Card Games

Channeling Land and Champions of Kamigawa

It’s almost that time again: time for the group I play with to spin up a mini league of Magic.

We could have gone with the new set, Scars of Mirrodin, but for various reasons chose Champions of Kamigawa instead. And we’re still planning to make use of the Channeling Land variant; in this post I’ll cover an area where Champions is not immediately compatible with Channeling Land, and explore ways the handful of exceptional cards can be adapted for the variant.

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Dominion: Democratic Supply

Playing Dominion with a random supply can be fun sometimes, but inevitably requires slight editing of the random selection to ensure a range of prices and effect types. Here’s simple house rule inspired by that editing process that takes things a step further for more fun semi-random supply sets in Dominion.

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More than Four Players (and the Gaming Sweet Spot)

Ever notice how some games are great, until you try them with a different number of players? Maybe this game works best with three while another one only works really well with more than four players, despite what it says on the box about supporting two to six.

I’ll take a look at the sweet spot for a few games and why I think these games work well (or don’t work at all) with more players, plus some suggestions on how they might be improved to scale for a larger group.

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Netrunner: The Big Sell-Out

I just wanted to make a brief mention of excellent multiplayer rules for a game I have a special soft spot for: Netrunner.

The Big Sell-Out is a Netrunner variant for four (or more) players, pairing a runner with their corporate “sponsor” for cyber-hijinks in the vein of Magic’s Two-Headed Giant.

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Weekend Gaming Recap – 20100122

My group played Dominion: Intrigue, Kung-Fu Fighting, and Wreckage, and instead of an in-depth analysis or review I thought it might be fun to share a few quick thoughts on the experience with each game.

Plus a card set for Dominion: Intrigue.

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Dual-Queue Draft for Jyhad/V:tES Cards

VtES Dark Sovereigns booster box

Drafting can be a great way to enjoy CCGs. While booster drafts are popular, I’d like to put the spotlight on my favorite drafting format: The Queue Draft.

In this post I’ll explain how the queue draft works and what you need in order to enjoy drafting. Plus why I think it works especially well for one of my favorite CCGs, Jyhad (aka Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) – but keep in mind it can be used with just about any CCG!

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Dominion: Intrigue

All of the new cards for Dominion have been posted on BGG. I suggest you get over there and check them out and then come back here and comment. I know that’s what I plan to do!

Three More Dominion: Intrigue Cards Revealed

Tric Trac a French online game magazine has posted three more Dominion cards.

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More Dominion Intrigue Info

We already have a pretty good idea where they are trying to take Dominion from the discussions and comments over at BGG but we get an even clearer look from the three cards previewed in Finland and translated by some fine folks for us.

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Tom Lehmann’s Review of Dominion – An Example of Something I Would Twitter

Scott has been looking into getting Twitter set up on this blog. One of the main reasons I have been asking for it is things like this post. Generally these posts are simply things I have found amusing and thus wanted to share but often don’t because I don’t feel as though they deserve a full “post”.

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Eight Player Dominion?

A while back it was mentioned on one of the BGG forums that Dominion: Intrigue would have rules for playing with up to eight players but that the eight would be divided into two “tables” of players. I made some kind of snide comment (you can search for it if you want) saying that the rules would be “to play with eight players, divide the Kingdom Cards in half and play two games!” but after popping over to Rio Grande today I noticed that yes, indeed, they are touting Dominion as an eight-player game.

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Amazon Wish List – What Games I’m Looking at and Why

Recently I put together an Amazon Wish List and, lo and behold, it has a bunch of games on it!

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Dominion Card I Would Like to See

Everyone who plays Dominion has a few ideas of what they think would be cool to add to the mix of kingdom cards. Pat and I were discussing a few ideas a while back and thought it would be neat to have a card called Sheriff that was basically a moat that gave treasure instead of cards. I think we agreed that it would most likely be a 3 cost card that gave two treasure but had the Moat reaction ability. Seems, at a glance, like this would be a decent card and we found it pretty thematic.

I was thinking about some card ideas and came up with a card I would like to see in the next next expansion (Seaside).

