Card Kingdom Rookie Deck – Red

Part of my second order from Card Kingdom was one of their rookie decks. I wanted this in for teaching MtG to new students with, and for students to use as well. At $6.99 (plus postage – which was international for me) you are not going to get any high value cards in these decks. What you do get is a great deck for teaching MtG with that focuses on one or two mechanics of that colour. It comes in a nice plastic case for storage, and two handy reference cards (see below).

Which for me are a little bit more useful than the rules reference that comes with almost ever MtG product that WotC put out. Mainly because these are easier to have out and reference than the rules reference.

I’ve played this against my students decks, and wow. This is beating the official Ixalan Jace Planeswalker decks they are currently playing with. On the description it says that this deck is fast. They are not kidding. Turn 4 or 5 wins are very common (so far). I’m trying to get my students to learn from this, and see that this is a deck of common cards, no planeswalkers (which they seem to be so all over and excited about having in their decks), no big expensive cards. It just executes it’s game plan to perfection. But because it focuses on just one or two mechanics, it makes teaching with this deck easy. I think that this is a more fun deck to play than the Welcome Decks that WotC give out. Although they are good, and a great way to get new players into the game (here is a free deck of cards to play with). I do feel that this is a better way to introduce new players to the game, and depending how charitable/generous you are feeling, cheap enough that you can give the deck away to the new player.

The Decked Builder app priced the cards at a value of around $7 (against current prices on the Card Kingdom website), but was unable to find a price for 3 of the cards. So I would guess if you said $8 max in total if you were to buy the cards separately you wouldn’t be too far off. You get the reference cards and the plastic case. So I think this is great value. Just a shame that here in the UK we have to pay for international shipping and can’t get them more easily over here.

For those interested here are the cards that Card Kingdom used to build this rookie deck:

Oh before you look at the list and say “hey I didn’t get this or that card in mine”, these decks are subject to change due to availability of cards at the time they build the decks. It’s why they no longer put deck lists up on their site for these and the battle decks. 

Creatures:25

4 Bloodlust Inciter
4 Defiant Khenra
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Nest Robber
4 Minotaur Sureshot
4 Hyena Pack
1 Lathnu Sailback

Spells:11

3 Act of Treason
4 Open Fire
4 Chandra’s Outrage

Lands:24

24 Mountain

Star Realms App gets United

White Wizard Games have just pushed out the latest update for their very popular app version of the amazing deck builder Star Realms.

This will be the first of I’m guessing 4 updates over the next few months that will add cards etc from the United expansions from the physical game.

Here is the release notes for the app from the App Store.


At the time of writing there was an issue actually being able to purchase the Command expansion. But hopefully that gets sorted ASAP. As I’m looking forward to playing with the extra cards. At £1.99 to unlock them across all platforms a bargain.

I’m super excited about the win/loss stats in the friend list. That’s how I play the game. Having lost the levelling Up/down functionality when the app got its makeover, this is the second best option.

Not much interested in the AI improvement, I don’t play the campaign or against the AI.

So if you are a fan of the game go get this now.

Random Booster Opening #3

The addiction continues.

I have no excuse this time for opening a packet except that I did. The packet was there and screaming “open me”. It would have been rude of me not to act on it’s demands.

Ok I feel dirty and used, even ashamed having given in to my baser instincts, and opened yet another booster pack. I’m weak. Easily lead astray.

But you don’t care about that self loathing. You want to know what I got in that little packet of foiled goodness.

Well I got Unfriendly Fire as a shiny!

Then my rare was the flip card Conqueror’s Galleon, which flips into Conqueror’s Foothold.

The three uncommons were the following.

Finally the commons.

So that was our third Ixalan booster pack for the blog. There have been more than that opened. But if I did everyone here you would be more bored than you are now.

Ixalan Vampire Challenge

Thought I would start a new irregular series of posts that may or not be MtG related. They could easily be for Epic or Star Wars: Destiny, or any game that allows deck construction of some sort. But for this first post I am going with MtG.

So for this inaugural post the challenge is using just cards in Ixalan build a 60 card vampire deck, and a 15 card sideboard. This can be mono or black/white (Orzhov). It’s definitely tribal.

Leave your decks and sideboards in the comments below (if you haven’t commented before I will have to approve the comment first, but after that you are golden to post whenever).

Then at the start of next week I will post the deck and sideboard that I have come up with (some people can rip that to shreds), and also pick up to two other decks from the comments below. Those two decks will each get two Ixalan boosters.

Amazing weekend ahead

For me starting Friday, this weekend is going to be busy,busy,busy. But in an amazing geeky/nerdy way.

