful death for us all. Basically on our end step we drew a card, and took 2 damage. Then with his consecrated Sphinx started to mill me. Well I was mono white. Out came a creature that every time we drew a card we lost a life. Yeah the uncle was developing a board state that didn’t require him to attack, just sit back and let us die playing the game. It hurt even more when I had to discard my hand with a Fumigate and another board wipe in it, to then draw 7 new cards. Oh and take 7 damage. But this was hitting all of us.

Dragons were getting out of control. And single shot killed McSalty. My and my ex-students health was getting low. But we were hanging in there.

After the uncle reset the nephews board state to zero creatures, my ex-student swung in and killed the uncle. Lifelink was starting to push my health back up. The nephew swung in at me, but I chump blocked with some angels, got more health back. Then I hit back, more health. I was out of single hit range. My ex-student took out the nephew, leaving me the chance to swing in and kill him for the really unexpected win.

How I won this I don’t know. It was a shocking victory.

Naturally I picked up my order of the 5 Planeswalker decks. So along with the cards from the welcome deck, I have also opened my first packs from Core Set 19.

These are the pulls from the booster that came with the Sarkhan Planeswalker deck.

It even had a foil basic land.

I’ll share the other pull highlights in another post.

I had a great time at the Open House. Really enjoyed myself. Looking forward to next weekends pre-release event.

This is my Saturday

Yeah not an official advert from either my FLGS or WotC. Just a little fan art I did for this post to remind people that tomorrow is Open House at the majority of LGS or FLGS (Depending on how you feel about your LGS).

It’s a great event if you have wanted to learn or try the game. Free welcome deck, promo card, taught how to play the game, play some games with your new deck. All in a friendly, welcoming environment (unless your store is just a LGS, that I can’t help with).

Naturally I’m going to be found at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole. I’m going to be playing some MtG, collecting the new Planeswalker decks, opening the five Core 2019 boosters that gives me (and continuing my run of not opening anything of value).

Elder Dragon Playmat – NOT a store champ

This is the main prize from the weekends Store Championships. Which as those that struggled through Saturdays post will know I didn’t win. I think this is the first play mat for one of the few Store Championships I’ve attended that I like the art of.

My rewards for 6th, were a booster pack of my choice, and the following promos and top 8 deck box.

Luckily because outside of work I have no life, and while binging on Luke Cage Season 2 (which seems very marmite like for those that have seen it so far, I fall in the love it camp) I live online. When some-one had a spare (yeah I know) from the weekend and wanted a reasonable amount for it including postage, I was fortunate enough to be on the right Facebook page at the right time to claim it first.

Yeah I know how many play mats does a person need? For someone like me who obviously has a problem I don’t think there is an answer, except one more than I currently have.

I’m looking forward to playing my Dragon Tribal Commander deck and using the above play mat with it (once it arrives in a day or two).

Surviving, bluffing and big stompy creatures

Fenland Gamers Friday Night Gaming

Last night saw the Fenland Gamers meet up at it’s usual haunt The White Lion to play some games. While Charlie, Diego and myself were struggling for survival in a post apocalyptic future once more in Outlive. Jonathan, Jess and Nathanial were subsistence farming in Agricola Family Edition.

The postal gods had been really kind to me, and the Kickstarter exclusives for Outlive had arrived the previous day. So we were using the new recessed player boards, first player marker and event. The other bits like the mini expansions, rooms, leaders I saved for another day.

I’d been doing really well for the first 5 rounds of the game. But the final round was a disaster for me. I went from being in with a shot at winning to not even being in the same country as winning. Failing to be able to scavenge or hunt enough food to feed my survivors meant I had to lose survivors when it came to the night phase. And that hit my scoring big time. I crashed to the ground hard.

Charlie had thought he was out of the running for most of the game, did not score any events, yet when we were totally things up made a late surge to come in a comfortable second place. Leaving the run away victor Diego and his survivors being saved.