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Dominion: Intrigue – French Magazine Previews Three Cards

So for those of you who are like me and are eagerly awaiting the next Dominion expansion we have three of the cards that will be appearing in it. I have spoken a lot about Dominion and its expansions in the past. Here are the cards:

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Some Words from Donald X

This post is sort of a follow up post to what I wrote yesterday about Dominion as we have a bit of information right from The Donald himself. (No… not Trump but he had a pretty cool game too!)

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Saying “No Thanks” to Dominion

After reading my review of Dominion it would be hard to imagine that recently when people have suggested it, I have shrugged and said something along the lines of “If everyone else wants to, I guess” and yet that is exactly what has happened.

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Game Crazed – A Bit About the Board Games I Have Played Recently

Over the past few months I have played a lot of new games. I have written about some of them briefly and reviewed others but there are a few I have played that I haven’t even mentioned yet.

The three that spring to mind are Agricola, Shogun, and Android.

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Scrap Heaps: To Be or Not To Be Collectible

Over the last couple weekends we’ve gotten some playtesting time on Scrap Heaps. Like last time on Scrap Heaps game development I’m continuing to file away the rough edges, with the help of playtest feedback.

In this post I’ll relate some of the recent changes and things learned from playtesting, and my thoughts on the big question of what kind of card game Scrap Heaps wants to be.

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Path to Victory – Scrap Heaps Game Development

Recently I dug up an old game prototype I made for a card game called Scrap Heaps. There were a number of reasons I liked the overall design, but looking over the game again after years have passed I noticed some rough spots.

In this post I’ll touch upon the design of Scrap Heaps and go over one of the problems I aim to solve as I take it through the game development process.

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RftG: More Info on the Expansion

I just want to follow up on my post from two weeks ago about the second Race for the Galaxy Expansion.

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Masquerade – Card Game – Review

This would be the first review I have written since my Review of Reviews. I chose Masquerade partly because I have owned it for a while and I have been meaning to write about it but also because it is fairly simple and I hope to demonstrate how I plan to review further games in the future with a game that will not be too overbearing.

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Whither Magic?

Not Shadowmoor’s damage as -1/-1 counters ability, I’m pondering the state of Magic: the Gathering and its newest card sets.

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Review of Reviews

What follows is a discussion of how I have been reviewing games and a description of how I plan to review games in the future. While I have reviewed role-playing games and role-playing game books in the past, this article is in reference only to board games and card games.

While I feel there can be a general way to review board games and card games, reviewing gaming books falls under a different umbrella and while I may some day analyze the way I have been reviewing these products this is not that analysis.

Why Review Games?

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A Weekend of Games

This weekend was an exceptional one as far as gaming goes. While I did not get the blogging done I would have liked (my game reviews are so backed up now it isn’t funny and before I write them I still want to write about the changes I want to make in the way I review in my Review of Reviews post that I haven’t finished).

I did get the chance to play some new games and several old games. Since the number of different games was fairly high I decided it would be fun to toss a post up here about the games I played from Friday night until Sunday night.

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Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium

Over at the geek their is a bit of information about the next Race for the Galaxy expansion.

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Magic: Channeling Land, Oona, and You

It’s been some time since I wrote the Channeling Land Magic variant. In my group we’ve been playing that flavor of Magic exclusively for several months now. There are just a couple of sticking points, which I’ll cover here and offer suggestions on how to smooth them over.

The Faerie Queen

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Rorschach – The Inkblot Party Game – Review

After my review of Dominion I thought I would turn to a less-than-stellar game that I recently added to my collection, namely Rorschach.

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Dominion – Review – Best New Game I Played in 2008

Normally I am rather reluctant to call anything “the best”. This is true both with games and the rest of my life. The reasons are many but it often boils down to my feelings that things feel better at certain times or are better for certain reasons but will falter at other times. For example, when you’re in the mood for a comedy it is unlikely that a horror movie will fit the bill and is thus not “the best”. Perhaps that’s a rambling bit of nonsense but essentially what I am trying to say is, that I sort of feel like I am going out on the proverbial limb when I call Dominion the “Best New Game I Played in 2008” and yet I am still willing to say it. Which hopefully says a lot.