The weekend starts with Netflix releasing not only the highly anticipated Punisher series. But also a documentary called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. Which is a behind the scenes look at Jim Carrey and his descent into madness, and taking method acting too far while making the fantastic biopic about Andy Kaufman, Man on the Moon.

I love the Punisher (was a big fan of the comic when I had a comic habit in my younger days). His cinematic appearances can at best be described as watchable. But the version of the Punisher that turned up in DareDevil season 2 far out did the cinema versions. The performance and how well it went down with the fans meant that Netflix commissioned this spin off series. So I am looking forward to this.

I’m a child of the 70’s (and an 80’s teenager), so I grew up watching Taxi. I was unfamiliar with Kaufman’s other work. But who can forget his character Latka in that hit tv series? Carrey as Kaufman in the film Man on the Moon was amazing. The film was brilliant. Plus there is that REM song with the same title all about Kaufman. Not sure of timing, so unclear if the song was first or if it was written for the movie. Plus I can’t google everything. I’m happy to live in ignorance on this one thing. So a chance to get a glimpse behind the curtain about this great movie and probably Carrey’s best performance ever is very welcome indeed.

It really is going to be hard to chose which to watch first when I sit down at home and switch on the tv, and fire up the Netflix app on my Amazon Fire TV stick.

Also out on Friday is the new DC superhero movie Justice League. After Wonder Woman managed to pull back some credibility for Warner Bros (maybe that’s because Zack Snyder didn’t direct it) after the train wrecks that Batman vs Superman, and Suicide Squad were, I’m going to give this movie a chance. Especially after seeing the trailers (although I hate the look of the Flash), and knowing that Snyder left the film (after filming most of it) and was replaced with Josh Whedon to complete the movie (which I believe he did some reshoots for). So I’m hoping that Whedon has managed to save the movie from any harm that Snyder did. And yes if you think I sound bitter about Snyder, then you are right. He shouldn’t be let near another superhero movie ever.

I think Friday will shape up as cinema first for Justice League, followed by indecision at home in front of the tv.

Then Saturday afternoon it’s…

Yep an afternoon of playing MtG.

Will I be able to improve on my 1-10 record from the first day of this league?

Well it’s not going to be hard to improve on it. I just need to win two games and I’m 100% better than before.

I still need to crack open my boost for that meet up. The majority have already had their booster at the end of the previous session. So they have had a couple of weeks to think over the improvements to their decks. Me, I’ll probably just throw cards together and see what happens on the day!

But if I hadn’t had my fill of MtG on Saturday I get even more of it with Commander Sunday!

Commander is so much fun. I fancy playing one of the pre-cons from the Anthology for this. The hard part is which of the four will I play?

So that’s the plan for the exciting geeky weekend. Really super excited for it to start.

My Top 10 Recorded Played Games Nov 17 Edition

The end of the year will mark 2 years of logging my game plays using the Boardgame stats app. I’ve been boring you on a monthly basis with a summary of the stats it produces ever since.

But what games have I played the most since records began?

Star Realms and Lost Cities would be 1 and 2 respectively if I logged the app plays as well by a long long margin. But I don’t.

So here are according to the stats program the top 10 games I have played the most since I started logging plays:

  1. Star Wars: Destiny – 196 plays, my rank #3
  2. Magic the Gathering – 149 plays, unranked!
  3. Android: Netrunner – 58 plays, my rank #13
  4. Santorini – 30 plays, my rank #8
  5. Mint Works – 28 plays, my rank #31
  6. Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn – 26 plays, my rank #3
  7. Onitama – 25 plays, unranked!
  8. Star Realms – 25 plays, my rank #4
  9. Love Letter: Batman – 21 plays, my rank #58
  10. 7 Wonders Duel – 20 plays, my rank #9

Sunday Surprise

I knew that my second order from Card Kingdom was somewhere between their location on the west coast of America, the Atlantic and our postal system. So when the 2 battle decks, rookie deck, and sideboard starter turned up today I was a little surprised. Like the latest MtG duel deck I was expecting it next week sometime. But both early on a Sunday. What a pleasant surprise.

I’m a fan of the MtG duel decks. They are great for casual players who just want that MtG experience without all the investment and deck building etc. I’m really looking forward to playing this latest set of Merfolk vs Goblins. Especially when I’m hoping there are cards in the merfolk deck that I could use in a merfolk tribal deck for Commander. Yeah I have a merfolk deck on my list of Commander decks to build. I think Ixalan will be inspiring lots of tribal decks for Commander players. With this duel deck, Explorers of Ixalan and the next set Rivals of Ixalan there will be plenty of options to build tribal decks around merfolk. Naturally I’m not counting cards from earlier sets, because I don’t have many. So I build from what I have. Besides I won’t break up a duel deck, so if there are cards I want I’ll have to target buy or buy another copy. Anyway I digress.

