CCGs-TCGs

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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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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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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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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My Brief Return to Magic

Sunday Morning found me awake fairly early. Recently I have been sleeping better and thus sleeping in but this Sunday the alarm went off at our normal weekday wake up time and I never got back to sleep.

So, I wandered downstairs looking for something to do and decided to sign on to Magic Online and after a bit of waffling I decided to give it a go.

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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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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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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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Magic Q&A: Deathbringer Liege

Time to tackle a Magic: the Gathering rules question.

Q: My opponent has one creature, untapped. I have a Deathbringer Liege in play. If I play a black and white spell, can I destroy my opponent’s creature?

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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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Scion Snag and Shadowmoor Silliness

This week will likely be a very busy one, which means that I will probably not get to write the posts that are floating around in my head at the moment. Still, I wanted to take a couple seconds to comment on a few of the things that happened over the weekend in my Scion campaign and some Shadowmoor online.

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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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Love the Dark: Shadowmoor Pre-Release Coverage

Guest Post: this post contributed by Rev. Joe.

Well, I went to the April 19th pre-release event for Shadowmoor, the newest installment of Magic: the Gathering. Regardless of what Josh writes I think it is a phenomenal set, full of darkness and twists that keep you on your toes.

First, let’s break down the new abilities:

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Shadowmoor – Color Me Unimpressed

I attended (if you can call it that) the Sunday Shadowmoor prerelease in Syracuse over this past weekend and I felt I needed to chime in a bit about my initial impressions. First I should say I didn’t play too much. I opened my packs, realized I wasn’t winning, played one match where I went 1 and 2 (I had my opponent to three life in the first game and four in the last but it wasn’t enough obviously), dropped and went home.

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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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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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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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Limited Impressions: How to Avoid Blue and Influence People

So it has been just over a week since Lorwyn made its way to the online Magic world. I am almost exclusively an online player so I have really gotten my first in-depth taste of Lorwyn in a competitive environment, and so far it seems decent. Maybe a few too many bombs, maybe one too many sick combos, or maybe I am still a noob.

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Jyhad/Vampire: the Eternal Struggle Deckbuilding Tips – The Crypt

Jyhad may be an old game, but it’s still one of the best multiplayer trading card games out there. I’m going to run down some basic deckbuilding tips for those seeking to start tuning their decks. This article focuses on tuning your crypt.

Being an old game you might think that new players are rare. Yet I was recently given a box of Jyhad boosters as a gift (now that’s a rare find!) and had the opportunity to introduce my gaming group to the game of predator-prey that is Jyhad.

Jyhad and V:tES card backs

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Time for a Little Big Deck Magic

So what does one do when one is the only person in a group of friends that has magic cards but that person wishes to play some magic with his friends? Why that person makes up a way to play and then writes an article about it!

So you have probably at one time or another played some form of Big Deck Magic. There are so many variants out there these days that the term “Big Deck” has lost almost all meaning. The way we use to play was to have one deck in the middle, everyone draws seven cards, and then can play a spell as a basic land that produces the same color of mana as the spell.

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A Tangential Story About the Lorwyn Pre-Release

First of all I would like to say I like this set. Lorwyn seems to have a lot to offer the kinds of Magic environments that I enjoy, namely casual and limited. Anytime you see me talking about Magic I would recommend you keep that in mind. For example I disliked Ravnica because in casual multi player games there were too many insane bombs and quite frankly the same held true for limited as well. I also felt that while needing to play three colors sometimes made drafting interesting it also meant that if you didn’t get any fixing, and never had any option to pick fixing, you may well be out of luck and there was of course more opportunity for mana/land screw. Welcome to my first tangent…

What I really wanted to write about was Lorwyn and my experience with it at the pre release. I managed to go 4 – 0 in the single flight I played in and didn’t even lose a game. I am however mostly a casual player that drafts a couple times a week online so I’m not a pro by any standards. On the other hand I must admit I am an avid spoiler reader. I pop around checking out what is coming long before the lists are complete and this tends to be what gets me excited about the pre release. For all of their rhetoric to the contrary I suspect our friends at Wizards know this as well and secretly do not hate the spoiler sites. I guess this could be tangent number two…

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How to Succeed at a Magic the Gathering Pre-release

With Lorwyn days away, friends are asking me how they should prepare for the pre-release tournament of this new Magic expansion. The answer is essentially the same as for any other expansion set, and I’ll cover the bases for everyone looking to get the most out of the experience.

First of all tournament newbies often ask when to show up and what to expect. The details vary a bit by location, and the best way to find out is to check with your nearest tournament organizer. What I can tell you about is the tournament itself.

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Magic: the Gathering Deckbuilding Tips

Here are some useful deckbuilding tips for novices I’ve learned over the years, generally applicable strategies for most any deck design, though some of these tips are slanted toward multiplayer Magic.

Creatures

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Welcome to Pair O’ Dice Games

Pair O’ Dice Games has a brand new games blog! Written by a couple of veteran gamers, it’ll feature gaming articles on topics like:

  • Game reviews
  • House rules and game rules variants
  • Role playing story, adventure, and character ideas
  • Game strategies
  • Game design

Check out the latest gaming articles, and subscribe to the Pair O’ Dice Games Blog RSS Feed to stay notified of new additions – we’re just getting started!

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