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Card Games Cometh

I have several new games I am planning to talk about and review soon and it came to my attention as I was driving to work today that quite a number of them are card games. After making this realization I decided I wanted to post a quick note about it and see if anyone else has noticed this rather interesting change in game design in recent years, where card games seem to be making a move from the casual to the more strategic.

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Game-It-Yourself!

As Minimum Wage is now live (I really just can’t say that enough!) I wanted to poke around the net and look at other print-and-play games.

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Minimum Wage Goes Live

It’s finally up! I would love to hear back from anyone who has a chance to play it or even if you just look over the cards.

More info about the creation of Minimum Wage will be up soon so keep coming back!


Gonzo! from Minimum Wage 40 Hour Deck

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How Best to Print Out Minimum Wage

So it’s finally out (announcement here). Phew, it has been a long road to get here but I have finally managed to get Minimum Wage up on the blog for any and all who would like to download and check it out. If you haven’t see it yet, just click here.

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Minimum Wage Pre-Release Primer

I feel a little bad about the rather minimal time I have spent working on this blog lately and while I have reasons for my absence I can’t say they were all good reasons. Feel free to read my tangent along the side for a bit more info on that.

The one good reason I have not been working on this is that I have been working on it, that is to say, I have been working on the final touches to Minimum Wage!

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CCGs the Fun Way, Part 1: Friendly League Play

Ever since Magic: the Gathering first became popular, there has been a problem playing CCGs casually with a group of friends: someone spends their way to victory, which triggers an arms race until everyone is either left in the dust or spending way too much on a “casual” game.

In this article I’ll offer some tips on how to enjoy collectible card games with friends, without breaking the bank.

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Magic Evolves in a Struggle to Remain Relevant, Part 1: Change

As they say, these changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, yet Magic is indeed changing.

I’ll take a look at the new shape of Magic: the Gathering to come with Shards of Alara and beyond, and what it means to the game we know as Magic.

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MtG: Playing with Channeling Land

This all started when I mused about building Magic decks without land. Much discussion ensued. In the meantime, my group and I spent a little time playing with the variant; what follows is my account of how the variant plays, with a look at some of the ups and downs of employing this seemingly simple change to Magic: the Gathering.

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Magic Online – Eventide Release and a Brief Look at Economics

Magic Online 3.0 went live a while back and shortly after that I slowed down my drafting and then a bit after that more or less quit Magic altogether. Not “for good” but I had a number of problems with the new program and I figured I should walk away and let them sort the mess out. Also, as I have made fairly clear on this site, I was not and am not a big fan of Shadowmoor.

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Fat-Free Magic: the Gathering – Without Lands (Channeling Land Variant)

Ever since Magic’s debut, there has been a built-in inefficiency to deck building and play caused by the requirement of including basic land.

This always irked me, and here I’ll look at why basic lands exist, then explore some house rules variants which remove them and evaluate the merit of each. Find out how Magic: the Gathering can be more fun with no lands!

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Eventide Pre-Release Wrap-Up

This weekend’s pre-release of Eventide was a lot of fun. I’ll take a quick run through the highlights of the Magic pre-release tournament experience and the new set.

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Eventide Pre-Release Tournament: Wrapping Up Shadowmoor Block

Eventide is coming soon, and the latest Magic pre-release is almost upon us. See the conclusion of Shadowmoor and the -1/-1 counter craze (too quickly for some, and long overdue for others).

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Smorgasbord of Gaming Goodness

This past weekend I got to play games with Scott for the first time in… well… a while. We played History of the World, Citadels, Boom Blox (yes, it’s a Wii game but it’s awesome!), Minimum Wage, and Vegas Showdown as well as playing the one shot Paranoia game I ran. All in all it was a pretty cool weekend.