These duel decks are my “let’s play a game of magic” for my friends and myself. Or sometimes for my students to use to play with.

The battle decks from Card Kingdom are their version/equivalent to the official Planeswalker decks. So I went with their new merfolk and dinosaur decks. After that digression earlier I bet you can guess why I got these two decks. Which might eventually be their final destination. But in the meantime they are going to fill the same kind of job as the duel decks which I think they are ideal for. Naturally at $10 a piece you are not going to be getting any high value cards. But used as I intend to they are a bargain.

The rookie red deck is just a basic deck I can use along side Welcome Decks to teach the game. Whilst I wanted the sideboard to introduce the concept to my students.

Naturally it goes without saying I’m rather keen to try these decks.

Saturday

Yesterday Justin, Jonathan and myself played a couple of games. Our first game was Sub Terra. The baggage this game has is a nice source of banter at my expense. But then again it’s banter if you give it, you also have to receive it. This was a first time in the depths underground for Jonathan and Justin. Jonathan was designated first player by the fact his arm had been down a manhole recently. Which sadly was the nearest any of us had been to being underground. The criteria for choosing the first player in the rules is the person who most recently has been below ground. Thematic but still.

Jonathan and Justin both went off exploring in one direction while my two characters went off in another. A Horror didn’t turn up until the second half of the game. Unluckily for me the exit was on the side of the cave complex that Jonathan and Justin were on. Even worse for me was there was not a chance I’d make it over to them in time before we were out of time. Which didn’t matter, even with two horrors on their tails, both my cavers became unconscious. Still 4 out of 6 escaped. So we won the game!

Our second and final game of the afternoon was London (Second Edition). Which to cut along boring story short I won. Justin thanks to having lots of poverty ended up with a negative score. I think played right his tactic of 7/8 stacks could work. But when you ran the city you’d have to have zero cards in hand by the time you got to the calculating poverty stage.

A great afternoon gaming, and once more a big thanks to our hosts The White Lion for allowing us to play there.

Scythe Bonus Promo Pack 37-42

I think all I currently need for Scythe is the art book (which shamefully I don’t have yet) and the realistic resource tokens (but I won’t get these because I don’t like the look of them, if I could buy an extra set of the original resource tokens I would). At some point in the new year I may spoil myself and upgrade my leader and mech figures to the new more detailed ones that are now available (they wore out the original molds, so took the time with the new molds to add more detail!). Naturally in this boast I’m not including the third party stuff. So when an official promo comes out I’m normally all over it. In fact Boardgame Extras allow me to pre-order the new Scythe stuff. And kindly send me an email to let me know that I can do this. I like their service, they have a great relationship with both Stonemaier Games and Meeplesource, so are my go to place for Scythe stuff. What I like about Stonemaier Games is that they make these promos available to everyone. Miss the Kickstarter, don’t worry you can by the promos from that. This also includes cards that they have done for other Kickstarters (yes like a lot of game publishers they kindly provide promos to game media sites can use as rewards on their Kickstarters). I wish more publishers took this approach.

Which brings me nicely to this post and the latest promo pack from Stonemaier for Scythe. Scythe Bonus Promo Pack 6, is made up of encounter cards for the game. They have given the cards the numbers 37-42. There is a warning for these encounter cards that some people out there may already have one or two of these cards from other Kickstarters, etc.
As usual the art by Jakub Rozalski on these encounter cards is stunning. Why I have not got the art book is a mystery to me.
The question is at £10 do you need these cards? No. Let me qualify that answer. If you like Scythe, enjoy playing it, whatever. They are not needed, you can happily play the base game without them (but that’s true of any promo). However as a massive fan of Scythe (my all time favourite game, and game of 2016), for me they are worth it. They add a little bit more variety, and personalise the game a little. At £1.67 a card, that’s not bad. BGG can easily charge you $3 or $5 for a promo card. So 6 for a tenner for a fanboy like me is a bargain. Plus I haven’t had to buy or back the other things to get the cards (which would be even more expensive).

Mid December I should hopefully be seeing the latest Scythe expansion The Wind Gambit, plus the large box (yes I have bought just a box! so that I can fit all the expansions and the base game into a single box). I’m so looking forward to playing the game with the airships.

November 2017 Monthly Meetup

Last night was the second Wednesday of the month once again. Which is the day the founding fathers of Fenland Gamers chose to meet up on a monthly basis.