While we finished off our game, the others played a quick game of The Mind. After which we all played a couple of games of Perudo. Component wise it doesn’t get much simpler than those in Perudo. Plastic cups and dice. Yet this simple bluffing game is such fun. I lost the first game, which Diego went on to win after being left to just him and Jess as the last 2. Naturally being out first, meant the friendly banter was aimed at me. I believe Jonathan’s words were “put that in your blog”. I did better in the second game, but sadly to rub salt in the wound Jonathan won.

This was Charlie’s last time at the group. He has had to move away for work. So it was great to have had this opportunity to play some games with him. Good luck Charlie with your year of living in Preston. We hope to see you at the end of September when we attend Tabletop Gaming Living.

We really are grateful to our hosts The White Lion for providing the facilities for us to game.

Dominaria Store Championship

Yesterday I’d finally got my act together and built a standard deck ready for the Dominaria Store Championship at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole. I went with big green stompy.

My first game was almost a mirror match up. The main difference was they were playing more artifacts than me. Our 2 games were quick games. Both saw me mulligan to get the right cards that I was looking for. Which was basically to have Llanowar Elves, Steal leaf Champion, a couple of forests in my hand. Everything else in my hand is gravy. Both games saw me get Ghalta out cheaply. The second game I had him buffed up to a 16/16.

I knew my next match wouldn’t be as easy or quick. This win was going to put me in with the big boys.

Despite losing the next round 2-0. It doesn’t show how despite the losses, my deck did ok against the knights deck. The first game was not a complete walk over and saw me frustrating my opponent at almost every turn. Our second game saw an early Silent Grave at least stop some of my opponents graveyard shenanigans that allows him to recur cards. So yeah I lost, but I felt good about it. My deck had put up a good show for itself.

The third and final round saw me up against a blue/white Teferi deck. This was not a fun match up. Our first game saw me mana screwed, then when I tried to get something out it was countered, bounced back to my hand. The usual blue control shenanigans. In the meantime Teferi was out, and able to ultimate. I couldn’t do anything to prevent it. Every time my opponent now drew a card he could destroy one of my permanents, which was at that point 4 lands. The writing was on the wall, I conceded. Our second game was a better start for me, but still unable to keep any creatures out long enough to do any damage. I had lots of mana, but still Teferi kicked in again. So I conceded, no point going through the motions. I lost 2-0, and unlike the previous game, didn’t really enjoy the experience.

My final win loss ratio was 2-4 for the tournament, which was enough to bring me in 6th place, out of 8. So I walked away with 2 copies of the promo for the competition, a cool top 8 deck box, and a participation booster of my choice.

Afterwards we had a casual game of Commander. I played my Elf deck with Doubling Season added. Two of my opponents at the table were the players I lost against in the tournament. Now if allowed elves goes crazy. And they allowed my elves to go crazy. I did take some early hate when there was an artefact out that caused me to take a hit every time a creature came out instead of gaining a life. But my Commander allowed me to shut that off.

Funny enough the Teferi player from the tournament got salty when I killed him off, claiming he was not a threat. And at that point he wasn’t. But I didn’t like the Planeswalker that he had out. Plus before the game started there was a hint from one of the others he could go infinite. I thought he had a bit of a nerve being salty, considering his Teferi deck, and just because his deck hadn’t managed to get going. “This is the reason I don’t play Commander often” were his words to one of the others. I had no guilt. Revenge is a dish best served up in Commander.

To be fair if I had lost the game, I would have been happy it had started to do its thing. And Commander games one moment you are top dog, then something happens (usually a board wipe of some kind) levels the playing field, and then some one else gets the ascendancy. Then the cycle repeats. But I managed to stop a board wipe before it could happen. Got a Doubling Season out, had unlimited hand size, and a lot of cards in hand. So I would have recovered quickly from a wipe. But still I was able to swing in and get lots of damage in. I think at the end, all my elves were +5,+5 from artifacts and an elf played. Then I played an elf that because of Doubling Season came in with 20 +1/+1 tokens on it, which meant all my elves got also +20/+20. It was game over.

An unchecked Elf deck is a dangerous thing.