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The State of My Gaming Life

This is fluff. It’s so absolutely, completely, and amusingly fluff that it hardly needs to be read or looked at or edited or posted and it certainly doesn’t need to be written. Of course I have already written it and gone ahead and posted it so well… go ahead and waste your time reading it if you want to. But you are wasting your time. I mean, at least I warned you. It’s not like they had an announcement like this at the beginning of In the Name of the King that politely informed you that you were wasting your time. At least I am being nice about it.

Actually, it does serve some purpose. I find that knowing a writer can help me enjoy books and many people love watching director (or writer or producer or whatever) commentary on their special edition DVDs. Think of this as a brief look into me that you might be able to refer to as you look at some of the other things I have posted.

Still, it’s pretty much useless fluff.

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Shadowmoor Pre-release Tournament Next Weekend

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty psyched about Shadowmoor. Next weekend is the chance for Magic players everywhere to experience the new set, aka: pre-release time!

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Reaction and Recovery – A Short Diatribe About My Taste in Games

A few months ago Scott and I started to work on a project categorizing gamers. Essentially we wanted to come up with umbrella terms that scooped gamers into recognizable groups so that it would be easier to review a game and tell which groups we thought would enjoy it. It’s actually a fairly daunting process in that there are so many subtle variations and one does not wish to detract from any group by sliding them under an umbrella where they would not feel they belong. Still there are certainly different kinds of games out there and in general I would say we all tend toward liking certain groups of those games.

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Magic the Gathering – Spotlight on Reach of Branches

Magic the Gathering: Reach of Branches rare
I feel the need to mention that I am currently recovering from surgery. Not to get into the gory details of it but I had a cornea transplant last week. I’m determined to keep up with the blog as much as I can but seeing is a bit rough right now and most likely I will need to keep my posts short. I am just now able to look at a computer screen without wearing sunglasses as my eyes (well eye really since the one is still under a patch) are just now adjusting to light.

Reaching for something to write about

One of my favorite cards from Morningtide has got to be Reach of Branches. It may not be the flashiest card out there but that just means you’re more likely to get it in a draft. Especially since it’s not really worth splashing even though it only takes one green mana to play.

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Three-Dragon Ante – Games I Play

Three Dragon Ante – Game Overview

Three-Dragon Ante Box

Three-Dragon Ante is a simple non-collectible card game produced by Wizards of the Coast. At its core it is meant to be a poker-like gambling game that should feel like something a group of adventurers would play while sitting around the local tavern just after returning from an adventure.

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Magic the Gathering: Removing Problems

What do you do with a little weekend insomnia? Well, if you were me, you might play some Magic. Then you might also draft a deck with lots of removal and try to remove, well, pretty much everything, up to and including your opponent if need be.

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Attending the Morningtide Pre-release Tournament

Are you excited about the Morningtide Pre-release next week? The two-set Lorwyn block reaches its conclusion, and while I don’t know much about the story of Lorwyn’s Hobbits- uh, I mean, Kithkin… I’m definitely looking forward to the new cards.

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Best Party Games, or How to Party Like a Gamer

So the past few weeks have been pretty stressful for me with work being a bear and the Holidays creeping up. I’m still playing Magic of course and for the most part that has been going well but I thought it might be nice to take this blog in a different direction for a change. (If it’s a different direction… it probably has to be a change.)

Last week I hung out with a couple of friends on Saturday. This happens almost every Saturday but on this occasion there was a slightly different mix of people and one friend in particular was not so big on playing complicated “gamer” type games. We ended up playing several party-ish games that I had lying around and that got me thinking about games that tend to be fun for my non-gamer friends but are still tolerated by my more hardcore friends. And so, as I mentioned above the holidays are coming up and a lot of people will be having parties, throwing parties or seeing family and I thought it might be good to write briefly about the more party-oriented games that I play.

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Through and Through with Blue: Lorwyn Draft Walkthrough

I was one of the lucky people that got Veteran’s Day Observed off as a holiday so I took some time to play a Magic draft and take enough notes to write up a walkthrough (I think I need to find an easier way to do this if I am going do it more often… typing all the cards out was a real pain in the butt). I hope that the result has enough detail to be interesting and useful.

Pack One

First Pick: Sentinels of Glen Elendra

Magic Lorwyn draft walkthrough first pick

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