With Clans of Caledonia (CoC) having just arrived the weekend before (finally), this was the perfect opportunity to get the game to the table.

Overall I really liked CoC. I liked the mechanics that make the game. For instance I like the variable setup. 4 double sided map boards, 8 clans, 9 starting goods tiles, 8 end of round scoring tiles, 8 port bonuses. That’s a lot of variety right there in the setup.

I liked how the prices of commodities could go up or down on the market board. It could be very tactical buying something you know another player will be going for just so that they have to pay more for the goods. Or even selling so that the price goes down and they get less money when they sell.

The end of round scoring is nice, especially when it will be different each round and game. It gives you a mini goal to try and achieve during that current round.

Another nice touch was the neighbour action that you can take when you expand into a space next to another players pieces. Once you have paid the cost of placing your piece, you can then at a discount buy up to 3 items (merchants allowing) of the goods provided by the other players pieces. So if you expanded next to a players sheep, then you could buy wool. This could be a nice way to reduce the cost of an item that you need to complete a contract.

The four port bonuses in each of the four corners of the game map were a nice way to get a one off in game bonus if you could get near to them.

The clan tiles, and the starting tiles give that sense of variable player abilities, and that each player is different. Which I like a lot.

Sadly there are some negatives to CoC. The general consensus round the table is that the game is too small. A 50% increase in size and I think it would have been alright. Look at the close up I took of the letters that are printed on each side of the boards to allow them to be arranged in the correct order on the table.

Look fine don’t they? But they are so small it’s really hard to see that they are there let alone read them. And I have 20/20 vision, I don’t need glasses.

Plus there was a little confusion over the iconography especially on the player board with the processed goods.

Jonathan and Diego thought that the end game scoring was unnecessarily complicated. Especially the farm scoring. And I kinda agree with them. Although I can see why it’s there I think to reward those players that expand a lot over the board.

I have to say that the actual production quality is pretty good, and the metal coins are really nice. I believe made by the same place that makes the coins for Stonemaier Games. They have a really nice weight to them and are stackable.

Diego won by 2 points. Jonathan was that close to winning. A misplay in the final round may have cost him the game. While I was easily in last place.

A great evening learning a new game with great friends. And a big thank you to the White Lion for hosting the evening.

Seeking solace in a booster – Random booster opening #2

I wasn’t expecting to do one of these so soon. But after the day I had yesterday I needed something to cheer me up. Yesterday the clutch on my car decided it wants to see what is awaiting for it on the other side. I managed during its death throes to drive it from work back to Wisbech and my regular garage. But it was close. I feared junctions, and the evening traffic queue spots. Somehow I managed to get through March. A miracle, and evidence if there was any required of a higher power. If you didn’t see my driving home last night you missed some of the best driving ever. But my worst fear was nearly realised less than half a mile from the garage. I just couldn’t get the car into first when I had stopped at some traffic lights. Eventually after a long struggle with the dying clutch I managed to get into first and crawl that last bit of the journey to the garage. Parked the car, and as I got out I half expected it to just implode as it gave it’s dying breathe. But it didn’t, it stood there, not moving for anyone unless they pushed it.

So here we are with an opened feel good booster.

Let’s go straight to the rare that I pulled:

Next up the 3 uncommons:

Finally the 10 commons:

On another MtG note, I did introduce some students to Commander yesterday using the 2017 Commander decks. One of the students was playing the Vampire deck and used Blood Tribute  on his fellow student who was playing the big cats deck. Sadly for the cat player earlier the Vampire player had cast Sanguine Bond on them. So with the Blood Tribute also being kicked, the cat player was dead. And the Vampire player was somehow sitting on 80 health. That meant myself (playing Wizards) and the dragon player ganged up on this monster vampire deck.

I cast Memory Plunder to play Blood Tribute on the vampire player, which was funny. It would have been even funnier if I had been able to kick it to get the life as well. I drew a Clone Legion, and played that copying the vampire creatures on the vampire players battlefield. Which meant I had a vampire. I then drew and played Izzet Chronarch, which when he entered the battlefield allowed me to pull back an instant or sorcery. Oh dear Memory Plunder was an instant, and I had the mana spare. So I cast Memory Plunder for the second time, and used Blood Tribute once again, but this time I was able to kick it. So I got life gain as well as do some serious damage to the vampire player. Naturally between the dragon player and myself we were able to put the vampire player out of his misery very quickly after that. But wow what a combo.

I was impressed with that Blood Tribute and Sanguine Bond combo, that was a very nasty play. It meant next game the vampire player was getting all the attention damage wise from the cat player. But it was oh so funny to use Blood Tribute twice against it’s owner.