Afterwards I asked if the others could recommend cards they thought I was missing. I got a couple of good recommendations that I will track down to add to the deck. Which I know now one of my ex-students will be cursing and saying “hell no”.

Next Saturday is Open House weekend. So head down to your local FLGS, get a free Welcome deck, learn to play Magic. Play some games with your new deck. Then get the

full art Guttersnipe promo card. Which is a pretty sweat card in a red burn deck.

If the Magic bug hits you, you can also buy one (or more) of the 5 new Planeswalker decks that stores with a WPN are allowed to sell early at the Open House. The new Planeswalker decks are cheaper now at £10 approximately, but only come with a single booster pack now instead of 2. I don’t mind this, but some players are complaining.

So in a way this is going to be like a pre-pre-release. I like this bit from WotC allowing the FLGS to sell product early.

With all this goodness going on next week you know I’ll be there.

Most reputable – Charterstone Game 7

Throughout this post I may or may not discuss things that if you are playing or plan to play Charterstone you may not wish to know. In other words SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading now, go read one of my other posts if you like, and we’ll meet up in my next post.

Our guidepost for game 7 was going to be won by whoever had the most reputation at the end of the game. So that was me out. I think in our previous games I managed to get onto the reputation track just the once. There was also a temporary rule that if you used another villagers building they got the money or resource paid to activate it.
Like the last game I managed to take an early points lead. For me success is amassing points to reach the multiple of 10 milestones. Reach 10 points that’s a bonus star, reach 20 that’s a second bonus star, and so on. Bonus stars at the end of the game mean if I complete a row I can get that bonus at the start of each game. I also at the end of the campaign get to score points for each bonus star I have. So I’m taking the long game into account. With the losers also getting to store more stuff between games, I’m building up a nice little engine I’m hoping to just collect those bonus stars, build buildings and let the others fight for first place.

In this game I built a 15 point building, opened box 43 that gave me a new persona, and a new 20 point building to build next game, and now added rules that allow players to build over existing buildings (except basic buildings). Guess my 3 point building is getting demolished next game.

Unlike previous games, I actually ended up with 4 of the minions by the end of the game. Helped by Jonathan building a building that allowed me to get a minion everytime we could chose a bonus from the friend characters we had in front of us. I do find that minions are more of a discouragement for players to use a building than encouragement. Mainly because you don’t want the other player to get the benefit of that minion for using the building with the minion on.

Jonathan at the end of the game had the most reputation, and managed to amass enough money to remove the spirit worker he had been given last game. Despite getting on the track, and for a large part of the game in the running for sharing the third place points, I still walked away with no points.

So it was left upto Jonathan to scratch off the foil from the guidepost and read out the reveal words. For being the most reputable this game Jonathan had to decide how the end of campaign scoring would be done. Would it be we all had the same end scoring, or would we each have different end scoring at the end of the campaign? Jonathan went the communist route and chose that we all had the same scoring when the moment called for it.

After end game scoring I came in last, sadly missing out on reaching the 30 point milestone for the third bonus star, and having to settle for just the 2 this time. But I am now keeping 2 minions between games, so I’m happy.

We had a great evening once again playing another fun installment in this campaign. I’m hoping that the session gave one of our group a break from the slings and arrows that life had thrown at them during the day.

Roll on Fridays gaming session, and a second play of Outlive. Yes my second hand copy of the game arrived earlier in the day. With luck and the postal service on my side (fat chance) the KS exclusives might also arrive by then.

Core 19 Gets Spicy

I try to not get caught up in the spoiler season for a new set. I keep an eye on the cards being spoilt, but coverage on here is literally zero. Others out there do it so much better than I ever could. Having said that here are some ramblings about the spoilers so far.

Wow WotC are knocking things out of the park at the moment. After recent Core 19 spoilers I’m expecting demand for booster boxes to go up even more. Luckily I’d already pre-ordered 2 boxes to get 2 of the buy a box promos (all part of a cunning plan). But with the announcement of some more reprints that are currently expensive (Crucible of Worlds for instance), well if players weren’t salivating for the new cards they are now.

BattleBond was from a Commander players point of view, a sweet set. Especially considering the dual lands printed, the reprints of Doubling Season, Land Tax and Swords to Plough, and some fun multiplayer cards.

Some recent spoilers make Core 19 very attractive to me as a Commander player and my decks. They certainly will be giving me that hard decision to make of “I like the card, it will go nicely in my deck, but what card does it replace?” This list is just going to grow I think as more cards are spoiled. I like that we are getting new versions of the Elder Dragons. Whether I will do anything with them is another question.

Dinosaur Smash Victims

From time to time I’m pretty sure you’ve heard or even come up with your own “fantasy” list of who you would want to have at a dinner party, or some other group activity. Usually there is a condition of some sort put on the list like historical figures, or famous people etc.

To be honest I’ve not been a big fan of this sort of list, because I would chose my friends and family every time. Why wouldn’t you chose them every time over some celeb living or dead?

Having said that these are 3 people that are semi famous in a geek internet way that play MtG that I’d like to play a game of Commander with. Weirdly not all at the same time, but taking up like a guest slot in one of the games with my friends if some-one was unable to make it.

First up is Michelle Boyd. Michelle was one of the series one guests on Spellslingers (a Geek & Sundry YouTube show about MtG). I went with Michelle over the host of Spellslingers mainly because I thought she would be more fun to play against, and easier to read when she drew good cards. Watch the episode, unless she was hamming it up for the camera (which I think they do on that show in an attempt to make it more entertaining) look at her reaction to some of the cards when she draws them. To be fair like a cat is attracted to that strange person in the room, which 99% of the time is the person that does not like cats, I too am attracted to people that are the opposite of myself. So where Day9 and Michelle (for the camera anyway) come across as out going, entertaining people. I am far from that.
Next up Tom Vasel. Tom has said many times he likes MtG, and likes to specifically play Commander. I’ve spoken to Tom a handful of times now at the UKGE, and I’ve also seen how outgoing he is. The Tom you see on camera is the Tom you get in person. How he is that outgoing I don’t know. For me I find my normal social interactions tiring. You should see me in the evening at the end of the day, I’m shattered. I’m definitely not this outgoing, talks to strangers easily type of person.
Finally the last of the trio is Jamey Stegmeir. From his regular videos I know that Jamey plays his Magic digitally using the Magic Online app. So I’m not sure he has played Commander. But who wouldn’t want to play at least one game with possibly their favourite game designer. For sure he has designed my all time favourite game, Scythe.
So you may have spotted a trend here with the list, or how I perceive the public side of these individuals. But this list probably says more about me especially with the admission I’m not this naturally outgoing person. So is it odd that my favourite format of the game is the multiplayer social one?

Fathers Day Weekend Gaming

Saturday saw me heading to my FLGS to pick up the Jace Spellbook, plus hopefully play some Commander.

While waiting for a chance to play Commander I threw together a first draft Angel Tribal deck. Which was then given a chance to be played.

My initial 7 cards was 5 lands and 2 costly spells. So I did a mulligan. 2 lands and Sensei’s divining top. A great turn 1 play. Then it went down hill and I was mana screwed for the rest of the game. Not much I could do but wait for impending doom as I watched the other 2 players do stuff, like play cards. Not a great first game with the angels. But this happens it Magic. I need more games with the deck before making adjustments. Although that won’t stop me from tinkering!

Before heading home I confirmed with John I’d be at the Dominaria store champs next weekend. So I need to build a standard deck if I’m not going to play my mono black aggro deck. Green stompy is calling me.

Father’s Day its hard to celebrate it when Nath and I are so far apart geographically. I don’t ask for or expect gifts and cards, for a young man at uni his time is better spent studying and having a life. A phone call and I’m happy.

My plans for the day? Chill, watch some Netflix. For me I’d been remarkably productive and creative for a weekend and had used Pixelmator on the iPad to make the following image.

I’d hit upon the idea of theming the Fenland Gamers logo for say a MtG Group, or maybe the new RPG group starting up. Plus we could theme our logo for the Facebook page for various major holidays or seasons.

Earlier in the day Jonathan had invited me to join him round his dads for some gaming in the afternoon.

First game to hit the table was Takenoko. A game we last played nearly 18 months ago. It’s an enjoyable game, with that cute factor of the little panda figure. I was beaten into last place by a single point, while Jonathan romped home for the win.

Our next game was the Small Detectives game. After the second turn I had seen one suspect, and been asked by Jonathan’s dad if I had seen 2 suspects. Which I hadn’t. I suspected I had been shown 2 suspects that Jonathan’s dad hadn’t seen, and deduced who the suspect was. The next 2 rounds I saw 2 weapons. I thought I had a 50/50 chance of getting a guess at the answer correct. So I went for it. I jumped to the police station and made my guess. I was wrong on both counts and out of the game. I had misread the suspects shown to me earlier. If I had been right, wow what a win that would have been. But alas, Jonathan also won this with me out of the picture.

We finished off the gaming session with The Mind. Let’s just say we didn’t get above level 5 and leave it at that.

But a great afternoon gaming. Thanks John for inviting me.

Remember I said I was waiting for Gavin’s wife to hate Outlive? Well thanks to Jonathan tagging me in on a Facebook post, I now have a second hand retail copy on its way. Gavin said the Kickstarter exclusives were available on the publishers website. So I had a look at what they were, and ordered them too. Luckily for the wallet the XL game board was sold out. We’ll look at what the Kickstarter exclusives are when they arrive.

Fenland Gamers Monthly Meetup June 2018

Time flies so fast when you are running out of it. Well that’s what it feels like being 50 now. It seems like only yesterday we were holding the last monthly meetup.
Last night once again we hit the heady heights of 7 members being able to attend. So once again we split up into 2 groups.

The first group decided to become the Scooby gang and investigate a haunted house by playing Betrayal at House on the Hill. Despite liking Betrayal I wanted to play Gavin’s game that I picked up for him from the UKGE, Outlive.

On the way back from the expo I had been listening to a recent Secret Cabal podcast where they had talked about Outlive, and how much they liked it. Naturally this got me interested in playing the game. So I was keen to give the game a try. Luckily Gavin was also interested in giving his latest addition to his collection a whirl to.

It would be fair to say that I liked Outlive. For starters I love the theme, the post apocalyptic setting isn’t an over used theme like say zombies. I think I have a handful of games with that setting, ok and one that combines it with zombies.

Does the theme come through? To some extent, you do feel that you are scrambling for scarce resources to survive. It’s not super thin and could be any theme, but it’s also not super heavy.

I like the use of leaders to give each player a unique feel and starting setup.

Once out of the box this game with all the components sprawls across the table. So you will need a bit of table space. The component quality is ok, lots of small bits of cardboard for the resources. I’d have preferred thicker player boards. I do like the meeples used to represent your workers who go out scavenging for your community. Having them stand up when used during the day phase and lie down to signify resting from the night phase. Brilliant mechanic that shows which has been used, it also thematic.

Being able to get “power ups” in the form of equipment, that needs to be repaired before you can get the benefit is cool. Plus if you have 2 pieces of equipment repaired and with matching symbols you get a bonus point at the end.

The radiation mechanic, which can kill you, forces you to either have survivors in your airlock to mitigate it during the night phase, or force you to reduce radiation by either visiting a specific location first, or get lucky scavenging in one of the city locations.

I like that each of your scavenger meeples has a number on the side to indicate the number of actions you can do with it at a location. These range between 3 and 5. These numbers are also used for hunting at specific locations, and to intimate other scavengers to get resources from your competition.

There is a lot to this game, and I’ve only scratched the surface. There is a whole resource management mechanic I’ve not talked about.

It’s a fun game, I’m hoping Gavin’s wife doesn’t like it so I can pick up a bargain. If not this will be in the collection at some point.

By some coincidence the Scooby gang finished almost the same time as us. So after packing away both games, it was near the time to head our separate ways.

A great evening. Looking forward to the next.